Thursday, January 20, 2011

Let battle commence - with no taxpayer's money.

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.


Anonymous said...

Fair point by Andrew RT.

I agree about the public money thing (however I assume the electoral commission will keep it anyhow.... someone will have a good xmas party this year!).

What I'm wondering Glyn is with stuff like adverts before the news- will these still be given?. Although some say they're pointless, I think they do attract peoples attention. So I hope these continue.

I also assume that the BBC and ITV will continue to have debates on the matter before the big day. Again something I believe that is important.

I want a Yes vote, but I've got such a bad feeling we might lose. And that annoys me, because I've studied this and I see absolutely no good thing about the LCO system. The only sort of pro is that it does get scrutinised, but then I think it's over scrutinised (Welsh Affairs, Lords, Grand Committee, Floor of Commons, Assembly Plenary, Assembly Committee and inter-Gov talks). The things a complete joke!

David Roberts said...

"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..."

You're right. If this referendum is of any significance, people will soon be knocking on our doors. I don't detect any public interest at all, and there have been no door knockers.

glynbeddau said...

I take it that you are also against free mailshots for Political Parties at General Elections at the Tax Payers expense based on your argument.

Anonymous said...

You wouldn't send a man to dig a hole without a shovel?


But if you are in a hole, stop digging!

Glyn Davies said...

Anon - I hope that the Electoral Commission will ensure that there is much 'neutral; expanatory information published over the next few weeks, and I also hope the media gives good coverage. I'm not campaigning, but any reader of this blog over recent years will be aware of my opinion.

David - agree that there is little public interest in the issue. I hope I can play a part in changing that.

Glynbeddau - I am indeed strongly opposed to any public funding of political parties.

JaE said...

It is true "You wouldn't send a man to dig a hole without a shovel."

... but the man would have had sufficient training, a clear set of instructions, and most importantly a health and safety policy.

There has been a decade when the Assembly could have developed political equivalents; instead they used a bicameral model in a unicameral legislature, with little thought as to how the public would view poor accountability, this proverbial chicken has come home to roost.

glynbeddau said...

So are you going set an example and repay the cost of the free mailshots you received at the last election?

Anonymous said...

Be interesting to see what happens. already the no vote has swayed it for me to support them by not using tax payers money to fund a campaign when the country is in such a dire mess. something that the WAG will have no powers to clean up i'm sure!

Glyn Davies said...

glynbeddau - No. I live within the rules. I don't set them. I don't like the taxpayer contributing any money for political activity, but if it becomes the system, only the suicidal can stand outside of it.