Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Has Danny Boyle saved the Union.

It seem that Unionist Politicians are intent on using the Olympic Games in attempt to block the move to Scottish Inexpedience .

According to Scotland on Sunday The Better Together campaign have said  that Danny Boyle’s achievement was in successfully projecting to the entire country a new and more positive image of Britain which would have huge resonance among people across the country, including Scotland.

Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander, a leading Labour Unionist said:
 “Friday’s opening ceremony was a big cultural moment that will impact on our sense of ourselves and politics here in Scotland even after the athletes have headed home. To win the referendum the Nationalists need to convince us that the rest of the UK has become so foreign a place with such different values that we should split apart.
“Friday’s ceremony did something completely different – by attempting to capture and define the essence of Britishness it reminded millions of us what we so cherish.
 ”Alex Salmon's response  was to state
 “This puerile attempt to politicise the Olympics certainly wouldn’t win any medals. With the latest poll putting the SNP even further in the lead than last year’s election landslide, and independence ahead of every other constitutional option, Douglas Alexander and his colleagues in the Tory-led anti-independence campaign are clearly getting desperate,
But of course the build up to the Olympics which has consecutively with the  the Jubilee celebrations to the extent that if the satirical programe 2012 hadn't mocked it we might have seen jubilimpics used throughout  the last few months.

During the Torch relay the organisers made sure to hand out Union Jacks to the public as the Torch and  cameras passed by ( and then took them back) and made sure not to focus on any other signs of identity.

And I can only suspect that the constant use of "British" by BBC commentators is because they are on some kind of bonus  to use it so many times per hour! Though some seem to forget themselves (John Inverdale) and still use England..

The Olympics may boost the Union for a few months especially if the UK reaches their  medals  target. But if they fai the Gold will tarnish even quicker when the true cost emerges.

What the Unionist fail to realise  is that  for many of us the Union Jack may be the flag over our champions but when they return home it will be Yr Draig Goch , Scottish Saltaire, and Cornwalls Saint Piran's Flag greeting them (Northern Ireland may be a bit complicated.

Lets face if Wales as and Independent Nation were to return from a future Olympic Games with just one Gold medal it would shine even more brightly .


Monday, 30 July 2012

Academics reject another Welsh referendum.

The Western Mule reports that two leading academics have claimed a further devolution referendum on whether the National Assembly should have the power to vary taxes would risk damaging public confidence in the institution.I have copied  some of it here in blue.

Professor Richard Wyn Jones, director of the Wales Governance Centre at
Cardiff University, and Professor Roger Scully, his counterpart at the Institute of Welsh Politics at Aberystwyth University, believe the Silk Commission – currently examining the case for tax varying powers – will recommend that such a referendum should be held.

But in an article for the
Institute of Welsh Affairs’ journal Agenda, the two professors argue that the case for holding one is weak.

First Minister Carwyn Jones has made clear his view that any move to give the Assembly the power to vary income tax should only take place after a Yes vote in a referendum.

But in their article the two academics say the experience of last year’s referendum on lawmaking powers for the Assembly should act as a brake on organising another one.

They state
: “As the issue ostensibly at stake... was so narrow and technical – a choice between two systems of primary lawmaking – the efforts of campaigners and commentators to explain the choice failed to cut through to most people, who remained disengaged and apathetic. This alone does much to explain why the turnout was so low”.
Looking to the possibility of a further vote on tax-varying powers, Profs Jones and Scully write: 

We can already predict with a very high degree of confidence that any such referendum will witness very low levels of public interest; a lack of vibrant public debate; pitifully lacklustre campaigns; and low voter turnout.
It will, in short, almost certainly be a deeply inadequate referendum that will be far more likely to damage public confidence in devolution and the political process than to enhance it.”
The academics go on to state that all three arguments that have been mooted in favour of another referendum – summarised as precedent, principle and popular expectation – are flawed.

Precedent in that Tax varying powers were part of the Scottish 1997 referendum

Jones and Scully point out that introduced by the Scotland Act 2012 without a referendum represent a far more fundamental shift in responsibility over tax.

Principal in that change of this nature should be given clear approval by the electorate the reports authors point to recommendation made by a House of Lords committee in 2010 that referendums are most appropriately used to decide “fundamental constitutional issues” like the abolition of the monarchy, independence for part of the state and the abolition of one of the Houses of Parliament

Popular expectation in that the electorate would prefer a referendum the professors point to research carried out in April this year which showed that slightly more people in Wales were content to allow politicians to make decisions about the transfer of income tax varying powers to the Assembly than wanted a referendum.

I must admit I agree with their arguments .

If the UK had a tradition of Switzerland and the States if the USA which have a tradition of referendums especially if they were linked to other elections then it would be part of the process particularly   if we were to have regular elections where 1/3 of of the seats were contested  to include A tax varying referendum then this would probably insure participation..

Referendums tend to be called by Politicians if they think they can win it just as likely that it is rejected.

But lets be honest though of us interested in the finite details are small  as the authors Jones and Scully  argue.

“Having a taxation referendum would mean spending several million pounds to conduct an event whose most likely main accomplishment would be to make the 35.6% turnout achieved in March 2011 appear relatively high.
“And given the lack of years of preceding public debate, we cannot even expect the eccentric minority who would vote to do so on the basis of a considered view as to whether or not the National Assembly should have powers in the area of taxation.
I'm not sure that I like be called an eccentric minority but I take their point. 

Tax varying powers should depend on the various party's manifesto we elect our politicians to do a job not pas the buck.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Romney needs lesson in Diplomacy from Nixon of al people.

Mitt Romney has bee slated in the Media both in the UK and the USA for his gaffe in criticising London Preparation for the Olympics,despite only repeating what they were all been saying for weeks

He told NBC News he said,
 “a few things that were disconcerting” about London’s preparations. “The stories about the private security firm not having enough people, supposed strike of immigration and customs officials, that obviously is not something which is encouraging,” 
His remark prompted  David Cameron and Boris Johnson to criticise him in turn .

Cameron said ,
 “We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world,” said the Prime Minister. “Of course it’s easier if you hold an Olympic Games in Utah, the sparsely populated western state where Mr Romney was chief executive of the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics in 2002. the middle of nowhere.”
A   clear reference to the 2002  Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City Utah  where Mr Romney was chief executive of the Salt Lake City in 2002. to, the sparsely populated western state where Mr Romney was chief executive of the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics in 2002 and who was also boasting of his role in its organisation.

Romney's gaffe was not that he was repeating what the British Media and Politicians  had been raising concerns about . for ages but that he was saying it on a mission that was supposed to be a charm offensive that was going to show he was Presidential Material.

And the rule of diplomacy is Don't insult your hosts

Its a bit like a Mother who been nagging their kids to clean their room who gets angry when a friend from next door makes a comment non a visit .
"Don't you say that about my kids".
Romney  didn't realise his role was to say nice things about Britain at least when he was here.

Of course this has overshadowed what might have been seen as a bigger gaffe when he breached  protocol by disclosing that he had received an unusual briefing from Sir John Sawers, the chief of the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), on the situation in Syria. 

Not a great start . The Americans like their Presidents to be tough with outsiders  but at the same time to be popular .

Richard Nixon regally  tops the poll of Presidents for his diplomatic skills being seen as tough but also for his Charm offensive on China.

Only Nixon can go to China "  was what was said because  the two countries had been estranged for many years, as the U.S. was ardently anti- Communist and had refused to recognise its government, and China had viewed the United States as its top enemy.

Because Nixon had an undisputed reputation of being a staunch anti-Communist, he was largely immune to any criticism of being "soft on Communism" by figures on the right of American politics.

Nixon  was visiting a perceived enemy but it was seen as a diplomatic success.

Romney in his first attempt at a Presidential style visit managed to upset his hosts who claim to have a special relationship with the US and he still got Poland and Israel to go.

Romney may think that he can turn this around by claiming to be open and blunt  but he perhaps should take a lesson from the most reviled president in US history on how to be diplomatic.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Opening Ceremony. well a successt really.

Okay I'll start my take on the opening ceremony with a a few niggle.

Why were the Scottish Kids allowed to sing Flower of Scotland whilst the Welsh kids sang Cwm Rhondda (in English) and not He Wlad Fy Nhadau?

And showing Rugby clips of each "Nation" ? Didn't anyone tell them that Ireland are not part of team GB?

Interesting to note the singing of God save the Queen contained just the first and third verses, missing out the bit about

O Lord, our God, arise,
Scatter her enemies,
And make them fall.
Confound their politics,
Frustrate their knavish tricks,
On Thee our hopes we fix,

Or part of the original

Lord, grant that Marshal Wade,
May by thy mighty aid,Victory bring.
May he sedition hush,and like a torrent rush,
Rebellious Scots to crush,
God save the King.

 Of course it doesn't rhyme with Queen in it. Perhaps Charles will bring it back?

But for the most part Danny Boyle did a suburb Job

The salute to The NHS must have made Cameron blush and the third section and the theme of a romance involving a mixed race teenager and the use of multimedia seems to have enrages Conservative Tory MP Aidan Burley, sacked as a ministerial aide for attending Nazi-themed stag party,

In his first tweet Burley wrote: "The most leftie opening ceremony I have ever seen – more than Beijing, the capital of a communist state! Welfare tribute next?"
A minute later Burley tweeted: "Thank God the athletes have arrived! Now we can move on from leftie multicultural crap. Bring back red arrows, Shakespeare and the Stones!
The Parade of Athletes was probably won by Mexico  but who told the USA wearing Berets was a good idea . They looked like far  Militaristic.

The carrying of the flag by people who had fought for Justice and Human rights and to be touched by Muhammed Ali brought a tear to my eye. He's still the greatest.

The Lighting of the Torch by seven young Athletes was Inspirational and one other organisers are going to have to think about.

So 8/10 to Boyle and his team . It still hasn't made me more British and I still long to see Cymru following Cuba into the Stadium but compared with the militaristic edge to Beijing it was a tonic.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Two Cock Ups already: And we haven't had the opening Ceremony yet.

Not a great Start for the Olympics Organisers

A Cock Up on the opening day withs a row with North Korea after the South Korean flag was mistakenly displayed prior to their women's football opener against Colombia at Hampden Park in Glasgow.

The North Korean player's names were shown beside a picture of the South Korean flag in an embarrassing blunder which marred the opening day of action at London

Particularly as South Korea are not even competing in the women's football tournament.

Relations between the two countries is tense, and they are technically still at war as no peace treaty has ever been signed following the Korean war from 1950 to 1953.

The Flag of North Korea.

The team walked off the pitch in anger and only returned to start the match with Colombia an hour later.

The Toryraph tried to gibe the impression the players were forced to protest 

"North Korea's women footballers may have felt they had to "make a fuss" over last night's Olympics flag mix-up - for fear of being sent to the gulag if they did no"t.
 Quoting  Dr Foster-Carter, honorary senior research fellow at Leeds University, ( you can find amn accademic anywhere to back you)  as saying 

 "If those footballers had not made the sort of protest they did, they would have a risk of questions being asked when they got back home and perhaps being taken to a not very nice place."
Why can't they simply accept that any player would feel insulted  if another flag had been shown alongside their not which was not their own.

What would the Torygraph attitude be if the Argentinian flag was shown alongside an English Player.

BBC Scotland understands the video package was sent from London and Hampden organisers had no input.

Prime Minister David Cameron said it was "an honest mistake".

No it was an embarrassing Cock up and surely when it comes to North and South Korea the mantra should always be don't mess them up.

The second  Cock Up was , Team Great Britain getting  the nationality of one of its own athletes wrong. In the official Team GB program for its opening men's soccer match against Senegal on Thursday, Joe Allen was  wrongly listed as being English.

The 22-year-old Allen, who also plays for Premier League club Swansea City, has represented Wales at both the youth and senior levels prior to being included in Team GB,  The other four Welsh players on the first GB soccer team to compete since 1972 had their nationality correctly listed (see Craig Bellamy in the above image) in the program.
Are Team GB the only side to have the nationality of their players in the programmes? It would seem odd if it was s a Brazilian playing for Brazil or perhaps  the Nationality of a New Zealand Player given as Samoan and with the eligibility rules I suppose the latter could be an example of many
As Fifa states 
Any Player who ... [assumes] a new nationality and who has not played international football [in a match ... in an official competition of any category or any type of football for one Association] shall be eligible to play for the new representative team only if he fulfils one of the following conditions:
(a) He was born on the territory of the relevant Association;
(b) His biological mother or biological father was born on the territory of the relevant Association; 
(c) His grandmother or grandfather was born on the territory of the relevant Association;
(d) He has lived continuously for at least five years after reaching the age of 18 on the territory of the relevant Association.
So maybe they are but you still need a passport from the country you are representing so you probably be listed as that nationality.
Two Cock Ups and we haven't had the opening ceremony yet . I imagine there's now frantic  checking of the Information before they are displayed.
Both are inexcusable: Both where sensitive issues  lets hope there are no more.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Kim Howells on the English Question"

In its continuing role of being the paper of Unionism in Wales reports that Kim Howells has emerged from wherever his bunker is now to claim that Tony Blair’s government deliberately ignored the contentious issue of Welsh and Scottish MPs voting on English laws when drawing up devolution plans,
The ex-Pontypridd MP told the Mckay  commission examining the so-called West Lothian question that Labour decided to “stay away from it” because it was “difficult”.

A startling admission or a stating the bleeding obvious?

With no real clamour for an English parliament at the time or regional devolution there.What wouls be the solution?  impose a Parliament on England (and notice they always talk about an English parliament not Assembly)  or insist that devolution to Wales and Scotland would fall if The English failed to support a call for their own Parliament.

The call came from Wales and Scotland to include England at the time whether by creating a Parliament or regional Assemblies would have been pointless.

This does not mean the "West Lathian" question  or as it has become "The English Question should not have been addressed since 1997

In a response to Sir Emyr Jones-Parry, the former All Wales Convention chair who now sits on the McKay Commission suggested to Dr Howells:

“I’m tempted to say, when you say you ignored the question at the time, the thought process wasn’t perhaps as deep as you said earlier.

But the former minister responded:

No, it was a conscious decision, Sir Emyr, not to. Stay away from it.”
Dr Howells said that, while he was opposed to the establishment of an English parliament – one of the solutions which has been suggested to the question – he believed it might be inevitable.

I’m not sure I can see an alternative, really, to an English parliament,” he said.
“I’m not in favour of one, by the way, because I think we are on the slippery slope of breaking up Britain, but I hope the kinds of settlements that we’ve designed, which have evolved since, will hold us back from that, but I fear that, if it becomes an issue. I don’t think it is, by the way, at the moment, probably amongst some interested individuals and academics, amongst some parliamentarians, but it’s not an issue which fills the front page of the Daily Mail.”

Is this what he reads now?

I support an English Parliament but in the meantime the parties in the Westminster parliament should should issue a Red White or Blue line whip if there are Bills or parts of a Bill that affect only one of the members of the UK

Red Line Whip Only Welsh MPs to vote on parts of legislation that only really affect Wales that are not currently devolved such as "West Glamorgan question", cited by Rhodri Morgan where English Conservative MPs who rebelled against local government re-organisation in their own constituencies, but voted for it in Wales.

White Line Whip . Only MPs vote on Legislation which only affects England this would be by far the most common

Blue Line Whip Scottish MPs only to vote on any Part of Legislation that only affects Scotland (This would be rare).

But this I admit would be a messy compromise and not resolve the issue entirely but I can't see why it shouldn't be agreed.

The problem for Unionist like Kim Howells is not so much that a English Parliament would lead to the inevitable break up of his precious union but an admission that Wales and Scotland exist as nations and that Westminster which for Unionist is the place where they want to achieve their political ambitions.

Its been argued that part of the reason for the SNP success in Scotland is that they send thier best people to Holyrood where Labour send their best to Westminster.

Howells' is a political dinosaur who never really supported devolution  and who still thinks he has something relevant to say . But telling a commission what we already know and offering no solution is not worth it. 

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

What are Plaid's Options?

I am beginning to wonder whether the Plaid Leadership  are secretly pleased with the Dafydd El amd Cynog Dafis row despite the obvious damage that it is initially doing to the party.

After all if you are going to place your emphasis on Independence then its best to get any potential critical opposition out of the way particularly if it comes from an older generation and you would like to give the impression that the torch has been passed on (or snatched)  but if it is a policy it is a dangerous one.

However it does show the problem Plaid has always have and how it should state its aims.

  1. Take a Sinn.Fein Line and argue that it wants no part of the British state. Fight Westminster election but to refuse to take your seat. Plaid original stance when Lewis Valentine stood for Caernaforn n 1926'
  2. Take a line that its only  goal is Independence, Fight al elections but remain aloof from other parties and political issues. 
  3. Aim to be in overall control in the Assembly and use this to call a Independence referendum ( The current position in Scotland 
  4. Aim to be the Largest party  in the assembly and concentrate on running the Assembly aiming to emulate the SNP and gaining the above .
  5. Have Independence have your aim but aim to form coalitions as a Junior partner and concentrate on running the country hoping to archive option 4.
  6. State although Independence is your aim its a long way off and therefore you are concentrating of achieving option 4 for the "benefit of Wales" (Which seems to be Cynog's stance}.
  7. State you are willing to enter Coalition with Labour, The Green's .and possibly the Libdems but completely rule out the Tories.
  8. State you have no intention of entering a coalition with any Party 
  9. Abandon complete Independence and seek a Federal Britain
  10. Abandon Independence for a Devo max Parliament 
  11. Become largely a pressure group hoping to influence other parties to adopt one of  the above.
I suspect most Plaid voters would chose one of these options .

This is Plaids dilemma .

If you take option 3 as your aim which what seems to  Leanne's stance.Do you insist all members adopt this or do you take the Broad church approach and "Welcome Debate within the party ".?

The problem with the former is you look authoritarian and with the latter   Debate will be portrayed by your enemies as an internal row.

Plaid problem is that dissent will probably end if it increases it position dramatically in the opinion polls but with Labour enjoying the luxury of UK opposition it loks set to keep its current hegemony.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Libdems face Scottish extinction.

The Sunday Times, this weekend published  a poll the paper  ran with Real Radio, conducted by Panelbase.  The Poll shows the SNP Government is still the most popular party in Scotland and has even slightly increased its share of the vote from May 2010

Constituency  Vote
SNP: 47% (+2%)
Labour: 32% (±0)
Conservative: 12% (-2%)
LibDem: 6% (-2%)

Additional Members
SNP: 46% (+2%)
Labour: 28% (+2%)
Conservative: 11% (-1%)
Greens: 6% (+2%)
LibDem: 4% (-1%)

Better Nation  from where I nicked this data reports that According  to Scotland Votes site  this would lead to its an interactive predictor and you will have to leave the  independents both  1.5 in the constituency  and i and  4  on the columns

SNP: 68 (-1)
Labour: 41 (+4)
Conservative: 11 (-4)
Green: 5 (+3)
LibDem: 3 (-2)
Ind: 1 (1)

The SNP claim that the poll shows them increasing their number of seats .and could well be right.

Even so its clear the SNP government has not lost its popularity after a year since the last election and 5 years running Scotland.

But perhaps the biggest result from this is that the Conservative  and Liberal Democrats have totally failed to recover and even fallen back .

The Libdems indeed seem to have even lost those voters who have identified with the party and voted with them no matter what.They must surely be at rock bottom because if they do not make some recovery soon they could end  up ceasing to exist all together in Scotland.

There appears to have been no question on Independence in the poll but maybe the Sunday Times are holding it over until next week.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Wylfa B to be built by China?

The Western Mule   today gives space to Chancellor George Osborne and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander as they attempt to explain what the coalition has planned for Wales.

One part of their  self-congratulatory  prose 
 got me thinking  when I read......

Last week we committed to the biggest overhaul of our rail system since the Victorian times – including electrification of the lines from Cardiff to Swansea and the Welsh Valleys.
Despite tough decisions on spending we are investing more in our transport system now than at the peak of the spending boom.
Alongside public investment, we are targeting £20bn of private sector investment. We have already secured major investment from places like China and the Gulf, and our new Pension Infrastructure Platform will commit its first £2bn investment in UK infrastructure early next year.

This is in tandem with the reports that Investors from China, America and the Middle East are said to be interested in a bid to build a new nuclear reactor on Anglesey.

So investment from undemocratic monarchy in the Gulf or the Chinese government which imprisons dissidents on a regular basis.

When China was a Maoist country, poor but still undemocratic it was a pariah to Western Democracies or at least in words. Now that its embraced its own form of capitalism  and allowed Western Companies in to exploit cheap labour in that country. Its appalling record on human rights is ignored and when dignatories visit the UK people are prevented from protesting about human rights and the occupation of Tibet

Do we really want to build our railways on the backs of political prisoners in the Gulf and China or exploited Labour?

The Western view of Democracy seems to be that it should be imposed on Arab states if they are Republics but virtual absolute Monarchies that abuse the human rights of their people should be allowed to carry on as long as they sell us their oil of course.

And Human rights in China and the exploitation of cheap Labour, by their own and Western companies should be ignored so long as we get cheap goods and investment in our infrastructure.

Doesn't it make you proud?

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Team GB One man(no dog) watches.

A excellent post from Eye on Wales over the failure of Ryan Giggs to sing the English National Anthem
From the Telegraph "as it happens coverage"  and what some the response was on Twitter.

According to the Telegraph as it happens coverage.
The players all stand to acknowledge the national anthems. It appears not many of the Brazilian's know the words to theirs, a couple of the British players make the effort to sing God Save The Queen but notably that didn't include any of the Welsh members. Stuart Pearce on the other hand looked like he was thrashing out an Oasis song at one of their gigs.

So it seems the reaction is proof that that the very ideas of a Team GB is not even working with those who are Unionist in nature.

In my local where there a room with a large TV for watching such things . The rest of the pub was crowded but only one person was in there watching the match.

And this was Brazil remember the most romantic national football team in the World.

Perhaps the idea of a under 23's side being led by a 38 year old Welshman who retired from playing for his country in 2007 slightly ridiculous and especially so as a "Team GB " has no Northern Ireland or Scotland players in the squad.

I suppose if the squad were to reach the semi final the media coverage may get hysterical and increase public interest but at the moment interest seems on the same level as men's hockey.

As for the anthem I hope that any Welsh gold medallist standing on the podium as he Union Jack is raised and God save the Queen is played  will in their heart seeing Yr Draig Goch fluttering and Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau in their heads..

They won't be seeming any Driag Gochs in the crowd as I believe you wont be allowed to wave them in the events.and they will be confiscated .

Hopefully in my life time we will see a similar report about Welsh Athletes.

At the 1936 Olympics, in Berlin, Japan got the rest of the world to think that one of their very own countryman - a Japanese - had won agold medal in the Olympics games for the marathon when in fact the winner was a Korean. The press and IOC (International Olympic Committee) likewise did not recognize the existence of a Korean. Everyone was considered Japanese.

The winner, Kee-Chung Sohn (1912~2002), struggled and protested during his remaining lifetime to reclaim the name of his motherland and his real birth name on official Olympic records.

Finally in 1989, his nationality and name were changed on a monument dedicated to Olympic marathon winners. In the year 2011, nine-years after his death, the IOC --- after 75 long years --- officially made a bold decision to changed back all records to reflect his original birth granted name of Sohn, Kee

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Final Warning for D.E.T.?

So has Plaid Leader shown weakness in taking no action against Dafydd Elis Thomas or has she averted a bigger crisis in the party loosing a senior AM to Labour or who would sit as an independent in the Assembly.
Its been claimed thet .he had would not have turned up for the disciplinary pocedure as . he has the prior engagement of attending the Royal Welsh show. A similar excuse for his absence over the vote of Confidence (He was preceding as Chancellor of Bangor University over the degree ceremony)

If this is true then the Leadership do look week .

Perhaps its to early to judge but unless she's received a promise from D.E.T about his future behaviour this may back to haunt her..

In her statement Leanne said

There is little doubt that the events of the past few days have been damaging, both to Plaid Cymru and to the campaign to have transparency, accountability and honesty injected into the debate about the future of our NHS.
"Nobody comes into politics to be distracted by arguments about process, I came into politics in order to realise the ambition of the people of Wales.
Since I became leader of this party in order to unite the progressive majority of the people of this country behind a plan to strengthen our economy and our public services and to advance the cause of Wales.

"Although I do not agree with him, I respect the fact that Dafydd Elis-Thomas does not share the group’s long-held views on protecting core health services at community level, and to have ministerial accountability for the decisions made.
"If any member has concerns on issues which they regard as a matter of conscience however this needs to be discussed and argued within the group in order to reach agreement.

"This is how politics works. It is through debating and discussing ideas and disagreements together, rather than abstaining and not taking part.

"In future therefore, if the Plaid Cymru group collectively chooses to support an issue and a campaign, I expect all members to unite behind that, unless they are willing to come to the group and explain and discuss why they are unable to do so. It is not and never will be acceptable that statements are made to the press before they are shared within the party team. The party has always valued its unity of purpose. The whip has never before been withdrawn from an elected member of Plaid Cymru. I do not expect, and will not accept, the party being placed in this position again.

"I also expect all Plaid Cymru elected representatives always to put their roles and responsibilities in that capacity first and foremost above all other interests and duties. Their constituents and the members of Plaid Cymru expect no less

So it looks like a final warning for the errant Lord .But how final?

I imagine some Plaid members wil sigh with relief, that a major crisis has if only temporally been averted or may been wishing that D.E.T been given his marching orders.

Time will tell Dafydd may throw all his energies into supporting the Plaid Group or he may carry on ploughing his own furrow it may depend what Labour dangle in front of him in his alleged desire for a cabinet position in the Assembly government.

Or he may come to the conclusion that maybe its the time to become an elder statesman in the party like his former Parliamentary colleague Dafydd Wigley but whether he is truly suited to this role is unclear.

The saddest thing over this affair is that Dafydd action make actually over enforce Party discipline and stifle debate over Party Policy.

It would be ironic if Dafydd  legacy may have been to turn Plaid into the sort of authoritarian party which stifle dissent  Labour is .

At the moment Dafydd seems to be the winner here he has defied the Party and it disciplinary procedure its ben claimed that he had announced .

Friday, 20 July 2012

Carwyn for President.

Watching the news last night I bet I wasn't the only thinking that looks familiar when our First Minister addressed the gathering press corps from the new media briefing room in Cathays Park, The new set-up has cost the taxpayer £22,000, including a new £1,800 lectern and an i £4,500 slate seal, engraved with the words : "Prif Weinidog Cymru" ('First Minister of Wales .and furled flags of the EU, UK and Wales

Well. of course it looks familiar.

Delusions of grandeur or what.?

What next

An Announcer before Carwyn enters the room extolling "Lasies and Gentlemen the "First Minister of Wales".
A band playing Henffych well i'r Prif when he enters?
Ty Howel is official office to be painted white and renamed.
His wife Lisa to be known as the "First Lady?"
He gets (if he hasn't one already) a dog (First Pet).
His oficial car to be called "Transport One"
Carwyn to give an annual Address to the Nation?

Basing your  breifing set up on the one where the most poweful person the world speaks to the press doesn't give you gravitas  Carwyn (as I suspect you were told).. But makes you look not the leader of a Nation  but a ridiculous figure aping people with real power.not the

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Dafydd Elis Thomas Princiciple or Ambition?

Plaid have withdrawn the whip from its former leader, Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomasf for not  attending the controversial vote of no-confidence over Wales' health minister Lesley Griffiths.

The AM for Dwyfor Meirionnydd said he had a "valid reason to preside over a graduation ceremony at Bangor University, where he is chancellor.

Which may seem reasonable, but it depends on whether Plaid AM were told to drop all prior engagements in order to vote..

However before the vote, Lord Elis-Thomas told BBC Wales that on the basis evidence he had seen he could see "no reason to pursue this vote of no confidence."

He added: "Plaid has put itself in a position of being the supporting cast to a play which was produced by the Welsh Conservatives, and that gets under my skin."

Now I hate an overwhelming Party discipline that doesn't allow for an individual concious and as chancellor of Bangor it was an important engagement.

But that doesn't mean you can constantly ignore the wishes of your leadership and if Dafydd Elis Thomas had been elected leader earlier this year then he would probably have quashed any dissent ruthlessly  His comments  ruthlessly.

His comments on supporting the Conservatives  has led to speculation that he feels that upsetting Labour would damage any chance  of a coalition with Labour and a desire for a cabinet position.

One can only speculate what his position would be if the Assembly numbers were such  that a Plaid/Con/LibDem  coalition could have taken control of the Welsh Government. Would he be so adverse to supporting a Tory motion then?

Rebellion on a matter of principee is honourable. Rebellion for your own personal ambitions is not.

Plaid should ask itself whether Dafydd leaving Plaid now will be less damaging  now or his  constantly providing the media with copy  that contradict the  Party policy and nibbles away at the authority leadership.

Perhaps he should be given a three strikes and your out. He's may be already on two after his latest act. 

And Dafydd  should ask himself what he wants for himself  To fuel his own  ambition or help the new generation of Plaid leadership to obtain their goals.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

The Monstrous Regiment of Plaid Women.

The news that Plaid Cymru Leader Leanne Wood AM has announced that Ceredigion AM, Elin Jones has been appointed as her Deputy Leader of the party’s group in the National Assembly.means that Plaid  may have  the  highest number of Women in it Leadership pf any party in Europe

Dream Team? Elin Jones and Leanne Wood

Ms Jones was nominated for the position by Leanne and she accepted the role following a vote at the party’s group meeting at the National Assembly yesterday.

This means that Women now have most of the major Roles in the Party.

Leader Leanne Wood AM

Deputy Leader Elin Jones AM

UK Palemetary Leader Elfyn Llwyd

President Jill Evans

Chair Helen Mary Jones

Chief Executive Rhuanedd Richards

Honorary President Dafydd Wigley

Vice President Jonathan Clark

For those who like myself  believe that there should be more Women in leadership positions throughout the Political Spectrum this is welcome.

I remember a circular from Plaids HQ  in the 80'giving advise on electoral campaigning with a piece that read something line.

"Organise the addressing of envelopes for your electoral address The ladies are quite good at this".

The general feeling even then was that Women's position in the Party and Politics in general was to support a Male candidate. .

Indeed Plaid has still yet  have a Women representing  a Westminster seat or have a Women fight a truly marginal seat.

Of  course Myfanwy Davies  (Llanelli 2010) and Ann Owen (Conwy 2001)  have fought P alimentary  fought seats   that Pliad had any some hope of winning  largely due to the success in wining  the Assembly constituency. But apart for these are there any other examples?

Even in the Assembly only Elin Jones (Ceredigion)  and Helen Mary Jones (Llanelli) have represented Constituencies with the rest being made up on the top regional list. whre Plaid had a policy of positively promoting Women  to the top of the regional list.

Some would argue that selection of candidates should be solely on merit but history shows us that a large part of 50% of our population are ignored and if you look at the ratio where positive promotion has not taken place and only a few Women actually are elected its clear that the men were not selected on merit,. But because they were men.  How many of the undoubtedly talented Women Plaid have in the Assembly (including Leanne)  would have been elected if this policy had not been promoted.?

Would we have lost them to mediocre men who may have not been so effective?

Despite my headlines (or because of it) I welcome the new leadership of Plaid and have long supported the promotion of Women in all political Parties not because I believe that Women will not take place in the Yah -Boo politics in the chamber or that they will be less averse to military adventures. But because we are wasting talent. But the Party needs to go further. Often its the case of the party having women standing in numbers, when the Party in the doldrums.Only to find Men standing when the polls are healthier.

Who knows there may be a young girl looking at the position of Plaid women in the Party's leadership who will be inspired to take a part in Welsh Politics .

 Could the first President of an Independent Wales be looking at the news and realising that she can inspire a nation?

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Silk. People have "limited understanding" of tax issues".

The Guardian reports that
Two-thirds of Welsh people believe the assembly government in Cardiff should be able to set its own income tax rate and have the power to borrow, a major survey has revealed.
The survey, the most comprehensive of its kind undertaken in Wales, found that most of its citizens believed the economy would be boosted, public services enhanced and the Welsh government made more accountable if more fiscal powers were devolved. However, when told that spending on public services in Wales was greater than money raised through taxation there, only a third of those surveyed said they would be prepared to pay more taxes to make up the shortfall.
Clearly there is a problem with any shortfall, but there should be a way of addressing this concern . Counting  defence expenditure diffidently for tax raising for instance.

But commission chairman Paul Silk said

"Our remit is very clear - we must come up with a package of recommendations likely to command a wide degree of support.
"While the results show clear support for the devolution of tax and borrowing powers, we must be mindful as a commission of the concerns they also reveal.
"It was also clear from the report that there is a limited understanding of taxation issues and from the outset we have sought to address this.
I find this worrying.

It looks like he is preparing an excuse that no action should be taken because the welsh public "Do not understand Tax"

It can be claimed that people have a limited knowledge of political issues when it comes to voting and vote for the Party they "Think"  best matches their beliefs, hopes and aspirations.

It is generally accepted that if a proposal is in a Party's Manifesto than a second chamber should not veto it outfight..

The number of voters who examine Party Manifesto is very small but people have general idea of what is coming from the government that takes power.

It's a bit like the old saying

"I don't know much about art,But I know what I like".

Those taken part in the survey clearly had a good idea what they like and they liked the idea of Wales  should set its own tax rate.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Cardiff and Swansea fans clash at racecourse.

And its not even Wrexham's ground. 

I must admit am not a big fan of football.  I much prefer Ruby and have only watched tow Welsh Football Internationals live.

The Second was the match in 2004 world cup qualifier when Wales lost 2-3  to Poland . What got me was the segregaton of fans . I did shake hand with a lone Polish supporter who was with the Home crowd and there was none of the sardonic humour you often get when Wales lose as the crowd left the ground . But I missed the fans mixing together before and after the match and it a great pity that this happened.

The first game i attended  was I believe in 1970 when I travelled down with a friend down to Swansea to watch Wales play Northern Ireland (Who had George Best in their side) where we won 1-0.

But the shock was arriving at the station to meet  Police force  who were there to keep the trains Cardiff fans from a group of Swansea fans  who were gathering to "greet them".

We were playing Northern Ireland and some were only interested in club rivalries! I understand this is still true of international matches.

Today the Western Mule reports the unbelievable story that 
Thirty football fans brought terror to an afternoon at the races when they fought running battles for 15 minutes.
Groups of Swansea and Cardiff City fans clashed at Newbury Racecourse on Saturday leading to the closure of bars around the circuit and police descending on the site.
Only three people were arrested – two for affray and one for a public order offence, Thames Valley Police said.
It was not clear why the sets of Welsh unleashed their violence at the ground in Berkshire marring the Newbury Summer Festival.
I know that the vast number of Football fans are well behaved and indeed Ruby supporters drunken behaviour on International days are tolerated much more than their football counterparts . But can anyone explain this?

This disease is spread throughout the World game and I'm at a loss to see a solution.

Strangely, I once had a positive experience of football fans from an unexpected quarter when travelling to London. A group of England fans got on on at Bristol and carried out the journey in good humour and one talked about meeting a bunch of rival supporters in a pub and having such a god time singing rival club songs.

There are often bitter rivalries between Ruby Clubs and there are often some appalling comments from supporters during the match  but there's nothing like the violence we see in football . Even though they are basically the same people attending .

Who would go to game if they can expect such behaviour?

It has been said that the growth in Italian Rugby is partially because fans realise that they can see a comparative match in safety.

It's time we end this behaviour and people realise what damage they are doing to their Club, Nation and the game in general.

Support your side. Even have a side you love to beat (indeed perhaps you should have); But let any rivalries be decided on the pitch.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Welsh Regiments?

The BBC reports that...

Hundreds of troops from two Welsh elements of the Army are set to take on Olympic security work.
The Army in Wales confirmed that the Queens Dragoon Guards - known as the Welsh Cavalry - and 1 Rifles were being put forward for security cover for Olympic events across the UK.
The QDGs are based in Germany while 1 Rifles infantry battalion are at Chepstow.

Welsh Elements? What the hell that does that mean?

The 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards (QDG) is a cavalry regiment of the British Army. Nicknamed The Welsh Cavalry, the regiment recruits from Wales, Herefordshire, and Shropshire, and is the senior cavalry regiment, and therefore senior regiment, of the line of the British Army. The regiment is part of the Royal Armoured Corps

Its HQ is at at Maindy barracks though they are currents based in Germany (a relic of cold war strategy) and it museum at Cardiff Castle so it has a clear connection. The 1st battalion of the Rifles' Garrison is at Beachey Gloucestershire rather than Chepstow as far as I can see.Unless the BBC meant that 1st Battalion, The Royal Welsh (Royal Welch Fusiliers ) ( a light infantry battalion based since August 2008 at Dale Barracks Chester and who have a Cardiff HQ

There's often a desperate attempt to Identify various parts of the British Army with Wales . although the connections are not as strong as with  Scot and her regiments  we often see Welsh Politicians  reacting when any are threatened with cuts 

Why we are so proud of our connection to Britain's Imperial past?

Its not so bad as in Scotland where even the SNP cry out in anguish when a Regiment or Battalion are threatened . But every effort ids made to tie in these regiments with a Welsh connection.

The Regimental Goat, Regimental  March eating Leeks on St David's day . Though the QDG uses  the Radenzky March..

Even one of the most popular films Zulu leaves the impression that at it was the South Wales Boarderers whio fought at Roakes Drift  , but was not called the South Wales Borderers until 1881 and was then known as the Regiment of Foot, in 1689and although  I can't deny the heroism of those involved the Battle. The  defence and the 11 Victoria Crosses were  largely a public relation and moral boosting exercise  after the disaster of  Battle of Isandlwana  where the Zulu's had killed 1300 troops.

Of the soldiers present at Roakes Drift , 49 were English, 32 Welsh, 16 Irish and 22 others of indeterminate nationality

 Breakdown of British and colonial casualties:[
1st/24th Foot: 4 killed or mortally wounded in action; 2 wounded
2nd/24th Foot: 9 killed or mortally wounded in action; 9 wounded
Commissariat and Transport Department: 1 killed in action; 1 wounded
Natal Mounted Police: 1 killed in action; 1 wounded
1st/3rd NNC: 1 killed in action
2nd/3rd NNC: 2 wounded

Three hundred and fifty-one Zulu bodies were counted after the battle, Something the film missed.and  it has been estimated that at least 500 wounded and captured Zulus might have been massacred.

Incidental the iconic singing  of Men of Harlech was copied from a film Apache Drums  where a group of Welsh Settlers sing it as a response when trapped in a Barn and surrounded  Apache chanting in the manner of the Zulus by launching into 'The Men of Harlech')."

I saw it once  it's a bloody awful Film .

My father was in the South Wales Boarderers during the Second World war and was badly wounded so i have respect for them . But as someone who believes in an Independent Wales I envisage Free Wales having a small defence force free of the Imperial History . Do any regiment have the Opium Wars on their regimental honours?

I have no interest in preserving the current British Regiments and would much prefer our young men and women remained in Wales and as throughout History be forced by economic reasons to fight in the continuing folly of believing that the best way do defend these Islands is to occupy foreign lands far away.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Hype still hasn't warmed us to Olympics.

According yo the Western Mule a recent survey commissioned by them from Beaufort Research amongst over 1,000 adults across Wales, 52% not think that the 2012 London Olympics will bring any benefit to Wales. This proportion was even higher in North Wales, where three in five of the population (60%) could not foresee any benefit.

1,006 adults aged 16 and over across Wales were asked “To what extent do you think Wales will benefit from the 2012 London Olympics?”

The majority were highly sceptical, with only total of 7% of Welsh adults think that London 2012 will bring major benefits to Wales, with a further 38% thinking there will be a small benefit.

In Cardiff and South East Wales and Mid and West Wales, slightly higher proportions than average (10% and 9% respectively) think that Wales will see major benefits from the sporting tournament –this could be because Cardiff has been thrown a bone several of the football events at the Millennium Stadium.

Opinion is also more positive amongst younger Welsh adults aged 16-24 years and those in the AB socio-economic groups (that is those in higher managerial, administrative or professional occupations), where 51% and 58% respectively think that Wales will see at least some benefit from the Olympics.

This ties in with a similar UK wide poll that was carried out throughout the UK for the BBC which found that most people think the Olympic Games will mainly benefit London and not the rest of the country, a BBC poll of 2,017 people has found.Of those questioned, 74% said the rest of the UK would not benefit, with Scots and those in Wales and south-west and northern England most likely to agree.

This despite the extensive BBC coverage of the Torch relay using this to publicise their coverage (How much has this cost?).

What is the budget for the BBC for the Olympics beyond coverage of the actual event how much money has been diverted from other projects like regional television, and now its responsible for S4C how much from Welsh Language service?.

Despite the hype. It's clear people in Wales and the rest of the UK outside London see no benefit from a event that will leave them with a huge tax bill..

One would aspect that during the Olympics public opinion will  become momentarily more positive but a year from now when the true cost is realised whose going to carry the Blame . The coalition Government under whose auspices the games had been run or Labour who started it all.
After the self congratulations in August 2012 expect the blame game in August 2013. 

Friday, 13 July 2012

Plaid draw one all on Môn.

Plaid Cymru's News page os beong a bit disingenuous when iy reports 

Plaid gain in Ynys Môn by-election

Vaughan Hughes has won the  Llanbedrgoch by-election on Ynys Môn. 
The results:
Plaid 182
UKIP  89
Independent 1    92
Independent 2  92 

However Plaid failed to contest the The Gwyngyll by-election after the resignation of Penri Williams  lo s The favourite would appear to be the contest us Independent candidate Alun Mummery who is chairman of the community council and secretary of Llanfairpwll football club. His Opponent  is from Elaine Gill, from the neighbouring town of Menai Bridge, who is standing for UKIP.

I have failed to find the result so far so will update later.

However Plaid's spin is as I wrote disingenuous as they also lost a seat and it should be seen as a draw ,

Update 11 20 AM


Alun Mummery Independent 378
Eliane Gill UKIP 93