Friday, 15 February 2008

What Do They Expect (1)?

Seems that the Labour Party are a little upset about Plaid’s website assisting trade unionists to stop donating to the Labour Party – but what do they expect? Of course it was a stunt in advance of the Labour conference, but after his little effort at least year’s Plaid Conference, Martin Eaglestone’s complaints look more than a little hollow.

The extent to which Plaid have cosied up to Labour in the Assembly, and agreed with them on everything, even to the extent of trashing their own previous statements, has been a source of bafflement to myself and others for months.

The reaction of the Tories and Lib Dems is predictable, even if completely contrary to what they were saying last week. Last week, Plaid were betraying their principles by supporting Labour on everything; this week, they're putting cracks in the coalition by seeking to undermine Labour Party funding. I had a lot more sympathy with last week's position than this week's.

What we all need to get used to is the idea that there will be coalitions between different parties at different times and at different levels. Coalitions do not mean mergers, and they need not lead to any abandoning of previous policy positions. What they do mean is clear agreement on short term programmes, and complete support from the signatories for those programmes. Outside those agreements, it is, or should be, ‘business as usual’. And that means parties putting their own views and promoting themselves to the electorate.

Labour need to accept that as a fact, rather than get upset – and Plaid need to move beyond stunts, and extend the war with Labour to anything not specifically included in ‘One Wales'.

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