Saturday, 28 May 2011

An MP we can be proud of? (Er No)

In the latest issue of Private Eye there's a letter from Lee Skevington who was the Labour Candidate for Yeovil in 2010. In  he made a claim for Liberal Democrat  MP to be given he most hypocritical MP award and providing the leaflet shown  below as evidence.

In May 2011 the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards reported that Laws was guilty of breaking six rules with regard to MPs expenses, but that he had not intended to benefit himself or his partner directly. In addition to finding against Laws with regard to the payment of rent to his partner, the investigation had also found irregularities in payments for phone bills and building work

It had been reported that Laws had claimed over £40,000 on his expenses in the form of second home costs, from 2004 to late 2009, during which time he had been renting rooms at properties owned by what the paper claimed to be his "secret lover" and "long-term partner", James Lundie. They were not in a civil partnership. The Daily Telegraph also said that it had not intended to reveal his sexuality, but that Laws had himself done so, in a public statement shortly before the newspaper's publication of the story.[ Lundie is a former Liberal Democrat Press officer and now works for the Political Affairs team of public relations and lobbying firm, Edelma

Laws claim that he acted in the way he did in order to hide his sexuality from his family may have some relevance: but: If he had allocated his constituency home as his second home he would not have got himself in such a mess. However then of course this would not have gone down so well with his constituents,

What brought me to refer to this was a piece on  Vaughan Roderick BBC Blog on the current disqualification of Libdem AM Aled Roberts and John Dixon. It has been suggested that Assembly members can overturn this ruling interestingly by Blogs which tend to back Plaid here for example  but as Vaughan Points out. (I used google translate)

The argument heard most often by those who want to shut the door on John and Aled is this: "everyone knows exactly what the Liberal Democrats would do in similar circumstances." To be blunt about it, politicians of other parties who have been outraged for years by the campaigning tactics of the Liberal Democrats see an opportunity for a little revenge. All the "two horse races", the bar charts and claims that "only the Lib Dems can beat XXX here" has returned to bite the party on its rump. 
All parties fight dirty but over the years the Libdems have attacked others whilst constantly claiming
 the moral highground. They have often portrayed themselves as an anti establishment party and as Law's leaflet shows tried to take advantage of public anger ant the parliamentary expenses scandal. But his own fall from grace shows that of you claim to be more moral and honest than your opponents then you dam well better be.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

BBC West-Briton?

A leaked report of an internal BBC Wales document outlined a series of potential programme cuts involving current affairs and political shows and coverage of the National Eisteddfod and the Royal Welsh Show.

The BBC executive has warned that cuts of up to 20% are needed across the board so the organisation can cope with a license fee freeze together with new responsibilities to fund S4C and the BBC World Service.
The plans will also affect Welsh sports coverage including football coverage  on Radio Wales and even if Swansea get their well deserved promotion to the English Partnership I understand  there will be no coverage of midweek games.
 This has come as no real surprise, as  the BBC have perpetrating a con on the Welsh public for years with its claims to be investing in Wales.
  This from cooperation that just spent millions on the Royal Wedding and  is currently boring me to death with the  Chelsea Flower show. But it plans to decimate. the political and cultural coverage of Wales

But Anyway the BBC commitment to Welsh Broadcasting is merely to flatter us whilst actually doing very little . Sticking a BBC Cymru/Wales logo on a program  and saying that it "is made in Wales" doesn't make it Welsh and this can be shown when you look at some of these "Welsh" programmes.

Dr Who.
When the new Dr Who started had a number of episodes set in Wales but since the departure  of Russel T Davies it seems the program are made in Wales and the Welsh connection has all but vanished.
Holby City/Casualty
Simply moved production from Bristol where it is still set and has no Welsh connection.
Only made in Wales no Welsh connection any BBC Cymru/Wales of no consequence.

And the same could be said of Children program such as Tracy Beaker and Young Dracula  where some of the young Actors may be Welsh  and it is filmed here there is no Welsh emphasis and BBC  Cymru/Wales do not seem to produce any children's programs on a Welsh theme.

So the BBC future plans seem to be to be to produce more and more programs in Wales whilst cutting programmes on or about Wales.

 I am always annoyed when I hear the words "Made in Wale for the BBC" though they should add "But it has nothing to do with Wales"  (Sherlock for example) : because apart from creating some jobs it is meaningless to the cultural life of our Nation.

It seems the attack on S4C was only just the beginning of the attack on actual broadcasting for Wales( rather than Broadcasting  in Wales) and the  BBC plans to move out of London are only there to cut costs and they policy seems to be is to remove Wales from the media and  treat our Nation  a little more than a region of England which is of course is what they always have thought it is.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Why shouldn't people have a right to privacy?

 Just because a publicity seeking Libdem MP has named the footballer involved with the super injunction and therefore has ensured the media can smugly splash his name all over the front page, does not make it right for the privacy of an individual to be exploited in this manner.

I'm not going to name the footballer because unlike many I believe he had a case in taking out the injunction.

Why should his private life been open to public scrutiny, What does it achieve only to sell newspapers. It doesn't matter that his marriage or his relationship with his children  could be destroyed.Some smug hypocritical editor can moralise on the issue safe in the knowledge that his or her fellow editors would not publish any similar misdemeanors on their part.

Why should Tabloid newspapers  virtually blackmail people in giving them exclusives by threatening to expose someones private life.

Or to give space to some publicity seeking bonehead of either sex who slept with a "celebrity" and now wants to make  a few quid out of it or have their Andy Warhol 15 minutes of fame.

The young woman who claims to have had a affair with the footballer is accused of virtual trying to blackmail in asking  for money  or she would go to the tabloids. This may be untrue but because of the result of the breaking of this injunction any person will be able to make such a threat and short of taped evidence get away with it.

Is this the sought of society we want to live in?

What has been trumpeted as the freedom of the press has been little more than that body claiming the right to poke inside the private lives of members of the public irrespective of the damage it would cause.

Yes there is a case of exposing hypocrisy:  but as some one said of Bill Clinton..
"I don't care who he slept with as long as doesn't try and tell me who I can sleep with" .
Most of the  media are claiming the footballer (And I'm still not giving his name look it up if your really that interested) would have been better of employing a publicist and riding the storm. But why should he?

Just because you are in the public eye doesn't mean that you waive your right to privacy and it certainly doesn't  mean that your family are open to the titillation of the media.

This does not mean that dishonesty and hypocrisy should not be exposed but this should only be in case such as.

  • A politician or religious figure who attacks Gay rights when carrying out a gay relationship.
  • An Editor or Media Baron who attacks the sexual infidelities of "celebrity" whilst having a similar affair. A reporter who gives the impression of moral indignity when interviewed someone when their own lifestyle is far from perfect.
  • The thousands of twitter members who paced the footballers name on the Internet without any real evidence. Who would be indignant  if a friend had exposed their peccadilloes on Facebook. 

We need a new Privacy law not to protect wrongdoers or those who have the money to go to court, But to protect us all from a media whose interest id not justice or even the moral of our nation but to sell more newspapers.

N.B. In accordance with the theme of this Blog . I will not be publishing any comment on this if you use the names of those  involved. 

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Is Carwyn Legally First Minister?

One of the interesting things that have come out of the Dixo -Roberts affair is the reaction of Plaid Bloggers: both Syniadau and Dafydd Trystan on Cynon Future make the not unreasonable case that the Assembly can and should oveide the disqualification of the two candidates and Plaid Wrecsam have been mostly supportive of the two but it is interesting that when they pointed out that La Pasionaria had been aware of the problem 6 Months earlier. Peter Black sprang to his leaders defense and as aside that of Aled Roberts though his own Blog seems to be intent on commentating on Star Trek rather than what is a major political issue in Wales.

One wonders what would be the case if the roles were reversed and it was two Plaid AMs in similar trouble  going on form I suspect the LibDem Blogs will be less than supportive

When I commented on Synidau Blog on this I more or less agreed that the Assembly had the powers to reinstate the two disqualified AMs..

However: I had to point out that this was a potential minefield because taking in Winston Rodrick view that the Election of the two was invalid we may be entering a legal argument that could end up in the Courts..

Any legislation that is passed by the Assembly in which the votes of two are vital would be open to a legal challenge and could result in months of delay as it goes through the Courts  and remember the initial plans for a Badger cull were ruled out by the Courts despite all the legal advice Elin Jones had that  this was OK.

Indeed anything the two participated in before in the Assembly before their disqualification is open to question and this my include the nomination of  Carwyn Jones as first minister and the election of the  Llywedd (Presiding Officer).
If the two took part in this then  are these technically valid.

So although I would like to see Synidau's solution I'm afraid it will not be so simple and would really need the complete backing of all AMs.

Since there will be no By-elections because they would if the disqualification was confirmed or if they resigned , Because they  would be replaced by the next on the list.

This may explain Labour's  problem. With no By -election  there's not a possibility of gaining the extra seat they need to get an overall majority. However if the to remain then it would be difficult for them to bring the LibDems into coalition with the latter having (slightly) tarnished AMs. But to openly oppose reinstatement would mean creating enmity between the two Parties.

This afair was t after all is a cock up rather a  conspiracy and has shown how the Assembly should look at its Rules.

One solution would be that instead of resigning any membership of Public Bodies before being nominated . There should be a period of at least a week before they took the oath and they should not be regarded as a members of the Assembly until they do so. This would give them time to remove any impediment from taking their seat. It seems that once they are elected AMs rush to take the oath because they are only paid after they do.
This should be done immediately in order to cover any By-elections that may occur duering the current Assembly.
This should sought out the sort of mess  Aled Roberts and John Dixongot themselves in.Alas it probably not be able to make this retrospective and the  only real  option may be for them resign tthier seats.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Could this be the shortest tenure of AMs?

I admit when I first read  recently elected AM's have not been allowed to take their seats because they had broken an aspect election law  this would be only a technicality and they would be soon reinstated although with red faces.

But as they reported at Jaxxland  this has not proven to be a simple case over a mere technicality and the fact that Subordinate Centre had seemingly removed their post on this subject is a  pointer to this being a bigger problem for the two AMs and the LibDems that a mere reprimand would put an end to and their return to the Assembly was not  justa simple question of not when they would be allowed to take their seats but if.,

Also it it is interesting despite an statement  call by Peter Black that ...

 "I think it's appropriate that there is a period of contrition because clearly this has put everyone through a difficult period and the members concerned obviously have responsibility to ensure that they are eligible to stand when they stand and so I think we need to sort those issues out first.
"It is a bit embarrassing and it is a bit of a distraction. It's very important that we sort this out.
"We have two very high calibre assembly members who need to be able to take their seats - I need to work with the other parties to persuade them to support that."
that hasn't  touched on this on his Blog  yet. So I can only assume he is considering the legal position. I am sure is not because he does not wish to embarrass his colleagues (or is it former colleagues) by criticising them and he and Subordinate Centre (who as Jaxxland point out removed the earlier comment ) would have been equally reticent if it were AMS from other Parties who were in similar trouble,
 The pair have been judged to have breached electoral rules by remaining members of organisations which bar candidates from taking office Mr Dixon was a member of the Care Council for Wales, which regulates social care workers. Mr Roberts was a member of the Valuation Tribunal for Wales, which deals with appeals about business rates and council tax.

As Jaxxland points out,
"The suspicion is that the two regional AMs were less than confident about their potential success as list candidates and were hedging their bets by hanging on to certain statutory offices – a disqualifiable offence as they have since discovered. Others cite plain incompetence on the part of Lib Dem party managers"
The latest news seems that according  to Winston Roddick QC, the former chiefegal adviser to the assembly,heir election was void.  and the two cannot return.

So it is highly possible  that the two will not be taking the seats and as they are regional AMs  they will be replaced by Eleanor Burnham  in the cas eof Aled Roberts and Eluned Parrott in the case of John Dixon.

This would  be Sweet for Burnham who had lost her lead place to Aled Roberts

If however they were constituency AM's there would of course be a byelection in which they might well have allowed to stand and be reelected..

Or the voters may have angry at being asked to vote again may have turfed them out . Which could have resulted in Labour gains and giving them an overhaul majority in the Assembly.

So it may well be that the Libdems may yet have more cause to thank the list system because without it and only 3 or 4 AM they would not be treated as an official part in the Assembly.

But whatever happens even if the two are reinstated it seems wrong that an elected member can be disqualified without the electorate having some say in this and is yet another example of undemocratic nature of the constituency and regional lists system

Monday, 16 May 2011

I think you may regret this Jonathan.

At the last Welsh Question Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards suggested that the cut in Welsh MP's at Westminster, from 40 to 30, be used to shake-up the voting system used in the assembly.  In a question to Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillian he said....
"Considering the opposition of the Labour Party to decoupling Westminster and National Assembly constituency boundaries, would it make sense to make the next make-up of the fifth National Assembly based on 30 regionals and 30 constituency AMs?"
Cheryl Gillan replied...
"That's a very interesting thought. I'm taking his question
 as a recommendation and I will look seriously at his recommendation we have 30
 first-past-the-post seats and 30 on the list system."
Jonathan makes it clear that his and Plaid's preference would be for STV on his website.Sso why make such a ridiculous suggestion.?

OK he is intention was probably pointing out that Labour still feel Assembly Constituencies should Mirror Westminster ones despite the CON/LibDem coaltion plans which will clearly happen to cut the latter drastically

As Blog Menai has pointed out the new proposed  boundaries for Welsh Westminster  constituencies  may look fine on a map but have no real connection with actual communities and I commented on this when the  first drafts appeared .

In a recent debate on Radio Wales with Labour MP Owen Smith Jonathan Edwards mused on this point where Owen Smith made the suggestion that "There could be two AM's per Assembly constituency.

This would simply reinforce Labours Hegenomy.

Based on the constituency vote at the recent Assembly election  the result in number of seats if proportional would have roughly resembled (actual in brackets)

Lab  25/6 (30)
Tories  15 (14)
Plaid 11/12 (11 )
Libdem  6 (5)

Clearly despite the  Topup procedure then the result was s biased towards Labour.

 Jonathan 's proposals may have been intended to point out Labours  that they are still only thinking in Westminster constituencies. In Scotland after the number of MP's were reduced ,the Scottish parliament  constituency seats no longer resemble those at Westminster and since then the boundaries of the Scottish parliament  seats have been redrawn.This after all was under the last  Labour administration

So there are no reasons if the Welsh Westminster seats are cut and the boundaries redrawn for the Assembly seats to mirror them. .

But surely anyway It should be the Welsh Assembly not Westminster that decides how Welsh elections should be conducted and clearly there will come a time when increased powers means that we will need to increase the number of AMs

Labour already changed the rules via the Secretary of State to prevent candidates standing for constituencies and the regional list (but did not do so in Scotland where they benefited from this) and for a Plaid MP to argue that Tory secretary should intervene in the way he as is making himself a hostage to fortune.

What would Jonathan's  reaction be if  Cheryl Gillan  was to follow up on this link the Assembly seats to the redrawn  Westminster boundaries which have no Historic or community connections and claim that he was the inspiration?

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Ieuan quits (but not just yet)

Blogger went off line yesterday so news  of Ieuan Wyn Jone' announcement that he will stand down as Plaid Cymru leader in the first half of the Welsh assembly's five-year term. has not hit the Welsh bloggersphere  in the numbers you would expect, He said it had always been his intention to leave the role at some point before the next election in 2016

So there will not be contest yet; But already Dafydd Elis Thomas has thrown his hat in the ring indicating that he would lead the Party  into coalition with Labour. But I can't see someone who has severed 12 years as Llywedd becoming leader of the Party and he would only be seen as a stop gap untill a nsomeone who is not yet a AM is elected in 2016  but clearly he has much to offer.

But by delaying his departure Jones has probably make this likely as the party will be looking for a younger leader who will take the Party forward in the next 10 years.

The delay also allows the Party to amend any constitutional barrier demanding the leader must be a member of the Assembly and allowing the "Pri(n)e over the water" to stand or  allow Simon Thomas time to establish himself in the Assembly.

Others may include Elin Jones who can probably shake of the controvert of the Badger Cull by the time of the next election and who has been impressive in government.

So expect a lot of manouvering in the next yeat and it at least means Plaid  Members will be attending their next conference concentrating on the preformance of the Leadership contenders rather than that of poor recent election results.

Which may just be what IWJ has planned for.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Can Nick Clegg teach a horse to sing?

Syniadau has posted on the 17 lost deposits in the Welsh general election last week after receiving less than 5% of the vote here

This also coincide with the collapse in the vote in seats that based on the UK General Election a year ago looked vulnerable to them, including  Newport East, Swansea West , Pontypridd ,Wrexham and even  Merthyr Tydfil.

 Indeed if you look at the figures although Plaid did badly the Libdem  vote  at the Assembly election collapsed  to such a extent that it will probably take them more than one election to recover if at all.

Ir also shows the problem with the current top up system that a Party so decisively  rejected by the electorate should only lose one seat and give the impression as Peter Black does that it's pnly Plaid who lost out.

Indeed Peter  has been crowing over the result for Plaid  and said that he would ......
"love to be a fly on the wall at their first group meeting".
 I tried to comment on this that saying that ...

"I would like to be a fly on the wall on the next Libdem group meeting as they discussed how to disassociate themselves from the Toxic effect of the Conlib coalition and jokingly suggested they should form a new party on the lines of the Alliance party pf Northern Ireland who are a sister party to the Libdems". 
For some technical reason Peter didn't publish this. I'm sure it wasn't because it maybe spoiled his argument.

But with local elections next year based on the assembly results the Libdems in particular are in for a particularly torrid time.

Nick Clegg has been trying to distance himself the Tories on NHS reform . I predicted that a NO vote on AV  could lead to Cameron ditching  these proposals in England in order to throw his coalition partners a victory and bolster Libdem nerves about the coalition .

But I doubt it will be enough so If I was a Libdem I would prepare for a period of  losses over the next 4 years.

It may be possible that Clegg can change this around after all as the old story goes.
The king had a favorite horse that he loved very much. It was a beautiful and very smart stallion, and the king had taught it all kinds of tricks. The king would ride the horse almost every day, and frequently parade it and show off its tricks to his guards.  A prisoner who was scheduled to be executed soon saw the king with his horse through his cell window and decided to send the king a message. The message said, "Your Royal Highness, if you will spare my life, and let me spend an hour each day with your favorite horse for a year, I will teach your horse to sing."
 The king was amused by the offer and granted the request. So, each day the prisoner would be taken from his cell to the horse's paddock, and he would sing to the horse "La-la-la-la" and would feed the horse sugar and carrots and oats, and the horse would neigh. And, all the guards would laugh at him for being so foolish.
 One day, one of the guards, who had become somewhat friendly with the prisoner, asked him, "Why do you do such a foolish thing every day singing to the horse, and letting everyone laugh at you? You know you can't teach a horse to sing. The year will pass, the horse will not sing, and the king will execute you."
 The prisoner replied, "A year is a long time. Anything can happen. In a year the king may die. Or I may die. Or the horse may die. Or ,
The horse may learn to sing

I'm sure Peter Black believes he can .

Monday, 9 May 2011

STV for Wales in 2016.

You don't have to be a Conservative supporter to think that it is patently absurd that their leader lost his seat because his party had won an extra constituency seat.

The current method of Constituency and Regions which Top up parties is plainly not working.

Firstly there was the original spectacle of rejected candidates at a constituency level being elected on the regional list. Although this was clearly not particularly democratic. It was somewhat even more undemocratic for Labour through Peter unilaterally change the rules in Wales to prevent candidates for standing in constituencies from also standing on the regional list.  a situation which did not affect Labour because of its strong showing at consistency level. Though strangely (or not)  they did do so so in Scotland where Labour candidates who were defeated at constituency level were more likely needing the regional list option to get elected.

Labour also changed the rules for the recent election  to simplify the ballot paper for the regional list by not placing the candidates names. We were told that the names would be displayed at the polling station, but at the one I voted in there was  no display of the list candidates and when I queried this, I was only shown the list of people who signed the nomination papers. The political parties did not help us by failing to tell us who was on the list in their election communications. So unless you were like myself a political junkie you may not have known who you were voting for

Then we had the case of .parties like the Greens and UKIP  contesting only the regional list. This meant that the concept of Top Up did not apply to them . Nevertheless the possibility of Parties getting AM's from the regional list and yet not standing in any constituency was there, which despite the fact I would have liked to see a Green AM (But not UKIP) this somewhat goes against the intention of the two ballot system.

In a true "British Democracy"  manner this does not happen in Northern Ireland where STV is used.

As a supporter of STV . I rejected the AV choice last week because it was in reality no better than FPTP and whilst I accept out current  system is better than FPTP it is hardly the best option especially when we consider that.

It was introduced in Scotland to ensure that the SNP could't get a majority and use this as mandate for independence. Well that hasn't worked.

It was introduced in Wales to placate Non -Labour voters who were afraid of a huge Labour majority  whilst ensuring Labour remained the dominant party.

It seems that Labour had considered STV  but had rejected it because  Ron Davies is quoted that......
"Had we done that of course we would have had to have had a Boundary Commission and that process would have taken forever and a day and that would have frustrated our overall political timetable. So we had to settle on the existing constituency arrangements, parliamentary constituencies and European Constituencies"
We have 5 years before the next Assembly elections.In the meantime the Westminster Constituencies will be considerably redrawn despite the rejection of AV and the number of Welsh seats will be reduced. So by  20166 the Welsh Assembly Constituencies will no longer be the same as those at Westminster. So the boundary commission will be now obliged to redraw separate constituencies for the two legislators on a regular basis.

Taking in to account the inadequacies of our current system, any understanding that either Plaid or the LibDems  have with Labour government without a overall majority should include the introduction of STV for the 5th Welsh Assembly in 2016.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Taking Stock

 So that was the election in Wales and the Parties  will be taking stock.

With gain of 4 seats and tantalizingly close to overall control of the Assembly  reson to celebrate but must be disappointed not to take  aTory seats. 30 seats mean they could possibly govern without looking for partners but as Miserable Old Fart points out there is a problem with of who is going to be Presiding Officer or rather Llywedd but I can only see Dafydd El taking up this position if the Lab/Plaid coalition is renewed and I doubt that the latter has the appetite for that.So Labour face sacrificing one of their precious number and be reliant perhaps on the LibDems to see them through the next five years.

Will be delighted to have replaced Plaid as the main opposition and there may have been some quite smiles when their leader Nick Bourne lost his seat. Will they go for a positive devolutionist  like David Melding  or will they look somewhere else. The problem is that none of their AM's have really entered the public mind and as the cuts start to impact in Wales they will not be able to avoid the inevitable backlash from the Welsh electorate.

Liberal Democrats.
Must be counting their luck to only  have lost 1 seat overhaul despite a hemorrhage of votes in parts of Wales. With only 1 constituency seat and only Ceredigion and Montgomery looking possible gains next time they will be looking on how to disassociate themselves from the almost toxic connection to the Con/Lib coalition in Westminster. From last nights news it looks that that La Pasionaria will  be willing to enter into some form of coalition with Labour; But she has very few cards to play However  you can be assured if she carries it off then she and her colleagues will be claiming major concessions in policy even if the rest of us can't see them.

Bad night The loss of  4 seats and some of their most talented AM's  will be a body blow. The position of the leader Ieauan Wyn Jones looks shaky but. Plaid problem is the Pri(n)ce over the water. Clearly Adam Price is the favorite to lead the Party but he is not elected anywhere and barring a By-election in a seat like Neath then he  it will be 5 years before he can lead the party in the Assembly. A caretaker leader would be possible but who?  Elin Jones perhaps but surely  the big beast amongst Plaid AM's is Dafydd Elis Thomas who if he's not going to be Llywedd then he would be unlikely to want to remain out of the limelight . Perhaps Plaid's answer would be to elect Adam as leader and present him as the leader in waiting whilst DET leads the Party in the Assembly.

 Both UKIP  and the Greens were hoping to pick up a seat  but fell short.The BNP did miserably and they have ceased to be a threat in Wales which at least all the other political parties can take some comfort..

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Placardgate,Shows Labour think they own our votes.

The Outcry over Placardgate where  CaerphillyLabour MP Wayne David has accused  (well he admits it actually) of removing Plaid placards from peoples gardens in the Caerphilly constituency been interesting
According to the Wester Mail
A resident of Bargoed in the constituency claimed Mr David had knocked on her door on Saturday and told her that neighbours found the Plaid placard in her garden “offensive”. He also suggested it was “illegal”.“I didn’t want any trouble and let him take it away,” said the resident, who did not wish to be named.At the time she had not recognised Mr David, but later identified him from a photograph on his website. Other sightings of Mr David with Plaid placards and stakes have also been reported to the police.
The BBC report however( which at times reads like a Labour Party Press) statement accuses Plaid of  illegally placing these placards in peoples gardens.  I don't believe thisis deliberate  bias on behalf of the BBC towards Labour but more likely lazy journalism as they copy the Labour press release without bothering to ask questions.

Because if I woke up and found a Party placard in my garden without their position I would have taken it down and I woiuld have complained to that party and rang the press to expose this. Where are the people in the Rhymney valley who have done so?

What seems to me to be the True story in Wayne Davids claim that

 “There has been a disproportionately large number of Plaid stakes put up in the Rhymney Valley.".

What I think he means is that houses that he thinks should naturally vote Labour have a Paid Placard in their Garden. It reflects the Hubris amongst Labour members that they have the natural right to the support of working class people and their anger when sometimes these people rebel and show their support for another party.

This has been evident over the years as they have ignored the working class in favour of that electorate labeled "Middle England" whilst still claiming the support of the Working class particularly in Wales

In this they have been aided by the Trade Unions who have spent the last 13 years of a centre right "New Labour government under Tony Blair   making very little objection to the fact that it made few attempts to imptove workers rights and conditions (What there has seems to have come from the European Union) but now with the ComLib government which is imposing more or less the same cuts as Labour would have the leaders have found their voices,

In recent months the Labour controlled RCT council have behaved appallingly to their workforce  and have been condemned by these workers Trade Unions ,and yet virtually every Trade union Office in the Pontypridd, Rhondda and Cynon Valley consistency are bedecked with posters in support of th local Labour candidate. None of who have condemned the actions of RCT but who would have been screaming from the rooftops if Plaid were still in control and made even modest cuts in the workers conditions.

To my my mind Plaid have still not campaigned on working class issues enough to deserve a complete switch of loyalty from working class support but it the absence of any other serious option  it would be no surprise if some do.

What is clear that Labour party treat such support they receive from such quarters as merely cannon fodder to go out and vote blindly for candidates who will do nothing for them  whilst courting the swing votes of whatever passes for "Middle England" here and will continue to do so until there is a clear and lasting switch in this vote,