Pleased to see that Carwyn Jones, First Minister of the National Assembly for Wales began making the case for a Yes vote in the Assembly powers referendum, which we expect sometime in March. And about time too. He's put his name to an article in today's Western Mail (which strangely, I cannot find online). I don't think much of the article, but I do applaud his having written it. At long last he seems to be realising that being First Minister is more than sitting in a swanky office. It involves leadership.
He starts off by telling us that the referendum is nothing to do with tax raising powers. No-one I know thought it was (even if Holtham and others have done their best to muddy the waters about this). If the First Minister bangs on about it, people will think it does involve tax raising powers. Then we have the rather bizarre comment that the referendum is not about creating a Cardiff Bay elite. What on earth is that about. Absolutely no-one thought that - at least until they read today's words from the First Minister.
Carwyn then makes two highly dubious assertions (in my opinion anyway). Firstly he claims that granting tax raising powers will save some £2million. Perhaps no-one has told him how much it costs to train, employ and provide support for drafting lawyers etc.. And secondly, that there will not be more than 60 AMs. Well not immediately I grant him, but in the medium term? Some things I reckon are too uncertain to believe, and the punters are not going to believe them either.
But the worst part is when he begins waffling on about what the referendum is about. I just can't bring myself to repeat it all. It's so childish and confusing. Its quite simple really. A Yes vote is about creating a stable and understandable constitution where full law making powers in all currently devolved policy areas are transferred to the National Assembly 'all in one go', rather than 'bit by bit' as happens under existing legislation. A No vote is about leaving the current process in place. That seems clear enough to me.
Final point that bothered me about this article was Carwyn's casual (but deliberate)reference to organ donation. The Assembly coalition government has decided to seek the power to move from the opt-in position (which currently applies across the UK) to the opt-out position that he and his Government would like to introduce in Wales. Now Carwyn knows very well that this request is highly unlikely to complete its legal transfer process before the referendum in March, and he also knows that a Yes vote would transfer the power in any case. Looks as if he might have in mind using the plight of those in need of an organ transplant organs as pawns in the political process. Lets hope I'm wrong about this.
But having written all that has gone before, I have to admit that I'm pleased there seems to be signs of life in the First Minister's den. Hope he keeps it up.