Friday, 30 April 2010

Desperate Dave and the Unemployed

I have been unemployed for a very long time and at my age the prospects are not good. Everyday I explore the jobsite facilities on my computer, all to no avail. According my Job seekers agreement I must seek work within 1.30 hours of traveling time each ways. I am perfectly happy to do this but since I don’t drive and  I am reliant on public transport the actual distance Ican travel to work is quite limited.

Indeed it would be interesting to see a survey on how many of the unemployed do not have access to their own transport.

If you a have no Idea of the availability of work in your are go to Directgov enter your post code and use their facilities the result mat well open your eyes.

Last year I attended a Jobs fayre  at my local leisure centre. On a day with torrential rain, thousand (yes thousands) of the unemployed turned up from all over the county. There were however very few employers actually taken on staff, although there were retail outlets such as Tessco seeking Christmas staff.

So large were the numbers that there were long queues of people at each stall and by 10 o’clock,when I was there the stalls were already running out of application forms.

Such were the crowds that there were not enough desks needed to complete applications. So those who did have application forms were filling in them in sitting on the carpet.

Yesterday I went to sign on. Outside the jobcentre was this poster.

Not withstanding the rules are very clear with the DWP, and it is already the case that you cannot really turn down a job offer. Millions of unemployed would simply like to have an offer in the first place

There are some people living on benefit who are not seeking work, but they are only a small percentage.

The real reason for this poster is that Cameron (who has never been out of work, never known the humiliation and never will) is attempting to blame the unemployment figures on the unemployed. In a desperate attempt to woo those who believe that all people on benefits are scroungers.

Labour  and the Lib Dems are no better (see this report of Cleggs encounter in the Guardian) and the politicians from these parties absolutely no idea of what it is like to be long term unemployed. And do not know what it like every time they have a Letter after applying for a job. ch reads.

It is with regret that I write to inform you, that after careful consideration, on this occasion your application has not been successful and therefore you have not been shortlisted for interview.
Though firms swamped with applications often do not even reply”

Probably some of the ex MP's after the election may have a brief period of unemployment but I doubt they will undergo this humiliating experience for long.

But those who remain or replace them will continue to put the blame on unemployment on the unemployment and slur millions of people by labelling them "Benefit Cheats". In order to mask their own failure in government.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Bigotgate Black Legality

I'm Blogging on two subjects  and apologise but there is a connection

It seems that the media have missed a major point on "Bigotgate". Gillian Duffy views on immigration were some to my mind misguided but that is not the reason why Brown referred to her as a Bigot.. as the following transcript shows . It was because she disagreed with him.

Gordon Brown: That was a disaster...should never have put me with that woman. Whose idea was that?

Aide: I don’t know, I didn’t see her.

Gordon Brown: Sue’s I think. Just ridiculous.

Aide: Not sure that they’ll go with that one.

Gordon Brown: They will go with that one.

Aide: What did she say?

Mr Brown: Everything, she was just a sort of bigoted woman who said she used to be Labour.

We were told that Gordon new strategy was to meet the people but is clear that only people who mostly supported him were to get through.

Of course this is true of all the party leaders . It is rather sad that the old tradition of heckling has been (for want of a better word ) suppressed. The right to disagree is a democratic right Gordon Brown may have been caught out this time: But I wonder if any of the other leaders comments on their encounters with the “Hoi Poli” are any different.


While writing this blog I have been listening to the today programme on BBC4. In two reports they have once again give a negative portrayal of the Nationalist campaigns in Wales and Scotland claiming that a Lib Dem surge in Wales and a Conservative revival threaten any advance Plaid and SNP could be making.

Of course they fail to make the connection with their own exclusion of Alexs Salmond and Ieaun Wynne Jones from the so called Leaders debate. Which they are constantly plugging (as they did for ITV and Sky debates).

The failure of the SNP action is disappointing but not surprising. The main issue to me is that when broadcasting media decide on q policy as ITV, Sky and the BBC have on this issue, then it is impossible for any commentator working for these Institutions to say this is wrong.
Indeed the way they defend their employers (though in the case of the BBC it is actually us) is frighting. Just look at Betsan Powy’s response to Eurfyl-Paxman story on her blog, and there is no response from BBC Wales or the rest of the Welsh Media to constant negative portrayal of Wales by their London Masters.
I have been trying to find my copy of Harri Webbs’s The Green Deser,t because I seem to remember in one of his poems he has the spirit of Owain Glyndwr  referring to the "Black "Legality of English Law.

Perhaps you can help me in finding the reference?

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

The Sam Vimes "Boots" Theory of Economic Injustice

The response to the Eurfyl- Paxman interview has been amazing and currently has over 14000 hits on you tube.
So I an going to return to economics today.

However I must admit that its a subject in which I have very little grasp off.

I really can’t understand how banking works. How they can invent money and then lose. When billions have been lost by the banks it didn’t go anywhere it just disappeared, and yet none of the politicians seem to have the courage to say we must stop this because when these crashes happen and the “phantom money is no longer there it is not the bankers who suffer but the rest of us and when the axe falls it will be on our necks not the city fat cats.

Indeed it is ordinary people who see their real money disappearing. It is said that we are facing the most stringent cuts since 1945, in which the cost of the second world war broke Britain and limited the sort of welfare state that the Labour government tried to create, and I give Labour credit for what was achieved i pity they have lost their way.

But often as I have tried to understand economics I have been left bewildered. Until one day whilst reading Terry Pratchet’s Discworld novel “Men at Arms” I read this.

"A really good pair of leather boots, the sort that would last years and years, cost fifty dollars. This was beyond his pocket and the most he, Vimes, could hope for was an affordable pair of boots costing ten dollars, which might with luck last a year or so before he, Vimes, would need to resort to makeshift cardboard insoles so as to prolong the moment of shelling out another ten dollars.

Therefore over a period of ten years, he, Vimes, might have paid out a hundred dollars on boots, twice as much as the man who could afford fifty dollars up front ten years before. And he would still have wet feet."

The Sam Vimes "Boots" Theory of Economic Injustice Men at Arms (Terry Pratchett)

When we realise that for example that the poor pay more for utilities through prepay meters ( therefore penalised for being poor)and  can’t by food in bulk (saving that way) the Sam Vimes theory only rings so true).

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Paxman’s Belgrano Moment?

When I was a member of Plaid in the 1980's I was never a fan Eurfyl ap Gwilym. Partly it was due to my Left leanings. But also because I found him a little uninspiring. Well I was wrong on the latter!

This just might be a deciding moment for Plaid in this election Last night, Plaid’s economic adviser, Dr, appeared on Newsnight with Jeremy Paxman, and slaughtered the BBC’s bully boy.

Eurfryl refused to bow down to Paxman hit him with the facts and sent him scurrying through his notes as it dawned on him that the person he was interviewing had a far greater grasp on the Welsh economy than he could ever have.

His cries of “Oh God” were wonderful and he appeared second rate, and his claim that London was not a region of England when it is the only one with devolved powers was laughable.

I doubt that the BBC will admit that this was one of the most entertaining bits of the election but it’s one for the political nerds like myself to treasure.

One of the most famous interview in a General election occurred in May 1983 during a general election special of its "On the Spot" feature. Mrs Diana Gould, a geography teacher from Cirencester, persistently challenged Margaret Thatcher about her ordering of the sinking of the General Belgrano when it was sailing away from the Falklands.

I am not saying Eurfyl ap Gwyilym's interview was on a par with Mrs Gould’s, but looking at the comments on some of the forums, he’s become a bit of a hero outside Wales and it can only enhance Plaid in the run up to May 6th. To me it was a defining moment in that the BBC has done nothing but report negatively about Wales throughout this campaign, and it shows how their attempt to exclude those who do not represent what they call “The Three Main Parties is so wrong.

Monday, 26 April 2010

'Ello 'ello what’s all this then?

I think Plaid Wresam can take credit for exposing yet another Lib Dem photo shot this time. In their Welsh Manifesto Kirsty Williams is seen talking to a Policeman. Only it’s not a Policeman. We don’t know who it is because the Lib Dems won’t say.

Now I know that the Lib Dems are not the only party guilty of this deception but they are the party which likes to portray themselves whiter than white an in particular not part of the Westminster Scandal (In which some of their MP’s were involved) because they are not in Government or the main opposition in the UK Parliament., Scottish Parliament or the Welsh Assembly they get away with it bit as I have blogged in the past they actually fight dirtier than most of the other parties but some how manage to get away with it even when exposed.

I must admit that the right wing Press attempt to smear Nick Clegg was despicable. However you don’t have to smear the Lib Dems just publish the truth about their tactics.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

The Telegraph tells me I should vote Green.

I have just tried the Telegraph’s How should I Vote? Option surprisingly they give me the chance to see what I should vote in the constituent parts of the UK. And the results were interesting.

Wales                 England            Scotland                            Northern Ireland
Green 84%         Green 79%       Scottish Greens 92%          SDLP82%
Plaid 76%           Lib Dem 66%    SNP 80%                           Alliance 78%
Lib Dem 73%      Lab 44%           Lab 67%                            SF 72%
Lab 64%             UKIP 33%         Lib Dem 65%                     DUP 20%
BNP 20%            BNP  26%         UKIP 30%
UKIP 11%           CON 16%         CON 13%
CON  11%                                   BNP 6%

There were some anomalies. There was no Green option in Northern Ireland. And there was no option on Welsh Independence but on if I was in favour of the Welsh Assembly should have the same powers as the Scottish Parliament.

There was also one question on whether I supported the building of more prisons in order to relieve over crowding to which I voted against as I be this results us in having STV for the next it will make I believe we Imprison too many people already.

Neverthelee the result was Interesting. Clearly I am more prone to support to the Green and Nationalist Party. But the big surprise was the fact that the Party. I was most unlikely to support was the conservative. So despite Cameron's "Caring Conservatism" his polices do not add up for me at least .I put the 20% for the BNP in Wales as due to their claim to oppose the War in Afghanistan.

Personally the result makes me disappointed in that the Greens, SNP and Plaid did not get together and form a Rainbow alliance. If a hung parliamet is the result of this election and IF this means the next election will be fought under STV then I may have the chance to display my choices of MP more fully.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

The Nurse and the Students.

Thought that would grab your attention.

News today that the Liberal Democrats have been attacked for using a party employee to pose as a nurse on an election leaflet.

The leaflet, promoting Cardiff North candidate John Dixon, shows him talking to a woman in nurse's uniform.

But the identity of the 'nurse' has been revealed as a researcher for suspended Liberal Democrat AM Mick Bates.

Isn’t about time the election commission sorted out this sought of abuse.
I propose that:

The banning of Parties using stock advertising photos meant to portray “model” as constituents .

All persons on electoral literature to be identified as whether they are a party member and not just “Joe Public.”
Any part contravening this should be fined heavily.

It also seems that the Lib Dem candidate in Ceredigion Mark Williams, who is seeking a second term as MP, has been reporting as saying: “We’re finding a great momentum of support. We were very confident before Nick Clegg’s performance in the first TV debate because of the hard work we have put in over the last five years.

“We’re fighting this election on bread and butter issues like the NHS. There’s a huge appetite for change, and we’re finding quite a lot of disillusionment with the Assembly Government over Plaid and Labour.

“We also have strong support from students, who are now back after the Easter vacation.”

  • He’s relying on his leaders profile and not his own performance in Parliament.As this report by Quentin Letts in the Mail shows.
  • He’s relying on the voters not realising that the NHS is a dissolved issue and governed by the Welsh Assembly

  • And He’s relying on students who come from outside the constituency most of who will spend less than three years in Ceredigion before the Next election.

 Perhaps he isn't as confident as he makes out?

Friday, 23 April 2010

Three Wise Monkeys

Last night leaders debate left me non the wiser about these three, except that Alex Salmond would have wiped the floor with all of them and even Ieuan Wyn Jones would have put up a better showing than the "Three Wise Monkeys"; But of course the big news to me was that Plaid and the SNP will be absent from the last one of the BBC.

So once again Britannia waves the rules. This time in the form of the BBC trust leaders’ election debate.

According to an ITV poll the Liberal Democrats experienced a 17% leap in support in Wales in the wake of UK leader Nick Clegg’s However, the BBC Trust has decided not to invite the parties to give oral evidence and has ruled that the broadcaster has not breached its commitment to impartiality.

The Trust’s committee ruled: “In the context of a UK general election, the SNP and Plaid Cymru are not UK-wide parties with substantial electoral support in the UK. They are not standing sufficient candidates to aspire to win a majority in the House of Commons.
“Nor are their leaders seeking to become the next Prime Minister of the UK

The Parties were not even allowed to give oral evidence to the Trust.

They may have a case here but as we know there is often a big difference between the Law and Justice. And in an election that every party talks about fairness this stinks.

And by the way is it fair to allow the UK parties to publish Welsh and Scottish manifesto and thereby have to bites at the cherry of publicity?

We are not electing a President, and it is a possibility, however small that none of these three become Prime Minister as tin the event of a hung parliament a consensus candidate is sought between coalition parliament.

No the rules of general election has been changed for all time but not alas for the better or for the benefit of the electorate.

P.s. I placed this comment on Bethan Powys attempt to justify the BBc Position.

"I doubt if anybody employed by the BBC will be prepared to question this decision. I don’t really blame you Betsan a part of the establishment you have to have one and eye on your future. But your cricket analogy is mistaken. It’s more like a football game between Man Utd and Cardiff where Man Utd are given a 10 Point start because they are seen as “ the better side”.

And how come these “three main Parties “are allowed to publish Welsh Manifesto and receive the equivalent publicity on the Welsh Media. Do they really need to bites at the cherey?"

Thursday, 22 April 2010

A nightmare Scenario.

It is the morning of Friday 7th May 2010. Nearly al the results are in despite increase in Lib Dem Plaid and SNP seats. Labour and Conservative are well ahead in about 260 seats each. It becomes clearer during the day that the Tories have 5 more seats than Labour. The men in suits begin secret talks and soon become apparent that neither the Liberal Democrats nor the Nationalist Parties will enter any coalition without a commitment to major constitutional reform.

The out the blue a number of senior members of the Labour Party make a proposal. They will replace Gordon Brown with David Milliband and join the Tories in a grand Coalition. This coup is carried swiftly and on 14th May the Conservatives and Labour enter coalition with David Cameron as Prime Minister and Milliband as his Deputy and foreign Minister, both parties claim that this is needed to bring Britain out of recession.

Over the next 5 years the war in Afghanistan continues and the gap between rich and poor increases.

The Con-Lab government in an attempt to stop what they claim is the increase of frivolous parties increase the deposit at General Elections to £1000 and the threshold needed to retain the deposit to 10%.

They also scrap any referendum on more powers for Wales and Scottish Independence.

They enter the 2015 election confident in the knowledge they have disposed of any real opposition.

How fanciful am I?

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Party Logos and Welsh Leaders

Last nights “Welsh Leaders Debate” was interesting I don’t think that anyone was outstanding but thought Kirsty Williams approach to the expenses and funding scandal was hypocritical at it’s best and dishonest at worst The Lib Dems can not be holier than thou, when their MPs have been caught up in the expenses scandal and the fact that they have received £2 million from a convicted felon and kept it! I also thought her attack on Plaid over Afghan veterans was disgraceful as everyone knows the MP who has been championing the Veterans is Plaid’s Elfyn Llwyd despite his opposition to the war.

But the strange thing was the title of the debate. Who are the Welsh leaders?

Is Nick Bourne the leader of the conservatives in Wales, or Cheryl Gillan Parliamentary Candidate for Chesham and Amersham?
Is Carwyn Jones the leader of Labour or Wales or Peter Hain?

It is clear that Kirsty Williams is leader of the Liberal Democrats in Wales the alternative of Lembit Öpik would be too much.

And Ieuan Wyn Jones is definetly Plaid leader.

But is there reall such a thing as a Welsh Labour, Conservative or Liberal democrat Party?

I think not If there was there would be some difference between them and their London Masters as the Northern Ireland party the SDLP does in taking the Labour Whip (which I criticized in a previous blog) . They could do this but have an independence they do not now have and perhaps this what ensure they Welshness by having bilingual leaflets throughout Wales instead of relying on just a party logo as they do now.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

The establishment always fixes the rules.

In the 1996-97 season my local rugby club of Beddau won the WRU division one East and Bonymaen won the Division one west. However both clubs were denied promotion after failing to meet the Welsh Rugby Union's ground criteria for Premiership clubs.
But they argued the WRU changed the rules mid-season, denying them time to make the necessary improvements.
WRU group chief executive Roger Lewis said: "We fully recognised the emotional arguments for Beddau and Bonymaen because they have achieved so much on the field of play, but the rules of governance have to be obeyed.
"Beddau and Bonymaen are important clubs with proud histories and we applaud and honour them for that.
"The consequences of bending to the emotion of their arguments would not have been acceptable and, furthermore, would have damaged our image as a rugby nation."
In July 2006, the WRU informed all Division One clubs they had until June 2007 to "show substantial progress to achieving the required Premiership Entry Criteria and any extra time needed to complete all works before the 2007/08 season starts".
But in September last year, that deadline was brought forward to January 2007.
Beddau and Bonymaen argued at the AGM that gave them far too little time to complete improvements to their facilities and asked for the original deadline to be reinstated.
But only 33% of the 320 delegates at the Princess Royal Theatre in Sunday's EGM supported their motion, condemning both clubs to another season in Division One.
The clubs needed a 75% majority to defeat the WRU
Since then Beddau has spent a great deal of money improving their ground facilities and now meet the standards set by the WRU at least for now. Many supporters feel that was at the expense of the Team who have lost a great deal of their form and now face relegation to division 2.
Many Beddau people and I am sure in Bonymaen also feel that these Rules were introduced in order to keep out Clubs who are not what used to be thought elite e.g. Cardiff, Pontypridd, Neath et al.

I can’t help feeling that Plaid and SNP exclusion from the leader’s debates is of a similar fashion and indeed has been vindicated by the recent polls. The establishment has seen fit to change the rules or create new ones. It is surprising perhaps that Liberal Democrats are the beneficiaries of this but as they bask in their perhaps fleeting glory perhaps they can reflect that their recent rise is a result of great injustice.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Let this be the last election under First Past the Post.

It will be rarely that I will be calling for an UK solution to be carried out throughout our Nations, but whatever happens in the election the next government must address the voting system throughout the UK and have a uniform method. of voting adopted.

In European Election in England Scotland and Wales We use a closed Party List system though not in Northern Ireland see below

Currently we elect our MP’s and our councillors in England and Wales.By First Past the Post (FTP) .

We Elect our Assembly Members (AMs) and Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) by FTP and the Additional Members System, but in Wales you are not allowed to stand in a single constituency if you are also on the additional party list., whereas in Scotland you are, this was imposed from Westminster. However in Scotland councillors are elected by the Single Transferable Vote. (STV)

In Northern Ireland MEP’s Northern Ireland Assembly members and councillors are elected by STV.

At the last elections for the Scottish Parliament where they used the Additional Members System, and all the local council seats were contested under STV the mixture of voting systems caused great confusion and resulted in a far above average number of spoilt and disallowed ballots.

Clearly we can’t go on with like this .Labour have proposed a referendum in the next Parliament on yet another system the Alternative vote for UK elections but why not allow the electorate a choice of what systems they prefer.

To mind despite its flaws SV is the only alternative and as I believe this would be the preference of most of AMs and MSPs AND would extend it to our Assembly and Scottish Parliament.

It is said that STV breaks the tie with elected members and their constituents. But in the Irish Republic where they use STV. I am told that every male TD carries a white Carnation and a black tie in they car’s glove compartment as they need to be ready to attend Weddings and funerals of constituents in order to ingratiate themselves.

If there is a hung parliament let those elected seek to sort out this mess and improve our democratic system.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

What school did you go to? 2

Dai had been shipwrecked and lived alone on a remote desert island for years. When he was eventually found he took his rescuers on a tour of the island. He walked them to the top of an only hill and pointed out the various improvements he had made over the years:

"Here's my farm." he said pointing out over the well cultivated valley, "That's where I keep my goats, and that's my water mill where I grind my corn. And that over there..." he added proudly, pointing at an impressive two story building, "That is my Chapel."

"What's that over there?" asked the Captain of the ship indicating another large building on the hillside.

"Oh that!" sniffed Dai. "That's the chapel I don't go to.

I was reminded of this Old Joke whilst looking at the Tories manifesto and their seemingly move to decentralisation.

The policy seems to be if you don’t like your local school, get together with other parents and open a new one based on your values and taste. Of course we have already seen this with Tony Blair’s promotion of faith school’s. However the whole idea seems to me to be based on an articulate middle class who are interested in their children education. What about those parents who because of their own experience have little interest in their children’s education. Will we have a split between schools with a high input t of parent help and those who will fail, and don’t try to kid me that these schools will not be selective?

Already I believe that the help parents give their children is vital and that school league tables are meaningless without investigating how much help has been given at home or how many pupils had been given private tuition.

As a libertarian Socialist(yes I know to some this sounds a bit of an Oxymoron). I was attracted to the decentralised polices of Plaid Cymru in the 1980’s and was someway prominent in the National Left grouping who worked to establish the principle of decentralised socialism.

To me this means creating opportunity for all children all not just those of parents already who help they children either personally or by financial. That is why the policy of free laptops Plaid proposed in their assembly manifesto was so important. Access to the internet is now vital for children’s advancement especially when it comes to school projects This means whilst I support the idea of more say in our schools we must recognise that we have a duty to see all children have a equal opportunity in life not just our own. Something the Tories policies and Tony Blair’s faith schools will fail to do.

Friday, 16 April 2010

What School did you go to?

I’m not going to discuss last nights debate by the “Three Stooges”. Rather Class and Education.

The above Photo is an achive but have things really changed?
One of the interesting parallels of this election with 1997 was how the media moved to supporting a public school Oxbridge graduate (Blair) as opposed to the then Prime Minister (Major). Now it’s Cameron as opposed to Brown who is seen by the majority of political commentators (who are mainly from Public school-Oxbridge). Who don’t see Major or Brown as one of us.

It is incredible that the late Alan Clark was seen as a loveable rogue instead of the racist bigot that he was. Or Boris John despite the fact that to mind he’s a buffoon gets elected London Mayor is seen endearing . Contrast this with that of John Prescott who is derided for his speech patterns by a snobbish elite who ignore how he overcome his poor education.

It is reported that research by the Sutton Trust charity underlines the extent to which a relatively tiny minority of schools control access to the world's best universities. That Pupils from just 100 elite schools dominate a third of places at Oxford and

Sixth-formers are twice as likely to get into Oxford and Cambridge if they attend top Public schools, irrespective of their A-level results, it is claimed. At the top five independent schools, including Westminster School which charges up to £24,300, an average of four in 10 pupils get into Oxbridge.

Just 100 schools, fewer than three per cent of the UK total, account for a third of places at Oxford and Cambridge, which select students based on exam results, entrance tests and interviews. They also have a "disproportionate" hold over at least 11 other institutions, including Durham, Edinburgh, the London School of Economics, St Andrews, Warwick and York, it is claimed

We must ask are these pupils more intelligent than State school pupils or are they simply benefiting from an early start in life. and it’s not just schools. How did Harry Windsor get it to the officer corps with just two average A level’s in Art and Geography.? At least he can colour in the maps.

The Interview system is designed to favour pupils from public schools and base thie assetment on  on what they see as confidence (and reflect thir own background)  and what you and I might call arrogance

These are the people who will  go on todominate our Banking, Civil Service and Political Parties as they always have.

If the Tories win the next General Election the major cabinet members will all be public school Oxbridge graduates. There will be a new Labour leader and he or she will also  likley be public school Oxbridge educates graduate. T his will mean all the major party leaders will belong to this elite. These people will have no idea of how the rest of us live.

They will not have to worry about how they child's education or healthcare or even their future. One of the reasons for my support for the welsh Assembly is that the AM’s are much more in tune with the rest of us.
I will no doubt be accused of class envy But it’s class justice I believe it’s time we acted on this and end this bias in our major Universities.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Lessons from Red Clydeside

In her biography of her father John Mclean Nan Milton wrote of the election of the Red Clydsiders in the General Election of 1922 and refers to the leader the ILP’s 10 Cldeysiders ,James Maxton addressing Glasgow City hall before departing for Westminster.

People talk about the atmosphere of the House of Commons getting the better of the Labour men. They will se the atmosphere of the Clyde getting the better of the House of Commons. All the Labour members are personal friends. We are not leaving Glasgow as so many individuals but as a team working towards a goal-and that is the abolition of poverty.

Eighteen months later in the same hall. Maxton has a very different tale to tell. In unambiguous terms he illustrates the inevitable loss of vitality and growing frustration of the group when separated from their popular roots #, and confounded by the arrogance and contempt pf English MPs who regarded them as parochial bumpkins. Maxton clearly anticipated the danger to political integrity….such surroundings would breed, and his solution was short and unequivocal one. The Clydediders must return to the Clyde and take up the challenge of creating a Socialist Commonwealth in Scotland.

(Nan Milton John MacLean Pluto Press1973.
The sad thing is that they failed to do so and the lesson was never really learned.

Similar Stories can be told in Wales but in reality Westminster absorbed the Radicals  here flattered them and it was not long before they were enthusiastic members of the established order.

Without a doubt the future of Wales and Scotland lies in the Assembly and Scottish Parliament and it is to Adam Price’s credit that he got out of that institutionalised cesspit before he too was corrupted.

We still need to send MPs from Wales and Scotland the Iraq and Afghan wars were a prime example and it is amazing that Adam and his Plaid and SNP colleagues spoke for a large number of people throughout the UK (How the progressive left in England must wish for a similar left of centre parties there)
If labour lose this election then it is probable that all three “main” parties will be led by public school Oxbridge educated elite who have no idea of the problems of the majority of us and do not care because they see their votes as not counting. It time to re-establish a new Redclydeside mentality in both Wales as well as Scotland.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Those Little LiB Dem Bar Graphs

I’ve taken this from D J Taylor’s Column in yesterday’s Independent on Sunday.

If one can predict anything about the next three and a half weeks, it is that some of the dirtiest local campaigns will be fought by the Liberal Democrats. Not long ago, I listened to an illuminating Radio 4 feature about by-elections, in which a succession of Tory and Labour activists stepped up to concede that, while they might have done some questionable things in their time, the sharpest practice always came courtesy of Mr Clegg and his helpers.

This was borne out by a publication called the "Norwich Mail", which flopped through letter-boxes here in Norwich South the other day. "The choice is clear," it insisted. "It's between hard-working local Lib Dem campaigner Simon Wright or Labour's Charles Clarke." The Conservatives apparently "cannot win", while the Greens "came a poor fourth in the last General Election in Norwich South, and came an even worse fifth in last year's by-election in Norwich North".

What this piece of analysis omits is the fact that in last year's council elections, the Greens topped the poll in this constituency. This, though, can be explained away as spin. Quite thoroughly inaccurate, on the other hand, is a bar-chart purporting to show "the result last time". Here the orange Lib-Dem bar trails the red Labour oblong by perhaps a centimetre, with the Conservative bar fading into insignificance. You would think from it that Mr Clarke's majority was a scant couple of hundred votes. In fact, as a glance at Robert Waller and Byron Criddle's invaluable Almanac of British Politics soon demonstrates, Mr Clarke received nearly 16,000 (37.7 per cent), the Lib Dems 12,252 (29 per cent) and the Tories a by no means disgraceful 9,567 (22.7 per cent). The bar chart, consequently, is horribly misleading. Pundits believe that Norwich South is a four-way marginal. On this evidence, it would serve the Lib Dems right if they came fourth.

So the Lib Dem’s and they little misleading graphs are everywhere but doess this from the latest copy of the Lib Dems leaflet that came through my door yesterday
However notwithstanding this vote was for the smallest local government. If you look at the votes cast acroding to the Lib Dem’s own website the excellent the actual votes cast were

Lib Dem 196 (31.9), Lab 188 (30.6), Monster Raving Looney Party 130 (21.2), Plaid 100 (16.3)

Majority 8.
So although this was even worse for plaid it is based on only 614 votes and on an election in a small part of the constituency that has been a liberal stronghold for decades.

But the Focus leaflet also makes the bizarre statement that

“Labour have had the Pontypridd vote on loan since 1922 when they won a by election following the death of liberal MP Thomas Lewis”

Apart from the apparent assumption that Political Parties “own2 a constituency it is actual wrong. The by-election was called because T A Lewis had been appointed as Lord Commissioner of the Treasury and under the law at the time has to face a by-election to confirm this. Even Wikipedia has this right if the Lib Dems can’t do a little bit of simple research what hope is there for them in the next parliament?

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Peter's Black Propoganda

Peter Black in his blog uses the old trick of accusing your rivals of the crime you yourself are guilty of. Peter accuses Plaid or rewritinhg History over the negotiations for a rainbow coalition between his party, Plaid and the Tories after the last year Assembly elections and gives the impression it was Plaid who were responsible for scuppering the elections. I admit I was party to the events. But my reading of them was that it was internal squabbling amongst the Lib Dems which led the other parties to believe that the rainbow was a nogoer.

But why is Peter bringing this up can it be because Plaid will probably over take his party in the forthcoming election (the Tories unfortunately almost certainly will). And after that the Lib Deems could be faced with being perpetual also rans?

Peter has also made great play over his parties support for abolishing university tuition fees. I must admit he's on to a winner here but a cynical observer looking at where the Lib Dems seats and target seats would find a number of university. Cardiff Central, Ceredigion and Swansea are prime examples. Although the number of students who actually vote is small they can be crucial as happened in Ceredigion last time. Hence Peter and the Lib Dems’ emphasis on this policy. A policy of course they can’t carry out and would probably abandon if they went into coalition government whether in Wales or Westminster.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Lib Dems nearly a year early

Further to yesterday post. I’m including part of the Lib Dems@ leaflet which was supposed to be for the European Campaign last year.

The main thrust however was on the Parliamentary seat and their candidate Mike Powell a full 11 months before the election was called.

It of course shows their famous “only we can beat Labour” statements, though it’s just the result not a graph. The actual vote for Pontypridd for the European Parliament in Pontypridd was a big disappointment for the Lib Dems however (as it was throughout Wales). In Ponty they were 5th.

PONTYPRIDD (European Elections)

BNP 1002 5.28%

Christian Party 454 2.39%

Conservative 2919 15.28%

Jury Team 109 0.57%

Liberal Democrats 2159 11.38%

No2EU: Yes to Democracy 293 1.54%

Plaid Cymru 3410 17.97%

Socialist Labour 391 2.06%

Green 1141 6.01%

Labour 4592 24.21%

Ukip 2498 13.17%

I can guarantee one thing this result will not be appearing on any of thierr leaflets.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

First of the Block in Pontypridd

Unbelievably just hours after the date of the election was announced I’ve had the first election leaflet from Labour. allthough the date of May 6th was expected  this was cunningly disguised as a newspaper “The Labour Herald” is a monoglot (the only Welsh is the word Llafur) aimed at the Pontypridd constituency. I will in its favour that it is about the candidate and not full of negative attacks on opposing Parties, unlike the Lib Dems.) However I hope this will appear on Owen Smiths election expenses. But it leads me to ask

Was the Pontypridd Party given prior notice of the General election or is it a coincidence?

I have received other literature from other parties in particular the Lib Dems they also concentrated the European Election leaflet on the Pontypridd Constituency and their Candidate.

And I know the Conservatives and Plaid have done something similar in other parts of Wales.


When is leaflet an election leaflet for the purpose of an election, or a mere means of communicating with the electorate? What will appear on the Parties expenses statements? It is time for clear rules are laid out by the Electoral Commission?

Should all Parties in Wales be obliged to produce Bilingual leaflets (an increase in the expenditure allowance should be allowed in Wales to accommodate this).

Does not the Labour leaflet highlight thee call for fixed term Parliaments so every Party knows when the election will be and can start on an even footage?

How soon did the first election leaflet deop through your door?

Saturday, 3 April 2010

John Humphries off the Rails

On the today programme yesterday there was a spat between John Humphries and Bob Crow of the R.M.T Union. The Radio 4 host said the High Court's decision to grant an injunction halting a four-day national rail strike "raises suspicions the ballot was rigged". Crow naturally took umbrage with this.

Notwithstanding what Humphries phraseology was there was a clear attempt at giving the impression that the union was behaving dishonestly in my opinion.

I must admit I’m getting tired of John Humphries whose constant interruption seems less than getting the truth out of an evasive interviewee than enhancing his own status. And I would love it foe him challenged more often, as he was by Bob Crow especially when he adds a snear to his statement which is clear in his voice.

Indeed the whole of the Today’s team reporting on the recent number of strikes leaves a lot to be desired. All too often a so called expert is wheeled out to give their viewpoint which nearly agrres with that of the management.

I am also of the opinion that these disputes have been accelerated by the management who believe that either the Unions would be reluctant to go on strike just before an election and/or the prospect of such a conflict would encourage an incoming Conservative government.

Strike is always a bad thing but sometimes the Unions and the Workers have no option. This is clear in the BA-Unison dispute which looks to be orchestrated in order to break the Union In the past they would have at least had the support of some left wing Labour MP’s but they have long vanished.

Perhaps this will not be such a bad thing. I have long been of the opinion that the trade Union movement should not be tied to one Party but rather put their members first.