Something is going very deeply wrong for Labour

Wales is not becoming more Welsh or more left wing politically, it is becoming more centrist, says David Taylor.

“Clearly it was not the result we were hoping for last night, and I will be playing a full part in building up our party for the upcoming elections.”

This was the rather stock phrase response from Carwyn Jones as he reflected on the General Election result in Wales. He went on to emphasise that Labour remained Wales’ largest party. Both of these statements don’t really suggest that a deep analysis is happening of quite where Labour went wrong in Wales. Because, make no bones about it, something is going very deeply wrong.

Just look at the chasm between the hard numbers and the spin Labour is putting on them. The paltry 1% increase in Labour’s vote in Wales needs to be set in the context of the low base of 2010 and shows no real progress. Further, the win from the Liberal Democrats in Cardiff Central was replicated in fifty other seats across the UK. They are just comfort blankets.

The real results Labour needs to focus on are the abject failure to win a single seat from the Conservatives in Wales, which wasn’t the case in half the regions of England. Even more devastatingly, of the nine seats across the UK lost by Labour to the Conservatives, two of these were in Wales. Gifting the Tories their highest number of MPs in Wales for 32 years.

My real fear is that Labour – or rather Welsh Labour – will learn all the wrong lessons from this defeat. When looking for answers, Carwyn needs to bear a few truths in mind. Firstly, Wales is rooted in the political centre ground part of the UK. The campaign fought here was even more traditionalist in tone than in England, abandoning Middle Wales’ – which is aspirational and not tribally loyal to Labour – presumably in the mistaken belief that was needed to counter the threat from Plaid. Well, that threat was false. Plaid have proven yet again that they can’t win a round of rummy in Wales even when they get dealt all the right cards.

Further, because of the weakness of Plaid, it is a fatal mistake to look at Wales through the prism of Scotland. What happened there is totally different. Wales is not becoming more Welsh or more left wing politically, it is becoming more centrist. Or rather, it is reaffirming itself as a centre ground nation, because that is where it has always been. The Conservatives understood that, and that’s where they positioned their campaign and their resources.

There is also the issue of leadership. This disaster was not just Ed Miliband’s fault. The campaign was badly led in Wales. The Welsh Labour leadership too blinkered in how it talks about business, talks about where people choose to get their news, and talks about an austerity agenda as if everything – absolutely everything – is the fault of funding cuts.

The First Minister can stand up in Assembly every week and blame the UK Government for all of Wales’s woes. It’s an easy line but it doesn’t work anymore. Over five years it has become dull and threadbare, and in this election the voters saw through it.

It is Labour that runs the Welsh Government. It is Labour that runs the majority of Welsh local authorities. And the Conservatives on a UK level successfully exploited many people’s unhappiness with those Labour run services at this election.

Quite simply, Labour did worse in Wales than parts of England because they are in government in Wales and that government sometimes seems detached from reality, struggling to modernise, lacking in steam or ideas, and unable to accept when it gets things wrong. Better leadership and better political responsibility are needed before that lesson is even considered let alone learnt.

This is the first time the Conservatives have won the Gower since Labour became a real political force over a century ago. They did that – and so much else – because they set out a clear identity in the centre ground and showed they were both better listeners and better leaders in 2015. That’s what Welsh Labour really needs to reflect on.

David Taylor is a former Labour Special Adviser

44 thoughts on “Something is going very deeply wrong for Labour

  1. David Taylor’s analysis should be widely read and heeded in Labour, though I doubt whether it will be. As well as the factors he mentions, the leadership bubble in London seems not to have recognised realities on the ground. So Gower was not considered to be a marginal seat despite the fact of a retiring MP, boundary adjustment, individual voter registration; the warning signs were there but there was no material support from outside the constituency. Further evidence of the bubble effect was the bombarding from the centre of those who had already already contributed multiple times and were out working with further requests for cash and exhortations to give more time. Labour’s problems are both national and regional. Nevertheless, we should note that there were gains in the English cities which might be instructive while not precluding a wholesale reevaluation of what it might mean to be a Labour Party in the Tory wilderness of the early 21st century.

  2. Just to be clear, there was considerable assistance from both Swansea constituencies. I meant that there was nothing from outside the Swansea and Gower constituencies.

  3. I think your being unfair & disloyal to Carwyn Jones. Labour did fine, the largest party, held on to Môn, took Lib dem seat in Carduff sure few seats could have gone better but overall it’s been a brilliant result for Labour in the election.

  4. The creation of the Assembly in 1999 was supposed to ‘cement’ the will of welsh people in a nationalist/socialist country,however it hasn’t quite turned out as intended.The last two leaders,i.e Rhodri Morgan and Carwyn Jones were determined to create clear ‘red water’ from a)New labour and b)any right wing government in Westminster,but also create suitable conditions for the welsh speaking ‘elite’ to dominate and particularly in BBC Wales/S4C.When you realise the in-built advantages to Labour in Wales due to the structural imbalances in the economy,relative poverty in post industrial areas,media support in very subtle ways,then their decline is even more surprising,or perhaps not so if looked at in a serious manner.

    The ‘dance of death’ between Llafur and Plaid Cymru is a mirage as they are combined in hatred of any right wing government at Westminster and accusing Conservatives of wanting to send working class children back up the chimneys and deny them educational opportunities,whilst ordinary people like myself can see its a ‘load of rubbish’.

    It is also my opinion that besides there being a lot of ‘shy’ CP supporters in Wales,there is also a vast amount of ‘shy’ people totally opposed to the ‘welshification’ process,and imposition of welsh language on an English language only majority.The only real way they can express their views is through the ‘ballot box’,particularly as BBC Wales is firmly in the nationalist/socialist ‘gang’ and delights in use of terminology of ‘over the border’.Recently I heard on of their totally ‘immature’ presenters refer to the border in north east wales as being POROUS,so there is no hope!!.It is accepted that the economic structure of wales is very poor due to the death of coal and heavy industry,and whether liking it or not without embracing competitive capitalism there is no hope at all.

    The Labour Party has held the power of public services since 1999,through the ‘boom’ year,and recently necessary reductions in public expenditure,however no fundamental changes made in structures and service delivery.Driving around the greater Bridgend area it is like the third world with uncut grass verges/litter and any visitor would think ‘what a dump’,whilst growth of quangos like Welsh Language Commissioner et etc continues at pace. The votes in the a)non welsh heartland,b)old valley areas indicate clearly that the people are much more like similar areas in England than the Labour Party would wish,so if they do not change there is no long term future for that party.

  5. No mention of the massive influx of English people from mainly Tory areas of England. These people are always unlikely to vote Plaid or Labour but top up either the Lib Dem or Conservative vote. Peter Hain suggested a number of years ago that Labour align with these people but how? Many are vehemently anti – Labour and anti – Welsh when they come to Wales and would not align with Labour or Plaid.

  6. Let’s face it for the senior team in Welsh Labour, theirs is the best paid job they are ever going to get. They are at the top of their pay scale and about to get a large pay rise which will nicely help their pensions which must be firmly in their sights. Don’t expect anybody to throw themselves on their swords any time soon!

  7. @David Taylor
    “Wales is not becoming more Welsh or more left wing politically, it is becoming more centrist.”

    You introduce the idea that Wales is not becoming more left wing and deduce that Wales is therefore becoming more centralist.
    You introduce the idea of Wales not becoming more Welsh and let it hang there.
    Is that because you have a problem stating that Wales is therefore becoming more English/ like England.

  8. Welsh Labour will doubtless have an enquiry,but here in Llanelli, we run a very successful campaign. We have a hardworking MP,who campaigns all year round,a professional campaign team,and plenty of volunteers.when I came across voters reluctant to vote Labour, they could always be persuaded to vote for Nia.

  9. To Howell Morgan – there’s only one language that’s been imposed on the majority of this country and that’s english. The country has seen disastrous immigration. Now most of the industries have gone, we’re left with monoglot rotting valleys communities, retirees who have no interest in wales who also bring their political vote, no goverment that’s fighting for wales and a weak confused public. This has now become the majority.

    Middle england has rejected multiculturalism and those people are moving to wales and creating their own little political paradise.
    You sir, bring great shame on the morgan name.
    It’s this imperial attitude that has seen wales slowly become a very poor imitation of england. When judgement day comes, only then will you realise what you’ve done to your country.

  10. David Taylor of course has always worked very hard to eradicate the welshness of Wales and therefore its no surprise that he gleefully records this undeniable fact

    But his analysis is wrong. The Labour party in Wales, faced by two very strong Nationalist Countries of the UK, Scotland and England, needs to find a welsh nationalist narrative pronto, if they have any hope of defending Wales from the ideologically and English nationalist driven agenda of the conservatives

  11. Good article, but fails to mention the indifference that Labour in Cardiff show to the middle of Wales which is shown probably best by and

    but of course we should not draw conclusions, should we. What happens if we map quality of delivery of services like transport, health, education, …. in the same way?

  12. It was Carwyn wot lost it! If there is one headline that needs to be read this week then that is it. We have had a year of the Tory party and the Tory press comparing the failure of Labour policy in Wales in the NHS and Education with the “success” of Conservative policy in England.

    It’s not just that we unexpectedly lost 3 Welsh seats to the Tories, we, Welsh Labour and the quiescent electorate of Wales, lost Labour the GE in the UK as a whole.

    How on earth did we get here? Easy, our government and our people, once given a degree of independence to run their own affairs promptly threw all logic out of the window and approached every policy area with a view to showing just how different, Independent and above all “Welsh” we were. We have watched a decade long orgy of separation and Nation building accompanied by endless sneering, whining and worship of our “victim” status, it has become axiomatic that nothing that England did could be done in Wales because we are so different from them to the East and we do things the Welsh way.

    There is one problem with this way of governing; it supposes that everything that England does, in an effort to improve the lot of their people, is actually the wrong solution to their problems. In fact a lot of quite sensible policy measures have been enacted in England while we were speeding off in a different direction. We were incapable of picking out the wheat from the chaff and adopting “what worked” because it didn’t have the “Welsh stamp of approval.”

    So are we so very different to the English? Look at the Welsh opinion polls and the outcome of the GE. It’s a given that the history of Wales makes it inclined towards the Labour party but how much more have we decided to support different parties since the GE in 2010?
    Libdems? 16% deserted them in England and 14% in Wales. Green support in England was up +3.2% but in eco aware Wales support was up only 2.1%, perhaps the Green/Plaid alliance was in play in some areas (?). Of the minor parties Plaid increased their vote by 0.8% and if they have temporarily benefited from Green votes, Plaid probably hasn’t improved at all. Of the three major parties in Wales UKIP improved their vote by 10.7% in England and by 11.2% in Wales so that UKIP in both England and Wales is supported by 14% of the electorate. The Labour vote hardly moved from 2010 in Wales (0.8%) but improved by 3.6% in England. If you take out the voters who are voting the way that they always have (and their parents before them), Welsh people are less persuaded by Labour in 2015 than English voters and with good cause… we live with the Assembly farce.

    That leaves the Conservatives who, with a gain of 1.1% held Cardiff North and took 3 Labour seats. Next year Labour will lose AMs and form a coalition with Plaid, who will also lose AMs. For this, Labour will make this concession….they will move Wales away from the UK and towards an independence that less than 10% of the population wants and they will bring in laws to make Welsh compulsory in more levels of our lives.

  13. Little to disagree with in this analysis – hopefully Llafur won’t (can’t!) take a blind bit of notice and will finally get what they deserve in 2016… The polls showed that the 2 policy areas of major concern in Wales were health and education – both devolved Llafur failures which should come back to haunt them in 2016. Bring it on!

    In case you haven’t noticed, in 38 of the 40 seats in Wales UKIP had the highest +ve percentage increases. The 2 exceptions were Cardiff Central (wherever that is?) which showed +11.2% for Llafur as the Lib-Dems collapsed and Arfon which unbelievably showed +8.0% for Plaid but even in such a lost cause constituency UKIP managed +5.9% as Llafur snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in a Plaid marginal!

    In 2016 the Assembly should look a fair bit different if the Tory vote holds up and the d’Hondt List seats count back in a fairish way for UKIP. The d’Hondt system still favours the bigger parties because the lower threshold seems to be in the 6-8% region but UKIP should be able to clear that in all the List regions.

    The next lesson Labour probably hasn’t learned is that the election is over and that sending in the Union attack dogs to try and destabilise an elected Tory government probably won’t go down very well with most voters either. It remains to be seen whether the new Labour leader is functionally Lutfur Rahman supporting Len McCluskey or an elected Labour MP!

    Either way, maybe Carwyn Jones should start designing himself a bi-lingual ‘Ed stone’…

  14. I am curious to know what role or influence social media has played in the election. My impression is that Plaid Cymru has a very effective team well skilled in websites, facebook, twitter and so on and they have been all over Gordon Brown’s ‘websphere’ like a rash to quote Andrew Neil. However, all this frenetic online activity, possibly hoping to emulate the US way of doing things, has not translated into anything politically tangible – apart from some increased visibility amongst political anoraks (who are always on Twitter) and those who follow this blog. Is it because it is much cheaper to campaign online than on the ground – which is understandable. The electorate just isn’t logged into them or can’t find their url’s.
    It seems that the Tories placed less reliance on their virtual activity and maybe ran a better old fashioned ‘ground’ war more suited to the Welsh electorate. As for Labour it just seems confusing. They were ‘laboured’ online, naive and unimaginative in their responses to concerted vicious attacks from well read right wing blogs like Guido Fawkes and of course the UK print media. Labour’s media strategists have a very difficult task ahead of them.
    The donkey with the red rosette needs to learn to use a keyboard?

  15. @Phil Thanks for nice comments,however pretty sure my parents who were ‘salt of the earth’ working class people in a totally anglicised area,i.e Bridgend would have agreed with my views on current structures in welsh life. I cannot be held responsible for world wide success of the English language which was bound to have detrimental impact on the welsh language. its called the facts of life,and we must adjust to REALITY. The problem with welsh nationalists is that if asked who they were asked which Folk Singers had the greatest impact on world ‘issues’ they would probably respond Dafydd Iwan,hower to 90% we might go for Dylan/Baez/Guthrie/myriads of black musicians!!.As I understand it we are still part of UK,however PC/Llafur(part of) seem keen to remove us,but until that happens any citizens can move in to Wales as they please.Perhaps the only answer is to separate us from England,and then have to live on our ‘efforts’,rather than continually biting the hand that feeds us!!. Thank the good Lord both my children and grandchildren are living ‘over the border’ and away from this deeply unhappy region of UK,however never allowed to express it except through the secret ballot box,but for how long I wonder?.

  16. You are right about Plaid’s domination of the key board Chris Jones…the problem is that that domination is counter productive because their evangelical following rather than their politicians dominates interweb discourse. You only have to skim through the comments on various blogs to find many Plaid supporters holding xenophobic (mostly anglophobic) views and criticising Labour in particular in the most extreme and objectionable terms. “Scumbag Labour” is a regular feature on one Nationalist blog. Well “Scumbag Labour” in Wales will be the next government, are in fact Nationalist Lite, and will be looking to form a coalition with Plaid.

    Plaid supporters often bemoan the presence of English born people in Wales who go out and vote (how dare they!) anything other than Plaid (See “Morry” “Phil” and others above) but this is the real world, this is Britain where people live where they want and vote how they want and the endless attacks on “the English” doesn’t win one single extra vote.

  17. Oh dear Jones the Moans at it again, Jeff Jones, any more toys still left in that pram?

  18. David has made a good case for Welsh Labour performing particularly poorly in this election and that being due to Labour`s policies in the Assembly.Now I haven’t always been the greatest fan of the clear red water strategy but there is at least one other plausible hypothesis for our relatively bad results.Our UK leadership and Miliband in particular were left wing London intellectuals: multicultural and cosmopolitan. They often seemed out of touch with the concerns of us provincials. Labour did better in England than in Wales but not if you exclude London. Of course Labour had a disaster in Scotland where it was portrayed by the SNP as a London party.
    I agree with David that Labour must appeal to middle England and middle Wales and yes middle Scotland too .Aspirational working people determine the fortunes of parties.But Carwyn is also right when he says that the next Labour leader has to speak for all parts of our country. Though I think it is at least as important to be able to listen .

  19. The last thing the donkey with the red rosette needs to do is focus more on social media. Let Plaid dominate there, with all the 0.8% upswing it brings.
    Labour needs to reflect on who and where they were actually fighting in that election. Launching a campaign in Ammanford? Moving an organiser from vale of Clwyd to Arfon? Even if they had somehow gained a seat from Plaid that would have done nothing to stop the Conservatives.
    Like in the police commissioner and local elections, Labour in England out performed labour in Wales.
    It’s time welsh labour stopped obsessing about Plaid and welshness and remembered their real enemy.

  20. Darran Hill the first rule of war is to know your enemy and neither you nor welsh labour have understood who their enemy is sice Thatcher

    The whole time that welsh labour have been attacking welsh nationalism the real enemy english nationalism has been laughing at welsh labours stupidity and the sweet irony of their misplaced british patriotism

  21. “The Welsh Government must appreciate and understand that is the perception of failure in delivery of key policy areas such as health and education that is affecting the support of the wider Labour party in Wales. And you can’t get away from that.”

    Not me this time…this is a quote from Alun Davies AM. Yet in the same article we have this:-

    Stephen Doughty MP said it was important to “make clear from day one of this new Government that it is going to be the huge cuts and uncertainty coming from a majority Tory Government that are the true risk to the future of the Welsh NHS.”

    So what are we going to do? My guess is that we’ll go right back to wittering on about devolution…the national displacement activity to avoid confronting the reality that we haven’t got a clue how to deliver on the essential elements of government that we already control. The squabble with Plaid is the one that Welsh Labour is comfortable with because it’s about Welsh national identity and Language and culture issues. Labour have mistaken the domination by Plaid of the BBC in Wales and our National press and of course the blogosphere, as an indication that Plaid are a political force. They aren’t because MOST PEOPLE IN WALES READ THE ENGLISH PAPERS AND WATCH THE ENGLISH TV STATIONS.

    But the downside of that is If the Daily Mail runs an article on the dire state of Welsh education, many Welsh people read it. If Huw Lewis responds in the Western Mail no one reads it. Conservative voters in Wales read the Daily Mail and the Telegraph not the Western Mail and NO ONE watches S4C.

  22. These comments still don’t grasp the underlying, and long term implications of the election. David is quite right in what he says, except that Ed Miliband did take the party left (a direct and unsurprising result of the Unions support for his leadership?) at a time when the country as a whole is becoming more wary of extremes – left or right. My anger is roused by the blind labeling of all ‘incomers’ (God how I hate that word) as anti Wales and anti-welsh. First of all you can’t stop shifts of population, they have been happening – especially in Wales – since the time Man first learnt to build boats and trade, you only have to look at the recent research into the makeup of the population origins to understand this. And the ease of movement and economic pressures are only going to speed up this trend in the years to come. Accept it, get used to it, and plan with it in mind. Secondly, many – perhaps most – are attracted by the very cultural and linguistic differences of Wales, bring new ideas, energy and enterprise which we need to harness, not deride and insult. Most love Wales, and are keen to contribute to its life and future, learn (or at least strive to understand ) its language and history, and be a positive part of our Nation. Labour – indeed all the parties – need to embrace them as well as retain Welsh distinctiveness. I have to say sorry Carwyn, the campaign didn’t set the country alight, was too narrow and traditional, didn’t address agendas like the environment, the rural dimension, and other issues which figure prominently in the new Well-being of Future Generations Act which only the other day you said provides the basis for your government in the years to come. For all those who have the future of Wales at heart, however they voted, we need a stronger, more forward looking Labour Party here in tune with the obvious and the subtle changes in the voting population, and appealing to all those who live, work and raise their families in this beautiful place.

  23. Labour lost this election on two issues:

    Scotland and the Economy.

    Scotland because of its role in the referendum last year and subsequent Vow failure and thus lost a whole swath of seats which it need to win the election.

    The economy because it failed to defend its own record on the economy right up to 2010 election and beyond and rather left that to Simon Wren-Lewis, Krugman, US treasury and the FT’s Martin Wolf.
    The deficit was an enormous topic of both elections despite the fact that the UK ran a budget deficit in the entire period from 1974 until now except for short periods around 1988/1989 and 1998 until 2002. At the point of crisis budget deficit was 2% which was historically quite low and below the ECB ideal level. There was a budget deficit peaking at 8% during the Major administration in 1995. And yet they failed to defend the need for an increase in deficit and subsequent national debt to deal with the Financial crisis and the subsequent fiscal stimulus that needed to follow [ Vat cut and car scrapping scheme]. Labour also failed hugely to attack the Coalition government’s record on the economy where they followed a deficit reduction plan aggressively somehow expecting to alleviate the wider problem that is government debt. It has not; what it has done is destroy demand and hit productivity so hard that incomes are well below where they should be. It is a classic austere programme and is not working as GDP/head is way down and living standards are poor for very many in work. Unemployment is down but at what cost? Pay is poor and being supplemented by welfare. Attacking the government’s record on the economy was like shooting fish in a barrel with the water having drained out.Fools.

  24. Point 1 The English language is not the lingua franca of world business, entertainment and technology because the English are better , but because it is the basic language of the world power house for the last 100 years, the USA. So accept the fact .

    Point 2, who ever pointed out “welshification” is dead right, it is a weapon to prove we are different so should be independent, Plaid has run a brilliant propaganda campaign assisted by Rhodri (a closet nationalist) and have converted Welsh labour, the Welsh tories & Libs are no better because they are afraid to be branded unpatriotic, bunch of political cowards, they should be pointing out we are part of the UK and proud of it.
    The best way to do this is to get a rational policy re the welsh language, ie no more WM schools , one curriculm, welsh is taught as a language in 1st yr of senior school and then becomes optional. No public sector jobs demands the ability to use it. We then employ the best teachers not the ones who can speak Welsh. This also stops the DELIBERATE disadvantaging of children from English speaking families in some areas.

    Point 3 In the EU election UKIP were a close 2nd to Lab, in this election they got considerably more votes than Plaid, so hopefully in 2016 will get 6-10 seats in the assembly and breath a fresh wind of life and change by challenging the status quo.

    Point 4 to Ed Owen I don’t think J.Jones is Jeff Jones.(apols if wrong)

    Point 5 The grant doubled in labour years way above inflation, yet we still ended up getting the poverty payment from EU (a fraction of what UK pays in BTW), how did that happen, where did the money go, what wealth creating jobs were created. It all went completely unmonitored to mad cap public/third sector schemes, what incompetence, what a waste.

    Point 5 Until we stop trying to be different not better, and move from the left to at least the centre we are doomed to third world standards.

    Point 6 The population of Wales is slowly waking up to the utter inadequacy of the assembly politicians and the very poor results they give us for our money, and are asking why? The answer is not more power, Welsh lab told us after the last referendum they now had the tools for the job, well prove it please. Otherwise it is fair of us to ask why have we got this very expensive but very inept system of governance.

    The Times They Are a Changing, roll on.

  25. Reading these comments its obvious that Welsh Labour just don’t get it

    Just like Labour in Scotland

    Any party that can parachute Kinnock into Aberafon has lost touch and unfortunately for Wales there’s no signs of understanding what’s happening

    Let me emphasise this Labour will never win England again, I implore our welsh brothers and sisters to get to terms with this sooner rather than later for the sake of Wales

  26. This article is brave, honest, sensible, and – happily for those of us who want an end to Labour hegemony in Wales – destined to be ignored by those who would benefit most from considering it.

    The failed Labour campaign here in the key marginal of Cardiff North is a perfect illustration of why Labour lost nationally. Their ‘ground war’ seemed well-organised and someone obviously spent a lot of money on leaflets, but the contents of those leaflets seemed to come straight from the 1970s. Two themes dominated: resentment of ‘the rich’ and scaremongering about the NHS – ignoring the fact Labour themselves had been running it here for the last 16 years. That sort of old-fashioned class war stuff might still play in the Labour heartlands, but it went down badly among relatively well-educated and sophisticated metropolitan voters.

    The Conservatives, by contrast, had a strong local candidate and emphasised that point in their literature. They have finally learnt the lesson that might have saved them 20 years ago.

  27. @J.Jones.Thanks and a first class appraisal of where we are in Wales under the current devolution ‘settlement’. I agree with your comments about BBC Wales in that it has changed from a)reporting on current affairs in an impartial manner,to b)seeking to influence the views/attitudes of welsh people in a ‘nationalistic’ trajectory. I do not think we will have to worry as the ‘sell by date’ of the BBC on a national (UK) basis is way over and the TV Licence fee which funds it and S4C is being ignored by a very large segment of society.The ‘silent’ views on the average welsh person,like me can only be expressed in the ‘ballot box’ as the powers that be totally ignore our views,but plough on with the irrelevant ‘welshification’ process. Keep up the good work!!

  28. Some of the criticism of Labour in Wales on health is unfair. They are clearly struggling with the additional costs of treating some rabid anti-English Welsh nats with their heads stuck firmly up their arses.

  29. What Labour now needs is an Independent Scotland.

    If not it is faced with convincing the Scottish electorate that it will put Scotland first while at the same time convincing the English electorate that it will not put Scotland first.
    An independent Scotland allows Labour to take another step to the right and compete head to head for middle England votes with the Tory party in England.

    In Wales the Labour party has to convince the Welsh electorate that it will put Wales first while at the same time convincing an English electorate that it will not put Wales first. Effectively this is what has happened since devolution so I imagine that in Wales the Labour party will continue with the – speak loudly and carry a little stick – approach.

  30. Its obvious from these comments that welsh labour dont get it

    The union is dead, labour can only win england again by becoming an english nationalist party

  31. UKIP votes in Wales relected Nigel Farage’s greater UK media exposure. The SNP’s success against Labour was a result of Alex Salmond’s high profile and personal drive in the earlier referendum debate. Both characters were able to exert considerable influence over the electorate. The Conservatives were able to convince more voters than Labour that their government would be the more stable, peaceful, “secure” one. This was despite the blatant Tory ‘austerity’ agenda, and dismantling of social structures like the NHS. Some Labour votes were lost to other parties with more appealing agendas. Carwyn Jones was not a high profile figure to me, and I suppose that this might have been because Ed Miliband was. In the 2010 general election Labour did well in Wales, and perhaps that situation was expected to continue, despite the reduction in income granted by the Conservatives in the aftermath of Wales’ 2010 Labour success. In 2015, Labour had said that funding to Scotland might need to be cut, presumably in the light of a Labour majority at the polls.The tit-for-tat fighting by political parties does us no favours.

  32. I do wonder if focusing on the campaign is missing a major point. For all the flaws in the UK level opinion polling the Welsh ones were both broadly right and very stable over a long period of time. Conservative and Labour voting intentions hardly changed in two years which suggests that people made up their mind based on longer term fundamentals. In particular it’s fairly obvious that some people in Wales have done well from the economic upturn and that would be expected to boost the Conservative vote. Its also clear that the Welsh Conservative party – with the brief unfortunate example of David Jones – have become adept communicators with the parts of the Welsh electorate they have a chance of reaching and are no longer the toxic brand of my youth.

    The point attributed to Alun Davies about the apparent failures of public services in Wales is surely right but on top of that any party which has been in power for 16 years is bound to suffer from voter fatigue – hence the chipping away at the Labour vote over the last 3-4 yrs.

    Ironically of course if Cameron’s Government takes a lot of tough unpopular decisions early in its term they may time it perfectly to allow Welsh Labour a re run of 2011 as there is no viable alternative to holding the anti Tory torch

  33. I’m always astounded by analysis of elections. They are always on the basis of the electorate “saying” something as a coherent voice and an assumption of some God-given right to rule. Sometimes it is a test of opinion but mostly it’s roulette.

    The analysis in this article starts from the basis that the Labour Party’s sole reason for existence is power and it asks the electorate at an election “what do we think?”

    There is a lot of this depressing approach and some anti-Welsh narrow nationalist rubbish on this page.

    Unionist’s narrow nationalism might not like it but we are “different”. That’s why we were invaded, are human rights denied and our culture and identity been under attack by English racial supremacists. It’s why the called us Welsh (English for foreigners).

    Neither the Labour Party nor Conservatives believe in anything except power. Labour is Middle-England, Republican Anti-Republican, right-wing left-wing, pro-nuclear weapon anti-nuclear weapon, anti-socialist socialist party. The Conservatives are in the same vein an anti-free-market free-market party (just to mention one) is it surprising that people are disillusioned by political parties?

    The result of this election was an accident, a fluke from a morass of contrary opinions much of it fuelled by non-existent facts.

    Twrch and Tegid are the most right here.

    All politics should be about ethics, values and justice. Now it’s about what sells this week.

    I had the Conservatives and Labour on the phone trying to get my vote. I spoke against their so-called “core values” and policies. They were agreeing with me!!!!

    Why don’t you just stand up for human rights for all nations, mutual respect of peoples and their cultures, justice, co-operation and oppose oppression then sink or swim on the result.

    Losing a vote does not mean you’re wrong or that you should give up. If people had thought like that Ireland would not be free and slavery would still be a major measure of English economic performance.

    “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Now, who said that?

  34. Not a single shred of real insight in any of these comments. Perhaps you should all look to your own poor understanding of politics – of any colour – before wasting your time posting your under-rehearsed, un-evidenced prejudices on here. No wonder so many of you don’t have the courage to use your own names. And instead of moaning about it, if you really are so much better, go out and campaign instead of giving yourselves RSI.

  35. @ Colin Jones

    Freedom of speech is more highly regarded in English culture than it is in Wales where there has been a tradition of self-censorship for fear of not getting on. But one purpose of this website is to allow people the opportunity to exercise their freedom of speech and express their opinion. There is no condition imposed that these views have to meet with anyone’s approval, including your own.

    You decry the lack of insight in the comments above. Perhaps you would be so kind as to share your insights into Labour’s current predicament. Honestly, I’m all ears.

  36. I’m tempted to stop visiting this website, it’s becoming similar to the BBC Wales’ Have Your Say, where the same people constantly attacked the Welsh Language.

    It’s painful for those of us who speak Welsh to read diatribes which are frequently unrelated or very indirectly related to the issue under discussion.

    Welsh was not a prominent factor in this election. I didn’t hear or see it being raised in an election broadcast or in a debate.

    It is under threat, but its detractors speak as if they are threatened by it. It’s an example of the oppressor portraying himself as the victim, so he can beat his weaker opponent over the head, knowing he can get away with it. It seems they need to air their views on it ad nauseam. They have no shame about doing it.

    My vote might not have influenced the outcome of the election, in my constituency, in Wales, or at Westminster, but I can vote with my feet here.

  37. @Dave ‘Voting with your feet’ – this is rather an inept way of voting. The anti-Welsh commentators on this site are few compared to the political trolls you will find on other sites. The IWA site contains top notch content and is moderated fairly well. You won’t find anything better out there in Gordon Brown’s websphere. So stick with it and grow a pair.

  38. I think you may have that the wrong way round Dave; only on one or two forums can people like me openly criticise the policy of the Welsh Assembly towards the Welsh language. Do a little sum for me and add up all the organisations, blogs and government departments dedicated to, and constantly scattering their thoughts on, the increasing of the provision of Welsh services with everything.

    How many government departments and organisations are dedicated to looking at fairness for non Welsh speakers in our little country?

  39. nic wheeler May 10 7:35

    “My anger is roused by the blind labeling of all ‘incomers’ (God how I hate that word) as anti Wales and anti-welsh. First of all you can’t stop shifts of population, they have been happening – especially in Wales – since the time Man first learnt to build boats and trade, you only have to look at the recent research into the makeup of the population origins to understand this. And the ease of movement and economic pressures are only going to speed up this trend in the years to come. Accept it, get used to it, and plan with it in mind. Secondly, many – perhaps most – are attracted by the very cultural and linguistic differences of Wales, bring new ideas, energy and enterprise which we need to harness, not deride and insult. Most love Wales, and are keen to contribute to its life and future, learn (or at least strive to understand ) its language and history, and be a positive part of our Nation. Labour – indeed all the parties – need to embrace them as well as retain Welsh distinctiveness. ”

    Agree with what was said here ( “I agree with Nic”?? Gordon Brown 2010).

    People moving in to Welsh speaking areas is obviously going to compromise to a degree the solidity of the area’s language base; but I think that being on the defensive about it is not going to assist the issue. Stressing a +ve message is going to make people feel more accepted and weaken any ‘them and us’ divisions.

    People are indeed attracted to Wales for a variety of reasons: scenery, culture, and a romantic history that I think we should do more to protect and promote. Positivity is the message for me.

  40. And yet another column descends into a discussion of Welsh language/culture and freedom of thought around it…. Quite how is that relevant to the original post?

  41. “And yet another column descends into a discussion of Welsh language/culture and freedom of thought around it”

    I sympathise with your frustration Daran but the nationalists and fellow traveller’s agenda to bring the Welsh language into every aspect of life in Wales does inevitably mean that it’s discussion is now relevant to many more subjects than it once was.

    There are now legions of QUANGOs and individuals dedicated to ensuring that the Welsh language is considered in every issue. Therefore in order to maintain a democracy it is important that it is debated in every issue…. despite repeated attempts at censorship and shutting down debate.

  42. “Daran Hill says:

    And yet another column descends into a discussion of Welsh language/culture and freedom of thought around it…. Quite how is that relevant to the original post?”

    It is relevant to me because several times I have voted Labour to try and get Plaid out of what is now called Arfon. It never worked but it seemed like the lesser of 2 evils. There was a chance to take Plaid out again this year but I can’t tell the difference any more! Now Llafur’s Welshification policies are almost as dangerous, damaging, divisive, and discriminatory as Plaid’s so I, and I suspect many others, no longer feel able to vote for them even as a tactical vote. The same applies to the Welsh so-called Conservatives as well in my case.

    “Something is going very deeply wrong for Labour” and their Welshification policies are right up there near the top of my list of what is “deeply wrong”. And that is on top of what is deeply wrong with Labour nationally!

  43. Wales is not becoming ‘more welsh’,or ‘left wing politically’ and that is the current problem for LLAFUR!!.We have created a ‘monster’ in that the nationalist/socialist hegemony has left many,many people from the English speaking only MAJORITY feeling a)isolated,b)unwanted and hence the decline in support for the Labour Party.The regimes of Rhodri Morgan and Carwyn Jones have ‘trimmed’ to outflank PC in ‘welshness’ terms as they have no fear of the Conservative party,but that hopefully will soon change.The vast majority of people that I know and respect have had enough of the WLC and her ‘potty’ ideas and we want to recapture our country and hence the right wing votes in anglicised areas. In conclusion the only way we can ‘protest’ is through the ballot box,as civil society is firmly in the socialist/nationalist camp as is BBC Wales and media in general. Back in 1997 we were promised some sort of ‘paradise’ with welsh politicians running ‘everything’,well try and get to see a Doctor outside normal hours and its almost impossible.

  44. John R Walker is correct in that there is now very little difference between Plaid Cymru and Labour. The only way that Labour can fully recover is to move away from the divisive politics of devolution, and support centralisation in London. This was how they achieved their great victories for social justice in 1945, 1964 and 1997. Concentrate on London, not Cardiff. Trying to become a Welsh nationalist party has seen a diminution of Labour’s socialist internationalism. They need to regain their British nationalist instincts. Leave the promotion of Welsh-only politics to Plaid Cymru. Having said that, if the various rumours are true, the two parties will merge in the next couple of years. This is how people around Leanne Wood and Carwyn Jones see the future; so say activists who work in the Bay.

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