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 could 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.
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 the 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.
Dennis 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?
It pains me to admit that, hitherto, I may have treated the Labour regime in Swansea with a certain levity unbecoming the seriousness of the situation. For the latest news paints a picture of democracy under a growing threat in the land of the Jacks. Among the information sent me was a copy of a letter submitted to the Evening Post by a Swansea councillor. (Click to enlarge.) The councillor in his letter talks of the “far left” and the behaviour he describes can only be compared to the rabble-rousers used by oppressive regimes to intimidate opponents.
For it would now appear that gangs of unkempt malcontents are roaming the city at the behest of the interlopers’ regime, terrorising opponents and interfering with people going about their lawful occasions. The letter clearly states that these ‘Marxist’ irregulars only target non-Labour politicians and events. Of course, the regime will deny any responsibility for these hirelings. That’s the attraction of using ‘deniables’.
Perhaps more worrying is the fact that this letter was not published by the Beans on Toast. Which is odd, for local rags are always looking for letters, quotes and other pearls from local tribunes . . . if only in the hope they’ll say something stupid, or contentious. So why was this letter, from a Swansea councillor, not published in Swansea’s daily paper?
Because, I suggest, it was critical of the Labour Party, and made a link between Labour and the ‘Marxist’ rabble-rousers. Why do I say that? Because the new editor of the Beans is Jonathan Roberts, former editor of the Carmarthen Journal. Under his leadership the CJ became the out-house publication for the Nazi-Soviet pact on Goal Hill controlled by Mark James. Seeing as the Journal Roberts left is little more than James’ mouthpiece it’s worth asking if he’s been installed in Swansea to carry out a similar role on behalf of Swansea Labour Party? Cos the boy got form when it comes to censorship and sucking up to Labour.
Leaving Swansea for a minute (always painful, I know), what we see there, and in Carmarthenshire, is part of a wider trend of Labour control resulting in corruption and censorship, and a general contempt for those outside of Labour circles, something I commented on in my previous post. Even Glyn Davies, the easy-going MP for Montgomeryshire, was moved to tweet this week about Wales being a one-party state. Read it here. Then there was the amazing case of the Labour councillor in Llandudno who threatened to have a publican’s license taken away because he refused to serve her after hours. What I find really worrying in this incident is that the woman even wrote to Carwyn Jones slagging off the publican . . . yet the First Minister, or his advisers, did not regard this vendetta as reason to remove a clearly vindictive woman obviously unsuited to be a political representative. That nothing was done suggests Labour accepts behaviour like this. (Which of course, those of us d’un age know only too well.)
In his unpublished letter the Swansea councillor refers to a genie, but I suggest that what’s happening in Swansea has passed beyond pantomime. It is currently on the fringes of farce, heading inexorably towards tragedy. There is still time to avert this disaster but outside intervention is needed. So will Labour HQ investigate links between certain members of Swansea Labour Party and law-breaking extremists? (The stick Labour has used to beat Plaid Cymru for 50 or 60 years.) Or can Labour rely on the ‘Welsh’ media to keep a lid on everything?
UPDATE 29.04.13: More information regarding the Evening Post and the suspected political bias of its new editor, Jonathan Roberts. First, Labour councillor John Bayliss had a particularly bitchy letter published recently in which he made a personal attack on a non-Labour councillor. At least four of the vilified councillor’s constituents wrote to the Post in his defence. Not one of the letters was published.
Moving round the Bay to Neath Port Talbot, a non-Labour councillor there has recently submitted two letters for publication, both critical of the NPT Labour administration, neither of them was published. The first time this has ever happened to this councillor.
The evidence is stacking up that the Beans on Toast is now a Labour-supporting newspaper. Which it’s perfectly entitled to be. What is not acceptable, when it’s an area’s only daily newspaper, is that the editor should suppress other opinions and criticism of the Labour Party. This is censorship. But then, Roberts would have had a good grounding in censorship techniques in Carmarthen.
More news from the soap opera that is Swansea Labour Party. You will recall that in earlier episodes we met those bright young things Pearleen Sangha (@PearleenSangha), “Big fan of Ray-Ban eyewear”; Mitchell Theaker (@mitchelltheaker), “Labourite and gin lover”; and John Bayliss (@JohnCBayliss), “LGBT campaigner”; all students at Swansea University when they were elected to the council last May. (Click to enlarge images.) These three are devoted to, in order of precedence: 1/ preening and promoting themselves, 2/ helping the good times roll, 3/ student politics, 4/ the internal bitching of the Labour Party (at a ‘national’ level), 5/ assorted right-on causes, 6/ enriching the shysters of the wind con racket.
Although, nominally, Swansea councillors, these three don’t give a lot of thought to the city and its people. Swansea council merely gives them a platform from which to giggle and gossip with slightly more credibility about what really interests them . . . be that gin, Gay ‘rights’, bars and restaurants, the next yoof commissar of the Labour Party, feminism, name-dropping, recipies, etc., etc. That’s the thing you notice when you look over their tweets, there are virtually no references to the city they’re supposed to be serving, unless it can be used to promote one of their pet causes. Other than that, it’s all about enjoying themselves, but only with ‘their people’, as I’ll explain. Something else I should have mentioned is that they have opinions, on everything. They know nothing, but give out their views on everything. Take Pearleen Sangha, an American, living in Wales, but she has taken sides in the Scottish independence debate. No prizes for guessing . . .
They even use a cash-strapped city’s money to promote those ’causes’, and possibly to promote their friends. For it is rumoured that the soon to be announced GLBT Officer for the city will be a ‘friend’ of John Bayliss. Now of course, our three – and, it must be said, there are others – will argue that this new post is ‘serving Swansea’ . . . leaving us to wonder how the city could possibly have managed in the past without such an appointee.
And they do get about! This year alone, Pearleen Sangha has been home to California for a wedding, and was also in Leicester for the conference of Labour Yoof. A busy girl, Pearleen. Too busy to be a councillor on Saturdays, as one of her constituents found out recently – “Do you know what day it is?” the impudent constituent was told. I mean, bothering your globe-trotting councillor as she prepares for dinner with friends! Mitchell Theaker has been to India for a few weeks, empathising and meeting “bigwigs”. While John Bayliss has been home in Sussex for a while helping Labour candidates in the elections there next month. Of course it can be argued that while Bayliss is away the Uplands ward is in the delicate and fragrant hands of comrade Pearleen . . . unless of course anybody wants help on a Saturday. (The large photo of Councillor Bayliss below is taken from his blog. Quite frankly, it’s toe-curlingly embarrassing. He looks like ‘the podgy one’ from a boy band, feigning modesty as he’s hailed by the total membership of his fan club.)
More thoughtful – cynical? (do I attract cynics?) – readers may at this point be asking themselves, ‘California, Leicester, India, Sussex . . . what the fuck has this got to do with running Swansea?’ A question more and more people are asking, even within the Labour Party.
Another thing you’ll notice by going through their tweets is that the Labour Party isn’t just the political party they belong to, it’s everything they are. They live on Planet Labour. One tweeter from the Labour Yoof shindig claimed that one third of all the people he knew were at the conference! That’s sad, and worrying. For here we have an organisation that has virtually cut itself off from the rest of society and whose members only mix with ‘their own’. This is New Labour’s gift to us all – a class of professional politicians for whom the talents of being glib and photogenic, being astute at networking and ruthless in back-stabbing, count for more than understanding life outside the bubble. As it must, for they know nothing of life outside the bubble. It’s odious; almost incestuous.
Yet these middle-class kids are helping run Swansea. They puff and posture as the defenders of the downtrodden, people they would never mix with socially, but to whom they must pander because that’s where their votes come from. And it’s all feigned, all hypocrisy. All done to justify their hedonistic, gossipy lifestyles which, let me remind you, are being paid for by the citizens of Swansea.
Before we can achieve independence from England we must gain independence from a Labour Party that becomes less and less Welsh every year. As the Party fills up with careerists and chancers from outside Wales, and the disconnect between the party apparatus and its captive vote increases year on year, there is no longer any reason for Welsh people to vote Labour. If only we could offer them a viable alternative!
UPDATE 24.04.13: Someone phoned me to ask, ‘Why are they allowed to get away with it?’, meaning why aren’t the lotus eaters being reined in. The leader of the Labour group on Swansea council, and the council itself, is a scouser named David Phillips. I’m using a photo here that I’ve run across more than once. It shows him, steely-eyed, looking into the distance for foes to crush and challenges to overcome. Mussolini liked to be photographed in a similar pose. (I wonder how Phillips would look in a helmet?)
You will remember that I wrote about him a while ago, when it was realised he wasn’t allowed to use the letters after his name that he’d been using to impress people since washing up in Swansea. Around the same time I heard that he’d turned up for the funeral of a former Labour councillor in a long, flapping, white trench coat, looking like an extra from a film noir. (Everyone else was in black.) And it should go without saying that his wife, Sybil Crouch, is also on the council, and a cabinet member.
So it would be pointless hoping for intervention from that quarter. Phillips is just another poseur. Swansea Labour Party is full of them now, all trying desperately to impress each other. They can’t pronounce Cwmrhydyceirw or Waunarlwydd, they know nothing of the history of Swansea, they don’t understand its people, but none of that matters. All that matters is that Labour now controls Swansea again. My city reduced to a ‘scalp’.This is ‘Welsh’ Labour 2013.