Opposing The Elite in Welsh Politics

One of the things that really annoys me about the True Wales No campaign is their claim that those who are elected to serve the people of Wales by the people of Wales are some sort of élite.

I am a fairly common bloke, I was bought up on a Council House Estate, I still live in a Housing Association owned home. The highest "status" that I have ever achieved is a Charge Nurse in the healthcare sector. My father was a railway signalman pre Beeching and then became a building site Labourer and eventually a local authority grounds man. Not a very elite life, but yet I can guarantee that if I were to meet them on the street I could greet about a third of AMs on first name terms and they would greet me back by name.

I can greet them by name because our paths have crossed in such mundane environments as car boot sales, marts, chapels, non league footy games and supermarkets, rather than in some corridors of power.

I can't think of any AM who has had an elite education in one of the top public schools or is a former member of anything like the Bullingdon Club.

I believe that one AM has had an Oxbridge education and that there are two are millionaires in the Senedd, but even they are from mining stock!

Look at the party leaders.

In Wales:
Carwyn Jones – Working Class Parents, Comprehensive education, & Aber Uni, Jobbing Barister

Ieuan Wyn Jones – Father a Minister, grandfather a miner, Comprehensive education and Liverpool Polytech; country solicitor

Nick Bourn – State Grammar School – Aber and Cambridge Universities (a bit posh). Working life a collage teacher (not so posh). Family background never mentioned, (which suggests common as muck in Tory circles), but I understand that Nick is also from a mining background.

Kirsty Williams also with working class parents and a comprehensive education; a degree in American Studies – how élite - from Manchester University!

On the UK level:
David Cameron Public School, Oxbridge Multi Millionaire, privileged upbringing

Nick Clegg, Public school, Oxbridge, Multi Millionaire, privileged upbringing.

Ed Milliband, very rich son of an intellectual, state and Oxbridge educated, a member of a politically elite family, has only worked within professional politics.

Now, if True Wales is really opposed to power being given to the Elite shouldn't they be begging for lots more power to be moved from the posh, rich and truly elite sorts in Westminster down to the rather common earthy sort of lads and lasses who are elected to Cardiff Bay? - As my No campaign will be doing!


  1. You make a good point but I would say that Kirsty went to a private school in Llanelli (yes, imagine!)
    Jane Hutt and Jane Davidson also attended private schools in England.

  2. Come off it St Michael School in Llanelli was more an aspirational school than an elite school!

  3. Elite is not just where you have originated but rather who you band together with on your journey, if the political elite were not as strong, if there were an effective opposition, elite might not matter.

  4. After the first Assembly elections a friend of mine, who had lived in North East Wales said he personally knew three Assembly members and a minister. Why, because he was involved with community organisations around disability issues and also local brass bands... The fact is that National Assembly members are rooted in the community and not living in some sort of bubble. I lost count of the times I stood in Tesco behind the Presiding Officer or at the cash point with the First Minister. Some how I don't think you would see the UK Prime Minister popping down to the Grange Pub for a quick pint... Oh and in every case if there was security around they were invisible...

  5. A True Wales No representative was interviewed this morning (Thursday ) on radio Wales, and then Betsan Powys, who mentioned you

  6. Alwyn its not where they camefrom , its where they think and who they think they are now.
    And there is an old phrase - beggar on horse back and we have plenty of them in Welsh politics, they are the ones who need to remember they serve the people

  7. True Wales = Tea Party.

    Anti politics, ant politicians, anti (Welsh) state.

    No, in fact, they're just anti-Welsh.

    As you say Alwyn, all their arguments are much more resonant against Westminster, but they never attack the 'mother of parliaments'.

    Good article and debate o Blog Menai:

    It's in Welsh. If you read your websites throught google chrome it's translate on page - no need to cut and paste.

  8. Isn't it what you do, rather than where you come from, that's the important point? Look at William Wilberforce - arising from a rich, political and trading family, he managed to stop slave trading, despite the idea being utterly ingrained in the lives of just about all the British elite. He could have chosen to ignore morality, be a typical toff. But he didn't.

    I don't see similarly strong politics coming out of our supposed local lads and lassies in Cardiff. No, quite the opposite.

  9. Thanks for that Rhiannon, I have just listened to it on i-player.

  10. I don't really understand how elite became a term of abuse - we talk of elite athletes, elite musicians, elite academic and so on - with approval - they are lauded for their excellence and achievement. So why should elite politicians be considered inferior in some way?

  11. Sorry JoE Mam and Photon are you really asking us to believe that Cameron Clegg and Osbourne are some sort of modern day Lady Bountifuls who are going to help us poor plebs out from their privileged position because of their truly charitable natures, but that the likes of Gareth Jones, Ann Jones etc who had track records in serving their communities for years before the Assembly's existence are just in it for what they can get?

  12. The Senedd is the most open government building (even including sub-national governments) in the world as far as we can tell. Alwyn is completely correct on this point.

    True Wales deliberately refrains from criticising or attacking Westminster where there actually is a semi-aristocratic and archaic system, and an unelected second chamber.

  13. Rachel Banner...The Welsh Sarah Palin??

  14. At least Palin has a couple of brain cells to rub together. No, she doesn't have a shotgun pointing at me as I write this.

    Mind you, see, I really can't see how thick really is. How has she calculated, that by leaving Alwyn as the only No wannabe, she's going to garner the support of a sleeping army of closet devosceptics? She's out to lunch, mun.

    All the best, Alwyn. I hope the Commission grant your campaign the status it deserves. You better get a new suit for those PPBs!

  15. ... see how thick Banner really is.


    Anon 16:56

  16. Who are the two National Assembly millionaires Alwyn?

  17. Are you not one of them, Glyn?

  18. Sorry, I momentarily forgot that the good folks of Montgomeryshire had sent you to another place.

  19. I don't think that it would be fair to name them here Glyn in case I'm mistaken and their both actually in penury.

  20. No need to sink to the low personal attack standards of TW. There is plenty of political ammunition there.

    Though it is obvious the comment a few places above is an agent provocateur- I have had a comment to my own blog tonight which I deleted because it was obviously a TW set up, and it related to Rachel Banner as well. Alwyn- keep an eye on their online tactics, they are politically erroneous but as people are not stupid. They have alot of spare time on their hands to spend on the internet and they will create confusion in the hope that it reaches the Welsh media.

  21. Interesting reading.

  22. Thanks for the warning Ramblings, apart from obvious spam and that might put me at legal risk for "publishing" defamation I tend not to moderate comments.

    I doubt that Rachel Banner would find offence at being compared to Sarah Palin, or vice versa, but if either does they are welcome to post a comment here to explain their objections.

  23. No Alwyn
    WHat i was saying was that some of the so called umble Bay politicians have also forgotten where they come from and who supported them
    Ann is an exception as are a few others I could mention , but there are quite beggars on horseback down th ebay too.