Last night’s by election rout in the Gwynfi by election should show Welsh Labour that there are great lessons and opportunities to understand. I am grateful to Richard Taylor for giving me insights into the contest . Two factors have to be considered one is the closure of Cymer Afan school and the other the record of Jane Jones the victorious independent. She had stood at least twice before and seems to have a good record as a community campaigner. The other factor that must be considered is that the nature of NPT Labour is rather remote, right wing and centralised. And I am sure that the son of a certain Welsh oligarch who happens to be the local MP spent hours campaigning there rather than plotting the overthrow of Jeremy Corbyn I am sure the result would have been different.
In 2017 Labour lost seats throughout NPT both to Plaid and a motley crew of Independents. And I have since noted that the motley crew have now become invisible and largely lacking in talent. In Swansea we see a contrast there a Labour party, left wing and connected made gains. NPT Labour could well learn from them.Welsh Labour must learn renewal. It’s method must be through a party connected to the community and organically linked to the people of Wales. An essential start would be the I production of “One Member One Vote” and of mandatory re-selection at every level from Leader to Town Council. The Single Transferable Vote and a voting age of 16 would all form part. Welsh Momentum offers a vital and powerful pool of new activists and elected politicians of the future. Labour must renew and only the election of Mark Drakeford offers the possibility of a Socialist renewal. Old style electoral colleges have only made the use of “just banter” acceptable. It’s time to renew Welsh Labour. As I hear rumours of an October general election I reflect that Plaid under Rhun Ap Ioerweth will take Plaid to the right and might well be more tolerant ofright tinged populism of Neil McEvoy and consider an understanding with the Tories. It might also find that it’s leaders election coincides with a “Brexit” general election.
Wales is historically left wing and progressive Welsh Labour must reject social conservatism and accept the rise of Corbynism. The Gwynfi by election is a warning and an opportunity. Labour must find it’s representatives from the community and it must come from the bottom up. It must be Socialist, communitarian and organic. When mid term elections come for the Corbyn government it will be insurance as well essential. The 43% collapse of the Labour vote in the Gwynfi by election is a warning and it’s lessons must be learned. Labour need to select candidates that have real connection with the community. In the by election the labour candidate had little or no connection at all. this is hardly a means by which real organic political roots can be established. However if the MP for Port Talbot can be dynastically imported it sets a very poor example
Welsh Labour must renew and it cannot come from the siren calls of the Welsh Labour Right. The ambition of the old dynasty risks disaster not opportunity…i notice with glee that the Tories only gained 4 votes…six less than tbe necessay ten for nomination …perhaps they forgot or perhaps it was not explained fully to the ten just what they were signing… I do wonder…
PS in the other two local by elections last night. Labour held a seat with an increased vote and the Liberal democrats took a Tory seat
And here is the exact result from Gwynfi
Jones ind 268
The turnout was 51% thats remarkably high particularly for mid August however turnouts have always been high here.
The previous results were as follows
May 2017 result Lab 273 Ind 214
May 2012 result Lab 502 Ind 153
May 2008 result Ind 390 Lab 288
June 2004 result Ind 424 Lab 313
May 1999 result Lab 446 Ind Lab 392
May 1995 result Progressive Lab 640 Lab 263
May 1991 Port Talbot council result Lab unopposed
May 1987 Port Talbot council result Lab 605 Ratepayers 268
May 1983 Afan council result Lab 521 Lab 319 Lab/Rate 141