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Friday, October 08, 2010

The missing Welsh

The outcome of the Shadow Cabinet elections has led to unfortunate consequences for Welsh Labour. Having spent the last four or five months banging on about the Secretary of State for Wales not representing a Welsh constituency they now find themselves in the position of relying on Ed Miliband's largesse to put up a Welsh Shadow to her.

This result is a particular snub to Peter Hain, who was not so long ago a Deputy Leadership contender but now appears to be yesterday's man. The excuses being trailed around TV and radio studios by Welsh Labour MPs do not hold water either. After all each MP had 13 votes they could have cast for one of the eight Welsh contenders under the rather bizarre first past the post system Labour uses. It was not a split vote. The fact is that the 'most sophisticated electorate' in the UK considered the candidates from Wales and did not like what they saw.

Even more damning is the verdict of Jack Straw in this morning's Telegraph. His claim that a third of the newly elected Shadow Cabinet 'would not be “capable” of serving in government' is quite extraordinary:

He said: “I survived and prospered under this system for 10 years, but I just tell you, it is barking mad, for arithmetical reasons as well, it is a daft system.

“And what it means is that of the 18 or 19 people in shadow cabinet, probably a dozen [are] capable of being in the Cabinet, half a dozen are not, and if and when we have a Labour government some of those who thought this is a meal ticket in to the proper cabinet will be sorely disappointed.”

Has Ed Miliband's honeymoon period as Opposition Leader disappeared already under the weight of the such telling verdicts and missed opportunities?
What next for Alun Michael, who seems to have come second from bottom with just 11 votes from his colleagues?
I see that the Labour-leaning lot at Inside Out have washed their hands of the entire outcome.
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