I will be voting Yes in today's referendum. I will do so proud to be Welsh and proud also to be British. I will not be casting my vote for independence for Wales nor for the first step along that route. Rather I will be voting to ensure that Welsh Assembly members are given the ability to determine devolved areas of responsibility in our Senedd.
As a child growing up in the 1980s and the 1990s I saw the people of Wales vote for politicians who advocated the socialist priorities of the Labour Party. Yet, election after election, a right-wing Conservative Government was elected in London that represented the wishes of the fabled 'Middle England' of South-East England. To see the Welsh voice expressed through the ballot box have no representation at the seat of government felt incredibly divisive. It was best symbolised by a succession of Conservative Welsh Secretaries of State for Wales who represented English constituencies.
Fast forward to 2011 and you wonder how much has changed. The Secretary of State for Wales, Cheryl Gillan, is an MP for an English constituency. On St David's Day earlier this week the Tory led London Government announced that electrification of the London to Swansea railway line would only go to Cardiff. To compound the insensitivity, David Cameron stated at Prime Minster's Questions that he welcomed the electrification of the West Coast mainline to Cardiff. That a Conservative Prime Minister had such poor knowledge of the geographical location of Wales and her main railway line seemed apt in the week of our referendum.
In the decade since Wales achieved devolution few can deny the increased Welsh self-confidence. Where once our most visible expression of our Welshness was evidenced through our support for the Welsh rugby team, we can now add our very own Welsh Assembly and Assembly Government. The Welsh Assembly and her Government have already achieved much: free prescriptions, free bus travel for the elderly, the disabled and their carers, support for people made redundant and the popular decision to protect Welsh domiciled students from the crippling tuition fee rises introduced in London.
Today we have the opportunity to make a small but important contribution to Welsh life. At a time when the Westminister Government has voted to reduce the number of Welsh MPs returned to Parliament we can ensure that the people of Wales will have advocates in Cardiff Bay who can efficiently pass laws in areas such as health and education that are already devolved.
I will be voting yes in today's referendum and as I put my cross next to the Yes box I will never have been prouder to be Welsh and British. Do not let London media commentators tomorrow state the Welsh people have no interest in how our country is run. Make sure that you cast your vote. Cymru Am Byth.
Read Keith's blog here