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Sunday, June 10, 2007

More on Hain

Wales on Sunday columnist, Matt Withers, and I are Facebook friends. As part of the ritual involved in such a pairing you are requested to state how you met. In this section Matt has written: "Matt routinely steals stories from Peter's blog and attempts to pass it off as his own work." I am now going to return the compliment.

In his column today Matt notes that
Peter Hain spent most of the Assembly Election campaign warning of the dangers of letting the Tories into government if people didn’t vote Labour:

He told his party’s conference that a non-Labour vote would lead to “a Tory first minister in Wales in 2007 - aided and abetted by the Welsh Liberal Democrats and Plaid”. He told the House of Commons that not voting for Labour would guarantee “a Tory-led coalition running our schools and hospitals”. He wrote on his website that “a vote for Plaid Cymru or for the Liberal Democrats is a vote to put the Tories back in power in Wales”.

And indeed, prior to the 2005 General Election he told the Scotsman newspaper that voting Liberal Democrat in marginal seats would let in the Conservatives “by the back door”.

Yet looking forward to the next general election he writes in this week’s New Statesman: “Scaring progressive voters with the image of David Cameron crossing the threshold of No 10 won’t win Labour the next election.”

Like Matt, I believe that there is some kind of contradiction that for the time being eludes us.

Its simply that Cameron is successfully pulling off the deceit. In England, at a supeficial level, Cameron fits an attractive mould and people will no longer feel embarrased to vote Tory. As you know in England the political centre of gravity is no where near as left as Wales and the imaginery reinvention of the Tories is swallowed more easily there. Doesn't work here though as you are beginning to see. The principled Plaid and Lib Dem members are beginning the fight back against their colleagues trying to let the Tories in by the back door. The 'good guys' may just prevail yet.......
There's an obvious difference between elections in Wales and Scotland and the next general election where the fear of "a next Conservative government" is far less an issue than letting the Conservatives back into government in Wales and/or Scotland.
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