Elections in all 22 Welsh local authorities take place tomorrow and it goes without saying that the priority must be to send a loud and clear message to the shambolic, scandal-ridden, shameless, sleaze-bag Tories: get out of our country you wicked, ignorant, corrupt, cruel, thieving, rotten bastards, and never show your nasty brutish faces here ever again.
Mind you, just because the Conservative Party is so irredeemably awful it doesn’t follow that the Labour Party is any good. However it might well be necessary to vote Labour (or in certain places LibDem) as the lesser of two evils in particular wards where they have the best chance of defeating the Tories (or their ‘independent’ accomplices) in the following Councils:
Conwy (Conservative/Independent coalition)
Denbighshire (Conservative/Independent coalition)
Monmouthshire (Conservative control)
Powys (Independent/Conservative coalition)
Wrexham (Independent/Conservative coalition).
Likewise, a Labour vote could sometimes be the best tactical option in key wards in the two Councils controlled by so-called ‘independents’ (translation: closet Tories, squeamish dissemblers, hyper-local bigwigs, reactionary bigots, palm-greasing ‘personalities’, deluded village idiots – delete as appropriate):
Otherwise, it is always best to vote for Plaid Cymru, not just the only Welsh party and the only party that stands for independence, the solution to all Wales’ woes, but also the only party with candidates of calibre. This is especially important in these Councils:
Anglesey (Plaid Cymru/Independent coalition)
Carmarthenshire (Plaid Cymru/Independent coalition)
Ceredigion (Plaid Cymru/Independent coalition)
Gwynedd (Plaid Cymru control)
Pembrokeshire (Independent/Labour/Plaid Cymru/LibDem coalition).
In two Councils, Bridgend and Flintshire, Labour is the largest party but didn’t win half the seats in the last elections in 2017 and couldn’t reach agreement to form a coalition so gets by on an ad-hoc basis as a minority administration. Here I would probably vote Labour in specific wards to snuff out Tory delusions that they might ever be contenders. In Vale of Glamorgan the Tories were the largest party in 2017 but eight defected in disgust in 2019 to become Independents and form a ruling coalition with Labour, making a Labour or Independent vote vital in wards where it’s a straight Labour v Tory or Independent v Tory battle.
That leaves the seven Councils controlled outright by Labour. All seven are safe Labour fiefdoms, likely to become even safer if opinion polls are accurate:
Neath Port Talbot
Rhondda Cynon Taf
Here, therefore, voting Labour tactically is only necessary in wards held by the Tories where Labour came second last time. Everywhere else I recommend voting with one’s brain, conscience, values and principles for Plaid Cymru – the position I am in as a voter in Splott where all three sitting councillors are Labour, including Huw Thomas the leader of the Council, and the Tories haven’t won a seat here since the introduction of universal suffrage. Things are a little more interesting this time round because (in Cardiff only) Plaid Cymru have formed an electoral pact with the Green Party and are fielding a joint slate of candidates under the umbrella title ‘Common Ground Alliance’.
The Common Ground Alliance of the only parties that truly care about Cardiff is very pertinent and appropriate at this election, because this atrocious Labour Council has been waging a war on Cardiff’s environment over the last five years, a vicious, relentless and wanton assault quite unprecedented even by the already rock bottom standards set in the past. Vast, sprawling, speculative private housing estates of extraordinary ugliness, unaffordable to 95% of Cardiffians, have been and are being plastered across precious ‘green belt’ countryside and fertile agricultural land at Creigiau, Pentrebane, St Fagans, Fairwater, Radyr, Llanisien, Lisvane, Llanedeyrn, Pontprennau and St Mellons. Justified by bogus population growth projections that have been shown to be pure fiction, these developments at the behest of the Tory-donor, volume house builders are an eco catastrophe decimating insect life, bird life, plant species, soil, trees, habitats, beauty, peace and quiet, and nature itself. Moreover, they are illegal. Yes, it’s not only the Tory government in London that breaks the law without a qualm; Labour local government in Cardiff is just as criminal. The Senedd’s Well-being of Future Generations Act, passed into Welsh law in 2015, is being totally disregarded and breached in a multitude of ways by the shocking, heart-breaking vandalism of the Council’s pathetic and dysfunctional obsession with growth, growth, growth. Have they not heard of the global climate crisis? Do they not know that new building and new construction is the most carbon-intensive activity of all? Or is it that they just don’t give a damn?
And in the inner city the same thing is happening as tower after tower of unwanted student flats and rip-off buy-to-let apartment blocks are nodded through by the Council and thrown up, again at the behest of corporate profiteers, again in defiance of Cardiff’s needs. In no time the skyline has been wrecked by these immense, disproportionate, hideous, half-empty tombstones, turning Cardiff into a cheapskate Americanised version of what a city should look like, rejecting the European urban tradition and spitting in the face of our history and our identity – and all for what? To satisfy this uber-capitalist Labour Council’s compulsive obsession with growth for growth’s sake, height for height’s sake and size for size’s sake. Why don’t these inadequates just have penis enlargement surgery instead?
That isn’t the half of it. Air quality is lethal and illegal, in flagrant breach of WHO limits, killing, disabling and ruining the quality of life. Public transport is a travesty, the hegemony of the private car is never challenged or discouraged, Castle Street flows with choking traffic again after the brief relief of the pandemic closure was abandoned, we wait 10 years for a bus station to replace the demolished 38-bay old bus station and when it comes it turns out to be a massive speculative office on top of a derisory 14 bus bays. Millions are pumped into gimmicky, attention-seeking, useless, high carbon stunts like an Indoor Arena and a Military Museum while 25% live in abject poverty. Incredible levels of litter, filth, fly-tipping, dog shit, debris and general neglect make Cardiff the dirtiest most abused city in the UK. Green or undeveloped spaces are being destroyed, reduced, diminished and tarnished across the city: at The Marl, the Lansdowne Hospital site, Rumney School, Mynachdy, Pentre Gardens, Atlantic Wharf, Leckwith Droves, St Winifredes Pontcanna, Llandaf, Suffolk House Canton, Wentloog wetlands, Hailey Park, Llandaf Fields, Waterloo Gardens, Bute Park…and on and on and on. This is barely the tip of the iceberg.
This Labour Council is more Tory than the Tories, virulently anti-Wales and anti-Cardiffian, stuffed with British Nationalist functionaries, and the poodle and pimp of Big Business. Hey Cardiffians! Listen to me! VOTE Common Ground Alliance and give these terrible people, the worst people ever to be in charge in Cardiff’s long history, the crushing defeat they so richly deserve.