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Opinion

Labour’s love lost

01 Feb 2024 4 minute read
Wetherspoons. artwork

Ben Wildsmith

I’m writing this under a framed photograph of Keir Hardie. Opposite me is one of Nye Bevan leading an NUM march, with a little explainer about the Fed superimposed on it.

Given my tendency to sink into mushily nostalgic hymns to our Socialist past, you’d be forgiven for assuming that I’m at home, taking a break from lecturing Mrs. W. about the dangers of bourgeois television series and avoiding the washing up again.

But no, these remaining scraps of our heritage are in Wetherspoons. I don’t know if Nostradamus had a specific prediction about this eventuality, but its certainly within his wheelhouse.

Down the docks, Plaid Cymru leader Rhun ap Iorwerth is speaking at the Norwegian Church. The trailed part of his speech is that Sir Keir Starmer is ‘disinterested’ in Wales. I wouldn’t take that too personally, as it’s becoming apparent that Sir Keir loses interest in things very easily.

He lost interest in nationalising our utilities as soon as he became leader of the Labour Party; capping bankers’ bonuses had him all excited for a while but, you know, whatever.

The £28 billion pledge to supercharge a green economy is now rusting in his back garden next to the BMX he got for Christmas.

Puzzling

The puzzling aspect to Labour’s abandonment of everything that tastes of Labour, is that nobody seems to be demanding these reversals.

The only institution in the country that isn’t wheezing its final breaths under the weight of Tory malfeasance is the Labour Party.

Whilst everything else is hacking off limbs for food, Labour is sailing serenely towards government on a sea of unprecedented poll results.

Until now, that is. Anybody following Labour Party pronouncements this week will have noticed a marked shift in the party’s attitude towards the conflict in Gaza.

Urgency

Previously content to nod sadly at the carnage whilst frantically mouthing, ‘I’m not Jeremy Corbyn,’ Labour figures have started to speak with portentous urgency about their support for a two-state solution.

The reason for this shift in tone, it turns out, is that polling suggests that Muslim voters are deserting the party in favour of pro-ceasefire independent candidates.

Can anybody think of another block of reliable Labour voters whose core values are being ignored by the party they have faithfully supported for generations?

As it stands, Labour is making no offer to Wales at all. Shadow Welsh Secretary Jo Stevens’ dismissal of devolving police powers sums up the attitude we can expect from the incoming government.

The party does not trust us to police ourselves, let alone take our place as a meaningful national entity within the UK. Gordon Brown’s proposed constitutional reforms have been binned with everything else that stands in the way of a landslide victory later this year.

Affront

In the Senedd, the proposed use of closed lists for expanded elections is an affront to democracy. Along with revelations about attempts to ‘stitch up’ the leadership election in favour of Vaughan Gething, this seems to come from a cartoon Wales in which government by closed-shop committee is tolerated.

It is as if the running of the nation has been handed over to the WRU. God help us all.

The political organisation demonstrated by disaffected Muslim voters in English cities is the only way to right the Labour ship for those who object to its current direction.

If the party will not work for our votes, then Wales must show it that it does not own them by right. Plaid Cymru are viable in some areas, independents would fare better in others.

Wales needs to become a collection of marginal seats, or else see its priorities steamrollered once again.


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Geoff Horton-Jones
Geoff Horton-Jones
24 days ago

Westminster has chained itself to a Two party English State with potentially disastrous consequences. Any opposition to this scenario can and is labelled as potential terrorism
this covers any aspiration by Welsh. Scottish or People of Northern Ireland for change.

.Look at America where a great Country can only offer the option of Biden or Trump

Reflect on Northern Ireland where to maintain the status quo one party murdered supporters of its opposition based on the policy that sectarianism kept the English army on the island thus ensuring that status quo

Mandi A
Mandi A
23 days ago

I think you will find there was violence on both sides, starting from the creation of the Carson’s Ulster Volunteers in 1912.

Blodwen Jones
Blodwen Jones
24 days ago

If, like me, you think that the starkest betrayal of the future is Starmer’s abandonment of any and all environmental pledges, and if you want to vote for a party that that been consistently and persistently calling for a ceasefire and the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza, then you should look at the Green Party.

Annibendod
Annibendod
24 days ago

Wales needs to become a country in which the majority vote Plaid Cymru and then we can put an end to this miserable Tory UK,

Jeff
Jeff
24 days ago

Need the Tory party out. I am prepared to peg my nose and vote labour to achieve this. Really is only one issue at the next GE. Remove the tory party and try to hammer it into financial oblivion. Or they are back for round 2 when labour fail. Then I can vote Plaid perhaps at the GE after the next one. But the Conservative Party is such an existential threat, that must be the directions for the next GE. Don’t waste a vote that will allow a Con to retain or gain a seat, that is chopping your nose… Read more »

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
24 days ago

The UK Labour party is scared to do anything that might lose it’s current polling advantage. Most people will probably vote for them at the next GE not because they offer something better but because they hate the Tories. Once the election is won I expect labour will open the door wide, however don’t expect anything more for Cymru – the party’s main concern will be for keeping those in England who voted for them on side.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
23 days ago

Sound advice…

Would you get in a life-boat with this person…

I see this as a three horse race with VG and Smiles in 2nd and 3rd place, 1st goes to the riderless horse…

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