Friday, 15 July 2016

Two Teenage Political Awakenings.

Owen Smith today launches his campaign to be Labour leader, citing the Miner’s Strike as his “political awakening”.
The 46-year-old MP will tell an audience in his home constituency of Pontypridd that the year-long strike taught him what “solidarity and community really meant”.
He will say:
 “I marched with the miners at Maerdy Colliery and I will never forget the pride I felt at seeing men and women, old and young, come together to fight for their neighbours, their jobs and hope for the next generation.
“This sense of community, solidarity and passion for justice remain at the heart of my politics.
“This is why I am Labour right to my fingertips. I’m not interested in machine politicking and Westminster parlour games, but rooted politics – that’s about making a real and lasting difference to people’s lives.”
His Father  of course is Dai Smith  the "Welsh" Historian and co- author of    the epic

So it seems  that  even a 13/14 year old Barry Schoolboy "Political awakening may  have had  some earlier prompting. 

It seems ironic that I am writing this almost 50 years to the hour that a then 12 year old Schoolboy woke up in a small Pontypridd Village  tho here his Mother delightfully announce that Gwynfor Evans ad won the Carmarthen Byelection .

For some reason I never quite gathered My Mother a monoglot English speaker  and a former Children's Nanny married to a workingclass  man who had been severely wounded in  France during D Day was an anirer of Gwynfor.

So i was brought up in a home in which my Parents became Plaid supporters but  who were supposed to be natural Labour Voters.

50 years on Plaid a virtually unknown Party in Wales in 1966 has perhaps not made as much progress as we would like .

On his election in 1966 Gwynfor said that

 "the people of Wales were waking up ans walking with their backs a little straighter and their heads a little higher".

In 1984 Plaid played a major role in the supporting the  Miners strike while the Labour Leader another Welsh MP was doing his best to distance himself fromm it.

I have often thought as Welsh Historian Owen Smith father felt that all Welsh history stopped North of Blaen Rhondda in the nineteenth century. I hope his son does not share that view ,

My political awakening  started with a bright morning when for a brief moment the idea of an Independent  Wales looked like a near possibility.

But  the same moment and awaking  also led me to embrace the sort of Progressive -Left  ideas for and beyond  Wales that the  current Plaid Leader Leanne Wood projects.

Its a pity that Owen Smith teenage political awaking had not also led him to realise the potential that his Nation could make as United, Socially equal and Independent Nation rather than follow the narrow Unionist British Nationalism of many of his party which has led them to accept much of the Tory polices they claim to desert

1 comment:

  1. If owen smith is as inspired by the 80s miners strike as he says he is he'll call for the repeal of the repressive anti trade union laws thatcher used to crush the miners and which have been used to intimidate millions of trade union members since. Id be pleased to be proved wrong but im not aware of owen smith making any such call as part of his labour leadership campaign.