In article in yesterday's Western Mail David Williams reports Labour leadership contender Diane Abbott as describing how she takes inspiration from Welsh Labour and why she believes women in Wales will lose out in the coming cuts
I’ve always felt a great affinity with Wales. It has always been a place I’ve looked to as a home of the true “left” of the Labour Party. She is reported as saying.
Err Is this the same Diane Abbot who in August said,
“I have not spent a week and a half in Wales. I genuinely think the Scottish Labour party has always had a very fundamental role in British Labour politics. In a way the Scottish Labour movement is the keeper of the flame when it comes to socialism. I think whoever wins (in Scotland) deserves to win overall.”
Apparently according a online questionnaire . Diane Abbot is clearly the closest of the Labour Leadership contenders to my own viewpoint. However its a bit late I think for Diane to whoo Welsh Labour voters, but if she was honest it is not the Labour Party in Wales who are the inheritors of the “True Left” but a large number of Plaid Cymru members and supporters.
Not all of course, but even those within Plaid who bulk at the term socialism, I found often agreed with Party Policies which Dianne would argue was that of the true left.
But the Labour Party in Wales even before the advent of New Labour was hardly a progressive left wing party (and I think progressive is an important term here) and often only used socialist langage but always avoided put it in to practice.
I always found it it amusing that whilst a student at Coleg Harlech and later Abeystwyth University. Labour party members from England, often found themselves more in tune with Plaid students (as I was at the time) than Welsh Labour Students on many social policies
And this was often apparent in other political fields such as Anti-Apartheid and CND.
I still meet Labour members whose attitude to progressive ideals for example Women Rights, The Peace Movement, and Green Issues are close to “Old Toryism” and not even New Labour.
But it is the New Labour project that I believe is the problem here, Dianne record on opposing Blair's right wing vision was not great (Better than the other Candidates though) and I think Labours major problem is that there no true left winger of the stature of Tony Benn to rally to.
I don't think Diane is capable of that but if wishes to take up the mantle she will not find the answers in the ranks of Welsh Labour.