R.I.P. Rhodri Morgan (1939-2017)

I was very sad this morning to find the news that Rhodri Morgan passed away yesterday at the age of 77. Rhodri Morgan was the first First Minister of Wales (a post he held from 2000 to 2009) and was also Assembly Member for my constituency until 2011. Rhodri Morgan was a hugely important figure in Welsh Labour Party. As  a charismatic leader and capable administrator,  he was extremely  influential  in the campaign for Welsh devolution and  was held in very high regard across the political spectrum.

I was reminded of Rhodri Morgan earlier this week as I realised that  14th May 2009 (i.e. eight years ago on Sunday) the date on which the Planck and Herschel spacecraft were launched. Was that really so long ago?

Rhodri Morgan was still First Minister when he visited the School of Physics & Astronomy at Cardiff University on the day of the launch. He came across as very likeable, down-to-earth and funny. He’ll be missed by a great many people, but most of all by his wife Julie to whom I express my sincere condolences.

Rest in peace, Rhodri Morgan (1939-2017).

 

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One Response to “R.I.P. Rhodri Morgan (1939-2017)”

  1. Bryn Jones Says:

    I too am greatly saddened about the death of Rhodri Morgan.

    I only met him once. That was at a political campaign meeting in favour of a democratic assembly for Wales at the end of the 1980s, within a couple of years of him being elected member of parliament for Cardiff West. That he attended a meeting about devolution at a time when it was widely considered a fringe issue demonstrates his commitment to democracy for Wales.

    Rhodri Morgan through his period initially as First Secretary, then First Minister of Wales, brought stability to Labour’s devolution policy after the downfall of Ron Davies and Alun Michael. His creation of “clear red water” between New Labour at the United Kingdom level and the Labour Party in Wales insulated his party in Wales from some of Tony Blair’s unpopularity following the invasion of Iraq, spin and marketisation policies. The stability of his administrations gradually changed the views of critics of devolution within the Welsh Labour Party, which made possible the slow increase in powers of the National Assembly. Rhodri Morgan, like Ron Davies, had a critical role in the development of a stable, democratic, devolved Wales within the United Kingdom.

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