Corbyn: the reaction in Wales

There's been a strange mix of wide-eyed optimism and utter trepidation from Welsh Labour politicians this weekend.

I've even had Shakespeare quoted at me with the Hamlet line: "This above all: to thine own self be true," as the party was clearly still coming to terms with Jeremy Corbyn's landslide.

The Hamlet line reflected a sense of liberation that many feel about electing a man who promotes a mix of policies they truly believe in.

The question is whether it's just indulgent protest politics or the start of something new.

Labour figures are talking about a new way of doing politics and a new generation of Labour supporters looking to make a difference.

New chapter

But they're also fully aware of the cold hard logic behind the calculation that Labour lost in marginal seats in the general election because the party wasn't trusted on the economy, and for many voters that's not going to change with Jeremy Corbyn at the helm. These concerns were expressed by the former Welsh secretary Peter Hain this morning saying that in the assembly election Labour in Wales has to win back those who voted Tory in May.

There's a clear choice for many Labour MPs: retreat to the backbenches or accept the result and look to get involved in a new chapter for the party even if they didn't support Corbyn.

And there's been a fair bit of old-fashioned tribal Labour loyalty on display.

The Caerphilly MP and former advisor to Ed Miliband, Wayne David, says Welsh MPs have a duty to make sure his leadership is a success. In other words, the party is bigger than any one individual.

The scale of the victory helps Corbyn. It wasn't just the so-called "three-quidders" where he romped home but also among the fully-paid up Labour members.


The comments from the former Welsh government minister John Griffiths were interesting.

He called for Labour's manifesto for the assembly election next year to share the radicalism of the new Labour leader.

Scratch beneath the surface and there's an argument to say Labour in Wales is already on the same wave-length of Jeremy Corbyn with its plan to nationalise the railways and its refusal to introduce the internal market in the NHS.

If there will be tensions it could revolve around Carwyn Jones' pro-business stance and among other areas, his intention to build a £1bn business-friendly motorway around Newport, presumably something that Jeremy Corbyn would not agree with.

Although I was told repeatedly on the weekend by Labour MPs that Jeremy Corbyn genuinely believes in devolution so he's unlikely to start dictating terms to Welsh Labour.