Wednesday, June 27, 2007

interesting but...

Have now seen the document agreed with Labour.

It has more detail compared with the all Wales acchord. However there is little in it that could not also have gone into the Rainbow agreement. There is some rhetoric about the market in nhs which is nice to see but does not really get us anywhere.

The commitment on the hospitals is vague and still talks about the nonsense of no closures until community services are in place. Most of the services cannot be provided "in the community" the issue is about single site provision and lack of access to services.

There is some vague talk about a governance commission to review the number of bodies governing Wales. Will Labour vote to make their buddies unemployed? Guess we will wait and see.Clearly wales has to many councils and to many bodies looking at the NHs but as most of these are run or set up by Labour its hard to see them being prepared to dismantle them.

There is lots of talk of the need to buld trust. Labour could start by telling us what Lord Kinnock plans to do in a referendum for a welsh parliament or which dungeon they plan to lock him in.:)

The reality as set out below has not changed. Its not a bad programme as such but we will probably become the third party in the assembly in 2011 if wqe agree this.

Red and green should never be seen.....

Sad news as the Plaid assembly group votes to prop up or join a failing and unpopular Labour government. The consequences of this decision will last for a generation unless national council halts the process on July 7th.

Why will I be voting against this proposal at National Council and urging others to do the same.

1. Faced with the choice between being the dominant partner in a coalition and a junior partner you always choose to be the dominant partner in order to control the media agenda which is key to modern government.

2. If the rainbow had been proposed the left would have turned up to national council urging us to remember the 80's the miners strike etc. So the key message is remember 79. In the 79referendum virtually the entire Welsh Labour party campaigned against Labour's policy of an assembly. We are expected to believe that Welsh labour MPs will campaign to reduce the number of MPs. Lord Kinnock attended the meeting of Welsh MPs that told Rhodri to do a deal with the LIb dems instead. Will Labour expell him if he campaigns for a no vote? Of course not nor will they expell their councillors or MPs who do the same. I assume a date has been agreed for the referendum if not what the hell are we playing at. Only the election of a Tory government in westminster would get Labour on board for a yes vote.

3. Becoming a junior partner to labour sends out to very negative messages. a) We cannot manage on our own without a bigger goodbye to independence and goodbye to the idea of a Plaid led government.b) We want a Welsh parliament so we can have permanent Labour government. The message we send out is that we dont want real change in Wales so what is the point in voting?

I am shocked that people on the left of our party will back this nonsese. I work nightshifts stacking shelves in a supermarket for £8 an hour. Most of the people I work with are former Labour voters who stopped voting Labour because their tax money goes to pay for huge numbers of "managers" quangos etc in the public sector and not on service improvements. For self proclaimed "socialists" to support the theft of my colleagues pay to fund 22 Local health Board chief executives £100,000 pa for example would be disgusting. Therefore I look forward to seeing how the new government plans to axe these bodies to free funds for front line services.
If there is no plan then the socialists need to explain themselves.

All in all not a happy day.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Rainbow Warrior

I have waited a while before commenting on the various options open to Plaid and to the internal debate within the party about what happens next. However the time for silence and reflection is over.

Plaid enjoyed a fairly successful election night and the fact that even at their height the Tories cannot overtake us in terms of seats, or even get that close, shows we are firly established as the second party in Wales. So what next?

I find the whole debate quite difficult for one reason only. Although I am not a socialist I often find myself in agreement with the "socialist" wing of the party. In 2003 I spent a lot of time, and money, helping Helen mary Jones in Llanelli (i was living in leicester at the time) and many of the friends I have made in the party are now amongst those who favour a deal with Labour.

I cannot for the life of me understand why it is that people I otherwise have the utmost respect for would prefer to see a Labour first minister rather than a Plaid one. Let us not delude ourselves that there is another choice, following the "no deal" approach favoured by Jill Evans and others (the Peter Black approach :) ) is effectively making a choice of a Labour first minister over a Plaid one and gaining nothing in return.

Going cap in hand to Labour asking for a couple of cabinet seats and a referendum on a partial parliament is deeply unattractive and will send out the wrong message about our party. We urge the people of Wales to have the confidence to shake of britishness and have our own government yet when faced with the choice of leading a government or playing second fiddle to labour the left want the second fiddle option. Its a left wing version of the "welsh cringe". Horrible to behold in people you admire.

A deal with Labour will deliver nothing of value. Rhodri Morgan willl be gone in two years so any long term promises he makes are worthless. It was Labour policy in 1979 to support the Yes campaign in the referendum yet virtually the entire Welsh labour party campaigned against it. The notion that the Labour "campaigning machine" will be thrown behind a "yes" campaign which if successful would reduce the number of MP's Labour sends to Westminster is laughable. Labour will promise much and deliver little just as they did in 1979.

The likely arrival of a Tory government in Westminster will perhaps concentrate the minds of the so called "nationalist" wing of the Labour party. It would be in the interest of a Tory government to have a Welsh parliament and reduce the number of MPs from wales, it would be in the broader Welsh interest to have a parliament to protect it from the worst access of a Tory westminster government and enough people in welsh Labour will see that.

So a "rainbow" it must be. I detect a growing appetite in the party for government and frustration amonsgt activists as to why it is taking so long to deliver. For those that foam at the mouth at the prospect of the Tories supporting a Plaid first minister I ask them do you have a serious alternative? the answer thus far is none.

Social democrats and Christian democrats work together in many parts of europe. The Tories in wales are now much closer to a "christian democrat party" and Plaid is very much in the Social Democrat tradition. The "socialist" left in Plaid is I suspect not as socialist as they proclaim anyway. Is their vision of an independent Wales one in which the state controls every aspect of life? Or is it the one the rest of us share where a government ensures basic needs are met, cultural and language diversity is encouraged,that there are not huge gaps in wealth between individuals, that the market is policed effectively and the environment protected. The vision that all in Plaid can sign up to and not just socialists.