IWA Podcast: Surprise tie in vote for Welsh First Minister

The latest IWA Podcast discusses the tie between Leanne Wood and Carwyn Jones to be Wales’ next First Minister.

What was expected to be a relatively straight forward vote to re-elect Carwyn Jones as First Minister was turned on its head today as Leanne Wood, Plaid Cymru’s Leader stood against him. With the backing of UKIP and the Tories for Wood, the nominations for First Minister were tied with 29 votes for each. Carwyn Jones had to rely on the backing of Kirsty Williams to ensure that he didn’t lose this vote.

With no First Minister appointed today Assembly Members will now have to reconvene in the near future for another vote.

Jess Blair was joined by Daran Hill, MD of Positif, and Professor Siobhan McClelland, a Health Economist, to discuss the surprising events.

14 thoughts on “IWA Podcast: Surprise tie in vote for Welsh First Minister

  1. Well done IWA for providing this podcast so soon after breaking news. A good and interesting discussion on the possinbilities that may lie ahead over the next few days and perhaps longer.

  2. This is a very shrewd political move on the part of UKIP and the Conservatives – so shrewd that it obviously comes as a surprise.

    A non-Labour administration, even a Plaid minority administration, would have two benefits for UKIP and the Conservatives. First, it would devalue Labour’s strongest asset, their inevitability, and cut them off from the patronage which they have always used so effectively. Second, even if a formal coalition is politically impossible, Plaid would be dependent on right-of-centre votes if they wanted to run a credible administration, which would undermine the former with their base and give the latter a leverage that could not get any other way.

    Yet in the longer term, it might benefit Plaid. A functioning democracy cannot be said to exist unless there is a real possibility of a change of administration – one UN definition says until there have been two changes of government. Until now a change of administration in Wales has been inconceivable in Wales. A non-Labour administration of any sort might be a sign that Wales has come of age as a democracy – which should be a matter of rejoicing to any true Welsh nationalist.

  3. very enjoyable to have you whispering in my ear, but try to find a room with fewer bare walls (hang up some blankets!)

    todays discussion: comprehensive, succinct, no rambling, which is good; Leanne’s masterstroke very welcome shot across the bows – might wake up Labour a bit! no possibility of a Leanne led government though, and the voters know that – they’re not stupid, nor as loyal to the ‘donkey’ any more – and they need to be gingerly shoved and subtly edged in that direction so that Labour eventually divides into its two constituent parts – a proper party of the left and a ‘UKIP light’; this is what happened in Scotland and it is now happening in Wales, but as in all things Welsh, softly softly, and not drawing any attention to itself

    looking forward to the 5th assembly – it might be revolutionary!

  4. Come on now…say the truth; don’t you all wish that you had voted ATWAP?

  5. The speed with which this podcast has been put up shows the significance of today’s events. From the opposition parties’ point of view, Labour have been reminded that they are a minority government and cannot return to the Assembly with a business as usual attitude. It was clear from Nick Servini’s interview with Rhun ap Iorwerth and Jeremy Miles that Plaid’s intention is to create a space for negotiations to take place so that they can have some influence on the Government’s programme. If that pans out, then the tactic will have worked. Jeremy Miles appeared to be pushing the agreed narrative that he was shocked, shocked to see a political party behaving in such a party political manner. His view, which was incorrect, was that Plaid had supported UKIP and the Conservatives. In fact it was the other way round. You could argue that Plaid had had to rely on UKIP and Conservative support which is a guilt by association argument. Yet this was not an issue of policy or legislation but a challenge to Labour’s assumed hegemony. Given that Labour only managed 31.5% of the popular vote, that was a perfectly legitimate democratic challenge. Carwyn and Labour are going to have to think again and he, I would argue, is too much of a pragmatist to come back the Senedd with the same proposition.

    Daran made the very apposite point that Labour has a narrative on the steel crisis which they have performed well. And the narrative will be extended to include how Plaid sides with the Tories and UKIP. However, the one strength that Plaid has on this issue is Adam Price. As someone involved in the miners’ strike and with a good grasp of the economics of the steel industry, he is well placed to challenge that narrative. Whether he succeeds is another matter, but it will take more than writing a party line for the media for Labour to land a damaging blow to Plaid’s standing with the electorate, though it will resonate with some.

    One option available to Carwyn would be some sort of agreement with Kirsty Williams. The danger for Kirsty however is the same one that befell her party at Westminster. If you’re seen as being Labour-lite, then why not just vote for Labour?

    The main conclusion I draw from today’s events regardless of the speculation above, is that we’re in for a more hardball political Assembly than we’ve seen before. In addition to today’s tactics, we also have the arrival of some hard-hitters. I’ve already referred to Adam Price, but for Labour we have Huw Irranca Davies and Eluned Morgan, two experienced and erudite politicians who have a good sense of how the politcal process works. My feeling is that the Assembly is about to move up a division in terms of political debate and in terms of political tactics and strategy. That has to be a good thing since it will help to bring a sense that the Assembly is now a place that matters, given the increasing powers coming its way.

  6. Kirsty Williams has a lot to answer for – if her only rationale for voting is to vote the opposite way to UKIP – which is pretty much what she said on the idiots’ lantern last night – then she might as well be honest and cross the floor to sit with Llafur now and make it 30 versus whatever…

    The people voted for change and Kirsty Williams voted to kick the can down the road – and that from a party which has seen its mandate absolutely decimated in the polls. Tragic thinking IMHO…

  7. Having made a stand against the Labour leadership’s unseemly haste and lack of consultation, Plaid need now to spell out their line for a budget and legislative agreement with Labour, making it absolutely clear that their position is to the left of Labour. In this way, Plaid can make it very clear (not least to the people of the Rhondda, Blaenau Gwent and Caerphilly) that they have no interest in pandering to the blue and purple forces of Darkness.

  8. “Coalition is only one option. Minority government is another option. I will be putting forward Plaid Cymru’s manifesto, and Programme for Government (for Plaid) to be that government.

    “I have no intention of propping up another party in government.”

    All clear enough from Leanne Wood prior to the election but surely somewhat limiting. If she aims for some concessions from Labour in return for allowing them to continue undefeated in power then she surely will be “propping up another party in government”.

    If she somehow manages to become the leader of a coalition of Plaid and ” the blue and purple forces of Darkness” then she could claim that she was not propping up some other party in government but being propped up in government by some other party (Do they do semantics in Rhondda?) but with the Conservatives having the same number of functioning AMs what legitimate right would she have to be the leader? Wouldn’t UKIP be more likely to support a Tory? Or, claiming superior experience, would Neil Hamilton put himself forward as the natural candidate?

    My preferred outcome would be a re-run election which would certainly see UKIP decimated with their vote being shared by the resurrected LibDems where Labour voters showed their gratitude to Kirsty in the regions where Labour never stand a chance and, of course The Abolish The Welsh Assembly Party would mop up enough votes to take a few seats, the people of Wales having witnessed the Assembly become even more of a shambles than was previously the case.

    ATWAP AMs would, of course, refuse to take their places in the Senedd and Labour would form the government in a smaller Assembly, triggering demands for the number of AMs to be raised to 80 as a matter of urgency, those AMs to be allocated pro-rata without another election. ATWAP would gain AMs who similarly would not take their places….

    See, even with this mess things could get worse. Only one thing is sure down in the Bay of Uncertainty:-


  9. Being from Gwent I would like to say I don’t want to see Plaid move to the left of Labour. We need a strong, inclusive, central party. Labour and their socialism and the Tories and their right wing nationalism (south England is okay, don’t bother about anyone else), are the only kids on the block. Socialism and the Tory brand of capitalism / nationalism, hasn’t worked in the UK. Wales, the north, Cornwell and particularly every area outside the South East has stagnated and been left behind by central Europe with east Europe catching up and in many cases overtaking the poor regions of the UK. Westminster has spectacularly failed the UK. Let Plaid, or Labour, move to a more central position and take over the vacant middle ground of politics that is absent from politics in the UK and concentrate on building up Wales

  10. My contention is that there is already a majority among the Welsh people for social democratic politics, and probably for left social democracy at that. Plaid’s leadership now has an opportunity to explain that it stands firmly in that tradition. It can reach out to Labour voters, unenthused Labour abstainers and left-wing Labour members – especially the “new wave” – by firmly distancing themselves from the Tories and UKIP. This is the best way to undermine the opportunist jibes of those Labour politicians (not all) who feel their best ploy at present is to paint Plaid as “agents of Toryism”.
    It is crucial to Plaid’s electoral future to reject that charge, in action.
    Looking further ahead, socialists in Plaid Cymru should think medium to long-term and ensure that the events (or non-event) of 11 May 2016 can strengthen Plaid’s appeal and help pave the way towards Gwyn Alf Williams’ dream of a unified National Left.

  11. I think when all is done and dusted and Carwyn Jones gets elected First Minister the thing most people everyone will remember will be that Leanne gave Carwyn a reality check kick in the pants and think it as a positive for her.
    Labour’s anti Plaid narrative always steps up a gear when they feel threatened. However it seems that more and more people are getting wise to it.

  12. There is a question that fascinates me. If Plaid will only allow Labour to govern (pass measures in the Senedd) if those measures are acceptable to Plaid then in what sense is Labour the party of government? In theory Labour can only move to the “right” of their preferred position or to the “nationalist” agenda if they are to govern for the next 5 years. Either way Labour, the largest party, is in a state of permanent compromise and subservient to any other party line.

    Indeed, it could be said that, of the parties that are in the Assembly at present, only Labour is powerless to achieve its agenda.

  13. Plaid must go forward with a minority government other wise it will be like putting their heads on a block. Let the other parties bring Plaid down and call another election and Plaid will be seen to have stuck to it political objectives. The electorate will realise that.s

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