Monday, June 25, 2007

The Proper Response - (if the worst happens)

Even by the standards of direction change we have become used to in Welsh politics over the last 7 weeks, the Western Mail's description of a Labour/Plaid Coalition as 'a near certainty' in today's edition is a particularly violent U-turn. In its last edition, on Saturday, its whole top team were predicting a 'Rainbow Coalition'. If Martin Shipton's latest prediction comes to pass, I will be bitterly disappointed.

Someone asked me recently how I would have been occupying myself if I'd been re-elected to the National Assembly on May 3rd. I replied by saying that I'd have spent £1000 buying cappuccinos for Plaid Cymru AMs. Not so much to imply that Ieuan's group are 'biddable', but an admission that the key to the 'Rainbow' was implanting in the consciousness of Plaid Cymru the belief that we have really changed. It does look today as if not enough cappuccinos have been shared.

If this tragedy does come to pass, I daresay Tory and Lib Dem rottweilers will be unleashed. "Propping up a failing Labour Party". "Rhodri Morgan's crutch". That doesn't bear thinking about. Etc. Etc. Well, I won't be joining in. There would be no-one more disappointed than me - but its crucial not to lose sight of the ball when the red mist comes down. If we Tories want to be involved in governing Wales (and what's the point of it all otherwise) we have to reach an accommodation with Plaid Cymru. There is no other way. It should have and would have been done in May but for the inability of the Lib Dem leadership to deliver. And to compound the sheer stupidity of it, they reversed their position three days later - when it was too late.

Thinking long term, my next preference after the Rainbow (which is not dead yet) would've been a Lab/Lib Dem Coalition Government - but the Libs blew that as well. It would have led to Plaid and us working together in opposition - and to a Plaid/Tory Government in 2011. So that would be my new objective - if this latest twist is confirmed. "Dear Plaid, I still think could make nice music together. Ieuan, Rhodri Glyn, Helen Mary, I love you really. Do you fancy a cappuccino?

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Plaid fought a campaign to Make a Difference.

They have it within their reach now.

Let's hope they keep the promise to the electorate.

Garenig said...

In May LIb Dems prioritised the needs of their four local authority leaders in order to project an opposition to Labour. After next May their priority will be defending the four Westminster seats. Cardiff Central is probably beyond Labour's reach, but Ceredigion would be under greater threat from Blaid within the All Wales Accord coalition than without it. In Maldwyn and B&M their concern will be the Welsh Conservatives. It might therefore suit them after next May to pick a fight with the Conservatives and leave the coalition either to oppose all three or to join Labour. A Plaid/Labour coalition would also be vulnerable next May to Lib Dem positioning for the Westminster elections. A realignment might just suit Labour too.
I just hope that AMs of goodwill keep working on the realisation that Wales is different and that a (hopefully soon) federal arrangement emphasises that the Welsh Conservatives has become its own master. It is after all a certainty that Plaid needs to have the option of forming a government without Labour in 2011.

Patriot said...

Glyn,

Wales isnt ready for Tories yet. You know it, Plaid knows it. Green/red by Friday. Left realignment by 2001. Tories in opposition 2011 too.

PS Kirsty in charge by 2011 too.

Anonymous said...

Garenig - there are all sorts of uncertainties for Red-Green as well - especially as a consequence of the anti-nat positioning that will happen when Labour has their bunfight to replace Rhodri Morgan in 2009.

Glyn Davies said...

garenig - Plaid's best option of forming a Government which they can lead with confidence in 2011 must involve the Tories.

patriot - I hope you're wrong. I'm sure you're wrong about 2011. You may be right about Kirsty though - but you must remember it was she who scuppered the Rainbow. Do you remember that awful interview she gave after she'd been working behind the scenes to undermine Mike German at that meeting of the Lib Dem executive at Llandrindod Wells? She will hav eto show better judgement than that. My guess is that she will be a lot more careful in future.

anon - you are right. If this red/green thing goes ahead, there will be trouble in 2009 when Andrew Davies, Huw Lewis and Leighton are pitching for the leadership.

Anonymous said...

Glyn,

As a Plaid member on the National Council, I was prepared to support the Rainbow option and was genuinely excited about the policy agenda. Even though I consider myself a socialist, I saw no other option as Labour at that time had offered us nothing and to me principled opposition was and still is a joke, when a chance to govern was offered.

Yet everything changed when the Lib Dems executive blinked; allowing Rhodri enough breathing space to offer Plaid something tangible. Speaking as someone in the know, the primary issue now influencing Plaid AMs and members to support the red/green option is not the Tory link but the Lib Dem one.

We simply do not trust them at all and strongly suspect them of planning to pull out of the coalition at any time after next year's Council elections.

I am genuinely saddened by the missed opportunity and believe that Wales will regret their spineless actions, but Plaid could only have accepted the rainbow option if Labour had offered a pittance. This is no longer the case, so I am afraid that I suspect the chance for radical change has gone.

Glyn Davies said...

anon - your comment only intensifies my frustration, and certainty that the only way of creatlng a non-Labour Government in Wales is through some sort of accommodation between Plaid and the Tories. Any Tory not willing to face up to this is signing up to a permanent Labour Government

View from the Glen said...

Glyn,

I can only say the name calling will be acurate. Plaid will be called names which will stick like glue.

The press will have a field day. As posters have already been changed as pointed out on the blog written by the miserable old fart.

Blamerbell said...

For what it's worth, I'd love a cappuccino... Especially if you're paying.

Can I have one of those almond biscuits too?

Glyn Davies said...

Blamerbell - I'm up for that. Will let you know when I'm next in the city

Garenig said...

I am glad that anon also sees that the danger irrespective of coalition formed now is the changing priority of the Lib Dems after the next council elections. That also gives huge scope to Labour to reposition. They have a second opportunity once Rhodri stands down. The three sides within Plaid have used emotive arguments for not being involved with either Conservatives (invariably called Tories) on the one hand and Labour on the other or neither ever. Generally these are often based on the perception of the party's immediate interest in their own constituency. The 2011 alternative to Labour requires that Plaid and Conservative representatives together form a majority and that the Conservative party remains willing to support the kind of accord negotiated by David Melding, Jenny Randerson and Adam Price. As you say any Tory opposing that accommodation guarantees Labour a long run in government.