Friday, September 08, 2006

Shalalala putsch putsch

The pesky Welsh Labour Party has been at the forefront of the attempted Blair putsch.
Formerly uber-loyal Chris Bryant organised the letter telling the PM to go.
Government aides Wayne David, Ian Lucas and Mark Tami – all Welsh MPs - heaped pressure on Mr Blair with their resignations.
On September 18 Welsh Labour MPs will meet in Wales. Although convened initially to talk foreign affairs, the leadership is bound to come up.
In fact the two issues are the same for some. In August Merthyr MP Dai Havard called Tony Blair "deluded" if he thought he had any influence over George Bush. He wrote to the Prime Minister about Lebanon and accused him of a "misdirected obsession" with being a mouthpiece for Washington. Mr David said the Prime Minister showed himself to be "detached" from the Party over the summer in his dealings with Lebanon.
Labour AMs also meet the week after next, the first week of the Assembly term, at a pre-arranged away-day.
More and more in Labour think – as First Minister Rhodri Morgan suggested earlier this year – that the party will do better at next year's Assembly elections if Gordon Brown leads them into the May 3 poll.
Newport West MP Paul Flynn told me: "It goes right across the Labour MPs in Wales, this unhappiness.
"A group of Welsh MPs saw Tony Blair in June and he said to us, 'what
seems to be the trouble guys', and the first three of us who spoke said,
'You are the trouble'."
The received wisdom is that Mr Brown is more in tune with the agenda pursued by Rhodri and co.
They won a slim governing majority in 2003 under Mr Morgan's “clear red water” banner. As Tomos Livingstone says in today's Western Mail, that essentially meant: “Look, we're not Tony Blair”.
With Brown at the helm, Welsh Labour probably see electoral profit in ploughing a similar furrow next year.
I'm not sure this will keep the Tories at bay in the vulnerable Labour seats of Cardiff North, Preseli Pembrokeshire, Clwyd West and Aberconwy. But the imperative now is to end the squabbling as soon as possible - no more "noises off" Rhodri Morgan says. Keeping these seats, and allowing Mr Morgan to stay in office until 2009 as planned, will be difficult enough without an ongoing leadership crisis of his parliamentary colleagues' making.

ALSO Is the Christmas card story below something to do with Dr Who?

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