Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Welsh representation on Labour's NEC is not about our interests.

The row over allegations that  Labour's Jeremy Corbyn’s allies made a new attempt to derail proposals for First Minister Carwyn Jones and Scotland's Labour leader Kezia Dougdale appointing their own representatives on Labour’s UK governing body could be groundbreaking but I doubt it.

Is it a start to make  Labour more Federalist and an indication that the Welsh and Scottish parties  will end up with grater autonomy as well as having a greater say in how the UK party is run?

Or is it an Anti-Corbyn  Trojan horse As ITV’s Robert Peston puts it, for Corbyn the “problem with having the Scottish and Welsh leaders on the NEC” is that “he cannot control them” and “if they do join the NEC, Corbyn’s tiny in-built majority on the NEC would vanish,

Speaking during a meeting of the NEC on Saturday evening, Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale attacked Jeremy Corbyn’s efforts to delay a vote on the plans just hours after his own re-election. She is quoted as having declared:
‘How dare you preach unity and then try to undermine me as Scottish leader.’
PoliticsHome has also reported one Labour source as having said of Labour’s leader in Wales, following this morning’s meeting of the NEC, that ‘Carwyn Jones spoke out and told Jeremy in no uncertain terms that the vote must happen tomorrow.’
The Welsh First Minister told PoliticsHome afterwards that
‘we have devolution in Wales and Scotland. We’ve waited years for these changes. They need to go through this week.’
However whilst  Kezia Dugdale appears to have suggested she would nominate herself for the Scottish Representative  it has ben argued that as First Minister without a overall majority it has been suggested that Carwyn hasn't the time to attend NEC meetings or sacrifice a loyal AM from the Siambr even fr a brief period.

As Darren Williams who is a member of the NEC puts it
"The Scottish and Welsh leaders can currently attend as observers and the Scottish leader, Kezia Dugdale, was at this meeting. She argued forcefully that agreeing the rule change would demonstrate the party’s acceptance of the changed realities of devolution and would undermine the SNP’s argument that Scottish Labour is merely a “branch office” of a London-dominated party. She made it clear that she would take up the Scottish seat herself if the change were agreed although it was acknowledged that Carwyn Jones, as leader of a governing party, would not be able to attend NEC meetings in person and would need to delegate this role to another representative.
 I pointed out that Welsh Labour has only 29 seats out of the sixty in the Assembly and needs every vote; no Labour AM, therefore, would be able to attend NEC meetings in London on a Tuesday when the Assembly is sitting. I made this point twice in the discussion but it was largely ignored. My second objection to the proposed rule change – that Scotland and Wales should have NEC representation but that these seats should be subject to an OMOV ballot of all members in the countries in question –"

The rest of his article is here 

It does seem rather stage that both leaders are arguing for representation now as both seemed to have been happy with the Branch office status for years .

It is not for me to tell Labour how they should elect or appoint members to its NEC but I don't think they can use this as a an argument for greater say for Wales and Scotland within Labour .

What we are seeing is the ongoing Left - Right battle within the Labour Party it is not about greater a voice for Wales or Scotland or rather it is to ensure only a particular type of voice is heared.

And lets face it in both Wales and Scotland it is rare for Labour to put their Nations first or argue for the real powers to solve the immense problems we are both facing.

Indeed "Welsh" Labour in constantly opposing further devolution has shown that it is possible that a Welsh representative on the NEC may well surrender Welsh Interest to placate "Middle England" and leave us  as poor West Britons in order to see a Labour Prime Minister in Westminster.


  1. Your instincts are right glyn, this row is more to do with the ongoing conflict between Jeremy corbyn's supporters and 'moderate' opponents in the labour party than what's really in welsh interests. If either faction were serious about wales they would be advocating complete autonomy for labour in scotland and wales as part of a federal labour party in the uk.

    But alas this 'row' is indicative of how virtualy every party (plaid cymru excepted obviously) still views wales and even scotland. I could be wrong about this - and would be happy to be corrected - but i dont think any party affords its organisation in wales complete autonomy. Indeed some parties still sadly afford wales the somewhat insulting status of a 'region'.

  2. oops just remembered the Scottish greens are a completely separate party from the greens in england and wales (and they backed scottish independence in 2014). The greens in wales should follow the commendable example of their scottish cousins.