Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Assembly Rainbow Coalition

Watched myself on S4C's Manifesto today saying that I can no longer 'turn my back on' the idea of coalition government in the Assembly which involves the Conservatives. It pains me to admit that I meant exactly what I said.
A few months ago I would not have touched the idea but Labour's attitude to the Government of Wales Act 2006 has changed a lot of things. The utterly disgraceful ban on candidates fighting for a constituency seat if they are also on the 'party list' is a constitutional outrage and is typical of the partisan attitude that Labour has carried into the discussions about how the National Assembly will function from next May - when the provisions of the Act take effect.
The problem is that Labour thinks it will always be in Government and so wants to 'fix' things to unfairly favour the Government of the day. Labour cares nothing for the rights of opposition parties or for the principles of democracy or accountability because it will never apply to them. Now it will be great if another party were to win an overall majority next year (especially if it were to be the Tories) but I just cannot see this happening. Seems to me that the only way to allow Labour to experience the needs of 'opposition' is if the other three mainstream parties could settle on some sort of 'arrangement' which would allow a limited compromise programme to be carried out without them.
The only way to persuade the rational mind to accept what seems at first to be unpalatable is to make sure that the alternatives taste even more foul. This truism has affected my thinking - and we must find a way of applying it to Welsh Labour.
There could be some serious head-scratching going on next May 4th.

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