The Labour Commission collected evidence throughout Wales and the vast majority of the submissions received wanted the devolved body to make laws. This view was reflected in the final draft of the Commission’s report.
But, alas, the final report did not contain the policy. Why?
The Commission was swamped with representatives sent from the party leaders office and the shadow home secretary’s office to water down the report. So Messrs. Blair and Straw got their way and the spineless Wales Labour executive went along with these changes.
So Scotland got a real law making Parliament and Wales got its toothless Assembly.
It has taken a Commission by Lord Richard and a Convention run by Sir Emyr Jones Parry and an other Act of Parliament and now an unnecessary second referendum to give the Welsh people what they should have been on the table and voted on fourteen years ago in the 1997 referendum.
But now that these powers have finally been granted it is an opportunity for the parties in their manifestos next May to inspire with creative proposals as to how they will change Wales for the better.
The new settlement means that the Cardiff Bay politician can no longer blame Westminster. There is no hiding place. Law making rests firmly with the Assembly and they will be judged solely on their merits.
But does this all mean the end of the constitutional wrangling between Westminster and Wales? Not a bit of it.
There is still the vexed question of how Wales will should be funded. Scotland is moving ahead with new powers over their own finances. What about Wales? Will the Barnett formula be finally be scrapped and a new settlement that is more favorable to Wales’s needs emerge?
And what about other areas such as criminal justice and energy. How long will it be before the Assembly campaigns for power over these to be devolved? Will the agenda of Lloyd George and Keir Hardy of real Home rule be the next call to arms. We shall see.
For certain this referendum was a vote to put right what the Welsh people were cheated of on the ‘90s. The next generation will have their own ideas of what they want for Wales and the political institutions will have to change to reflect these aspirations.
Below are the results as published by the Electoral Commission