Just over six months ago, in early November, the world must have looked a very pleasant place to Carwyn Jones, First Minister of Wales.
For he’d reached the top of the pile; he was leader of Labour Party in Wales, the Assembly and, by extension, Wales itself, which he managed on behalf of the London government.
This allowed him to puff and posture – at which he is most adept – as if he was the beloved leader of some newly emerged country. It may not have been carpets of rose petals greeting every public appearance but most people thought him a decent enough fellow even if they disagreed with his politics.
Plaid Cymru certainly trusted him enough to continue the coalition it had negotiated with his predecessor Rhodri Morgan and, when that coalition ended in 2011, to continue supporting the Labour Party on almost all crucial votes.
For was he not a worthy successor to Rhodri Morgan, and a trusted custodian of Ron Davies’s ‘process’? Did he not inherit the mantle of Aneurin Bevan and yet also represent twenty-first century Labour? Was he not known to the Cymric masses simply as ‘Carwyn’? Did he not love his rugby, and a good pint? Was he not therefore a ‘Tidy bloke, mun’.
So assured of his authority was this master mariner on the clear red water, so cloudless was his horizon, that one day, and quite suddenly, he broke off from thinking of names he might adopt when he was ennobled (as he most assuredly would be).
For under malign influences he decided to exercise his authority with a reshuffle of his cabinet. Which is when the clouds started gathering for Carwyn Jones.
On Friday November 3rd the reshuffle was announced, and among those dumped was Carl Sargeant, until then Secretary for Communities and Children. Allegations were made of improper behaviour towards women. Four days later Sargeant was found dead at his Flintshire home. It was suicide.
Soon the news emerged that politicians and journalists had known of Sargeant’s removal before the man himself was informed. These leaks were due to the incestuous relationship Carwyn Jones’s staff has with public affairs agency Deryn Consulting and others.
As I made clear in an earlier post, Sargeant was, like us all, a flawed human being, but the allegations that got him sacked were concocted within a loose network of wimmin extending from Cardiff Bay into the third sector and other poisonous environments wherein may be found self-styled ‘progressives’. These creatures, of assorted sexual proclivities and identifications, call themselves feminists, but all enjoy playing mind games, messing up people’s lives, and destroying careers.
Many of them are the same females responsible for similar lies told about AM Neil McEvoy.
In the Alyn and Deeside by-election held on February 6th Carl Sargeant’s son, Jack, unsurprisingly retained the seat for Labour. Jeremy Corbyn, the UK Labour leader, visited the constituency, but not Carwyn Jones, who had been warned by Sargeant’s family and friends to stay away.
Since then Carwyn Jones has fought to keep the evidence from emerging which would prove that a) the allegations providing the excuse to sack Sargeant were without foundation, and b) the news of Sargeant’s sacking was leaked from his office.
The inquiry into the circumstances surrounding Carl Sargeant’s death is proceeding very slowly, and if things go according to plan, then the findings will be made public after Carwyn Jones stands down at the 2021 elections, and Labour is returned to power.
Jones has already announced his retirement as leader of the party with a leadership contest now under way that, if nothing else, exposes the paucity of talent in Plaid Tlodi (Poverty Party).
The conspiracy that led to the death of Carl Sargeant and the subsequent cover-up have reminded us what an ugly mess devolution has created in Cardiff Bay.
Where we find an incestuous little world in which unelected and unaccountable people influence politicians and policy making; where people flit between politics, third sector bodies and PR companies as if they are moving between different parts of the Welsh body politic. Which unfortunately they are.
And yet, politicians, especially of left-leaning parties, delight in this arrangement, they relish the advantages of having allies beyond the Assembly chamber who can be used to attack anyone they want attacked, even in their own party. Carl Sargeant was a victim of this system.
Carwyn Jones has sat, like a big fat spider, at the heart of this web of whispers and back-stabbing, enjoying its benefits, for almost a decade. We can but hope that justice will now be served, for Carl Sargeant and for Wales.
PRINCE OF WALES BRIDGE
The first most of us knew about the decision to rename the Second Severn Crossing the Prince of Wales Bridge came on April 5th with an announcement from our small but perfectly formed Secretary of State Alun Cairns.
The reaction was swift and almost universally hostile. A petition was started which raised over 38,000 signatures. But what did Carwyn Jones have to say on the matter?
When pressed, the response from a ‘Welsh’ Government spokesman was: “Alun Cairns wrote to the FM about the naming of the bridge last year and we didn’t raise any objections.” So we were asked to believe that Carwyn Jones had simply gone along with the idea, perhaps reluctantly accepting it as a fait accompli.
But then, in response to a FoI request from BBC Wales we learnt that far from merely acquiescing to this squalid bit of sycophancy he had replied to Cairns: “I welcome the idea to rename the crossing the Prince of Wales Bridge . . . I stand by to be involved in the official renaming ceremony . . . I would be grateful if your officials could liaise with my Diary Secretary on the arrangements for the ceremony”.
The fat spider was jumping up and down with excitement!
Should he call himself Lord Prince of Wales Bridge? Or had that little bastard Cairns booked that name for himself? Never mind . . . it would be a wonderful day, the sun would shine, thousands of people would turn out to wave and cheer. Then he could wind down to a cushy retirement, Father of the Nation status, peerage, memoirs, film rights . . .
With this episode, the reputation of Carwyn Howell Jones unravels a little more. It exposes him yet again as a scheming, self-serving, two-faced politician.
But so quintessentially Labour.
One of the fall-outs from the June 2016 vote to leave the EU was that the UK government sought to hang onto powers that would be ‘repatriated’ from the EU, powers that should have been devolved to Scotland and Wales. Initially, there was united opposition to this move, from Scotland and Wales.
Carwyn Jones swore to be Nicola Sturgeon’s bestest friend and staunchest ally. Though as a great admirer of Sturgeon I’m sure she realised early on that once he’d had his little fit of bravado, once he could claim to have won ‘concessions’ from London, he would do what everyone knew he’d do before the curtain went up – surrender.
For Carwyn Jones is good at showboating, good at sniping and bullying; but beneath it all he’s a lazy, thin-skinned man of straw.
Even so, Carwyn Jones might have got away with his surrender to London were it not for the fact that his boss, UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, fatally undermined him by supporting Scottish Labour’s support for the SNP Government against what Corbyn quite unambiguously described as a “Whitehall power grab“.
Added to the egg from the bridge disclosure Corbyn’s intervention now gave us the makings of a family-sized omelette on the Jones visage.
And not for the first time we have the Labour Party in different parts of the island saying different things. Reminding us that Labour is often vociferous and principled on certain matters . . . when it’s in opposition. When in power it tends to forget the promises it made when in opposition.
For example, it’s official UK Labour policy to do away with zero-hour contracts, but in Wales Labour has refused seven times to implement Labour Party policy. The word is hypocrisy.
So quintessentially Labour.
Plaid Tlodi might seem to be in a very strange place at the moment, and yet, there’s nothing really strange about it when you realise this is how it must be when a devolved system of government is managed by a party unenthusiastic about devolution and unwilling to make it work lest it stirs unwelcome passions.
Which leaves Labour in the impossible position of telling us it’s ‘defending Wales’ while opposing anything that might make Wales a better country, for that would involve legislation that would make Wales too different from England.
Then there is the added incentive that the poorer Wales is the more votes that are piled up for Labour – but only for as long as enough voters are stupid enough to blame the Tories for all Wales’ woes.
It’s all done to confuse, but lately Labour seems to be confusing itself.
Which might explain why we were recently treated to the bizarre spectacle of Labour MP for Llanelli Nia Griffith and her AM counterpart Barry Lee Waters protesting against the downgrading of the town’s hospital – in other words, protesting against their own party!
But there can be no confusion about the general direction of travel since Brexit made it clear to Labour that a majority of its supporters are, to varying degrees, xenophobes, and that these greatly outnumber what might be called the Islington and ethnic minority votes. Resulting in a split party.
Without stretching things too far a comparison can be made with the Democratic Party in the USA in the 1960s and ’70s. Embittered Southern whites had voted Democrat for a century after the Civil War because Lincoln had been a Republican; which found them in the same party as liberals, ethnic minorities, hippies and others many of them would willingly have lynched.
Them old Southern Democrats, them good ole boys. Happy Days!
I’m not sure if Carwyn Jones is a fan of the Marx Brothers, but one of Groucho’s quips seems so appropriate, both for him and for his party: “Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them . . . well, I have others”.
Carwyn Jones’ semestris horribilis has left him discredited and his party floundering. The rest of us laughing. Can he really hang on until 2021? Personally, I don’t much care whether he hangs on or steps down, for he has damaged his party badly, while his own reputation is irrevocably tarnished.
So I can’t see publishers fighting to give him an advance on his memoirs now, and as for the blockbuster with George Clooney playing, ‘Carwyn! – the man who shat on everybody!’ well, it’s a non-starter. A guest appearance on Jonathan is about the best he can hope for now.
That said, he’s probably improved his chances of a peerage. Which for him, is probably a good result.
What more do you need to know about Wales, and our relationship with England? Or about the Labour Party? Or about Carwyn Jones?
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