Saturday, 22 October 2016

A Lab - Plaid Coalition may not be a good idea for an open democracy..

Its not often I find myself agreeing with former Lib Dem AM Peter Black but he makes a somewhat convincing case  against Plaid joining Labour in the Assembly in a Coalition 

 According to the BBC Plaid Cymru is "actively considering" whether to seek a coalition with Labour,.

Plaid leader Leanne Wood said there was "ongoing discussion" about whether it was better to formally share power, with members genuinely torn over the "dilemma".
Mr Black writes
The big disadvantage from my point of view would be inadequate scrutiny of Welsh Government policies and legislation. At the moment the opposition is fairly diverse, with the Tories and UKIP opposing from the right and Plaid Cymru largely from the left. The only liberal voice has been subsumed into the government but Dafydd Elis Thomas himself may be able to provide that in future.
To have the government solely scrutinised from a right wing perspective may well suit some members of Labour and Plaid but it would severely diminish the quality of debate in the chamber and committee rooms. We would lose a plurality of representation within the opposition that currently benefits our democratic process.
That was not a problem during the 2007-2011 One Wales Government of course because the Welsh Liberal Democrats provided that left-leaning, liberal input into debate and scrutiny. It would not be available in the fifth Assembly.
The second disadvantage of such a coalition is that it would give the Government a free pass on the work of building a consensus for their work within the chamber and in the country.
At the moment, if Carwyn Jones wants to get something through he has to work with others and achieve a sort of consensus. In a mega-coalition that debate would be internalised, it would become less of a discussion and more of a whipping exercise.
That is not healthy for democracy nor does it help to advance the cause of devolutuion in a country that prides itself on a more consensual approach than Westminister. Having to win support for your policies from your opponents so as to get them through can bring a type of democratic discipline to government that is discarded by those Ministers who can rely on an automatic majority to get things through.

Of course Peter may  considering the position of the sole Liberal Democrat  (Kirsty Williams) in the Assembly.  Currently Education Minister in "Not a Coalition" whose  unconvincing claim to have an influence  would be even more diminished.

and it its somewhat hypocritical for someone from a Party that joined the Tories in pushing through the austerity program in the last Westminster Governmentto lecture others on  any coalition agrrement.  

But Peter main argument is valid,  Such a coalition  would be composed of eleven Tory and six Ukip AMs leaving an opposition on the right and as the Tories seem to be moving into Ukip territory  moving further to the right , There would be no alternative Left or even centrist view fro the Opposition benches.

Oh hang on I forgot about Dafydd Eis Thomas  who as a "Independent" might ironically  find himself the sole Centre -Left  AM on the opposition benches criticising the coalition government.

Of course there is a strong argument which the Lib Dems tried to make when in the Tory Lib Dem coalition that you can moderate or even change the majority party's proposals within such a coalition.

But even it is true we the electors will not see this.

I would suspect that Labour AM who would have to give up at least three Cabinet seats or  ministerial posit would not be happy to make room for Plaid.

 At the moment Labour have the possibility of a slim majority and Plaid can take the opportunity  of using a supply and demand pact with Labour as the recent budget negotiations  claims from them proved.


  1. I don't expect you to publish this but, believe me, this latest stance from Leanne is largely about pushing Neil McEvoy out of the party. She is sacrificing Plaid's independence to ensure that someone she sees as toxic and untrustworthy is marginalised further. Most of the AMs can't stand him; as you know, politics is about overlapping factions and McEvoy has some support from Simon Thomas and Rhun ap Iorwerth, but the consensus amongst the people who earn money (i.e. politicians and staffers) in Plaid is that, by hook or by crook, McEvoy has to go.
    I'm personally against a coalition but if a coalition gets rid of McEvoy then it will be worth it.

    In fact, please don't publish this. I just thought I'd let you know what is going on, in my opinion anyway.

  2. That's very interesting if what you say is true anon. I dont know neil mcevoy but it's evident he's someone who likes to speak his mind. Nothing wrong with that of course, just so long as you can back the claims you make in public up. Today he has made some extremely serious allegations about welsh labour - he's basically insinuating they are corrupt

    I hope he has evidence to support the claims of 'dodgy' practices he refers to in his statement and if he does he must produce it. A politician simply cant go around making statements like that - and talk about jailing people - without being able to prove criminal wrong doing. Else you end up sounding like donald trump!

    And you dont have to be a political soothsayer to see Neil Mcevoy's incendiary statement as an attack on leanne wood and her openness to working with the welsh labour government (something i think leanne is right about incidentally).