So, Rhodri got his budget after all. The deal was done in private meetings between Ieuan Wyn Jones and Rhodri Morgan on Tuesday afternoon - held behind a glass wall so that the world could see the Plaid leader working like a beaver to win the 'fig leaf' concession he needed to get himself out of the hole he was in. In fact, Ieuan had no real choice. Once he had decided that he was not prepared to lead a 'Caretaker Government' a deal was never in doubt. He would have saved a lot of kerfuffle if he'd made his position clear in the first place.
I was really depressed by the Final Budget debate. The deal had already been done. I simply could not see the sense in the 'opposition' parties punching each others lights out. I wouldn't be surprised if Labour haven't videoed some of the speeches to send to each other as Christmas presents. I have never seen Sue Essex laugh so much. When the deal was finally confirmed on Wednesday morning, it was time to move on.
Ieuan appears to have been genuinly offended by what he sees as a breakdown in trust. He seems to think that our party has been briefing against him. I can have no idea if any confidences have been broken - but I launched my attack on him in full view, because I thought he had let me down. When he announced on the previous Tuesday that Plaid Cymru were going to vote down the Final Budget, the only rational conclusion I could arrive at was that Rhodri Morgan would be forced to resign and that Ieuan would take over as First Minister, leading some sort of 'caretaker' arrangement. I was, in effect, ready to accept Ieuan as our leader. If he wasn't willing to do so, he should never have committed himself to voting the Final Budget down. He really can have no complaints. Actually, I thought his budget debate speech was perfectly ok.
There is a lot of talk that this warfare between opposition parties makes a 'Rainbow Coalition' less likey. I'm not so sure. The reality is that there will have to be a coalition of some sort after the May election and it will be decided on mutual interests and policy considerations. My main 'party' political objective since becoming an AM is to break the stranglehold that Labour has had on Wales for the last century. Now that the Hokey-Kokey music has ended, I haven't given up hope that Ieuan may consider a 'Tango with the Tories' for the prize of better government for the people of Wales. Many a successful marraige has blossomed after a stormy engagement.