Thursday, February 01, 2007

Andrew's Bid for the Labour Leadership

Remember 12.30 on 1st Feb. 2007. It was a decisive moment in Welsh political history. Let this moment in time be seared into your memory. It was when Andrew Davies transferred his loyalty from Rhodri Morgan to - guess who - Andrew himself! And it was about so much more as well.

The occasion was Questions to the 'Business' Minister, Andrew Davies. Andy surveyed the chamber, turned to face Plaid Cymru, and launched a full frontal attack, a blitzkrieg of withering insults and putdowns. He had even set up Leighton Andrews to prepare the ground with a question about the value of military jobs in Wales. (I always thought Andrew and Leighton were political enemies - but in politics, your enemy's enemy is your friend!). He also set up Irene James to ask another question so he could unload the second barrel as well.

Now, what does this little drama tell us? (and please hear me out). Firstly, that Labour's private polling has been telling them that Labour is hemorrhaging votes and that a coalition with Plaid Cymru will probably be the only way for Rhodri Morgan to limp on as First Minister after May. Such an arrangement would pave the way for Carwyn Jones to take over in 2009, when Rhodri retires. This scenario is anathema to Andrew Davies. Far better to go into opposition in May - and bye-bye Rhodri. And without the Plaid influence, its hello Andrew rather than Carwyn! A Labour recovery by 2011 - or even an earlier Rainbow Coalition collapse - and Bingo, Andy inherits the top job.

You should have seen their faces, the Plaid anti-Tories who have been clinging to the prospect of a coalition with Labour like a 'suckie blanket'. I don't know which upsets Rhodri Glyn, Dai Lloyd, Janet Ryder, Helen Mary etc the more, me throwing 'come hither' glances in their direction, or Andrew Davies showering them with the spittle of contempt and rejection.

At 12.30 today, we saw the first domino fall in a process which will lead to the Labour Party in Wales going into opposition. Andrew Davies has started his 'Mandalsonian fancy footwork dance'. The 'Rainbow Coalition' is back in the running.


Anonymous said...

A far simpler explanation might be that Labour is really worried about May. In many traditional Labour seats the real fear is that Labour voters will stay home and if they transfer their vote it will be to Plaid.It was no accident that Andrew Davies was supported by the two AMs most vulnerable to a repeat performance by Plaid of 1999. Never underestimate the hatred for Plaid and its members in many traditional Labour areas. To make matters worse, on the ground, many Labour constituency parties are now shells. There are also advantages in going into opposition. The defeat of some of the dead wood AMs could help the party in the long run. It would also allow the party to develop new ideas and reconnect with its supporters. Finally it would expose the opposition who would now have to take reponsibility for decision making in a very difficult period for public finances. Read the IFS Green budget report to confirm this. The mess Welsh Labour is in can be seen by the speech made on Wednesday by Sue Essex to PCS strikers and the reaction today in the Western Mail letters page.

Anonymous said...

I agree with anon. rather than Glyn Davies on this one. I think Leighton Andrews is very frustrated that Labour is not attacking Plaid enough. Really they know Plaid is their only real threat and a concentration of their attack on Tories would really just giving Plaid a free run.

It indicates the start of a stronger split between the pro-devolutionists and those more sceptical in the Labour group.

Anonymous said...

The only way there will be a rainbow coalition is if the Welsh Tories seperate from the London party as an exlcusively Welsh Party with a new name and identity. The present brand of the 'Welsh Conservatives' is anathema to much of the membership of Plaid Cymru and industrial South Wales, hence the vofierous opposition. Otherwise it's another 4 years of Labour "Sigh"

Glyn Davies AM said...

I agree with most of what anons say. It is not contradictory to my post. Its just that I am carrying the logic a step further - which is what I believe Andrew has done.

The 'Vote Plaid, Get Tory' strategy seems to have been replaced by a full-blown attack on Plaid. I believe there is an acceptance of 'oposition' in this new strategy.

I respond to other anon that I have always accepted that a 'Rainbow Coalition' cannot work without a big change in the way my party is perceived. You will have to wait for our manifesto. Over recent years we have become a genuinely Welsh party but our major challenge is to get this message accross. I have been willing to be open about this.

lads said...

gosh Glyn, wasn't it you who used the description Minister of zzzzzzzzz when refering to Andrew Davies? The prospect of even more zzzz is truly appalling but it's a price worth paying for a real change of Government after May!

Anonymous said...

Andrew Davies used to work for Leighton Andrews in his PR firm Welsh Context which the Rhondda AM sold for close to a Million.

Anonymous said...

Andrew Davies used to work for Leighton Andrews in his PR firm Welsh Context which the Rhondda AM sold for close to a Million.

Anonymous said...

Leighton Andrews didn't sell his company for a million. That's just a Plaid/Tory lie.