By Dave Warren (Llanelli and West Wales Socialist Party)
Haverfordwest is a small market town in South West Wales and in the marginal Preseli Pembrokeshire constituency of Tory MP and former Secretary of State for Wales Stephen Crabb. On Saturday 14th October, Castle Square in the town centre was packed with around 300 people attending an anti-austerity rally organised by the People’s Assembly and addressed by the political journalist Owen Jones.
A procession of speakers lambasted the Tory Government’s austerity measures and there was a moving contribution from a local man who had successfully appealed in court against the Bedroom tax as his so-called extra bedroom was in fact needed for a carer for his disabled child.
Owen Jones gave a rousing speech and he rightly held out the prospect of replacing this weak and divided Government with a Labour Government led by Jeremy Corbyn. He was clearly targeting marginal Tory constituencies such as Preseli Pembrokeshire and urged everyone at the rally to talk to neighbours and workmates, knock on doors etc to win the constituency over to Labour.
That is all well and good but Jones did not mention his lack of support for Corbyn prior to the general election. It is only because of the anti-austerity policies represented by Corbyn that Labour now has any realistic prospect of winning Tory marginals and forming a Government.
It was left to Socialist Party member Mark Evans to outline a strategy for driving out the Tories. As secretary of the Carmarthenshire County UNISON branch, Mark described the effect of local authority cutbacks on his members and pointed out that it was a Labour Welsh Government and Labour or Plaid Cymru councils who were passing on the Tory cuts in Wales. To enthusiastic applause from the rally he said that if local authorities joined together to set ‘needs’ budgets and refused to implement cuts, this could trigger a campaign alongside the trade unions to force the Tories out.
Socialist Party members had a stall in the square before and during the rally and sold a total of 40 copies of the Socialist