Record of Shame

Well, the Labour Party has apparently been stung into action by the early Lib Dem running in this by-election. So for our delight, we have this document (with thanks to blog reader ED again for sending it to penartharbyd[a]gmail.com).

And given that this is a Local Labour Voice ‘by-election special’, it got me thinking – have I ever seen a copy of Local Labour Voice before? If not, then this by-election is special!

Stephen Doughty – who it’s already been announced here will be our new MP – is apparently playing a leading role in fighting for fairer taxes and against the UK government’s cuts. If that’s the case, he’s displaying a remarkable degree of impotence. Because as I see it, despite all Stephen’s hard work and campaigning, the cuts and taxation brackets are just the same. I’d be delighted to see Stephen’s strategy in “doing all [he] can to fight the vicious cuts”, because it sounds suspiciously like he hasn’t got one. And flailing around trying to grab a few headlines here and there are hardly going to persuade the UK government to abandon their austerity drive.

On the next page we have a picture of Penarth Labour Councillors proudly displaying a banner. Except… wait a minute! There are a few ringers in there. One of them’s Stephen himself, who at present is either employed by Oxfam or is unemployed, awaiting his anointment. He is in any case unelected. Another is an unelected former AM, we’ve got one of our present AMs and then our MP. Let’s not try to mislead the electorate in our enthusiasm, eh, Stephen?

And Stephen says that campaigning “gets results for local people”. Perhaps I should refer him back to his prodigious success as the leading light in achieving fairer taxation. But although this is the purview of the local authority, I do think there’s a role for an MP to work to improve local facilities  through working with councillors, in addition to Westminster work. I just hope Stephen displays more commitment to local communities than his predecessor, who’s been in this game so long he’s more familiar with Millbank than Pill Street.

It’s more than a bit hypocritical for Stephen to describe the harsh and cruel Tory/Lib Dem government’s shady plans to introduce regional pay. After all, which political party’s brainchild was regional pay in the first place? You guessed it! Labour pushing hard for less pay for Welsh workers.

We get a delightful page 3 picture – but who’s the un-named man with Stephen? He appears to have borrowed one of Stephen’s suits from when he had yet to reach his towering stature, and a shirt and tie to boot. It’s nice to see philanthropy in action, caring for the older generation with barely a penny to their name and donating clothing to them. Well done Stephen!

Stephen bemoans the stripping of ‘vital powers’ ascribed by ASBOs. But the latest statistical analysis tells us that by 2010, 57% of all ASBOs had been breached at least once, with an average in these cases of 4.5 breaches. And South Wales Police issued a whopping 36 ASBOs in 2010. Well that system worked just great, didn’t it! But it’s just as well Stephen’s in tune with a certain Ed Balls, who described ASBOs as a ‘failure‘, and said “I want to live in a society that puts ASBOs behind us”. Could Stephen’s fondness for ASBOs have anything to do with a certain father figure having been responsible for this failed policy?

Stephen’s going to have to get used to being branded hypocritical. Because in relation to police numbers, if we look north to  Scotland, police numbers are actually rising. But then police and criminal justice is devolved to Scotland (and Northern Ireland), so they’re much better equipped to withstand the ‘vicious cuts’ that Stephen is so concerned about. Perhaps he’d be better off asking Peter Hain why he thought policing would be better off financed by London than Wales than bleating about 750 officers being lost as a result of Labour’s failure to devolve when they had the chance.

And I’m sure more than a few bobbies on the beat could be paid for out of a Police Commissioner’s fat salary. But then, we’re hardly likely to see Stephen complain about that with his best friend having a major interest in ensuring that salary remains as high as possible.

I’m with Stephen that privatisation of the police forces a la Lincolnshire – policing for profit – is a bad idea. But the only cast-iron way of ensuring it doesn’t happen in Wales? Devolve policing and criminal justice – something, incidentally, that’s supported by a substantial majority of the Welsh public.

I should also mention the Labour Party’s stalwart consideration of the Welsh language. Like the Liberal Democrats before them, for Welsh Labour the Welsh language is a complete irrelevance. Which is slightly peculiar given that in Leighton Andrews they have one of the most pro-Welsh language Ministers we’ve ever had in Cardiff Bay. From Welsh language hero to zero in 9 yards, that’s Labour for you.

Stephen says he wants to hear from us. I wonder just how happy he’ll be to get this feedback.

Incidentally, I’d appreciate all Penarth and Cardiff South candidates sending me pdf versions of their electoral material. It avoids the poorer quality scans such as today’s version (I’m still grateful to you, ED!). And I’ve just had an idea  that might up the stakes a bit. To be continued…

This post has been updated to make reference to the zero-tolerance approach Stephen Doughty has to the Welsh language.

8 Sylw

Filed under Democracy, Elections, Labour, Welsh Government, Westminster

8 responses to “Record of Shame

  1. Cynon Davies

    It’s the back page of Labour Voice that interests me the most – the large half-page picture showing an ordinary Penarth family eating breakfast before nipping down to the Post Office to collect their welfare entitlements. Who are they? We are not told – yet clearly there are no inhibitions about putting the photos of “their children” on public view.
    The “father” isn’t wearing glasses – but does he seem to bear a resemblance to the tall man with glasses and bushy hair in Doughty’s group photos? Could he, by any chance, be an activist and a member of the Doughty campaign team. Election literature is subject to “ultima fides” – utmost good faith. I think we should be told

  2. Cynon, your comment on the ‘large half-page picture’ reminded me that I’d failed to take Stephen to task for his failure to include even one word of Welsh on the document. We might as well be in Cambridge as Cardiff. With a bit of graphic design, neater pictures etc. the whole lot could have been fully bilingual with no extra printing costs. It’s bloody pathetic.

  3. Hysbysiad Cyfeirio: An Irresistible Offer | penartharbyd

  4. David, let’s steer clear of personal comments please. Most people in Penarth will have no concern over the various candidates’ dress sense or body shape provided they are effective at representing constituents and/or competent legislators.

  5. PAB It’s your blog Please delete my posts.

  6. Cynon Davies

    My investigation of the “family picture” on the back page of Stephen Doughty’s “Local Labour Voice” pamplhlet continues.
    You might have noticed there is a jar of honey on the table. Look more closely and you will see it is branded “Rowse” honey on a blue background. This label hasn’t been used on Rowse honey for more than two years.

    Rowse actually changed their labels and updated their brand in 2010. (The bottles for Rowse honey are actually made in Llantristant by RPC Ltd). It would appear therefore that this family was enduring whatever hardship they were enduring under a Labour Government – not a coalition one.

    We also notice that there are plenty of bottles of alcohol on the shelf in the cupboard behind them – so they’re not THAT poverty stricken.

    I would also suggest to this family – if indeed they are in Penarth and not Penrith or somewhere – that they take that sugar container off the table in the interests of a healthier diet for their children.
    Anyway the upshot of it all is that the picture is a cheat. This particular “Penarth” family – photographed in 2010 or before – cannot conceivably be “facing a worrying weekly pay cut thanks to the Tory and Lib Dem Government”. Any financial problems they might have suffered would have been caused by Gordon Brown.

    • Nice detective work Cynon.
      Unfortunately the Advertising Standards Authority tells us “For reasons of freedom of speech, we do not have remit over non-broadcast ads where the purpose of the ad is to persuade voters in a local, national or international electoral referendum. Complaints about political advertising should be made directly to the party responsible for that advertising”.
      So the best we can hope for – other than a complaint to the Labour party – is that Labour activists are reading this and endeavour not to misrepresent situations in the future.

  7. Hysbysiad Cyfeirio: The Line-Up | penartharbyd

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