R-G v Rainbow isn't Left v Right

I am amazed by the way that so many from the left seem to have got their knickers in a twist regarding the right-left argument whilst considering the Rainbow v R-G coalition arguments. They claim that a Tory including Rainbow will be some form of extreme right wing government intent on privatising everything in sight, oppressing the working class and giving hand outs to the super rich. A Red-Green deal, on the other hand, will give Wales a progressive socialist government.

Both statements are, of course, absolute rubbish. Those who make such claims are either ignorant of the limitations of the Devolution Settlement for Wales or are deliberately misleading. The fact of the matter is that the limits of the National Assembly's powers give very little room for manoeuvre on the right - left axis. This is why the manifestos of all of the main parties for the last three elections have been broadly similar to each other. Most of the differences between the parties have been based on gimmicks rather than ideology. You can't distinguish left and right because one party wants free bus passes but the other wants free light bulbs, or that one wants to employ more nurse in the NHS but the other favours more doctors.

The National Assembly just doesn't have the authority to introduce either radical socialist policies or radical right wing policies. Even within the little leeway that the Assembly does have, the Government of Wales Act ensures that Westminster has oversight over almost any policy the Assembly makes. With New Labour and Cameroonian Tories converging on the middle ground in Westminster, the overseers are going to stifle anything that the Assembly does that even attempts to move away from the middle ground.

The coalition argument has nothing to do with right v left; it is a much simpler choice. Do we want a Welsh Assembly Government lead by those who have shown such incompetence in exercising the Assembly's limited powers over the last eight years, or do we want to give others the chance to prove that they can do better?

Those on Plaid's left who want Red-Green, because of misplaced socialist ideology, are deluding themselves and letting Wales down. You don't get four years of Socialism from Red-Green - you just get four more years of Labour failure.


  1. The truth is that even Westminster hasn't got that much room for independent action in many areas.

    Europe rules the roost whether Wales is independent or not but no-one seems very interested in that pertinent fact.

  2. Alwyn,

    Your ignorance of the current devolution settlement is disappointing. The Assembly could nationalise industries, such as railways, within the devolved fields set out in Schedule 5 of the Government of Wales Act 2006. Of course, that requires approval in Westminster, but to pretend that the Assembly couldn't take radical left wing decisions, is just ignorant.

  3. Part 5 of the GoW Act relates to finance and accounting, and cannot by any stretch of the imagination be used to make an argument for privatising any services.

    Schedule 5 of Part 6 of the Act deals with Assembly measures but has restrictions including: "A provision of an Assembly Measure cannot remove or modify, or confer power by subordinate legislation to remove or modify, any function of a Minister of the Crown."

    Which privatising the Railways would undoubtedly do.

  4. The sad thing is that even when the National Assembly gets as far as passing a law, it takes at least six months to gain approval from Westminster, so this law does not come into force for many months, and the delay could be damaging in some cases.

  5. "it is a much simpler choice"

    I agree, the choice is a referendum on a full parliament for Wales in the next 4 years or not!