The dominant issue in Welsh politics over the next eight months will be the referendum on granting law making powers in all devolved areas to the National Assembly for Wales. I expect it to be held in October. It will be a major issue during the run-up to the May 6th General Election - despite many not wanting it to be so. Of course, repairing our broken economy, the war in Afghanistan, cleaning up our politics and controlling immigration will be key issues, but in Wales, how we are governed should also be an issue. It will certainly feature as part of my campaign - even though I do not think this will be electorally advantageous. Its just that its an issue I really care about.
Today's politics show featured the eccentric Presiding Officer of the Assembly, Lord Elis Thomas. He's a class act - sometimes outrageous, sometimes forensically logical. Today, he was reason personified. I agreed with all that he said, including his acceptance that referendums are going to become a common occurrence in Britain. Our politics has become such a mess that I'm game to try new ways of engaging people. Only negative aspect of the interview was that it didn't add anything to what we already knew.
Matt Withers also went big on the 'Assembly Powers' referendum in today's Wales on Sunday. He was addressing the tricky question of 'The Question'. We know that this is not an easy issue to resolve. Personally, I'm favouring the idea of having two questions, a 'formal' question on the ballot form, and an informal question as the basis for public debate. The former would be something like "Do you support moving from Part 3 to Part 4 of the Government of Wales Act" - while the latter would be something like "Do you support granting law making powers to the National Assembly for Wales in all currently devolved policy areas." Actually, I could live with the second of these questions being on the ballot paper, but suspect it will not satisfy constitutional lawyers. I can see no reason whatsoever why this question cannot be decided on now.