Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Latest poll results for Wales

Ed Miliband has been given a real lift in the latest ITV Wales YouGov tracking poll. Labour have leaped ahead by 5 per cent within the last Month. The poll has been conducted this week a few days since Ed Miliband was elected leader.

Labour have gained 12 per cent since the last Assembly elections. If this poll was replicated in next year’s Assembly elections, they would be heading for a majority over all the other parties.
Plaid Cymru with 19 per cent must feel disappointed for they fall 3 per cent behind the Tories. This is the first time since ITV Wales have been tracking the parties, that this has happened. Their status as the second largest party in the Assembly could be in jeopardy if this is the result next May.
The Conservatives have not moved in the polls since August with 22 per cent, the same percentage figure as they gained in the last Assembly elections.
The Liberal Democrats are still under performing with just 11 per cent, well below the 20 per cent they gained in May and the 15 per cent they gained in the last Assembly elections.
It is clear that both Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats as junior partners in their respective coalitions both in Cardiff Bay and Westminster are been squeezed in the polls.
Of course the Assembly has a PR element and their is a top up from the regional lists. The polling results in the regions show some slight variations from the constituency poll. Consequently  translating the results of the polls into seats is not a straight forward exercise and should be done with caution.
The ‘yes’ campaigners can take some heart from the poll they still have a 19 per cent lead on the ‘no’ side. Twenty per cent of the population have still to make their minds up on the issue. This must be a cause of some concern to those that want a positive result.
Finally, should it be Ed or Dave, well on the poll evidence Ed was the right choice for Wales.
A summary of the poll is as follows:-


Results of poll carried out 27th to 29th September 2010. sample size: 1088. This month’s poll includes the usual tracking questions plus a one-off question on the Labour party’s choice of new leader.

(compared with 2007 election and previous polls)
If there were an election to the National Assembly for Wales tomorrow, and thinking about the constituency vote, how would you vote?

           2007 Result    May 2010 Poll   June Poll  July Poll  Aug Poll  Sept Poll
Labour          32%      32%                  42%        40%         39%       44%
Plaid Cymru  22%      22%                  20%         22%        23%       19%
Conservative 22%      21%                  19%         20%        22%        22%
Liberal Dem  15%      20%                  12%         13%        10%        11%
Others             8%       5%                     6%          5%          6%          5%

And thinking about the regional or party vote for the National Assembly for Wales, which party list would you vote for?
           2007 Result     May 2010 Poll   June Poll    July Poll  Aug Poll  Sept Poll
Labour          30%       30%                  40%          37%          39%      41%
Plaid Cymru   21%      21%                  19%          20%          23%      19%
Conservative  22%      21%                  20%          20%          21%      20%
Liberal Dem   12%      18%                  12%          14%            9%      12%
Others            16%        9%                   9%            8%             8%       8%


(compared with previous polls).
If there were to be a referendum tomorrow on giving the National Assembly for Wales increased law-making powers, how would you vote?

                 April 2010 Poll      June Poll      July Poll      August Poll      September Poll
Yes                            49%             55%           48%                48%                      49%
No                             33%             28%           34%                32%                      30%
Don’t Know/              18%             17%           19%                21%                      20%
Wouldn’t Vote

This Saturday, the Labour party elected Ed Miliband as its leader, ahead of his older brother, David. Which one of the Miliband brothers would have made you more likely to vote for the Labour party at future elections?
More likely with Ed Miliband as leader 13%
Would have been more likely if David Miliband was leader 9%
I would vote Labour anyway 24%
I would not vote Labour anyway 40%
Don’t know 15%

Monday, 27 September 2010

Pick and mix?

Assembly elections will soon be with us. The parties will be led to the fray by the existing party leaders. Some of them may be secretly hoping that their parties do less well than they would ever publicly admit to.
For in the strange world of Assembly elections political advantage can as often rest on your party doing badly as your party having winning ways. 
Would Alun Michael have been Wales’s First Secretary if Labour had won a few more seats in the West of Wales in that first Assembly election. Some in his own party might have wished for better results  in that part of the world so that Rhodri Morgan could have claimed the crown that many thought should have been rightfully his a bit earlier.
And so with Nick Bourne, the Conservative party leader in Wales. He holds his seat by virtue of having top place for his party on the Mid and West Wales regional list. Now for him to keep his place and be re-elected, the Conservatives must not win anymore gains the constituencies in that region. 
Up until 2006, it was possible for candidates to put their names on both their parties regional list as well as fight a constituency, indeed Nick Bourne was in such a position fighting the Brecon and Radnor constituency as well as topping the Mid and West Wales list. 
But Labour put a stop to the practice. They claimed it wasn’t right for a candidate to be rejected by the electors in a constituency and then arrive at the Assembly by virtue of the regional list. The poor electors were confused and did not like it, argued Labour. Although it was hard to find an elector that cared a fig. 
However, Peter Hain  as always, ever wishing to accommodate, put a clause in the last Government of Wales Act 2006 to stop candidates hedging their bets by fighting in both constituencies and on lists. 
However, back to the matter in hand, it is surely very much in Nick Bourne’s personal interest that Kirsty Williams the Liberal Democrat leader retains her Brecon and Radnorshire seat and that the neighbouring Montgomeryshire seat does not follow the Westminster result and become a Tory gain.
Of course, Kirsty Williams must also be hoping that Nick Bourne gets his wishes for if the Tories were to gain new seats in the region these would more than likely be at the expense of the Liberal Democrats. 
It is not too far fetched to envisage both parties having to look for new leaders after the Assembly elections. 
Of course, there is a solution - an understanding between the two parties. 
Could the love-in between the two parties that form the coalition in Westminster be replicated in Wales? It could be in both parties interest. 
If the ITVWales YouGov polls are to be believed the Liberal Democrat vote in Wales has collapsed. So it certainly would be helpful to them if the Conservatives could give them a clear run in some seats - Cardiff Central comes to mind. So a pact between the parties on the ground might help both parties. 
And such an understanding could ward off a potential embarrassment for both parties - losing their leaders. Who in their parties could ConDem such a marriage?

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Referendum campaign poised to tee off

A date’s been set, and it looks as if that wily operator Cheryl Gillan the Secretary of States, whose call it is, agrees. So the civil partnership agreed between the political parties in the Assembly will begin. 
A ‘yes’ campaign organised by all the political parties in the Assembly will be teeing off when the last putt of the Ryder cup is holed.
Unlike last time, none of Wales’s main political parties will be urging a ‘no’ vote. All will be singing from the same hymn book on this.
Even the Conservatives, who were part of the ‘no’ campaign last time are free to campaign as they wish. However, the Conservative Members of the Assembly are all likely to be prominent in the ‘yes’ campaign.
Welsh Conservative leader, Nick Bourne, a leading member of the ‘no’ campaign last time, has had a Damascus type conversion, seen the error of his previous ways, and is now poised with all the enthusiasm of the newly converted, to actively campaign for a stronger devolved institution in Cardiff Bay.
Although no one can question Carwyn Jones’s devolution credentials and he claims that “Welsh Labour is proud of our commitment to devolution. We delivered a referendum to establish the Assembly back in 1999 and in 2006 we created the legislation which has paved the way for today’s announcement. A positive outcome for the referendum will mean the Assembly can make laws for the people of Wales more efficiently and in a more cost effective manner.”
However, many within his party may not be as enthusiastic about the onward march of devolution. Some are unreconstructed unionists. This small rump may actively oppose a ‘yes’ vote.  They live in the forlorn hope that a win for the ‘no’ camp will seriously de-rail devolution. A lost referendum may provide the springboard to a campaign that could eventually lead to the scrapping of the Assembly itself.
The setting of the date of the referendum before the end of this Assembly term vindicates Plaid Cymru leader, Ieuan Wyn Jones's, political stance. He could have been the First Minister of a rainbow coalition of Conservatives, Plaid and Liberal Democrats but instead he chose to get into bed with Labour.

He calculated that only  Labour  could deliver the required two thirds vote of assembly members required to trigger a referendum on more powers.
As he said, “This is an important and symbolic step in the process of arranging the referendum and it clearly signals that the countdown to the vote is well underway.  I’m proud that Plaid in government has realised this hugely important commitment to bring about this referendum.  The current system is slow, cumbersome, and highly bureaucratic and it needs to be changed.  We’re committed to taking action to bring about real change and real improvements.”
According to recent opinion polls the ‘yes’ vote are likely to have a majority. But people tend to punish politicians if they are unhappy. The question is will they use the referendum on devolution as a vehicle for their dissatisfaction. Because dissatisfied they surely will be, when the comprehensive spending review cuts bite.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Butterflies and coalitions - beware

If a butterfly flaps its wings in one hemisphere it can cause a tornado in another part of the world. This is a much used metaphor in chaos theory. It underlines the fact that small differences in a dynamic system can produce large variations in the long term behavior of the system.
This theory came to mind today on hearing that Trish Law the Independent Assembly Member for Blaenau Gwent was to retire from politics next May.
Now whether chaos theory applies to politics, who knows. Although many  would argue that politicians have been known to cause chaos, but as they say, that’s a story for another day.
But what is certainly true is that small changes in one part of the body politics can have fairly dramatic consequences in other parts of the system. This was true in the case of how an Independent got elected in one of Labour’s safest seats in Wales.
The story starts in the year 2000 when Rhodri Morgan decided to form a coalition with the Liberal Democrats. To make room for his new chums Rhodri Morgan got rid of Peter Law from his cabinet.
So Peter Law returned to the back-benches to became a vociferous critic of the Labour led coalition.
It’s a truism of politics that ex-ministers with time on their hands have an infinite capacity for mischief. Law, certainly lived up to this billing, with his acerbic intervention from the back benches. The devil certainly made work for these idle hands.
Rhodri Morgan missed a golden opportunity to busy those idle hands and perhaps silence this back bench critic following the next Assembly elections in 2003.  Following that election Law put his name forward as candidate for the Deputy Presiding Officer of the Welsh Assembly. However, the Labour AMs were encouraged by the party leadership to vote for John Marek, an Independent  AM rather than for Law, the Labour man.
It seemed the mantra of the Labour leadership at the time was, anyone but Law. This all resulted in Labour having a semi-detached member on its benches in the Senedd whose loyalty to  his party had been reduced to zero.
Law finally got himself kicked out of the party when he stood against the official Labour candidate Maggie Jones for the Westminster parliament. He defeated her by over 9000 votes. He justified his action as a protest against the imposition of an all women short list against the wishes of many in the local Blaenau Gwent party.
His time in Parliament was sadly short-lived as he died as a result of a brain tumor in just under an year of his triumph. As a result of his death, there was a double by-election in Blaenau Gwent one for the UK Parliament and the other for his Welsh Assembly seat.
Dai Davies, Law's former agent, won the election to  Westminster, but failed to hold it in the recent general election.
Trish Law succeeded her husband to the Welsh Assembly. She subsequently held onto her seat at the last Assembly elections. 
Her retirement next April should deliver the seat back to Labour.
 The lesson, butterflies and coalitions can have unforeseen consequences.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Talking cuts

‘Everybody is talking at me’ as Harry Nilsson’s lyrics go. But unlike him I do hear the word they’re saying – cuts.

It’s difficult to get away from talk about them. The TUC in their conference were predicting cuts with consequences that were more dangerous than have been seen since the 1930s.

Ieuan Wyn Jones, the leader of Plaid Cymru in his conference speech went as far as to say that even the health budget in Wales would not escape unscathed. But now his party’s economics guru has entered the debate by saying that the Government in Cardiff Bay’s assumptions on the size of the cuts are far too high. Who is right and who is wrong will be revealed in the House of Commons on 20th October when the Treasury will tell us how much each government department can spend until the end of this Westminster parliament in 2015.

The wad of cash that the Welsh Assembly has to spend will be determined by how successful the spending departments in Whitehall argue their case. Why? Because in those areas that Wales now runs for itself, like health, housing, education, transport etc it gets a percentage of the English spend in these same areas.

So the two Jones’s that run Wales will be very much hoping that some of these English Tory and Lib Dem Ministers pull a fast one over the Treasury and limit the cuts to their department. Yes, the more they get away with the more, we have to spend.

Of course, it’s not quite as simple as that, it never is it. There is a large chunk of public money spent in Wales that goes nowhere near Assembly politicians. Most of this direct UK government expenditure goes on welfare of one kind or another. Things like old age pensions, unemployment benefit, invalidity benefits, income support and tax credits. George Osborne, the Chancellor said in his budget that he was looking to reduce these by £15bn. And with Wales having many more people claiming these than the rest of the UK such cuts would have a major impact on our communities.

You don’t need Old Moore’s Almanac to predict that hard times are round the corner and its likely that Welsh people will vent their anger in the numerous ballot box opportunities that present themselves next year.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Last look at Plaid's conference.

Its always a tonic to attend a party conference, delegates are always so optimistic. Having attended many during my professional life I have come to the conclusion that ordinary party members must submit themselves to some psychometric testing if they are to be appointed delegates. It is only those that are able to suspend any connection with reality and have a high quota of optimism that have the right qualities to be part of the chosen ones. No sceptic need apply.
The testing had certainly produced the right mix for the Plaid Cymru conference if optimism could run amok it certainly was amok in Aberystwyth. When politicians, as they are prone to, over egged things on the platform you got the distinct impression that the delegates in the audience really did believe that the promised land was just an election away. Perhaps its the sensory deprivation that you suffer in being locked away in a darkened room with other fellow travelers that allows even the mildest stimulation from the platform to create wild ecstasy amongst the delegate audience.
For instance when Helen Mary Jones, the current Director of Elections for the party announce on the platform that ‘they should be proud’ of their general election results the delegates cheered wildly and when she had finished her speech they gave her a standing ovation.
Now I’m very fond of Helen Mary and would gladly give her a standing ovation but surely not based on the results of last years general election results. 
At a time when Labour was at its weakest, led by a prime minister seen by many as incompetent, Plaid Cymru failed to make any headway. They started the campaign with three seats and finished with three seats. None of their target seats were won. You could describe the result as many things but ‘proud’ is not one of the words that readily comes to mind. The question has to be asked, will they fare any better when conditions are not as favorable in the future. But hey, ho, who wants a dose of reality after all it is a party conference.
Although the delegates did have something to get excited about, their latest recruit, the former Labour Secretary of State of Wales, Ron Davies. Now having actually delivered them an embryo parliament he only had to turn up to get them excited and indeed it was so. A standing ovation was his before he opened his mouth. Expectations were high and to be fair he didn’t fail to deliver.
Like the old pro that he is he waved his new party card, another stamping of feet, could it get any better. The forensic criticism of his old party for letting down the Valleys was music to their ears. Could he be the one to help Plaid make the break through to Labour’s heartland? Well certainly many in the hall believed it possible, whether the electorate of Caerffili are of the same view we will have to wait until next May. But the hope was worth another standing ovation when the latest recruit to the nationalist cause sat down.
A note of scepticism was introduced  by the ex-chair of the party John Dixon. In answering the debate on climate change he countered those proposing an amendment allowing for a Wylfa B, a move that would drive a coach and horses through Plaid’s avowedly anti-nuclear power policy. He wryly observed that Plaid if they passed the motion would be seen to be  against anti-nuclear power stations only on sites that no-one wanted to build them on. How did such a sceptic ever become a delegate? Just for the record they did pass such an amendment.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Ieuan Wyn Jones's speech to conference

“Let me make it clear that Plaid Cymru’s intention is to defend the best we can expenditure on our hospitals and schools, and those essential services that people depend on. We will not let the London governments axe break our spirit or our ambitions for our country and it’s people.” That was the bold declaration of Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones the leader of Plaid Cymru to his party conference. Quite how, was never made clear. 
He was forecasting nearly £5 billion of cuts between now and 2015. He had to admit that whatever George Osborne said with 20 per cent of the budget being cut and with 40 per cent of the expenditure going on health it will be impossible for any government to exclude health from the axe.
This was the first and the frankest admission by any Assembly minister that health cuts may be pending. 
He also tried to reassure his heartland supporters that Plaid Cymru would not accept any cuts in S4C’s budget. Again a  bit like winking in the dark at a member of the opposite sex, well meaning but completely ineffective.  The budget rests with an English department of State and apart from protesting there is not a great deal more that they can do about it if Jeremy Hunt decides to cut back in this area.
Despite predicting major cuts he did not specify exactly what would go.
But he was able to point out that Plaid Cymru were winning the arguments.
All parties were now in favour of a full law making body for Wales and only they, Plaid Cymru, had insisted on having an early referendum to enact such a body. They also pointed out that their campaign for fair funding for Wales, a case that they had been pushing for years, had now got the backing of the independent Holtham Commission and belatedly the backing of all the other parties in the Assembly.  
He was also able to parade that convert to the nationalist cause, Ron Davies the former Labour Secretary of State for Wales and the ‘architect of devolution.’ he even cracked a joke about the length of the ovation given to Ron Davies. It was noticeable that the poker faced Mr Davies was sitting within knife striking distance of Plaid’s leader.
Mr Jones closed on a high with a Kinnockesque flourish  that there were “8 months to make the case for our vision of a better Wales. 34 weeks or so to tell the people of Wales that they can rely on us to protect them against the worst effects of Tory cuts. 240 days for our excellent candidates to visit homes the length and breadth of Wales to explain that if we want a decent hospital, good schools, to protect our fragile environment, good training.” So be warned there may be a knock on year door in the very near future.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

A smarter way of making policy? perhaps!

Plaid Cymru have produced a document of ideas for the first Welsh Parliament.  If of course the referendum is won.
Launching the document called Wales can be- Smart. Green. Healthy Ieuan Wyn Jones AM and Nerys Evans AM indicated that the ideas were produced after a period of public consultation, some of these would form part of the Plaid Cymru manifesto for the next Assembly election’s next May. Its launch was prefaced by the remark that government should not approach cuts by slicing a little here and a little there. What was needed was a reprioratising. 
So to be Smart, education needed to be  more rounded, moving from a national curriculum to a personal curriculum. The want Welsh children to be trilingual. So all children will not only have to learn English and Welsh but a third language would be introduced at the age of seven. The want to move education away from the school ‘to create for each child a virtual learning environment - using sources of learning, learning networks, learning technologies and learning methods that complement the traditional school institution.’
Its not only children we all have to be part of a learning nation. So that they would set up a 21st-century National Library Service enabling every citizen to ‘loan’ any published book. Perhaps when they’ve had a bit of this education business they might think it more appropriate that we ‘borrow’ books.
On healthy, the focus should move to ‘lifelong wellbeing’...’Taking health from the hospital to the home.’ There is going to be a co-production, no they're not talking about a film, but patients  and medics working working together to ‘improve diet, better exercise, stress management and smoking cessation’. In other words less chips, more movement and give up the fags. 
And for the food that Welsh people eat they would launch a ‘Square Meal, Square Mile - a new Welsh diet and nutrition drive based on the local food systems in every part of Wales,’
The bike would take the centre stage in making Wales greener. ‘We want to make cycling mainstream - investing in urban and rural networks of greenways, dedicated cycle routes and building peoples confidence to cycle.’  Their aim ‘ to ensure that 10% of all journeys are by bike.’ As part of the persuasion in 2012  they want to introduce a national car-free day to change our attitudes to walking, cycling and the use of public transport.
These are just a few ideas but they want to  change  the way  think ‘the nation  whose people‘s first thought is not “what I want”, but “what we can do together.” 
Even if the referendum is won and that will not be an easy task, they need to spell out what they are going to cut if they are to push with new policies

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Plaid Conference: Will the party raise its game?

Plaid - Ymlaen | Forward Plaid Cymru kick off the conference season  at the end of the week with a visit to Aberystwyth. The task they have, is to set out a distinct stall before the Assembly elections next May. Now this is easier said than done for a party that is a junior party in a coalition government. How do you project a unique selling brand in such circumstances? 
To add to their problems they have  to come up with exciting new policy initiatives at a time when the piggy bank is empty. The electorate will rightly be suspicious of any party that tries to sell a Rolls Royce of a policy when there is not enough cash to fuel a mini.
So what are they to do?
Cuts are the new reality. Despite many economists disagreeing with the Westminster government about the size and the speed of such cuts, George Osborne and his team are determined to have their way. So all the devolved governments have to accept this reality and act accordingly.
All political parties have to come up with creditable policies that reflect this new reality. The task for Plaid Cymru is to come up with managing the cuts in a way that shows a coherence that has been hitherto absent from Welsh government. 
In times of plenty, a government can get away with distributing money to Ministers and letting them within their various department decide on how they will spend it. 
This approach just won’t do when the budget is likely to be cut by £3 billion over the next three years. To salami slice the cuts department by department will not do, managing the budget whatever its size will have to be done strategically - a Wales plc approach is the only way forward. 
A Wales plc approach should suit a nationalist party, for surely its focus has always been on policies for Wales. Its challenge now is to show that it has a coherence in its approach; that joined up thinking is more than a slogan but a reality. 
Heading down such a road would demonstrate a maturity that has been all to absent in our political culture and embarking on such a journey might convince the electorate that as a party it has come of age. It might then be taken seriously. 
More of the same will not do for Plaid Cymru. It has been treading water  for the last few elections. 
In the general election it did not succeed in winning any addition seats. It failed to win any of its target seats. 
Although the last Assembly elections saw them in government, this was more to do with the shambolic approach of the Liberal Democrats to coalition building that it was to the success of Plaid Cymru in the election.
The uncomfortable fact the party has to face is, that to make any real headway they have to take on and win seats from their coalition partners - Labour.  
The contest will be won or lost by the party that demonstrates the greater coherence in how it handles a declining budget. 
If truth be told, neither of these two parties have  any experience of handling a shrinking budget. The last time there were major cuts in public expenditure there was no Assembly.The cuts were pushed through by successive Conservative Secretary of States aided and abetted  by Welsh Office civil servants
No, since devolution, the various Labour led administrations in the Bay have had to deal with years of plenty. They have had no experience of administrating cuts. Which puts them in the same boat as Plaid Cymru.
The electorate may decide to cast their vote for the party that  shows the most creative approach to handling the years of scarcity that are ahead. 
Will Plaid Cymru raise it’s game and convince? Will they have the guts to use this conference to tell voters how it is? Voters might well respond to a coherent approach even if it involves hardships in some areas when that axe inevitably falls. 

Friday, 3 September 2010

Assembly will not help Swansea - exclusive

The leader of Swansea Council  has appealed to Vince Cable for help because he claims that 'our devolved Government in Wales will not help us in Swansea.'
He makes the astonishing claim that Swansea is not given adequate help because 'the current administration in Cardiff does not need to worry about winning seats in the city when you look at the last general election figures they retained 3  seats and they will be the same in the elections for the Welsh Assembly next year.'
This  frank admission that his party will not win seats in the Assembly election is likely to dismay many party workers in the area.
Earlier in the letter he talks about the likely effect the forthcoming budget, the letter was written on the 16th June,  would have on jobs in Swansea 'because of the amount of jobs which are in the public sector 38%....'
He goes on to point out that the city centre has had 'no investment by the private sector for the last 30 years.' Because of this '40 per cent of residents will travel to Cardiff to do some shopping.' All this puts his 'administration in a very difficult position...'
So he appeals to Cable to allow them to create in the docks area a 'tax free zone which would see the area turned into an exchange zone for the Western part of the country and for Ireland.'
What seems interesting about this leaked letter is the paranoia that comes across in its content. There is a sense that the world is against Swansea and that only Vince Cable can come to the rescue. It gives an interesting insight as to how some leading Liberal Democrats would seek to gain some advantage from having their party in government.
I doubt if his fellow Liberal Democrats will want to see his views made public.  His acknowledgement that his party has  little chance of winning Swansea West in the forthcoming Assembly elections  will go down like a cold cup of sick amongst party activists. This seat was one of their target seats and in the last Assembly elections they came second to Labour.  They need to overcome a majority of 1,511 not an impossible task in a good year one would think. Councillor Holley is admitting that next year will not be a good year for his party.
Here is a copy of the letter. It would be interesting to know how Vince Cable responded.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Yes or no

The Electoral Commission have now completed the statutory ten week consultation on the suggested question that will be put to the people of Wales in a referendum on whether the Assembly should be allowed to make laws without having to ask Westminster. The  date for such a vote has yet to be decided. Although all the heavy money is on it being next March. 
Having looked at the original question and as a result of the consultation the Commission have come up with their own form of words.  
The ball is now back in the Secretary of State for Wales's court. For it is Cheryl Gillanr that has the final say. Although she has said she will consult  with Carwyn Jones the First Minister, on what happens next.  The new wording suggested by the Electoral Commission is:-
“The National Assembly for Wales: what happens at the 
The Assembly has powers to make laws on 20 subject areas, such as: 
the environment  
local government 

In each subject area, the Assembly can make laws on some matters, but not 
others. To make laws on any of these other matters, the Assembly must ask the 
UK Parliament for its agreement. The UK Parliament then decides each time 
whether or not the Assembly can make these laws. 
The Assembly cannot make laws on subject areas such as defence, tax or 
welfare benefits, whatever the result of this vote. 
If most voters vote ‘yes’ 
The Assembly will be able to make laws on all matters in the 20 subject areas it 
has powers for, without needing the UK Parliament's agreement. 
If most voters vote ‘no’ 
What happens at the moment will continue. 
Do you want the Assembly now to be able to make laws on all matters in the 20 
subject areas it has powers for? 

Although this is an improvement on the original question it still shows that it's  a relatively technical issue that people are being asked to decide on.
It begs the question why do we need a referendum at all. Surely  over paid politicians could have taken the decision without bothering the voters. Clearly not. 
No, we’re going through this rigmarole because Peter Hain had to appease his back benchers at the time the original legislation was going through the House. As a consequence, we all have an expensive referendum to look forward to. A referendum on an issue that most Welsh people think they voted on last time - a law making body in Cardiff. 
If most people think that the Assembly has the powers already, how will the backers of the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ sides campaign?
My guess that the yes side will push a case that Wales deserves the same powers as Scotland and Northern Ireland and the ‘no’ camp will say that a yes vote will mean more politicians, higher taxes and its the slippery road to independence.
But as both sides are going to have their campaigns paid for from the public purse will the Electoral Commission allow both sides to use our money to deceive us with such propaganda? Will they intervene, to stop any of the two campaigns deceiving the electorate? Time will tell.