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Saturday, March 19, 2011

MPs seek a piece of the action

It was the double-headed Roman God, Janus who marked the start of a new year by looking back over the old one, whilst at the same time surveying what was to come. From recent publicity it seems that there are a number of MPs who wish that they had his gift.

Peter Hain has already gone on the record as opposing a further Labour-Plaid Cymru coalition. At least he is consistent. He wants his party to work with the Welsh Liberal Democrats if they fail to secure a decisive majority on 5th May. We would be happy to talk, Peter.

Now we have Jonathan Edwards, sticking his oar in. He is in this morning's Western Mail claiming that a link up between the Welsh Liberal Democrats and Labour would not be credible and urging Carwyn Jones to get into bed with Plaid Cymru again.

Labour's reaction is predictable. They told the paper that they have "absolutely zero interest in the bar room tittle tattle of Mr Edwards.” And so they might. No party wants to write off any option before the electorate has had a chance of giving their verdict. To do so would reduce their bargaining power in any future negotiations.

Plaid Cymru's problem though is twofold. They have ruled out working with the Tories already and so the only option they have to return to government is to renew their pact with Labour. In these circumstances they are in quite a weak negotiating position. In contrast, Labour have two options - Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats - and so are in a much better position to play one off against the other. No wonder Plaid are so desperate for Labour to commit to them in advance.

Plaid's second problem is that being in government with Labour makes it much harder to attack them in the election period. Carwyn Jones' record is also that of Ieuan Wyn Jones. If they are also going to court Labour throughout the election period and rule out working with the Conservatives and the Welsh Liberal Democrats, then the Nationalists have even less to work with in terms of promoting a distinctive agenda. As far as the voters are concerned Labour and Plaid Cymru are a single package and that may lose them some support.

It is little wonder then that Plaid Cymru MPs are seeking a way out of this. What they cannot do anything about though is the fact that Labour are not playing ball over this little manoeuvre. Plaid Cymru may find themselves back in government but with very little to show for it or to use to keep their activists happy.
I don't think Plaid has ruled out a coalition with the Tories have they?
a vision to me
Libby flying over a tree
with three assembly members
under the tree
looking smug after election day
Elizabeth Evans
Peter Black
one other I cannot name
older man with suit and glasses
Is there a third way (ugh). A Labour minority government? The SNP in Scotland have done ok as a minority so why not Labour in Wales?
Your wisdom please Peter
Labour could rule as a minority but have largely ruled that out
Given all that it seems that the Liberal Democrats' only "option" is to go in with New Labour isn't it? Does that make your position weak as well?
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