Welsh referendum hit by apathy – and an inflatable pig

Voters not greatly engaged by lacklustre campaign

Even an 8ft inflatable pink pig paraded through the streets of Welsh towns and villages has failed to generate much interest in Thursday's referendum on the future of the Assembly.

The vote is not about giving Cardiff Bay more money. It is not even about giving it more powers. It is about speeding up how existing powers are administered. Basically, Cardiff's decisions would be implemented directly without ratification from Westminster.

So far the campaign has been notable for a lack of official Yes and No camps, for accusations of homophobia on Twitter – and for apathy. And the inflatable pig. It is a DIY porcine metaphor around which opponents of the move to speed up Cardiff's law-making have gathered. Pigs might fly. Snouts in the trough. Er... Animal Farm? Take your pick.

The pig, belonging to the True Wales No campaign, was parading through the streets of Fleur de Lis village near Caerphilly on Thursday. Gripping its lead was the campaign's agricultural spokesman, Nigel Bull. "I'm an ordinary chap who feels passionately about this," he says. "Most people are like myself – just extremely disappointed with the Assembly since its inception 12 years ago."

Opponents of making life easier for the Assembly point to its record. Two in five Welsh children reach secondary school more than a year behind in their reading. Former mining communities have not seen the promised economic rejuvenation. Fears over law and order are high.

The cross-party Yes campaign, fronted by Roger Lewis, group chief executive of the Welsh Rugby Union, suggests the delays in wielding power are what has held Wales back. The Assembly has authority to pass laws in 20 areas, including health, education and the environment. But, unlike Scotland or Northern Ireland, to legislate on the detail it must effectively get permission from London. Wales was the first government to vote for a smoking ban, but was beaten by Scotland in implementing it.

"We can't afford to have a government in the slow lane in Wales in a fast-changing world," says Carwyn Jones, the Labour First Minister. He is confident they are winning the argument, and the doorstep pitch is well rehearsed. "If people want the Assembly to be doing more rather than talking about doing more, vote Yes."

Turnout is crucial. Some polls suggest it could struggle to reach 40 per cent, although the Yes campaign looks to be ahead.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Cleaner

£15000 - £16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you've got first class custo...

Recruitment Genius: Mobile Applications Developer / Architect - iOS and Android

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a medium s...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Account Executive - £40K OTE

£11830 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working in a friendly, sales ta...

Recruitment Genius: Web Designer

£15000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most