Labour's "core beliefs" ... the local picture

It was impossible not to smile at Labour's embarrassment about the election leaflets they intended to distribute in Ely which included this claim:

“I’m a graduate looking for a job but thanks to Plaid I can’t apply for most jobs in Wales because you need to speak Welsh.”

Wales Online, 14 April 2011

It's all very well for one of Labour's spokesmen to claim that this "clearly ran contrary to Welsh Labour’s policy position and core beliefs". Half of it might be true, but the other half certainly isn't.


Yes, let's be clear that Labour's policy position as a party is not anti-Welsh. In the past supporting the Welsh language was definitely a minority position within the party; but at a national level this has now changed, particularly because Labour decided not to make the language a political football in the National Assembly. That was a very welcome and sensible decision.

But what of Labour's "core beliefs"? To me, a "core belief" is a value held by every member and activist within a party – or at least by the vast majority of them. So we need to ask these questions:

     • who thought it was a good idea to include this quote in an election leaflet?
     • who gave the go ahead to include it?
     • who designed the leaflet?
     • who approved the leaflet for printing and publication?

It doesn't really matter who the particular individuals are, but it will surely be obvious to everyone that if just one person in that chain of decision-making actually did think that not being anti-Welsh language was a "core belief" of the Labour party this leaflet could never have been produced. As Oscar Wilde would have said: one mistake may be regarded as a misfortune, two looks like carelessness ... but four in a row?


All too often there is a huge discrepancy between what the Labour party is and does at national level and what the Labour party is and does at a local level. In too many parts of Wales, the local Labour party has members, activists and indeed councillors who regard Welsh as something to be opposed. This episode has again shown that Cardiff is one of those places ... but then so is Sir Gâr, Wrecsam, Blaenau Gwent, Caerffili and maybe half a dozen more councils across Wales.

So although Carwyn Jones or someone else at a national level in the Labour party might get round to apologizing for this leaflet and telling us that Labour are not really that sort of party, we need to remember that we are facing local elections in a few weeks' time, not national ones.


At local level, Labour is very much uglier.

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Unknown said...

Dear Syniadau - I am unable to apply for a job as a surgeon because I don't hold a medical degree. This is unfair and demonstrates obvious discriminatory policies adopted by the WAG (sic) to the detriment of 99.999% of the population!

Concerned citizen........

Anonymous said...

Remember who the current Cllrs are in Ely for Labour. It includes one Russell Goodway, former Labour Leader of Cardiff Council and potential future one, did he approve the leaflet?

Lyndon said...

I suspect that Labour aren't entirely confident about holding onto Ely.

Anonymous said...

Labour do it all the time - they conflate Welsh medium education choice by parents and Plaid candidates who according to them 'want to close english medium schools'.

glynbeddau said...

Will the Western Mail Investigate if the "David" quoted in the leaflet actual exists?

All Parties have a dubious record when they have these quotes from supposedly "Ordinary voters" who in fact are party members or are stock photos of models downloaded from the internet.

If he exist then he's wrong but it shout's have been used anyway.

But if he doesn't then Labour in Ely are really in trouble and heads should really role.

Jac o' the North, said...

For every Cledwyn Hughes there has been a Neil Kinnock. And as one goes down to ward level, especially in the Valleys, and the southern cities, the latter seems to predominate.

Anonymous said...

What will happen next? Will their be a review?

Anonymous said...

Nothing will happen. They are unassailable. Their only response is to try and sound threatening by saying they will look at CCTV to see how someone got hold of a leaflet...

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