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Monday, February 05, 2007

Disappearing Parties

Is the Forward Wales Party a dead duck? I only ask because its 2004 European List Candidate and former Secretary of State for Wales, Ron Davies, has announced that he will be contesting Caerphilly as an Independent in May.

On the BBC this morning Ron elaborated on his reasons for this decision:

Speaking on BBC Wales' Good Morning Wales programme, Mr Davies said although he was standing as an independent, he was still "very much a member of Forward Wales" - the new independent party of the left.

The reason he was not standing under the Forward Wales banner, he explained, was because of the "party political pantomime down in Cardiff Bay at the moment" and the changes to the assembly electoral system introduced last year.

"The electoral system has been rigged," he added. "The Labour Party last year introduced changes which will make it very difficult for the small parties to get a foot in.

Fair enough you would think, but then just now Radio Wales that Forward Wales' leader and its only Parliamentarian, John Marek, is also going to be standing as an Independent when he defends his Wrexham Assembly seat.

Could it be that both men have worked out that Forward Wales is about as popular in Wales as a dose of bird flu and that their best chance of maximising their vote is to put as much distance between themselves and their former political base as possible. Perhaps they should just disband it and have done with it.
The problem is, it's a bit stupid to argue against political parties when your the founders of the 'new party of the left'.

Then again, it wouldn't be the first time someone has done it.
I once lived in Caerphilly, was even employed as a Med Lab Technician at Caerphilly Miner's Hospital and a close relative worked as a receptionist at Caerphilly Sports Centre who grew up in Bedwas near Caerphilly and attended the same school as Ron Davies, Bassaleg Grammar School, but some years apart, but this close relative has told me she has never seen any badgers around Caerphilly, Bedwas or around Caerphilly Sports Centre where Ron Davies was, at least for a time, a frequent visitor; perhaps Ron knew of a badger set near the Caerphilly Sports Centre car park, but I used to swim and shower in Caerphilly Sports Centre and I never saw a single badger and I am happy to report that I never shared a moment of madness with Ron Davies. But I did run in the mornings along Bedwas Road then through country lanes to Rudry, a village near Caerphilly, but again I did not see a single badger. One summer I cycled along a rural road between Caerphilly (I avoided the "busy road") and Ystrad Mynach and then onwards up a steep hill heading for Nelson where I had a summer lab technician job testing water for the Welsh Water Authority or whatever passed for the Welsh Water Authority, I even cycled over what I called Senghenydd Mountain Road dropping down into Nelson, I spotted the odd rabbit, but never a badger - possibly because they are nocturnal creatures. For a while I took to training on the Caerphilly Mountain Road, taking a wee nip at the Travelers’ Rest, but never shared a round with any badgers.
dr badger free wood - And your point is?
Anonymous> I note your desire to remain anonymous – why do you seek to hide who you are? The point is this; the people of Caerphilly will NOT vote him back into power. The people of Caerphilly gave Ron Davies a second chance and Ron Davies blew it in spectacular style with the “searching for badgers” episode. By that episode he really upset his Caerphilly constituency.

Ron Davies is a very intelligent and driven man, he had honourable goals and I believe still has honourable goals, he was able to achieve targets on the political front with ease; he was a brilliant tactician and a brilliant politician. It was not for lack of ability that his life spiraled inwards. It was with very great personal regret that I heard about his Clapham Common moment of madness – the truth is, it was coming for a long time, his desire to serially take risks inevitably led to the inevitable end of a brilliant political career. If it hadn’t been Clapham Common, it would have been a moment of madness somewhere else; Clapham Common was clearly not an isolated case – just one that got into the mainstream press.

In his own words Ron Davies has revealed that he has a "darker side" and a “compulsive disorder which drives him to take risks” for which he says he has sought treatment. Ron Davies has acknowledged a "death wish" which compelled him to gamble with his life. That Ron Davies was taking enormous risks with his political life was obvious to many people long before the moment of madness on Clapham Common in South London. As a very young man I personally heard about his serious risk-taking when living with my family in Caerphilly, I found it hard to believe and understand and I was young and willing to understand, but I couldn’t fathom it out. Ron Davies hurt his own constituents through serial risk-taking – I personally can’t believe he has gotten over his personal risk-taking, with him it is clearly a mental issue, he has sought treatment, but evidence suggests that the personality disorder is, at least to a certain extent, not curable.

If Ron Davies persists in his insane quest to reenter politics there is a considerable risk to himself and his new wife and child that more stuff will come out. The man is mixed up in his own head – it is a tragedy for him and those close to him now and who were close to him THEN. For the sake of his new family, he should not have decided to have another go at professional politics. As far as politics goes, Ron Davies is a non-starter, a laughing stock, and “not fit for purpose”. In his own words, Ron Davies is a risk taker with his own life. I think it is obvious that he is also a risk taker for the lives of those close to him as evidenced by his foolish attempts at reentering politics. The best thing he can do now is go into permanent retirement and enjoy time with his family and give up the notion of ever reentering politics because on the political front, Ron Davies is a damned man, not because he serially loved men and women, but because he desired to gamble with his own life, not just on Clapham Common – and it must be said with the lives of those closest to him. He is a walking tragedy, not by the works of others, but because of his own madness.
I would just like to add, that the tragedy that is Ron Davies - is not just a tragedy that speaks to him, but also to Wales. Wales has lost a great politician. Ron Davies is a brilliant man, just a pity that he is afflicted with a mental condition that led to his departure from frontline politics in such a spectacular big way. Ron Davies has lost out, and so has Wales. Ron Davies is the architect of Welsh devolution, as he said himself, "Devolution is a process and not an event", that the settlement he introduced in 1997 was the start of a process that would see more powers come to Wales (i.e., the Welsh Assembly). I think many would rather focus on that great achievement than on the reasons why Ron Davies fell so quickly from frontline politics. Him trying to come back is just raking it all up again, the wounds his loss has inflicted have not healed in the minds of many, Ron Davies is still not cured, many believe that his self-admitted madness of the mind is still a close companion.
As has been pointed out in another place by a socialist friend of ours, Marek and Davies seem to be taking advantage of a loophole in the law. Independents, if elected in a constituency, do not count against party representation on the list.

- Frank Little
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