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True Wales "appalled" by Silk proposals

True Wales, the group that campaigned for a "no" vote in the 2011 referendum that gave fuller law making powers to the Assembly, says it's "appalled" by the Silk Commission's recommendations.

Yes politicians and campaigners continually denied that the devolution of tax powers, criminal justice and policing, more AMs and a separate legal jurisdiction would follow a Yes vote. Indeed, we in True Wales were regularly accused of being untruthful and of misleading the people of Wales. This happened even though Yes campaigners were fully aware that the UK Government had announced a Calman style commission in the event of a Yes vote. Two years on from referendum day, we have the extraordinary spectacle of a commission recommending all of those radical changes that we predicted.

The devolution settlement is to be very quickly expanded far beyond that to which 35% of the electorate consented on Thursday 3 March 2011. Such contemptuous treatment of the people of Wales during the referendum campaign has done nothing to enhance the reputation of the Assembly and only serves to undermine the legitimacy of these future powers that will no doubt be enthusiastically embraced by politicians who claimed that the referendum was 'merely a tidying up exercise'. We do not believe that the expensive centralisation of power in Cardiff Bay can accurately be described as devolution.

We would ask that a commission to explore the devolution of power from Cardiff Bay to local authorities be established forthwith.

Given the way the people were misled and denied a proper debate on the real issues in 2011, we believe that, without a full open and honest public debate and a further referendum on the proposals in Silk Part II, these radical changes will in no way be legitimate.

– True Wales statement


GCSE row could cause 'lasting damage' to students - True Wales

Campaigners opposed to further devolution say they fear the GCSE regrade row could mean that any new exam system in Wales would be seen as a 'poor man's alternative' to qualifications in England. The True Wales group says the regrade could 'do lasting damage.' Its statement says,

True Wales is deeply concerned about the haste with which Leighton Andrews ordered the regrading of GCSE English exam papers in Wales. We fear that a perception that it is easier to gain a 'C' in Wales than in England will become widespread and may do lasting damage to the prospects of future generations of Welsh students who wish to work or study outside Wales.

The row has increased speculation that pupils on different sides of the border will ultimately sit different exams. True Wales is concerned about this outcome:

We are disappointed that tensions between Cardiff Bay and Westminster have led to the likely eventuality of separate examination systems for England and Wales and feel that the events of this summer mean that any new system in Wales will be seen as a poor man's alternative.