Friday, May 16, 2008

'Called to Order' and 'Time to Go'.

My favourite radio programme on which to appear is Radio Wales' 'Call to Order' - mainly because the ringmaster, Patrick Hanaan is so opinionated. And there's no getting away with the 'party line'. I've just returned from tonight's edition, where I appeared with the Lord Dafydd Wigley of the promised land.

The first issue was the future of Welsh Labour, following comments made by Peter Hain and wife and husband team, Huw Lewis and Lynne Neagle. Huw had been interviewed for the programme. There's not much doubt about what they think should happen as far as the leadership is concerned. They think Rhodri Morgan should go now, but they use rather oblique language to say it, hoping to avoid accusations of disloyalty. Huw cannot complete many sentences without a reference to the Labour Party "losing its way". Whenever I hear him saying this sort of stuff, I think, "Yes Huw, but tell us about what you would do so differently". The former Secretary of State and Lynne have been blunt in dismissing Rhodri's defence that Welsh Labour's unpopularity is as a result of British Labour's misgoverning - and they are spot on.

I said that if I was a member of the Wales Labour Party, I would want Rhodri Morgan to go now. I've no time at all for this modern practise of leaders announcing retirement dates without an accompanying replacement selection process. It just creates a lame duck. At a time when the Labour Party should have a hungry and ambition leader at the helm, desperate to make a mark, they are saddled with a one-legged duck in charge of the pond. Still, I suppose from a strictly partisan point of view, extending the period of inertia is politically advantageous. Pity is that leaves the business of inspiring and leading our devolved National Assembly in a dense fog without a compass.


Patriot said...

They are not spot on Glyn. They are just playing out a strategy to position Huw as the candidate for the Brit Nat right in the forthcoming leadership campaign. I campaigned throughout the Local Elections and the issues were local or UK. Not once was the One Wales Government, Rhodri or Welsh Labour criticised. The issue was not Welsh Labour needs to be more New Labour, it was exactly the opposite. 'Labour is no longer for poorer people, they are just like the Tories now etc. etc.'

Here is a quote in support of my view:

'Reception is pretty favourable and there is a combination of local issues often Post Offices, the state of the roads, environmental services and waste collections featuring strongly, together, of course, with the national backdrop of the worsening economic situation and particularly the withdrawal of the 10p tax band.'

Source Nick Bourne.

Any references to the policies of Welsh Labour there?

Glyn Davies said...

patriot - Most of us realise that Huw is positioning himself for a pitch at the leadership - but that doesn't stp him being right that the Wales Labour Party shouldn't take its share of blame for the current problems of the Party. And Labour's very poor performance in the Assembly election was a long time befor epeople were aware of a row over the 10p tax issue.

State of the roads, environmental services and waste collection are all devolved issues, which fall within the remit of the Assembly.

Anonymous said...

Just read the Bevan report says it all

Glyn Davies said...

anon - I have not read it. Tell us more.

Patriot said...

The doorstep at the Assembly elections Glyn was exactly the same as this time, just with Blair substituted for Brown. Then it was the war, cash for honours etc. etc. The Welsh people have a sense of social justice and community which naturally chimes with the egalitarian policies of Welsh Labour. The problem is the people of Wales perceiving UK Labour as being too similar to your party i.e. the party of the rich and powerful. I will be very interested to see how successful Huw and Lyn are in adopting 'Tory Light' policies to appeal to the 'aspirational' middle classes of Merthyr and Torfaen.

I quite like Helen Mary's definition of the Welsh on 'any questions' recently: 'a people who have never and never will vote for a conservative government'. There is no future for Labour in Wales in pretending to be a 'pink' Tory party. We should leave that deception to you guys and your mates in the Lib Dems.

Glyn Davies said...

patriot - If my party was only for the 'rich and powerful', I would not be a member of it. But I have nothing against the 'rich and powerful', or those who aspire to become so. I don't think either you or Helen Mary have quite got a handle on what is happening before your eyes. Still compacency in ones opponents is always a useful weapon.

Patriot said...

Well we shall see Glyn. If Wales ever voted for a Conservative Government it would certainly no longer be the country I am so proud to be a member of and no longer one I would wish to live in. We shall see which of us is right about the character of the Welsh people. I look forward to keeping in touch on this topic..........

Anonymous said...

To be fair Glyn, I think you're falling a bit into the media trap of seeing everything Huw Lewis does/says as being part of a leadership bid. To be fair, of the likely candidates, he is the only one who ever says or does anything, so it is fairly understandable - but still unfair.

If you consider his Assembly career he has never shied away in saying what he thinks when it seems that things stink. I don't think he's operating any differently now than he did by resigning over the dumping of foot and mouth carcases for example, or when he ripped into WAG for not signing up to the Child Poverty targets for so long.

People may disagree with his proposed solutions to problems. Too old labour for some, too new labour for others (a contradiction that suggests people just don't think a valleys boy should get ideas above his station), but along with Peter Hain, he's the only one in Welsh Labour who actually seem to be unafraid to think out loud about the future.

Just because Rhodri is now on the way out, it doesn't mean that Lewis should become a different politician, does it? He's used to be my AM before I moved, and I'm a party member, so I declare an interest.

Glyn Davies said...

patriot - I don't know who these Welsh people are, because in Montgomeryshire, most people I talk to would never vote Labour - and the same applies to most of Mid Wales. Or don't you count Mid Wales as part of Wales?

anon - Well, I think Huw Lewis is positioning himself for a pitch at the leadership when Rhodri steps down - and as far I can see he's the only one making any effort at all. In my book, he gets top marks for that. The cosy way Labour is letting Rhodri Morgan decide exactly when he should retire, as if he's running a whelk stall in the local market, is an insult to democracy. Voters do not like it, and it will do great harm to public interest in the Assembly.