Friday, 27 May 2016

On Tuesday BBC Wales screwed up.

On Tuesday  I mentioned that I though I didn't t  normally criticise something I haven't watched. Did so on  latest Week In Week Out, BBC One Wales, which was  screened tonight .

I did so  since the BBC has already treated this as NEWS 

According to the website
New Welsh language laws could cost public bodies £200m, a BBC Wales investigation has discovered.Torfaen council's deputy leader, Anthony Hunt, said he was shocked to find the authority may have to spend £868,000 during a time of cuts.
Services and information from public bodies have to be provided bilingually.
The Welsh Government said the cost involved should not be disproportionate if councils had followed Welsh language schemes in recent years.
Local authorities are the first to have to conform to the new rules, which came into effect in April.
Regulations will eventually be rolled out to all public bodies and financial impact assessments submitted by them to the Welsh Government suggested the total cost could reach £200m.
BBC Wales then  issued an apology before WIWO was broadcast on Tuesday after admitting that data which previewed the programme "wasn't robust".
So why did the programme go out?


Cymdeithas yr Iaith said:
 "We believe the programme was one-sided, included a number of inaccuracies, intentionally sought to create tensions between communities in order to get attention, and demonstrated a general bias against the Welsh language.
"When it comes to other equalities issues, the BBC would not have dared put a programme as flawed as this on air.
"We believe these inaccuracies, as well as the obvious bias in the programme, are very serious matters: it should not have been broadcast."
A BBC Wales spokesman said:
 "We have received a number of complaints about the Week In Week Out investigation, broadcast on Tuesday, May 24, and will deal with those in line with the BBC's complaints procedure.
"The team has a track record of delivering outstanding reports but we recognise that this particular investigation did not sufficiently explore the different viewpoints on the introduction of the new Welsh language standards."

But not apparently this time. 

So why did this team fall so far short ? Someone must be responsible for not only a flawed programmed but a press release that made very dubious claims that were published and to which they admit  "wasn't robust".

I suppose if they puled the programme because it was clearly flawed the Beeb would have been accused of Censorship and given in yo "The Welsh Language Lobby" and cause a bigger stir. In which the dubious figures  would have emerged and seem as proof of a Pro Welsh Language Conspiracy.

Indeed such is the nature of things we who support Cymraeg whether we speak it or not can't win,

If  even with the fact that the BBC produced an advert for the programmed disguised as an News Item, we had called for programme to be delayed or canned , we would have been accused of  preventing debate.

We need an enquiry not only into the programme itself , but with a News Item that preceded it which in some ways was worse because it was probably seen by more people.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

"Not A Coalition" because Labour would not endorse it?

It is understandable that a number of Labour AM's appear to be unhappy about the "Not a Coalition  agreement that has seen the sole Liberal Democrat join the Welsh Government as Education Secretary.

According to the Wasting Mule

"Several senior Labour members are expressing concern about the deal that has brought Wales’ sole Liberal Democrat Kirsty Williams into Carwyn Jones ’ new Cabinet.
Ms Williams has been appointed to the powerful role of Cabinet Secretary for Educationafter a special conference of her party agreed to allow the deal to go ahead.
Several senior Labour members are expressing concern about the deal that has brought Wales’ sole Liberal Democrat Kirsty Williams into Carwyn Jones ’ new Cabinet.
Ms Williams has been appointed to the powerful role of Cabinet Secretary for Educationafter a special conference of her party agreed to allow the deal to go ahead.
But Welsh Labour has not held a similar conference, even though party rules say proposed coalition deals have to be approved by delegates before they can go ahead.
It is understood that concerns were raised about Ms Williams’ appointment by a number of Labour AMs at an Assembly group meeting on Monday".
The Mule  finds  an anonymous " prominent party member",  who said....

 “A number of new AMs – Lee Waters, Jeremy Miles and Eluned Morgan – went hard at Carwyn for not going through proper process.
Carwyn spoke to the ‘party development board’ by phone, but there was no prior consultation with the group or the part’s Welsh Executive.
“Carwyn was also repeatedly asked by [Swansea East AM] Mike Hedges to explain how it wasn’t a coalition, but his reply was unconvincing.
“The left are angry that the Lib Dems are in government, but the biggest issue most people have is that no process was followed. Carwyn just bounced the party into it, for all his talk of a more open and listening style.”

The Lib Dems did call a special conference  to endorse the "Not A Coalition" but as Gwynoro Jones  pointed out   

Some 100 people out of a membership of around 3000 present! That is No endorsement at all ! Truth is only the 'fan club' were present!!Nevertheless a crucial decision taken. I voted against not because‪ ‎Kirsty Williams is joining a Wales Labour cabinet - in fact as a former Labour MP and social democrat it is good news. Being a believer in a‪ ‎progressive alliance in UK and Welsh politics

It could be that given this arrangement has no real endorsement there will be some Lib Dems  hoping that that there are no byelections  in one of the few marginal seats ( yes I know find one) they could win  or a  defection .

Would the new Lib Dem AM immediately join the Government and given at least a ministerial job outside the cabinet?

Or sit on the opposition Benches?

It would be interesting to find out.  


Wednesday, 25 May 2016

50 years since Cathy Come Home and we still need Ken Loach.



British director Ken Loach's film I, Daniel Blake has won the Palme d'Or at Cannes Film Festival.

I, Daniel Blake, which stars stand-up comedian Dave Johns in the title role, was written by long-time Loach collaborator Paul Laverty.

It documents what happens when an older man living in Newcastle has a heart attack and can no longer do his job.

He is declared fit for work, meaning his benefits are stopped, and he begins to go hungry.

Accepting the festival's top prize from actor Mel Gibson, Loach said:

"We must give a message of hope, we must say another world is possible."The world we live in is at a dangerous point right now. We are in the grip of a dangerous project of austerity driven by ideas that we call neo-liberalism that have brought us to near catastrophe."

Amazingly it is 50 years since Loach directed Cathy Come Home
" a play tells the story of a young couple, Cathy (played by Carol White) and Reg (Ray Brooks). Initially their relationship flourishes; they have a child and move into a modern home. When Reg is injured and loses his job, they are evicted by bailiffs, and they face a life of poverty and unemployment, illegally squatting in empty houses and staying in shelters for the homeless. Finally, Cathy has her children taken away by social services.
The play broached issues that were not then widely discussed in the popular media, such as homelessness, unemployment and the rights of mothers to keep their own children. It was watched by 12 million people – a quarter of the British population at the time – on its first broadcast. Its hard-hitting subject matter and highly realistic documentary style, new to British television, created a huge impact on its audience.ne commentator called it "an ice-pick in the brain of all who saw it". The play produced a storm of phone calls to the BBC, and discussion in Parliament. For years afterwards Carol White was stopped in the street by people pressing money into her hand, convinced she must be actually homeless.
Wilkepedia 




In the light of public reaction to the film, and following a publicity campaign led by Willam Shearman and Ian Macleod highlighting the plight of the homeless, the charity Crisis was formed the following year in 1967.
By coincidence, another charity for the homeless Shelter was launched a few days after the first broadcast. Though it was not connected to the programme, "the film alerted the public, the media, and the government to the scale of the housing crisis, and Shelter gained many new supporters."
However, Ken Loach has said that despite the public outcry following the play, it had little practical effect in reducing homelessness other than changing rules so that homeless fathers could stay with their wives and children in hostels".
Wilkepedia

The difference today  we have a Media that often reports those on Benefits as scroungers and in the worst possible light .

Indeed at times there seems to a deliberate collaboration between the Media including the BBC and Channel 4 and the Department of  Work and Pensions,  with programmes Benefit Street in which  Channel 4 was accused of making poverty porn. Many of those taking part claimed that they were misled by the documentary makers. Ofcom launched an investigation into whether the programme had breached the broadcasting regulations, but ultimately concluded its rules had not been broken.

So I, Daniel Blake, will probably not have the effect on the Pubic conscious  that Cathy Come Home has 50 years did .

Indeed fuelled with a Media that seems determined to attack modern day Cathys and challenge a system that seems to be in reverse rather than making changes for the better.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Another BBC Wales attack on Cymraeg tonight?

Sometimes I wonder when BBC Wales presents one of its  investigations into then Welsh Language it does so with the intention of proving that it is not a hotbed of Welsh Nationalism.
I don't normally criticise something I haven't watched and the latest Week In Week Out, BBC One Wales, will be screened tonight .
But since the BBC has already treated this as NEWS I can comment on the coverage.
According to the website
New Welsh language laws could cost public bodies £200m, a BBC Wales investigation has discovered.Torfaen council's deputy leader, Anthony Hunt, said he was shocked to find the authority may have to spend £868,000 during a time of cuts.
Services and information from public bodies have to be provided bilingually.
The Welsh Government said the cost involved should not be disproportionate if councils had followed Welsh language schemes in recent years.
Local authorities are the first to have to conform to the new rules, which came into effect in April.
Regulations will eventually be rolled out to all public bodies and financial impact assessments submitted by them to the Welsh Government suggested the total cost could reach £200m.
BBC Wales' Week In Week Out discovered 278 appeals have been launched,
It then chooses Torfaen to present its 2"Facts",
Torfaen council's deputy leader, Anthony Hunt, said he was shocked to find the authority may have to spend £868,000 during a time of cuts.
Note "May" no real analysis is given
Mr Hunt said:
 "Councils run a plethora of different services and we've had to make really stringent cuts in some of those areas.
"You're talking of tens of millions of pounds over the last five or six years, just to keep going. If it was going to make a real difference to the language I can understand it, but my issue comes where it's maybe more tokenistic."
He said about 2% of people access the council's website in Welsh
 
Independent councillor Ron Burnett said:

"It's too much too late. Torfaen has never been a Welsh-speaking area, it's never going to be a Welsh-speaking area.
"I'm a proud Welshman and I know we have to protect our Welsh language and our heritage but at what cost? This is a time of austerity, can we afford it? I think not

No one on the newspage seems to questioning the figures apart from Conservative AM for South Wales West, Suzy Davies, who is the party's spokeswoman on the Welsh language, said she supported the new laws but was surprised by the costs involved.
"There is an interesting question here, though, for local authorities isn't there, about how they use their assembly members.
"Because those conversations with the Welsh language commissioner may well have been taking place but I didn't hear anything from the Welsh Local Government Association saying 'come on now, assembly members come and help us with this'," 
Even if the program is fair and balanced the BEEBs reporting even before the program is broadcast does not fill me with promise .

We need to ensure that support  for the Language is as effective as possible and it may be that incurring costs in this manner is not the best way .

But if we are to  have such a debate then we need realistic audits and maybe councils other public bodies should try and be a bit more positive in their implementation.


Monday, 23 May 2016

Y Ddraig Goch, Salitre and Estelada. Flags and National Identity.

Barcelona won the Copa Del Rey against Seville 2-0 yesterday it was even sweeter for Barca fans as they were allowed to unfurl Catalan flags at the match  after, the La Liga champions were granted a reprieve from a judge in Madrid (of all cities).


The cub had said the Spanish government’s ban on Catalonia’s separatist flags during the Copa del Rey final is “an attack on freedom of expression”.

Goverment Officials said the ban of the politically charged flags was approved as part of security measures being implemented for Sunday’s game at the Vicente Calderón Stadium, the home of Atlético Madrid.
In the end they were allowed  to do so 

 Barca fans had been planning on waving 10,000 Saltires instead of Estelada flags to show support for a referendum on independence.

The Official Flag of Catalonia is the Senyera 

Flag of Catalonia.svg


But Barca fans prefer to wave the estelada. and it is this which Madrid authorities tried to ban





Three years ago  it was claimed that  football fans at Wales' clash with Azerbaijan were warned they could be evicted from the stadium if they continued to wave the St David's Cross or Owain Glyndwr banners.
Only the Red Dragon flag was allowed by stewards. Their action was apparently backed by Millennium Stadium officials who said displays of political support inside the ground were banned.Though it seems this restriction has now ended 
I prefer Y Ddraig Goch anyway  but its  time that the authorities realise you cannot force people to accept the symbols of Regions tather than Nationhood
We were almost forced to get this
Flag of Wales (1953-1959).svg
Used from 1953 until 1959, depicting the Royal Badge of Wales after its augmentation of honour. It was rejected by the people of Wales and the flag reverted.
But it is a pity for many here  Y Ddraig Goch is little more than the way of showing support of a sports team and not a symbol of our Nation,

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Is Kirsty a Puppet on a string?

God the Lib Dems have delusion grandeur.

The Party's attack dog Freedom Central have come up with  a headline to publicise their agreement to allow La Pasionaria to join Labour's Cabinet in the Welsh Assembly,
"Welsh Liberal Democrats endorse Progressive Agreement"
It would of  have been difficult once their sole AM Kirsty Wiliams had be announced as being appointed to the Cabinet job of Education Secretary to denounce it and leave La Pasionaria chastened on the back benches 


It is of course "Not a Coalition" so it laughable to see her seemingly to claim more credit than her party tried to project in the ill fated Westminster coalition which all but destroyed her party.

“The Welsh Liberal Democrats will now play our part in delivering real change in the way government works for the people of Wales.
“I will be in government as a Welsh Liberal Democrat, guided by our values and commitments.
“It is those values – of democracy, of commitment to education, of equality – that were at the heart of today’s conference. It was essential that the membership of the party got the opportunity to debate and vote on delivering our manifesto commitments.
“We have proved ourselves up to the challenge of finding common ground with others, and the confidence and ambition to work together for the good of Wales.
“I look forward to working with the First Minister, with cabinet colleagues, and with other progressives to reduce class sizes, deliver more nurses, be ambitious in our approach to housing, ending mental health discrimination, and supporting teachers and our young people to achieve the highest standards.
“I also aim to ensure that our universities and further education colleges are at the beating heart of innovation in our economy and core to the promotion of social mobility.”

As i have  often stated my admiration for La Pasionaria as one of the best the Assembly opposition members to highlight Carwyn's and his government failings but now she is part of that very government .

Can she and her party in Wales whilst praising education changes denounce the state of the Welsh NHS,

The Lib Dems and Labour should tell us whether  "Not a Coalition" tag means she has been given licences to speak outside the confines of Cabinet and is not tied to collective ministerial responsibility.

It would be sad that such a aggressive voice from the opposition benches will become little more than a Puppet in Carwyn's cabinet.

She is a formidable politician but then so whee some of Lib Dem colleagues who joined the Westminster coalition and where totally eclipsed by thier wiry Tory colleagues.

By the way  the cabinet members are to be now known as Secretaries  presumable to  allow those who have jobs outside the cabinet and are irked to see the plumb post of Education to one of their biggest critics some delusion of grandeur themselves

Saturday, 21 May 2016

How many Welsh AMs or MPs "live" in their constituencies?

Imagine if it was a senior Plaid politician rather than former Wales Office minister David Hanson  who had called for a ban on people who live outside Wales being able to stand in the Assembly.
The Wasting Mule would be  seeking out "Spokesmen" to accuse Plaid of racism or pointing out that it would almost be impossible to legally enforce it.

Mr Hanson wants a clause inserted in the forthcoming Wales Bill to ensure that only people who live within the borders of Wales can stand as an AM.
He said: 
“I believe that we should be applying the same principles applied when people stand for council elections to the Welsh Assembly. This is an argument of localism.
“People who live in the area or region should be the only ones allowed to stand.” 
“For example, I have discovered that in this year’s Welsh Assembly election at least 21 candidates stood for election to either constituencies or regions who didn’t live in Wales. The most high profile of these candidates was Neil Hamilton...
“I strongly believe that only people living in the area should be able to stand for the Welsh Assembly. Living in a region or area is the link that enables you to understand the challenges and opportunities facing an area.
“That is why I will be calling on the Government to include an amendment to the Wales Bill that will bring elections to the Welsh Assembly into line with other elections and more importantly ensure that localism underpins the Welsh Assembly.
“If the Government refuse to add the amendment on their own accord I will table the amendment into the Bill.”
It is frankly ridiculous  that Carpet Baggers like  Ukip’s Neil  Mr Hamilton, whose home is a manor house in Hullavington, Wiltshire, is considering buying a mobile home so he can stay in different parts of his sprawling Mid and West Wales constituency. can show contempt for the electorate.
Except of course those who voted for him knew full well that he lived outside Wales.
Even if Mr Hansen was successful al Mr Hamilton has to do is rent accommodation in part of the constituency.

Is a bit Hypocritical anyway of Mr Hansen Party to bring this up when they have in the past parachuted candidates from outside Wales to save Welsh seats.

Does every Welsh Labour MP or AM actually live in their constituency and not ret or some property?

Former  Labour leader Michel Footss constituency Home was a small terraced house  in Blaneau Gwent
Michael Foots former constituency "home",

But he never "lived" there  he lived in leafy Hamstead . He stayed there  but you couldn't even call it a Holiday Home .

I wonder how many times after he retired he visited Blaneau Gwent and his old haunts if he had any?

Hamilton's case has highlighted the situation because the arrogant  bastard thinks that  he probably  doesn't even have to visit the people he represents now that he has been elected .

Its probably the most extreme example but he is in a long line of representatives  who speak about their constituency with pride even though thy wouldn't dream of actually "live" there if they were defeated or retired.