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From Porth to polls

Betsan Powys | 23:34 UK time, Sunday, 24 June 2007

Radio silence over.

In fact the very moment I switched back on - to Radio 5 on the M5 - the first words I heard uttered, just about, were the incredibly long-winded results of the race for the Deputy Leadership of the Labour party. If I needed something to bring me back down to earth with a bump, there I had it.

The BBC announced that Harriet Harman had won it before the official announcement. Kevin Brennan MP (Government whip, studio guest + Harman supporter) was delighted ... until someone on the production team heard whisperings that caused confusion, panic and a sudden suggestion that Alan Johnson may just have kept her out.

Kevin Brennan sounded gallant but less than delighted.

As Taunton approached, Harriet Harman supporters erupted. I bet she's glad she made it to Llandudno this year and the Welsh party conference. I spotted her doing the rounds, visiting each and every stand. Who knows, she may have squeezed a crucial hanful of votes somewhere between the Police Federation stand and the cafe.

At least Radio 5 got the twists and turns, shaky predictions and last-gasp reprieves over in the space of 15 minutes. We're facing the eighth week of 'crucial 48-hours'.

What do you make of it all? Well we thought we'd ask you. If a coalition it's going to be, which one do you want? We thought you'd favour a Red/Green (aka brown) coalition as you did before the election but - twists and turns - it turns out that in this poll at least, you don't. And by some margin:

41% preferred a rainbow coalition
28% a Labour/Plaid deal
21% a Labour/Lib Dem alliance.

Enough to make a couple of Plaid waverers waver some more?

And another result worth pondering. Yes, Rhodri Morgan is by far the strongest and most popular candidate to lead any coalition government but what of Ieuan Wyn Jones? Just 8% identified him as Plaid Cymru leader in a pre-election poll. The man who might still decide to go for the First Minister's job will prefer to remember this set of results.

Given a straight choice between Rhodri Morgan and Ieuan Wyn Jones 48% backed Rhodri while 34% thought Ieuan Wyn would make a better coalition leader. 18% were undecided.

No change on the referendum question. How would you respond to a referendum that could boost the Assembly's powers - giving it full law-making powers and the ability to raise taxes.

47% were in favour
44% opposed
9% didn't know

- pretty much what you said two months ago when we last asked you.

And to those who think Mr d'Hondt and his semi-PR voting system has a lot to answer for, how about this?

54% think the PR system used for Assembly elections should also be used in Westminster elections. At least Harriet Harman might be with you on that.

By the way for all the health warnings on the poll, check BBC Wales' online coverage.

Comments   Post your comment

Peter Hain must now be pleased that the role doesn't include that of Deputy Prime Minister. One consolation for him at least until he discovers what fate has in store for him in terms of a Cabinet post - surely most Cabinet positions is better than party chairman!

As far as polls go, they have more use sticking in the ground than when they concern the Welsh public :>D

  • 2.
  • At 11:20 AM on 25 Jun 2007,
  • Richard Harris wrote:

Keven Brennen R5 yesterday...

Yes, I heard that too!


Kev overjoyed that the "People's Harriot" had "won"~ then immediately told that maybe Alan Johnson had...Cue, Rapid backtrack to praise, er..."Alan"!

Brennen is now a Labour Whip?
THAT figures!

BTW ~ Harman on last night's C4 News was priceless...rowing back already and only 4 hours in the job.

OK, not Welsh "politiks" but MUCH funnier...except IWJ as NAfW "Leader" into the 2011 referendum maybe!

  • 3.
  • At 12:50 PM on 25 Jun 2007,
  • Penbedw wrote:

Funny isn't it that the BBC has had an opinion poll at last. Don't seem to remember them doing one during the election..........


We did a poll on March 1st and another for election night. It's voter intention polls we have trouble with ... and yes, still plugging away at that one.

  • 5.
  • At 05:22 PM on 25 Jun 2007,
  • frankie wrote:

Thanks God it wasn't Peter Hain, that man has too much of an inflated ego as it is. He oozes insincerity, I think he would have been insufferable if he had won the deputy leadership post.

As far as the Assembly is concerned - for goodness sake, how long does it take to get some kind of working government together? If this goes on much longer, I think we should have another election!!

  • 6.
  • At 05:43 PM on 25 Jun 2007,
  • Anotheran wrote:

I was a little concerned by Alun Ffred Jones' comment the BBC reported on the poll that: "Most interesting is the fact that most people expect Plaid Cymru to be part of the next government, however it's formed." He doesn't seem to have read the question.

The poll question was which coalition people would prefer to see, not which they expected to see. If Plaid don't stop messing around and actually get into a coalition they'll be pipped at the post by the Lib Dems who'll get fed up with waiting for a Rainbow and jump into bed with Labour on the basis that at least then they'll get something.

The poll says that most people would prefer to see a coalition involving Plaid (69%) against Lib Dems (61%), Labour (49%) and the Tories (41%). I like this new way of looking at politics (that gives percentages that add up to well over 100% - that's PR for you!), but Plaid needs to act or they won't be involved no matter what most people would prefer!

  • 7.
  • At 07:10 PM on 25 Jun 2007,
  • Herbert Davies wrote:


Timing is interesting.

Where are we reporting that 49% of people still want a Labour led government despite the press bias we have seen since the election?

The 'rainbow' is 8 points behind and Ieuan a mile behind Rhodri.

Can we please have some balance.

  • 8.
  • At 08:55 AM on 26 Jun 2007,
  • Ian Graham wrote:

Sad to see you of all people, Betsan, lapsing, however briefly, into 'Politicians are from the planet Zog' mode in your introductory reference to the Labour Deputy Leadership election results. No-one was obliged to listen to them, but any-one who listened with understanding would have found the interest per second quotient entirely comparable with most broadcasting.

Yes, it's a complex system that ensures everyone from three distinct electorates can articulate their preference, and then factors all inputs into a result. The sort of thing you probably do on a more modest scale in your own family.

This constant drip of unjustified cynicism (often not very seriously meant, as I'm sure yours wasn't) has a great deal to answer for in the way politics are viewed in the UK, and we all have to live with the results.

  • 9.
  • At 01:36 PM on 26 Jun 2007,
  • Sam t'C wrote:

Can you muse a bit for us on the rainbow please, Betsan?

BBC Wales seemed to be implying that 41% in favour of an "anybody but Labour" rainbow coalition in the opinion poll was a lot. It seems safe to assume that few Labour voters would be in favour of the rainbow. So plenty of non-Labour voters don't want a rainbow: 41% is a lot less than the 50-something% who voted for rainbow parties!

Given that Labour is easily the most popular party in Wales, and that there is no unity of principle in the rainbow (except the negative one of not being Labour) my feeling is that any coalition that does not involve Labour is essentially anti-democratic (and, no, I did not vote Labour). But obviously politicians naturally want power so they can achieve something rather than just talk!

But, can you give an opinion on what the "rainbows" are thinking? If I were a politician in one of minor parties, I think I'd be worried that hitching up with a load of opportunists would probably lead to disagreement and failure (especially with an unsympathetic government in Westminster that would have no interest in bailing out the rainbow).

And if the rainbow fails to deliver, it really would become (as you suggest) a "brown" coalition -- and there would be enough of the brown stuff flying around to stick to all the rainbow parties! That would surely lead to a much larger Labour vote next time round as they campaigned on a "you've tried all the rest, now go back to the best!" line.

But, as I write, I see that the a Lab-PC is looking more likely...

  • 10.
  • At 03:13 PM on 26 Jun 2007,
  • Richard Harris wrote:

So it's to be "ONE WALES"* (Plaid/Labour Draft Agreement) and not "The Rainbow Children"?

'Bet Neil and Glenys are already booking a one way ticket ...out...."Oh, Glen, anywhere but Neo-Nationalista Wales!"

*Maybe the Cheeky Girls can cut this to Bob Marley's "One Love"? ..."Let's get together an' Wales will be alright" (er, except for certain Welsh Labour MPs.)

  • 11.
  • At 05:48 PM on 26 Jun 2007,
  • SmallTree wrote:

There is much irony in the fact that the parties that have already committed to the majority in the BBC Poll - 'a Rainbow Alliance' are the Welsh Conservatives and Welsh LibDems clearly more in touch with the views of people than Labour. The ‘shrubbery’ hopes that Plaid realise that the ‘hug and strangle’ attitude of Labour and the usual reaction of those that try the inedible and unpalatable is to ‘spit it out’ applies to them as well.

It will only be a matter of time when Labour ejects its partner or blames it for a failure or some inadequacy.

The eventual decision regarding a referendum will be at Westminster anyway and when it fails Welsh Labour can say we tried don’t blame us.

Perhaps Plaid will not fall for this latest Labour trick to hang on to power.

Wales needs the political change a Rainbow Alliance can bring - come on Plaid seize the chance to make history.

  • 12.
  • At 06:11 PM on 26 Jun 2007,
  • Pat Clarke wrote:

If the Polls are to be believed then its very clear to me that the majority of people are against the Rainbow Alliance.
This Poll confuses me 41% of the people want the Rainbow Alliance but prefer Rhodri Morgan to Ieuan Wyn Jones. Yet the Rainbow Alliance would be led by Ieuan Wyn Jones and not Rhodri Morgan. When the next poll is taken one should ask the people do they want a puppet or a monkey to represent them because the result of such a poll would make just as much sense. If the AM's cannot reach a conclusion soon then they should all be sacked and another election called.

  • 13.
  • At 10:55 PM on 26 Jun 2007,
  • Betsan Izzanat wrote:

Er, 28% + 21% = 49% who want Labour with a Plaid or Lib partner, against 41% who want a rainbow coalition.

So why has BBC Wales run that the rainbow option was the most popular choice when Labour with a partner beat it by 8%?

Also, did the question state the rainbow should exclude Labour?

  • 14.
  • At 08:49 AM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Huw Dylan Phillips-Griffiths wrote:

Today could be the beginning of a new brave Wales (in political terms)or indeed a return to a stable old ways.

Has the boat been missed ?

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