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First Minister second time around

Betsan Powys | 15:14 UK time, Tuesday, 10 May 2011

"Various discussions have taken place in recent days both inside our own party and with others too. As a result of these discussions, I will seek to form a Government later this week, consisting solely of Labour Ministers.

However, in doing this, I want to make something absolutely clear. We will do this without any triumphalism and with no trace of any political tribalism.

The stakes for Wales are too high for any such self-indulgence.

We will take the next step - to form a stable Government for our people - with humility and total recognition of the responsibility now facing us".


  • Comment number 1.

    Really good to see a statement from Carwyn Jones that shows a real maturity in Welsh politics. He may have half the seats but was only on 40% of the vote because it isn't a fully proportional system. So he's right, the people voted for a Labour led government, but not a Labour majority government. Thus consensus politics is the right way to go whether with formal coalitions or without.

  • Comment number 2.

    Very best fortune to the new government. In the interests of the people of Wales some new ideas and dynamism would come from a coalition with the Welsh Lib Dems.

  • Comment number 3.

    Given the declining state of the Welsh devolved services and other areas of Assembly responsibility, I hope Carwen really does recognise "the responsibility now facing" him and his Government.

    If WAG do not sort things out and deliver for Wales they will be punished in 2015 as they were in 2007.

    We need good business friendly Government, with Health, Education and Infrastructure as priorities.

    The opposition and minority parties also have a part to play - lets hope all (Labour included) can rise above ideological tribalism and political back biting, and make things work for once.

    For all our sakes!.

    And please - get rid of those damned computers in the Senedd - make the AM's at least look as if they are interested in the debates.

  • Comment number 4.

    2. rhetoric-politico

    I think the Lib Dems had a few good ideas, but I wouldn't advocate a full-on coalition with them. Better to go into this on an issue-by-issue basis, I think.

  • Comment number 5.

    @Mike Sivier

    That's exactly the sort of system 'issue by issue basis' that will cause instability in a government in my opinion. A minority government is inherently lacking stability and if you mention the recent Scottish case that is only a one off!

  • Comment number 6.

    2. At 16:30pm 10th May 2011, rhetoric-politico wrote:

    “Very best fortune to the new government. In the interests of the people of Wales some new ideas and dynamism would come from a coalition with the Welsh Lib Dems.”

    You are seriously suggesting that we should look for “new ideas and dynamism” from the LibDems?

  • Comment number 7.

    The Welsh LibDems got 8% of the vote a bad 4th, with lost deposits. I don't think that the Welsh voter thinks that they have any "good ideas"

  • Comment number 8.


    The Welsh Lib dems more than any party have highlighted the waste and missed opportunities of the last administration so it would be good to get a crack at the whip . I'm sure Kirsty and Peter would give there portfolios an added dimension if given an opportunity.

  • Comment number 9.

    Just re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic... Anybody running a book on how many more % the economy will fall relative to the EU average over the next 4 (or is it going to be 5?) years?

    Reap what you sow people! Time to jump off the sinking ship!

  • Comment number 10.

    I understand your antipathy to computers West-Wales but they are there to stay, otherwise the chamber would be knee deep in paper. Saves a fortune I think. At least there are more AMs generally in the chamber than there are MPs at Westminster!

    On the more general point, its brave of Labour to go it alone, and I remember similar words from Alun Michael when he took the rains of a very similar government. He didn't last.

    I hope that Labour is open to ideas and the opposition is constructive. We have a far more cooperative Assembly in Wales, that may make it a tad more boring but its far more mature than the yah boo politics we see at Westminster.

    We will see in 5 years time what the outcomes are.

  • Comment number 11.

    If Labour's performance over the last 12 years is any indicator, I hope we don't have to wait another 5 years before we have a chance to get them out. All of our young talent will leave. I wonder what conditions would be needed to force a new election?

  • Comment number 12.

    I'm sure Kirsty and Peter would give there portfolios an added dimension if given an opportunity.

    Peter Black got 6.9% of the vote, that's PR for you. He gets a seat even though more than 93 out of every 100 voted against him. His "added dimension" is failure there is some thing wrong if PR gives 1 of 4 seats with less that 7% of the vote. In fact it's more than wrong it's scandalous.

  • Comment number 13.

    There is something scandalous in the way that AM's are voted in on the list, how can it be good for democracy to see Aled Roberts with only 5.9%, Peter Black with 6.9%, John Dixon with 7.9% of the popular vote elected.


  • Comment number 14.

    @13. Rhondda54_DJ
    "There is something scandalous in the way that AM's are voted in on the list"

    The reasoning behind the existence of the list AMs is as follows, taking Peter Black in the South Wales West region as example:

    In the 7 constituency votes making up this region, the total vote was 154,515 while the total LibDem vote was 12,965, or 8.4%. The votes of 8.4% of the electorate under First-Past-The-Post are completely ignored.

    But in the region as a whole there are 11 AMs: 7 constituency and 4 regional AMs. 8.4% of 11 AMs is 0.924 of an AM which is as close as damn it to 1 AM. Hence the election of Peter Black.

    It means that those votes at the constituency level which would otherwise be totally ignored under FPTP are recouped with the regional list AMs. A lot of people who would not be represented at all in the Assembly are able to make their voices heard, even if not by a directly elected constituency AM.

    I don't think that's scandalous at all.

  • Comment number 15.


    It would be scandalous if we didn't have the list AMs. As it is, with 40+ percent of the vote, Labour got 50 per cent of the seats. With no list AMs it would have got close to 70 per cent of the seats with 40 per cent of the vote. Which is fairer?

    If you want all AMs to be attached to a constituency while keeping reasonable proportionality the best approach is multi-member constituencies with STV, as the Richard Commission pointed out. But politicians don't like that because it means members of the same party compete against each other and give the voters too much control. The current additional member system is probably the next best.

  • Comment number 16.

    #9 Where do you suggest we go? Scotland?

    Incidentally if Scotland leaves the UK will it become the United Kingdom of England, Wales and Northern Ireland? We won't be Brits then so what will we be - UKites? They'll have to take the Saltire off the Union Jack and put the cross of St David on. Not red, white and blue but red, white black and yellow. Perhaps the English will go into a sulk and say it's not a UK at all any more, just England. (for Wales, see...)

  • Comment number 17.

    #15, your question Which is fairer? has been answered by the electorate recently if you remember ... there is a preference for First Past the Post ...

    ... that is something to ponder.

    #16 ... when Scotland leaves the Union the Union Jack will just become our national flag, a visual representation of the British people, we will remain the British people, except possibly in the minds of the nationalist elements.

    #10 I believe this administration will last because the nationalist aspirations will be diluted by the real needs of Wales, the Black Swan for Plaid has been the public realisation that your politics, was indeed the thin edge of the wedge towards separation by stealth. Wales doesn't want or need division, we just want to be happy.

  • Comment number 18.

    @17. John Tyler

    In last week's referendum, the electorate wasn't asked "which is fairer?" They were asked which system they wanted, Alternative Vote or First-Past-The-Post.

    Proportional representation wasn't even on the ballot.

    And remember, under the d'Hondt system used in Wales, in last week's election the Conservatives obtained only 6 constituency AMs , but 8 regional AMs. In other words, under the FPTP system, Conservative representation would have been more than halved.

    D'Hondt tell me this is what you would have preferred, or that it's fairer!

  • Comment number 19.

    Go Scotland!

  • Comment number 20.

    #18, I voted "Yes" for AV, a personal choice. In a democracy the final choice rests with those that vote, and they voted "No", interestingly we were not given the option for a voting method in Wales, for devolution that is, I would have voted against our current system because I have a preference to vote for a person.

    #19. ... and soon please.

  • Comment number 21.


    Followed within 5 years by Wales!

  • Comment number 22.

    Good rhetoric from Carwyn, appropriate for a party leader just short of an absolute majority.

    #16 Tredwyn

    The trouble with the devolution settlement is that it was created to forestall the growth of nationalism in Scotland and Wales. That was its primary objective – to give a little in order to prevent losing the lot.

    The electoral system chosen, a mix of FPTP and List (utilising d’Hont, which slightly favours larger parties than other similar methods) was designed to prevent the SNP and Plaid gaining a majority in Labour heartlands, which the party could ill-afford to lose in its struggle to gain or hold power at Westminster. In 1997 that seemed highly unlikely given the levels of electoral support the SNP and Plaid had received hitherto. It was also designed to maintain Labour dominance in seats in the Assembly – which it has done since 1999.

    It’s significant that a fully proportional method was adopted for the NI Assembly.

    The problem of using electoral methods for party political ends is that it frustrates the democratic process in one way or another – and is likely sooner or later to rebound. Labour and other unionists paid the price for it in Scotland on this occasion. It could turn out to be a serious error for them if the Scottish electorate is persuaded that self-determination is the way forward.

    From here on the ConDem government has to tread extremely carefully in handling SNP demands for significant further powers in the Bill currently going through Parliament. It seems a win-win situation for Salmond.

    Unlike the SNP, Plaid became bogged down in its minor role in Assembly government, which is what its Labour creators intended. It was sidetracked into diverting its energies from its primary objective. It took its eye off the ball. That is why accepting a junior role in a coalition is generally a mistake. It saw the carrot dangled by Labour of a referendum on legislative powers, which in any case were coming incrementally but at Labour’s pace. Labour is prepared to see further devolution for Wales, but far short of self-determination – it drew Plaid into working within its parameters. Come into my parlour, said the spider to the fly. Accordingly Plaid’s policies at this election could easily have been articulated by any of the other three parties. Plaid’s distinctiveness was lost.

    Were Scotland to opt for independence, the title of the remaining ‘rump’ would be problematic. It would no longer be an ‘united kingdom’, as that resulted from the union of the English and Scottish parliaments in 1707.

    As for the union flag, you rightly point out that Wales is not represented on it at all. It presumes that Wales is a part of England, which to me is a kind of insult. The flag evolved, but the establishment at Westminster won’t entertain further evolution to reflect Wales’ increased political assertiveness.

    Personally, I would prefer not to have a Welsh symbol on the union flag, because of its historic association with imperialism and militarism. Were the UK to break-up and Wales remain, I would prefer the creation of an entirely new flag incorporating some representation for Wales.

  • Comment number 23.

    @ 14
    I see your mistake, you thought logic would defeat ignorance, vary rarely happens.

    @ 15
    Absolutely correct, every single word.

    @ 17
    Pretty much demolished by @18, however, I my first comment above wil probably still stand.

  • Comment number 24.

    #21, that particular genie is well and truly back in its bottle, there is no appetite in Wales.

  • Comment number 25.


    "Devolution Max" in Scotland will raise the appetite amongst the Welsh when they began to sense that unless they take full responsibility for their affairs and follow in the footsteps of the Scots, they can kiss their nationhood goodbye.

    If the Welsh don't back full autonomy, they'll become a region of England all over again. I personally doubt very much whether they'd be able to stomach it this time around.

    One thing's for sure, it's game on now!

  • Comment number 26.

    24. At 10:57am 11th May 2011, John Tyler wrote:

    “#21, that particular genie is well and truly back in its bottle, there is no appetite in Wales.”

    Give it time John, give it time.

  • Comment number 27.

    Re 20

    "#19. ... and soon please."

    An interesting development. John Tyler no longer believes in the United Kingdom!

  • Comment number 28.

    #27 FoDafydd

    English nationalists don't.

  • Comment number 29.

    @20. John Tyler
    "I have a preference to vote for a person"

    I know I'm banging on at the same drum, but with d'Hondt that's exactly what happened: you got to vote for a person, your constituency AM.

    BUT if you live in a constituency where your chosen party doesn't have a hope in hell's chance of getting elected (e.g Conservative in the South Wales Valleys or, with a little more chance of success, Labour in the Mid and West Wales region where they picked up an extra 2 regional AM seats as opposed to only 1 out of 8 constituency seats), then your vote isn't wasted either.

    That, for me, is still fairer than First-Past-The-Post.

    And please stop this "genie back in the bottle" hubris. Didn't you know that genies always grant three wishes? I'm sure that Plaid, after more than 80 years waiting, isn't going to be non-plussed by having to wait a couple of elections more.

  • Comment number 30.

    3. West-Wales

    I hope Carwen really does recognise "the responsibility now facing" him and his Government.

    May I be allowed to point something out to you without seeming patronising or belittling.

    It is Cawyn, not Carwen, which would mean her and her Government.

  • Comment number 31.

    Alf #28

    Thank you - careless of me.
    I have a Grand daughter called Carwen - perhaps a freudian slip!.

  • Comment number 32.

    Sorry Carwyn, see we all make mistakes

  • Comment number 33.

    Grammar, spelling, and punctuation, as long as the post is understandable and unambiguous - best to forgive the poster, - we can all be guilty and all slip up at times, for many reasons.
    Haste, emotion, inebriation, poor education - what ever!

    It doesn't matter if the structure and spelling is not text book perfect - its what they have to say that is important. :)

  • Comment number 34.

    Westy, I know what you mean about staring at screens. We could have screen based cameras looking at the AMs a la Skype; that would keep looking keen!

  • Comment number 35.

    33. West-Wales

    You wouldn't call John, Jane, would you, because that is the equivalent.

    You wouldn't like it if I called you, West's Wally.

  • Comment number 36.

    33. West-Wales

    Sorry West Wales I appologise, I didn't see your previous comment.

    I went straight to mine.

    I suppose I can be guilty of inebriated sarcasm.

  • Comment number 37.

    Since 1979, where Scotland leans, Wales follows.

    After March, 2011 will go down as a good year for Wales, whatever happened this May.

    One election, one blip. Lots of hot air, but that is life. So for the next four / five years, good luck to Labour - but they do need to deliver. For that to happen, they depend on the Conservatives turning round UK Plc.

    In the meantime, there is a longer game being played.

  • Comment number 38.

  • Comment number 39.

    37. Welshknot

    "So for the next four / five years, good luck to Labour - but they do need to deliver. For that to happen, they depend on the Conservatives turning round UK Plc."

    So in other words, you don't think they'll be able to do it, then?

    We all know the Conservatives certainly won't deliver - look at that NIESR report last week, and the Bank of England's revision of its growth forecast this week. This, from 2 per cent to 1.7 per cent, means the government will need to find an extra £13+ billion - equivalent to all the money it's made on the VAT rise - according to reliable sources.

    Personally, I'd rather wait and see what the new Senedd does with the resources it receives, rather than judge its success by what the Westminster Mess does.

  • Comment number 40.


    It is a case of the Welsh economy needing a healthy British economy. If the Senedd can help the Welsh economy to out-perform the UK economy as a whole, that would be a wonderful thing. I do agree with your observation that Westminster looks a bit of a mess. The worry being that the other course (as sought by Labour) would see the end of the UK's 'AAA' rating, which is still worth a bob or three.

  • Comment number 41.

    40. Welshknot

    We might disagree over whether Labour would kill the UK's 'AAA' rating. I think the main issues for the Senedd should be how to make the best of whatever cash manages to make it across the Severn to us. So it's best to think about improving the business infrastructure (including working with businesses in Wales to make them more attractive to employees - keep the expertise here); transport links, especially in Mid Wales, so the whole country is available to firms that are looking for a home; and improving the tourist trade. It would be a particularly good idea to look at environmental industries - the 'green' economy. With so many high hills around here and so much antipathy to wind power, has anyone given much thought to hydroelectric power generation?

  • Comment number 42.

    41. Mike Sivier

    With so many high hills around here and so much antipathy to wind power, has anyone given much thought to hydroelectric power generation?

    As long as it didn't mean flooding more valleys.

    With that you also have to look at low river flows during possible dry spells.

    Or another alternative no one wishes to look at Tidal energy flow.

    At the same time what about desalanisation plants taking water from the sea.

  • Comment number 43.

    Mike #41

    "It would be a particularly good idea to look at environmental industries - the 'green' economy. With so many high hills around here and so much antipathy to wind power, has anyone given much thought to hydroelectric power generation?"

    There is some but not much opportunity for hydroelectric generation, simply not enough water at high level - but pumped storage facilities like Dinorwig offer a useful service.

    The greatest "Green Generation" opportunity for Wales is in Tidal power.
    Not as in the technically and environmentally unsatisfactory, and costly, proposal for a Severn Barrage, - but deep water tidal stream generation technology.

    Wag has been slow of the mark, failing to invest in research early enough to make Wales home to the developing technology, but are now getting up to speed.

    This Technical Addendum of the RPS "Marine Renewable Energy Strategic Framework" report to the Assembly gives the current state of play if you are interested.
    Its a PFD so you will have to open it yourself;

    Swansea University has done considerable work on Tidal Energy and have some interesting projects, but Assembly funding into tidal research has been meager, with most available Green support funding going to Wind.
    In my opinion has Wag invested early enough and properly in the work at Swansea, Wales would now be World leaders in the Technology.

    Wind of course is a mature technology and while we are building components here in Wales, the technology is mainly Danish and they reap the profits World wide.

    Scotland however is now reaping the benefit of the Scottish governments support for research into the technology, in particular with significant investment and governmental help into the work at Sterling University starting some 8 years ago.

  • Comment number 44.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 45.

    The recent news report on the opening of a factory to manufacture the towers for wind turbines is welcome. With an aerospace industry in Wales we are well placed to create our own industry around both wind and tidal generation.

    On a second issue its good that Carwyn Jones has dropped the word Assembly from his government. Its now just the plain Welsh Government not the Welsh Assembly Government. Should help a little to differentiate the legislature from the government, a step forward in my view.

  • Comment number 46.


    Sorry, I used a website I shouldn't have.


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