Sisters

Intriguing rumours reach me from the Land of my Dreams. They concern manoeuvering to succeed Martin Caton, current MP for Gower, in 2015. Caton is a decent enough cove, I’m assured, if unassuming and happy to be naught but lobby Gower 2010fodder in the greater scheme of things.

To set the stage, for those unfamiliar with the area . . . As the name suggests, the Gower constituency covers the peninsula of the same name, but seeing as this area is thinly populated the electorate is to be found on the western and northern outskirts of the city, from Mumbles through Gorseinon to Clydach. (Reminding us of the old Lordship of Gower.) Though other communities in Cwmtawe that were formerly in Gower – e.g. Pontardawe, Ystalyfera, Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen – have now been moved to the Neath constituency, making Gower less solidly Labour.

The whispers wafting up on the southern breeze tell me that two of those with aspirations to replace Caton are Fiona Gordon, who represents the largely transient population of Castle ward, and Andrea Lewis, a “self-employed female vocalist”, who represents Morriston ward. Ms Gordon is said to be ‘in with’ the pink gin English student set and their patron, council leader, David Phillips. But things may not be that straightforward.

For even though il Duce is the leader of the city council, and Gower is one of the three Swansea constituencies, the seat is represented down Cardiff docks by the redoubtable Edwina Hart. It’s her patch, and she will not take kindly to outside intervention, particularly as it is further rumoured that Redwina has her own favourite to replace the beleaguered Caton. Who might it be? The breeze whispers the name Christine Gwyther.

For those with short memories . . . Christine Gwyther was AM for Carmarthen West & South Pembrokeshire from 1999 to 2007. Alun Michael – briefly First Minister – made her Minister Alun Michaelof Agriculture. An odd choice, for as can be imagined, Gwyther’s vegetarianism did not go down well with farmers, and she was dismissed in 2000, soon after Rhodri Morgan replaced Michael.  She lost her seat to the Tories in the 2007 elections and failed to regain it in 2011. The poor woman suffered a further setback when, in 2012, she stood for the post of  Police and Crime Commissioner for Dyfed Powys, losing narrowly to unknown Tory, Christopher Salmon.

Now if Redwina has decided to throw her weight behind Gwyther then it renders hopeless any ambitions or machinations from other quarters. Better men than Phillips have tangled with Hart and come off second best.

Of course all this might be just tittle-tattle, but it throws up intriguing possibilities. With Labour’s hold on Gower under serious threat from the popular Conservative candidate and current regional AM, Byron Davies, it presents ‘Welsh’ Labour with all sorts of problems. Though if I was a Labour supporter (now there’s a thought!), none of the likely lasses I’ve mentioned would exactly fill me with confidence. So, looking on the bright side . . . those of us with the best interests of Wales at heart should hope for some very bitter in-fighting that leaves ‘Welsh’ Labour even further weakened. And gives Gower a Conservative MP in 2015.

UPDATE 01.11.13: It now appears that Fiona Gordon may be out of the running, possibly promised one of the consolation prizes made possible by the funding released by Il Duce’s culling of the scrutiny committees.

It was remiss of me not to mention that Gordon is the daughter of Alana Davies, former Bridgend councillor who lost her Porthcawl East seat last year to an Independent, despite a swing to Labour elsewhere in the borough. Alana’s personal website is an excruciating example of its kind; ‘Here’s me with Gordon Brown . . . Hilary Benn . . . Carwyn Jones . . . Dennis Skinner’.

Fiona Gordon’s Linkedin profile tells us that she is ‘Pilot Project Co-ordinator’ at Bridgend County Borough Council. I think we can safely assume that this has something to do with education. By one of those curious coincidences one comes across every so often, Mumsie also earns a crust in education, and formerly held the Labour History groupportfolio for Children and Young People on Bridgend council. Perhaps she was in post when Fiona was appointed Pilot Project Co-ordinator. As I say, coincidence, nothing more.

Staying in Bridgend, a new name in the frame for Gower is said to be councillor, Christina Rees, who is also fourth on the list of Labour candidates for next year’s European elections. Fight it out girls!

UPDATE 03.11.13: Someone just referred me to this (click to enlarge). Is it true? If so, why is there nothing in the Welsh media? If it is true, why was it done almost secretively, with the news broken on the Labour History Group Twitter account? And as Andrea Parma asks – who is she? The only Liz Evans I can find is this one, vice chair of Woking constituency Labour Party – is that her? Very odd.

48 thoughts on “Sisters

  1. Nia Griffith

    Just to put the record straight, no-one else would dream of calling Martin Caton “lobby fodder”. He has an excellent reputation as a thoughtful and independent-minded MP who sticks to his principles. He made his intention to stand down absolutely clear some time ago – there is no uncertainty or back-stabbing as you suggest. As for the potential candidates,you are inaccurate about who is now on the shortlist. By all means, express your views, but please try to get your facts right.

    1. Jac

      There is a suggestion that he announced his retirement in the belief that the number of Welsh constituencies was to be reduced to 30, and that he may have had second thoughts when the plan was (temporarily) shelved. Even so, I have now removed the suggestion that he might not be retiring. As for “lobby fodder”, this is a common enough term for MPs who achieve no office, or even notoriety, just shuffle along doing the job.

      1. Anonymous

        ‘Lobby fodder’ is a derogatory term for back benchers who follow the party whip. Mr Caton does not fit into the category.
        There is a stronger and more reliable suggestion that Martin Caton had decided before the last General Election that he was only going to serve one more term.

        1. Jac

          Ok, so he had his moment of glory over Iraq, but he didn’t exactly go out on a limb and isolate himself, he was just one of 139 Labour backbenchers who opposed Blair. There were even 15 Tories who defied their whips. I used the term ‘lobby fodder’ to decribe him because he was anonymous and had no ambition beyond being a constituency MP. I’m told he was a good constituency MP, so don’t get aerated over a term that may mean one thing to you and something else to me.

          1. Anonymous

            I didn’t know that he has stopped being a good constituency MP. As for having a ‘moment of glory over Iraq … anonymous’, you really should think before stringing words together. If ‘lobby fodder’ is synonymous with ‘good constituency MP’ it should be used more sparingly by parliamentary reporters.

            1. Jac

              Look, like I’ve said, it is a term in common usage. If you think it derogatory, then that’s up to you. For me, it’s a neutral term. It takes its derivation from the WWI term, ‘cannon fodder’, to refer to infantrymen. That was definitely not intended as an insult.

            2. Anonymous

              Try http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannon_fodder
              ‘Cannon fodder is an informal, derogatory term for military personnel who are regarded or treated as expendable in the face of enemy fire.’

              Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1:
              PRINCE HENRY
              I did never see such pitiful rascals.
              FALSTAFF
              Tut, tut, good enough to toss; food for powder*, food for powder. They’ll fill a pit as well as better. Tush, man, mortal men, mortal men.

              * Gunpowder

            3. Jac

              What is wrong with you! Shakespeare! Most people have never read Shakespeare or seen a play; for them the term comes from WWI, it may be condescending, it may be an expression of pity, but it is not a wholly and unambiguously derogatory term. It is akin to ‘lions led by donkeys’. Why is it eating you up? Let it go.

  2. Anonymous

    To give Martin Caton credit he did vote against going to war in Iraq. However, I stopped voting Labour decades ago even before the Iraq War debacle. The lie about WMD only confirmed my belief and millions of other people that you can never never trust politicians

    1. And yet he still remains in the Red Tories, just like Flynn down in Newport. They were so vehemenently against the illegal war of aggression with Iraq that they decided to remain in Labour because it offers them job security. These self serving scum bags (I include Nia “save our hospital” Griffith in this too) will never rock the boat more that enough to cause a few waves.

  3. One thing of note is that Gower is actually the longest seat that has been in Labour hand. in the UK. Unbroken since 1906.

    Makes good trivia pub question ;

  4. Gonzoland

    Did you make up the story on your own or did you have help?
    Will it be Gordon or Gwyther?
    Answer: No.

    1. Jac

      The incestuousness of ‘Welsh’ Labour is truly amazing. In the south Labour’s nepotism, back-scratching and outright corruption outFreemasons anything the Freemasons can get up to.

  5. Anonymous

    Labour? Gower Labour? Two Gorseinon vicinities on that proposed traveller site shortlist? Yep! Labour? Get in front of the queue marked lemmings! Thousands of Labour votes will be lost in the day and age of organised localism/protest, the internet, mass leaflet campaigning, and social networking etc. Labour mugs or what?

    1. Anonymous

      You are out of touch with current events. Go to the council website and get up to date. You can watch the whole of the extraordinary meeting (21 October) on a webcast. Pay particular attention to a proposed amendment.
      A Cabinet meeting on 5 November will consider the report. Live webcast.

  6. treforus

    Martin Caton is easily the best of the three Swansea Labour MPs, although when the competition is Sian James or (far worse) Geraint Davies, that really isn’t saying too much. But he has been a good constituency man.

    I see the gypsy site is being mentioned. I think anyone can safely bet the farm that it will eventually be in Swansea East where it can cause the least electoral damage.

  7. I personally have found Marton Caton to be an excellent constituency MP he may not be a ground breaking politician but his involvement in the local issues I have raised has been very positive and helpful. I am not a Labour supporter but he has ticked all the boxes for me.

  8. Gonzoland

    Your Update 3/11/2013
    So if a political party holds a selection meeting where members who are resident in a constituency get to vote on a ‘one member, one vote’ basis, you cry foul?
    Or
    Are you sulking because the whole of your post is crap?

    1. Jac

      The question I was asking is why the news was broken in a tweet by the Labour History Group. I don’t think a lot of the Welsh media, either, but still . . .

  9. shambo

    Surprised you (or your sources) didn’t know that there was a Gower CLP hustings and selection meeting held yesterday at the Brighton Road Club. Liz Evans – who lives in Plasmarl (Swansea East) – was chosen. Runner up was Andrea Lewis (also from Swansea East ). Sorry but the suggestion of parachuted candidates doesn’t work on this occasion. Hope you have better luck predicting the result of today’s Cardiff-Swansea derby.

    1. Jac

      Never suggested Liz Evans was a “parachuted candidate”, what I said was, ‘the only Liz Evans I can find . . . ‘ or words to that effect. So how about explaining to us who, exactly, Liz Evans is. Because I’m sure the electors of Gower will want to know; also, why Labour has chosen an unknown from outside the constituency. For this could be interpreted as taking thicko Labour voters for granted.

      1. Anonymous

        In the minds of anti-Labour people, that’s probably how they’d like to play it.
        Your attempt to create something out of nothing today, after posting a heap of rubbish earlier, tarnishes you even further.
        There’s plenty of time for the Labour candidate to make herself known before May 2015.

        1. Jac

          Read the comment below from Cherie Hinton, which is also what I’m hearing. Most people don’t know her, but she has been described – by a Labour source – as “a local girl with a good Labour pedigree”. So who’s she related to?

          Let’s face it, here we have an unknown, she gets elected for the longest-held Labour seat, nothing comes up on Google except someone in the south east of England. This has ‘typical Labour stitch-up’ written all over it.

  10. Anonymous

    What I have noticed about the Gower constituency is it now seems to have a significant migratory influx from across the Severn Bridge? These people cannot be so easily placed into the file marked ‘Donkey-Voter’.
    I’ve also noticed the ‘dyed-in-the-wool’ legions of Gower’s ex nationalised industry Labour voting loyalists are decreasing significantly due to the passage of time and effects of e.g. mortality.
    The habitual relentless voting trend of voting for Labour because of ‘hand-in-glove’ heavy industry union linkage through personal and family ties is nowhere near as profound as what it was!

    1. Daley Gleephart

      I’m sure that Jac will join you in rejoicing over the significant migratory influx. There are a few gated communities in Gower for and I expect more in the future.

        1. Daley Gleephart

          Mature enough to be aware of your views about middle class English settlers.
          I’m not a councillor or politician at any level.
          Gleephart (anag) Geddit?

  11. Anonymous

    Jac! I have experience of working for decades in quite a few rather diverse traditional working class environment(s) and guess what? Labour is sure as Hell itself going to have one major headache replenishing the lost deceased ‘dyed-in-the-wool’ voting Labour loyalists of yesteryear.

    The young un’s and next future voting generation(s) whom would previously in the past have instinctively voted for Labour now simply do not and will not make any effort to vote whatsoever. They’re simply not bothered and are not interested in voting full stop. 100% apathetic! Their undying’ world-of-their-own’ devotion to their mobile phones and gadgets is now their No1 priority and distraction.

    The ‘natural-wastage’ factor is in my personal opinion an even more substantive threat to the Labour Gower seat than any popular rival candidate or competing political party. The party is in some quarters literally running out of young loyal voters/future voters!

  12. More news re Liz Evans -I ventured into the Labour office in Gorsenon to ask who she was – front desk didn’t
    Know anything about her – then spoke to person in the inner sanctum who told me she was a City Cllr representing the Hafod – I know the names of most Cllrs and couldn’t place her – checked my official list – there is no Hafod Ward – it’s Landore- and she isn’t a Cllr anywhere listed in Swansea – worrying that the Labour Constituency office in Gower has such mis- information about their candidate In the next General Election!!!
    Result of Cabinet Meeting to discuss 2nd Traveller site – it’s back to the Drawing Board – and private land will be considered across the City & County- watch it being delayed for several years and then a decision will be made to put it in a non-labour ward

    1. Jac

      This is getting really weird. Labour has selected a candidate, nobody knows who she is, even in the constituency she hopes to represent, and the ‘news’ has only been seen in a Labour History Group tweet! Someone suggested to me that she may be ‘Landore Lil’ who comments on the Evening Post website and elsewhere. Who said the Labour Party doesn’t have a sense of humour!

  13. SwansNat

    I was told that Christine Gwyther – former AM for Carmarthen West) and failed candidate in oh so many election afterwards – stood for the nomination in Gower….

  14. Keith Parry

    We need a Free Wales, but we have got to get rid of the Labour Party. Its like thick black choking smog that covers large parts of Wales.

    1. Jac

      You and I have always known this but now, encouragingly, I sense that more and more people realise Labour has no ambition for Wales. Labour is a dog-in-a-manger party, it just wants power to stop someone else having it, and using it, not because it wants power to improve people’s lives. Labour stays in power by cultivating and capitalising on poverty – which of course is always someone else’s fault!

      1. Llew

        Caton was ok. Don’t know anything about his likely successor. But anyone who thinks Byron Davies AM should be an MP doesn’t have Wales’ interests at heart.

    1. Jac

      Just another cover for paedophiles. And accepted by Cyngor Ceredigion! With an English accent someone can get away with a lot in Wales, including murder.

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