YOUR AM WRITES: Alun Davies Blaenau Gwent
JULY marked what would have been legendary MP Michael Foot’s centenary and I was delighted to have attended events held in Blaenau Gwent to commemorate the special occasion.
A concert at Bedwellty Park, Tredegar – just a stone’s throw away from his former home, and a lecture at Llanhilleth Miners’ Institute both served as not only a celebration, but as a reminder of the pride and the passion he brought to the Labour Party.
Mr Foot knew many challenges, but he tackled those challenges head on and refused to be browbeaten by the onslaught of the Tory Government.
It seems that the Labour Party today faces new challenges as a result of a UK Tory/Lib Dem Government that has slashed public spending, resulting in crippling cuts to local government budgets.
Blaenau Gwent council knows the consequences of those cuts only too well.
In the last week it has been faced with some of the hardest decisions it has ever had to make.
Despite anticipating the weight of public opposition, it tackled the problems given to them faced head on.
The resulting cuts have been widely reported, but necessary for the council, supported by myself, and the Welsh Government to continue to invest in core services such as education and social services in the face of what has been described by some as the bleakest time in the council’s history.
The authority has turned a corner with education and has dealt with its management issues and now hopefully can get back to providing quality services for the people of Blaenau Gwent.
It was Michael Foot that once said “we had not the armour, the strength, the quickness in manoeuvre,” when he talked about Labour’s 1983 general election defeat.
The same could not be said for Blaenau Gwent’s Labour group and the Welsh Government, who are working together to shield Wales from the Tory onslaught.
The Michael Foot celebrations in Blaenau Gwent were a timely reminder to us all of a charismatic Labour leader, renowned orator and political giant.
To follow in his footsteps and put the welfare of people in this borough before all else in our greatest testimony to his centenary.
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