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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Marriage of convenience

So now we know. The Labour-Plaid Cymru coalition is a marriage of convenience, an open relationship in which either side is free to go off and sow their political oats.

According to Peter Hain in a pamphlet, co-authored with the First Minister, Labour are still keen to keep Plaid Cymru at arms length:

On relations with Plaid, Mr Hain said, “The coalition was in order to get stable government, pure and simple. It doesn’t represent a fusion of nationalist policy and Labour policy at all.”

The Secretary of State for Wales continues by making the case for keeping Wales as part of the United Kingdom:

The pamphlet, Partnership for Progress, uses the idea of “shared risks” to argue that Wales does better from being politically unified with a bigger, richer neighbour.

It says, “Through National Insurance we each contribute to a system of social protection against sickness, incapacity and bereavement for any insured family or citizen in every part of the UK. This is only made possible by sharing risks across a UK population of 60 million and is a far more effective way of combating poverty and securing social justice than sharing risks among just three million people in Wales.”

It goes on to argue that Wales has no equivalent phrase to Scotland’s “south of the border”.

“That is not to say that there is no such thing as clear Welsh identity – there obviously is. It is just different,” the pamphlet says. “Modern Wales combines a deep respect for its ancient language, literature, eisteddfodic traditions and heritage, with strong pride in its early industrialisation and absorption of globalised trade and cultures.”

He quite rightly identifies the need for nationalists to make a convincing case for independence and in particular to address the question of the higher levels of public spending per head in Wales, roughly £1,000 a year, and how that would be possible in an independent country.

The next few months could prove to be very interesting.
He quite rightly identifies the need for nationalists to make a convincing case for independence

Why, are we having a referendum on independence? I think not, Peter.
Watch any news clips of Rhodri Morgan and Ieuan Wyn Jones TOGETHER on TV - there was a good one when they jointly signed their Coalition Document on the tenth anniversary of the "Yes" Assembly vote. The body language between the two is atrocious. I'd expect a whinger like Plaid's Jones "son of the Mans" to be whimpish and not look Morgan in the eye, but Morgan himslf could not bring himself to make any fond body language towards Mr Whinge Jones. I am very very far from being an expert in this BODY LANGUAGE thing, but watching Rhodri Morgan and Ieuan Wyn Jones together is like watching an old video of Prince Charles with Princess Diana - when they loathed and hated each other. The signs are obvious. Can't you lot in Cardiff Bay persuade BBC or HTV or S4C to get in aBody Language EXPERT to go through a video of their joint body language and talk us the public through just how much Labour and Plaid obviously loathe and hate each other just weeks into this coalition. It would be a laugh.
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