Sunday, January 2, 2011

Why I would vote yes in the Welsh Assembly's referendum in March!

I thought this comment that I left on Wales was good enough for its own post.

Complements of the season to my fellow compatriots from across the “pond”. Watching this thread (I can hardly call it reading as some of the comments have been hard to read) is like watching a game of tennis at Wimbledon with poor old Len trying to beat John McEnroe’s and Bjorn Borg’s serves (at the same time). I think the problem with the internet is the fact that it is in its infancy (and that goes for social networks too). It was the telly what won it for Obama and it was the seem medium that brought him down (and not the cable news relatively speaking more people watch Songs of Praise than Fox News), and Palin’s tweets make her look a positive twit. I have looked at TW’s web site, and to be honest I think they could put the “follow the money section” as their home page instead of looking for it. People who are rabidly opposed to devolution would find comfort with that than reading the pap on the front page.

In fact talking of the front page does the talk of discrimination imply that supporters of devolution are on the whole frothy mouthed BNP style racists? Is that fair? Or is it just the type of rhetoric that will encourage those who have moved to Wales come out and vote against what could turn out in the end to be a “Welsh Republic”? I was not here in 1997, but as a 14 year old growing up on a working class area of Cardiff I remember the 1979 campaign very well. When the No campaign played the separatist card all the time, with stunts like putting mock immigration officers on one train. I also recall a friend who went to work at the Welsh Office telling me that there were stories of a “secret campaign” being run out of the Welsh Office which operated on a “divide and conquer” mode. Which wanted to frighten those in the north with the fear of a Assembly dominated by Cardiff and south Wales, and frighten those in the south with idea that it would be dominated by Welsh speakers from the north. In fact it worked.

I was not here for the referendum in 1997 my parents were and they voted, and I would have voted for it. However after that they accepted its establishment. I moved back to Wales in 2002 until 2005, and I was not happy with its lack of achievement., to the point that I even contemplated voting no in this forthcoming referendum. Then I recalled how bad things were in the old days. Welsh hospitals suffered from budget problems just as much in the 1970s as now, or my grandmother would not have been sent home early die in her cold house, which was because the council took so long to replace the window that was broken. Or the shoddily maintained schools with cold class rooms with asbestos hanging just a couple feet above you, with teachers who were so inept it would have better if we left alone and taught ourselves. If there PISA scores in 1979 I am sure they would have been far lower then. And talked to me of the 1980s, it's why I left Wales in 1990. No hope.

TW talks of “True Devolution”. What does that mean? I live in the US where we have true devolution with local control and referendums (voter initiatives and propositions). I have witnessed referendums in both Colorado and California that have shown the “People’s Will” like proposition 8 in California which banned gay marriage and TABOR in Colorado which restricted tax increases and later destroyed education in the state. I am not a fan, in fact I sure if they had been held in the South we probably would still have had Segregation. In fact there is another word for true devolution we call it federalism. So is TW advocating that, which would mean that Wales would have real sovereignty, which can only be guaranteed with a written constitution? Or is it just an empty phrase devoid of meaning?

Len also mentioned the possibility of a low turn out. Does that mean that TW will not accept a yes vote? Because of the low turnout. I have heard the same argument t prove its abolishment. However that’s a double edge sword as turnout for local elections are usually lower, should we then abolish Cardiff Council? Certainly not.

Again I shall not be in Wales for this referendum (unless we move back in February). Yet I have a large family and lots of friends who I keep in touch with that will. And talking of family I can say that with my mother is still in good health because of that she can travel free on the bus, and the good treatment from her GP. My grandmother died because things failed under the old system ,but my mother is still with me thanks to the new.

My daughter’s education in her early years in Cardiff helped her to succeed now, whilst it failed me.

I admit the achievements were not great in the last 10 years, but I thank God for the small ones, which have had a positive effect. I admit this is all rather personal and subjective, but they are the stories that matter both for and against. Not the endless stats that you read

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