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Monday, August 20, 2007

Political games

I know that I have a reputation for sailing close to the wind when it comes to working with my colleagues and allies, but even I have never demonstrated the sort of audacity shown by Plaid Cymru AM, Dai Lloyd in tonight's Evening Post.

Writing about the decision to allow further dredging from Helwick Bank off Gower, Dai accuses Swansea Council Leader, Chris Holley, of smearing Plaid Cymru:

Swansea Council leader Chris Holley (Post, August 16) shows a clear lack of understanding of the Assembly's ministerial process when he criticises Plaid for the decision to proceed with further dredging off the Gower coast. Let us make one thing abundantly clear. Plaid have consistently opposed the dredging on the basis that until robust investigation shows that there is no effect on Gower's beaches, then the precautionary approach should prevail. This will continue to be Plaid's stance.

Councillor Holley knows full well that the decision as to whether the dredging should continue rests solely with the minister for sustainability. That minister is Labour's Jane Davidson, so Councillor Holley's statement, that this was in part a Plaid decision, is simply political game playing.

Jane Davidson made her announcement after the present coalition took power. Unless I am very much mistaken the Cabinet operates on the basis of collective responsibility and so Plaid Cymru Ministers are as responsible as Labour for this decision. I can do no better than quote the outraged resident of Swansea who has already posted his views on the newspapers' website:

This is unbelieveable. Don't Plaid Cymru Ministers have collective responsibility for the actions of the Welsh Government? Dai Lloyd cannot sign up to work with Labour and then just pick and choose the decisions he likes to support. Talk about all things to all men. Plaid are part of this government and they are as culpable as Labour in signing away our natural heritage to big business.
This is possibly the single most ridiculous thing that I have ever heard.

It not only says something about the shady, untrustworthiness of Plaid, but also about their political imaturity, that they believe they can get away with things like this.

I am really starting to be grateful that the rainbow went tits up.
Just out of curiousity, what was your line on dredging while Sue Essex was responsible for it during the period of the Labour/lib Dem coalition Peter?
I was opposed and together with other local AMs we pushed for a proper study of the Bristol Channel to be carried out. I was not however in denial on collective responsibility.
This isn't part of the One Wales document therefore as a party we are free to comment and to adhere by our policy on the issue.
That is a remarkably naive stance to take Bethan. When you signed up to a coalition you signed up to support WAG policies and decisions irrespective of what was in the One Wales document. Collective responsibility applies to the Cabinet and therefore your Leader and his three ministerial colleagues are party to this decision. You cannot pick and choose in government.

One of the reasons Helen Mary Jones gave for not supporting the rainbow coalition was that without a common philosophical base between Plaid and the Tories then it would be unworkable on issues not covered by the coalition agreement. In saying that she reflected some blog posts of mine over the last two years or so. The point is there are always going to be unanticipated decisions and you have to go with the flow, accept them no matter how much you dislike them and take responsibility for them.

You are being so incredibly naive on this.

You and your party are part of the government, you chose to be, you are therefore part of government decision making and bear just as much responsibility as any Labour AM does for decisions taken by the government.

It really worries me that if a member of a governing party in the Assembly does not even understand something as simple as collective responsibility then how well equipped are you, as part of that government, to make decisions upon issues that effect people's lives.

I really think that you should check with your party whip/leadership on this issue if you fail, as it seems, to understand it.

On another note, for any Labour inclined readers, this must all make deeply worrying reading.
What a shame:)
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