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Drakeford presence at Labour fringe conference ‘headache’ for Starmer, brief allies

23 Sep 2021 4 minutes Read
Keir Starmer picture by Rwendland (CC BY-SA 4.0). First Minister Mark Drakeford. Picture by the Welsh Government.

Allies of Keir Starmer have briefed the press that Mark Drakeford’s presence at a fringe event at the Labour conference will be a “headache”  for the embattled UK leader.

Drakeford will be speaking at The World Transformed event in Brighton, which is running at the same time in the same seaside resort as the UK Labour Party conference.

But an ally of Labour leader Keir Starmer told the Daily Mail newspaper that the First Minister’s presence will cause problems because it will be harder to dismiss it as a ‘Trot fest’.

“We can’t dismiss the other conference as for crackpot Corbynites when the First Minister of a devolved nation is speaking. His presence is an unhelpful distraction,” the unnamed source said.

Among the events on the agenda at The World Transformed will be Welsh independence.

Cynon Valley MP Beth Winter, former YesCymru staffer Harriet Protheroe-Soltani and politics writer Rhian E. Jones will speak at the event on Welsh independence that will ask “how can this opposition to Westminster be mobilized towards a socialist agenda?”

“Is independence the best possible outcome, and why not further devolution and/or ‘radical federalism’?” the conference blurb says. “To what extent does Welsh independence take account of the country’s race, class, regional and other diversity?”

Other events will include sessions on ‘Should Socialists Be Members of the Labour Party?’ and ‘Scotland’s Indy Ref 2: Scenario Workshop’.

‘Tory B-team’

Wales’ First Minister had been criticised earlier this month for attending an event alongside individuals expelled from the Labour Party.

Eluned Anderson, a 21-year-old regional ambassador of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said that Mark Drakeford should not be attending the event.

Mark Drakeford is listed as one of three headline speakers at the event, alongside former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who was suspended from the party last October after stating that antisemitism in the party was “dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media”.

Other speakers at The World Transformed event on 29 September include director Ken Loach who was expelled from the Labour Party earlier this month.

He had previously claimed there was a “witch-hunt” after four campaign groups were expelled from Labour following criticism of the way Sir Keir Starmer was tackling antisemitism.

Eluned Anderson said: “The First Minister of Wales should not be sharing a platform with members who have been expelled from the party. The damn state of this.”

John Haywood, Labour councillor for Ringwood North in Hampshire, was also among those to criticise the Welsh Labour leader’s decision to appear at TWT.

He tweeted:” Very very disappointed that Mark Drakeford is on the bill at Twit Festival, which is basically a Trot jamboree taking place in Brighton at the same time as UK Labour party conference.“

The Wales Against Antisemitism group also tweeted: “Why does Mark Drakeford, as First Minister of Wales, think it appropriate to speak at this event, given antisemitism controversies involving many of his fellow speakers?”

However, Jewish Voice for Labour welcomed the First Minister’s readiness to appear at the event.

A Jewish Voice for Labour told the Morning Star: “Hurling evidence-free accusations of anti-semitism around like confetti and then attempting to turn people like Jeremy Corbyn into non-persons who must be shunned is absolutely deplorable and dangerous for democracy.

“Those who talk of Labour as a ‘broad church’ are in reality trying to turn it into a narrow sect, a Tory B-team. What is really under attack is a pluralist party in which socialist ideas can be openly and robustly expressed and debated.

“[Mr] Drakeford is clearly having no truck with this censorious nonsense and we wish more politicians were prepared to make such a stand, whether they agree with us or not.

“Disagreement is not hate speech and silencing is not the way to retain members or to gain the confidence of voters.”

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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
28 days ago

You are nailing your colours to the wrong mast in my humble opinion Mr Drakeford.

There is a deal of work to be done here, if you are not up for it pass the baton to someone else.

Brian Coman
Brian Coman
28 days ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Please do …and he is losing support among ordinary people.

defaid
defaid
28 days ago

I wish very much that MD would acknowledge the fact that Llafur is no longer Labour.

Incidentally, was anyone else disappointed by the (mis)leading question concerning Welsh independence and Welsh diversity? A country’s independence is, by definition, inclusive of all residents in that country.

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
28 days ago

Brit left groups like Momentum are thoroughgoing british chauvinists and have never had any interest in independence for Wales or any understanding of Welsh nationhood. Brit left events like this in England are irrelevant to Welsh independence – it’s the people of Wales who get to decide on their own country’s future. PS. it goes without saying that Mark Drakeford should be in Wales doing his job as our first minister – not trying to revive the corbynista corpse in brighton!

Last edited 28 days ago by Leigh Richards
Brian Coman
Brian Coman
28 days ago
Reply to  Leigh Richards

Haven’t seen much of him and his uplifting speaking lately!!, and his slow plod to unlocking Wales…

Rob
Rob
28 days ago
Reply to  Leigh Richards

Momentum have their own agenda. They knew full well that Labour would never win an election under Jeremy Corbyn. Look at where we are now. A right wing tory majority, who have not only put us into a hard Brexit but also taking the powers away from the Senedd.

Paul Cox
Paul Cox
28 days ago
Reply to  Rob

We have a tory majority because right wingers in the labour party were working hand in hand with the torys Both factions colluding with mainstream media deliberately manipulating public opinion against Jeremy Corbyn. Mandelson publicly admitted he tried something every day to undermine Jeremy Corbyn when he was labour leader. Labour lost the last two general elections because those elections were deliberately scuppered by Mandelson and his ilk. With the sole purpose of being a compliant opposition. Making just enough noise giving the false impression of offering a viable alternative to the torys. While doing nothing to change the torys… Read more »

Ruth
Ruth
25 days ago
Reply to  Rob

Oh dear! But Labour under Corbyn got a higher share of the vote in 2017 and 2019 than it had received in the previous three General Elections, It almost won in 2017 despite the pernicious role of the mainstream media and some members of the PLP. Heights that Starmer can only dream of, I think. Currently, Labour has nothing to vote for in the UK as a whole.

Sian
Sian
28 days ago
Reply to  Leigh Richards

Welsh Labour Grassroots is aligned to Momentum and the debate around independence is live. . Nothing wrong in bringing the debate about Welsh independence out of Wales after all everyone is aware of Scottish independence.

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
28 days ago

It is clear from the quote from the blurb that this conference intends to weaponise issues of race and class in order to take an anti-Welsh-independence stance. Momentum are unionists and would, if they could, do a number on Cymru at a time when the country needs all the friends it can get while Johnson’s still going muscular.
And for the record, anti-Zionism is not anti-semitism, so full marks to A Jewish Voice for Labour for saying what Starmer should have said.

Last edited 28 days ago by Wrexhamian
Maurice Kyle
Maurice Kyle
28 days ago

The lesson to be drawn from the comments here is that nationalists are not good at recognising and embracing potential allies….Not that surprising, I suppose.

Quornby
Quornby
28 days ago

A headache for a failing opposition MP in another country Mark. Time to embrace Indy wouldn’t you say?

Sian
Sian
28 days ago

Da iawn ti Mark Drakeford standing shoulder to shoulder with true socialists like Ken Loach and Jeremy Corbyn who genuinely want a more equal world. It’s important that the wider UK public are made aware of the independence debate and of greater powers for Wales. After all the current conservative government in Westminster has meant a huge surge of support for independence not least amongst Labour party members. The more red water between Labour in UK and Llafur Cymru the better.

Cat
Cat
28 days ago

Since when do we listen to “a Labour councillor from Hampshire” when he comments on what Mark Drakeford is doing? I recognise this is a rehash of an earlier article but quantity is not quality Nation Cymru We see complaints here when Wales is ignored and complaints here when we try and put Wales on a bigger stage. Its about time a few people in England and Scotland listened to what Wales has to say. I say well done to Mark Drakeford and if its an embarrassment to Keir Starmer then so be it. When he is an elected leader… Read more »

Jonathan Clay
Jonathan Clay
27 days ago

Is this Eluned Anderson presented in the article as an “ambassador of the Holocaust Educational Trust” the same person who was last year implicated in a scandal after making comments about supposedly “good looking” Nazis?
What a great source to quote…

Michael Lloyd
Michael Lloyd
25 days ago

Is this a sign from the English Labour party hierarchy showing what it really thinks of Cymru and its democratically elected government.

Robert Downing
Robert Downing
3 days ago

crackpot Corbynite, Trot festival …. And they wonder why the6 are no in power!

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