President of the Senate Roy Hattersley: “Sir, is your Excellency willing to take the Oath?”
President Michael Meacher: “I am willing.”
President of the Senate Roy Hattersley: “Will you solemnly promise and swear to govern the Peoples of the Commonwealth of Great Britain, according to their laws and customs?”
President Michael Meacher: “I solemnly promise so to do.”
President of the Senate Roy Hattersley: “Will you to your power cause Law and Justice, in Mercy, to be executed in all your judgements?”
President Michael Meacher: “I will."
President of the Senate Roy Hattersley: “Will you to the utmost of your power maintain the Laws of Parliament and the true character of the British People? Will you to the utmost of your power maintain in the Commonwealth the authority of Parliament established by law? Will you maintain and preserve inviolably the settlement of the British Republic, and the doctrine, discipline, and government thereof, as by law established in Great Britain? And will you preserve unto the regions of England and the lands of Scotland and Wales, all such rights and privileges, as by law do or shall appertain to them or any of them?”
President Michael Meacher: “All this I promise to do.”
The President then moved from the inauguration throne to the altar of Westminster and, kneeling, with his right hand on a printed copy of the Magna Carta (Meacher's book of personal choice), said:
“The things which I have here before promised, I will perform and keep." [Previous Presidents might have said "So help me God". President Meacher seems to have omitted it.]
"No matter what, the Ulster First Unionists are committed to a free Ulster, and will clearly devote itself to the forces of Ulster loyalism, although we do renounce violence in all its forms, of course. We denounce the 'Irish' Unionists for betraying the forces of unionism in exchange for power down in Dublin. We stand for Ulster first, and Ulster always!"
Basically the UFUP has shifted due to the border poll thing and the whole Unionist movement has split into two major camps, the "Irish Unionist" camp that argues that Ireland should be the battleground and that they can use Northern Ireland's strong unionist camp to persuade Ireland that Unionism is the answer. Their vague long-term goal is for Ireland to enter some long-term relationship with Britain. Their logo is above.
The UFUP reflects the other camp, the one that went "Britain betrayed us! We should seek to free Ulster, but not to hand ourselves back to Britain!". Aka Ulster loyalism, or "Ulster First unionism". Or whatever you want to call it, it's essentially Ulster nationalism.
Of course, the UFUP has some weird people in it that says "Since we're for Ulster, why don't we run in all of Ulster instead of just Northern Ireland?". It's... an odd position, truthfully. But who knows what the hell will happen with Northern Ireland politics now it's in Ireland. Who knows.
The Welsh Tories here. They've dropped the long-form "National Democratic Party" a long while ago in favour of something easier to say in both English and Welsh. They're basically just National Democrats those days.
Plaid Cymru – 4 seats (+4), 0.7% Nationalist (NI) – 2 seats (+2), 0.3%
*National Unionists include Ulster Unionists
An election from that election game I make too much shit for.
Techdread's write-up below.
1972 marked a watershed moment in post-war British politics as the first time since 1954 that a hung parliament occurred with no single party able to form a governing majority. Despite having the largest numbers of seats and votes, Labour were in no clear position to continue as the government; they had lost over eighty seats and their share of the popular vote had dropped dramatically compared with the success in the Crossman years. Whilst the economic problems the nation was facing were largely to blame for the poor performance, other historians suggest that Castle’s decision to call the election on the back of Edward VIII’s death was seen by many patriotic Britons was uncouth and inconsiderate; many still recalled the near-crisis of 1960 following Nye Bevan’s death.
However, it was not the role of the King Henry IX to summon a new Prime Minister to form a government, but instead that of the Speaker of the House of Commons, Michael Stewart. Even with the support of Independent Labour, if they had been willing to provide it, the Labour Party still lacked the numbers for a governing majority. Instead, it seemed almost certain that the next British Prime Minister would be John Enoch Powell, Leader of the newly rechristened National Unionist Party. There was a flaw though as Powell lacked the numbers for a governing majority with no other party willing to support his candidacy for the premiership.
Although there was talk amongst the New Democrats about reluctantly joining a Powell-led government, the Liberals were adamant in their opposition to seeing Powell as head of government. After days of talks, a deal would be reached between the main three opposition parties; the National Unionists, New Democrats, and Liberals would form the first coalition government since Lloyd George though it would be led by the New Democratic leader, Joseph Godber. The Nationalist Unionists would hold a majority of cabinet positions to equate for their parliamentary numbers, whilst the Liberals had been promised electoral policy reformation. A new age in British politics was about to begin.
National Front: 5 seats (+4), 5.0% (+0.3%) - led by Alastair McConnachie, MSA for South Scotland Scottish Socialist: 2 seats (-12), 4.8% (-3.2%) - led by Tommy Sheridan, MSA for Glasgow Communist: 1 seat (+1), 3.8% (+3.8%) - led by Ray Mennie, who stood in North East Scotland.
Wales' relationship with the Labour Party is a long and winding one, but it is one that has endured. Wales broadly can be described as "red soil" for Labour, with a strong tribal loyalty there. But that tribal loyalty can and has been tested when Labour was found severely wanting by the voters of Wales. It is a tribalism that rewards the party when it does good, sticks to the party through bad times, but punishes when it abandons the voters' wishes in favour of something they are strongly opposed to.
Wales has always been a radical society, and so Labour's brand of socialism has always appealed to them, such as under Aneurin Bevan who strongly reflected Wales' socialist ideals. But in those more multipartisan days, when there's more radical choices available such as the Socialist Alliance [which has its own baggage that hurts it with Welsh voters] and Greens [which haven't enjoyed much support from formerly coal-mining Wales], Labour still enjoys the support of many Welsh voters because of strong generational memory of what Labour has done for the working-class, and for being the Party of Bevan, the idealistic radical who tragically died at his post.
But while Wales has considerable trust in the Labour Party, it is a trust that has fractured over time. The Independent Labour Party took three Welsh MPs with them when they walked out of the party, and those three was re-elected in 1972 by considerable margins by their constituencies over the "official" Labour candidates, and later after one of them (S. O. Davies, MP for Merthyr Tydfil) died, they held the seat in the resulting by-election, showing that it was not only personal loyalty that held those seats for the ILP. Labour was seen as insufficiently radical and not adequately leading the march into Jerusalem to a chunk of Welsh voters who seamlessly switched to voting ILP, and this tendency has continued into the present-day Socialist Alliance.
Labour has always had a complicated relationship with Welsh nationalism that has tested their coalition and ultimately led to their being defeated for the first time in eighty years by Plaid Cymru. While the consensus in the early years was that Wales would be served adequately by UK-wide reforms, the fact that Scotland got a Parliament and Wales didn't led to many arguments from some Welsh Labour MPs and even one outburst by Stafford Cripps that "if the Welsh wants us to be fair, I'll suspend the bloody Scottish Parliament then!".
Aneurin Bevan reflected the changing tone of Welsh Labour at this time. He was strongly opposed to devolution for Wales, but gladly implemented a Welsh Office so that Welsh concerns would have a voice in Westminster. But one Welsh MP (who went from Liberal to Labour once her father died), Megan Lloyd George, would be a firm debater for Welsh Home Rule and found Bevan and Crossman's contentment with Wales having a Westminster office severely disappointing. Just before her death in 1966 by cancer, she predicted that if Labour didn't act on this growing desire, they would find that the people of Wales would punish them eventually.
But while her death resulted into a shock Plaid Cymru gain from Labour, the people of Wales was generally not convinced of the need for an Assembly. Yes, the Independent Labour Party gladly signed up to pushing Welsh Home Rule thanks to S. O. Davies' pushing for it to be in the platform, but the reason people voted for them was mainly because they wanted Labour to return to Bevanism, not because they wanted "Welsh Socialism".
And Plaid Cymru at this time was widely seen as "the Welsh-speaking farmers' party", with their southern Valleys branch not as developed as it later would grow to be in the 1980s and 1990s. Indeed, the people of Wales was happy enough with a Welsh Office as long as the working-class was well served by their government.
The Godber years would be the first experience Wales had with a Tory government since the fall of the Butler ministry, and although many elsewhere became "Powell's Millionaires", the growing Welsh middle-class never quite subscribed to neoliberalism because they still had a strong working-class identity and a basic "social" mindset. Indeed, this "suburban socialism" would play a hugely important role in Wales' political evolution. While the Tories did gain quite a following of the emerging middle-class in the height of Powellism, the crash led many of this slice of voters to turn back to the party they knew could be trusted to lead the economy well, namely Labour.
However, not all of the people who stopped supporting the NDP, NUP or Liberals turned to Labour. Some turned to a centrist party untainted by the whole mess that could sell itself as a real alternative to the failed Powellism and Labour under "counter-schmoozer" Denis Healey. They turned to Plaid Cymru, and thus started its rise to prominence by giving it a considerable suburban voter base that would take the traditionally rural party a while to absorb.
The deal with Denis Healey Plaid made got them a devolution referendum, something Plaid had wished for so long, and yet it lost in a landslide as No won with above 60%. While Plaid was getting more popular due to being the growing "not-Labour" party once the Godber coalition parties disgraced themselves, their specific ideology was taking a while longer to get popular as people increasingly took the attitude that electing Plaid MPs to get Labour to give Wales more sweeties was sufficient enough. More nationalist than "the Welsh Office is enough", but not quite embracing devolution. It would take a while for that to happen.
Bolstering the "sweetie voter"'s argument was the fact Denis Healey gave Wales two things in the wake of the referendum's defeat - a distinct currency by co-opting a maverick bank's printing "Welsh banknotes" and getting them to sign a strict contract, and a new funding arrangement that gave Wales more funding than before. To the voters, this showed that they didn't need devolution, they could get Wales good things easily by getting Labour to make deals with Plaid Cymru. Plaid Cymru itself was horrified by this growing viewpoint, of course.
As things moved on, the working-class of Wales increasingly became a less dominant slice of the Welsh vote as decades of Labour rule (excepting the Godber years, of course) led to many opportunities for working-class people to become a suburban middle-class electorate, and this increasingly led to a new face for Wales that Labour was considerably unfamiliar with. The new ideology guiding Wales was not a working-class radical viewpoint, but a suburban socialism that argued for equal opportunities for all, a strong welfare state, strong sympathies with unions that however had a limit, and most strikingly of all, a considerably liberal stance on many issues.
Welsh Labour was always economically-radical, but by the 1980s they had a strong socially-conservative element in the Valleys, one that led to them calling Plaid Cymru "The Gays" because as part of Plaid's growing Southern branch, they gained a following in the Valleys' LGBT community. This strong social conservatism was popular within the working-class community, but as Britain moved on and the national Labour Party increasingly became a more liberal party over time [much to the frustration of social conservatives such as future MP Mike Hookem], there started to be a sea-change within Wales' working-class community due to LGBT people openly siding with striking unions in the disastrous Hurd years. This would gradually lead Welsh Labour away from firm social conservatism and towards something more broad-tent and appealing to all of Wales' electorate.
But that process was slow, and Welsh Labour overall still saw itself as the party of the Welsh working-class and stuck in a perception of Wales that increasingly was inaccurate. Suburban socialists hesistant at voting Plaid Cymru increasingly considered it after the Hurd years was finished and Labour was back in under Dunwoody. This led to Plaid Cymru's rapid growth in the 1990s as Labour was, as Megan Lloyd George predicted, out-maneuvered. And most critically of all, Plaid's devolution argument was increasingly accepted by Welsh voters.
The narrow loss of the second devolution referendum was a pyrrhic victory for the "no" side as the fact they won by such a narrow margin essentially took away any legitimacy for the continuation of the status quo. "We lost the battle, but we're winning the war" declared Plaid Cymru MP Dafydd Elis-Thomas upon the full result coming in. And indeed, they did get devolution in the end as part of Robin Cook's constitutional reforms that established Home Rule All Round for Britain. Welsh Labour was by the first Assembly election slowly adjusting, but still incredibly complacent as they still believed that the Welsh voters were still firmly loyal to them.
The fact they narrowly won was an ironic echo of the devolution referendum. Plaid Cymru lost the battle yet again, but the war was still being won. And Plaid won the next election, as they were the ones who knew Wales better than Welsh Labour did. This led to a major period of soul-searching as Labour was in Opposition for eight years. And once they won once more in 2010, they were a much-changed party.
Indeed, the new First Minister quipped that it was a "new Labour for a new Wales". Huw Lewis was a firm supporter of Welsh devolution, having campaigned proudly for it in the second referendum and cheered on Robin Cook's Home Rule All Round. He was a firm social-liberal, having supported the growth of LGBT rights in Wales' Assembly. But his main focus was on ensuring the working-class communities that still remained in Wales [and still made up a considerable amount of Wales' electorate as well] was well-served, and by 2010 there were considerable worry that Wales was rapidly becoming "two halves of one whole", the middle-class and comfortable Wales, and the working-class and struggling Wales. Huw Lewis led Welsh Labour to both radically transform its understanding of Wales and to maintain traditional Labour values. And the Welsh people gladly rewarded him with victory.
But this led as well to discontent, as the growth of the National Front came to Wales and appealed to those who felt that Labour was "losing their way" and that Plaid Cymru was too regionalist or too left-wing. Indeed, there was a considerable slice of Welsh voters that still remained opposed to devolution, and the National Front knew how to appeal to them. Their rise is a considerable worry by many politicians and commentariats who worry that they'll drag Wales to a more grim and unpleasant future. Huw Lewis himself seems fairly confident that the NF won't rise any further, as he highlights his strong work in serving working-class communities. But perhaps his "New Labour" isn't as new as he thought and it's still as blind as ever, just on a different issue, as the NF's appeal is based on social issues and opposing creeping "liberalism"?
Meanwhile, Plaid Cymru's recent leadership change from Simon Thomas to Siân Gwenllian shows that they're going after the suburban vote once again, although with a strong eye on pushing local government instead of Welsh Labour's centralist tendency. The next Assembly election promises to be a very interesting one as several trends are happening in Wales.
But if there's one thing Welsh Labour can say, it is that they have made modern Wales, turned it from a working-class Valleys dominated one, to one with a strong and surviving suburban middle-class electorate.
Even if they're defeated, they'll still have that.