Friday, 29 July 2011

The Crachach awakes.

Guto Harri is a prime example of the Cracach born  in Cardiff, Wales, the son of the psychatrist and noted writer, Harri Pritchard-Jones. , Harri was educated at and at the Welsh-medium Ysgol Gyfun Llanhari (Llanhari Comprehensive School), and Queen's College, Oxford, where he studied PPE (Politics, Philosophy and Economics) where his friends included Boris Johnson who after a period who after a period as a a regular presenter on BBC television and radio programmes was appointed Communications Director when the latter became Mayor of London.

 Harri has recently caused ire when he queried whether Wales had done enough to attract events to the 2012 Olympics. after We;sh First Minister Carwyn Jones  complained that  a year until the games started he would have liked Wales to host more events than the 11 football matches to be played at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

He also expressed disappointment that Welsh businesses have not won more Olympic contracts. Of the £6bn of contracts awarded to British companies, an estimated £38m has gone to Welsh firms.

Harri said

: "It's a bit late to complain that not enough has been distributed to Wales isn't it, because we have more or less settled these things for years2. 
Lets be honest he has a point  When Plaid's former MP Adam Price questions about why a new mountain bike course was planned for Essex when Wales already has courses arguing that Wales' terrain was far superior for mountain biking he did not seem to get much support from Labour backbenchers.

Mr Price called for the mountain biking event to be held at "excellent" facilities at Margam near Port Talbot. Where was the local Labour Member on this or the Labour council on this?  or Peter Hain Welsh Secretary at the time and who must know ere are great Mountain Bike facilities also in his Neath Constituency ?
Where are the mountain bike competition going to be held? Hadleigh Farm in Essex !! . That well known mountain region.
And so Wales gets 11 football matches but not he finals.
Of course it was a Labour Government that was responsible for all this so its not surprising that  Labour who ran the  Assembly when all the decisions on where the venue had been taken as former Plaid AM Neys Evans (and its a pity to use former) pointed out last year
 It could well be that Rhodri Morgan  and his colleagues who were running the assembly at the time realised that Wales was never going to get more than a few crumbs and that it wasn't worth the effort and expense of trying to attract faculties which never were going to come here,
So I've sympathy wit Guto Harri statement but I'm not sure it appropriate for the spokesman for the London Mayor to enter the debate in this way presumably because of his Welsh background.
But then it shows his Cracach background where people like him feel that they have a automatic right to tell Wales how it should be run even though they left it work as a Tory political appointee.
There another point about the Cracach there a feeling among some Welsh Nationalists that because someone speaks Welsh that are automatically on their side. The case of Guto Harri who has chosen to work for a Tory Buffoon like Boris Johnson shows that there are ordinary monoglot English speakers and indeed people who were not originally  born in Wales who are prepared to put out Nation first.and they deseve our encouragement.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Labour gain Snatchwood seat in Torfaen

I must thank Britain votes because they did all the work:

:Torfaen council  Snatchwood ward
Lab 239,
Ind (MH) 161,
Ind (SJ) 41,
Ind (NH) 37,
Con 12,
PC 9.
Labour Gain.
This represent a god win for Labour who seem to be the Party making advances outside y fro Gymraeg where Plaid seem to be doing well..

With only 462 vote cast  according to a participant on Britain votes the electorate is for Snatchwood - 1,581 which I make a turn out of about 29% which is average for a by-election I think . So holding the election on a tuesday or even during the miners fortnight (remember)  that doesn't seem to have had much of a negative effect with regard the turn out .

Plaid 9% may reflect the fact that the candidate lived in Cwmbran well out of the ward and I would tend to support  a candidate  who lived in the ward or an ajoining one regardless of any preferred party. Why do parties do this? I'm sure even in this IT world people like their councilors on their doorstep.

But it does look like the brief period of the Peoples voice in areas like Torfaen and  Blanaeu Gwent  may well be over . Though its too early to write off Llais Gwynedd.

But they have been the minority partner in the Labour led administration (which never helps if the former are on the up) and  recently seen one of their councilors  Maria Graham leave the group to sit as an Independent.

Monday, 25 July 2011

A montage of Shame.

The above montage shows that UK politicians have bent over backward to gain support of the Murdoch and News International.

I couldn't  find a picture of David Cameron with Rupert. This may well reflect the belief that Murdoch senior had little faith with Cameron when he was leader of the opposition thinking him lightweight and it was actually James who persuaded him to shift NI and the SUN behind the Tories .

Of course Tony Blair sold his soul and his party to the Murdoch early on in his leadership and it was disturbing to see a right wing Tabloid like the SUN backing New Labour in three General Elections. I know there is an argument that Murdoch support tends to go to those he perceived to be the winner but the lack of Labour Government action against the power of New International was a disgrace to a party that not only claimed to be on the left but which put up with the latent racism that sometimes appeared in Murdoch's Tabloids.

Equally disturbing was Alex Salmonds's playing of Murdoch though it is rather through his silence over the latest farago. Though perhaps it could be claimed that it is entirely hypocritical of Scottish Labour to attack him with 25 questions.

Gordon Brown suffered from appalling attacks by Murdoch's pres but he had done nothing during the period of NI 's support for New Labour and even when they behaved appealingly towards him and his family still attended their functions.. 

Nick Clegg has a seemingly clean pair of hands but this because the Murdochs saw no reason to court the Libdems. They should be in a position  to take the high ground but so far it seems that their major contribution has been to claim that ...

News International launched a campaign of bullying against senior Liberal Democrats in an attempt to force through the company's bid for BSkyB, high-level sources have told the Observer.Lib Dem insiders say NI officials took their lobbying campaign well beyond acceptable limits and even threatened, last autumn, to persecute the party if Vince Cable, the business secretary, did not advance its case.
I think jaxxland deals with this with disdain it deserves .

Of course all these are now ganging up to claim that they are opposed to the Murdoch empire anwas aware of the full  extent of his involvement with  the phone hacking scandal . But even this humble blogger in a smallish Welsh village had a very god idea that Coulson was damaged goods even before Cameron took him on.

The winner of the party leaders seem to be Ed Miliband but can one seriously  argue that if Labour had won the last General Election under any leader ,they would not have anything to limit the extent of Murdoch media empire in the UK whether Rupert had overridden James Murdoch decision to back the Tories or not?

Friday, 22 July 2011

Plaid gain majority over Gwynedd Council . Close though

The Libdems cut Plaid Cymru's majority to just 13 votes in a contest for Bangor's Glyder seat at Gwynedd County

Gwynedd County - Glyder: Plaid Cymru 207, Lib Dem 194, C 65, Lab 60. (May 2008 - Plaid Cymru 357, Lib Dem 197). Plaid Cymru hold. Swing 13.1% Plaid Cymru to Lib Dem..

Though clearly the swing d is misleading as the LibDem vote actually  fell by 3 and Plaid seem to have lost votes to Lanour and the Conservatives.

However it must have come as shock to Plaid to nearly lose the seat to the LibDems who however currently hold 2 seats in neighboring Menai bangor.. Nevertheless this result  gives Plaid an overall majority on Gwynedd Council which may have been an factor in this by-election.

I have no knowledge of the campaigning, but if I was in one of the other parties I would have argued that it might be a good idea to vote for them  stop Plaid from gaining overall control.

There is also a vacancy in Diffwys and Maenofferen division if Gwynedd  after the resignation of Llais Gwynedd councillor Richard Lloyd Jones. I suspect that Llais Gwyndd  may in some ways prefer for Plaid to now  be in overall controll  and will use this argument in the forthcoming byelection and next May claiming Plaid are  now totaly responsible for any unpopular decisions.

There will also be a byelection on Torfaen county borough council:  Tuesday 26 July in Snatchwood division after the death of Independent councillor Tom Gould. . Note the day it seems this becoming more common to hold byelections on days other than the traditional Thursday is  why this is so I have no idea. If you have let me know

 There was one other Byelection in Wales this week

Cwmamman Town Council Carmarthenshire  by-election result

Plaid 192 , Labour 144 votes

Plaid gain from Labour.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

"This is not Rome" A sea-change in Ireland.

Yesterday In the Ireland of , Eamom Develera and the The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland (removed from the constitution in 1975) a controversial reference to the "special position" of the Roman Catholic Church . The current  Taoiseach Enda Kenny gave an unprecedented speech to the Dáil, excoriating the Vatican for its efforts to block co-operation with the investigation by civil authorities of clerical child abuse:

for the first time in Ireland, a report into child sexual-abuse exposes an attempt by the Holy See, to frustrate an Inquiry in a sovereign, democratic republic, as little as three years ago, not three decades ago.
And in doing so, the Cloyne Report excavates the dysfunction, disconnection, elitism… the narcissism that dominate the culture of the Vatican to this day.
 He rebuked the Vatican  for putting the position of the Church above consideration of the children abused by priests.
The rape and torture of children were downplayed or ‘managed’ to uphold instead, the primacy of the institution, its power, standing and ‘reputation’.
There was anger, but it was controlled, as a steelily determined Taoiseach asserted the primacy of the Republic:…this is not Rome.Nor is it industrial-school or Magdalene Ireland, where the swish of a soutane smothered conscience and humanity and the swing of a thurible ruled the Irish-Catholic world.
"This is the ‘Republic’ of Ireland 2011.A Republic of laws… of rights and responsibilities… of proper civic order… where the delinquency and arrogance of a particular version… of a particular kind of ‘morality’… will no longer be tolerated or ignored."

I doubt that the Dail had ever heard such an attack on the power of the Catholic church even from a humble TD or Senator.

I think its a bit early to misquote Yeats and say

Catholic Irelands dead and gone it's with Develera in his grave.

But it will be interesting to see to what extent Enda Kenny who has never been seen as a particularly  charismatic politician and his Fine Gael /Labour  coalition with its huge majority will further distance themselves from the influence of the Catholic Church whose pat influence whould make Ruper Murdoch green with envy.

Perhaps there are parallels here  Politicians on both sides of the Irish sea who have always resented the undemocratic influence of powerful interests  may well cease on the chance to lessen this  and perhaps both Islands will be better of for this

Monday, 18 July 2011

Aid to Africa not Missiles.

The UK is to give £52.25m in emergency aid to help millions of drought victims in the Horn of Africa.
Ahead of a visit to Kenya, International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said the money would be used in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya.

This is most welcome but ,,,

.In the opening days of the assault on Libya, the United States and the United Kingdom launched a barrage of at least 161 Tomahawk cruise missiles to flatten Moammar Gadhafi’s air defenses and pave the way for coalition aircraft.

.Each missile cost about £875,046

Britain's involvement in the Libya conflict will cost the taxpayer as much as £1bn if it continues into the autumn as expected, according to expert analysis and data gathered by the Guardian.

So the £52.25m whilst better than most other Europeans is as nothing compared th what has been a relatively short conflict in which no ground troops are involved .

As Patrick Cockburn put it yesterday's Independent
 The horrible Foreign Office cliché, used for decades by diplomats and politicians to justify Britain's military alliance with the US, claims that "it enables Britain to punch above her weight internationally". A moment's reflection on this dictum should lead to the conclusion that a boxer who persists in getting into the ring with bigger opponents is likely to end up in hospital.
Britain has become involved in wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya over the past decade and none has gone well politically or militarily. The Iraq war divided Britain far more and for longer than almost any conflict, including the Suez crisis. The British Army spent years failing to get control of Basra and the area around it. For all this commitment, Britain never had much influence on US policy in Iraq or the rest of the Middle East.
I would love to see a n Independent Wales punching above its weight. But I hope that this would be by be an example of providing aid to those who are suffering from man made  or natural disasters not trying to convince itself or the rest of the World it was major gameplayer in World Politics by following the US blindly into conflicts which have dubious legitimacy..

Sadly even the much vaunted Live Aid in 1985 raised. only £150m for famine relief as a direct result of the concerts.

 Don't get me wrong this was a tremendous achievement  and the organisers deserve our praise and gratitude  for raising our awareness and providing the Aid they did. But compared to the military expenditure of the UK even when we are at peace (and it's been along time since we were) this is peanuts.

If you launched an appeal for paying for another cruise missile to launch on dubious targets, in a war which we are there not to take sides but under the UN mandate to protect civilians in what was supposed to be an humanitarian intervention, to stop Gaddafi's tanks reaching Benghazi,  which rapidly transmuted into an expanded war aim of overthrowing the Tripoli regime. How much from the general public would you raise?


Saturday, 16 July 2011

Andrew RT Davies seperated at birth from....?

I'm afraid Oggy Bloody Ogwr who has given some praise to  Andrew RT Davies  may have already buried him by seemingly pointing out his resemblance to a certain  cartoon character..

I wonder if when looking back on the failure of the Conservative  to make progress in Wales pundits will look at Oggy Bloody Ogwr and claim this was the moment it all started to go wrong?

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Peter Hain and Helen Mary Jones are both wrong.

I can help that Peter Hain is suffering from some kind of memory loss.After the referendum  on further Welsh powers for the Welsh assembly  powers  he swiftly claimed responsibility for the yes vote despite the fact that he had argued that a referendum “held before or in 2011 would be lost”.

He now despite being advocate for AV  for House of Commons elections before  May's referendum. now seems to think that the rejection of this leads to the natural assumption that that this could be translated automatically into support for first past the post for elections to the National Assembly.

On  Good Morning Wales he now argues that given that the number of Welsh Seats  will probably be reduced to 30 for Westminster Elections then the number of Constituencies for the Assembly should be reduced to similar number .

But this has already be dealt with in Scotland where there are 53 Westminster seats and 79 Scottish parliamentary seats . However Hain argues that
"As we've seen in Scotland, when you separate assembly seats from parliamentary seats, it creates a great deal of confusion for voters, for parties and for the wider public," said Neath MP Mr Hain.
"If that happened in Wales, you would be likely to have a situation where one assembly seat straddled three parliamentary seats, which leads to confusion for voters, political parties and their representatives.

Where his evidence of confusion in Scotland? he insults the intelligence of the Welsh electorate that they can't make a difference.

It is also possible that a difference in the shape of Scottish and Westminster constituencies make the responsibilities of elected members clearer to the constituents and people are not lobbying MP only to be told they should contact thier MSP and Vice Vesa

As his interview was on radio I couldn't see if he kept a straigh t face as he argued  that his proposal was not to give  Labour a clear political advantage but merely to the political system."neat and tidy"

Democracy is not "neat and tidy" when it comes to such issues and whrras we should make it eat for the electorate to follow. We should never underestimate their capacity to grasp the isues which polticians in thier arrogance think only are able to.

Unfortunately  Plaid's Helen Mary Jones didn't real help the debate, because whilst giving her preference  for STV .Argued on the same programme that in the event of the Westminster seats be reduced to 30 then this should be mirrored in the Assembly with a extra 30 additional "Top up seats"

What these two both miss is that whilst  this may be" Neat and Tidy" for the next few years parliamentary seats are not fixed and what they are unable to see what will happen  when the boundary commission decides that the number of Welsh Westminster seats are reduced  or increasedby a small factor  This would make the Assembly seats  somewhat untidy unless they are suggesting that the number of AM could increase  to 61 or reduce to 59 to correspond to Westminster changes,

And lets face it as the Assembly gain more and more powers then there will be a growing call to lighten their  workload  by increasing the number of AMs to probably 80.

Where will that leave the"Neat and Tidy set up?

But perhaps the biggest issue here is that another legislature in deciding how another elects its memberswhen  even Local Authorities s can decide to vary its rules to elect 1/3 elect members.

Both Peter Hain amd Helen Mary Jones should be campaigning for the running and method of elections to the Welsh Assembly to be transfered from Westminster to the Assembly. They should also have the foresight to realise that probably in 10 years rime we will be needing more that 60 AMs for the good governance of Wales if they truly want the Assembly to take on more powers more responsibility.

I don't want a Neat and Tidy electoral system I want one that adequately reflects the views of the electorate of our Nation.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

MPs united against Murdoch( But why so late?)

It would take a particularly cynical person to feel sympathy and share the anger of Gordon Brown on the allegations relating to the Sun and the the  avocations  that Gordon's son had Cystic fibrosis. as he said
'I can't think of any way that the medical condition of a child can be put into the public arena legitimately unless the doctor makes a statement or the family makes a statement.
'I make no claims, but the fact of the matter is that I had my bank accounts broken into, I had my lawyers' files effectively blagged, my tax returns went missing at one point.
'I don't know how all this happened, but I do know one thing: that in two of those instances there is absolute proof that News International was involved in hiring people to get this information.'
Mr Brown also highlighted the level of security surrounding him at the time of the alleged hacks, and suggested the fact that journalists circumnavigated such checks showed 'ordinary citizens' had virtually no chance of protecting themselves.

It has emerged that Rebekah  Wade/ Brooks had told Mrs Brown that she knew four-month-old Fraser had cystic fibrosis - something which was thought to be known only by the family and medical staff - and that the paper intended to run a story.Naturally Browns were devastated. Speaking to the BBC today, Mr Brown said that he was 'incredibly upset' at the thought his son was going to be 'broadcast across the media.'

However in this was in 2006 and Gordon Brown still went to Rebekah Wade's wedding   to Charlie Brooks in 2009.

 If some one had me or my family and friends  in the same way this appaling women had I would shunned her and made it dam well clear why.

Perhaps it reflects the power  that the Murdoch Empire had and the fact that even decent people remained silent over the fact that his papers were guilty of cruel bullying not just of celebrities  and politicians but normal members of the public.

The number of people who were in any position of power who were prepared to make a stand  against the power of News International even when it became cleat that they were hacking phones was small...

It it's a common accusation that soon after the second World war most Germans claimed to be   be secretly opposed to the Nazi all a long but whilst there  were a few including my personal heroine Sophie Scholl they were few and far between Even in occupied France the number of members of the resistance has only been estimated at 2%  and yet on liberation loads joined in too watch the shaven heads of poor girls who hasd fallen for German Soldier.

Today in the House of Commons they will vote probably unanimously against  Murdoch gaining control of BSkyB and we will here the former arse  lickers of  Murdoch denouncing him one by one. But only those who have openly opposed Murdoch like labours Tom Watson over the years will have my respect,.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Nick Clegg climbs moral highground only to find Ed Miliband there.

If one party should have taken any political advantage of the whole News of the World debacle by taking the moral high ground then it should have been Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats  after all they could claim never to have been courted by Rupert Murdoch unlike Labour , the Consevatives and yes the SNP.

.I haven't seen any mention of senior LibDen figures attending such events as  Rebekah Brooks ,wedding  in 2009 which  was attended both by then Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and current Prime Minister David Cameron. Cameron has often socialized with Brooks; they have homes near each other in Oxfordshire, have gone horse riding together, and have had dinner together including Christmas dinner. Where Andy Coulson was also a guest

If they were not in coalition however and having little chance of being supported by the Murdoch Empire as Peter Black drew our attention to in an old Guardian article by David Yelland  then the LibDems would have looked a clean pair of hands in dealing with Murdoch but Clegg has been outclassed by Ed Miliband in this. but even in government he could have claimed to have some moderating influence. Sadly  his intervention looks belated

After the sad affair of Vince Cable falling victim to a Daily Telegraph  "Honey Trap were he  bragged how he was "at war" with Rupert Murdoch - one of the most powerful media tycoons in the modern world - and would never let him take control of BSkyB. which led to his subsequent removal as  minister responsible for media takeovers, by  Jeremy Hunt, This Bmeant that until the current revelations  he may well have blocked the BSky B takeover by the Murdoch 's  and would have been vindicated and reemerged as St Vince the peoples hero.

So in some ways although he was right in thinking in his attitude to BSkyB by voicing it to the two journalist posing as concerned constituents he lost the high ground for himself and to some extent the party failure to benefit from the recent revelations could be said to be of Cable's hubris.

If he had simply voiced his opposition and his reasons  in the Commons and announced he had decided he takeover then he would have become a National Hero

Of course this whole affair may well prove to be of little influence in the long run because.

  • Although the News of the World, has shut down News international, had already planned for a seven day operation with the Sun and  in a few months time we will see the Sun on Sunday,

  • Even if Murdoch, plan for BskyB are temporally curtailed.His politics influence  will be still remain less visible perhaps, but Politician and other journalists will still be afraid to attack News International.

  • As the Tommy Sheridan , case has shown once they have declared you an enemy they will make sure no stone is unturned in order to expose any actual or perceived wrongdoings. though they will have to be more careful over the legality of their methods  few of us are completely whiter than white.  I suspect Murdoch is drawing up a black list in his head right now,

  • Although it may be less vocal in the next general election  News International are not going to stop trying  influencing Government and Opposition policies  and whether Rupert Murdoch, is there or not (He is 80 after all ) unless their dominance of the media in the UK is broken up, then their toxic influence on politics in these Islands will  remain.
Those who thought the financial Crisis had permanently curtailed the power of the Branch and seen how the responsibility for the financial mess this has been shifted to blaming the unemployed .Should refrain from dancing in the streets just yet,

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Moving On? I don't think so Peter.

When I saw on my Blog List that Peter Black, had posted on the theme Sacrificed I assumed that he was going to comment on the fate of the LibDem two. However it was nothing to do with this, and so I left the message. ..
"Oh when I saw the title I thought you were going to post about the "Sacrifice" of John Dixon to ensure Aled Roberts Survived the vote of AMs".
To which the usual exuberant Mr   Black replied...
"We have moved on! "
How so like the LibDem's . Throughout this sorry saga and I again state I felt that the two were hard done by the LibDem blogsite have mostly silent on this subject. Though the world and his wife know if the two had had been  members of any other Party we would have daily contribution from Peter, Subordinate Center et al.

It is not over, and we have not moved and Aled Roberts has not been entirely vindicated by the Electoral Commissions disclosure before the vote to reinstate him that the relevant guidance in Welsh was not accurate

Because after the vote we were told. that online records of the Electoral Commission suggest that no one has access to the Welsh page is at the heart of the debate during the relevant period.

 Also it seems (  though not so well reported) that the Electoral Commission had 143 'hit' on the page in English during the same period,

So not only had  no one seems to have accessed the  Welsh Language site only 143 had accessed the English oneand some of those could easily be the result of an accidental search.

By my calculations there were 400 candidates in all for the  Welsh Assembly last May. So even if every one of the 143 were either candidates or if not them their  Agents or Part managers this does mean that only a small number were sufficiently worried about he rules to consult the website.

This in someways backs Aled Roberts position and I certainly would insist that the Welsh Language advise should have equal validation with the English, but it is  one thing to claim that for whatever reason you had not read the advice and another to claim that you were misled.If in fact you hadn't consulted it.

There were  further problems for the LIbDems when it emerged that that two more of their candidates served on public bodies whose members are barred from standing for the Assembly.Wyn Williams, candidate for Montgomeryshire, was a member of Meat Promotion Wales, while Stephen Churchman, who stood in Dwyfor Meirionnydd, was on the Snowdonia National Park Authority.

According to the Western Mail

."Commenting on the latest developments, Lib Dem leader Kirsty Williams described them as “a huge administrative error” but insisted her party provided candidates with “robust support”.
“The Liberal Democrats did not do what we should have done,” she said, adding that candidates had been left “to their own devices far too much”.
So La Pasinoria whose leadership must be called into question admits to the poor quality of her Parties management. It is ironic that someone who is vocal (often admiringly so) on the inefficiencies of the Assembly Bureaucracy has forced to admit that the running of her Party under her watch is so bad that they have lost one of their more promising AMs and allowed another to survive because of the seeming wrong advice he may have not even read.

Peter Black may have moved on but he wreckage is still there.


Thursday, 7 July 2011

The AM who never was.

The long saga of the Libdem two has finally come to the end with one Aled Roberts bring allowed to take his seat and another John Dixon ignominiously dumped by the Assembly and by his party leader. It followed an independent report  which appeared to absolve Mr Roberts of blame. He was given the wrong information by the Electoral Commission, and the report, by the Assembly’s Commissioner for Standards, concluded he “did everything that he could have reasonably been expected to do in ensuring that he was not a disqualified person for the purpose of nomination or election to the National Assemblyy”

According to the Western Mail.

Following an opening speech by Lib Dem Business Manager Peter Black, Mr Roberts received broad supported from speakers from the Conservatives and Plaid Cymru, but a succession of Labour speakers, particularly from the new intake, stood up to speak against the motion and cast doubt against his case.
In the event, all parties except Plaid Cymru were divided. Of Labour’s 30 AMs, 11 were in favour of Mr Roberts’ return, 14 against, one – Housing Minister Huw Lewis – abstained, while two, including Carwyn Jones, were absent and Presiding Officer Rosemary Butler may not vote.
Of the 14 Conservatives, six were for, six were against, one was absent and Deputy Presiding Officer David Melding is not allowed to vote. And of the 11 Plaid Cymru members, nine were for while two abstained.
One of the Liberal Democrats who voted was  Eluned Parrott, Eluned who! you may ask? She was the second-placed Liberal Democrat tn the list to John Dixon . She swore her oath yesterday and was in her seat to take part in the vote, So its fortunate that it was not a close vote as the sacrifice of Dixon to ensure Roberts was saved, would have looked more ominous. Particularly as the second placed Libdem who would have replaced Roberts, was former AM Eleanor Burnham who could well have been a thorn in La Pasionaria's side as it seems it was lack of support from her leader that saw Burnham drop down the list and hence be replaced as AM by Roberts. Burnham could well have taken her seat and then perfectly legally, resigned the LibDem whip and sat as as an Independent. This may have well be part of the reason why Dixon was sacrificed. Although there was a case for arguing his failings were not  dishonest and he had already paid a price by virtual suspension from the Assembly  and should be treated  leniently.

Whilst I think the right decision was made over Roberts and indeed feel Dixon paid a heavy price for not paying attention to a poor system of rules. I can't help feeling that if yesterday the vote had gone the other way the elevation of Eleanor  Burnham would have shown how ridiculous the "Top Up" system is.

So the final result is that Aled Roberts is now officially an AM whilst technically John Dixon was never ever one and any vote that he took part in (Election of First Minister ) was technically invalid.

Instead we have two Politicians one disqualified and one managing to be saved because of discrepancies in the Welsh Version in the Rules even though he filled his nomination in English. Though I accept the validity that both Welsh and English documents must have the same legal protection.

If both the two AMs had been elected  by STV  or even First Past the Post we could have had byelections the two could have stood for reelection and  the other parties in the Assembly could have agreed not to stand then  the whole sorry saga could have been solved relatively easily and legitimately by the electorate.

But AMs can easily make sure this does not happen again by having  a two week period from the election of an AM and the taking of the Oath of allegiance  (and start getting paid)  in order they remove any impediments that would prevent them taking their seats.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Casablanca gambling? I'm shocked!

Of course the Police Chief  Louis Renault.played by Claude Rains it is made clear is well aware what was going on at Ricks..

On an entirely different matter this from the Daily Record.

News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks (Wade) said today she was "appalled and shocked" by allegations that a private investigator working for the News of the World hacked into schoolgirl Milly Dowler's phone after she went missing.
 Brooks, who was editor of the paper at the time, said it was "inconceivable that I knew or worse, sanctioned these appalling allegations".
And she dismissed speculation about her position, saying: "I am determined to lead the company to ensure we do the right thing and resolve these serious issues."
And from the Daily Mirror..
David Cameron today condemned the alleged hacking of murdered teenager Milly Dowler's mobile telephone as a "truly dreadful act". 
The Prime Minister said he found claims that a private detective working for the News of the World intercepted her voicemail messages while police were trying to find her "quite, quite shocking".
"On the question about the really appalling allegations about the telephone of Milly Dowler, if they are true, this is a truly dreadful act and a truly dreadful situation," 
"What I have read in the papers is quite, quite shocking - that someone could do this, knowing that the police were trying to find this person and trying to find out what had happened.
 So there is a vast difference between the fictional character and Ms Brooks (Wade)  anf the Prime-minister being  "Shocked) however we must remember in the Classic film Captain Louie redeemed himself in the end .

Monday, 4 July 2011

The British are Coming .

There have been some interesting articles in the Guardian recently on British Identity

The first was by David Mitchell who maid the claim....

"When I appeared on an episode of Question Time broadcast from Musselburgh, near Edinburgh, the issue of Scottish independence came up. One of my fellow panellists, the SNP deputy leader, Nicola Sturgeon, was at pains to make clear that her party had nothing against England and were admirers of that country.
What I didn't say in response, what I've kicked myself for not expressing ever since, was: "Yes but you've got it in for Britain. You may be happily in cahoots with the morris-dancing English and the Eisteddfod-organising Welsh, but my country, the Britain of London where I now live, of Swansea, my mother's home town where I spent a lot of time as a child, and of Galloway, where my paternal grandparents lived, is something you want to destroy. I'm British, I care about this and I've a hunch I'm not the only one."
Apart for the fact that the usually quick witted Mitchell could only come up with an argument after the actual programme it is a pretty poor statement.

I have great respect for David Mitchell both as Comic and humorous political commentator but he has form on this  and he clearly is blinkered to the extend that he feels National Identity in Wales Scotland and indeed England are based what he would regard as "twee cultural customs",  I suspect his real problem is with English Nationalism and its connection with right wing extremism and racism. Though there is no doubt there are a significant number of English Nationalist who reject both but  find very difficult to find a Progressive Left Party which represents their views.

The other article was by the Labour MP John Crudass   who has written an article which in many ways whilst arguing for a "British" patriotism  fal in  to the trap of failing to distinguish between England and Britain because as he writes.

We are an immigrant nation. There is no going back and we must find ways of living together and creating a new vision of England. We demand that migrants must be like us. But who actually are we? They must share our British values. But what are they? Newcomers must answer correctly the citizens test. But could we? 
So in another way Crudass and his coauthor Jonathan Rutherford view of Britain, may differ from Mitchell's in they can't distinguish between Britain and England . They all fall in to the trap in believing that is a thing called Britain.

The National Movements in Wales,Scotland and Ireland differ from those in say Brittany Catalonia and the Basque Country in that the Celtic countries were conquered or forced into an Union by another country "England ", who together with participants from the other Nations came up with the concept of the United Kingdom and  British Nationality. whereas the others became part of a French or Spanish Identity and the dominant group (Castilain for instance)  were already Identified with this.

But the whole idea of British Identity is something that is manufactured to give some idea of an Union of equal Nations  but in reality is no more than geographical term much in the same way Scandinavian or Iberian is. it is artificial and means nothing in reality

This is reflected in that the British National Party (BNP)  which in truth is ay a English Nationalist Party and one then t reflects only a minority of those who take pride in being English although some may confuse this with synonymous  with being "British".

However for Labour there always been a problem.The Conservatives have no real problem by being sen as largely English party and the Libdems can sometimes have separate identities in Wales, Scotland and England  but whilst   Labour have like the others have party leaders in Scotland and a admittedly confused issue in Wales (Is Carwyn Jones the leader of Welsh Labour or merely the leader of Welsh AM's ? . But they also have no counterpart in has a problem in identifying with England.and this seems to affect them more.particularly than the other parties  with their relevant strengths in Wales and up to recently Scotland,

Gordon Brown probably in effort to divert attention from his Scotishness  tried to promote Britishisness before the last election. but it failed.

If I was  to call Labour  when they are in this  are in this mind A British Nationalist Party . I would be accused of smearing  them. But of course they have no problem in attempting to link Scottish and Welsh Nationalism with the Far Right despite the clear evidence they are not

If Labour  continue in this way in trying to promote this Nonexistent National Identity  out of a misguided notion that it would somehow save the Union then British Nationalist they are British Nationalist and they will remain so.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Unions are a disgrace (for promoting Labour)

Hat Tip today to Grangetown Jack  (Ian Titherington) for reporting that although Regional Plaid AM Bethan Jenkins turned up at the TUC rally in Swansea to support the striking workers. She was told that no political speakers would be allowed, only for Labour politicians to be allowed to speak later. .As Ian points points Betham Jenkins  has....

"a consistent record of speaking out on trade union issues, refused to cross the Assembly picket line along with all other Plaid AMs (and MPs in Westminster-shame on you Labour MPs) and was keen to show her party support for the striking workers. She was told that no political speakers would be allowed, only for Labour politicians to be allowed to speak later. This was in contrast to Cardiff and Newport, where Plaid AMs did speak (Labour didn't bother to turn up in Newport as their MPs were too busy crossing the Westminster picket line-on Miliband's orders)".
I sahare with Ian his frustration at the Union Leaders whose loyalty to  the Labour Party seems to override their loyalty to their members .

The Ban on Bethan  and the inclusion of a Labour speaker could be said to be worse because "None of the Unions taking industrial action yesterday were affiliated to the Labour Part"

In February  this year I took part in a demonstration organised by Unison against the draconian attack on the workforce of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council by the Labour Council .here.

The event was attended by members of numerous Parties and organisation,but in the ticket only rally in the Municipal afterwards, the only member of a political party that was allowed to speak to us or it was the then Labour's Candidate for the Pontypridd seat Mick Antoniw.W ho managed to address us on a protest on the attack on the work force of Labour controlled R.C.T. without once mentioning them. A remarkable feat and it was a generous audience who allowed him to do this.

In other words the Unions used the event to attack a Labour council for its appalling treatment of their workforce to promote the Labour candidate in what was then the forthcoming  May Assembly Election.
Why the Unions behave like this.

Well we must admit that the long term ties with Labour Party do exist , and many  members still see the mantra of Labour Good-Tories Bad. despite years of evidence that Labour in power has done little for the rights of Union members and (dare I say  I use the words) "The Working Class". All the evidence shows that even  if Labour had remained in power after the 2010 election , then they would have implemented similar changes to the Pension schemes of public sector workers and we would have seen a similar strike against a Labour Government and yet the Unions, would have behaved exactly the same way to other Parties that supported the striking workers and last May Union Office,s and their members contributions would have been used to back a part that betrays its own supporters,

But the main reason is that the majority of Trade Union leaders (except in the past some Communists )  have always  see this a career that will see them moving up in the echelons  of the Labour Party with tier eyes eventually on a safe leader seat   in the Commons or for some a comfortable retirement in the House of Lords.

I suppose some Plaid members would like to the see the transfer of  some Union support via the backing of  Plaid MP,AM and Candidates, together with major  contributions to that  party

But that would not change the problem because the Unions should not use their money to back any candidate who after all are there to represent their constituents.

Individual politicians should back the Unions because they believe in their cause not because they believe in their money and political parties should do so with policies being prepared to lose the endorsement of Unions when they fail to do so.

All the evidence is that the Links with the Labour Part benefits only that  Party and the silence of much of the Trade Union Movement in the 13 years of New Labour whose polices (and indeed contempt) for   workers rights were not to dissimilar to the Tories shows this. New Labour did virtually nothing to indo the Anti Union Laws of Margaret Thatcher  and any legislation that backed the rights of the workers came fro rullings feonm the European Union.

The millions of pounds the Unions  use to back the Labour Party its long failed attempt at influencing its policies should be used To increase it membership , Train shop stewards and other elected officials in negotiation skills and employment law and provide legal services to its members.

Sadly I  can't see anything changing we will still see ourselves marching behind banners to a rallying point to rallies where a young firebrand Labour politician (Neil Kinnock 11?) will tell us that only by voting in a Labour government will we get our "New Jerusalem" and who in a few years time a s a Labour Minister will be denouncing "Outmoded Union Practice" but we live in hope.