Thursday, 31 July 2014

LibDems have saved the economy. Hurrah!

Recently at Subordinate Central LibDen AM made a valiant attempt   to claim credit for her party in the news that figures published last week show that the UK’s economy is now 0.2% ahead of the level it was before the 2008 financial crash.
When the Liberal Democrats helped form the Coalition Government, our number one objective was to get our economy back on track. Now, because of the Liberal Democrats, the UK economy is the fastest growing in the western world.
No-one can deny that the Coalition Government inherited a complete disaster of an economy. The Liberal Democrats recognised that tough decisions had to be made to fix our economy and to cut the UK’s mammoth deficit, but we also appreciate that this must be done in a fair way. That is why, for instance, we have ensured that over 150,000 of the lowest paid workers in Wales will no longer pay a single penny of Income Tax.
Our economy is on the right track, but of course that is no excuse for complacency. There is still a long way to go and the Liberal Democrats will continue to work to build an even stronger economy and ensure the UK’s dramatic growth continues.]
So that's it financial crisis over LibDems have saved us 

Except that the reality is somewhat different and we have yet to face the consequences of the savage ideological cuts imposed on us  by the Tory/LibDem coalition something Ms Parrot is unlikely to admit her Party's responsibility for.

Today's wasting Mule reports that 
  worsening financial climate for Wales’ as  councils will see services disappear across the country as local government continues its swingeing cuts, a former council leader has warned.It comes after Newport council said it will have to find £13m in cuts next year – some £8m more it had previously expected.
The authority’s deputy leader Ray Truman said the authority will have to stop providing some services that it has traditionally performed, but can no longer pay for.
Newport’s announcement comes in the wake of a letter from Local Government Minister Lesley Griffiths earlier this year, warning that councils should be ready for cuts of up to 4.5%.
Cardiff council has said it is working on the assumption it would have to save up to £45.4m during 2015-16, with calls from the authority for the Welsh Government to give the city greater recognition as Wales’ capital by letting it keep more of the business rates collected locally.
Local government consultant  (again I ask what is that) and former leader of Bridgend council Jeff Jones said:
 “It’s a disaster waiting to happen. I can’t see how they can continue to protect school budgets, who have to take a hit. Leisure you can forget about. It’s real dire stuff.“The Welsh Government is putting all their eggs into the National Health Service budget. I don’t think people really understand what the fallout will be in the long term, where people will look on in astonishment at services that are no longer there.”

Never-mind the cliche the true extent of how the Tory/Lib Dems cuts will ruin our societies will not be fully  seen until well after the election.

Which might see the LibDems in coalition with Labour  which may se them condeming policies they voted for since 2010.

Oh hanf on they already started with the Bedroom Tax.

Having a view that you can measure a Government success on such dubious economic measures is simplistic.

John Dixon at Borthlas   recently pointed out that in relation to the Welsh economy 

The Tories point to every failure in economic policy as being down to the Welsh government and claim the latest news as a success for UK policy; whilst Labour point to every failure as being the fault of the UK government, and claim the news as a success for their policies.
They can’t both be right of course – but that doesn’t mean that they can’t both be wrong. I don’t simply mean that the policy pursued by the UK government would have been much the same if Labour were in power (although it would have been) or even the same thing in reverse in Cardiff Bay (although it’s easier to conceive of a Labour UK government than of a Tory Welsh government). I mean rather that economic policies pursued by governments at both ends of the M4 might actually have had a negligible impact on the outcome. Governments like to pretend they’re in control when things are going well, and pretend that things are out of their hands when things are going badly. I suspect they’re right on the latter, but simply deliberately understate the applicability of that conclusion.

But of course as Eluned Parrot can do is claim credit for good news   and blame bad news on their predecessors or events.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

The Son Also Rises.

Wales Online and the South Wales Echo report that RCT council’s controversial plans to give senior officers pay rises in order to make wider savings for the local authority have been deferred.
In a confidential report put before Rhondda Cynon Taf council last week, three of the authority’s most senior members of staff were recommended to receive a 15% pay increase – to coincide with the deletion of four chief officer posts which would save the council £250,000.
RCT Council says the pay rises were warranted because of the increase in responsibilities of the officers, brought about to cover the responsibilities of the deleted roles.
But, although it is claimed that would save the authority close to a quarter of a million pounds, the move to give increases to senior staff members amid RCT Council’s current financial crisis was lambasted, with RCT Welsh Liberal Democrat campaign manager Karen Roberts who seems to have the ear of the Echo reporter credited   with leading the criticism 
The matter was discussed at a press and public-exempt item at last Wednesday’s full council meeting, and it is understood many councillors raised their objections to the proposals.

An RCT Council spokesman said: 
“On Tuesday, July 22, the Council’s Appointments Committee supported the recommendations of the Chief Executive and Director of Human Resources, which proposed achieving savings of almost a quarter of a million pounds through the deletion of four Chief Officer posts by spreading these responsibilities across three existing officers.“The matter was then referred to Council for further consideration and ratification.“Following news that a further Group Director post will become vacant, the Leader of the Council moved deferment of the Appointments Committee’s recommendations to allow the opportunity for an expanded review of the Council’s senior management structures.
“The Council Leader confirmed he wished to seek more significant savings and reductions in Chief Officer numbers by spreading remaining responsibilities across other posts.”
Christian Hanagan who in 2004 stood for a Labour election councillor  and was appointed in 2008 without an Interview  is  currently the head of strategy and public relations is  the son of cabinet member for education and lifelong learning Eudine Hanagan, was one of the three senior officers in line for a pay rise.
The spectre of Labour's nepotism looms large once again

So as head of public relations it looks like Hanagan junior is responsible for putting the current cabinet  and his own mother in a good light.
Indeed his department is responsible for the copy of "Pravda on the Rates  also known as Oulooknews  pushed through my door this week
If Labour were to lose control of RCT what would the position be . Would this rag of a propaganda sheet be less loyal to the ruling group with a opposition councilors son and party supporter in charge of it?
Of course its not Christian Hanagan's fault he is his mother son and he may have been the best person for the job but as I said, having been appointed without a interview we have no way of knotting.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Bringing the Commonwealth Games to a closed Wales.

There's a certain irony in Swimmer Jazz Carlin wining Gold s in for Glasgow 2014 when she took gold in the 800m freestyle.

She is the first Welsh woman to win Commonwealth Games gold in the pool for 40 years.

This comes with the the future of leisure centres and swimming pools in RCT will be put on the line this week after cuts to Rhondda Cynon Taff’s leisure service have been reassessed.

On May 14, six of the seven Phase Two service change proposals were rubber-stamped by RCT Council – but a decision on the future of leisure services was deferred by then cabinet portfolio holder Councillor Robert Bevan.

And more than two months on, cabinet will meet on Thursday, July 31, to discuss a report on leisure service provision undertaken by the corporate management team. There are expected to be changes from the initial proposals.

Phase Two’s proposed £1.2m per year saving sought to rearrange the service around three core centres – Llantrisant Leisure Centre, Rhondda Sports Centre and Michael Sobell Sports Centre including Aberdare Swimming Pool.

It proposed reducing the opening hours of Abercynon Sports Centre, Tonyrefail Sports Centre, Hawthorn Leisure Centre and Rhondda Fach Sports Centre, whileBronwydd Pool in Porth and Llantwit Fardre Leisure Centre faced the axe.

Hawthorn Swimming Pool would close to the public and transfer to the local secondary school.

If this is replecated throughout Wales then it may be more than 40 years fr wales to win a swimming Gold

Yesterday First Minister Carwyn Jones admitted that there would be no guarantee Wales will bid to host a future Commonwealth Games, says First Minister Carwyn Jones.

On a visit to Glasgow, he said it would be great in principle to host the Games, but the costs are high, with the Glasgow Games costing about £500m.

He also said Cardiff might not be the only city to be considered as a host.

Mr Jones suggested it could be somewhere that needed to be regenerated, but was also accessible.
It would be nice to see what we can do to move to the next step
In 2012, the Welsh government said it was working with Cardiff council and others on a feasibility study looking at hosting the event in 2026.

In January, the council said no decision will be made until after the Glasgow Games and last week sports minister John Griffiths said it would be "entirely fitting" for Wales to host the Commonwealth Games - and a bid may be considered after reviewing Glasgow 2014.

For Wales to host the Commonwealth Games would not only require Wales to increase the infrastructure for a two week event . But to build a team that would do us proud as the host nation as Scotland currently shows .

We heard so much about the Olympic legacy but that looks bleak at least in Rhondda Cynon Taf.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Edwina Hart a symbol of a weak government.

You well know that I'm not a big fan of LibDem Blog Subordinate Central but I give a hat tip to them  for  carrying the BBC report the Welsh Government have taken the decision not to publish decision not to publish a document on the conclusions of a consultation on the planned M4 relief road".
Edwina Hart not strong but weak.
Ministers approved the paper last week before announcing they backed plans for the new road, south of Newport.
Cabinet agendas and papers normally appear on the Welsh government website six weeks after each cabinet meeting.
Liberal Democrats said the decision was "outrageous". Ministers have been asked to comment on the criticism.
The business case for the £1bn road - put forward by the engineering firm Arup who carried out the consultation - has been published.
Transport Minister Edwina Hart has already been heavily criticised for the way she took the decision to build the road.
She announced her decision in the Senedd last Wednesday, the day before the end of term, and a week before an assembly committee was due to publish a report on the subject.
The minister insisted she was "getting on with governing", and that her decision was correct.
Hart has form on this she   controversially ruled out a review of NHS spending in Wales on 12 November 2009, declining Liberal Democrat Kirsty Williams (La Pasionaria) request to review how £1 billion has been spent on NHS services, following evidence to the Welsh Assembly's Finance Committee that claimed £1 billion was 'wasted' in the Welsh NHS each year

She is often reluctant to justify her decisions to the media and in announcing the plans for the Relief Road just before the Assembly broke up for its long summer break also seems reluctant to address the Legislature that she is responsible to.

When she  was appointed Minister for Health and Social Services in 2007). I may not have been alone in thinking that we may have has a Minister who could make tough decisions.such was the impression Hart  gave.

But it is clear whilst she can make decisions she is not prepared to back them up or answer to her critics and that is sigh of weakness.

And its weakness not contempt  for her critics that Hart has .

She is a weak politician and because of it she makes the wrong decision and knows she can't justify it so refuses to do so with clarity.

In many ways she is the symbol of Welsh Labour  taking the easy option ,unable to listen to critics,and a almost  divine belief that they and they alone should run Wales.

It is the story of the Assembly so far. Second rate politicians from a party whose  hegemony over Wales has gone on to long .and whose letargy lack of ambition are a danger to the whole devolution process.

There are community councils inn Wales with more ambition.

We need to replace them sooner rather than later.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

The Aberaman North Byelection

The Aberaman North Byelection  on Rhondda, Cynon, Taff (Lab Defence) was held by Labour but with much reduce majority.


Sheryl Evans Labour 356 (39% -42%), 
Andrew Thoma Independent 276 (31%), 
Hylie Willaims Plaid Cymru 228 (25% +6%)
Mia Hosling  TUSC 23 (3%)
Lewis Israel  Conservatives 20 (2%)

Labour HOLD with a majority of 80 (8%) on a swing of 36.5% from Labour to Independent

Despite this it reflected a major drop in the Labour vote fro 2012

ANTHONY CHRISTOPHER Welsh Labour 900 Elected
LINDA DE VET Welsh Labour 781 Elected
WAYNE LLOYD Plaid Cymru 396  

There has  be speculation  that if there had been a straight fight  particularly between  the  Independent Andrew Thomas and Labour then the former would have won  . This was mooted on the Abedare Online Blog which Andrew is involved in.

The Link seems to be down at the moment so you might want to try the Twitter page and link there.

Few council seats are a straight fight these days. Indeed we have despite the paltry vote a Conservative candidate. in Aberaman North .

But if there is a situation where there are campaigners who may be have worked together and who come from different political (or none) and such a vacancy and opportunity arises en maybe the should consider some agreement.

One other thing this Blog has come despite the piss poor information on the RCT website  which should try and make things more accessible . 

It is shameful that Harry Hayfield at political betting anfd ALDC website are more informative than the council that run the election.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Coming to your village a toxic nuclear dump.

Wales has long suffered d from the scars of its industrial past from the Slag heaps of the South Wales coalfield and  the pollution from the pollution from the Phurnacite Abercwmboi plant to the mountains of slate in places like Blaneau Ffestiniog the legacy blights out landscape and will remain for years but maybe we had a Welsh Government plan to clear the landscapes

Now we have the possibility Communities could be handed £40m 'bribe' just to consider a nuclear waste dump seven times larger than the Albert Hall being built beneath them 

According to the Daily Mail....

Villages and towns could be paid more than £40million just to talk about allowing nuclear waste to be buried deep below their land.The no-strings offer was announced yesterday as Ministers search for a site to build a bunker for all the nuclear waste ever produced in England and Wales.Officials say the dump should be sited in a position where it is fully accepted by local people, but admit the best way to do so is to include a financial incentive.

LibDem Energy Secretary Ed Davey  once a vocal anti-nuclaer campaigner said the area that eventually hosts the bunker will benefit from significant investment and hundreds of new jobs will be created.

At what cost who is going to bring employment to are with a massive nuclear dump and even if it benefits one community   what about neighbouring towns and villages?  They will suffer from this .

How many mile away would you like to be living or working from a Nuclear Waste Dump?

We always have proponents of Nuclear Power  like those in favour of a new Wylfa plant pointing to the employment advantages.

But what about the long term negative affect of having a Nuclear Power station as people are put off  investing in a company next to such a station and the weighing the risks involved.

The thought that future generations will suffer for short term financial gains (however lucrative).

Once again this seems to apply only to England and Wales and it shows our legislative poverty compared with Scotland in that it seems the Welsh Assembly Government may have no say in this.

But with Plaid stand on Nuclear Power confusing to say the least just ask Mike at Syniadau.

But let's be honest the problem is the creation of Nuclear waste not the disposal . 

How can we ask others to take our own polluted waste .

hat would the reaction be on Ynys Mon if the people there were told that if they wanted  a new Wylfa  plant they should be prepared to accept the waste that goes with it.


Thursday, 24 July 2014

Ann Clwyd about to do a U-Turn?

The Wasting Mule reports that...
"Veteran Welsh Labour MP and health campaigner Ann Clwyd is considering retracting her decision to stand down at next year’s general election, we can reveal".
Ms Clwyd's possible U-Turn may be due to  the possibility that in  in the wake of a row between her constituency party and Labour’s national executive committee (NEC), which has decided her successor should be selected by means of an all-women shortlist.
Grassroots party members in Cynon Valley have overwhelmingly said they want to select who they regard as the best candidate, regardless of gender.
The Mule claim they  contacted Ms Clwyd after being tipped off that she may be reconsidering her position. She told them:

 “Yes, I have received many letters from people asking me to stand again and I am thinking about it. The NEC hasn’t moved to select a new candidate yet and I can’t see them doing so in August.
“The wards [local party branches in Cynon Valley] were consulted and members said they wanted to choose the best candidate. They said they’d select a woman if she was the best candidate but they don’t want an all-women shortlist.
“I’m considering the requests that I stand again but haven’t contacted the party centrally at this stage.”
 There are concerns that imposition may lead to  a rerun of Baneau Gwent 505  general election campaign where  Blaenau Gwent AM Peter Law won a sensational general election victory in 2005 after breaking with Labour and when he died a year later the seat was held in the ensuing by-election by his agent and former constituency party official Dai Davies.

Labour did win Blaneau Gwent back in 2010 and there does seemto be no leading Male dissident in the mold of Peter Law.

However Plaid have in the past had a fairly strong presence in the Cynon Valley and a win there with a divided Labour Party is not impossible.

General Election 2010: Cynon Valley[3][4]
LabourAnn Clwyd15,68152.5−10.5
Plaid CymruDafydd Davies6,06420.3+6.8
Liberal DemocratLee Thacker4,12013.8+1.6
ConservativeJuliette Ash3,01010.1+2.1
UKIPFrank Hughes1,0013.4+0.7
Labour holdSwing−8.6
Perhaps the most interesting piece in the Mule's article is that 
 An all-women shortlist was not used to select a new candidate in Pontypridd when Kim Howells stood down in 2010, for example, and the seat is now held by high-flying Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith. Equally Stephen Kinnock, son of Neil and Glenys, the new candidate in Aberavon to succeed Hywel Francis at next year’s general election, was selected from an open shortlist.
Can it be that Labour only want all women shortlists if they don't have a favourite son place?

Ms Clwyd, who is 77, responded positively when we asked if she was in good health and energetic. Paul Flynn, who is two years older than Ms Clwyd, has confirmed he will be seeking re-election in the Newport seat he has held since 1987.

And age should be no barrier If sh up to the job then there's no reason why sh and Paul Flynn should not carry on.

Indeed Paul Flynn appears to be more  active than most Welsh Labour MPs.

Still one wonders if a U-Turn by Ms Clwyd rather than geting Labour out of a Hole  may give Labour a bigger headache .