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Welsh Labour most successful party ‘in the democratic world’ as it celebrates 100 years of election wins says FM

14 Nov 2022 3 minute read
First minister of Wales Mark Drakeford during the Labour Party Conference at the ACC Liverpool. Picture by Peter Byrne / PA

The First Minister has said that Welsh Labour is the most successful political party “in the democratic world” as it celebrates 100 years of winning every Westminster and Senedd election in Wales.

Tomorrow will mark 100 years since November 15, 1922, when Labour became the largest party in Wales at a General Election.

Since then it has won every election in Wales at a UK and Welsh level, falling short only in EU elections in 2009 and 2019 where they fell behind the Conservatives, the Brexit Party and Plaid Cymru.

The party will celebrate its achievement at the Norwegian Church in Cardiff Bay tomorrow with an evening of music and speeches. A website Llafur100 has also been created by the National Library for Wales Political Archive to track the timeline of events over the last century.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s events, First Minister Mark Drakeford told the Daily Mirror: “Labour has much to celebrate by being the most successful political party in Wales – and indeed in the democratic world.

“Even when the party had difficult times across the UK, in Wales support remained solid – especially at the local government level.

“A part of the reason for that success is because we have never been complacent and we do not take the Welsh public for granted.

“Our politicians are rooted in our communities and we retain a strong link with our trade unions which gives us a real sense of what the public wants.

“Our work is never complete and we will continue to fight for social justice at every opportunity adapting to the demands of a changing society.”

‘Pragmatic’

Marking the centenary, Labour leader Keir Starmer also paid tribute to a “remarkable and unparalleled achievement”.

“Labour’s success in Wales reflects two things: first, the role of Wales in our party’s history. Welsh trade unionists were instrumental in the founding of our party, and it was a UK Labour government that created the now Senedd,” he told the Mirror.

“Devolving power to the Welsh people was about respecting the Welsh way of life and recognised that Welsh people are best placed to make decisions for their nation; this respect is held as firmly by the UK party today as it was then.

“And second, earning continued public trust is possible when we have and are guided by a firm set of values and principles.

“Labour’s record in Wales is an inspiration to our whole movement – but it’s more than electoral success.

“Successive Welsh Labour governments since 1999 have been able to put those values into practice to deliver for the Welsh people.”

Baroness Eluned Morgan, who has organised the centenary events, said: “‘Identity politics’ is a recently coined phrase, but throughout the last 100 years, Labour’s unique identity in Wales has meant we’ve built and maintained that special connection with the electorate.

“We haven’t always got it right, but we are big enough and representative enough to reflect upon the times when things have gone wrong and sought to put them right.

“It isn’t always easy, but we have done it in election after election.

“We have also demonstrated that above all we are pragmatic and practical politicians who will compromise and work with others if it helps us to achieve our political ambitions.”


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Arwyn
Arwyn
22 days ago

Welsh Labour is not a political party and only exists as a brand. It is ultimately an electoral device and it is only some twenty years old or so. The Labour Party has won a majority in Wales for a century. Prior to that it was the Liberal Party. The Tories have never won a democratic GE in Wales. And yet the Labour Party would still have us governed by them centrally from Westminster? Why?

hdavies15
hdavies15
22 days ago
Reply to  Arwyn

Labour is the party of dependency, so that perverse relationship with London will exist regardless of what party governs the UK. It’s in the party’s DNA, centralise control with only limited devolved powers. As for Wales that dependency is manifested in the way Labour governs. Despite its alleged ideology it finds it easy to get cosy with big international business but does a lot less to foster indigenous economic growth and better quality jobs for the community in general. Keep the folks poor yet blame someone else for their conditions. And too many of our people fall for it repeatedly,… Read more »

CJPh
CJPh
22 days ago
Reply to  hdavies15

That all may be true but why would the Welsh public continually vote for this? I’d suggest it is a lasting example of our distinctiveness, nothing more. This is what needs to be hammered home – luck governs whether Wales is governed by the party she votes for, nothing else. Many people hold values that means they’d vote Labour regardless (old Labour – trade unionism, workers rights – New Labour – corporatism, social welfare, internationalism – Welsh Labour – grandads party, dragons and leeks) but there are vast swathes of our population that’d vote for a truly Welsh Liberal party,… Read more »

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
21 days ago
Reply to  CJPh

We do have a unique Welsh Liberal Party it is Plaid Cymru.

If you examine the policies beyond the independence verses UK devolution policy both parties have similar views on how to run an independent nation.

CJPh
CJPh
17 days ago

Who are you comparing them to, the lib dems? Alongside the Australian and Canadian Liberals, the least “Liberal” Party to use that name? Exactly which tenets of party political liberalism do Plaid espouse? Command economy, state run everything, burseries and grants instead of competing in an open market – Plaid are a, largely, democratic socialist party (with some elements of much further Left and ruralism). Great, da iawn iddyn nhw. But liberal? Come on, mun. Not a single Plaid member is going to honestly claim what you have. Still, they have my vote. As long as they have members who… Read more »

Last edited 17 days ago by CJPh
Rhian Davies
Rhian Davies
22 days ago

Hi,

Well it’s funny how I’ve heard nothing but complaints of inaction and complacency by Nia Griffiths from people in Brighton?

Gareth
Gareth
22 days ago

Labour here has found the correct mix to appeal to everybody. They are, and will be a unionist party, and support the British state, but they field Indy candidates and make noises about standing up to, and are separate to Westminster. They deviate from Westminster policy, but only enough to make a slight difference, but not enough to upset London Labour, or the union in general. Love it or loath it, one must say that it has been clever and proven to work for them.

Richard Jenkins
Richard Jenkins
22 days ago
Reply to  Gareth

Schrödinger’s political party? Unionist except when they want to blame Westminster.

I.Humphrys
I.Humphrys
22 days ago
Reply to  Gareth

………. doesn’t get you an ambulance in less than an hour, though?

CapM
CapM
22 days ago

The baroness will be handing out red rose-tinted spectacles at celebration events.
Just in case the scales have fallen from any Labourite’s eyes.

Rhys Jones
Rhys Jones
22 days ago

The Cardiff Bay based Wales Labour government is essentially just one big spending department. They do not raise any meaningful income themselves at all. This the complete disconnect from the electorate and the shield of Westminster always there to deflect.

Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
22 days ago

Neu yn wir mai’r Cymry yw un o’r cenhedloedd dallaf a mwyaf diweledigaeth a droediodd daear lân erioed, yn pleidleisio dros plaid unoliaethol a fyn eu rhwymo am byth wrth goron y concwerwr.

hdavies15
hdavies15
22 days ago
Reply to  Rhufawn Jones

Twpdra ar lefel pandemig !

Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
22 days ago

If successful means “winning elections because we are not the Tories” then yes.
Successful in serving the needs of the Cymry? Debatable. (And by debatable I mean definitely not. Cymru is not just South East and the Marches. My ancestral homeland in the West and those in the North have been poorly represented for all of those 100 years.

Cawr
Cawr
22 days ago

Good at winning elections by convinving people they need Labour and Labour only, but failing to deliver for 100 years.

Cwm Rhondda
Cwm Rhondda
22 days ago

The Labour party have won the Rhondda seat(s) in the UK General Election for the last 100 years. We were amongst the poorest in the UK 100 years ago and we’re still amongst the poorest 100 years later. In practically every socio-economic indicator we are amongst the worst performing in Western Europe – how can Labour celebrate that!

hdavies15
hdavies15
22 days ago
Reply to  Cwm Rhondda

Cos it’s all the fault of them wicked Tories, mun. I fthey ever manage to climb out of their deep trance they might realise that Labour has shafted them just as much as the Imperial Tory mob, sometimes by their actions and at other times by being so passive when the London crowd engage in their bouts of political hooliganism.

Malcolm rj
Malcolm rj
22 days ago

If the labour party has been so good for Wales Why is Wales the poorest part of the UK when for a great part of the hundred years of the labour party we created a vast amount of wealth and powered the world. The first million pound check ever written in the world was written in the Cardiff COAL exchange where has All that welth gone labour were in charge of Wales And look what the labour party did for the children of Aberfan they stole the money from the fund that was raised for the children of Aberfan to… Read more »

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
22 days ago

I feel sorry for that lovely building. The smell of elephant poo will take some getting rid of…as will the echo of much trumpeting of government ministers…

Kenneth Vivian
Kenneth Vivian
22 days ago

Blind allegiance to Labour is the reason why Wales is ignored and has been the poorest nation in the democratic world for the past hundred years.

Brian
Brian
22 days ago
Reply to  Kenneth Vivian

Part of the ‘blind allegiance’ is due to the corrupt practices of the Labour Party. Historically, if you wanted a job in the council, or a teaching job being in the Labour party helped your application. Some people even paid part of their wages on a weekly or monthly basis to councillors who helped get them jobs. This is particularly true in the valleys. People know that if your electoral ward elects councillors other than Labour ones you’ll be neglected for the next 5 years.

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
22 days ago

Course what the Baroness and Drakeford dont (and wont) say is that Wales has consistently been the poorest and most neglected part of the UK during those ‘100 years! . A disgraceful state of affairs which the obsequious unionist toadie Drakeford is happy to continue with because it serves the best interest of his political party.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
22 days ago
Reply to  Leigh Richards

And my neck of the woods most of all…

Cwm Rhondda
Cwm Rhondda
22 days ago

The loves of Mark Drakeford’s life:

  1. His family
  2. The survival of the British Labour Party
  3. Wales

In that order. Mark Drakeford is a devote unionist who is desperate to see his beloved British Labour party in power in Westminster.

I.Humphrys
I.Humphrys
22 days ago

Yet here we are, our ar*e hangin’ out of our pants.
*this comment waiting for approval?
Is it untrue, then?

Last edited 22 days ago by I.Humphrys

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