Friday 6 November 2020

Not bloggiing because of injury

 I will unfortunately not be blogging g for a wji!e as I have broken a collarbone.Aauzd

Thursday 5 November 2020

Whether the English Government plans to ban all not essentials sales it is still hypocritical,

There seems to be some confusion on whether the English Government  has decided  follow those in Wales and refrain from selling some goods such as clothes and books during its new lockdown.

Nayion Cymru report that 

According to industry publication The Grocer, stores have been instructed to cordon off aisles which contain non-essential products only, following in Wales’ footsteps after similar measures were introduced here.

However a UK Government spokesperson denied the report, telling website Guido Fawkes that “These claims are false. Items will not be cordoned off.”

One individual involved in the talks told the Grocer that the UK Government had instructed retailers in England that non-essential goods could not be sold in aisles that did not contain essential goods.

“The Government have said that they are not going to force retailers to shut down all non-essential goods, like it happened in Wales,” they said.

“However,” the source added, “those stores which have specific areas of so-called non-essential goods will have to cordon them off.

“They will not have to close off aisles where there is a mix.”

Which seems a pretty way of saying that if you have section like my local Tesco Store which has an upstairs section selling "non-Essential goods" and some very clear distinction between other goods like groceries down stairs , then they will be cordoned of and it will only be in smaller stores where thiswil happen

 Under the new restrictions, people should stay at home except for specific reasons including education and work (if it cannot be done from home).

All non-essential retailers, leisure and entertainment venues must shut, with pubs and restaurants told to close except for takeaways.

Martin Hewitt, chairman of the National Police Chiefs Council, warned that those responsible for the most "egregious" breaches of the rules would face stiff fines.

He said: "Every one of us has a responsibility to understand what the regulations are and abide by those regulations", adding that people who flouted them would be "breaking the law and endangering people's lives".

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to make a statement in the House of Commons later on Thursday outlining what economic support will be available to businesses and jobs during the lockdown.

What seems odd is that the Prime Minister and Chancellor did not make this clear during the debate in the House of Commons.

We do know that up to now the Welsh and English Tories all opposed the the Welsh Governments lockdown rules .

This lockdown will cost the Welsh economy £500m. Hospital-acquired infections & deaths are spiralling out of control. We’re still waiting for the firebreak exit plan yet Labour ministers are still fiddling with their shopping list ban. Whilst Rome burns...

Former Conservative Government minister David Jones MP has voted against the UK government in its plans to introduce a four week lockdown in England.

The Clwyd West MP, and former Welsh Secretary, was one of 34 Conservative MPs to rebel against their government's proposals.

MPs were voting on the new measures that will come into force at midnight.

But Boris Johnson saw off the rebellion of Conservative MPs opposed to the move, with the support of Labour.

The government won the vote by 516 to 38, a majority of 478.

 Mr Jones, along with all other north Wales Conservative politicians in the Senedd and the Commons, had opposed local lockdowns being imposed in north Wales in September.

He was the only Conservative MP in Wales to rebel in the vote on Wednesday.

Plaid Cymru abstained from voting on the measures, that will apply to England.

All other Welsh MPs, both Labour and Conservative, voted with the government - except for Cardiff North MP Anna McMorrin who did not record a vote.

For the Tory MPs who backed the English Government and who have spent the last Fortnight  it is hypocricy on a major scale.

However, this does not necessarily mean she deliberately abstained.

Whether the English Government had plans to follow the Welsh completely is unlikely , though they may well have decided that they can get away with anything  these days even such hypocrisy.

The normally bumptious Andrew rT Davies seems to be somewhat  muted and even have deleted some of his tweets,

But he and the many who rightly or wrongly criticise the Welsh Government often using near-racist language   only to be mute  when it happens in England is outstanding,




Wednesday 4 November 2020

Latest Welsh Opinion Poll sees Abolish taking seats with 7% of the regional vote.

The latest Welsh Political Barometer Poll come as a bit of a disappointment , I have  Professor Roger Awan-Scully  analysis , which is in Green with my comments in black.

The poll was carried out online by YouGov from 26-30 October 2020 so the recent surge in Yes/Cymru supporters may not have yet began.

 Our most recent poll, in September, put Labour in single-point leads over the Conservatives for all three voting intention questions asked: general election voting intention and the two Senedd ballots. How do things stand now? Let’s look first at Westminster: here are the latest figures (with changes since September’s poll in brackets):

Labour: 43% (+2)

Conservatives: 32% (-1)

Plaid Cymru: 13% (-2)

Brexit Party: 5% (+1)

Greens: 3% (no change)

Liberal Democrats: 3% (+1)

Others: 2% (no change)

These figures demonstrate limited movement in party support since our last poll; indeed, all of the changes seen here are well within the standard ‘margin of error’, suggesting that there has been no fundamental shift in public preferences in the nearly two month period since the last Barometer poll was conducted. Labour will, though, undoubtedly be pleased to register their highest Westminster vote intention in Wales since December 2018. Such findings are broadly in line with what recent Britain-wide polling has been showing, with a modest Conservative weakening and slight improvements for Labour in recent weeks bringing the two parties more-or-less level.

What might these numbers from the new Barometer poll mean in terms of parliamentary seats? Using the standard method of projecting swings since the last general election uniformly across Wales generates the following projected outcome in terms of seats (with changes from the December 2019 election result indicated in brackets):

Labour: 27 (+5)

Conservatives: 9 (-5)

Plaid Cymru: 4 (no change)

The projected Labour gains from the Conservatives are (in order of marginality from the 2019 general election) Delyn, Bridgend, Clwyd South, Vale of Clwyd and Ynys Mon; of the swathe of Welsh Conservative gains in the December 2019 general election, only Wrexham is now (very narrowly) projected to remain blue.

Basically it looks like that  a Pre December status will remain and the socalled RED WALL in Wales at least will be partially rebuilt 

The picture for devolved voting intentions is not quite so stable as for Westminster. Here are the findings of our new poll for the constituency ballot (with changes in support from September’s poll once more indicated in brackets):


Labour: 38% (+4)

Conservatives: 27% (-2)

Plaid Cymru: 20% (-4)

Brexit Party: 5% (+1)

Liberal Democrats: 3% (no change)

Greens: 3% (no change)

Others: 4% (+1)

Here we see a rather greater strengthening of Labour support, alongside a weakening for Plaid Cymru and (though to a lesser extent, and within the standard sampling error margin) for the Conservatives. These are once again Labour’s best numbers since December 2018. It is also interesting that there is also no improvement for the Liberal Democrats from their historically poor figure in our last poll.

A uniform swing projection of the changes in party support since May 2016 indicated by this poll suggests that only one constituency seat in the Senedd would change hands, with the Conservatives very narrowly gaining the Vale of Glamorgan from Labour.

And what about the regional list vote? Here our new Barometer poll produced the following results (with changes since September’s poll again indicated in brackets):

Of course  one of the factors here may be Brecon and Radnor which may not be a safe seat for the sole Liberal Democrat with the announcement that Kirsty Williams from the Senedd and will not be standing , leaving it to the possibility of a Tory gain

Labour: 33% (no change)

Conservatives: 24% (-3)

Plaid Cymru: 20% (-3)

Abolish the Assembly: 7% (+3)

Brexit Party: 5% (+1)

Greens: 4% (no change)

Liberal Democrats: 4% (+1)

Others: 3% (+1)

Unlike for the constituency vote, we see here no improvement in Labour’s support. But there are similar declines for both the Conservatives and Plaid Cymru. And, perhaps most strikingly of all, there is a further rise in support for the anti-devolution Abolish the Assembly party. Their seven percent support in this poll is their highest ever figure registered in a Barometer poll and equals the highest level of support they have registered in any public poll – matching their score in the December 2018 Sky Data poll. Along with the five percent support scored by the Brexit Party, this does emphasise that there is a significant constituency of support in Wales for Euro- and devo-sceptic populist political options; were such voters to have a single clear option to unite around in next May’s election they might well deliver a significant number of seats to such a party.

Allowing for the constituency results already projected, and once again assuming uniform national swings since 2016, our new poll projects the following overall results for the Senedd’s regional list seats:

North Wales: 2 Conservative, 1 Plaid, 1 Abolish the Assembly

Mid and West Wales: 2 Labour, 1 Conservative, 1 Abolish the Assembly

South Wales West: 2 Conservative, 2 Plaid

South Wales Central: 2 Conservative, 1 Plaid, 1 Abolish the Assembly

South Wales East: 2 Conservative, 1 Plaid, 1 Abolish the Assembly

From all these figures we thus produce the following overall projected result for the Senedd:

Labour: 28 seats (26 constituency, 2 regional)

Conservatives: 16 seats (7 constituency, 9 regional)

Plaid Cymru: 11 seats (6 constituency, 5 regional)

Abolish the Assembly: 4 seats (4 regional)

Liberal Democrats: 1 seat (1 constituency)


Overall, our new poll certainly does not suggest that Labour in Wales are suffering negative political consequences from the firebreak lockdown. If anything the opposite would appear to be the case, with the party’s support appearing to strengthen more substantially for the Senedd constituency vote than for Westminster. In addition to factors common to politics across Britain – such as declining ratings for Prime Minister Johnson, dissatisfaction with the UK government’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis, and the impact of Sir Keir Starmer on perceptions of Labour – the persistence of a major crisis in an area of devolved competence like health has brought devolved politics to the fore. At present, this appears to be playing to Labour’s advantage in Wales. But it may also be helping an explicitly anti-devolution party like Abolish the Assembly harvest additional support from some of those who resent the distinct approach to handling the crisis taken by government in Wales.

Though if the Liberal Democrats were to lose Brecon and Radnor  , the they could make up for it with one of the Mid and West Wales:, seats though who would lose out sems unclear.

There's an interesting analysis by Ioan  Phillips "Why Faragist politics are doomed to fail in Wales" , which points out that 

"There is an old saying about buses that goes “you wait ages for one, and then three turn up at once”. That might need updating for Welsh politics following the launch of the Reform Party. It joins UKIP and Abolish the Assembly as staunch opponents of devolution.

Reform’s leader, Nigel Farage, says the party will campaign primarily against lockdown measures. This distinguishes the latest vehicle for his ego from the other abolitionist parties, who have no policy platform to speak of other than getting rid of the Senedd.

The arguments for parties like Reform usually stress the electoral space in Welsh politics for a socially right-wing party with left-leaning economic instincts. Proponents of this view claim that the Conservatives are still too tainted by the legacy of the 1980s to win over socially conservative voters in areas like the South Wales Valleys.

With support for independence rising and growing scepticism towards the union amongst some parts of Welsh Labour, they contend that there is a segment of the unionist electorate that is up for grabs.

The electoral case against a new party is just as strong, though. For a start, the Additional Member System (AMS) used to elect MSs disadvantages parties with narrow pockets of support – especially when competing against ideologically similar rivals.

Moreover, as opposition to lockdown and devolution have a significant ideological overlap, Farage’s Reform Party faces duels with the Welsh Conservatives and Abolish in rural Mid and West Wales, as well as battles with Labour in more urban areas.

Abolish have eked out the 7% needed to elect a handful of regional MS’ in today’s YouGov poll, but have done during the week where devolution has probably split opinion more than at any time in its history, and at the Conservatives’ expense in terms of seats.

Throwing Reform into the mix as well might just split the vote further and deny any of them representation".

I was going to comment further but clearly I am distracted with events across the pond and the possibility of another disappointment.   

Tuesday 3 November 2020

Mark Drakeford and Paul Davies still back the Union over Wales.

 Wales’ First Minister has said that Wales already has a “huge degree of independence” but that membership of the UK is an “insurance policy” in times of financial hardship.

Some "insurance policy" that pays up when the affluent South of England join the rest of tat country in another lockdown but refuses to do so when Wales and Scotland and indeed the North of England put a similar claim in earlier.

Nation Cymru tell us that 

Mark Drakeford was asked by Sky News why he was not advocating independence after the UK Treasury refused to extend furlough for Wales but did so for England.

“What I say to people who make that argument is that we have a huge degree of independence already,” he answered.

“We make our own laws here in the Senedd. We exercise the powers that we do have independently as we have throughout the crisis as I have done so when I thought it was right to do so for Wales, as we did with our early firebreak period we went ahead and made that independent decision.

 “But at the same time we are able to draw on the strength of the United Kingdom. We wouldn’t be talking about millions of extra pounds for Welsh businesses if it wasn’t for the fact we are part of a big insurance policy that is the United Kingdom. Paying in when we can, drawing out when we need it.

“I think Wales has the best of both worlds. A strong and assertive devolution settlement and membership of what I see as a successful United Kingdom.”

 In this case Wales is like a house that has been constantly flooded and the Insurance company sets too high a premium, but also is responsible for the flooding (literary when it come to Tryweryn) in the first place.

Mr Drakeford finds himself in a curious  position .

He knows that there is extreme disquiet within Wales over  the failure of the response of the uK government  in its response to handling the Covid 19 virus and would likely have sought to have established a more robust  reaction in Wales but still cannot bring himself to react in some quarters for being seen as too much of a "Welsh Nationalist".

He well know that   the cross-party independence movement, YesCymru hit 10,000 members yesterday, with 1,000 joining within the previous 48 hours.

TheYYes movement had previously set a target of 10,000 members before the end of the year. They hit the target at yesterday , they said, “a little earlier” than they had expected.

The cross-party movement said that they had seen their membership increase from 2,300 members at the beginning of the year.

Meanwhile there seems to be an orchestrated campaign from Devo sceptics  to use the  Welsh Government response to call for an abolishment of the Senedd.

Meanwhile Paul Davies, the leader of the Conservative group in the Senedd has reiterated his criticism of the Welsh Government’s firebreak lockdown despite the announcement at the weekend of a four-week lockdown in England by the Tory government at Westminster.

On Saturday Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed a new lockdown in England which will run from next Thursday until at least 2 December.

Under the new restrictions pubs, restaurants, gyms, non-essential shops and places of worship will close and travel will be restricted but schools, colleges and universities remain open.

Mr Davies told BBC Wales: 

“What happens in England of course is a matter for the UK government and Boris Johnson, and his government has made that decision. What happens here in Wales is a different matter, and that’s what devolution is about.

“The first minster and the prime minister have said that devolved governments sometimes take different decisions, and we’ve made it absolutely clear that we think this temporary national lockdown [in Wales] was not the right thing to do.

“But we are where we are, and we do hope we will see the suppression of this virus.”

So in some ways Mr Davies is aping Mark Drakeford in arguing for a Welsh solution to the Covid 19 virus albite  a very diffrent one.

I suspect the Tories in Wales have worked ou that there may be a minority opposed to the  firebreak , but they are potential voted worth harvesting.

But in the end both Labour and the Tories are going to have to respond to to  the growing YesCymru movement .

I doubt very much they have learned the lesson from Scotland and that stopping the tide is going to take more than relying on an issuance policy from an increasingly dodgy provide.