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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A crowded field

Just when you thought that we were deep enough into the silly season to avoid politics, the Western Mail tries to kick-start the Wales Labour leadership contest again.

This time they have featured an in-depth interview with Education Minister, Jane Hutt who must surely have blotted her copybook with the fiascos she has presided over regarding the underfunding of the Foundation Phase and Further Education. Surely, nobody has overlooked the fact that it is her reorganisation of the health service that is currently being dismantled by one of her leadership rivals, Health Minister, Edwina Hart.

Jane seems to be setting her stall out as a more sensible version of Harriet Harman. It is all about creating a more equal society. During the summer she has been reading The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better, by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett. But you will not find her demanding a balanced leadership ticket. She wants to trust people and offer them a stake in the running of Wales. Quite whether her colleagues are ready to do the same for her has yet to be seen.

Is it me or is the field to succeed Rhodri Morgan getting a bit overcrowded? The Western Mail itself has identified four candidates, Huw Lewis, Carwyn Jones, Jane Hutt and Edwina Hart. In addition nobody is clear as to whether Finance Minister, Andrew Davies is still interested. If he is then he is playing a canny, almost invisible game.

My understanding is that each candidate needs the support of six AMs to get on the ballot paper. That means that realistically there can only be three candidates. My betting is that those three will be Huw Lewis, Carwyn Jones and Edwina Hart. All we need now is for Rhodri Morgan to fire the starting gun so that this phoney war can be brought to an end.
To be honest, I can't see Huw Lewis getting ten signatures; other than his wife ben Leighton, the others no-one will nominate him.

I understand he is seen as ambitious and remember his two exits from Deputy Ministerial office fondly.

The real dinosaurs in the group still hold the fact he was a key Alun Michael lackey against him.
I think he needs 6 signatures and I believe he has them.
Hilliam - is that the same Leighton that is running Carwyn's campaign?

Peter - you are right. I reckon he's grafted his way to eight.
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