Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1015/28154

From The Socialist newspaper, 24 October 2018

Welsh Labour leadership election: 'Corbyn candidate' must pledge end to austerity

Leadership candidates from left to right Eluned Morgan, Mark Drakeford and Vaughan Gething, photos National Assembly for Wales/CC

Leadership candidates from left to right Eluned Morgan, Mark Drakeford and Vaughan Gething, photos National Assembly for Wales/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Ross Saunders, Socialist Party Wales

The volatility of the political situation is obvious in Wales: by the time this year ends, every political party in the Welsh Assembly will have replaced its leader at least once. Even the Lib Dems - who only have one Welsh Assembly member and no MPs - changed their rules in order to put a new face at the head of their organisation.

But it is Labour's leadership election which will draw most attention. First Minister Carwyn Jones - a Corbyn critic - is stepping down in December and his replacement will occupy the highest position Labour holds in the UK state. The actions of whoever takes over could have a big effect on people's expectations of what Corbyn would do with power.

Two of the three candidates are from the right of the party. Vaughan Gething, the current health minister in the Welsh government, is prominently backed by Blairite Owen Smith MP, who spearheaded the 2016 attempted coup against Corbyn.

Eluned Morgan, the second more right-wing candidate, was a leading MEP when Blair led the party. Rather than fight the Tories and their cuts, Gething is proposing a new social care tax that all Welsh people would have to pay.

Frontrunner

By far the front-runner, however, is Mark Drakeford. Over half of Labour's Assembly Members nominated him. Trade unions Unite, Unison and Usdaw are backing him too. Drakeford was a senior aide to Rhodri Morgan, the Welsh First Minister who famously claimed there was "clear red water" between Tony Blair's policies and those of the Welsh Labour administration he ran.

As a result, Wales was spared some of the privatisation that Blair meted out in England and there were some limited improvements in education, including the abolition of league tables. Drakeford backed Corbyn in the previous Labour leadership election.

Those who are hoping for a political revolution in the manner of Corbyn's victory in the UK Labour leadership elections, however, will be disappointed. Even 'Clear Red Water two' is off the cards. Those polices were enacted in an era of expanding budgets.

If he wins, Drakeford has said that he will run a "centre left" administration that "leans to the left". He is advancing a modest, bordering on timid, programme of demands such as the creation of "ethical standards" for the treatment of workers, something already agreed but hardly implemented by the Welsh government - nothing likely to strike terror into the hearts of exploiting companies based in Wales such as Amazon.

Drakeford is currently the Welsh government's finance secretary and has indicated he would, in his words, continue to "deal with austerity" - which in practice means implementing the cuts the Tory government demands - if he were elected as First Minister.

This would be a massive waste of an opportunity: Carwyn Jones always claimed that the assembly had no power to stop Tory cuts. But, in reality, the assembly could end austerity in Wales.

What's more, if it refused to cut services and instead coordinated the councils, health boards, fire authorities and other organisations below it to set budgets based on the needs that exist in Wales, spending council reserves and using borrowing powers - all the while building a mass campaign - it could potentially topple the Tory government.

Instead, like much of the Labour left, Drakeford plans to passively wait for Corbyn to win. This is a mistake. Only a movement on the streets and in the workplaces could make the victory of a Corbyn-led government certain, as well as defend it against the attacks of big business once in power.

The Welsh working class can't afford to wait.

Trade unionists in Carmarthenshire lobbying their Labour council for a no-cuts budget in 2014, photo Scott Jones

Trade unionists in Carmarthenshire lobbying their Labour council for a no-cuts budget in 2014, photo Scott Jones   (Click to enlarge)

Decline

The decline of this ex-industrial heartland is sharp: the amount of wealth per head continues to fall further below the UK average (10% in the last 20 years, from 81% of average UK GVA in 1997 to 71% now) and public services are in crisis, with Wales regularly bottom in the international Pisa ratings of school standards. Cuts in the Welsh NHS routinely provide the Tories with ammunition for the Tories to attack Corbyn.

We need an immediate end to austerity cuts and bold socialist policies to rebuild industry and create real jobs.

We need an urgent discussion, too, about what form of organisation it would take to deliver those policies. Welsh Labour has just switched to a system of 'one member one vote' for the election of its leader.

The old system was a stitch-up which gave considerable power to the right-wing majority of MPs and Assembly Members. The new system gives a single vote to every member of the party and of the affiliated organisations. But it weakens the influence that trade unions have.

We need a party whose membership is open to all anti-cuts campaigners, trade unionists and socialist organisations. That would require changing more than a leader and a voting system, whatever its form, to create an organisation that can fight to end austerity and fight for socialism.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 24 October 2018:


What we think

'People's vote' should be a general election


Workplace news

Support RMT strikes against the elimination of guards on trains

Glasgow council workers - historic strike for equal pay

3aaa collapses - 4,500 apprentices left guessing their futures

PCS legal win - build further pressure from below to defeat the Tories

Ladywood Primary school strike


News

Universal Credit could trap women in violent relationships

Blairites plan to expand their very own academy chain

Tories ensured Carillion meltdown went unchecked

MPs revel in 2m worth of free foreign trips

Them & Us


Wales

Welsh Labour leadership election: 'Corbyn candidate' must pledge end to austerity


Refugees

Join the fight for refugee rights


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Can you donate to the Socialism 2018 appeal?

Enthusiastic response to new podcast

Students and workers march for increased college funding

Joining the Socialist Party has helped me understand the world and how we can change it

Health services in meltdown - fight to save our NHS

Newcastle Utd fans' campaign against owner Mike Ashley continues


International socialist news and analysis

Germany: Bavarian elections and huge anti-racist demonstration mark an historic weekend


Opinion

1821 Cinderloo uprising: "The crowd thought it had nothing else to lose"

The Socialist Inbox


 

Home   |   The Socialist 24 October 2018   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Wales:

triangleGoing viral - Socialist comments and letters

triangleSocial partnership is an attempt to shackle trade unions and prevent industrial action

triangleSocialist Party Wales: New workers' party needed to tackle coronavirus and capitalist austerity

triangleWhere's the PPE Welsh Assembly?

triangleRoyal Glam A&E: Victory is within our grasp

Labour leadership election:

triangleLabour leadership election: Starmer wins but the fight for socialism goes on

triangleLivingstone, Labour and anti-Semitism

triangleWhy I joined: "I am a Labour Party member and I recently decided to join the Socialist Party"

triangleTUSC: To stand or not to stand?

Labour leadership:

triangleCouncil cuts could cost Labour another general election

triangleLabour leadership contest and public ownership

triangleNo 'blank cheque' for Labour leadership candidates

Labour:

triangleLessons from the Corbyn experience

triangleHull Trades Council debates workers' political representation

Election:

triangleSabotage - the inner workings of Labour's political machine exposed

Austerity:

triangleCrisis in council services: Labour must fight or stand aside

Government:

triangleSchools aren't safe

Cuts:

triangleStrong union response needed against job cuts

Welsh Government:

triangleNHS: Fight for full funding!

Welsh Assembly:

triangleKeep the pressure on to save Royal Glam A&E

Blairite:

triangleReverse Unison's undemocratic nomination of Blairite Starmer

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

29/5/20

Labour

Lessons from the Corbyn experience

27/5/20

TUC

Covid crisis boosts union membership but TUC leaders want to cosy up to the bosses!

27/5/20

Coronavirus

Reckless, lying cheats

26/5/20

Coronavirus

Coronavirus pandemic news in brief

26/5/20

Coronavirus

More blunders and profiteering in Tory track-and-trace scheme

26/5/20

Coronavirus

United action can defeat Tories' dangerous school plan

25/5/20

Coronavirus

Care home workers suffer PPE shortage and job loss fears

22/5/20

Coronavirus

Black and Asian Covid-19 deaths: an indictment of capitalist inequality

20/5/20

Coronavirus

Johnson's reckless 'back to school' plans threaten everyone's safety

20/5/20

Coronavirus

Confidence plummets in Tory strategy for Covid-19

20/5/20

Benefits

Universal Basic Income: not a solution to insecurity and poverty under capitalism

20/5/20

Covid

Furlough cut-off could force millions back to unsafe workplaces

20/5/20

Council

Crisis in council services: Labour must fight or stand aside

20/5/20

Rich

Rich get handouts - workers get pay cuts

19/5/20

Coronavirus

Transport workers and passengers mustn't pay the price

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999