Monday, 20 February 2012

Labour visit Cardiff

Labour’s conference this last weekend was like the proverbial curate’s egg. Good in parts. There was an enthusiasm that comes from being the Opposition in Westminster. 

It’s always good to have a bogeyman to blame for all your ills.  With devolution all that’s wrong is Westminster’s fault, and, of course all that is right is because the Welsh Labour government “is standing up for Wales.” 

This state of affairs is likely to last a fair while yet. Why? The leadership of Ed Milliband. If ever there was a party leader that has had a charisma by-pass it is he. 

For those that arrived in the conference hall early, they would have had the experience of seeing and hearing him practicing his speech. If practice makes perfect, he need a hell of a lot more of it.

The Labour leaders’ speech was devoted to the economy and the greater need for fairness. His main thrust, irresponsible capitalism. It’s all those nasty bankers fault. His answer. No not full bloodied socialism or even the traditional Labour version of a watered down pinko version of the creed. No, the answer is responsible capitalism. These nasty capitalists have got to be fair, oh yeah Ed. A good talking to by you, and your team will change the leopards spots, right?

He left the platform after underwhelming the audience. But being loyal comrades, oh, not a word to use in today’s Labour party. OK, being loyal delegates they were full of praise for their leaders efforts. “His best speech ever”. Gosh if this is the best, what would the worst one be like.
Carwyn Jones in contrast knew his audience and has the merit of holding high office - in Wales at least. He gave a bit of red meat to the audience by attacking the other parties. It was all good knock about stuff at the expense of the other parties. He even suggested a collection so that the Tories could hold a conference. But his target was Plaid Cymru.
First it was the Tories, and now it’s Labour that are targeting Plaid Cymru voters

The Tories started to eat into Plaid Cymru’s vote by targeting the more conservative Plaid. The strategy was greatly helped by Plaid Cymru trying to position itself as a left wing party. Whilst Plaid were trying to out left Labour the Tories were blatantly mopping up the some of Plaid’s more traditional conservative voters. Indeed they were so successful that  at the last Assembly election Plaid were pushed into third place and Tories became the Official Opposition.

Now Labour have their eyes on those Plaid supporters that remain. Their approach, target those Plaid voters that don’t believe in independence.  Labour have studied the latest opinion polls.  The First Minister said: “If you look at the latest opinion poll we know that two-thirds of Plaid voters don’t believe in independence.

“We know that only 10% of the electors of Wales believe in independence as well, yet independence has been the major theme of the Plaid leadership contest.

“What we are saying to people out there who are very proud to be Welsh, who want to see a strong devolved Wales, [who] are very keen that we should have a progressive agenda in Wales, Welsh Labour is actually their natural home and not Plaid Cymru.”

Blatant political opportunism, but who can blame him. If there is an open goal it would be churlish not to take your chances.

The elephant in the room was that all important referendum in Scotland.  They all thought that the Scots would reject going it alone.

Milliband echoed David Cameron that “economically we are stronger together.” Me thinks that more cogent arguments need to be put than these simple slogans if the Union is going to hold together.

Oh, just in case he’s overlooked the Shadow Secretary of State was there signing his book and made a speech that sounded valedictory in its content. It gave the impression of a man that was about to leave the stage.

1 comment:

  1. The Union is not going to hold together, cogent arguments or otherwise. Scotland, thanks to the SNP is now a lame duck and nothing will alter this state for at least two generations, independence or otherwise.

    Wales, and perhaps more correctly Welsh politicians are rightly fearful of travelling down this same path. Hence the heated rhetoric against any such mention of independence, no matter how desirable or beneficial in the longer term.

    England, quite rightly, will make Scotland and the people who choose to remain in Scotland pay handsomely for their treachery. I suspect they will do likewise with Wales and the people who elect to remain trying to scratch a living here.

    It's all such a shame. But, in truth, we cannot blame the people of England. We have been done in by our own actions and inactions yet again!