Letter from Wales: Welsh Labour is damaging Ed

by Julian Ruck

The search lights of accountability and scrutiny will always make Welsh Labour dive for the blacked out sanctuary of its pleasure cruisers bobbing up and down in Cardiff Bay. For 98 years Welsh Labour has been able to wallow in a take for granted mandate that enjoys the unchallenged absolutism of a House of Saud princeling.

Almost every day in Wales, some political scandal or other hits the Welsh headlines, be it financial, be it authoritarian or be it just plain blazing incompetence. Wales has one of the lowest performing economies in Europe, it’s education system is cheating its young folk on a grand scale and awarding them qualifications that would shame a Zimbabwean Sunday school class and not to mention that only this week the Wales Audit Office has announced that the Welsh government has blundered (yet again!) over its financial projections on reduced student fees resulting in its populist flagship now being nothing better than a clapped out rowing boat.

And of course, its health service is worse than England’s on a good day – which really is saying something!

And what does First Minister Carwyn Jones say at the September Labour conference? That he leads a government that is ‘a living, breathing example” of what the party can achieve in in power!! How on earth Ed kept a straight face on hearing this startlingly complacent, Chamberlain letter waving delusion and swansong of profound idiocy is utterly beyond the keyboard of this humble Uncut scribbler.

The question then is this: Can Ed rely on the historical Welsh Labour mandates of the past? Hegel remarked that ‘governments never learn from history, or act on principles derived from it.’ The lessons of Welsh political history would instruct Ed to take the Labour vote for granted in Wales thus proving Hegel wrong but since when, like economic forecasts, do philosophical meanderings always get things right?

There is a view that our young are politically indifferent. This may well be true up to a point, but they are still a force to be reckoned with – technological whizz and bangs notwithstanding –  and cannot be ignored. Welsh Labour can no longer rely on the generational ‘My dad voted Labour so I’m going to do the same,’ or indeed the oft quoted ‘Stick a Labour donkey up in Swansea and it will still get the vote.’

There is a change and the Welsh are none too keen on the distinction between Westminster Labour and Cardiff Labour

It might not employ the ideological niceties of Labour activism and grass roots but many in the Welsh boozers, coffee shops, streets and even the sheep infested hills have had enough of Carwyn’s devolved divine right to ruin. I don’t hear much of UKIP deliverance, I don’t hear much of Tory/Liberal escalation but I often hear ‘That bloody Assembly should have a bomb dropped on it, with Labour in it!’

Where these voters will go I’m not so sure. I doubt it will be Plaid Cymru although firebrand Leanne Wood can turn a vote or two; there won’t be a sudden Tory/Liberal occupation but I am certain of one thing, the Welsh are moving more to the middle ground, the younger generation of voters are unmoved by the glory days of Gaitskell’s ‘fight, fight and fight again’ and like everyone else they are simply worried about who is going to sort out the economy and create some decent jobs.

And from what I hear, they sure as hell don’t believe Carwyn Jones is up to the challenge.

A Welsh coalition with Labour banished to a Snowdonian hinterland? Not perhaps as crazy as it sounds.

Reign in Carwyn’s Labour Ed, because he is losing you votes. Wales might be small but it still counts at the ballot box.

PS My grandmother was married to D L Mort MP now long gone, but I still remember her chants of ‘fight, fight and fight again!’ whilst she puffed on a fag and swigged a whisky or two. Reckoned Callaghan tried it on in a lift in the Savoy too! She was a good looking woman in her day, so who knows?

Julian Ruck is an author, journalist and columnist. He also makes contributions to both Welsh and national broadcasting and media. 


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34 Responses to “Letter from Wales: Welsh Labour is damaging Ed”

  1. Mario Dunn says:

    This may all be true – or not.

    What the political elite need to grasp is the concept of devolution. This ridiculous line that “Labour/NHS is crap in Wales – it’s all Ed Miliband’s fault” is a nonsense. Ed M is responsible for the Welsh Labour MPs in Westminster. Assembly Members are elected in Wales by and for the Welsh. It would be a terrible u-turn on the principal of devolution if the national party tried to intervene on devolved policy and day to day issues. Obviously the same applies in Scotland – if not more so.

    If Welsh Labour chooses to adopt 1970s solutions to their current problems – let them. They will be held accountable for it. But let’s not be so patronising, imperialist even to suggest that the solution is for London to intervene.

    Of course if you accept devolution you must accept that national politicians are not accountable for what happens in devolved administrations.

    I notice no one would dare write in similar terms about Northern Ireland.

  2. swatantra says:

    This is exactly how the Roman Empire collapsed. And the Weimer Republic.
    The seeds of decadence are sown within.
    The only political axiom that students should learn is that : Everything comes at a cost. And Everything has a price tag on it. And in the end we all end up paying for it.
    Whether its Education or Antisocial Behaviour, or anything else.
    Well, thats 3 axioms.

  3. Tafia says:

    Mario, your line “Assembly Members are elected in Wales by and for the Welsh.” is factually incorrect. Everyone living in Wales registered to vote votes in Assembly elections – Welsh, English, Scots, Northern Irish, other EU nationals. It is not something that just the welsh vote in.

    In fact it’s very interesting to look at demographics – for instance the Assemby by-election that took place on Ynys Mon in August is really eye-opening as to how reality differs from perception. It was a very good turn-out. Plaid romped it massively increasing their vote share and Labour’s vote fell. What was interesting was that many non-welsh voted Plaid – particularly young voters.

  4. Mr Akira Origami says:

    A vignette of Mark Drakeford the man of the people…

    Mark Drakeford was the Labour councillor South Glamorgan County Council from 1985 – 1993 for Pontcanna, specialising in education issues, including Welsh medium education.
    Between 2000 and 2010 he worked as the Cabinet’s health and social policy adviser at the Welsh Assembly Government , and was latterly head of the First Minister’s political office during Rhodri Morgan’s tenure as First Minister. Drakeford entered the National Assembly when he won the Cardiff West seat in May 2011, succeeding Rhodri Morgan. Shortly after his election, he became Chair of the Assembly’s Health and Social Care Committee, as well as the Chair of the All-Wales Programme Monitoring Committee for European funds.
    Drakeford was appointed Minister for Health and Social Services following a cabinet reshuffle on March 14th, 2013.

    Welsh government reshuffle: Mark Drakeford new health minister

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-21789790

    The Conservatives’ assembly leader, Andrew RT Davies, said: “This could be a turning point for the Welsh NHS if the new health minister is willing to make an honest assessment of his predecessor’s failings and correct them at the earliest possible opportunity.”
    Liberal Democrat AM Peter Black said: “Wales deserves better. Sadly today’s announcement is just the same old faces with the same old failing policies.”

    Plaid Cymru AM Lindsay Whittle said: “It’s all very well moving politicians, but it’s the policies that you really have to reconsider and there is no evidence that there is going to be a reconsideration of the policies of (hospital) reconfiguration. That’s what the people of Wales want.”

    There are calls for a public inquiry how will the new Minister respond?

    No public inquiry at crisis-hit University Hospital of Wales, says Health Minister Mark Drakeford

    http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/no-public-inquiry-crisis-hit-university-5391403

    But Mark Drakeford is the man for the job and asks the public for some input……

    “I want the contribution of patients and staff.”

    “I want your views to count, your views will be listened to carefully and acted upon when that is important.”

    Mark Drakeford below shows he is a man of the people. ( In his video is he showing signs that he is suffering from Keith Davies Syndrome? )

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uth1fFdi9JI

    The man of the people makes another video.

    Welsh government criticised over health debate no-show

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-24341687

    The people listen to Mark Drakeford and they want to give him their views………

    Health minister Mark Drakeford to face High Court challenge over Hywel Dda downgrade

    http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/health-minister-mark-drakeford-face-6300332

    Is Mark Drakeford really the man of the people? The jury is out…….

  5. Mr Akira Origami says:

    http://www.dailypost.co.uk/business/business-news/welsh-speakers-more-likely-highly-6325010

    According to Tafia there are no English medium schools in North Wales, so the people who don’t go to school would only speak English……

  6. Mr Akira Origami says:

    Maybe a “terrible u-turn” could be a vote catcher for the beleaguered “National” Labour Party?

    If Scotland decide to leave the UKGB, the Labour Party will have egg on it’s face and be seen as a political entity that stands for tribalism. Democracy is an ongoing system that the people of Britain should cherish and uphold.

    Devolution didn’t mean a split in the Labour party or are we now talking about two different entities?

    Ed may lose the Unions but “National” Labour seems to have already lost the Labour Party in Wales……..

    What else could it lose?

  7. john abell says:

    Reading sentences composed by Julian, one wonders if this is a spoof column. Here are some examples;

    ‘How on earth Ed kept a straight face on hearing this startlingly complacent, Chamberlain letter waving delusion and swansong of profound idiocy is utterly beyond the keyboard of this humble Uncut scribbler.’

    It might not employ the ideological niceties of Labour activism and grass roots but many in the Welsh boozers, coffee shops, streets and even the sheep infested hills have had enough of Carwyn’s devolved divine right to ruin. I don’t hear much of UKIP deliverance, I don’t hear much of Tory/Liberal escalation but I often hear ‘That bloody Assembly should have a bomb dropped on it, with Labour in it!’

    The search lights of accountability and scrutiny will always make Welsh Labour dive for the blacked out sanctuary of its pleasure cruisers bobbing up and down in Cardiff Bay. For 98 years Welsh Labour has been able to wallow in a take for granted mandate that enjoys the unchallenged absolutism of a House of Saud princeling.

    I have to ask, what point is this article making, and is it a joke?

  8. Tafia says:

    Origami – I never said there were no English medium schools in North Wales – that is a blatant lie and the usual worthless bilge you come out with.

    The western part of North Wales – Gwynedd & Ynys Mon – have mostly welsh medium Primary schools but there are still some English ones. High schools are rapidly catching up as are 6th forms. The rest of Wales is also slowly catching up.

    In fact one area further east along the North Wales coast, around St Asaph – which has, along with most of the eastern part of North Wales, a very high English and other non-Welsh population, the majority of the parents have asked that the process be accelerated because they fear that the 5,000 houses programmed to be built there (and not needed) are little more than dormitory accommodation for Chester & the Wirral and the parents see accelerating the language conversion as a means of discouraging more incomers.

  9. To Taffia,

    ‘……as a means of discouraging more incomers.’ A hint of classic North Walian xenophobia here perhaps?

    Last I heard, we all live in a United Kingdom?

    JR

  10. To Taffia,

    PS You may want to view my last personal blog post. I suspect you will find it interesting if nothing else – you may even agree with me!

    JR

  11. John.

    My favourite ‘sentence’ is this….

    “Wales has one of the lowest performing economies in Europe, it’s education system is cheating its young folk on a grand scale and awarding them qualifications that would shame a Zimbabwean Sunday school class and not to mention that only this week the Wales Audit Office has announced that the Welsh government has blundered (yet again!) over its financial projections on reduced student fees resulting in its populist flagship now being nothing better than a clapped out rowing boat.”

    1. There should be a full stop after Europe.

    2. “it’s education system is cheating its young folk on a grand scale” would appear to suggest it’s cheating its old folk on a grand scale too when it comes to the use of apostrophes.

    3. Generally speaking it’s not a good idea to write ‘not to mention’ and then mention something.

    4. I’m not sure Sunday school classes in Zimbabwe or anywhere else are much about educational qualifications.

    5. The criticism of the Welsh Audit Office is that the Welsh government has been over-generous in student fee provision, not ‘cheating its young folk on a grand scale’.

    Those things apart it seems OK!

  12. Robert says:

    Mario is right of course. The devolved government is a matter for the people living in Wales. They can vote for someone else if they don’t like the Labour government. I am Welsh but live in London incidentally.

  13. Mr Akira Origami says:

    Judges said the decision not to award the chair was disappointing…

    In a statement, the eisteddfod said that it had been an “interesting competition” and the three adjudicators had discussed the work for many weeks.

    “The disappointment this year is that the entries – for whatever reason – have been sent without adequate care being taken to iron out the last few glitches,” it said in a statement.

    Dafydd ap Huw went on to say: “Those things apart it seems OK!”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-23638996

    There are rumours in the Senate that Dafydd ap Huw is now set to become the new English Language Commissioner.

    Dafydd ap Huw has recently relinquished his post as chairman of the Anti-Immigration Committee for North Wales.

  14. Mr Akira Origami says:

    “Ed Miliband hails Carwyn Jones’ government in Llandudno speech”…..

    http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/ed-miliband-hails-carwyn-jones-2513311

  15. Mr Akira Origami says:

    “We have a great deal to learn from the great things that Carwyn and his government are doing.”

    “You are going to see a lot more of us (the shadow cabinet) in Wales.”

    Does Ed think he is going to have a lot of time on his hands?

  16. Mr Akira Origami says:

    …Carwyn is now distancing himself from Ed. There are rumours that Ed was spotted outside a Gwynedd estate agent in North Wales……

  17. Mr Akira Origami says:

    Has Ed become bitter over Carwyn ditching National Labour Party Policy?

    Maybe if he convinces National Labour to take up Carwynism they could be back in power at the next election!

    No!….Ed is his own man….it’s time for Millibandism, it’s now or never!

    But what is it???

    Ed digs deep and is finally inspired……………………….Mywayism!!!!!

    Ed plans for the next Welsh Labour Party Conference……….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDyb_alTkMQ

  18. Tafia says:

    Julian

    To Taffia,

    ‘……as a means of discouraging more incomers.’ A hint of classic North Walian xenophobia here perhaps?

    Last I heard, we all live in a United Kingdom?

    For someone who claims to be so in touch with welsh politics you continually fall falt on your arse. One gets the impression that firstly you didn’t know about this and secondly didn’t know it was the non-Welsh incomers (mostly English) already there that are driving it. Remarkable.

    And we don;t live in a United Kingdom at all – that is a grossly immature and false claim to make and believed only by the truly simple. Devolution has (thank God) put paid to that.

  19. john abell says:

    Tafia, when Julian writes;

    ‘Last I heard, we all live in a United Kingdom?’

    He does reveal how politically naive he is, not understanding anything outside his local pub.

    There is a hugely important debate going on north of England’s border, but Julian seems not to have heard of it.

  20. Mr Akira Origami says:

    One theory of why the notable grammarian David Hewson frequents this site and does not engage in political debate ….

    http://yorkshiredevolutionmovementt.wordpress.com/page/2/

    Is he a closet supporter of the Yorkshire Devolution League?

  21. john abell says:

    I doubt IG, Mr origami, and why do you bother posting such erroneous crap that has nothing to do with anything that’s being said? Devolution is a good thing, would you rather be ruled by Cameron and osborne ? I certainly wouldn’t.

  22. Mr Akira Origami says:

    Mr Abell

    You seem to have some difficulty in understanding English…….you say: “I have to ask, what point is this article making, and is it a joke?”

    The point of the article is”Welsh Labour is damaging Ed.”

    PS Are you a political asylum seeker in Wales and will you be going back across “the border” when the Osbornista Junta is overthrown?

    Personally I would agree with the article.

    Firstly….’The problem with Carwynism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.

    Secondly…..The Cymraeg lanugage driven economy is doomed to fail in a free lingual market…..and when reality sets in.

    Oh yes, the joke? The joke is that the National Labour Party has a problem getting their leader elected. The problem being exacerbated by Ed making statements such as: “We have a great deal to learn from the great things that Carwyn and his government are doing.”

  23. dave rodway says:

    Dear me, these articles get no better, and all you seem to attract is the nutty comments of Mr Origami, and anti-Welsh obsessive.
    Can’t you do better than this drivel?

  24. Owain ap Arddedig says:

    Good description of Mark Drakeford. I watched the tv debate, disgusting, no Labour representative turned up from WAG. What do these people get paid for?

  25. dave rodway says:

    But Messrs Ruck and Origami: Carwyn Jones doesn’t seem to have any trouble getting elected, as the polls show, and if you think that people in the UK as a whole are looking at Carwyn and thinking ‘I won’t vote Labour in elections because of Welsh Labour’, you’re crackers.
    Every opinion poll suggests that Carwyn Jones’s Labour is going to win outright (as it did in the last election) and that the tories and the Lib Dems are going to lose seats big-time in the next Assembly election.
    Ruck’s right-wing minority-bashing tosh is embarrassing.

  26. Mr Akira Origami says:

    Ed must now surely demand a devolved Assembly for England. Carwyn has shown the way in devolution.

    The English people must demand an Assembly if they are to be a part of the UK.

    The English people must fight for equality! The English people must fight for an Assembly! The English people must fight to see their hard earned money benefit the English people! Carwyn has shown how to stand up for your nation. The English are an impotent nation until they have an English Assembly!

    Give English AMs a voice, they too could do great things……

  27. john abell says:

    Mr origami, what is a free lingual market? I have never heard of such an expression, so thought I’d better ask you.

    You say you agree with the ‘article’, but it is so badly written as to be incoherent. Is most of the literature you read this bad, as it would help explain your crudeness?

    When you write of Carwyn’s labour and debt, I find it bizarre that you seem to think that England is in a better situation, when they’re in fact borrowing hugely and more per capita than us.

    The point of the article is not ‘Welsh Labour is damaging Ed’. Ed who, Balls or Milliband? The point of the article is I am Julian Ruck, Wales is worse than anywhere else, I am going to write an incoherent rant week on week and let my barely literate friend, mr origami, relentlessly comment with totally erroneous links. Daft.

  28. Mr Akira Origami says:

    Quote from Tim Mongomerie’s article last Thursday….

    “I would locate this English Parliament in Manchester, Sheffield of Leeds.It would force a London- centred and political and media class to think more about the North and the regions. I’d build a proper parliament as a home of English self rule.”

    It may quell the Yorkshire Devolution League.

  29. @ David Hewson
    Considering your interest in Nordic noir as well as all things Welsh I wondered whether to took the trouble to watch the Welsh noir – HINTERLAND Dir./Prod. Ed Thomas with Richard Harrington that’s been going out on Sunday night , and sub titled .
    It that will have a national showing next year.
    G K B

  30. dave says:

    Labour UNcut – I do not understand why you publish, as a “Letter from Wales”, stuff that is badly-written, inaccurate, in at least one case plagiarised, by a man who hates Wales, has made bigoted comments about Welsh speakers, hates devolution, hates Labour, and is a right-wing vanity-publishing clown who wastes police time and taxpayers’ money.

  31. Mr Akira Origami says:

    “they’re in fact borrowing hugely and more per capita than us.”

    Welcome to Wales Mr Abell. I am now assuming you have no intention of going back over “the border”.

    Perhaps the money we get from the Barnett Formula should have some interest rate fixed to it?…….just to make sure the money is spent wisely by the Welsh Government.

    It is nice the English folk generously give us this freebie. At some point they might ask the question why? If the English had an Assembly they might demand the money be directed towards the North-East?

  32. dave says:

    MR Origami: one third of the population of Wales is English, and about 70% of that one third is either retired or without work. One thing’s for sure: however much Wales ‘costs’ , a pretty big portion of its economic inactivity, joblessness, use of free prescriptions, bus passes, healhthcare and other financial burdens go on English people.
    This is why your obsession with ‘The English’ give us is a nonsense.

  33. Mr Akira Origami says:

    Good point dave. That is certainly a high percentage! The English community in Wales definitely needs a voice. Minorities have always been catered for in Wales. It is surely time for an English commissioner at the Assembly in Cardiff Bay.

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