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Hard hats and smiles

Betsan Powys | 11:27 UK time, Sunday, 27 September 2009

Will Rhodri Morgan be making "a big announcement about his future" today here in Brighton?

I don't think so. I don't know so but I'm pretty clear in my own mind that he won't.

People who feel they ought to know these things and who generally do know about these things were whispering last week that the 80%-he's-off I'd put on it was in fact more like 99%. Now the same people are throwing their hands up in the air. Others were hearing "live rumours" last night that he won't be doing anything concrete "this side of Christmas".

Here's my take on it: Rhodri Morgan has made it entirely clear that the decision as to when he goes is his to make. He'll continue to mull over it, quietly, by himself, until he's happy with it. Be patient is the message. Then he'll start telling a handful of people about it and is extremely unlikely to change his mind however they respond. When people predict 'Rhodri not leaving' he says rubbish. When people predict Rhodri will go next Tuesday at 1.30pm he'd no doubt rubbish that too because the one thing he does know is that they don't know.

It's how he does business. Not comfortable for the party around him at the moment but it's how he's playing it.

How useful are briefings at times like these? Inevitably, not very. The same goes for predictions.

The only things that's useful, it seems to me sitting here in Brighton, is to start listening very hard to discover how long the Labour party in Wales, Rhodri Morgan's colleagues, are prepared to give him before they start to insist the decision isn't entirely his - but theirs as well.

We'll be listening to his speech later this afternoon and to the plaudits that will follow - and listening too as Peter Hain goes out to prove that while some in the party may have lost the will to live, while some may be behaving as if it's all over for Labour long before a General Election is called, he is not and will not.

Reminds me of the two signs right outside the temporary newsroom here: the first says HARD HAT AREA. The other, by the CCTV, says 'SMILE.'


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