Sunday, 24 July 2016

Owen Smith Ponty Boy?

The Wasting Mule reports that  P Owen Smith , who is running against Jeremy Corbyn to be named Labour leader, has revealed how he has received death threats.
The Pontypridd MP said he received an email making reference to the murder of MP Jo Cox who died after being shot and stabbed in West Yorkshire in June following a constituency meeting.
Mr Smith said: “
I got an email this week saying I’d better watch out the same doesn’t happen to me as to Jo Cox. It’s pretty awful.
“Jeremy Corbyn shrugs his shoulders and says he also has death threats. That’s
not good enough. He’s not doing anywhere near enough to stop this happening.”
It's appalling that Mr Smith  has had death threats and I can't condemn such vile actions by obviously sick  Individuals strongly enough.

But to make such a statement  and then appear to apparently  dismiss  climes that Mr Corbyn has had similar death threats is low for Owen Smith .

To Nr Corbyn credit Jeremy Corbyn has not linked the threats  against him  as coming from Mr Smiths  supporters. So it is really for Owen Smith to linl Mr Corbyn in ant way ti the threats made against himself.

Jeremy Corbyn is not responsible for nutters who may not even be a member of the Labour party ;

Does Mr Smith know where the email came from and has he reported it to the Police ? He has a duty himself to see that these threats are dealt with and an apparent death threat should be  dealt with by the law immediately.

According to the Wasting Mule 

Owen Smith was born 46 years ago in the Lancashire resort of Morecambe but grew up in Pontypridd.
As a lad he enjoyed playing rugby at Coedylan Primary and careering through the streets with his pals.
The town is also the constituency he has represented as its MP since 2010.
Which is odd as the Wikipedia  page on him says that

 He was brought up in Barry, Wales, and attended Barry Comprehensive School.
 The Mule goes on to say
Mr Smith is the son of the South Wales miners’ official historian Dai Smith, and his family was Labour to its boots.
His grandad Jack became a miner at 13, lost his job in the 1930s Depression and later went back down the pits again.
He retired just as the 1980s strike was about to begin, when there were 13 pits round Pontypridd. Now there are none.

 Remembering that period, Mr Smith said: 
“Margaret Thatcher’s efforts to smash the miners felt like an effort to smash communities.“The strike was a disaster, but it was bloody heroic - people standing up for themselves.”
Maybe Owen Smith should look at his Dad's book on the Fed and the list of Pit closures  under the "Labour" Government  of 1966-70 and 1974-79

If Mr Smith at 46 can evoke his own youthful memorise  then this writer approaching 63  can also remember that 
 that  was that . What Thatcher did was arguably carry on the process started by Harold Wilson 

Mich more drastically of course  but the Miners and the Working Class in their entirety have been betrayed by the Labour Party Time and Time Agana

I winder if Mr Smith will be showing   "The Blue Scar" which he got on a school trip with his Ponty Barry classmates.   to Big Pit.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

We need to appoint a Welsh Minister for Brexit.

Welsh First Minister  argument  that any future deal on Brexit should be ratified by all four UK parliaments, certainly has merit but  to my mind is a pipe dream.
He spoke after a meeting of the British Irish Council in Cardiff to discuss the UK's vote to leave the European Union.
Wales' first minister was joined at the "extraordinary summit" by his counterparts from Scotland and Northern Ireland, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny and government representatives from Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.
Mr Jones said Brexit was the biggest challenge the administrations gathered at the council have faced collectively.
Addressing a news conference after the meeting, on Friday, Mr Jones said there would be "fundamental changes" as a result of the EU referendum, adding: 
"During this tumultuous time, it is more important than ever to maintain the strength of this relationship and work together to map out a successful way forward."
He said the session had been "hugely helpful" in identifying challenges, with the council resolving to work together to find solutions.
The special session of the council was called by Mr Jones to discuss the implications of the Brexit vote, including replacing EU funding and questions over the land border between the UK and continuing EU member Ireland.
The call for "ratification" by the four UK parliaments however is interesting  in that whereas unlike Northern Ireland  and Scotland , Wales voted to leave  and the Welsh Assembly cannot argue that has a mandate to oppose Brexit.
Though of course it does not mean that we have no say in the Brexit negotiations
However the Welsh First Minister has not stated to what extent his "ratification" process could  be legally enforced.
The idea may be Carwyns idea as a committed Unionist  plan to prevent Scotland leaving the UK , by giving them a prospect that the Scottish Parliament  can "Block or Change" Brexit arrangements in their Interest.
Whether he sees himself conducting a similar role to a Scottish First Minister in "Block or Change" is open to question.
His past record in defending Welsh Interests is not brilliant  and we would need a more dynamic leader to carry this off.
Where does this leave the UK Parliament?
Does Carwyn's proposal mean that Westminster  should evoke  English votes for English Laws (EVEL) during the BREXIT  process as it could be argued that Scottish , Welsh and Northern Irish  interests have already (or will be)   been cared for by their own Legislators.
What Carwyn proposes as I said has merit in protecting Wales's interest in the Brexit negotiations .
But can we really see English MPs allowing any if the devolved powers the right to change or even veto any part of the process?
What this shows is the limits of the Federal solution for the UK in that England will not stomach a Federal Union that gives equal powers to the Celtic Nations.
This not an Anti-English  statement but a realisation  of current attitudes.
However it is highly important that Welsh Interests are heard over the long Brexit negotiations   and we need the Welsh Government  to appoint a Minister for Brexit who will represent Wales in any negotiations conducted by the Westminster government.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Owen Smith Pro Devolution , anti Austerity . His record shows otherwise/

Labour leadership challenger Owen Smith  seems intent on remodelling himself by denying that he is anti-devolution.
The former shadow Welsh secretary said he wanted First Minister Carwyn Jones to play a bigger role in Labour at Westminster.
Mr Smith said he would have Mr Jones sit in a shadow cabinet with metropolitan English leaders and the Scottish Labour leader.
Mr Smith said the perception that he thought there should be no further powers devolved to Cardiff Bay was an impression Plaid Cymru was "keen to build up as they were trying to drive a wedge between me and Carwyn Jones".
He said Mr Jones knew "that isn't true".
So why is he  not vote for the  recent Plaid Amendment  hand energy, transport and other powers to Cardiff Bay ,
Its all rather reminiscent  of  the "committed devolutionist " response to the Welfare Reform Bill despite his claims to oppose austerity.
Back in the days of the coalition government and when he was Shadow Secretary State fir Wales Plans to devolve even more power to Wales Own Smith was acused of blocking further devolution .
Welsh Tory leader Andrew RT Davies said Labour had "undermined" First Minister Carwyn Jones by not letting the St David's Day agreement go even further.
Th  then Lib Dem MP Jenny Willott understood Mr Smith was "less devolution-friendly than some of his colleagues".
Ms Willott said:
 "There are plenty of things that we would like to see devolved... that basically Labour are not happy to sign up to."My understanding it's more Owen Smith that's less devolution-friendly than some of his colleagues."

Mr Smiths commitment to devolution seems to be "that's as far as you go.

Mr Smith said the Welsh Labour leader and first minister "should be much more associated with big decisions being taken in Westminster".

He explained he would have First Minister  Carwyn Jones 

"alongside other leaders from metropolitan bits of England and the leader in Scotland, sitting regularly in effectively a regional shadow, national shadow cabinet to make big decisions, to think about defence, economic areas where there isn't responsibility held in Wales but where there is clear interest in Wales, or in Scotland, in those decisions."
Seems a bit like  the  Old Soviet  Union practice of  summing the leaders in Satellite States to Moscow to receive their orders.

Pontypridd MP Mr Smith also said that voters in Labour heartlands had lost faith and hope in Labour because of Mr Corbyn's leadership and failure to speak powerfully for the party at Westminster.
Meanwhile he blamed Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for the party's fall in support at the assembly election.
"We've lost credibility, we've lost respect in many of our communities, communities that have been traditional Labour-voting areas.
"For us to almost lose Blaenau Gwent, for us to lose the Rhondda, these were hammer blows to the Labour Party and that's something Jeremy Corbyn needed to respond to, but he's been poor at taking Labour's case to the Tories in
Westminster and he's not been successful in going beyond slogans."
Labour  lost the Rhondda because Plaid Leanne Wood  stood  and the near loss of Blaneau Gwent  was probably down to the unpopularity of local AM Alun Davis.

Labour oss on votes in Wales was also die to the lethargic government of Carwyn Jones whose failure in government  has disillusioned many voters to the extent support for the Assembly's existence is threatened. 

Mr Smith appears to be capable of sating anything that he believes will go down wel with Labour supporters .

His actual record on supporting further devolution  and opposing the Austerity program of the last six years is very poor.

Its not foe me to tell Labour members who to vote for . Bit can they really think they can vote for someone  , who has such a poor memory of his past in sitting on his hands , when measures attacking the poor and disposed were put forward  by the Tory LibDem Government and giving real powers to the Assembly that we desperately  need.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

How many masters will Owen Smith serve.?

I Bloody hate John Dixon's Borthlas  Blog.

Just as I come up with an Idea on what I am going to say, I find that he beaten me to it by a day.

And what is more he nails it in a far better way that I ever could /

Take his latest brilliant analysis.
Poor Owen Smith. People are being a bit beastly to him over a press release which he issued some years ago when he was working as a lobbyist for Pfizer. It certainly seems to be clear that the press release in question expressed support for greater privatisation in the NHS; I can’t see how anyone can seriously deny that. But the man himself has also been absolutely clear that he has always believed in the idea that the NHS should be free. The problem is that people are having difficulty reconciling those two statements.However, in fairness to him, it seems perfectly simple to reconcile the two things; at that time, he was speaking for his employer and expressing the employer’s opinion, but now he’s speaking as a politician and expressing his own views. All perfectly straightforward and obvious.
The part I don’t understand though is this: why would anyone think that being willing to argue and lobby for a privatisation which you fervently oppose simply because you’re being paid to do so is somehow a lesser sin than actually supporting privatisation because you think it’s the right thing to do? I’d have thought that was a bigger problem for a politician claiming to be principled, not a lesser one.
Please John can we here from you more often  Welsh Politics in  particular need  the sought of insight you bring to it.

However I thought i add a bit of my own take of his article.

If Owen Smith is prepared to serve his masters in the same way he did for by  support for greater privatisation in the NHS; presumably against his own instinct. What Master will he obey if he was to become Labour Leader.

  • Will it be the membership  even were to indicate that they want Trident scrapped for example/?
  • Will it be the Parliamentary Party who have ignored the membership 's choice of leader less than a year when he was overwhelmingly  elected  by the membership.
  • Will it be that almost mythical electorate  of "Middle England" whose vote in marginal seats decide the outcome of many elections.
  • Will it be the City of London and those financial Institutions  which brought the UK and the World to the brink of bankruptcy.
  • Will it me the Media owners  like Rupert Murdoch , who believe it is they who decide who should be Prime Minister.
We know it will not be. It will not be the poor and destitute or those in much of Wales who have loyally voted for Labour for nearly a century only to find  they are betrayed again and again  when the party leaders obey their true masters.

King James BibleNo man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Owen  Smith may try and serve  more than one master.

A;as none of these will represent the likes of you and me.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Time for Progressive Left in Wales to quit British State.

With it being so hot I am grateful that Stuart over at WelshnotBritish  has provided us with the list of how Welsh MPs voted in Yesterdays  Trident debate,

Just Five Welsh Labour MPs voted against Trident  which means that that have given the Tories A Blank Cheque to spend on Trident no full cost having been provided.

 Perhaps the best speech came from the SNP Mhari Black

Though Plaid Liz Saville Roberts made an excellent contribution  unfortunately  I have been unable to upload it .

As I said Yesterday  we can only wonder how many Labour MP 's have an old CND badge in their sock draw.

Maybe CND can publish a list of current MPs who are former  members I am sure it wil be illuminating.

But what the Trident debate  proves is that the Majority of Labour are prepared to back the Tories rather than their leader .

The informal Plaid,SNP,Green Alliance  has become the real opposition in the House of Commons .

Labour have lost all claims to be an opposition and the leadership  contest will solve nothing .

Either Jeremy Corbyn wins and his MPs will resharpen their knives for next year .

Or Owen Smith whose claim that he is Left of Centre is dependent n the Left centring on him.

If you are on the Progressive Left in Wales in Scotland  and indeed  Cornwall is it not time that you realise that there no future for such a movement  in the antiquated   British State.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Owen Smith is "Normal". A normal Red Tory.

Oh dear. With nominations for the next Labour leader set to open in a matter of hours, now is not the best time for either leadership hopeful to find themselves compared to  Andrea Leadsom got herself into this month when she talked about her family, Which was seen as an attack her the rival candidate Theresa May who is childless.
Owen Smith however may have  made a bigger gaffe thanks to an interview he gave to Sky News.
In the interview, Smith appears to claim that he is normal because he has a wife and children:
Given that his leadership rival Angela Eagle is a lesbian with no children, his comments are not going down well with liberal Labour supporters. Many have taken his words to show prejudice towards the childless as well as the LGBT community.

While it’s unlikely Smith meant to suggest that Eagle is not ‘normal’, it an unfortunate statement  to say the least
What is "Normal" anyway?
Perhaps  Mr Smith  means he is "Normal"  in that he in the words of Craig Murray in his BloThe Entirely Fake Owen Smith
has adopted the PR man’s typical contempt for the public, who are not as stupid as he seems to think. There is no evidence whatsoever that Smith is a left winger. There is every evidence that he is another New Labour unprincipled and immoral careerist, adopting a left wing pose that he thinks will win him votes.
The sort of Labour Poltician who says 
 “I marched with the miners at Maerdy Colliery and I will never forget the pride I felt at seeing men and women, old and young, come together to fight for their neighbours, their jobs and hope for the next generation.“This sense of community, solidarity and passion for justice remain at the heart of my politics.“This is why I am Labour right to my fingertips. I’m not interested in machine politicking and Westminster parlour games, but rooted politics – that’s about making a real and lasting difference to people’s lives.
But distances himself from his youthful support for CND passing it off as the foibles of youth 

He said he abandoned his commitment to unilateral nuclear disarmament 15 years ago as he realised
"we need to retain it until we can use it as a bargaining chip to get everybody to get rid of their nuclear weapons"."I will vote to renew Trident."I'm a multilateralist and I believe that the world has actually got more volatile and more insecure over the last few years."I want a world without nuclear weapons altogether, but I don't believe that we hasten that by divesting."

The former shadow work and pensions secretary also criticised Mr Corbyn for saying that if he became Prime Minister he would not push the nuclear button

In other words Mr Normal would order the deaths of thousands if not millions of innocent people.

And last night he marched into the YES lobbies with the Tories to renew Trident

Labour sources said they believe 138 Labour MPs voted for the motion, 48 against, with 45 not present..

I wonder how many of the 136 who voted thus and the 45 who abstained (How can you not have a view?) still have a CND badge in their sock draw.

He's normal for a Labour MP who extols the Welsh Rugby and Football teams but who then refers to Wales as a "Region" and as disdain for those who want more for Wales than a Third Rate Assembly.

We need politicians who are nit Normal but who prepared to think differently to the cosy Consensus pf Westminster
Even if Jeremy Corbyn was to win the Leadership contest most of the Parliamentary Labour Party will be Normal in that they wi;l be indistinguishable from the Tories on the Government benches.

Monday, 18 July 2016

A Federal UK can't work because England will never accept a diminished role.

In what is probably a last ditch attempt  to prevent Scotland becoming a Independent Nation there  has appeared am "All Party" group calling for a Federal UK

According to their Website  the Constitutional Reform Group  state that 

The draft Act of Union proposes a constitutional relationship in which the peoples of the UK agree which centrally controlled policy areas should reside in Westminster, and agree the devolved powers to be controlled in the assemblies and parliaments of Holyrood, Cardiff and Stormont. The Act also contains options for the governance of England, including a directly elected English parliament sitting in the House of Commons, or a nationwide expansion of regional devolution similar to that seen recently in Manchester.

It goes on to say  

Rather than Westminster reacting under pressure for more devolution, the Act would provide that the four countries of the United Kingdom should agree what powers are to be transferred and reserved by Westminster (for example, national security, foreign policy and indirect taxation such as VAT), and what should be governed locally.
The new Act also provides an option for  the House of Lords to be replaced by a new elected chamber to represent a new federation of the UK.
The long title of the new Act of Union is: “A renewed constitutional form for the peoples of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to join together to form the United Kingdom” adding “that the peoples of those nations have chosen to pool their sovereignty for the specified purposes, and to provide universal citizenship together with social and economic rights”.

Can it work?

Well it depends on what they mean by Federalism.

Take Foreign Policy for Instance  to what extent would the views of the various Federal Governments be taken in to account?

The whole point about the Brexit referendum is that Scotland will be taken out of the European Union against their will?

To what extent would the new Union be dominated by English representatives  in a Federal UK Parliament.

Would it  have a permanent English majority or would it see equal  representation in the number of MPs from the Federal Nations or at least  some kind of Balance

For Example in 300 member Parliament  

150 English MPs
100 Scottish  MPS
50  Welsh MPs
50 Northern Ireland MPs (Which could see almost half boycotting it  )

This may be acceptable to some but would England still seeing itself as the senior Party accept a diminished influence in what it will still regard as its Parliament.

It would have to take a fundamental change  in Unionist thinking which quite frankly seems impossible 

Although the term "Better Together" apparently won the vote in the Scottish Independence  Referendum  they appear have to have lost the argument.

I can see the danger in pointing out that Better Together means that English legislators are in a majority  , because the last thing I want for the independence   campaigns in England and Wales to take up an Anti- English rhetoric.

But the fact is that even a small move to Federalism would  mean that English influence in the Federal Parliament    would be diminished  and I can't see them accepting this.

I'm afraid Independence is the only answer.