News breaks today that next week the Assembly will be asked to vote in favour of a referendum on giving itself full lawmaking powers. This is something I've wanted to see as long as I can remember.
I'm excited to see that the momentum seems to have built since Carwyn Jones has taken the post of First Minister. I may well go to the public gallery myself to watch the debate on Tuesday, it's going to be a heated one with the Lib Dems and Tories threatening to abstain unless a referendum on the same day as the next Assembly Election is ruled out.
The referendum definitely shouldn't be on the same day as the election, it raises several questions. How could the Assembly actually take on these powers straight after the election and will the various bureaucracies be ready? Should parties have to talk about the referendum as well as their policies?
It seems rather muddy to me. We should have the referendum soon after the General Election, hopefully this autumn, so there's plenty of time to get everything ready before the next Assembly Election to make sure the new term hits the ground running and delivers real change, and protects Wales from the ravages of the Tories.
But on the 2 partes making it an issue for this vote, right now, doesn't make sense. It takes forever for Westminster to do anything for the Assembly, so it makes no sense to argue over this now. Get the vote passes, get the order back from Parliament and then we can decide the date.
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