Friday, June 05, 2009

Country before Party.

Done interviews tonight about the chaos that currently passes for 'government' in Westminster. Repeated the party line, (which has also been this blog's line since the first Telegraph expenses exposure) that the present Parliament is now so discredited that a General Election is the only acceptable way forward. Back came the predictable response that I was taking this line only because it destabilises Gordon Brown, and that it suits the Conservatives. Well, let's look a bit closer look at this 'accusation', firstly from the narrow interest of the Conservative Party - and then from Britain's national interest.

Gordon Brown is the most unpopular Prime Minister of modern times, with dozens of disaffected backbenchers who want to see the back of him - a recipe for continuing chaos, which will do long term damage to the Labour Party. If he were to be pushed aside, his likely replacement would be Alan Johnson, who seems an altogether more personable and engaging politician who would probably be much more popular. I cannot see how that can be said to be in my party's narrow interest.

And I also challenge the notion that an early General Election would be in our narrow party interest either. I do not believe the terrible impact that Gordon Brown's incompetence is going to have on our public services is yet fully understood. In a year's time, the full horror of the Labour legacy will be known. If David Cameron were to take over now, its possible we would cop some of the blame. In a year's time, all of the blame would be dumped on Labour - where it properly belongs. Taking over from Gordon Brown in 2010, would be a far better bet, if all we cared about was our own narrow interest.

But our first responsibility is to our country. Britain needs a General Election now, to elect a government with the authority and public confidence needed to function properly. Britain needs the removal from the office of Prime Minister a man of unique unpopularity. No, my calls for a General Election are not a response to what I think is good for my party. Its what I think is good for my country.


alanindyfed said...

This does beg the question: " What is my country?" Many reading this would say "My country is Wales", and not "Britain is my country", Certainly Scots would look upon their country as Scotland. It's all a matter of allegiance. In the past a Welsh zealot would be convicted of treason for declaring Wales to be his country. At least today nobody is hanged, or hung, drawn and quartered. The leader of Mebyon Kernow has been elected to Cornwall County Council for example.
What is good for my country? Is the return of Peter Hain good for Wales or a retrograde step, Glenys Kinnock for Europe?
Baroness Royall of the fiery hair?
Who can save us from these people?
There HAS to be a election asap.
That, or a revolution....

suzy davies said...

An angry and desperate country can't tackle this recession. The prospect of a General Election strikes a much needed note of optimism that things can be different. Brown's leaving present to the nation could be a ray of hope given with dignity.

The alternative is protracted leprous decay of domestic morale and international confidence. The longer he leaves it, the more likely we'll need surgery rather than antibiotics

Glyn Davies said...

Alan - Fair point - but it makes no difference to the principle which inspired the post. I (without thought through logic) think of Wales being my 'nation' and Britain, or the UK being my state. I sometimes use 'my country' to apply to either. At least we agree that there should be an election as soon as poss. Did you see Kirsty Wark fillet Peter Hainon Newsnight tonight.

alanindyfed said...

Missed that though I watched events unfold all day and saw the feeble press conference. Perhaps it will go on You Tube later.
I'd like to see a cabinet composed of a modicum of intelligence, creativity, good sense, decency and breeding as a welcome change from the present line-up, half of whom are unelected blow-ins from the House of Lords, and others given titles merely in order to ensure them a place in government. I suggest Sir Alan Sugar invests in a shave!

1/8th blood Scot said...

Always was an admirer of Kirsty - if memory serves she lived in Scotland (Glasgow I think) and regularly flew down to London to do Newsnight.

Glyn Davies said...

Suzy - I love 'leprous'. Must find an opportunity to use it.

Alan - Peter's problem was Gordon Brown's 'dissembling' (or bare-faced lying if you prefer) at his pree conference yesterday, immedialely after referring to his father's advice that he should be always honest. He told the assembled audience that he had never considered moving Alistair Darling from the Treasury in his re-shuffle - when every one of them had been told otherwise. Bit like telling your spouse that you don't know the woman who she's just caught you in bed with!

18th blood scot - Kirsty is good, but variable. I prefer her to Paxman. Am also a big and growing fan of Emily Maitlis.

Anonymous said...

"Country before Party"

Does that mean that if the Tory Party formally adopts an anti-devolution stance then you will oppose the Tory party line and campaign for the good of the country?

How about if (as seems likely) the Tories win a majority of UK seats but come third (or maybe second) in Wales; that you will vote against the government if they try to implement policies which do not have Welsh support?

Glyn Davies said...

Anon - I will continue to support granting to the National Assembly full law making powers in devolved policy areas, irrespective of any position which may be adopted by my party if we were to form the next Government. I do not expect this to happen. However I have made it clear to my party's Chief Whip and to anyone else who has asked that I would not ignore a three line whip. I intend to blog on this issue tonight, in the context of a Statement being made by Cymru Yfory/Tomorrow's Wales.

Concerned for Wales said...

Imho, there has to be 'something' beyond just calling a general election. Yes, the country certainly needs it, but there also needs to be a fundamental rethink and retooling of ideas to get Wales and the UK in general back on its feet.

Sadly, as the Joseph Rowntree Foundation confirms, the WAG has failed miserably in providing sustained improvement in employment rates despite spending billions of European funds in economic black spots. The number of people claiming benefits remains too high.

Prof. Dylan Jones-Evans put it thus:

"Essentially, the report shows that much of the economic gains experienced by the most deprived areas in Wales were built on quicksand and instead of benefiting from the funds provided, they are now experiencing unemployment and benefit claims at levels last seen during the 1990s."

Unemployment rates among Welsh youth is unacceptably high and as the Professor points out this creates "a potential timebomb for the future of the communities in which they live".

Will WAG finally pull its finger out of its ears and start listening to good ideas to deal with such worrying issues?

For the sake of the nation - the Welsh Assembly Government needs to take the steps necessary to deal with these issues or Rhodri Morgan and his crew should go quitely into the night and let someone else try.