There has been some confusion about UKIP’s policy in relation to the National Assembly. Actually, I could have written that sentence without the words “in relation to the National Assembly”, and on everything except their core policy of Brexit, it would still have made sense. Yesterday, the party’s UK leader half backed the suggestion from the Welsh leader that the Assembly should be abolished, by calling for a referendum. This is hardly a surprise; it’s not so very long since UKIP were claiming that the very existence of the Assembly was all part of a vile plot by those dastardly Europeans to regionalise the UK, completely ignoring decades of agitation for a national legislature for Wales.
There is nothing at all wrong with making such a call – they have as much democratic right to call for such a referendum as I do to call for a referendum on abolishing Westminster’s control over Wales (which is the effect of a referendum on independence). The fact that we have had referendums in the past is not – and should not be – any bar to having another one if it appears that opinions have changed. It would be nice, though, if they’d recognise that a similar rule should apply to Brexit – if one decision brought about by referendum can be changed by a further referendum, there is no logical justification for saying that the same isn’t true for another decision taken by referendum. I don’t really expect them to understand that, mind: logic and UKIP are not words generally used in the same sentence.
There is, though, a condition which they need to meet first, and it’s the same condition which we independentistas also need to meet. To hold a referendum on either proposition requires there to be a majority of AMs in the Assembly committed to that proposition by manifesto commitment. It’s a wholly reasonable bar to set as a means of determining whether opinion is moving in a particular direction. It’s not one that I see much hope of them crossing though.
Pre-conditions for referendums