A survey reported in yesterday’s Wrexham Leader found many voters in the dark over law-making powers for the National Assembly
A Wrexham Leader survey conducted in Wrexham and Mold asked 100 people if they knew about the March 3 ballot and if so, which way they intended to vote. In Wrexham 40 people knew there was a referendum but 45 per cent said they could not commit at this stage because they did not fully understand the issues at stake. Of those who pledged to take part, 12 said they would vote ‘Yes’ and 10 said they would to vote ‘No’.
In Mold, although a majority of almost two to one backed a vote for more power, 31 per cent could not decide due to a lack of information. Caroline Parry, 25, from Mold, admitted she did not know anything about the referendum:
“I didn’t know it was happening, I don’t even know what a referendum is.”
Alexandra Hopkins, 21, of Mold, said:
“I knew it was happening but I don’t really have time to learn what it’s about, it’s quite confusing. I think they should explain it more. I do try to watch the news but they don’t give you any information, they just presume you know.”
The Electoral Commission is sending information booklets to every household in the country in a bid to explain how the referendum will work. But some who have received the booklets say they are still at a loss as to how to vote and not enough is being done to explain the situation. Dominika Rabcewicz, 32, of Mold, said:
“I had a letter through the door but I don’t know what it’s about. There needs to be more information about it.”
Leonard Johnston, 78, of Mold said:
“I knew about it but I don’t think a lot of people do – it should be on TV more. People don’t know what it’s about.”
Despite the confusion there was a healthy interest in how the proposed changes would affect residents. Fifty people were quizzed in Wrexham and 40 said they intended to vote, compared to just 16 out of 50 in Mold. Sally Bates, 31, a Wrexham midwife, believes the National Assembly has worked wonders on the NHS and is certain the benefits will continue if it is granted more powers. She said:
“I think it would definitely be a positive thing. It’s a great idea. I work for the NHS and we definitely get a lot more from the Assembly than the English government. I believe that with greater power comes greater responsibility but the Assembly’s got to be given that power before it can really start to make a difference.”
But one major concern was that giving more power to Cardiff might heighten the perception of a North-South divide. Raymond Brown, 78, of Wrexham, said:
“Nothing’s being done for us in the north at the moment and South Wales gets everything. Our roads are a disaster and we only seem to be given so much money from Cardiff anyway. I can’t see what more powers to them will achieve for us.”
Dylan Smith, 22, who works in Wrexham, said:
“The Welsh Assembly just seems to be a bit of a token organisation at the moment. They’ve encouraged Welsh speaking which is good but some of their decisions have been shocking. I’m not very impressed by the Assembly now so I’m not sure if I want them to have more powers.”
3 thoughts on “Wrexham and Mold divided over referendum”
Can we have a referendum on the question:
‘Would you like the Westminister government to have more power?’
and then leading quesitons like:
‘What’s Westminister done for you?’
‘Does north east Wales get forgotten by Westminster?’
‘Are some of the decisions taken by Westminster ‘mad’?’
‘Do you know what Westminster does?’
‘Who’s your local MP?’
I still haven’t seen a single campaigner or a single leaflet. With a year or so to go, that would not be surprising. Is it too late to postpone this vote until next year? Maybe there will be a little more interest and enthusiasm after the May elections.
It appears that ‘True’ Wales have a lot to answer for in terns of the lack of public understanding.
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