Friday, March 27, 2009

What would Aneurin do?

I haven't checked other blogs yet but it's inevitable that a major topic of conversation will be the new Welsh Labour blog. In Peter Hain's words, Welsh Labour's "Obama moment". Of course, it will not be a topic of conversation whatsoever amongst normal people in Wales or anywhere else. Discussion of it will be confined to blogs and the internet. With this in mind, I will discuss the reality of Welsh Labour as well as the internet farce that has emerged through the "Aneurin Glyndwr" website.

The Welsh Labour party's stance since devolution was once described by a grassroots member as "left-wing policies without left-wingers". The social democratic leanings in Welsh Labour have held out to the extent that, i'm told, Labour party members in England look towards the Assembly with an attitude that says "they've got a real Labour government in Wales", rather than a New Labour one. Successive administrations in Wales led by Labour have chosen not to embrace most of the market-style reforms championed by Tony Blair. Even though I am not a Labour supporter, I am a socialist and can see the benefit of not having Polyclinics, Foundation Hospitals or elitist Academy Schools. The fundamental mantra of public services in Wales is based on a social/co-operative model, whereas in England (and also to an extent in Scotland under the then allegedly "Old" Labour administration there) New Labour has pursued the conservative "choice" dogma. This means that the Foundation Hospitals are designed to give patients a choice of where they want to be treated, for example.

In any case, the point I am making is that Welsh Labour has made some achievements that it could crow about. However, the problem is, the more they celebrate these achievements and push "Clear Red Water", the more it will become apparent that their political programme is fundamentally opposed to what Tony Blair and Gordon Brown wanted to achieve.

It's with regret that I note that there seems to consistently be some kind of bizarre internet related story about the Labour party in Wales. It seems that every few weeks there has been a Labour party worker sacked for something on the internet, or that there are rumours about blogs, or that they have created this and that website. I cannot get my head around the current website they were promoting and must admit I did not believe it was genuine at first, or that it had been endorsed by professional politicians. I am not saying the website is shameful or particularly nasty, it is just horribly naff. Young activists will always do their thing and might try and create these sites for fun, it can be harmless. But the entire standard and professionalism, coupled with the bizarre mytho-nationalist imagery, is tacky and cringeworthy.

I am still trying to process the fact that the same party with a policy record that is amongst the most significant of any government in Western Europe, has officially endorsed a sub-standard web video done on MS Paint that could be bettered by any Year 10 IT pupil at a Comprehensive school in Wales. Bizarre.

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