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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Plaid leader snubbed

New Plaid Cymru Leader, Leanne Wood's avowed intention to form a united front against public spending cuts received a setback yesterday, when the sort of tribalism she is seeking to combat kicked in and the Unite union rejected her advances.

According to the BBC  Andy Richards, who is Wales secretary of Unite, accused her of an "opportunistic publicity stunt", believing that somehow next week's Wales TUC conference in Llandudno is of national significance and will command the attention of the entire Welsh nation.

In fact it won't and to be fair to the Plaid Cymru leader, making such a suggestion just before a major gathering of this kind was both reasonable and well-timed. After all what better forum is there for trade unionists to discuss how they should work with other parties to achieve their aims.

The reaction of the Wales Labour Party to Leanne Wood's advances can only be described as vitriolic. According to the Western Mail a spokesperson said:

“Welsh Labour remains proud as ever of its long and deep-rooted bond with its affiliated Trade Unions, and we were disgusted by Leanne Wood’s inaccurate and vindictive attack on the good work they do.

“But people in Wales will see her claims for what they are – the grubby politics of a leader who has already lost her way, and the support of much of her party.

“There are many reasons why trade unions remain deeply suspicious of Plaid Cymru. Plaid’s threat of separation, threat to the UK economy, threatening to tear up pay bargaining arrangements, telling lies about the Welsh Union Learning Fund, and calling development grants for working people ‘bribery’ are just some of them.”

An objective observer might wonder what exactly Labour are worried about given their overwhelming success in local elections earlier this month.

Where Plaid Cymru go from here is unclear. Labour too have inadvertently dug themselves into a hole.

The building of a progressive alliance on which Leanne Wood has based her leadership seems to be dead and buried already. When one adds onto this her poor performances in the Assembly chamber and doubts and uncertainty amongst many Plaid Cymru members about the way she is conducting herself, Leanne Wood looks to be in trouble already, even before her honeymoon period is over.

Labour too appear to have commited a tactical error in the vehemence of their response. Clearly, there is no love lost amongst the former coalition partners, but the rift between them is growing wider.

Labour do not have a majority in the Assembly chamber and need to work with other parties to get things done. All they have succeeded in doing this week is to close down their options and hand a stronger negotiating hand to the Welsh Liberal Democrats.
"a stronger negotiating hand to the Welsh Liberal Democrats"

Yes, after the hiding you got in the local elections - just about everywhere!
I don't see the relevance of that to what goes on in the Assembly
I think that Welsh Liberal Democrats should resign themselves to the role of vocal spectators in theAssembly and local government for some time to come.
I cannot see why we should do any such thing. We are a party of government and our elected representatives have a duty to secure the best possible deal for their constituents and to seek to implement our policies. We will take whatever opportunities are available to do that.
What was (according to Labour) "Leanne Wood’s inaccurate and vindictive attack on the good work they (unions) do."?
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