Back in 2002 Rhodri Morgan declared that his Welsh Labour Party “owed more to the traditions of Beveridge and Bevan than those of Hayek and Friedman”. Not for him the Shock Doctrine of unfettered capitalism, and no doubt in this respect he was quite right. However, his ‘Clear Red Water’ speech went a lot further than a mere clash of ideological book-bound Utopianism.
“We’re not old or new Labour” he said at the time, “We’re Welsh Labour”. Perhaps he would have been more honest had he said, we are going to fight Tony Blair to the death and to hell with modernising public services, the Welsh economy, health and education.
We want the days of old council chamber back-slapping and back-scratching in Cardiff Bay. We want to be Welsh and proud of it, no matter what the cost. You boyos in Westminster can pay our bills, no questions asked. We know our devolved rights, so go and get stuffed!
So, where are we more than 10 years later and still with a Welsh Labour administration?
For every Scot £2000 is borrowed, for every Welsh person £6000.This Welsh (and old) Labour dream of an outdated socialist Brythonic Atlantis has bankrupted Wales, bankrupted the education of our young and bankrupted the Welsh Health Service. The Welsh Labour Party’s obsession (and Plaid Cymru’s) with a tyrannical Westminster Labour Party has resulted in a dire attempt to free fall into isolationism without a parachute.
It’s totally unrealistic separatist agenda has resulted in a greater dependency on Westminster (currently 80% plus of Welsh GDP and rising), a defunct private sector and zero growth where it matters. We all know that the public sector is a net loser and let’s face it, it’s the public sector that is keeping Wales on life support.
Is Wales facing encirclement and injustice? I think not.
But it is certainly facing irrelevance and failed state ignominy due to the Welsh Labour establishment’s refusal to sign an Armistice over an unnecessary war with England.
If Welsh Labour wants to be unique and a miscreant child of Beveridge (incidentally, Lloyd George was more the architect of the Welfare State than William, give us Taffies some credit!), then it should break away from the Labour Party once and for all. Call itself by a different name and allow voters to know exactly for whom and what they are voting for.
Welsh Labour is not the Labour of Westminster, or the United Kingdom for that matter. It has become a clumsy nuisance, to be tolerated and indulged when unfortunate needs must. If Labour is to keep Wales, then Welsh Labour must be allowed to go its own way but under a different name.
Wales deserves better than Welsh Labour, with its glossy catalogue of failure and backward fixations. It needs the reality and energy of the real Labour party, not the undisciplined and pretty memories of a political heyday that doesn’t even reach out to a generation without a smartphone.
And before I go, if all you politicos up there in London think you have your fair share of Disraeli’s greasy poles, what with MP expenses and lobbying, look at Wales for five minutes. We have a political scandal almost every day. Only last week it was reported that the Welsh Labour administration has blown 1.6 million on a Kung Fu centre in Llangollen. Flaws in the conveyancing of the property apparently, nothing like oversight and scrutiny is there? The tenants I’m told have all been ‘kicked’ out.
But then 1.6 million is as nothing when compared to the billions of European money that has just gone AWOL and the other amounts coming up in future ‘Letters’.