Tuesday, 11 January 2011
Who next to run the country?
After the last Assembly election the prospect of Wales being run by a non-Labour coalition was very real indeed. All the talk was of a rainbow coalition of all the opposition parities doing a deal to run Wales.
The prospect became very close to realization and was very much a go-er until the Liberal Democrat executive refused to endorse the agreement reached by its own party leader, Mike German, with the other two party leaders. The fact that they changed their minds again on the issue was to no avail, the damage was done.
So Plaid Cymru found their pot of gold not under the rainbow but in the sweet embrace of Rhodri Morgan’s Labour Party in a new coalition. The One Wales agreement came into force and Plaid Cymru held national office for the first time ever in it’s history.
Now in May Wales again goes to the polls. A new Assembly will be elected, but who will govern? What will happen if Labour again fail to achieve an overall majority?
Carwyn Jones has ruled out a deal between Labour and the Conservatives. No shocks there then.
But what about Plaid Cymru? Are they equally emphatic? After all they came dangerously close to doing a deal with the Tories last time.
When pressed on the matter Ieuan Wyn Jones says that it would be difficult for his party to work with the Tories. But something that is difficult in politics is not impossible.
By not categorically ruling out such a deal but saying that such a deal would be extremely difficult to achieve what the leader of Plaid Cymru is saying is the bar for any agreement has been raised to a much higher level than last time.
Any deal would not depend on what Nick Bourne brought to the table. No, its not Nick Bourne that would be the coalition broker but Mr Cameron.
Plaid Cymru in any negotiating position would want Mr Cameron to offer some very big prizes indeed.
What could those prizes be? A fair funding formula for Wales. The transfer of criminal justice powers and policing to the Welsh Assembly. Broadcasting. And many other devolved matters. Anything that brought about real Home rule would be tempting morsels indeed, for a nationalist party.
Although in reality it his highly unlikely that these events will come to pass. The most likely event is another deal between Plaid and Labour.
But in politics the cardinal rule is ‘never say never.’