Showing posts from September, 2009

Is today the day?

Posted on This is My Truth We’ll see… But we know that Rhodri will stay on as First Minister until December 8th at least, to put the budget to bed. As the contest for Labour Group Leaders will take eight weeks once it is trigerred this is not exactly hot news, and as has been discussed on this blog previously there is great concern on the fifth floor of the Assembly building about the stability of the Coalition during the negotiation of this year’s budget. But next year’s budget is going to be even more difficult to negotiate. Is he going to stay to make sure that one is ‘put to bed’ too? As General de Gaulle once said, “The graveyards are full of indispensable men”.

And they're off...

Posted on This is My Truth on 27 September Rhodri Morgan will today fire the starting gun for the race to succeed him. Ten years ago when Welsh Labour last held a leadership contest, the process for appointing the leader of the Labour Group in the Assembly was as controversial as the issues. Even though Rhodri Morgan has not delivered on his pledge to overhaul the election process (nor did Alun Michael deliver on his pledge to secure a seat for the Welsh Party on the ruling NEC), there have been some changes to the way the electoral college works. Each section of the college gets a third of the votes, but the Union (affiliated organisations) section will no longer be open to the abuse of 1999 where 'regional' executives decided how the votes of their membership should be cast. This time there will be no block vote. Unions will be have to ballot their membership and then divide their vote proportionaly according to the wishes of their membership. Here's how the electoral co


Posted on This is My Truth on 24 September The Neath Guardian The Port Talbot Guardian The Wrexham Chronicle

Big tent politics

Posted on This is My truth on 17 September Not content with inviting David Melding to join Plaid, now Adam Price has extended the offer to Carwyn Jones: "We know you love us really". I think the re-alingnment of the left in Wales is an intriguing medium term prospect, but is this taking big tent politics too far?

There may be trouble ahead

Posted on This is My Truth on 13 September So Gordon Brown will tell the TUC this week that we are "on the road to recovery". I think not. Even if the economy does pick up the impact on public spending over the next ten years is going to be profound. And last time I looked at the figures on the reliance of the Welsh economy on the public sector they left an impression on me that it was kind of important. The point doesn't seem to have been lost on the TUC. And clearly Brown is road testing his election strategy by painting the Tories as the slash and burn agents who will put the recovery at risk. But putting all that aside, let me be parochial for a moment. The impact of the cuts are going to have far reaching consequences for the Assembly Government, and indeed the future of the Assembly. For all the manoeuvring going on to replace Rhodri Morgan the overriding issue is how the WAG manages the huge reduction in public finances this Autumn and next following the Westmin

Harsh realities

Posted on This is My Truth on 6th September An interesting essay over on WalesHome . Former Welsh Labour Press Officer Owain Jones criticises his party for putting too much responsibility on the shoulders of Rhodri Morgan. He argues that just as Plaid Cymru established a talented leadership team from the across the party, so Labour should share the burden: The Labour Party, as much as any organisation, can be caught up in the cult of the individual, and its component parts rarely pause to consider what they might do to contribute to good leadership. Responsibility for change needs to be pushed out to where it can most profitably flourish. But the central control that was essential in achieving the discipline that helped Labour into Government, has now stymied its ability to develop as a party. Owain Jones is right to stress the need for a culture of self-criticism to develop within the Labour Party, but the defensive tone evident in parts of his essay illustrate there is a long way t

The end is near?

Posted on this is My Truth on 1 September Is the long goodbye about to enter its final phase? On 29th September Rhodri Morgan is 70 years old and it may well be the time the First Minister decides to trigger the much anticipated contest for the leadership of the Assembly's Labour group. I understand the Prime Minister has been pressurising Rhodri to stay on, but the First Minister now feels he's done his bit. With an autumn General Election no longer a possibility, no sign of a leadership challenge to Gordon Brown at the Party conference and the swine flu epidemic not yet reaching the 'pestulance' stage that could have required all hands on deck, there seems little reason to justify Rhodri Morgan delaying his retirement further. He's shown remarkable stamina for a man of his age and now deserves to spend time with his grandchildren. Who knows he may even decide to trigger a by-election in Cardiff West to coincide with next spring's General Election? If he did, n