The Labour party in RCT, not content with leaping aboard a bandwagon that had been rolling long before they even knew it was in existence, are determined to take over the reins and are addressing their with an almost evangelical zeal, much to the dismay of head honcho, First Minister and Welsh Labour leader Carwyn Jones.
Carwyn got into a spot of bother at First Minister’s Questions last Tuesday over the matter. He appears either not to know what his colleagues are up to, or is in denial. Of course it doesn’t make things any easier that the Princess of Wales hospital in Bridgend is in his constituency and residents there will be just as keen to make sure that is one of the five chosen critical care centres.
Labour set up a campaign website called Labour4RoylGlamorgan which they soon changed – no doubt after a few words from above pointing out that in fact only RCT Labour were in favour of keeping the Royal Glam as is.
They then decided the way forward was to take over the genuine grass roots campaign that had been set up by numerous people. Some of those people had been involved in the fight against the downgrading of the neo natal unit at the hospital in 2008, a campaign we were pleased to have helped out with.
At the first rally in Pontypridd two Labour MPs, an AM and a variety of Labour Councillors were present. The MPs and AM disappeared as soon as the photo opportunity was over. A standard letter had been prepared – totally non-political – for residents to sign opposing the taking of services from the Royal Glam. Labour members were going around getting people to sign their own Labour campaign forms. I took a bundle of letters at the end of the day to put around in various places. When I took them out of my car boot a few days later I found only the top one was actually the letter we had all agreed on. The rest of the bundle was made up of Labour leaflets.
Yesterday was the Treorchy protest – this time two Labour AMs and one MP turned up, and again several Labour Councilors. Instead of the black T Shirts with yellow writing that members of the campaign group had designed and had made to sell to supporters, the Labour contingent turned up with their own version. Red T-shirts bearing the logo and message from their Royal Glam website. So much for pulling together and being part of a genuine grass roots campaign.
The Parliamentarians were all keen to make their voices heard to the crowd. Our only RCT Councillor could not make it, so we had no elected representative there even if we had wanted to vie for the crowd’s attention.
Chris Bryant made a sickening speech which as usual made no mention of the fact that his own colleagues in the Bay are responsible for this reorganisation. During his political broadcast he announced a donation of £150 to the campaign from the Labour party. Playing to the crowd? Of course not!! It must have been disappointing to find that the subsequent TV report left out anything from Mr Bryant and pals.
The most disgusting part of this display, however, at least to my mind, came when a heckler from the crowd started to have a bit of a dig at the Rhondda MP. His exact words were not audible form where I stood, but he began with something along the lines of how he was an ex miner and how he didn’t regard Chris as his MP.
Instead of dealing with the interruption in a manner becoming someone in his position, the Labour MP told the man to “shut up” and then encouraged the crowd to chant “shut up, shut up…” Disgraceful behavior – free speech not a concept the Labour party understand obviously.
The whole nauseating scenario is of course made so much worse by the sheer hypocrisy of it all. Health is devolved, it is the responsibility of the Welsh Labour Government, the appalling state of the NHS in Wales is down to them. The Labour party in RCT should be hanging their heads in shame.