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Launch of Yes campaign kicks off Wales referendum

January 4, 2011

Today saw the launch of the Yes campaign for the upcoming referendum on further legislative powers for the Welsh Assembly.

With the referendum scheduled for March 3, and True Wales expected to launch its No campaign imminently,  it looks like everything is in place for battle to finally commence.

Could the WAG get more powers?

The polls seem to show that the Yes campaign has  the early advantage at this stage, with 48% saying they want “the Assembly now to be able to make laws on all matters in the 20 subject areas it has powers for”.

It seems that 30% will be voting No at this juncture, with 8% not voting and 14% still to decide.

At the moment, the Assembly can only pass laws if the UK Parliament grants it the power to do so in specific devolved areas, a process that can take months or even years. This referendum could change all that.

A lot depends on the tactics that the two camps use. The Yes campaign, which is backed by all four major parties, is being run by Roger Lewis, the Chief Executive of the Welsh Rugby Union. Mr Lewis has said that he wants to run a “people’s campaign”, taking the case for a Yes vote in the “four corners of Wales”.

The details of the No campaign will almost certainly emerge when its campaign is launched, but True Wales are making much of the fact that they represent “ordinary people” from “all walks of life”, and that their website is “financed, produced and maintained by volunteers”.

The outcome will almost certainly depend on capturing the grass-roots imagination, and a high turnout could be key. Failure to get the people of Wales to the polling booths in March could spell ignominy for whoever is victorious.

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