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Welsh Labour Leadership – Any the wiser?

by Barry

I was quite excited last night that we were to have the debate on the Welsh Labour leadership.  Given that I am still relatively new regarding Welsh Politics, so far all I have had to really go on is the official output from the candidates themselves.  What I was hoping for last night was to hear from people who had experiences of the candidates, about why they were supporting them to help me make a decision.  

The first interesting thing that happened was when another member asked if the CLP supporting vote would mean that we would lose our individual vote.  That immediately sent alarm bells ringing as of course this is not the case.  I say of course, but if you are new to the party, or not a fan of reading the rule book, then it isn’t obvious.  I hadn’t really considered this before, but what if, when hearing the CLP had supported a candidate, members thought they “had” to vote a certain way.   Given what had been said, I raised the question of if we should be endorsing a candidate if people were unclear on what it meant (and by people, I was thinking those not at the meeting).  I wasn’t asking for no debate, on the contrary we need it.  However, the majority of the members were keen to endorse a candidate, so we cracked on 🙂

One member immediately proposed one of the candidates for nomination, without any reasoning as to why (which is fine, nothing wrong with that, perfectly within the procedures) and the chair asked if any other proposals were put forward.  It was then that I interjected with something like “I hope so, as it’s the main reason I’m here, to hear about all the candidates”.  Lee Waters AM, I think, could see where I was coming from because he then did a brilliant job in briefly summing up each candidates campaign and a brief on their history etc.  I know that Lee has been supporting Mark for leader, and he did say this throughout the meeting, but it shows a true testament to democracy for him to run through them all the way he did.

I was grateful to hear of the different views.  I think so in my reading of material, I was leaning more towards Eluned and Vaughan, because I was liking what they had to say on the economy and community aspects.  I have only met one of them briefly and that was Vaughan at conference this year.  And I have been disappointed in what Mark has been saying on Brexit.  However, there was such strength of feeling for Mark last night, and Lee raised some very good items on how Mark had been involved in the “clear red water” of Welsh Labour, and his broad support across AMs, that he is now well back in the running for me.

So, when I had hoped to get to a favourite candidate, I’m almost back to the beginning.  In many ways I am leaning towards following what other people who I respect in the CLP are suggesting in Mark, but he still has some work to do to convince me, or I have more research work to do to convince myself.

So, any thoughts are still welcome, I still need to make my decision.

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