Piffling Agenda journalism from the New Statesman.
They repeat the canard that UKIP has a Welsh Surge-ignoring everything that has happened since the election of 2015.
The writer, Anoosh Chakelian knows as much about Wales as I know about her native Armenia. She could have saved her train fare to Newport and wrote her prejudiced-informed piece from London. She repeats the myth of a UKIP Welsh surge based on the election 18 months ago - and ignores the election four months ago in which UKIP lost support. So did the Welsh Tories that she thinks are on the rise. Facts do not suit her agenda of Labour misery.
She wholly misses the point that if the Westminster Election had been decided on the Welsh PR system, UKIP would have 83 seats in the Commons now instead of the one the FPTP system delivered to them. Had the Welsh Assembly election been decided under Westminster rules , UKIP would have won no seats in Wales. Deep in her state of blind denial the reporter fails to notice that the Labour majority in the Newport East seat leapt from 13% in 2015 to 24% this year-the UKIP share slumped from 24% to 21%. In the Newport West seat UKIP dropped from a 15% vote to 13% and Labour's majority jumped from 7% to 15%. Clear proof of a Labour surge under Carwyn. The true news story in Wales is of a UKIP droop and Labour gains. The hot news is that UKIP has lost one of their seven Assembly members elected in May. News? Not to propagandists. They start with a false conclusion they seek quotes to shore it up.
The apparent 2016 Wales UKIP surge is a myth-wholly the result of the electoral system. This inconvenient fact is suppressed by the NS. They were told.
Labour won three parliamentary seats under Carwyn Jones and Corbyn in May 2016 that were lost under Miliband in 2015. Instead of 25 General Election victories Labour had 29 Assembly wins and formed the Welsh Labour Government. A brilliant success. The Wales election machine was described by the most respected commentator on Welsh Affairs Richard Wyn Jones as so superb that it makes the SNP look like gauche arrivistes. The Welsh Labour Party he described as, 'the UK’s most invincible electoral machine’. Compare that authoritative view with the description on an NS podcast of Labour Assembly victory at 'laneli'.
Anoosh was told about this in great detail but failed to report a word of the true success story of Welsh Labour. Nothing that challenged her pre-cooked agenda was allowed into her article. Possibly it was edited out? Who knows? The result was a re-hash of last-year’s myth which happens to suit the Statesmen's this year Agenda. I am warned of the terrible danger my seat is in. After winning seven General Elections in a seat that was formerly Tory, I am stoically unmoved.
The national press covers Welsh politics by dispatching a junior reporter to Wales by train. They get off at the first stop in Wales, rush around a few pubs and cafes close to Newport Station then hop back on the next train to London as fully informed experts on Welsh politics.
The only other time I clashed with the New Statesmen was when they mocked me for the great jolly I had living it up on a train journey to Strasbourg. It was totally untrue. No train-ride. No jolly. No me. Generously I allowed them off the hook of compensation for reputational damage by agreeing that a donation to a named charity would suffice. They agreed. A year later the donation had not arrived. I coughed up the £1,000 I had promised the charity was on the way from the New Statesmen. Had I unleashed the lawyers on them it would have cost them a fortune. They really are a contemptible bunch. I have never previously mentioned this. The charity is a favourite one of mine that I have long supported. Anger cools with the passage of time but it's now worth a mention to assess the integrity of the NS. The next time I was libelled by a local politician, I acted.The same charity benefited with £500 donation.
This article is the dregs. It's not journalism. It's propaganda.
Paul Flynn MP Newport West
The views expressed here are my personal opinions as a constituency Member of Parliament. They are not expressions of the policy of the Labour Party or statements by me in my capacities as Shadow Leader of the House or Shadow Secretary of State for Wales