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Wednesday, September 15, 1999 Published at 14:53 GMT 15:53 UK

UK: Wales

Dragons and Poodles - a story of Welsh politics

Paul Flynn's critical portraits are set to cause a stir

A new book by a Welsh MP is set to re-open old Labour wounds over the bitter leadership election between Alun Michael and Rhodri Morgan.

Newport West MP Paul Flynn said several trade unions, aided by MPs, helped engineer a "stitch-up" that delivered victory for Mr Michael.

Paul Flynn: "Tell me if you agree with what I'm saying"
The book, called Dragons Led By Poodles, was published on the Internet on Wednesday, and also contains critical portraits of Mr Flynn's colleagues which are guaranteed to cause a stir.

For example, according to the MP, his former flatmate Alun Michael is: "An incurable do-gooder, low on humour, earnest, irrationally to the Welsh language what John Prescott is to English....tetchy when provoked".

Peter Hain, meanwhile, "has tiptoed deftly from barmy left to subservient right in politics, remaining popular with both".

[ image: Flynn claims Peter Hain is
Flynn claims Peter Hain is "on all sides"
Mr Flynn went on to say that Mr Hain has been compared with Star Trek Deep Space Nine's shape-shifter Odo who liquefies at the end of each day and sleeps in a bucket before emerging in any shape he wishes - "he has the capacity of being on all sides - simultaneously".

Then there is Torfaen MP Don Touhig, whom he described as "seamstress-in-chief of stitch-ups....ambitious...can be pompous".

The Welsh Labour Executive did not get off any more likely.

According to Mr Flynn, it is "an expensive organism that lacks any useful function apart from organising Welsh night at party conference - a raffle, a sing-song and a booze-up".

Each of the characters is awarded a maximum five dragon's flames or poodle's pom-poms for their independence of spirit or docility to Tony Blair respectively.

[ image: Assembly First Secretary Alun Michael is described as a
Assembly First Secretary Alun Michael is described as a "do-gooder"
Mr Michael gets three poodle pom-poms and just one dragon flame.

On the opening of the National Assembly Mr Flynn had this to say: "Even in the solemnity of the service at Llandaff Cathedral a whiff of the stitch-up lingered."

Alun Michael raised the issue of his legitimacy as First Secretary himself, said Mr Flynn.

"Alun's Bible reading contained a candid confession. The congregation shuddered at the words.

"He read from the Epistle of John chapter 15, without a stumble or a blush: 'You did not choose me. I chose you'"

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Paul Flynn MP

National Assembly for Wales

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