First visit to the London Welsh Centre tonight. It's on Gray's Inn Road - a big place, without any 'posh' pretensions. Anyway, tonight it was the scene of a book launch - Poor Man's Parliament - Ten Years of the Welsh Assembly. The author is Martin Shipton, Wales' most incisive political journalist covering the period up to and following the 1997 referendum which presaged the creation of the National Assembly for Wales. The book has been published by SEREN, and cost £12.99. I don't know if this was a special 'launch price' but I did immediately devalue my copy by asking Martin to sign it!
Martin Shipton has written this book from a standpoint of great frustration. He was a supporter of devolution, but does not believe it has delivered for Wales. Like me he believes that what we voted for on March 3rd 2011 was what we thought we had voted for on Sept. 18th 1997. But he goes further than I do in describing the settlement on offer to voters in 1997 as a 'humiliation' for Wales. And Martin shares my view that the standard of debate and genuine engagement with the people of Wales as a political institution, rather than a 'cultural' one needs there to be some financial accountability.
My advice is to go out and buy it.