Sunday 2 May 2010


To say that I'm having trouble keeping this blog updated at the moment would be something of an understatement. It's been a hectic campaign to date - another three days to go to make a difference.

Last Wednesday, I found myself on the Wales 2010 Election debate with Wayne David, David Davies, and Jenny Willott. Wayne and David (the 'and' is crucial in the context, although I suspect that even without it, he could have had a good argument with himself) spent most of their time arguing with each other. Nothing new there - but when I hear Labour and Tory spokespersons arguing like that, it always reminds me of the last few lines of a limerick I heard many years ago "They argued all night, Over who had the right, To do what and with which and to whom".

When we were talking about hung parliaments and who was prepared to talk to whom, Wayne was most insistent about emphasising the point that Plaid was willing to talk to the Tories. In his eyes, even being prepared to talk to the Tories is clearly some sort of mortal sin. I just don't get this sort of tribalism.

It's not that I'm a particular fan of the Tories (and I could equally have put Labour or Lib Dems in that clause), as any regular reader of this blog would quickly recognise. But how can any party which is serious about putting Wales' interests first and foremost declare in advance that we will not even be prepared to talk to one of the parties which could form the next government? Being prepared to talk to anyone in the context of a hung parliament doesn't mean that you agree with their core philosophy, or their likely government programme. It's more about recognising political reality when you see it.

For most of the people in Wales, it really does seem to me that the traditional tribal political loyalties of the past are rapidly breaking down. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing probably depends on your viewpoint. But your viewpoint can't change the fact that is is happening. The underlying message of the Labour campaign in Wales for this election seems to have been based from the outset on an appeal to that tribalism as though nothing has changed. And they still don't understand why they've got it so wrong.

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