Posts Tagged ‘ welsh conservatives ’

Wales: Local Elections.

It was all fairly inevitable in the end. You imagine that even if we had enjoyed a record turnout for voters in the local elections, the results would not have differed much from the final tallies revealed yesterday. Labour clawed back a percentage of their previous losses to the Conservatives, and took a good number of seats from other parties who appeared to be caught up in the wake of an anti-Cameron backlash. So how might everyone be feeling after this mini test of the current electorates mood?

For Labour it was all cheers and dancing in the shadow of Nye Bevan as the liberal democrat strongholds in Cardiff buckled and snapped. Carwyn and that visitor from London Peter Hain were there to eat up the accolades, though neither seemed to play any prominent role whatsoever in the campaigning. Ed Miliband was also congratulated for the impact of his leadership, though perhaps the applause came from those harbouring sentiments along the lines of ‘well done for not completely cocking this up for us’. As senior Tory politicians were quick to note, Labour candidates in many locations could easily have rolled up to the hustings wearing nothing but a red leather gag, spanking themselves with kippers in something remiss of XXX Morris Dancers Gone Wild Special Edition DVD (part of me hopes such a thing exists), and still comfortably win.

For Wales, in time of economic crises, voters have this consistency above all other parts of the world. If things look uncertain, vote Labour, if the economy is a bit shaky, vote Labour, if there is a chance of rain tomorrow, best vote Labour just to be safe. Often there is no rationale to be found in these patterns, it’s simply a case of that’s how it’s always been – and little will change that. So, for all the celebrations in Cardiff city centre, there will be little doubt about many newly elected Labour members, that the real work is about to begin, the challenge of getting elected for many will have been no more taxing than getting out of bed.

So what of Plaid Cymru? This was supposed to be the grand recovery no? The return from the abyss. Despite Leanne Wood leading the most positive campaign of them all, Plaid went on to lose some 40 councillors – where then was the great revival? As has previously been explore in EyeOnWales, asking a new leader to turn a party around in a month is a ludicrous challenge. An indictment on the leadership of Wood? Gibbering nonsense. Plaid was always going to suffer in light of a Labour revival, coupled with the legacy of Ieuan Wyn Jones. Had he of stood aside several months earlier, who knows how Leanne Wood might have shaped the party by now, it’s impossible to say. As much as anything can be concluded, the rotting corpse of Wyn Jones’ leadership can now be finally shovelled out the door, and the work of rebuilding Plaid can officially being.

As for the Tories and the Liberal Democrats in Wales, plenty of losses to choose from, though Rodney Berman’s exit from the Welsh political stage was both the most amusing and welcome development of the night (though how the disastrously inept and self aggrandising figure of Neil McEvoy survived will be a mystery for the ages). Again, no surprises, but really, with the party leaders in general absence, the losses should really have been much greater. Where on earth where Andrew R T Davies and Kirsty Williams? The respective Tory and Lib Dem leaders seemed to almost entirely vanish from the main stage when campaigning got underway. One can only presume that the pair had long since concluded that a series of humiliating losses across the country was inevitable, and that the only appropriate course of action would be to hide out together in one of the Senedd’s basement bathrooms, playing canasta, hoping that by the time they finished, it will all be over and that nobody will have noticed that they weren’t there. What should really worry both is that no, nobody did notice their absence, something which surely cannot bode well for a few years time.

So there we are, the big four in Wales covered, and only one of them is smiling. Yes even their smiles will only have been flown in for the day, before the forced grins would be put back in their packaging, to be saved for a day when those who won their seats might be able to say, ‘we earnt this’, as opposed to saying ‘the Tories are crap…that helped’.

 

Part 3/4. The Top Ten Worst Welsh Politicians 2011.

4. Andrew R T Davies.

For half of the parties in Wales, 2011 was all about new leaders. For Plaid Cymru, the plan seemed to be a turgid wait and see policy, third place in the Senedd becoming an opportunity to huddle in dark corners for months on end, waiting for nothing to happen with the same sense of urgency that a tortoise shows towards eating in the winter months. There will of course be a new Plaid leader, but it will be a long old wait for it to come. For the Tories, no such concerns, and the demise of the much liked Nick Bourne was met with a short snap battle between Andrew Davies and Nick Ramsey. Ramsey came is as the unfancied underdog, and amused during the leadership battle as he had to ward off accusations of bar room brawls over pub quizzes. Sadly, Ramsey lost out in a tight well fought contest to the pit bull like Davies.

Now, what has Davies done to warrant his position on this list? Well, for all of Bourne’s failings, he did do a remarkable job of turning the Welsh Conservatives into a distinct entity, one that seemed to have accepted devolution and was willing to work progressively within the framework towards a better Wales. Bourne made the Welsh Conservatives an entity which you didn’t want to hate immediately simply because they were Tories, which in itself is a remarkable achievement. Then came Davies.  

It took Davies only a very short period of time to degenerate the Tories in Wales into the traditionally hateable landed gentry elite of old. All the hard work of Bourne seemed to have been rendered to ash, as the angry farmer who seemed to have only learnt the letters N, H and S while in school, set about a sledgehammer approach to opposition politics. There is a certain sense of responsibility which comes with leading the main opposition party, and Davies has ignored it. He has resorted to a Westminster style barracking that offers nothing but a backward thinking approach to party politics, which the Senedd had done so well to distance itself from in recent years.

After Bourne, Davies has been a frustrating disappointment, and Welsh politics will only be damaged with this man leading the voice of opposition in Wales.

 

3. Ieuan Wyn Jones.

How did he do it eh? How did Ieuan go into an election on the back of some of the most successful years of Plaid’s existence as a political party, and blow it all by plummeting his party into a woeful, almost unimaginable position of third in the Welsh political ladder? It was so good for Plaid, their policies were working, the referendum was a success, yet despite having so much positivity behind them, Plaid thumped into an election battle with only negativity on their mind. ‘Look how bad Labour are’ they yelped, ‘stick with them and it’s down hill all the way’ was the line…yet these were slurs directed at their political partners, it made no sense. The election campaign of 2011 was one of the most disappointing misjudgements to have come out of the Plaid policy draw, and it will hurt them for some years to come.

However, Ieuan does not make the list for this reason, no, he makes the list for being one of the most shameless squatters in recent Welsh political history. Having led a catastrophic election campaign, the door for was left open for Ieuan to leave with some grace. As it was, he ignored it, and pulled up a seat to jam the door open, keeping one foot in, and one foot out of power. Plaid have since become a rudderless mess, with no clear voice of opposition, with Ieuan giving off the aura of a man who just doesn’t care. The lack of a drive from within the party to move him is equally disappointing. The lack of anyone from within the party to show the balls to call for this deceased puppet to move aside was frankly a huge disappointment, and does not bode well for the future of the party, with so few of the potential party leaders showing any inclination to push for power, or to remove the rotten head off of the parties prized flower.

Ieuan stands here, both on his own merit, but also as a symbolic figure head for the weakness and lack of direction shown by a party that seems intent on retreating in on itself, and ignoring the world outside. Not the way forward for a party that looks in desperate need of a road map.

 

2. Mohammad Ashgar.

Having dealt with a number of individuals who wield lots of power, coming into second place on the list this year is one man, who thankfully, wields very little power at all. Ashgar is a member of the political community who generally defies logic, lacking in any real sense of integrity, loyalty or general decency, it is difficult to see how anybody sticks by him, yet the Tories still do…even though if you believe the rumour mill that suggests the Tories only held onto Ashgar as a regional list candidate for PR reasons and little else, it is a stabd they take not by choice.

Ashgar’s year has been proliferated by his usual controversies , amongst which his ban from a local mosque proved to be particularly telling for the way in which Ashgar likes to conduct his business, behind closed doors with little to no sense of free democratic choice involved being his particular flavour. But, even for Ashgar, his electioneering on behalf of his family reached impressive new lows in 2011. Many familiar with Ashgar will remember how he controversially left Plaid Cymru on the strength that the party would not allow him to hire and indiscriminately promote his family members – family first for Ashgar ahead of party loyalty. Jumping parties to make a point is all well and good, but leaping on a man’s cold corpse before it is buried in the ground is something else altogether.

Following the death of popular councillor Les Knight, Ashgar could not contain himself, suddenly with a fresh corpse at hand, an opportunity had present itself, and he pounced on it. Within days Ashgar was promoting the virtues of his wife for the recently vacated council seat, much to the disgust of those in the locality. Despite an apology following soon after from Ashgar, his general contempt, not just for his current and previous parties, but for basic human decency, has been staggering. This is a wretched little man, who deserves nothing more than ridicule and humiliation, he is a contemptible, crooked git, who does Welsh politics a crippling disservice with his continued presence. This man would surely the top the list, were it not for his (thankfully) lack of any real political power, and may we pray that his political sway goes no further than his current family led panderings.