Thursday, May 24, 2007

I still believe in it.

Today I recalled the Final Budget Debate in the Assembly last December when the Tories and the Lib Dems traded insults with Plaid Cymru - following the latter's decision to support the Labour Government. It was like a remake of West Side Story. I will never forget watching Labour, and particularly 'my mate on the other side', Sue Essex enjoying herself even more than I enjoyed my first viewing of Crocodile Dundee. I made a conciliatory speech in the middle of it - and it was no more than a sort of half time breather between the combatants. I was in despair. What the hell were we going to gain by such self indulgent rubbish.

And I feel the same today. No-one can feel more disappointed than I do that the Lib Dems sunk the Rainbow Coalition last night. I was so angry after I heard the result from Llandrindod Wells that I couldn't sleep. But the truth is I am still totally committed to a Rainbow Coalition. Its not even me being anti-Labour. I just do not want Wales to be a one-party state. And the only way anything can happen to change this within the next 4 years - and probably after that, means working with the Lib Dems.

I was shocked when I read the document that Plaid's 'gang of four' and the Lib Dems rejected. There was absolutely no reasonable grounds for rejection - that couldn't have been easily sorted. We had gone even further than I would have expected. They were voting against a Tory Party of another time.

In my opinion, the sinking of the Rainbow Coalition was a very damaging blow to Welsh democracy. I am thinking about how to revive the corpse. First questionis, do we need the Lib Dems. Now even I can see that a Coalition of Plaid Cymru and my party in 2011 is a big ask, even if we have the numbers. The irrational antipathy within parts of Plaid towards 'Thatcher's Tories' will still be there. Reality is we will need the Lib Dems.

I don't know what I will be doing to further the interests of the Conservative Party in Wales over the next year or two - but I will be trying to build the confidence that people like Helen Mary Jones, Bethan Jenkins and Peter Black have in the Conservative Party. Because I want Wales to be have elections where there is a genuine choice. I do not think that 'slagging off' the Lib Dems (much as they deserve it) is going to help the long term objective. You see, I might be one of only few in the whole of Wales, but I still believe in the Rainbow Coalition.


Bwganbrain said...

When i first read this i miss read the bit "First question is, do we need the Lib Dems" and thought to myself of course we don't need them, they are now an irrelevant embarrassment.
Then I re-read it and saw that I'd missed the context of the question and your view is correct (although there should be an official (and short) open season for slagging them off for what they have destroyed.
A rainbow of sorts has to be the way ahead and education of the blinkered naive ones who are living with an anti Tory dogma will be essential.
I look at the world of business where structures have changed from the way they were "in the old days".
Organizations are now more free form, teams are formed and then closed down at the end of projects, partnerships are formed between competitors who cooperate in a state of "coopetition". The reason for this is that the potential for win-win is greater and generally the wins themselves are also of greater magnitude.
Business also operate internally in wider matrix organisations with few barriers, and all to develop success through joint effort and thought sharing.
But then, there aren't many people in the Assembly that might use the real world of business as a point of reference for running their lives.

Anonymous said...

But, of course, the brainless Bourne is indeed slagging off the Lib Dems. What a shame you are not still there, Glyn!

Anonymous said...

The Lib Dems had a chance to get their big manifesto commitments (whatever the bloody hell they were) and they blew it. They failed their voters and deserve vicious ridicule until all Lib Dem supporters know about it.

Cllr. John Jenkins said...

It is said in political circles that 1 day in power is worth 4 years in opposition.

What are these idiot politicians in the game for, if not to win power?

The Lib Dems had a chance to be part of that power and have an influence at the top table of Welsh politics.

They blew it.

Their activists - Alex Carlisle personifies this with his "political suicide" reference - weighed up the pros and cons of being in the rainbow coalition by considering factors such as how many Councillors will they lose next May (even though they would have had a chance to change the local government voting system to their liking).

The next time a bear with a yellow rosette knocks your door and asks for your vote - tell them to bugger off because there is no point voting for a party that will shit out of the responsibility of the power that comes with elected office.

All this nonsense about Wales needing to build an anti-Tory consensus is garbage. The rainbow coalition would have prevented any one of the three partners doing anything the other two disagreed with.

The rainbow coalition would have come with a sort of built-in failsafe of checks and balances. The nationalists would have been unable to pursue such an agenda as they would have been over-ruled by the two "unionist" parties. The Tories could not have been the demons they are portrayed to be because the other two parties would have stopped them. If the Liberals actually came up with any policies and one of them was objectionable, the other two would have vetoed it.

Wales has lost out this week boys bach. As a voter in Llanelli whose hospital is under threat from Labour's closure programme, Llanelli - like most of Wales - has a lot to fear from Rhodri and the Red Bears occupying the top floor of the Senedd for another four years.

Alwyn ap Huw said...

One of the saddest things about this whole debacle is how much the opposition to working with the Conservatives (and in the case of the Plaid 4 working with Labour)was dependent on history and even historical myths, rather on the needs of Wales today and in the next four years.

There is an old saying that The past is another country - it is a country that we need to devolve from if we want to create a future for Wales.

Anonymous said...


To be honest with you, I supported a "rainbow" coalition, but one that would include Labour, yes it sounds naive, but a coalition between the Tories and Plaid Cymru. Would it have really worked? I don't think so!

You said that you admired Peter Black for speaking his mind, honestly! He and other Liberals (myself included) feel that the party needs revamping.

Of course I have to laugh I stroll around the blogosphere and who do I find? Dear old "New Welsh Right" castigating the Liberals for not supporting the anti Labour coalition. What about the post on his own site decrying an alliance tween Socialist Nationalist and Tory Capitalist. is that not hypocrisy?

Daran said...

"I still believe in the Rainbow Coalition."

Everyone must have something to believe in, and you're not one of those to drop something because it's no longer fashionable.

Keep on propehcying Glyn.

Anonymous said...

It is still possible to have a rainbow coalition in the next few years or even months. In 1923 Baldwin called an election and althought the Tories were the largest party they were in a minority. Baldwin also knew that he had lost the confidence of much of the country. In 1924 he lost a no confidence motion and resigned to allow the Labour party to form its first administation. Today we will see Labour in government but not in power in the assembly. It will be interesting to see what happens in the budget debate when reality wil set in as it always does after an election. If the budget is rejected it is quite possible that Labour will lose a subsequent no confidence vote. You are right to argue that everyone should lay off the Lib Dems because of the attitude of a minority of activists. The trick is to give as much publicity as possible to the joint document and wait on events.

Glyn Davies said...

bwganbrain - you're right about the 'flexibility' of our time - and we have already moved well away fron the negative stereotype - even if there is a bit furhr to go.

newwelshright - I too think the Lib Dems deserve ridicule, but the longer term objective is more important.

John and alwyn ap huw - agreed

Mike - Many agree with you that it wouldn't have worked. Maybe. But trhere will come a time when it will.

Anon - Quite a bit I disagree with in the joint document (mainly about cost/effectiveness) - but it did show my party to be at least as 'progressive' as the Labour Party.

Guysmyboy said...

I have long felt very aggrieved that the Welsh Assembly offered was a lot less than that given to Scotland. But sadly after this embarassing lack of cooperation perhaps shows some of us up as politically inept and not deserving of more power after all!!
A Rainbow Coalition would not only have been a powerful demonstration of Democracy in action to exite the Electorate but also perhaps encourage more of our fellow citizens to take an active interest in how it worked.