German Retriever

On Saturday afternoon Mike German pulled the Lib Dems back from the brink as they voted overwhelmingly in favour of sharing power with Plaid and the Conservatives. But will he be the Golden Shepherd of this mongrel coalition project? Or will his party kick him out before he gets his hands on that ministerial Mondeo?

The Lib Dem joke book constitution states that there must be a leadership election within twelve months of an assembly election. We know this because they keep telling us, not because we've actually seen it. The document itself is kept in a Mid Wales hovel, eagerly guarded by two old ladies from Radnorshire who are worried about catching a STV.

What's certain is that there are now only eleven months left before there must be a leadership election. If Plaid green light the rainbow coalition, there may be a case for holding the contest before they enter government. After all, they'd be voting for Deputy First Minister as well as party leader.

With that in mind, here's a bit of half-term hwyl. The very first Blamerbell Briefs opinion poll.

Who should be the next Lib Dem Assembly leader?
Mick Bates
Peter Black
Eleanor Burnham
Mike German (again)
Jenny Randerson
Kirsty Williams
Wil Cwac Cwac's mute little brother, Won't
Free polls from

It's a resounding victory for Wil Cwac Cwac's mute little brother, Won't. Unusually for a Lib Dem, he won't duck the issue. Oh dear.

First of the serious contenders, though, was Kirsty Williams. Despite the somewhat unscientific nature of this poll it seems she still has her supporters after last week's debacle. Mike German would push her all the way, however, while Jenny Randerson would be in with a shout. Mick Bates is out of it and Peter Black voted for himself 9 times.

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posted by Blamerbell @ 12:10 pm,


At 12:34 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

German must go.. if the lib dems are to stand any chance of hanging onto their political activists (overwhelmingly left of centre) they need to curb the power hungry elements in the party (German, Bates, Randerson) and give the top job to Kirsty Williams.

A bit arrogant and scary yes, but the right sort of politics. she'd give labour more of a run for their money than anyone else.

At 1:19 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kirsty Williams, no way, may be when shes finished being Kirsty Williams.
Mick Bates is far from power hungry.
Jenny Randerson has gravitas.

At 1:30 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Think about it... close to the grass roots... hasn't made too many enemies... slightly wild staring eyes.. looks good with large flowers...

Seriously, Burnham.

At 1:38 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a bit unfair putting Won't Cwac Cwac in the poll. He is obviously far and away the most talented candidate but as he's not a Lib Dem what's the point.

Kirsty not power hungry?????

At 1:38 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Got to be Burnham.

She is the only credible alternative and as a Welsh speaker would appeal more in Ceredigion and the North. Would be a great DFM possibly with the health portfolio as well? She would add some gravitas to the government.

At 1:39 pm, Blogger Simo said...

What's the bets Peter Black votes for himself? Well he know's Kirsty will win the Poll. He will have a comfertable margin? Won't he?????

At 1:50 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Peter Black? Is he still in the comfort zone?

At 2:03 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes, but is Wil Cwac Cwac's mute little brother, Won't a one legged lame duck who swims in circles

if he is we already got one of those called Rhodri Morgan

At 2:38 pm, Blogger Geraint said...

So many cowards post here.....I mean anons.

Anyone with better leadership skills than Mike German, and obviously from the centre-left if the Lib Dems.

At 2:52 pm, Blogger Marcusian said...

Kirsty Williams is a terrible communicator, well if her 'err, umm, err, umm' effort on Dragons Eye was anything to go by...

WHO CARES quite frankly?

At 3:06 pm, Anonymous apnonimus said...

Elinor and Mick are off with the birds, Kirsty has pissed on her chips with her sulky egotism and her part in Rob Humphries exec ambush, Mike is passed his sell- by date and Peter is Peter. Which leaves Jenny. Not a great choice but solid, reliable and trustworthy.

At 3:26 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a toughy, Doubtfull that Mike German will face a challenge. If Saturday showed anything it is that if anyone challenged him they would be committing professional suicide within the party. To be honest some have done that already.

Surely the first post is really wierd and backwards. Saturday showed German has the activist's support. Bates and Randerson are both known for not being power hungry and are respected across party lines, while Williams is known for being power hungry. Are they confused.

At 3:32 pm, Blogger Cymro said...

What a pity that Lembit can't be in the running,,, non-fictional equivalent of Wil Cwac-Cwac. Only a bit less credible. As a supporter of Plaid Cymru, I still don't care. Mike German is best for us as Kirsty is too opposed to the rainbow and isn't that bright in any case...

But at the end of the day, this is the Lib Dems. I care more about who's won te Under 12 Cerdd Dant...

At 3:38 pm, Anonymous Mr Anonymous said...

Hey Geraint there's a good reason for being anonymous uou know,check this out:

At 3:40 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cymro said. "But at the end of the day, this is the Lib Dems. I care more about who's won te Under 12 Cerdd Dant..."

Well why do you see the need to comment then?
It is important to your party, just like your leadership is important to my party as we may well be in government together soon.
Personally I feel your leader is a useless waste of space and will be a liability to the rainbow government, but that doesn't stop me recognising his significance and wouldn't pretend not to be interested.

At 3:43 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Geraint, stick an m on the final .st you'll get the message

At 4:05 pm, Blogger dowlais twp said...

if wont wins, will wont want to have a say or will he be a silent partner?
We want wont!!!

At 4:52 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kirsty's supporters seem to be ramping up her vote, but the duck's still winning.

At 4:54 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How old is that duck? I don't think even the Lib Dems want votes for 2 year olds. Well maybe Peter Black.

At 4:59 pm, Blogger Cymro said...

Anonymous, well the Lib Dems are amateurs and anyone involved in politics knows it. Unless you grow up and act like a proper political party soon, instead of changing your minds every few seconds and allowing Labour to govern by default, people will never take you seriously. After all, what do you stand for these days?

I said in my last post that Mike German would be best as far as the rainbow is concerned. I was commenting on the internal dynamics of Lib Dems - a leadership competition is shuffling a pack of jokers.

At 6:18 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

all the responses on this post show is how eager the minority parties are for some sort of power- i.e. they would prefer german as leader because he is 'best for the rainbow'. grow up.

surely a general move to the left of centre by all the parties (and that includes kirsty taking control of the LDs) is best for Wales. obviously the tories won't agree but who cares?

At 6:18 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...


ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah ah ha ha ha h ha ha h ah ah ha h ah ha

bored now

At 6:27 pm, Blogger Cymro said...

You say grow up, anonymous? How about you grow up? I'm not entirely comfortaable with the idea of the rainbow - as a Plaid supporter I am wary of the Conservatives. But PR - th great, Lib Dem hope - will deliver the need for coalitions. So try being sensible, get of your ideological soap-box opposing everything that moves, and try working with people, even those you don't agree with.

If you wait for the perfect conditions to be in government, including a centre-left consensus, you may as well wait forever.

At 6:52 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's jumping the gun to assume that the Plaid conference in July will decide the next govt of Wales. I think you'll voters are possessed of the romantic, old-fashioned notion that they should decide the govt of Wales at the ballot box.

An autumn coup against the party that won the most seats on May 3 will take some selling to the electorate.

At 6:57 pm, Anonymous blogssy said...

New Blog alert!

At 6:58 pm, Blogger Cymro said...

I doubt that. Laboour are in governnment by default at the moment. All other parties kept their options open - the electorate knew that a rainbow coalition was a strong possibility and yet those parties increased their vote, whereas Labour lost ground.

So if and when it happens - and the momentum in Plaid for a rainbow is incredible - we will have a mandate to govern, directly from the ballot box.

At 7:13 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think people will see it that way, Cymro. Plaid spent most of the election campaign reassuring voters they wouldn't work under a Tory First Minister. Of course the small print leaves open the possibility of a Tory Deputy FM. But I think you'll find that's not quite what people expected.

Labour were the most popular party by a distance and voters will ask why they're not in govt. Particularly since Rhodri Morgan was elected unopposed as FM last Friday. It will be a case of 'Labour won the election, Rhodri became FM, and now the others are launching a coup'.

It would be interesting to see some poll data on whether Plaid, LibDem and Tory voters anticipated a Rainbow. It's the norm (in the recent Irish elections, for example) for coalitions to form BEFORE the vote and campaign as a group so that everyone knows where they stand. If the Welsh public start asking questions about PR, they will want to know why we're not doing it the same way as Ireland and Sweden (for example), and allowing voters a say on the alliance.

The idea that LibDem and Plaid party conferences elect a govt is a pretty big target for Labour to go after.

At 7:24 pm, Blogger Cymro said...

A bit simplistic there, and you assume that the electorate are idiots. They are not - people backed the parties who said they were open to talking with others. Labour's vote fell, now representing less than a third of the electorate. This means that they have no mandate whatsoever to go it alone.

If Rhodri and his minority government in paralysis are forced out, most people will breathe a sigh of relief. Basing your hopes of retaining power on the stupidity of the common man is beneath contempt.

At 8:04 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rob Humphreys, the Welsh Lib Dem President, is by far and away one of the most statesman-like figures in our party. It is a shame that he isn't in there - he would have been an ideal replacement for Mike German when he steps down.

At this stage I can only see Kirsty Williams taking over from the current cohort of WLD AMs. Up until the debacle, I would have supported her. She undermined my faith in her by being 'Tribal' and voting against the deal. She certainly has the passion to be leader, but I'm now doubting that she has the judgement.

At 8:44 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cymro - wishful thinking, I'm afraid. It's not Labour who treated the elctorate as if they were stupid; it's the parties who campaigned against each other for four weeks and then announced they wanted to take power together. When they were ready. Not now. Not after the election. Not at the vote for a new FM. But sometime. When their memberships are okay with the idea.

Plaid have sent the message out loud and clear. The important people in this election are the card-carrying members of Plaid Cymru. Not the voters.

Well, that's put us in our place.

You say that Labour got less than a third of the vote. You got less than a quarter. Only in the strange world of nationalist politics could that give you the moral high ground. Labour's vote fell? Oh well, that's that, then. It matters not that Labour are the most popular party. The key criteria is whether the vote increases or decreases.

Stil, I think we can all sit back and relax. The future of the country is in the hands of PLaid's July conference. The country will certainly agree with me that it is fit that Plaid members should decide the shape of our govt rather than the voters more generally. So what if they had 100,000 votes less than Labour? So what if they won no constituencies east of Swansea? So what if they are entirely a rural party, with no constituency presence in urban Wales? So what if they complained about Labour's 'Vote Plaid, Get Tory' slogan? So what if they got no more votes than the Tories, but have a few seats more because of the quirks of the electoral system? So what if the main coalition partner are the Conservative and Unionist Party? So what if one-third of the Plaid AMs announce that they didn't campaign on the Tory coalition ticket and don't think it would be in the best interests of Wales?

Plaid knows best, and we can all trust Plaid!

At 8:54 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You do have to wonder why the Nats and the LibDems couldn't have asked their memberships about the rainbow group before the election. The manifestoes are published well in advance.

At 9:12 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cymro spends half this thread ridiculing the Libs and the other half insisting that Plaid campaigned for a coalition with them.

He's also said he doesn't like the Tories.

The Rainbow sounds like a great idea, doesn't it?

At 10:18 pm, Anonymous johnny foreigner. said...

Just sit tight Rhodri.

The Libs are tearing themselves apart. They want to be in the Rainbow and they can't even decide who will lead them.

Fat chance of them addressing a real problem if it came across their desks.

Plaid go on to 'big-up' their "incredible" momentum. I wonder if that momentum is powered by their core voters who have clearly been sold down the river on the basis of this proposed alliance with the Tories.

The Tories, just sit and wait with a sly grin, knowing that Ieuan and the Libs are quite prepared to ally with them against their mortal enemy: The Rhodster.

Please don't forget that Rhodri wants a 'Legacy' as well as T. Bliar and I really don't think that he will sit idly by and allow the levers to be simply taken from his grasp by a bunch of chancers like the Rainbow.

Your perspicacious pal.


At 10:23 pm, Blogger Cymro said...

A load of anonymous replies - not sure where to start answering! First of all, this coalition will be based on policies - not on a coalesceing of the individual parties. Plaid will remain centre-left; Tories centre-right; Lib Dems, err... something. If we can get together and produce an attractive document for stable government - which we already have, see posts from last week - then let's go ahead.

Otherwise, the mandate question. Three parties that said that the rainbow was possible win 68% of the vote, but have no mandate to govern. Labour, whose vote fell to 32%, its worst share of the vote in modern history, and running a minority government b default, have a mandate to govern. What did you have for dinner?

At 10:24 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pontygwindy, who do you think has been organising the opposition to the rainbow. It wasnt Kirsty nor was it Peter Black. It was the Welsh Liberal Democrat President.

At 10:28 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blamerbell - LibDems are boring and irrelevant - who cares who there next leader will be.

Far more interesting is who will make it into Rhodri's cabinet - can we have your thoughts please.

At 11:08 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess I'm a core Plaid voter since I've supported the party at every election since Trefor Morgan stood in B&R back in 1964. There must be a lot of people like me who would actually prefer a coalition with the current lot of Welsh Tories and Lib Dems to Labour.

All we've had from sections of the Labour party for the last 40 years has been a lot of vile Nat bashing, just slander really not forgetting their attempts to stir-divisions between Welsh and English speakers. Labour governments - useless on the whole, Labour in local government - well they certainly used to keep Paddy French and Rebecca in copy didn't they.

I actually like Rhodri and Carwyn and people like Paul Flynn but Good God there are some disgusting people in that party. From Kinnock down.

At 11:14 pm, Anonymous whippie said...

thoughts on a cabinet
check out glyns blog

At 11:56 pm, Anonymous Iolo said...

Where does this daft idea come from that Plaid now has to side with either Labour or Conservative? There's a weak, minority Labour government. They may be forced into doing good things. If they fail badly, there will be a vote of no confidence. That will trigger what's called an extraordinary election (within the 4 year term) and Plaid can emerge as the largest party. Simple really.

At 12:56 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's fairly clear that the rainbow will happen sometime in 2007. The weirdness of the last few weeks mean that IWJ has been given an unique gift of time to think how he and his partners can cut through the glacial processes that could slow down their policy implementation. They may then be able to accellerate them all through in 18 months - this would then be a legendary assembly (whatever happens in 2011).

At 6:18 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Labour don't have a mandate to govern alone. They do have a mandate to lead a coalition, as they're the biggest party and no alliance stood against them in the election.

Or, like the SNP, they can form a minority govt if they have no coalition options.

What shouldn't happen is that three parties campaign against each other during the election and then decide they will club together afterwards - memberships permitting - to oust the govt and FM they've just allowed to form.

At 8:48 am, Blogger Peter Black said...

Is it too late to vote, damn!

At 9:52 am, Blogger cymrumark said...

The Labour spin on here really is funny. They ruled out coalition with two parties, Plaid and Tories prior to the election. hence the mess they are in. If they really wanted to keep the Tories out they could.

The big fear for Labour is that the rainbow, dominated by Plaid and the Libs, will produce quite sensible policies and have an energy and determination lacking in the Labour administrations.

People will also see the world did not end bcause the Tories were part of a coalitiom. Most people understand there is a world of difference between a Tory government and Tories in a coalition government.

The election result confirmed that even in the best ppssible circumstances the Tories are the third party of Wales. they now know their place and will react accordingly.

The idea that Plaid's core vote is being sold down the river is laughable. Our core vote by and large is motivated by cultural and language issues housing etc as well as a belief that Wales needs a better deal from within the Uk or by going it alone. The average Plaid voter is well to the right of the average Plaid activist. The indications I have had is that those people who have read the accord are very excited by it. The voters just want us to get on with the job.


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