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Two up ... one down

Betsan Powys | 15:03 UK time, Monday, 7 December 2009

They're still out there you know, the rumours that Gordon Brown may favour an early election. They were certainly to be heard loud and clear last week amongst those who spend their time around Westminster and those in Cardiff Bay who listen closely to what's said by those in Westminster.

Plump for March 25th, goes the argument and you'll make the most of improved GDP figures expected for this quarter and you'll get the election out of the way before people work out the implications of tax changes that'll hit them in April. No element of surprise any more and plenty of pressure on those who ought to be ahead of the game with their election planning but ... maybe.

The Conservatives are doing their bit to get the rumours heard. On Friday at the IWA's "Life under the Tories" conference*, more than one prominent Tory raised the possiblity over coffee and biscuits of a March election. They didn't think it likely, May 6th still feels far more likely but ... what did I think? You can't blame them. Talk of an early election, even if it goes nowhere, all helps to get their troops out and ready for the off.

No surprises then that new Welsh prospective parliamentary candidates are being selected left, right and ... well centre I suppose.

Former Ministers Christine Gwyther and Alun Pugh have been selected to fight Carmarthen East and Dinefwr in the West and Arfon in the North. The vegetarian and the Scrabble champ go for a re-match.

My colleague Vaughan Roderick has already made the point that both feel like 'softening up' campaigns - in other words no victories likely this time round but no harm done either come the time Labour gets round to drawing up the list candidates for the 2011 Assembly elections.

The Secretary of State's take on it? "Both Alan Pugh and Christine Gwyther ... bring great experience to the job and they show the quality of the candidates Welsh Labour can offer people right across Wales". (Someone had better whisper in Mr Hain's ear that 'Alan' is in fact an 'Alun' if he's get anywhere in a constituency like Arfon.)

The voter's choice as Mr Hain sees it? "A vote for Labour and a route out of the recession, or a wasted vote on Plaid Cymru and other minority parties that can only open the back door to Number 10 for David Cameron and the Tories".

That's the message. Get used it.

But here's some news of a Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate who's decided to exit by the back door, rather than help Mr Cameron into Number 10. Trefor Jones, who was selected some time ago to stand for the Tories in Ynys Mon, has decided to withdraw his candidacy. He's a teacher and cites pressure of work. The look on the face of the party worker who passed on the news - no more than 6 months before the election - betrayed his disappointment.

Trefor Jones was a strong candidate for the Tories and he will, no doubt, be back. Ok, so he had a fight on his hands in Ynys Mon and he would have needed a great deal of support on the ground, along with the money to make sure that support got him somewhere. But now? The fight will be all the tougher. In a constituency where some Conservatives, tempted in the past to vote for the independent Peter Rogers might have come back into the fold to help Mr Cameron home, there was fighting talk locally of Mr Jones polling well and doing what football fans seem to like calling 'coming up through the middle'.

Let's see who takes on the fight now.

Back to *"Life under the Tories" just for a second. Nick Bourne would, he said, have much preferred if the conference organisers had plumped for "Working with the Conservatives" as a title for the day's discussions.

But "Life under Tories?" "Come to think about it, I think I'll take it!" he said.


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  • 1. At 5:19pm on 07 Dec 2009, thegnatswatter wrote:

    Christine Gwyther and Allan/Alan/Alun Pugh are worthy politicians and
    will work hard for their respective constituents at Westminster. Hubble
    Bubble a March election could mean trouble a stick to May means a late
    referendum day.May it is then.

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  • 2. At 6:25pm on 07 Dec 2009, SEDWOT wrote:

    It's interesting that the Conservative push to regain Ynys Mon should founder so early on. At the last General election the Conservatives barely showed up in the Island, certainly they put up very few posters. I always assumed that this was so that Eurig Wyn for Plaid would have an easy ride defeating Albert Owen.

    In the event Peter Rogers polled strongly, Conservative farming votes, which were predicted to swing over to Plaid, went to Peter Rogers instead.
    Plaid were venomous and accused him of "stealing" their seat. Peter Rogers was jeered and spat on by Plaid supporters at the count in Llangefni. He later said that on the doorstep Plaid supporters had been abusive.

    This time round Peter Rogers is standing again but Albert Owen must be the underdog. His only hope is the rising personal unpopularity of Dylan Rees, the Plaid candidate, coupled with the bungling performance of Plaid on Ynys Mon County Council. Plaid could soon be so unpopular that even the Tory voters will swallow hard and vote Labour to keep them out.

    If Labour's Albert Owen wins the General Election against the odds then I shall put money on a major upset at the Assembly Elections. Peter Rogers to get votes from Conservatives and Labour supporters to overturn Ieuan Wyn Jones large majority and take Ynys Mon.

    Albert Owen and Peter Rogers to win would be a big money outsider double.

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  • 3. At 6:32pm on 07 Dec 2009, Igotitallwrongsorry wrote:

    Is that the Christine Gwyther who had a spectacularly good period as Agricultural Minister (not sure of exact title)whilst being a "vegetarian",and unable/unwilling to eat welsh meat at function to promote the said meat,which is virtually the only point of welsh farming. It could only happen in the "mickey mouse" organization down the bay,other wise known as LA LA land. Is she a "pacifist" as well and could therefore be a Minister at War Office(proper name) due to her experiences as outlined above. "Life under the Tories" is another part of the Orwellian structure of welsh life that seeks to portray Conservative governments as being some sort of Fascist governments out to down down the ordinary people of wales like myself. Well Mrs. Thatcher gave us the RTB which allowed thousands and thousands of welsh people the chance to buy their homes and what can WAG boast of similar enhancement of the individual and not the collective masses.

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  • 4. At 7:05pm on 07 Dec 2009, thegnatswatter wrote:

    3.While Christine was preoccupied fighting the Nats she missed the takeover of the Pembrokeshire Tory Party by the Country Alliance and
    let them come from behind. But I'm sure she will have learnt from that
    and will keep her eyes well and truly on the game this time around.
    Despite all the 'jibes' she was a competent politician and will make
    a good constituent MP as for a pacifist I don't think so she's always
    been combative where Plaids concerned. But then in the wild west we all are where they're concerned.
    On the houses.... they all had to give em back to the banks during the miners strike.

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  • 5. At 7:45pm on 07 Dec 2009, Neocromwellian wrote:


    "Life under the Tories"

    When it comes to ignoring their constituents I think you will find nothing has changed, just one bunch of self serving politicians replacing another. But then all assembly members are hell bent on more power irrespective of the injustice suffered by the little people.

    #2 SEDWOT

    Re Ynys Mon County Council

    After a much publicised report on all what was wrong with the council the Welsh Audit Office recommended the WAG take action, so do you know what happened?

    Or can we assume that maladministration in county councils as well as our institutions is being ignored to create the conditions for a yes vote, then cut and run to a referendum?

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  • 6. At 7:50pm on 07 Dec 2009, Igotitallwrongsorry wrote:

    4. If she's "combatitive" where Plaids concerned then she's gone up in my book!!. Cant eat enough "red meat" as far as the "splitters" are concerned,however as far as CG is concerned perhaps very active lentils are in order.As far as houses concerned it was the greatest transfer of wealth ever seen in this country (UK),and in my village many ordinary people like myself purchased houses and beneficiaries now picking up £200,000,so thank you very much they say on way to Bahamas for holidays. Power to the individidual and let the collective take care of itself!!!.

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  • 7. At 8:25pm on 07 Dec 2009, thegnatswatter wrote:

    6.It is laughable to see Plaid raking up old issues trying to find a 'band wagon' to ride into the election but they're finding it hard now they're in coalition and people have got wise to their orchestrate'local campaigns' I reckon they'll end up without an MP and with only one MEP in Europe they'll be struggling for any influence where it counts. If the general election comes in May there might not be time for a referendum before the Assembly elections.OOPs they'll be back at square one. There's a shame.

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  • 8. At 9:13pm on 07 Dec 2009, Neocromwellian wrote:

    #7 thegnatswatter

    Re: Plaid raking up old issues trying to find a 'band wagon' to ride into the election.

    It seems to me that the old 'band wagon' of stirring up division to develop ill feelings where there was debate and conflict where there was harmony has already started.

    Stoney has made the point of people afraid to comment on this blog for fear of being 'flamed' and I can well understand their reticence to say anything for fear of being accused of something they have not said or done.

    Fanning the flames of division to stir up separatist feelings is a dangerous game to play. Some people will see it as a green light to behave badly as such behaviour is seem as legitimate if it comes from the top and children will imitate their parents. In that respect it does not matter who is doing it as tensions build people at the top should set an example.

    With regard to former Ministers Christine Gwyther and Alun Pugh, the issue for me is do they have the courage to campaign for more open and accountable government and act on behalf of their constituents rather than toe the party line?

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  • 9. At 10:24pm on 07 Dec 2009, Jack_Wilkinson wrote:

    As you can guess by my name I'm from British stock, English speaking British stock, why would I vote for idiots who refer to themselves as Irish-Welsh Celts?
    That's exactly what Llafur would like me to do in once English Newport, the town of my birth. My Llafur AM for Newport east, John Griffiths, was asked by the South Wales Argus, would he be supporting England in the then 2002 Football World Cup? ( Wales not involved)....He replied...''No indeed not, I'm an Irish-Welsh Celt'' He then went on to tell The Argus, that in his position as AM for Newport east, he'd offered to mediate between Roy Keane and the Republic of Ireland FA in their little spat!!!
    He has demanded in assembly debate, that because the standard of Welsh in Monmouthshire schools is so dreadful, Welsh language lessons must be intensified!!! Griffiths has been promoted by Carwyn Jones!!....Who needs Plaid to extol anti-English sectarian gobshite, when we've got Llafur?

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  • 10. At 11:08pm on 07 Dec 2009, Neocromwellian wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 11. At 11:16pm on 07 Dec 2009, FoDafydd wrote:

    What an absolutely hilarious string of the usual ridiculous comments by the usual sad bunch. Not a positive comment between them!!

    And to cap it all it's Groundhog Day again with Jack!!!

    Hard to believe, isn't it?

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  • 12. At 11:19pm on 07 Dec 2009, FoDafydd wrote:

    Re 9

    I know his comment adds nothing to a proper debate, but is:

    "Who needs Plaid to extol anti-English sectarian gobshite"


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  • 13. At 01:21am on 08 Dec 2009, Alan Jones wrote:

    Myfanwy Davies is all set to take Llanelli from Labour.
    Apparently no Tories reside in the constituency.

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  • 14. At 08:11am on 08 Dec 2009, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 15. At 09:22am on 08 Dec 2009, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    I wish there was some way the moderators could explain to the postee why any message has been refered to them, or not been posted, then perhapes we would not make the same mistake again or correct what is perceived as being wrong to post.

    I am afraid I have no idea what I said that was so bad.

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  • 16. At 10:18am on 08 Dec 2009, thegnatswatter wrote:

    12. Who? Is this the Halfax born candidate? What has she done? Remember
    Labour have invested heavily in Prince Phillip so that scare story has gone (although it got Helen Mary elected) I suppose she could play on the Stradey Pk Developement or Poisoned Cockles but then again her mates
    in Carmarthen are trying to rake up issues from 2003 on care homes so
    perhaps she might use her position with breakthro to further that angle.
    But I think that Nia Griffiths has been exceptional and it'll a typical
    Plaid campaign to move her on.

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  • 17. At 11:31am on 08 Dec 2009, thegnatswatter wrote:

    16, Insert take i.e ( it'll TAKE a typical).

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  • 18. At 3:39pm on 08 Dec 2009, FoDafydd wrote:

    Re 16

    What on earth has this got to do with my 12?

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  • 19. At 5:53pm on 08 Dec 2009, thegnatswatter wrote:

    18.Sorry it's a case of impaired vision but in your case it's a vision thats impaired.

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  • 20. At 6:35pm on 08 Dec 2009, FoDafydd wrote:

    Re 19

    So, just more meaningless insults, then... How sad and pathetic.

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  • 21. At 7:36pm on 08 Dec 2009, thegnatswatter wrote:

    21. Not insults just observations.

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  • 22. At 11:15pm on 08 Dec 2009, Jack_Wilkinson wrote:

    Re FoDafydd M 11
    And to cap it all it's Groundhog Day again with Jack!!!

    Hard to believe, isn't it?

    Why is it?
    Do I resent being ruled by a bunch of idiots who refer to themselves as Irish-Welsh Celts!!!...Who wouldn't?

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