07 May 2008
More on the realignment in British politics
One of the problems with living abroad is that a lot of events back home tend to get missed. Last night I argued that a realignment of British politics was under way - I just didn't realise quite how far advanced that realignment was. My thanks to the anonymous commentator at that posting for the heads-up.
In Wales certainly the realignment seems to be very advanced indeed. People's Voice is a new movement that is based in the south Wales' valleys and advocates just the kind of solid, old-Labour policies that are needed to ensure that Nu-Labour's journey to the cemetery is not long delayed. It was registered as a political party last year, so hopefully it will soon start to spread beyond its original home.
The movement's origins date back to the General Election of 2005 when the Labour Party decided that what the constituency of Blaenau Gwent needed was an all-female short-list for the Labour nomination. This was the straw that broke the camel's back for Peter Law, who up to then had sat in the Welsh Assembly under the Labour banner. He ran for election as an independent and overturned a 19,000 Labour majority to take the seat.
Labour was forced to apologise for this nonsense, but that didn't stop them trying it on again the following year, after Peter Law's sudden death in 2006. Labour ran one of their smooth, nice and neat candidates, who had previously worked in the media and then as a PR man.
People's Voice supported Trish Law, Peter's widow, for the Assembly seat, and a local electrician named Dai Davies for the Parliamentary one. Both proceeded to romp home to victory in the two by-elections. Since then the party has seen other victories at council level.
The fact that South Wales has a new party that seems to be enjoying a great deal of success does not mean that the realignment of British politics is over, far from it. Furthermore, People's Voice is still only one small voice, but as it and other small, local parties embed themselves into the popular culture that voice will get louder and louder.
Slowly but surely, the British working class is finally beginning to get its act together.