Saturday, 2 March 2013
A more secure future?
Looking forward was the underlining theme of Leanne Wood’s speech to Plaid Cymru’s conference. But many feel that by deciding to move from the list to fight a constituency she won’t be part of that future.
Fighting a constituency is a very risky strategy indeed, especially with the polls showing Welsh Labour on track to be gaining a majority based on an increased vote in the constituency.
But what most commentators of the Welsh political scene have failed to gather is that there is very little risk to Leanne Wood. Thanks very much to her arch enemies - the Tories.
Why? You may ask. Well, this blog can exclusively reveal that the UK government fully intend restoring the right for candidates to stand both on the lists and in individual constituencies.
In the formative years of the Assembly this was the situation, but was changed by Peter Hain to appeal to tribal Labour opinion. All the other opposition parties were apoplectic about the changes and vowed to restore the status quo as soon as they were in a position so to do.
David Jones our dear Secretary of State has been consulting on changes to the Welsh electoral system. The one change that is top of his governments list is to restore the ability to stand in both regional and constituency.
In the last Assembly elections the Tories lost their then leader, Nick Bourne. Not because of any failure on his part but because his party actual succeeded in winning more seats. Unfortunately the seats they won were in the region that Bourne was standing, thus losing the party and him his place on the regional list.
So he was out on his ear and Andrew RT Davies was eventually chosen as leader of the Conservative Group in the Assembly. The Secretary of State aims to ensure that doesn’t happen again.
And in the meantime the likely beneficiary will be Leanne Wood. She can fight a constituency and still stay on the list. All thanks to the Tories.
In her speech she wanted her party to “have a million conversations with the people of Wales by 2016.” I just wonder whether that includes a chat with David Jones to thank him for making her political future a little more secure.
She may not meet her pledge “that when I am returned as First Minister in 2016.” But it now looks likely that she will be part of the Assembly courtesy of her hated “ConDem” government in London.