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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Cat among the pigeons

Vaughan Roderick really put the cat among the pigeons this morning with the suggestion that Labour and Plaid are poised to sign up to an informal agreement short of a coalition so as to give Rhodri Morgan another four years in the top job. He has been talking to prominent Labour figures who told him that they are considering a deal with Plaid rather than the Liberal Democrats.

This immediately led to a spate of denials from, amongst others, the First Minister and the Secretary of State for Wales. I am not sure that Plaid Cymru were too amused either, but surely there must have been some talks to get to this position.

It seems to me that such an arrangement would be the worst of all worlds. Plaid would get some of their policies enacted but because they would not be in the Cabinet with advisors to help them track policy development they would find it impossible to influence the way that these measures were introduced. Nor would Plaid be able to have any say on important executive issues such as the future of Adult Neurosurgery in Swansea, even though they would take the blame for an unpopular decision because they were propping Labour up in the first place. If Labour were to secure such a deal they would be laughing all the way to the 2011 polls.

All in all this underlines what I have said previously about trying to second guess the wishes of the electorate. Labour are clearly in disarray. They are struggling to run a coherent campaign, much like their muddled management of Wales over the last four years. Whilst Plaid and Labour indulge in this clumsy courtship through the media, the Welsh Liberal Democrats remain focused on the policies that matter.

We are continuing to focus on our positive message of smaller class sizes, more police officers on the beat and healthcare when and where it’s needed. These are the policies that are hitting home on the doorstep, and will hopefully lead to more Welsh Liberal Democrat AMs in the next Assembly.
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