LABOUR faces deadlock in the Welsh Assembly after all opposition parties untied to oppose its Christmas party proposals.
The Conservatives, Plaid Cymru and someone or something called the Welsh Liberal Democrats, say they are refusing to back the plans for the December celebrations – which are now in doubt.
First Minister Carwyn Jones is under increasing pressure to arrange an office party that a majority of the 60 AMs will be willing to attend.
The opposition have slammed the Labour proposals as uninspiring and say they are simply last year’s plans barely rehashed. AMs will discuss the proposals this week and must decide if a Christmas party is to be held on Tuesday, December 6.
Labour has 30 of the 60 Senedd seats, making Mr Jones dependent on at least one opposition AM voting in favour or abstaining on the Christmas party proposals.
Opposition AMs have complained that the annual party – far from being the social highlight of the Senedd year – has become almost a routine event, attended with no real enthusiasm and little festive cheer.
They say it usually amounts to no more than a group of people who don’t really like each other spending a drunken evening in the company of those they share nothing more in common with than the place they work.
Negotiations have been underway for some weeks between the Welsh Labour leader and each of the opposition leaders to see whether common ground can be found.
But talks broke down as it became clear Mr Jones and his social officer, Jane Hutt, were proposing to yet again book a sit down meal followed by a shit disco and the opposition intended to reject the plan.
Mr Jones however has insisted that his government has worked hard to come up with a party the majority of AMs will enjoy – and criticised his opponents for failing to come up with any suggestions of their own.
“It’s hard to please everyone,” conceded Mr Jones: “I would be happy with a couple of pints and then heading into town to get totally rat arsed before phoning the wife and asking her to come and pick me up, probably as I’d only end up on the floor.
“However when you want to take people with you, going forward, in a consensus way you have to acknowledge that not everyone wants to do the same as you, so we’ve tried to strike a happy medium.”
But Welsh Tory leader Andrew RT Davies blasted: “This is just the same tired old thinking from the Welsh Labour government. If we’re going to be spending some £30 a head on a Christmas dinner and party then let’s do something more interesting than simply the same thing we did last year and the year before. This is taxpayers’ money we’re spending and they wouldn’t want us to waste it on something we’re not really going to enjoy.”
Ieuan Wyn Jones, who is still leading Plaid Cymru because no-one else can be bothered, further fanned the flames when he claimed Mr Jones was happy to sit back and put no effort into the party planning as he would then blame Ms Hutt.
However there are also rifts within the opposition with Plaid’s extreme feminist AMs rejecting suggestions by the party’s former culture minister, Rhodri Glyn Thomas, that AMs hold their Christmas bash at US restaurant chain Hooters, where waitresses wear a mandatory uniform of tightly- fitting white tank tops, high-riding orange shorts and suntan pantyhose.
He said: “A turkey dinner followed by a disco? It’s a bit predictable isn’t it? My suggestion is we all go to Hooters. The buffalo wings are great, though I’m a breast man myself.”
Seasoned Senedd watchers say the speculation over the Christmas party negotiations is an annual fixture of the November/December period in Cardiff Bay but has been particularly intense this year as the opposition see the mundane party as indicative of Mr Jones’ ‘uninspiring’ administration.
Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-15681004