Swansea Labour Party 8: Cracks Appearing?

At the risk of boring you with yet more news of Swansea Labour Party, I must pass on the latest I’ve heard. For it seems the comrades may have started falling out amongst themselves. To explain. Next Thursday, May 9th, will see the AGM of theBenito Phillips, Il Duce Abertawe council. Ahead of that fun gathering – do try to make it! – the various parties are holding their own AGMs. All is not sweetness and light within Labour ranks, for a number of reasons.

To begin with, last year, when the current, inspiring crop of Labour councillors was elected there was a departure from procedure in the selecting of the cabinet. Instead of the Labour group electing the cabinet it is suggested that David Phillips, the Labour leader, selected the cabinet himself . . . so it was no surprise that the first cabinet member appointed was Sybil Crouch, or, as others know her, Mrs Phillips. There were many mutterings at the time, but so grateful was Labour to have regained control of Swansea that considerations of party unity prevailed. Nevertheless, many Labourites have borne a grudge against Phillips since that time.

Another little issue over which Il Duce has upset his cohorts is the length and terms of his tenure as Leader of the Labour group and, by extension, the council. Many of the brothers and sisters were under the impression that the Man of Vision was in place for a year, with his position to be reviewed, or possibly re-confirmed, at this year’s AGM. ‘Not so’, says he, ‘Nothing to discuss. I’m the king of the castle, and I’m staying as long as I want’. The mutterings now grow in volume. And other problems may be just around the corner, possibly partisans lurking in the shadows.

lamp postDennis James, the Lord Mayor of Swansea, died a couple of days ago. This will mean a by-election in his Llansamlet ward. Speculation mounts as to who will be the Labour candidate. One suggestion is a glorious return for Lawrence Bailey, former Swansea Labour Leader who left under a cloud when porn was found on his council-issue computer, plus hundreds of letters to the Evening Post which, although written by Bailey, purported to be from concerned citizens. Not universally liked, Bailey, but a shrewd operator.

The other name I’m hearing is Bob Clay, former Labour MP for Sunderland North, who moved to Swansea a few years ago. His wife, Uta, is one of the sitting Labour councillors for Llansamlet, so there would be a certain bookend symmetry in him also representing the ward . . . and of course it would fit with current Labour policy of having councillors who know sod all about the city. He has already been putting himself about with his involvement in the campaign against a second Travellers’ site in Llansamlet.

Then again, maybe Il Duce has got another student lined up. Talking of which, the three student-councillors I criticised in an earlier post have been tweeting much less frequently since that post appeared; and the tweets are of a more ‘mature’ nature. Did someone have a word with them?


37 thoughts on “Swansea Labour Party 8: Cracks Appearing?

  1. Jac

    He seems to fit the bill perfectly, Keith: professional politician; drifter; member of Co-operative Party; interest in GLBT issues; supporter of Amnesty; and of course, member of the C of E. Nice to know they aren’t all in Swansea.

    But if I was Welsh Labour I’d be worried by these people. To who or to what are they really committed? Are they entryists, using the Labour Party to pursue other agendas? But as I’m not Welsh Labour, I wish them well and hope they cause maximum damage within the Labour Party.

  2. Keith Parry

    There is an election for the leadership of Labour on Cardiff Council. One of your pet character types Phil Hawkins is challenging Heather Joyce, a clueless grandmother, who is a front for the real power in the city Russel Goodway. This Hawkins is an ex Deputy Leader of Cochester Council and a social services academic.His CV states he has been a school guvenor in the Scottish highl;ands in recent years. He is a member of Labour Grassroutes a leftist organisation trying to owst New Labour Blairites.. A coup d’etate is going on in this city!

  3. @ A Turk

    @ leigh richards
    I hope that the local branch of the Labour Party are aware of what was contained in the letter of complaint sent by the CRE (Wales) and that there is no repetition.
    All local Councils are having a difficult time in Wales due to extreme cutbacks in the amount of money made available to them from the Treasury. It’s a pity that the previous LibDem administration in Swansea (2004 – 2012) didn’t squander so much on vanity projects and make seriously expensive and damaging errors.
    Carry on accepting what your mind tells you about me.
    Hwyl am y tro.

  4. for goodness sakes ‘A Turk’ calm down. Nowhere have i accused you of being a racist. I merely pointed out that on occassions anti-traveller/gypsy protests have carried racist undertones…as evidenced by the leaflet distributed in swansea which was condemned by the commssion for racial equality. And im fully prepared to accept youre just an ordinary member of the local labour party and not one of its councillor’s, AMs, MPs or political advisors.

  5. @ A Turk

    @ leigh Richards
    Creating a false image of me as a racist who hides is known as “Strawman Technique”.
    I do not excuse the printing and distribution of the leaflet by individuals at a Labour Party branch but, on the other hand, I do not tar everyone with the same brush in the way that you do.
    If you look at the details you will notice that the objection was to the continued presence of an illegal site.
    You will notice that Swansea Council was under the administration of a LibDem/Ind/Plaid coalition and that during the eviction proceedings at a Court it was revealed a LibDem cabinet member had given the family who were squatting on the Park n Ride permission to stay. The Councillor didn’t tell anyone about the arrangement that he had made.

    Following the local elections last year, Labour has taken control and responsibility of Swansea Council and I would think that it is in your interest to concentrate of how the Cabinet and Committees handle their statutory duties.

    Harping on about a single leaflet produced by a Labour branch in the area where a travelling family had decided to occupy a Council Car Park will not help in the slightest.
    I use a pseudonym because I’d rather people take note and think about what I post than who I am. However, I can state that I’m not a Councillor, AM, MP or political advisor.

  6. Greta

    From a pressure group opposed to a “gated Holiday Park and Leisure Complex.”
    The posting of May 5, 2013 at 8:29 pm must have been approved by the Officials of “Save Penrhos” because it has the official seal on the link.
    And there were people thinking that Save Penrhos was a non political group that doesn’t resort to party politics.

    Rule 3 on the Save Penrhos website: –
    “DO NOT state things as fact unless they definitely are. Use caveats such as ‘probably’, ‘possibly’ ‘perhaps’ ‘widely believed’ ‘accepted in some areas’. If you state something as fact and it isn’t you leave yourself open to public attack, your opposition will have a field day and your causes credibility will take a hammering.”

  7. sadly Save Penrhos im not surprised to hear of such bigoted and distasteful comments, and anyone who still doubts such sentiments arent examples of naked prejudice should replace the word gypsy or traveller with jew or muslim to see just how offensive and prejudiced these opinions on travellers are …….

    but sadly it would be naive of any of us to imagine that instances of modern day prejudice towards the traveller community are confined to election campaigns in parts of swansea, as the excellent series ‘the truth about travellers’ currently being screened by channel five on sunday evenings makes clear. And If jac would be kind enough to permit me to post a link it can be online viewed here for those who have missed it


    1. @ A Turk

      @leigh richards
      Local councils in Wales are not under a statutory obligation to provide land for the exclusive occupation of jews or muslims or any other religious group so I fail to understand what why you have chosen to draw a comparison.

      1. i draw the comparison to illustrate the racism that can lay behind the motives of those objecting to travellers sites, with gypsies and irish travellers constituting distinct ethnic groups.under the law of course. I also cant help but notice that your another poster who appears to have an antagonistic stance towards those of us supportive of traveller and gypsy rights in swansea who doesnt have an identifiable profile. Why is that those contributors to this discussion who have tried to excuse swansea labour’s appalling track record on travellers in swansea feel the need to hide?

        1. Cherry Hinton

          Pleased that the Welsh Inspector allowed the Appeal for the 4 pitched site in Birchgrove for Romani gypsies to go ahead – small family sites for travellers have to be the answer

  8. @ A Turk

    @Save Penrhos
    I don’t think that anyone is suggesting that the leaflet didn’t come from Llansamlet Labour Party. I would imagine that the candidate and the agent set the text, graphics on a DTP document which was passed to a firm of printers.
    “..there is simply no way an officlal item of election literature would or could be printed and then distributed without first gaining the approval of local branch officials.”
    What if the ‘officials’, at election time, were just the candidate and the agent?
    “If it wasn’t official then it would have been an expulsion offence because of the .”
    Reprimanded? – Yes. Expulsion? – Harsh and probably not in accordance with standard disciplinary procedure.
    However, putting “Bye Election” on a pamphlet should be a hanging offence.

  9. Greta

    LR: Please stop misreading what I have posted. Someone composed the leaflet but where is there proof that the text met with the approval of Labour’s Llansamlet branch?
    The agent of a candidate is legally responsible for all leaflets, posters, expenses etc.

    1. It was an official leaflet it included the legal welsh labour party imprint and the name of the local election agent there is simply no way an officlal item of election literature would or could be printed and then distributed without first gaining the approval of local branch officials. It originated from that branch, during an election. That makes it official, that’s why the CRE complained to the party.

      If it wasn’t official then it would have been an expulsion offence because of the . How many people were expelled?

      In the area I live, a senior Labour Party county councillor stated to the local press about travellers/gypsies – we do not want them here. They put the tourists off.

  10. hi greta…. er the leaflet was produced by the local labour party branch and approved by them. And im glad you agree they were wrong to approve it and to distribute it.

    yes i do support plaid cyrmu greta but am not an officer or offiical of the party and do not speak for them on matters, and so i cant im afraid advise you if they will be fielding a candidate in the forthcoming llansamlet by election……

  11. Greta

    LR: I think that Cherry was referring to candidates who were elected to the full Council rather than a Community Council.

    At last you are now stating the obvious that the leaflet was produced by someone in the local branch and it was published without regional approval. The CRE, quite rightly, complained and I hope that in future it will not be repeated. However, newspapers will still run articles similar to the Western Mail report that you linked in your post of May 3, 2013 at 6:24am – I thought that the reporter’s words about the waste dumped there which had to be cleared by the Council far more damning than the Cllr. quotes.
    This morning, I visited Swansea Council’s website to see if there was any news about the issue, seeing as this blog post has rekindled interest, and saw an item on the front page: –
    £100 fixed penalty for repeated household rubbish bag dumping – Quite right.
    54 tonnes of waste, including human excrement and car tyres – Zero charge.

    I asked you about Plaid Cymru as you have record, elsewhere on the web, that seems to indicate support for them.

  12. hi greta yes via desktop publishing an individual can do what you say but an individual cannot approve such an item for distribution during a election! that is something which takes place at branch level – a fact which you poinitedly refuse to acknowledge! Im afraid ive no idea what youre refering to with regards to your reference to ‘groups and individuals’? But suffice to say i was proved correct in the assetion i made on a blog you unearthed with regards to unfounded claims about alleged plans to remove the then health minister for Wales.

    I dont know why you are asking me if plaid cymru will be fielding a candidate in llansamlet? but i can say with one hundred percent certainty that labour wil be making opposition to a traveller site in llansamlet a centrepiece of its by election campaign. i just hope they dont return to their inflammatory anti-traveller rhetoric of the recent past in the process ….and i trust you will join me in that wish greta…..

    im afraid cherry is mistaken in saying that local concillors in the gorseinon area have made no public comment on this issue since the may 2012 elections – as this comment from local labour community councillor malcolm curtice in november 2012 makes clear

  13. Cherry Hinton

    I categorically state that I am not a Labour supporter – I have even leafleted and voted Plaid in the past – I always vote in Local elections for the person and not the political party – some of the comments made about contributors smack of bullying and innuendo and not reasoned and civilised debate. I have decided not to contribute to these blogs in the future – however I will still follow JacO his comments do interest me and are mostly factual –

  14. Cherry Hinton

    The Councillors in Gorseinon and area are representing the people. – they supported the opposition to the Travellers sites in Gorseinon prior to becoming Cllrs – they have made no comment since becoming Cllrs – and yes the two sites have allocated use – one a designated cemetery and the other is a PARC as emphasised in the name Parc Melyn Mynach. As a point of interest to people critical of the Residents of Gorseinon we already have three traveller sites in the area who are happily welcomed and very much appreciated and respected. These are the show ground travellers.
    A travellers site is an inappropriate development for these two areas.Plaid should be more aware of the needs of the people who live in the area. Two sites have been put forward in Gorseinon which doesn’t seem very fair

  15. Greta

    LR: I wrote “probably composed by an individual rather than a City or Regional campaign team.” Desktop Publishing is easy and one person can produce a leaflet from a standard template (including imprints) provided by professionals.
    So, according to you, Labour act as a group whilst Plaid Cymru is composed of individuals who voice their own opinions irrespective of Party unity.
    Will Plaid Cymru field a candidate in Llansamlet and will the candidate be campaigning for a new traveller site in the area.

  16. hi greta im afraid you are wrong as the basic and simple facts of election campaigning make your assertions about the deeply offensive item of election material distributed by labour about gypsies in llansamlet completely untenable….given that it included the legal welsh labour party imprint and the name of the local election agent there is simply no way an officlal item of election literature would or could be printed and then distributed without first gaining the approval of local branch officials ……..regarding the blog comment of mine you have unearthed i certainly stand by the assertion i made back then and indeed given there was no attempt of any kind by the plaid group in the senedd to force Ms Hart to stand down my assertion would seem to have been borne out by events…..

    returning to the traveller issue..and welsh labour’s dubious record on travellers in swansea…. i very much hope the labour party in parts of swansea has learned the lessons from its past mistakes with regard to travellers/gypsies, and will not repeat them in the forthcomng llansamlet by election in a bid to see off what may now be a strong challenge from the extreme right in the shape of the xenophobic and explicitly anti-gypsy ukip……

  17. Greta

    LR: Considering that the leaflet refers to a Council Bye (sic) Election, I would think that the wording was probably composed by an individual rather than a City or Regional campaign team. I could be wrong but I think I’m on firmer ground than your assertion that Arfon Jones was speaking for himself in the Plaid Wrecsam blog of 29 September 2010.

    Seeing as the blogpost from Jac is part 8 of his attack on Swansea Labour, I would have thought that you had enough to feed on without my help.
    I doubt if you’d accept anything that I write so creating a WordPress profile would be pointless.

  18. hi greta….yes i can recognise a political ‘spinner’ at work too…..good try….but your efforts to deflcet attention away from the shameful anti-traveller activities of some labour party activists in swansea in recent years has not succeeded…but just to repeat…as it does not seem to have sunk in with you yet…..the commission for racial equality condemned election literature distributed by the labour party in llansamlet in a by election there in 2007 for its anti gypsy rhetoric……while in another blatant effort to capitalise on anti-traveller feelings two labour councillors made a point of attending protests and publicly speaking out against a proposed legal traveller site in gorseinon in the middle of last years local elections….you might also care to take a look at the inflammatory comments made here in this article in 2011 by the former, tho now sadly late , labour councillor for the llansamlet area


    if you cannot see anything disturbing or reprehensible with any of the instances listed above it is very worrying

    as for your political allegiances greta well your repeated snipings at every other party in swansea…..except the labour party….makes clear to anyone your support for that party…….further can you state where on this thread i have indicated support for any political party?

    as for your claim that you do not reside in llansamlet or swansea well im afraid greta we only have your word for that ‘greta’…there is no way of teling from your profile who you are or where you reside………….

  19. ‘greta’ the villification and hostility directed towards travellers in swansea in recent years is a stain on the city and the welsh labour party should be ashamed of itself for permitting its members and councillors in swansea to be party to such bigotry…..CH i very much hope the forthcoming by election in llansamlet will be ‘different’, and will not be marked by the kind of intolerance towards the traveller community we have seen from some in the labour party in swansea in recent years………..tho judging by the contributions here of swansea labour supporters like ‘greta’ i sadly very much doubt it….

    1. Greta

      LR: Please state where on this thread do I indicate support for any political party. I live 2 constituencies away from Llansamlet and I have no interest in who wins the by election. My first post to you was because I recognise a political spinner at work.
      You continue to spin rather than reason and refuse to answer questions.
      Why is objecting to an illegal traveller site intolerable?
      Why is legally objecting to the siting of a new traveller site intolerable?

      Jac: It seems as if the traveller issue has dominated the thread.
      I went cyber-digging for the Labour Party’s method of selecting candidates in local elections and apparently only Party members who live in the ward are allowed to vote from the list of hopefuls. One member, one vote by eliminating ballot.

  20. Greta

    LR: I was not familiar with item and I had to search the web for more information.
    I do not live in Llansamlet or anywhere near the area.
    I would have thought that most people would not support people who take a caravan into a public car park and set up home there. Also, I imagine that many in Swansea are furious at the LibDem/Ind/PlaidCymru Council wasting thousands of pounds on an eviction process that collapsed when the traveller family revealed they were given permission to stay in the Park n Ride by a member of the Council Cabinet.

  21. Uta…..er sorry i mean ‘greta’…. the commission for racial equality condemned the llansamlet labour item in question for its anti-traveller rhetoric and – as you are clearly familiar with the llansamlet labour item in question – you will be aware of the inflammatory language it used. im afraid ‘badly worded’ doesnt come in to it …an election item imploring people to make a by election a referendum on a gypsy site isnt bad wording – it was a shameless effort to pander to anti-traveller feeling in a bid to garner votes…….just as labour party candidates in gorseinon did in last year’s council elections…….i also couldnt help but notice your own apparent dissappointment that the then ruling swansea administration”failed to evict the traveller family’ …..

    1. CH

      What makes you think the next be-election is going to be any different in terms of campaigning issues? BTW will Plaid even be fielding a candidate?

  22. Greta

    LR: So if a group of activists campaign against the siting of a Welsh Medium School at a particular spot you’d say that the group was anti Welsh?
    btw: I understand that the badly worded election poster referred to an “illegal gypsy site” at the Llansamlet Park n Ride. Do you need to be reminded about how and why the LibDem/Independent/PlaidCymru administration failed to evict the traveller family?

  23. and while we are discussing welsh labour activists in swansea participating in anti-traveller/gypsy campaigns its worth remembering that in 2007 the commission for racial equality condemned a leaflet put out by labour in llansamlet swansea for its anti-traveller/gypsy rhetoric….the Commission also made a formal complaint to the welsh labour party about the offensive labour leaflet, which bore the inflammatory heading “Council by election a referendum on gypsy site”….

  24. ‘Greta’ these welsh labour activists have been objecting to and organising campaigns against traveller’s sites – if that’s not ‘anti-traveller/gypsy’ i dont know what is! i think you are trying (but thankfully failing) to spin it so that they do not appear to be anti-traveller/Gypsy…..

  25. Paul

    Labour’s problem is that if they don’t take an anti-gypsy site stance then they could end up losing the seat to some right-wing nutter.

    1. Jac

      Which exposes one of Labour’s permanent and fundamental problems. Too few Labour voters ever were socialist, proven by the fact that today Labour’s biggest electoral threat often comes from the extreme Right. Remember, it was dockers who marched in support of Enoch Powell, not stockbrokers.

  26. the hypocrisy of the likes of bob clay and some in the welsh labour party on the subject of travellers is sickening….how supposed socialists could be organsiing campaigns that demonise and whip up antagonism towards travellers and gypsys beats me…..sadly some of clay’s party colleagues in swansea are also not averse to shamelessly playing the ‘gypsy card’ when it suits them, with two labour councillors in gorseinon prominent in anti-traveller protests in gorseinon prior to last year’s local elections in swansea


    clearly none of them have seen what their own party’s governemnt in cardiff bay thinks on the matter..and very strange that the welsh labour party allows its members and elected councillors to be at the forefront of such often bigoted campaigns


    1. Jac

      Yes, that’s always struck me as strange, too. But I’ve taken it as evidence that many socialists are the opportunistic hypocrites I’ve always believed them to be. Also, as you point out, it’s odd that Carwyn’s gang don’t remind them of the party’s position in this matter.

    2. Greta

      LR: I thought that they were objecting to the position of the site.
      You’ve spun it as if they were anti traveller/gypsy.

  27. denizen

    Good to see Inside Out recieving some competition! Obvs sources must be hidden, but you clearly have your ear to the ground. Can David Phillips block Bob Clay and parachute in a careerist student? As you point out, having two partners representing the same ward is something he’s familiar with …

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