Trade union activists who keep the party alive are shut out

Keith Wright questions the party leadership’s support for highly questionable candidates: “What a difference a day makes! Yesterday, we questioned whether Stephen Kinnock, who sent his daughter to a Danish private school, was a suitable potential Labour MP. Since then, we’ve heard that Kinnock now stands little chance of winning the Aberavon constituency selection. His all-star strategy has backfired. Paying to opt-out of state education hasn’t gone down well in a working-class constituency, and neither has flying over Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt – his wife – for a party dinner. As such, Kinnock has not won a single branch nomination – and thus won’t make it onto the shortlist. Instead, it seems party hacks have thrown their weight behind lawyer, Oxford graduate and former Progress NPF candidate Jeremy Miles as the man best-placed to beat the left-winger.

Left Futures readers in South Wales have informed us that the office of retiring Aberavon MP Hywel Francis (pictured) has been busy phoning branch officers in the constituency, telling them that Mark Fisher, a working class UNISON lay official, “lacks the academic ability” to represent the area in parliament. In other words: snobbery, pure and simple. For all Ed Miliband’s pronouncements about the need for more working class MPs, the party machine still rolls into action in support of Progress hacks, and the trade union activists who keep the party alive are shut out.

Miles is no stranger to parliamentary selections. He has tried – and failed – in Cardiff South and Penarth and Ipswich, and was mentioned in connection to Gower before it was announced the latter would be an all-women shortlist. He stood – and predictably, came third – in Beaconsfield at the 2010 general election. He is a strong believer in “fiscal rigour”. Though the word on the street is that these days he’s doing his best to make it known he’s left Progress.

Meanwhile, as yet another vacancy arises in South Wales, in Ann Clwyd’s Cynon Valley seat, expect to be hearing about Stephen Kinnock’s expensive efforts for a while longer. It would seem that his continued candidacy in Aberavon is being used as a smokescreen behind which a true Progress operator can be slipped in. And apparently it’s fine to smear a working-class candidate in the process. Though can you really smear someone for being working class to a Labour party audience? We’ll see when the votes roll in!” (

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