Politics professor tells his students Welsh Lib Dems ‘used to matter’
A politics professor has said that he has to explain to his students that the Welsh Liberal Democrats “used to matter”.
Professor Richard Wyn Jones, of Cardiff University, said that it’s “hard to believe” that they not only mattered when former Liberal Prime Minister Lloyd George was a “hero”, but in the “formative years of devolution” too.
In the Welsh language magazine Barn, he argued “with all due respect” to the party’s leader in Wales, Jane Dodds, the discussions about a possible deal between Mark Drakeford’s government and Plaid Cymru “underlines” to him “how for the Welsh Liberal Democrats have fallen”.
He said: After all, back in 2000, forming a coalition between Labour and that party was a key step in establishing the young-Senedd that had a pretty tempestuous beginning.
“And the Liberal Democrats not only provided a majority; they were the authors of most of the politics that made up that government’s programme.
“Following the 2007 election, the Liberal Democrats were possible partners in a ‘rainbow government’, as it was called, or in another coalition with Labour (what they made of those opportunities is another matter!).
He added: “Then following the formation of the coalition with the Conservatives in London in 2010, the Welsh Liberal Democrats played an important role not only in defending devolution from some of the perverse attitudes of Conservatives such as David Jones; they were also key in securing the expansion of the scope of self-government through establishing the Silk Commission.
“Through this period, the Welsh Liberal Democrats weren’t a peripheral power. Rather, though it was a small party, it despite that made a significant contribution in terms of the direction of this country’s political life.
“Even if there is an agreement between Dodds and Labour, it won’t compare in its impact and significance.
“Yes, the Wels Liberal Democrats used to matter. But they rarely matter in the present. At the moment its hard to see how they will count in the future”.