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.


  1. If Leanne Wood doesn't win in the Rhondda it will mean that Plaid Cymru have not made sufficient gains. In that event, she will have to stand down as leader anyway.

    My tip though for Leanne is to cool down on the 'hatred of the Tories'. This week was a good example of this. The Welsh Tories called for the devolution of taxes and reduction of the 40% rate.

    As leader of the nationalist party- she should have welcomed the devolution of taxes (something that the Tories would never have said just a few years ago). But no, her hatred of the tories blurred her mind and she went on the attack. Silly.

    I would also advise Leanne that if she is to be FM in 2016 she will be FM as part of a PC-LD-Con Government. I cannot see any other way of being FM in the short term. And as a PC supporter I would be quite happy with this sort of '2007 rainbow' government as I can't see Labours control on Wales being removed without this.

    - put it this way, had we had a rainbow coalition in 2007, I do not think PC would have had such a bad result in 2011. In fact, I think PC could well have won the election.

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  3. Oh come of it Gareth the bar on standing in two seats was a form Gerrymandering by Labour to make it harder for other parties to elect their top players and they didn't do it Scotland where it might have proven useful to them.

    Removing the bar would be the right thing tom do and if it comes from the Tories so what?

  4. Hm. Well, it's up to the UK Government really. I'll believe more when details get announced, but Labour basically failed to devolve electoral arrangements to the Assembly during their 13 years in power. Peter Hain left that responsibility in the hands of a Tory Minister.

    It's possible Leanne Wood would still forego the list. By saying that she won't need it anyway because she's do confident of winning.

    As for Anonymous comment above, sorry but the Tory 40p tax policy was a farce. They haven't announced support for devolving taxes yet, that's David jones' job, and they're against devolving the police.

    I think a government with Tory ministers would in fact risk being even worse than Labour. I am not yet prepared to see any of them apart from David Melding or at a very strong push Suzy or Paul Davies as Ministers. As a Plaid supporter too I wouldn't want Andrew RT anywhere near the levers of power, as he's even more unionist than Labour.

  5. "My tip though for Leanne is to cool down on the 'hatred of the Tories'. This week was a good example of this. The Welsh Tories called for the devolution of taxes and reduction of the 40% rate. "

    They didn't quite. They said "if" tax was devolved, they'd help some of the wealthiest people in Wales. Completely out of touch and how is it right to design an economic policy for 2020 in 2013?

    You've also got Glyn Davies today coming out against devolving energy to Wales.

  6. Labour should've devolved electoral arrangements to the Assembly, subject to a 2/3rds consensus. They chose not to. Ironically, Plaid Cymru wanted to do that, even though it probably would've meant the list rule staying in place for now. Principles can be strange things!

    Then, Labour ruined any goodwill that existed over the current set-up by appearing to try and attain a dystopian all-FPTP Assembly. They were only stopped by their own internal divisions. But that episode saw them lose the momentum, and the Tories and Lib Dems could now change the list rule, if they've got the guts.