by Julian Ruck
As the politicians return to Westminster, conference season beckons and thoughts turn to the impending bust-up with the unions on Ed’s plans to reform the union link.
As usual Welsh Labour turns its proverbial blind eye to what is happening in Westminster. It flees from London politics with a devotion that would shame an Elizabethan Jesuit trying to squeeze into a stately home priest-hole.
It continues to seek martyrdom in the face of modern politics and reality. It continues to plot, conspire and wallow in a paranoid heroism when any mention of real politiks is announced from Labour headquarters in London.
Lest we forget, back in June, a leaked report from the political director of Unite described the relationship with Carwyn’s Welsh Labour in these glowing terms,
“…we have relationships with the Welsh Assembly and its members, and with the first minister which would serve as [a] very satisfactory model for Westminster”
It seems 20 Assembly Members are affiliated to the union, with four in Carwyn Jones’ cabinet. Coincidentally, Unite and Welsh Labour share a headquarters on Cathedral Road in Cardiff. Now, what have I been saying about the Welsh “Crachach?”
So where does Welsh Labour stand on this most important of party reforms?
One can understand a certain squeamishness where out and out warfare with the unions is concerned, after all the trade union movement begat the Labour movement and so on, but we live in a different world from the swashbuckling days of Keir Hardie and the tragic Ramsay Macdonald.
Welsh Labour do not appear to understand this. Their preferred approach seems to be to bury their heads in the sand. We’ve heard not a peep from the Labour leadership in Wales on this issue. A quick look at the Welsh Labour website shows lots of press releases, nothing about backing the leader on union reform.
Welsh Labour believes it can rely on a Welsh industrial history of militancy and socialist anachronism. It can’t.
Today we have the social media generation, a generation that has little interest in ancient political wars and noble working class emancipation. They consume and they press buttons. They want houses and cash in their purses and back-pockets.
They want jobs and a lively future.
They do not want old Welsh Labour, with its memories of church halls, stuffed with the dusty blue collars of days gone by and a hatred of what is.
As I have said before, Welsh Labour should call itself by another name. It is not the Labour of Westminster and it is not the peoples’ Labour.
Julian Ruck is an author, columnist and freedom of information campaigner. He also makes contributions to both Welsh and national broadcasting and media