Welsh Labour teaching ‘a lesson’ to UK Labour by ‘seeing off nationalism’ in Wales says Guardian
Welsh Labour is teaching “a lesson” to the party elsewhere in the UK by “seeing off nationalism” in Wales, the Guardian has claimed in an editorial.
The newspaper said that “nationalist forces have brought Labour low in England and Scotland” but in Wales “the mood had soured” for the Conservatives while Plaid Cymru had “flatlined”.
The First Minister had managed this both through a more cautious approach to Covid but also by straddling both nationalism and unionism, as well as the two languages of Wales, the editorial said.
“Independence here is a language movement and Mr Drakeford, like his predecessors, is a fluent Welsh speaker,” the article said.
“Labour’s electoral coalition spans both nationalism and unionism. This politics was forged in Labour’s heartland of the south Wales valleys, which have a rich history of workers’ institutes and nonconformist churches.
“English jostled alongside the Welsh language. Today, this region is where almost three-quarters of the Welsh population lives.”
Meanwhile Plaid Cymru “takes votes from an electorate that feels very Welsh and not at all British. For the Tories, the opposite holds.”
“In 1997, Wales voted for devolution by a margin of 50.3%, one of the narrowest victories in British electoral history,” the article says.
“Remarkably, Welsh Labour has been able to straddle – and even close – this divide. It is a lesson the party elsewhere in Britain should learn from.”
The article proceeds an expected Labour resurgence in Thursday’s local elections, in which the party is expected to bounce back from a low ebb when councils were last contested in 2017.
The party will be looking to make inroads in Carmarthenshire, win back Blaenau Gwent from a group of independents, hold off a Plaid Cymru/Green alliance in Cardiff and establish electoral control over the Conservatives in Flintshire after the collapse of the ‘red wall’ in 2019.
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