Monday, May 21, 2007

Plaid thoughts in more detail

On further reflection the weekend posting by menaiblog deserves a fuller airing as it neatly explores some of the dynamic behind the potential Rainbow agreement. it usefully gives Labour some food for thought and defines some parameters of the debate.

"I'll let you in on a bit of a secret here Martin.I've talked to very many Plaid members in the North about this - & I'm amazed at how ready people are to look at the idea - people that I would have regarded as being staunchly anti Tory.Now, there are a number of reasons for this.

For example Labour aren't really engaging with us on the issue - they're just offering us the honour of keeping them in government from the outside. Rhodri wants meaningful negotiations, but it seems that Leighton, Huw & the boys won't let him play dice.Also the Labour campaign - centred as it was on the vote Plaid get Tory nonsense has conditioned people to expect the Tories in government.

Then there's the fact that we've just had two, none too successful Labour terms.But I'd hazard a guess that one of the main reasons for the sea change is simple human psychology. People get pissed off at seeing their party, it's core beliefs & it's public representatives (decent, honest people to a man) lied about, vilified, insulted & demonised on a daily basis.

The Tories don't do this, the Lib Dems do it sometimes - but much of Labour in Wales defines itself in terms of it's hatred of Plaid. This blog is in some ways a reflection of this mentality.Your behaviour before the election, during the election & since the election might well turn out to have rather a higher price than you expected".

Plaid activists need to reflect on the long term impact of lining up with the centre right Tories, their hisitory in Wales and whether the best interests of the people of Wales will be met by a journey over the rainbow.


menaiblog said...

A couple of quick points.

(1) The opinions I express are my own - I'm an ordinary party member, but my views have been sought - as have those of every party member.

(2) I'm now of the view that allowing the Tories into government is on balance better than not doing so - there are a number of reasons for this:
(a) It's better for us strategically. Tory ministers would not be able to do much harm. The harm done by Tories in the past has been largely because of their penchant for public spending cuts. All that the Assembly can do is spend it's block grant - cuts wouldn't be an issue. There would be Tories in government - but the sky would hardly fall in. Labour wouldn't be in a position to use it's main electoral tactic next time round - don't let the Tories in or everybody will die.
(b) It's better for Welsh democracy. Democracy doesn't work well when one party is automatically elected. It might be necessary to form an unlikely (& in some ways unpleasant) alliance to further the maturing of Welsh democracy. Labour doesn't have a divine right to rule.

You're right that there is risk for us from a party political point of view - it's very difficult to predict whether there will be an electoral backlash or not. (But as I've mentioned before, the issue wasn't raised with me once on the doorstep, although it was the centrepiece of your campaign).

On balance I reckon that it's a risk worth taking.

Having said that, all is not done & dusted by a long shot - many things (some of which are in Labour's control) could de rail things in the next week.

Cymro said...

First of all, I think the SDP-CDU coalition in Germany demonstrates that left-right coalitions can work - and even succeed, noting the recent fall in the German unemployment rate. Yes, I have no doubt that a left-left coalition would make government simpler, but the simple fact is that Labour don't want to know about Plaid at the moment.

Most Plaid supporters, around Caernarfon certainly, and most of Wales as far as I see, understand that there are two options, unless Labour start talking. We can continue in opposition, criticised for paralysing government when we vote against a minority Labour group, criticised for propping up Labour when we vote with them.

The other option is to grasp the nettle and go on with our socialist agenda. We are confident that we can face the challenge of doing so. It's up to Labour to decide.

Martin Eaglestone said...

thats why I thought you deserved posting as it seems an accurate perception of where things are - and Ieuan's ultimatum tonight may have moved it further alog.

I suspect the issue for Plaid will come after the initial glow of power has paased and when hard decisions (because 10 years has taught us that government can be hard) are required.

Cymro said...

I accept what you say Martin, making the hard decisions is never simple - no matter what or how many ideals you hold. However, that isn't to say that, even with the benefit of hindsight, Plaid would do things the same way as Labour. In Plaid, we still think that we can do the key things on the social agenda our own way.

menaiblog said...

How about this as food for thought?

Rhodri fails to respond in a way that's acceptable to Ieuan, but the coalition with the Lib Dems & Tories fails to emerge because it's unacceptable either to the National Executive or the Assembly group (or both).

Rhodri fails to get the votes necessary to become First Minister, & Ieuan fails too. The whole show is dissolved & we're into a new election in a month's time.

I hope you haven't used up all your annual leave.

Martin Eaglestone said...

I can always sign up for some unpaid leave to overturn the injustice of May 3rd !!

But more seiously I suspect everyone wants some form of deal - perhaps especially the people of Wales !

Aled said...

Should Menai's prediction be correct and another election could be called I predict two things:

1) Labour - with a new leader - will benefit from a honeymoon period in the polls

2) THis will be increased by the people of Wales seeing that Plaid Cymru wanted to sell them down the river to the Tories and
plaid will lose support at the ballot box.