Swansea Labour Party 9: It Gets Worse!

Although it has yet to be officially confirmed, it now seems certain that last Wednesday Bob Clay, former MP for Sunderland North, was selected by the Llansamlet branch of the Swansea Labour Party to fight the by-election made necessary by the death of councillor Dennis James. As I speculated here might happen.

For those unfamiliar with Bob Clay, he is a public school-educated Trotskyite and admirer of George ‘Indefatigability’ Galloway. He is married to Uta, an Austrian, who was elected to serve the same ward at last year’s council elections. The Clays washed up in Swansea about five years ago, and moved to Llansamlet in August 2012, three months after Uta had been elected to represent the ward in the May council elections. More on the Clays and the farce that is Swansea Labour Party can be found, in chronological order, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

The reason for the delay in officially confirming the glad tidings may be due to the fact that not everybody is overjoyed with the decision of the ‘local’ branch. For example, were I David Phillips, the Labour leader of Swansea Council, the thought of Bob Clay behind me Benito Phillips, Il Duce Abertawecould only conjure up images of steel blades and shoulder blades (or, possibly, lamp posts). Then there’s the reaction from further up the feeding chain . . . what will Carwyn and the gang have to say? Though if it goes as far as ‘London’, then the earlier over-turning by London of Uta Clay’s suspension by Welsh Labour suggests the Clays may have friends in high places.

If the selection stands, and Bob Clay is elected, then Swansea will have to suffer yet another councillor who doesn’t know the city and who will, like so many others, use his position to promote himself and his pet issues. Reminding us that the Labour Party in Wales is going the same way as the Anglican church – the only way it can maintain a semblance of structure and a facade of strength is through relying on English immigrants for both its ‘clerics’ and its ‘communicants’. So much for ‘local’ government, and ‘Welsh’ Labour.

Finally . . . As you know from my previous post, as part of a re-evaluation of my life and in order to reduce the time I spend at my computer, I have closed my Twitter and Facebook accounts. So I am unable to check that another Swansea councillor, ex-student  John Bayliss, has also closed his Twitter account, @JohnCBayliss. If true, then it was almost certainly done on instructions ‘from above’, for John Boy is becoming an embarrassment to the Labour Party, especially since his recent reprimand from the Local Government Ombudsman for “inappropriate and disrespectful” tweets.

Poor Swansea!

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?