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Thursday, April 07, 2005

For Wales, read England

The big danger of bringing some bigwig English politician into a Welsh constituency is that they will put their foot in it without really realising it or understanding how. So it was with Tory MP, Caroline Spelman, (who?) yesterday when she popped up in the Vale of Glamorgan to launch the campaign of my Regional colleague, Alun Cairns AM.

If Ms. Spelman had not declared that the Tory Party's local candidates are the key to electoral success in Wales we might never have noticed that only around half of them actually live here. It transpires that:

A list of the 40 Tory general election candidates distributed by the party in Wales, shows 19 of them have homes in England. One also has a second home in Wales, taking the total of those with homes on this side of Offa's Dyke up to 22.

Among the colourful list is one candidate who guarded Hitler's deputy Rudolf Hess in Spandau Prison, Berlin, another who is a trustee of an elephant charity called the Tusk Trust, and two who boast of their support for the England football team.

Rather predictably Plaid Cymru leapt in with both feet, harking back to the colonial times when John Redwood ran Wales from Wokingham and confused the Welsh National Anthem with Nellie the Elephant or some such tune. They then pulled up the drawbridge completely, making it clear that in their view only a pure-bred Welsh person with no connections with England and daffodil-juice running through their veins was fit to stand for Parliament around here:

"Plaid Cymru will always put the interests of Wales first, not Buckinghamshire, London, Croydon, Wiltshire or Essex. It is an insult to people in Wales that so many of their candidates live and work in London."

Personally, I have no problem with somebody coming from across the border to stand for Parliament here. We are, after all, part of the UK and it is a UK election. What I do have a problem with is a political party trying to pretend that all their candidates are from Wales when they are not.

Oh, yes, and somebody should also tell the two Tories concerned that standing in Wales whilst declaring your support for the England football team does nothing to endear you to your electors.

Meanwhile, Labour have proved that they are still struggling to come to terms with the realities of devolution. Labour campaign documents sent to their Welsh candidates are reported to urge party activists to use health service promises for England that do not apply in Wales. At least they are not suggesting that Welsh Labour candidates should support England in the forthcoming Wales vs England World Cup qualifier.
Comments:
I don't see how you can interpret:

"Plaid Cymru will always put the interests of Wales first, not Buckinghamshire, London, Croydon, Wiltshire or Essex. It is an insult to people in Wales that so many of their candidates live and work in London."

as meaning:

..making it clear that in their view only a pure-bred Welsh person with no connections with England and daffodil-juice running through their veins was fit to stand for Parliament around here:

Doesn't Janet Ryder come from the north east of England and Neil Baker (Plaid candidate in Llanelli seat for Westminster) is English born?
 
Honestly, you make a tongue in cheek comment and people jump down your throat. It was irony!!
 
Here is an article I have written which cites your article:

Troubled Tories Display Imperious Pomposity in Wales

http://scottish-independence.blogspot.com/2005/04/troubled-tories-display-imperious.html

Extract: "As far as I am aware there are no MSPs or MPs blogging in Scotland. There are quite a lot in England, and tons of (mainly no-hoper) Prospective Parliamentary Candidates are blogging. It is widely considered that Peter Black AM (a Lib Dem member of the National Assembly for Wales) has the best... "
 
Rhys Wynne: It's almost funny that your party has a handful of "token" English people who are wheeled out at a moments notice to defend you whenever your opponents express concern over the views of some of your, shall we say, extreme members (e.g. Seimon Glyn).

"Racist? Not us, we've got Janet Ryder, she's a geordie you know."
 
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