Monday, 27 October 2008

...there was a problem

Posted on the Bevan Foundation blog on October 27th:

"Jonathan [Powell, Chief of Staff] came into my office and shut the door, which usually meant there was a problem". So began Alistair Campbell's diary entry for October 27th 1998.

The 'problem' was to result later that day in the first resignation from Tony Blair's Cabinet, and the beginning of a new chapter in Welsh politics.

Fans of the counter-factual school of history will debate the impact of the events for some time, no doubt. I'll sit that one out.

The one thing it is easy to agree on is how swiftly and profoundly Welsh politics has changed in ten years. Since the beginning of the secret ballot politics in Wales has been predictable, but not any more.

Who could have foreseen that a decade on John Osmond would be hailing Rhodri Morgan as "the father of devolution", Ron Davies would be a County Councillor representing the seat he held when he was 21 and Alun Michael would be a backbench MP struggling to come to terms with the consequences of devolution (well, perhaps that's less of a surprise).

You couldn't make it up.

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