BBC BLOGS - Betsan's Blog
« Previous | Main | Next »

Cosying up

Betsan Powys | 13:38 UK time, Friday, 9 April 2010

As Nick Clegg flew to Cardiff (Ieuan Air might be grounded ... other leaders are still airborne) to launch the Liberal Democrat campaign in Wales, Lord Adonis was sticking to election groundwork - wooing Lib Dem voters.. The differences between Labour and the Lib Dems, he says, are "dwarfed by our common antipathy" of the Tories.

A little early to start openly canvassing the votes of other parties' supporters say political commentators.

But think back to February.

Peter Hain made an open play for Lib Dem votes back then.

"If we ­recognise our common ground, a new progressive era of political reform based on Britain's natural anti-Tory majority can take charge" he wrote.

By the next day, on his way to Labour's conference in Swansea, Mr Hain had honed his message for voters on this side of Offa's Dyke. He was now appealing to all non dyed in the wool Tory supporters to vote Labour. Plaid, Greens, any voter who doesn't want to see David Cameron in Number Ten should vote Labour.

"I am not asking them to sign up to every dot and comma of Labour's policies and proposals, still less to renounce their principles.

"But the truth is that this coming election will be one where we have to take sides."

Those of you who've been concentrating on talk of tactics for a while longer may remember David Cameron suggesting in his New Year's message that there was barely a "cigarette paper" dividing his party and Mr Clegg's on many issues.

The Lib Dem response? If there is a Labour-Lib Dem "identity of interest" Mr Clegg says he doesn´t see it. People should "vote with their hearts", not as per the direction of the Conservative leader or of two Labour politicians.

Bear in mind that the two Labour politicians offering advice to voters have some experience of switching allegiance themselves - the ex-Social Democrat Lord Adonis and the ex-young Liberal Peter Hain so much so that his fellow Labour MP, Paul Flynn, once compared him to Star Trek's Odo the shape-shifter.

Up in Cardiff North, they're not impressed.

Fenella Bowden, a Lib Dem councillor for the Heath was campaigning in Cardiff North when a colleague asked for her view. Her front garden has a Lib Dem sign - next door and opposite have Tory signs. How about jumping over the metaphorical fence and voting Labour in order to keep her neighbours' preferred candidate out?

"It's a personal vote" she said, "a personal decision. One has to leave it to their own conscience as to how they vote."

But what if she was in a different constituency, say Newport East or Swansea West where the Lib Dems were in with a chance? Would she then be arguing for tactical voting?

Radio silence for no more than a split second.

" Well I'm not in that situtation."


The man from Radio 5 Live was impressed by such "remarkable honesty".


or register to comment.

  • 1. At 8:56pm on 09 Apr 2010, Monwynsyn wrote:

    The trouble with tactical voting is that the result is then used inother elections to confirm and underpin the position of the beneficary and to belittle the chances of those you originally supported you are in effect the master of your own downfall.

    I will kindly take Peter Hain's advice when he provides an example of when he followed his own advice.

    Complain about this comment

  • 2. At 10:17pm on 09 Apr 2010, John Henry wrote:

    I'd like to cosy up to the truth, the published government figures show we are spending £160 billion more than the UK tax revenues...

    If the taxpayers wish to keep the Social Security safety-net as it is,
    If the taxpayers wish to keep the NHS as it is,
    If the taxpayers wish to keep Education as it is,

    ... then cuts will not cut it at the levels our General Election candidates are calling for, each party, every party is holding back in the truth stakes.

    We either need to decimate our government spending by £160 billion or generate a profitable economic activity to the tune of £ half a trillion in the coming year, and the following year, anything other than growing the British economy is an illusion, a lie.

    To put the issue into a local perspective, for Plaid to demand an extra £ third of a billion pounds of government spending East of Offa's Dyke, the economy of Wales would need to grow by a £ billion pounds, what chance of that with the current crop of political spendthrifts.

    The reality is only growth will fix the problems, cuts are out of "Alice through the Looking Glass", illusions only ...

    In consideration of Peter Hains recommendation, well, Hain is Hain, a little like voting for the Christmas turkey with the limited vocabulary, gobble gobble gobble .......

    Complain about this comment

  • 3. At 09:23am on 10 Apr 2010, Ian wrote:

    Plaid's figures were originally published by a Tory research document, which inadvertently showed on a needs based formula how much Wales was losing out on. Their target was Scotland but the headlines highlighted the funding issue for Wales. I thought that you Tories believed in only basing funding on need?

    As for the issue this blog comment actually refers to, Clegg is seen as right wing within the Lib Dems and few of their leading politicians in South Wales supported him. Their vote in the South is generally more progressive and in South England quite Tory. It's a difficuly balancing act for them and Hain is doing his usual pre-election 'lend me your vote' thing. It actually worked very effectively in 2001 but is now wearing a little thin. We shall see if he can carry it off in a few weeks.

    Complain about this comment

  • 4. At 8:41pm on 10 Apr 2010, Jack_Wilkinson wrote:

    I live in Newport east, and fair does the Lib-Dems are sending out a postal blitz of propaganda. But maybe their confidence of winning is misplaced, as UKIP are not putting up candidates in Newport.

    So obviously UKIP voters are not going to vote for anyone but Conservatives, judging by the Euro election results things could be disastrous for both the Lib Dems and Llafur,in dear old English speaking Newport.

    Complain about this comment

  • 5. At 08:26am on 11 Apr 2010, wyrtaliesin wrote:

    What was Nick Clegg doing in Wales? All the posters and leaflets I see keep banging on about the WELSH Liberal democrats, and imply that the Welsh Liberal democrats are some sort of Welsh political party. In which case why is the leader of a 'foreign' party (the English(?) Liberal Democrats) coming here to launch their campaign. Can't they do it themselves? Or is the 'Welsh' in Welsh Liberal Democrats just window dressing? Should they be really campaigning under the banner of the West Celtic Branch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Liberal, Democratic and Unionist Party - Long Live the Queen (Gawd Bless 'Er).

    They really can't have it both ways....

    Complain about this comment

  • 6. At 3:47pm on 11 Apr 2010, John Henry wrote:

    #5 asks .....

    What was Nick Clegg doing in Wales?

    ... simple, he was campaigning in the United Kingdom, his country, his right.

    Complain about this comment

  • 7. At 6:09pm on 11 Apr 2010, Fitzmark2 wrote:

    Thankfully the region of Wales is not yet an imitation of one of the satellites of the defunct Soviet Union, and therefore any politician fighting a seat in the general Election can go without let or hindrance where ever he or she wants.

    The more I read the postings of nationalists the more I place trust in the hope that the anti-nationalist Welsh, the English speaking majority, will have no truck with extremism.

    Complain about this comment

  • 8. At 9:02pm on 11 Apr 2010, Lyn David Thomas wrote:

    I think the point that many are trying to make here is that this general election will be contested over areas where the Westminster Parliament has now control, ie over whole swathes of devolved issues. Thus when the Federal Party leader, which is what he should be described as, visits Wales he should be campaigning on the non devolved issues. However as we have seen so many of the campaigns seem to imply that there is no devolution. Now some of the ultra unionists here would like to pretend that devolution has not happened - but it has. So talks about Foundation Hospitals, Academy Schools and Road Building should have no place here. Plenty of non devolved issues to discuss - like control over the economy and external affairs.

    Complain about this comment

  • 9. At 9:18pm on 11 Apr 2010, Jack_Wilkinson wrote:

    The Druid Paul Flynn, MP for Newport west, makes no secret of the fact that he is not British, but like John Griffiths AM for Newport east, is Irish-Welsh Celtic.

    Paul Flynn, makes no of secret of the fact that he wants Welsh independence, just Google 'senedd' on his blog.

    Also, on the ITV Wales program- Tin Gods, Flynn starred on one program about- The Prince of Wales. The Druid Flynn, ended the program with these words. “ As the assembly takes us firmly down the road of an independent Wales, we'll have no need of a prince of Wales”

    Pretty categoric stuff, from a senior high ranking Welsh Labour Druid, so whoa up!!! If you haven't got a proper Llafur type Celtic heritage, and your first language is ENGLISH!!!

    Complain about this comment

  • 10. At 9:50pm on 11 Apr 2010, John Henry wrote:

    .... talks about Foundation Hospitals, Academy Schools and Road Building should have no place here.

    ... pompous words from our nationalist ... opponent.

    Talk about Foundation Hospitals, Academy Schools and Road Building have a place East of Offa's Dyke, to remind the public about the mess our Assembly makes of simple issues.

    Complain about this comment

  • 11. At 9:57pm on 11 Apr 2010, FoDafydd wrote:

    Re 9


    Was that meant as a response to Lyn? If it was, well then...

    Did Paul Flynn steal your chips when you were children, or something? I'm afraid that the wronged little boy still speaks in every weird message that you post.

    Complain about this comment

  • 12. At 10:41pm on 11 Apr 2010, Jack_Wilkinson wrote:

    What would be fair? Is if the anti-English, Irish-Welsh Celtic warriors, stopped playing Irish-Welsh Celtic, Peek-A-Boo? Behind the warm comforting skirts of an increasingly p1ssed of British Labour party?

    Complain about this comment

  • 13. At 10:59pm on 11 Apr 2010, Jack_Wilkinson wrote:

    Did Paul Flynn steal your chips when you were children, or something?

    No!! I was never children, how bizarrely odd you had to ask?

    Complain about this comment

  • 14. At 11:55pm on 11 Apr 2010, Pads wrote:

    "[Nick Clegg] was campaigning in the United Kingdom, his country, his right.

    Yes, so how then can he campaign for the Welsh Liberal Democrats? There is no such party in Parliament.

    Complain about this comment

  • 15. At 06:37am on 12 Apr 2010, John Henry wrote:

    #8. wrote ...

    Thus when the Federal Party leader, which is what he should be described as ...

    ... just a small point of education for the separatist, at this moment in time the United Kingdom is not "Federal".

    #14, you might take that up with Liberal Democrat Assembly member "Peter Black", he attended the Liberal Democrat annual conference, obviously there are split political personalities at work. Or again, the realisation that we are all a single national entity, British ...

    Complain about this comment

  • 16. At 08:56am on 12 Apr 2010, Lyn David Thomas wrote:

    Small point Stonemason, the Liberal Democrats are a federal party and he is the Federal as opposed to Welsh or Scottish leader.

    Complain about this comment

  • 17. At 9:10pm on 12 Apr 2010, Jack_Wilkinson wrote:

    Go to Betsan's link- 'Peter Hain made an open play for Lib-Dem votes' Read it, the best bit is in the comments, first one by AllyF, absolutely spot on!!

    Complain about this comment

View these comments in RSS


Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.