Deal or no deal?

Right, that’s the day over. Time to reflect. (For background see HERE)

My initial reaction to this story was that we could nit pick our way out of it. What’s the difference between a deal and a coalition, I wondered. Isn't this just a story about semantics? Some blogs and news bulletins evidently wondered this too, because that's also the line they took.

But if we go back to Labour’s denial, what they say is that “this story is rubbish from start to finish”.

So, is it?

Is it rubbish that senior labour politicians (note that the report calls them politicians and not sources) are understood by the BBC to be “prepared to make major policy concessions in return for the party's support in votes of confidence and on issues such as the assembly budget”?

Is it rubbish that “prominent Labour figures have said they are considering a deal with Plaid”?

Is it? Is it? Eh?

If it is rubbish, then someone has made it up. Surely Labour aren’t accusing the BBC of that?

But let’s imagine it isn’t rubbish. The sound of cava/asti/lambrusco corks popping/unscrewing echoed around Ty Gwynfor today (they’re saving the good stuff for election night). Plaid think Labour are in meltdown. And they’re optimistic. This sort of ‘deal’ would see their programme of government implemented. They almost seem proud that they wouldn’t get any cabinet ministers.

But what would be the point of a deal like that? If Plaid argue that the current administration is incompetent – why keep it in power? And if Plaid value their seven election pledges so much – why trust a Labour government they so frequently decry to implement them? Why forfeit the chance to have real influence?

As far as tactics go, this is akin to political castration. Some very senior figures favour this sort of ‘agreement’ with Labour, but I’m not entirely sure that anyone is looking that far ahead. For the time being, it is serving a much more important purpose in electoral strategy: it undermines the Vote Plaid Get Tory line, it forces Labour into coalition territory (rather than talking about earning a majority) and it draws out the divides between the nationalists and unionists in the Labour party.

This may be talk best saved for May 4th. But it’s having an impact now.

UPDATE: I didn't hear Good Evening Wales (helpfully transcribed by Ted Jones), but apparently your mammoth debate in the comments section of my previous post got a mention from Labour's devilishly loyal Merthyr AM Huw Lewis:

"We have been upended in our campaign today by this individual or individuals. That combined actually with very damaging internet speculation which is going on at the moment I think has been a bad day for Labour and it needn't have been…"

I hope you're proud of yourselves!

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posted by Blamerbell @ 7:01 pm,


At 7:25 pm, Anonymous bored to tears said...

you know, reading all this just underlines to me the unbelievable irrelevence of the assembly. politics on a tiny scale. who gives a toss?

At 7:47 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today was fun. Tomorrow the coalition poll in the Hwntw Mail will keep the story going. Ah, this is way loads more fun than 2003!

At 9:07 pm, Blogger Ian said...

This is a mess of Labour's creation. What today does change is the belief that Labour are a permanent political fixture of Welsh Government. Whatever your political position, surely this can only be a positive thing if you are a democrat?

I want a Welsh Government where some of the present Assembly dross is replaced by the best we have, becuase that is what it will take to turn our nation into one we can all be proud of.

At 9:47 pm, Blogger Blamerbell said...

"who gives a toss?"

Based on 2003 figures, about 38% of the population. It looks like this time around any one vote is, in effect, a vote for at least two parties. I think this matters to people. Although I don't see quite how much a poll is going to make much difference.

"I want a Welsh Government where some of the present Assembly dross is replaced by the best we have"

So why not a formal coalition and cabinet positions then? The type of arrangement suggested today replaces nobody.

At 11:01 pm, Blogger Ian said...

Plaid hasn't agreed to anything. This is an element of Labour breaking ranks and floating a few ideas. It's a free country.

At 11:13 pm, Blogger Blamerbell said...

"This is an element of Labour breaking ranks and floating a few ideas. It's a free country."

So what about the 'Senior Plaid Source' quoted on the news tonight?

Just floating a few ideas I suppose.

At 11:53 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what about the 'Senior Plaid Source' quoted on the news tonight?

ITV trying to save face after the BBC scoop, "Senior Plaid source"= old man in a pub.

At 11:55 pm, Blogger hedd said...

'Senior Plaid Source' NOT 'Senior Plaid Politician'! ;-)

At 9:23 am, Anonymous Sandy Mewies Bottom said...

Ah, the usual Nat-loons slavishly defending the cause.

"The nasty Labour men leak things, but the nice Plaid people. Oohh no". You really are bunch of tossers. End of.

At 9:24 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Senior Plaid source" = old man in a pub.

Nothing wrong with that. Good Evening Wales used Rhodri Glyn Thomas as well.

At 9:37 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does Huw Lewis want to be the next Welsh Labour leader? Sounds like.

At 10:56 am, Anonymous confused said...

wtf is Huw Lewis????

At 11:00 am, Blogger Penddu said...

wtf indeed !!!

At 11:51 am, Blogger Henlaw said...

Good analysis, Blamerbell; and as an ex-activist/anorak, I also agree with ordo that it's great fun.

Now lets watch as the Labour coalition disintegrates. A broad church is one thing, but trying to hold socialists, communitarians and co-operators together with infantile mercantilists and neo-cons was always going to end in tears.

At 12:12 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, the usual Nat-loons slavishly defending the cause.

Typical anonylabour sycophancy

At 1:09 pm, Anonymous D Rodway said...

so the Laboru lot hate each others' guts and are staring the blame game. So what's new? They're politicians.
But has anyone really got a sense of what's going on on the doorteps, and by extension what may happen in the polling booths?
I ask because I'm curious, and getting kacked up on rumour is great, but you can;t make a life out of it.
Any polls in the offing?
And where oh where has Rhonddadai gone?



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