Welsh leadership in German’s hands… for a year

by Stephen Tall on October 14, 2007

Mike German, leader of the Liberal Democrats in the Welsh Assembly, has announced his intention to retire from the post in 2008. This from the BBC:

Mr German said he had “unanimous support” from his colleagues in the assembly to continue as their leader. He is also to stand for the separate role of Welsh Liberal Democrat leader which MP Lembit Opik is to vacate.

“I think it would be wise to do that, to bring the leadership into the National Assembly,” Mr German told BBC Wales’ Politics Show. “I think that was Lembit’s view, and I agree with him, and I think the party agree with that, and so what the intention will be, will be that we will have an election, or a contest, or simply nominations for both posts and I will put my name forward for both.”

Writing on his blog, Mr German’s colleague, Peter Black AM – who had declared he would be willing to stand for the leadership – writes:

This is a formula that has been agreed by the group after a number of them took it upon themselves to ensure that there will be no contest for that post. I am content that if the election to succeed Mike is concluded before the summer recess as I believe we have agreed then the debate we need on the party’s future will have taken place within a reasonable time scale and without impinging on key local government elections.

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Well, a weekend of shocks and surprises in Aberystwyth.

A much better feeling amongst the rank and file than anything in the last five months.

Time to move onwards and upwards.

interesting times as well.

New Welsh leader, Welsh President, Chief Executive in the coming weeks and new Assembly leader not far down the line.

Whoever fills these roles will have a lot to do to put us back on track and I hope that we get the right people for each of these roles.

Diolch Lembit, Rob and Stephen. Good luck to the incomers.

by welshproudliberal on October 14, 2007 at 9:29 pm. Reply #

Mae Mike, Lembit a’r criw wedi gwneud cryn dipyn i’n plaid – diolch iddynt. A chroeso a phob lwc da i’r bobl newydd!!

by Martin J Ball on October 14, 2007 at 9:48 pm. Reply #

Seven months does not amount to a year. And there is not ‘unanimous support’ within the group for him to continue with his leadership.

by Peter Black on October 14, 2007 at 9:55 pm. Reply #

Could someone give us (2) in English? Thanks

by tim leunig on October 14, 2007 at 10:41 pm. Reply #

It translates something like: ‘Mike, Lembit and the crew have done a lot for our party – thanks them. Good luck to the new people.’

by Peter Black on October 14, 2007 at 10:46 pm. Reply #

No 5: How many English loanwords do you count in there? I make it 3.

by "Farmer Tucker" on October 14, 2007 at 10:56 pm. Reply #

Dege sofj dlvhof sdo dfdeydydyd

by Anon on October 14, 2007 at 11:13 pm. Reply #

“Luck”, “bobl” and “newydd”? But not necessarily English loanwords – surely they could have a common origin in an indigenous British language. In fact the “b” in bobl would suggest just that, as p and b are correspondent sounds in Brythonic Celtic.

Ho hum, time for bed…

by Alix on October 14, 2007 at 11:18 pm. Reply #

Thanks Peter. I appreciate it. Good luck with the post- Mike and Lembit world. Hopefully you will make real progress.

by tim leunig on October 15, 2007 at 12:32 am. Reply #

6) So Farmer Tucker, English has no loan words….. (just a huge chunk from French, some from Latin, Greek etc etc)?!

by Martin J Ball on October 15, 2007 at 1:41 am. Reply #

Not sure where this thread is going and I have only had two Welsh lessons but for Alix’s benefit the normal spelling of the word for people is pobl. It mutates to bobl when placed after certain words. Hard and soft mutations are one of the joys of the Welsh language.

by Peter Black on October 15, 2007 at 6:54 am. Reply #

I symud o’r iaith yn ol i’r pwnc.

Yn edrych o dros Clawdd Offa, tydi hwn ddim yn edrych yn trefniad dda – ‘da ni eisio cael gwared a Mike, ond dim eto!

Well – yn fy marn i – i wneud penderfyniad cadarn, a rwan!

(And no loan words as far as I can see – unless you count Offa !)

by crewegwyn on October 15, 2007 at 1:40 pm. Reply #


by Anon on October 15, 2007 at 1:51 pm. Reply #

Alix, newydd is not an English loanword, it is native Welsh <*nowios. The one you missed is criw. Pobl is borrowed from English which in turn borrowed it from French.

by "Farmer Tucker" on October 15, 2007 at 2:28 pm. Reply #

Good to see stimulating debate on the Welsh Party’s future here.

by Dominic Hannigan on October 15, 2007 at 4:05 pm. Reply #


Mark Hooper, who fought the last General Election and the recent Assembly Elections in the Vale of Glamorgan for the Liberal Democrats has launched a stinging attack on the leadership of the Party, and has called for Mike German to stand down now, instead of hanging on until after next May’s council elections.

“Mike was the architect of our campaign last May, and he should take responsibility for the poor performance – campaigners and activists on the ground worked extremely hard taking the message to voters, yet many aspects of the centrally organised campaign failed to deliver – we lacked the ideas, the infrastructure and the leadership that Wales was looking for.

“If Mike knows how to put things right, as he now suggests, why didn’t he take those decisions before now? The Party’s management and systems are in need of a complete overhaul, not a bit of tinkering. Wales deserves better from one of its main political parties, and there’s no room for second chances in the rough and tumble of politics.”

Mark also criticised the rest of the Assembly team for agreeing to the proposal, announced at the Party’s Autumn Conference in Aberystwyth.

“The leader of our Party in Wales must emerge from within the Assembly group, yet it seems none of them have the courage or vision to stand up and start the process of renewal and regeneration we so desperately need. The Welsh Lib Dems need to offer a distinct alternative to the other parties, and that requires a fresh vision, and a new mandate.

“The people of Wales shouldn’t have to wait another six months or so until Lib Dem members can debate the future direction of the Party. Lembit Opik is stepping down, Mike German should follow suit, and I call on one of the other five Assembly Members to pick up this mantle and take our Party forward.”

by Cllr. Mike Powell on October 15, 2007 at 6:09 pm. Reply #

The lump under the carpet in the office of the Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats in the Welsh Assembly is surely starting to take on monumental propotions. What ever deals were done behind closed doors in Aberystwyth this weekend the truth is starting to come out.
In an attempt to hide the gross mismanagement of the assembly election campaign of May 2007 we now have WLD AMs threatening to “make the group unworkable” if anyone were to stand against the current incumbent and mastermind behind those elections! The same mastermind who in the subsequent horse dealing left us Welsh Lib Dems with nothing more than a pile of steaming manure!

One of the leaders great ideas was to not allow any spend in Pontypridd and to spend £1836 in Cardiff West where even Lord Rennard was duped into thinking of it as a “place to watch”, we came fourth! If we had nearly halved our list haemorrhage in Pontypridd we would have had a list AM elected! Alas even our fedrally paid for campaigns officer declined all requests for assistance as he told us we could not be trusted.

Pontypridd 2007
Constituency vote 6489
List Vote 3985
Difference -2,504 difference -38.59%

by Cllr. Mike Powell on October 15, 2007 at 6:40 pm. Reply #

At last, I thought, a decent Welsh debate here on Lib Dem Voice. But alas, 11 posts on the technicalities, or otherwise, of the Welsh language and 1 ‘copy and paste’ press release. No wonder the Federal Party doesn’t take the Welsh Lib Dems seriously.

Mike, you make a valid point about Ponty. Perhaps next years new leader will give Ponty the resources it deserves…?

Finally, the behaviour of those who have effectively sabotaged the Assembly leadership, should be ashamed of themselves. When I learnt on Saturday night, from one of AM’s, about the ‘closed door’ manoeuvrings that have taken place I was disgusted.

This behaviour is not in the interests of our Party at all.

by Amy Kitcher on October 15, 2007 at 8:33 pm. Reply #

Crewgwyn wrote “(And no loan words as far as I can see – unless you count Offa !)”

Clawdd is from Latin cleta, I think you will find (well, cleta might be of Gaulish origin, so you could have a point).

by "Farmer Tucker" on October 15, 2007 at 8:41 pm. Reply #

On 19; I rest my case.

by Amy Kitcher on October 15, 2007 at 8:49 pm. Reply #

On 18, I make it 7 not 11.

My posting @12 was making a political, not liguistic, point (with a final sentence tongue-in-cheek remark)

If you want it in English:

To move from language to the subject.

Viewed from the other side of Offa’s Dyke it doesn’t look a good arrangement – we want Mike to go, but not till next year.

Better – in my view – to make a definite decision, now.

by crewegwyn on October 15, 2007 at 9:12 pm. Reply #

Okay, I know this is linguistics again (then again I am a professor of linguistics), but Welsh ‘pobl’ (soft mutation form being ‘bobl’) is – according to the ‘Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru’ (Welsh equivalent of the OED) – from Latin populus not from English…
‘criw’ and ‘lwc’ are of course both from English, but both are attested at around 500 years ago

by Martin J Ball on October 15, 2007 at 10:22 pm. Reply #

Mike Powell, I would edit your post now and remove some of the potential Labour quotes which will damage your own and another constituency’s campaigns in the future.

Or move the debate to the private forums.

I really, really, really would.

by anon on October 15, 2007 at 10:46 pm. Reply #

Point out which ones and how does one remove a part of a post?

by Cllr. Mike Powell on October 15, 2007 at 11:30 pm. Reply #

The bit about Cardiff West and the bit about LD Staff not trusting you.

Aside from that, it’s just open, honest, healthy debate in my view. Email Stpehen Tall/The Voice and I’m sure he’ll edit it, and remove both my post here and post 23 as well.

by anon on October 16, 2007 at 12:14 pm. Reply #

Ming’s decision has given us the opportunity to have a leadership election in Wales which won’t be overshadowed by cries from the outside about a lack of unity…..

Letter sent to Western Mail/Daily Post today:


On Sunday evening Mike German thought he’d managed to earn himself himself another six months leading the Welsh Liberal Democrats, but he hadn’t considered the fact that Party members, activists and even voters want to see a change at the top now. More importantly, Mike hasn’t earnt the right to continue in charge. The elections in May were a low-point for the Party; bad decisions were made, management of the Campaign was poor and those who took the decisions singularly failed to recognise where lessons should be learnt.

With Ming Campbell’s departure, we have to engage in some form of introspection – let’s take this opportunity to have the debate regarding our future now. There is an urgent need to clarify our direction, and revamp the internal processes needed to be a professional and competitive political party. To do that, we need a leader with a clear vision and a new mandate. The Party needs to be unified, but Mike doesn’t have the authority to act as that unifying candidate. The remaining five AMs in Cardiff Bay must take responsibility for the future, and one of them, at least, should throw their hat into the ring.

To ensure Wales has a strong and progressive alternative to the other three parties, Mike should follow Ming’s dignified example, and recognise when his time is up.

Time to go, Mike!


Mark Hooper
Prospective Parliamentary Candidate
Vale of Glamorgan Lib Dems

by Mark Hooper on October 16, 2007 at 2:07 pm. Reply #

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