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Celebrating St David’s Day

27 February 2009

Dr Richard Wyn Jones © Marian Delyth

Cardiff University will mark St David’s Day with a major public lecture examining how the 1970s devolution debacle – symbolised above all by the resounding No vote in the referendum held on St David’s Day in 1979 – continues to cast its shadow over contemporary political life in Wales.

The 2009 annual St David’s Day public lecture, hosted by the University’s Wales Governance Centre, will be delivered by the Centre’s newly appointed Director, Richard Wyn Jones.

Entitled 'In the Shadow of ’79: the Lasting Impact of the 1970s’ Devolution Debacle' the lecture will mark the 30th anniversary of the first devolution referendum. In it, Richard Wyn Jones will argue how the devolution debate of the 1970s, and the massive No vote itself, continue to have a lasting effect on Welsh politics despite all the constitutional development surrounding the establishment of the National Assembly for Wales and the huge shift in public attitudes that has taken place in the same period.

The lecture takes place on Tuesday 3rd March and is open to members of the public. There will be a reception at 5.30 followed by the main lecture at 6.30 at the School of Optometry and Vision Sciences’ main lecture theatre, Maindy Road, Cathays.

Established in 1999, the Wales Governance Centre brings together academics from across the University and is supported by the School of European Studies and Cardiff Law School. In addition, the Centre has developed links with academics from outside Cardiff University working in a wide range of social science disciplines.

Speaking ahead of the lecture, Wales Governance Centre Director, Richard Wyn Jones said: "The Wales Governance Centre’s annual lecture is a keynote event in the Welsh political calendar and is Cardiff University’s opportunity to inform and lead discussion on the key issues that effect political life in Wales.

"With this St David’s Day marking the 30th anniversary of the first devolution referendum, it is an appropriate time to look back and consider what has changed since then – and what, too, has remained the same. My own view is that the 1970s in general, and 1979 in particular, continue to cast a very long shadow."

Now in its ninth year, previous Wales Governance Centre St David’s Day lectures have been delivered by leading devolution experts as well as senior Welsh political figures including the Secretary of State for Wales Paul Murphy MP, First Minister, Rhodri Morgan AM, Welsh Conservative leader Nick Bourne AM and the National Assembly ’s Presiding Officer, Lord Dafydd Elis Thomas AM.

Anyone interested in attending should contact the Wales Governance Centre by telephoning 029 208 74885 or e-mail: to confirm a place.

The University's School of Social Sciences will also mark St David’s Day with a public lecture. Professor Mark Drakeford, Special Advisor to the First Minister, Welsh Assembly Government and Professor of Social Policy and Applied Social Sciences will consider the relationship between devolution and the welfare state. The lecture takes place on Wednesday 4th March between 4.00 - 5.00 pm in room 1.63 of the Glamorgan Building. To attend please contact Sian Faire on 029 2087 4983 or e-mail:

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