Friday, November 09, 2007

Dragon's Eye disappointment.

Its well known that I have a soft spot for Helen Mary Jones, the Plaid Cymru AM who puts the fear of hell up lesser men. She's always struck me as being a genuine politician and a fierce debater to be respected. Which is why I felt so disappointed watching her participate in that ridiculous double act with Labour AM, Alun Davies on last night's Dragon's Eye on BBC.

We all know that the Assembly Government's block grant for the next 3 years is going to give the Coalition huge problems. We can see that the 'free laptops' and '£5,000 grants for first time buyers' have had to be dropped - or almost dropped (and a good thing too, in my opinion). Other things have had to go as well - and 'no loss' was my response. But there are going to be actual reductions in the spending plans for Local government and Social Justice, Education, and Economic Development and Transport. This is serious. By ignoring the impact of inflation and 'spinning' figures like a Catherine Wheel, the Government are trying to make out that the position is one of increasing spending. I was not surprised to see Minister, Andrew Davies at it - or Alun Davies for that matter. I've heard them both insist that black is white before. Its just that I thought Helen Mary was better than that


Anonymous said...

Why did you expect better from Helen Mary, Glyn? She is after all now a member of the governing coalition. The mistake that Dragon's Eye made is to have AMs from both Plaid and the Labour party on the programme and then expect them to say different things. In most countries when it comes to public debates about a budget which has been agreed by the coalition the only spokesperson is the Finance Minister. The problem for Plaid it seems that they didn't see the CSR coming. They would have been better off either staying in opposition or joining a Rainbow coalition.Instead they decided to get into bed with Labour on the basis of a promise to hold a referendum on more powers before 2011 which isn't worth the paper it is written on. If they had joined a Rainbow coalition they could have then blamed it on London Labour as Salmond is very skillfully doing in Scotland.Unfortunately for Welsh Nationalism Ieuan Wyn Jones is no Salmond and never will be. The tensions within Plaid can be clearly seen from today's Western Mail story about an article by Dafydd Wigley in Public Finance which is on the magazine's website for anyone to read. The next few months should be really interesting as Plaid councillors in areas such as Gwynedd attack their own government's budget plans for local government.

Glyn Davies said...

anon - Too right. I, too have been surprised by how the media are still treating Plaid Cymru AMs as if they were in opposition. Last week I was appearing on 'Post Prynhawn' disussing the Government's spending plans - when bizarrely the frst response to Rhodri Morgan was Alun Ffred!! - and the Lib Dem and me were add ons to provide so-called political balance.

Over the next few months, Plaid councillors are going to be attacking Labour - almost as if the Coalition doesn't exist. The pity is that the media will go along with this. If the Minister resposible for the economy was anyone but Ieuan Wyn Jones, Plaid would be going ballistic. The soon-to-be Lord Wigley would be so outraged by the plans that he would not have calmed down enough to speak yet.