Sunday 15 September 2019

The Plaid Cymru, Welsh Lib Dems and Greens Wales General Election 2019 Pact.

Never easy to negotiate but it’s the only way forward

Here’s my take on it

Prior to the Brecon and Radnor by election- when both Plaid Cymru and the Greens indicated that they were willing to stand aside and give the Welsh Lib Dems a free run - it was the correct decision, and without which I am not sure that Jane Dodds would have captured the seat.

Now there is speculation of a pending allocation of constituencies deal between the three parties for the forthcoming General Election, which is not that far away.

In the 1980s I was co-share of negotiating teams between the SDP and the Liberals for similar arrangements in the 1983 and 1987 General Elections and the Euro election in 1984. The agreements were relatively harmonious, although hard negotiated over. That was because party loyalties run deep and there were several constituencies where the decision was marginal and the lead party allocation could have been different. So there was an element of compromise and quid pro quo.

I am sure that is the situation in the current negotiations, if not more so.

So during last day or so I took it upon myself to come up with a suggested seat allocation between the parties.

My parameters were the constituency results  for the General Election 2010, which was probably the last general election held in ‘ normal circumstances’. By that I mean the General Election 2015 was one where the Lib Dems were severely punished because of the coalition years. The 2017 General Election was heavily influenced by  Brexit and tactical voting hence it became a two horse race between the Tories and Labour. Then I looked at the Senedd Election results of 2016 and the recent  Euro elections.

There are a few seats in the tables below that could have been allocated differently. Of course   Ceredigion is taken out of the equation because, let’s face it hell would freeze over before either Welsh Lib Dems or Plaid Cymru would agree to stand down.

I also had a difficulty in allocating seats to the Welsh Greens, as much as I agree with a great deal of what they stand for. Nevertheless, since there are seats that can be allocated either way – I have not included them in the tables below. 

They are

Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire
Newport West - altho' was tempted to make WLD
Swansea East
Vale of Clwyd

Possibly they could be four constituencies where the Greens could stand.

 Group 1

Welsh Liberal Democrats - 8
       Plaid Cymru - 10
Brecon and Radnor
Cardiff Central
Cardiff North
Cardiff West
Cardiff S E and Penarth
Carms East and Dinefwr
Clwyd South
Clwyd West
Merthyr and Rhymney 
Ynys Mon

Dwyfor Meirionydd


Group 2

Welsh Liberal Democrats - 11
       Plaid Cymru - 6
Blaenau Gwent
Alun and Deeside
Cynon Valley
Newport East
Swansea West
Vale of Glamorgan





Anyway that’s my shot at it. Lets see what transpires.

Friday 6 September 2019

Towards a Wales Constitutional Convention

Meeting convened at the Castle Hotel, Merthyr -  Sept 7 10.00a.m.

Following yesterday’s (September 5 ) brief and uninspiring  presentation (one could hardly call it a debate) and the negative decision arrived at in the Senedd on whether or not to establish a Wales Constitutional  Convention I am more than ever convinced that a ‘ Peoples Convention’  is vital

The founding of such a Convention is necessary to review the various applications of a partially sovereign, and sovereign, Wales within a range of available potential isle-wide frameworks. These include devo-max, federalism, confederalism, confederal federalism, and what is understood as Welsh independence within Europe.

Powers and functions of governance are pooled, or shared centrally, to varying extents within these options, having different implications for the way in which individuals relate to their respective national parliaments and to that of the centre. It is now necessary to explore the nature of the UK going forward, so that it, and Wales’s place within it, can be made modern for the 21st Century.

Over the last two to three years a number of people from various political parties, and no party affiliation at all, have been speaking and writing on the need for a Convention. Along with a few others I have been advocating the establishment of such a standing body to advance the need for significant and major constitutional reform in the UK. And of Wales’s place within it.

Despite all this, whilst there has been encouraging noises, even from a past Prime Minister and a former First Minister for Wales, nothing has happened. Fundamental reform will not advance by accident, it has to be planned for. I am clear that without the development of a Convention, Wales could be caught out and possibly left behind as constitutional change is advanced in other parts of the UK.

I see it as a catalyst for the way ahead and am happy to be the facilitator in the Convention’s early development. Of course, as the months progress it is hoped that it will become a much more significant body with Westminster and Senedd politicians, local government, academics, voluntary organisations and a wider representation of Welsh civic society participating. It is imperative that our approach is diverse and all-Wales in design.

The aim is to, methodically and sensibly enable participants to discuss and share opinions as to the best constitutional future for Wales. The first meeting will be agreeing aims and objectives, possibly considering a small number of papers, and setting the programme of work to come. For instance, the most effective modern constitutions articulate the essential framework of governance and are open to modifications in time, such as the pooling of sovereignty in supra-national bodies.

Exploration is required of areas such as:

  • Internal workings of Wales as a nation state within a range of possible constitutional options available, including various applications of sovereignty
  • Institutional relationships within these constitutional frameworks
  • Allocation of powers, rights and laws
  • Fiscal decentralisation and economic performance

  • 1
    Social impacts.’
 I envisage that the Agenda items could include

1)    Aims & objectives of the Standing Conference on a Welsh Constitutional Convention

2)     Constitutional Relationships and Sovereignty in these Isles – scene setting paper
3)    Bibliography of reports and documents to read & review

4)    Agree programme of work
- How often to meet?
- How large should the Standing Conference be?
- How long should the Convention be?

In addition the Aims and Objectives could be along the following lines

Arrive at the best Constitutional Structure for Wales

To thoroughly examine the needs of, specifically Welsh, democratic life

Investigate existing models and presentation from leading authorities to plan the structure of future democratic institutions for Wales

Build consensus across Wales

Contribute towards any Constitutional investigations that the Welsh Government will initiate and conduct.