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Posts Tagged ‘Welsh referendum’

While we’re waiting for the first results which are expected late morning, here are some facts and figures from the Electoral Commission.

2,289,042 people were eligible to vote in this referendum. Out of that number, 372,586 people registered to vote by post.

For those of us who voted in person, there were 2,506 polling stations and 5,480 polling station staff.

Today’s focus will be on just 23 people – the 22 Counting Officers in charge of counting the votes in each council area and 1 Chief Counting Officer, Jenny Watson.

She’ll be the woman declaring the results officially in the Senedd in Cardiff Bay.

 

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My colleague Nick Powell has the details of today’s ITV Wales/YouGov poll here: Welsh referendum: the final poll.

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The Yes campaigners in the Assembly powers referendum are unveiling what they hope will be their most compelling line-up of supporters today: people who voted  or campaigned for a No vote in the last Welsh referendum back in 1997.

Chief amongst them is the leader of the Conservatives in the Assembly, Nick Bourne. One of the leaders of the No campaign back then, he’s now one of the cheerleaders for a Yes vote this time.

Not all of his party has made the journey with him though as proven by the party in Newport, which has been the most vocal in opposing any further devolution.

And with the referendum just days away, they’ve gone further. I’m told every member of the Conservative group on Newport council – which shares power with the Lib Dems – has signed a petition ‘against giving the assembly more powers.’

I haven’t yet seen this petition and I know Yes campaigners will dispute its claim that this referendum has anything to do with more powers.

Even so, it’s a strong message from a prominent and powerful group of Welsh Conservatives and puts the Newport 17 alongside the group of  12 councillors in Wrexham which has taken a similar stance.

What’s not yet clear is how representative they are of opinion amongst grassroots Conservatives which is why the party’s officially neutral in the referendum. Not an easy position to be in for Nick Bourne, but at least it deals with the tensions within his own party.

I know of one senior Welsh Conservative who, despite being very much in favour of devolution, still hasn’t decided how to vote on this occasion.

But to put it in context, Yes campaigners say small groups such as the Newport 17, however prominent, don’t come anywhere near the many more from all parties and none who’ve signed up to the numerous groups and public meetings that have come out in favour of a yes vote.

We’ll know soon enough. But there might be an earlier clue before Friday’s results. ITV Wales has a YouGov eve-of-poll poll which is published on Wednesday.

By the way, the leading light among Newport’s anti-devolution Conservatives, Councillor Peter Davies, is claiming history – and the history of a different party – on his side of the argument.

The electors of Gwent though still being proud Welsh men and Women have always been proud of their right to independence. A fact Lloyd George will attest to when he held a public meeting at the City’s famous Kings Head Hotel near the market on 16 January 1896, and he was howled down when proposing Welsh Nationalism. After the meeting he  gave up supporting the cause of Nationalism.

Yes campaigners say these small groups don’t match up to the numerous groups and public meetings that have come out in favour of a yes vote.

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When the referendum campaign’s over next Friday, those on both sides will undoubtedly feel like either celebrating or drowning their sorrows.

If you’re a Yes supporter, you may well have received an invitation to watch the results and let your hair down in Bedwas with Caerphilly councillor Ron Davies and Cardiff councillor Neil McAvoy.

I’ve been passed an invitation.

Hi! You are invited to the following event: Thanks for Voting Yes Party ! Daytime: Ron Davies & Results on Huge Screen ! Evening: Meic Stevens & Band Last Concert in Wales ! See the Dawning of a New Wales ! Only 400 Tickets ! Mar 04, 2011 12:00 PM – 11:55 PM

Unlike the Yes For Wales campaign, this is unlikely to be a cross-party party. When I mentioned it to one senior Labour figure, the response was: ‘Who’d want to go to that?’

The No campaigners in True Wales, meanwhile, have an event lined up at Newbridge rugby club which has become an unofficial spiritual home for many within the group.

 

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With just two weeks to go until we vote in the Assembly powers referendum, I thought I’d heard pretty much all the views on both sides of the debate. Until today.

I’ve been chairing a debate in the old Assembly chamber for A-level politics students from across Wales and what a range of strong opinions they had.

6th Formers before today's referendum debate.

What exercised them most was the role played by language in shaping Welsh identity and what sort of role – or otherwise – it should play in Welsh politics.

What surprised me most was the closeness of the vote we held at the end of the session. I’ll get the exact count later but it looked pretty much divided equally between those who’d support a Yes vote and those who’d vote No.

You can see highlights of the debate in tonight’s Sharp End.

I’ve also been interviewing the former Economic Development minister Andrew Davies.

Despite not having done that job for four years, he’s faced criticism of his tenure in the last week after similar criticism was levelled at his successor.

Education remains in the spotlight so I’ll be discussing that too with my guests, the Conservative AM Andrew RT Davies, business expert Dr Paul Thomas and former Liberal Democrat candidate now a politics watcher, Alison Goldsworthy.

Join us for Sharp End, 1035pm ITV1 Wales.

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Parliament building, Stormont

The Great Hall, Stormont. Gallery view

Parliament building, Stormont

Great Hall, ground view

Great Hall ceiling. Each panel matches opposite one on the floor apparently.

Great Hall

Just to prove I was there.

Stormont driveway. Exactly a mile long apparently

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View of Holyroodhouse from the STV office in the Scottish parliament

Scottish Parliament Chamber

Members' Corridor, Scottish Parliament

In the Black and White room which remembers the black and white corridor in the old parliament building

Paul the cameraman in action

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