Monday, 25 October 2010

Catching another Bus .

My last posting resulted in a responsible and fair comment from someone called “Ordinary Voter” and although we disagree I accept his/ her argument that we cannot have a dependency culture and no one who can work should be able to avoid doing so If Ordinary Voter is not blogging then He/She should start one.
Unfortunately when we enter in to these debates we often end up concentrating on the tiny majority who are unemployed but who are not “actively seeking work” and this ends up with the majority of decent honest people who are in despair because they cannot find work being ignored and all to often it has been a deliberate move on both the current Con-Lib government, and  also the previous Labour one to give the impression that there are plenty of jobs and it is only the reluctance of the unemployed to get of their backs and seek work  that has led to the current unemployed numbers This has been a deliberate policy in order to divert sympathy for those seeking who work who find that is none around by giving the impression that they are all workshy and The Hypocrisy of Labour MP for, Merthyr Dai Harvard is staggering in his commendation of Iain Duncun Smith. Why didn't  he stand up for the unemployed when his own party was in power and evoking similar attacks on the unemployed?

Today’ s South Wales Echo (not one of the most progressive papers) points out that  research by the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) showed there were 15,000 people in Cardiff chasing 1,700 jobs, while in Merthyr there were 1,670 unemployed people and 39 job vacancies, all temporary and part-time).

This shows the absurdity of Iain Duncun Smiths idea that all the unemployed need to do is catch a daily bus to Cardiff in order to find work.

Yes as “Ordinary Voter" points out we need to end a dependency culture , but when there are no Jobs available, attacking the minority and by doing so blacking the reputation of the genuine majority who are scanning the job columns daily, firing of endless Speculation  CV’s for non existent jobs  and who can only dream about the day that they can find full employment we should seek viable solutions and not attack the patient but the disease.


  1. Fair points Glyn and glad you took my comments in the good nature in which they were written.

    I think most jobs advertised would have ** number of people chasing them - I've applied for jobs although I've been employed. So, the fact that ** number of people trying for every job doesn't mean that ** number of people are unemployed.

    However, I take your point.

    There's a shortage of work - that's something I need to take on board.

    However, the question which bothers me, and which leads me to have some sympathy with IDS is this. The Valleys have voted Labour for the best part of a century and seen to be in continious decline. That's because the industry which brought people there no longer needs them. But is this decline inevitable? (the docks no longer employ many people in Cardiff). And how much of the problem is the cultural, economic and political mentality of the area? How is it that one poor places like Bavaria and Flanders are now thriving when places like the Valleys which had everything they didn't - infrastructure, transport, people, skills, networks, don't.

    That is, I can understand why the decline of one type of industry (coalmining) has lead to economic decline. But with a decline in agriculture why hasn't Bavaria or Flanders seen an economic decline?

    Is it just lack of investment or is there something in the culture of those places. Basically, how much of the Valleys problem is bound up with the political and cultural set-up and narrative of labourism. A narrative which is fed and which seems totally uncritical almost creating a Volkish stereotype of the heroic Valleys person which seems straight out of the 1930s.

    Does this pandering/promotion/lack of self-critisicm hinder the development of economy and wider cultural flowering in the Valleys? Does this class jingosim avoid asking and promoting hard questions 'cos it's easier to attack English 'Eton boys' or the Welsh 'crachach' or anyone except the very culture which is creating this situation.

    I guess it does to some extent.Until Valleys politicians come clean and say - we've got a problem, we're part of the problem, then I just can't take a lot of what is said by the spokespersons of the Valleys seriously and I'll start listening to IDS.

    We need to come clean. Labour need to recognise and say that they've been a part of the problem. Plaid Cymru need to stop trying to out do Labour. The Valleys towns should be small thriving market towns maybe more similar to how they were in the early 19th century - a mixture of industries in a still rural setting. After all the towns and villages are in a stunning location. They could be like the towns and villages around Stuttgart in Germany or Bilbao and San Sebastian in the Basque Country - places which don't vote uniformly for 'labourist' parties.

    Ordinary Voter

  2. "Plaid Cymru need to stop trying to out do Labour."

    I think this is a mistaken point of view.

    Plaid Cymru does best when Labour are in power at Westminster, because Labour in power is not Labour in practice. All of Plaid's breakthroughs- even in the west- have been because Labour failed to be Labour.

    When Labour is in opposition, Plaid does less well because Labour's contradictions are not exposed- Labour can get away with it. I think Plaid naturally is wedded to the idea of social justice and labour-style politics and has been since the 1970s. People mistakenly think this is them trying to copy Labour. There is decades of policymaking behind Plaid's position. It is not a tactical or opportunist shift. It's as much in the DNA of the party now as cultural nationalism is.

    "That is, I can understand why the decline of one type of industry (coalmining) has lead to economic decline. But with a decline in agriculture why hasn't Bavaria or Flanders seen an economic decline?"

    Because they are in different countries to us. The state played a huge role in reviving Bavaria notably in regenerating Munich, Nuremberg and Augsburg which were in awful decline after WW2. In the UK it is probably not possible to have a government which would maintain state involvement in the economy at anything close to the Federal Republic of Germany.

    That's why Munich's publicly owned energy utility company owns half off the world's second biggest windfarm off the shore of the north of Wales. In Wales, we don't know what a publicly owned utility is anymore, because of Thatcher and New Labour. Bavaria has a completely electrified rail network (as does all of Germany) delivered and installed by the state and operated by a mixture of municipal companies and private companies. The Valleys has nothing. Creaking diesel engines run by the profiteers at Arriva whose executives are on scandalous salaries and bonuses.

    The contradiction in Wales might be that although it would be politically possible to have a mixed economy like Germany (or even like Scandinavia), where would we get the money from to fund it? Energy perhaps, but where is Plaid's line on this? Where is their research?

    I would suggest that who the Valleys votes for isn't the be all and end all- the Valleys could (and do) return Labour MPs for eternity, but that doesn't mean those Labour MPs will be in charge of the Valleys economy. Whoever forms the govt at Westminster will.

    Just another Voter.

  3. I think the problem here is that Labour’s dominance of nearly a hundred years of Welsh politics has led many people to associate socialism with Labours centralist State controlled model.
    I called this Blog “National Left” because I was one of those who tried in the 80’s to form a policy of decentralised Socialism within Plaid Cymru rejecting the past assumption that the solution to poverty and inequality could be solved by gaining control of the mechanisation of power in Westminster and even Cardiff.
    Sadly I believed we largely failed within Plaid and the Party seems to be fighting on largely the same middle ground as all the other Parties . Perhaps we will see a new wave of radicalism under the Lib-Con government and Plaid should concentrate on attacking the cuts which would affect the poor and oppressed whilst exposing Labour Hypocrisy after 13 years of failure to protect those in need.
    During the period of the National Left existence .I often found that although there was right wing opposition to our ideas from the right of the Party especially that of the Hydro group most of the disquiet came from those who only saw socialism as being represented by the Labour party and “Far Left” groups such as Militant or the Labour Party.
    I always thought the failure of the National Left group was that we did not manage to persuade those Labour supporters who agreed with us on the idea of decentralised socialism to switch inn large numbers.
    I remember a Tutor in Coleg Harlech Neil Evans who I found myself very much in tune with but who remained (still is with Labour as