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

Friday, 17 October 2014

Ceredigion leader Ellen ap Gwynn needs to heard on NHS funding.

The Plaid Cymru leader of Ceredigion Ellen ap Gwynn called for the public spending watchdog to look "in detail" at how the seven boards spend their money.
She said it was "disgraceful" that councils had lost almost £200m with "little notice" to "bail out health boards" in the Welsh government budget.
Ministers denied the NHS had gained funding at the expense of councils.

The BBC says that
Ms ap Gwynn urged the assembly's Finance Committee to send "a clear message" to the Wales Audit Office (WAO) about the need for an investigation into how boards manage their finances.This week, Auditor General Huw Vaughan Thomas called for an urgent and far-reaching debate on how much the Welsh government could afford to spend on the NHS.Last month, the Welsh government's draft budget for 2015-16 allocated an extra £425m to the health service over the next two years.But £192m was cut from Welsh ministers' total local government budget for 2015-16, and they announced last week that the money directly paid to the 22 local authorities in their block grants would fall by £146m.
Ms ap Gwynn hopefully wil not be dismissed outright .

Its beginning to be worrying when it seems to be impossible not to increase spending on the NHS year in  years out .

This may sound odd coming from a Blog claiming to be on the Progressive Left especially one who this Year had a serious Operation followed by another say in hospital and who has had numerous visits to clinics and faces many more.

But so long as Health boards feel that they can rely on Politicians to increase spending fearing Political suicide if they don't. There will be no incentive to see our they can be more effective.and save money whilst maintaining or even improving services.

The Welsh Government and all the other Parties have to look hard this.

As long as we are in a robbing Peter to pay Paul where Peter is always the NHS it will not consider reform.

 This week Labour, Conservatives, Plaid Cymru and Liberal Democrats in the Assembly. with Proposals for further devolution to Wales.

Maybe they should also agree on the current system of all calling for money to be spent on the NHS and find a way to seekingh how it can become better

But there seems to be little chance of this happening

Ellen ap Gwynn will probably be a loan voice  but the least we can do is listen to what she says.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Plaid must not accept anything but parity with Scotland.

One of the reasons I am not a member of Plaid though this Blog nominally supports that party is that I feel I have to be able to criticise the Party.

This occurs from time to time and it has happened when Leanne Wood joined with leaders of Labour, Conservatives, Plaid Cymru and Liberal Democrats in the Assembly. with 
Proposals for further devolution to Wales

Their blueprint is set out in a joint motion which will be debated by Assembly Members next week.
The National Assembly for Wales:
Welcomes the Prime Minister’s commitment that Wales will be at the heart of the debate on the future of the United Kingdom;
Calls for bilateral talks that are informed by the Holtham and Silk 1 Commissions’ findings, including an updated assessment of the current level and likely future direction of Welsh relative funding;
Calls for those talks, which should begin immediately and be completed by January 2015, to have a particular focus on fair funding, with the goal of securing rapid implementation of a funding floor which both addresses underfunding in a way that is consistent with Welsh needs and halts future convergence;
Calls for the UK Government to:-ensure that the same powers are given to Wales regarding the devolution of Corporation Tax if they are provided to Northern Ireland and Scotland;-devolve Air Passenger Duty for direct long-haul flights;-review the level of the borrowing powers afforded to Wales in the Wales Bill; and-work with the Welsh Government to enable it to issue its own bonds;
Seeks recognition that if a decision is taken to hold a Referendum on tax varying powers, this should reflect the view of the people of Wales;
Seeks confirmation that the Reserved Powers model will be instituted for Wales;
Calls on the UK Government to give the National Assembly for Wales the power to determine its electoral arrangements;
Calls on the UK Government to make progress on Silk 2;
Affirms that these matters should be taken forward in legislative proposals, published before the end of the current Westminster parliamentary session.

Where's the parity with Scotland? The above looks like no where going towards reaching this.

And bear in mind if English Votes for English Laws goes through then English  MPs wil be also de facto members of an English Parliament within Westminster and have the same powers as Members of the Scottish Parliament. Having more powers than our AM in Cardiff.

On his Blog Jac produces an analysis of Plaid that I find completely wrong  for instance  he says

The Scottish National Party enjoys its position of strength, not because it ‘reached out’ to colonising Greens (Scotland has its own pro-independence Green Party), not because it indulged itself in sixth form ‘socialism’, not because it snuggled up to Labour and certainly not because it tried to out-Labour Labour; no, the SNP’s strength is the result of confronting the Labour Party and the British system head-on with a message of hope for the Scottish people. This is why Glasgow voted Yes last month. All Plaid Cymru does is agonise over the nuts and bolts of devolution and whine about the Barnett Formula, (basically, just asking for a bigger begging bowl). Plaid Cymru is a defeatist party; it is a collaborationist party.
A quick look at the areas that voted YES in the referendum shows that it was those people in working class areas   who saw a brighter future for Scotland under a leadership of a Left leaning party (SNP) rather than Blue or Red Tories in Westminster.

But that does not mean that Plaid failure to push the Independence argument in years of the Assembly wasn't a mistake.

In the first years in particular the Blaid concentrated to much on making the assembly work and enough on its failings.

My message to Leanne Wood is to make it clear t hat whilst this agreement d  may be the maximum of devolution wanted by the other parties (including the LibDems) it the bare minimum that Plaid will back.And don't forget you can't trust the others (remember The Vow).

I am not sure that Independence should be Plaid's rallying call for the 2016 elections but at least let it be Parity with Scotland.

I hope its not going to be we want larger crumbs of the table.


Wednesday, 15 October 2014

An Independent Scotland could be even closer.

One of the weapons the Unionist  used  in the campaign for a NO vote was  the fate of cross-border health care in an independent Scotland.
John Lamont a Tory , whose constituency is in the Borders,  published a letter from the UK government's Department of Health.
It says negotiations would be required for present arrangements to continue.
Buts Scottish Health Secretary Alex Neil  said agreements were already in place which would allow the current system to remain in place.
Thousands of people in southern Scotland and northern England are treated at hospitals on opposite sides of the border every year.
Mr Lamont said the letter from the Department of Health confirmed that this "vital" arrangement could cease to exist in an independent Scotland.
"Should Scotland vote to leave the union this September it is far from certain that Borders patients would continue to receive cross-border care," he said.
"I know that this will come as a concern to the thousands of Borders patients who every year benefit from being able to access health care in England.
"To lose this ability would not only prove to be a massive inconvenience to them, it could also restrict their access to important medical care.
If any one is still in doubt  the latest news from Ireland that  Northern Ireland's health minister has backed the establishment of an all-Ireland children's heart surgery centre in Dublin in the Republic of Ireland.
It means surgery in Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital will cease.
Jim Wells made the announcement to the assembly on Tuesday, following a review of children's cardiac services.
In 2012, it emerged that services at the Royal were not sustainable with many operations taking place in either England or Dublin.
Mr Wells, a Democratic Unionist Party minister, told MLAs he was recommending the implementation of a new cross-border model of co-operation that would "deliver safe and effective cardiac care to children in Northern Ireland".
Its a pity that this wasn't confirmed during the referendum  run up as it may have swayed people who were influenced by project fear.
Still it shows that different Nations can work together on a equal basis and agree on a strategy that suits them both.
It goes someway to show how the Labour party in Scotland collaborated to mislead the Scottish people. with the Tories.

It becomes even clearer as we look at  the  so called Command Paper, published on Monday,  which pretended  to outline the parties' proposals for extra powers to the Scottish Parliament, perhaps?
So you would have expected at least a debate  about the future of Scottish devolution to see what was on offer
Or the very least, a "general debate" on where the UK currently stands, having come so close to splitting?
In the end, it took mere seconds of the opening speech by William Hague to see that this was to be none of those.
The Leader of the House told MPs that any new settlement for Scotland demanded a "balanced settlement" for the rest of the UK.
"Fairness for England" was now demanded, an end to the debate over the West Lothian Question.
Scotland watched as within hours of voting No the PM switched focus from answering the Scottish question, to answering an English one.
Gordon Brown and Labour may cry stitch up  announced that it would refuse an invitation from William Hague to contribute to the work of a cabinet committee.
But it is they who are going to answer to the people of Scotland.

. The Scottish first minister told the BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme:

 “There is a huge gap that is emerging between the vow – the last-minute, desperate promise made under the guarantee of Gordon Brown by the three Westminster leaders – and what was suggested in the command paper, which was just a regurgitation of what has been indicated last spring, promises which were so weak they hardly featured in the no campaign.“Right now, the initial judgment that’s coming from Scotland is that people have no confidence in Tory guarantees and are absolutely fizzing about what looks like a preparation for a betrayal of a strong commitment made.”
A NO vote was expected to put an end to Scottish Independence's for at least a generation it may be that it makes it even more likely than if there had been a narrow YES victory. 

A Narrow YES vote would have led to Unionists insisting on a second referendum to confirm the negotiations leading up to Independence Day.

In just a few weeks the wholr game has changed.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

We are not electing a UK President in 2015.

The row over over the TV debate offer to Nigel Farage grows and offers some interesting constitutional arguments

At The Moment it is proposed that

  • One head-to-head debate between the "two leaders who could become prime minister", Mr Cameron and Labour's Ed Miliband, on Sky and Channel 4 and chaired by Jeremy Paxman
For a start it would not be between the "two leaders who could become prime minister", it would be between the leaders who probably lead the  largest party in the new parliament.

Any Member of the UK parliament could be Prime Minister including members of the House of Lords. Neither John Major or Gordon Brown were leaders of their party at the start of the parliament in which they become Prime Minister.

In the event of another hung parliament it would not be impossible for an agreement for the leader of the smallest party to be PM or indeed in a "Rainbow Colition" the smalest Party . Jonathen Edwards for PM anybody?
  • Another, also to include the Liberal Democrat leader, to be hosted by David Dimbleby, on BBC TV, radio and online

    Party2010 Votes2010 SeatsPred VotesPred Seats
The above Table by Electoral Calculus  is base on current voting intentions this means that even if you exclude Plaid MPs . The SNP wil be the third largest party. So potentially the LIibDems could be added a boost 

The YouGov poll after  the first TV debate in 2010 saw a huge surge in support for the Liberal Democrats.  Nick Clegg’s performance put the LibDems  in 2nd place ahead of Labour and just three points behind the Tories.  The figures published in The Sun showed Conservative 33%(-4), Labour 28%(-3), LibDem 30%(+8). 

It didn't last but it may have prevented the LIb Dems being squeezed . Though I supose it did lead the Tory press to turn on the LIbDems for a while.
  • Another debate, on ITV and chaired by Julie Etchingham, featuring the leaders of the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats and UK Independence Party
With Ukip on 15% well ahead of the LibDems  its hard to see an argument to exclude Farage  from the debate  However it is clear that they wil still struggle to win a seat and the Greens could still outnumber them in Parliament.

And of course where does this lead the Greens Plaid and the SNP (not forgetting Gorgeous George Galloway though I would like to).

There seems to be no clamour from the Northern Island Parties but we will see.

What we have at the moment is the Media deciding which Party could possibly win the next General Election and furthermore an attempt to turn it in to a "Presidential Campaign"  making it a choice between Cameron or Miliband  (some choice).

We still don't know who will win the next General Election or the current surge for the SNP or Ukip will hold up  But in the interest of Democracy here should be a rethink now.