Monday, March 17, 2008

Labour MPs - 'all hat and no cattle'?

I've been looking for an opportunity to use my new favourite phrase. Not sure if its a perfect fit though. We are going to find out next week whether all these Labour MPs, including 7 Cabinet Ministers, who have been joining in local protests about post office closures have any 'cattle' - or cojones, which seems to be the latest Parliamentary word.

The Labour Government is insisting that 2,500 post offices across the UK must close. But the Conservatives have called for the closure programme to be suspended and are forcing a division in House of Commons. This is a very smart move. The Telegraph puts the spotlight on Paul Murphy, Secretary of State for Wales today. According to Chivrav Dalal, who runs two post offices in Paul Murphy's constituency, the Government Minister should support his constituents. I suspect there will be a lot of local newspapers across Britain watching which way these Labour protesters will be voting next week.

This is an important issue in Montgomeryshire, where several closures were announced last week, including my two local post offices at Berriew and Castle Caereinion. Its difficult to know what to do about it. I am working alongside Nick Bourne in the National Assembly and advising other concerned local people. I am also meeting a Post Watch representative on Wednesday, and encouraging my party to put pressure on in Westminster to change the Government's mind. I'm also planning to meet Post Office representatives to try to inflence them. I'm just a bit concerned that all the focus seems to be on making a lot of noise locally. I worry that this will not have much effect on the distant businessmen who take the decisions. Petitions and protests have a role, but the real influence will be in meetings well away from the public gaze. At least the Conservatives at Westminster seem to have a coherent strategy through its debate next week.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Not much point "working with Nick Bourne" because this is not devolved. Why not work with a Conservative MP? Don't suppose the local Lib would be too accommodating!

Glyn Davies said...

anon - Fair point, except that the Post Office does operate with a Welsh 'arm' and Post Watch also has a separate existance in Wales. But I do think that the Conservative debate at Westminster (and vote thereon) is the first really smart tactic I've seen so far. I 'worked' with Nick on this because he represents Montgomeryshire in the National Assembly - and he telephoned me to discuss the issue with me.

alibdem said...

I 'worked' with Nick on this because he represents Montgomeryshire in the National Assembly.

Glyn, that is a very naughty comment. You know very well that Mick Bates represents Montgomeryshire there. Nick Bourne is only a regional member.

Your earlier commenter is right, though. This isn't devolved. Have you approached any of the Conservative MPs or - better still - Lembit Opik? What is the point of talking to Nick Bourne at all about an issue that is above his pay grade?

Glyn Davies said...

alibdem - Sorry if you thought I was trying to be 'naughty'. I was just trying to be factual. Nick, Alun Davies, Nerys Evans and Joyce Watson also represent Montgomeryshire, which is a part of Mid and West Wales. I'm also pleased that Mick Bates is taking an active role in the campaigns.

I know it isn't devolved, which is why I see tomorrow's debate at Westminster as such an important development. Now, why on earth would you object to me working on Huw Robert's team in Cardiff or Postwatch in Wales, which I'm meeting in Abermule on Thursday. They may be able to make a difference. And I do increasingly work with Conservative MPs that I know as well.

alibdem said...

I don't object to you doing that. But have you spoken to Lembit, in the spirit of cross-party cooperation? And which Conservative MPs have you spoken to about it?

Anonymous said...

Don't suppose the local Lib is going to be there very much longer, so pointless working with him!
Have you seen the totally pathetic statement issued by the Montgomeryshire Lib Dems concerning their part-time MP? Clearly they're running very scared, knowing they have an electoral liability on their hands.
Portraying Lembit Opik as a victim is the most farcical thing I've read yet in the Lloyd/Opik saga!
And for them to have issued their sanctimonious statement just laughable. Do they not realise that Sian Lloyd has written a book, and that the Mail on Sunday have zoomed in on the juicy bits?
One thing they do realise Glyn, is that you are to be taken seriously and that each time the celebrity addicted Opik opens his mouth, they lose a few more votes. Oh to be a fly on the wall i n their meetings and hear what they REALLY think of Lembit Opik!

Glyn Davies said...

alibdem - I've not spoken to Lembit because I haven't seen him. I expect him to take the lead on this issue because he's the MP for Montgomeryshire. I'm afraid that my in-party relationships are not your business. I wouldn't get very far if I started publishing private conversations on my blog.

anon - I do think its worth discussing this with Lembit because he's the MP, and I anticipate that our paths will cross soon on this issue.
I will support any worthwhile efforts that he makes - and I hope that he will be supporting the Conservative motion in the House of Commons tomorrow. I try to keep out of all the other stuff.
Whether I'm a serious threat to Lembit is a matter for the voters. I enjoy my role as a candidate and I will do my best to satisfy the people of Montgomeryshire that I would make a decent MP.

griff said...

Sorry, Glyn, don't understand the "all hat and no cattle" comment. you've mentioned it before. is this an in-joke? haven't been visiting this blog long and need to catch up!

Glyn Davies said...

griff - nothing at all. I just liked the phrase. Better than 'all promise and no delivery'. There were several other suggestions from commenters as well.

Valleys Mam said...

There are plenty of Options for preserving and running rural and urban post offices.Just no one looks at options out side of teh box.
having worked on some of these options and succeded in keeping quite a few open I would be happy to share with Nick Bourne as n one else seems to be interested

Anonymous said...

Glyn, quick question - how many Post Offices shut under the last Conservative Government?

Answer - 3562