There aren't many people left in Welsh politics who don’t think they’ve been stitched up by someone else over the past few weeks. We do, though, need to be careful about seeing the difference between a stitch-up and a cock-up (back to the two theories of history).
Ron Davies claims today that Plaid have been stitched up by Labour over the coalition agreement. I’m tempted to quote Mandy Rice-Davies, but that’s just too much of a cliché. If Labour fail to deliver on the all-important referendum, he may well be proved right – but I think I’d record an open verdict at this stage.
Some Labour AM’s are claiming to have been stitched up by Rhodri Morgan over the missing chapter in the agreement. I suspect that poor old Rhodri assumed that they’d have enough sense (will he never learn?) to realise that there was going to have to be a chapter on governance, and didn’t think it would be a big issue. Verdict – cock-up.
Plaid members across Wales are getting increasingly agitated about not having a proper choice when they meet next week, and are accusing the party's leaders of stitching up the meeting by denying them a vote on the rainbow. In truth, of course, the real stitch-up was the attempt to push the rainbow through with no other option available, and it is the chief stitcher-uppers who’ve really been caught out. Verdict – attempted stitch-up turned cock-up.
The Lib Dems, of course, probably have some justification for feeling stitched up, finding themselves left out in the cold, unloved and unwanted. But they have only themselves to blame… Verdict – stitch-up (self-inflicted).
Labour members opposed to the deal are claiming that the special conference is rigged in advance by union votes and they have no chance of influencing the outcome. But aren’t these the same people who just love the block vote when it goes their way? Verdict – stitch-up (self-inflicted).
No-one in the Conservative Party has yet claimed to have been stitched up, unless someone else knows any better. Considering the way in which they’ve been led into signing up to a programme for government which should have had them choking over their cornflakes, this is truly amazing. Verdict – the most successful and skilful stitch up of all, because they haven’t even spotted it yet.
So, if I had to award prizes for the best needlework, then Nick Bourne would win the first prize for having so successfully sold out so many of his party’s policies and beliefs and getting away with it. Ieuan Wyn Jones gets the second prize for having almost succeeded in getting the rainbow coalition through, and then getting accused of completely the wrong stitch-up. Oh, and I think we need a special lifetime achievement award for Mike German for so spectacularly sewing himself into a cold and lonely corner.