Sense and responsibility

Something very strange happened to me yesterday.

I was sitting in the pub watching the FA cup. (not strange)

Drinking coke. (not strange)

My mate shouted "C'mon United, get into those STUPID CHEL-SAY TU-WATS". Very loudly. The pub chuckled. (not strange)

And then, a bunch of replica shirt wearing fellows behind me started discussing coalitions. (very strange)

Would a triple alliance have any legitimacy, they wondered. After all, Labour is by far the largest party.

I can't quite describe how excited I felt. This has never happened before. Up until now, the only people I've ever heard talking about Welsh politics have been geeks or opportunists (otherwise known as the media and political elite).

Whether or not we do eventually get a rainbow coalition government, the prospect of one has certainly made people take a bit more interest in who is proposing to do what with the running of the country.

Cue the scare stories. Paranoid Plaid supporters talk about 'losing the valleys', the Tories' 'privatisation agenda' and their fear of what is sure to be a fierce Labour bark in opposition.

But they must judge whether the benefits of a potential alliance would outweigh the negatives. Let's skip ahead a little and imagine what the criticisms of a Plaid-led government may be: (1)Too much emphasis on the Welsh language and a self-interested pursuit of power and (2) too little emphasis on encouraging entrepreneurial spirit and economic growth.

Plaid Cymru are very good at the former and not so great at the latter. The answer? Let the other parties take care of them all. A number of people in Plaid secretly admire some of the Conservatives' ideas for promoting business. So, Alun Cairns gets the Enterprise portfolio. As for PR and leading the charge for further devolution, let the Lib Dems take the initial flak. Why not give them Culture too, and the task of bringing in a new Welsh Language Act? These are, after all, policies from the Lib Dem manifesto.

Meanwhile, Plaid is left relatively unfettered to pursue its aims of social justice in health and education. It can take the credit for the other policies when credit is due. But in the meantime it is free to put all its high-profile resources into the public services that will, they hope, win them the valleys and possibly the next election too.

Then, of course, it's a question of whether or not they have the ability to make a difference. If there's fear in the Plaid camp, it shouldn't be about the Tories. Plaid are in a very strong position and have the right to negotiate on their own terms.

No, if there are doubts, they aren't about Nick Bourne. They're about Ieuan Wyn Jones and the other 14 Plaid AMs who will have to fight the 2011 election having proved that they really have delivered a change for the better.

I'm off to enjoy Glyn Davies' shrubbery today. Perhaps we'll do a joint blog if anything interesting comes of the lunchtime politics programmes:)

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posted by Blamerbell @ 12:04 am,


At 12:11 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only thing Plaid are changing are their colours from green to blue

At 12:36 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Why not talk about actual policies and actual things that a rainbow might do instead of trying to scare us all with colour schemes or left/right analogies.

At 12:40 am, Blogger Blamerbell said...

Err, unless I'm terribly mistaken I do talk about what a rainbow might do. I just say that it matters who does it.

Best cut out the yawning if it's making you too tired to read properly.

At 1:02 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought the guy was yawning at the first post.

Welsh bloggers are so touchy, ordovicius is the worst.

At 1:04 am, Blogger Luke Young said...

Blamer - In what pub can we find these football shirt wearing political activists? It must be a special place indeed.

The only kind of 'coalition' I heared being talked about was my mate wondering what to mix with her vodka after Drogba ruined all our optimistic singing....

At 2:23 am, Anonymous Alun said...

The answer? Let the other parties take care of them all.

Trouble is, they would still be part of the coalition responsible for those policies.

You might like to think otherwise, but there wouldn't be anywhere for Plaid to hide.
Attempts to evade responsiblity for unpopular policies would either look incredibly dishonest, or would just make what already looks, on paper at least, to be an shaky coalition even more unstable than before.

Power (even limited power) comes with a price, and that price is almost always some degree unpopularity.
As a general rule there are only three variables; how long it takes for a government to become unpopular, how long lasting that period of unpopularity is, and how severe it eventually becomes.

It's as certain as death and taxes.

At 2:50 am, Anonymous Blamerbell's housemate said...

"My mate shouted "C'mon United, get into those STUPID CHEL-SAY TU-WATS"."

Was that me? I'm pretty sure my abusive anti-Chelsea chanting was a bit more imaginative than that. And why have you made me sound like a cockney?

At 8:39 am, Blogger Blamerbell said...

in which case, anon, I apologise.

You're all so bloody anonymous it's confusing.

Luke, it's called the Crwys on Crwys Road. Proper old man's pub too. We even shared a table with two chaps who were so old and pissed we had to politely laugh off their many attempts at striking up a conversation.

Alun, of course the party leading the government would have ultimate responsibility. What I'm saying is if Plaid, for example, would like a bit of the Tory business mantra they can hand them the portfolio and feed us the old 'reality of coalition politics' line.

Blamerbell's housemate, I have this infuriating inability not to be able to remember the exact funny words people shout out in pubs. But it was something like that.

At 9:21 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am only half joking when I say this, but the logical answer to your dilema (Tories too worried about focus on language/Plaid too worried about focus on business) mihgt be to put Alun Cairns in charge of Culture, Welsh Language and Sport, and Alun Ffred/Elin Jones/RGT in charge on enterprise.

At 10:03 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is by far the best Welsh political blog - It actually makes me think!

At 11:18 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry but you are so niave. Your painting it out as if it will all work swimmingly- it won't. There will be internal divide in Plaid, the Labour party will love that, the Tories will try and shaft Plaid to build votes for 2011, and it will die a slow death.

This coalition should not happen.

At 11:18 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is talent in Plaid, Tories and the Lib/Dems, quite capable to running the government. As long as they put personal and ego issues aside for the sake of the country.
The biggest test for any new government will be thwarting any urges to make new costly changes and resulting in increased taxation. The welsh cannot take much more.

At 11:33 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon said:
"This coalition should not happen.

But Labour was already making a big mess of things. Whatever any coalition does, it can't be worse . We are more than ready for a change now.

At 3:41 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rhodri is just making it worse with his comment that he was prepared to negotiate voting reform wth the Lib dems. This is news to most Labour members. At this rate the best option for Labour is the Rainbow Coalition. Rhodri can retire to watch the dolphins in Cardigan Bay and the party can at least have the debate it should have had years ago on the way forward for Wales.We might even get some radical ideas instead of the slogans to use the immmortal words of Lenin which have become the substitute for a politcal programme

At 4:38 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If all this works out, do you think HMJ will get health? Or am I just being optimistic?

At 5:42 pm, Blogger Blamerbell said...

"this is by far the best Welsh political blog - It actually makes me think!"

Brilliant. You can come again:)

"the logical answer to your dilema mihgt be to put Alun Cairns in charge of Culture, Welsh Language and Sport, and Alun Ffred/Elin Jones/RGT in charge on enterprise."

It's not my dilemma. And I still think letting the Tories get on with business and giving the Lib Dems culture would take a bit of sting out of the policies Plaid would like to pursue.

Had a chat with Glyn Davies today, and he suggested they might like to appoint an independent figure from outside the assembly to oversee a new Welsh Language Act, someone like Lisa Francis or Ron Davies. He didn't nominate himself, but perhaps that's also what he was implying. Plaid could steer them in the right direction but it would be far easier to implement if the broad direction came from an independent commission.

"If all this works out, do you think HMJ will get health? Or am I just being optimistic?"

Possibly. I think it will certainly go to Plaid.

At 6:51 pm, Anonymous dave rodway said...

Plaid shoudl grasp the nettle, accept the large risk and the potentially large rewards.
Labour have been rubbish in power, and those of us who used to vote for them might actually respect them more if they sat in opposition and worlked out why it wa they were so crap, so divisive and so full of nasty careerists dickheads in the first place. Then come back to us treatignj us with respect, and somehting other than their bollocks Vote Plaid get Tory slogan.
Hain says there's too much inequality. Have i missed somehtign or have his party not been in charge over the last 11 years? And so on...

At 9:22 pm, Blogger Ian said...

I notice that Rhodri dropped another clanger today, by having a dig at IWJ to please the Lib Dems. A more devious person might suggest that he has had his hands tied by his AM group (& 2 jobs) to offer Plaid anything of note and has nothing to lose by slagging them off, in order to bed the Libs.

The Libs could well be attracted back into bed with Labour if the right inducements were offered, but it will cost them a lot more now than it would have on May 4th. There appears to have been no effort at all to agree anything with Plaid so unless STV in Councils & much more is offered to the Fibs, Rhod, Jane and co are our of their limmo's and onto the integrated transport they have invested so heavily in.

At 11:26 pm, Anonymous bart simpson said...

Rhodri was awful on The Politics Show today - and Labour should be getting very nervous if that's the best he can do.
And , if they are out of power, then the back stabbing will increase. All the main parties are fairly fragile coalitions at the moment but none more so than Labour. The knives are already out for Rhodri and the ambitious AMs are out to stake a claim for his job.
Brace yerself for two years of nat v unionists in Labour - made even worse if the rainbow coalition gets PR for local government and gets rid of lots of Labour dinosaurs from councils across Wales.

At 11:59 pm, Anonymous johnny foreigner said...

Ah yes!....but the old thorny question of language still remains.

I wonder if Ieuan, if he gets his eager hands on the levers, will be able to resist the temptation to bring in the compulsion word? I wonder if England were to be invaded would he oppose evacuation for English children.

I know, I know, it's raking up the spectre of Saunders Lewis again but to gain wider credibility among many of the population of Wales Plaid must re-invent themselves yet again. They should disassociate themselves from the words of their founder and apologise.

Hey! If Japan can apologise for WW11 and the UK can apologise for slavery surely Plaid can apologise for Lewis's evil words and traitorous actions. They should disassociate themselves and have a relatively clean sheet.

For many Welsh people Plaid is the viper at the breast of the UK and cannot be trusted.

Consequently we keep our friends close but Plaid even closer. We Brits like to keep a weather eye.

Personally, I would be prepared to give any of the Rainbow Crew a go at government but they must remain aware that if they mess it up they won't get another chance for generations.

The Labour machine will not sit idly by. They will watch and wait and will pounce at every opportunity.....This could be fun.

Your ever-watchful pal.


At 12:15 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"For many Welsh people Plaid is the viper at the breast of the UK and cannot be trusted."

Do you believe that?

If we are looking for apologies, wouldn't a more significant apology be from Blair for lying through his teeth on the Iraqi weapon threat and dragging us into an illegal war? Saunders Lewis was a product of his time and constantly harking back to his comments is the only angle Labour has to convince its members not to support Plaid, apart from anti-language rhetoric of course which you rely on when required.

I welcome Labour sorting itself out, as Wales needs its best to be representing in its Government; whichever inclusive party they represent.

At 1:10 am, Anonymous johnny foreigner said...

Anonymous said...
"For many Welsh people Plaid is the viper at the breast of the UK and cannot be trusted."

Do you believe that?

It's always at the back of the mind with many people particularly of my generation.

With regard to apologies over Iraq I am in agreement with you and can similarly describe Tony Blair as a man of HIS time. It doesn't get him off the hook either.

Plaid must address this at some time or the other it's not just going to fade away. It's a very sharp stick which I fear will be used for some serious prodding of Plaid over the next few years.

British politics are somewhat in a state of flux at the moment and I feel the the time is right for the emergence of a new or cleansed party that has moved on from the questionable spectre of its birth, that is fully representative of Wales, is inclusive of all and abandons ALL Nationalistic tendencies. I am proud to be Welsh but I am more proud of being British.

It was Britishness that gave these islands their prosperity and security not Welshness but, Welshness combined with Irishness Scottishness and Englishness has produced a mighty Union that, despite our small size, has been at the forefront of International matters for years. This is the prosperity and security that we enjoy.

United we stand, divided we fall to the low divisions and have little influence.

Deyrnas Unedig am Byth.

Your patriotic pal


At 4:58 am, Blogger Penddu said...

"For many Welsh people Plaid is the viper at the breast of the UK and cannot be trusted."

Kiss my asp....

At 8:11 am, Anonymous dave rodway said...

Johnny Foreigner has to be a joke poster - or else he;s just a one-trick saddo stooge form a bizaree wing of the 'I know jack shit abotu history' party. I don;t know which 'generation' he means when he says that teh burning issue is apologising for Saunders Lewis' stance of evacuees, but it's sure a s shit not one that you'll find on Planet relevant, where most of us try to spend most of what passes for our lives.

At 9:17 am, Blogger Marcusian said...

The rainbow coalition offers more to Labour than clinging onto power by offering too much to the Lib Dems or Plaid.


Nice try but it seems such a lovely little agreement on paper, but you skirt over the collective nature of it. IWJ cant say 'oh thats the tories fault' or the that 'the nature of coalitions', thats not good enough for voters. He is in charge, his responsibility...You cant divide up areas of the portfolio and expect them to be their own mini governments. Hardly joined up government is it?

At 9:20 am, Anonymous David Walters said...

Dead right Dave.

How many Welsh people have heard of Saunders Lewis, much less know anything about him or what he might have said decades ago, and much less still, give a monkey's!

At 9:36 am, Blogger Marcusian said...

"Dead right Dave.

How many Welsh people have heard of Saunders Lewis, much less know anything about him or what he might have said decades ago, and much less still, give a monkey's!"

I think its more the overbearing nationalism that is still prevalent in Plaid. Nationalism is an unpopular idea particularly outside of Plaid's rural heartlands.

At 11:20 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you sure that they weren't talking about a 'coalition' as being the best [only?] way to break the Manchester United hegemony ?

Combine the best of the teams of Chelski, Arseki and Liverpool into one 'seventies supergroup' style beat ManUtd combo, man...

Just watch out for the flared trousers..

P.S. What has happened to arsembly - we are getting a bit worried..?

At 11:23 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marcusian said...
/I think its more the overbearing nationalism that is still prevalent in Plaid. Nationalism is an unpopular idea particularly outside of Plaid's rural heartlands. /

You are either deliberately trying to provoke or you seriously have amnesia. Either way, I think you are wasting people's time here.

At 11:23 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

blamerbell - Do you live near the Crwys pub ??!! on Crwys Road ???

At 11:28 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, blamerbell, there is a smarter, 21st century alternative to the local difficulty of Plaid focus on lingo/Tory focus on business.

It is too shift Plaid's emphasis on the lingo onto one which will benefit our status as a modern, European nation with a focus on Tory enterprise and free market ideology.

Step forward, the new coalition for Wales...

POLISH CYMRU - You knows you want it..

At 12:01 am, Anonymous johnny foreigner said...

Here we go again. More insults from the uninformed and nasty Nationalists.

Keep it up. Like I've said before, I love a good scrap.

For the benefit of the uninformed :-

John Saunders Lewis, the founder of Plaid Cymru formerly known as the Welsh National Party, was, apart from his creditable literary achievements, a traitorous dog, IMHO and that of many others.

He actively supported Adolf Hitler was involved in treasonous arson and, worst of all, actively campaigned to prevent English children from being evacuated to Wales from bombed English cities.

FFS, (pardon the expletive) he refused SANCTUARY to endangered children on the pretext that they would pollute his precious Welsh Culture.

Fuck him and his Welsh culture if that's his attitude, (pardon again). He was prepared to sacrifice these innocents on the altar of his perverted Nationalism.

These are FACTS.

If Plaid wish to gain a wider audience for their views they must disassociate themselves from this man and his evil actions. You can't just say it happened decades ago. IT HAPPENED.

If anyone wonders why I have departed from my normal well mannered and civilised attitude it is simply because it's personal.

I am a War Baby and I have close family members who WERE evacuated to a saintly couple on a farm in Wales. These wonderful people lavished such care and love on these children that when it came time to part many tears were shed. Visits were made for many years afterwards.

Even I would vote for a Welsh Party that spoke for the majority in Wales. I don't believe in independence and I don't want to think that a Party that has such a questionable history would actually govern Wales.

Such a short step from the Reichstag to the Sennedd.

Your slightly wound-up pal.



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