Saturday, 30 October 2010

Chris Huhne denies U Turn on Nuclear Power But only on Subsidies

I'm partly recycling a Blog, because the Liberal Democrats in the guise of Chris Huhne attempt to rebut accusations of a U-turn in on Coalition Nuclear Policy. Aberavon & Neath Liberal Democrats in fact brought my intention to this by pointing to a post on Liberal Democrat Voice where Huhne attacks “Myths” about his coalitions Nuclear Policy.

And he does rebut some myths but it reality all he is saying is that Nuclear Power Stations will not be built with government subsides.

He writes.

"First, the energy national policy statements, which are part of the new planning process, setting out the policy framework for decisions on nationally significant infrastructure. They create the need, in planning terms, for energy infrastructure to be built, thereby avoiding holding public enquiries on each individual project. The overarching energy statement estimates that about 60GW of new electricity generation will be needed by 2025, largely to replace existing power stations. It sets the aim of ensuring that just over half (33GW) is renewable, and as much as possible of the remainder is low-carbon: nuclear or fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage. The nuclear national policy statement limits the sites where new nuclear stations can be built to eight locations, all with existing nuclear stations.

Second, the ‘regulatory justification‘required under EU legislation whenever there is a possible of exposing the population to radiation. The government is required to examine new nuclear reactor designs and decide whether the possibility of exposure to radiation is justified by the benefits, in terms of, for example, energy security and low-carbon generation. We have decided that it is.

Third, the regulatory framework for ensuring that operators of new nuclear stations put aside enough money when the stations are operating to pay for the full future costs of decommissioning and waste disposal. There’s more detail to come on this topic later this year".

But this is the man who said

My  argument is that he has made a complete U turn on Nuclear Power and that what he has written about claiming to "debunk myths"is a red herring and is frankly ridiculous. It is the plan to build New Nuclear Power Stations that people mainly object to who pays for it is secondary.If he has  changed his mind then OK, but if has adopted a policy that he still believes is a “Dead End” then he is being hypocritical and dishonest with the public and by the same logic Aberavon and Neath Liberal Democrats are as well, if they believe that passing of such attempt to delude us is justifiable.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Labour betray R.C.T. workers.

A union claims about 10,000 council workers face losing their jobs unless they accept worse pay and conditions under new contracts.

The GMB accused Labour-run Rhondda Cynon Taff (RCT) council of threatening staff with a "lock-out".

Council Leader Russel Roberts appears to be acting like Pontius Pilate in washing his hands of the issue. For as Grangetown Jack points out

“The Labour controlling group in RCT hinted that they would do this last week, when they transferred responsibility of the decision to the Chief Executive, in a pathetic attempt to not take responsibility. When Labour did the same with Neath Council, the trade unions affiliated to Labour fell strangely silent as far as public criticism was concerned, even though their members were being dragged over the coals by their Labour controlled employer.”

There seems a deft silence from Rhondda's Labour AM Leighton Andrews but I am sure he will condemn his colleagues action a will his Westminster Colleague Chris Bryant who impressed us all with his attack on Nick Clegg and his Lib-Con coalition's plans to cut housing benefit.

You surely can't condemn one attack on the vulnerable and support another (or stay silent) purely out of political expediency?

It is interesting to note that this plan to attack the workforce on Rhondda Cynon Taf has come only a fortnight after Labour took a seat of Plaid Cymru  in a by-election for the Treherbert ward on Rhondda Cynon Taf council . I wonder what the result would have been if people had been aware of these plans?

And if it's carried out will the GMB union still give backing to the Labour Party in the next Assembly elections or will they support candidates who backed their members whatever party they stand for?. All unions must wake up that their duty is to represent the interest of their membership and are not simply there to finance Labour who all to often have betrayed the very same members.

P.S Peter Black has not posted a blog since Sunday I do hope he's not ill.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Tim Williams

Many of you will remember Tim Williams. Who was one of the leaders of the Just Say No campaign during the last assembly referendum.
I have been informed that he and his wife will be emigrating to Australia tomorrow. Despite our differences I had a reasonably close relationship with Tim as his sister was married to my brother at the time. So I wish him and Michelle all the best in the future.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Catching another Bus .

My last posting resulted in a responsible and fair comment from someone called “Ordinary Voter” and although we disagree I accept his/ her argument that we cannot have a dependency culture and no one who can work should be able to avoid doing so If Ordinary Voter is not blogging then He/She should start one.
Unfortunately when we enter in to these debates we often end up concentrating on the tiny majority who are unemployed but who are not “actively seeking work” and this ends up with the majority of decent honest people who are in despair because they cannot find work being ignored and all to often it has been a deliberate move on both the current Con-Lib government, and  also the previous Labour one to give the impression that there are plenty of jobs and it is only the reluctance of the unemployed to get of their backs and seek work  that has led to the current unemployed numbers This has been a deliberate policy in order to divert sympathy for those seeking who work who find that is none around by giving the impression that they are all workshy and The Hypocrisy of Labour MP for, Merthyr Dai Harvard is staggering in his commendation of Iain Duncun Smith. Why didn't  he stand up for the unemployed when his own party was in power and evoking similar attacks on the unemployed?

Today’ s South Wales Echo (not one of the most progressive papers) points out that  research by the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) showed there were 15,000 people in Cardiff chasing 1,700 jobs, while in Merthyr there were 1,670 unemployed people and 39 job vacancies, all temporary and part-time).

This shows the absurdity of Iain Duncun Smiths idea that all the unemployed need to do is catch a daily bus to Cardiff in order to find work.

Yes as “Ordinary Voter" points out we need to end a dependency culture , but when there are no Jobs available, attacking the minority and by doing so blacking the reputation of the genuine majority who are scanning the job columns daily, firing of endless Speculation  CV’s for non existent jobs  and who can only dream about the day that they can find full employment we should seek viable solutions and not attack the patient but the disease.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

On the Buses.

 Iain Duncan Smith has said  unemployed should 'get on the bus' to find work. he suggests on Newsnight that people in the south Wales town of Merthyr Tydfil they have become static and should seek work in Cardiff.The work and pensions secretary suggested unemployed people "get on a bus" to find work.The former Tory leader claimed people were unaware they could take a one-hour bus journey to Cardiff for work. It is clear that Duncan Smith has no idea about Merthyr and its problems and has based his sole argument on a programme on Sky News on 7 August which was a typical media hatchet job on the unemployed portraying them as work shy. Which I commented on here
But what of Duncan Smiths argument below is a time table from the unemployment Blackspot of Gurnos in Merthyr Tydfil to Queen Street in the centre of Cardiff.. . But for the majority seeking work from Merthyr the jobs will not be in Queen Streetbut in the outskirts of Cardiff and would involve a further trip. Say Pentwyn.

So that's another 45 minutes assuming you can get a quick connection. and it means that you are unlikely to be able to find work where the  start time is before 8 00.AM.
Of course many make such journeys but it is very difficult and with an increasing unreliable transport (Arriva are dreadful) transport system employers  are often reluctant to give work to people reliant on such transport if it means long journeys.
There is one final point that Duncan Smith misses he seems to believe that there are hundreds of jobs in Cardiff one simple scan of job sights would show him that there are few jobs in the City especially for the unskilled.
I hope that he has made this statement out of ignorance and not in what appears an increasing trend by his Lib-Con colleagues to stigmatize decent people who due to the failure of successive governments to provide real solutions to blackspots like Merthyr

Friday, 22 October 2010

The Sun front page you won't see.

Isn't it strange that most patriotic of Newspaper the SUN doesn't criticise Murdoch's interference in the running of the UK Just imagine if the President of the European Union had attempted to tell the British Government how to run the country as Murdoch did at his Thatcher lecture. Still what do you expect however if Murdoch is allowed to expand his empire in return for supporting the Lib-Von government then there will be a very real threat to our democratic process. The freeze on the BBC licence  fee is only the start and it is very possible that we will soon be faced with Murdoch having control of over 75% of our news output who wants that.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

AV is not the answer Kirsty and you know it.

Subordinate Central reports Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader, Kirsty Williams (La Pasionaria) has written to the First Minister seeking his agreement to setting up a cross-party campaign to fight for a ‘yes’ vote in Wales’ second referendum next year, on fair voting.

She does this in an effort to get support for a referendum on the Alternative Vote (AV).

Before we look at la Pasionaria’s argument in favor of AV let us look at one result that shows the absurdity of the First past the post system . That of Inverness, Nairn and Lochaber 1n the 1992 election

The Winning candidate Russel Johnson received only 26% of the vote  and the fourth place candidate was only 3.4% behind. If AV had been used would the result have been any "fairer". Would the electorate have been happy if the fourth pace candidate had eventually won I doubt it.

La Pasionaria claims in her letter to Carwyn Jones

• All MPs would have the support of a majority of their voters. Following the 2010 election 2/3 of MPs lacked majority support, the highest figure in British political history.

Not entirely trueI.In reality MP’s can at least claim that MP’s have the half hearted support of most of the electorate. However AV would not in reality have given anyone in the Inverness, Nairn and Lochaber elected under this system any more legitimacy.

It penalises extremist parties, who are unlikely to gain many second-preference votes.
Yes but it will obviously penalise progressive parties such as the Greens and Meybyon Kernow and anyway where does fairness come in if in is the case it excludes a Party with a sizable vote.

It eliminates the need for tactical voting. Electors can vote for their first-choice candidate without fear of wasting their vote.
Actually it just makes tactical voting more complex, as people have to work out who is likely to finish First ,Second or Third. In Inverness, Nairn and Lochaber  it would have been a nightmare  as people try and work out the possible result and how to vote,and of course it would mean the Lib-Dems still using thier little bar charts to convince people they were in a chance of winning a seat no matter how misleading.

It encourages candidates to chase second- and third-preferences, which lessens the tendency for negative campaigning.
I doubt very much this will be the case it might be more subtle but if it were true it will lead to bland conservatism with candidates playing it safe and even more pandering to "Middle England".

What La Pasionaria is trying to do is to cover her Party tracks and hoping that if the referendum rejects AV then she can blame other Parties.

She knows full well that her Party should be supporting the Single Transferable Vote and AV is a Blind Alley that if it accepted or rejected would put back a fairer voting system back decades. Those Parties who truly support fairer votes should not endorse a Yes campaign but fight for a write in vote on the referendum ballot paper in order to give they support for a true affair system of voting not some piss poor Lib-Dem face saver.

Monday, 18 October 2010

On benefits. Then the financial mess is your fault.

 George Osborne, the Chancellor, who this week will be cutting Government spending and thousands of jobs this week because of greedy bankers (remember them George ask Vince Cable) compared people who defraud the benefits system with "muggers". And announced he is planning to save £1.5 billion annually by cutting benefit fraud and hiring dozens of investigators to uncover benefit cheats.

1.5 Billion? As Miserable Old Fart recently posted there is avast difference in what we mean my a billion as he says.

My understanding of the word billion is that it is the number that is represented as a one followed by nine zeros in American, but the number that is represented as a one followed by twelve noughts in English; a thousand million in the USA, but a million on this side of the pond.

Even if we were to accept the American version. Where do the figures come from?

According to an official Treasury forecast, benefits will cost £170.9 billion (again English or American?) in 2010/11 . That’s the total benefit bill.
So if the system for calculating is the same billion then this is still a huge amount number but how do they know how many are cheating? and how many who made mistakes in their claims, have lost out on the benefit they actually should have been awarded? How many "Billions" is that?

Those found to have defrauded the system three times may be barred from claiming benefits for several years or even life. However, it is understood that the ban will only be applied to organised fraudsters, not those making "mistakes" or those with families. How many organised fraudsters are there?
Official figures show that no one has ever been convicted three times of benefit fraud. Only about 70 people have been convicted twice. So where does the £1.5 Billion come from?

It is clear to me that this announcement has come in order to give the impression that we are in this financial mess.

  • Not because of greedy Bankers but because people are scrounging of the state.

  • Not because people like of recent government advisor Phillip Green who "legally" exploits Tax loopholes and has parked hundreds of millions in Monaco. but because people have made mistakes on their benefit forms

  • Or government advisor Martin Sorell who has moved his advertising company WPP offshore in order to avoid tax. But because of people living off benefits who don't want to work.

  • Or one of the UK biggest tax dodgers KPMG’s Sir Mike Read ( another government advisor there's a pattern here) Whose  has used his knowledge to cheat the system. But people using the benefits system.
No the blame apparently lies totaly with benefit cheats.

It used to be that n order to hide their own responsibility governments would place the blame on minority or immigrant groups now it seems the blame for the failure of unfettered capitalism which got us in this mess but of which virtually no action has been taken, falls on the unemployed no matter how honest they are.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Labour's Welsh Resurgence Continues.

 There were two by-elections in Wales this week  Labour gained a seat from Plaid in the Treherbet ward of Rhondda Cynon Taf.

Lab 883 (50.8; +9.7)
Plaid Cymru 855 (49.2; -9.7)
Majority 28
Turnout 40%
Lab gain from Plaid.
Percentage change is since May 2008.

Whilst Labour held a seat  in the Neath North ward of Neath Port Talbot.

Neath Port Talbot UA, Neath North
Thursday 14 October 2010 12:00
Lab 437 (57.2; -5.3)
Neath Port Talbot Independent Party 144 (18.8; -18.6)
Plaid Cymru 132 (17.3; +17.3)
LD Mathew McCarthy 51 (6.7; +6.7)
Majority 293
Turnout 24.08%
Lab hold
Percentage change is since May 2008


Both these councils are Labour controlled and there it is often the case that voters use this opportunity to punish the ruling party and so this must be a disappointment for Plaid, though Treherbet has been a marginal council seat being regained by Plaid in the last council elections and local issues may have some influence on the result.

However the  the results reflect a growing swing to Labour in council by-elections in the UK and must be a worry for Plaid whom often find themselves vying for the same vote as Labour.

But the big losers so far are the Liberal Democrats who have an effective team in their excellent
Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors when it comes to fighting by elections and in the past have made great headway when it comes to these, but they appear to be losing votes  in council by-election and appear to be suffering from the backlash against the government more than the Tories and they seem unable to find candidates to fight by-elections in the same number the usually do. They seem to have only contested 3 of 11 Welsh By-elections since the General Election  (ALDC)

It is to early to see whether Plaid will suffer from the new rise in Labour popularity, clearly the election of a new leader as been a boost to the Party and it much to early  to predict any long term change. But as we approach the Assembly elections  Plaid must reengage withe the electorate in the Valleys in particular or they face a labour resurgence that will reestablish their total dominance of these areas.

The next By-elections include

•Swansea city council: By election on 21 October in Newton ward after the resignation of Liberal Democrat councillor Susan Waller. Term ends 2012. This may give some indication of the popularity of the Ruling group on the council.

•Carmarthenshire county council: By election on 4 November in Cenarth ward after the death of Independent councillor Haydn Jones. Term ends 2012. Again this might give some indication of popularity of the Ruling group on the council though Independents by their very nature do not suffer the same political backlash.

•Ceredigion county council: Vacancy in Ciliau Aeron ward after the disqualification of Plaid Cymru councillor Moelfryn Maskell, who was found by the Adjudication Panel of Wales to have misused his position in relation to planning applications. Term ends 2012. Tricky one for Plaid here for obvious reasons.

•Conwy county borough council: There is a byelection on 18 November in Eglwysbach ward after the resignation of Angharad Booth-Taylor of Plaid Cymru who is moving to Pembrokeshire. Marl ward has a vacancy after the resignation of Conservative councillor Linda Hurr. Both terms end in 2012. Again a tricky one for Plaid and as they lead the ruling group . Similarly could be an opportunity for to punish the Tories.

•Isle of Anglesey council: Byelection on 18 November in Rhosneigr ward after the resignation of 'Original Independent' councillor and former council leader Phil Fowlie, due to ill health (although he has since been disqualified from office). Term ends 2012.

Information from Indiigo Public affairs.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Just what is wrong with a progressive Income Tax?

John Dixon at Borthlas puts forward an excellent analysis the current argument over the funding of further education he writes.

"There are, in fact, three ways of closing the gap therefore – reducing student numbers, increasing the contribution from general taxation, and charging students ever higher fees (and whether they’re recovered through repayment of loans or some sort of graduate tax supplement is more about presentation than principle). There’s nothing necessary or inevitable about the third choice – unless and until politicians choose to rule out the other options. And that’s the nub of the problem".

I agree with John. Indeed I would go further and argue that because of fear of  loosing votes, every government of whatever colour have tried to raise money through Stealth Taxes which are often regressive , and costly to implement. The fact is if we were to Tax the public the most equal and efficient manner then we should do so by almost totaly by taxing Income and includes national insurance in this. This would also include a de facto graduate Tax since those who earn the most (of which graduates make a large number) would pay more and even I don't seee whygraduates should pay twice.

However the problem with politicians is they realise that people would have a much clearer insight into what they actually were paying in tax and they assume (perhaps correctly) that people would be inclined to support any Party who would reduce this.

We cannot continue to go down the Stealth Tax route however because means that Chancellors are constantly juggling taxes in order to appease a particular section of the electorate, only for a new Chancellor to change things in order to appease another.

As Terry Pratchett Lord Vetinari: put it:

'Taxation, gentlemen, is very much like dairy farming. The task is to extract the maximum amount of milk with the minimum of moo. And I am afraid to say that these days all I get is moo.' (Jingo Victor Gollancz 1997)

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

How many Lib-dem rebels will there be? and will it matter?

It seems that Mark Williams (see previous Blog) is not alone. In his own blog  Peter Black claims  up to thirty Lib-Dem MPs have said that they will vote against the lifting of the cap on tuition fees. This of course is over half the Parliamentary party. However the arithmetic means that even if we have one of the biggest party rebellion in  a UK parliamentary party 'the measure will still pass and I wonder if we are seeing a clever move by the Lib-Dems to have it both ways.

I'm sorry but I'm going to do some number crunching.

There are 650 members of Parliament, if we exclude the speaker and Sinn Féin (who will not take part in any vote)  the number is reduced to 644. So you need 323 seats for a majority The Tories have 306 which leaves them short by 17 of seats. With the Lib Dens 57 they have a majority of 40.

If 30 Lib-Dems were to vote against the measure this would reduce the majority to 10 small but passable and would allow some of the Liberal Democrats to save face, and you can’t guarantee the 8 Democratic Unionist would vote enbloc against the bill.

Therefore if the Liberal Democrats whips work out the numbers correctly they can help preserve the seeming integrity of individual members and the coalition at the same time.

Only if there was a challenge to the leadership of Nick Clegg would I be convinced that the Lib-Dem leadership will not be following me in its number crunching and working out just how many of its MPs voting against the hike in tuition fees can be allowed, before they end up causing a collapse  to the Libcon Coalition.

So I suspect that potential Lib-dem rebel will be allowed to speak out just so long as its clear that it will not do permanently damage to the LibCon government and see Lib-Dems going  into the next election portraying themselves as brave defenders of poor students in the hope that they will not be associated with the party leadership who  reneged on their pledge not to increase tuition fees. It’s a typical hypocritical Lib-Dem ploy but for some it just might work

Monday, 11 October 2010

Mark Williams will abstain on tuition fees hike (so will not be responsible ).

The Lib dems have got themselves into a right pickle over plans to increase tuition fees all l 57 Liberal Democrat MPs signed a pledge to vote against any fee rises during the election campaign. At least 20 have indicated they intend to stick by that pledge despite a clause in the coalition agreement allowing them to abstain on the issue and Tuition Fees . Ceredigion MP Mark Williams says that it would be “dishonest” if he voted with the coalition government to scrap the upper limit on university tuition fees in England.

This is an issue of huge principle to Liberal Democrats,” he said.

“I’ve fought four elections in the Ceredigion constituency with two excellent universities – in Lampeter and Aberystwyth – and I’ve made commitments over those four elections and specifically at the last general election and on that basis I’m sticking by that pledge.

“I think it would be dishonest for me personally to do anything other than that and an abstention is not a vote against those increases.”

That’s all right then he will abstain with the typical hypocrisy of his Party in that he thinks he can ease his conscious and responsibility to future students in that by abstaining  will somehow absolve of any responsibility,

When you look at the core of the Lib-Dem vote it is clear that they did exceptionally well in areas with large student populations (as Ceredigion is for example) and I assume that Libdem candidates vocal opposition to tuition fees (and Pledge)  was highly influential in the student vote,

Of course few of the actual students will be living in the Ceredigion constituency at the time of the next election so Mark Williams will hope that the fuss died down by then. But I doubt it and I don’t think claiming that he is free from guilt by abstaining will wash.

In May 2009 Peter Black posting on Subordinate Central  (have a look) rightly attacked Plaid Cymru on shifting its position on Tuition fees he rightly pointed out.

As for Plaid Cymru policy being opposed to tuition fees then why did they capitulate on this policy in the first place? If they had made this a make-or-break issue then Labour would have backed down, but instead they decided that their own places in ministerial limousines were more important than taking that risk. He says (referring to Plaid’s Candidate in Ceredigion Penri James) that Plaid will try to implement its policy at the earliest possible opportunity but why would anybody trust them to do so? They have let students and their parents down once, they will do so again.

I’m waiting for his attack on his LibDem colleagues indeed it will easy to do all he has to do is copy this post (have another look) and substitute "Plaid Cymru" and "Penri James" for "Liberal Democrats" and "Mark Williams".

One last point if the Libcon government go ahead with plans for recall petitions for MPs who have betrayed public trust, it could be that the first casualties could well be the Lib-Dems MPs who it will seen to be responsible by betraying their pledge to oppose an  increase in tuition (including absentees ) who will fall foul to this. A student population could easily raise the number of names needed) Watch out Mark.

According to the BBC Mark Williams  has announced he will vote against a tuition fee hike. Since I got the original release from Subordinate Central that he would abstain (Not the same thing by any means ). I think should have a clarification from the Liberal Democrats on his exact positionFurther Update.

Further Update Tuesday 12/10
“Subordinate Centre” have now changed the title of they post to “Mark Williams MP says he will vote against tuition fee hike”. I accept that this is his Mark's position and hope that he will maintain it. All I can say is how embarrassed I am to be misled by the title of a ”Subordinate Central” blog

Sunday, 10 October 2010

What are you there for Cheryl Gillian ?

There’s always been a question over the position of Secretary of State for Wales or Welsh Secretary as it seems to be referred to by most commentators. Though they then use the term Wales Office (To my mind they are using adjectives instead of nouns and nouns when they should be using adjectives but in truth grammar was never my strong point).

However since devolution there it has often been asked do we still need a Welsh Secretary? Would it not be better to combine the role of Welsh, Northern Ireland and Scottish Secretary into one department? Where the Minister would have much more influence on the cabinet. I am under no illusion that the post of Welsh Secretary is the lowest of the low in the cabinet rankings ,and it is common knowledge that none of those eight Welsh Labour MP’s who failed to get elected to the shadow cabinet actually wanted this job.

Nevertheless the position is there, but what is its purpose?

Is it to represent the view of Wales in the government?

Or to represent the views of the government in Wales?

Or a combination of both?

What is clear that this week Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan completely failed in any of these categories, with regards the proposed closure of Newport Passport office

She says she has spoken to the home secretary about the threatened closure. But has not said that she has asked the Home Office why she wasn’t informed of this, and why the Welsh assembly had not also been given the courtesy of knowing their plans.

Can anyone really imagine this happening in Scotland?

Neither Labour nor Libcon governments have an interest in appointing someone who would fight tooth and nail in the interest of Wales or Scotland. During the Second World War Thomas "Tom" Johnston was a highly successful Secretary of State for Scotland virtually ruling the country,and it is commonly believed that the powers that be swore never to let any minister have that power again.

Of course devolution has changed all that and the Welsh and Scottish ministers find themselves dealing wit first ministers who (at least in Scotland) can make decisions without asking the prime minister or the rest of the cabinet.

And now of course they are of different parties.

Nevertheless If Cheryl Gillian can use her influence (if she has any) to save the Newport Office then she will deserve credit if however she is ignored. Then like virtually all her predecessors she would have put her government interest before that of Wales and she should ask herself what is she there for? and consider her position.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Empty Cabinets (of Welsh MPs that is)

The fact that no Welsh MP even those for whom the connection is that they represent a Welsh Constituency (which they will leave as soon as they retire or are defeated at an election) is a disgrace and if it wasn’t for the existence of the post of Shadow secretary of state for Wales ( which it seems none of the candidates wanted anyway) we might well have no Welsh MP’s in the shadow cabinet.

But, It is surely hypocritical of Peter Black (well what do you expect ) to gloat over of this. With 8 Conservative and 3 Lib-Dem Mps in Wales not one is a Cabinet minister in the Libcon government and even the Secretary of State job went to someone who does not represent a Welsh seat.

So in reality all three major parties have snubbed their Welsh MPs. There are 37 of them and the possibility that there could not be one in either the Cabinet or Shadow Cabinet. either points to their quality. but probably shows how unimportant these parties view our Nation.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Aberavon And Neath Liberal Democrats get it a "Little" wrong.

I f you really want to know how the Liberal Democrats work. Just have a look at this on the Aberavon and Neath Liberal Democrats blog. In which they apologise for their attack on Labour MEP Derek Vaughn after cutting and pasting a newspaper report which wrongly accused Mr Vaughn of claiming money he was not entitled to.  Though it soon becomes clear Mr Vaughn was completely innocent.The post claims that they action was in good faith and obliviously believe that this will excuse them from such an appalling slur on the MEP.

I refer you once more to Insidious and his analysis of Subordinate Centrals attitude to blogging it seems their Aberavon and Neath Colleagues share their outlook/

The correction  was in the name of Frank Little who on the same day in his individual blog posted on Conservative and Labour dirty tricks during the General election. You got to admire his nerve (perhaps not).
So I can only say to Mr Little before you accuse others of throwing mud look at your own dirty hands.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Cameron on Cornwall reveals his true nature.

Councillor Dick Cole of Mebyon Kernow has posted on a excellent exposure of the true nature of David Cameron. Which I repeat here.

“I have just seen the interview that David Cameron did for ITV Westcountry yesterday, and the casual way in which he dismissed concerns about the possible creation of a Devonwall parliamentary seat.
 In the interview, when asked about the consequences of the Parliamentary Voting Systems and Constituencies Bill which, if left unchanged, would lead to the creation of at least one Cornwall and Devon seat, he said:
 “I think it is very important to have constituencies that are the same size. That is fair. And in order for that to happen you do need to cross county boundaries. We don’t, for example, say that the Scilly Isles have to have an independent …have to have their own MP. It is right that you cross boundaries in order to have the right size House of Commons and the same size constituencies. That is fair.”
 But ITV Westcountry, bless them, have released footage of Cameron speaking before the start of the formal interview. At this point he actually said:
 “We have got to have equal-sized seats. It’s the Tamar – not the Amazon for heaven’s sake. But I won’t put it like that!”
 What a gaffe! The pressure is now on Cornwall’s Tory MPs to speak to their leader and make sure that he does take Cornwall’s concerns seriously.”

I think Dick’s being to kind its clear that there is a major difference between what Cameron says and what he actually believes and that he attempts to hide between sophistry  in order to disguise is true lack of concern and understanding of the historic nature of Cornwall, and it only makes me thinks what his true attitude is towards Wales and Scotland. I suspect he secretly wishes that he could have cross boarder constituencies here as well.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Give the Tories an inch and they will take a mile.

Once again there’s no response from Subordinate Central and Peter Black over the plans of their Tory bosses to  too cut universal childhood benefit, despite the Liberal Democrats' party conference a fortnight ago voting to maintain universal benefits.

Libcon Chancellor George Osbourne has of course picked  the perfect target for his first benefit cut The idea that are people who are receiving benefits they don’t need is almost as compelling as that there are people who are receiving benefits they don't  (in the eyes of the Tories) deserve.

I believe  that there may be some on the left who would find themselves in agreements with this. Believing the rich should pay more. However I most certainly do not agree that this should start with our welfare system., and if we need to raise money from those who can most afford it the answer is progressive taxation.

The idea of universal benefit means that this is a right we are all entitled to and means that  no one is seen as receiving handouts (as some of the Tory press protray  it. However  if these cease to be universal then it will not be long before  such benefits will be seen by the selfsame Tory press and Libcon ministers as going to the undeserving.

In reality this move to end even a small part of universal benefit  is the first step of the Tories to carry out what they always intended and that is to destroy the welfare state.

In that they using the call for cuts as an excuse, but reality it is more to do with ideology than need. Make no mistake this is the first of what will be the end of many universal benefits. It will probably be slow, but it will be relentless and if we do not act now by the end of this Parliament the dismantling of the welfare state will have reaches a level that will leave the most vulnerable defenceless.

And in this they are being helped by the Liberal  Democrat partners.Those who think voting against such cuts at their party conferences can ease their conscience are deluded. And those like subordinate centre and Peter Black who think they can avoid association by ignoring it in their blogs are due for rude awaking next may

Sunday, 3 October 2010

I have no faith.But am I still culturally a Christian?

Last week I attended the funeral of my Aunt Teg. She was 92 but had been relatively fit and alert until the last couple of months.

The funeral was a Christian service, in which I took part in although I am an Agnostic. I did so for two reasons.

Firstly, out of respect for my Aunt, but also for those who attended who were believers. I did feel standing mute while the service went on would be appropriate.

Secondly, I still have much affection for Welsh Hymns. In this case Cwm Rhondda and Calon Lan. Though there was a Redwood moment in the latter as the Vicar a Yorkshireman was clearly mouthing the words.

A year ago I attended the funeral of my Brother-in Law where there was a Humanist Celebration, but except for the absence of Hymns and Prayers there was not really all that difference. And it served to my mind the same purpose in that we were able to say goodbye to Roger and it helped to ease our grief.

But this has left me wondering. I began questioning my belief in God at a very early age and once asked my Grammar School Headmaster as to why Catholics could miss the religious part of the School Assembly, while I had to attend? For this I was threatened with corporal punishment and kept my mouth shut in my opposition . Though I also kept my mouth shut during the Assembly Prayers.. However despite a life a non-belief (or at least questioning)..Am I still culturally a Christian?

I was reminded of this when Jeremy Paxman (Who getting more unhinged daily) asked Ed Milliband “Are you Jewish” and “Do You believe in God” on Newsnight. (Ed said yes to the former and no to the latter). Though what relevance it had to his abilities is beyond me.

I think I join Miliband in his answer . All my life has been influenced by Welsh Chapel culture in particular and even if I look on this as little more than a folk tradition it is still there

O f course if either myself or Ed Milliband were to stand for office in the USA we would probably have to have to express a belief in a God in order to get elected. Some states actively bar non-believers from holding Public Office and in the UK Atheist could only affirm in order to take the seats in House of commons in 1886.

I hope we are not going to see Ed Miliband lack of faith being used by the right to give some implication that he is therefore unsuited to be Prime Minister or worse his cultural history.

Perhaps the Old joke from Northern Ireland is still resonant.

A Rabbi was stopped by a Paramilitary gang in a Belfast Street.

“Are you a Catholic or Protestant?”, they demanded of him.

The rabbi had no idea which side they represented but was relaxes as he said “But I’m a Jew”. His integrators paused then one said “Are you a Catholic-Jew” or a Protesnat Jew?”

Friday, 1 October 2010

Deputy Dawg sorry Clegg comes to Wales.

Deputy Prime Minister visited the Welsh Capital yesterday According to Betsan Powy’s BBC blog he was met with the words

"Welcome to Wales" "and greetings from my mother who voted for you ... to keep out the Tories"

Clegg told the Welsh Assembly to expect difficult times, but not look at the spending review as an ideologically-driven apocalypse.’

Of the spending review, Mr Clegg said "people should keep it in perspective".

What he meant of course was "we are going to do it and you better get used to it

UK Government departments have been told to prepare plans for making savings of between 25% and 40%.

This of course will affect Wales more because of it reliance on public centre jobs largely because the previous Tory government had destroyed our private sector and heavy industries.

But in they fantasy world the Lib-Con coalition will be relying on the private sector to provide work for the Thousands of public sector worker who will be made redundant.

A private sector that can’t do this now!

Protestors yesterday accused the Liberal Democrats of betraying "ordinary working class people" But can anyone really expect anything else from a Political Party who denounced early spending cuts before the General Election and now enthusiastically go along with it in coalition government.

He wouldn't be drawn on the plans for St Athan which must have concerned La Pasionaria, in whose adoration he spent the day basking in. But considering her constant support for the project, pointed out by myself and Welsh Rambling yesterday. She obviously asked him privately about the future for St Athan.

I wonder however if it is scrapped or greatly reduced will she condemn her Party leader in the same way she condemned (St) Vince at her Party’s conference. We will see.