Twenty Years of Welsh Devolution

This last week saw the twentieth anniversary of the September 1997 referendum in Wales on the creation of the National Assembly. To acknowledge and reflect on this historic date, the Wales Governance Centre worked with the Institute of Welsh Affairs to organise a conference (LINK) on the anniversary date.

I gave a presentation at the conference on the evolution of public attitudes during the last twenty years. You can see and hear the presentation here. As the details of my presentation my clear, the picture on public attitudes is a subtle and interesting one. While there is clear and consistent majority support for devolution in Wales, that has not come about because – as many supporters of devolution suggested in 1997 would be the case – the demonstrable policy successes of devolution have generated support for the principle of devolved governance in Wales. If anything, opposition to devolution has fallen, and support grown, despite the policy record, which most evidence suggests that public view as being quite mediocre.

I also published articles for the Spectator and the New Statesman; and later in the week published a further piece for the New Statesman commenting on the First Minister’s speech at the conference.