Saturday, 7 March 2009

Hat in the ring?

I write this holed up in bed with a fever, apologies for my absence in the podcast but in the circumstances I think the boys did admirably!

Huw Lewis has all but announced his candidacy for the Labour leadership in a speech he made in Llanelli last night. I suppose given all the talk of the past few months this comes as no real surprise to anyone, but it does show that he’s not daunted by the prospect of replacing a First Minister with a 65% approval rating!

His speech to the West Wales Cooperative party included a string of policy proposals the most striking of which is his idea for a £50 million National children’s savings plan. Mr Lewis, the AM for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney, believes that his ambitious proposal would provide children from all backgrounds with the opportunity to benefit from a range of extra curricular activities.

Mr Lewis has gambled that he is more likely to win the nomination by jumping as far left as he can. In his speech he spoke of letting Labour be Labour, of how the free market has failed and of how the Labour instinct had been right all along. Obviously trying to align himself with the socialist sensibilities of those in his party and hoping perhaps that the current economic climate (sorry) will make people more open to a lefty candidate than a centrist.

It’s an interesting (if obvious) strategy being undertaken by Huw Lewis and one that I look forward to seeing how his “opponent” Carwyn Jones reacts to. I am however reminded of the Michael Foot Manifesto of 1983. Now better known as the 'longest suicide note in history’ his decision to jump to the left to try and win votes against the free market-loving Thatcherites failed miserably. I wonder if this will be the fate of Huw Lewis candidacy?

I also think that candidate manifestos may be irrelevant, in today’s world of style over substance I can see a situation where the Labour party base their decision purely on who the public recognises.

Thoughts?

Dewi Un


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1 comment:

Pavlov said...

Huw Lewis is hamstrung by one fundamental flaw, namely, he is Huw Lewis.
The whole Penarth thing has 'mortally' damaged him politically. Then came the disastrous attempt to cover his tracks on his expenses claims by going nuclear. This blew-up in his face. Then came the minutae, the interior decoration, the curtains, the cruet-set stuff. Dross indeed but telling all the same - not about Mr and Mrs Lewis' aesthetic taste but about his judgement.
The man is patently a clown, who is not serious about political leadership. The fact is, political leaders don't do this stuff.
The sad thing is, the reality of all this has struck everyone else, except Lewis himself.
He is damaged by all of this and if he can muster six nominations to get on the ballot (which is by no means guaranteed) all the minutae will come back to haunt him. He will be forced talk about this rather than the policy issues.
Instead, we are witnessing this bizarre, almost anti-intellectual, psuedo-campaign nonsense that is trying to buy him time until he is asked the killer question: "So tell us, where has been your primary place of residence for the past two years? Penarth or Merthyr Tydfil?"
At that moment, it falls apart.
Why on earth is he bothering?