Sunday, 14 February 2016

We need Consensus on the Welsh NHS>

Maybe the NHS staff in Wales deserve an apology from the Tories,  after a major report said the health service was no worse in Wales than elsewhere in the UK.the first minister has demanded.

Though in reality he means his government deserves one.

Carwyn Jones said the OECD report "nails the lie that the NHS in Wales is being out-performed by England". 

However the  Welsh Conservatives pointed out the OECD had not looked at waiting times. Which is a major concern.

Prime Minister David Cameron and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt have ruthlessly and consistently attacked Welsh Labour in the House of Commons over its handling of health services in Wales.
On numerous occasions, the pair have publicly denounced the Welsh Government’s record on the NHS, with Mr Cameron controversially describing Offa’s Dyke as the “line between life and death”.
Mr Hunt claimed patients in Wales received a “second class” health service, even describing the state of the NHS in Wales was “a national scandal”.

First Minister  Jones claimed David Cameron and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt had "denigrated" NHS staff in Wales to gain political advantage.

He said the UK government should examine its own record on health in England.

 Welsh Labour will use the report  to present a positive spin on the Welsh NHS at a time the English Health Secretary is caught up in a heated contract dispute with junior doctors in England.

So ther eis no Border of Death as Cameron claims but this does not let the Welsh Labour government  off the Hook and if they were tp go into Opposition  it would not be long before they started attacking the state of the Welsh NHS even if in reality Nothing had changed.

As the cabinet post in Westminster and Cardiff Bay  are handed  out after a reshuffle . I bet every potential minister is praying.

"Please not Health"
 This report may put a end to the "Our Health service is better than yours" or rather "our Health service is not as bad as yours" claims but the problems are still there

In England Jeremy Hunt attempt to convince voters he can improve the Health service there has led to Junior Dr's going on strike.

Whilst in Wales we are likely to see all sorts of promises  on waiting Times being reduced by employing more Doctors and Nurses.

But could the best thing for the NHS  after the Election be a consensus on the Welsh NHS taking it out of the political spectrum for now and all Parties joining together to work out what is the best response to the problems of the Welsh NHS .

It will not happen of course there's to much Political capitol to come out from the NHS and lets face with it be responsible for nearly half the Welsh Budget.

Indeed it will probably eclipse all the other issues, and we have many more things to discuss in the run up to May including where we foresee the Assembly going.

The argument is that the electorate  are not interested in Constitutional matters so we will have debates and promises on the Welsh NHS and maybe Education as well.

As i said maybe we need consensus on the Welsh NHS not treating it as a political football . There are so many more things we need to address which are being overshadowed .

Friday, 12 February 2016

Would a Plaid ,Green and LibDem pact have worked?

It would be interesting to know just when the  " Informal talks" were held between Plaid Cymru, the Welsh Liberal Democrats and the Welsh Greens on a failed attempt at an electoral pact, it has emerged.
Sources told ITV that representatives of the three parties had discussed the idea of working together to present a united alternative to Labour.

Was it recent or was it before the Parties started their selection process in earnest

ITV reported that those involved believed the group could have won as many as 22 AMs through the pact.

It was thought that this, if Labour lost ground, may have given them the opportunity to put together a government.
The talks were reportedly started by Plaid, but fell apart when the Welsh Lib Dems called them off.

Such pacts sometimes  common in Europe where Proportional Representations  looms large and where Parties form their Coalition groupings before the election.

Would such a pact work in Wales

Syniadau has been crunching the numbers
A quick look at the results from 2011 shows that there are five constituency seats that could be won from either Labour or the Tories if the Greens, Plaid and LibDems were able to work together. Ordered by the size of the margin they are:

Cardiff Central
won by Labour with 37.9%, combined three party vote 44.9%

won by the Tories with 34.0%, combined three party vote 40.4%

won by Labour with 39.7%, combined three party vote 41.5%

won by the Tories with 43.7%, combined three party vote 44.9%

Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire
won by the Tories with 35.8%, combined three party vote 33.6%
Of course a lot has changed since 2011. Opinion polls show that the LibDems have plummeted and that UKIP have risen. But UKIP are not likely to win any constituency seats, so whatever they get is irrelevant to winning seats from Labour and the Tories. The LibDem collapse is rather more pertinent. It means that Kirsty Williams will have to fight hard to hold Brecon and Radnor, and could do with all the help she can get. So negotiating an electoral pact could

So it would be probably the LibDems   who benefited the most and possibly the Greens would gain a few seats.

Plaid would by far the Largest Party but even then a coalition  of the Three would not win an over alll majority.

There is no real guarantee that the  electorate would respond in the way that the Prties would hope. 

It might even work in reverse as the electorate treat it as a cynical attempt to manipulate them.

Anyway  its not as if Plaid and the LibDems have been  collaborating  over the last years in the Assembly Chamber.

For such a pact to have worked Plaid, LibDems  and the Greens would have had to have presented a joint vision for the future of the Assembly.

There may be some in all three Parties who are prepared to do so.

But probably it would still be abandoned if any of the Paries see a short term eletctoral gain.

Was it worth it?

Maybe but the secrecy seem to point to the Parties planning a fait accompli which may have cause the membership to revolt.

It might well be best to hope that the willy Welsh Electorate more or less do what the negotiators plan and vote for a Party that may defeat A Labour, Tory or Ukip candidate.

Is that a pig that just flew pass my window?

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Is the Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Bill going to cause mayhem .

It would have been very difficult for any Political Party to have opposed Kirsty Williams’ Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Bill which passed Stage 4, the final stage, of the legislative process. yesterday 

As Subordinate Central gleefully pointed out

The Bill will see Wales become the first part of Europe with a legal duty to have sufficient nurse staffing levels on hospital wards.
Over 4,500 members of the public have signed petitions in support of the Bill which, which is now scheduled to receive royal assent in March.
Kirsty’s name was drawn out of a ballot for the chance to introduce her own law in December 2013.
Kirsty Williams who is leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, said:
“This bill shows the ambition the Welsh Liberal Democrats have for Wales. We have today ensured that Wales will become the first part of Europe with a legal duty on safe staffing levels.
“The premise of my More Nurses Bill is very simple: nurses who have fewer patients to care for, can spend more time with each patient. As a result, they can provide better, safer care.
“With all the bad headlines the Welsh NHS has had over the past few years, I am pleased that the Welsh Liberal Democrats have today delivered this good news story.
“Just this week the Welsh Liberal Democrats have delivered over £200m for our schools, 5,000 apprenticeships and now we have delivered on a law to ensure safe nurse staffing levels in our hospitals.”

You can expect this  to feature  highly for the LibDems in next May's Assembly elections.

But can anyone who supported this tell me what happens if a ward is short of nurses.

Will it  close?

Will non urgent patients be sent home

Will we see more Agency Nurses drafted in to cover absentee NHS  staff resulting in a massive increase in NHS costs?

Of course hopefully we will see more Nursed employed by the Welsh NHS , but will they have the resources to pay for it.

As I said it would have been difficult to vote against such an aspiration.

I have recently had two operations carried out on a Neurology Ward  where I was n o where as incapacitated  as many of my fellow patients and I was placed in a side room because I didn't have to be constantly monitored.

It was clearly one of the Wards, where it was vital that it was fully staffed . Though a nurse informed me that another ward attached to the department constantly has staffing problems

Although La Pasionaria's bill is a brilliant aspiration . I am not sure the practicalities of enforcing it have been clearly thought out.

I really hope I am wrong and in five years the LibDems can really point to a success story.

It would be tragic if it ended up making things worse.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Can Plaid prop up the Tories next May?

Wales Online claims that A senior Plaid Cymru AM has refused to publicly rule out his party striking a deal with a Conservative minority government in the National Assembly.

They say  Simon Thomas made it clear that the party has only specifically ruled out a formal coalition with the Tories.

Mr Thomas, AM for Mid and West Wales, said Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood “had ruled out a coalition with the Conservatives”.

The AM, asked if Leanne Wood had ruled out confidence and supply with the Conservatives, said: “There’s all kinds of things that happen after elections.”
He was pressed further on whether Plaid Cymru was ruling out a confidence and supply arrangement with a Conservative minority government.
He said: “We haven’t said anything about that one way or another and I’m not going to add to that. I’m simply not discussing it before an election.”
Mr Thomas, asked to make it clear if it was just a coalition that had been ruled out, added: “That is correct, yes.”

Its a rather odd response

Firstly it accepts the unlikely scenario that the Tories will be either the largest Party in the Assembly after May or they will be second with enough AM's to do a deal with another Party to run the Assembly .

Secondly  it is very unlikely the Tories would accept a situation which would give Plaid almost control of what goes into the Tory government budget
Confidence and supply arrangements are where smaller parties agree to support larger ones remain in government by supporting them in votes of no confidence and in motions that allow ministers to spend money.
Currently there is no such deal with the ruling Labour group in the Assembly – who are in a minority and who have made ad-hoc agreements with parties during the fourth Assembly term.

That could leave the door open for an arrangement where Plaid seeks concessions from the Tories to enable a minority Conservative government to get its spending plans through.

Within an hour of his comments at Plaid's weekly press conference, fellow Plaid AM Rhun ap Iorwerth issued a statement saying that such an arrangement was "inconceivable".

 We made it clear that Plaid Cymru are putting forward a set of policies that we think could take Wales places, that could set Wales off in a different trajectory.
"The people of Wales for that election on May 5 have got to decide which party best represents their ambition for Wales.
"We don't want to talk about coalitions.
"We don't want to go into coalition with Labour, we don't want to go into coalition with the Conservatives.

"Whatever the government after May 6 parties will probably have to work together in order to make major change happen.
"The nature of those collaborations between whichever parties, the extent to which parties have to work together, will be decided by the people of Wales.
"Would we prop up a minority Tory government? That's inconceivable.
"It's clear that Simon Thomas was saying what we've said for weeks and months running into this election, that we don't want to engage in talks about who will work with who after May, for the very reason that we want the people of Wales to decide who they want to govern, on the basis of who has the best ideas to take Wales forward.
"It's clear to me that Simon was once again saying listen, we're not going to answer these questions now.
"Let the people of Wales decide these answers on May 5.
"There are some things like allowing the Conservatives to rule themselves that really is inconceivable."
It does reflect a dilemma for Plaid in that they could be Kingmakers without any taste for backing either House.

With the current Polls predicting a fairly hefty Ukip presence  in the Assembly after May ,any talk of a minority Tory government or a Rainbow coalition which will replace Labour looks unlikely

How many seats of the 60 can a party win in order to form a minority government ?

It must surely have to be  larger those  than currently predicted opposition  for any of the current parties

It seems odd that Simon Thomas didn't use the importunity  however to  that Plaid were aiming to be the governing Part after May whether as the Majority (Unlikely) or as a Minority (possible).

The election of Jeremy Corbyn  to the Labour Leadership proves that you cannot dismiss anything  in Poltics.

Not even a Labour-Tory coalition in Cardiff Bay claiming they are preventing the "Nationalists" from emulating  gaining power like the SNP in Scotland or the possibility of months of an Assembly with no government.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Ukip introduce " Welsh Democracy" because Farage wants to stop Hamilton.

 The Saga within Ukip over it selection of list candidates for next May's Assembly Election

One of the original dissident   candidates  who had publicly criticised the party, and said he would resign if either Former Tory MPs  Neil Hamilton or  Mark Reckless were picked, on the list  has himself  been removed from the list of candidates being put to grassroots members.

Kevin Mahoney was removed from the list after a meeting of the party’s Wales committee decided to take disciplinary action in the wake of his comments.

There was a whiff o local  democracy with  the decision to hand grassroots Ukip members the final say on the party’s candidates 

Announcing members were in charge of selection, Nigel Farage said last week:
“I have long argued that the UKIP members in Wales should get the final say on who represents our party in the Welsh Assembly elections.

“These elections in May are our best opportunity to make a breakthrough into UK domestic politics.”

However according to the Wasting Mule this appears to be a final bid to stop former Neil Hamilton.
The Mule says that according to sources 
Nigel Farage is understood to fear that the notorious ex MP would damage his party’s chances of picking up seats in Wales in May.
Polls put the party on course for anything from five to nine AMs through the regional lists, a form of proportional representation.
Sources within Ukip said that the decision to hand grassroots Ukip members the final say on the party’s candidates was a bid to stop former Tory MP Hamilton.
A senior Ukip source said:
“The thing with Hamilton is that every time someone tries to flush [him] the toilet he keeps coming back up.
“Every single time his name is anywhere near an election it becomes storm. Is there any election he won’t stand for?”

The source revealed there was “consternation” over the pair’s power bid and the latest row threatens Ukip’s surge in the principality.

Now this Blog has constantly disparaged the use of "sources" in the Mule's articles and sometimes take them woth a pinch of salt and sees no difference  when this done about a party I loathe like Ukip

The Mule goes on to say that "A Ukip official" said: 

“It doesn’t look great that Hamilton, with all his baggage, comes over the Severn Bridge to try and cleanse his CV.
“It could cost us votes, particularly when they see him with his bow tie. He won’t go down well in the places we expect to win votes.”

If there any truth in it however it was hardly a triumph for Welsh Democracy if the reason the decision by Ukip’s ruling National Executive Committee to give member in Wales  the final was afraid the presence of Neil  Hamilton may be toxic to voters in Wales  and handing control to members jeopardises his chances.

 For most Parties such revelations would be extremely harmful to a Party ,but does  this apply to Ukip who seem to have daily internal battles and resignation?

It doesn't seem to have affected their support in the polls so far.

If their current History is anything to go by even if they were to get the 5-6 AM's predicted they would lose a number to resignations before the following elections.

The election of Ukip to the Assembly may provide plenty of Copy for the Wasting Mule and myself and fellow Welsh Bloggers.

But I think I would prefer that this isn't happen.


Monday, 8 February 2016

Sorry Tim the LibDems are not a "Anti-Establishment Party".

The Wasting Mule seems to have put the words

Give your protest votes to us rather than Ukip's 'English nationalists',

into the mouth of  Liberal Democrat  leader Tim (Who) Farron, but appeaes to it looks like that's what he meant .

Mr Farron referred to strong speculation that people who formerly represented English seats as Conservative MPs could stand for Ukip in Wales, saying:

 “I find it hard to credit, really, if I may say this as an English Liberal – why would people in Wales vote for English nationalists? That is essentially what they are and their interests are anything but the interests of Wales.
“So if people are wanting to strike an anti-establishment tone to register their anger and disappointment with a Conservative Government in Westminster and a Labour administration [that is] 17 years old now in Cardiff Bay which takes most of Wales for granted – indeed all of Wales – then the Liberal Democrats are your choice.”
Forgetting the reality that a lot of  Liberal Democrats candidates seem to come from outside Wales . How can a Party that was in coalition at Westminster with the Tories  only a year ago call them selves Anti-Establishment?

Oh I see nothing wrong in pointing out  that many leading LibDems in Wales  seem to have come from outside to Welsh University Towns to study, joining the Party as a student, and staying.

If Tim Farron can point to the "English Origins" of Ukip candidates " to appeall to voters I can do the same to his party.

There is a difference between  Mr Farron what  referred to strong speculation that people who formerly represented English seats as Conservative MPs could stand in the Assembly next year and English born candidates for any Party here who have lived here for years and the majority of who feel Welsh.

But is it right for Tim Farron or any LibDem to  call for voters to back them instead of Ukip ,because Ukip is a English party.

But it it is the  need for of the LibDems  to call for protest voters  that show how desperate Farron's Party are.

Just how many Ukip voters are Ant EU or approve of their  attacks on refugees and migrants rather than an "Anti-Establishment " vote is unclear.

If it the former then they are unlikely to vote for a Pro EU and who stand on the refugees and migrants question is more honourable than some other Parties I could mention.

If it is the latter the the electorate  may well have not yet erased the memories  that for most of the last Assembly the LibDems were acting as the Tories bag carriers at Westminster.



Sunday, 7 February 2016

LibDems are also to blame for Steel closures.

I can probably accept why after  the disastrous  Five Years of coalition government the  LibDems would rather erase it from not only  their memory but ours as well.
So we see stories appearing on Wales Online  that

Warning signs have been flashing over the steel industry for years but Labour has failed to take action, Liberal Democrat AM Eluned Parrott claimed as she kicked off the party’s conference in Cardiff.
She is adamant that action could have been taken to protect the industry, which has been rocked by the announcement of 750 job losses at Port Talbot.
She said:
 “On steel I have watched the warning signs of this industry in trouble not for months but for years.
 "I have stood up in the chamber and asked the minister to do something about it; to cut business rates on heavy machinery, to demand the highest standards in our procurement policy, to make sure that no grey market imports are ever used in our government’s contracts.”
 “This isn’t abstract – this is to protect livelihoods and communities, and I’ve heard back time after time is, ‘We’ll think about it’.
“And no, I know that the Labour Government can’t do everything. But since when was that an excuse to do
nothing?”d not have the powers then it should have demanded them.
 Ms Parrot's attack on Labour in Wales is somewhat justified . If it didn't have the powers it should have demanded them.

But even in Scotland the government there did not have the real powers to prevent closure . This still lies with Westminster.

What did Ms Parrot's Party  do for the Steel Industry over its Five Years siting on the Government benches?

True the large majority of former Nick Cleggs seat Sheffield Hallam is rural, spreading in the west into the Peak District National Park. But surely he would considering that's City's connection to the Steel Industry

It also contains some of the least deprived wards in the country, has low unemployment (1.5% jobseekers claimants in November 2012)[7] and a high rate of owner occupancy with few occupants who rent their home. 

But can anyone representing a seat in South Yorkshire not share in the legacy of Steel in that area in the same way no South Wales MP or AM can share ours?

What did those LibDems in actual positions to do something in their years of Coalition do for the Steel Industry , I wonder?

I can the LibDems desire to put the past behind them and they probably have decided to erase their "achievements" (if any) from the public memory for fear they will still be held responsible for propping up a vicious Tory government.