Thursday, 19 April 2018

Corbyn should consider who also opposed the Immigration Bill

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

The "Third Class" Minister looks doomed.

The Third Class Minister Carwyn Jones was cleared of allegations he had misled the Assembly by an inquiry carried out by James Hamilton, an Independent Adviser to the Scottish Government.

Mr Jones had ordered the inquiry in November, when he was accused of breaching the ministerial code by telling AMs there had been no allegations of bullying relating to the Welsh Government in 2014.

So it seems  our Third Class Minister has been exonerated by one enquiry, but there did not appear any triumphal faces pn the government benches as he still has questions to answer,

Though it seems that he's doing his best to prevent them being asked.

The Welsh Government has taken the unprecedented step of threatening the Assembly with legal action if a debate about alleged leaks before the death of Carl Sargeant goes ahead.
On Monday night, First Minister Carwyn Jones sent a letter to Presiding Officer Elin Jones telling her that her decision to allow a debate led by the Welsh Conservatives was “unlawful”.
The letter gave a deadline of lunchtime on Tuesday for her to withdraw the item from Wednesday’s schedule or face “judicial review”.
However, just after 1pm, Ms Jones responded saying she was not “persuaded” by his argument and the item still stood to be heard.
The item will see AMs vote on a motion to legally compel the Welsh Government’s top civil servant to release a report into claims that people outside the Assembly found out about Carl Sargeant’s sacking before he was told.
The Welsh Government argues that the motion is beyond the Assembly’s powers as it will set a precedent that no information it holds is exempt from publication, no matter whether it is sensitive for personal, legal, commercial or national security reasons.
As Westminster also goes to the Courts to attack Welsh Democracy.

It is highly ironic that are one government threaten to the same.

A bid will be made today  to force the Welsh Government to publish the report which reveals if the sacking of Carl Sargeant was leaked.
Mr Sargeant was found dead days after being dismissed as communities secretary last year.
Ministers have refused to publish the full findings of the inquiry, warning it could reveal some of the witnesses.

The Conservatives will use an assembly debate to attempt to use the legislation that governs devolution to make the Welsh Government publish the findings of the inquiry which looks into the events before Mr Sargeant's death.
Mr Sargeant, who was AM for Alyn and Deeside, was dismissed from his cabinet role by first minister Carwyn Jones following allegations about his conduct towards women.
The leak inquiry was one of three ordered following the sacking and subsequent death of Mr Sargeant, who is thought to have taken his own life. 

Yesterdays session saw a spat between the Third Class Minister and Plaid AM Adam Price  in which Carwyn Jones attempted to mock Mr Price for taking up a Fullbright Scholarship in Harvard.

Carwyn Jones said:

 "I prefer to stay with the people of Wales, I didn't disappear to America" - a reference to the Plaid AM's time spent at Harvard University after standing down as an MP.

Mr Price shouted across the chamber: "Get out of here, you attack me personally in a question about personal attacks."
PO had to intervene again: "Please allow him to finish".

Plaid  responded  by pointing out the lack of support that seems to come from the Government benches

This was myself and reaction to Carwyn Jones resorting to attacking personally for him going to Harvard University. Tragically funny that the First Minister has to resort to such personal attacks in the while Labour AMs cringed!

In the Senedd today we witnessed the 'Harvard Moment'. The moment the First Minister took an ill-judged personal swipe at and you could see the little authority he had left drain from the long faces on his backbenches.

Political observers described it as being among the most "heated", "intense" and "angry" scenes witnessed in the 19-year history of devolution.

Labour AMs were described as "looking grim" by ITV Wales Political Editor Adrian Masters as their leader was both attacked and then launched into personal attacks of his own on a critics.

On a day when he was cleared of allegations he had misled the Assembly the Third Class Minister is beginning to look isolated it the Assembly as his own party cannot even pretend to be backing him in the Siambr.

He is damaging his party, but also seems intent on damaging the integrity of the Assembly.

Can he be considering bringing the whole structure down with him.


Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Has the West played into Assad's hands?

There something particularly typical about how the UK Government and media treat 

As AAV points out 

"This UK establishment attack on the Nobel Peace Prize winning organisation seemed to begin as a means of having a dig at Jeremy Corbyn over his insistence that the rules of the Chemical Weapons Convention should be followed in relation to the Salisbury poisoning.

Seeing Tories and the yapping dogs of the mainstream press attacking and ridiculing the OPCW seemed like the latest absurd manifestation of the anti-Corbyn agenda. It seemed that people were so unhinged in their desperation to criticise Corbyn that they'd actually resort to demeaning and ridiculing an organisation that is dedicated to ridding the world of chemical and biological weapons in order to score points against him.

But then the Syria airstrikes made it absolutely clear that this is way bigger than the myopic anti-Corbyn agenda of the British establishment class, these people have undeniably declared some kind of crazed ideological war on the OPCW.

The first thing that a lot of people noticed was that Theresa May rushed the decision to carry out airstrikes to jump the gun on the OPCW inspectors who were making their way to Douma in order to investigate the alleged chemical weapons attack.

But it doesn't stop there, not only did Theresa May deliberately undermine the OPCW by attacking before their inspectors could establish the facts about her stated justification for the attack, the targets of the attack were Syrian government facilities that had been given the all clear by the OPCW just weeks before.

Claiming that OPCW approved facilities are actually chemical weapons factories and then destroying them is about the most blatant way of undermining the authority of the OPCW you could imagine, especially if it turns out that the UK had intelligence that the site was a chemical weapons plant and they refused to share their information with the OPCW so they could investigate.

And then the UK envoy to the OPCW Peter Wilson has come out swinging to attack the institution with claims that "the time has come for all members of this executive council to take a stand. Too many duck the responsibility that comes with being a member of this council".

However the viewpoint on OPCW depends on whether it like the government  believed the Assad regime was responsible.

The Guardian reports that
....... after Ken Ward, the US ambassador to the Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons, expressed concerns that the Russians had tampered with the attack site with the aim of thwarting the weapons inspectors’ fact-finding mission.
May told MPs: “The problem is they are being stopped from their investigation. The regime and the Russians are preventing them from doing that. Moreover, the regime has reportedly been attempting to conceal the evidence by searching evacuees from Douma to ensure they are not taking out of the region samples that could be tested elsewhere.”
She cited intelligence which showed that a “wider operation” to conceal the facts of the attack was under way, supported by the Russians. Moscow strongly denied interfering with the work of inspectors, suggesting the international missile strikes in response had made it difficult for the OPCW to travel to the scene.

Even if it becomes clear  that the Assad regime  was responsible and not one if the rebel groups (who are just as vicious) then it may be that the West have played into his hands.

If we are to ask why Assad,should carry out such an attack knowing the likely response, and considering he looks to be winning the civil war. Then maybe we consider Russia began withdrawing its forces from Syria from 2016.

Creating a Western pretext for attack , may well have led Putin who has been looking for an exit stategy, to remain and back his ally.

You may think I have come up with a crackpot conspiracy theory, but it is no more valid than anyone  put foward without a thorough investigation.

As our government who  have backed Saudi bombing in The Yemen which has received widespread criticism and had a dramatic worsening effect on the humanitarian situation, that reached the level of a "humanitarian disaster"or "humanitarian catastrophe" the crocodile tears over the  alleged use of chemical  weapons  is stark.

Is there really that much difference between  the humanitarian disaster in Syria (chemichal weapons or not) or The Yemen?

Monday, 16 April 2018

A royal palace in Wales.? WTF!

Opening a royal palace in Wales could bring in an extra £36m in tourism spending, a report has said.
The Gorwel think-tank said the case for an official royal residence should be considered, saying it could attract thousands of visitors but be seen as an extravagance.
Royal Sychophant   broadcaster Brian Hoey said a new residence would be a "wonderful idea".

According to the BBC  Gorwel's report  (Which you can read here) examined the case for and against setting up a royal palace in Wales to match those elsewhere. 

Doing so would give Wales political and economic benefits, it argued, leading to a long-term increase in tourism numbers and create up to 100 jobs.

The report suggested between £765,000 and £3.6m annually could be generated in tourism income, as well as a further £510,000 - £2.4m in indirect spending with between 55,680 and 266,927 visitors a year.
Presumably  this would be a net [profit after security and running  costs are taken into account.

Even if all of this was placed on the UK taxpayer rather than the Welsh the alleged profit seems negligible. 

Indeed the report at least identifies this 

The report was not specific about what kind of building should be used, but said a new site would be "more interesting than a building that had been there for many years already".
It also suggested a number of older buildings could be adapted for use in and around Cardiff, including City Hall and Duffryn Gardens.
But the report's authors, Prof Russell Deacon and Scott Prosser, also list potential drawbacks including that it could be seen as extravagant during a time of austerity.

They said it could also distract or displace tourism for other sites and was "unlikely to be a substantially profitable enterprise".
There would also likely be "significant costs" in renovating an existing building or establishing a new one, while security and anti-terrorism measures "could act as a substantial drain on the public purse".

If we took Cardiff City Hall then I assume some kind of permanent perimeter fence would have to be built around the building or at least an exclusion Zone when the Monarch  graced us with a visit.

Cardiff's City Hall

Bearing in mind it stands next to the National Museum and has University departments close by it could cause major disruption.

Prof Deacon said:

 "There are a number of royal events coming up, which benefit other capitals, such as London and bring in increased tourism there.
"We'd like to see whether royal occasions could also benefit Cardiff, why is Wales left out of that tourism bonanza? Perhaps we should share some of that as well, we're part of the United Kingdom and in that respect we should have a royal residency here too."
Royal author and broadcaster Brian Hoey said:

 "If there were to be a royal residence here in Wales, it would increase the profile of Wales not only throughout the United Kingdom, but throughout the world.
"Because we would then be on the same standing as Northern Ireland and Scotland, and other parts of England of course."
 Well it's possible I suppose but only if the Monarch was to visit Wales for a set period every year,

There are official royal residences in England - including Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle - Scotland has the Palace of Holyroodhouse and Northern Ireland has Hillsborough Castle.
The Prince of Wales has a private estate in Llwynywermod in Carmarthanshire, which is often used commercially for holiday lets.

Here a list of some of the Royal Residences not including  those occupied by "minor" royals

I think that's enough .

The leader of Green Party Wales, Grenville Ham, said: 

"We've already got 600 castles in Wales, we've already got mountains that bring people here. I think the tourism benefit is hugely exaggerated.
"I don't think the royal family need another home, they've got plenty. If they want to build something in Wales, they should build social housing."

Of course this has nothing to do with tourism  It is like the renaming of the Second Severn Crossing  part of an ongoing strategy to tie Wales to the Union.

The negative response to the Prince of Wales  Bridge, may actually  be proof to the Unionist here and in London that there may well be already signs  of a nascent feeling that we should be following Scotland out of the Union,

The bridge naming fiasco may have backfired, but it in itself is part of policy to split Wales into a South under the dominance of a Greater Bristol and the North under Liverpool.

If we Independistas  have one the latest round over the bridge renaming. we should be aware  that both Tories and Labour  will do their best to economically and culturally divide Wales  and have the power to do so,

Sunday, 15 April 2018

A First Minister in Scotland and a Third Rate Minister in Wales.

 Can it there be any starker difference between the First Minister of Scotland in their response to UK's decision bypass parliament and  to join the US and France in launching air strikes on suspected chemical weapons facilities in Syria.

Responding to UK involvement in the air strikes Scotland's First Minister Ms Sturgeon said:

 "My thoughts this morning are with service personnel called to action.
"We cannot tolerate Syria's use of chemical weapons on a civilian population - but there has been no explanation from the prime minister or the president on how this action, taken without parliament's approval, will halt the use of chemical weapons or contribute to a long term peace in the area.
"Air strikes by US and UK forces have not resolved the situation in Syria in the past and I am not persuaded they will do so now.
"This action risks not just further escalating the civil war in Syria but also a dangerous escalation of international tensions."
The first minister called for "urgent confirmation" from Theresa May that there will be no further action and no change to the role of UK military in regards to Syria "without a full parliamentary debate".
She added:

"An international strategy is urgently required to bring peace and stability to the region.
"UK foreign policy should be aimed at reaching an international consensus not simply complying with presidential wishes."

 Compare this with our Third Rate Minister Carwyn Jones who only recently totally misread the mod of the people of Wales  after it was revealed he'd known about the idea to change the name of the second Severn crossing  since last year and hadn't raised any objections to it.

Mr Jones said:

 "I spoke with the PM late last night about the action in Syria.
"I offered my support to any intervention that could prevent a further atrocity, but it is vital that any action forms part of a wider long-term plan for the region.
"I have urged the prime minister to do all she can to avoid civilian casualties given the complicated picture on the ground in Syria and she has given me assurances in that regard.
"Our thoughts today are with our service personnel and the people of Syria who have endured beyond all measure."

Such weasel words  cannot hide the truth that he has given support to Mrs May and Donald Trump in their warmongering stance.

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood tweeted

 "The bombing raids in Syria took place with neither Parliamentary or UN consent, risking both the lives of civilians and a possible escalation that could put our security as well as the lives of innocent people at risk. The UK government is being reckless."
MP Liz Saville Roberts, Plaid's leader in Parliament, accused the prime minister of showing "complete disregard towards democracy", adding: 

"This tokenistic action will do little to allay the human suffering on the ground in Syria nor to bring stability to the region."

Even some of  Carwyn Jones's  Labour colleagues appear to be embarrassed by their leader in Wales
Cardiff Central MP Jo Stevens said she believed the air strikes were illegal under international law, adding: "We cannot, with any credibility, then criticise other countries that act illegally."
Rhondda MP Chris Bryant said he was "angered that the PM chose to proceed with air strikes without going to Parliament. We are a democracy. Or should be."
Cardiff West MP Kevin Brennan also said parliamentary approval should have been sought, while his constituency chairman David Llewellyn Davies went as far as rejecting the first minister's qualified support for air strikes.
"Based on the views expressed at our full CLP [constituency Labour party] meeting last night this is categorically not the position of the Labour membership,"

It is an open secret that our Third Rate Minister is intending to stand down before the next Assembly elections can his subserviate position in which he seems to be at odds with the people of Wales and even his own party. Can it be that he is angling for a seat in the Lords?

How much longer should we put up with a Third Rate Minister leading a Third Rate Assembly and in doing so making us appear a Third Rate Nation.

Unless we follow Scotland's lead  and demand parity with  First Minister Sturgeon's parliament and see that as only part of the road to Independence . the world can be forgiven to hardly notice us.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Can a ring-fenced NHS tax rise work?

 In his Blog former Liberal Democrat AM Peter Black, writes..
As far as I aware the Liberal Democrats are the only party who are proposing to ring-fence a tax rise to provide additional funding for the health service. It has been our policy for some time to try and save the NHS by putting a penny in the pound on income tax to give the NHS and social care services the cash they need.
Now it appears that this idea may be gaining some traction with the public, though it does not look as if we are getting credit for it at present. The Guardian reports that a large face-to-face survey carried out before the winter crisis struck the health service in November has recorded the biggest-ever shift of opinion on the issue.

They say that voters are now ready by nearly two to one to pay more tax to bolster the NHS:

He may well be right and it could well play well with the electorate but is it really workable?

After all if a ring fenced "NHS Tax" rise was to exist then it would have to be clear and surely would not be part of a budget that saw a equivalent  in the reduction  in Taxes in general.

Under the current system whether the NHS in England where spending comes under Westminster or Wales where it comes under the Assembly, any increase in NHS spending will lead to cuts in other areas.

We could easily  see a party campaigning on a Ring Fenced NHS Tax, whilst promising to cut taxes elsewhere .

There will be no mention that this means cuts in education or reducing the Welfare State.

Or we could see a Party running on a platform that argues to take the Health service tax down by privatising the service.

Last year the Tories won the General Election with 42.2% vote but in 2015 they had an even bigger majority with  36.9 % of the vote.

The Tories do not need a majority of votes, just s minoroty seats.

If they cam convince their natural supporters  that they will pay less taxes including any "NHS Tax " then they can win  a majority under First Past the Post system.

 So whilst a  a ring fenced "NHS Tax" seems a good idea on paper and play well with much of the electorate  it could lead , a very different outcome to what is intended.

Friday, 13 April 2018

BBC recreate Powell's Racist Rant as "Windrush" generation face deportation.

 It may be sheer coincidence that  the BBC plans to air a full recitation of Enoch Powell’s infamous “rivers of blood” speech,  have hit the headlines with the news of concern  that Commonwealth citizens who have lived in Britain for decades after arriving as children are being made “destitute and stateless” due to the government’s hostile environment policies, politicians and diplomats are warning.

The BBC plans to recreate Powell's racist rant has seen  a Labour peer writing to Ofcom about the broadcast and one contributor saying she regrets taking part.

The 50th anniversary broadcast on Saturday will feature the actor Ian McDiarmid reading the full text of Powell’s incendiary speech, interspersed with analysis and criticism. If it goes ahead it will be the first time the speech has been broadcast in full on British radio.

The BBC media editor, Amol Rajan, who will present the programme, said on Twitter on Thursday: 
“On Saturday, for 1st time EVER, Enoch Powell’s Rivers of Blood speech will be read in full on UK radio.” 

After the announcement, the University of Wolverhampton academic Dr Shirin Hirsch, a contributor to the programme, said she was “disgusted” by how it was being promoted and she now viewed her participation as a mistake.

The Guardian reports that 

The Labour peer Andrew Adonis said he had written to the Ofcom chief executive, Sharon White, calling the decision to broadcast the speech “extraordinary” and asking her to instruct the BBC to cancel the programme.
His request was unlikely to be met because Ofcom is a post-transmission regulator. It also advises viewers to complain to the BBC in the first instance.
A statement from the watchdog said: “Ofcom’s powers, granted by parliament, are as a post-broadcast regulator. This means that we wouldn’t check or approve any broadcaster’s editorial content before transmission.”
In his letter, Adonis wrote:

“The BBC claims in its advance publicity that this is some kind of artistic enterprise. This argument is unsustainable, particularly in context of the BBC’s boast that the broadcast provides a unique opportunity to hear the speech in full.”
He went on: “As a special tribute to the 50th anniversary of ‘rivers of blood’, the BBC is broadcasting the full text of the most incendiary racist speech of modern Britain that was not even broadcast at the time.”
 The Independent  coincidently reports  that
Of around 550,000 people from the Caribbean who migrated to the UK between 1948 and 1973, some 50,000 who are still in the UK may not yet have regularised their residency status, according to information from the Migration Observatory at Oxford University.

Many of these elderly migrants are now being barred from working, being refused access to government services including NHS treatment, and facing the loss of welfare and housing benefits.
One man, Albert Thompson, who has lived in London for 44 years after having arrived from Jamaica as a teenager, went for his first radiotherapy session for prostate cancer only to be told that unless he could produce a British passport he would be charged £54,000 for the treatment.
Despite having worked as a mechanic and paid taxes for more than three decades, Mr Thompson’s free healthcare was denied and he was evicted last summer, leading him to be homeless for three weeks.
In another case, Michael Braithwaite, who arrived in Britain from Barbados in 1961, lost his job as a special needs teaching assistant after his employers ruled that he was an illegal immigrant.
In a third case, 61-year-old Paulette Wilson, who has been in Britain for 50 years, received a letter informing her that she was an illegal immigrant and was going to be removed and sent back to Jamaica, the country she left when she was 10 and has never visited since.
Is this the level that Brexit has brought us to?

The recreation of Racist Rant  claiming to be "art". Whilst  people who have lived in this country  for years and who have assumed that they were British Citizens denied NHS treatment and threatened with deportation.

Surely  we should be granting an amnesty, to these  people who are being threatened with deportation to countries they may not have seen for 50 years.

Whilst rich Russian Oligarchs  many who ave vary dubious pasts are welcomed to live in London with open arms. Those who have worked  for years and paid their taxes faithfully are treated as criminals.

We are surely  are entering a dark period in these Islands  in which the voices of intolerance  and racism are given free rein in our media,  and the BBC flagship program "Question Time" seeming to have a permanent right wing majority on the panel   and an audience that seems to consist of people with similar views, we must be ever-increasing vigilant and continue to speak out.