Saturday, March 31, 2007

Why Welsh Labour should lose.

Difficult to be non-partisan under a heading like this. But I'll try, in a non-partisan sort of way - although I admit that I could be fooling myself here. It must be for readers to judge the extent to which I'm driven by partisan interest and how much by concern for democracy in Wales.

Democracy without genuine choice is Pyrrhic. Citizens lose faith, lose interest and lose the willingness to participate. Politics becomes the playground of failed or frustrated 'celebrities', controlled by faceless puppeteers, concerned only with winning and holding office. At Westminster, we are currently watching the absurdity of a Prime Minister's 'resignation' and another Prime Minister's 'coronation' being manipulated by political Mafias without even a nod in the direction of democracy.

But back to Wales. Its not that Labour is unspeakably 'bad'. Its just that Labour has dominated Welsh politics for a century and is heading for electoral meltdown if opinion polls are to be believed. What sort of a choice is it that if Labour does indeed lose a hatful of seats on May 3rd, the only alternative is a Labour dominated coalition. This is no choice at all. But so ingrained is the 'acceptance' of Wales as a one-party-state that even some of my own side see it as the natural order of things - and cannot face the concept of a non Labour coalition.

There is no worthwhile democracy in Wales unless there is at least a prospect of forcing Labour into opposition. Whatever the result on May 3rd, I believe that my party, Plaid Cymru, the Lib Dems and any Independents have to give serious consideration of working together to create a genuine democratic choice for the people of Wales - by putting Labour into opposition.


Anonymous said...

you make a good point but it can hardly be described as non partisan!!!

Anonymous said...

I agree with you entirely. Coalitions mean that a wider spectrum of the people are represented by the government, and so on... but what exactly are these "opinion polls" that you speak of? As I pointed out here, Wales suffers from a severe lack of opinion polls. Either that or the media is just keeping us in the dark!

Anyway, the very fact that Labour is unable to win an outright majority in the Assembly should be proof enough that Wales is no longer a one-paty state.

Anonymous said...

If Labour loses a number of first past the post seats on May 3rd then really this places a question mark against any coalition that contains the Labour party. It could be argued that any party that does decide to go with Labour risks being accused of going against the wishes of the Welsh electorate. There are only two real alternatives.The first is for Labour to try to rule by itself as the Scottish Labour party is indicating it will do if it loses seats. The risk with this of course is that Labour could lose a vote of no confidence at any time. The other alternative is for the other parties to try to look at what they have in common in policy terms and try and form a coalition. What ever happens the real challenge for all potential assembly politicians is in the words of one senior civil servant to 'enhance the credibility of the assembly in the eyes of the Welsh public' over the next four years.

Anonymous said...

There are only two real alternatives.The first is for Labour to try to rule by itself as the Scottish Labour party is indicating it will do if it loses seats.

This practice really needs to die a death. Forming a minority government is no way to govern, and it ultimately meand that even less of the things people voted for are realised.

Glyn Davies AM said...

sanddef, I should have said 'political commentaters' rather than opinion polls - though we did some private polling last November and I think ITV are bringing out a poll this week.

I think the minority government route would be a disaster. Some politicians are going to have to partake of the unpalatable after May 3rd.