The Group of Four

  • Betsan Powys
  • 22 May 07, 09:35 PM

More on the strong-minded Plaid women.

They are Helen Mary Jones, Leanne Wood, Bethan Jenkins and Nerys Evans.

"We fought this election on a platform to deliver a proper Parliament for our nation. A deal with the Conservatives would undermine the chance of delivering that goal."

Key Plaid figures have come out in the past few days to talk up the rainbow coalition they said. It was only fair that those who oppose the deal have their voice heard too.

And how.

"There is a clash of values and principles between Plaid and the Conservatives. That is why we believe an arrangement between us would be unsustainable in the long-run and not deliver the stable government for which we all strive.

"We have thought long and hard about making a public statement. But, we think it is now right that we seek to convince our members to oppose what we believe would be a mistaken decision."

How many of those members will listen and refuse to accept that the 'one nation Tories' of 2007 are a quite different lot to the Tories of old?

And how many of you had put Helen Mary Jones in your cabinet? Not now. Come to think of it how many strong-minded women can there now be in a rainbow coalition cabinet? Fewer than in the last one by the looks of it.

Labour, for their part, insist that they've acted "in good faith, with a clear mission to provide stable Government for Wales. We believe we have conducted ourselves in an honourable and principled way".

Might they reveal the deal they'd put before Plaid? Suggestions today that they're 'disappointed' enough to do so.

One more concern doing the rounds: what would the rainbow coalition call itself? Alliance? Too liberal. Partnership government? No, Labour and the Lib Dems used that one.

The Cardiff Bay Collective? Maybe not.

A very happy birthday ...

  • Betsan Powys
  • 22 May 07, 08:22 PM

I've never seen Ieuan Wyn Jones bounce into a room but he just did.

I'ts not unanimous but Plaid have voted to suspend talks with Labour and concentrate on efforts to form a Plaid-led rainbow coalition. It is, he said, deal that's exciting and that'll allow the party to put much of their manifesto into action. Not an unanimous vote - and he wouldn't go into detail.

Some strong-minded women walked out of the meeting looking pretty unhappy.

Did Ieuan Wyn have a happy birthday? "I've had a WONDERFUL birthday" he beamed before bouncing out again.


  • Betsan Powys
  • 22 May 07, 12:46 PM

Rhodri Morgan and Ieuan Wyn Jones talk while, next door, there's a meeting going on entitled "Inspiring Leaders with Common Purpose".

An omen, we decide ... but of what?

Really? Really?

  • Betsan Powys
  • 22 May 07, 12:01 PM

A few weeks before the election I joined forces with the Scottish Political Editor, Brian Taylor and the BBC's Sultan of Swing and Things, David Cowling to spell out what we thought might happen on May 3rd and beyond.

Brian went first of course because ... well, Scotland always does and everyone in the room were fairly certain that the Scottish story would be bigger than the Welsh one. (Yes Brian, I did say the story ..!) IMy pitch was that Wales is not Scotland lite and that should the maths make things difficult for Rhodri Morgan, we may well see Labour talking to Plaid - vague surprise - or even a rainbow coalition. At this their ears pricked up.

After any number of questions to Brian, the man from Newsnight was kind and curious enough to turn to me. His question was this: "So Betsan Plaid and .. . the Tories? Really? Really?" The second "really" was long drawn out, the kind of long drawn out that concentrates the mind.

I'm not sure I convinced him or anyone else that yes, it really could happen but here we are, on the brink of finding out whether Ieuan Wyn Jones is about to discard the 'Wobbly' mantle or not. Does he get his group's support to go for the First Minister's job and throw in his lot with the rainbow coalition, or does he do a deal with Labour? Either way you can be sure we'll hear the word 'responsible' littering every interview he'll give later today.

Labour for their part insist they've done their best to come up with a deal for Plaid. Dissent amongst the Labour group is now down to - well half a handful shall we say and a 28-page document has just been delivered to the Plaid group. The two leaders sit down to talk within the next few minutes. Last gasp? Last ditch?

But even if the rainbow comes out on top today, what of the Lib Dems? Can Mike German keep his party on side or could it be that Saturday's Special Conference throws a spanner in the works. If that conference listens to and votes with some of the party's grandees who are speaking out vocally against the rainbow coalition, then the maths looks like this: Labour 26 seats, Plaid/Tories 27 seats. Lib Dems in opposition.

Which leaves the single surviving independent, Blaenau Gwent's AM and bingo queen, Trish Law. How does it go? "Own its own, number 1". If the colours of the rainbow fall apart, you get the feeling this "one" will be anything but "on her own". She'll do what she believes pays out best for Blaenau Gwent and that, at this point, has her leaning towards the mini-rainbow.

What a day for your blog to migrate. When there's news on that front - or any front - I'll let you know.

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