THERE’s a saying from the world of marketing: “When the brand is tarnished it’s just about finished”.
Since people then can’t see anything good associated with that brand, no matter what they try to salvage their reputation.
That came to mind yesterday when Y Senedd rejected a new “Food Security Bill”, proposed by the Welsh Tories, by 24-23.
It was a pleasant surprise to see the Tories coming up with a positive vision for Wales, as their default position is always negativity and scepticism about anything inherently Welsh.
Their proposed bill would have placed a new emphasis on building food resilience here, with more self-sufficiency in food growing, along with creating a Welsh food chain.
Unfortunately for them and the Welsh public on this occasion, the “Tory” Brand is now toxic even on a UK level – and still an even bigger bugbear in Wales as well.
It was therefore easy for Welsh Labour to vote against it – just because it came from the Tories.
And feeling justified putting their own political tribalism above an eminently good idea which would benefit the people of Wales all round.
Gwlad leader Gwyn Wigley Evans said Welsh Labour’s rejection of a sensible Welsh policy from the Tories was a national disgrace.
“Leslie Griffith is not fit to be in charge of her own comments let alone food security in Wales” he said.
“Farmers have committed suicide because of her lack of support for the industry – she really does have blood on her hands.”
He said Welsh Labour were obsessed with the flawed concept of Net Zero which meant that that farming and food production was very low on their list of priorities .
“This is the party remember who bought a farm to have pop concerts there and trees on it, with no food growing there at all!”.
He added that Gwlad’s Policy was TLAL – “Think Local, Act Local” – and this applied to food in particular.
Gwlad also supports the creation of new food co-operatives in Wales on the model of the small Eroski supermarkets in the Basque Country – part of a wider co-operative model there which supports 70,000 jobs in total.
A Food Security Bill could potentially have paved the way for the creation of a new Welsh food co-operative to start to challenge the dominance of the six big Supermarkets which wield so much power here.
And create a wider public discourse about the importance of our own food supply and encourage more people of all ages to enter the food growing market in different ways.
Leslie Griffith, the Agriculture Minister, argued during the Senedd debate that the Tories’ idea was too bureaucratic and difficult to implement and that the bill lacked enough detail.
Perhaps the measure introduced by the Tory AM for Monmouthshire, Peter Fox, a farmer himself, could have included more concrete detail in parts.
Even so, the measure could always have been improved on its way through the scrutiny process in committee stages with enough goodwill between the parties.
A measure which also saw the almost unprecedented example of Plaid voting with the Conservatives on this occasion.
No doubt this example was also a reason why Welsh Labour voted against the measure, lest such success lead to further co-operation by the “Non Labour” parties at Y Senedd.
Nevertheless, for the Welsh public looking on, this seems a particularly tin-eared decision by Welsh Labour, even by their woeful standards.
Bearing in mind the cost of living crisis, food inflation at around 19% and food banks being a regular item in all parts of Wales right now.
It’s a party drunk on ideology, from Net Zero, to 20 mph zones, tree planting and gender confusion in schools.
But when presented with an opportunity to do something practical to help people in Wales – which would benefit everyone – they turn it down flat.
Once again, Wales has been let down badly by conventional party politics.
Hamstrung by the Toxic Tory Brand on the one hand, and Welsh Labour’s tribal outlook on the other hand.
It’s time to move beyond this disastrous duopoly and grow something new.