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Thursday, June 21, 2007


Rhodri Morgan's trip to London last night produced predictable results. The Labour MPs want him to talk to the Welsh Liberal Democrats.

A number of commentators in the blogosphere in the last few days have demanded to know what business it is of Welsh Labour MPs how we arrange ourselves in the Assembly. Tempting as it is to say that the likes of Wayne David should keep their nose out the reality is that they are major stakeholders in this process. The reason for this lies in the flawed passages of the Government of Wales Act Mark II.

On a purely political level of course Labour MPs will find themselves having to defend any arrangement on the front line. They will face re-election before Assembly Members do so naturally they are concerned that their interests are protected. Frankly, that is just hard cheese. All parties face the same dilemma and we will have to live with it and make it work as best as we can.

On a practical level however, the importance of the Welsh Labour MPs is much more significant. The sort of concessions that Rhodri Morgan is being asked to make by Plaid Cymru and, if talks re-open, by the Welsh Liberal Democrats, demand specific additional powers for the Assembly. If Labour MPs are not prepared to vote for a referendum on extra powers then we do not get one. If they oppose a Legislative Competence Order giving us the ability to change electoral arrangements for local government then Rhodri Morgan cannot introduce STV in Council elections.

I have already commented on how Rhodri Morgan has used this legislative road block to get Plaid Cymru back around the conference table. He made it clear that a rainbow coalition would have difficulty in opening doors at Westminster to which he holds the key. Now, he is caught in his own trap. If he is deliver on a deal with Plaid he needs the support of his MPs on the specific measures he is promising. They are however, reluctant coalitionists.

Surely this cannot go on any longer. There really does need to be a resolution very soon.
There would also have to be another special Labour party confernce on PR in local government even if Rhodri could reach agreement with the Lib Dems on this issue. There is really no guarantee that such a conference would back PR. The most the Lib Dems could probably expect is another independent commission and then a referendum on the issue with probably a 'yes' threshold close to 60% inserrte dby the Labour MPs.. You are right that there needs to be a resolution to all of this sooner rather than later. The alternative is either a Labour/Plaid coalition or the Rainbow. The only way for the Lib Dems to start renegotiating with Labour would be for the rainbow coalition to also collapse. Without this the Lib Dems would be seen as a party prepared to support anyone. The recent nonsense beteen Campbell and Brown also doesn't put the Lib Dems in a very good light. What the average Welsh voter makes of all of this goodness only knows!
This would be the recent nonsense between Campbell and Brown that was largely a figment of the Guardian's imagination?
A figment of the Guardian's imagination that Paddy Ashdown was offered the Northern Ireland Secretary's job?
No, that we might have sought such an offer or that it has caused splits or disarray in our ranks.
It's like looking through a fog for the truth with all the political commentators.

So what it effectively boils down to is the MPs have been so tied up with the deputy prime ministership they they did not sense the shift in thinking in Wales. If Labour MPs still think they can kick the Welsh back into submission then they they put their safe seats in trouble. We have come this far and there's no going back. We want democracy and not New Labour.

And we will not have a pseudo Labour in the Bay. Remember, these are the VERY MPs who allowed Blair and Brown to centralise almost everything whithout as much as a whisper to keep power for us in Wales. They are losers and do not desreve to be consulted now.
What's s special about your keyboard in the chamber?
Nothing it is a normal keyboard. The standard keyboards are rubber ones however and are impossible ti use. If you do a lot of typing it can cause RSI type problems.

Can we bit a little more logical about the Labour position:

1. Any deal Rhodri has offered to Plaid will have already been cleared with Gordon Brown.

2. The referendum requires a simple majority of MP's - not Welsh Labour MPs.

3. The vote in the Commons will be whipped. Welsh MPs will not scarifice their Ministerial Posts and long term careers for this. Even if they did, the majority would still be achieved.

4. Plaid knows the Labour MPs would squeal and will not be suprised. In some ways the louder they squeal the more it confirms that Welsh Labour is deadly serious about this.

5. This will be a (manageable) challenge with Welsh Labour supporting it but impossible for the 'rainbow' now or at anytime in the future. Therefore it is Ieuan's best chance of a Welsh Parliament in his remaining time as leader.

6. Plaid's next key milestone is the Parliament, not a puppet first Minister propped up by Tories.

7. Any approach by Mike German to Labour is known to be about nothing other than driving Plaid back to the 'rainbow'.

7. Mike German has no mandate for 6 anyway.

7. Plaid and Labour politicians in the Assembly understand 6 and will treat it appropriately.
Whoops got my numbers mixed up!

The 6 referred in the text to is 7.

All this blogging is wearing me out. If this goes on much longer we should all appeal for a short 'ceasefire' to get our wind back..........
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