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Last Updated: Friday, 11 June, 2004, 14:56 GMT 15:56 UK
Apathy costs Labour dear
Julie Smith
Julie Smith: Lack of action locally
As Labour in Cardiff lost the support of the voters, BBC News Online went to group leader Russell Goodway's ward in Ely to try and find out the reasons why.

We spoke to a number of people shopping in Wilson Road to ask their opinion on the result.

Many admitted that they had not bothered to vote and showed no surprise at the Labour losses to the Liberal Democrats in the city.

They are all the same and they just don't listen to the people
Julie Smith

Julie Smith, 37 who lives nearby said that she had lost interest in local politics and had made a conscious effort not to vote.

"They are all the same and they just don't listen to the people," she said.

"The council have done nothing for me except give me problems.

"And as for the Labour Party, well what can I say.

"Our councillor is Russell Goodway who has been the leader and in my opinion he has done absolutely nothing for this area.

"There is still hassle and crime and anti-social behaviour and he doesn't seem to even try and do anything about it," she said.

So that were her reasons for not voting, but what does she think has happened to the popularity of the Labour party in the area?

"Well I reckon a lot of people are really annoyed that Rhodri Morgan didn't go to France for the D-Day anniversary," she said.

"I think he did a lot of harm to the Labour party," she added.

Lawton Smith
Lawton Smith: Rhodri Morgan's D-Day snub

And she wasn't the only one who laid blame at the First Minister's decision not to go to France on 6 June for the 60th anniversary of the Normandy landings.

Lawton Smith, 83, was a veteran of WWII and was "disgusted" by what he feels was a snub by Mr Morgan.

"Everybody I have spoken to is appalled by Rhodri Morgan not going to Normandy," he said.

"I think it has done the Labour party a huge amount of damage by him not going there.

"I was a serviceman for five and half years during the war and I am disgusted by him not going.

"I have never been a Labour supporter and I think the decision to go to war in Iraq was another big factor for Labour losing support as well," he added.

Russell Goodway at the count in Cardiff
Russell Goodway anxiously watches the votes being counted

Mr Goodway himself fought off a challenge from independent candidate Charles Gale to win back his Ely seat, although his majority was a slim 62 votes.

One shopper who did not want to be named said that she had been a Labour voter all her life and felt that the party would bounce back from the losses.

"I think people have got short memories. You have only got to think back to when the Conservatives were in power and the damage they did to the health service," she said.

But she did admit that it was probably the conflict in Iraq which had done most damage to the fortunes of the Labour party.

Susan James, 49 and a housewife, was another resident who had chosen not to cast her vote.

"I didn't really have any interest in voting because I don't understand a lot about it," she admitted.

Susan James
Susan James: Support moved to other parties

"I think it is a bit of a shame that Labour have lost a lot of support but I think issues to do with council tax and stuff has encourage voters to support other parties.

"And I am really disgusted by Rhodri Morgan not going to the D-Day celebrations.

"I am absolutely sure that a lot of people, especially a lot of the older people would have been offended by that and not voted for Labour because of it.

"He should have gone," she added.



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Mixed fortunes for Labour
11 Jun 04  |  South East Wales



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