Labour’s candidate in the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election has appealed for voters to remember that there is much more to the August 1 by-election than Brexit.
“There are far greater issues than just Brexit,” said Tom Davies, whose campaign has been said to be lagging behind those of vapid Liberal Democrat leaflet-spammer Jane Dodds (Remain) and convicted criminal Chris Davies (Leave) – both of whom have little to recommend them other than the chance to record a pointless protest vote about the decision to leave the European Union. “We’re looking at the national effects of austerity, which are really taking hold in this constituency.
“What we’re hearing on the doorstep is more about people struggling to make ends meet and money not going into services than about Brexit.”
People in the constituency have been raising Brexit on the doorstep, he conceded, but “it’s not the only issue.”
He said: “We’re giving the option that if the public still want to leave the EU, then those people can vote for a deal. Parliament is deadlocked. The Tories rejected our deal, which I’d say was closest to what was promised during the referendum. Because the Tories have rejected that, it’s only right for that to be put back to the people.
“We as a party, and I certainly, will not accept any deal that will make us worse off than being in the EU. Any deal that has been put forward at the moment, save perhaps our own, is exactly that. In our stance – confirmatory vote and remain – I think we’ve got the sensible solution.”
And he pointed out that it would be a betrayal to stand aside for another party as part of a so-called “Remain alliance”: “We have a number of other factors at play, not just Brexit. I won’t forgive Lib Dems for their part in austerity. I won’t forgive them for their voting record during the coalition government. The last Lib Dem MP for this constituency lost his seat. He voted for welfare cuts, and I won’t be seen to be accepting that.
“Adam Price, the leader of Plaid Cymru, has been public in saying he’s thrown his support behind the Lib Dems. That’s him playing politics. He is well aware that Plaid Cymru hasn’t had a good showing in this constituency recently, and I don’t think he wants to lose their deposit.”
He admitted: “You can introduce yourself and people will say ‘no, thank you’ because of your stance on Brexit or ‘yes, I’ll talk to you because you’re for a confirmatory vote’. [Tom is a Remainer, and would campaign for that as an MP if Labour has its way and voters go back to the polls to confirm the way forward on the vexed Brexit issue.]
“What we’re focusing on is austerity, but also losing between £850m and £1bn… In Brecon and Radnorshire, as part of Powys, we’re seeing a 9.5% council tax increase to pay for Tory cuts. [Powys County Council is Tory-Independent run.]
“The reason we’re not getting the funding from the Welsh government is because their budget has been cut from Westminster.”
“In spite of the Tory and Lib Dem coalition austerity measures, the Welsh government is still pumping record amounts of money into the NHS.”
“We’re still pumping £1.4bn over the last five years into the new schools programme, and the Welsh government has built 41 new schools across Wales. We’re also putting an extra £100m into education, and we’re offering families some of the best childcare offers across the UK.
“The message is that despite the Tories in Westminster, it’s the Welsh Labour government that is delivering for the people of Brecon and Radnorshire.”
“People are very interested in John McDonnell’s plans for a Post Bank. I certainly think it’s well worth exploring and developing. We’ve lost a lot of high street banks in this area and people need somewhere to be able to do their banking.
“We’re obviously looking at more funding for the devolved nations of the UK as a national party, and that is absolutely welcome. Also going down well are the pledges for a £10-per-hour real living wage, lifting the public sector pay cap and the green industrial revolution, which was a big hit in the hustings.”
He doesn’t agree with the false Liberal Democrat demand for Labour supporters to vote tactically for the other party, to keep the Tories out – for a very good reason: “That hasn’t worked over the last few elections. It certainly didn’t work in 2015 and 2017. It didn’t work in 2010 either because, even though the Lib Dems were elected, they turned around and went into coalition with the Conservatives. That is not what Labour voters would have voted Lib Dem for.”
And of course there’s the fact that Liberal Democrat canvassers have been lying directly to voters: “We’ve heard rumours of one activist saying to voters in one area that Labour aren’t standing in this election so the voters who are naturally Labour should be voting Lib Dem. Well, here I am. I’m standing. It’s really misleading tactics from the Lib Dems.”
So there it is.
This election is about more than just Brexit – and voters simply cannot trust the Liberal Democrats and the Tory convict. Labour has the local policies that people want… It would be irrational to support anybody else.
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“People are very interested in John McDonnell’s plans for a Post Bank”. We used to have one: National Giro, opened in 1968 by the Labour Government. The historic cruciform building in Bootle is now occupied by Santander. Santander is now intending to demolish the 50 year old building. The Giro did all the administration of payments to the unemployed, those on sickness benefits and Supplementary Benefit. That’s why “dole cheques” were called Giros by claimants. Don’t know about pensions as the Ministry of Pensions was separate from the Ministry of Employment.
Tom Davies is right. Labour should have pushed this point since 2016. Explain the EU role in fighting for social democracy.
It is usually unwise to vote on the basis of a single issue.