Sunday, 25 September 2016

Leanne should have welcomed Corbyn's election for now.

I must admit I was disappointed with Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood's response to Jeremy Corbyn's reelection.

Plaid’s Ms Wood said:

“The chaos and infighting engulfing the Labour party as well as the proposed boundary changes mean that the party is unlikely to win a Westminster election for at least a decade, possibly even longer. This leaves us facing the prospect of a Tory UK Government in London, that Wales has not voted for, doing its worst for the people in this country.

It  loks like that Leanne is accepting the Right Wing Media analysis that a Left Wing leader canot win a UK General Election.

She goes on to say

“It is not often I agree with [Owen Smith], but when he said that a victory for Jeremy Corbyn would condemn the UK to a decade of Tory cuts, it is difficult to see how he is wrong.
She could have argued that a Corbyn victory will be made more difficult  by Smith standing against Corbyn and increasing the turmoil within the Labour party and that if Smith had won then it could be harder for other Parties to work with Labour adopting a right of centre position.

What i believe she should have said that Plaid welcomed Corbyn  election in the hope that he would lead Labour in to  a Progressive direction and Unite with Plaid,the SNP and Green MPs in opposing the Tories Austerity program  finally ending the Blarite  project which prepared the way for Cameron and May.

The LibDems are clearly hoping that there will be Anti-Corbyn defections from Labour to them as Peter Black indicates in a current Blog.

I doubt if Plaid would want them and I doubt that this was the call that Leanne's press statement intended.

Leanne is right in that if it becomes clear that the Tories will be in power from the Tories then 

“The only alternative to this now is a much a stronger devolution settlement for Wales and greater self-rule.”
But why no use of the "I"word

 “On issues of great importance like justice and welfare, Wales continues to be at the mercy of the Tories in Westminster who have little understanding or concern when it comes to how their decisions impact our country and its people. The time has come for Wales to chart its own course.”
One of the strange things about the Corbyn   campaign and that of the new Labour members around him and Momentum particularly is their views on devolution of power from Westminster.

You get the impression it is  something Jeremy has not really given much thought about,

If I was Leanne Wood, Nicola Sturgeon and Caroline Lucus . I would call for talks with Jeremy on constitutional reform including devolution to the English regions and find out if he is a progressive on such issues or is just another London-Centric  politician.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Why has the BBC not covered Welsh Labour 's seeming support for a Hard Brexit?

If you turn to the BBC Wales website you will a story that the Welsh Labour Government  will peg Welsh university tuition fees will be pegged at £9,000 which either shows the ruling Assembly in a Good or Bad light. depending on your point of view.

You will also see what is obviously largely based on a Labour Press release  Welsh first Minister claiming  that "Labour can win elections with clear messages, strong leadership, and by listening to the "hard things" voters say"
As it an eve of conference report it is newsworthy as is the first report.
However in the wake of another story it might have been a bit of a coup to ask the first minister  whether he thought  that "listening to the "hard things" voters say" explained why the Welsh Labour party has now decided to vote with Ukip in supporting a "Hard Brexit" and opposing the free movement of people.
I think that it is inexpiable that the BBC as a whole let alone their Welsh Branch Office did choose not to cover t that the Welsh Labour Government and its tame Lib Dem joined with the Conservatives and UKIp in rejecting a Plaid Cymru motion in favour of Single Market membership, and supported an alternative Tory amendment which advocated only access instead.

This was the first case of a UK legislature  backing a "Hard Brexit" so we must surely be newsworthy.

Even the Wasting Mule thought it important enough to put iton its front page

It is also very strange that Editorial staff at the BBC did not ask the Labour Party what it actual standpoint was with the first Minister giving constant contradictory opinions on the single market and whether he would try to veto the UK government if they failed to secure a single market.

This  has led Welsh ministers admitting a press release saying they backed free movement of people despite the Brexit vote was altered after being sent to journalists.

Is there a limit to stories that BBC Wales editors  believe  they could run that show the Welsh Labour Government in a bad light among some Labour voters?

Friday, 23 September 2016

Welsh Labour side with Tories and Ukip .

This Blog has been sceptical  about whether  the UK could still remain in a single market after Brexit .

As I wrote in an earlier in post "Its like someone  resigning  from a Club and yet still waning to use its facilities without following the rules".

It is clear that any idea of a single market would involve freedom of movement and since part of the LEAVE campaign was an anti-immigration argument often with racist overtones. I suspect that those who are in control of the Brexit negotiations (for what they are at the moment) have no desire for.

Having said that there's no harm in us trying especially  from a Welsh point of view has we are arguably likely to get the biggest hit from leaving the EU of all the four nations of these Islands.

So it is incredible that the Welsh Labour Government and its tame Lib Dem joined with the Conservatives and UKIp in rejecting a Plaid Cymru motion in favour of Single Market membership, and supported an alternative Tory amendmentt which advocated only access instead.

The final motion supported by the Labour group also called for clarity on the Labour Government’s position on freedom of movement after the First Minister dropped his previous support for the policy.

Speaking after the vote in the Senedd, Mr Price – the Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Business, Economy and Finance – said:

 “Today Labour in Wales voted with the Tories against the Welsh national interest.  “Due to the way Labour have voted, David Davis’ hard Brexit policy has now been adopted by the Welsh Government.“This is a dark day for Wales as the National Assembly becomes the first parliament in these islands to vote in favour of a hard Brexit, and to yield any possible leverage in securing the best deal for Wales, thanks to Labour joining forces with the Tories.
“Ever since the Brexit vote the Labour government’s position on membership of the Single Market has been confused at best, with successive statementsexpressing contradictory positions. One minute Labour was in favour of full  membership then just access the next; one minute they wanted free movement of people, the next minute they were calling for a moratorium on free movement.”
Only a Fortnight  ago  First Minister Carwyn Jones  in a a speech in Chicago  warned  that Wales will not consent to a Brexit deal that fails to guarantee the nation continued access to the European single market.

A spokesman for Ken Skates, the Cabinet Secretary for Business, Economy and Finance, said: 
“It does no-one any favours to have these wild claims every time the Welsh Government declines to play this semantic parlour game on how best to respond to Brexit.
“Our view is clear - we support continued, unfettered access to the Single Market. We have not supported hard Brexit today, nor will we ever – the Cabinet Secretary was very clear about our aims and priorities. We’ve simply voted against a sloppy motion that was designed to generate a press release and not a meaningful debate.
So why didn't Labour and their tame Lib Dem at least Abstain ? 

Can it be that they would rather vote with the Tories and Ukip rather than seeing Plaid take the lead on a policy they claim to support.

I wonder if the Labour spokesman claiming the Plaid motion was to generate a press release  was involved in a press backed free movement of people despite the Brexit vote that was altered after being sent to journalists?
The release, issued ahead of a news conference hours after the result of the Brexit , was later edited to remove the reference.
The change came after First Minister Carwyn Jones did not mention free movement when he made the statement.
Plaid Cymru called for an independent inquiry into the circumstances.
The Welsh language version of the press release was only changed to remove the reference weeks later.
Mr Jones has since said he believes the continuation of unrestricted free movement of people would be unacceptable to people after the referendum result.
In a debate in the Senedd on Wednesday, Plaid Cymru Shadow Economy Secretary Adam Price ( The Labour front Bench must love him) joined Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies in questioning Economy Secretary Ken Skates on why the original press release made reference to retaining the free movement of people and was then altered.
Mr Price said: 
"Doctoring a government website, which set out the government's official position, to reflect a change in the political weather can never be accepted."I have no idea whether this case a case of cock-up or conspiracy but we clearly need an independent investigation into the circumstances under which the government policy changed, and why the press web notice was changed retrospectively."If this has been done to avoid embarrassment to the first minister then it is clearly a very serious matter indeed."
We have a Welsh Government who seem incapable of taking a stand and who when encouraged to do so choose to back the Tories and Ukip . Can it be that Labour  are fearful of expressing a different  approach in Wales.

It is not good enough . We need a government prepared to fight for Welsh Interest  not to be a puppet of the Westminster  Government  (Labour or Tory) for fear that  a different Welsh approach will fuel an increase in Welsh aspirations of more autonomy,

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Lib Dem win In Plasnewedd may also be good news for Cardiff Plaid.

The Liberal Democrats are quite rightly celebrating  the gain of a Plasnewedd seat on Cardiff Council in a Byelection

Plasnewydd - results
Election CandidatePartyVotes%
 Robin Thomas ReaWelsh Liberal Democrats / Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol Cymru125848%Elected
 Peter WongWelsh Labour91035%Not elected
 Glenn Charles PagePlaid Cymru - The Party of Wales1777%Not elected
 Munawar Ahmed MughalWelsh Conservative Party1154%Not elected
 Michael David CopeWales Green Party / Plaid Werdd Cymru934%Not elected
 Lawrence GwynnUKIP622%Not elected
However it os on a seat that they really would have has to win if any revival was to come about
In 2012 they lost all of their four Plasnewedd seats  in a Labour Landslide throughout the city

asnewydd - results
Election CandidatePartyVotes%
 Sue LentLabour153511%Elected
 Daniel De'AthLabour143810%Elected
 Mary McGarryLabour143610%Elected
 Mohammad JavedLabour141310%Elected
 Rodney BermanLiberal Democrats136210%Not elected
 Geraldine NicholsLiberal Democrats13149%Not elected
 Richard JerrettLiberal Democrats12979%Not elected
 Elgan MorganLiberal Democrats12869%Not elected
 Tony MatthewsGreen5354%Not elected
 Askor AliPlaid Cymru5054%Not elected
 Mohammed HannanConservative4343%Not elected
 Edward ParishPlaid Cymru3442%Not elected
 Ian MullisPlaid Cymru3382%Not elected
 Enid HarriesConservative2322%Not elected
 Hannah MoscropConservative1931%Not elected
 Aled Jones-PritchardConservative1741%Not elected
 Marc GonzalezLabour1711%Not elected
Among the casualties was Rodney Berman  the then leader of the Council,

It is interesting to note that Mr Berman did not stand this time as did none of the defeated candidates in 2012..

This is I believe the first gain from Labour by any Party since 2012 in a series of Byelections in which the ruling group has faced constant scandal and internal fighting.

Indeed this Blogger has been amazed how they managed to hold these seats .

From a Plaid point of view although Plasnewedd seems to appear to be disappointing  if a similar pattern emerges in which the previous major challenging o Labour were to win .

This could see gains In Fairwater ( where they hold one seat)  Creigau and Riverside and if things went really bad for Labour Ely and Canton..You can see the previous ward results here.

Some have suggested an electoral pact for the Council elections between Plaid and the Libdems  in the wards were either party is first or second o Labour.

Would it work maybe not as people see through it

But irrespective of Labour UK squabbles the people of Cardiff surely need something better than the current Labour group .

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Universal praise for Welsh Governments 5 year plan.

The Welsh Government has rocked the political world with the announcement of its five-year plan .

Most ambition plan by a legislature since Roosevelt's new deal
Washington Post
Welsh Labour Five Year Plan silences opposition Parties.
Wasting Mule 
The SNP can learn from Welsh Government
Daily Record
 Wales führt der Weg, 
Der Spiegel
 Carwyn Jones prend du Pays de Galles vers de nouveaux sommets.
In a bumber 16 pages  The main pledges include:
  • 30 hours free childcare a week for parents of three and four-year-olds
  • 100,000 apprenticeships open to people of all ages
  • cutting business rates for small firms
  • improved access to GP surgeries, plus a fund for new treatments
  • money to drive-up school standards and refurbish or build new schools
  • building an M4 relief road and a South Wales Metro, and set up a new not-for-profit rail franchise
  • fast reliable broadband for every property in Wales,

Both Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith supporters were united in their administration for Carwyn Jones a Corbyn backer said it was reminiscence  of the post war Atlee government  while a prominent  associate of Owen Smith claimed  it was exactly the sought of program he would be seeking to put forward in the next General Election,

The Welsh Political Parties were unable to find much fault

Plaid Cymru said that it included much of pledges that were part of a deal struck in return for allowing Carwyn Jones to be re-elected as first minister back in May, but admitted they were still overwhelmed with the scope of ambitious programme.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats claimed that the presence of their sole AM KirstyWilliams in the Labour cabinet showed that they had a huge influence in the Welsh Government.

The Conservatives said it was "difficult to disagree" with the plans .

And a Ukip spokesman said that  such a programme would remove all doubt  amongst it supporters over the value of devolution  .

Clearly a New Dawn is arriving in Wales  with  Carwyn Jones the most Dynamic and Hardworking  politician in the whole of the UK at the helm we no have no need to worry about the implications of Brexit  but can carry on with the real priorities affecting Wales.

At this point I realised that maybe my blood sugar levels were a bit low and I was getting confused and had to take some Dextrose tablets.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Why does the BBC treat Cymraeg as an exotic anachronism ?

Yesterday afternoon there was an episode of the series Restoration Homes which left be somewhat bewildered into the BBC's presentation of Welsh History.

The series follows owners of historic buildings as they restore them into 21st-century dream houses.The show is presented by Caroline Quentin who has an interest in the history and restoration of old buildings, architectural expert Kieran Long and social historian Dr Kate Williams who investigate the histories of the properties.

Yesterdays repeat was of A couple with a small budget attempt to transform a Victorian chapel, Nebo, Hirwaun, in the "Welsh valleys."

So part of the programme investigated the rise of Nonconformity in Wales and visited some of the early Welsh chapels.

In the opening shots of Nebo it was clear that this was a Welsh speaking Chapel from the sign on the entrance but apart from a brief mention that

Apart from a brief mention that the Chapels Eccentric patron, ironmaster Francis Crawshay rejected the trappings of his wealthy family to live amongst his workers, learning Welsh so he could talk to them  there was no attempt to point out that Noncomformity in Wales was largely carried out through the Welsh Language,

In one scene a presenter at an earlier chapel  looked down from where the preacher would stand to address his congregation at the Bible before him  and failed to acknowledge that it would have been printed in Welsh and not the BBC beloved King James version.

Of course time was short but  a mention of  Griffith Jones and his famous Circulating Schools. which even the BBC website acknowledges.

"In an age when there was no compulsory education, when the vast majority of working class people could neither read nor write, Griffith Jones created a system of schooling that by the time of his death in 1761 had taught almost 200,000 people to read".
and even then the language these schools operated  in has been ignored.

All to often when the BBC visit Wales as part of its UK programming   the Welsh Language is treated as an exotic anachronism  confined to a back story not a huge part of our history.

Yesterday John Dixon blogging as Borthlas  on the new BBC charter  wrote

It’s an obvious attempt to find a ‘safe’ Welsh angle on the news by another organisation not particularly well-known for making waves either. But I didn’t think that it was the most significant element of the announcement from a Welsh perspective. For that, we have to go further down the report, until we reach the part where the UK Culture Secretary said that one of the BBC’s “many responsibilities” was to “bring people together” and support “greater cohesion, not least among the nations of the United Kingdom.”

Its almost as if the BBC want to write Welsh Identity out of existence.

Monday, 19 September 2016

What does FM Carwyn Jones think he's there for?

There can be no doubt that Wales is divided over Brexit

  • You may have voted to Leave and believe Brexit means Brexit.
  • You may have voted to Leave  but did so in the hope that we could get a better deal with the EU,
  • You may have voted Leave and regret and want another referendum.
  • You may have voted Remain but accept Brexit means Brexit.
  • You may have voted Remain but still hope that there could be a secon referendum,
  • You may have voted Remain and but hope some kind of deal could still be made with the EU in that we can still have some connection from the EU.

Whatever one of the above (or another scenario) unless you believe Wales is merely an appendage of England  surely you will be disappointed with Laissez-Faire response of our First Minister.

During a trip to Chicago last week, Mr Jones did appear to give the impression he might at least try and work for Wales's future  over Brexit
He said  talks would fail if it "becomes a two-way dialogue between Brussels and London".
He said all four of the UK's parliaments and assemblies should have to "agree to any deal the UK government comes to".
Mr Jones said he could not "envisage consent being given by Wales" unless access to the European Union's single market and protection for the rights of citizens from other EU countries were secured.
But speaking to the BBC's Sunday Politics Wales programme, Mr Jones said he "never called for a veto".
He said: 
"What I have said is that I think it's right that all four parliaments should ratify, agree to any deal the UK government comes to.
"It wouldn't be right for the UK government to negotiate in terms of farming and fisheries when they have no role in farming and fisheries in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
"If the UK government want to get as much support as possible across the UK for any potential deal, they're going to have to seek support in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as well."
From this statement it appears that the Welsh First Minister seems to think his role is to sir on the sidelines shaking on head saying "I wouldn't do it that way".

What does Carwyn think his job is for.

  • Merely to handle and distribute the  pocket Money from Westminster
  • Ensure that Labour at least are in control of the Assembly 
  • And that that is all important.
  • Preserving the Union by the Welsh electorate don't ever get the sense  of power that has existed in Scotland.

It does not seen however that he does see his role in fighting for Wales and its people and seeing our Interest are not lost in a wave of English British Nationalism which we are left behind and we are not sidelined being considered to be only West Britons and that we should know our place as poor West Britons.

Brexit seems inevitable but there is no reason that for or against the people of Wales should not have a voice in how it is carried out and our Interests protected.

In order for that to happen we need a First Minister to more than speak for Wales but to take action as well.

We will not have an election to elect Leanne Wood and a Plaid Government to do this so ,

Is there anyone among Labour's Welsh Assembly members prepared to step up and take on the sort of role a Welsh First Minister should be undertaking?