Dwindling Appeal

I had a look at the websites of Labour's leadership contenders this morning. Well, two of them ... I don't think Huw Lewis has a special campaign site, there's no mention of it on his blog.

I smiled at something Carwyn Jones had to say on his video:

Like everybody else in the Labour Party, I'm proud to be Welsh but also proud to be British.


Leaving to one side the matter of pride, this seems to be a perfect illustration of Labour's dwindling appeal. Why on earth does the Labour Party want to confine itself to those who consider themselves to be both Welsh and British? Why not try to be relevant to everybody who lives in Wales, irrespective of the way they choose to describe themselves?

I—and I would guess most other people in Plaid—will be laughing all the way to the polling booths.

This is because only a certain number of people in Wales regard themselves as "Welsh and British". It may be difficult to determine exactly what this number might be, because the surveys produce different results. However, as a worst case scenario, this is from the Office of National Statistics:

A national identity question was introduced on the Labour Force Survey in 2001. Respondents in Wales were asked if they considered their national identity to be Welsh, English, Scottish, Irish, British or another national identity. They could choose as many or as few options as applied to them.

Sixty per cent of adults in Wales stated their national identity as Welsh only. A further 7 per cent described their national identity as Welsh but included another identity, most commonly British, in their answer. In total, 67 per cent of adults considered their national identity as wholly or partly Welsh.

Source | Archive

So, at one end of the various survey results, no more than 7% of people in Wales considered themselves to be "Welsh and British".

However if we want to put a more positive aspect on Britishness, we could turn to surveys which ask what has become known as a Moreno question. This is from a report listing how answers have changed over the last decade or so:


As we can see, only a minority regard themselves as being equally Welsh and British. And, even in this best case scenario, if you add up all those who consider themselves to be both Welsh and British to any extent, the figure only reaches 61%.

What party in their right mind would be proud to exclude at least 39% of the electorate? What party could fail to notice the trend?


In contrast, Plaid doesn't think in these sorts of terms. Yes, each of us will have our own individual view about whether we are Welsh, British, both ... or even neither. That last category isn't so uncommon, either. I know of a good few people who support Plaid who consider themselves to be English, Irish or Scottish ... and a few Australians, a German and a Dutchman.

For me, it's a matter of simple respect ... of letting people describe themselves as they choose to describe themselves ... of wanting to work for everybody who lives in this pleasant corner of the earth we call Wales. Labour, on the other hand, seems determined to make Britishness a central plank of not only its political ideology but, according to Carwyn Jones, its membership.

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Anonymous said...

Whats you view on the I love everyone Edwina "Heart" site and its videos

MH said...

As you asked, I think they show that Edwina Hart may be a good politician, but that she doesn't have a good grasp of what she would need to do to come across well to the public at large. However she might well be capable of learning.

I don't want to get too involved in commenting on which candidate might be best for the Labour leadership. That's for them to decide, not me. And of course, if I were to come out in favour of a particular candidate, that might be a sign of me wanting the weakest rather than the strongest to win ... for obvious reasons.

Plaid is going to have to work with whoever Labour choose to be their leader. I think we would work equally well with any of the three, even Huw Lewis, for the remainder of One Wales ... provided that Labour, as a party, stick to the commitments they made in it.

But if they don't deliver fundamentals like the referendum and a new Welsh Language Measure, Plaid will pull out, no matter who the new Labour leader is.

This post was not meant to be a dig at Carwyn Jones. All three candidates know their own party equally well. My point was that a leading Labour figure has said quite openly that you cannot be part of the Labour Party in Wales unless you have that particular view of your own nationality. It was about the Labour Party in general, not any particular leadership candidate.

Anonymous said...

Carwyn is talking rubbish. Didn't a recent poll show that nearly 10% of Labour voters want to see an independent Wales.

Anonymous said...

The point on Carwyn is well made, I guess he's firefighting the crypto charge - either way, a nod to the past. However, the Morenos point also to a solidifying around dual and even multiple identifications. Lovely little darlings identities: both constructed and subjective, huh.

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