Saturday, 25 October 2014

There could be a real alternative in 2015 and Scotland and Wales can lead it.

Three stories from Yesterday ,
Firstly the news that Johann Lamont has quit as leader of the Scottish Labour Party after accusing the UK party leadership of treating Scotland as a "branch office".
A Scottish party source said Ms Lamont had "had enough" and felt she did not have the support of the UK party.
She is said to have become disillusioned with internal criticism of her leadership and interference by the UK Labour party in the running of Scottish Labour.
Ms Lamont wanted more autonomy for the party in Scotland and significant new powers for the Scottish Parliament.
But she felt both of those objectives were being thwarted by some of her Westminster colleagues, and accused them of putting their own interests ahead of those of Scotland.
She was also unhappy that a senior official of the Scottish party - general secretary Ian Price - was to be removed from office without her being consulted
This further   puts Labour in disarray before the next General Election where they face decemation by the SNP.

Then there was an indication that in the next parliament especially a hung one Plaid , The SNP and Greens might work together

 Giving her keynote speech to the conference on Friday, Ms Wood said votes for Welsh and Scottish nationalists, as well as Greens, could decide who holds the balance of power at Westminster following the election in May 2015.
The independence campaign in Scotland had helped bring about the "demise" of two-party dominance by the Conservatives and Labour, she said.
When it came to her argument that she should be included in the Leaders Debate before the General Election  when she said leaving Plaid Cymru out of proposed TV debates by the party leaders meant that "the truth will not be televised and her reference to "four men in Grey Suits" echoed a recent Guardian article. by Alex Andreou
However, the exclusion of parties such as the Greens, the Scottish National party and Plaid Cymru has another deeper effect. It excludes anyone who could lend a modicum of diversity to these debates; who might challenge the status quo on the environment, on devolution, on constitutional change, on free-market economics, on gender politics. What we have ended up with – again – is a platform of two, three or four rich, privileged, white, straight, middle-aged, male, career politicians from a tiny part of south-east England telling the rest of the country what is what.
This monochrome palette, this disturbing example of what Grayson Perry recently described as “the default man”, is bad for political engagement and grossly unrepresentative of the country. It ensures that large swaths of the voting population will flick on to the debates, see a pictorial representation of the same dull grey suits talking in soundbites and switch back to Britain’s Got Talent, secure in the knowledge that, if Britain does indeed have talent, politics is carefully sealed from any hint of it.

Finally there's a report that Alex'Salmond has revealed he is considering standing for a seat at Westminster in next year’s General Election.

The First Minister, who announced that he would stand down after defeat in the independence referendum, said he had not ruled out the possibility.

Asked on the BBC’s Question Time if he would consider a return to Westminster, he told the host David Dimbleby: "The answer to your question David, absolutely decisively I can tell you I haven't made up my mind. So you'll have to wait and see.

"But I tell you what, when I do make up my mind, you invite me back on to Question Time and I'll tell you why I did it."

With a SNP MP calling for a Yes Alliance in Scotland we should be aiming to take it further 

Stuart Hosie MP, candidate for the SNP Depute Leadership said
“I am certain that the best way to make sure Westminster delivers real maximum devolution to Scotland will be to return the largest ever number of Independence supporting MPs to Westminster. I’m equally certain that many of the wonderful, talented people who emerged through the Independence campaign will contest the next election.
While the SNP will be the engine of the campaign and with over 80,000 members it will be a turbo charged one, the wider Independence movement can provide further fuel and momentum to that campaign.
In practice that means looking at ways of working beyond party interests to maximise the participation of those who campaigned and voted for a better Scotland by offering them an opportunity to campaign and vote again for change at next year’s General Election.
I have no doubt that the SNP can and will send the largest ever number of SNP MPs to Westminster at next year’s general election, but if we can build a Yes Alliance, there is an opportunity to do even more than that.What is also clear is that whether we campaign on a joint platform of maximum powers for Scotland, or select candidates from the range of hugely talented people who emerged through the referendum campaign, the SNP should show the same willing to work with individuals and organisations to make sure the largest number of Independence supporting MPs is delivered to Westminster next year.
Why not an Alliance of  the Scottish Parties Plaid  the Greens in England  and Mebyon Kernow an at the risk of adding another Man in a Grey Suit  would not Big Eck be the one to lead it.

It could see over 20 SNP PMs , 5 Plaid , some Greens and maybe see Dick Cole representin the people of Cornwall in the next Parliament.

Indeed may be the biggest winners mauy be our friends in England who currently have no choice from Lab,Con,LibDem or Ukip.

They need an alternative as much as we do.

Friday, 24 October 2014

We must argue for Independence now, not "in due course ".

According to Wales Online ,Cymru leader Leanne Wood,has told a group of sixth formers that Wales is not yet economically ready for independence.
Though the Wasting Mule Online (for that is what it largely is) does not seem to have Leanne actually using these words
They say 
Speaking to around 100 school students at Ysgol Dinas Bran, Llangollen, Ms Wood spoke about the huge engagement she had witnessed while campaigning for a Yes vote in last month’s referendum on Scottish independence.She said: “Scotland has always had a separate justice system and doesn’t, for example, have probation officers, the job I used to do before becoming a politician.
“Instead the work is done by social workers.
“Since 1978 Scotland has had funding on a much greater scale than we have had, enabling it to become a successful economy.
“Plaid Cymru believes all our efforts should be geared towards improving the Welsh economy so that Wales can stand on its own two feet.
“We are absolutely determined to do that, but we’re not there yet.”
She added: “There’s absolutely no reason why Wales can’t become a prosperous independent country in due course. There’s nothing wrong or inferior about us that means we couldn’t run all of our own affairs in an independent country.”

However her use of "in due course"is a bit worrying.

Plaid should be arguing that it be impossible to become a strong economy without Independence and it  will be that very thing that will  galvanise the economy.

Talk of "reforming the Barnett formula means that we will still be going "Cap in Hand" to Westminster  only with a bigger cap in the expectation we will get more.

Theo's nothing wrong in fighting within the current system particularly for social justice for example.

But we need a positive vision of an Independent Wales and we need to make this imperative.

We could wait for decades or ever for the economic conditions to make Wales ready for Independence.

Instead lets argue that it will be Independence itself that will create the conditions.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Alice in Blunderland

When she met Tweedlecon and Tweedlelab  poor Alice was as confused as she had ever been in Blunderland.

"They look and sound exactly the same",she said to herself . "But they argue all the time and now they are shouting about the NHS in Wales".

"Its quite easy", said a voice and the Cheshire cat appeared.

"Tweedlecon is Prime minister and Tweedlelab used to be". Tweedlecon talks about the NHS being second rate because it the only place where Tweedlelab runs it".

"So Tweedlecons friends especialy   the Dirty Mule help him, with this

"Patients are so desperate to flee the crisis-hit Welsh NHS they are going private or moving to England, it emerged last night.Tens of thousands cross the border every year to escape lengthy waiting lists or access life-saving drugs. Nearly four times as many Welsh patients are treated in England as the other way round, official figures show".

But Tweedlelab has its own Mule the Wasting Mule and it lets Tweedle lab defend itself and his little elf Carwyn to refrute charges he is preventing an inquirey into the NHS in Wales

Scotland and Northern Ireland are as annoyed as we are. There was an agreement that this would be a four-nation assessment. The Department of Health refused to give an assurance that they wouldn’t use unverified figures in the general election.“So ourselves, Scotland and Northern Ireland said ‘let’s follow the usual process here and embargo the figures until after the general election’. They wouldn’t do it – that’s how politicised the Department of Health has become.“We’ve said that if they don’t sort this out, we’ll go ahead ourselves and have an OECD assessment [commissioned by us] rather than wait for them and the political games they’re playing. Hey presto – the story was fed to a Conservative MP.“The Department of Health, I’m afraid, we do not trust at all. It’s the most politicised department of any department of Whitehall. They have form on this – they did it on veterans’ health. We can’t work with them, frankly. We could not share anything confidential with them. They would leak it.”

"So whose right?",said Alice 

"They both are of course", said the cat "Both are running the NHS appallingly "but Tweedlecon thinks it can show Tweedlelab is running his worse so people will not let him run it in England".

"Tweddlelab thinks he can get away with his screw-ups in Wales by claiming Tweedlecon is insuling criticising that Nation not him".

"So what are we to do" said Alice "there's no diffidence  between them"

"I din't know I had to come up with solutions" said the Cat "as I told you before Oh, you can't help that,' 'we're all mad here.”

And it slowly disappeared leaving the grin till last.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

A Peerage to far.

It is strange that there appears to be silence from the media od the news and most political parties over Sir Andrew Green, a leading opponent of  immigration to Britain, is to become a peer.

David Cameron personally nominated the chairman of MigrationWatch for a seat in the House of Lords as a crossbencher for his public service as a former diplomat and for

Sir Andrew is a regular commentator on immigration and asylum matters in the British media. He is frequently quoted or interviewed and writes numerous articles for the major daily newspapers including right-of-centre newspapers such as theDaily MailDaily TelegraphDaily Express and Daily Star.[12] He has also written for The Times[14] and for,] A 2005 Demos publication states that Andrew Green was quoted on the topic of asylum at least once a week in the Daily Express and Daily Star, starting from early 2003. Green also featured prominently in the BBC's "asylum day" coverage of the topic in 2003.
In October 2011, Andrew Green started a petition on the UK government's e-petitions website, calling on the government "to take all necessary steps to get immigration down to a level that will stabilise our population as close to the present level as possible and, certainly, well below 70 million".[When the petition closed on 20 October 2012, it had attracted 145,536 signatures.

Its perhaps points to the nature of UK politics that if Migration Watch was led by ordinary member of the public it would have met greater opposition but because Green comes from the same class of public school educated elite as Cameron he is treated differently

Migration Watch are also clever in thier choice of name  rather than call them selves Immigration Watch which would be more accurate but would lead to accusation of racism and maybe greater annalysis.

Bernhard Gross, Kerry Moore and Terry Threadgold of the Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies at Cardiff University have criticised the broadcast media's use of MigrationWatch to 'balance' reports on immigration. In a study of broadcast coverage of the issue of asylum, they state:

It is clear from our interviews with broadcast journalists that taking 'too soft a left, liberal' approach to asylum is seen as contradicting everything they believe about the values of objectivity and impartiality. This explains why one television editor told us that "perhaps the Mail and the Express had got it right". This anxiety about taking a position seen to be supportive of asylum seems to produce an over-compensation in terms of using easily accessible right-wing sources such as MigrationWatch UK as a 'balance'. The whole idea of 'balance' in these contexts needs to be re-thought and re-imagined. There are never just two sides to any story and two negative sides do not add up to ‘balance’. Journalists do not seem at present to know where else to go with this issue.
It is remenisive of the treatment of Farage and Ukip  as compared with Nick Griffin and the BNP.
One is treated with respect even fawned over whilst the later is rightly treated with derision.

The appointment of Green to the  already overcrowded Second Chamber is a Pathetic attempt by Cameron to appear to be tough on Immigration and stop the advance of Ukip.

The whole idea that  some one should be given a peerage for  "his role in the immigration debate" when that  role is simply to oppose Immigration masking as opposing "Mass Immigration" is deplorable.

Oh and by the way . Why is opposing Immigration to the UK acceptable whilst expressing concerns about the influx of Non welsh speakers to Y Fro Cymraeg and claiming that it damages the Welsh Language . symtoms of Narrow Welsh Nationlism?

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Was Barroso also wrong on Scotland Mr Cameron?

David Cameron has said the British people are his only “boss” on the EU as he hit back at criticism from the outgoing president of the European commission, José Manuel Barroso, who accused him of making an “historic mistake” on Europe.
As Downing Street sources confirmed that the prime minister would lay out plans before Christmas to curb the rights of EU migrants to work in Britain, Cameron said he would answer to the British people in a referendum in 2017.
Speaking during a visit to the Ford motor plant in Dagenham, east London, on Monday, Cameron said: “What we need in Britain is a renegotiation of our relationship with the EU and then a referendum where the British people decide do we stay in this reformed organisation or do we leave it.
Barroso was not always so unwelcome when commenting on UK poltics.

Back in February  the Unionist Party and the UK media had a problem in disguising their glee Jose Manuel Barroso said an independent Scotland would have to apply for EU membership and get the approval of all current member states, in the wake of a Yes vote in September's referendum.

It would be "extremely difficult, if not impossible" for an independent Scotland to get the necessary approval from the member states for it to join the European Union (EU), the president of the European Commission has said.

Mr Barroso told the BBC he respected the ongoing democratic processes surrounding the independence debate and said it was for the Scottish people to decide on the country's future.
But he told the Andrew Marr Show: "In case there is a new country, a new state, coming out of a current member state, it will have to apply and... the application and the accession to the European Union will have to be approved by all the other member states of the European Union."

Do one statement by Barroso is unwelcome by Cameron. Whilst another is seized on if not enthusiastically with a implication that he quite correct

You pays your money

Monday, 20 October 2014

Carwyn "Better Together Jones. I don't trust Westminster.

Just a few months after travailing to Scotland to urge people there to vote NO because we are "Better Together".

First Minister Carwyn Jones says the Welsh Government does not trust the Department of Health in London and can’t work with it.
Mr Jones made the blunt comments during an exclusive interview with the Wasting Mule  in which he defended his administration’s running of the NHS against attacks from opposition parties and professional groups like the British Medical Association
The First Minister referred to a story the Mule ran last week in which Monmouth Conservative MP David Davies criticised the Welsh Government for allegedly “blocking” a comparative study of the NHS in the four UK nations to be carried out by the respected international organisation, the OECD.
The Welsh Government said it wasn’t prepared to participate in the study, and put off a visit to Wales by OECD officials, when the Department of Health said it planned to use statistics in the draft report in next year’s general election campaign.
The Welsh Government said such statistics in the section on Wales would be “unverified” before it confirmed their accuracy.
Referring to the OECD story, Mr Jones said: 
“Scotland and Northern Ireland are as annoyed as we are. There was an agreement that this would be a four-nation assessment.“The Department of Health refused to give an assurance that they wouldn’t use unverified figures in the general election.“So ourselves, Scotland and Northern Ireland said ‘let’s follow the usual process here and embargo the figures until after the general election’. They wouldn’t do it – that’s how politicised the Department of Health has become.“We’ve said that if they don’t sort this out, we’ll go ahead ourselves and have an OECD assessment [commissioned by us] rather than wait for them and the political games they’re playing. Hey presto – the story was fed to a Conservative MP
I must admit I have some sympathy for Carwyn's position.

With the Tories clearly intending to use the plight of the Welsh NHS It looks very suspicious   that a comparative study of the NHS in the four UK nations has been called and would conveniently report before next May giving little time for rebuttal.

Even if Carwyn was confident that the NHS in Wales was preforming better than the rest of the UK (somehow I doubt it) the Number crunchers at Westminster would twist the facts.

But Carwyn as I said only recently told the people of Scotland to put their faith in Westminster even under the Tories/

Now he says Westminster can't be trusted.

On this basis neither can he,

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Towyn on Conwy Byelection result

There was a Byelection on Towyn on Conwy (Con Defence)


Laura Knightly Conservative 143 (25%),(Elected)
 Michael David Smith Independent  116 (20%)
 David Keneth Johnson Independent (Johnson) (18%), 
Beverky Ann Pickard Jones Labour 98 (17%), 
Barry Douglas Griffiths Independent 69 (12%),
Geofreey Davis Correy  Independent 43 (8%)

Conservative HOLD with a majority of 27 (5%)
Total Independent vote: 332 (58%)

The seat was uncontested in 2012 when  William John Charles Knightly Con was elected.

If ever there was an a argument for STV then a election where the winning candidate won with 25% of the vote is a powerful one

The result makes no change in the political makeup of the Council  with no Party or Independent Grouping able to gain a majority election after election.

  • Independent 19
  • Conservative 13
  • Plaid Cymru 12
  • Labour 10
  • Liberal Democrats 4
  • Vacant seats 1
So no earthquake here no Plaid candidate and surprisingly no Ukip candidarte in a seat where the demographics may have ben ideal for them