Neath Needs the European Union

Former Secretary of State for Wales Peter Hain MP has issued a rallying call to the electorate in Neath, asking them to trust in Labour and the European Union.

Mr Hain made his comments after Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council today issued new images detailing the next phase of the town’s redevelopment which is part funded by the Welsh Government and EU JESSICA fund.

He said: “It is very encouraging to see the redevelopment taking shape, over the next eighteen months Neath is finally going to get the investment that it deserves and it could not have happened without the combined efforts of Labour in Cardiff and in Brussels to secure the money needed.”

He went on to say: “Now, the Welsh Government are leading the way for us, Neath is the first town to benefit from the Regeneration Investment Fund for Wales, this will see approximately £13 million invested in Neath.”

The redevelopment has proven a controversial topic in the town with many residents growing frustrated after a number of delays since its first announcement in 2008.

Mr Hain combatted this by saying, “we went through a global recession, it was unfortunate timing but it caused everyone to reassess their financial priorities. The reality is without the combined actions of the EU and Welsh Assembly we would have been stranded, left utterly high and dry by a Westminster Government who have no interest in rewarding Welsh tax payers, and taking care of Welsh people.”

“In May we saw just how frustrated people were with the political class, in Neath we saw a small, but significant majority of people voice this frustration by voting for UKIP.”

“The evidence is clear, Neath needs the European Union, UKIP risks years of hard work by Labour Assembly members, and our MEP Derek Vaughan to fill in the deficit gap which the Tory Lib-Dem government constantly leaves us in.”


I don’t think we had a sufficiently robust strategy towards Ukip

Speaking to the Independent on the eve of the European Elections Peter Hain said,

“I don’t think we had a sufficiently robust strategy towards Ukip. It’s not about whether some of their members are racist.

“The problem is that there is a seriously alienated – mostly white working class, often male – vote out there that was traditionally Labour’s. They are not voting any more.

“They should be coming to us but they did not under Tony Blair or Gordon Brown see sufficient priority given to affordable housing, job security or well-paid skilled jobs that would take the place of mining or heavy industry.

“These voters don’t think we speak sufficiently for them any more. Mostly they have been staying at home. But some of them have drifted towards Ukip.”

He insisted that it would be easier for Labour than the Conservatives to win back Ukip voters at next year’s general election. “It’s ours to win,” he said, but added: “I think it will be very difficult for any party to get an overall majority.”

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Stand up to racism and fascism Wales demo

Neath MP Peter Hain has called for people to stand up against racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and the scapegoating of minorities by joining the Unite Against Fascism Demo in Cardiff on UN Anti-Racism Day, 22 March 2014.

A day of action against racism has been called across Europe to coincide with the marking of UN Day Against Racial Discrimination in 2014, with eyes on the European elections in May.

Already in most European countries parties of the right, centre and even the traditional left are allowing the terrain of these elections to be dominated by racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and the scapegoating of minorities—Muslims, immigrants, Roma, Black and Asian communities.

Calling for people to join the demo Mr Hain said, ‘Across Europe the fascist and populist racist right are on the rise. From the violent Golden Dawn in Greece, the anti-Roma Jobbik in Hungary, the Islamophobic Freedom Party of Geert Wilders in the Netherlands to the Front National in France, these forces are encouraging hatred, fear and prejudice in a frightening wave across the continent.

‘In Britain the far right is hoping for gains in the Euro elections. The British National Party (BNP) is seeking the re-election of Nick Griffin in the North West and Andrew Brons is seeking re-election in Yorkshire and the Humber. The Tories and UKIP look set to try to play on the fears peddled by the far right to promote an anti-foreign, anti-Europe mentality.

‘Just like anti-fascist stood up to Mosley and his blackshirts at Cable Street in 1936 we need to stand up against this extremism now and not let the hatred rise in our communities.’

We need to up our game


Especially given we were fighting county councils which were natural Tory or Lib Dem territory, Labour had some good results last Thursday: new mayors in Doncaster and North Tyneside, taking control of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire councils, and even winning a county council seat in Witney – Cameron’s backyard. Our progress in the south was encouraging in places like Cambridge and Norwich where we need to win MPs in 2015.

The results showed we’ve come a long way under the leadership of Ed Miliband since 2010, but they also showed we have a way to go. If a general election was held tomorrow, Labour wouldn’t win a majority. This was always going to be a big ask – under any leader – after our terrible result in 2010.
But Ed has made great strides over the last two years, we have re-energised our activists, rebuilt our base, reached out to disaffected Lib Dems – all crucial steps to victory in 2015.

We’re half way there, both in terms of time lapsed and progress made. I’m confident we’ve done enough to stop the Tories winning outright, and produce another hung parliament. But the truth is if we want a majority in 2015, we need to be performing better than we are now.

The old Tory-Labour duopoly has been broken. UKIP will remain a force at the next general election, with momentum from next year’s European elections. The right will remain split, at the Tories’ expense. The Lib Dems will do badly in the national share of the vote but probably hold onto all or most of the seats where they are well dug in and contesting with the Tories; where they are fighting us they will lose. Labour is well placed in this new f our-party arena.

While we shouldn’t dismiss people’s concerns about Europe and immigration, this is not what will decide the next election. Nigel Farage will not be prime minister. Labour’s focus f or the next two years should be squarely on the economy and living standards.

We cannot afford to be equivocal about our economic policy. We need to be more up front with the public about our intentions. Yes, we will borrow more in the short term in order to generate the growth that will reduce borrowing in the medium term. It makes sense to do so with interest rates so low. We will borrow to invest in new homes, in major infrastructure projects, refurbishing schools, creating employment. Schemes that will stimulate the economy. But we will nevertheless run a tight fiscal regime.

The Tories are trying to cut their way out of the recession. We need to be clear we would grow our way out of it, a less painful and ultimately more successful approach. We need to make this case with confidence and def end it robustly.

I’m confident Labour can win the economic argument if Ed has the support of a loyal team around him, it’s important that all members of the shadow cabinet play their full role in explaining and def ending Labour’s policy and approach. Labour’s Treasury team need to get out on the stump now and work even harder. It shouldn’t just be left to Ed and Harriet to carry the heavy load, whether on the World at One, the Today Programme or anywhere else.

Victory in 2015 is in our grasp, and we’ve made great strides toward it under Ed’s leadership so far. But ‘one more heave’ won’t deliver a majority. We need to up our game.


Attack On UKIP For ‘Giving Succour To Far Right’

Peter Hain MP for Neath speaking at a rally in Transport House, Cardiff of Wales Unite against Fascism on Saturday 20 April 2013:

‘It is a scandal that UKIP are giving succour to far-right parties across Europe. In the European Parliament in January Nigel Farrage’s Party refused to oppose a funding package for some of Europe’s worst hate-mongers, including the BNP.’

‘UKIP likes to paint itself as a credible third party, but can there be anything credible about a party which gives a nod and a wink to openly fascist and racist organisations?’

‘The Alliance of European National Groups in the European Parliament stands to receive £340,000 from the European Commission with further funding to set up a far-right think tank.

‘We know that far-right groups across the continent communicate with each other, sharing strategies and funding. But this is a new and explicit attempt to legitimise their hateful and worrying ideas and to pool their collective bile.’

‘It is unthinkable that a Party that gives succour to these racist and fascist groups could be seriously considered as contenders in a General Election.’