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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Rugby Mums

Sarah Palin famously branded herself as a 'hockey mum' and asserted that the only difference between her and a pitbull was that she wore lipstick. Now Labour MEP, Eluned Morgan has taken up the cry with an assertion that 'rugby mams and schoolyard chat' are crucial to Labour winning back support in Wales.

Remarkably she goes on to hit out at the relevance of some of Welsh Labour's key giveaway policies:

“Let’s look at some of the policies we were offering. A free bus pass for pensioners has been a real blessing to thousands, but the fact is that a high proportion of pensioners who are reliable Assembly voters own cars and might not feel directly affected by the free bus pass offer. This is particularly true in rural areas.

“Similarly, an offer of financial assistance to help deprived children buy school uniforms might chime with our core vote, but would not be relevant to the same extent in many marginal seats.

“Of course we should not abandon these policies, but we must think of extra ones to specifically appeal beyond our core vote.

“Many of the working class have become middle class. While their parents would not have gone to university many of their children would be expected to attend.

“Their horizons are broader, their ambitions wider. We need to respond to these changing needs, the needs of families where both parents work, the needs of single-parent families, the needs of a 24-hour society, the needs of an ageing population.

“Labour must get in touch with the ‘rugby mam’ and the schoolyard chat in order to ensure identification with women who simply want the best for their children and their families.”

I suppose they could always invest in cores services by making sure that local Councils have a reasonable financial settlement so as to avoid cutting education, social service and highway budgets. Or is that approach not high profile enough?
Oh the joys of political obscurity Peter - you can promise the world without a care for how its all paid for.

Do us all a huge favour and go back to sleep.
On the contrary Philip, the Welsh Liberal Democrats can point to their record of acomplishing what Plaid failed to do. As Jenny Randerson said in Plenary on Wednesday:

"If you look back at the figures and statistics, you will see that during the years of the Labour/Liberal Democrat partnership Government. Do not argue with this, because it is there in the books. During the years of the partnership Government, local authorities had a 48 per cent increase in their budget, while the Assembly Government had a 43 per cent increase in its budget. During 2001-02, the first year of the partnership Government, there was a 39 per cent increase in local authorities’ budgets, as against a 22 per cent increase in the Assembly Government’s budget."

Is there a fake Philip Frazier?
But Peter, Wales (and indeed the rest of the UK) are comprehensively and consistently rejecting you as a party of Government. Unless of course, you saying the people of Wales are wrong?

Your polls ratings - in real and opinion formats - are static (as usual). There has been no "breakthrough". There is no "breakthrough". There will be no "breakthrough". Its all imagined. do you agree?

You are reduced in Wales to a rump of councillors, who are prepared to strike up deals with all manner of misfits and non-descripts and then claim you control these local authorities, when in reality, you patently don't.

Worse still, you are losing by-elections like they are going out of fashion.

You are retreating constantly and in the current economic crisis, you have nothing to say and worse still, no one but no one is listening to you. The Lib Dems are completely irrelevant I am afraid.

to add insult to injury, your membership is plummeting to such an extent, at this rate, you may not exist as a party in a few years time.

Also, the candidates in your current Leadership admit you are crap - otherwise neither would be advocating change would they?

You really must draw a distinction in your own mind that the guff you people churn out in Lib Dem Focus newlsletters, is not actually the case certianly not the truth. Its your spin my friend.

You sound like you are beginning to believe that nonsense, which leads me to think you probably need a holiday or something.

There are several imposters who use my name in vain. However, I can categorically, assure you, I am the authentic one.

I hope you reply to this as I am having a quiet one this weekend and reading your reply explaining how a) the Lib Dems are in truly great shape, and b) you are on the verge of a crucial electoral breakthrough, could prove quite entertaining!
1. The Liberal Democrat poll ratings are roughly comparable to previous Parliaments at this stage. We will have opportunities to be in Government after 2011 if a reasonable deal can be struck. After all no single party has managed to secure a majority in the Assembly and that is likely to repeat itself.
2. We have more Councillors than we have ever had in Wales and we help control over half the local Councils. We lead three of the five biggest authorities including the Capital and the second City. That is hardly a sign of failure.
3. Yes we have lost four successive by-elections in Wales all of which had particular local circumstances but we will recover.
4. In the current economic crisis it is the Liberal Democrats Treasury Spokesperson, Vince Cable who is recognised as the foremost authority on the economy by all independent commentators. That is why he was voted Parliamentarian of the Year. We led the way on calling for interest rate cuts and tax cuts. The other parties followed.
5. Our membership is largely static. All parties are losing members. It is one issue that the new Welsh leader will be addressing.
6. Our current leadership candidates recognise that we can do better. They also acknowledge where we have done well and want to build on that. Every party needs to go through this process of renewal to stay relevant otherwise they do decay and disappear.
anyone else find the term "Rugby Mum" both patronising, stereotypical and slightly offensive?

as someone who does the schoolrun every morning (no, I'm not a "Rugby Dad") I can tell the minister that the "mums" in the playground are intelligent, intuitive, angry, opinionated, close-nit... they aren't the stereotypical Welsh Labour valleys "mum" that she seems to think they are. They're quite able to make up their minds on things like political promises, and can see through it. What will keep them happy is DELIVERY of services, not promises.
I'm surprised that nobody has commented on Eluned Morgan raising her profile ahead of her leaving the European parliament.
Peter to respond to your response to Frazier.

1. if your in the same polling position as past parliaments the best you can hope is a repeat of previous results. The difference is that for the first time in 11 years the tories are polling consistently in the late 30 to 45%.Even allowing modest recovery for the lib dems incumbancy etc between a third and a half of the parliamentary party faces defeat. The Lib dems have strggled to win seats of labour as their targetting depends on activists moving to help key seats. they simply dont have enough activists in the north of england etc.

2. Local government. The Lib dems were the fourth largest party in wales in numbers of councillors they are now fifth having been over taken by the Tories..

3. All parties are not losing members Plaids membership is rising as, I believe, is the SNP.

4. Yes Vince cable is very capable sadly it just shows up how poor Nick Clegg has been.

5. It may be possible for the lib dems to get into government after 2011. However the conduct of the group in the assembly during and following the negotiations has done an astonishing amount of damage to the Lib dem credibility not just with other parties but with the media and many opinion formers, this is not entirely fair but is the reality.

Whoever their new leader is faces significant challenges greater even than those faced by other groups in the assembly. However having the first female leader may help at least in terms of novelty.
In the very recent past I wrote to all four of our Wales' Euro MEPs asking them to ask some pertinent Questions for me and Wales in the Euro Parliament (in the manner of the way Westminster MPs assk written questions). I never got any answers. Indeed I only got acknowledgements from three of the four after writing twice. The fourth MEP wasted his time and mine writing a letter of his opinins on the subject I asked about.Not answers - his opinions. Now I know quite a bit about the subject but not all, so that's why I asked them to ask the questions. Knowing what I know the MEP's "opinions" I got from that one MEP were shockingly baloney rubbish. Of course I got nothing from the other three. Can someone tell me what these MEPs do apart from globetrotting at our expense, and not fighting the corruption of some unmentionable euro countries.
Has Eluned Morgan ever been to a Sunday morning under 11s rugby match? There she would see the real rugby mam baying for blood and encouraging little Dai to kill his opposite number. She might also like to discuss politics with them after an international as they wait in line like cattle for the next train to West Wales. Soaked both inside and out and wearing just the red shirt of Wales most of them don't even know which planet they are on. All the comment shows is that Eluned Morgan as a typical middle class woman is as usual totally out of touch with the reality of Welsh life
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