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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

More pressure on the One Wales' Agreement?

Unrest amongst Labour activists about working with Plaid Cymru has come to a head in this morning's Western Mail in which a number accuse the nationalists of ganging up on Wales' premier party following the local council elections a few weeks ago.

Their beef is that the rapprochement reached in the Assembly does not appear to have been reproduced in the vast majority of Welsh local authorities where voters, for whatever reason, sent Labour away with a flea in their ear on 1 May.

The paper records that in Cardiff, Plaid has entered a coalition with the Liberal Democrats, while in Swansea the single remaining Plaid councillor has joined an anti-Labour coalition. In Wrexham and Ynys Môn, Plaid has linked up with Liberal Democrats and Tories. Only in Conwy, where Plaid is taking the lead, is there a coalition involving both the parties of government at Cardiff Bay.

Closer reading of the article reveals a distinct lack of Labour activists who are actually prepared to be named. On this basis it most probably would not be wise for opposition parties to dust off the rainbow coalition agreement again just yet.

I am sure that AMs in both Labour and Plaid understand the terms of their Assembly deal very well, even if Plaid do play fast and loose with it and push it to its limits far more frequently than we ever did when we were in coalition government in the Assembly between 2000 and 2003.
How are Plaid playing fast and loose with the terms of the One Wales Agreement? What happens outside the Assembly has nothing to do with the Red-Green agreement? That’s made clear in the agreement itself? The fact that the Libs were happy to be Labour's lapdogs and Plaid is not is surely a good thing?

As for your headline I disagree. Certainly there is more pressure on Labour within the One Wales but I don't think there is pressure on the agreement itself?
I think that a study of what happened in 2000-03 would not sustain your analysis that we were content to be Labour's lapdogs. Quite the contrary in fact. There is no doubt that Plaid have upset some Labour backbenchers by their stance on a number of issues both within the chamber and without. As for the headline, well it is my post so I will use what I wish. The body of the post however makes clear that I do not believe that there is pressure on the agreement itself.
Fair comments Peter.

I think If you are saying that you were far from Labour's lapdogs then I can't see how you can then say that Plaid are playing fast and loose with the terms of the agreement yet the Lib Dems did not? Either you did stand up and make gains like Plaid did (therefore contradicting the position that Plaid are pushing the terms of the agreement and you did not) or you didn't stand up this quantifying my earlier position.

Agreed Peter you can use whatever headline you wish. As the song goes it’s your party and you can cry if you want to! ;-)
Actually I did inadvertently miss off a question mark from the headline. I think you need to re-read the article. What I said was that Plaid are pushing against the envelope more frequently than we did, not that we didnt stand up to Labour. Clearly we did because we set the 2000-03 Government agenda. The question I am posing is how strong the present coalition is and whether it can withstand such constant strains. We will see.
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