Saturday, 23 May 2015

A early by election in Orkney and Shetland[ anyone.

Former Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael  may make History as the quickest MP to resign in a new parliament  due to a scandal.
 There have been calls for him  to consider his position as an MP after he admitted being behind the leak of a memo ahead of the general election.
The leak suggested the Scottish first minister wanted David Cameron to remain as prime minister.
Mr Carmichael said it was an error of judgement and he accepted "the details of the account are not correct".
First Minister Nicola  Sturgeon said it had been a "blatant election dirty trick".
The supposedly  confidential memo was published by the Daily Telegraph on 3 April as the general election campaign got under way.
It was written by a civil servant in the Scotland Office and claimed Ms Sturgeon told the French Ambassador to the UK, Sylvie Bermann, that she would prefer Mr Cameron, the leader of the Conservatives, to remain as prime minister.
The memo also claimed Ms Sturgeon said that Ed Miliband, who was then Labour's leader, was not prime minister material.
The official cabinet office inquiry into the leaking of the memo said Mr Carmichael's former special adviser Euan Roddin gave the details to the Daily Telegraph - but he had Mr Carmichael's permission to do so.
Mr Carmichael said, while he had not seen the document before it was published by the newspaper, he was "aware of its content and agreed that my special adviser should make it public".
The Lib Dem MP for Orkney and Shetland also accepted "full responsibility for the publication". wrote a rather terse leter of apology.

We can only speculate whether if it was if it had been a Tory Minister who was stil in the Cabinet or if Mr Carmichael had remained in a coalition  the truth  would have come out out?
Speaking to the BBC, Carmichael said:
 “It was something that I could have stopped and very much should have stopped. That was an error of judgment on my part, I deeply regret it, and for the consequences of that error of judgment, I’ve apologised to the first minister and to the French ambassador.“If I were still a cabinet minister at this point, I would tender my resignation; obviously the Liberal Democrats are no longer in government, so I’ve not. But I have said to the cabinet secretary that I will not accept the ministerial severance payment that is normally offered to ministers when they leave office.”
Losing their severance pay will cost Carmichael £16,876, and Roddin at least £15,500.
But should he lose his seat . He has certainly lost a great deal cod credibility and it could be argued that his real crime was not so much thew dirty tricks as lying about it and attempting to shift the Blame elsewhere.

If he did resign his seat then there would be a Byelection in the sole Scotish Liberal Democrat seat of Orkney and Shetland
General Election 2015: Orkney and Shetland[5][6][7]
Liberal DemocratsAlistair Carmichael9,40741.4−20.6
SNPDanus Skene8,59037.8+27.2
ConservativeDonald Cameron2,0258.9−1.6
LabourGerry McGarvey1,6247.1−3.5
UKIPRobert Smith1,0824.8−1.6
Liberal Democrats holdSwing−23.9
Could one of the defeated Scottish LibDems  be considering a return to Westminster  via a by election here 
The seat is along standing LIberal stronghold  once held by Jo Grimond  who was party leader 1956–1967 and who when asked where the nearest Railway station to his home was replied Bergen (Norway
General Election 2010: Orkney and Shetland[8][9][10][11]
Liberal DemocratsAlistair Carmichael11,98962.0+10.5
LabourMark Cooper2,06110.7−3.5
SNPJohn Mowat2,04210.6+0.3
ConservativeFrank Nairn2,03210.5−2.8
UKIPRobert Smith1,2226.3+3.9
Liberal Democrats holdSwing+7.0
A byelection will not be a sure victory for the SNP  so I wonder if another former Leader from the Highlands and Islands could be thinking of a spectacular come back?

Friday, 22 May 2015

Holtham says "Labour cannot afford a sterile debate"

There was much to digest in Gerald Holtham  article in the left leaning Compass website over his fears fears that Labour is about to stage a “sterile debate” which will condemn the party to “impotence” in the wake of an election which saw the party lose the heartland seat of Gower and the Vale of Clwyd.

He does however seem to be only asking questions without coming up with any real answers.
Warning that Welsh Labour risked losing the loyalty of middle-class voters, he said: 
“There must be a substantial proportion of people in Gower who are pretty prosperous. It’s the kind of place like north Cardiff that if it were in England you just wouldn’t be surprised if it returned a Conservative.“There’s this sort of cultural thing in Wales that a lot of middle class people who have got a memory of being working class or having working class grandparents or something sentimentally still vote Labour. I think probably as time goes on that’s going to fade.“It is true that Labour probably can’t rely on a tribal or a sentimental vote in the way it used to be able to do...
“That’s why it’s got to think hard about what we are really trying to achieve.”
He makes an intrestung point  that  Labour 
played on public fears for the National Health Service but said nothing positive about how it would actually tackle the service’s manifold problems on a tight budget. It complained about poverty and inequality but presented no credible prospectus for their solution apart from a couple of patently, indeed risibly, inadequate tax changes.”
He could have perhaps should have added that in Wales although the NHS in Wales was devolved it played a prominent part in all the parties campaigns but as it was Labour who are running it here their steerage was found wanting and the Tories in particular exploited this 

But  i think hie really hits home when he writes
 “Thirteen years in power and vast majorities have left almost no imprint on society, the economy, or on public loyalties. The two policies of which they boast – devolution and the minimum wage – were hangovers from the John Smith regime and were adopted without enthusiasm.
“What else was to be expected of a project whose principal aim was to take Labour to power and keep it there? Anything to be achieved was subsidiary to that.
“Power was won but achievements were predictably small.

It is said John Smith would refer to Scottish Devolution as unfinished business and it came as a shock to many in the Shadow Cabinet the time that he realty meant it.

The problem for Labour particularly in England is that the |Tories lost in 1997 rather than Blair one . The electorate were tired of a government that seemed to permanently in power split over Europe and almost  daily scandals .

What they got was a government which to all intent and purpose was largely a Mark 11 Tory government which did nothing to reverse Thatcherite policies and half heartily delivered Devolution i which they hoped would "shoot the SNP's fox" and make sure Wales got a form of devolution that even a Left leaning Assembly could not take a path that was radically different .to Labour London masters
Like Holtham i am not presenting any answers for Labours dilemma bit that is because I see no future in backing a Party that has constantly Betrayed what by 2020 will be nearly a century of trust of the Welsh electorate .

Its time they were replaced as the voice of Wales in the Assembly and for as long as we sent representatives there Westminster.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Tory Government seek to seize wages of exploited illegal immigrants.

David Cameron will today pledge to make illegal working a criminal offence in its own right as he unveils plans to clamp down on immigration.

The measures will allow the police to seize the wages of people who are not entitled to work in the UK as proceeds of crime.

The Immigration Bill will be in the Conservative Government’s first Queen’s Speech.

Mr Cameron will say: 

The truth is it has been too easy to work illegally and employ illegal workers here. So we’ll take a radical step – we’ll make illegal working a criminal offence in its own right. “That means wages paid to illegal migrants will be seized as proceeds of crime and businesses will be told when their workers’ visas expire, so if you’re involved in illegal working – employer or employee – you’re breaking the law.”The prime minister also plans to curtail access to public services for illegal workers and take action against employers who “don’t play by the rules”.

Sp people who have been exploited by greedy em[employers in often terrible conditions, are going to have the measly wages taken away from them..

This looks like the government introducing a form of slavery where some poor people are punished for working illegally are branded criminals.

The message sent out to these Illegal Immigrants, will surely be if you you are going to be treated as a criminal for doing ordinary work you might as well become a full fledged criminals.

Illegal Immigrants who now work in the modern version of sweat shops ( though whose to argue they do not exist today?), may have no right to work here and I'm nor condoning it but the emphasis should be on employers including the sort of well off Tory supporters employing cleaners and nannies on cash only payments .

Trying to out Ukip Ukip is not the answer . and stigmatising illegal immigrants by seizing the measly wages they have been given for working in conditions unacceptable to the rest of us is not the answer

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Another devolution" review" and another waste of time.

The Wasting Mule reports that a review of the implications of devolution as it is developing for the UK recommends the Barnett formula should go and the post of Welsh Secretary could be axed, 

Today’s hard-hitting report from some of the leading experts on devolution blasts the formula used to allocate Treasury cash to the Welsh Government, stating it does “not deliver equity between the various parts of the UK”.

The team assembled by the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law state: “Devolved and UK Government finances need to be disentangled from each other. This will mean an end to the current Barnett formula.”

They want it replaced with a “grant based on clear criteria such as relative need” with an “independent, impartial body” advising the Treasury.

At first the report looks like an reasonable argument especially the question of fair funding but a closer examination suggest that its sole purpose is to preserve the Union with as few tweaks

For instance Instead of having separate Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish Secretaries, they suggest a single “Secretary of State for the Union”.
The title suggest that he or she  not be the representative of the devolved powers in Westminster but the representative of the Union to the devolved Nations and whose main reason is to preserve the Union
The authors also state that a “secession referendum should be held no more than once in a generation” – a period defined as “at least 15 years”.
Unionist thought they could prevent such a referendum by making sure via the he Additional Member System (AMS) that the SNP would not gain a majority in the Scottish Parliament and would never have a mandate to call for such a referendum.

Now they seek to change the rules so that not only do the SNP  have to have a majority in the Scottish Parliament (or allies with similar aspirations) but they can't even put a referendum call in their manifesto because its outside a constructed time limit.

The report which will be launched  today is already out of date with the landslide in the General Election

The report even  makes an emphatic rejection of so-called “devo-max” which would see the Edinburgh Parliament responsible for everything except for a handful of subjects including the monarchy, monetary policy and defence.

The authors state: 
“There is no country anywhere in the world run along lines such as these. Under the SNP’s proposal, all revenue raised in Scotland would go to the Scottish Government, who would write the United Kingdom a cheque for the services it rendered in, and for, Scotland as regards monetary policy, defence, security and foreign affairs...
“Such an extreme form of devolution would seem designed not to preserve the Union with the rest of the United Kingdom, but to break it.”
And the last few words of the report sums it up . It s purpose is to preserve the Union and to send it on a different path  even this path is unclear.

The report’s authors include Gerald Holtham, who led a commission on the funding of Welsh devolution, ans was then totally ignored 

But its time we stopped  listing to these commissions and started turning to the people.

If the Independence referendum in Scotland taught us anything when the question is asked many more than expected were in favour and many more wanted more powers even if they were in the NO majority.

Every Commission set up to review devolution and although this report is Independent  real intention is to preserve the Union  and put a break on Independence aspirations.

If there was anything wrong with Plaids General Election campaign it was putting more emphasis on "Parity of Funding" and not enough of "Parity of Powers". .

Because you are told you likely to get a C+ in a exam does not mean you should aim to get a 100% mark.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Cardiff Labour's Civil War. Shouldn't electors be told more?

The Civil War among  Cardiff council Labour Party ended (for now) with  leader Phil Bale has surviving a leadership challenge  and a counter coup at the annual general meeting of the city's Labour group.

But most of the people of Cardif have no idea what both sided are fighting over as is this blogger.
Mr Bale failed to get re-elected as Labour leader - and thereby council leader - a week ago with the vote tied.
But on Monday he was re-elected despite a challenge by councillor Lynda Thorne.
Mr Bale told BBC Wales he was "happy with the result" and "excited about the city's future".
Opposition councillors have previously called for him to resign and several people within his own party felt he should have stepped down.
According to the Wasting Mule on line
Coun Bale was elected by members of his own group at a meeting on Monday night as was deputy leader Sue Lent.
This latest vote, which was run as part of the group’s annual general meeting, ended a stalemate at the top of the party which came about after last week’s vote.
That ballot had resulted in a tie between those Labour councillors who wanted Couns Bale and Lent to continue and those who wanted Grangetown councillor Lynda Thorne and Trowbridge councillor Michael Michael to replace them.
It continues
 Official results of the ballot have not been released but the party’s group secretary Sue White said Coun Bale had won a “significant” increase in his support since last week.Coun White, who represents Llandaff North, said the group would now work as one.
She said: “The group has pulled together and given its backing to Phil continuing as leader. He increased his vote by a significant margin.
“His rival Lynda Thorne gave a moving speech after her defeat and it is clear there is genuine will for the Labour group to work together to take Cardiff forward and try to protect our people from the worst effects of the heartbreaking cuts on the agenda of the Tory UK Government.”

 However, one Labour source suggested that might not be the case, saying it had been a “disappointing” but not surprising result.
The source added:
 “I am not sure this will fix anything. We have got to admit there are issues before we go about trying to fix them. The group is clearly divided and as a leader you have to try and fix that.
“All week it’s been one-sided negotiations. We should have been working day and night to find a way for the party not to go at each other the way we have been this last week.”

The position of éminence grise  and former leader Russel Goodway   on the rebellion is  unclear he may have come to terms of not regaling his power directly but he may well want his own man or women occupying the top spot.

Plaid Cymru’s Neil McEvoy recently said:
 “The Peckham idealist very quickly became a Cardiff machine politician, who first had no hesitation in implementing councillor Thorne and Goodway’s cuts proposals.
“His legacy is cutting Cardiff’s Youth Service from 23 to 6 centres, closing play centres and abolishing meals on wheels. The personnel changed, but the politics didn’t. I’m using the past tense, because to all intents and purposes he is finished as leader of Cardiff council
So was the rebellion amongst councillors who wanted more  cuts or less? Or was it Personnel  or simply Cllr Bale has not proved to be good enough for Russell Goodway..

This is about the Leader of the Council  as well as internal Party Politics and  the people of Cardiff should be informed what those who want to change Council policy  by changing the leader of the controlling group are standing for

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Peter Hain should handback his IT grab.?

If you leave  your job  in which you use a computer no matter how fond you are of that computer you  don't take''

So why do retiring Welsh MPs who used their expenses to buy snazzy gadgets and computers just months before they were due to quit  manage to keep thiers.
Bumper Bundle nice retirement presents except Hain give it to himself.

Former MPs Peter Hain and Jonathan Evans came under fire from the TaxPayers’ Alliance, with the group calling for rules to be tightened to prevent retiring politicians going on taxpayer-funded shopping trips.
Tax Paters Aliance  are not one of my favouriye groups but they are trghy on this one
Hain claimed nearly £2,000 for a new computer, iPad and iPhone, while Evans’ office forked out just over £570 for a new Dell laptop computer, both just weeks before the deadline set by standards watchdog Ipsa.
Evans had previously announced he was stepping down in January 2013, while Hain told of his retirement in June 2014. it with you.

Up to 60 MPs ordered the equipment shortly before a moratorium came into force six months before the election, said Ipsa.
Restrictions are imposed six months ahead of the vote so retiring MPs or those who may lose their seat do not waste taxpayers’ money on items they won’t use for work.
The watchdog IPSA which keeps an eye on MPs expenses but clearly has not got the powers it needs. says no rules were broken, but advised MPs who were standing down or were defeated in the election to donate the devices to charity or a successor MP after May 7. However it had no power to enforce this.
A spokesman  said: 
Having looked into these claims, we are satisfied that they are within the rules. This covers purchases made during September 2014, as the restrictions on capital purchases began on September 30, 2014.
“The total value of the purchases for all MPs in September amounts to £71,216.48.”
Ex-Neath MP Hain, a former Welsh Secretary, spent £1,682.98 just over two weeks before the Ipsa deadline and then around another £225 around a week later.
He has reportedly said the equipment was needed to replace broken technology.
What a coincidence . It is not as if Mr Hain did not know the date of his retirement  Indeed he clearly nearly used the last minute .for his "Supermarket Sweep".
Mr hain should hand over his computer to his successor. 
Indeed if he used this equipment for his work and not personnel use  then it could be  a great help to Christina Rees who after all is in the same party. who may benefit from the contacts and casework on this  expensive IT equipment.
Or it could be wiped clean and donated to a charity..
Its not as if MR Hain wil be living om a state pension from now on 

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Do you need to be an intellectual to leads Plaid or any Party?

Plaid Cymru’s education spokesman Simon Thomas recently  described his leader Leanne Wood as a possible future First Minister but said there are other people that can do the “intellectual stuff”.
The Mid and West Wales AM admitted the election was a “mixed bag” for the party but said there is “huge potential” for the leader Leanne Wood to be portrayed as a alternative First Minister in Wales.
“Her strengths are her warmth, her personality, the fact that she can make that emotional connection with people,” he said.
Mr Thomas, who once challenged Ms Wood for the leadership, then added:

 "There are other people in the party that can do the intellectual stuff, or do the thinking. We’ve got Adam Price contributing his ideas. That is the balance the party needs."
But he insisted:
 “She’s the right person to be leading us into the Assembly elections

Rather unfortunate words from Simon but it does raise a point about the role of intellectuals in modern politics

Michael Grant Ignatieff, a Canadian author, academic and former politician. was the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada and Leader of the Official Opposition from 2008 until 2011. Known for his work as an historian, Ignatieff has held senior academic posts at the universities of CambridgeOxfordHarvard and Toronto.and he led the Canadian Liberals to  the worst result in the history of the Liberal Party, the worst result in Canadian history for an incumbent Official Opposition party, and the first time since Confederation the Liberals failed to finish first or second. Ignatieff himself was defeated by Conservative challenger Bernard Trottier

This is not an augment against intellectualism far from it . The ideal party leader should poses  a high intellect, charisma  and still appeal to" one one of us".

An impassible combination ?  Not  really. as Simon points our Adam Price   The former Pri(n)ce over the water  has  all three. and will contribute much to the Assembly if he wins Carmarthen East and Dinefwr next year.

But in her election campaign Leanne portrayed a connection to Welsh people that may not have resonated  in votes but give her a profile that bodes well for Plaid in the Assembly election next year  as against the lethargic Carwyn Jones or brutish Andrew R T Davies.

And anyway how to do we measure intersect? Enoch Powell was often praised for his intelligence that did not  mean that he did not  express  extremely unpleasantness views expressed  through Rivers of Blood" speech, a title derived from its allusion to a line from Virgil's Aeneid.[

Anyway I see nothing to suggest Leanne does not have a high Intellect she just expresses it a way I at least can follow.  and Plaid are al the better for it