Welcome to the June edition of our monthly bulletin, providing you with the news of what is going on within the Caerphilly Constituency Labour Party.
Secretary’s Report: Bryn Hollywell
We are all suffering from the catastrophic outcome of the general election campaign. The report on the election campaign here in Caerphilly can be found elsewhere in this bulletin. Upon reading the report, it becomes clear that we had an excellent campaign, with a record number of contacts made and an unprecedented number of party volunteers and helpers involved in our campaign. Although we won the seat comfortably it should be noted that UKIP made a strong impression in second place, and many of those will have been ex-Labour voters.
Consequently the problem is far deeper and more serious for the Labour Party throughout the UK. The Leadership contest is the first stage in our recovery, and the new One Member One Vote ballot, together with affiliated trade unions having to persuade their members to vote for whoever they nominate, will result in an outcome from a much wider party membership for whoever is selected. Our MP Wayne has nominated Andy Burnham, a decision I personally support as he is also an avid Evertonian!!.
The Party must then have a deep examination of both our policies, which clearly did not persuade enough working people to vote for us, and how we communicated our messages to the public. These two factors alone are massively important, but there is another problem to overcome in Scotland. We need an honest and comprehensive internal inquiry as to why we only have only one Labour seat in Scotland, and then begin the task of the recovery of Scottish Labour.
I believe that we need a fresh start for all our policies, and I have decided to put my name forward as a CLP Delegate in the Wales Region for the National Policy Forum, which will be at the forefront of this vital process.
In the short-term we have now begun the process of choosing our new Welsh Assembly candidates. We are twinned with our neighbour in Islwyn and there will be one man and one woman chosen by party members in both constituencies and whoever achieves the highest vote will choose which constituency to represent. All party members will be invited to a hustings meeting in early June to consider the candidates, and nominate their choices. The final hustings meeting will take place on Saturday 11 July, but postal votes are available if anyone is unable to attend.
Article from Wayne David MP:
The General Election – The need to have a re-think
The UK general election result was enormously disappointing. The Tories achieved what most people, including the Tories themselves, thought was impossible – a Tory majority!
Let’s be clear about this – Labour’s defeat was bad, very bad. We need to have a fundamental re-think about how Labour can again win power. The new leader of the Party (and I am supporting Andy Burnham) will need to lead this discussion and ensure that there is enough ‘space’ for it to reach deep into the Party.
There are no easy answers to Labour’s predicament. Labour was decimated in Scotland and the Tories cleverly played on English fears that a Labour Government would have to rely on SNP votes in the Commons. In England and Wales UKIP took substantial numbers of votes from Labour and this even meant that we lost, or failed to win, a number of seats because of them.
Although the Lib Dem vote collapsed all over the country, it was the Tories who picked up the majority of their seats.
At this election, there was a slightly higher turn-out but Labour failed to attract many votes beyond its traditional base. We stressed the need to end exploitative zero-hours contracts, the need to end low pay and the need to scrap the bedroom tax. But the harsh reality is Labour had little to say to those who were reasonably well-off and those who may be described as ‘aspirational’.
And given that it is older voters who tend to vote in the largest numbers, Labour had no strong message for OAPs.
These are some of the issues that Labour needs to think long and hard about if we are to be serious contenders for winning in 2020. The debate starts now.
Article from Jeff Cuthbert AM:
What Now for Wales?
On Thursday 7th May the country voted in this year’s general election. On the one hand, I – like all of you – was bitterly disappointed that Labour did not do as well as hoped and failed to gain enough seats in Parliament to form a government. On the other hand, I was pleased to see our friend and colleague Wayne David get re-elected in as our local MP here in Caerphilly. We in Labour should never take any vote for granted and I am delighted that the good people of this constituency have put their faith in us once more.
A Conservative Government means that there will be five very difficult years ahead, and sadly that will especially be the case in Wales. We now know that austerity will continue apace, with the Tories promising a whopping £12 billion in welfare cuts and a number of unfunded spending promises that they appeared to pluck out of thin air in desperation during the election campaign. They have already backtracked on George Osborne’s campaign promise to legislate new powers for Wales within 100 days of the General Election.
Needless to say, a lot of people in Wales are going to find things very hard over the next five years. Young people; those who work long hours and rely on in-work benefits (such as tax credits) to top up low incomes; and those who are disabled in particular will be hard-hit by more savage Tory cuts. Sadly, we won’t now have the opportunity to scrap the much-hated Bedroom Tax, or to ban exploitative zero-hours contracts. However, we can – and will – fight back.
We also now have the prospect of a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union. While David Cameron’s motive behind this is to keep his right-wing backbenchers quiet, it is important that we now fight a strong campaign to stay in the EU – setting out a positive vision for membership and warning people over the very real threats to jobs, investment and our standing in the world if we were to leave. As an Assembly Member and former Welsh Government Minister I’ve seen first-hand the very real benefits that money from Europe brings to Wales. We cannot let the likes of Tory right-wingers and UKIP jeopardise this.
The Labour Welsh Government will be doing its utmost over the next year to protect the people of Wales from the worst effects of the policies of a Tory Government which once again has no democratic mandate here. Despite record-breaking cuts to the Welsh Block Grant, we will use our powers effectively and innovatively to ensure that we help the most vulnerable in society and provide jobs and growth opportunities for young people and those looking to get back into work. We will invest in skills – particularly through things like apprenticeships and Jobs Growth Wales – to help boost our productivity levels and to help make sure that wages start to rise again.
There is a lot to get done ahead of the next set of Assembly elections next year. That’s when I hope the people of Wales will once again give Labour a popular mandate to form a new Welsh Government. We must fight hard to earn the right to do this, though. In the meantime, we will be doing all we can to stand up for Wales and set out the case for the benefits of remaining in the EU. I’m certainly up for the fight – I know that you are, too.
Report on the Caerphilly LP Parliamentary Campaign: May 2015
- The Campaign Committee all expressed their interest to be involved and this meant that they were also willing volunteers to implement all the decisions made, met on 5 occasions during the Campaign to discuss and implement all the various activities required to ensure that the campaign was on track to re-elect our MP, Wayne David.
- Funding was always tight because it became clear that our current agreement with UNITE would not result in any funding for a “safe” seat such as Caerphilly. However, donations from party members and good use of the printing facilities ensured that all the literature produced was very professional and was well received on the doorstep.
- Our Election Agent, Lisa Jones, and her able colleague, Tracy, ensured that everything went smoothly and managed all the “problems” that arise during any election campaign. When it became known that our purchased deal of literature with the Wales LP & Royal Mail for automatic delivery to all Postal Voters was unsuitable due to the pre-agreed timetable of the Royal Mail, we were suddenly faced with delivering 10,500 Postal Voters literature throughout the Constituency. A special mention of thanks should be recorded to Lisa and her team, both Party Members and helpers delivered 99% of this massive total over the weekend prior to the delivery of Postal Voter Ballot Papers on Tues 21st April, a monumental and fantastic effort from everyone.
- The decision to have a Campaign Office in the centre, following difficult negotiations on the rental charges, was, in my view, a good one, it meant that we had a presence in the town centre to match our political rivals, and under UK Law, an MP ceases to be one once the official election timetable is activated and thus his usual office cannot be utilised for election purposes.
- The Campaign Co-ordinator fell by the wayside early in the Campaign due to a dodgy knee following an evening of delivering election literature in Senghenydd, and was unable to attend any further canvassing activity, and also suffered a whole week of his computer crashing (resulting in no access to the Contact Creator system of recording identified Labour Voters), but thanks to Lisa and many other party colleagues, these setbacks were overcome.
- The Canvassing timetables, which included a By-Election for the Caerphilly Town Council (Watford Ward) on Election Day, was blessed with decent weather for the majority of the campaign. Vast areas throughout the constituency were covered, and the response was good and positive and, of course, this was reflected in Wayne’s majority. However, as the number of people not at home during both the Saturday morning and early evening canvassing was considerable, we added a third slot at 5-30pm on the last two Saturdays of the campaign, and re-set the starting time for early evening canvassing to 5.45pm, but the outcome was only partly successful. However, local party members and supporters were very supportive at most of the canvassing activities in their areas, and two Party Members from outside our constituency, Dawn Bowden (Torfaen) and Gez Kirby (Islwyn), provided outstanding support throughout the campaign. I believe both have aspirations to be AM Candidates for Caerphilly/Islwyn. I had planned to identify the areas where new houses had been built since the 2010 Election, but my PC failures meant that this was impossible. Hopefully it can be utilised for the 2016 Welsh Assembly elections.
- The decision by our MP Wayne to hold Public Meetings in various villages and towns within the Constituency was vindicated; although only one of the 5 scheduled meetings was well attended, it was a useful exercise in highlighting local issues, and at the same time demonstrated that our MP was communicating and supporting his local community.
- Lisa and her mother undertook the complicated task of delivering and setting up all the Estate Board signs promoting our candidate throughout the Constituency, and it proved to be a worthwhile exercise, despite UKIP using very large posters near the Cedar Tree roundabout on private land, which received many complaints from local residents. The records we keep on these Estate Boards are invaluable data for the next Elections in 2016.
- Activity on Polling Day itself was based on delivering a “Get out the Vote” leaflet to all the identified Labour Voters gleaned from the Contact Creator system. Once again, Lisa and many Party Members and helpers (some of which have since joined the Party) helped throughout the day to deliver these leaflets, and ensured the main Polling Stations were manned at the key early evening times. Due to my incapacity I was unable to participate in any of these activities and thus unable to comment on the levels of participation in each electoral Ward.
10. However, the most important lesson we must learn from this Election Campaign is the actual results which follow this report. Note that UKIP came second, as our candidate, Wayne, had predicted, ahead of both the Tories and Plaid Cymru. 35.85% of the electorate didn’t bother to vote at all and that there are many other people not on the Electoral Register. These facts will encourage UKIP given that there is a Proportional Representation system for the Welsh Assembly Elections (created by our previous MP, Ron Davies), and we must, in my view, not shirk these issues and begin a dialogue with those electors who voted for UKIP. I’m convinced that the majority of these people were Labour Voters in the past and it is imperative that we know why they switched. I fully agree with our re-elected MP, Wayne David, that we will face a tough campaign against UKIP in May 2016.
General Election Results 2015 in Caerphilly
Name Party Votes cast Percentage
Wayne David Welsh Labour 17,864 44.35%
Sam Gould UKIP 7,791 19.34%
L. Docherty Conservative 6,683 16.59%
B. Newton Plaid Cymru 5,895 14.63%
K. Bethow Green Party 937 2.33%
A. Ayesh Welsh Liberals 935 2.32%
J.S.G. Davies TU Coalition 178 0.44%
Turnout: 40,283 = 64.15% of the 62,703 electorate
Postal Votes Cast: 8879 = approx. 84.56% of the 10,500 Postal Voters