THE TREMENDOUS result which saw Carwyn Jones easily returned as leader of the Assembly Labour Party group – but not, I believe, as leader of the party in Wales; that job goes to a Scotsman – should lead to a period of peace with that party, writes Clive Betts from the Assembly press gallery.
Mr Jones’s ability to win a PR vote without the need for a single recount sends the bluntest message possible to the entire Welsh party.
If I were Mrs Hart, a former president of the National Union of Banking Employees, perhaps I’d start looking for a job with Lloyds Bank.
And why, the day after the result, did her agent Andrew Davies announce he was standing down from the Assembly in 2011. His excuse was that he wanted a more rounded personal life.
If that’s shorthand for a woman, make sure there’s mutual respect between you for each other’s achievements.
Another possible reason is that he doesn’t fancy a lot of time in opposition. Particularly as fixing deals with the opposition was his raison d’etre when he served as business minister under the Alun Michael minority administration.
Although he was a former party full-timer in Transport House, he was broad-minded enough to realise that there was much that was good in the other parties.
He was also one of those in the Labour Party who was not afraid of the press. That party often has dreadful difficulties handling the press – very similar to Plaid Cymru. Although in complete contradistinction to both the Lib Dems and the Tories.
I can recall two of us journalists once having a deep political discussion with Andrew late one evening on Cardiff Central station – he on the Swansea platform, and we some way away on the Valleys platforms. Goodness knows who else was listening.
Perhaps one of the reasons for his decision is that the size of Carwyn’s win means that the new First Minister is truly his own man in what he does about the shape of his cabinet. You can be sure there will be a lovely job for Rhondda AM (and former Lib Dem) Leighton Andrews.
But what about the Gower AM ? Mrs Hart didn’t do herself many favours in her conceding speech; too much about herself. And it is her own personality which is her weak (or, as some would say, her strong) point.
As to Huw Lewis, he presumably realises that the size of his vote indicates that he is in danger of emulating the Communist Party of GB in votes terms. Of course, they had good ideas to the very end, which they continued to believe in. But politics and life had passed them by. Ditto Huw. And that’s without living in Penarth.
Interesting to note that Huw’s younger son – who must be aged around six – was present at the official declaration at the Millennium Centre, with eyes and ears all awake, sitting next to mother Lynne Neagle, the AM for Torfaen. There sat certainly the next generation of Labour activism in Wales.
Whether Huw will get anywhere under Carwyn, I know not. Let it be remembered, however, that Huw’s first ministerial resignation was aimed in Carwyn, over the disposal of foot-and-mouth carcases.
Huw was criticised in full plenary at the time by a fellow Labour AM for his entire mishandling of the issue. His attacking of a minister (Carwyn) should have been handled entirely differently. He should not have based his line on his own personal feelings, but on the feelings of his constituents … which he felt obliged to pass on to the minister.
It’s difficult to see Carwyn finding any post for such an individual in his cabinet. After all, the second resignation was over the formation of the Labour-Plaid coalition, which Carwyn now has to keep in existence.