.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Strangling them slowly

Another prominent Welsh Liberal Democrat has come out against a coalition with Labour today. Ed Townsend, who used to work as our Media Officer and who pushed Labour to within 875 votes in Newport East, has told the Western Mail that "it makes no sense at all for us to prop up what is widely perceived to be a failed group of people."

Meanwhile Rhodri Morgan has apparently put on his best pair of clod-hoppers so as to tread carefully through delicate negotiations with us. His cause is not helped by a Labour AM who is reported as saying that Labour "should try to do a deal with the Liberal Democrats. Our philosophy towards them should be, ‘hug them close and strangle them slowly’. Another reason in favour of a deal with them is that it is difficult to remember any of the manifesto promises. What they were saying was so vague that it should be quite easy to reach agreement with them."

Nor will Rhodri find much favour with Welsh Liberal Democrat members when he tells them that we are an inedible option. Another Labour source has indicated that his or her party will have to 'hold their noses' to do a deal with us. Well we are not exactly enamoured of Labour either especially given the disgraceful way they have behaved in opposition in Swansea and Bridgend.

The final straw however has to be the report that Labour AMs have made it clear they would not countenance a deal with the Welsh Liberal Democrats that included a commitment to proportional representation in council elections. They say that if Mike German tries to insist on PR, the deal will be off and the Assembly will be in chaos.

If that is the case then I believe that I speak for the vast majority of members and activists when I say that Rhodri Morgan should not even bother picking up the phone.
Then you should tell Rhodri what they told the Chicken!

Get Stuffed!
I seem to recall Mr Black being initially opposed to the last coalition between Labour and the Lib Dems in 2000. But surely if it were not for that coalition we would not have had the Richard Commission and the extra powers the Assembly now has, with a road map to primary powers in 2011-12..

Coalitions can effect change - despite not having it 'all your way'.
yep, Peter Black and Rodney Berman have previous form as serial 'coalition blockers'. All their attitude will ensure is permanent Labour (minority) Government in Wales. If the Lib Dems want to be a perpetual 'protest movement' rather than a serious political party then follow their lead!
The assembly would have gained extra powers with or without the Richard Commission. The initial settlement was simply unsustainable as Glyn Davies correctly often argued. Even the present one is only a half way house to full legislative powers which will come sooner rather than later. As for PR in local government it has to come in order to revitalise what has become a moribund institution. It can not be good for British politics that in the English local elections Labour did not have candidates in 40% of the seats. the politcs of areas such as Powys resemble the 18th century more than the 21st century with no contests in many of the wards. STV would transform Welsh local government. What ever happens Peter you should use your power as a backbencher to put forward a bill to implement PR for the council elections of 2012. I think you will be surprised at the support you will get from radical progressives in the Labour party.
The only difference between these two parties on the political spectrum is one is still conning the electorate to vote for it on the glory of Labour 50 years ago, and the other is forgetting it ceased to be a Liberal Party in the early 1980s.

If you look very closely there is also a subtle cross over of membership/candidates.

In the late 1970s the SDP was formed from a break away branch of Labour led by it's most powerful leaders of the time. It was to be a new "middle of the road party", nearer Liberal thinking. In the early 1980s it joined with the Liberal party, forming the Liberal Democrats.
After this split the Labour party went through a very confusing time culminating in the disastrous Kinnock years. Something very drastic had to be done to save the party.

In comes Tony Blair, with New Labour. A very different animal to old Labour.this was almost identical to the old SDP. So young Tony must have been watching all this on the back benches and waiting his chance to change Labour fortunes. The party changed out of all recogniton.

So where do the Lib.Dems stand now? I believe they are all and one the same party. Old Labour no longer exists , only in people's memories and unfortunately the electorate are often being misled to vote for a memory.
Otherwise, the Lib Dems and New Labour would have to get honest with us all and amalgamate.
I just don't understand why you're so against a coalition with Labour - I certainly don't think you speak for "the vast majority of members and activists" - just some of the most vocal ones (who are nearly in seats fighting Labour - coincidence?). I'm obviously not in favour of power for power's sake (and could never countenance a deal with the Tories, whose whole philosophy is so opposed to our own)but I don't see why we couldn't work with Labour to get some good things done. And I really, really don't get the fuss about PR - what makes it so much better than any of the other things we'd like to do?
There are several differences between 2000 and now.

Then, there was still enthusiasm for Welsh Labour in the country, especially as it had shown some independence from Westminster.

Then, Labour conceded virtually all the requests on our "shopping list" (to the secret gratification of some Labour AMs with a greater social conscience than New Labour in London, one suspects). We even thought we were moving forward with the promise of the Richard Commission.

- Frank Little
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?