is the manifesto dead?

so currently we have a UK Government which is operating from a “manifesto” style document on which neither of the constituent parties ran.

in wales we have / had a Welsh Assembly Government which has been operating under a “manifesto” style document on which neither of the constituent parties ran.

(i’m not going to start on that whole thing about whether the UK Government has a mandate for cuts – mainly because i’m not a militant trade unionist and mainly because i think that the government we have at the moment is the one that best reflects the mood of the country at the time of the election – although how with the most unpopular Labour government in recent memory the Tories managed to not win a majority is beyond me – moving on … )

now i know that both of these documents include some parts and elements from all the different parties involved in the negotiations, however the creation of a coalition document does raise the question as to the validity of the manifesto – especially in Wales where the electoral system tends towards coalitions (i am happy to be proved wrong on this in may however) – and especially when the UK could be moving towards a system that is more representative and therefore could result in more coalition governments in the future.

the question is – what’s the point of a manifesto? i mean i know that it helps candidates on the doorstep to say, “look, i’ll be fighting for this”, however in the UK General Election, those people who voted Conservative or Liberal Democrat are now i imagine deeply disappointed that the people they voted for are working in government on a document that they didn’t vote for. i know that there are elements of both parties’ pledges in the coalition agreement however it does somewhat render the original party manifestos useless – apart from it gives backbenchers something to complain about.

moving to wales in this regard, we obviously see the influence of both Plaid Cymru and Welsh Labour in the One Wales agreement and they have worked under that agreement for the last four years, however no AM stood on a platform with that document and said, “this is what i am for, look it says so here”. and there are some things in that document that will have been favoured by particular parts of the parties and not liked by others. so what does this hold for the next Welsh Assembly Government.

i’m going to stick my neck out here somewhat and say that (its not a radical suggestion), that there will be a coalition government in Wales after May 5th. shocking revelation i know. i think it somewhat unlikely that Labour will get into the realms of 33 or 34 seats and so they’ll need to be propped up – likely by Plaid. i think that the UK Government pretty much rules out working with Nick B or Kirsty W frankly. (again happy to be proved wrong). so, a coalition government in Wales, needing a new manifesto / coalition agreement. a document that will in all likelihood be thrashed out in a closed room, away from prying eyes, without the buy-in from the majority of the electorate (save those who are party members – they might have some influence). and then emerging blinking from the darkened room the new coalition Welsh Assembly Government appears with a new document on things that they are going to do for the next five years.

what will be in it? who will have got what? what will have made the cut and what will have been resigned to the cutting room floor?

all i’m saying is that whatever it is, i’m pretty certain that no-one in wales will have voted for that document when its agreed upon.

see also previous post on what Labour can offer Plaid in a negotiation …