How politics have changed.
In the year that I was born in 1935 Michael Foot fought his first parliamentary seat. He relished the prospect of a seat in Labour South Wales. It was a bit of a shock to discover that the seat was not in the Socialist Valleys but in the safe Tory seat of Monmouthshire.
Rhodri Morgan mentioned in a speech in Manchester this week. The Labour link with Monmouth was through Michael Foot who was an active campaigner for 75 years. For all that time he was tormented by the memory of his first public speech in the square in Usk. The place was empty. No-one had turned up. Michael said to his agent 'What do we do now?... Visit a pub? Try another town?...'
Then they heard voices. 'We are here Michael. Make your speech.' The crowd were hiding behind walls and hidden in the corners of the square. Foot made his rousing speech and was greeted by enthusiastic applause from his hidden audience.
Such was the dominant power of Tory employers in 1935, the crowd were frightened to show their faces. They risked the sack if they were identified as Labour voters. It was many years later in the 1970s that Labour won the seat.
My hunch is that in the next election Tory Usk and the rest of Monmouthshire will be represented by Labour in the Welsh Assembly and Parliament.
While the Ryder Cup Golf is going well my day was spent trying to protect Newport jobs.
With Rosemary Butler I met the bosses of a Newport Bakery threatened with closure and the loss of a 114 jobs. The talks were confidential but the company were very open with us on the situation and their future plans. The position is bad but not yet hopeless.
While I am reluctant to act on rumours, I wrote to a Government Minister today about a chorus of rumours about public sector jobs in Newport. They were rightly protected by the Labour Government but they may now be under a new threat. I have asked the Minister to deny the rumours because of the anxiety they are arousing. The workforce concerned have been loyal, efficient and flexible. Their work should continue in the city of Newport.