Sunday, August 28, 2016

Our Welsh Parliament is here to stay.

There's been a flurry of media comment over the last few days (mainly driven by politicians) suggesting that if there were to be a referendum on the future existence of the Welsh Parliament (or National Assembly for Wales if you prefer) the people of Wales would vote In favour of abolition. No chance. Not sure why this is being taken so seriously. Perhaps the media and commentariat so enjoyed the Scottish Independence Referendum and the EU Referendum that they cannot bear to see Wales left out! Two people asked me whether they were going to have the chance to vote 'that circus in Cardiff' out of existence at today's Berriew Show Charity Lunch. Told them this is one circus I approve of! Even if I did campaign with great vigour in opposition to its creation in 1997. Should add that I don't think their views were a reflection of current Welsh public opinion.

The reality is that it is simply not going to happen. There will be no referendum. Not in any foreseeable future. We've had enough of referendums. And if there were to be, all the evidence I've seen suggests to me that devolution is here to stay. I know not everyone agrees with me about this, and it's very much in fashion to be opposed to anything remotely to do with the 'establishment' or any form of Government. Voting No has become the default position on constitutional issues. But for me, discussion about the future of the Welsh Parliament comes under the heading of 'harmless fun'.

In fact, I may become a great champion of retaining the Welsh Parliament come September 13th. That day we learn of the Boundary Commission for Wales proposals for reform of Welsh Parliamentary constituencies. Inevitably, since they fall in number overall of Welsh parliamentary constituencies from 40 to 29, these proposals will inevitably inform us that Montgomeryshire will be no more by 2020 General Election. Over 40 yrs I've been active in the public life of Montgomeryshire. I'm building myself up for a very sad day. The only way to retain our old historic county of Montgomeryshire will be as an Welsh Assembly seat. But that's a blog post for when we see the detailed proposals. I will write a blog post summarising the background to all this tomorrow. In the meantime, better get used to having the Welsh Parliament around.

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