Friday 31 December 2010

Looking into my Crystal Ball

  • The year will start with a number of Labour party members announcing they support for a no campaign but they will be seen to have little influence.   
  •  There will be a row in the Yes campaign  over whether they should compare the cuts from Westminster with a positive image of the Assembly. But this will strengthen the campaign
  • The Yes campaign will be won a though with less than 50% voting. there will be a Yes majority in Cardiff. Only Monmouth, Newport and Flint will vote No.
  • The referendum on the Alternative Vote will fail.although Wales and Scotland will have large votes for it.There will be a significant number of Ballots which will support the measure who will attempt to show preference for STV. 
  • Although the referendum on AV will be lost the proposal to cut the number of MPs will carry on it will mean the end of Ynys Mon and Montgomery as Historic constituencies although they will remain at the Assembly.  
  • There will be rumours of a number of Lib-Dems  splitting from the Party to join the existing "Liberal Party"  but it will come to nothing. 
  • There will be a number of new Blogs from people standing for  the Assembly but these will cease by April.
  • By the end of the year the Lib-Dems will have lost over 200 councilors through resignations who will now stand as independents this will not include the  many more they will lose in local elections.
  • The Assembly elections will see Labour just failing to get an overall majority. The Lib-Dems with 4 seats will fall over backwards to join them in coalition and try to distance themselves from their Westminster colleagues.
  • The Conservatives will lose 2 seats and will replace Nick Bourne as leader. They will be the first to propose the Assembly be called the Welsh Parliament. Nick Bourne will quit the Assembly by 2012.
  • Plaid will gain 1 or  2 seats one of whom will be Helyn Fychan as Plaid lose Conwy  this however will be seen as a Plus. They will decide to let the Lib-Dems join the Labour Party in power if Dafydd Elis Thomas decide to stand for Presiding Officer. Otherwise they will back him for Education Minister.
  • There will be a major campaign in support of S4C after the Assembly Elections. Support fro senior Plaid figures will depend on whether they are in government or not.
  • Peter Black will get more and more ridiculous on his Blog and will be privately told by La Pasionaria to cool it.
  • Adam Price will  not return to full time politics in the near future unless  there is an early by-election for the Assembly. 
  • There will be a major defection from Labour to Plaid which will be announced at their Autumn conference. 
  • The year will end with unrest in Labour over Ed Milibands leadership oddly this will not seem to have adverse effect on they Poll ratings which wil be 5% above the Tories. 

Thursday 30 December 2010

Faux Democracy

 The above cartoon is from a Private Eye issue in the 1970's.  It as always stuck in my mind, because it reflects  the question I have often asked myself. Am I in favour of direct democracy if the people then support policies (Capitol Punishment being a prime example ) which I myself  totally opposed to?.

The answer I would give is direct democracy is not about the views of the majority but a means in which all care able to express themselves. Particularly those who are ignored by main stream politicians, and the British media .

In recent Blogs both Peter Black  and Glyn Davies have posted in favour of the coalition's plans  "to allow popular online petitions to be debated in Parliament. Those receiving most support, probably 100,000 signatures, would be debated, with some possibly becoming bills".

On paper this looks like a major innovation in direct democracy. but as Paul Flynn points out.and I  reproduce it below....

Tony Blair did that. The most popular petition, with more than 180,000 people in support, opposed road pricing. If the same people had been asked if they wanted safer roads, with fewer accidents and less pollution they would also have said yes . World experience has shown that public will always vote to lower taxes and improved services.

"On Tony Blair's site, more than 70,000 supported the one word suggestion that Gordon Brown should "resign". And almost 50,000 signed up to the idea that TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson should become prime minister. In the last census 400,000 people gave their religion as Jedi and name Darth Vader as their religious leader.

Foolishly the Tories put this piece of vacuous populism into their manifesto so they have to go through the motions. I am sure that House Leader George Young is wearily resigned about wandering down this parliamentary cul-de-sac. There has been serious progress in opening up the parliamentary agenda through the Backbench Committee that has new control over some parliamentary time.

For the first time in ten years of war in Afghanistan parliament voted on our deployment there. The great reform that is long overdue is to free up private members business which is easily sabotaged by opponents - mostly Government nerds".

This argument Peter Black addresses.
He wrote...

That is a disgraceful attitude towards the people who employ him. Inevitably there will be those who abuse the process, but that is no reason to deny people the opportunity to put forward their own ideas and even to organise petitions to influence the legislative agenda. 

But  Peter does not say how these petitions can be selected. With modern communications there could be hundreds of such Petitions a year with over 100,000 signatures and it would not be difficult for an unscrupulous webmaster to create a program that simply copies names on to the Petitions and it would take major resources to check if they were genuine. Especially if signatories worried about E-Fraud only supplied their names.

But of course any Petition put forward for debate will be largely selected by the government of the day.
Just ask yourself if there was a major petition calling for a Republic and an end to Titles.Would this be debated in the House of Commons? Despite the fact although we are in a minority  a significant number of the electorate in the UK are Republicans who if they wished to sit in the House of Commons (or our Assembly)  must swear allegiance to the Monarch and their Heirs and cannot it reality challenge the position of the Monarch in the House.

In actuality what will happen is that we will have petitions inspired by the Right-Wing media which government ministers will pick according to the perceived popularity  and tell us we are participating actively in government
If the views of the people are to be heard then replace the First past the Post system with STV where the concerns of the minority who are excluded by the current system can be expressed. 


Saturday 25 December 2010

Bah Humbug

No it as alright even an old cynic like National Left cannot help but wish everyone Nadolig Llawen regardless of whether you see Christmas as a secular holiday (or both) and hope the message of peace and goodwill carries on into the New Year.

Monday 20 December 2010

Can the Yes campaign attack the Westminster cuts?

Both Valleys Mam and Plaid Wrecsam have drawn attention to the spat between Peter Black and  Leighton Andrews on Twitter and both used the "Handbags at Dawn" simile. The argument between our two "distinguished" politics highlighted with Peter calling Leighton a cretin.

However we must look at the deeper implications of this unedifying  correspondence. and it is simply can a Yes campaign be run in favour increasing powers for National Assembly without making a comparison with a Right of centre Westminster coalition and Left of centre  Assembly government.

Clearly if this argument  was to be carried out by the Yes campaign it would be difficult for the Lib-Dems and Tories who support the measures to back the official campaign and whilst there could well be a advantage (which has not happened in previous referenda) in making such a comparisons wit a Tory led government it does seem that unless Labour are prepared to be accused of sacrificing National unity for future political advantage, they should cease to make such an argument through the "Yes" campaign.

And yet it would mean that those who were seeking greater powers could be loosing a major advantage.Perhaps  the next Yougov poll on the referendum in Wales should ask the question.

Do you believe that greater powers to the Welsh Assembly will make Wales less or more vulnerable to cuts from Westminster?

Some would argue that this is far from the point of the proposals, and any argument in this manner would be a false one. However the campaign could well be won or lost on such an argument that Wales will be better protected by a more powerful Assembly;But can the "Yes" campaign make such a claim?

Friday 17 December 2010

Election expenses Spreadsheet.

If you wish to have a copy of the spreadsheet I simplified for the Expenditure for Wales email me at and I'll send either  an excel or Open office copy of the spreadsheet.

Thursday 16 December 2010

Some Thoughts on the Election Expenditure

If you have read ny last three posts you will have seen a list of the expenditure by Party in the last General Election in Wales.
There are a number of interesting Points.

Spent over £24,0000  for  a 4th place in Aberconwy
Were the  Highest spender in Cardiff West £9,204,47 and received 7% of the vote whilst the Liberal Democrats spent £636.93 and received 17.5% of the vote.
Liberal Democrats 
Spent over £20,000 than the winning Labour Candidate in Merthyr Tydfil and Newport East.
Spent 1,520.93  (18.3% of Vote) in Swansea East and 22,701.65 in Swansea West  (33.2%)and £30.617.11 Newport East (37%) and £1,349.35(16.6) in Newport West .
Spent £190.00 (13.8)% n the Cynon Valley
Spent  £585.69 (585.69(7.5% of the vote) in Merthyr Tydfil
Labour  spent £446.95 (7.1%) in Montgomeryshire. and 2i,211.57(33.4% of vote).

When you look at the figures it is  hard to see to what extent expenditure makes a difference but it is clear in marginal constituencies you have to spend big.

Perhaps oddly the interesting result  may have been Torfaen

Green 438 Votes £37. Spent.
Labour 16847  Votes £2,96255.Spent.
Con  7541 Votes £148.20 Spent.
Independent 607 Votes £1.756.00 Spent.
BNP 1657 Votes £400.00 Spent.
Lib-Dem 6264 Votes  £589.00 Spent .
Independent 1419 Votes £600.00 Spent.
UKIP 862 Votes £1100.00 Spent.
Plaid 2005 votes £1,497.00 Spent.

In many other Welsh Consistencies just one Party spent more than the whole expenditure in Totfaen

It is it pity Plaid Panteg no longer blogs. I would like to know whether  the people of Torfaen felt remote from the democratic  process during the election as opposed say Aberconwy .
To my mid  the disparity between th money spent in Torfaen and marginal consistencies is an argument for PR especially STV because Parties would tend to treat each constituency as winnable  for at least one seat and spending would be spread more equally.
This would mean that voters at least will believe their vote will count. and it will make scrutiny  of such expenditure more equal and open.

Monday 13 December 2010

Expenditure in 2010 election (Aberavon-Delyn)

I have attempted to reproduce the expenditure in 2010 election for Welsh Constituencies  more details can be obtained from the Electoral Commission here
I hope you are able to follow this as I've had to brake the spreadsheet down The rest will be posted tommorrow

Friday 10 December 2010

Subordinate Centre think I'm being absurd.

Apparently according to  Subordinate Centre I'm being absurd over the Lib-Dems attitude to the Welsh language heres the exchange we have had in their post.

Glyn Morris (for it is me)
Whilst your criticism of Plaid is valid. It is surely hypocritical of your party to call for official status for the Welsh language and of course English is not an official Language in the UK though it is de facto so.
When the Lib-Dem website is not fully Bilingual.
You do not produce fully Bilingual Literature and leaflets in every Welsh consistency.
If the Liberal Democrats are truly in favour r of equality for the Welsh Language you should practice what you preach.

Subordinate Centre
Glyn, surely the point is to enable people to use the Welsh language without sanction not to force compulsory bilingualism on them when it is not appropriate.

Glyn Morris 
So it’s not appropriate for the Welsh  Lib-Dems be totally bilingual. Either Welsh is equal to English or it is not. Are you saying it is not? Because it is riduculous to talk of Official status if you believe this.

Subordinate Centre.
Dont be absurd. Equality means that people should have a choice as to which language to use without fear of sanction. Enforced bilingualism is tokenism at its worst and undermines the value of the language.

So there you have for the Lib-Dems to be a Bilingual Party  would be tokenism and they are against "Enforced" Bilingualism.

But how can a Language have Official staus and not be treated equal that would be real tokenism. It would be like saying to a slave you have been granted your freedom but you can't vote ,stand for election etc.

The reaction of Subordinate Centre shows that the words of their leader in the Assembly are only words. Before they start criticising policy on the Language they should set an example and embrace a bilingual policy themselves

Wednesday 8 December 2010

Lib-Dem support official status for Welsh but not in what "they" produce.

The Liberal Democrats  are once again guilty of blatant hypocrisy over their attitude towards the New Welsh Language Measures. They may have a point when attacking Plaid Cymru as AM Eleanor Burnham  does on Subordinate Centre, or call for Welsh to be given full official status. as her leader La Pasionaria did in her  speech in the debate but since English does not in fact actually have official status in the UK it would not at the moment be possible.

Plaid's timorous attitude is appalling. A the only Party that treats Welsh equally in its own publications, then it should use this as an example of how the rest of Wales should treat both  the Languages of Wales.

But when the Welsh Liberal Democrats do not practice what they preach why should we listen to them on Welsh language legislation?

Their website is not even remotely fully bilingual and their election leaflets and other publications (at least where I live) are solely  English.

Even if the Welsh Language does not have official status then they could treat it equally themselves. The same applies to Labour and the Tories. But when we have posts such as "Plaid Cymru’s Welsh Language Betrayal" it clearly only those Parties and Organisations  who treat the Welsh Language equally in what they produce should be entitled to ctiticise Plaid's lack of backbone on this matter.

Tuesday 7 December 2010

Our Schools are failing: Educate the Parents

The Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) tests  that are designed to measure whether students nearing the end of secondary school are well prepared to meet the challenges they will encounter in future life.assessments of 15-year-olds show Wales falling further behind since the 2006 tests.

READING: 2006 – 481 2009 – 476 CHANGE -5

MATHS: 2006 – 484 2009 – 472 CHANGE -12

SCIENCE 2006 – 505 2009 – 496 CHANGE -9

There will be many who will be blamed for this The Welsh  Assembly Government, Local Education Authorities , Schools. Teachers and no doubt other some will blame the Westminster Government.

But there will be probably be few who look at the link at the amount of interest parents take in their children's education and the PISA results.

It would be interesting for instance to look at a Schools Stats ,and the relationship with the number of parents who provide extra tutoring

It has also been my belief that League Tables were always going to be misleading because the role of the Parent in aiding their children's education has been ignored
This could include.

  • Ensuring their children attended school regularly. 
  • Ensuring Pupils did and presented their Homework on time,. 
  • They has access to materials with which to work with.. 
  • They install in their children a belief that education is of value and if they work at it. Then they can archive a great deal.. 
  • They had access to a computer (Important these days). And something that may be causing a divide between the have and have-nots which we have not seen for decades.

The solution cannot just be a matter of spending more money on schools or concentrating on the higher achiever whilst ignoring the failures.Something I suspect happens in some countries  that appear to achieve better results. If you exclude the Poorer performers from the Test (which is quite easy) then the results will appear to be better than the actual reality. 

It is unfortunate that  children of parents who did not do this for them will probably fail to do so for their own .Some will argue that there is nothing we can do about this, but perhaps the solution is not to look soley at the education of the Children but to create a new era of Adult Education and to encourage those whose own experience of schooling was largely negative to undergo a new form of Adult Education. Which they can  then mix with their own encouragement of teaching. their children.

We must realise this passing down negative attitude towards our children. We once had a suburb attitude towards education  in Wales which began with the circulating schools of Griffith Jones (1684 –1761).  The effect of this meant that in the 1960’s over 60% of children from Cardiganshire where Griffith was influential  went on to Higher Education.

Of course it can ne argued that we greater idea of the level of Education today as in former times those who were failing at School left at 14 or later 16 and went into Labouring and Manufacturing jobs, But these have gone and people who have failed (or rather been failed by) the education system are even less likely to find employment and this will in no doubt reinforce their negative attitude towards  Education which they will pass on to the next generation increasing the class divide.

So we must look at Schools system but also the relationship with parents because I believe the answer is to get them once more involved in their children's education and break the cycle of negativity.

Wednesday 1 December 2010

Cilau Aeron By-election

There was a Byelection   on Ceredigion county council:on  yesterday in Ciliau Aeron division after the disqualification of Plaid Cymru councillor Moelfryn Maskell, who was found by the Adjudication Panel of Wales to have misused his position the result was.on Tuesday 30 November 2010 12:00
PC 365 (55.7; -11.3)
LD 247 (37.7; +19.1)
Con 43 (6.6; +6.6)
[Ind (0.0; -14.4)
Majority 118
Turnout 44%

This was a potential loss for Plaid as the previous councilor was as I wrote above disqualified but although there was a swing to the Lib- Dems it was not nearly enough . Perhaps it says more about attitudes to the Lib-Dems than Plaid. and I cant see Lib-Dem bloggers making much of a play with this.

Would a Independent have made a difference?

It is also interesting that the Tories  have had another por showing in a council by-election where they have rarely put forward a candidate. They don't seem to be benfiting dfrom being in government either.

Monday 29 November 2010

Kim Howells Why Bother?

Kim Howells amongst  notorious unit of the Colombian army accused, by Amnesty International, of torturing and killing trade unionists.

I’m a bit surprised that there hasn't been more comment on that former  Labour minister Kim Howells says next year's referendum on extra powers for the Welsh assembly is "partial and daft" and he will be voting no

But it could well be that most people in Wales  see Howells as irrelevant. Last night program  “a Valley view of the World” confirmed my view of him however as parochial politician who thinks he is playing on the big stage but if you want to see a truly devastating appraisal of him then have a look at what  his former colleague at Westminster  Paul Flynn , has to say about him. I can't remember when someone has condemned (who is still) a party member in such terms. But why the program anyway?

I can only assume that  BBC Wales that  “Den of Nationalist” (Yeh right) made such a programme  in order to balance any coverage.

Or it could be simply that the Old Labour Unionist are still lurking the corridors of the BBC in Cardiff.

Whatever happens I can't see Howells having any major impact on the campaign but it would be interesting for them to give some space to a positive aspect of devolution it seems that negative attacks on the assembly is seen as impartial investigative reporting  but positive reports  are "Nationalist Propaganda”.

It will also be interesting to see the response of Howells replacement in the Pontypridd Consistency Owen Smith sthe on of a similar valleys champion Dai Smith,who has often expressed similar  views on Howells standpoint. that Wales stops at Tonypandy

Friday 26 November 2010

Miliband is no different than Howard Flight .

New Conservative peer Howard Flight has provoked outrage after suggesting welfare cuts will cause unwanted "breeding" among benefit claimants.  This has been condemned outright ,but Labour Politicians are more subtle

Ed Miliband has said  Labour did not do "enough" when it was in power to reform the welfare system, party leader Ed Miliband has said.
There was still a "minority" of able-bodied adults not in work, which "hacks people off".
Again the inference is that people are having a good living off benefits whilst the hard working middle classes pay for it. 

Milliband has vowed to stand up for the "squeezed middle" - people on low and middle incomes who were feeling the pinch of government cuts and a fragile economy.

To my mind Miliband may be not as offensive  as Flight but  even when he says it a minority cheating on benefits ends up taring  all with the same brush. 
Where does he and his fellow Labour MPs condemn the minority of middle classs people cheating on their taxes.?  
The interesting thing is that no politician seems to refer to the Working classes any more, and the reason for this is there is no point in courting the working classes anymore.

Because they have very little political influence.

The fact is because of our political system only a few seats “The Marginal Ones” are of any importance in a general Election and these are nearly all those with Milliband’s “squeezed Middle class” Labour may have huge majorities in the Welsh Valleys but this is of no use when it comes to an election because it is the marginal middle class seats in the South East of England..

Some may point out the big swings to the Liberal Democrats  in Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney and Pontypridd which were quite impressive. But Labour still has no fear of the Tories and of course it is largely the Middleclasses who vote in these constituencies as the working class become more and more apathetic.
The turnout for  Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney  was 58.6% and Pontypridd 63.0% compared with 67.6% and 72.7% in 1983 and I would argue that it it is the poorer member of the electorate who are not voting , or worse not even bothering to enroll as no one speaks for them anymore and we enter vicious a circle where because they don't vote politicians realise they can  ignore them even more than the do now.

This leads to the idea amongst al parties is that because working class people don’t vote they don’t count and therefore means that politicians have no need to court them. Indeed as both Howard Flight and Ed Milliband have shown there is a kudos in attacking them whilst praising the middle classes.

Expect more courting of the Middle classes and more attacks on the working class.

Wednesday 24 November 2010

Who will speak for the Roma?

News that A Welsh Mayor has apologised over comments he made about Hitler and travellers at an equalities meeting.

There were claims councillor Mike Eckersley said he believed Hitler had the “right idea” about moving travellers out of the country.

But Cllr Eckersley, mayor of Prestatyn, denied this and claims that was not the thrust of what he was trying to say at a Denbighshire corporate equalities meeting.

He said: “There was a heated debate going on about what we could and could not do.

“I said Hitler had an idea of moving people to another country, but I said we were bound by Europe and there was a duty to provide for travellers.
If Councillor  Eckersley had made his comments about Hitler and the Jews then he would have been condemned by a far wider number of People but we often ignore such attacks on Travellers espicially those who are Roma.

Te extermination of Romanies was started as early as 1933 while camps were being established by the Nazis to contain Romanies at Dachau, Dieselstrasse, Mahrzan and Vennhausen. The vast majority of Romanies were to suffer the same indignities as the Jews. The Society for Threatened Peoples estimates the casualties at 277,100.] Martin Gilbert estimates a total of more than 220,000 of the 700,000 Romani in Europe, including 15,000 (mainly from the Soviet Union) in Mauthausen in January–May 1945.[28] The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum cites scholars that estimate the number of Sinti and Roma killed to lie between 220,000 and 500,000.[2] Dr. Sybil Milton, a historian at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Research Institute, estimated the number of lives lost as "something between a half-million and a million-and-a-half"  see this on (Wikepedia) for more.

And yet it is largely ignored and when France insinuated a program of deporting thousands of Romanian and Bulgarian Roma as part of a crackdown on illegal camps in the country.and  Romanian citizens have the right to enter France without a visa, due to their countries of origin being in the European Union and although to its credit the Leaders of the EU protested, and some pointed out that it had echoes of French collaborators deportation of Roma during the second World War it still was not treated on the sane level as Antisemitism.

After the War there was a feeling of intentional guilt over the Holocaust and perhaps there was a reflection by governments and  people who realised the appalling discrimination against Jews in our own countries but  Roma received very little sympathy of this when we look at International Holocaust day we do not remember the fate of the Roma.

Councillor  Eckersley remarks are all too real of the prejudice that exist against Roma today and wheras there is evidence Antisemitism appears to be raising its ugly head in Europe once again. There still powerful and influential people )Jewish and Non-Jewish) who will rightly conem it . Who will speak for the Roma?

Monday 22 November 2010

It was twenty years ago today…

That Margaret Thatcher resigned as Prime Minister .

This has made me realise that many people reading this were too young to remember Thatcher’s government,t and for others time may have softened their view of her.
But her government was in many ways responsible for the mess we are in now.
  • Under her government our manufacturing industry was decimated Which is why Wales today is far to reliant oPublic sector making it far more reliant upon those jobs which are now threatened by her conservative successors.She destroyed our heavy industry, so we now import coal into Wales and her victory in the miners strike destroyed communities which still have not recovered.
  • Her sending of the task force to the Falklands  (“Two bald men fighting over a comb” Jorge Luis Borges) allowed people to still think Britain was a world power which was reinforced with her aggressive support for the 1st Iraq war which tied British military policy to that of the U.S. and tied Britain to a Military-Industrial complex who have an interest in Britain being involved in world conflicts.
  • Her selling off of our public utilities with the claim that this would “create a share owning  democracy” ended up with a worse transport system than we would have if we still had BR, and resulted in  the majority shares being held, not by ordinary members of the public but by capitalists who were only interested in their dividend.
  • She allowed Rupert Murdoch in exchange for his enthusiastic support in his newspapers like the Sun to build up his empire and the UK and have a poisonous influence on UK politics which still effects us.This led to the continuous shift of Labour to the right in order to find favour with Murdoch and the rise of Thatcher’s first  true heir Tony Blair.

But it was not until I studied at Aberystwyth in my 30’s that I saw the real nature of Thatcher’s Tories. Up till then few people I knew claimed to vote for them, let alone support them, but the ones that I met tended to be economic-social conservatives, who genuinely believed Thatcher, was carrying out the right policies for the good of the country.At Aber I found that some of the then Federation of Conservative Students .
  • Dressed in Springbok rugby jerseys in order to show their support for the South African apartheid regime.
  • Racially abused a member of the Student Union Staff for which they were suspended from the Union.
  • Went on a drinking Binge to celebrate the rise of Adolf  Hitler to power. Which was too much for the Conservatives themselves and they were disbanded.

There were some conservative students who were as disgusted by this behaviour as the rest of us but they still put up with it and their leader had in his room a poster which said “Speak English or Die”.
I don’t know where these morons are now but I suspect many are still respectable members of the Conservative Party.

And so we come back today and we have a Conservative party that is intent on  using the current financial crisis to destroy the Welfare State. David Cameron may claim to be “a caring Conservative” but in reality he and his party are fully intent on carrying out what they see as Margaret Thatcher’s Legacy and once again it will be the poor and vulnerable who will suffer.

Friday 19 November 2010

Why I will not be congratulating Dafydd Wigley on his peerage.

News that Dafydd Wigley  is amongst a list of working peers announced today does not dampen my complete opposition to the Lords.
True Dafydd  can point to some democratic mandate, as he topped the List of the votes of Plaid Members in a ballot, the Party ran to select nominations for Peers. Making him possibly the only Peer with anything like a democratic mandate but it is not enough.
The idea that in a Democracy we still have politicians who are appointed for life is ridiculous and the fact that once given their peerage it is almost  impossible to remove them only adds to this.
Indeed when you consider that there are proposals for recall ballots for sitting MPs (actually Peers are technically MPs so I should say members of the Commons). How can anyone argue that the second chamber can carry on without any electoral Mandate?
It will not be difficult to do there are loads of examples of how to elect the second chamber Ireland  and Australia are only two that work quite effectively.
And if anyone thinks that the current system is worth keeping consider these two recent examples.
 Commenting on the Engagement of William Windsor and Kate Middleton's forthcoming wedding yesterday   “Lord” Archer ex-Conservative deputy chairman, said ,
The wedding would receive global coverage and bring "millions" to the UK economy.
The Royal Family was a "great benefit to Great Britain Limited", he added.
That’s Jeffrey Archer, perjurer and ex con who is still allowed to (if he desired) to partake in House of Lords debates.
I’m all for the rehabilitation of offenders but in a week when a former magistrate has been suspended as a community councillor for six months for bringing her office into disrepute after breaching a ban on dogs using a beach. How can someone like Archer retain his title and in theory be still party the governance of the UK?
And only today, we had The Conservatives   having their first embarrassing resignation since the election today after Lord Young quit as enterprise adviser to David Cameron.
Young caused controversy by saying Britons had "never had it so good" in this "so-called recession",
But why has an unelected person been given such a position where he is not answerable  to the electorate.
No the elevation of Dafydd Wigley is not something we can wildly celebrate in Wales because we can only cheer when people are elected by the votes of the people of Wales and not appointed by some invisible body supposedly acting in the name of the (unelected) Head of State.

Wednesday 17 November 2010

La Pasionaria popular with 36% of Lib-Dems

A recent post on Subordinate Central caught my eye.

Kirsty praised by Lib Dem members

It read


“Lib Dem Voice has again published the results of their Liberal Democrat member survey, focusing on the performances of the leading Liberal Democrats.
They report that  “Kirsty Williams’ ratings have had a boost this month, perhaps thanks to her visibilty at conference”
So I followed the link  which explained.
Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum to discover what Lib Dem members think of a variety of key issues, and what you make of the Lib Dems’ and Government’s performance to date. Almost 600 party members have responded, and we’ve been publishing the full results of our survey over the past few days.
So what was La Pasionarias  result?
Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats
Very effective 12%
Quite effective 24%
Quite ineffective 7%
Very ineffective 2%
Don’t know / No opinion 55%
Net effectiveness +27% (+18%)
Pardon ; With only 45% having an opinion I hardly call 36% of the total thinking she was quite effective or very effective a ringing endorsement. The post’d headline should have been.


Kirsty praised by SomeLib Dem  members

Actualy I think La Passionaria has ben quirte effective lately, particularly on the NHS in Wales (OK education and Peter Black’s Badgers as well) and compared to the rest of the Lib-Dems in Wales she’s  pretty formidable but in the same way a  Third  Division Player would look playing for a pub team , But important as the NHS  is with the Welsh public  it will not be the only topic on the agenda in the build up to the next Assembly elections. She  and the rest of the Lib-Dems will try to make it a plank on which to gather support but I’m afraid that it will not be enough and no amount of spin from Subordinate Central will be able to hide the verdict of the electorate next May.  

Monday 15 November 2010

Do the Lib-Dems really want a by-election in Oldham and Saddleworth?

I was going to post on peter Black’s latest piece of cant but Plaid Wrecsam beat me to it. and dealt with it rather effectively, also a hat tip to Jaxxland for the piece on the same subject especially his picture of La Pasionaria on the NHS (have a look before its changed”

But you can understand Peters air of desperation,  because they look to be in serious trouble.

In theory much of this could be allayed if they were to win the forth coming Oldham and Saddleworth By-election.

This should be a Shoe in. After all the disgraceful behaviour of Labour during the General Election in this constituency must have influenced voters there  and the LIb-Dems would surely be expecting to win it easily. However running at 10% in the UK according to the latest yougov polls they may be just a little apprehensive about they chances there.

Also political commentators seem to be missing the fact that Oldahm and Saddleworth is three way marginal.

General Election 2010: Oldham East and Saddleworth[9]


Elwyn Watkins

Kashif Ali

Alwyn Stott

David Bentley

Gulzar Nazir
Void election result

The actual swing in the constituency was in any case to the Conservatives who are 5.5% behind Labour. So I think talk of the Tories putting up a Paper Candidate seems to be unlikely in a seat they could win. And If they did so  not wishing to damage their coalition partners (at least not at the moment) the electorate will surely smell a rat.

Also I suspect Labour in particular have been reluctant to expose Lib-Dem dirty tricks for fear of being accused of  supporting the  disgraced Phil Woolas; But I’m sure this will increase as the date of the by-election approaches. Just Google Lib-Dem dirty tricks  for more than a few examples.

If the Lib-dems won then they would probably have a boost in the opinion polls but if they were to lose then I suspect there will be cursing Elwyn Watkins the defeated Lib-Dem who brought the case.

There will also be an interesting council Welsh By- election in the Cilau-Aeron ward of Ceredigion council given that the former Plaid Councillor resigned under a cloud . We would suppose the LiB-Dems would be seeking their first  council win in Wales since the General Election. Watch {Peter's Blog if there's no mention of it after November 30th they failed.

Thursday 11 November 2010

The Lib-Cons have successfully shifted the blame from the Bankers.

Reports from Today’s Guardian states that
“A tougher-than-expected squeeze on the unemployed is to be announced today as the jobless face the threat of losing all benefits for as long as three years if they refuse community work or the offer of a job, or fail to apply for a job if advised to do so.
In the most severe welfare sanctions ever imposed by a British government, unemployed people will lose benefits for three months if they fail to take up one of the options for the first time, six months if they refuse an offer twice, and three years if they refuse an offer three times.”
This reflects a victory  for the Lib-Con government who have effectively shifted the  blame from the current financial mess from the Bankers who caused it to the poor who are suffering from it.
Why are the main media so silent on this ? Why are they simply accepting the coalition argument and figures ? That is the implication that there are plenty of jobs out there and  people are out of work because they choose to.
Where is the evidence that people who have been unemployed for long period for along time. Have been refusing job offers.
For the record, it is policy now that people who refuse an offer of a job have they benefit cut. Indeed if you do not attend a job interview which you jobcentre and you to you face sanctions.
The new part is of course community work that is unpaid (accept for benefits) work . In other words there will be very little difference between those who are  undergoing a Community service orders are orders of court where:
·   an offender is required to perform unpaid, useful work for the benefit of the community
·     the court can order between 80 - 300 hours of community service which must be carried out at such times as directed by the supervising community service officer.

 And someone sent to do similar work because they are long term unemployed perhaps they will be issued with different colour uniforms in order that they are not associated with those doing similar work because they broke the law. What ever happened they are likely to receive abuse from the public who don’t see any difference.

What colour will the Unemployed wear?
The whole Lib-Con policy is a sleight of hand to divert in action over the real culprits the Bankers who finance the main political parties and that is why Labour are making only mute objections to this for they to are in thrall to the City and proposed similar policies when were in power in order to mask they failure to provide real jobs in our more deprived areas.

The current Lib-Con policy of criminalising the unemployed will lead to  some turning to actual crime and in some cases prostitution for as I remember a girl who turned to selling herself on the streets saying that,

“The humiliation was the same but at least the money was better”.

Why do we still allow people who have never experienced life on benefit, who will not have to worry about tuition fees for their children (they will simply sign a cheque) and who will spend more on a birthday party than some people receive in a year to dictate to us.