Monday, 18 June 2007

Two Theories of History

An anonymous comment on my previous post asks:

Have you any shred of evidence for concluding thus:
1. Adam Price raised Green/Red Alliance in order to prove to left that no deal was possible.
2. Labour's enthusiasm unexpected.
3. Assume Adam had support of IWJ
4. IWJ reported anger part of a choreographed peformance
5. Doubt Labour offered as much as previously suggested in leaked letter by Welsh Ramblings

Bethan also rushes to the defence of Adam Price. They raise fair points, and they deserve a response. If by evidence you mean a paper trail or a smoking gun, then no, I have none; just opinion based on trying to make sense of what people do and say. It is said that there are two theories of history – conspiracy and cockup. I may well be wrong in seeing conspiracy, and would be much happier to be proved wrong than right. Unbridled cynicism can become rather depressing over time.

The fifth question is the easiest one to answer. It was tongue in cheek, since the 'leaked letter' was apparently offering Ieuan Wyn Jones candlelit dinners with Betsan Powys.... But back to the serious points.

Welsh Ramblings suggests that a small right-wing clique have been trying to push Plaid Cymru into a coalition with the Tories – his or her analysis is not dissimilar to mine in that respect. (I'd take issue with the idea that the clique is right wing however – I suspect it's an ideology-free clique rather than one which has any coherent right wing position).

But, let us suppose for a moment that I am wrong to doubt the motives of Adam Price in raising the Red-Green idea again so late in the day, and assume that events are more or less as reported. The sequence looks roughly like this:
  • Immediately after the Assembly election, Plaid's Assembly Group agrees that the way forward for the party is to lead the opposition to Labour, who should, as the largest party, form the government.

  • Within days, Plaid's leader, with strong support from Adam Price, begins talking to all Plaid's Assembly members to overturn that decision and begin coalition talks.

  • Although initially talking to all parties, the Assembly group decides to suspend talks with Labour and concentrate all its efforts on an agreement with the Conservatives and the Lib Dems. Throughout this process, Price is working as Ieuan Wyn Jones' right-hand man (no political comment intended) in driving forward the negotiations.

  • That agreement is concluded, and gets signed off by the Conservatives and the Lib Dems. There is however, considerable unrest on the left within Plaid at the process and its conclusion – and some scepticism about the role of Adam Price, once seen as a standard bearer for the left, but now apparently one of the principal proponents of coalition with the Tories.

  • Almost on the eve of the meeting where Plaid Cymru is due to discuss and either accept or reject the agreement, Price raises once again the question of a Red-Green alliance. Having been somewhat lukewarm to date, this time Labour respond extremely positively.

  • Jones is reported to be furious at this development - but the first thing he does is summon Adam Price down from London to lead the negotiations with Labour.

It just doesn't add up to me. I'm perfectly happy to accept that my own interpretation may be wrong (although I know I'm not alone in seeing things that way); but that leaves unanswered questions.

It seems clear that the clique referred to by Welsh Ramblings still intends to push Plaid into a coalition with the Tories, but if we believe that Price genuinely wants to go the Red-Green route instead, then we are asked to believe both that Price is working hand in glove with Jones on the negotiations, and also that he is seeking a completely different outcome. When it comes to believing impossible things, I tend to be with Alice, rather than with the Queen of Hearts.


Che Grav-ara said...

"If we believe that Price genuinely wants to go the Red-Green route instead, then we are asked to believe both that Price is working hand in glove with Jones on the negotiations, and also that he is seeking a completely different outcome."

To my knowledge Adam Price has made it clear that he favours a coalition with Labour but accepts that if it is the will of the group he will work on negotiating a Rainbow deal. I personally think Adam Price is totally correct to suggest that Plaid should be in government in one form or another. What is the point of being in politics if when you have the chance to succeed in your aims you choose to shurk that responsibility and live in opposition!

I do find it rather cynical and confusing how you can suggest that Adam Price can not want Red-Green, indeed if it occurs he has been largely responsible for creating an opportunity for that to happen, whilst being willing to negotiate for Plaid on other deals. Clearly not all politicians have resorted to throwing their toys out of the pram if it doesn’t look like they will get their own way!

Ceredig said...

Che, my confusion surrounds the fact that Ieuan Wyn Jones clearly wants the rainbow, and seemed to be doing his utmost to kill off all other options. My cynicism has been around why he would call on Adam Price to negotiate with Labour knowing that Adam would want those talks to succeed.

Les anyone should think that I have a massive downer on Mr Price, far from it. I am something of an admirer of his. The work he has done on Iraq in particular; the courage and moral integrity of his stance, place him head and shoulders above any other MP from any other party in Wales. Paradoxically, that serves only to heighten my disquiet at his role in trying to broker an alliance between Plaid and the Tories.

However, as I have sadi before, I am open to be proved wrong. My Plaid friends are telling me that he isn't as close to Ieuan Wyn Jones as things appear - and indeed that there may be a falling out between them over this issue. My faith may yet be restored.

Che Grav-ara said...

thanks for the response Ceredig,

I couldn’t comment on Adam Price's relationship with IWJ or his dealings over the negotiations simply what I believe is the case, based on what I have read, heard and been told.

However, in regards to bringing Adam into negotiations with Labour I don’t think there is a conspiracy there. I am sure many will argue that IWJ wants the rainbow. However I am sure that he is politically cleaver enough to realise that if his hand is forced to follow a red-green line, be that by the AM's, party or a deal being to good to turn down, then he would want the best possible person representing Plaid in those negotiations.

You could equally argue that there is suspicion that Adam Price, a known advocate for Red-Green, was brought in to negotiate on the Rainbow deal. An equally plausible conspiracy is that IWJ wanted to look as if the rainbow would happen to force a Red-Green. I don’t think this is the case, as I don’t think your conspiracy suggesting red-green is to force the rainbow is true. I think that plaid have simply looked at all the options and have yet to settle.