Letter: Welsh referendum

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your editorial ("The voices of Wales call for Blair the democrat to think again", 20 September) expressed concern over the validity of the result of the Welsh referendum. You argued that one in four Welsh residents voting for devolution was hardly a mandate for important constitutional change.

I do not agree. Everybody on the Welsh electorate was offered the chance to vote. Had the 49 per cent of non-voters been against the assembly they would have expressed that view by voting "No". Although it is disappointing that so many failed to vote, it clearly shows that three out of four Welsh residents did not disapprove of the proposed assembly.

The alliance of "Yes" voters from the radical Labour valleys and nationalist west Wales will need to take stock of the outcome and recognise the genuine concerns of the "No" voters. Ron Davies, the Secretary of State for Wales, has already said that this will be an important task for the assembly. Despite the small majority, this result was a democratic mandate for change.

Richard Bartley

Oxford

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