online: 3 march 2007
modified: 2 march 2007

text of a letter sent in September 1997

Ron Davies,
Secretary of State for Wales

Dear Secretary of State,

I was very struck by your saying, in your speech after the referendum, that the important thing is to make the assembly as accessible and friendly to those who voted no as it may be to those who voted yes.

After I heard you say this I could not sleep because ideas for how to do that kept coming into my mind. Here they are:

1. To decentralise the assembly room itself by a competition to design a moveable assembly room which could meet in every constituency, perhaps beginning with one that voted yes, and then in one that voted no, etc., year by year, in the manner of the eisteddfod (retaining the room in Cardiff for special occasions only).

2. With modern communications the secretariat itself could remain in London and Cardiff, but any growth in its functions could again be decentralised by telework links to people living in the constituencies.

3. To make the Welsh Assembly an experiment in direct democracy, on behalf of the rest of the UK regions, by opening an internet computer room in every consistency, (initially in their Member's constituency office and public library and eventually in every village or in every street). I envisage this as enabling anyone to take part directly (in writing not speech) in the debates, over say 24 hours, in the manner of email discussion lists or active websites.

I believe that from these beginnings could grow something pretty wonderful which could not help but excite and stimulate everyone, for or against, and could transform the mis-named talking-shop into being something like the original democracy of ancient Athens!

pob hwyl

john chris jones

(this letter received only a polite acknowledgement)

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