Saturday, 22 November 2014

Uplands on Swansea at last an intresting Welsh by-election.

At last a Welsh by-election with an Interesting result Swansea's Uplands Ward saw "Independent" Peter May retake the seat  that he narrowly lost to Labour in May 2012

The Full Results Thanks to greendragon for the this

MAY, Peter Nicholas Independent 671 (E)
GRIFFITHS, Fran Welsh Labour / Llafur Cymru 533
THOMAS, Janet Mary Welsh Liberal Democrats - Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol Cymru 215
WAKELING, Ashley The Green Party - Plaid Werdd 179

DWAN, Pat Independents @ Swansea 158 
ALLARD, Josh Welsh Conservative Party Candidate 154
FITTER, Rhydian Plaid Cymru - The Party of Wales 104
JOB, Ronnie Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition 31

Not a very good result for the other parties but the LibDems in particular saw their vote collapse.

Well not entirely, because victor Peter May had stood under the  LibDem banner last time. 

I have only included the two parties to make it easier to read for a full list see  here

Nick DaviesLabour Party / Plaid Lafur1302
John BaylissLabour Party / Plaid Lafur1207
Neil Ronconi-WoollardLabour Party / Plaid Lafur1161
Pearleen SanghaLabour Party / Plaid Lafur1099
Peter Nicholas MayLiberal Democrat / Democrat Rhyddfrydol1089
Stuart James RiceLiberal Democrat / Democrat Rhyddfrydol975
Janet Mary ThomasLiberal Democrat / Democrat Rhyddfrydol812
Jayne WoodmanLiberal Democrat / Democrat Rhyddfrydol782
So Mr May had lost by a mere whisker while in 2008 he had comfortably topped the poll  again for the full list here

Name / EnwParty / PlaidVotes / Pleidleisiau
Peter Nicholas MayWelsh Liberal Democrats - Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol Cymru1828
Stuart James RiceWelsh Liberal Democrats - Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol Cymru1706
Jayne WoodmanWelsh Liberal Democrats - Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol Cymru1495
Janet Mary ThomasWelsh Liberal Democrats - Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol Cymru1488
Sybil Edith CrouchLabour Party - Plaid Lafur817
Andrew Daniel ConnellLabour Party - Plaid Lafur792
Ian William James RossLabour Party - Plaid Lafur765
Derek JamesLabour Party - Plaid Lafur729

Note also that the  LibDem candidate in the by-election Janet Mary Thomas  was a former council colleague of Mr May.

With me so far? Good.

For  Mr May had been the LibDem Candidate in Swansea West (which Uplands is part of) in the 2010 General Election and came dam close to puling of an historic victory.

General Election 2010: Swansea West[6][7]
Labour Co-opGeraint Davies12,33534.7-7.2
Liberal DemocratPeter May11,83133.2+4.3
ConservativeRené Kinzett[8]7,40720.8+4.8
Plaid CymruHarri Roberts1,4374.0-2.5
BNPAlan Bateman9102.6N/A
UKIPTimothy Jenkins7162.0+0.2
GreenKeith Ross4041.1-1.1
IndependentIan McCloy3741.1N/A
TUSCRob Williams1790.5N/A
Labour holdSwing-5.7

It now gets even more bizzare for the 2010 cadidate for teh Tories René Kinzett[had been the LibDem candidate
General Election 2005: Swansea West
LabourAlan Williams13,83341.8-6.9
Liberal DemocratRené Kinzett9,56428.9+12.3
ConservativeMohammed Abdel-Haq5,28516.0-3.0
Plaid CymruHarri Roberts2,1506.5-4.1
GreenMartyn Shrewsbury7382.2+0.2
UKIPMartyn Ford6091.8-0.2
VeritasYvonne Holley4011.2N/A
Socialist AlternativeRobert Williams2880.9N/A
Legalise CannabisSteve Pank2180.7N/A
Labour holdSwing-9.6
It must be very confusing in Swansea West for the electorate.

But it bears the question 

How much do our elected representatives believe in the policies of the party under which banner they stand. Or is a merely a way of getting elected?

Still congratulations to Cllr May he clearly has local following and the people of Uplamds may (no pun intended) got themselves a decent councillor

 I wonder if the LibDems in the next council election will run a full list or put up just three candidates  hoping Cllr May comes back into the fold after the election?

Friday, 21 November 2014

Playing for Wales should be based on desire to play for your country.

Former Wales Boss and New Zealand head coach ahead of the Autumn International has been interviewed in today's Wasting Mule

He makes some pertinent  comments

What do you think of Wales’ development as a rugby country since you left as their coach in 2004?
They’ve won four Six Nations, three with Grand Slams, so obviously they’ve gone pretty good results-wise.
But if the relationship between the franchises (regions) and the union isn’t great, then that’s not good.
You need to be united.
It’s all very well having a short-term focus but you’ve got to have a massively long-term focus as well.
There’s got to be development plans; you can’t keep coming over and getting our players (Welsh-qualified New Zealander Gareth Anscombe having been recently recruited) all the time.
He might well be right but there's more than a whiff of hypocrisy coming from the New Zealander who have a number in the squad who were not born there.

Though admittedly  many came there as children. and could wel be as patriotic as any New Zelander

 Of course when he and Graham Henry came to Wales the latter as "The Great Redeemer I doubt that was Hansen's view.

Our own Toby Faletau was born in Tofoa, Tonga, to Tongan international Kuli Faletau, who represented Tonga at the 1999 Rugby World Cup. Kuli moved to Wales in 1998 to join Ebbw Vale, taking a seven-year-old Taulupe with him

 To my mind Toby is as Welsh as anyone who wers the Red Jersey 

And  of course George North was born in 1992 in King's Lynn. His mother is Welsh and from Anglesey, Wales, and his father is English and from Yorkshire; he was a Police Sergeant in Scarborough, North Yorkshire. His family moved to Hong Kong, on Royal Air Force duty, when he was 14 weeks old. The family returned to Anglesey on 13 January 1995 when he was aged two
If George Family had moved to say  Bath instead it  would make no difference to his eligibility for Wales .Though i suspect England would have snapped him up.

Place of birth should not be a measure of Nationality its what's in your heart that matters.and it does show what immigrants bring .

The All Blacks would not be the potent force without these players but that does not mean that these players are not New Zealanders 

Indeed it shows that Immigration can strengthen us in many ways. in many sectors .

My beloved nephew is now  7 and was born and being raised in Derby by Welsh Mother and he probably being more aware of his Welshness than most children here.

Its my dream to se him playing rugby for Wales but it will be his choice who he pays for subject to ability and eligibility.subject to  (Though his Mam might have some say).

If Gareth Anscombe  good enough and has the desire to play for Wales with all his heart then good for him.

But lets be clear it is the desire to play for your Nation that is the most important.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

HIP HIP Horray.

The Assembly has in its short life many absurd moments but he news that   AM  Eluned Parrott was told to remove her hand from her hip in assembly chamber must be in the top 10.Eluned Parrott with hand on hip

BBC Wales  report that 

Presiding Officer Dame Rosemary Butler called Liberal Democrat Eluned Parrott to order and then said:

 "Will you ask the question and take your hand off your hip please?"
It happened during noisy exchanges in the chamber about cuts in funding for music lessons in schools.
South Wales Central AM Ms Parrott did as she was asked, then carried on grilling Education Minister Huw Lewis.
The Liberal Democrats have condemned Dame Rosemary's behaviour.
 a spokesman said.
"It is not the presiding officer's place to tell assembly members how they should stand,"
"Eluned was asking legitimate questions of the minister and at no point did she use unparliamentary language."
"It's therefore disappointing that this intervention was made, especially as the minister failed to properly answer the questions asked of him.
"Eluned was asking legitimate questions of the minister and at no point did she use unparliamentary language.""It's therefore disappointing that this intervention was made, especially as the minister failed to properly answer the questions asked of him."
The spokesman added:
 "It is the presiding officer's role to enable assembly members to hold ministers to account.
Actually all members of the Assembly.

I have only the photo above to go but it would have been nice to have a video of it. It does look lie Ma Parrott was expressing in body language her annoyance when another Minister as usual failed to give a direct answer.

Ms Parrott however does look somewhat ridiculous in  Drama Queen pose,but the Rosemary Butler by calling to it seems more of a Headmistress than a presiding officer 

Both have behaved ridiculously and should think twice before doing it again.

Now I'm behaving like a irate teacher, oh well.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

National Left and the Greens explained.

A recent Blog in which I  tied to point out the price for reform of FIFA could lead to a end of the Welsh Football side and raising the question whether it was a price worth paying has some how developed in the comments section over some recent  blogs  I made welcoming the greendragon to the Welsh Blogosphere.

One commenter claimed the this Blog

had suddenly become insipid and devolutionist, a change that's been noticed since the 'green dragon blog' appeared.

Though they rather kindly later  wrote that they may overstepped the mark although they still find I had been hard reading it of late

So where do I stand on the Welsh Greens?

Firstly I would like them to be like their Scottish cousins a Independent Party and take a similar line on Independence

The Scottish Greens saw most members enthusiastically campaigning for a YES vote though in  December,  last year former convenor Robin Harper said that he would "absolutely vote No" in the independence referendum and offered his backing to the Better Together campaign, putting himself at odds with official party policy and its present leadership. Going on to say that he would like to help the Better Together and that there was a "significant minority" of Greens who were opposed to independence. Uniquely amongst the parties in the Scottish Parliament, the Scottish Green Party is open about and comfortable with the differences of opinion in the party on the constitutional issue, with co-convenor Patrick Harvie pointing out that "even the very firm supporters of independence within the Greens tend to be more strongly motivated by other aspects of our political agenda

However the surge in  Green  Party Membership  in Scotland after the referendum vote  does appear to indicate that members can see a link between a Green agenda and Independence.

I have made it clear that although I am aPlaid Supporter I am not a member and one reason  for this is I want this Blog to be Independent and free to criticise that party when I disagreed. 

I would also sometimes, when I was really unhappy with Plaid to be able to vote for another progressive party.

If I was still living in London my politics would lead me to vote Green as I would in the rest of England .

If i was living Cornwall it would be Mebyon Kernow

In Scotland In UK elections the SNP but in Scottish Parliamentary I  would vote in the constituency fr the SNP but would strongly consider voting Green for the Top uo seats.

In Scotland the SNP look likely to win more constituency seats in the Scottish Parliament in 2016 .  Paradoxically it could mean they lose List seats and lose overall . But these may be made up by increase in Green members . Who else would the SNP  like to gain in such a way

Here if Plaid ever got to the same position to the  SNP in our Assembly then I would seriously consider voting Green on the list.

I remind everyone Plaid and the SNP work together in the European Parliament in the EFA/Green Alliance.

It would be my desire that after 2015 a similar alliance could be working in the Westminster Parliament.

It may be wishful thinking but in the absence of a progressive nationalist movement in England the Greens there can play that role but in their own way,

The Scottish Greens have shown the way forward for their Welsh cousins and don't see it as threat to Plaid but as a spur 

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Crabb not Beef

 Wheres the Beef? is  an all-purpose phrase questioning the substance of an idea, event, or product. and its a apt question to ask our Secretary of State  Dtephen Crabb.

The Wasting Mule reportd that

The Welsh Secretary set out his roadmap for further devolution for Wales in a major speech on Tuesday – but warned that complaints over funding shouldn’t be used as a roadblock.

Stephen Crabb used the Institute of Welsh Affairs at a law firm in Cardiff Bay to announce his timetable to get cross party agreement on the way forward for Welsh devolution by St David’s Day in a plan that he admits is “an ambitious programme of work”.
He said: “I want a new era for devolution in Wales. One which means that political debate evolves from demands for more powers, and more money, to one where the central question becomes “how do we use the powers and resources we have to deliver the best for Wales?”
The Welsh Secretary told the audience he knew people were concerned about the levels of funding for Welsh public s thanervices but claimed funding levels are now around 15 per cent higher the equivalent in England.
UK and Welsh Governments have agreed to revisit arrangements for considering relative funding in light of the powers in the Wales Bill, Mr Crabb said,

Contrast this with  The VOW to Scotland
 Three party leader's promise to Scotlandx
 OK we know that we can't trust the sugnotries to keep to this but contrast it to Crabbs 

“I want a new era for devolution in Wales. One which means that political debate evolves from demands for more powers, and more money, to one where the central question becomes “how do we use the powers and resources we have to deliver the best for Wales?”

Scotland offered more powers while we are offered little more and after 15 years we still are told we a need to make the existing powers work.

Mr Crabb said he wants to see a cross-party consensus on a “stable-long term settlement for Wales” – saying the story of Welsh devolution has long been one of “fixes, fudges and political expediency”.
Talks between the political parties have already started, he said, with Welsh Westminster leaders set to meet again next week. Talks are also planned with Assembly leaders, as well as its figurehead Presiding Officer Rosemary Butler.
Mr Crabb said he’d been told his hopes were “ambitious” but sensed “all parties are ready to seize the moment.”

Ambitious!  Its like a Third Division Manager claiming that avoiding relegation was a major a victory and that he had no desire for promotion to the bigger leagues.

Its time Plaid and maybe the Lib Dems and even , told Crabb and the Tories that there can be no consensus when all he really offers is Tax raising powers which lets face it he secretly hopes will be rejected  and a “stable-long term settlement for Wales which means that we fall even further behind Scotland

And why is Crabb talking to Welsh Westminster leaders and not to leaders in Wales ?Two of whom (Leanne Wood and Kirsty Wiliams are officially leaders here  and although  Labours hierarchy s unclear. Carwyn Jones should have been brought in from the start.

Crabb is offering Wales nothing dressing it up  in consultations and it should be rejected now ,  and treated with the contempt it should be.  

With a General Election coming up the Parties should be teeling us what they are  offering Wales in May not agreeing "by St Davids Day " on doing bugger all.


Monday, 17 November 2014

Reform FIFA and lose our National Side, A price worth paying?

The BBC have reported that The Football Association has been urged to lobby Uefa for a European boycott of the next World Cup - unless Fifa implements meaningful reform.

They say ..
Former FA chairman David Bernstein told BBC Sport it was time for "drastic" action against the governing body.He believes the tournament could not be taken seriously without Europe's major nations and that a boycott would be supported by the English public.Meanwhile, Bernstein has resigned from Fifa's anti-discrimination taskforce.He described it as "ineffectual" and wishes to end his ties with the organisation.In an exclusive interview, the 71-year-old also said:
  • Fifa is a "totalitarian" set-up that reminds him of "the old Soviet empire" and is "beyond ridicule".
  • The credibility of football is "suffering enormously" under the current Fifa regime.
  • Choosing Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup was "one of the most ludicrous decisions in the history of sport".
  • Fifa president Sepp Blatter will remain in power "unless someone does something about it"
From a Welsh point of view it would be difficult for the Welsh and Scottish FAs to support this  as the fear is that do so could threaten their existence with the FA insisting that there only be  a UK international side.

If I thought  Bernstein's call would result in end to corruption in Footballs governing body then with a heavy heart I would have to agree to it . Even if it cost us our National side.

It might make the call for an independent Scotland more likely and although we wait for Wales to be an Independent Nation to restore our Football side.

But I doubt that this will come about and the English FA have hardly come out of this unsullied.England's World Cup bid was criticised in the Fifa report with the FA accused of flouting bidding rules, while Qatar was cleared of corruption allegations.

Apart from getting rid of Blatter I don't know what can be done and it is hard to se who in FIFA including the English FA  has clean hands.

Tearing down and starting again would almost certainly see a end to the Welsh National side and that might just be a price worth paying but it doubtful that what would reemerge would be any better.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Leighton Andrews Sledgehammer Or Hatchet man?

If the Wasting Mule has a favourite AM,then I am in no doubt its Leighton Andrews
On Thursday columnist David James,seems unable to suppress his glee when he reports that
He’s back... the one-man headline-making, administrative sledgehammer that is Leighton Andrews is back.In his fiery, four-year stint as Wales’ Education Minister, the Rhondda AM wasn’t afraid to fill a few skips with the redundant wreckage of a university or two.And the public written statement he issued on Wednesday on funding for the body that represents Welsh councils suggests he plans to add the gravestones of a few more public bodies to his CV before he is finished in his new job as Minister for Public Services.Mr Andrews’ statement yesterday announcing he is cutting funding to one of the key bodies that has opposed the Welsh Government’s desire to cut the number of councils in Wales will send a powerful chill through Welsh town halls.The £1.6m grant to the Welsh Local Government Association isn’t a huge sum of money in the context of the Welsh Government’s budget yet the symbolism of the public statement revealing it – and the quotes that went along with it – are hugely tellingAfter revealing he was cutting the funding, Mr Andrews went on to say: “I will shortly be inviting Cabinet colleagues to review whether the range of current grants they provide to the WLGA... remain appropriate, or whether there may be alternative arrangements which could produce better outcomes for public service delivery.
So What we have is Minister intent on reforming our Councils attempting to silence any opposition by getting rid of a potential opposite vire.And from its statement it does look like that he Intends to get rid of the WLGA
“I recognise the implications of this decision for the WLGA and I also recognise that good work has been done in the past to support improvement within local authorities.“My decision is a reflection that the scale of our ambitions for the future will require a very different kind of support.”
The worst Ministers  are the ones who are indecisive  and dither unable to come up with a decision and the saying goes 

like a cushion - bearing the imprint of the last person who sat on him.

Equally we have Ministers like Leighton Andrews who come to a conclusion and ignore any arguments against what he wants,even if he or she might come to the conclusion they  themselves may be wrong.

In their eyes the greatest virtue is to be decisive  and all opposition must be crushed .

Whatever your views on Local Government,it needs thinking out and the current proposal of simply merging councils are to simplistic,and will cause more problems in the future.

Leighton Andrews and the Mule seem to revel in his role in a Hatchet man its a pity that those who think he's going about it the wrong way will be silenced

Wales deserves better a Minister who will listen to or tolerate opposing view and a National Newspaper that does not  realises that what it sees as decisiveness  is in reality political arrogance,