Friday, 22 May 2015

Holtham says "Labour cannot afford a sterile debate"

There was much to digest in Gerald Holtham  article in the left leaning Compass website over his fears fears that Labour is about to stage a “sterile debate” which will condemn the party to “impotence” in the wake of an election which saw the party lose the heartland seat of Gower and the Vale of Clwyd.

He does however seem to be only asking questions without coming up with any real answers.
Warning that Welsh Labour risked losing the loyalty of middle-class voters, he said: 
“There must be a substantial proportion of people in Gower who are pretty prosperous. It’s the kind of place like north Cardiff that if it were in England you just wouldn’t be surprised if it returned a Conservative.“There’s this sort of cultural thing in Wales that a lot of middle class people who have got a memory of being working class or having working class grandparents or something sentimentally still vote Labour. I think probably as time goes on that’s going to fade.“It is true that Labour probably can’t rely on a tribal or a sentimental vote in the way it used to be able to do...
“That’s why it’s got to think hard about what we are really trying to achieve.”
He makes an intrestung point  that  Labour 
played on public fears for the National Health Service but said nothing positive about how it would actually tackle the service’s manifold problems on a tight budget. It complained about poverty and inequality but presented no credible prospectus for their solution apart from a couple of patently, indeed risibly, inadequate tax changes.”
He could have perhaps should have added that in Wales although the NHS in Wales was devolved it played a prominent part in all the parties campaigns but as it was Labour who are running it here their steerage was found wanting and the Tories in particular exploited this 

But  i think hie really hits home when he writes
 “Thirteen years in power and vast majorities have left almost no imprint on society, the economy, or on public loyalties. The two policies of which they boast – devolution and the minimum wage – were hangovers from the John Smith regime and were adopted without enthusiasm.
“What else was to be expected of a project whose principal aim was to take Labour to power and keep it there? Anything to be achieved was subsidiary to that.
“Power was won but achievements were predictably small.

It is said John Smith would refer to Scottish Devolution as unfinished business and it came as a shock to many in the Shadow Cabinet the time that he realty meant it.

The problem for Labour particularly in England is that the |Tories lost in 1997 rather than Blair one . The electorate were tired of a government that seemed to permanently in power split over Europe and almost  daily scandals .

What they got was a government which to all intent and purpose was largely a Mark 11 Tory government which did nothing to reverse Thatcherite policies and half heartily delivered Devolution i which they hoped would "shoot the SNP's fox" and make sure Wales got a form of devolution that even a Left leaning Assembly could not take a path that was radically different .to Labour London masters
Like Holtham i am not presenting any answers for Labours dilemma bit that is because I see no future in backing a Party that has constantly Betrayed what by 2020 will be nearly a century of trust of the Welsh electorate .

Its time they were replaced as the voice of Wales in the Assembly and for as long as we sent representatives there Westminster.


  1. Not sure the Gower and Vale of Clwyd can be described as Labour heartland seats. At the 2010 election Labour had a majority of 2,683 in the Gower and in the Vale of Clwyd had a majority of 2,509. The M4 effect has been very pronounced with many new estates going up in the neigbouring seats of Llanelli and Carmarthen East. I would guess something similar has been happening in the Gower. Added to this over a thousand more people voted in 2015. The Liberal vote vote went from eight thousand to a fraction over 1,500 votes. UKIP took less than five thousand votes.Labour has been worried for a while about Gower as their people on the ground recognised that in a two horse race it becomes very tight. I'm sure a full time politician based in Cardiffalso found it far easier to nurse the seat. I remember driving through part of the constituency in 2010 and being surprised to see Byron Davies posters in places that I would not expect to see them. They were Byron Davies posters and not bog standard Tory posters. Remember going for a walk in the Mumbles and seeing a black cab passing with an advertisment for Byron Davies last year. Labour misread the election runes and fought a camlaign to gain seats in Carmthenshire and Pembrokeshire when it dhould have been plooking to defend places like Gower.

  2. Plaid Cymru should understand the Labour Party must be destroyed as it has been in Scotland if Plaid is ever to control Wales. The lesson from Scotland is. One. Campaign for independence now! We need independence to put the economy right. Two. Have nothing to do with the Labour Party they are poison. No one there is interested in the well being of Wales. Labour consists of self serving careerists who believe in nothing but their own interests and getting jobs for the boys.
    Witha strong campaign for independence will come all the mass political participation that has come in Scotland.