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Making a move

  • Betsan Powys
  • 8 Jun 07, 10:03 AM

I've migrated!

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Lasting impressions?

  • Betsan Powys
  • 6 Jun 07, 07:07 PM

So it turns out that Carwyn Jones' hint on hospital reconfiguration last night was a pretty big hint. Given the events here today, thought you'd be interested in a story making the headlines in Scotland.

In Scotland, a fierce political row has broken out over a decision by the new SNP adminstration to change the direction of health service policy. Scotland's new health secretary, Nicola Sturgeon, told the Scottish Parliament that two accident and emergency departments - which had been listed for closure - would instead be reprieved. Her announcement was welcomed by hospital campaigners in Lanarkshire and Ayrshire but overturns an independent review which recommended greater centralisation of emergency care. Labour said it was a populist decision which meant people would die.

When the Scottish National Party chose to govern Scotland as a minority administration, many forecast they'd be hemmed in, unable to make an impact. Three weeks on, the sparks are flying. Labour and the LibDems - the previous administration - opted to concentrate emergency care in fewer Scottish hospitals to bring together expertise. Today, the SNP's Nicola Sturgeon scrapped their plans ... But the Scottish National Party are not acting alone. As with a number of recent popular issues, they have the support of the Scottish Tories. They're picking their battlegrounds. For Labour - the SNP's main opponents - it looks like being a long campaign.

Picking battlegrounds, reprieves on hospital closures, long campaigns, SNP-Tory alliances - sound familiar?

They said ... then you said ...

  • Betsan Powys
  • 6 Jun 07, 06:59 PM

As promised, here are the comments and questions that came in during last night's programme.

I can't believe they are even considering forming a rainbow alliance! This could be the final straw for me! Will seriously consider selling up and move over the border if it happens! Simon, Teacher, Abersychan.

Allowing for inflation, I would be interested to know what saving, if any, has been made by the introduction of the Welsh Assembly Government compared with the cost of running Wales under the former regime? I expect that no one knows nor wants to know, particularly if one has a vested interest in the WAG! Patrick Moroney, Swansea.

I have just fought a local campaign (with the help of my local AMs from two parties) on the issue of mobile phone masts. With new law making policies and all party agreement, could Wales follow Scotland and Northern Ireland in requiring mobile phone operators to work within more stringent planning guidelines? Amanda Roderick, Bridgend.

 As a rainbow is only half a circle and as the Welsh public appear tired of yah boo politics, could not the four parties and the one Independent in the Assembly work together for the benefit of the people of Wales?
Richard Tyler  Liberal Democrat Powys County Councillor.

Historic day for Wales? It probably is in the minds of the politicians and the establishment, as it clearly suggests in their minds now becoming" important", even "valuable". But in the majority of minds in Wales, it is clearly a non event. Let us not forget that this assembly was not elected by the majority of the Welsh people. When the antics of the party leaders were observed during the past four weeks, it reflects badly on Wales when these so called leaders act in a manner very similar to a student debating society. Mansel Rees, Monmouthshire.

My husband has recently undergone major heart surgery and has received the best possible care anyone could have received. The People of Wales gave a majority vote to the Labour Party and the Labour Party should continue to do the excellent job they have started. Rose Seabourne

Will Wales take advantage of the MTAS shambles by offering long term training posts to some of the 12,000 junior doctors (with up to four years of training already) who are about to go on the dole in August.John Kitchen, Mold.

Should the Tories say sorry for the way they decimated Wales during Thatcher? Wayne Crocker.

Hospital re-configuration is a necessity and really a cheap shot for the opposition to attack. I am not a labour voter but support them with the changes which those in the service understand. If anything the reconfigration is far from radical enough and if we are to make quick changes to the health delivery for our people lets get the independent sector more involved a-la england where treatment centres have dramatically and quickly cut access times. The service can remain free at the point of delivery. Lets elevate the level of debate away from nurses pay who are now paid reasonably...there are many other professions in the nhs!!! ANON

Service Users should play an integral part in any legislation intended to be made by the Welsh Assembly on
mental health. Alan Meudell.

Again what about the thousands of doctors we are losing. This is happening, this is a reality. What will be done about the resulting patient care issues? Doctors work far longer hours than nurses, do not take the breaks that nurses do, and have trained for 5 years plus to be able to make the decisions that are important for patient care. What about the doctors?? Peter Dorrington

There are so few policy differences between the four parties and only limited Ministerial talent and no tax raising powers, no foreign policy, no law and order powers no tax raising powers - if we act as if this is Wales plc then we must choose our strongest Board of Directors (Ministers) chosen from all parties. Bob Gilchrist

The parties cannot agree now - god help us for the future of Wales. Gareth Thomas, Caerphilly.

The people of Wales want innovative and exciting politics. That is why more people voted against Labour than for Labour.Please give us what we voted for. W.Johns,Swansea.

Why do people always talk about the NHS nurses and doctors, they only make up 15% of NHS staff. There are far more staff members who are happy with their jobs and wage. Nurses and Dr's have for a long time had chips on their shoulders about pay and conditions where us 85% just get on with things. Sean.

If what Carwyn says is right that the legislation will be supported by all parties, it must be a very bland and uninspiring legislative programme. Nigel Thomas, Rhydlewis.

They all want to stop bickering, seek to create less legislation, thereby giving them all the time to get decent, necessary and not political dogma laws on the statute book.Laws that are necessary to give the people what they want, and not some ideological one man whim imposed on us. Keith Whiteing

Which Government job does Mike German want now he has won such a great victory in his party? Janice Edwards

Until the U.K. spending review is announced why would a rainbow alliance take power..........without the resources there would be major problems with service delivery ? Clayton Jones

Reasonable charges for prescription charges should be permitted and the cost of medication should be shown on all items given on prescription to discourage waste. If I have a presription now, I put a couple of pounds in a health related charity box. Lindsay

It is total nonsense to talk of Plaid Cymru and the Tories delivering stability in a so-called rainbow alliance. They both stand for very different philosophies.Far better for Labour to go it alone, or work with parties on the left of Welsh politics, than a mishmash which can only be opportunist in its nature.And by the way - I couldn't care less who is on your panel. It's the ideas which count, not the personalities.Geraint Hopkins, Llanharan

Please can you ask the politicians what they propose to do about the thousands of junior doctors that WILL BE unemployed as a result of the recent medical training fiasco? It's all well and good that nurses would like their pay rise, but putting it bluntly WITHOUT our doctors, there are far more serious implications for patient care. Peter Dorrington.

I am a nurse who believes that we should get our 2.5% pay rise in one go as the unions (unison/RCN) are looking at nurse striking regarding this matter. I have already been undervalued with the agenda for change new banding system.Nurses have had enough.Jayne Orrells

Lib Dems have been despotic in Cardiff, can’t envisage how other parties can work with Tories, idea of Plaid in control is worrying. I think we should have another election – would expect Labour to get more votes since even “apathetic” might be regretting not voting and those trying to send London a negative message may have realised it’s backfired. Mary Fraser. Cardiff.

It's a minority government voted in by only 17% of the voting population of Wales, have they got a mandate? Hence he doesn't have the support of 83% of the population.Ellis Jones Pembrokeshire.

In Merthyr Tydfil we are to have the largest open cast site in Europe, the continuing appalling smells from the Trecatti Tip, an inadequate refurbishment of a 1960's Hospital, with the likelihood of the loss of several services, a denial of the promise of a community hospital with 110 beds. whilst this kind of predicament occurs all over Wales the politicians squabble. what a shambles. Brychan Roberts, Merthyr Tydfil.

As a first time voter for Plaid who had decided to move away from the Labour Party with deep thoughtfulness and a feeling of giving up on our upbringing, I am regretting my choice. I really thought Plaid had something to offer WALES, a WALES where we would make choices for OUR people. How could they even consider sitting next to Nick Bourne, never again will I vote for our NATIONAL PARTY be ashamed, feel ashamed, know feeling how ashamed IS! You betrayed us.Niikki West Wales.


I voted no for the Welsh Assembly and was not given an opportunity to vote if I wanted this waster of my taxes to have even more powers to wreck our hospitals and schools. Do I think everyone should have free prescriptions to store in there cupboards? No. Do I think my taxes should be used to buy breakfast for children who do not want it? No. Not one of these AMs had ever served in a government before the Assembly and they haven't a clue. Of course they love their gravy train. It beats working any day. They spend money by building grandiose apartments for themselves and are power mad. As well as the Welsh Assembly, I am ruled by a parish council, a County Council government, Westminster Government and a European parliament. All these parasites are just living off the work of the Welsh people. All these buildings and salaries just waste money.Vera Darby.

The party's wishing to form the rainbow coalition have missed the boat. We have a Government and any unwarranted attempt to bring it down would be viewed by most as self gratification on the part of the three party leaders. Anon.

The Assembly is a laughing stock and an absolute embarrassment.It’s an incentive to move to Scotland, England, Northern Ireland or abroad rather than being governed by this sham.I’m worried for the future of Wales.Chris Powell.

First past the post isn't perfect but is far from being as open to the abuses of the democratic process as the Welsh breed of PR has shown itself to be. We've seen how elected representatives of the people of Wales have put party before country, before constituents, before Wales. Once elected, surely that prime motivation of any AM should be to serve the electorate, not do what's comfortable for their parties. Country first, Duty second and Party comes way down that list.Justin Lewis.

I think that the people of Wales want the politicians in the Senedd to start acting like a proper Welsh Government and to make the Assembly a real Welsh Parliament, instead of the half-baked so-called ‘government’ that it is now. Leighton Smart.

Does the panel think that the u turn on free home care has created Labour's current political situation in Wales?
Dawn Gullis, Mencap Cymru Campaigns Officer.

Businesses in Wales need a stable government so that they can plan ahead and formulate their strategies over the next few months and years. How can the Labour government realistically perform and offer an innovative manifesto with the sword of Damacles hanging over it? And how can the other 'rainbow parties' let this situation remain while still claiming to put the people and economy of Wales first? Let's have some consensus on what is best for Wales and work together to achieve these goals.Michael Learmond, Federation of Small Businesses, North Wales.

I have been emailing AM Andrew Davies regarding A458 Shrewsbury to Welshpool road for over 12 months now informing him of all the serious and tragic road accidents at Cefn Bridge in the village of Trewern. I would like to ask if it is a priority of Mr Morgan to listen to the people of Wales when we say Wales needs new road networks dual carriageways linking North to South. Its just madness for these huge European Lorries to be using these small narrow roads with severe bends. Christine Webb

Why doesn't Rhodri invite talented AMs from other parties in the cabinet.WRJ Crocker.

I would like to ask the new Education Minister what he is going to do about the lack of 4th year placements for newly qualified primary school teachers. They finish their degree after the third year and have to do one further year of teaching to complete their qualification. It is almost impossible to get a teaching placement other than supply work which doesn't count towards the fourth year. In Scotland, placements are found for students automatically to ensure that they are able to complete their degree in four years.The system here is an absolute disgrace. It encourages students to stay on for higher education and then lets them down totally - leaving them with heavy debts and no prospect of a permanent job. Mrs Chris Mason

Please put it to the panel that the MAJORITY of voters in the Assembly elections did not vote for Labour. I therefore need to understand why the coalition has failed the majority of the electorate to agree on power sharing in the Assembly. This would have meant a real proportionally represented democracy for the first time ever in the UK. A coalition of three, not two parties – never before tried or tested in the UK. It’s a sad day for Wales when Rhodri Morgan is left to run – or should that be ruin? - Wales along with the rest of his cabinet Ministers.Let’s save all the fuss and scrap the Assembly – PLEASE!Mark G. Griffiths, Newport East Voter.,

I have been interested in politics for a long time. I have had many discussions about politics and politicians. A point of view I have heard very often, and refuted, is that politicians are only in politics for self gain and to fuel their own ego.The current situation in the Assembly, however is making me re-think my stance. I think that members of all of the parties are displaying the attitude “We have to have power at any cost”. What on earth has happened to principals and their political beliefs? I cannot believe that they will “get into bed” with anyone to achieve power. I think they should all take a step backwards and consider where they stand politically, and forge an alliance with parties which is based on policy and manifesto. There was no mandate from the public for “minority” rule, just no clear mandate any party to form a sole government. I am sure I am not the only member of the public that is becoming more cynical as a result of the current situation. Basically my message is for the members to stop playing a political game and be effective politicians. Rob Llewellyn, Caldicot.

Plaid Cymru have been dishonest over the past few weeks and months. They failed to admit that they were willing to serve in Government with Tory ministers before the election. But the minute the election was out of the way, they soon showed their true.Plaid Cymru can never again claim to be socialist when they have bent over backwards to get into bed with the Tories. ANON

Why give extra powers to a body that since its creation has not even managed to create a half decent road link to the main airport ?[Please don't mention that rail link!]Martin Jeeves, Radyr.

Tony Blair has been relying on Conservative votes to get his policies through parliment over the last few years. Why has Rhodri Morgan rejected out of hand any deal or working arrangements with the Conservatives ? Stephen Jones, Newport

The recent debates on forming the new Welsh government, I feel that the parties are more concerned of their own self interested rather than the opinions of the Welsh public. The concern will be now with a minority government that public services will suffer such as the Welsh NHS services that are already severely under pressured by national and WAG directives.Gareth Thomas, Caerphilly.

Ieuan Wyn Jones is re-writing history. He was challenged time and time again before the election to admit that they would jump into bed with the Tories and they failed to give us a clear answer time and time again. The opposition parties have also said a lot about Labour needeing to conceed policies and discussions.But it's a two way street. The opposition parties have a duty to reach the biggest party half way as well.
They are the ones being arrogant at the moment. Edward Preece.

Civil servents and the Welsh Office run Wales. The Assemly is just an expensive talking shop.Selwyn, Rhyl

Just wanted to note that after he was elected First Minister Rhodri Morgan promised to 'listen' to the people of Wales. But what have we got? A stand in! All other leaders made it, he didn't. Too busy leading the other side of a politician's life. Disgusting! Keith Kerswell

Would the panel agree that the real problem has been the pressure on party leaders to reach a conclusion as a result of the 28 day forced time limit? If they agree, how would they suggest that issue should be tackled? Mike Day Liberal Democrat Councillor, Swansea

I voted in the election for Labour and the people of Wales spoke that they wanted Labour to lead Wales. They had the most seats I feel that the majority of people in Wales's vote would have been pointless to just have the other parties join and disregard Labour voters.If a coalilition is to be made Labour has to be in to respect the wishes of the majority of Wales
Gavin, Ely.

How can Plaid and the Conservatives be taken seriously about forming a coalition. They are poles apart politically. If this rainbow coalition was to be established Wales would likely to find a pot of lead at the end of the rainbow and not Welsh gold. Lewis Thomas, Ceredigion

I voted Plaid on both the first and second ballot, as I have done at all elections since the age of 18. I have always believed in a devolved Parliament for Wales since the Conservatives created carnage across Wales throughout the 1980's. I have no appetite to see a rainbow coalition government with the possibility of Tory ministers being led by Ieuan. Plaid should continue to influence Labour with the argument for further powers before a right wing Tory Government returns to Westminster.Gareth Williams (Mold - Flintshire

I voted for the Liberal Democrats in the Ceredigion (in order to elect a Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for one of the most rural seats in Wales) and Green on the regional list (because the mathematics didn't make a Liberal Democrat regional vote viable). Since the election, I was appalled by the idea of a rainbow coalition (as was the majority of the party in this constituency) that would involve the Conservatives (who mismanaged Britain between 1990 and 1997) and Plaid Cymru (who want to see Wales represented at the UN beside the Cubans) and would have like to have seen a vote of ordinary party members on the rainbow coalition deal and not just Lib Dem conference members.What I would like to see for the future is an Assembly formed that can answer the following question: "Why did it take from November 2006 to May 2007 for my aunt and uncle to recieve their Tir Gorfal payment which makes up 80% of their annual income?" Harry Hayfield, Ceredigion

A question for Ieuan Wyn Jones :Does he think that the non-attendance of Leanne Wood and Bethan Jenkins at Her Majesty's visit was an act of discourtesy to Her Majesty and The Sennedd that they purport to serve? Robert Shafer

Surely it is time to give "the rainbow coalition" a chance after 2 terms of bully politics from labour? Len Preece,

Mental health was one of the top three priorities for the last administration, what have they achieved and what do they plan - what would the opposition bring to this area? what are their views about the mental health act in the westminster parliament at the moment? Robert.

Why did we vote for a minority goverment - Wales would be better off with a rainbow coalition. Craig, Holyhead.

What next steps are going to be implemented to ensure the fullest development of the economical structure in North Wales, and what is being done to entice businesses and companies to stay in North Wales to amplify the unemployment rate. Neil Tuck, Y Fali, Ynys Mon.

Does Carwyn think its time to put together talent from the whole of the assembly in a cabinet fit for Wales. There are good, intelligent and creative people in all the parties, Helen Mary Jones, David Melding, Jenny Randerson, why can't Labour take a bold step and create its own rainbow coalition? Wayne from Pontyclun.

In South Africa, black citizens have been peacefully reconciled with their former white oppressors. More recently, Ulster Unionists and the IRA have come together peacefully to share power in Northern Ireland after decades of killing and maiming one another. In view of such examples, what justification can there be for Welsh Labour's refusal to even talk with Welsh Tories, as during recent attempts to form a new, broadly based, National Assembly Government? Hywel Davies, Morriston.

Unlike the House of Commons, our Senedd debating chamber is round. Shouldn't this shape encourage joined up thinking and cooperation rather than the confrontational party politics that Westminster's shape seems to encourage? How can we expect peace in the World when politicians whose manifestos are so broadly similar won't work together for the good of our country? We musn't let narrow party politics hold us back. We are one nation; let's behave like one.Stephen Lansdown.

Lets hope Edwina Hart listens to the public opinion during the election period regarding LHB's gets rid of them and other Quangos attached to the health service. All communities as a right deserve there own hospitals. And not some 5 minute wonder quick fix private set up as proposed by LHB's John Hornby, Prestatyn.

Powys County Council want to close 6 schools, 4 of these schools are teaching through the medium of Welsh. Dafydd Ellis Thomas said on Pawb A'I Farn a few weeks ago that he would not be closing any of the Welsh Schools. Is he still sticking to his word?" Llinos Humphreys, Carno

Will the Welsh Assembly Government think about doing more so ethnic minorities in North Wales access have the health services they need? For example, there is not even one professional Chinese speaking interpreter in North Wales. Judy Ling Wong, Llanberis.

The vast majority of Plaid voters are against a coalition with the Conservatives. So how can an alliance be formed against the will of the people? David Davies, Llanmorlais.

When can we expect a positive move on the money that is set aside, we are told, to develop two children's hospitals in Wales? Elizabeth Carpenter, Cardiff.

I'd like to know how Plaid Cymru can even contemplate forming a coalition with the Conservatives. I think it would be a betrayal of the Welsh people to agree with Conservative policies. Howard Gough, Llandough, Penarth.

With education seeing 20% increase in funding from Westminster, why is it the budget for Education in Wales only increased by 4%? Colin Humbestone, Ruthin.

I'd love to know what they are going to do for the young people in West Wales who are on the minimum wage to help them get on the housing ladder? Mrs Dodd, Llechryd, Cardigan.

There are many disused water mills in Wales, certainly where I live in Ceredigion. What support is there for feasibility studies looking into renovating these mills so that they could provide local renewable energy generating plants - possibly based on community based projects, giving the locals some ownership.
Wales could be at the forefront of reducing the UK carbon emissions if the political will was there. Nigel Thomas, Rhydlewis, Ceredigion.

Why was it more important to spend £60m on a new Senedd (talking shop) than on, for instance, the NHS in Wales? Doesn’t the removal of prescription charges mean there is less money available to spend on the Welsh NHS? Chris Morris, Pontypridd.

With its new powers, will the Assembly now command more respect from County Councils?
Here in Carmarthenshire, people are keen to see Assembly intervention where they perceive injustice, unfairness or imbalance in the decision-making process.
As County Councils are the primary deliverers of services, what do the leaders think needs to improve to get a truly democratic, transparent and consultative process at the grass roots level? The planning process is a case in point. Helen Thomas, Cross Hands, Llanelli.

Why is my son - who has autism - left struggling in mainstream education despite having a statement of special educational needs and his school recommending 100% adult support. Why don't we have any specialist schools in Wales at all, no not even one?! Jacqueline Dixon, Caldicot.


  • Betsan Powys
  • 5 Jun 07, 11:39 PM

Just finished the programme but before I go home a promise that in the morning we'll do our best to put up on the blog all the comments and questions that came in tonight. No, nothing goes to waste here.

What struck me? A pretty strong hint from Carwyn Jones that the Assembly government may put a stop to hospital reconfiguration for one thing.

And that while Ieuan Wyn Jones seemed to start cautiously enough - prepared to accept signs of Labour 'reaching out', not immediately joining in with Nick Bourne and Mike German in the head shaking and condemning - he ended the debate sounding pretty hostile to Labour. Carwyn Jones' answers weren't good enough. It's not good enough that Rhodri Morgan wasn't there. It's not good enough to say that another Minister will have clear answers on hospital reconfiguration and nurses' pay. It's not good enough that tomorrow's legislative programme hasn't been discussed with the other parties beforehand.

What were those odds on the rainbow coalition taking over? 50:50?

By the way the man from the Uber-Ministry of Education, Culture and the Welsh language does a pretty good impression of his leader when the cameras are off too ... Must have been watching him very, very closely!

Rolling up the carpet

  • Betsan Powys
  • 5 Jun 07, 02:56 PM

So now we can all get on with it.

The party to celebrate Welsh democracy went smoothly. In fact it's probably the only thing to have gone according to plan in Welsh politics over the past few weeks. A proper state opening for a proper institution? Yes, I think we got the message.

The red carpet's been rolled up and I've just seen them wheeling it away - until the next time. There are a couple of Pickfords lorries outside being loaded up and Eleanor Burnham's hat is, I hope, safely back in its box.

I liked the diplomatic response from the little boy stuck in the middle of the crowd outside who was asked whether he saw the Queen. "Well ... most of her" he said.

I did try to see whether her Majesty was looking at anyone in particular, even one side of the debating chamber in particular, when she wished AMs "insight, wisdom and patience" as things move forward. No luck. I suspect her speechwriter thinks everyone could do with a good dollop of all three over the coming weeks and months.

Tomorrow the Assembly will elect a Business committee and how things work here in future will become a lot clearer once we have one of those.

We already know that some plenary sessions will last longer from now on and that they'll be shared for the first time between government business and non-government business. I panicked yesterday when someone asked me about the 'opposition database'. What on earth was it and why didn't we know about it? Did Martin Shipton and the Western Mail have a copy?! Panic over. He'd actually said something about 'opposition debates' - and yes, we know about those and look forward to seeing how they're used.

One thing that won't be used? Red ministerial boxes. We wondered whether our Ministers might even get green ones but the message has just come back: no boxes. Too expensive and impractical apparently.

In the meantime I need to get on and concentrate on tonight's debate programme - still being billed this morning as starring the four party leaders. It's more like three leaders and a would-be but still worth watching I hope.

Here we go ... again.

  • Betsan Powys
  • 4 Jun 07, 03:02 PM

You disappear for a few days and what happens?

You get into work to find the Royal Navy's anchored what looks like a warship a few hundred yards away in Cardiff Bay, the in-box has been inundated with offers of free phentemine, codeine, car radios and viagra and - yes, rather more significantly - Rhodri Morgan has anounced his new cabinet.

The texts that came my way on Thursday lunchtime were in two minds over his choice: small but perfectly formed or a make-no-false-moves flop? I just wonder whether we'll even get the chance to find out.

It's certainly a cabinet designed to do what the man says is on the tin: to 'reach out to other parties' and 'move forwards on the basis of consensus'. Three key posts, three key appointments: the 'sweet' Jane Hutt (Glyn Davies' description, not mine) who got on so well in her negotiations with Plaid; Edwina Hart who we will now, I hope, get the chance to interview rather more often than in the past and Carwyn Jones who gets his golden opportunity to lose the 'lazy' tag.

By the way tomorrow night he's on the panel of four politicians facing an audience in a Week In Week Out special down in the Senedd. Who's on the panel? Spot the odd one out: Ieuan Wyn Jones, Mike German, Nick Bourne and ... Carwyn Jones. Do you think Rhodri Morgan is trying to tell us something?

If you've any questions to put to them or want to let off steam about the events of the past few weeks then let me know before tomorrow night and I'll do my best to include them.

And you never know, before the end of the week, the blog may even have managed to migrate to its proper home alongside the Political Editors of Scotland and Northern Ireland. I get the feeling geese have less trouble making it over the Himalayas than I've had it to shift from one site to another.

Here's hoping.

Lib Dems back in the game

  • Betsan Powys
  • 26 May 07, 01:51 PM

...and you thought it was all over.

Well, it ain't. Hot news from Llandrindod Wells is that the Lib Dems have voted to jump back into bed with Plaid and the Tories... or at least, they'll try to.

The vote from the Metropole Hotel in favour of reviving talks with the other opposition parties was 125 to 77 - a pretty good majority for Mike German and those of like mind who want to see a rainbow alliance.

Coincidence or not, the vote took place in a room which featured a painting of a rural scene with - what else? - a rainbow. In familiar Lib Dem fashion, the voting process was hugely entertaining.

A show of hands was eventually abandoned amid various complaints, including one from AM (step forward Eleanor Burnham) about having to hold her arm up that long, while another member accurately pointed out the difficulties of doing so when you have a broken arm. Again staying true to their green principles, the paper votes ended up in a recycled box. Then the result, showing a 62% majority for a return to the rainbow.

And so the story takes another twist. Stay tuned...

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