The rise of wokeism
In embracing groups like XR, the left-wing Welsh Government has moved away from its traditional base. Source: DAVID HOLT (via. Wikimedia Commons)
Culture and Identity

The Welsh Conservatives can’t run from the culture war

The battle for Wales' future is well and truly underway, Covid-19 has shown a Welsh Government happy to take away people’s liberties whilst being reluctant to give these freedoms back writes Matt MacKinnon.

This toxic mix along with the rise in groups such as Black Lives Matter and Extinction Rebellion who both want to ‘overturn capitalism’ has made normal people uneasy and concerned about the future of not only Wales, but the Western world.

People like myself know full well the left have moved towards wokeism, but many of the public who are not so tuned into politics have been shocked at the left’s move towards wokeism.

Throughout the worst months of the pandemic, the Welsh Government and senior Senedd Members endorsed Extinction Rebellion and Black Lives Matter, legitimising these organisations who were openly breaking Covid-19 rules imposed by these very politicians, that we were all expected to obey. The public saw this and watched on in amazement as weddings were cancelled, funerals could not be attended and lives were turned upside down. But not for the radical left, they were allowed to run rampant and do what they liked, because the left wing Government in Cardiff Bay along with their chums in the Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru wanted to keep these woke votes onside.

The left has a problem, how can they appeal to both the proud, socially conservative working class traditionally found in South Wales and the modern, woke, identity politics obsessed, righteous young left that is rising up and demanding their voice is heard? We saw throughout Brexit that if the left ignores their traditional base on major issues then they will be punished. The red wall collapsed and in Wales Labour lost all but one seat in their former stronghold of North Wales.

That should have been a warning shot to Labour in Cardiff Bay and Westminster, they should have seen that their out of touch attitude towards Brussels and immigration cost them dearly and that they need to repair the mistrust their traditional base felt for them in these left behind communities. Did they head these warnings? The simply answer is no. Since their historic loss in the general election of 2019 they have made the decision to abandon their traditional working-class base in order to find a new electorate that they believe will be their route to power.

Who makes up this new electorate that Labour need to ensure they stay in power in Cardiff Bay, well, there are clearly the young woke, hip left who love to virtue signal with Black Lives Matter and Extinction Rebellion, but this is currently only a tiny percentage of the electorate and it won’t get them over the line. But there are also two new groups of people who have recently been controversially added to the Welsh electorate. Both foreign nationals and 16-18-year olds now both have the right to vote in Welsh elections, a policy that as usual went largely under the radar with the Welsh public and conveniently not reported by the left-wing Welsh media.

These new groups seem to be where the woke left political parties are trying to fight for. Labour, Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats are continually trying to virtue signal to these groups in an effort at gaining their votes, they clearly see these communities as growing populations that they want to ensure are their replacement for the working class for the future.
However, frustrating and annoying the right are currently finding wokeism, we must not forget, this potent ideology is a golden opportunity for the right to tap into working class communities that were previously off limits to them in years gone by.

The Welsh Conservatives have a huge open goal to tap into and highlight the huge sense of public anger around the way in which the Welsh Government have pandered to extreme groups such as Black Lives Matter and Extinction Rebellion. It seems they are realising this is the case and have started to make moves, just last week Senedd Member Janet Finch Saunders, refused to meet with Extinction Rebellion, saying the organisation is ‘extremist and neo-fascist’.

Many may not feel comfortable fighting the ‘culture war’ and fighting wokeism in such a political way, but the way in which the Welsh Conservatives can unite the vast majority of the Welsh electorate for the first time in history against this ghastly ideology is to openly oppose it at every turn. If they do this, then 2021 will be the year the socialist grip on Wales will finally come to an end.

Matt MacKinnon is the Director at the Centre for Welsh Studies.

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