Three of the four parties in the National Assembly for Wales have changed their leaders and Plaid have put independence at the heart of their political agenda.
With lots to discuss, Newsdirect Director Valerie Livingston joined political correspondent Arwyn Jones and former Corbyn advisor, Steve Howell on BBC Wales’ Sunday Politics to talk about what happens next.
UKIP, Plaid and the Welsh Conservatives have recently elected new leaders and Welsh Labour will appoint a new leader and First Minister in December. This will shake up the Assembly. Both Paul Davies of the Tories and Adam Price from Plaid can get under the skin of an issue. FMQs could well be a more lively affair than it has been in recent years.
Adam Price previously ruled out coalitions with Labour and the Conservatives and Paul Davies said he’d put any formal arrangements to a vote. That, together with Labour’s continued electoral dominance in Wales, make a Tory / Plaid coalition unlikely. However, there are ways in which parties can work together which are not formal coalition. Also worth watching out for the Liberal Democrats here. If the Libs come back in any numbers, they could be obvious partners for a Labour group of 25+. Kirsty Williams has been a highly effective minister, despite coming from a different party to most of her cabinet colleagues.
Plaid’s calls for independence
Newly elected leader of Plaid Cymru was cheered by activists for putting independence at the front and centre of his conference speech. Was this a good move? It was certainly a bold move. Support for independence in Wales rarely reaches double digits. That said, Adam needs to carve out space for Plaid as dramatically different from Labour and independence is that clear point of difference. It’s no coincidence that he’s appointed noted SNP strategist, Angus Robertson, to conduct a wide ranging review of Plaid Cymru. Adam will no doubt try to adapt some of the SNP’s more successful tactics for Wales.