Was surprised by yesterday's decision by the organisation, True Wales, not to seek designation as the 'lead campaign' for a No vote at the Assembly Powers referendum on March 3rd.. In one sense it makes no practical difference, because I would not have been at all surprised if a bid to be the lead campaign had been refused by the Electoral Commission. The only bid to be lead campaign has been made by Alwyn ap Huw, my blogging colleague who goes under the name of Miserable Old Fart - and he supports a No because not enough powers are being considered for transfer.
Now what to make of this. I cannot see why it should 'throw referendum plans into confusion' which has been a common public response, from some quarters at least. Personally, I think the outcome is what many people expected, if arrived at by an unexpected route - there will not be publicly funded campaigns on either side. Both sides will have to depend on self generated income, and not on taxpayer funded campaigns. Almost everyone I've spoken to about this issue today is rather in favour of this. I've only heard or read of one person who sees it as a "sad day for politics" - but that did produce this lead story for BBC Wales.
Personally I like the idea that both sides of the argument will be deprived of public funds to finance their campaigns. What we want is the genuine opinion of Welsh people, not some sort of X Factor competition based on TV adverts and glossy literature. And we can all feel a bit better in that a lot of public money will now be available to spend on public services.
Attended a 'party' lunch in Montgomeryshire today, where the speaker was Conservative Assembly Member, Andrew RT Davies, who was asked for his advice about which way to vote. He supports a Yes vote - and used the standard line about the Assembly needing 'the tools to do the job'. In typical Andrew style he said "You wouldn't send a man to dig a hole without a shovel." That's as good a way of putting it as I've heard.