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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Too much egg

I believe that there is such a thing as 'over-egging the pudding' and Tory AM and blogger, Glyn Davies, comes perilously close to this state in this morning's Western Mail. He argues that next May's National Assembly election may be the only chance ever for the Conservative Party to play a part in governing Wales and that the Tories, Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats have a national duty to bury their differences and remove Labour from power.

I have speculated before that one of the reasons why the Conservatives keep playing this coalition card is because they believe it gives them credibility as an alternative Welsh Government. However, the latest missive from Glyn is beginning to turn the refrain into desperate pleading.

My understanding is that when Nick Bourne first floated the possibility of a Tory-led coalition on last week's Waterfront, he received a very angry phone call from Plaid Cymru Leader, Ieuan Wyn Jones. Whether this call came about because Nick had let the cat out of the bag or simply because Ieuan was annoyed that the Tory Leader was giving a false impression of talks going on between the opposition party leaders, I do not know.

For our part, the Liberal Democrat Party Leadership privately deny that any talks have been going on in preparation for a coalition, but they seem curiously reluctant to make this declaration in public or to rule out serving in a coalition under a Tory First Minister. Such an announcement would be useful in my view simply because it give a clear indication of the direction of travel of the party.

Glyn is right when he says that many opposition AMs find the concept of working with the Tories as impossible to even contemplate. He is wrong however to assume that the Conservatives will be the second largest group after the next Assembly elections. That is far from a foregone conclusion.

My view is that a coalition of some sort may be necessary after next May. To deny that would be to defy the electoral arithmetic. Labour are inevitably going to lose seats and may be reduced in size so much as to make a minority government unfeasible. However, it is premature to be talking about what would happen if this scenario comes about now and nobody should be engaged in talks or manoeurvring for position in a possible coalition until the electorate has spoken.

This process should not be about getting into power but about implementing policies and improving the quality of life of the Welsh population. It should be about ensuring that the new Assembly benefits from stable government so that it can use the new powers to their full effect. That means that we all have to go out and persuade people of the efficacy and attractiveness of our own policies so as to maximise our own vote. We also have to convince people that the Assembly is relevant to their lives and that they should go out and cast their ballot so as to influence its future composition and policies. What flows from that process needs to be put aside until the people's verdict is in.
Its hard to make out what the Tories are up to. I wonder if they realise they are not doing quite as well as they hoped. Am not sure what is happening elsewhere but in the North they have some very weak candidates in key seats. These candidates are having to be given extra help with the press etc and other, more able candidates in nearby seats have gone quite all of a sudden. Not that I am complaining :)
The tories are in complete chaos and have been for so many years. Believe me as someone who was associated with them for years.

They evict any talent, and promote the less able and plain stupid.
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