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Opinion

Things can only get worse

14 Apr 2024 4 minute read
Things can only get worse

Ben Wildsmith

Nah, I’ve had enough. First off, a confession. In 1997, when I was pretty, malleable, and stupid, I spent some time on a campaign bus jumping off as it stopped at each street and playing music for the bemused residents.

Along with me there was a stiltwalker and a couple of other musicians who’d given their time to help Tony Blair end a lifetime of Tory injustice. Between the stops, the bus blared (!) out ‘Things Can Only Get Better’ and schoolkids on the open top deck waved Labour flags.

At one point we rounded a corner and encountered our Tory counterpoint, the sitting MP who was stood on the back of a flatbed truck shouting, ‘I believe in corporal and capital punishment!’ into a megaphone, on his own.

We laughed, the schoolkids jeered, and it was obvious that the Tory junta was done for. The joy was unbound and there was a sense of history in the making.

Who knows how many Iraqi children were blinking into life at that moment, unaware that thousands of miles away idiots like me were cheering on the agent of their destruction?

Here in Wales, were people expecting their promised devolution to be revealed as a hollow sham, as the Labour party sought to impose leaders upon its ‘assembly’ who commanded no respect in the country?

Did anybody at all expect the transition from Thatcherism to be lauded by Thatcher herself as her greatest achievement?

Empty platitudes

Well, here we are again. The only solution for NHS waiting lists, according to prospective Health Sec, Wes Streeting, is paying the private sector to take up the slack.

The only financial model for growth, according to prospective Chancellor, Rachel Reeves, is further austerity, and the instincts of our prospective Prime Minister, Sir Keir Starmer, told him that Israel was within its rights to shut off water and electricity to the Palestinian people.

So, the rich must profit from your illness, you must pay for the incompetence of government and Palestinian children must die because…just because.

Any criticism of this obscene policy offering from Labour is routinely condemned as enabling the incumbent Conservative regime.

At home, Vaughan Gething mouths empty platitudes about a ‘partner’ in Westminster but fails to explain what such a partnership will deliver for the people of Wales.

Moral compass

Today’s Labour Party is mobilised solely to capture the votes of Conservatives in England. It has no ideological core and, as recent developments in the Middle East have proven, no moral compass either.

Wales is considered to be in the bag for these people, so they have no incentive to align with our needs or values.

I live in Rhondda Fach, and as far as I can see, neither the last UK Labour government nor the current Welsh Labour administration has provided any meaningful opportunities for the communities decimated in the 1980s, quite deliberately, by Margaret Thatcher’s government. So, what exactly do we owe this party?

Plaid Cymru, step forward and offer a vision that is not in the shadow of the Labour Party.

I’m not interested in cultural matters, nor even independence in the short term, I am asking for something I can vote for that will provide my neighbours with a decent standard of living and a measure of dignity on the global stage.

Wrath

I am demanding an alternative.

Be clear, be bold, and be absolutely certain that what Starmer is serving up is not good enough for this wonderful country.

Labour will, beyond doubt, win the upcoming election so if its values do not align with those of the people here, we must have a vehicle for them.

Nobody in impoverished Wales should be voting for a party that seeks to entrench power and money in England.

If they are to govern us in this fashion it should be in the face of our wrath, and in opposition to the people we send to represent us.


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Ap Kenneth
Ap Kenneth
1 month ago

In 2017 (40%) Corbyn got a bigger Labour vote than Blair in 2005 (35.2%) by offering a social democratic vision, but it did not suceed. Vision does not always work as a large part of the electorate is blnded by Thatchers “housewife economics” and hence have no idea of modern economic theories regarding money creation, they are blinded by hate of the other, they do not believe science on climate change and do not want to hear it. They are blinded by our one eyed media. Starmer believes he needs a large number of those stupid, ignorant or non caring… Read more »

Annibendod
Annibendod
1 month ago
Reply to  Ap Kenneth

Starmerism will be a continuation of the last 317 years. He has positioned his party on the centre right. The price of which will be the tolerance of a little income redistribution. The UK establishment shall not have it’s apple cart upset. Labour will have its little turn on the throne. The UK establishment will set about preparing the Toraidhes or Conservative Reform or some such abomination for the next round of plunder. On and on we shall go. The people of the UK are either masochists or hopless ignoramuses. Imagine continuing to vote for these parties! But then, we’ve… Read more »

Sean Thompson
Sean Thompson
1 month ago
Reply to  Annibendod

In the words of Big Jim Larkin; “The great only appear so because we are on our knees. Let us arise.”

Ap Kenneth
Ap Kenneth
1 month ago
Reply to  Annibendod

I fear you are right and the current voter suppression eg voter ID is another part of the stop youngsters voting and keep the right wing in power.

adopted cardi
adopted cardi
1 month ago
Reply to  Ap Kenneth

well, Corbyn was villified by the viscious middle class establishment. And the people fell for it. The message and approach from his team was breath of fresh air, but at the same time a threat – not to the people, but the leaders. And the establishment media are still banging on. Still trashing the only alternative to what we have had to put up with for 45 years – following the Money god. Only a few hours ago on the radio Will Hutton was coming up with his same old Corbyn hating right wing ideology – such as Wales has… Read more »

Linda Jones
Linda Jones
1 month ago
Reply to  Ap Kenneth

Corbyn was probably the best Prime Minister we never had.

Blodwen Jones
Blodwen Jones
1 month ago

Ben – have you had a look at the Green Party manifesto? It might be your thing. Perhaps things can get better…

Craig Ab Iago
Craig Ab Iago
1 month ago

Don’t know who Ben is, but thank you for putting my thoughts down on paper.

christopher williams
christopher williams
1 month ago

anarchism – demand the impossible

Richard Davies
Richard Davies
1 month ago

Ben, you do yourself a disservice and are forgiven, you weren’t alone.

I remember those days in 1997, filled with optimism of change for the better. Blair had that opportunity, no-one could have predicted what was to happen and how he revealed himself to be a tory with a red rosette. He lied to us all and will never be forgiven.

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