Is anyone else getting a little tired of this continued posturing from Rhodri Morgan? Will he, wont he, will he, wont he, over and over again. From a purely selfish perspective I’m fed up of explaining to friends why he has yet to announce his departure date, “but I thought you said he was retiring?” Yes I did say that but...
Away from my selfish desire for closure surely Rhodri is now doing more harm than good? How can the Labour Party here in Wales start planning a coherent message for the electorate if they don’t know who will be at the helm? If they have a next step to take then they should surely hurry up and get on with it lest be caught mid step. I understand that Rhodri may not have wanted to Grandstand Gordon at the Conference so I will give him some leeway but my goodwill is fast running out.
There has been a lot of talk regarding who will take over the reigns – I won’t go into much depth about the likely candidates here (there will be plenty of time for that when he does eventually announce) – but none of them are what you would describe as household names.
Whilst having dinner at Pizza Express last Friday (the dough balls there are exquisite) I tried a little social experiment. How many people around the table had ever heard of Huw, Carwyn and Edwina? The answer: not many, and those sharing the dough balls are good examples of the type of voters that all the parties target election time: floating voters, who care more about policy than politics. These are the type of voters that swing elections – you know your ‘Middle England’ voters -the ones that turned to Labour in 1997.
Now if they wouldn’t know Edwina / Huw / Carwyn even if they came up and slapped them in the face then Labour needs to do something. One option is to get the whole leadership election over and done with and then stick the winners face on every magazine / TV show / newspaper going and start building a public persona.
My point therefore, the longer Rhodri holds on the more damaging for Labour because the less time his successor will have before GE day. If polls are to be believed then people are turning away from Labour – having an anonymous leader here in Wales is not likely to get them back.
Side note: My table at Pizza Express was a mixed bag. I was the youngest there by about 8 years. The rest were teachers, community workers, television assistant directors and a student (plus a two year old). And they were struggling to find a relevance to my question when there are other more important things going on in their respective lives. Winning back hearts and minds it seems will be difficult for every party.