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

Back then

Betsan Powys | 07:45 UK time, Tuesday, 11 May 2010

A few days ago I asked Rhodri Morgan - the man who, unlike Gordon Brown, only thought he was "toast" during coalition talks - what his advice would be to David Cameron if he was considering going for a minority government.

"Am bido boddran" came the answer. "Not to bother". To run a government that gets anywhere you need stability. You need numbers.

Wasn't Mr Morgan also the man who back then dismissed the possiblity of a Labour-free rainbow coalition of the parties that came second, third and fourth because it simply wasn't right not to include the party that won most seats? He was. I was there when he said it. His Labour colleagues in Westminster aren't saying that now.

It's inevitable that those of us who were there are starting to hark back to the aftermath of the 2007 Assembly Election. I'm not pretending to compare like with like. The world and his wife weren't camped on the steps of the Senedd. City bosses didn't give two hoots what the outcome was of furtive meetings behind closed doors. The personalities involved were quite different and here's a fundamental difference for you; there was every prospect of the team that eventually crossed the majority finishing line lasting the full four year course.

But there's a bit of deja vu going on.

Were we entirely thrown and confused by the daily twists and turns for 55 days in all, by the will they ... won't they meetings? Yes.

Did we foresee the outcome from the start? No.

Did the voting public in Wales find it "unedifying". Maybe.

Do they see it that way now? I doubt it very much. The sky didn't fall in. The talks eventually ended and a new partnership took over. It will probably happen again because that's the electoral system we have.

They certainly found is confusing but here's another big difference: they didn't wake up to tabloid headlines telling them it was all "squalid" and "cynical." There were no dire warnings either that a deal that would give anything other than a book token to Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland would risk a serious back-lash in England.

Oh and one more thing that could turn into an echo of 2007. There came a point when the Lib Dems stopped looking like a party that had something to bargain with, a party that was keeping its two possible partners equidistant and simply started to look flaky.

In Wales, in 2007 that was fatal for them.


or register to comment.

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.