On the surface Brecon and Radnor looks like a safe Conservative seat. The charging of Chris Davies its Tory MP with falsifying expenses throws open possibilities. Two other factors need to be considered. The first is that the County of Powys that makes up the constituency is controlled by a Tory Independent coalition that has proposed a 10% rise in council tax. Services in Powys are under severe threat and proposals have been suggested that include the cutting of breakfast clubs and other services. Secondly, the Tory Independent coalition has just had it’s budget rejected by the council . The only real opposition to these cuts have come from the seven strong Labour group . On paper Labour may seem not to have a chance in a by election. However it’s worth pointing out that Labour now control Brecon Town Council after gaining four seats in by elections last year. Labour now hold ten out of the fifteen seats. To the South of the constituency lays the socialist Republic of Ystradgynlais where five of the seven Labour Councillors are from . The bulk of the Labour vote can be found here and is traditionally a solid Labour area.
Last year real progress began within the CLP with the re-establishment of local branches across the more rural areas of the constituency. An influx of activists in the last year has reinvigorated the constituency and this allied to the solid work of the Council group have produced a vigorous local party with a membership just short of a thousand.
In November i became Secretary of the Ystradgynlais Labour branch and have participated in this renaissance of Labour throughout the constituency.
The by election offers many possibilities. The Liberal Democrats can only find anodyne candidates and I understand that at least six people have applied to be the parliamentary Labour candidate for the constituency. This was of course prior to yesterday’s developments. Chris Davies clearly did not expect to be charged. On Wednesday he had been sharing his views on Sharmima Begum whipping up hatred and division and crowing about justice. Political karma is a wonderful thing…
The constituency is represented at Assembly level by the Liberal Democrat Kirsty Williams who is the Education minister in coalition with the Welsh Labour Party administration in Cardiff bay. Short of Kirsty Willliams the Lib Dems are a feeble crew.
Brecon and Radnor is more of a continent than a constituency. It’s essentially the bulk of rural Wales stretching southwards from Montgomertshire to Ystradgtnlais which is 10 miles from Neath and 16 miles from Swansea.
I wonder if the two coming by elections in Wales will have a major role in national political developments. Brecon and Radnor will seem to the bland Umunna ‘fan club” a far more attractive prospect than Newport West.
We are ready for you so bring it on …Ystradgynlais is not for the faint hearted narcissistic centrists..be warned..I am ready with my android it’s made of Valarian steel. The undead centrists should fear us of the Right Watch..we are not going back to the politics or policies of pre 2008..