Wales' Deputy First Minister has been addressing his party activists this week at a Spring Conference in Newport. (I keep an interest in what Plaid Cymru are saying and doing because they took so many traditional Conservative voters, and I want them back.) OK, so we have to make allowances for the fact he's talking to party activists, where a certain amount of 'Good News' spin is understandable , but there's a limit. Matt Withers reports in today's Wales on Sunday that according to Ieuan Wyn Jones, the referendum on law making powers for the National Assembly before 2011 is still on track. Pull the other one, Ieuan. You'll remember that this was the issue which persuaded Plaid Cymru to throw in their lot with Labour after the Assembly elections last May. It seems that both First Minister, Rhodri Morgan and he, Ieuan Wyn Jones intend to honour the agreement to have a referendum by 2011 - no messing. And both Labour and Plaid campaigning for a Yes vote as well. That was the deal. He says he genuinely believes it will still happen. About as much chance as Wrexham FC have of being promoted to Division One I'd say.
And then I noticed the qualifier - "That's provided of course that we're satisfied that we can win it". So that's the referendum gone then . The truth is that all the body language coming out of Plaid Cymru's leadership know that the referendum before 2011 is dead in the water. Its just that Ieuan is afraid to tell his party members. The 'Deal' is turning out to be 'No Deal'.
And then Matt goes on to cover the tittle tattle and rumours there's been about 'Coalition Splits'. It seems that the Deputy First Minister has no idea where these stories come from. Now , the easiest way to find out where rumours come from is to work out who benefits. Call me cynical if you like, but the biggest beneficiary from these rumours is Plaid Cymru itself. We are entering a Local Government campaign, and Plaid would like to put a bit of distance (at least in voter's minds) between itself and its coaloition partners, the deeply unpopular Labour Party. This talk of disagreements could be very useful indeed to Plaid candidates on the doorsteps of Wales next month. I hope this ploy doesn't work, and that they all vote Tory instead.