Sunday, December 19, 2010

No way to conduct a campaign.

Watched the Blues playing Northampton on TV today. It needed a good referee to keep control. A pity the Blues lost to a dubious try - but it was the mindless and dangerous stupidity of Xavier Rush's high tackle that ensured defeat. The red card was fully deserved. Looks as if the two opposing sides in the Assembly Powers referendum campaign are going to need a similar sort of referee to keep the peace. Already, Lib Dem AM, Peter Black has called Labour Minister, Leighton Andrews a 'cretin' - and they are supposed to be on the same side!!

The main problem with referendums is that the issue at stake is largely ignored in the campaign leading up to the vote. It will be no different this time. Seems that the first leaflet put out by the Roger Lewis led 'Yes' campaign has implied that Wales will have more money from the Treasury if we vote Yes - £300million per annum more. Well, its the first I've heard about it. That's because its not true. This is a strategic mistake by the Yes campaign - the equivalent of a Xavier Rush moment. Once you acquire a reputation for being economical with the truth, everything you say is dismissed as equally economical. Just ask the climate change scientists at the University of East Anglia. The Coalition Government has made clear that there will be no consideration of the formula by which Wales is funded until our annual deficit is back under control. Also, I do not think the position of Wales' funding can be considered without acceptance that Scotland must lose a good chunk of block grant as part of the same deal. This could prove problematical to say the least.

Peter Black makes a wider point as well. The Yes campaign would be making another Xavier Rush-like mistake if it poisoned the Yes campaign with anti-UK Coalition Government rhetoric. I'm just waiting for the first utterance from an Assembly Minister that the Coalition Government is holding up some Assembly Government request for power - and we must have a Yes vote to put a stop to 'interference'. Such a tactic would end the cross-party consensus that exists amongst most politicians in Wales. The views of the people we will discover on March 3rd. I hope the politicians of Wales, and both the Yes and No campaigns can run honest and polite campaigns over the next few weeks. It might even help to persuade people to vote.


Jeff Jones said...

Glyn what makes the leaflet even worse is that it was put out after Danny Alexander's visit to the Assembly. Reading today's Western Mail there is also a claim that it was approved by everyone involved in the yesforwales campaign. If this is an example of the standard of debate we can expect between now and March 3rd don't be surprised if the majority of voters will not be interested.

Have a nice Christmas

Glyn Davies said...

Jeff - A bad error in my opinion - and completely without need. The case for is around 'constitutional stability' (in my opinion) and that's what will impress the voters if the Yes campaign can find the right language.

Anonymous said...

Surely if the UK Gov stopped a transfer of power to the NAfW, it would be a great moment for the "Yes" campaign.
And would just prove what a horrendous system the LCO is- it allows Gov's in London (both you and the previous) to drag their feet?.

And surely isn't this slow way of giving LCO's the main reason of wanting a "Yes" vote in March?!

In terms of the debate, the change we are getting is so dull. As it's no real new meat for the NAfW e.g like tax power. The debate is bound to be 'off topic' and dull.

Glyn Davies said...

Anon - Depends. If the voting public think that its a deliberate stunt - e.g. Putting forward a request for a power so late that Westminster could not deal with it reasonably before the Assembly Election, it would backfire - and deservedly so. But in general I agree with you, in that the current system is too complex - which is why I have always described it as a 'recipe for conflict'. The worry is that the Yes campaign could turn out to be self defeating. The campaign must not be based on untruth or devious tactics of any sort. There is no need - and they will backfire.

Anonymous said...

BTW - I was pretty appalled to see in the CT that you are supporting a proposal to changing the smoking ban in pubs! This is a non starter and I'm amazed at you that you should support such a move.

Pubs that claim they are failing because of this legislation deserve to fail. The majority of pubs that have embraced the ban have flourished because they have improved their services, particularly on the food side.

The smoking ban has encouaged many people to give up this disgusting and incredibly unhealthy habit. It has also meant that pub staff are able to work in a clean environment without danger to their own health from secondary smoking.

It's great to walk into a pub, enjoy a drink and a meal, and come home not smelling like an ash tray.

Even having a seperate room for smokers wouldn't work as it would soon be abused and the smell amd smoke would permeate into aother parts of the pub, and of course once again it would put pub staff at risk of inhaling secondary smoke.

So shame on you Glyn - in my mind your support for this propasal in indefensible

Glyn Davies said...

anon - you are rather easily 'appalled' and 'amazed'. Neither do I think holding an opinion which is different from someone not prepared to put their name to a comment can be the reasonably described as 'shameful'. I did express my view on 'smoking areas' as an aside in a Westminster Hall debate of the future of rural pubs. I have always taken the view that where its possible to locate a smoking room which does not impoact on the remainder of a pub is reasonable. Lots of people (including many other MPs) agree with me. You and many others are entirly free to disagree.