Letter from Wales: Last week’s Welsh Labour conference was an exercise in denial

by Julian Ruck

Ever since the last Prince of Wales lost his head back in the thirteenth century the Welsh have tended to feel somewhat persecuted by their English brothers, if not a trifle inferiority complexed. And Druid Carwyn is no exception, albeit that we are now in the twenty first century.

At the Welsh Labour conference last weekend he had a good old rant against the ‘Fleet Street’ press for attacking Wales and trashing its reputation, the horrible Tories also came in for some passionate English bashing too – a bit of shooting the messengers here if you ask me and hardly what one might call constructive and razor sharp politicking?

Of course, if there had been any political back bone and honesty he should have been asking conference: why is Wales taking such a battering in the national press??

Carwyn’s words of, “We’ve achieved a huge amount….we’ve delivered, and we will not allow another generation of our youth to be sold down the river,” left me utterly speechless.

To quote Hywel Williams, historian and columnist, on the Radio Wales’ Sunday Supplement (30.3.14) “Welsh health stats are appalling and Welsh education stats are appalling.” Mr Williams went on, “There is a political and administrative elite that is narrow in perspective and in particular is not prepared to recognise the nature of this socio-economic tragedy that Wales has on its hands…..an elite that is not a particularly clever one. The assumptions are Public Sector Wales and this is the problem.”

And what have I been writing about on Uncut for nearly a year now?

Wales has become a Crachach (Williams’‘elite’, I’m not as polite as he is) run backwater, determined on a course of self-destruction and run by an intellectually stunted if not agonisingly fatuous, xenophobic and mind-blowingly inept bunch of taxpayer gravy train junkies, intent on sending Wales back into a Welsh speaking bucolic nirvana with all the political acumen of a tea party on the Rock of Gibraltar.

Wales is dying, it has become a disaster zone, so let’s have the truth, the real truth, out on the table once and for all. Forget political nicety and clever politically correct diversions into Walt Disney fantasy.

Three generations of Crachach run administrative inertia, incompetence and an abject refusal to accept what is going on in the big wide world beyond the Severn Bridge, has turned Wales into a cheap but beautiful retirement home, nothing more nothing less.

There is also the somewhat unique political phenomenon that Carwyn is confronted with: He and his Cabinet are unable to blame any predecessors. Since 1999 Welsh Labour has been calling the shots and no-one else.

They are culpable for the terrible mess Wales is in, full stop.

Will the principality ever thrive? Will it ever flourish?

Certainly not in my lifetime and certainly not until some cosmopolitan, serious intellectual fervour and drastic change hits the Welsh administrative landscape.

The situation in Wales is not even political anymore. It isn’t about Tory v Labour combat.

It is about survival.

It is about having decent jobs.

It is about being a place where parents can have confidence in their children’s education.

It is about receiving lifesaving medical treatment when a chronic heart attack explodes in the body.

Until Wales ruthlessly dumps the Crachach, shifty jobs for the Welsh speaking boyos mentality, ancient laws of parochialism with its farcical Taffy Great Game of rugby club ruck (no pun intended) insularity of ‘Wales for the Welsh’ and deluded petty historical nostalgia, it will continue to debilitate; it will continue to die.

Time and time again my Letters have exposed everything that is wrong in Wales e.g. 6 billion of EU money leaving Wales worse off than it was before it received it. But the most disgraceful data of all must be the recent figures produced by the DWP (BBC Wales Report 12.3.14):

Child poverty in Wales is worse now than it was 10 years ago, with 14% being in ‘severe poverty’. 33% of children in Wales are in relative poverty, the highest in the UK outside London.

Wake up Wales, please wake up, otherwise it really will be too late!

PS Oh and before I go, beat this: When interviewed by the BBC last weekend, what do you think Mark Drakeford’s (Health)  solution for a failed Welsh NHS is?

Banning E-cigarettes and more public toilets!

Julian Ruck is a novelist, columnist and broadcaster. His latest novel “The Silver Songsters” (Pub. 18.4.14) is to be WH Smith’s book of the month in May

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18 Responses to “Letter from Wales: Last week’s Welsh Labour conference was an exercise in denial”

  1. Tafia says:

    The usual Ruck-Balls. This proves beyond all doubt what a Labour MP suggested – that he’s only allowed to blog on here as comedy content.

    The Welsh Assembly will remain either outright majority Labour or Labour as largest party in a Labour/Plaid coalition. More powers will be devolved from Westminster no matter which party wins the next Westminster General Election because all the main parties are committed to more devolution. The Labour Party in Wales is totally unassailable at all levels from council, through Assembly and on to Westminster and the only threat to it is Plaid Cymru. In fact, apart from Labour & Plaid what little support the other parties have in Wales is dropping like a stone. Even UKIP remain stubbornly static at around a lowly 5-7%.

  2. Rallan says:

    Don’t you people have a conscience? When are you going to stop worrying about the Labour Party brand and start worrying about the Welsh people? They put their trust in Labour out of traditional loyalty, and you are just letting it all go to hell. It’s obvious that Welsh Labour are screwing it up badly. This is your mess, it’s your responsibility to sort it out!

  3. Julian Ruck says:

    To Rallan,

    As you say, ‘traditional loyalty’ to Welsh Labour has always been the way in Wales, but if the Welsh stick to this ill thought out and it must be said, blind allegiance to a political framework that has so patently let them down, then frankly they only have themselves to blame for the sorry state that Wales now finds itself in.


  4. Rallan says:

    I see that this is the result of decades of unquestioning tribal voting for destructive idiots, but why isn’t the national Labour Party stepping in and banging heads together?

    I’m no fan of Labour, but surely even the current Labour Party can see the appalling mismanagement? Why are they not fixing this? Do they just not care?

  5. Tafia says:

    Contrary to Ruck’s ramblings and blatantly anti-Welsh hysteria, most people in the rest of the UK couldn’t give a toss about Wales and most people in Wales aren’t that bothered either. In fact most prefer living here to the thought of living in England.

  6. Tafia says:

    You also have to remember that Labour voters are more traditional left wing than theor England counter-parts and because there is also another radical left wing party – Plaid Cymru, then if Labour becomes more like it is in England they will lose votes to Plaid and as a result lose some marginals to the Conservatives.

    Ruck-Balls is obviously a tory and knows all this so his constant harping for London to do something about welsh Labour is probably in the hope that they will and thus the tories will win seats.

    He can’t seem to grasp fundementals – the Labour vote in Wales can only be seriously eroded by Plaid Cymru and London Labour is not going to allow that – so welsh Labour will continue as is, with the overwhelming support of the voters and the backing of London Labour.

    There’s only three ways you will break the grip of Labour in Wales Ruck-balls and that is devo-max, UK federation, or outright independence.

  7. Rallan says:

    Tafia, what the hell? Saying “most people in the rest of the UK couldn’t give a toss about Wales” is just dumb. Of course the rest of the UK cares, that’s why Welsh health service & education stats make the news! And did anyone suggest that Welsh people would or should prefer to live in England? Wales is obviously being mismanaged on an epic scale, and blind national pride isn’t going to fix that. Do you not care about the real-world consequences?

    I’m not suggesting that Wales should turn to England for help, or anything like that. I am simply saying that the UK Labour Party should get involved with Welsh Labour in order to get things back on track.

  8. Mr Akira Origami says:

    The Rocky Horror Political Show in Cardiff is fascinating and great entertainment. You cannot put a price on the comic value for Welsh tax payers that devolution has brought to Wales. Watching the Senate take a step to the left is hilarious!

    I am tired of the old joke:” put a red rosette on a donkey in Swansea and it will be voted in”…….Times have moved on: “put a red rosette on a Welsh Labour candidate and you will get enough donkeys to vote him.”

    “the thought of living in England”??? Since devolution most people in Wales don’t think much at all.

  9. Julian Ruck says:

    To Rallan,

    As you rightly point out, ‘The Welsh Question’ has indeed been receiving considerable coverage in the national press of late. Hardly as you say, due to a general lack of interest by UK citizens – it is they after all, who keep Wales afloat.

    Your point about ‘national pride’ is a valid one, as indeed are the insecure obsessions with Dylan Thomas and the Mabinogi, neither of which will extricate Wales from its present Third World Status in national and international affairs.

    You are further correct to argue that Westminster Labour should start getting its hands dirty – if it is any consolation, I can tell you that the Welsh problem is beginning to get noticed where it matters.


  10. Tafia says:

    Of course the rest of the UK cares, that’s why Welsh health service & education stats make the news!

    That is not true. What makes the news is not factually correct. The statistics in Wales are gathered using different criteria to England and thus are incomparable except as propaganda to feed half-wits (and Ruck-Balls).

    Incidentally, it has now come to light that English Health Trusts and Local Education Authorities don’t even compile data the same way even though they have the same rules – they are all interpreting them in a different way and as a result comparisons in England between differing areas are not accurate or reliable. But of course you being bright fellow knew that and were just playing Devil’s Advocate.

  11. Rallan says:

    Tafia, you’re being way too defensive. I absolutely loathe Labour but I have no axe to grind with Wales or the Welsh. I get my information on Welsh problems from the media & internet; if that’s all lies then fair enough but it seems unlikely. As far as I’m concerned Labour were elected and Labour is responsible.

    JR, I’ll never be a friend of Labour but I hope you guys can sort this out. The problems in Wales seem like they’ll have a major impact on peoples lives. I’m guessing that there are all sorts of factional aspects to this, but in the end there’s no excuse for letting a bad situation get worse and worse. Good luck and hurry up.

  12. Julian Ruck says:

    To Rallan,

    Thank you for the personal message.

    The antics of the Welsh ‘ruling elites’ have always been able to rely on a passive Welsh media and non-exposure beyond the Severn Bridge.

    Uncut has now at least exposed the awful situation that Wales now finds itself in, to a wider, more serious and national audience.


  13. Tafia says:

    to a wider, more serious and national audience.

    It has got nothing to do with the rest of the UK. Wales is devolved. Westminster cannot interfere in devolved matters and most MPs will no longer even comment on devolved matters.

    It suits Labour for Wales to be run the way it is as that is the only way of keeping it’s only threat – Plaid Cymru – under control. The tories have no interest as they perceive (quite correctly) their being no electoral mileage for them in Wales unless Plaid undermines Labour’s vote but are in a position, because they are unionist, of being unable to support Plaid publicly (although they do work with them in several areas at council level). The Lib Dems think the same way.

    You know this Ruck-Balls just as you know full well that Labour Wales takes it’s party orders directly from Party HQ in London and just as you know full well that people such as Carl Sergeant despite being an elected official in the Assembly takes his orders regarding his portfolio directly from Westminster and the same is true of other Assembly Ministers in some other portfolios – but I notice you aren’t complaining that Sergeant implements some of the strategy that you complain about because the Tories in Westminster have ordered him to..

  14. Tafia says:

    The real Julian Ruck. Detested, loathed, despised and mocked:-


  15. So ‘Tafia’, how would you address DAVID CAMERON’ s outrage at NHS – WALES on the front page of , WESTERN MAIL NEWSPAPER – today 12th April where he speaks of the , “life and death divide ‘ that Offa’s Dyke ” has become after years of a labour Administration in Wales?
    Get your head out of the sand and face facts.You other twats are in denial, and big-time.

    Wales is going down the toilet and fast ,as we are being ‘served’ by a second-rate ,self -serving political ‘elite’ : I use the word laughingly of course as the shambles that is WAG calling itself a, ‘government.

  16. uglyfatbloke says:

    Julian – if you think Labour in Wales are pretty naff, you should come to Scotland for a visit. Your tradition of incompetent and dishonest MPs and councillors is pathetic compared to ours. What Welsh politician can rival the sheer ignorance of Curran or or Baillie ? The emptyheadedness of Anas Sarwar? The condescension of Murphy or Curran? The bully that is Ian Davidson? What Welsh politician can offer the embarrassing racist self-loathing of Johann Lamont? Who can match the unadulterated patrician uselessness of Alistair Darling?
    Face facts; even when it comes to being crap, Welsh Labour really are n’t all that great.

  17. Julian Ruck says:

    To uglyfatbloke,

    I take your point.

    And some in Wales still want independence!


  18. uglyfatbloke says:

    Sad that we have come to such a state of affairs that I can honestly say ‘our idiots are more useless than your idiots’ without fear of contradiction.
    What worries me is that few people in the party seem to think there is any danger in the triumph of the less-than-mediocre, but as things stand at the moment, a GE would easily see the defeat of 20 or more Scottish Labour MPs. Hopefully it would be the idiots that discovered a desire to ‘spend more time with their family’ but it is n’t going to help Ed get into No. 10.

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