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The morning after ...

Betsan Powys | 08:16 UK time, Wednesday, 25 November 2009

So in the cold, wet light of day where have yesterday's events left us?

It's left us with two statements - both signed by Rhodri Morgan, the first co-signed by Peter Hain, the second by Ieuan Wyn Jones.

They seem, given any scrutiny at all, to be in flat contradiction to each other. Senior Labour sources contend they are not. Either way they are now out there, in black and white and the challenge facing the coalition is not out there too, in bright red and green.

Labour could still pull the trigger on the referendum process early next year, then "start considering the All Wales Convention report in detail as a prelude to stepping-up wider Party consultation" - really? They would pull the trigger, then work out whether they'd done the right thing? That's not, after all, the way these things are usually done. "Ok so you might think that's a bit out of kilter ..." said one Labour source. But it could be done.

Granted you need a deal of contortion and squeezing of meaning but if you can manage that, then you can square the first statement with the second.

But while it may be possible to contort and squeeze meaning out of words, when it comes to deeds, you either have to pull that constitutional trigger - or not.

In the cold light of day the suggestion one or two Labour voices were whispering in Plaid's ears last night, that Rhodri Morgan had "set up" the whole thing to show Peter Hain what would happen if Labour pulled the rug on a referendum ... well, who knows. Key Plaid figures shrug their shoulders and turn their gaze on the Secretary of State.

Peter Hain has kept his counsel since the publication of the original joint statement. The implication? Res ipsa loquitur. The thing speaks for itself - the statement does the talking.

It'll be around 2.30pm when the Secretary of State does his talking. His audience will hang on his every word.


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