Dafydd Elis to be ousted?

On the BBC's Welsh language news programme Newyddion broadcast on S4C last night there was an item claiming that the Labour group in the Assembly is to seek guidance on how to sack the presiding officer Lord Dafydd Elis Thomas.

Oddly, I can't find a link to this story on the BBC's website in either Welsh or English. Vaughan Roderick was the reporter of the story on the news program, but he hasn't yet blogged the story - odd again.

So was the Newyddion story wrong, or was it a rider for a bigger story that is about to brake?

Whatever the answer, it has been no secret that a number of Labour members, since the inception of the Assembly, have been unhappy with Dafydd El's presidency. Allowing the Assembly to sack Alun Michael, rather than letting him resign with indignity, is something that many in Labour will never forgive DET.

Up until the election of the SNP government in Scotland (including the election period) anybody without prior knowledge, looking at devolution in these islands, would have suspected that Wales had the devolved body with the greatest independence, because Wales followed its own course whereas Scotland, with more actual powers kept to the Westminster line. Some of this difference was down to Rhodri Morgan, much of it is because of the way Dafydd has used his presidency to shape the institution.

One of the complaints that unnamed Labour members have made, apparently, is that Dafydd doesn't realise that he is just the president of the Assembly, not the President of Wales. I agree with them. I believe that Dafydd Elis making himself de facto President of Wales is the most important boost to the national cause since Owain Glyndwr crowned himself Prince of Wales.

I can understand why some Labour members might wish to sack him from the presidency, but they should be careful what they wish for. As Lyndon B Johnston is supposed to have said of J Edgar Hoover better to have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in; and as Presiding Officer Dafydd has an important role to play inside the tent.

Outside the tent Dafydd is the most experienced politician in the Assembly. He has been a professional politician since 1974 (before some of his detractors were born). He is extremely intelligent, an astute manipulator and - as his presidency has shown - he knows his Machiavelli.

The question Labour (and possibly Plaid) detractors should ask themselves is where is Dafydd safest?
In the presiding chair.
On the backbenches.
Or even as Deputy / First Minister.

If I was a member of any of the parties in the Assembly, my opinion would be the His Lordship is safest where he is rather than anywhere else. That is why I don't think that his presidency is really in danger.

1 comment:

  1. Bloody hope he is, pompous old fart!