Frank Little

Councillor for East Central ward on Coedffranc Town Council Learn more

Labour shortage

by franklittle on 12 April, 2022

No, this is not about the failure of the Johnson government to find enough people to fill even the number of jobs left after they crashed the economy in the last two years. It is about the astonishing fact that, for the first time, the Labour party is not fielding a full raft of candidates for the May county borough elections. As recently as 2017, every seat in every ward was contested by Labour.

The list of nominations for this year’s elections shows that in Bryncoch South (which Labour held in the early days of the county borough) there is only one Labour candidate for two seats; in the expanded Coedffranc West, one candidate for two seats (both of which Lib Dems are contesting); one for two in the new Crynant, Onllwyn and Seven Sisters ward; the same in Cwmllynfell and Ystalyfera; the same in Dyffryn; and two for three in Margam and Tai-bach. There are no Labour candidates in Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen and Lower Brynamman, in Gwynfi and Croeserw, in Glynneath Central and East, and in Cymer and Glyncorrwg. In the first two of these, the single candidate was declared elected unopposed.

The whisper is that Labour membership has fallen considerably, due possibly to the dissension under the national leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, not mended by the authoritarian Sir Keir Starmer. There is, however, a background of mistrust of established political parties in the general population. Whatever the reasons for the failure to provide candidates – and perhaps an inquiry by the Welsh leadership of the party may tease out the main ones – the result will be an increase in the number of independent councillors, and probably in the ranks of opposition parties as well.

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