Monday, July 23, 2007

Going to the pub...

is very educational in Llandudno. Two conversations stood out last week: one I overheard to of the regulars in my local haunt discussing the merits of the single transferable voting system. I have never heard anyone in a pub discuss this in the 28 years I have been visiting the pub.

Two. I was joking that living on the side of the Orme was good news what with all the rain etc. I was told that last time llandudno flooded the water ran down the Orme flooding houses and gardens no more boasting and I am investing in buckets....

Monday, July 09, 2007

As one of the 18....

As I posted below I both spoke and voted against the coalition with Labour. However I am more than happy to accept the decision and came away from National Council in positive mood.

There is a great deal in the document to be excited about and it is vital that Plaid get on with the job of selling our achievements.

We need to focus on communicating what we will bring to the new government to our supporters and the wider public.

The debate was very good natured and served to unify the party around its decision. It was much harder headed than I expected. Although nobody made the point explicitly it is clear that we will enter the coalition to make it work and realise it wont be perfect and we wont get everything we want even if its in the document. However if the Labour party drags its heels on so many issues as to delay real progress the Plaid leadership no that the broader party will support putting Labour into opposition.

Whilst it would be nice to have had a choice between the two deals the political reality is that it would have been impossible for the National Council to push the assembly group into a decision it did not want. It also would not have been a proper choice as the two documents were not drawn up at the same time with the result that the Red/Green document was inevitably better.

Whilst I have become frustrated over the past weeks with some members on the left of Plaid I respect their position and accept that this is by far the easiest option for the party. If we had opted for the Rainbow and it fell apart the damage would have been enormous. If it comes to it I think we can extricate ourselves from this with a lot less damage.
Adam Price an apology.

First rule of public debate: If you have a go at someone and then find out you were wrong, say sorry.

On the post below I suggested "Adam Price and friends" had ensured that we could not have a choice between the "rainbow" and "Red/Green" . In fact it was due to the party rules that had been set out some time ago. Everybody agreed that we need to look at the process to see how it can be improved and I am happy to set the record straight.

In fairness to Adam, whilst revealing he reads this blog, he made no mention of me having a pop at him. Nobody has asked me to apologise but I think it appropriate.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

7 4 July 7th.

Adam Price set out seven reasons to vote for the Red green deal. He says that its easy to vote no to things but harder to vote yes. It will be impossible for supporters of the "rainbow" to vote yes for the rainbow on Saturday because Adam and friends have made this impossible. Therefore we have to vote no to the "red green" proposal.

Here are seven reasons to vote no:

1. A Parliament and the future of devolution.

The incompetence of the Labour assembly government threatens the whole devolution project. A new Plaid led government would breathe new life into politics in wales and give us a real chance of winning the referendum. The biggest boost to our chances of course is if there is a Tory government in Westminster as more Labour activists will support a parliament. If Gordon Brown wins another term Labour MPs Lords etc will lead the fight against a parliament unless we are running a successful government we will lose.

2. To lead not follow.

Looking at countries that use PR and usually have coalition government a very clear patten emerges. You either lead the government or opposition or take on the role of a junior partner. if you become a junior partner you are stuck with that role. Your party never grows very much and you have no chance of ever leading a government. The evidence is that if Plaid backs the Red green deal we will NEVER get the chance to lead a government. Do we see our future as an adjunct to the Labour party with an ever weakening negotiating position? We should either lead the government or the opposition.

3. The policy programme.

In terms of the things that Plaid wanted the two programmes are very similar. One Wales offers more on housing but under the "Rainbow" we could have taken an axe to the huge number of bodies in the Health Service and local government leeching money from front line services. Another six months to a year in opposition would give us the chance to re-vist the All wales accord and sort out the costings. One Wales offers some nice rhetoric on halting privatisation but the Tories could never have got any privatisation plans through a cabinet dominated by Plaid and the Lib dems.

4. Do you want a Tory V Labour fight in 2011?

Handing the Tories the role of chief opposition is idiotic. The public will see a Labour government in all but name fighting the Tories. We will vanish from sight. Although most of our vote will stay loyal whatever we do we need to hold onto the "anti Labour" vote and the protest vote that will either switch to the Lib dems, peoples voice or stop at home. Opting for the Rainbow would have kept Wales a Plaid Vrs Labour fight as would remaining in opposition.

5. Its time for a change.

When the negotiations started Rhodri Morgan said an opion poll should be held to see what was the preferred option of the public. An ICM poll showed that the Rainbow was the preferred option. Going against the grain of public opinion is sometimes essential in this case it serves no useful purpose.

6. Lack of stability.

Proponents of the deal claim the Lib dems are unstable, cannot be trusted and may have a new leader within a year. The Lib dem assembly group and special conference voted for the rainbow and they served for three years in a coalition despite huge divisions in their ranks.

Who will be first minister in 2009? We dont know as Rhodri Morgan is standing down. All Labour have to do is string us along for two years then their MPs can get a first Minister of their choice. Under Labour's bizarre election process MPs have a huge say in picking the first minsiter. We can bet they will pick an anti Plaid one to dump us now they have divided the "Rainbow" partners thus ensuring the survival of a Labour minority government after 2009.

7. Building the movement.

For Plaid to achive its objectives we have to build a broad based movement that can appeal to all who make their home in Wales. Becoming a small ultra-leftist adjunct to the Labour party will not enable us to do so. A Plaid led government would show the people of Wales that whilst we care deeply about the language, Trident missiles etc we can make a positive difference for everyone who lives in Wales.