A couple of commentators thought I might have jumped the gun in my blogging about the new discussion forum but, some 24 hours on and having read the pamphlet in full, I remain with mixed feelings.
I have no doubt that debate is good and never to be feared in a democracy. It is partly why I enjoy blogland, not because it contains the future of democracy, but adds to debate.
Huw makes a number of points that many will share. We can have Labour majorities - PR simply makes it more challenging. I feel however that Huw loks at the bleaker side of May's results, I perhaps see the glass as half full. Loosing some seats, but doing comparatively better than other parts of the UK. After some distraction we should now be able to focus on delivering major parts of Labour's manifesto as the senior partner in a coalition. I am sure Scottish Labour would like to be in our position.
Yet review and reform are right. The Party itself is doing that and we can all contribute. I'm not sure we need new Forums and websites to debate Party organisation and which I feel takes up a major part of the new pamphlet.
My impression of May 2007 - and factors hardly mentioned by Huw are Blair and Iraq, stay at home voters and yes I agree to an extent our decreased resources as a Party. However when the wind is against I feel we might have spent much more for not much return in the PR system.
Huw refers to a fresh intake of AMs but I am not sure what mechanism he proposes. People work hard to get elected and at both Westminster and Assembly levels do not often voluntarily opt to step aside for fresh blood. Nor does it always work - Sue Essex being a big loss in my opinion and we know the pain of imposing central solutions on local parties.
Clearly Labour, of all parties, faces the big challenge in closing any talk of a widening gulf between MPs abd AMs. Could it be we had no commonly agreed vision of where we wished to actually take devolution after delivering on Labour's referendum ? The shortfal on the Richard Commission recommendations was noteable sign of any gulf. So that is common ground as a task to be resolved.
Neither does Huw address the linguistic cultural issues that I feel are part of political life in modern Wales. Eluned Morgan has asked how we are to reach out and embrace potential support in western/Welsh speaking parts of Wales ?
Huw feared some would react angrily. Perhaps he had Paul Flynn in mind !
For my part I see no need to fear debate. I have several reasons to disagree with elements of Huw's analysis
* many of these points about organisation could have been tackled internally,
* it is not just resources,
* what about Blair/Iraq and May 2007 ?
* perhaps Wales fared better than Huw admits ? (although not well enough)
* modern politics requires relatively broad churches working to a common good,
* can Wales reach outwards across current cultural divides (not for example by missing the Eisteddod)
So there is some thought generated by the pamphlet and new blog.
Finally is the language wise. Talk of not being fit for purpose (in bold print) is, I feel, aimed at generating controversy for its own sake. Perhaps distracting from oterh elements of the pamphlet.