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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Those old familiar headlines

It would not be a Welsh Labour leadership contest without allegations of a stitch-up and the Western Mail obliges us this morning with precisely that. It feels like 1998 all over again.

The paper tells us that ordinary members are being blocled from putting tough questions to the three candidates. Instead the one hour question time at each of the five hustings will be moderated by two party officials:

One party member contacted us to say: “So much for reaching out to the people of Wales. Another missed opportunity to re-engage voters. Tories had the media into the open primary for Totnes, for goodness sake. Questions to be submitted beforehand? I’m afraid that they will never learn that we are now in a more open political environment.”

Another party member told us: “It seems we’ve still got the same old control freakery. Whatever is wrong with just letting party members ask questions themselves? We’re supposed to be electing a party leader, and all these candidates should be able to think on their feet. Sometimes when someone asks a question you think of a follow-up. It seems this is being done to stifle debate.”

In response a spokesman said that “The system being used in Wales is seeking to ensure fairness for all candidates and has been used in previous internal elections such as the party's deputy leadership campaign.”

Well that is OK then. After we all know what a huge success the deputy leadership campaign was in boosting Labour support.
Plus ca change, rien ca change!
Even if questions were spontaneous from the floor on the night, there would be some element of moderation.

There's an hour for questions. With three answers for each question, how many questions will there be: 10-15 at most. Surely there will be more people than that at each meeting wanting to ask questions

Those who weren't called would moan that they were victimised anyway simply by not being called
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