Today, Kirsty Williams leader of the Welsh Lib Dems in Cardiff Bay, outlined her ‘Road Map’ for the Assembly elections next May.
LFW was invited to attend, along with sundry sorts and a good contingent from the mainstream Welsh mediarati – BBC Wales, ITV Wales, Western Mail etc
Ms Williams launched into her intentions to ‘re-set the dial’ for her party, as well she might, it is after all in dire need of something.
She immediately admitted the devastation wrought on her party at the general election and pointed out quite fairly in LFW’s view that:
“The fact is that the Liberal Democrats decision to form a coalition was the right thing to do for the country, but in many ways wrong for the party.”
Cutting through all the policy quips, the Lib Dems remain a party of progression and social justice. They believe in wealth creation but also fair distribution of said wealth. LFW remains unsure about their policies in relation to rehabilitation of villains and the Human Rights Act – bit too liberally nicey nicey, Woodstock time and dropping food parcels instead of bombs for LFW but what the hell.
In the event the one issue that really caught LFW’s attention, was the Lib Dems position on the Assembly elections re coalition? Kirtsy Williams had this to say:
“Will I rule my party out of any future coalitions in Wales? No I will not. But lessons must be learnt. I will not rule out working with a particular party.
Despite my views expressed earlier on conservatism, I have no overarching wish to pledge to the people of Wales before an election that they can only live under a Labour First Minister.
“However, the coalition experience at Westminster has meant that what was an already very high bar, has just been raised further.
“The Welsh Liberal Democrats would only ever consider entering Government if we were 100% satisfied with the agreement we secured. We would also only strike a deal if it was entirely clear what polices we had secured.
“And if I may add one further point on this, as the Welsh party has shown: it is entirely possible to achieve your policies, your goals, your values without entering Government.”
And here’s the real ‘rub’ as far as LFW is concerned, you can put all the Lib Dem politicking aside. The Assembly elections could be ground breaking for the Welsh, they could lead to a new order, a new beginning, one that looks out instead of in. One that has learnt from history but doesn’t allow itself to be ruled by it.
No more obsessing about identity and nationalist delusion.
Kirsty Williams is quite obviously keeping an open mind and so she should. The Tories and UKIP are on the ascendant in Wales. UKIP is not just nipping at the ancient Welsh political paradigm, it is biting its heels off, as Ms Williams was first to recognise in her answer to the question posed by LFW:
“What are the Welsh Lib Dems views on the threat posed by Welsh UKIP at the Assembly elections next year?”
“All the Welsh parties are facing a threat from UKIP.”
Recognition then, that UKIP may well change the political face of Wales next year, and if they get into bed with the Tories? In the words of Asquith, we shall have to wait and see.
One last observation:
LFW was one of only four questioners at the end of the speech.
The mainstream Welsh media hacks didn’t ask one question or make one challenge.
Spineless silence of the lambs time, as usual.
So much for an independent and fearless Welsh media holding our politicians to account. So much for rigorous Welsh political commentary, so much for ruthless, political analysis………so much for Welsh democracy.
(Click on LFW’s ‘About’ tab and read its Mission Statement)