Monday, 14 March 2011
“There needs to be an orderly disengagement, if I can put it that way. We understand that as parties.” So says Carwyn Jones, First Minister.
And the ‘orderly disengagement’ he is referring to is how to break up the blissful coalition between Labour and Plaid Cymru that has ruled Wales these last four years.
But like every divorce, although the partners may want an amicable separation, there are always forces at work that mitigate against such a solution.
This separation is no exception. There are those that would introduce acrimony.
In this case its our shadow Secretary of State acting like the mother of the groom that says ‘she was never good enough for you son.’
The words Peter Hain uses are different but the sentiment is the same, “It is difficult, I think, in the long-term to justify having a Deputy First Minister in the Welsh Assembly Government as ineffective as Ieuan Wyn Jones.”
In other words, - Carwyn Jones don’t think you can patch up your relationship with Plaid Cymru after May, the Labour party won’t tolerate it.
Now, clearly, if polls are to be believed the elections will go well for Labour. They may even have a majority. But because of the electoral system that majority will be small, one, possibly two.
The question is would any leader want to run an administration for four or even possibly a five year period with such a wafer thin majority. The answer is surely, no.
Carwyn Jones and I guess many if not all the Labour Assembly members recognize that in all likelihood a deal will have to be done with an opposition party to secure stable government.
There are only two choices Plaid Cymru or Peter Hain’s old party the Liberal Democrats. Which makes the most likely bedfellows?
A party that is already co-habiting elsewhere with Labour’s class enemy or a party that delivered without to much acrimony many of Labour’s manifesto commitments.
It’s not rocket science to work out which way it will go. I know it , you know it and so does Peter Hain.
The intriguing question is why has he decided in the last few weeks to put his tanks on Carwyn Jones’s lawn?
Does he hope that such posturing will endear him to his parliamentary colleagues? For he needs their support to muster those crucial votes needed to see him elected to the shadow cabinet in his own right.
For then and only then can he shed the cumbersome burden of shadow Welsh Secretary a post after last week’s referendum that is pretty meaningless.
In any stand-off between Carwyn Jones and Peter Hain surely the money must be on the only Labour leader that holds office in the UK, all be it with his little helpers in Plaid Cymru.