I'm the Hen Ferchetan. This is my take on the world through the eyes of Wales. While mostly about Welsh politics (that most famous of dour topics!) I try to scatter some humour around, but I doubt anyone but me will find it funny! Have a read, and if it bores you then feel free to never come back!

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Top Lib

So Kirsty Williams is the first to throw her hat into the ring for the soon-to-be vacant post of Welsh Lib Dem leader. She is supported in her bid by Mick Bates AM and Peter Black AM. The fact that these two men are supporting Kirsty means that we are now seemingly certain to see the first female leader of a Welsh mainstream party. (Did I just call the Lib Dems mainstream?)

This means that the ball now lies in Jenny Randerson and Eleanor Burnham's courts. Current Lib Dem rules state that any candidate for the job must be nominated by another AM. Unless Mike German backs one of those two as his successor (unlikely, he'll probably keep out of this one) one of them has to back down and support the other to challenge Kirsty. This may change however as the leadership election rules could be changed before nominations are due.

Eleanor Burnham would garner strong support from the North and the Welsh speakers while Kirsty's support took a big blow in the will-they-won't-they mess the Lib Dems found themselves in during coalition talks but I can't look past Kirsty for the job. We all know she's been craving this chance for at least three years and I think it's fair to say that's she's the mos likely to give the Lib Dems the boost so they have needed for years. She's young, attractive and has a much higher profile than the other two women. In a party that suffers from the lack of name/face recognition she is the most likely to be remembered by the voters.

The Welsh Lib Dems do desperately need a boost - their coalition mess has been followed by 15 months of anonymity as Labour, Plaid and the Tories take the headlines. I don't know if Kirsty will be able to give them that much needed boost, but she certainly has a much better chance of doing so than the other potential candidates.

One question though, why does the BBC refer to Kirsty as "Ms Williams"? Isn't she a Mrs?


Damon Lord said...

Lib Dems? Mainstream? That's disgusting talk!

I would tell you to wash your mouth out with soap, but the internet being what it is, I'll tell you to squirt Fairy Liquid on your keyboard instead.

Peter Black said...

She is in fact Mrs Rees.The so called 15 months of anonymity includes huge local government success to the extent that Welsh Lib Dems are now helping to run 13 of Wales 22 Councils.

Hen Ferchetan said...

She is in fact Mrs Rees.

Aha, that explains it, thanks Peter.

The so called 15 months of anonymity includes huge local government success to the extent that Welsh Lib Dems are now helping to run 13 of Wales 22 Councils.

Carefully sidestepping the fact that both the Tories and Plaid made a bigger increase in number of seats I see Peter. If the Lib Dems +21 was "huge" then what do we call the Tories +62 and Plaid's + 33?

And is being pushed from having the 3rd highest number of Councillors to 4th huge success? (or 5th if you count the independents as one, but I don't)

Peter Black said...

The percentage increase was quite high I believe. It is where you gain the seats that matter of course and the fact that we are in a commanding position in more Councils than either Plaid or the Tories. Importantly we were defending a high. 2004 was an exceptional year for us.

Hen Ferchetan said...

But if 2008 was a "huge success" that built on 2004's "exeptional year" and you still slip from 3rd to 4th because the other two "opposition" parties had even better sucesses, doesn't that in some way prove my point?

With Plaid sharing power and the Tories as official opposition it does put a squeeze on the Lib Dems when it comes to news coverage. People will always turn to the other two first and the only way the Lib Dems can do something about that is to be different from Plaid and the Tories and at the moment they're failing to do that and are therefore rarely mentioned.

Mrs Rees seems to acknowledge that when she concedes that the Welsh Lib Dems don't seem to have a "brand" these days. As I said in the original post, I believe that she's the best placed to change that - although I wouldn't go as far as saying she can definatly do it, especially considering the coalition mess last year.

Hen Ferchetan said...

Oh and Peter, when you start taling about "percentages" and "where you gain the seat that matters" it reminds me way too much of "only Lib Dems and X can win here".

Since I've spent way too much time reading your Cardiff "newsletters" I can assure you that's not a favorable comparison!

Anonymous said...

I think that the Lib Dems need the gravitas of Jenny Randerson
She is statewoman like and has been a minister, she knocks spots off Kirsty Williams, she always comes accros as unprepared and dithery ,bit like nick thingy really

Anonymous said...

Well having spoken to kirsty a few times she strikes me as being a bit thick and an egomaniac .... typical politician really.