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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Summer silly period comes early

The summer period of no news and pointless speculation has come early with an article in today's Western Mail urging possible successors to Rhodri Morgan as First Minister to come out of the woodwork and start their campaigns now.

The article is based on comments by my former tutor Professor Peter Stead, for whom I have the utmost respect. Peter is right in arguing that a political vacuum is developing around the First Minister but I think he has allowed his academic interest to overcome political realities in asking for early declarations from contenders for the post. Still, his comments are intriquing:

"I would have expected Rhodri to have gone by now," said Mr Stead, a former history lecturer at University of Wales, Swansea and now a visiting professor at the University of Glamorgan.

"I suspect a main reason why he is still First Minister is because there is no obvious successor.
"One of the problems is that most members of the Cabinet are not natural communicators. I meet them socially and have urged them to do more communicating.

"What we need is a debate on the succession.

"I'm not attacking Rhodri - I believe he has done an honourable job. But it's time the Labour Party gave some thought to who should take over. At the moment, there seems to be a reluctance to have such a debate."

I believe that the reluctance to have a debate has something to do with an impending election and the dire electoral consequences within the party for any candidate who is seen to be rocking the boat before that event. It is quite evident though that there is manoeuvring going on within the Labour Party itself for the all-out war that will erupt once AMs resume their seats in May 2007.
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