Saturday, September 15, 2007

Will people accept Plaid facing two ways ?

One of the big unknowns after the One Wales agreement, and Plaid taking seats in government, is the extent to which ordinary voters will accept Plaid seeking to face in two directions (similar but not the same concerns for Labour as we did it before). IWJ is right to focus on the big change this means for Plaid.

At one level the tactic of putting Labour at semi-arm's length is understandable but many people will not be fooled by conference rhetoric. To deliver each element of our Assembly programme we need each other to be supportive, and, as Labour has the whip hand in London then, for the moment at least, I judge they need us more.

So Adam can sabre rattle as he wants, but Elfyn seems to be talking real politik (step forward Lord Wigley of ??), and Ieuan knows that One Wales (and his future?) sinks or swims by joint effort. Blow it and there is no certainty of a sunnier day on the horizon.

Meanwhile we wait to see how the Assembly events influence the Westminster election process - because in reality noone really knows. It will actually be for Wales an election in a unique context.


Alwyn ap Huw said...

I'm not sure that your question will be such a big deal in the next Westminster election, Plaid may be the second placed party in the Assembly, but (I think I'm right in saying) it was in fourth place in the last Westminster round.

"Noises off" may have had an influence on the last Assembly election but, so far, Assembly politics doesn't seem to have effected Westminster elections in Wales. I may be wrong but I don't have the feeling in my waters that the next GE will be any different.

The next Westminster election is going to be one of the hardest tests Plaid has ever faced because of boundary changes. Arfon is no longer a shoo in, Aberconwy is going to be hard work, regaining Ceredigion and Ynys Mon will be no easy task. But I don't see the Assembly coalition being a major factor for or against the party in any of these seats.

menaiblog said...

Coalition government is fairly new in Wales, & indeed in the UK in general - so some things associated with it take some getting used to.

In countries that often end up with this sort of government it's accepted that the relationship between governing parties is complex. They need to support each other in government, but retain their identity outside it. Failure to do this can damage one, or all parties involved. It's a difficult line to judge for all coalition partners.

A recent case would be thefate of the PDs in Ireland. I won't go into the complexities, but during the Autumn they acted in a way which damaged their ditinctiveness and ended up fudging the differences between themselves & their (far bigger) Fianna Fail partners. They lost much of their core vote, & they lost 6 out of their eight seats.

A couple of years previously the reverse happened (in council & Euro elections). The larger party became too closely identified with the right wing ethos of the smaller party & took a hammering at the polls.

Martin Eaglestone said...

Both fair and reasonable views.

Perhaps we don't yet know. One change is that Tory sympathisers may not see Plaid as the same safe (non-Labour) home anymore and that could be an issue for Plaid in new Aberconwy (and Ynys Mon?).

Perhaps we don't yet know about Arfon where "traditional" rivalries will still be strong factors I would suspect.

But we enter the unknown ......