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Monday, May 17, 1999 Published at 14:55 GMT 15:55 UK


Your views

Your responses:

The Welsh National Assembly is a chance for Wales to be governed at a level which the people of Wales can associate with.

Decisions affecting Welsh people on local and educational matters e.t.c will be taken WITHIN Wales rather than 100-400 miles away depending where you live within Wales.

Personally I believe that this election, despite the poor turnout, gives a good idea of the political mood within Wales, and the increased votes for Plaid Cymru show that there is a genuine need for autonomy.

I think that eventually Wales WILL become more or less independent with the United Kingdom becoming merely a technicality within a united Europe which we may well see within 100 years.
Rob Callender, England (student in Wales)

I'm sure this election is being watched closely by many areas of the world with significant localised minority populations.

The founding fathers of the United States realised centuries ago how important it is that people feel close to their governments.

Greater unity and commonality of purpose within Great Britain and the European Community will surely result from the Welsh and the Scots gaining a sense of responsibility for their collective actions as nations with identifiable and responsive assemblies of representatives.

A great day for democracy and another big step towards more world unity.
Rhys Price Jones, US

As a Welshman living in England, I am proud that Wales has its own Assembly. There are those who say that it should not be in existence because 51% of voters said Yes in the Referendum.

My view is that people who couldn't motivate themselves to vote in that referendum don't have the right to now moan that they didn't want it.

For it to work, the Assembly must not be manipulated by the Labour Party in Westminster. In some ways I think a coalition government in the Assembly may lead to a more independent body which will be better for Wales as a whole.
Mike Morris, England

As a supporter of the Welsh Assembly, I have never heard what the "Assembly Bashers" would like instead of our new institution.

As proud Welsh men and women, wouldn't it be embarrassing if the Scots developed their parliament, the people of the English regions developed their regional governments, but we said "we don't want to administer ourselves".

Secondly, many of the Assembly's detractors say that Cardiff is too far away from their community to fully understand their needs. Well its much nearer than London.
Michael Phillips, England at present

I'm tired of politicians and commentators dismissing the Welsh electorate as disinterested in devolution.

What they have shown, both in yesterday's election and the referendum is their apathy to an assembly.

If Wales had been offerred a Welsh Parliament with real powers then we would have seen a much more enthusiastic turn out than we have seen. Wales wants self-government not a bureaucratic talking shop.
Rob Phillips, Wales

The United Socialist votes in Neath and Aberavon were brilliant. If you are angry at Labours betrayals but don't want to join a nationalist party then you should join the Socialist Workers Party.
Alan Thomson, Wales

A sad day for Wales and the majority of Welsh people.

The only people to benefit will be the usual self-serving politicians and the minority of Welsh-speaking individuals who will have even more disproportionate influence and economic benefit through the insistance of Welsh-speaking to be a prime factor in job selections.

This assembly has been pushed through with only a minority of people actively in support of it for just one reason... To future-proof the ability of the Labour party to govern Wales and Scotland even if they lose a general election.

This whole affair has been a shameful indictment of Labour's so-called democratic principles.
Gary Barnett, Wales

Given the formation of the Welsh Assembly and Scottish Parliament, the English must now give full power including defence to Wales and Scotland, redig Offa's Dyke, rebuild Hadrian's Wall, and stop the subsidies. Then we'll see who's laughing.
Chris Cowdery, England

I decided not to vote for the assembly. Who , proportionately, does not represent me?

Why can't we have a few empty seats?

After all, proportional representation is supposed to reflect the wishes of the electorate.
Andrew Torrance, UK

As we wait for final confirmation of the results, what will become clear is that many Welsh Labour voters felt alienated by the clear imposition of Alun Michael - the only election where the candidate with the fewer votes wins.

If Labour lose out to Plaid - then the Labour leadership has only itself to blame as it was a very insensitive move.

It does no credit to the ethos of the assembly and hints at control from London before we even get started.

As for those who moan about the cost however - please remember that democracy is expensive. Dictators are very cheap to run!
Tony Paget, Wales

This is a wonderful opportunity for the people of Wales to learn to make difficult decisions that should lead to better more responsive government.

Will it be easy? Probably not - however, that is no reason to shirk this new found responsibility.

We have something to prove to all those who feel the task is beyond us - let's get to it!
Dai Evans, US





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