Hello there. Hope you’re feeling well today.
It is now a week since the results of the European elections in Wales were known. The Brexit party of Farage having won and Plaid Cymru leading the split pro-Remain parties in second place. And a clear second place as well to Labour.
I’ve stated before my view that Wales is leading towards a political battle between Plaid and whatever the right wing turns out to be. I won’t bore you by repeating myself here. But it is important I’d argue to focus on Welsh Labour’s troubles. After all a party with bedrock support has been humiliated and it’s important to try and explain why.
Let’s start then with the issue of Europe/Brexit itself. Whatever you think of Jeremy Corbyn I think that no one can deny that on most issues his views are unambiguous. On Brexit/Europe however Labaour has been as clear as mud. And trust me we’re not talking about beauty treatment mud here. No one turns around and says how beautiful Labour is afterwards. No in this case it’s as if pigs or hippos have been wallowing in it. So it’s still mud.
The Brexit Party and Plaid Cymru’s positions were clear. No one needed to go on the Crystal Maze and puzzle it out.
Also there was criticism that the campaign was London centric. I’ve read an interview with the Scottish Labour leader post their disastrous showing in the election and one of the things that was mentioned that Jeremy Corbyn’s face was on the cover of their election leaflet. Apparently Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford was of the same view.
But whilst it might be an issue for Scotland having Drakeford’s face on the Welsh Labour’s leaflet would have not helped the party at all. Firstly, and I can’t stress this strongly enough for the top Welsh politician, few people know him. Carwyn Jones and certainly his predecessor Rhodri Morgan had name recognition which so far at least Mark “Jeremy’s Disciple” Drakeford would envy.
And let’s stress here that’s what Drakeford is. A disciple. Rhodri Morgan advocated clear red water between him and London. As I’ve said before whatever you thought of him Morgan had independence of spirit. But Drakeford wants to be a bridge over that red water between Cardiff Bay and Westminster. So rather like the renamed Severn Bridge Drakeford looks outwards obsequiously to London.
This results in a Welsh government without fresh ideas. It’s a tired administration. Perhaps for the first time the tactic of living off past glories has failed for Labour, and there are no obvious new ones to come.
I remember reading a piece where former First Minister Carwyn Jones was asked how it was that Welsh Nationalists did not have the same success as their Scottish equivalents. He stated that Welsh Labour never let the Nationalists control the flag. Whilst I would argue that things were more complex than that Drakeford’s bank manager Branch office approach has revealed Welsh Labour for the sham it is.
And the thing about being a branch office in this day and age is this.
Eventually it gets closed down.
Until the next time.