Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Oh Please - not another Referendum!!

You really would think any sane UK voter would have had it up to whatever you care to name with referendums. When I looked through BBC Wales News tonight, I did not expect to read of anyone daft enough to be calling for another one. Yet that's exactly what I did read. It seems that if Plaid Cymru win Thursday's Welsh General Election, their party leader is contemplating arranging a referendum on devolving powers to Wales - if the UK Govt doesn't give her what she wants!

So let's consider what the Leader of Plaid Cymru is reported to want. She wants income tax powers to be devolved. Well so do I. So does every party except Labour, which does not fancy the idea of accountability. The Labour team in Cardiff Bay just want to sit in big offices, driving around in big cars manageing a spending plan. Don't actually need a Parliament to do that. Good job the Prime Minister is committed to devolving income tax powers, without the 'blocking' referendum. What I should have read is a promise to help the new Welsh Secretary, Alun Cairns deliver it.

Then there's policing. This was reported as a second big issue Perhaps Plaid Cymru should be doing some work demonstrating how Welsh policing would be improved through devolution. I'm in a minority in having no principled objection to devolving policing, but even I'm not up for it without knowing it would improve the policing service. I've seen absolutely nothing that suggests devolving policing would be an idea the Welsh people would want, or benefit from.

And the third issue mentioned is the way Welsh Govt is funded. I'm not sure what this is al about. For as long as I can recall Plaid have wanted the Barnett deficit eliminated. Well for the first time in 30 yrs it has been eliminated, and a Barnett Floor put in place to maintain 'fair funding' for this Parliament. It's a bit like our 2yr old grandchildren. They want something desperately, make one helluva fuss, and when you finally give in to their demands, they move on to want something else! 

We do need a new Wales Bill, and we need goodwill and a willingness to compromise to move devolution forward, particularly on income tax powers. I think the Secretary of Wales will be up for that. Let's hope, after Thursdays election is over that Plaid Cymru will be up for a bit of positive discussion. And not start banging on about referendums. They would though have to win to do that. 

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