Posts Tagged ‘Welsh referendum’

Thursday News Review

03/03/2011, 06:48:53 AM

Brega sends Gaddafi’s forces packing

Attacks by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s fighter jets and artillery have been repulsed by the rebels threatening to end his 41-year rule of Libya. While the dictator sounded a defiant note during a public appearance in Tripoli, a surprise assault by his forces using 122mm heavy artillery on the town of Brega was repelled after bloody fighting in the town. And air strikes on an arms dump outside Ajdabiya again failed to ignite the enormous weapons stockpiles hidden in bunkers filmed by Sky News earlier in the week. Eyewitnesses say the battle in Brega was waged across sand dunes on the edge of town and around its university. Col Gaddafi’s air force again struck by dropping bombs on the university, but failed to stem the rebel counter-attack. While their forces have managed to hold off pro-Gaddafi onslaughts so far, opposition leaders continue to plead for outside airstrikes to help them oust the ruler. The question is now whether or not the rebels can turn their counterattack into a more sustained offensive and move the pro-Gaddafi lines further west after days of stalemate between them and the regime. – Sky News

A bloody counter-attack by crazed Colonel Gaddafi flopped yesterday – as the Mad Dog’s forces fled with their tails between their legs. Two hundred troops still loyal to Libya’s tyrant swooped to seize back a key oil port from democracy campaigners – arriving in a convoy of 50 sports utility vehicles. The handful of rebels guarding it were caught napping by the surprise dawn attack and scarpered in terror. Jubilant Gaddafi, 68, later went on state TV to launch another rant at armies of protesters out to end his four decades of iron rule. But his glee at retaking the country’s second biggest oil and gas terminal – Brega – was short-lived. By mid-morning rebel reinforcements were already streaming out of the nearby city of Ajdabiya in pick-up trucks – defying warplanes sent to bomb them. Soon it was the turn of Gaddafi’s men to run for their lives. By mid-afternoon they had retreated to the campus of a university – where they found themselves cornered. Late last night the tyrant was enraged to learn they had all fled. The hapless last stand at the university was summed up by a bomb dropped by one of Gaddafi’s warplanes. It harmlessly hit the nearby beach in an explosion of sand. – the Sun

Off to the polls in Wales and Barnsley

On election night the vast majority of candidates face the very public humiliation of losing, and years of commuting and committees await the winner. But just as there are men and women who feel compelled to jump into the arena and get their name on a ballot, so there are also people who give up their evenings and weekends to take part in even less glamorous campaigns. The issue of whether the Assembly should gain new – strictly defined – powers to make laws in the 20 areas for which it is responsible is not a topic of conversation that you will often hear at the hairdresser’s or during half-time at the Millennium Stadium. But on Thursday, the people of Wales will be asked to vote on this very topic. When just 38.2% of people cast a vote in the 2003 election to decide who they wanted to be in charge of Wales’ education, transport and health services, what chance is there that even this number will take part in the referendum? However, for two women in Wales this is too important a question to be left to the political anoraks and the constitutional obsessives. Neither is a professional politician, and each holds down a demanding day-job. But each cares passionately that you should take a few minutes to think about whether you want the Assembly to become a more powerful institution – and both of them want you to vote on March 3. Rachel Banner, an English teacher and Labour activist from Pontypool, campaigns for a No vote with True Wales. Cathy Owens, programme director for Wales for Amnesty International, is convinced the Assembly is ready for the next stage of devolution and works with Yes For Wales. And they both want you on their sides. – Western Mail (more…)

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The other referendum that nobody but politicians cares about

01/03/2011, 03:23:28 PM

by Dave Collins

2am, Friday 14th January 2011. Dog-tired, dishevelled and slightly drunk, I am sitting in the back of a pub near with a handful of comrades in similar states of exhaustion. It has been a long day. Half-full glasses and damp winter clothing abound. We await Debbie Abrahams and her retinue. The young woman across from me, trying to sustain flagging conversation, asks “So what exactly are you folk in Wales voting on”?  I stare into my beer and consider how to reply… Some oaf knocks a drink over. Once the debris has been sorted, reparations offered and accepted, the conversation moves on…

This is what I should have said:

The v2.0 government of Wales act (2006), was a political compromise, but it was also an innovative attempt to build a partnership approach into Welsh lawmaking. Parliament would assent in principle to the assembly having the right to legislate in defined matters within the devolved fields, but then the precise formulation and effect of the law was left to the assembly to determine. It might have been a neat halfway house system, which addressed the West Lothian question in a novel way, had the political will existed to make it work. But the ink was barely dry before the formation in June 2007 of a Labour/Plaid Cymru assembly government, centrally committed to triggering the fallback provision, also in the act, of dispensing with the Parliamentary approval requirement for laws within the devolved fields via a further referendum. Essentially this was a move to v2.1. (more…)

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