Happy Birthday Ieuan

"It's just what I've always wanted. Thanks Dafydd."

"No problem," said Mr Wigley. "It's a lovely Welsh frame, though that photo of me is quite old now. I'll even sign it if you want, Ieuan."

"That won't be necessary, Dafydd.

"And what's this Helen - a scarf?"

Today, Ieuan Wyn Jones celebrates his birthday. It looks set to be one he'll never forget.

At 3pm, Plaid have their group meeting. They'll be discussing the document that looks set to make him First Minister.

This morning, I had a chat with Nick Bourne - Deputy First Minister elect. He was in good spirits. Mike German will have to settle for Assistant Deputy First Minister or Deputy Deputy First Minister. Whichever makes him sound less desperate:)

But he will, at least, have something to sell to his members at the Lib Dems' special conference on Saturday. While Peter Black remains "fundamentally opposed" to any kind of coalition, Mike German will be on the verge of delivering the closest thing the party has to a raison d'etre - PR in local government. They may have to settle for local referendums on the issue rather than seeing it rolled out with immediate effect, but at least it's something to shout about.

Labour AMs were in scarce supply today. Their world has been turned upside down. Elsewhere, the Lib Dems (all six of them) were still frantically negotiating and the Tories were practising their swagger.

Plaid are now in a huddle, but they are unlikely to spring any birthday surprises on Ieuan Wyn Jones. Rhodri, meanwhile, is having his cake and eating it.

UPDATE: Face to face talks between Plaid Cymru and Labour. It would have to be an absolutely incredible deal. Even then it's doubtful whether Labour's assembly members would sanction it. After all, when Rhodri is gone, they'll have to live with the consequences.

UPDATE: BBC are reporting that the triple alliance document has been sent to civil servants to take a look at. Are the Plaid-Labour talks an elaborate bluff? If Plaid go ahead with a rainbow coalition, they'll want to make it look like the last resort. That seems to be what they're engineering at the moment.

UPDATE: First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones. You'd better start getting used to the sound of that. Plaid have suspended talks with Labour.

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posted by Blamerbell @ 2:45 pm,


At 3:46 pm, Blogger gethin said...

"At 3pm, Plaid have their group meeting. They'll be discussing the document that looks set to make him First Minister."

So what became of that other document, the (in)famous 28 page Labour proposal.

Are you saying this has been rejected out of hand?

At 3:50 pm, Blogger Blamerbell said...

The one they downloaded from the internet?

At 3:53 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Labour AMs in short supply? I have seen 10 at least today. You need to get out of the Plaid group office a bit more often.

At 3:56 pm, Blogger gethin said...

Are you seriously saying that the proposal Labour put before Plaid today is merely the same 'New Zealand' cut and paste job that was mentioned in the Western Mail on Saturday?

At 4:03 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Exciting stuff!

we are finally on the road in Wales to No more Labour.

This is a great thing for everyone in the country.

At 4:55 pm, Blogger Geraint said...

Not really anon, it is terrible news. At least in 2011 we may see a Labour-Plaid coalition (hopefully), or Lib-Lab one, in the meantime Welsh Labour needs to be effective in oppsition and hold the Rainbow coalition to account for any mistakes it makes, as a good oppisition must do, while mordernising and adapting itself for devolution.

At 4:58 pm, Blogger gethin said...

Geraint -- as someone who voted for Plaid this time round, I couldn't agree more. I was hoping for a proper Labour-Plaid coalition - naive I know!

Blamberbell -- I ask again - are you saying that what Labour put before Plaid today was a version of the New Zealand cut and paste job?

At 5:14 pm, Blogger Blamerbell said...

Gethin, I don't know if it is a cut and paste job like the last one, but by all accounts it's based on the same principle of confidence and supply.

At 5:35 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm off to hear IWJ speak to members tonight and I'll let you know after, if I can stay out of the pub.

At 5:38 pm, Blogger gethin said...

Blamberbell -- thanks.

I wasn't expecting Labour to be offering coalition terms... The important point surely is did Labour put something substantial down on the table? If not, they have displayed a hitherto unsurpassed dereliction of duty. As the largest party, it remains Labour's moral duty to try their utmost to form a government. This means compromise, a painful necessity.

If, on the other hand, the proposals were serious and worthwhile then obviously equally serious questions will be raised regarding Plaid.

The truth will doubtless out. Either way, there will be hell to pay.

At 6:03 pm, Blogger Guto said...

"BBC reporting...." - Where are they reporting? Can;t find anything on the BBC Wales site or on either of their blogs

At 6:08 pm, Anonymous apathetic said...

this will give labour the good kick up the arse it needs. We'll give the rainbow a chance and see if Labour can become a good oppisition. Plaid need to show they got the balls to follow through with what they promised.

At the end of the day, Labour were 100% right though. Vote Plaid, Get Tory. Will Plaid be threatnening leagal action now??

At 6:15 pm, Blogger Blamerbell said...

Guto - Adrian Masters on Good Evening Wales.

At 6:29 pm, Blogger Guto said...

Apathetic - Plaid threatened legal action over Labour's claims that Plaid would serve under a Tory First Minister, something Plaid has always rukled out. They openelly stated that they were happy to talk to the Tories as long as Plaid was the majori party.

More like Vote Tory, Get Plaid to me

At 6:33 pm, Blogger Guto said...

(Thanks Blamerbell)

At 7:09 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the rainbow coalition happens, Labour will have to take a good look at themselves. Their negotiating tactics have been poor, with Rhodri first seeming to dither, then making rude comments about the people he was negotiating with. Faced with a choice between the unpalatable and the inedible, it now seems he will be forced to eat humble pie.

I'm a Labourite, but I'd say that we should be half-ashamed as well as half-angry if we end up in opposition. We don't seem to have offered anyone anything substantial. We should have been offering seats around the Cabinet table and some serious policy concessions. A Welsh Language Act and referendum might have gone a long way to getting Plaid on board.

We don't seem to have realised the rules of the game. You don't get single-party majority govts under AMS. We have to be able to negotiate and compromise.

At 7:09 pm, Blogger Ian said...

BBC UK network actually carried the Assembly situation this evening. Saying that, it looked like they did it under duress.

At 7:28 pm, Blogger Guto said...

anon 7.09 - seems to me you've hit the nail on the head. Whoever was in charge of Labour's negotiating tactics should be ashamed of themself (Rhodri?) (as well as whoever was in charge of their election campaign - Huw Lewis/Leighton/Govenor General Hain?)

At 7:48 pm, Blogger Geraint said...

Hopefully once Rhodri Morgan goes, We will see a devolutionist leader that actually has the bottole to stand up to the so-called "unionist" wing and modernise Welsh Labour into a devolutionist Party and a true Welsh party.

At 7:56 pm, Blogger gethin said...

Geraint, or anyone else for that matter ;)

Any candidates for such a reformist new Welsh Labour Leader????

And how would he/she exert the necessary authority?

At 8:09 pm, Blogger dewi_o said...

Geraint and Gethin.
I think Carwyn Jones could do the job although I wonder if a Unionist like Leighton Andrews could lead Labour. Interesting times for the Welsh Labour Party ahead.

At 8:20 pm, Blogger gethin said...

Dewi - don't think Leighton would be a reformist leader in quite the way Geraint meant...!!

Everyone keeps talking about the 'unionist' and 'nationalist' wings of the Welsh Labour Party. Is there no Welsh third way? (Not in the Blairite sense, I hasten to add)How split is the party really? How many AMs fall into each camp?

At 8:29 pm, Blogger Guto said...

According to Vaughan Roderick the majority of Labour AM's are the so-called Nationalista while some powerful figures on the outside are venomously Jihadists (Leighton and Huw Lewis come to mind).

In the Welsh Labour MP group the split is the other weay, dominated by Hain and his Jihadists but with people like Paul Flynn on the outside for the Nationalistas

(I know, stupid names, but I like them!)

At 8:30 pm, Blogger Ted Jones said...

If Labours approach to negotiating is anything like their approach to government, no wonder the country is in such a mess.

As a red-green advocate its been infuriating seeing Labour's half hearted and unprofessional handling of this whole situation.

I'm led to believe that the contrast in progress between the negotiating teams has been staggering.

What the hell was Rhodri doing down in London making a bloody speech when he had less than 24 hours to save his political career?

At 8:42 pm, Blogger Lyndon said...

Come on, lets get it over with and form a bloody government. The fate of Shambo the bull hangs in the balance (according to BBC national news).

At 8:43 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please let it be a rainbow coalition. Plaid's left wing - don't be so afraid and live for today. Who knows what will happen in 2011?

Plaid talk of winning over the Valleys. I hope so as they're great people and we need their support. But Plaid didn't win a single seat in the valleys this time and yet we could be in power. The valleys are important but they're not the only part of Wales any more than Gwynedd or Cardiff.

A Rainbow coalition could keep Labour out of power for the next generation - why are some in Plaid so afraid of them of Labour?

Wales needs a Raibow coalition to let in the fresh air, to give a multi-faceted dimention to Welshness, to bring on board right-winger to be part of the Welsh political nation. Labour have nothing to show for 4 year in goverbment - and they won't be any better now either, they're intellectually bankrupt, sustaining themselves on boring class jingosim and going on and on about Thatcher.

All parties need to take stock of the election but I think Labour really need to ask what is the point of the party now; post-Thatcher, post-Multiculuralism, post-Devolution in a European-wide society which is increasingly turning right. Does Wales need Labour at all?

I'd willingly support Plaid consider a coaltion with Labour in 2011 but not now. Plaid needs to take the initiative and make some fundamental changes to the way Wales is governend and feels about itself. Go for it Plaid otherwise people will ask, what's the point of Plaid! We're all dead in the end!


At 8:48 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon said:
" We have to be able to negotiate and compromise."

Well said. That's how modern governments should work.

At 8:49 pm, Blogger Ian said...

By all accounts, Labour blew it. It's now down to the Plaid and Lib Dems members on Saturday.

At 8:49 pm, Blogger gethin said...

"I'm led to believe that the contrast in progress between the negotiating teams has been staggering."

Ted - as news seems to be so thin on the ground - care to elaborate?

At 8:51 pm, Blogger Guto said...

Taste the rainbow


At 8:53 pm, Blogger gethin said...

Ian, if you could you go into some more detail without compromising your source(s)...?

At 9:10 pm, Blogger Ian said...

All I'll say at this stage is that it is going to be a very difficult few days for our party and if the vote goes yes on Saturday, a very interesting period in Welsh political history.

Wales should gain significantly but Plaid may well suffer for it. As everone says, these are very interesting times.

At 9:13 pm, Anonymous johnny foreigner said...

Why am I not surprised?

Before you get too bogged down in your various political irrationalities. Kindly spare a thought for the title of this thread.

Happy Birthday Ieuan, many happy returns of the day.

See what I mean? Just a little courtesy, good manners and consideration for others. In fact, whilst I am at it.

Pen-Blwydd hapus Ieuan.

At 9:20 pm, Blogger Guto said...

Penblwydd Hapus Ieuan :-)

At 9:22 pm, Blogger Geraint said...

Anon 8:43 PM

Don't get your little Tory self too exicted. With any luck come 2011 we will see a refreshed Labour Party in Wales, ready and willing to enter in a formal coalition with Plaid, and we will see a true social progressive Wales.

At 9:27 pm, Blogger Ian said...

It was not the 'going through the motions' that some including Blamerbell have suggested and there will be opposition in National Council. Also, the Libs could well boot out the deal themselves this week and even the most excited Plaid pro-rainbowist should baulk at the prospect of a 2-party coalition with the Tories.

It makes no sense to me that the Libs are wobbling at this stage. It's probably their safest move and can they really afford to take risks with so few of them?

Plaid is taking one hell of a risk for Wales. I hope that Wales appreciates it.

At 9:28 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

'A rush and a push and the land is ours..'

At 9:30 pm, Blogger Lyndon said...

Looks like some dissent in the ranks:

"However, within minutes of Plaid's announcement on Tuesday night, a group of Plaid AMs released a statement issuing their opposition to a rainbow coalition.

Leanne Wood, Bethan Jenkins, Helen Mary Jones and Nerys Evans said they were against a coalition with the Tories. "

At 9:33 pm, Anonymous apathetic said...

"Apathetic - Plaid threatened legal action over Labour's claims that Plaid would serve under a Tory First Minister...."

I'm not going to bother to try and make valid points anymore, I'll stick to random bad taste jokes

At 9:38 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BBC News Online:

However, within minutes of Plaid's announcement on Tuesday night, a group of Plaid AMs released a statement issuing their opposition to a rainbow coalition.

The Plaid group met for several hours on Tuesday afternoon

Leanne Wood, Bethan Jenkins, Helen Mary Jones and Nerys Evans said they were against a coalition with the Tories.

Leanne Wood said: "It is with regret that we do not agree with the decision made in our group meeting. We respectfully disagree.

"We fought this election on a platform to deliver a proper Parliament for our nation. A deal with the Conservatives would undermine the chance of delivering that goal."

Helen Mary Jones added there was a clash of values and principles between Plaid and the Tories, and that the AMs who opposed the move had thought "long and hard about making a public statement".

"But, we think it is now right that we seek to convince our members to oppose what we believe would be a mistaken decision," she said.

At 9:39 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My personal views (I'm anon 7:09) are closest to the Labour devolutionists who will not now form a government. All credit to Helen Mary Jones and her colleagues for going public with their doubts about the rainbow. I would have liked to see HMJ in coalition with Sane Labour people like Carwyn.

From a Labour point of view, all the indications are that we have ourselves to blame and we need to give ourselves a collective kick up the backside before the voters do it for us. (Though winning the largest share of the vote is no guarantee in our system). The irrational voices within Labour who get emotional about Plaid must not be allowed to have things their own way. Not only are they in a minority, but their argument is a loser. I can't be the only one who thinks I've heard far too much about Huw Lewis over the last few weeks.

Having said all that I believe Plaid's leadership had made their minds up which way to jump a week or more ago. Labour are the biggest party and there's a large stick with 'democracy' written on it which they will use to bash IWJ with at every opportunity for the forseeable future. I'm told Wales will be the only country in Europe where the biggest party is not part of the government.

Does anyone think the rainbow will last four years?

At 9:41 pm, Blogger Lyndon said...

Let's keep it together Plaid, socialist principles are all very well but you shouldn't let them get in the way of taking power, Labour certainly don't.

At 9:43 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Leanne Wood, Bethan Jenkins, Helen Mary Jones and Nerys Evans should abstain in the first minister vote.

At 9:48 pm, Blogger Lyndon said...

"I'm told Wales will be the only country in Europe where the biggest party is not part of the government."

That's a challenge isn't it? I'm off to do some googling.

At 9:52 pm, Anonymous lyndonsmum said...

"socialist principles are all very well but you shouldn't let them get in the way of taking power"

lyndon, the are what deliver you the Valleys & agree with anon 9:43 they should abstain

At 10:02 pm, Anonymous Alun said...

Apparently Helen Mary Jones tried to strangle IWJ with her present to him...

Oh, and to answer a question before anyone wastes any of their time; the largest party in Serbia is not part of the government there. But the situation probably doesn't compare that well with Wales; I don't think that Rhodri is in the Hauge on trial for unspeakable atrocities during a Welsh version of the breakup of Yugoslavia...

At 10:03 pm, Blogger Lyndon said...

They don't deliver that much in the valleys to be perfectly honest.

Oh and Serbia has a government of parties that came second and third in their election (the fascists came first, mind). Even more relevant in the Catalan Generalitat election Convergence and Union were clearly the largest party and actually increased their votes, but the Socialists and the Republican left, who both lost votes, formed a government.

At 10:13 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is what happens now - IWJ becomes FM and his government will do the minimum feasible, not least because Plaid are split.

Rhodri (and Jane Hutt, who ran the campaign and who has been leading the negotiations) will have to go - they are well past their sell by date.

Labour's grass roots will want a hard core Nat basher as leader. There will certainly be no group of any size in the party who will want to give more power to an assembly run by the Nats and Tories.

Plaid will be annihilated in the valleys in the next UK election but Labour would be foolish to think that either the coalition will collapse or be a push over next time - given that the three parties are staking everything on this, it will have to work but it won't do much.

At 10:14 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lyndon - I'll stand corrected. I'd guess though that Serbia and Catalunya are examples very much in the minority...?

On a different note, did Rhodri Glyn Thomas support the rainbow at today's meeting? I'm assuming everyone other than the four Plaid rebels was in favour...?

At 10:14 pm, Anonymous johnny foreigner said...

Ieuan, I very concerned and even more unsurprised.

It would appear that none of your mates on this thread, apart from Blamer, Guto and me have the slightest wish or inclination to offer you any felicitations on your Birthday.

All they want to do is rant on about the various jockeyings for position and have ignored the true gist of this thread

Is this the true face of the Party of Wales? Meanspiritedness and a total disregard for common courtesy and good manners.

Whilst I wouldn't vote for you I would offer you further heartfelt good wishes for your Birthday in a small effort to assuage the obvious hurt that follows from this thoughtless and discourteous neglect by your mates.

Again!.....Happy Birthday Ieuan, Penblwydd Hapus.

Note to Guto......Noted.

At 10:21 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 10:13 - I go along with your prediction except for the analysis of Labour's grassroots. That reads to me like a description of what a Plaid activist would hope for. In fact the only Nat-bashers in the party are a minority of MPs who are worried that their seats would disappear if the Assembly grew more powerful.

I'm hopeful that Carwyn would replace Rhodri, possibly Andrew Davies, but nutters like...well, let's mention no names, but the Mr Angrys of the party surely have no chance. RHodri's replacement will be moderate, reasonable, pro-devolution and very able, I'm sure.

At 10:26 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 10.21 - have you ever been to a Labour party meeting in the valleys? It's a different world from the wine and cheese parties of Cardiff West and North! They will want someone who will nail the Nats for doing a deal with the Tories - and they'll get someone.

Just wait till you see what Davies and Hart and so say. I don't think Jane Davidson will be capable of understanding it, though.

At 10:38 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am yet to be convinced by the rainbow coalition and am disappointed that the Labour-Plaid option seems to be dead in the water. Fair play to those in our Party that have said that they do not agree with the rainbow- they have Plaid's long term aim of majority government in mind.

If Plaid goes down this route then we will be a by word for Tory on a political stage that hasn't matured enough beyond Westminster prejudice and tradition. Tory will continue to be a dirty word for most Welsh people for at least another 10-15 years. Now is not the time to jump into bed with them.

At 10:39 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 1026- as I understand it, Hart argued for a coalition with Plaid at the recent meetings. I was disappointed to read that Andrew Davies argued the other way.

It's not going to be difficult to nail Plaid for doing a deal with the Tories. You don't have to go for Huw Lewis or Leighton Andrews to make that particular point.

Do you know how the leadership rules work? I'll be amazed if Rhodri's successor isn't Andrew Davies or Carwyn Jones, neither of whom represent valleys constituencies.

At 10:43 pm, Blogger dowlais twp said...

lanbour in the valleys will be crying into thier pints of bitter and glases of port & lemon - wales is lost and it may be a generationbefore they get it back.
The Labour reps in the Senedd are all well past their sell by date.
perhaps the new leader of welsh labour will come from outside the Assembly group (london will impose someone - may even be Hain as he has no chance inthe deputy race)

At 10:46 pm, Blogger Draig O Gonwy said...

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We all seem to have forgotten our history, According to Wikipedia's entry on the 1923 general election

"The Conservatives, led by Stanley Baldwin, won the most seats, but Labour, led by Ramsay MacDonald and Herbert Henry Asquith's reunited Liberal Party gained enough to produce a hung parliament. As the election had been fought on the Conservative proposals for tariff reform it was inevitable that they could not retain office and so the first ever Labour government was formed".

So we do have an example from Labour itself of a minority party gaining power.

However, it also worth noting that Ramsay MacDonald's Govt, "being in a minority, only lasted 10 months and another election was held in 1924".

Omens for the future perhaps....

At 10:49 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...


In 1923, Cardiff City were the best football team in Britain.

Long time ago, huh?

At 10:54 pm, Blogger Guto said...

Labour's Assembly leader is chosen by a vote of the members.

At 10:57 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Which members? The Labour Assembly Members or the Labour Party members throughout Wales?

At 11:00 pm, Blogger Draig O Gonwy said...

Leighton Andrews still thinks they are the best team in the UK :)

At 11:00 pm, Blogger dowlais twp said...

who said anything about the assembly leader being leader in wales. Who ever takes over from Rhodri will take orders from above

At 11:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Leanne Wood, Bethan Jenkins, Helen Mary Jones and Nerys Evans said they were against a coalition with the Tories. "

Are they on the same planet as the rest of us?
Where have they been the last week, when they could be doing their homework in preparation for such an important development in Welsh political history?
As a woman I feel that our female representatives are letting us down, giving in to emotive reactions instead of studied decisions.
HMJ looked really silly on the news tonight, way out of touch. There we are, on the brink of a major step for Wales and we see a calibre of now Plaid AMs emerging that is worrying. It was bad enough to witness the strong arm thugness from some Labour quarters.

I'm not a Tory, but for goodness' sake, what's the matter with politicians who cannot see it is going to be impossible to have a government this time without a compromise?
Like a box of smarties, the valleys AMs want all the red ones, now the Plaid women will not have any blue ones (I know - no blue smarties) because of additives or it will spoil their politicial health. A mixed box it will have to be like the lovely people of Wales.

We will have to keep reminding them of their responsibilities, to forget prejudices and think outside their skin and compromise.

At 11:06 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...dowlais twp said...
who said anything about the assembly leader being leader in wales. Who ever takes over from Rhodri will take orders from above ......

O diolch i Dduw

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


Are you insinuating that the Welsh Labour leader has a direct line to the Almighty?

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

Anon 11:00

You're talking nonsense. There were blue smarties aplenty in the mid 80s when I were a nipper.

At 11:13 pm, Blogger Guto said...

Welsh party members as a whole, not the Assembly group.

Plaid have the same system, that's how Ieuan Wyn got re-selected in 2003.

At 11:46 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's now official on the Welsh Assembly Govt website. This picture shows Jenny Randerson, Alun Cairns, Ieuan Wyn Jones and Brynle Williams taking the oath as Cabinet Ministers.


At 12:04 am, Blogger Guto said...

You're right, there's a picture of Rhodri after his Labour AM group meeting there too - see


At 9:00 am, Blogger Pads said...

Ok, while we're at at, here's a pic of the Lib Dems special conference


At 11:56 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to pick up late on this but Sweden is a better example of a country where the largest party SDP is not in government. I'm suprised that the kind of political junkies that read this blog did not know this.


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