Thursday, 18 May 2017

Rhodri Morgan the man who saved the Assembly?

I know that it is a bit cloying to praise political opponents  but news that  Former first minister Rhodri Morgan has died, aged 77 leaves Wales a lot poorer today
Although Born in Cardiff, He  was the son of Professor T. J. Morgan and the brother of the historian Prys Morgan. His second cousin is Professor Garel Rhys. He  could be described as  a pure Cracach that  term used in Wales for powerful people, especially those Welsh Speakers who whilst eulogising Wales are scion of the establishment
However  he proved to be somewhat of an Anti-establishment figure  who could be argued to have stopped the drift of Labour voters to Plaid Cymru but managed to secure the existence of that body from hostile elements in hus own party.
Morgan was elected as Member of Parliament (MP) for Cardiff West in 1987. securing the seat after it had fallen to a right wing Tory in the last General election.
Hw was one of the few Labour MPs  who decided to stand asab AM when the assembly was created in 1999.
He took the helm of the assembly nine months later, replacing Alun Michael who had stood down. He is widely credited with having brought stability to the fledgling institution after a turbulent start.
His realrionship with Tony Blair who did his best to Block him from becoming First Minister .
Blair saw him as being too much "Old Labour"  and ironically too much of an enthusiast for Devolution.
Ehich led Rhodri to comment on Blair
"It's very strange for me to be standing here today talking about a person who shafted me on one occasion but on the other hand, compared to what has happened with Iraq, I think that's pretty small beer to be honest with you. Life is far too short to be bearing grudges of that sort."
Mr Morgan served as first minister for nine years, from 2000 to 2009, before Carwyn Jones took over as first minister and Welsh Labour leader.
Did Rhodri save devolution from those Labour stalwarts who hoped in would fail, or is he partly responsible for its inertia and lack of vision.
I would  be inclined to support the former , if he had not ended up as First Minister, Plaid may have capitalised on their spectacular 17 seats they won in the first Assembly elections..
But i suspect he often regretted that he couldn't take his party further along the Devolution Road and see Wales emulate Scotland.
History will decide Rhodri Morgan's legacy but events perhaps over the next month which could see Wales voting Tory and Wales being totally absorbed into Englan may decide it.


Unknown said...

Stopped reading after 'he could be described as a pure crachach'.

Cibwr said...

Then you missed a very positive article.