Tweet It's tempting to dismiss yesterday's mini-drama at the Bay as just another dose of froth; desperately important to those in the bubble, but of passing interest, at best, to those outside. The eventual resolution seems to boil down to an agreement by all concerned (well, almost all) to recognise a degree of ambiguity in the original Labour statement as a basis for the restoration of a degree of peace and harmony.
So, was it really all down to a badly-worded press statement, blown out of proportion by politicians extracting the maximum nuance, and media hounds keen for a bit of drama?
Possibly – and if I didn't detect the "hand of Hain" behind the original statement, I'd probably just write it off as a bit of incompetence. But it looks to me more like a deliberate case of handball on the political field of play.
Hain has been consistent (give him that, at least) in his attempts to block early progress towards a further referendum; and it's hard to interpret yesterday's announcement other than in that context. The clear and unequivocal message from Sir Emyr seems not to have changed his view one jot.
He has also consistently shown himself to be one of the most partisan and tribal members of his party. The zeal of the convert, perhaps; or a need to show, even after all this time, that he really is one of them, and not a Lib Dem infiltrator. Certainly, he has never accepted the One Wales coalition agreement. Indeed, more generally, he seems to be struggling to get his head around the softer and more consensual approach to politics which is going to be inevitable in a legislature elected by a form of proportional representation.
His motivation cannot be personal advancement – he must surely have realised by now that he is simply not in contention if Labour needs a new leadership team after the next election. And, by being in London rather than in Cardiff, he has missed the opportunity provided by Rhodri Morgan's retirement.
I don't understand what game he is playing. It's possible, of course, that he really and genuinely believes that a referendum would be lost, and he's just trying to protect us all from our own over-enthusiasm. Occam's Razor may apply, although somehow I doubt it in this case.
In relation to the recent deliberate handball on the football pitch, Thierry Henri was quick to own up. I suspect we'll have to wait rather longer before we get a similar degree of candour from Hain. In the meantime, for reasons best known to himself, he has, once again, come close to wrecking a government led by his own party in Cardiff. He's failed this time; but it's hard to be certain that he'll keep failing.
Dafydd Elis-Thomas: What is the United Kingdom for? - Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas discusses the role that identity plays in the way the UK works.
2 hours ago