‘I was considered right wing at university’ says Mark Drakeford
The First Minister has said that he was considered right-wing at university – because everyone else was so far to his left.
Speaking on the podcast Full Disclosure with James O’Brian he said that he had little interest in Marxist debates at university because they “completely divorced” from what he thought would make a difference in people’s lives.
“I joined the Labour party before I went to college, and when I went to college, to belong to the Labour Party was to cast you into the far-right of the political spectrum,” he said.
“Because the contest would be between the international Marxist group and some other splinter of the same sort. If you said you belonged to the Labour Party it was to be in the far, unspeakable right of the spectrum.
“I used to sit in the student’s union – I went to the University of Kent – and listen to debates about ‘were the working class of Canterbury about to rise’.
“And I used to say, well we can go and ask them. Because there are only about three of them. And we’ll find out. But this didn’t stop the interminable debates on this sort of topic.”
He added: “I definitely had no interest at all in student politics. It just seemed to me completely divorced from the kinds of things I had been interested in that might make some sort of practical difference.”
Mark Drakeford said that he himself however did not come across much right-wing politics growing up in Carmarthenshire, and that the Conservative candidate inevitably came last in elections.
“Aneurin Bevan says he was 21 before he met a Tory and I often say that we have to make sure we create the same opportunities for our young people,” he said.
He denied however that he was a Welsh nationalist: “I had a think from the very beginning about ‘are you a nationalist or are you a socialist?’ And I knew then that I wasn’t a nationalist. I’m not a nationalist and I never have been.
“I’m fiercely Welsh and that matters to me very much. Just the outlook it gives to you on life and all that.
“But if you’re a nationalist you have to think that the accident of geography is more important than social class. I don’t believe that.
“I think the people of Wales have more in common with people like them in England and Scotland and other places, than they do just because someone happens to have been born on one side of a boundary or another.”
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