Constitutional arrangements should, in general, be decided on what is right for the people - rather than on what carries electoral advantage for any particular party. Its against this background that the Welsh Labour Party's decisions, taken this morning, about Welsh constituency boundaries should be judged. To be fair, I think Labour is the first party to decide a clear position. But it does look more like political positioning than a genuine attempt to add constructive comment to the debate.
Let's consider the background to this. The Westminster Coalition Government has acted on the manifesto pledge by both the Conservatives and the Lib Dems to reduce the number of MPs (by rather less than promised). This inevitably means redrawing constituency boundaries, and reducing the number of MPs from Wales. For the 2015 General Election, there will be 30 Welsh constituencies rather than the current 40. Until today, we thought that all parties supported changing National Assembly electoral arrangements to being based on 30 coterminous constituencies as well. But this morning, Welsh Labour changed its position.
Welsh Labour will oppose any change in the way AMs are elected - if proposed by the UK Government, which does seem a bit childish. Welsh Labour will fight coterminocity if proposed by the UK Government. This means that its highly likely that there will not be a majority in the National Assembly to agree with any proposal to introduce coterminocity - which is a very significant development. For anyone who wants there to be a good working relationship between the Governments in Westminster and Cardiff Bay, this is deeply disappointing - especially as it just looks like Welsh Labour playing political games.
There is also the rather silly agreement, which had been much trumpeted beforehand by Peter Hain, that there should be no Proportional Representation element. Bearing in mind what Peter has been saying over decades about electoral systems, this is just about as shameless a U-turn as can be imagined. Not much point in taking it seriously really - and I'm not going to.
I note from the BBC's report that the UK Government's position has been put forward by a 'spokesman'. If I'd been invited to comment this is what I'd have said;
"In the interests of clarity and good governance, the same boundaries should be used for Westminster and Welsh Assembly elections. I hope that Welsh Labour will support this principle, which will be helpful to Welsh voters at future elections. It was very surprising to learn that Welsh Labour intends to 'fight' what I've heard Welsh Labour MPs publicly describe as sensible over recent weeks. Welsh Labour does seem to be very confused about what it does actually think. I do understand that there will be different opinions about the balance between 'constituency' AMs and 'regional' AMs - but not about the boundaries being the same. I remain hopeful though, that cross-party agreement can be reached despite today's confused decisions. We owe it to the future voters of Wales to put their interests before narrow party advantage, as Welsh Labour seems to have done today."