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Friday, January 05, 2007

Thanks Ieuan!

More evidence of Labour's gratitude towards Plaid Cymru for getting them out of a tight corner on the budget emerges on Leighton Andrew's blog:

Plaid got away with murder following the budget debate. They contributed nothing to the budget but got a free run after it. They tried to take the credit for the budget but wouldn’t even vote for it. They believe they have undermined our message that they will ally with the Tories after the election.

But nothing has changed. Ieuan Wyn Jones has refused to rule out working with the Tories after the May election. People must realise that a one-night stand with Ieuan Wyn Jones could mean a four-year arranged marriage with Nick Bourne.

Clearly, the cheap date led to a one night stand. This courtship ritual between the two parties is fascinating viewing. Presumably, Leighton's post rates as a lovers' tiff.
Plaid do need to get a policy together on this. The only seat in which they and the Tories are directly in conflict is the 3 way marginal of Aberconwy (and to a lesser degree Carms West). A Tory alliance would be bitterly opposed by those on the left (HMJ or Leanne Wood), but might be justified on some grounds of bringing the Tories to embrace devolution or somesuch.

The problem is that IWJ is coming to see that it is going to be Nick Bourne who leads the larger party and should therefore be 1st Minister. Moreover it is also clear that a Tory/Plaid coalition alone will not be enough. You have already made clear your views on alliance with the Tories (aside from temporary, tactical, ones such as the Budget of course). This is why Ieunan and Rhodri Glyn's yearnings for power are now pointing them more towards the Labour trajectory.

But there are severe obstacles. The first is that Plaid are Labour's enemies on the ground. Llanelli, Rhondda, Iswlyn, Arfon, Aberconwy, Ynys Mon, Carms West & Sth Pembs ... if Plaid is ever to grow out of the Bro Gymraeg it must do so mainly at Labour's expense. The two cannot help fighting each other. They are locked in a Darwinian battle for survival.
Secondly, both parties would have acute divisions if they formed a coalition. Leighton could not be kept on board. Nor (if she were to win Llanelli) would Helen Mary Jones, nor Alun Ffred Jones on the other wing.

Of course it is possible that the election will produce a result that makes a Lib / Lab arrangement inadequate to command a majority, but in the end I still belive Labour, if it can't govern alone, would far rather renew its coalition with your party than have to face one with Plaid.
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