Peter Black made a speech in Plenary today calling for the establishment of a Yes campaign for further powers - I can't agree more.
The One Wales Agreements commits the government to a referendum before 2011 with the caveat that they can pull out if they think they'll lose it. I understand the need for the caveat, if it was clear that a referendum would end up in a 1979 drubbing then it would set back further devolution for a decade or two. But there's an increasing worry that Labour and Plaid are planning to rely on that clause just because they cannot be guaranteed of a win.
That is poppycock.
Washed-up Has-been Peter Hain is telling us that there shouldn't be a referendum before 2011 because people don't want further powers. Of course what he really means is that Labour MP's don't want further powers. When he says that the majority of Labour members and voters are against it then he should cast his mind back to last year when his party's members voted for the One Wales Agreement by about 79% to 21%. If it was only Peter Hain making that argument then it would be easy enough to ignore, nobody listens to him anymore anyway (as proven by the 79% who wanted a coalition with Plaid even though Peter had ruled it out, and that was before his disgrace and resignation). But he isn't the only one saying it. We keep hearing that we need to be sure we'll win before we announce a referendum, that we need to be sure that we'll win before we launch a Yes campaign.
That is poppycock.
The whole point, the only point, of a Yes campaign is to convince Welsh voters that further powers is a good thing and that they should vote Yes (that's why we call it a "Yes" campaign!). Unless we put forward the case for further powers, the undecided voters will not be convinced. How can we win enough support to be guaranteed a victory if we never start campaigning for a Yes vote? It simply makes no sense.
Polls and research show more people supportive of further powers than are against it. There's enough undecided to swing the vote either way. But there's no use sitting on our arses waiting for those undecided to switch to the Yes camp, the only way that will happen is if we set up a Yes camp and start using our energies to convince them it's worth voting Yes.
It's about time Rhodri and Ieuan pulled their finger out and start putting the case for further powers.