Thursday, 31 May 2012

Rosemary Butler Forelock-Tugger.

After Yesterdays Blog in which I commented on Leanne Wood balancing act between her Republican Views, and being polite to a 86 year old Woman, whose been doing the same job for 60 years,comes news that the Assembly has sent Mrs Windsor an Illuminated Scroll which you can see on the Syniadau blog.

I was going to show it myself but it's hard enough to reproduce the message without throwing up.

It reads..

On this, the occasion of Your Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee, it is my great privilege and pleasure, on behalf of the National Assembly for Wales, to send Your Majesty and Prince Philip our heartfelt congratulations on 60 years of devoted service to the United Kingdom and to the Commonwealth.
It was less than a year ago that Your Majesty visited the Senedd in Cardiff in order to open the Fourth National Assembly for Wales. On that occasion Your Majesty referred to the evolutionary development of the Assembly’s powers and responsibilities, amounting to a transformation of our role since Your Majesty opened the First Assembly in May 1999.
In that relatively short period of time, the Assembly has grown rapidly in confidence and maturity. Even greater has been the growth in confidence and maturity of Wales as a whole during the 60 years of Your Majesty’s reign. Your Majesty’s wisdom and devotion have provided the bedrock on which sustainable democratic institutions have been established and developed not only here in Wales and in other parts of the United Kingdombut also throughout the Commonwealth.
We look forward to enjoying, for many years to come, the continuing pleasure of being Your Majesty’s loyal subjects.
I have the honour to be, Madam, Your Majesty's humble and obedient servant.

How much did this crap cost? Perhaps the Tax Payers Alliance could inquire on this complete waste of money on something the Queen Mrs Windsor will probably look at only once.Though they would probably only complain about added cost because it was bilingual.

Even if Rosemary Butler had sent this forelock-tugging wording in a letter on quality headed paper. It would have still made me reach for the sick bucket but at least it would't have taken money from a cash staffed legislature. 

Did the AM's vote on this? Or did Rosemary Butler think she had the right to speak for all the AM's and the people of Wales

She didn't speak for me ,and in 2012 should the Presiding Officer of a National Legislature, really been use such sycophantic language?

Mind you it could have been worse Dafydd Elis Thomas may have written it.

Yesterday Leanne Wood spoke about the peoples contribution to Wales over the last 60 years.Rosemary Butler and the rest of the forelock-tuggers  choice of words reminded us with this  "gift" to someone who will never remember it. What a long way we have to go.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Leanne Wood praises the people.and Mrs Windsor (a bit)

Anyone hoping for Leanne Wood to use the debate in the Welsh Assembly Yesterday congratulating the Queen on her Diamond Jubilee. would have been disappointed.

Staunch  Republicans could have hopped for Leanne  to denounce the whole sycophantic rubbish and attack the whole idea of an hereditary Monarch even to go so far as referring to the Queen as Mrs Windsor.

The forelock-tuggers may have been hoping for the same and the headlines through out  the British media denouncing her.

Some may even might have been hoping that she would send her congratulation in glowing terms and then make charges of hypocrisy.

Instead she took a more diplomatic root.Being  courteous, but concentrating her speech  on the contribution ordinary  people have made over the last 60 years.

She announced 
that she wanted to “place on record my personal and my party’s best wishes to the Queen as she celebrates her 60 years of public service”.
But continued 

“As people thank her for her long reign, we should also remember those mineworkers, steelworkers, soldiers and others who never made it to 60 years of life, let alone 60 years of work.”.....
....“With all the bad news and grim economic predictions, the extra bank holiday will provide people with a welcome opportunity to relax, to forget about our current troubles and to bask in the glow of happy times and hopefully continued warm weather,” she said.“But it could also be an opportunity to rekindle hope. 60 years ago when the Queen began her reign there was rationing.“Many of our cities and towns still stood in the ruins of war, yet a generation rebuilt a society with the blueprint of ambition. With a plan B to hand, so too can we build an economy ravaged not by the tragedy of war, but by the travesty of greed.“We honour today an older generation whose gift to us was the society they built through a lifetime of commitment.”
Part of me would have liked to have seen a outright condemnation  of the whole appalling sycophantic drivel we have been forced to watch over the last year as we build up to this bank holiday, and we will have still the coronation anniversary next year.

But I also realise that a Political leader should be diplomatic and yesterday was probably not the time to condemn the idea of hereditary Monarchy.

Perhaps the main issue is that whereas Lords, MP's MSP and AM's can take part in a debate praising the role of the Monarchy .They are not allowed  to hold a debate questioning its role or whether we should indeed have one.

So maybe Leanne managed to carry out a leadership role and didn't fall into the trap that the forelock-tuggers ,had hoped she would whilst not depressing those of us who don't want to see a former firebrand be sucked into the establishment  to much.

The battleground  for Republicans against the establishment of the forelock-tuggers and the media is never promising but yesterday was probably not one even to consider being  even more stacked against Leanne and the rest of us . She was wise not to fight it.

But we still need her to give a lead and I hope that she will still continue to speak out against the whole idea that someone is born to rule even if they carry it out well.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

30/30 Vision doesn't make sense.

The current proposal  (or consultation) by  Welsh Secretary (for now) Cheryl Gillian , to change the boundaries of the Welsh Assembly to bring them in line with those 30 constituency seats proposed for the Westminster Parliament  (down from 40) could result in a total farce.

The Plan is to mirror the proposed  Westminster Constituencies of 30 seats ant have the other 30 AM's elected on the Additional Member System

Of course this depends on the Westminster changes coming about.

What would happen if it's decided Wales should have 28 or 32 seats? Is  anyone guess and even if (as is likely) the changes go through. We could see Wales  being allocated extra seats, ten  years on from the election due to demographic changes .

A rough estimate based on the Local Council elections  assessment could see the  Assembly  Constituency Seats falling in this manner 

Plaid 2/4 Current 5
Lib Dems 01/  current 1
Cons 0/2 Current 6
Lab 24/26 Current 28

So despite  a loss of 10 constituency seats Labour will comfortably be in a lead here .

The Topup seats  are more difficult.. The system is not truly proportional.


Assuming Labour get around 44% of the vote  Con and Plaid between about 20% each  LibDems 8% and others 8%

This could see the allocation for the top up could be
Plaid 8/12
Con 8/12
LibDem 2/3
Lab 2/4
Other 2/3 

The Polls may change dramatically on the next couple ot years and it is not impossible for Labour to win all 30 constituency seats ;But 28 is clearly not beyond their aspiration.

Where will leave the other Parties with only 2 Constituency seats . Labour will argue that they have no real mandate. One Party will hold nearly all the Constituency seats could  and even fail to get any Top up seats.

Supposing then Labour were denied power by a Grand Coalition which mainly consisted of AM's elected under the Top up system. Much as I'm no fan of Labour Hegemony in Wales. I would feel very uncomfortable with a Government comprising of AM's mainly from regional seats.

But  I would feel equally uncomfortable with a system as proposed by Peter Hain of 30 seats of two members elected under the first past the . Which could se Labour winnining over 50 of the 60 seats with less than 50% of the vote.

It will come as no surprise that I see STV as the solution what worries me is that the Parties in the Assembly that claim to support this system have not vigorously argued for in the Senedd. 

Perhaps Plaid and the LibDems should unite on this and start a All party campaign for STV for Wales?

We are not going to get change if we accept 30/30 as a done deal.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Labour AM defends Translation decision (Sort of).

The recent argument over the Western Mule on the cost of Translation in the Assembly as resulted in the sort of debate/argument the Mule intended.

Ie Anti Welsh Language comments

There  were however some god Blogs on this topic . Most simply accusif the Mule of trying to create controversy to raise circulation. but Alwyn ap Huw who doesn't blog often enough in my opinion (and I don't always agree with him) put foward a clear argument for language equality in his Miserable Old Fart Blog.

He writes 
The very word bilingual suggests something to do with TWO languages so any perceived cost of bilingualism should, surely, be shared between BOTH languages. A monolingual transcript of Assembly proceedings, in either language, would have a price tag attached. So how much of the £400K bilingual waste of money is actually being spent on JUST the Welsh Language?
Does English come free of charge?
Indeed when AM ignore the pressure of relating to the Media by speaking in Welsh in the Senedd. Does the Mule suggest the transcript should only be in Welsh or maybe they think it should be transcribed in English immediately and there should only  be a heading that the words were originally in Welsh?

The response of the Labour Dinosaur from Torfaen  Paul Murphy  MP was to be expected but the real disappointment for me was that od Labour Assembly Member Ken Skates who was one of the AM shamed by the Mule for supporting the Translation services.

Despite the Mule portraying him and the AMs as if they were a criminal gang.He chose not to vigorously condemn the Mule but yo call for debate But then they probably wouldn't have published it .

Here's the original headline.

At First glance I thought they were found guolty of Drug Smuggling f something

In in his response in the Mail.Skates, does not attack the Mules shoddy Journalism or defend his and other AMs actions. Rather he choses to suck up to the Mule, by claiming it opened debate!

He wrote.....

Rarely since being elected last year have I witnessed such an intense and impassioned response to a newspaper article.In part it reflected the emotive nature of the subject matter, an issue some media outlets have been tentative to scrutinise for fear of alienating either readers or viewers..I was one of the Assembly Members criticised and pictured on the Western Mail’s front page because I was one of the committee members who approved the increase in resources which will ensure a fully bilingual record of proceedings can be produced for the people of Wales.It will come as no surprise, therefore, that I disagree with the editorial comment and the views expressed by the paper. However, I strongly support the Western Mail in its duty and responsibility to hold politicians to account and to scrutinise the impact of their decisions, no matter how cherished or sacred the subject matter. The committee’s decision was based on unanimous cross-party support, but such a united political consensus does not negate the need for alternative views to be expressed, or for debate to be opened up to wider Welsh society.

What a pathetic attempt in a response to inaccurate and vindictive attack on Welsh Language provisions.

The Western Mule has not been responsible but inflammatory and the argument about open debate sounds a lot like those who call for "An open Debate on Immigration".

How can we have an open debate when we have no real diverse Media in Wales and the lead paper for Trinity Mirror who control much of the media makes such an attack? Whose there to give an alternative journalism?

Ken Skates either believes in a equal bilingual Wales or he doesn't. But he should say where he stands and not defend a Media that created a story to sell more newspapers.

Would he have been so keen to defend the SUN for putting an offensive and inaccurate attack on Immigrants on its front page saying that it promotes debate?

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Olympics and Jubilee It's a going to be long, hot and annoying Summer.

I imagine those who read this Blog, are the sort who are already fed up with the Olympic Torch Relay being endlessly portrayed as news. When its little more than an advert for  the BBC coverage of the event.

There has been very little coverage however of those hostile to the London Olympics. Which has  seen scarce resources and money being diverted to the English capital or the high number who are indifferent. Particularly in the Sports like Sailing, Rowing and Cycling. Which will get a great deal of coverage  simply because they are the sports  in which the UK athletes  are expected to get most of their Gold Medals

A BBC spokeswoman on yesterdays BBC Breakfast programme claimed that the cooperation was responding to public interest in showing this non-news constantly . Where in fact they were they through their over coverage  were initially creating the interest in much the same way Simon Callow creates interest in the mediocre talents who appear on his shows.

Let the Hype create the story then the public interest will follow. 

Similarly we are being bombarded with adverts on the BBC to promote the Jubilee.

Constantly we are told that "We are all supporting the Jubilee" whilst it is not true.and the voice of the indifferent and that of the those who are openly opposed to the event are almost totally ignored.

A recent Guardian report claimed...

While the silver jubilee in 1977 had angry young anti-monarchist punks on the Thames and at Alexandra Palace hosted a "people's jubilee" event, this year for the diamond jubilee the royal family will be cheered down the river on barges while a "right royal" picnic is planned at the "people's palace".
It's left an awful lot of British anti-monarchists – anything from 22% to 50% of the population, according to recent polls – wondering where the dissent has gone.

Well partly because the Media are ignoring any opposition to the Event the article points out part of the problem.

One primary school headteacher in the south-west of England told the Observer:

 "My staff and I had agreed to discuss the jubilee with the children but we'd decided it was not really something it was appropriate for a school to celebrate. But a couple of parents started planning events and bringing in bunting and we felt quite pressurised.
And that's the problem.What would the reaction to Parents putting up republican messages?

How can Republicans put forward their views when virtually all the Media and the rest of the Establishment are promoting this.

The other day I needed to call in several retail outfits in Talbot Green and took the opportunity to approach a member of staff who looked like Management and say.
"I see you've got a lot of jubilee merchandise on display. Are you also catering for the significant number of us who are opposed to the Monarchy? Is there part of the store where I can buy Republican goods?"
You be shocked to know all seem to have failed to take up this potential lucrative opportunity.

With the Olympics the Jubilee and the European Football which will see as being told we should support the England team. I may end up the fittest I've ever been having to spend my days walking in the Welsh Mountains to avoid it al.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Leyla Zana continues to be persecuted by Turkish Government.

The Blog Nationalia  by Ciemen which covers news of National Movements and Stateless Nations carries a report that Kurdish MP Leyla Zana has again been sentenced to 10 years in prison on charges of terrorism, Zana has been sentenced by a criminal court in Amed (Diyarbakir in Turkish). Judges consider that some speeches delivered by Zana in 2007 and 2008 prove that she is a member of the banned organization Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Zana's lawyer Fethi Gümüş rejected the charges and argued that if she had been a member of PKK she couldn't have been elected in Turkey's legislative election in 2011.

The Kurdish politician will not enter prison while she is a member of the Turkish Parliament, a post that grants immunity. Next legislative election in Turkey is set for 2015.

I have blogged on ZAna and the Kurdish stuggle  before and reported that While taking the oath of loyalty in  a previous parliament, she  caused an uproar  after adding the following sentence in Kurdish to her parliamentary oath during the swearing-in ceremony in 1994:

"I take this oath for the brotherhood of the Turkish and Kurdish peoples".

Imagine  a Plaid MP adding this to the Oath of Loyality in Westminster or an AM in Cardiff. The Tabloid press may have gone to town and call for their expulsion . But that would be it. 

Because of her stand  in March 1994, the Turkish Parliament voted to lift the immunity of Zana and five other Kurdish DEP members: and they  were sentenced to 15 years in jail by the Supreme Court.

In 2001 the European Court of Human Rights ruled against Turkey after a review of her trial; although Turkey did not recognize the result, in 2003 a new harmonization law permitted retrials based on ECHR decisions. In 2002, a film named The Back of the World, directed by Spanish-Peruvian filmmaker Javier Corcuera, examined her case. In April 2004, in a trial which the defendants frequently boycotted, their convictions and sentences were reaffirmed. In June 2004, after a prosecutor requested quashing the prior verdict on a technicality, the High Court of Appeals ordered Zana and the others released.

Since then she has constantly charged with offenses that we would have regarded as quite legitimate or simply controversial but part of free speech in our own democracy.

I don't know Leyla Zana position of the terrorist action of the PKK but then I don't accept that the Turkish Government does either..

The Kurds are the probably the most ignored peoples of the World . Denied their Home state largely due to British interferometry in the middle East. They may have virtual Independence in Iraq but cannot declare it because Turkey the ally of the Western Powers oppose this .

It is a disgrace that Turkey is using anti-terrorism  laws to silence the Democtatic voice of the Kurdish people and the UK government should tell Turkey that this is unacceptable behaviour ob behald of a susposedly democracy.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Labour will always betray us..

Those of you who remember the Peanuts Cartoon will recall that, time after time Charlie Brown, though he constantly had his doubts eventually succumbed to once again try and kick the football only for Lucy to remove it.

There is a comparison to the average Labour Voter in Wales.Time and time again .They head for the polling station with the knowledge that Labour have always let them down. Only to put their mark for the Labour Candidate.

Then in a very short time it becomes clear that Labour have taken the ball away and are betraying those who have trusted them.

I'm sure many of those who voted Labour in the last Local Government elections will feel betrayed this time next year when in response to Westminster Cuts they will ask "How deep "whilst at the same time claim to be fighting them.

But when the elections come along  again they will like Charlie Brown believe that this time they will get what they want .

They will still fall for assurances from Unison Leader Andy Richards that.

 “There is only one party for the working people of Wales, the party that the trade unions founded to give a voice to working people – the Labour Party. This is why it is called the Labour Party,” .

He aimed this at Leanne Wood's attempt to claim that Plaid also aimed to give a voice for working People and to form a progressive alliance.

We will see whether unlike Charlie Brown the Welsh electorate really have a choice from someone offering to allow them to achieve their dreams.

Leanne Wood may not be the answer to Andy (Lucy) Richards. She and Plaid may well let us down those who trusted them but isn't it time we realised the other option will always  betray us?

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Rail Electrification . It's not going to happen is it.

Welsh Secretary (For Now) used her Satnav to find Cardiff Bay and and turned up  yesterday to address the Assembly where she in a similar role to a Governor General to a token colonial Parliament explained to a somewhat cynical senedd of the merits of the Queen's  speach talking about infrastructure investment Wales,

Ms Gillan was loudly mocked by Labour AMs (Who used to lower their heads in respect when Peter Hain was Governor General) for referring to “how hard I fought for the electrification of the railway line down to Cardiff”.

She added, to jeers: “I can assure you that I am fighting very hard to make sure that the Prime Minister’s statement that we intend to electrify the Valleys Lines comes to fruition.”

However despite this clear assurance she said "the UK Government must see a business case before it could electrify the main London-Swansea railway line". So don't hold your breath.

The UK Government announced plans to electrify the Great Western line as far as Cardiff last year but the Welsh Government now no longer feeling they can't criticise a Labour Welsh Secretary wants the project to go further west to Swansea and into the Valleys..

Mrs Gillan told AMs she was still continuing to press the case for electrification of the line to Swansea, but warned AMs that “you can't just go ahead on a whim”.

One wonders what's been happening  over the last decades since Electrification of the Railways have taken place .

Has there been case where a line has been electrified and there has been no resultant improvement ?

There have been calls for Electrification before and throughout the last Labour Government wasn't a business case made or was it simply assumed that it was bleeding obvious that electrification that taking the Line to Cardiff and Swansea would benefit both Cities?

Mind you if I had been Cheryl Gillian I had turned on Labour AM's and asked them? 

"Why wasn't electrification carried out when Paul Murphy  and Peter Hain were doing my Job in the 13 years Labour were in power from 1997-2010?"

It seems that two years of the Con/LibDem government has  completely  wiped out the memories of the complete failure of Labour to improve the transport infrastructure  in Wales (and the rest of the UK). 

Thirteenyears of wasted opportunity because Wales was not seen as important when it came to marginal seats as Labour courted "Middle England"

Can any one from Labour truly say that if they had won in 2010 and even if the economy wasn't in meltdown.They would have implemented the sort of electrification of the South Wales they are now calling for. Or would they  simply assume the loyalty of the Welsh People  when it comes to votes and feel there would be no need carry out any promises?

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Changing Boundaries Changing Democracy

Cheryl Gillian The Secretary of State for Wales ( but not much longer I suspect)  yesterday published a Green Paper on 'Future Electoral Arrangements for the National Assembly for Wales'. Its a 12 weeks 'consultation paper'. 

For a consultation it is like Hobson Choice because only one solution to the future of Welsh Elections is given.

1: The Proposals are That the National Assembly should continue to have 60 members.
Despite the fact that it will undoubtedly take on more powers in the next decade. This would with the other proposals fix the number of Am's irrespective of any increase in Workload of AM's.

2: That the Assembly electoral boundaries should be changed to allow for 30 rather than 40 Assembly constituencies, coterminous with the new constituencies being introduced for the House of Commons. Or if the decision is to retain the current 40 constituencies, the boundaries should be adjusted to equalise the number of voters within each constituency.

The 1st part makes the assumption that the number of Welsh Seats will be fixed for decades and the second looks like a nightmare as in the Westminster proposals people will be lumped together just to make up an number irrespective of any identification.

3) That the ban on candidates standing for a constituency and also taking a place on the 'regional list' should be removed.

I agree with this but if there is a 30/30 split then almost all the leaders of the Parties Will chose the regional option realising that being on top of a list of 6 for a region will ensure their election and that they would not have to nurse a potentially marginal constituency but concentrate on their Assembly profile .

4: That Assembly members should cease to be allowed to sit in The House of Commons or The second Chamber.

This has some merit; But why should this apply to Wales alone? and not Scotland and Northern Ireland  . The Spanish Second Chamber has 264 members . 208 directly elected and 56 appointed by the assemblies of the autonomous regions. Perhaps this should be considered along with Lords reform?

Since Labour are the Party who have most to lose from this. They (despite Pater Hain) are opposed arguing that such decisions should be made in Wales. Though they seemed quite happy with Westminster changing the rules on standing for a constituency and also taking a place on the 'regional list' . When they were in power there.

Plaid Jonathan Edwards although making it clear he supported STV made a similar proposal to Cheryl Gillian last year something that might haunt him when the issue is debated and the Liberal Democrats will probably go along as at the moment regional seats are their future. Though theylike Plaid wil make a half-hearted  case for STV.

So we have a consultation paper which gives us very little choice and clearly with the argument that there should be boundary changes even if we remain with 40 Constituency seats.

Once again the future Democracy of Welsh Government will be decided at Westminster with a token consultation period where those who support a greater form of proportional representation will be ignored.

This would never happen in Scotland and Northern Ireland and shows once again the contempt that Westminster holds for the people of Wales and that when they accept devolution of power to Scotland and Northern Ireland they still feel that somehow Wales don't deserve it.

Update 12:00Pm

Subordinate Central has quoted La Pasionaria as saying.

“We broadly welcome the UK Government’s proposals to protect, and possibly increase, the proportional element and fairness of our voting system. Welsh Liberal Democrats have long argued for a fully proportionate system of voting but given the current political situation we believe that any step to make our National Assembly more democratic and accountable is welcome.

So that's we are going to have to accept this and we won'y be rocking any boat by arguing for STV or by upseting Labour too much as we look to be their coalition partners.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Are there to many Bosses in the Bay?

The Western Maul reports that . Almost four out of five of staff working for the Welsh Government are designated as managers, astonishing new figures have revealed. The  Mule claims that the statistics, released to the Welsh Conservatives following a written question from leader Andrew RT Davies, show that of the 5,424 employed by the Government as of March this year, 4,189 – or 77% – were classed as managers
A reply sent to Andrew Davies  by the Welsh Government’s permanent secretary, Dame Gill Morgan, showed that currently, of 5,424 employees, 4,189 are managers.
Of these, 1,090 are at management band 3, 1,269 at management band 2, 888 at management band 1, 647 at executive band 2, 175 at executive band 1 and 120 are senior civil service.
Just 1,156 are classified as "team support" – below management level – while 79 were classified "other".

But this is the Way the Civil Service Works . When I worked briefly for Custom and Excise on a temporary  basis in the 90's . I was on the lowest level and Administrative Assistant Every one was above me.

For lower grades many departments overlay their own grading structure however the across government is as below.
GradeMilitary Equivalent
Grade 6
Grade 7Colonel, Captain, Group Capt
Senior Executive Officer (SEO)Lieutenant Colonel, Commander, Wing Commander
Higher Executive Officer (HEO)Major, Lieutenant Commander, Squadron Leader
Executive Officer (EO)Captain, Lieutenant, Flight Lieutenant
Administrative Officer
Administrative Assistant

This is only a guide and  the comparison with Military rank somewhat misleading as EO was considered quite a low position.
But  I suppose since from Executive Officer up. The post holder was responsible to the person below them then  the But as  Welsh Government said that all staff above team may well have  classed as management, as they would have some level of supervisory responsibility, whether they were managing staff, projects or finances.
So on the project I was working on only a few of us (Most of whom were on temporary contracts)  would probably  not be classed as managers. However this was an Important project that involved expertise on Custom's procedure so it didn't reflect the Civil Service as a whole. and I suppose the close to Government probably needs people with more expertise than in other parts of the Civil Service.But as I said  the Executive Offices (of Which there were the most) were hardly exalted positions . Being were those who entered  with a degree started out.. So it would appear they would be immediately be classed as managers.
We should take note of this and study the figure  to see if we do have "To Many Chiefs and not enough Indians ". But it may be that calling some one a manager in the Assembly is just a term to say that they simply give an annual assessment of the Admin Officer below them.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Lab/LibDem Coalition in the Assembly ?

Peter Black has commented on the alleged snubing of Leanne Woods, by the Trade Union Unite .Which in fact was a Labour Loyalist believing that he solely spoke for his members in what is supposed to be a Democratic Institution.

But its Peter's end comment that is perhaps of greater interest He writes......

"Labour too appear to have commited a tactical error in the vehemence of their response. Clearly, there is no love lost amongst the former coalition partners, but the rift between them is growing wider.
Labour do not have a majority in the Assembly chamber and need to work with other parties to get things done. All they have succeeded in doing this week is to close down their options and hand a stronger negotiating hand to the Welsh Liberal Democrats".

This resulted in the following exchanges

"a stronger negotiating hand to the Welsh Liberal Democrats"

Yes, after the hiding you got in the local elections - just about everywhere!# posted by maen_tramgwydd : 11:32 AMI don't see the relevance of that to what goes on in the Assembly# posted by Peter Black : 11:35 AMI think that Welsh Liberal Democrats should resign themselves to the role of vocal spectators in theAssembly and local government for some time to come.# posted by Martin : 1:11 PMI cannot see why we should do any such thing. We are a party of government and our elected representatives have a duty to secure the best possible deal for their constituents and to seek to implement our policies. We will take whatever opportunities are available to do that.

It seems that Peter is making it clear that the LibDems are seeking to enter coalition with Labour in the Assembly. Indeed there seems to be more than a hint of as desperation here . As although Plaid and the Conservatives did badly in the local election . It was disastrous for the Liberal Democrats.

They now have only 73 councillors throughout Wales.

Control None,
Lead None, 
Are the Largest Party on None 
and there are 7 councils where they have no councillors at all.

Peter obviously thinks that only option is get into some position of Power in Wales by forming a Labour Coalition with Labour. Who probably feel they currently hold all the cards So if the LibDems do join it is unlikely they will get anything out of it apart from their Pupil Premium project.

Maybe that's all the Libdem can do hope La Pasionaria (and maybe Peter Black) himself secure a  minor cabinet post and get positive publicity. 

Though it didn't work for them last time they formed a coalition with the Assembly as iit also failed to do for Plaid.

In fact if I was Labour leader I would invite the LibDems in . The only strength of the latter in the Assembly is La Pasionaria attacks on the Welsh Governments handling of the easy targets of Health and Education where any opposition can find fault. Giving her a seat in the government will remove a relative thorn in their side.

I don't see any advantage for the LibDems or Plaid in any coalition with a minority Labour Government . The desire for a Cabinet post may be strong but neither Party is in a position to wrench major concessions from Labour (Such as bringing in STV) and perhaps they should concentrate on being effective oppositions

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Union Leader shows his loyalty lies with the Labour Party not its members

Leanne Wood's attempt to form a new Progressive Alliance which met with some interest from from the
Public and Commercial Services Union  has been completely rebutted by Unite or rather the Union's "Leader"  in Wales.   Labour Loyalist Andy Richards, who made it clear where his if not his members interest lay.

In a statement accusing the Plaid Leader of opportunism. he said...

“Unite Wales is already committed to working with our fellow trade unionists and other community organisations in Wales to fight the UK government’s austerity agenda and further action against the cuts is high on the agenda at next week’s conference.
“But we want to go one step further for the people of Wales and next week will open our discussion on ‘Making Devolution Work’ – a positive progressive policy debate on how we work within a devolved Wales to win for workers and the Welsh economy as whole.”
Past experience meant that unions would “not be fooled by Plaid Cymru’s attempts to portray themselves as trade union friendly nor are they the party of Welsh working people”, he went on.
“There is only one party for the working people of Wales, the party that the trade unions founded to give a voice to working people – the Labour Party. This is why it is called the Labour Party,” .

  • Unite "is committed to working with our fellow Trade Unionists . Apparently only  as long as they support the Labour Party it seems.
  •  Past experience meant that unions would “not be fooled by Plaid Cymru’s attempts to portray themselves as trade union friendly nor are they the party of Welsh working people” but they can continue to fooled by a party that has been in power for 13 years and did little to improve workers rights. Does Andy Richards really claim that the Blair/Brown Governments.Who made it clear even before coming to power  that they were focusing on "Middle England" were fighting for the working class? When in recent years has Labour at Westminster,Cardiff Bay or Local Authority stood up for the working class.
  • There is only one party for the working people of Wales, the party that the trade unions founded to give a voice to working people – the Labour Party. This is why it is called the Labour Party,” . There are thousands of working people in Wales who have never supported the Labour Party who are as loyal Trade Union Members as Andy Richards but are denied a voice because of the Unions blind loyalty .to Labour or even some of their leaders attempt to represent that party at Westminster or Cardiff Bay as a MP or AM.where these career politicians will ignore their former members struggles.

A few weeks ago in the three councils that treated his workers appallingly by cutting their wages Neath Port Talbot, Bridgend ,and Rhondda Cynon Taf. Labout swept the board as they did in the rest of Wales. 

In this they were aided by Unions like Unite who represent many of the workers affected by these cuts who still showed loyalty to a Party that where behaving worse than Tory ones when they failed to denounce the Council Leaders for their betrayal of the Working Class members employed by these councils. This with the tacit and sometimes enthusiastic backing of the Welsh Media saw thousands of Welsh people giving their support to a Party whose response to coalition cuts was to ask "How Deep do you want them"

Richards may have a point when he accuses Leanne Wood of opportunism (She is a politician after all). But to reject outright overtures from anyone,  because it could threaten his members loyalty to the Labour party rather than to his Union Is not one of them.

Unite is there to fight for its members.Not to see a a right wing  Tory Lib/Dem Government that treats workers with contempt, replaced with a right wing Labour Government , that does the same out of historical loyalty.

The Western Mule report gleefully claims that
Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood’s dream of building an “alliance of progressives” against UK Government cuts looks over before it even got started..

Andy Richards s  reaction  to her overture shows she has a long way to go: But then the Union Leaders who see their role in supporting Labour rather than its members are probably not her target.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Denbighshire literally elects the wrong Councilor.

Denbighshire council has apologised after a Labour candidate appeared to have lost an election when votes were wrongly handed to a Tory rival.

Council said human error was to blame for votes for Paul Penlington being counted towards Allan Pennington in the elections on 4 May.

In a night which saw big gains for Labour in the County Particularly in Rhyl and Prestatyn the result in Prestatyn North.was declared as

Prestatyn North - results  2012
Election CandidatePartyVotes%
 Carys Louise Guy-DaviesLabour63313%Elected
 Jason Mathew McLellanLabour59812%Elected
 Allan Geoffrey PenningtonConservative58012%Elected
 Michael Adrian GermanIndependent55712%Not elected
 Isobel Marion GermanIndependent53811%Not elected
 George Peter Anthony FlynnIndependent47210%Not elected
 Gwynn Alexander ClagueIndependent4389%Not elected
 Paul PenlingtonLabour3668%Not elected
 Michael John EckersleyConservative3257%Not elected
 Michelle Monique Marie PopeConservative3147%Not elected
The result saw a big swing to Labour on the previous election
Prestatyn North - results 2008
Election CandidatePartyVotes%
 George Arthur GreenConservative74115%Elected
 Allan Geoffrey PenningtonConservative70914%Elected
 Michael John EckersleyConservative69614%Elected
 Michael Adrian GermanIndependent68413%Not elected
 Isobel Marion GermanIndependent63412%Not elected
 David CooperIndependent4769%Not elected
 Velma Wilshaw-CryerLabour3968%Not elected
 Patricia Irene DawsonLabour3918%Not elected
 Amanda June WigganLabour3667%Not elected
It is not unusual for a popular councillor to survive  a swing against his party but eyebrows must have been raised particularly  amongst the Party Tallymen  watching the count 
Mr Penlington (Labour)  would have been just ahead of Mr Pennington (Con) with Ms Pope (Con ) at the bottom of the Ballot paper.

I can see how a few votes could have gone astray but this is frankly ridiculous. I don't know when the ward was counted and tiredness on behalf of the counting staff (and Tallymen) may have some factor but the system of counting seats with multiple seats is usually quite efficient involving special sheets.and of course the Party is quite clear.

And lets face it in Wales there must be  many vase of a number of Joneses from different Parties being grouped together and in this case there was a clear difference in the candidates first names.

If I had been refering to "Paul Penlington" and "Allan Geoffrey Pennington" instead of Mr then the error would be glaring.
As  you can see Mr Pennington was declared the winner of one of three county council seats in Prestatyn North with 580 votes, and Labour's Mr Penlington received 366
It has been  that if the votes for Mr Penlington had been allocated correctly, he would have won for Labour with 605 votes to Mr Pennington's 340 which would reflect those of the other candidates for both parties.

However, the council confirmed a mistake had been made, and it was now up to Mr Penlington to decide whether to challenge the result.

Labour has a week to decide whether to challenge the result before a judge

On the evidence there will undoubtedly be be a court challenge which should reverse the result.Or Mr Pemnnigton if it is clear an error has been made could resign and a By election held which should if there is any lustice see  Mr Penlington  the only candidate.