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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Split in One Wales coalition widens

There is an interesting post on the Degwm blog concerning the growing split within the One Wales Government over the First Minister's decision to veto the closing down Lansdowne School in cardiff so as to make way for a new Welsh-medium school.

The author says that Plaid Cymru have been distributing a leaflet in Cardiff West urging residents to attend a meeting about the decision. He says that the leaflet goes on to attack the Labour Assembly Government for its refusal to close down the schools and then says:

The fact that Plaid Cymru are its coalition partners is only mentioned when its explained in the leaflet that given that Plaid Ministers’ were not consulted about this and was a unilateral Labour decision’

Plaid Cymru have form on this of course. They try to be in government whilst also positioning themselves as against it in the hope of having the best of both worlds. In reality all Ministers have collective responsibility for the actions of each other. Thus Ieuan Wyn Jones is as culpable as Carwyn Jones for this decision.

After all how would Plaid Cymru feel if Labour AMs started an active campaign to overthrow the Welsh Language Measure whilst Labour Ministers sat back and did nothing on the grounds that Alun Ffred Jones had not consulted them? I think they would be pretty sore and who could blame them.

If there is one thing this leaflet shows however it is that the rift within One Wales is widening, whilst many Plaid activists cannot wait to get onto the streets and attack Labour in the Welsh Assembly elections.
Comments:
"Plaid Cymru have form on this of course. They try to be in government whilst also positioning themselves as against it in the hope of having the best of both worlds."

Not unlike the Liberal Democrats who are now to appoint shadow spokespeople in Westminster despite the fact they're in government


"After all how would Plaid Cymru feel if Labour AMs started an active campaign to overthrow the Welsh Language Measure whilst Labour Ministers sat back and did nothing on the grounds that Alun Ffred Jones had not consulted them? I think they would be pretty sore and who could blame them."

What on earth are you talking about? Plaid Cymru members are an entitled as anyone to campaign against the First Minister's decision, whether Plaid ministers were consulted or not, whether they have collective responsibility or not. Are you saying that Plaid grass root members are notallowed to be politically active because their party shares government?

Are you saying that Plaid AMs are involved in an "active campaign" such as that in your hypothetical example? Are Plaid back bench AMs not entitled to call the exectuive's decision to account? Indeed, is it not they're duty to hold the Government to account when they think fit?
 
The appointment of shadow spokespeople is not about having the best of both worlds it is about the maintenance of a separate party mechanism so as to avoid being subsumed into the main coalition party, as Plaid Cymru would accept as they have done it here as have Labour for that matter. I have never criticised either for doing that. There is a need to develop policy and to hold to account witin the coalition itself and these mechanisms allow for that.

I am not saying that Plaid AMs are not allowed to scrutinise the government. Indeed I would encourage that even when they are removed from committees for being too effective. What I am criticising them for is seeking to abdicate responsibility for themselves and on behalf of their own ministers for what is a government decision and which is subject to collective responsibility.
 
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