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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Lame duck finds new legs

It is becoming a convention in the Assembly that the Government uses the last Plenary day of the summer term to unwrap a news story that will dominate the headlines for some time. Last year it was the abolition of the WDA, Wales Tourist Board and ELWa, this year Rhodri Morgan has announced he will be standing down as First Minister - in 2009!

This assumes that he will still be First Minister after the next Assembly elections of course, but we will not go into that now. Rhodri's calculation is that whatever happens, the opposition will not be able to agree to a coalition after 2007, whilst he is not interested in doing that again. Accordingly, he will stay on at the head of a minority administration.

Rhodri's best known quip is the one he used on Newsnight when, in response to a question that had an obvious answer, he asked "does a one-legged duck swim in circles?" Already, the media have labelled him as a one-legged lame duck, but if anything this announcement will reinforce his position up to the 2007 elections by dampening down speculation and focussing the minds of his cabinet members on winning votes. It is only after 2007 that the in-fighting and manoeuvring will begin in earnest. That will be worth watching.
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