Labour in Wales: A success that dare not speak its name

Welsh Labour leader Carwyn Jones

From Bridgend to Wrexham, it seemed that no pub, club, café or shopping centre was without a journalist  looking for a Labour voter intending to turn Tory. Anyone muttering about ‘voting for Theresa May’ could be sure of an attentive ear. It was, after all, the official line put out by Tory Central Office that the Tories were going to end Labour’s century-long domination of Wales. The strategy was simple: Wales had voted Brexit, in previous elections many voters in Labour seats in the industrial south and north-east had turned to UKIP and now their vote was in freefall, the Tories were delivering Hard Brexit, ergo those Leave and UKIP supporters would turn to the Tories. To ease their passage over to the dark side Theresa May made three visits during the campaign. Continue reading

On electing and removing leaders in the Labour Party

Labour DemocracyImmediately after the defeat at the General election in 2015, Ed Milliband resigned. What if he had decided to stay on? We do not know.What we do know is what happened in Scotland. Jim Murphy was elected Leader in October 2014.

Following his defeat and Labour’s rout in Scotland, Murphy said he would remain Leader of Scottish Labour. First to call for Murphy to resign from being leader was unseated MP, Ian Davidson, who said, “Morally, as the man who has led us to the biggest ever disaster that Labour has suffered in Scotland, he can’t continue.” Then Pat Rafferty of Unite called for Murphy’s resignation, followed by Kevin Lindsay of ASLEF. Then Neil Findlay MSP resigned from Murphy’s shadow cabinet, citing the election results, followed by  MSP Alex Rowley. Continue reading

After the debacle: why Welsh Labour should work with Plaid Cymru

2012-02-15-83253The election result was terrible  for Wales. If five years of self-defeating, poverty creating state-shrinking austerity from the coalition was bad enough, five more years of the Tories governing alone will be worse. The assault on the public sector threatens thousands of Welsh jobs, the £12 billion in ‘welfare’ cuts will make life even more difficult for the poor and the vulnerable; for many disabled people life will literally not be worth living. The cuts to the Welsh budget will result in cuts to the revenue support and grants to local authorities, making it increasingly difficult for them to deliver basic services and producing what is for the Tories, an added bonus of Labour local authorities blaming a Labour government for Tory cuts. Continue reading

Why Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru should work together to defeat UKIP

Welsh UKIPTo the extent that the British media’s political coverage ever veers far from Westminster, all eyes are currently on Scotland. In the wake of the Neverendum on Scottish independence and its leadership election, the potential  meltdown of Scottish Labour in the general election is massive not only in Scotland: it is the biggest factor in the outcome of the 2015 general election.

UKIP may yet change the face of UK politics, but in the two-party contest for government next year, UKIP still looks like helping not hindering Labour in England — though it may not feel like that in up to a couple of dozen constituencies where they could prevent a local Labour victory. But Wales is different. Yesterday, UK Elect predicted that UKIP could become the second biggest party in Wales at the Welsh Assembly elections in 2016. edging ahead of both Plaid and the Tories. Continue reading

A Welsh view of Scotland’s ‘No’ vote: the end, or the end of the beginning?

britain‘Settled for a generation’ was the confident assertion of the metropolitan commentariat after Scotland’s referendum resulted in a bigger than expected margin of defeat for independence. An independent Scotland may be off the agenda in the immediate term but we should remember Zhou En-lai’s famous remark about the effects of the French revolution: “too early to tell”.  The Scottish referendum campaign and the vote itself may in time be seen as a sparkling firework, momentarily illuminating the United Kingdom’s gloomy, sterile political landscape, only to fizzle out, or as the catalyst for a process of fundamental change to that political entity. Time will tell whether the opportunities for change presented by the campaign are taken or lost. Continue reading