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Keir Starmer ‘pointedly silent’ on Labour-Plaid deal, says Guardian columnist

02 Dec 2021 3 minute read
Keir Starmer (CC BY 2.0).

Keir Starmer has been “pointedly silent” about the cooperation agreement between Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru, a Guardian columnist has said.

In an article for the London-based liberal newspaper, Rafael Behr, he argued that Labour’s Leader in Westminster’s “more feasible route to No 10” looks like a “collaboration with other parties”.

He pointed out that “power-sharing” is already a “normal feature of British politics”, and pointed to to the deal that was officially signed between First Minister Mark Drakeford, and the Leader of  Plaid Cymru, Adam Price yesterday as an example.

But he suggested that it “goes against the grain of English political culture, and Labour pride” for Starmer “to accept that the shortest route to power” is to collaborate with other parties in a similar way.

In his Guardian column, Behr said: “But it is also true that power-sharing is a normal feature of British politics. The Scottish government is a coalition of Nationalists and Greens. In Wales, Labour has signed a cooperation agreement with Plaid Cymru (an arrangement on which Starmer has been pointedly silent).

“In local government, ‘no overall control’ is a routine outcome requiring cross-party deals. Only in Westminster is the absence of a decisive win treated as an offence against the natural order. In a hung parliament, the gap between the largest party and the majority it needs is abhorred as an electoral obscenity that must be covered to protect the dignity of the constitution.

‘Evicting the Tories’ 

He added: “It goes against the grain of English political culture, and Labour pride, to accept that the shortest route to power involves evicting the Tories by some method of collaboration with other parties.”

The wide-ranging joint policy programme agreed between Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru, which covers a total of 66 areas.

It includes action on free school meals for all, strengthening the Welsh media, the development of north-south railway links, the teaching of Welsh history, second homes, a larger Senedd and more.

Yesterday, Plaid Cymru Leader, Adam Price, summed up the event where the cooperation agreement was signed, with the Welsh football motto: “Gorau chwarae cyd chwarae.”

“Today marks the beginning of a new way of doing politics,” he said. “I’m proud to sign this agreement with the First Minister and look forward to working together to make a difference to the lives of the people of Wales.”

Adam Price had earlier thanked Plaid Cymru members for backing what he called a “huge step forward”.

“I cannot wait for the work to begin for the people of Wales,” he said.


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John Davies
John Davies
11 months ago

In charting a different and somewhat independent path for Welsh Labour, Drakeford is almost certainly influenced by what happened to Labour in Scotland. They refused to cooperate with the SNP, appeared on the same platform as Tory MPs in the Indyref campaign and their support evaporated almost overnight. Whoever thought of that in Labour’s top team made one of the greatest political errors of the century. If Labour appears merely as a out-station of London Labour, run by an authoritarian and unionist leadership which often seems to have a tin ear for Welsh issues, Welsh Labour risks going the same… Read more »

Cat
Cat
11 months ago

The Guardian seems to think that Westminster should comment on Wales. I don’t see this as Keir Starmer’s business. This is Mark Drakeford’s business and Wales’s business. The Guardian needs to start to understand that we don’t need Westminster’s blessing to take Wales in a more progressive direction. We can forge our own path.

hdavies15
hdavies15
11 months ago
Reply to  Cat

Guardian and MSM in general are of no use to Wales at all. They write their faux-funny articles mocking our country or denigrating the people. They are full participants in the “grab a second home” mindset and often host silly stuff that reinforces the big fib that without Greater England’s kindness and generosity Wales would be sunk.

Pob lwc
Pob lwc
11 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

A bit rich of you, a landlord, to complain about “grabbing a second home”, isn’t it?

j humphrys
j humphrys
11 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Guardian used to advertise offshore accounts, so different to the articles,lol!
Don’t know what they do these days?

Quornby
Quornby
11 months ago

Starmer surely takes the BAFTA for least impact by a newcomer.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
11 months ago

Labour’s Keir Starmer is Blair’s baby. He wants power all for himself. He’s a centrist Unionist, who prefers to chart Wales course not Wales chart its own.. Have you ever heard him criticise Boris Johnson’s attack on Welsh & Scottish devolution and their power grab?. And I find his attitude towards Welsh devolution itself mirrors Tony Blair’s indifference. And for him to acknowledge that Plaid policies have positive effect on Wales goes against Labour’s Nationalist bogeyman fear factor. Also the real reason Starmer’s is yet to comment on the Labour & Plaid deal, is because Wales isn’t even on his… Read more »

Erisian
Erisian
11 months ago

If ever a man needed allies to reach his goals it Starmer. But silence is hardly a surprise from a man who has little or nothing to say, even on a good day.
It is apparent that not-being-Jeremy-Corbin, although an excellant start, is simply not enough.

Arwyn
Arwyn
11 months ago

Labour are very much disjointed when it comes to the Union. There are different takes in Wales to Scotland. English members seem at pains to demonstrate their anti-Nationalist positions whilst referring with zero self-awareness to the UK as “the Nation”. That party is incoherent on constitutional matters. It has no settled policy and it seems to me, as it is on so many issues, beset by factions. The irony is that as Richard Wyn Jones has pointed out, it does badly amongst the English identifying people it needs to win in England. Should Labour finally settle on a coherent constitutional… Read more »

Last edited 11 months ago by Arwyn
j humphrys
j humphrys
11 months ago
Reply to  Arwyn

Anyone left in the English Left? I see England as dynamite in bad condition. Politicians have let them down, and there will be a price to pay.
Meanwhile we have a job to do: get the heck out of this Union.

Last edited 11 months ago by j humphrys
Arwyn
Arwyn
11 months ago
Reply to  j humphrys

Oh yes, loads. But they’re all busy infighting. I’m convinced that the optimum approach is to talk about what replaces the UK. It satisfies on a number of fronts. It can also deliver exactly what is required. Compare the uncertainty involved in presenting independence alone. There is a fear of the unknown. So why not put a known solution forward? That’s one reason why I’m convinced that the policy of a Confederation of Nation States is practical. But here’s the thing. Imagine that the English Left recognized its progressive credentials in dismantling the Tory State and offering the opportunity to… Read more »

Hywel
Hywel
11 months ago

By the time 2027 comes around and Labour might finally be looking like a potential Westminster government in waiting it will be the 30th anniversary of the band’s (Labour) no.1 hit with the nation . They can wheel out all the old favourites for a contemporary audience, blare out Oasis for the original fans in their 50s and relive the heady days of the late 1990s.

Starmer, the new front man, will of course be gone by then, but the songwriters will be the same. Surely they’ve still got the formula for a new no.1 record topping hit? Surely?

Cai Wogan Jones
Cai Wogan Jones
11 months ago

“It goes against the grain of English political culture”.

The culture of Welsh Labour, English Labour and Scottish Labour are on three very divergent trajectories.

Andrew
Andrew
11 months ago

Kier WHO?

Sian Caiach
11 months ago

Plaid Cymru locally are still happily slagging off Labour in Llanelli. On the day of the signing of the Labour – Plaid agreement in Cardiff locals like me were picking up a glossy leaflet “Published by the Plaid Cymru group on Carmarthenshire County Council” It talks about Plaid “pouring £millions into Llanelli after decades of neglect by Labour .Plaid’s County Council Leader, Emlyn Dole states that “Never before has Llanelli had so much investment by a County Council”. The Wellness project in Llanelli- was originally part of a UK City deal, which fell apart when Plaid led Carmarthenshire County Council… Read more »

Richard
Richard
11 months ago
Reply to  Sian Caiach

Wow – so much bitterness and so many folk in cross hairs of her fire 🔥. ……would this energy not be better directed in supporting the program for Wales.

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