Tuesday, September 16, 2008

But did she mean it.

Some media coverage in Wales today has been speculating that Ms Kirsty Williams (who looks odds on to walk unchallenged into the leadership of the Liberal Democrats in Wales) would be content to consider a coalition with the Conservatives in the National Assembly. Now this is very interesting. Its widely thought that she was a prime mover behind the fateful decision by the Lib Dem Executive Committee Meeting to scupper the proposed coalition between Plaid Cymru, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives, immediately after the last Assembly election. It also seemed to me that Ms Williams was deeply opposed to any any sort of working arrangement with us during my 8 years in the National Assembly. It looks a significant change of position.

As regular readers of this blog will know, I've long advocated serious consideration of a working agreement between the Conservatives and Plaid Cymru at Assembly level - even though I accept that it may well become increasingly difficult and unlikely as more powers are transferred to the Assembly through Legislative Competence Orders. The only alternative is government led by Labour for the foreseeable future - not a joyous prospect. Last May, the numbers required that the Liberal Democrats signed up to the deal as well. Next time, this may well not be the case. So Ms Williams' changed position is strategically sensible from a partisan point of view, as well as being an extremely welcome development to all of us who want to see Labour experience the discomfort of the opposition benches in the Assembly.


Anonymous said...

The Lib Dems of Powys may well be all out for a Tory/PC/LD/Trish Law Gct but it will hit them in the cities/towns and Valleys..hence their role will remain a small one.

Keeping Plaid out of Ceredigion may well be their aim - but without the Anti War vote in Lampeter and Aber - they may feel a loss here as well.

Glyn Davies said...

anon - cannot argue with any of that

Anonymous said...

Agree with Anon. Think Plaid will win Ceredigion, and Brecon, and if your supporters pull their finger out, Montgomeryshire too! Lib Dems will be irrelevant to Wales after the next election.
Be warned though, with Lembo about to miss out on the presidency ( Ros Scott even has a Welsh version of her website, whilst Opik fails on this front and has numerous spelling and typo errors - all sending out the message that it's a cobbled together amateur affair - just like the man himself really! ) I am convinced that the Lib Dems in your area will get a wake up call and realise the seat really is under threat. And we all know what a nasty little party they are. You must get as much support as possible. You couldn't be in a better position to take this seat - a weakened Lib Dem party and a standing MP who's a national joke. Even your local paper and a long standing liberal tradition in your area can't overcome that combination. On his awful website Lembo claims his vote went up last time. What he fails to say is that was when Sian Lloyd was his fiancee. Since then his personal life has become an atrocious shambles and the SL effect ( reckoned by the Tories at the time of the last election to be worth a fair few votes ) is no longer there. Lembo is a lost cause. Make sure yours is a winning one

Anonymous said...

Who knows what will happen!!

Anonymous said...

What must Peter Black be thinking, Welsh Lib Dems getting all hot and steamy, cuddly and flirty with the Welsh Conservatives ... out with it Peter, what do you think about all this ... as if we can't all guess.

Anonymous said...

kirsty was big time opposed to the rainbow coalition at the time - i argued the case with her.
Perhaps that was when it was mikes baby - he'd be leader and applauded now?
But it failed and shes a shoe in as Peter Black won't stand. Chnage of tune was bound to happen- lets be fair if labour can't get a majority in Wales, no one can, coalitions have to be the way forward.

Anonymous said...

My understanding of whay Kirsty has said is that she would (if elected leader and I believe she would welcome and benefit from a contest) be prepared to enter a coalition with the Conservative party IF it was deliverable and was good for Wales.

Her position last year was that the deal was not deliverable and therefore she (and others) opposed the rainbow coalition. I do not see how this represents a U turn.

Surely the position is simple and very clear - Kirsty, if leader and in a mathematical position to do so, will lend Lib Dem support to the position that would most benefit the people of Wales.

suzy davies said...

Re U turn or Donna Quixote.?

When Kirsty Williams was pressed, (at hustings during the Assembly election) whether she would be prepared to go into coalition with Labour, she was plain that she would consider any alliance that would "benefit the people of Wales" - so, on the face of it, no U-turn.

Maybe what's more important here is her judgement of what actually constitutes a benefit for the people of Wales.

Kirsty faced a dilemma - go with an untested Rainbow Coalition, or let Labour back in. Welsh Lib Dems were prepared to back the RC. They didn't think another four years of Labour would benefit Wales. They didn't jump to the conclusion that it was undeliverable. They were prepared try and be part of the solution to Wales's problems.

So why was Kirsty's judgement so at odds with that of the grass roots of her own party as to what constitutes a benefit for Wales?

Why was she content to allow Labour back in, especially as Labour-led WAGs have never been a friend to her constituency?

The Lib Dems in Brecon & Radnorshire are aware that they rely on a significant body of Labour sympathisers, voting tactically, to bolster their vote. The Assembly election stats for Mid & West Wales, broken down into actual constituencies confirm that, without Labour support, the Lib Dems would lose Brecon & Radnorshire even at Assembly level.

So, keeping B&R's Labour sympathisers happy is a must for B&R's Lib Dems, and particularly for Kirsty who needed a decent majority as a platform from which to launch a leadership bid.

Kirty's leadership may well invigorate her party - if it's prepared to forgive her that whopping great trespass over the Rainbow Coalition. Whether it's enough to save seats remains to be seen.

But, when it comes to it, her party will not form a government on its own, and will always be the junior player in any coalition team in Cardiff.

Which brings me back to my question about her judgement of what benefits Wales?

When you're a big fish in a small pond, it's easy to develop a skewed sense of your own importance. If anything is "undeliverable", it's a one-woman crusade to save Wales, launched from the front of a shrinking and increasingly non-credible party.

But because of it we're stuck with another Labour-led WAG, and another dreary period of invisibility for rural Wales.

Only a thought ...

Glyn Davies said...

anon 1 - I'll do my best.

anon 2 You may think a change of tune was bound to happen. Well I'm a touch surprised - and pleasantly so. I would have expected a move towards a Lib-Lab Coalition.

anon 3 - And how long have you been working for the Lib Dems?

Anonymous said...

As Annon 3 I'd just like to clarify that I do not work for and indeed have never voted for the Lib Dems.

I just think that the misrepresentation / hatchet job being done on Kirsty Williams From across the board) is unfair.

Glyn Davies said...

anon - Don't understand what you mean. I was indeed deeply disappopinted in Ms Williams performance after the last Assembly election - but approving of her most recent comments. How id that a 'hatchet job'?

Patriot said...

Didn't think you would fall for this too Glyn.

This is blindingly obvious leadership positioning as she seeks to harvest votes from the Lib Dem right. Plus its a good negotiating tactic for 2011. Hardly in her interest to enter coalition negotiations with Labour having ruled out an alternative.

I've heard Kirsty's views on the Tory's Glyn and she will have to reverse some very deeply held beliefs to betray the people of Wales and allow the Tory's to get their fingers on the reins of power again. Plus on a practical note how would the voters of Ystragynlais take it, who vote for her to keep you lot out. She can't win her own seat without them.

Glyn Davies said...

Patriot - Don't disagree with a word of what you write. But anyone who wants to be a leader has to decide on what compromises to make. Hard choices are part of it. I've heard all the anti-Tory stuff, and I welcome the different , more grown-up approach.