Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 6 July 2006

Blaenau Gwent

Blairites trounced in Labour heartlands

"I'M VERY pleased - we're a socialist area and Labour has become Tory." This shopper in Ebbw Vale reflected thousands of voters' feelings in Blaenau Gwent at Labour's crushing defeat in by-elections for Parliament and Welsh Assembly.

Dave Reid, Cardiff Socialist Party

This constituency has some of Western Europe's highest levels of unemployment, poverty and ill health. Working people have been abandoned by big business and its parties for nearly 30 years.

Yet they suddenly found the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Welsh Secretary and the First Minister of the Welsh Assembly government on their doorsteps with furrowed brows promising to deal with the area's problems!

New Labour failed to win back this seat, which for years had Britain's highest Labour majority, from Blaenau Gwent People's Voice (BGPV). Their Tory policies were rejected in an old Labour heartland.

BGPV was formed after Peter Law won the parliamentary seat from Labour in the 2005 general election. Law's group split when he was excluded from Labour's short list through the manipulation of an all women's short list. This was seen as a way of shoe-horning a Blairite into Blaenau Gwent when the local Labour Party wanted a socialist.

But for Blaenau Gwent's working people, this was more than just a squabble over party selection procedures. The imposition of a Blairite candidate showed the anti-socialist, anti-working class takeover by New Labour whose Tory policies of privatisation and cutbacks devastated Blaenau Gwent and other working-class communities.

When Peter Law died earlier this year the media asked: was Blaenau Gwent's general election result a one-off protest vote? Well they got their answer when the result was announced.

The new MP, Dai Davies spoke for millions of disappointed Labour voters when he warned: "Political parties take note. You take people for granted at your peril. It's the people that matter, not the political parties. The dinosaurs thought they'd live for ever - they died out. Listen to the people or you're in trouble."

Certainly low turnouts in elections reflect people's disenchantment with the main parties who all dance to the same pro-business tune. But these parties will never listen to working-class people.

Davies also said: "A political revolution is starting in Blaenau Gwent tonight". It's certainly an important breakthrough, a half-way step to a new political formation. But this must be widened beyond the South Wales valleys and it means adopting a programme to tackle the vital issues of jobs, health, education and public services.

That would mean a socialist programme. Unfortunately while stating that BGPV is socialist throughout the election, none of this was reflected in the election literature which concentrated on local issues and "more police on the beat".

Dai Davies says he'll work with backbench Labour MPs at Westminster who voted on principle against the government. But the Blairites' grip on the Labour Party means this is a dwindling band resorting to protest gestures rather than offering a new political direction.

BGPV's success shows that when a significant socialist alternative is put forward working-class people would respond. The challenge to BGPV is to work with socialists and trade unionists to extend this potential to the rest of Wales and Britain. Socialist Party members and CNWP supporters who helped in the by-election campaign will work with BGPV members to achieve this.

Donate to the Socialist Party

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.
  • 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 Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation


Your message: 


In The Socialist 6 July 2006:

Socialist Party NHS campaign

NHS: Not for sale!

Fighting back against cuts and closures

Stop NHS Logistics sell-off

The NHS: What the Socialist Party says

Campaign for a New Workers Party

Public services not private profit

Build the Campaign for a New Workers' Party

Socialist Party youth and students

Young people need a living wage!

Socialist Party campaigns

How the rich became super-rich

Blairites trounced in Labour heartlands

Come to Summer Camp!

International socialist news and analysis

Israeli troops inflict 'collective punishment' on Palestinians

In Brief

'War on terror' undermining our democratic rights

Chile: Who killed Victor Jara?

Socialist Party review

The Wind that Shakes the Barley

The Irish Civil War 1922-1923

Socialist Party workplace news

Royal Mail - turn anger into action

Bus campaign prepares support for striking drivers


Home   |   The Socialist 6 July 2006   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


trianglePreparing for struggle in post-Covid Britain

triangleTerry Fields MP, Prisoner DV 3695 - The jailing of 'poll tax' rebel and Militant

triangleBook: The struggle for world socialism

triangleStriking Ealing parking attendants rally outside council


triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: How can a mass movement to challenge sexism and violence against women be organised?

triangleBrighton Socialist Party: Material deprivation and the impact on schools

triangleNew left NEC meets - Organise the fight back now

triangleSocialist Party national youth meeting


triangleSupport Sharon Graham for Unite general secretary

triangleSocialist candidate wins NIPSA general secretary election

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: The general secretary election in the trade union Unite


triangleEngland football team

triangle'Socialism is the hope of the world'


triangleSwansea and West Wales Socialist Party: Instability continues in the Middle East


triangleCardiff West Socialist Party: Q&A on trade union issues

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



New left NEC meets - Organise the fight back now



Public sector pay - NHS, teachers - Prepare for action!



Government departments move to impose pay cuts: Fightback needed



Football: Smash racism


Socialist Party

Why I joined the Socialist Party



Build a mass movement for LGBTQ+ liberation and socialism


Bin workers

Workplace round-up



St Mungo's strikers end 12-week strike



Telecoms workers angry at CWU deal with BT



GKN Birmingham workers rally against plant closure



We need councillors who will end housing crisis - vote TUSC in Staines on 22 July



Stop Pimlico gentrification


Socialist Party

Everyone can spot Socialist Party in Stoke


Socialist Party

Socialist Party meetings say: We're ready to go out and campaign


Youth Fight for Jobs

Youth Fight for Jobs is back

triangleMore Reports and campaigns 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



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: [email protected]

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: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 077 7221 5281

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 078 0983 9793



Alphabetical listing

July 2021

June 2021

May 2021

April 2021

March 2021

February 2021

January 2021