The No campaign for the March 3rd referendum on increasing the powers of the Welsh Assembly, True Wales, has decided not to seek official designation, thereby depriving both the Yes and No sides of public funding.
Referendum legislation makes funding available to both sides in a referendum if there is an officially designated campaign on both sides. As a result of the No campaign declining to seek official designation, this funding – £70,000 in cash, a free mailshot and TV broadcasts – along with higher spending limits, will not be available to either side.
The No campaign has explained its decision by saying that, “Enough of the hard-earned money of the hard-working people of Wales has been spent on giving more power to politicians”.
However, the impact of their action will be to reduce the level of public information about the campaign – and may not even save any public money as the Electoral Commission may decide to use its resources to provide an increased amount of public information to compensate for the absence of the TV broadcasts and mailshots.
Blogger David Alwyn ap Huw Humphreys has submitted a request to be recognised as the official No campaign, which would unlock the public funding, but the request is unlikely to be met given that he himself describes his campaign as “eccentric, hopeless, bloody pathetic, not credible, nutcase, brilliant idea etc”.