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nick powell’s blog

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Boundary Reviews: A Word of Warning

The Boundary Commission for Wales has just published a guide to how its review of parliamentary constituency boundaries will work. It’s an attempt to head off the chorus of complaints the commission knows will greet its recommendations due out in January. The Westminster coalition’s decision to ‘reduce and equalise’ the constituencies will cut the number … Continue reading

Soft consent could mean tough choices

The Welsh Government’s white paper on organ donation published today demonstrates a determination to switch Wales to a system of ‘presumed consent’, where only those who have registered an objection won’t be considered as potential organ donors when they die. The consultation is very much about how the new system should operate, not whether the … Continue reading

Plaid Cymru’s leader: On thin ice

Four years ago, Ieuan Wyn Jones arrived at the Plaid Cymru conference to cheers from a crowd of supporters outside Venue Cymru in Llandudno. He had led them into coalition government with Labour. Yesterday, the party gathered at the same location, where the only arrival to provoke any excitement was Jason Gardiner, the most acerbic … Continue reading

Mick Antoniw’s Warning Shot

A reasonable test for a properly functioning democracy might be whether its electoral system and political parties are capable both of delivering a government with a working majority and of creating the possibility of different parties forming that government. The belief by many in the Labour party that they should only form a coalition if … Continue reading

Sunshine, Motherhood and Apple Pie

Andrew RT Davies began his first full day in office as Leader of the Opposition with a visit to the Sharp factory in Wrexham. Having narrowly beaten Nick Ramsay, who was portrayed as the ‘modernising’ and Welshifying’ candidate, Mr Davies was determined to get the message out that he knows his way round Wales. He … Continue reading

Look Back with Candour

It seems a long time ago now but the Electoral Commission has just published its report on the referendum in March that resulted in the Assembly gaining new law making powers. It reveals that the referendum cost the taxpayer £5.89million. £1.4million came out of the Electoral Commission’s own budget and included the cost of a … Continue reading

AMs vote to reinstate Aled Roberts

AMs have just voted (at 3.40pm) to reinstate aled Roberts. There were 30 votes for, 20 against and three abstensions. There were four AMs not present, the Presiding Officer and her deputy do not vote and of course until that moment there was one vacancy.

Decision Time for the Lib Dem Two

Assembly Members have been given the legal advice on which they are supposed to base their decision tomorrow on whether to reinstate the two disqualified Liberal Democrat AMs, Aled Roberts and John Dixon. In brief summary, the two reports confirm that Aled Roberts checked the rules but he was misled because he looked at the … Continue reading

Yes, Education Minister

‘Yes Prime Minister‘ is playing at the Wales Millennium Centre all this week, right next door to the Senedd. It’s based on the long-running television series in which the Minister (later Prime Minister) Jim Hacker would come up with an idea; his civil servants would then try to turn it into something workable, sparing the … Continue reading

Welsh local government: Fighting on all fronts

The war of words between the Welsh Government and UK ministers over windfarms, taxes and how much money Wales gets from the Treasury may yet look like a polite disagreement compared with the way the Local Government Minister, Carl Sargeant is upping the ante with the councils. Earlier this year, he took powers to reduce … Continue reading

A Fine Mess

UKIP MEP John Bufton may have just done Carwyn Jones a big favour. He’s complained to the police about Aled Roberts and John Dixon, the two Liberal Democrats who have been disqualified as Assembly members because they were members of quangos answerable to the Assembly at the time of their election. If the police decide … Continue reading

Ieuan Wyn Jones

All political careers are said to end in failure and Ieuan Wyn Jones is hardly going out on a high note. But he has surely secured his place in Welsh political history as the man who finally took Plaid Cymru into government and who played a crucial role in securing the referendum –and a ‘yes’ … Continue reading

Polls Apart?

It’s always worth remembering that opinion polls are a snapshot, not a forecast –in other words that they only attempt to measure people’s preferences when they’re carried out not what will happen on Election Day. Still, Dr Denis Balsom did well with his final projection last week for seats in the Assembly. He gave Labour … Continue reading

The Finishing Line

Here is our final YouGov poll of this assembly election campaign, carried out 2-4 May with a sample size of 1010. It’s compared with the 2007 election, the April ITV Wales news poll (fieldwork 12-14 April) and the Y Byd ar Bedwar poll (fieldwork 24-26 April). The figures are weighted for likelihood to vote. Constituency … Continue reading

So Near and Yet So Far

The latest YouGov poll on how people plan to vote in the Assembly election is out tonight. You can see the full details, including some extra questions, on Y Byd ar Bedwar on S4C at 10.10pm tonight. There are English subtitles. Here are the main figures, compared with the 2007 election and the last YouGov … Continue reading

Seat projection

The Editor of The Wales Yearbook, Dr Denis Balsom, has now taken a look at our latest poll figures. Plaid Cymru’s improved performance on the regional vote has given them one extra seat, compared with two weeks ago. That leaves Labour down one seat fewer, showing just how fragile the prospect of an overall majority … Continue reading

Latest YouGov poll suggests good news for Labour

Here are our latest YouGov poll figures, compared with the 2007 result and with our last three polls. The sample was 1078, the fieldwork 12th to 14th April. The figures are weighted for likelihood to vote. May 2007 Jan 2011 4-8 March 2011 28-30 March 2011 12-14 April 2011 Constituency Vote Labour 32% 45% 48% … Continue reading

A True Countryman

The Assembly election campaign has begun on a sad note. Within hours of the dissolution of the Third Assembly at midnight last night, comes news that its most colourful member, Brynle Williams, has died. It’s often observed that many politicians don’t have much of what Denis Healy called a hinterland, a life beyond politics and … Continue reading

The Wales One Thousand Poll

The latest YouGov tracking poll for ITV Wales suggests that Labour is consolidating its lead as the Assembly lection campaign gets underway, with a level of support that just might deliver it an overall majority in the Senedd. Here are today’s figures, compared with the 2007 result and with our last two polls. Constituency vote … Continue reading

The People’s Choice

One answer we held back from our last YouGov poll at the start of the month is released today. It’s to coincide with tonight’s Wales Decides 2011 programme, which looks at the four Welsh party leaders. In the poll, we asked which of the four leaders in the Assembly would make the best party leader. … Continue reading

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