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Happy Snaps

Betsan Powys | 15:56 UK time, Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Conferences kick off this week and the only pass to arrive so far is from the Lib Dems. Labour sent back my pass photograph because I was smiling and that, apparently, is not on. A second, stern lot were sent off last week. It's on a knife-edge with the Tories. Will the original half-smile sneak through or not? Plaid Cymru don't seem to bother with passes so as long as I have a stern look on my face when I arrive in Llandudno - and having driven up the A470 that shouldn't be too hard - I'm hoping all will be well.

But the party that lambasted 'Happy Meal politics' will at least allow happy reporters through their doors. Not sure how happy the contingency of Lib Dem AMs will be though as they make their way to Brighton. Three of the six - Peter Black, Eleanor Burnham and Mick Bates - think the leader should at the very least be put to the test. Given Jenny Randerson isn't likely to follow suit then the big question must be whether the fifth, Kirsty Williams, steps up to the plate and takes him on. She has until October the 14th at least to make up her mind - and thanks Peter for your comment pointing out that there was no 'misreading' there on my part after all - because that is when nominations open.

Will she go for it? Why wouldn't she? Well come on, would you want to try and lead a group of six colleagues who may fit into a lift but who haven't appeared to travel in the same direction for quite some time? Would you trust them to unite behind you, given that the 'them' we're talking about here would include the former leader? Would you want to do it if you were still young enough to bide your time, wait for your children to reach school-age before giving it a go? Wouldn't you be tempted to sit tight until after next year's local elections and let Mike German take the hit if things go badly? If they go well, it's hard to imagine the Assembly leader would be that much more secure.

Wouldn't there be a niggling doubt in Kirsty Williams' mind that she might go for it but not get it? That being seen as the woman who scuppered the rainbow, now trying to depose the leader who fought to deliver it, would go down badly in swathes of Lib-Dem-land? Wouldn't it be easier to nominate one your colleagues who would be up for it? The man who's been doing the running and the writing, Peter Black perhaps?

So why would she go for it? Because if she doesn't, when will she get her chance? Can she really look on and watch Mike German go unchallenged, or stand on the sidelines as someone else tackles him? He may go sooner rather than later, then again he might not. What if she goes for it and is swiftly supported by Peter Black, Mick Bates and - despite their differences and her own ambitions - Eleanor Burnham? Would Mike German's position not be untenable? Wouldn't he have to step aside? And after all, being seen as one of a group who, with regret, felt Mike's time was up puts you in a rather more comfortable position the next time you're in that lift.

Would Eleanor Burnham nominate Peter Black? Would Peter Black nominate Eleanor Burnham? Mick Bates has argued for a new direction and seems clear in his own mind that something has got to happen. That sounds like a nomination for someone. Would Jenny Randerson feel differently if Mike German were forced to step aside? She'd never take him on but what if he were gone?

One lift, six AMs and a lot of questions.

Comments   Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 01:42 AM on 12 Sep 2007,
  • Elizabeth wrote:

I think you have summed up the leadership position admirably.

Why would Kirsty, the long anticipated successor to Mike German want this job at the moment?

It seems that Mike is showing no signs of agreeing to step down - notwithstanding his position is surely already untenable - whilst standing against him, even if a convincing victory is won, means leading a party with both your former leader and Jenny Randerson in it.

Doesn't sound that appealing for any of the group members but someone has to go for it surely if the party is to move forward.

  • 2.
  • At 10:45 AM on 12 Sep 2007,
  • Richard Harris wrote:

With respect Betsan, you lost me after the first few paras!

The (Welsh) Lib Dems "struggles" are a bit like watching old Inspector Morse re-runs in the afternoon after a few pints ~ sleep inducing...Whodun it? Why? Who cares...

But...I always thought Jenny and Mike made a lovely mature couple. The Richard & Judy of Wales. And much more refined than Lembik's Cheeky friends.


  • 3.
  • At 01:15 PM on 12 Sep 2007,
  • Royston Jones wrote:

Who leads the Lib Dems in the Assembly is an issue gripping the nation; everywhere I go people are talking about it. Only last night in our local there was a fight between Black-ites and German loyalists. The riot police had to be summoned . . . blood everywhere . . . bodies of the fallen littering the pub and the beer garden to the horror of holidaymakers, and of couse the ambulances took ages to arrive. (Funerals will take place next week.)

I am of course making this up. No, honest. What I'm really saying is - Who the hell cares!

  • 4.
  • At 07:18 PM on 12 Sep 2007,
  • anon wrote:

Allways makes me laugh how people go on and on about how no-one cares yet spend their time writing such posts.

  • 5.
  • At 06:05 PM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • Andrew wrote:

I thought this an insightful commentary until your comment that Peter Black might nominate Eleanor Burnham. Then I knew it was all tongue in cheek. No one in their right mind would nominate Mrs Burnham!

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