Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Who has confidence in who?

The three opposition parties in the Assembly are raising the ante on the Health Minister. They’ve tabled a motion of no-confidence in her. They clearly want her head. The cry next week will be resign, resign.
The mathematics of the vote is that the government don’t have an overall majority they have 30 seats out of the Assembly’s sixty. A Labour Assembly Member would have to rebel for the Opposition to win. There are no hints of that happening.
But the vote in many ways is academic if I dare use the word in this context. Why? Because the result is not binding.
In the unlikely event that the collective might of the Opposition succeed in winning the vote and gaining  a majority, what will happen? Nothing. It will not force Lesley Griffiths to give up her seat round the cabinet table. Only the First Minister can show her the door. 
So what’s it all about, you may ask? Well, it won’t come as a surprise to many, it’s party political. 
When cuts bite. When hospital services are “configured.” When protests intensify. Who'll be on the Senedd steps meeting and greeting? None other than the opposition members. 

A short speech on how they tried to rid Wales of the nasty Health Minister. Job done. The pay-off? Votes, of course. Well, at least the hope of them at least, when the Assembly election eventually comes.
So that’s the Opposition. 
But what will Carwyn Jones make of it all. A cynic would say, he’ll keep his Health Minister in post until all the cuts have occurred and then reshuffle her out of the job. 
That’s the way it happens. Surely not, you may say.
Well, there’s precedent. And in the Assembly too. 
Those with long memories will remember Christine Gwyther. She was a vegetarian agricultural minister chosen by Alan Michael and inherited by Rhodri Morgan when he gained the First Minister’s crown. It was called first secretary in thoses distant days.
The farming community, as is their want, were most unhappy with the performance of this vegetarian minister.  Quickly seeing a political advantage, opposition parties kept placing and winning censure votes against this hapless minister.  The call for her resignation appeared with  boring regularity on the Assembly Order Paper. 
Despite the oppositions best efforts, nothing happened. 

Nothing happened that is until Rhodri Morgan decided to make things happen.  When the time was right she was brutally removed her on the eve of the Royal Welsh show. Given her cards, never again to ride in the ministerial car. 

The beneficiary. None other than dear Carwyn Jones. Ms Gwyther's mishap was Carwyn's good fortune. His first leg up the ministerial greasy pole.  The experience will have made an impression on him, surely. A fast learner like him will have made a mental note as to how the boss behaves to his underlings in the murky world of politics.
As was said by Jeremy Thorpe about Harold McMillan’s cull of his cabinet “Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his friends for his life.”
So when its convenient the Health Minister will be out. But only at the time of Carwyn Jones’s choosing. The no-confidence debate will have little relevance.  No, it won’t be the Opposition parties that decide Mrs Griffith’s fate. 
Whether an academic was nobbled or not is irrelevant. She’ll go when Carwyn Jones sees it as politically convenient to rid himself of her. 

1 comment:

  1. glad to see at least one journalist not caught up in the hysteria, are the opposition paying BBC Wales to constantly keep reporting this.