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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Welsh Labour isolated within the UK

Welsh Labour politicians must be feeling slightly bruised this morning after reading this blog by the BBC's political editor in Scotland, which effectively challenges the give-away agenda they have been pursuing for some time.

He reports that Scottish Labour Leader, Johann Lamont has questioned whether Scotland can continue to afford policies such as free personal care, free prescriptions, free university tuition and a continuing freeze on council tax.

This is an agenda that New Labour did not feel able to adopt in England and which led to a number of notable clashes between UK Labour Ministers and their counterparts in Cardiff Bay. Although the consensus across three of the Welsh parties at least, is that free prescriptions and bus passes remain affordable and desirable, it is clear that we too will be facing difficult spending decisions in years to come.

More significantly though is the way that Carwyn Jones is out on a limb within his own party, on issues that frankly chime with the social democrat consensus that Ed Miliband is looking to embrace. The Spectator is damning on this issue:

"Lamont's speech was, in effect, a repudiation of fifteen years of Labour thinking. The devolution years have been an exercise in fantasy politics in which everything has a value but nothing comes at a price. There will be cake for everyone. Labour built this political culture. Now it falls to Labour to try to change it".

This is picked up by the BBC's Welsh Political Editor, Betsan Powys in her own blog, who acknowledges that these sort of differences exist under devoloution, but:

You may however argue in return that you'd expect basic points of political principle to remain pretty much the same - in the same hymn book at least, if not on the exact same hymn sheet.

Are the two leaders sharing a stage at Labour's conference in Manchester later this month? Now wouldn't that be a whole lot of fun - and free for all.

Indeed it would.
You really should read the full speech which is on the Scottish Labour website. No one who is a socialist and is also fed up with gesture poltics and spin could disagree with a word of it. At last a politician who wants to take responsiblity for their actions and not revert to the default position of so many in the regional political institutions of always blaming London whoever is in power at Westminster. Who can disagree with her comment of 'I believe that our resources should go to those in greatest need.'? The fact that the speech has been criticised by the Scotish Sun speaks volumes. We face major problems in the 21st century and trying to solve those problems will require politicians to make some difficult decisions. What the Scottish Labour Leader is arguing if you read the whole speech is that Alex Salmond is ducking those decisions because he wants to win the referendum on independence. I doubt if Liberal Democrats in Scotland would disagree with that assessment. Who knows if politicians were a little more honest then we might even get greater engagement from the public in the political process.
Bit odd that you choose a day on which Nick Clegg reiterates the Liberal Democrats' priorities in government to highlight inconsistencies in Labour's stance.

Perhaps this will cheer you up.


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