Wales Decides: Independence enthusiasts caught on horns of dilemma

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The Independent Online
The Reverend RS Thomas is dismissive of the referendum result. A poet who commands international respect, he admits voting in favour of an elected Welsh assembly. Once nominated for a Nobel Prize for literature he claimed that only crumbs were on offer. "I have no appetite for crumbs from the English table" he said.

The choice on the ballot paper - whether to support the Government's devolution proposals or oppose them - put Welsh people on the horns of a dilemma. The English did not want Wales to be independent. "It was like asking you if you've stopped beating your wife," he said.

Robert Croft, the Glamorgan and England cricketer, was in the pavilion at Taunton waiting for the weather to improve so that the county could take up the challenge of defeating Somerset to clinch the county championship.

"I've always tried to steer clear of politics. But one thing I should like to see in a new Wales is a cricket academy at Sophia Gardens, our county ground in Cardiff. Glamorgan won the county championship in 1969. We're keeping our fingers crossed for a repeat this season. An academy could help to make it a treble in the years to come."

Emlyn Hooson, now Lord Hooson, followed in the footsteps of Clement Davies, Liberal MP for Montgomery from 1929 to 1962. He went to the Lords after losing his seat in 1979. Conceding that under the Government's plans an elected assembly would only command limited powers.

He said: "It will concentrate on those Welsh affairs which are inadequately dealt with because of lack of time at Westminster. With the benefit of proportional representation [20 of the 60 assembly members will be elected by PR] it will be more truly representative of Wales."

Sian Lloyd, the television weather presenter who was born in Penarth, South Wales, said she wanted the assembly to speak and act for the whole of Wales. "It's really important that we all pull together and alleviate the fears of the Noes. They talked about the north-south split but in the end it was a west-east split because it's the eastern side of Wales, Gwent and Newport, who had all the inward investment.

"They benefited from the Welsh Development Agency so they didn't want change. But the assembly has to provide for all regions of Wales."