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Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Splits and own goals

There was speculation that once the referendum was over then normal hostilities would resume but surely nobody expected that the conflict would develop in quite such a dramatic way as a meltdown within Wales Labour and the Plaid Cymru education spokesperson launching a public attack on her own government.

The BBC report that in a statement issued by the Welsh Labour press office on Monday, the Shadow Secretary of State for Wales, Peter Hain said that after last week's Yes vote in the referendum that "people are now asking 'what is the point of Plaid Cymru?'"

Mr Hain has now said: "Ieuan Wyn Jones wants a discussion that goes wider than the future of the Wales Office.

I am the leader of the Welsh Labour Party... I anticipate leading the campaign into the assembly election, so it's my role of course to speak on behalf of the party”

"I think we need to have a mature debate about the future role of the Welsh Deputy First Minister.

"Can you really justify having a Deputy First Minister in an assembly cabinet of only nine?"

He added: "It is difficult, I think, in the long-term to justify having a Deputy First Minister in the Welsh Assembly Government as ineffective as Ieuan Wyn Jones."

Both the first and deputy first ministers were asked about Mr Hain's attack when they appeared together at the Welsh Assembly Government's weekly press briefing.

Carwyn Jones said: "Those are Peter's comments. These are not comments that are issued by the government.

Carwyn Jones also outlined a major and fundamental disagreement with Peter Hain over who leads Labour and who will be leading Labour's Assembly campaign: "I am the leader of the Welsh Labour Party. I anticipate leading the campaign into the assembly election, so it's my role of course to speak on behalf of the party."

Given that Hain's statement was issued by the Wales Labour Party itself, you have to wonder if they have been told this. Athough Carwyn Jones is meant to be the leader of the Labour Party in Wales his own MPs are now openly revolting against his government and his leadership.

There will be many people who are now confused about who speaks for Welsh Labour – Peter Hain or Carwyn Jones. It is hard to see how Welsh Labour can be a strong voice for Wales when they are in this sort of turmoil.

Just yesterday there were calls from Plaid Cymru to abolish the post of Secretary of State for Wales. How long will it be before Carwyn Jones formally calls for Peter Hain’s post to be abolished too?

Meanwhile Plaid Cymru have their own problems. Their education spokesperson, Nerys Evans said a shortfall in funding per pupil between Wales and England was "appalling" and she pointed out that Labour has held the education portfolio since going into coalition in 2007.

It is hard not to disagree with the Education Minister, who said that Plaid Cymru had scored a "spectacular own goal":

"For the past four years Nerys Evans and Plaid ministers have voted in favour of each successive education budget, presented by the One Wales government in the assembly."

Are we going to see another outbreak of Plaid Cymru denying collective responsibility for the mess they have made of the Education system in Wales? Surely the voters will see through this attempt by the nationalists to have their cake and eat it. As for Labour, perhaps they need to sort themselves out before criticising others.
Education Minister Leighton Andrews (Labour) just posted this on his Facebook a/c:

"Love the way Nerys thinks the things she likes were done by a Plaid government, and the things she doesn't were done by Labour ministers!"
Joining a Labour Government is akin to marrying a Black Widow spider. Will ye never learn.
Just to re assure you Peter I am back for the forthcoming Welsh General Election and will be with you all the way. Now then. This post really is fantasy. Carwyn Jones won the leadership election in all sections of the Labour Party including the MPs. Peter Hain wasn't in that election or for that matter any other election conferring a Welsh mandate. Peter has not and would not suggest that he is in any sense the Welsh leader. He is a Westminister appointment to oversee Welsh matters that are not devolved.

I have never heard anybody in the Welsh Labour party refer to anyone as leader other than Carwyn. He is hugely popular and respected having pulled off the difficult task of filling the Rhodri's very large political shoes.

So rather than inventing nonsense about a Party you know little about I would concentrate on the impending electoral meltdown of your own.
Sorry to disllusion you but these are direct quotes from Peter Hain and Carwyn Jones. I have not made any of this up.
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