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.