Author Archives: Dominic Hannigan

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There has been much talk lately of what job Charles Kennedy should be given in the shadow cabinet. This has been fuelled by both Nick and Chris heavily indicating that they would like to see Charles back on the front bench.

My position for a long time has been that Charles should be put in charge of constitutional affairs. As one of Britain’s most popular and widely respected politicians, I feel that he is the only person who is capable of dragging the subject up the political agenda. The media like him, the public like him.

I am pleased …

Posted in Online politics | Tagged and | 1 Comment

100 days of Plaid in power

Several months ago, I wrote a piece for LDV setting out what I thought was a golden opportunity for the Welsh Lib Dems following a disappointing night in May.

Now, 100 days have passed since Plaid decided to kick the prospect of alternating government in Wales into touch and instead prop up a discredited and unpopular Labour administration.

The “one-Wales” government as it is known has had nothing but gentle times so far. The position within the year and the Welsh electoral cycle have not presented the real and serious challenges to the stability of coalition politics. And yet, relations between the two governing parties have been anything but amicable. It all started when Peter Black pointed out the immature and almost laughable way in which back-bench Plaid AMs were failing to adhere to the principal of collective responsibility. They were openly attacking government announcements and claiming that because they were made by Labour Ministers, their party bore no responsibility for them. It beggars belief what the relationship will be like when times actually begin to get tough.

Those within our party who argued against joining Plaid and the Tories in Government, were particularly concerned by the lack of clear costings and affordability of Plaid’s manifesto. The party’s immaturity was clear when it offered a succession of promises to the Welsh public such as free laptops for kids and big grants for first time buyers. This “happy-meal” politics as Kirsty Williams called it, took no account whatsoever of the tougher budgetary times ahead. With the CSR announcement earlier this month, it has become clear that the one-Wales agenda is worryingly unaffordable.

Posted in Op-eds and Wales | Tagged and | 12 Comments

Opinion: The agony, then the ecstasy

Three months ago, there was a real sense of excitement in the Welsh Lib Dems. We were poised to make big gains in the third elections to the National Assembly, held on 3rd May.

The evident frustration of four years previously, in 2003, when we had stagnated on six seats out of 60 was sure to vanish this time, we thought, with the potential to win three or four extra seats in the Senedd. But, in what was a heart-breaking night for the party in Wales, we missed out on even one extra seat yet again.

Inevitably, the resulting frustration and anger, not to mention the carnage over coalition negotiations that followed, has led to the party wondering exactly where it is that we can go from here.

Much has been made of the need to reposition ourselves in Wales, to speak up, and show exactly what it is that we stand for. In my view, events outside the party have presented us with a golden opportunity to show what we are for.

Last week, Labour and Plaid Cymru finalised their coalition government, with Plaid gaining three cabinet seats. Many old-fashioned socialists have rejoiced at the prospect of what they see as a red-flagged paradise run from Cardiff Bay. They cheer at the prospect of policies free from Blairism, Brownism and Alun Michaelism. For them, Rhodri Morgan and Ieuan Wyn Jones will lead Wales into a socialist century that they have long dreamed of. However, what is clear to me is that this is a government that is doomed to fail the people of Wales.

As a liberal, and a Liberal Democrat, my natural distrust of nationalists has so far been proved correct.

Posted in Op-eds | 5 Comments
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