Today saw the launch of the 'Yes for Wales' campaign. It's aim is to persuade the people of Wales that law making powers should be transferred to the National Assembly for Wales in all policy areas which are already devolved - and to vote for that outcome at a referendum to be held on March 3rd. The Chair of the campaign is Roger Lewis, Chief Executive of the Welsh Rugby Union. There was hardy a politician in sight. Because this event has major significance in the development of 'Wales the nation' I thought I might attend - not to offer public support (because I'm supposed to be officially 'neutral') but just to be there. Anyway, I was told to keep my nose out, and stay well away. Very much a case of 'politicians not welcome'. Have to accept that the anti-politician strategy is probably sensible.
So all I could do is try to get a feel for things from media reports. They were all there! Not sure what to think. It looked OK to me. I particularly like the argument about law making powers creating an Assembly with "No excuses". Simple message which focuses on the key issue of increasing political accountability - at both Cardiff Bay and Westminster. And I reckon the stuff about developing "Welsh solutions to Welsh problems" is fair enough as well.
But I'm not convinced at all by the assertions that a No vote would put the devolution bandwagon into reverse. I just do not think it's true. There is no evidence for this. And its always risky to build a campaign on an assertion that is not true. My opinion is that the current system of powers transfer, much as I think it madly complex, would continue as now. In fact, I reckon there may well be constructive efforts to streamline the process. Again my view is that political self-awareness amongst the people of Wales is on a roll, and the Welsh voice will not be weakened, whatever the referendum result. I just do not think that the powers of the National Assembly is the only constituent part of the 'Welsh voice'. But on balance, I think the Yes for Wales campaign team made a pretty good start.