Sunday 27 May 2007


It has been an interesting few weeks, but are we any closer to achieving an Independent Wales?

While I am disappointed at not having a Nationalist First Minister, I am more disappointed at the failure to achieve a Labour-Plaid deal which would have delivered a referendum on a full Parliament. This is a vital stepping stone towards independence and must be secured in time for the 2011 elections.

But with the LDs finally making their minds up and coming out in favour of supporting the Rainbow, things could still work out quite nicely. I am not suggesting that Plaid need to join the Rainbow, but should instead go back to Rhodri and demand the referendum (and new language act) as the price for their support. Plaid can ensure that Rhodri keeps Labour’s unionist dinosaurs in their cages by the hanging threat of a No-Confidence vote at any time

Plaid are in a very strong position, but as in poker, every hand’s a potential winner, every hand’s a potential loser. We still have the same cards as we had 3 weeks ago but they can still be played a few different ways.

But the rules of the game will change quickly, and there is only a relatively narrow window to do this – the LDs can and will change their minds again, and jump back in with Labour – and the Tories will step back out when it suits them as well.

Labour need to be squeezed now for maximum gain.


Anonymous said...

We really need a strong Nationalist-led executive to lead the way and give the devolved Assembly/Government an actual purpose. At the moment it's just somewhere councilors go to retire.

Unknown said...

Been thinking more about the Rainbow - I think Plaid should just go ahead and request an immediate Vote of No-Confidence - justify it by saying that RM was just being opportunistic by jumping into the seat without giving the coalition chance to get its act together.

Lets not waste any time - lets make a change NOW

Activist said...

I am a pro devolution socialist and entirely subscribe to Indies view. If Labour goes into opposition the devolution project will be as good as dead. Reasons being:

1. The support of 2/3's AMs are needed. Hell will freeze over before you would get this from an opposition Labour Party.

2. It will need the full co operation of Westminister. Labour response as above.

3. It will need the full weight of the Labour campaigning machine to win the referendum in the country.

4. Any party putting the Tories into power will produce such a tribal response from Labour and their own socialists that we will never get the concensus needed to see this through.

Please Plaid for the sake of Wales do not throw away our future self determination for a sniff of power where your every move will depend on Tory support. Think about it - we need mutual support to do this but surely not from the Tories. Wales is red/ green in its politics so should be its government.

MH said...

I think activist's points are good, but I would just like to put this into the equation.

Labour will support a Parliament referendum and campaign for a "yes" WHEN IT’S IN THEIR INTERESTS TO DO SO. This will have nothing to do with Wales, but everything to do with what happens in Westminster. As soon as Labour become convinced that the Tories will win the next Westminster election, they will switch. They will do it in time to get the referendum BEFORE the Tories get in.

The question is, "when will this be?" I don't know. It depends on Brown's popularity in the UK.

1. If things go well for him and he's convinced Labour could beat the Tories, we'll have an early election (autumn this year/spring next) and he'll have 5 more years. Under that scenario our chances of a Parliament referendum are NIL until 2012 (i.e. past the life of this Assembly).

2. If he's not sure or thinks there's any chance of losing he'll hold out until 2009/10 ... but we WILL get a Parliament referendum (or at least it will be set up) before the UK election. Labour will have written-off being in power in Westminster, but at least they'll give themselves a good chance of being in power in Cardiff in 2011, unfettered by Tory control from Westminster.

So under the first scenario, we won't get a referendum, period. Therefore we might as well get everything else for ourselves (i.e. the stuff in the All-Wales Accord) with the simple majority we have now.

Under the second scenario, Labour will want a referendum as insurance in case they were to lose to the Tories in 2009/10. They might well hedge their bets by committing to a referendum before the UK general election, but at a date AFTER the UK general election. If they lose it they will campaign for a "yes" vote, if they win it, they will campaign for a "no" vote (or be so lukewarm that it is in effect a no campaign). That, for us, is the nightmare scenario.

BUT, Labour will always have the option of doing that ANYWAY. No matter what commitments we get out of them now.

In short, I think I'm coming round to saying yes to the Rainbow now. The ONLY thing of value we could get from Labour in these current negotiations would be a referendum commitment. Welsh Labour would be happy enough to give it. But they can't commit to it without Brown's approval ... and without that, it's worthless.

I hate to say this, but the politics of Wales DOESN'T MATTER to the Labour party anything like as much as Westminster matters. We are an afterthought, a secondary consideration. But the corollary is that we can do pretty much what we like in Wales ... precisely BECAUSE it doesn't matter to the Labour party.

So, why not just get on and do the stuff in the AWA now?