Peter on the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme

Interviewed by Justin Webb, 

LK:                  Well here is the question I suppose, do you think anything needs to change, you claim you don’t think he should be deposed but do you think he, his team need to do things differently, is that at least true?

 

PH:                 You and I Justin, you in the media and I as a politicians occupy the Westminster bubble, it is a world completely remote from what is happening out there in places like Neath where I’m speaking to you from, we just heard a tragic, terrible story on your programme we have got a world in which zero hour contracts, a rough world of work, people getting mortgages to pay off their kid’s student debts, London flats being bought up by the block and kept empty by oligarchs, that is the world out there, stuttering growth, austerity, a hard time in which the British economy is sinking and is failing to compete abroad and then there is this Westminster bubble nonsense about plots from unnamed people and those that are named flatly deny it. The media led by the Daily Mail, what a surprise ‘A bonfire plot against Ed’ screaming on the headlines of the Daily Mail, the Daily Mail has always been virulently anti-Labour

 

JW:                 DO you think it is made up?

 

PH:                 I don’t know whether it is made up or not all I know is reputable journalists including on the BBC don’t mention names because there are no names and if there are people feeding this stuff they should stop because what the country is desperate for is change. They want to get rid of this incompetent government that may not even be able to keep the lights on over Christmas, they know that Ed Miliband, despite all the attacks on him in the media has a plan for the country. He was the one who showed the courage to take on Rupert Murdoch, who identified the way the electricity industry was ripping consumers off and remember when he called for an electricity price freeze the industry screamed, the Tories said it was a Marxist plot and then one after the other the industries said they would start to do it. He has been consistently leading this country in pointing out that we need to change the direction of the country, bringing out policies for new housing, for tackling the problem of zero hour contracts and so on

 

JW:                 Isn’t that the point though, you make the case there that the country is in trouble, the individuals are in trouble, that there is anger, that there is disillusion, isn’t the point that those inside the party who might be muttering about him, isn’t the point that they would make, that he should be in a position where he captures that disillusion and uses it politically, offers solutions that people genuinely think might work for them and that doesn’t seem to be happening?

 

PH:                 I think that is happening but we are living in a very different political climate. I’m just looking at the facts in the latest opinion poll which show the Conservatives on 27%, just 3 points ahead of Ukip on 24% and Labour with a clear-ish lead, now we need to do better in the polls, of course,  but we are in a new political climate in which there is no trust at all in the political class of which I’m a member and all the party leaders inhabit, no party leader has got good ratings at present time and what we need to do as a Labour Party is unite and pull ourselves together and get behind Ed as I believe the party in the country is and campaign and I think he will be the Prime Minister next year and I’m not saying this out of bravado, or tribal loyalty I think we will be the biggest party and I think Ed Miliband is on course to win but he needs the support of every Labour MP and I don’t think the mutterers if they exist and no doubt journalists are not inventing this though they can’t name the people, I find that very significant. If the mutterers continue to mutter then all they will do is stop places like Neath from being liberated from this destructive, uncaring, unfair government that is destroying people’s lives.

 

JW:                 You sound pretty angry this morning?

 

PH:                 I am angry because in the real world out here it is a world in which – I had last week an individual come to me, a constituent come to me with liver cancer, he is going to die unless he gets a liver transplant, he has been stripped of all his benefits he told me, he has not got any support from the welfare net that is supposed to support people in his dire situation. I can repeat other examples of what is actually happening on the ground and I don’t think those people or Labour Party members will forgive some self-indulgent Member of Parliament muttering to a journalist and producing a headline in the Daily Mail when actually those newspapers have always been Labour’s enemies and we have a plan, Ed Miliband actually has been the first to identify that this country needs to be changed and changed radically if it is to serve the interests of everyone and not just the tiny elite at the top which is what Cameron and his old Etonian cronies are doing.

 

 

-ends-

No BBC Platform for Racists and Fascists

Former Secretary of State for Wales and anti-apartheid campaigner Peter Hain MP has criticised BBC Wales for their decision to televise a debate between minority parties in Wales which includes the British National Party and Britain First.

BBC Wales had invited the Green Party, NO2EU, Socialist Labour Party, the Social Party of Great Britain, the BNP and BF to participate in a televised debate ahead of the European elections in an effort to give minority parties in Wales television coverage.

However, in a bold decision the Green Party and NO2EU refused to share a platform to debate with BNP and BF while the SLP and SPGB accepted the opportunity.

Now Unite Against Fascism are calling for a protest to be held on 11.30 Wednesday May 14th outside the BBC Building in Llantrisant to demonstrate against the organisations decision to invite the BNP and BF.

The MP for Neath said: “I have spent much of my life fighting against the fascist views of these rancid organisations and I hope BBC Wales will see sense in this matter and remove their invitation to the debate.”

“I have followed their campaigns for the Euro elections closely over the past few weeks and each and every stunt and gimmick they have employed to increase their publicity has made me sick.”

“There is no hiding from the fact that these parties feed on racial hatred and thrive when they can sow malice and poison among our communities.”

“Whenever racist and fascist groups are given a platform for their poison, the number of racial attacks rises locally. The BBC should have no part of this.  They are giving legitimacy to racism and fascism by lining such groups up alongside democratic parties like the Greens. The idea that the BF and BNP will be able to spread their filth at the invitation of the BBC is intolerable.’

 

As well as Mr Hain, Joint Secretary of the UAF Weyman Bennett also voiced his criticism of BBC Wales’ decision saying: “It is disgraceful, these Islamaphobic and racist parties should not have been invited to participate in this debate. They use and promote violence as a means of political activism and I struggle to understand how they are deemed fit to speak on such an important stage as this.”

“At the end of the day they are holocaust deniers, willing to manipulate anything to make a political point, they thrive on division.”

-ENDS –

Tribute to Nelson Mandela

BBC Wales

Peter Hain MP – whose family fled South Africa because of its support for Nelson Mandela – has led tributes to the country’s former president, who has died age 95.

The Neath MP described him as a “friend and hero” and the “icon of all icons”.

Mr Mandela had been receiving intense home-based medical care for a lung infection after three months in hospital.

In a statement on South African national TV, South African president Jacob Zuma said Mr Mandela had “departed” and was at peace.

“Our nation has lost its greatest son,” Mr Zuma said.

Following the news, Mr Hain led tributes to the Noble peace prize winner.

Mr Hain said there had long been a bond between Wales and the man known to friends as “Madiba”.

He cited the anti-apartheid demonstrations against the then all-white Springboks rugby team’s game in Swansea in 1969.

The former Welsh Secretary also fondly recalled Mr Mandela’s first and only visit to Wales in 1998, when he was awarded the Freedom of Cardiff.

He said: “Cardiff that day experienced a vintage Mandela performance.

“He ignored my guiding arm on his elbow and stopped at a group of primary school children sparkling in Welsh national dress.

“As the queue of VIPs waited, sweating in the unusually hot weather, he began conducting the children to Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.

“I later learned that it was the absence of his children that he missed most in all his long years of imprisonment on Robben Island.”

Mr Hain, whose family’s associations with the anti-Apartheid movement saw them blacklisted by the South African authorities in the 1960s, also described Mr Mandela as “a friend and a hero”.

Recalling Mr Mandela’s 2000 visit to the Labour Party conference in Brighton, he said: “As I escorted him inside, he asked his usual question: ‘How’s the family?’.

“On hearing my mother was in Swansea’s Morriston Hospital with a fractured femur, he stopped immediately and said that he must speak to her.

“Out came my mobile and, when she answered from her hospital ward, she was greeted with: ‘Hullo. Nelson Mandela here, do you remember me?’

“That’s what made him so extraordinary – he remained above all a people’s person which is highly unusual amongst global leaders or celebrities of his stature.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-25249766

 

Icon of all international icons

BBC Wales

Nelson Mandela was a “bright beacon of liberty and justice shining across the world”, said MP and lifelong anti-Apartheid activist Peter Hain.

The Neath MP learned of his family friend’s death at the age of 95 while attending the royal premiere of a film about Mr Mandela’s life.

Politicians have been paying tribute to Mr Mandela, who visited Wales in 1998 and was awarded the Freedom of Cardiff.

The Welsh assembly’s flags will fly at half mast on Friday.

Mr Hain led protests in the UK against the Apartheid regime after his own family fled South Africa because of its support for Nelson Mandela.

The former Welsh Secretary said Wales’ strong anti-Apartheid stance helped Mr Mandela bond with the nation during his one visit.

Mr Hain told BBC Wales News: “There was something about his visit to Wales where he felt a great identity with Wales as a small country and because of the role of the Welsh anti-Apartheid movement.

“And you could in a sense feel that in the way he met people and reacted to people and thanked them all in such generous terms.

“The Welsh anti-Apartheid movement that he thanked that day was a very strong movement, in the trade unions, the labour movement, the churches.

“And when the Springboks came in 1969 to tour Wales there were demonstrations, including probably the roughest, most violent attacks on demonstrators at Swansea – at St Helens – of the entire 25-match tour.”

Speaking from his Neath home, Mr Hain described Mandela as a “magnetic figure” who “never lost his common touch, his identification with people”.

He said: “He exuded humanity and was a people’s leader not just a towering figure.

“Nelson Mandela was not just the courageous leader whose whole adult life, pretty well, was spent on Robben Island in a tiny cell, he was also somebody who healed a bitterly divided nation, who brought people together, who forgave his oppressors but never forgot their oppression.

“And in that sense, he was, for me, the icon of all international icons.”

Mr Mandela had been receiving home-based medical care for a lung infection after three months in hospital.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-25250239