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
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

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

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: We are currently looking for a Geog...

Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key Stage 1

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key S...

Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher We have a fantastic special n...

Tradewind Recruitment: History Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an 11-18 all ability co-educat...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee