Continuing the Welsh Yes Campaign

I explained in my previous LDV post a few weeks ago, why the Welsh Liberal Democrats are campaigning for a ‘Yes’ vote in the up-and-coming referendum on March 3rd.

Well, how it’s all going? Well, not too badly as it happens.

Whilst in the 1997 devolution referendum, support came from the Welsh Liberal Democrats, Labour and Plaid Cymru (the Conservatives opposed it), now, all four are officially supportive of a ‘Yes’ vote. Across Wales, we have been helping with street stalls and delivering leaflets for the ‘Yes’ campaign.

Yes campaigners standing near a trestle table in a marketplace

Helping the 'Yes for Wales' campaign in Cardigan with members of Labour, Plaid Cymru and independents.

Here in Cardigan I’ve been helping with street stalls alongside Labour and Plaid Cymru colleagues (there aren’t any active Tories in Cardigan able or willing to join us!) – it’s certainly an odd sensation to be on the same side of the argument as some of our erstwhile rivals!

I’ve also been out delivering literature through letterboxes in town and this work has been repeated the length and breadth of the county and throughout Wales by my Welsh Liberal Democrat colleagues. Here in Ceredigion, our MP Mark Williams and Welsh Assembly candidate Elizabeth Evans have led from the front in dedicating time to this important campaign.

A systematic decision – not a political one

What does frustrate me however is that many within Labour and Plaid Cymru are using its disagreements with the Westminster coalition to further their calls for a ‘Yes’ vote on March 3rd.

What we must convey to the public is the argument that the current system of devolution is cumbersome, ineffective and a waste of resources. £2m could be saved in bureaucracy alone in giving Wales the direct tools to do the job in the 20 current devolved areas. This could mean more money for our schools or hospitals. A ‘Yes’ vote gives our Assembly members the tools to do the job for which they were elected.

Labour and Plaid however have been keen to exploit the difficult decision having to be made at Westminster by arguing that cuts being imposed centrally means it’s of greater importance for Wales to have greater powers in Cardiff Bay.

At the same time, many of the proponents for a ‘No’ vote are arguing that grave deficiencies within the education and health service here in Wales demonstrates that giving further powers to the Welsh Assembly is a step in the wrong direction.

Both of these arguments should be set aside as cheap political points-scoring.

Because on March 3rd, we vote for the system. We vote for the politicians and their distinct policies on May 5th.

The debate needs to be clear and concise and needs to differentiate between the two.

The polls are looking promising for the ‘Yes’ camp but we can’t be complacent and what is worrying us all is the turnout figure. We don’t just want a majority victory but we need, and Wales needs a decisive victory on a good turnout of at least 50% to show that we mean business here in Wales.

I’m proud that under Kirsty Williams’ leadership, the Welsh Liberal Democrats are leading the debate in a positive and proactive way and I look forward to what will hopefully be a positive result for Wales this coming Friday.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds and Wales.

One Comment

  • … and then finally on to campaigning in Wales for a YES to fairer Votes on 5th May!

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