Merthyr: All Aboard the ‘Welsh’ Labour Gravy Train

MERTHYR: DIC PENDERYN TO S.O. DAVIES

The town of Merthyr holds a special place in the hearts of those Welsh who know their history. The Rising of 1831 is still celebrated, and the execution of Richard Lewis aka ‘Dic Penderyn’ still resonates, with yet another petition being launched recently to have Dic pardoned. I have a soft spot for Dic and the others who died in 1831, but that’s not because I buy into the nonsense about the Merthyr Rising being part of some glorious UK-wide workers movement – strictly Unionist and pro-monarchy, you understand – that laid the foundations for the ‘Welsh’ Labour Party we know today. No, the Merthyr Rising was very local to the Heads of the Valleys, the rioters were largely ignorant of events outside of their region, but they knew enough to shout ‘Down with the King!’ . . . in Welsh, and like most of the rioters, Dic Penderyn himself spoke no English. One of the details BritNat Labour revisionists tend to overlook.

A more credible reason for Merthyr’s special place in Labour folklore is that it was the first parliamentary seat won by the party, when Scotsman Keir Hardie was elected in 1900 as the junior MP for the dual-member constituency of Merthyr Tydfil and Aberdare. (Though what was to become the Labour Party remained the Labour Representation Committee until 1906.) Hardie had previously been elected MP in 1892 for the Independent Labour Party in the English seat of West Ham South.

Merthyr suffered badly during the Depression and subsequent decades, seeing its population decline from 110,569 in 1891 to some 57,000 today. Despite this fall, sentiment – and the political calculations of the Labour Party – decreed that Merthyr should remain a unitary authority in the 1996 local government reorganisation. Achieved by deciding on a 60,000 minimum population level for the new authorities, a hurdle that Merthyr just about cleared, while other areas – mainly non-Labour areas such as Montgomeryshire – failed to negotiate. To compensate for the decreasing electorate, but in order to keep the iconic name, Rhymney was added to give the seat its current name of Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney, though for brevity I shall continue to use ‘Merthyr’.

By the time I got to know Merthyr in the 1960s the place still had an ‘edge’, the turbulent, even violent, past was never far away; the drinking was fierce, and the antagonism towards ‘Plant S O DaviesMari’, or ‘Aberdare Snakes’ and other exotic sub-species, was never far beneath the surface. (I had to be careful about declaring my Swansea origins because I swear some of the old guys had not forgiven the Swansea Yeomanry for its role in 1831!) The Labour MP at this time was Stephen Owen Davies, universally known as ‘S. O.’. Then, some time before the 1970 general election, the local Labour Party decided to de-select this man who had represented the constituency since 1934 in favour of a younger candidate, probably hoping S.O. would go quietly. They soon realised to their cost that S.O. was going nowhere . . . except back to the House of Commons.

One of the things about S.O. was that he wasn’t very good at toeing the party line if he felt something needed to be said, and this trait may have contributed to the Labour Party giving him the heave-ho. For example, following the Aberfan disaster of 1966 he was an outspoken critic of how the Labour government in London compensated the families of those killed. To the surprise of very few, following his de-selection, S.O. decided to run against Labour as an Independent. He beat the official Labour candidate, T J Lloyd, by 7,467 votes, taking 51.9% of the vote in a four-cornered contest that saw a 77.92% turnout.

Stephen Owen Davies died in 1972 at the of 86 (or possibly 93), and Labour regained the seat in the subsequent by-election. His successor was a young Edward ‘Ted’ Rowlands.

*

BARON ROWLANDS AND ‘DAI BASRA’

S. O. Davies was a hard act to follow, and Ted Rowlands didn’t even try, he was a party loyalist through and through. Baron Rowlands (as we must now call him) had first been elected to parliament for Cardiff North in 1966, a seat he lost in 1970. He must have thought all his Christmases had come at once when he secured the nomination for Merthyr following the death of S. O. Davies. In a dismally unspectacular parliamentary career spanning almost three decades (1972 – 2001) his most noteworthy contribution came in 1982, during the war with Argentina. To a startled House of Commons Rowlands revealed that the UK government was reading Argentine diplomatic traffic. Seeing as the Argentine military used the same system Rowlands was telling the junta they’d better start using other encryption methods. To the chagrin of many, he was not hung for treason.Dai Basra

Rowlands was succeeded in 2001 by another man with a keen interest in, but no knowledge of, military matters. This would-be Hannibal of Heolgerrig was David Stuart Havard, soon to acquire the nickname ‘Dai Basra’, after his frequent jollies in the sun many necessary visits to the city of that name in Iraq, occupied by British forces following the 2003 invasion of that country. For the benefit of younger readers . . . Iraq is a country in the Middle East that was invaded in 2003 by countries led by unbalanced ego-maniacs searching for the death ray machine with which Iraq’s leader Saddam Hussein was threatening to blow up the whole solar system, including Llansantffraid-ym-Mechain. (Or was there some other, less plausible, reason for the invasion?)

Dai Basra rose to the heady heights of vice-chairman of the Commons’ Defence Committee, but his political career came to a juddering halt in March 2012 when, ironically, he was brought low – indirectly anyhow – by those same dastardly Argies who had done so much damage to the reputation of his predecessor. On a visit to the contested islands Dai, a keen equestrian, and a member of the British Horse Society, had been looking forward to a canter – he’d taken his riding hat with him – but his equine jaunt had to be cancelled at the last minute. This resulted in a clearly irritated Dai telling the Ministry of Defence number two on the islands to “piss off“.

Among his other claims to fame it’s worth mentioning that Dai Basra opposed an inquiry into the invasion of Iraq (which should surprise no one). He voted against reforming the House of Lords, he voted in favour of ID cards, and he went on a tour of WWI cemeteries, Chris Bryantpaid for by arms manufacturers! No I’m not making the last one up, read it for yourself.

Dai ‘Basra’ Havard is also a member of the Henry Jackson Society, a US think tank that believes it’s OK to invade other countries and kill the indigenes in order to teach them the benefits of’ democracy, or as the website puts it, ” . . . to assist those countries that are not yet liberal and democratic to become so”. The HJS also “Supports the necessary furtherance of European military modernisation and integration under British leadership, preferably within NATO”. Would that be a UK including Scotland . . . and a Europe with or without Greece, and the Donbass . . . and does anyone in the USA in possession of a full set of marbles seriously expect the French military to take orders from Uncle Sam’s errand boy? I’m told that the MP for the neighbouring constituency of Rhondda, Chris Bryant, is also a member of this loony tunes outfit.

Dai Basra stood down at the general election of 2015 and when the weeping and wailing had subsided Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney awoke to a new dawn with Gerald Jones as its MP. So let us now direct our gaze towards the successor.

*

2015, GERALD JONES AND COMPANYGerald Jones

For a start, who is Gerald Jones, what do we know of him, or rather, what have the dickie-birds told me? To begin with, Gerald Jones is from Caerffili, more than that, he was a councillor, indeed Deputy Leader, on Caerffili council, and Cabinet Member for Housing. He was one of the five-man panel involved in the infamous secret meeting that agreed to bump up the salaries of the chief officers. Here are the details. And despite campaigning against the ‘bedroom tax’ this did not stop Jones leading Caerffili council in prosecuting those who fought the bedroom tax!

Since being elected to Westminster two months ago Jones has been a busy boy building up a dynamic team of thrusters and go-getters such as only ‘Welsh’ Labour can muster. Here’s a run-down of who’s who in the Gerald Jones political empire.

Let us begin with his Senior Parliamentary Assistant, on a salary of £43,272, whoTYrone Powell is none other than his partner, Tyrone Powell. A picture of the couple can be found here. Tyrone is also a community councillor in the Darran Valley of Caerffili. Prior to taking over as his partner’s SPA Tyrone was a “housing professional” . . . but wait! wasn’t Gerald Jones Cabinet Member for Housing? Yes indeedy. How convenient. I can imagine the pair of them by a big log fire, whiling away those long winter evenings talking about . . . well, housing. Tyrone is also Chair of Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney Labour Party. Does he still work as a housing professional, or has he given himself entirely to his new role? Either way, it is suggested that Powell was appointed without the post being advertised, even within the Labour Party.

Next up is Gareth Lewis, councillor for the Plymouth ward on Merthyr Tydfil BoroGareth Lewisugh Council. The word on the Merthyr street is that Lewis has been appointed the new MP’s Office Manager, a post for which the salary could be as high as £38,121. This appointment raises the issue of conflict of interests. At the time of writing Gareth Lewis was still councillor for the Plymouth Ward, so does he intend staying on as councillor while also being the MP’s Office Manager? Even if he stands down he will still have friends and former colleagues on the council. There may be occasions when the MP will not see eye to eye with his local party / council, when that happens, where will Lewis’s loyalty lie? Again, people ask if the post was properly advertised.

Another who has boarded the Merthyr gravy train driven by Gerald Jones is Denise Toomey. ‘Who her?’, you cry . . . well she is the wife of Brendan Toomey, and he is the leader of Merthyr Council. Although head honcho among the Merthyr bruvvers Toomey’s Twitter account tells us that his “spiritual home” is north Gower, despite having his drinking there interrupted by some Merthyr malcontent. Brendan is another who’s seen plenty of helmets in his time, being a retired fire-fighter. It is strongly suggested that Mrs Toomey’s post was another not to be advertised, perhaps it was felt unnecessary seeing as shDai Daviese had previously worked for the unforgettable Dai Basra, ere he galloped off into the sunset.

A serious conflict of interest could arise here because Mr Toomey, as leader of Merthyr council, and being the good socialist he is, wants to sack and re-hire, on worse wages and conditions, one thousand council employees. What is the point of these council workers appealing to their MP if to do so they have to go through Mrs Toomey?

One further appointment from Merthyr may be worthy of mention. The new Women’s Officer of the Merthyr Constituency Labour Party is Jennie Davies, wife of councillor Dai Davies (Town Ward).  She was appointed after her predecessor resigned in frustration over a number of issues. Mrs Davies is a podiatrist, which is someone who looks after feet. How this differs from a chiropodist I have no idea, and have no wish to enquire. Being the wife of a councillor we can confidently expect Mrs Davies to be less ‘troublesome’ than her predecessor.

And there may be other things going on in the Merthyr Constituency Labour Party of which I am unaware. So I would welcome any further information.

*

CONCLUSION

What are we to make of the behaviour of the bruvvers and sissters of Merthyr? First, I think I am not being overly-critical when I suggest that what the Labour Party is doing in Merthyr takes nepotism and contempt for the electorate to a whole new level, even by the standards of ‘Welsh’ Labour. It reminds me of the irresponsibility and contempt for others we see when groups or individuals believe they are beyond censure. But as history also teaches us, such behaviour is often closely followed by disaster. Wouldn’t it be sad if Huw Lewis, the local Assembly Member, paid the price in next year’s elections for his comrades’ arrogance? No, not really. I’d rejoice even if Ukip took the seat.

What a journey Merthyr has travelled since 1831. Back then it was the downtroddenWilliamCrawshayI_1764-1834_ArtistJohnHoffner masses rioting against those who exploited them. Now those who claim to be in the tradition of Dic Penderyn and Lewsyn yr Heliwr are the ones lining their pockets. Were this piece being written by someone more cynical than me then that person might suggest that the modern Labour Party in places like Merthyr is more self-serving than the Crawshay family and the other ironmasters ever were. For most of those grandees seemed to accept a certain responsibility towards their workers, even if it was little more than the guilt of the nouveaux riches, while by comparison the modern ‘Welsh’ Labour careerist seems a thoroughly odious little fucker devoid of any redeeming features.

As I write this, Carwyn Jones, the self-styled ‘leader’ of ‘Welsh’ Labour is travelling the country asking electors to ‘write’ the Labour manifesto for next year’s Assembly election. His tour starts today at Gorseinon in the Swansea constituency of Gower (wherein, remember, can be found the spiritual home of Labour’s Merthyr capo), a seat Labour lost to the Tories in May’s UK general election. On the assumption that Carwyn Jones is serious, here’s a suggestion. Bring on local government reorganisation and get rid of these foetid fiefdoms like Merthyr. Doing so would be welcomed by everyone except those I’m writing about here – are you really going to listen to these buggers any longer?

43 thoughts on “Merthyr: All Aboard the ‘Welsh’ Labour Gravy Train

  1. dafis

    Well done jac, off the mark early in the new M.P’s tenure just to keep him aware that he is being watched. However in the finest of recently created Labour traditions ( say post 1969 ) he will proceed as though the rules are his and his alone to interpret as he wishes, following the example of others of his kind ( Geo Thomas, Abse et al ).

    Now in a more enlightened world his nonsense would be put to the test next time the electorate gets a chance to use its ‘X’ but sadly that’s 2020 for Gerald and his entourage, although 2016 looms large and H Lewis would do well to put some visible distance between himself and this lot. Although, in minds of local folk he might well already be a “bedfellow”, metaphorically of course. Which suggests that UKIP could well capitalise, especially as Plaid would never dream of doing a hatchet job on a corrupt nest of boyos, especially if vaguely signed up to some sort of leftish, pinky corporate statist ideals.

    Finally, you are well informed. So who can tell us why it was so vital to ship in a councillor from a neighbouring authority when Merthyr is so well stocked with good party men ? or has the Rhymney bit of the constituency taken ascendancy ?

    1. Can’t really answer why it was felt necessary to bring in Gerald Jones and Tyrone Powell (They come as a pair.) I can only suggest that it was Jones’s wonderful work in bumping up the Caerffili officers pay packages that persuaded Merthyr Labour that here was a man who knew how to look after those close to him.

      1. “What’s the beef with Leo Abse?” !!!! I DON’T BELIEVE IT!!!!
        _________________________________________________________________________________

        Leo Abse ‘being investigated by police in connection with allegations of child abuse’
        22 March 2015 By Steffan Rhys

        The late Welsh Labour MP and solicitor is being investigated by a police force, according to reports

        he late Welsh MP and solicitor Leo Abse is being investigated by police examining allegations of child abuse, according to reports.

        The Sunday Times says documents from South Wales Police reveal that allegations against the long-serving politician, who died in 2008 aged 91, are being examined by another force.

        The Sunday Times says it understands the investigation is centred on an alleged “politicians’ network” involving Abse’s close friend George Thomas, the former Labour Speaker of the House of Commons.

        Last year it emerged that Thomas, Viscount Tonypandy, who died in 1997, was being investigated for sexually abusing a nine-year-old boy in Cardiff in the late 1960s.

        Scotland Yard refused to confirm or deny whether it was involved in the Abse inquiry.

        The Sunday Times said it had also established that a Church of England review into historic sexual abuse has passed Abse’s name to detectives from Operation Fernbridge, a Metropolitan police inquiry into an alleged Westminster VIP paedophile network.

        The newspaper said Dominic Walker, the former Bishop of Monmouth, has told senior clerics that Abse was named by three alleged adult survivors of abuse whom he counselled when he was vicar of Brighton in the 1980s.

        It said Walker was questioned by Paul Butler, the Bishop of Durham who is leading the Church of England review, after the discovery of a book from 1991 in which he is quoted as describing counselling sessions with adult survivors.

        “A number of survivors independently gave the name of a particular MP as being involved. I don’t believe there was any collusion in their stories,” Walker said.

        Walker told The Sunday Times that his quotes in the book might have been “selective” but confirmed that three adult survivors had told him Abse was involved. . . .”

        Abse was MP for Pontypool from 1958 to 1983 and Torfaen from 1983 to 1987.

        He was a prominent early supporter of gay rights. He was also a well-known solicitor.

        _________________________________________________________________________________

        Enough “beef” there for ‘your desk’? Or do you need more?

        _________________________________________________________________________________

        1. From The Desk Of Robert Lewis

          Oh god, no, I hadn’t heard any of that. I know very little of Abse bar his 2003 book on Tony Blair, which contained a number of fairly intuitive and entirely unproven speculations on the nature of Blair’s sexuality, ego, and political persona, and how they were all interlinked. I couldn’t possibly vouch for the accuracy of those observations, but they seemed the work of a fairly perceptive, intelligent, and sensitive mind. I’m shocked to discover his name now appears in these reports of historic Westminster paedophile rings. And I am a little incredulous too, having read Richard Webster’s encyclopaedic deconstruction of Welsh (and English) child abuse scandals.

          1. dafis

            Got it ! You are Rip van Winkle ! But seriously, welcome to the big bad world we really inhabit where people in positions of authority and power find it difficult to resist the urge to become corrupt. Sometimes its peer pressure ( no pun intended ! ) other times it’s a little bit ( and more ) of what they fancy. Gerald Jones looks like he’s bought an early bird ticket for the escalator ( going down or up ? ) and it may get worse before it gets better ( if at all )

  2. Daley Gleephart

    “I’d rejoice even if Ukip took the seat.” – Jac o’ the North.
    The Kippers are anti Welsh Assembly and they’ll do to it what they do to the European Parliament.
    I sincerely hope that electors vote for someone who will do their best for Wales in the Senedd rather than aim for its destruction along with anything else that’s Welsh.

    It is hardly surprising that a Labour MP has chosen Labour members who have experience to be part of his team.

    As for ‘nepotism’, I am against employing relatives when it’s a sham but not when the relative has the ability to undertake the role to which they’ve been appointed.
    Kensington has gone a step further.
    If you live in Kensington and wish to complain about Council services you may see Cllr. Victoria Borwick and if she doesn’t do anything you can complain to your London Assembly member, Victoria Borwick AM, and if she fails to act you can take the complaint to your Member of Parliament, Victoria Borwick MP. As a last resort you may take the matter to the House of Lords and lobby Baron Borwick, Victoria Borwick’s husband.

    1. Now don’t get upset, young Daley. The way I see things is this. Once the EU membership issue is settled Ukip will melt away; some will join or re-join the Tory party, some will stay out on the fringes, while others will give up on politics altogether. So while Ukip may be a bunch of BritNat nutters I wouldn’t be too upset if they won a few seats next year, just to give Labour a kick in the plums. (Nothing personal.)

  3. Just a quick comment on the opening paragraph. Not sure who is celebrating the Merthyr Rising of 1831 as ‘unionist and pro-monarchy’, but it certainly isn’t celebrated as such by the Merthyr Rising Festival and its not a representation of the Rising with which I am familiar. As to the 1831 events not being part of a broader workers movement, considerable evidence suggests otherwise – including the presence of speakers from across Britain in the town of Merthyr in May 1831. See Gwyn Alf Williams definitive book on 1831, ‘The Merthyr Rising’ for more details.

    I would agree, however, that a connection between the original Merthyr Rising and the modern Labour Party is nonexistent.

    Otherwise great article. Hope to see you at Merthyr Rising Festival 2016.

    Ian Jenkins
    Merthyr Rising Festival

    1. The comparison I was making was not with you and your group, I was having a go at the Labour Party, people like Dai Smith (father of Owen) who have in the past argued that Welsh history began with the Industrial Revolution. Before that it was just peasants and robber-barons.

      Being the Unionists they are they cannot admit that much of what happened in Wales in the late 18th and early 19th centuries was unique to Wales and intrinsically Welsh, and often brought into the industrial districts from the country side they hate. They are uncomfortable with the fact that Dic Penderyn spoke no English and that the Chartists were calling for a Silurian Republic.

      It was brought home to me again a few years ago when I attended the centenary commemoration of the Llanelli ‘riots’. At the grave of ‘Jac’ John I noticed that the monument had been erected by the local Labour Party – entirely in English, even though John and 90% of the town’s population in 1911 spoke Welsh.

      Reminding us that that there have always been people in the Labour Party who regard Welshness as some primordial slime from which we should be rescued. Which is why I have always detested the Labour Party. A party that sought to make a nation reject its very identity and history.

      Unsurprising, of course, when we remember that so many of the pioneers of ‘Welsh’ Labour were recent arrivals to the southern coalfield.

  4. they are all full of shit any way don’t do nought for the people only help themselves and let the poor people struggle on and on and on and on need i say more

  5. YBarddCwsc

    If there is hope for Glasgow, then there is hope for Merthyr.

    I never thought I would live to see the day that Labour were thrown out of Glasgow. But that day dawned. The day will dawn for Merthyr too.

    It certainly looks, from his brief time in Parliament, that the Honourable Member for Merthyr has made quite an impression already. And we have his expenses claims to look forward to, in due course.

    In my organisation, there are strict rules about writing a job description, advertising, creating a short-list. We have to be able to demonstrate that we have followed equality guidelines. There has to be a gender-balanced interviewing committee, and so on.

    Much of this has come from laws that MPs have enacted — apparently only for others. It is completely wrong that the staff in an MPs office can be appointed in such an irregular manner.

    Seriously, can we lodge a formal complaint ? Where is the job description, the shortlist, the notes from the interviewing committee? Where is the cv of his partner to demonstrate his qualifications for the 43,000 pound job? r else was considered ?

    I expect MPs have arranged that their offices are exempt form the laws that they busily pass for others — as this practice seems to be endemic in the Lab-Tory party.

    That is the real hypocrisy here — MPs setting rules for everyone else that they can ignore.

    1. Daley Gleephart

      MPs get an allowance enabling them to employ staff. The staff are employed by the MP, not the Government or the Civil Service. Some MPs advertise for staff if there is a vacancy that they’ve been unable to fill. See: http://www.w4mpjobs.org/SearchJobs.aspx?search=alljobs .
      Can you suggest a system that allows an MP to get a small hardworking and loyal team together that excludes family members and those close associates who work on their election campaigns?

      1. YBarddCwsc

        I run a research group in a University. I need to hire a hardworking and loyal team, research assistants, research fellows and managers. Just like an MP.

        I sure as hell can’t just employ my partner.

        Every job has to be advertised properly, with a job description , I have to ensure that I satisfy the latest legislation on immigration/gender equality. My interview panel must include at least one woman. And so on.

        Incidentally, I have no objection to all that. What I object to MPs not having to do it.

        It is completely unacceptable for MPs to devise rules for everyone else, and not for themselves.

        To give another example, when a Mansion Tax was mooted by Miliband, Labour MPs immediately suggested that they should be able to claim the Mansion Tax back on their expenses.

        Again, I have no objection to a Mansion Tax — but everyone should then pay it if they have a big house — including Labour MPs.

        Please don’t try and defend the indefensible.

        1. Daley Gleephart

          In your case, you are not the employer and the employer is a large organisation that can implement equal opportunities due to its size. With an MP, he/she is the employer of a small team and appointments on a full equal opportunities basis is impossible.
          Some Political Parties try to select candidates using equality guidelines and even that doesn’t go down well with the electorate.

          A Political Assistant’s job is not like a Research Assistant job at a University. At a University, Political Party loyalty and personal loyalty is not an issue. At a University, researchers do not work the hours of an MP and do not usually have close contact with the family of the Team Leader at the Leader’s home.

          If an MP employs a family member who has no real experience of carrying out the duties of, for example, running a Constituency office it gets reported in the media and the voters should take note for future reference.

          I suppose it depends on how far people want to control / hinder their elected representatives. A can of worms.

          1. YBarddCwsc

            Nonsense.

            In both cases, an individual is in receipt of public funds to carry out set tasks (whether academic research or political activities). It is public money that is being spent — not the personal money of Gerald Jones.

            We have every right to ask for reasonable standards to be maintained in the process of hiring because this is ***our money*** that is being spent.

            All that we are asking is for a job description to be provided, an advertisement to be placed, a shortlist constructed and the most competent person selected.

            Of course, in a job running a Labour MPs office, I would expect that commitment to the Labour party to be a significant factor in any hire. No-one is suggesting that Gerald Jones has to hire a political opponent to run is office.

            You seem to think that a Labour MP is entitled to put anyone he or she is shagging on the public payroll.

            You’ll go far in Welsh Labour.

            1. Exactly. You saved me having to make the same point about the source of the money.

              Another point would be that we have no evidence that Tyrone Powell can adequately do the job. If he was given the job for no better reason than that he’s Jones’s boyfriend then he will not be able to properly serve the constituents. And quite obviously he was given the job because he’s the MP’s boyfriend.

              It’s wrong on so many levels.

            2. YBarddCwsc

              “Please indicate where I have shown partiality”

              Simple.

              You have failed to condemn Gerald Jones.

              You have behaved like the Tories of Tatton in 1997 when they failed to condemn Neil Hamilton.

              Go on — see if you can do it.

              See if you can post “What Gerald Jones has done is wrong”.

              That’s all, no ifs, no buts, no blah blah about “difficult for MPs to get hardworking loyal team members”, no whataboutery regarding the Borthwicks of Kensington.

              There, I knew you couldn’t.

            3. Daley Gleephart

              I do not know Gerald Jones. Never met him.
              Is there any ‘dirt’ on him? An internet search reveals nothing.
              Asking me to condemn somebody I’ve never met or heard about is like Daily Mail readers complaining to the BBC about programmes that they didn’t watch or listen to.
              On what grounds should I condemn Gerald Jones? Condemning someone for doing something that he’s entitled to do and is out in the open for all to see?

            4. Stan

              Just because something doesn’t break the rules though Daley does not mean it shouldn’t be criticised or condemned. If I remember some of the quite ridiculous claims by MPs in the Rotten Parliament of Brown’s era, these were originally passed for payment – so presumably within the rules again, and only clawed back in some cases following a public outcry when the Telegraph (Gleephart is an anagram funnily enough) showed the world just what the troughers had really been up to.

              In my simple world it’s not a question of does the rule book allow these things but how does it look to Joe Public if they find out about it. And I don’t think you’ll find most of the common herd are quite as magnanimous as you are about it.

            5. Daley Gleephart

              I have been asked to demonstrate my impartiality by singling out an individual and condemning him for acting within the rules and in as open a way as possible.
              Where have I shown magnanimity?

            6. YBarddCwsc

              “On what grounds should I condemn Gerald Jones? Condemning someone for doing something that he’s entitled to do and is out in the open for all to see?”

              You seriously think that — as there is no rule preventing a Welsh Labour MP from putting anyone he or she is shagging on the payroll — it is OK.

              In fact, you used a much stronger word. It is better than OK. “He’s entitled to do it.”

              Gerald Jones is ***entitled*** to do it.

              Welsh Labour just oozes “entitlement”. We’re “entitled” to put our partners on the payroll. We’re “entitled” to put our children on the payroll. We’re “entitled” to our expenses and our final salary pensions.

              It is good to see that Welsh Labour have learnt nothing from when all the Daley MacGleepharts were put to the sword in May.

            7. Daley Gleephart

              I have got no idea if Gerald Jones’ partner is any good at running an MP’s office. If Gareth Lewis is useless at the role it’ll be evidence that the recommendation about employing family, contained in the Committee on Standards in Public Life Report of 4 November 2009, should be implemented.

              However, on the other hand, should the partners of MPs be denied employment when they are capable of performing duties as a member of a political team?

              If all staff posts at MPs office are to be advertised in open competition, who will do all the work involved in short-listing and interviewing?
              Will the MPs have any say in who they have running the background work at the office?
              Who will make the appointments?

            8. YBarddCwsc

              Daley, don’t you have some mileage allowance to claim?

              Or a big bag of receipts to work through? Or some mortgage repayment forms to fill in?

              My uncle was a Labour MP (he’s deceased now, and his old Valleys constituency has been re-drawn).

              He devoted every Sunday to his religion.

              He spent it claiming back money.

              Only money he’d spent furthering the interests of his constituents as their elected representative — you understand.

              Just what he was entitled to, of course.

              Sadly, and despite all my uncle’s hard work, his voters were poorer than ever when he passed away.

              There was a by-election, and another Labour MP took on the good fight.

              I expect he is filling in his claim forms now. Perhaps it’s you.

  6. YBarddCwsc

    The other sad thing about the Hon Member for Merthyr is this.

    Is anyone surprised? (Apart from Daley Gleephart)

    No, of course not.

    Freeloading is what Welsh Labour do best, it’s the only thing most of them are any good at.

    It’s why they enter politics. It’s hard work getting there, but once you are then, there is a 110k salary for self & partner, plus the expenses.

    The sad thing is most of us didn’t expect any better.

  7. Russell Deacon

    Keir Hardie gained his seat in the dual constituency of Merthyr Tydfil in 1900 because the senior Liberal member their D.A. Thomas was so fed up with the other Liberal Member there, William Pritchard Morgan, never turning up to anything in the constituency, attending Westminster and simply using the seat to feather his own nest that he would rather have an MP from another party that was active than one from his own that wasn’t. Of course this sort of thing could never happen today 😉

  8. Albert Hill

    “What’s the beef with Leo Abse?” Now there speaks someone with a lot to learn about recent Welsh history, comment made me smile anyway.

    1. dafis

      Albert, you beat me to it. That’s what happens when a guy moves around and doesn’t strap his machine to his back/ wrist/ leg/etc.

      As for Robert Lewis, or was his desk that did the asking, you will learn pretty soon what was wrong with your old mate Leo ( unless you know already and putting a brave face on it ! ) In his time he was an “operator” best known for covering for and cleaning up the messes made by his chums. Now we learn that he too was into taking some of his pleasures in strange ways, or maybe not so strange to those people who favour such activities.

      I like my beef roasted and I think you will find that your old mate’s reputation will be well and truly roasted as and when this most recent round of scandals have unfolded fully. The only sadness is that the whole rotten cluster are not still around to face the music.

  9. Stan

    Excellent article again, Jac.

    Hercules cleaning the Augean stables was as nothing compared to the job the public have got in getting these duplicitous bastards to clean up their act. We can trace the fact that 1 in 4 MPs employ connected parties (close relatives) because they have to declare the fact on the MPs’ Register of Financial Interests. This register only records nepotism (Merthyr – Tyrone Powell, presumably). Cronyism, again a la Merthyr (Councillor Gareth Lewis), only shows up because people like Jac are prepared to root out what is going on and make it public knowledge. Councillors employed by an MP have to declare the fact on their own Council Register of Interests, so again this is relatively easy to unearth. However, it’s much more difficult to find out just how many good friends and mates, shagging partners, business acquaintances etc may be in an MP’s employ, because of course this does not have to be declared.

    These jobs are bloody well paid in comparison to many in Wales and they carry non-contributory pension as well. If in the unlikely event say a safe Labour seat is lost at election, or the encumbent MP stands down, the staff get redundancy at at least twice the statutory rate. Otherwise, providing there is no lovers’ tiff or similar, these guys and gals have a job for the life of their MP, which is usually a bloody long one. Yet it seems no-one has to be involved in the recruitment of staff other than the MP himself/herself. The whole process is tailor made for corruption, nepotism, cronyism, favouritism – call it whatever you like.

    Incidentally, IPSA rules explicitly state that it’s OK to employ a Councillor – notwithstanding the potential conflicts of interest that may arise – pointed out by Jac.

    In employing staff, IPSA rules again state that MPs should advertise the post. MPs should “advertise the vacancy and conduct appropriate assessments to ensure you have the best candidate for the role”. However if you ask IPSA to confirm details of the advertisements for a job and how recruitment took place, they will say, “nothing to do with us, Gov, it’s a matter for the MP”. Believe me, I’m right on this – I’ve just done it. And curiously, the Freedom of Information Act does not seemingly apply to individual MPs (only to Parliament as a whole) so ask the MP a question and you won’t necessarily get an answer under that legislation.

    They are all in it together – covering each other’s arses and ensuring they stay one jump ahead of us. They disgust me.

  10. The Earthshaker

    Another excellent expose on Labour’s inner workings at local level and hats off for showing up what passes for main stream Welsh journalists these days yet again.

    Under normal circumstances in a functioning democracy, revelations of nepotism and cronyism would see calls for resignations, changing of the rules, apologises and the like, but through a combination of Valleys Labour omerta, no credible political alternative or local media to keep digging into Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney’s Labour Party, Gerald Jones, Brendan Toomey and their hangers on will do what they’ve always done, close ranks, ignore any criticism and wait for the anger to subside before going back to business as usual.

    The fact Daley Gleephart can engage in whataboutery proves Labour far from being cowed or embarrassed remain as shameless as ever and continue to mock and laugh at the suckers who voted for Gerald Jones and will continue to vote for Huw Lewis in next year’s Assembly election despite him living in Penarth and being married to Lynne Nagle the Torfaen AM.

    1. Daley Gleephart

      Infamy! Infamy!! They’ve all got it in for me!!!
      I am not a Labour politician. I am not employed by Labour. I am not employed by any political party and I am not employed or contracted with anything political. I do not receive any instructions from politicians or political organisations. If I post comments, they are my comments and no one else’s comments.
      Now, given what I posted, look at my comments above and show me where I have favoured a particular person or group. Look at the comments of others and note that nearly all of them attack one political party. Who’s biased eh?
      The ‘whataboutery’ is valid because it relates a recommendation in the Committee on Standards in Public Life Report of 4 November 2009 i.e. Double Jobbing.

      Singling out individuals and attacking them for doing something that they’re entitled* to do isn’t going to achieve much.

      * ‘Entitle’ – verb. Synonym of ‘Allow’.

  11. Brychan

    I was wondering why the Labour Party has taken 100years to come round to the concept of seeking a pardon for Dic Penderyn. Perhaps it’s because they now are so distant from the struggles of working people they claim to represent they now have to falsify their history in an attempt to ingratiate themselves with the Merthyr rising, an event which pre-dates the existence of the Labour Party by almost another 100 years.

    However, it does present the Labour Party with a problem.

    If parliament does get a pardon for Richard Lewis, they we have to ask the question, why was he framed for a stabbing? Is it because Dic was a Welshman? The record shows Dic shouting “Down with the King’ during the riotous assembly which in those days was called treason, a hanging offence anyway.

    Those involved in the Bristol Reform Riots of the same year were hung for treason.

    Merthyr was different. Dic wasn’t executed for treason, just framed with a stabbing. Nor was Lewis Lewis executed for treason, he was transported. A treason hanging would have put the revolt in its real political context. Dic Penderyn was symbolic as being a revolutionary within an occupied dominion, and that was far more dangerous to the British state.

    Note – It is only Englishmen who get the pardon.

  12. Llew

    Really like the stuff about S.O Davies. When Emrys Roberts fought Merthyr for Plaid Cymru he claimed S.O’s legacy. Bold move, but tripled the Plaid Cymru vote.

    Y Blaid was a credible opposition to Labour for years on the council but it seemed simply to disappear. They now
    only usually field a single council candidate there. This appears to have been the case for over a decade and a half.

    What is the explanation for the lack of party presence in Merthyr compared to Caerffili where for good or ill they have always at least been an option?

    1. I’m told that the reason for the lack of a Plaid presence in Merthyr – where they briefly ran the council, remember – is due to the fall-out from a bitter split within the local party. More details, or an alternative explanation, would be welcome.

  13. Llew

    Regarding the council leader Brendan Toomey, also. I know Merthyr a bit. He isn’t a socialist. Labour is the “catch all” party up there. Some might argue this is a success. But it breeds atrophy and complacency.

    1. Stan

      Politicians have to be so wary of anything they say and even I think sometimes we are too hard on them for occasionally just being human. Actually, I have to admit Kinnock’s face was one of my favourite moments too, especially after the hubris of the Sheffield rally. And the context in which the original remarks were made apparently referred to arrogance in our politicians, so Kinnock is one of the first names to mind with me as well.
      But agree – it was a silly thing for a politician to say – because as we’ve seen from the recent election, remarks made years before can often come back to haunt you.

      However it’s not only politicians that say stupid things but tour guides in Wales too.
      http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/english-tourist-guide-60s-fined-9605031
      Considering Wales has provided Mrs Laird and her hubby with a home and a living for some time, one would have hoped she would have integrated more fully into Welsh culture by now and developed far more tolerance and even affection for the natives around her.

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