Friday, 6 January 2017

Labour may lose several Welsh Councils next May. Who will they blame.

It is somewhat unusual for a party to claim that it is bracing itself for losses in election a forthcoming election but Labour in Wales (which is mire accurate than Welsh Labour according to the Wasting Mule.
They quote  a  senior Labour source said: “We will be facing tough challenges in councils we hold from Independent, Plaid Cymru and Ukip candidates.
"There’s no escaping the fact that Jeremy Corbyn is a vote loser and that we have no chance of recovering while he remains the leader.”
Another senior party source said: “Yes, the council elections this year are going to be difficult for us.
"But we firstly need to remember that 2012 [when the last council elections in Wales were held] was an unusually good one for Labour, when we won back a number of councils we had previously lost.
 “I would expect us to do worse in 2017 than we did in our last poor year 2008 in terms of share of the vote, but not to lose control of as many councils."This year we’re vulnerable in Merthyr Tydfil, Caerphilly, Blaenau Gwent, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Cardiff, Swansea and Newport – as well as in Wrexham, which we’ve already lost because of defections from the Labour group during the current term.
It seems rather odd to include Ukip and not the Liberal Democrats who have expiranced a bit of a revival in Local Government Byelections. especially as the source admits Labour would be fighting on three fronts in Cardiff:
“In Cardiff North we’ll be defending seats against the Tories, in Cardiff Central against the Lib Dems and in Cardiff West against Plaid.
“Cardiff isn’t good territory for Ukip, but they good pose a threat in the Valleys if they are a bit more strategic about where they stand candidates.

 In the past they’ve allowed people to stand wherever they want to, and it’s been a bit random. If they were a bit more strategic about it, standing only in places where they might genuinely stand a chance, they could do better.
"But for me, the most significant recent council by-election has not been in Cardiff [where Labour lost seats to the Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru], but in Barry.
"Despite having typical Ukip demographics – a Communities First area with high unemployment and a sense that the place had been left behind – and despite fielding Neil Hamilton’s chief of staff at the Assembly as its candidate, Ukip came fifth with only 6.4% of the vote. Normally, if a staffer of any party is the candidate, you’d expect them to maybe do a bit better because they know the ropes.”
 So it does seem a bit odd for Labour  to Talk up Ukip in the Valleys  unless of course the strategy is to split any Anti-Labour vote and scupper a number of Plaid challenges 

But the real story is who will Labour blame for any losses ?

Pointing the finger at Jeremy Corbyn may well be their excuse, but it will not hide the fact that Labour stewardship of many of the councils which saw  Labour retaining or being swept to power in the last election  have been controversially  or poorly run.

For instance Wrexham Council has been accused of wasting public money in a case that saw an elderly resident 'trapped' in a care home for five weeks while the council refused to clear rubbish from her property.

As Plaid Wrecsam relates

Catherine Jones from Y Wern, Wrexham, broke her hip 10 weeks ago and approached the Daily Post for help in desperation after being left for weeks in a home due to her council property being deemed uninhabitable. It became clear she had struggled to keep on top of cleaning at her home in Caia Park.

The council have also been criticised for not communicating properly with Mrs Jones, adding to her distress.

Apparently the council have relented but as Plaid  Caia Park community councillor Carrie Harper said: 

"I have spoken to Mrs Jones today who tells me the council do now intend to clean the property in order for her to go home, no doubt promoted by the press coverage in the Daily Post. Although clearly there is a place for the the press to scrutinise cases like this, it should not take a news story to sort these situations out, it should simply not be allowed to happen in the first place."It's been heart warming to see the instant response from Caia residents online. As soon as the article went up local people were posting publicly to offer their time to help clean the property and vans to help move rubbish.
"We're a strong community that looks out for each other. One resident posted: 'Caia Park may not be Buckingham Palace and does have its faults but we all come out when needed".

Plaid have despite on a small number of Councillors ave looked like the only opposition on Wrexham Council and may well be putting in a strong challenge next May.Which may well explain Wrexham Council leader Mark Pritchard's bizarre attackon Plaid Cymru  Marc Jones, who chairs Plaid Cymru in Wrexham, over the plans to issue Councillors with expensive IPads

Plaid have also led the way on saving g Plas Madoc Leisure Centre after it was given a £50,000 lifeline in a remarkable u-turn today by Wrexham Council.

fighting to save one of Wrexham's two fire engines

Personalty I would welcome Labour current Hegemony on Welsh Councils  broken ut not as a result of UK politics or even Assembly controversies  but by local parties candidates who put in the hard slog and plans to run the council  on behalf of their communities not their own comfort.

I do not want to see good councillor who work hard for and stand up  their communities to lose their seats because of UK  or Assembly swings.

But if they fail to stand up to their own Party when it is letting down the electorate of their council I am afraid they should lose our support.

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