Sunday, October 29, 2006

Dafydd El - What to do with him.

Watched today's Politics Show. Dafydd El is becoming a one-man soap opera. My deepest concern is that I usually agree with him. But I do think he is a touch hard on his Deputy. It all very well for Dafydd. He's contesting a 'safe' seat while John has got to beat the Labour machine and the odds to win Wrexham again next May.
The reason I usually agree with the PO is because both of us put the future of the Asssembly before most other political considerations. In the interview with Adrian Masters, Dafydd was utterly scathing of the way opposition parties behaved over this year's Assembly Government Draft Budget. "Trying to be the Government for 10 minutes" was his disparaging assessment. I don't completely agree with this judgement because the Government did not discuss through the 'usual channels' in the way I would expect a minority government to do - but I have to admit that it looked like a bit of a game to me. I do not know what the public made of it. Perhaps my view is coloured by being asked to deputise for Dafydd during the debate when he took his 'comfort break'. But I did think the whole charade brought the Assembly into public ridicule and did huge damage to the develpment of sensible urban/rural debate. It was very depressing to hear so much anti farming rhetoric coming from the governing party - and even more depressing to hear Carwyn Jones joining in.
We adopted a different approach in the Environment, Planning and Countryside Committee. Opposition AMs made it clear that they did not agree with the Minister and forced him to outline his reasoning - in public in front of the people most affected. The Minister made his case in a reasoned way - and we told him that we did not agree with him. But I do not want to bring the Government down and so I accept that the Government must have its budget - even if I don't like it. The voters will judge.
But back to Dafydd Elis Thomas and what we should do with him. Some AMs are telling me that it is time he went. Well I do not agree. He stands head and shoulders above anyone else. He is off the wall sometimes but he has courage, vision and resolution to make sense of the ridiculously complicated Government of Wales Bill. Having listened to the sort of rubbish being spouted by Peter Hain and Rhodri Morgan recently, we need Dafydd El. But no-one pretends that he is easy to deal with.

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