Friday, March 4, 2011

Welsh Devocrats receive "wake-up" call

So..the question:
Do you want the Assembly now to be able to make laws on all matters in the 20 subject areas it has powers for?
And the votes:

Yes: 517,132
No:  297,380
Wales has a Assembly?/Don't care: 1,499,422

Wales' self-serving Political Elite and their Establishment chums are still delighted:
The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, said: "This is good news for Wales as it means we can now take charge of the areas in which our law is devolved and we are no longer out on a limb as far as governance is concerned.
Yes, as I've may have mentioned before, even the God Squad (or at least its very highest echelons) are also apparently fully paid-up members of the Welsh Devocracy.

Amid the jubilant claims of "the Welsh people"(sic) "having spoken", it's left to a few lone voices to point out the inconvenient elephant having a rather plump crap in the corner of the room:
The low turnout in the referendum on direct law-making powers for the Welsh assembly has been called a "wake-up call for all politicians".

Welsh Lib Dem leader Kirsty Williams said that was especially true of the assembly government.
Education Minister Leighton Andrews said: "We are disappointed as everyone is with the turnout."
Other, let’s be kind and say “less consistent”, souls seemed to be changing their mind on the subject as events unfolded:

Former First Minister Rhodri Morgan 2nd March: 'Turnout is crucial'
Former First Minister Rhodri Morgan 4th March: ""it was quite possible" it was going to be a "very low turnout" but it would make no difference to the vote's legitimacy""

Okaaay then, Rhodri is obviously a disciple of the "Peter Hain School of Honest and Steadfast Conviction".

One gets the impression that a win on a turnout of even 10% would have still been interpreted by the "Yes" campaign as evidence of the "Welsh people having spoken"... they would, however, do well to hold fire on the gloating and instead pay heed to this very pertinent observation yesterday in Comment is Free:
The Welsh also have confidence in ourselves as a nation: it's just some of you (the Devolved Establishment), and the political culture which you have constructed and with which you seem moribundly content, that we don't have confidence in. If you do receive a 'yes' vote tomorrow, you will - collectively - have to do a great deal more to prove yourselves worthy of our political trust. Hitherto you have singularly failed to do so, as I suspect tomorrow's depressingly low turn-out will show.
I suspect the vast majority of that Elite still aren't listening- unfortunately for them, that elephant ain't leaving home anytime soon.

Update

Some get it:
"Too much power in Wales is hoarded by a political elite," she told supporters.






15 comments:

menaiblog said...

Why are unionists such poor losers?

Alwyn ap Huw said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alwyn ap Huw said...

Only a couple of days ago you claimed that I must have been drunk when I stated that devosceptics woul attempt to steal the votes of those who abstained by claiming that those who didn't vote were tacitaly voting against devoloutuion.

Were you drunk when you wrote this!

O'Neill said...

Menai,

The likes of Bourne and Melding consider themselves also Unionists and they're tonight, no doubt, also delighted with the result so you should probably have said "why are the devo-sceptics such bad losers"...and if you had, I would have replied "Do you consider a 35% turnout a success?"

Cadfan said...

The 'no' campaign have a lot to answer for for the low turnout. They were the ones who declined to become a formally funded campaign and have no legitamacy to complain.

O'Neill said...

"Were you drunk when you wrote this!"

Alwyn,

Not any more so than usual;)

The overwhelming majority who didn't vote simply didn't care enough about devolution or the Welsh Assembly one way or the other and that indifference, well over a decade since the experiment began, should bother you more than the piffling couple of hundred or thousand devosceptics who made the effort. Apathy not antagonism is the bigger insult.

menaiblog said...

The likes of Bourne and Melding consider themselves also Unionists and they're tonight, no doubt, also delighted with the result so you should probably have said "why are the devo-sceptics such bad losers"...and if you had, I would have replied "Do you consider a 35% turnout a success?"

I was refering to you, not Bourne & Melding. You are a unionist, no?

35% is not a success - for my side or the other side - but it is comprable with similar UK referenda - the London mayorial one for example.

It's also a fact that True Wales side deliberately depressed the turn out by refusing to accept official status.

But surely the main feature of this election is the collapse of devo scepticism.

Hen Ferchetan said...

Thought I'd check in to see how you took the result - dissappointed to see you couldn't accept defeat gracefully.

21 out of 22 parts of Wales voting Yes (with the only No only by 300 votes), huge swings towards Yes from the 1997 referendum, total rejection of the No campaign's arguments and yet you still try and spin it to be bad news for devolution :-D

You don't have the right to assume the opinion of non-voters. That's not how democracies work.

The only fact that is indisputable from the referendum result is that nearly twice as many Welsh people wanted further devolution than those who didn't want further devolution.

If that isn't the result you were hoping for then I'm afraid that's tough - sometimes in politics you have to accept that your views are not shared by the majority of voters.

Alwyn ap Huw said...

The overwhelming majority who didn't vote simply didn't care enough about devolution or the Welsh Assembly one way or the other

You can't even draw that conclusion, definitively, from this referendum.

If you take away the spin from both sides the actual question on the paper was a particularly insignificant one. It wasn't about the Assembly gaining direct law-making powers, but about the way in which direct law making powers are accessed; it was about moving from part 3 to part 4 of the Government of Wales Act 2006 – not really something that anyone can have a fire in the belly for or against.

I suspect that a large number of those who didn't vote weren't ambivalent about the Assembly (either way), but were ambivalent about being asked to vote on an insignificant technical question.

35% turnout was much higher than I expected. My expectation was under 20%. Given the nature of the question the Yes campaign should be congratulated on getting half a million to vote for an insignificant change; perhaps the No campaign should receive even more congratulations for persuading a quarter of a million to support a rather tortuous status quo.

(spooky word verification for this comment "nonnash"!)

Dewi Harries said...

O'Neill - 35% isn't good but it's comparable with the London Mayor referendum and it was for a fairly technical issue - so stop being such a miserable git!!

O'Neill said...

Menai blog
But surely the main feature of this election is the collapse of devo scepticism.

You know that for sure when the “yes” vote pulled in under 25% of the total electorate?
That’s a brave prediction.

Hen F

“You don't have the right to assume the opinion of non-voters. That's not how democracies work.”

I can look at a total turnout of just over a third of the electorate and make assumptions based on that figure- democracy permits me that right.

Alwyn

“suspect that a large number of those who didn't vote weren't ambivalent about the Assembly (either way), but were ambivalent about being asked to vote on an insignificant technical question.”

And if the vote on that insignificant question been “no”, how would that have effected the future of the devolution experiment in Wales?
Well, you can call it ambivalence or apathy but put it another way, 65% of the electorate didn’t care enough whether the Assembly got those extra powers to actually go out and vote either way. If I were a politician in that Assembly that kind of disconect with the electorate would be keeping me awake at night, instead we have Glyn Davies (http://glyn-davies.blogspot.com/2011/03/feeling-hand-of-history.html) making fun of those who dare to challenge the prevailing opinion- he needs to be careful, those Edna Mopbuckets are the people he’ll be asking votes from next time.

Dewi,

O'Neill - 35% isn't good but it's comparable with the London Mayor referendum and it was for a fairly technical issue - so stop being such a miserable git!!

I was just accepting that it was comparable with the London election, did a quick check and found that the figure there was 45%- now comparing the nature of the populations in the two electorates I think that would be a comparison I’d be keeping stum on. And not such a miserable git, more a justified Victor Meldrew shouting “I don’t believe it” everytime I raed about the latest disaster devolution has laid upon us…;)

O'Neill said...

Sorry, Dewi, I have just realised your point re London related to their referendum... the point about the differing electorates remains though.

menaiblog said...

O'Neill -
You know that for sure when the “yes” vote pulled in under 25% of the total electorate?
That’s a brave prediction.

It's a no brainer a chara in 1979 956,330 voted No. On Thursday the number was 297,380.


In 1979 243,048 voted Yes. On Thursday the number was 517,132.

O'Neill said...

Menai,

When you say "collapse" you must mean that devo-scepticism has disappeared, has it? The 65% that didn't vote, didn't do so because they're 100% with present arrangements- I don't know if they are or not, but that's the assumption you're making.

What was the turn-out in 1979 btw?

menaiblog said...

58.8%

What I'm saying is simple. In 1979 & to a lesser extent in 1997 huge swathes of Welsh society were concerned about devolution to the extent that they were willing to go out & vote against it.

Having experienced devolution, they're no longer bothered by it - & that shows in the turnout figures.