If the title strikes you as over-stated, just hold your judgement until you’ve read what I have to say. And if you still disagree with me, then you can claim your refund from the Reimbursements Unit of the Finance Department at Jac Towers.
Seeing as last week’s offering was a little long, at over 3,000 words (and there were complaints!), I’ll try to make up for my previous verbosity with this shorter piece.
TON UP LABOUR
Last year Labour celebrated a century of being the political party sending the most MPs from Wales to Westminster.
Since the advent of devolved government in 1999 it’s been a similar picture in the Senedd (formerly Assembly), with Labour always the largest party.
According to Professor Richard Wyn Jones of Cardiff University this makes Labour in Wales “the most successful party in the democratic world”. But he can only be right if ‘success’ is judged solely on electoral victories.
Because if we gauge success by making life better for people, or by improving a country, then it’s a different story.
Because since we’ve had devolution Wales has fallen behind the other countries of the UK in economic performance and in education; our health service is falling apart, and our standing-room-only, no refreshments, blocked toilets trains would shame a third world country.
On top of which, money is diverted to lunatic schemes while essential services suffer.
At the most recent elections, in May 2021, Labour won 30 of the 60 Senedd seats, all of them in the south and the north east, with 39.9% of the vote, an increase of 5.2% points on 2016.
But that was from a turnout of just 46.6% (which was still an increase of 1.2% on 2021.) In 2003 the turnout went as low as 38.2%, and in 2011 it was just 42.2%
Which means that in the 2021 Senedd elections Labour gained the support 18.6% of those eligible to vote. But thanks to an electoral system favouring the largest party Labour took half the seats, and further strengthened its grip through an alliance with Plaid Cymru, a party that has become almost a Labour subsidiary.
A control that Labour now intends to make permanent. Partly through taking over national institutions and other bodies, partly through introducing a new electoral system that will favour Labour even more.
More on the first tactic in the next section, more on the vote rigging later.
Over the years I’ve explained how Labour holds onto power through the use of lobbyists, a tame media, opposition parties incapable of mounting effective opposition, crony-run third sector organisations and other bodies the ‘Welsh Government’ funds to tell it what it wants to hear.
Recently, I published ‘Wales: Ruled By Pressure Groups‘ (12.06.2023) in which I gave examples of the influence exerted over our tribunes by outfits like Extinction Rebellion, 20’s Plenty for Us, WWF, Friends of the Earth and Sustrans.
The advantage of this relationship for the ‘Welsh Government’ is that it can quote these organisations as “experts“, in order to push on with plans and projects that had already been mutually agreed.
These groups are international in nature, or just English. But they send somebody down to Cardiff, rent a cupboard, stick ‘Cymru’ in the name, and pretend to be Welsh – with our best interests at heart!
I followed up that piece on pressure groups with ‘Taking Control, Of Everything‘ (19.06.2023) where I outlined my observations that the ‘Welsh Government’ also seems to be taking over a number of national institutions and other bodies.
Referring to recent events at the Welsh Rugby Union I wrote:
After creating what was reported by a loyal media as “turmoil” in our sporting bodies the ‘Welsh Government’, with the help of certain individuals ‘on the inside’, was able to engineer a situation that saw people parachuted in who are dependent on ‘Welsh Government’ patronage.
If I had to link the two pieces I would say that this is straight out of the World Economic Forum playbook. The WEF invents or exacerbates problems in order to capitalise on them and offer solutions; then, through this deception, exercise control.
The big WEF threat of recent decades has of course been climate hysteria which, because it’s global, can be used in attempts to control human behaviour around the world. Of course, there is no climate crisis. But it serves its purpose.
Other than partnerships with pressure groups and taking over national bodies the ‘Welsh Government’ tries to extend its reach and enhance its credibility in other ways, too many to list here.
We’ve seen how the ‘Welsh Government’ pretends it’s been ‘advised by pressure groups and other bodies it’s in cahoots with, but this deception extends to bodies it has itself created, such as the Welsh Youth Parliament.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve got nothing against listening to kids, I’ve got teenage grandchildren. But how much weight are we supposed to give to the views of children with no experience of life, who’ve been brainwashed by an education system influenced nowadays by people some of whom are unsavoury and some of whom are positively dangerous?
Again, it’s a case of, “I’m listening . . . but only if you tell me what I want to hear”.
The most recent example of controlling the narrative was the announcement that the ‘Welsh Government’ will fund a journalist to cover proceedings in the Senedd. This reporter will of course be totally independent.
Are we really expected to believe that?
It’s as if those who inhabit the Bay bubble have become so self-engrossed, and so dismissive of opinions outside their little world, that they’ve lost all sense of reality.
FIXING THE ODDS
Since the inception of devolution in 1999 we’ve heard politicians say that with just 60 members the Assembly / Senedd is too small to do its job properly. An argument not without merit.
These voices have got louder as Corruption Bay gained more powers, which admittedly makes the case stronger for having more members.
Things are now coming to a head.
Before I start explaining this, let me say that I can only hope I’ve got all the details right, because the subject is not easy to follow on the ‘Welsh Government’ website, and I don’t think the media has given it the attention it deserves.
I’m referring to the plan to increase the number of Senedd Members, but more importantly, the way it’s proposed this should be done.
Let’s start May 10 last year, with the announcement that first minister Mark Drakeford and Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price had agreed on major changes. These were . . .
The Senedd should have 96 members. Elected from 16 constituencies, these achieved by ‘pairing’ the 32 new Westminster seats; with each one electing 6 MSs by the “closed proportional lists” system. These changes should in place for the 2026 Senedd elections.
This may have been agreed by Drakeford and Price, but few others were in favour.
For example, even before publication of the report by the Special Purpose Committee on Senedd Reform the body had lost one member in Tory Robin Millar, who’d resigned. As you’ll read, he wasn’t the only one unhappy with what Labour and Plaid had come up with.
The report itself concedes (page 37 ) . . .
The Expert Panel previously noted that higher district magnitudes create greater potential for proportionality, and that if constituencies become too big, it can result in ‘hyperproportionality.’35 Hyperproportionality describes the circumstance whereby a party that gained a very low level of public support nevertheless secures seats in the legislature- and thereby the legitimacy of elected platform
But these misgivings were dismissed. Of course they were!
While there are positive elements of this deal, there are also those that require further thought . . . concerns remain about the use of closed lists due to the lack of choice voters will have. This system was rejected by the Expert Panel on Assembly Electoral Reform who said it left “No choice for voters between individual candidates” and “No accountability for individual Members directly to voters”.
The decision to use the D’Hondt method of allocating votes also threatens the proportionality of this new system, by creating a high bar for smaller parties to reach to ensure representation and see members elected. The use of D’Hondt is likely to make the end result only as proportional or even slightly less than the current system.
And, finally, Professor Laura McAllister, who is co-chair of the Independent Commission on the Constitutional Future of Wales, and previously chaired the Assembly Expert Panel on Electoral Reform, referred to above.
Her piece on The Constitution Unit Blog was headlined: ‘Wales needs a larger Senedd, but a closed list system is not the best way to achieve it‘.
The concerns are over the “closed proportional lists“, which are not proportional. In each of the 16 mega-constituencies voters will be offered a list of six candidates for each party. You will vote for the party, and get all six candidates.
The Electoral Reform Society warned that the proposed system is, “likely to make the end result only as proportional or even slightly less than the current system”. What this means in practice is that Labour could win a majority of the seats with an even smaller percentage of the vote than it achieved in the 2021 Senedd elections.
A combination of clever pairing coupled with the loss of regional seats could see the Conservatives almost wiped out.
Let’s call it what it is – it’s a stitch-up. I can understand Labour doing it, because this is how Labour has always operated; but Plaid Cymru have done themselves serious damage by going along with this corruption.
I’m dealing with it now because the Senedd is scheduled to vote on the proposals some time between now and September.
UPDATE 08.07.2023: This may be more complicated than I thought. But still designed to benefit Labour. A comment suggests that the six seats can be divided between different parties. Which means that a party winning 50% of the vote would get 3 seats. But what it also means is that there is a 16.6% threshold before a party can win a single seat. Which will of course rule out smaller parties.
UPDATE 09.07.2023: A further comment tells us there is to be an element of proportionality in the proposed system, “Within the super constituency, whichever party tops the poll gets the first seat, their vote then halved and whichever party is then top gets the second etc etc until all six are allocated”.
I begin to understand why we’ve had so little discussion – there may be few people who understand what’s being proposed. (I’m certainly sorry I started down this road.)
Devolution was sold to us as “bringing democracy closer to the people of Wales“. And indeed it could have done exactly that. But the Labour party in Wales is not very good at democracy; it never has been.
Labour in Wales has always been about power, patronage, and corruption. And because Labour has controlled devolved politics since 1999 not only have we seen our economy decline, our educational standards drop, and our NHS collapse, we’ve also seen a gradual erosion of democracy and accountability.
Despite what you’ve read some might still think I’m over-egging it by linking the World Economic Form with the Labour party, Extinction Rebellion and the rest, but hear me out.
What we see increasingly in Wales, at every level, and also across the globe, is the implementation of agendas without a democratic mandate or, in most cases, even public consultation.
After decades of grooming and influencing political leaders from across the Western world the WEF may be the most influential body on Earth. But do you remember ever voting for Klaus Schwab and the rest?
Similarly with the World Heath Organisation, an unelected body that has taken on itself the power to impose lock-downs and travel restrictions on individual countries, or the entire world. And this can be done for political as much as health reasons.
The ‘Welsh Government’ has an unconvincing mandate at the moment, but it wants to introduce an electoral system that is clearly intended to give the Labour party more power with even less support.
And then we complete the circle with the Green-Woke-Left pressure groups, most of them now funded by leading players at the WEF to ensure administrations follow the WEF agenda.
Where do you figure in all this? Where and when are your views asked for?
For Wales to be a prosperous, healthy country, and progressive in the true sense of the word, the people must have faith in those running the country, and the processes that put them in power, while also believing that the interests of Wales are being served, not those of swivel-eyed strangers imposing their damaging agendas.
That dream can never be realised as long as Labour uses a corrupt electoral system and other tactics to pursue what begins to look like a form of totalitarian control.
♦ end ♦