I suppose the conversion of Peter Hain from prophet of doom to enthusiastic supporter of a yes vote in March is something we should welcome. His reasoning, though, leaves me cold, since it appears to be based on an assumption that Wales only needs protection from UK Governments if they’re not Labour. As with much else, the bottom line seems to be party advantage, rather than any real consideration of the interests of Wales.
One of the arguments often put forward by the no campaign is that the Assembly hasn’t delivered on the promises that were made in 1997, particularly in relation to the economy. They draw attention, naturally enough, to the extent to which Welsh GVA continues to lag behind the UK average.
The argument is all too easily dismissed by pointing out that the Assembly doesn’t have the powers to make that much difference. I think that’s missing the point of the ‘no’ argument. Whether the Assembly has the powers or not isn’t their issue; their issue is that they claim that promises were made and then not kept – so why believe the politicians this time around either?
In that context, Hain doesn’t help matters by talking about a yes vote giving the Welsh Government the power to transform the Welsh economy. It doesn’t give them that at all, as MH has pointed out on Syniadau. It’s just another false prospectus of the sort which is likely, over time, to add to the disconnect between politicians and everyone else.
There are plenty of reasons for a yes vote in March without resorting to this sort of tactic.