Sunday, 23 October 2016

Hain blames Blaengrach council loss on Corbyn not Labour's local failings.

Former Welsh Secretary Peter Hain has pointed the finger of blame at the UK Labour leadership after the party lost a council seat to Plaid Cymru.
Mr Hain took to Twitter after Plaid won the Neath Port Talbot seat of for Blaengwrach, which had been held by Alf Siddley who passed away in August.
The former Neath MP said Labour candidate Ann Price had fought an “excellent” campaign and the loss was “mainly” the consequence of the UK leadership.
Despite excellent local Ann Price @welshlabour lost Labour held Neath council seat Plaid 48% to 30% mainly consequence@UKLabour leadership
If he had added contest at the end then he might have a more serious point

Blaengwrach (Neath Port Talbot) result:
PC: 48.0% (+3.6)
LAB: 30.5% (-25.1)
IND: 12.4% (+12.4)
UKIP: 8.3% (+8.3)
CON: 0.9% (+0.9)

The 2012 result  in a year that was good for Labour was

Labour 360
Plaid 290

But Plaid had already lost the seat in 2008 and it is Caroline Edwards the former councillor who has regained the seat after a eight year gap. Mr Hain might consider the response of Plaid AM Bethan Jenkins who has been very impressive lately.

Yes and how many doors did YOU knock Hain? Poor poor loser.

I'm not sure how much we can read in to this NPT is one of those councils where Labour are challenged by different Parties in different parts of the county.
Though currently  there are 50 Labour 9 Plaid and 5 Independents though there has been a strong Ratepayer  fraction  as well as Liberal Democrats  a local Social Democrat party  and the occasional  Tory.
Thursday result should be a Platform for Plaid to regain  seats it lost in 2012 but as the main opposition they can expand beyond their current boundaries and may be one of the councils to watch if Plaid are going to turn more areas of Wales Green in 2016

Saturday, 22 October 2016

A Lab - Plaid Coalition may not be a good idea for an open democracy..

Its not often I find myself agreeing with former Lib Dem AM Peter Black but he makes a somewhat convincing case  against Plaid joining Labour in the Assembly in a Coalition 

 According to the BBC Plaid Cymru is "actively considering" whether to seek a coalition with Labour,.

Plaid leader Leanne Wood said there was "ongoing discussion" about whether it was better to formally share power, with members genuinely torn over the "dilemma".
Mr Black writes
The big disadvantage from my point of view would be inadequate scrutiny of Welsh Government policies and legislation. At the moment the opposition is fairly diverse, with the Tories and UKIP opposing from the right and Plaid Cymru largely from the left. The only liberal voice has been subsumed into the government but Dafydd Elis Thomas himself may be able to provide that in future.
To have the government solely scrutinised from a right wing perspective may well suit some members of Labour and Plaid but it would severely diminish the quality of debate in the chamber and committee rooms. We would lose a plurality of representation within the opposition that currently benefits our democratic process.
That was not a problem during the 2007-2011 One Wales Government of course because the Welsh Liberal Democrats provided that left-leaning, liberal input into debate and scrutiny. It would not be available in the fifth Assembly.
The second disadvantage of such a coalition is that it would give the Government a free pass on the work of building a consensus for their work within the chamber and in the country.
At the moment, if Carwyn Jones wants to get something through he has to work with others and achieve a sort of consensus. In a mega-coalition that debate would be internalised, it would become less of a discussion and more of a whipping exercise.
That is not healthy for democracy nor does it help to advance the cause of devolutuion in a country that prides itself on a more consensual approach than Westminister. Having to win support for your policies from your opponents so as to get them through can bring a type of democratic discipline to government that is discarded by those Ministers who can rely on an automatic majority to get things through.

Of course Peter may  considering the position of the sole Liberal Democrat  (Kirsty Williams) in the Assembly.  Currently Education Minister in "Not a Coalition" whose  unconvincing claim to have an influence  would be even more diminished.

and it its somewhat hypocritical for someone from a Party that joined the Tories in pushing through the austerity program in the last Westminster Governmentto lecture others on  any coalition agrrement.  

But Peter main argument is valid,  Such a coalition  would be composed of eleven Tory and six Ukip AMs leaving an opposition on the right and as the Tories seem to be moving into Ukip territory  moving further to the right , There would be no alternative Left or even centrist view fro the Opposition benches.

Oh hang on I forgot about Dafydd Eis Thomas  who as a "Independent" might ironically  find himself the sole Centre -Left  AM on the opposition benches criticising the coalition government.

Of course there is a strong argument which the Lib Dems tried to make when in the Tory Lib Dem coalition that you can moderate or even change the majority party's proposals within such a coalition.

But even it is true we the electors will not see this.

I would suspect that Labour AM who would have to give up at least three Cabinet seats or  ministerial posit would not be happy to make room for Plaid.

 At the moment Labour have the possibility of a slim majority and Plaid can take the opportunity  of using a supply and demand pact with Labour as the recent budget negotiations  claims from them proved.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Who needs Ukip when there are Tory MP's like David Davies.

There  have been calls for MPs and Newspaper Editors  to have a scan to see if the they have hearts have to been condemned  by member of the British Association of Radiologist 

A spokesman said

You got to be joking we could take hours trying to find one from the Editor of the Daily Mail or MPs like David Davies .
We might to have to consider an MRI scan to be sure and with the waiting list they would have to travel Miles and out of hours to get one, like normal people they won't like that.

It comes after

Monmouth MP David Davies, chairman of the Commons Welsh Affairs select committee, said mandatory dental checks would reassure the public the system was not being exploited.

David T C Davies MP

After the arrival of 14 teenagers to the UK from Calais on Monday, the Monmouth MP said they “don’t look like ‘children”.

“I hope British hospitality is not being abused”, he added.

Speaking on BBC Radio Four’s Today programme, he said: 

“I think we’ve got a right to raise this question and the problem is if we don’t raise this question we allow ourselves to be carried along on a tide of emotion, Lily Allen-style with tears in our eyes. We’re not actually going to be able to help the people who need our help, we’ll just end up quickly exhausting the well of hospitality that exists in Britain.
“People in Britain want to help children but we don’t want to be taken for a free ride either by people who have somehow got to the front of the queue even though in some cases they clearly look a lot older.”
He added that he did not accept that it was “intrusive” to take an x-ray of someone.

Interestingly Mr Davies  seemed to have had looked older in his teens as Speaking of a gay school friend’s return to the hetero fold, Davies told the Guardian:

 “He’d started coming down to the pub at 16 with, you know, splits in his jeans, and started buying Erasure albums, and all the rest of it – and three years later he’s suddenly horrified by the whole thing!”

Personally  i would be useless as a Police witness if asked about the age of Teenager let alone one that has been forced to grow up swiftly fleeing from a War torn country and making an arduous and and possibly deadly journey to find themselves trapped in the jungle at Calais

Maybe those who selected these children should have elected adorable munchkins as the those who we first let in to the country.

Selection by how refugees look perhaps Mar Davies should consider this?

He seems to love making controversial statements  guaranteed  to get him into the media.

Who needs Ukip when we already have heartless bastard like David Davies in the party of Government. 

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Shame on Leanne for experiencing what the rest of us face.

What a selfish politician Plaid  Leader Leanne Wood is.

Oggibloggyogwr  in his coverage  of First Minister s Question time has Ms Wood concentrating  on Trains

Plaid Cymru leader, Leanne Wood AM (Plaid, Rhondda), focused on rail services. The forthcoming franchise needs better scrutiny as the UK Department for Transport seeks to remove certain routes, particularly those serving England. Do the four rail franchise bidders know which routes they're bidding for?
Leanne believes there's an opportunity to address overcrowding, delays and poor rolling stock on the Valley Lines, raising the prospect of dual tracking the Treherbert line to improve frequencies. The last franchise was also awarded on a “zero growth” basis, with no emphasis on improving rolling stock – how will it be addressed and does the First Minister believe travellers deserve better?

  1. But it seems this Politician actually uses these Trains herself
  2. Ironic - train chaos on lines on day I raise overcrowding in . Only 2 carriages, huge demand.
Why can't Ms Wood  find a home outside her constituency like many other AM and MPs

A nice house in the Cardiff suburbs where the travel to Cardiff Bay is easy would be sensible 

But Ms Woods insist on living in the area where she grew up sharing the experience  of those who elected her.

Including having to choose to be on a overcrowded Train in her commute to work or facing a drive into Cardiff and be stuck on Manor Way for ages.

As her predecessor Leighton Andrews  points out there is a great advantage in having more that one home despite the large amount of constituents having to travel daily from their Rhondda Homes

My designated main home is the home I registered with the Fees Office in 2003 when I was elected – in other words, our home in the Rhondda.
“I have never claimed the full amount available under the Additional Costs Allowance. Indeed, for the first 16 months I was an AM, I made no claims at all under this allowance.
Claims under the Additional Costs Allowance in respect of mortgage interest and council tax on our Cardiff home were specifically cleared with the Fees Office before I submitted any claims. I have chosen to make no claims for items such as furniture, food or home improvements.
“Since we have homes in both places, and I do not commute daily, my travel claims are among the lowest in the Assembly. I spend nights each week in both homes except of course, when we are away on holiday.
“The decision to include the Rhondda constituency as eligible for the Additional Costs Allowance was of course made by the first Assembly elected in 1999. In
other words, before I was elected to the Assembly.
How could the electors of the Rhondda  chose someone who lives amongst them sharing their everyday experiences rather than a Weekender?

Don't they realise we electors are are only there as voting fodder to provide a platform for our political masters who vote themselves pay rises whilst making cuts to Social Security   and claim expenses on frivolous  items like a bloody Duck House.

Do we really want AM or MPs like Leanne Wood finding out what we have to put up with in areas like our daily lives and then try and do something about it?

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Tory wants any idea of rejoining the EU to be treated as Treason.

Much has been made by the Unionist media of so called Cybernats those supporters of Scottish Independence who posted aggressive and yes some times vile comments on No voters during and after the Indy Referendum.

But nowhere did I see calls for the opposite side to be imprisoned for Treason,

But it seems to be OK for Unionist to do so for those of us who believe the Brexit was the wrong one  .

However  a Christian Holliday, (crazy name crazy guy) a councillor in Guildford, Surrey, placed a petition on Parliament’s website demanding that the 1848 Treason Felony Act be updated to include “the following offences”.
They would be: 
“To imagine, devise, promote, work, or encourage others, to support UK becoming a member of the European Union.
“To conspire with foreign powers to make the UK, or part of the UK, become a member of the EU.”

The petition continues:

“It is becoming clear that many politicians and others are unwilling to accept the democratic decision of the British people to leave the EU.
“Brexit must not be put at risk in the years and decades ahead. For this reason, we the undersigned request that the Treason Felony Act be amended as set out in this petition. (These provisions to become law the day the United Kingdom leaves the EU)".
This wasn't some Ukip nut job but a Tory councillor who  seems to believe  in thought crime since he includes imaging joining the EU.

He also clearly believes that every elected Plaid and SNP legislator should be imprisoned for seeking independence  in the European Union.

Perhaps Mr Holiday was taking his lead from  from the Daily Express 

As AAV points out  the "Newspaper"

 ....ran an editorial calling for anti-Brexit politicians to be locked up in the Tower of London. This isn't just some bonkers editorial buried away at the back of the paper either, David Maddox's ramblings were given front page billing.
Anyone with a few brain cells to rub together should be able to spot the flaw in Maddox's bizarre call for people who oppose his ideology to be locked up in prison to "reflect on the true meaning of democracy".
AAV points out that

If the Daily Express definition of "true democracy" involves imprisonment without trial for anyone who disagrees with them, then they clearly don't have the first clue what "democracy" actually means.

You may think that this is just a attempt at satirical humour but there is an underlying threat to anyone who doesn't follow the new British Nationalist" agenda.

The rise in hate crime and xenophobia which much of the media joins in with the government in denying or ignoring is pointing to a future where the democratic right of people to express a contrary view will be  either ignored, condemned, or even made illegal  by a collaboration between the media and a almost a permanent Tory Government.

This coincides with the Tories believing that the Brexit vote means that they can supplement Parliament and the result gives them Carte Blanch to negotiate Brexit without even telling our elected representatives what they are doing.

Brexit may mean Brexit but it does not mean the suspension of democracy and there can be no challenge on ow it carried out.

One of the aspects of that "Bastion of Democracy" the house of Lords  tend not cote down Government Bills that were in the ruling party's manifesto.

That does not mean they rubber stamp it and even try to amend it slightly.

If the Tories think that they with the backing or indeed instructions from the likes of Rupert Murdoch can supplant Parliamentary democracy this way we may well be seeing more referenda in the future.

Plebiscites were used  by the Nazi to legitimise their  regime with an implicit  threat to anyone who voted the wrong way .

We should take care on the road we seem to be going down

Monday, 17 October 2016

It should be Labour AM defecting to Plaid if they want a future for Wales.

In a recent interview  the Wasting Mule  new Shadow Welsh Secretary  makes some  valid points over Brexit

Quite rightly claiming  that  the  Conservatives are treating leaving the European Union like a “game”, 

The Cardiff Central MP wants parliament to have a vote on terms of Brexit and has pledged to use her new role on the Labour frontbench to push for the best outcome for Wales.
Ms Stevens describes Britain’s departure from the EU as the “biggest issue we’ve faced in my lifetime” and says it is “absolutely critical we get it right”.
She said:

“[The] danger is, the way the Government are talking at the moment, they are not even wanting parliament to scrutinise what they’re doing.She acknowledges that a majority of people in Wales voted to leave the EU but argues that “whatever happens in the negotiations, we have got to make sure that Wales gets the best possible deal.
 She added:

 “I see my job, and the job of the team here, as being to make sure that happens – in conjunction with what Cardiff and the Welsh Government are doing in Cardiff Bay...
“At the moment because of the steel crisis and what has happened there are hundreds and thousands of jobs across Wales that depend on our membership of the EU and there will be families in all parts of Wales who have got jobs in manufacturing, who have got jobs in public services, who have got jobs in agriculture, and they are worried.
“We need to have some certainty and security around that. That’s why the economy and Brexit have to be the main priorities.”

It is  a long almost Hagriographical article on Ms Stevens but throughout it all the Shadow Welsh Secretary  does not seem to have had time to  explain where she believes the future of Welsh Devolution  is heading.

As Welshnot British points out

I suppose  she might argue that this is for the Party in Wales to decide but there is no evidence of this .

I understand that there is probably an understanding within the Labour Parties in Westminster and Cardiff Bay that neither the First Minister or Welsh Secretary (or shadow in this case) should even acknowledge the prospect of Wales getting anything like parity with Scotland.

This is the party that Dafydd Elis Tomas thinks Plaid should have given more support to in the Assembly.

Throughout the Corbyn - Owen leadership elections the future of Welsh Devolution was absent from the debate.

Indeed whilst there are aspect of Momentum the grassroots movement supportive of Corbyn and the Labour Party I find myself in agreement with it stil seems to be another Left Wing  grouping that has no time for the concept of Devolution of power .

Small wonder that in Scotland Owen Smith seemed to have beat Corbyn as those who would have backed Corbyn  left for the SNP, and Scottish Greens a fair while ago.

Is there any senior Labour Welsh politician  prepared to put his or her head up and call for an Assembly with real powers that can address our nations constant decline into one of the poorest  parts of Europe.

Indeed now is not the time for Plaid AM AM's  to back Labour  its the time for things to go the other way .