Thursday, 28 February 2013

Eastleigh-2013and Newport-1922

Today's Eastleigh By-election will be a a test for the Con/LibDem coalition and some have compared it with  the Newport By-election of 1922

The seat had been held the Liberal Lewis Halam who had previously sat for Monmouth Bourgeois  as a Liberal  but has fought the new seat of Newport  as a coalition Liberal and did not have a Conservative opponent .

Though the Labour Party who were to prove to replace the Liberal party as the radical choice of  voters almost immediately fought the seat.
General election, 1918: Newport
Coalition LiberalLewis Haslam14,08056.4
LabourJ.W. Bowen10,23441.0
Independent DemocratB. P. Thomas6472.6

In the By-Election the Tories put up a candidate and it was wildly perceived this would split the coalition vote and let Labour in .
In the end the Conservatives held the seat as the Liberal vote collapsed.

Newport by-election, 1922
ConservativeReginald Clarry13,51540.00N/A
LabourJ.W. Bowen11,42533.8-7.2
LiberalWilliam Lynden Moore8,84126.2-30.2
Conservative gain from LiberalSwingN/A
The conservative leader Austen Chamberlain had been facing a growing rebellion amongst Conservative MPs over the Conservatives' continued support for the Coalition, and so had called a meeting of MPs at the Carlton Club to decide the issue. Expecting a Labour victory in Newport, the meeting was scheduled for 19 October in the hope that the result would persuade many Conservatives of the merits of remaining in alliance with the Liberals as the only way to keep Labour out of power.
The Carlton Club meeting took place nine hours after the declaration and many interpreted the result as a rejection of the Coalition, even though locally it appeared more a rejection of Labour and a vote for the Conservative candidate. The extent to which the by-election result alone influenced the outcome of the Conservative Party meeting is debated, but the meeting voted by 187:87 to leave the Coalition, with Austen Chamberlain resigning the leadership immediately afterwards.

Eastleigh of course is different  but the preasure on the two coalition leaders is hugh

For the Liberal Democrats, its a must win and if they were to lose it could see the party turning on Nick Clegg and the Rennard scandal could give even more  momentum to attempts to change their leader or even the excuse.

For the Tories,the danger is that they lose votes to Ukip letting the LibDems in and resulting into a fierce attack from Cameron's Euro-Sceptic backbenchers.

Ukip, can't lose A poor result will be largely ignored but a surge will propel the media to increasingly give them favourable coverage especially from the Murdoch's Eurosceptic empire..

For Labour a god result will give them credibility in the South of England and but to do this they must be seen to have garnered votes from disillusioned  Liberal Democrats 

But it is unlikely the result will follow that of Newport in 1922. Because then the Conservatives will confident of wining the next General Election which the polls show they are not.

And the LibDems face bloodbath if they force an election now and we all know "Turkeys don't often vote for Christmas".

Still on Friday we may see at least one Leader contemplating his future and a coalition still carrying on but falling apart at the seams..

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Its not all about you Leighton

Leighton Andrews cannot be accused of hiding his light under a bushel scarcely a week goes by without him announcing an imitative or policy change or the reason why not.

His rejection of proposals how public and private bodies should use the Welsh language in their day to day business.put forward by Welsh Language Commissioner Meri Huws Claiming  that the measures are too "unreasonable or disproportionate" in terms of implementation. 

He and other Minister will instead devise their own set of standards and hold a statutory consultation with the public sector.

Ms Huws. may be wondering what she is there for.

Her CV made her an obvious choice for the job

Born in Carmarthenshire, she was educated at Fishguard High School, University of Wales, Aberystwyth, where she studied law and politics, and the University of Oxford, where she studied to be a social worker.] She is head of the Lifelong Learning Department at Bangor University, and deputy vice-chancellor.She was chair of the The Welsh Language Society from 1981 to 1983, and was a normal member of the Welsh Language Board between 1993 and 1997.She was Chairman of the Welsh Language Board from 2004 until the Board was abolished in March 2012. In 2012, Meri Huws was appointed to the new post of Welsh Language Commissioner.

Oh and perhaps more importantly  She is a member of the Labour Party.

The last bit is vital Ms Hughes .should have realised her role was to make sure that the board did not come into conflict with the Welsh Labour Government and come up with wishy-washy policies which can be rubber stamped by the likes of Leighton Andrews.
She has now been told not to be a sily girls and go away whilst her betters come up with the Welsh Language policy they wanted in the first place.

The education minister has also announced that he  is removing Merthyr Tydfil council's responsibility for education after a highly critical report by the schools watchdog, Estyn.
Leighton Andrews. said the authority had failed to respond to recommendations going back eight years and could not resolve the problems even with support.
Merthyr council leader Brendan Toomey ,who won the council back for Labour last year said he was happy to discuss the way forward with appropriate organisations.

So he seems to be open to permanently  loosing 
Government officials have contacted neighbouring Rhondda Cynon Taf council.
Mr Andrews said his "preferred option" was to merge the two councils' education services.

What this means for Council Tax payers is unclear .

  • Will the expenditure of Education in Merthyr be the same as it is now.or will it be increased?.
  • Will the Welsh Assembly make up the difference?
  • Will money be diverted from other needy sources in Merthyr ?
  • Or will Council Tax Payers in RCT find they are paying more to pay for Education in another county

Cynics may wel think that Leighton has picked om Merthyr because it is Labour controlled and he can't be accused of acting against only councils which are not controlled by his party.

Leighton. likes to present  himself a s a dynamic minister but all to often he looks like a publicity hungry politician coming up with or rejecting policies designed to get him noticed in the media.

If he really wants to be dynamic then he should indicate to Carwyn Jones. that he would like to take over the Health portfolio.

But then that will not get him the populist coverage he so enthusiastically seeks.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Plaid : Powers without delay.

In it's submission to o the Silk Commission Plaid Cymru  have called for  devolving wide-ranging powers to the Welsh assembly, including over criminal justice, broadcasting and energy. without delay 

It is the without delay which is important , I t points to Plaid being much more aggressive in pushing for more powers and that they are moving on from the safe zone they seemingly seemed to have accepted of accepting the Devolution settlement. and a low but gradual process of gaining new powers.

As there is no good reason to delay these proposals we should have a Government of Wales Act as soon as practicable”
Elfyn Llwyd

In its evidence to the commission, Plaid said new powers over the police, rail infrastructure and food safety should be devolved to Cardiff.

Many of the transfers could be achieved without legislation, it said.

However, legislation would be needed to create the Scottish-style devolution settlement that Plaid said would give the assembly a broader range of powers.

The party said it would make it less likely that legislation passed by the assembly ends up in the courts.

Plaid should now start taking this to the Welsh People irrespective of Silk arguing for parity with the Scottish Parliament and by the next Assembly election bar one (2020) at the very least. Wales should be voting for members a equivalent  Parliament with the equivalent powers of Scotland at that time..

This should not distract Plaid for arguing for Independence but should be the very least option they put towards the Welsh electorate which is where the debate should be not an elected commission irrespective of what its recommendations may be, 

Monday, 25 February 2013

Gender Equality in the Assembly can we achieve it?

I find myself half nodding to Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood saying  a change in the law might be needed to make sure more women are elected to the Welsh assembly.Leanne  said that legislation might be necessary to alter the gender balance

In 2006, 52% of the 60 AMs were women, but that figure has now fallen to a Gender balance could well be in reverse in the Assembly
However, she was not specific on what changes were needed.

She said:
 "Within Plaid Cymru, we have a strong internal democracy which reflects how much we rely on the party membership as a grassroots body.
"The side effect of this is that measures to promote women are not always at their strongest, but must be balanced out with local party control.
"Over the years we have also seen that this is true outside of Plaid Cymru as well, as tensions between local party democracy and central party machines have been apparent in other parties."
The problem which Leanne seems to recognise is that previous attempts  to address this especially by Labour was used to make sure that it had greater control of selection and to exclude Left wing Men and Women and resulted in an intake into Westminster  of Blairite MP who did bugger all for ordinary Women.

So how can we address the situation?

Legislation would be difficult you could address it to political parties  but what about Independents?
You could for instance introduce STV and insist that Political Parties have at least Two candidates with one candidate being female..

Burt the real issue should be that just as working class and ethnic politician forget their roots and whilst they make noises are son absorbed into the political bubble.
The same is true of feminist. The likes of Labour's Harriet Harman make all the right noises when speaking on Women's rights to the annoyance of chauvinist male MPs on both sides of the House

But she was part of the Blair government who talked about equality but did little for ordinary working class women

And that the real challenge . It is the position of ordinary women on low pay and little chance of advancemnt which we must address..

Leanne has asked the question but not provided an answer . But then again who amongst us have one that will not only work but benefit all Women not just the political class?

Sunday, 24 February 2013


I have English friends who are often perplexed  by my Anyone But England (ABE) attitude and have sometime been called a racist for it .

But with the coverage of  the six Nations  it is not difficult to fall into the ABE camp

For example on when talking about the Daybreak talking about rugby on the day before yesterdays Matches.

"When England beat France tomorrow they are guaranteed the championship" .
But its the BBC who are worst offenders . The coverage often appears to consist of

England,England,England,England,England,England. Oh an some other teams also are playing in the six nations but never mind about them . England,England,England,......
And after the Welsh Victory the female presenter turned to the camera and said

"Well that was just the starter, The Main Course is yet to come  with England play France.
Todays Scotland Ireland Game will see on of these sides remaining in the Mix for the Chapionship though you would not know it from the BBC coverage  and I bet even during this Match we will still have reverences to England

Now I accept after their victory England are clear favourites to win the Championship and the Grand Slam and have a healthy 36 point goal difference  compared to Wales' 19 and if both were to win on March 9/10 then I can see England putting more points on Italy at Home..

Though there still no reason to dismiss the possibility of Scotland defeating France on the final day or Ireland beating  comprehensively to top the Table.

It is still to soon to call  but from the very first weekend you wouldn't know it.

Even if England were heading for the wooden spoon the coverage would be concentrated on that .

You could argue that this is because there's not a BBC England with a sports department just as there's  not a English Parliament.

But would it make any difference to the  England,England,England,...... bias from the BBC

It is a sad reflection of the major issue of the Union where only one Nation counts even without its own parliament.

I very much doubt it and it may be childish of me to respond with ABE but that's what I will continue to until we see the other Nations in this competition treated equally.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Clutching at Straw Polls

For some reason the BBC have given prominence on the Text political pages to A mock referendum among students on Scottish independence has resulted in a large majority in favour of staying within the UK.

Students at the University of Glasgow were balloted using the same question as will be used in the referendum itself, due next year.

When asked "should Scotland be an independent country?", 62% (1614) voted no, while 38% (967) said yes.

Only 2,589 out of more than 23,000 students took part in the poll.

Now I can understand how the biased unionist media like the Scotsman and Herald making much of just over 10% of students voting. Some of who will not be living in Scotland when the referendum takes place.

But for the BBC to treat this as a major political story is ridiculous.

There's also a myth that students are more politically aware than the rest of the population but from my experience only a few can be bothered to partake in the Student Union activities out side entertainment at the Union Building and their own societies.

Politics comes way down in their interests alas  and those that do  are put off when they realise that many of the most vocal have decided that they are pursing a political career and see the Union as more useful for this  than academic achievement.

This was not an opinion pol and should not be treated as such and reflects that Unionist including the BBC are clutching at straws and using this mock referendum to show that there's no desire for independence. When it merely reflects the membership and strength of the political societies in Glasgow University.

Friday, 22 February 2013

ITV poll Labour unchallenged . Tories by UKip

The latest YouGov poll for ITV Wales shows Labour well ahead when it comes to all voting Intentions in Waled with UKip making the headlines

Assembly Constituency vote

Labour 50% (up 8%)

Conservatives 19% (down 6%)

Plaid Cymru 17% (down 2%)

Liberal Democrats 7% (down 4%)

Others 8% (up 5%)

It's how people say they would cast their regional list votes that Ukip make the break through .

Regional Vote
Labour 35% (down 2%)

Plaid Cymru 20% (up 2%)

UKIP 12% (up 7%)

Conservatives 11% (down 12%)

Liberal Democrats 8% (no change)

Greens 7% (up 4%)

Others 6% (no change)

This could lead to the Assembly make up being

Labour 31-33 (up 3)

Plaid Cymru 13 (up 2)

UKIP 5 (up 5)

Conservatives 5-7(down 9)

Liberal Democrats 4 (down 1)

So Labour gain an overall majority whilst thr Tories lose out to UKip on the regional lists . Plaid would gain seats and by default rather than spectacular vote become the main opposition.

For the Westminster Election it looks grim for the Liberal Democrats 

UK General Election Vote
Labour 54% (up 18%)
Conservatives 23% (down 3%)
Plaid Cymru 10% (down 1%)
Liberal Democrats 4% (down 16%)
Others 9% (up 3%)
It is also notable that the Tories received 21% of the vote in 2001 and failed to win a seat .

But it is Labour are also poised to make enormous vote gains in the European Parliament elections next year, with a 24% spike in their vote compared to the 2009 elections, to 44%.
The Tories would see their vote increase by 2% to 23%, but Ukip would ironically drop four points to 9%, while the Lib Dems and Plaid Cymru would also see their votes fall.
Projections, calculated by psephologist Dr Denis Balsom, would see Labour take three MEPs, with the Tories one, and Ukip seeing their only MEP - John Bufton - disappear
 Though I cant see this and put Labour on Two Conservatives on One and Plaid picking up the fourth seat.

But all this proves that all Labour need to to do is not be the Con/Lib Westminster government as they did in the Thatcher era.

The challenge for Plaid in particular is to offer the people of Wales an radical alternative and that means pushing forward the Independence agenda particularly comparing Wales and Scotland.

The people of Waled may be turning to Labour but they are not the answer can Plaid provide it.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Leighton Andrews seeks to take education from some or all councils.

The Wasting Mule reports that Welsh schools inspectorate Estyn have education services in Merthyr and Monmouthshire were both "unsatisfactory" and recommended they be placed in special meas

They follow Blaenau Gwent, Anglesey and Pembrokeshire in requiring the highest level of Estyn support and monitoring – with four authorities still to be inspected.

An ongoing review into education delivery will consider whether school services should be managed centrally by the Welsh Government – and not local authorities.

Robert Hill, a former adviser to Prime Minister Tony Blair, has been charged with assessing the situation and Mr Andrews said he had “not ruled anything in or out”.

Mr Andrews told the Western Mail:

 “I think what it (Estyn’s findings) demonstrates is that some small local authorities don’t have the strategic capacity to run a proper education service. This can’t go on.

Mr Andrews seems to be indicating that he considers some Authorities too small to be in charge of education.

The fact that there both social deprived Merthyr and affluent Monmouth both  have been deemed unsatisfactory seems to back his case but we really need more information.

But I believe there's  a case for creating a new Tier of Government  of  5 authorities which will oversee Health,Policing Social Services and Education.

Comprising of 20 representatives elected by STV. They will have direct links to the Assembly Minister and will be charged making these areas work

At the same time each of the current authorities should have their numbers cut by about 20% ie about 200 and at the same time abolish the quangos and trusts  associated with them.

This  should mean that after establishment there will be no additional costs to the electorate even savings

But is suspect Leighton Andrews already knows what he wants and has made it clear to Robert Hill and he is using the Estyn reports  as an excuse to peruse his own agenda .

Whether this will be to the ultimate benefit of Welsh Schools remains to be seen


Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Save the Salmon?

After yesterdays blog on devolving Police powers  it seems Carwyn Jones  may have a battle on with his Welsh Labour MPs

Delyn MP David Hanson Labour's shadow policing minister said devolving control of the police to Cardiff would be a major step with many challenges, 

MP David Hanson said reducing crime was more important than deciding which government manages the police.

I don't want to rule anything in or rule anything out.
"What I'm really interested in is not the organisation that manages police and crime and justice, but actually what it means in terms of delivering crime reduction and justice for people who are victims of crime.
"The Welsh government have yesterday made a pitch for consideration of devolution.

"We'll look at that, but there are some really complex issues around this in relation to serious organised crime, counterterrorism, the legal system, justice, probation, which need to be examined in very great detail before such a major step would even be considered to be taken."

He added:

 "It isn't just a simple matter of devolving policing to Wales because counter terrorism, serious organised crime, cross-border issues, much of the crime in my part of Wales derives from people who live in England."

Mr Hanson stressed that he was not arguing against the idea:

 "I'm just saying there are many challenges to this."

Seems like a  let me keep part of my Job argument to me ? What difficulties are there with devolving polcinf just copy Scotland

Criminal Justice will be harder because Scotland already had a separate legal system before devolution but thaen we can look to Northern Ireland.

Carwyn should tell his fellow members 

"I don't want problems I want solutions".

The Independent Police Commisionners  seemed to be  split over the issue perhaps realising that the Assembly would probably abolish these positions if they were given Policing powers The independent North Wales Police Commissioner Winston Roddick said:

 "The Welsh government is well placed, is it not, to understand the needs and develop laws and policies for Wales and there is an interface between devolved responsibilities, such as community safety and criminal justice, which is critical."

South Wales Police Commissioner Alun Michael, a former Labour leader of the assembly and an ex-MP, said the commissioners already had regular meetings with Welsh ministers.
"This joined-up approach which the Welsh government is setting out is far better - it spells out a vision, and then allows for time to be given to these important details about the practicalities," 
Gwent Police Commissioner Ian Johnston, an independent, said that if policing were devolved it must improve services.
"Whilst I appreciate the first minister's comments were part of a submission to the Silk Commission, what is being proposed does lack detail," he said."I need more in the way of detail and clarity about how the government's proposals would work before I can make an informed comment on the proposals."

 Conservative Dyfed-Powys Police Commissioner Christopher Salmon cane up  with the usual cliche  claiming there was "no real appetite out there" to devolve policing.saying:

"It's much more to do with a power grab by political anoraks in Cardiff Bay than it is about what people really need,"

Mr Salmon told Good Morning Wales that police and crime commissioners were elected last year

 "precisely to bring a greater accountability and greater focus to the fight against crime to local people".
And of course  there was a real appetite for Mr Salmon

Who gained  32,887 votes, against 31,773 for Christine  Gwyther, a former minister in the Welsh government. The turnout was 16.4%.

Mind you 16.4% was impressive considering some results.

But there you go a man who has very little mandate defends his job from possible abolition on the grounds thatt people in Wales don't wan't control of policing devolved.

Why am I not surprised?

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

A long and winding road.

Yesterdays statement by Carwyn Jones, on the Welsh Labour  Government  submission to the Silk Commission, which is looking at the scope of the Welsh Assembly's remit, says devolution needed to be "enhanced and restructured" and .powers over policing to be devolved to Wales.and a hope that eventually criminal justice should be devolved  is a bit like a hard working firms employers offered a future bonus rather than an immediate pay rise.
Mr Jones said: "Decisions that affect Wales should be taken in Wales.
The first minister emphasised that policing and criminal justice are now "the only mainstream public services which are not devolved to Wales", and that this status quo "is becoming increasingly hard to justify."
Powers over criminal justice would include the courts prisons and probation, as well as the establishment of a separate Welsh legal jurisdiction. As part of the preparations for this, Mr Jones called for the appointment of a Welsh member of the Supreme Court.
He also called for a new Government of Wales Act "in order to strengthen accountability, and reduce the scope for conflict between the Welsh and UK Governments."
This call for a reassessment of the scope of devolution comes less than two years since a referendum on the assembly's powers was held.
So will we see Labour putting devolving to Wales in its UK General Election Manifesto? Will it include  cotrol over all laws relating to water matters within the geographical boundary of Carwyn seems to want 
Will Criminal Justice be in this mix.
How much may well  depends on the Silk Commission's recommendation?
If it does recommend these and they are not in the major parties manifestos whats would have been the point of it?
What is the point anyway?. Why can't  the Welsh Government argue the case and take it to the Welsh People instead of an unelected commission.?
And why separate devolution of Policing powers and Criminal Justice.
Would this lead to a Welsh Minister in charge of policing order them to carry out duties to which his government are opposed?
Carwyn's call makes headlines and make him and his party appear to be committed devolutionist .
Bur with the claim that these powers should be in place by 2020 (i.e. the end of the term of the next government),
Its a long road and Wales needs to seek these powers now.
Even if the Scottish referendum in Scotland fails . Ther will be some form of devo-max and as Wales take a small step through policing powers Scotland will move further ahead.
Although my preferment is for Independence sooner than later. We need those parties who claim to be in favour of devolution to push for parity with Scotland now.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Tory peer : London poor should move to Wales. titles

A Tory peer has come under fire for telling the House of Lords poorer people struggling to afford rents in London should move to Wales.

Baroness Gardner of Parkes made the remarks during a debate in the upper chamber this week.

She said it didn’t matter where people lived if their homes were paid for by the state.

She also told Lords that as a

 “New South Welshman myself”, she knew Wales was a “beautiful country”.

The row came as a new limit on housing benefit for people aged 16 to 64 living in Bromley, Croydon, Enfield and Haringey is set to be introduced from April.

In her original remarks,it appears  Gardner was responding to Plaid Cymru’s Dafydd  Wigley, who spoke prior to her  in the debate, later said he was concerned by any potential plan to “cleanse” Greater London

She said:
The housing issue is not such a battle now. It has been addressed by putting a ceiling on housing benefit.
“I heard the noble Lord, Lord Wigley, talk about Wales and the shortage of work there.
“Surely a lot of those people who cannot get anywhere else to live in the country could go to Wales.
“If you are living on a benefit, it does not matter where you are living if it is fully paid for by someone else.
“Wales has always had a marvellous reputation for literacy, and I am quite sure that the schools would be good there. You want to be able to live in a safe, clean environment.
“Again, Wales is a beautiful country. I am a New South Welshman myself.”
Wales on Sunday 17th February 2013

Plaid Cymru’s Dafydd Wigley, who spoke prior to Baroness Gardner in the debate, later said he was concerned by any potential plan to “cleanse” Greater London.

Wigley said: 

“I was quite surprised, as were a number of colleagues from various groups across the benches that she should have said that.
“The implication is that a young mother with children in school can’t afford to keep up their payments with rents very high in London and that they would move to Merthyr Tydfil or Middlesbrough.
“Well, goodness me, it would be moving them away from all their family and support network but also moving them into areas of high unemployment.
“In areas like Blaenau Gwent and the Rhondda there are 11 or 12 people chasing one job.”
Lord Wigley added it was “unacceptable” if public policy went in that direction.
Wales on Sunday 17th February 2013

Wikipedia offers some insight into Gardner :

"She was born in Parkes, New South Wales as Rachel Trixie Anne McGirr, the daughter of Greg McGirr, a former leader of the New South Wales Labor Party. From an early age she was known as Trixie.
Trixie Gardner is a dentist by profession. She gained a Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) in 1954 from the University of Sydney and later studied at Cordon Bleu de Paris. She was a councillor of Westminster City Council from 1968 to 1978, and was Lady Mayoress 1987-88.
In 1970, she stood for the Conservative Party against Barbara Castle (Labour) in Blackburn, and in 1974 stood against John Pardoe (Liberal) in North Cornwall. In 1971 she was made a Justice of the Peace.
On 19 June 1981 she was created a life peeress of the United Kingdom, taking the name Baroness Gardner of Parkes, of Southgate in Greater London and of Parkes in the State of New South Wales and Commonwealth of Australia. She was ennobled for her two decades of community and local government work in the Tory cause, the first Australian woman to be so honoured.
On 4 April 2007 she was made an Honorary Fellow of the University of Sydney."

So her connection to Westminster Council rather than New South Wales may be the root cause of her idiotic contribution and points to her not wanting any poor people living around her .

But it would be all to easy to dismiss this as a arbitrary remark by an obscure Tory Politician  but it reflects thier  policy as aw hole and as   Wigley said, pointed to of "the cleansing of London of the poor and unemployed".

Gardner probably, was not singling out Wales as she probably would have refereed to a part of England id a Northern Labour peer had preceded her.

But its unbelievable that such a insensitive and stupid person should be part of our legislature , Unelected and with no mandate and who we can't remove from office no matter what she says.

The sooner we abolish the House of Lords and titles and  the likes of Baroness Gardner of Parkes returning to being plain Trixie Gardner the better.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

David Jones damages Wales with his anti-gay comments.

Welsh Secretary David Jones has come under fire after claiming gay couples “clearly” could not provide a “warm and safe environment” to raise children.

I suppose the Tory MP, who voted against the UK government’s plans to introduce gay marriage in the Commons last week, made his remarks to ITV Wales’s Face To Face programme, is at least is being a bit more honest than the rest of his colleagues (from other parties as well) who voted against the bill..

Shadow Welsh secretary Owen Smith blasted the comments as evidence that the “nasty party is alive and well under David Cameron”.

Though Jones views exists in his own Party as the vote showed.

Mr Jones said:

 “I regard marriage as an institution that has developed over many centuries, essentially for the provision of a warm and safe environment for the upbringing of children, which is clearly something that two same-sex partners can’t do.”

Mr Jones seems to be living in a perfect world of heterosexual relationships , where there's no domestic violence, alcoholic partners , infidelity etc.

And is it a warm safe environment when?

  • One partner is in the armed forces and on active service where their family are in constant fear of their safety?
  • Or even a Politician and a Government Minister absent from home for most of the week.
  • Or parking the kids of to boarding school.

What is this warm and safe environment that David Jones is talking about perhaps he can tell us.

How warm and safe are his own circumstances?

Some Gay couples are going to be bloody awful parents some brilliant and most average. Just like everyone else.

David Jones is part of the public face of Wales and his comments to us a great damage even economically as some companies may not be encouraged to invest in this Nation   with a Welsh Minister whose beliefs belong to another decadeand which consist of the Taliban Tendency (more details here)

Will people be looking at Wales and through David Jones label us in the same vein?

Friday, 15 February 2013

One Nation/Labour ? More like Tory Lite.

So Labour rebranding continues First we had New Labour now we have One Nation Labour


As evidence Ed Miliband announced that a Labour government would seek to re-introduce the 10p starting rate of tax scrapped by Gordon Brown in 2008, E

Mr   Milibandsaid it was a "very bad mistake" to get rid of it and the move would send a "clear signal" his party was on the "side of working people".

The move, worth about £2 a week for people, would be funded by a "mansion tax" on £2m properties, he said.

But No 10 said it was a "stunning admission of economic incompetence".

The decision to scrap the 10p tax band - announced in the 2007 Budget as part of a package which also saw the basic rate of tax reduced from 22p to 20p - was highly controversial.

So there you have it One Nation Labour are on your side.

Except of course those on the bottom rung . Because this is aimed to appeal to Middle England But it also means ED supporting cuts to the EU budget at Wales’s  and indeed the (poorer regions of England )

New Labour was Tony Blair's highly successful wooing  of Middle England and Tory leaning Voters and One Nation/Labour has the same name.

For the people of Wales who have loyally stuck with Labour or who had a brief flirtation with Plaid and the Liberal Democrats he offers nothing.

Fir Labour like all the Westminster Parties Welsh votes are irrelevant  . There's only about 10 Marginal seats  and for Labour in particular .

Even in 1983 when there was a Tory Landslide . Labour still held 20 of the 38 seats losing only 1.

You only have to look at the comparison  of the  map of the 1997 and the 2010 election to see where the battle ground is.

Uk '971.png

Labour need to regain ground in those vat areas of Blue in the South of England  and even then for them Middle England  is just that the English Midlands.

They cant rely on the Liberal Democrats to turn some seats in the South  yellow .so this area becomes even more vital to their success

So for Labour in particular Wales is irrelevant and areas like the South Wales Valleys are even more irrelevant .when it comes to the UK.

New Labour  was highly a successful rebranding as Tony Blair abandoned the working Class vote and turned his party who should have named themselves Tory Lite and One Nation Labour merely continues the process.

But even then it id Governments which lose elections? Labour would have won in 1997 without rebanding .

It was largely due to Bliar molding the Party to his own image an image which David Cameron sees when he looks in the mirror.

Whose image does Ed Milliband see these days?

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Time to stop being poor West Britons.

The Wasting Mule reports that Wages in Wales have sunk back to levels not seen since 2003 as a lack of pay increases mean they are no longer keeping pace with inflation.

It goes on to say:
The median hourly wage in Wales was £10.16 in 2012, the same – when adjusted for inflation – as in 2003, according to analysis by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The country has the second lowest median wage after Northern Ireland.
In real terms, wages in Wales peaked at £11.20 in 2009, but with wage growth less than inflation in recent years, purchasing power has shrunk.
Wales TUC general secretary, Martin Mansfield said: “Wages have been stagnating for around 10 years but within the grip of failing austerity, things are set to get a lot worse.
“The TUC recently calculated that a worker on a median salary of around £25,000 has already lost nearly £4,000 since December 2009.
“The Office for Budget Responsibility has forecast that median real full-time wages in 2017 will be at roughly 2000 levels which will have a devastating impact on the incomes of working people and the wider Welsh economy.
“With living standards falling and the threat of a triple dip recession, it is impossible to see how austerity is working.”

Western Mail 14th February 2013

With high unemployment particularly long term and with a trend towards involuntary underemployment continues (where someone who is employed part-time wants more hours or a full-time job),

The increase of part-time jobs which have grown. According to statistics, eight million people are working less than full-time hours – 27% of all those in employment in the UK. 

I have no figure's for Wales, but there's no reason to suspect they are are lower than the UK average.

Working on this Plaid 's Jonathan Edwards MP statement :
"We are not in a position to win independence until we have improved the Welsh economy."
Looks like a an impossible task . I agree that Plaid has a problem in that with their weak electoral standing it has to address the reality of their position of wales where it hasn't the support for Independence and must address the Welsh Economy as it is .

The policies of which may be different under those they would like under Independence.

But isn't it time theyy started arguing that only Independence will stop us being poor West Britons and will create the conditions necessary for a Welsh Economic revival?

Clearly under the policies coming from Westminster under Labour or Tory/LibDems in Westminster, or from a Welsh Assembly content to spend the pocket money it is given are not working.

No is the time to argue the unthinkable that we have no choice either to accept the Status Quo and remain West Britons for ever constantly behind in the wealth states or strike out on our own.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Cait Reilly 1 IDS 0

There can be no doubt a period unpaid placement for job seekers can be usefully and as someone who has undergone them my I have only a few regrets about my experience.

One was a problem with payment. In that you are taken off jobseeker allowance and paid a separate allowance  and then have to reapply at your jobcenter  at the end of your placement. When it would be simpler to simply have people not sign- on for that period  provided they attended the placement as required.

In fact my main regret was that I enjoyed the placement and found that the work I was doing valuable and boosted my CV; But the despair of finding myself thrown back on jobseekers  particularly as I was enjoying myself and the feeling that that at my age it was not making a difference didn't help me.

But at least the work was suited to my talents

The case of  Cait Reilly, who has won her legal fight after the court of appeal declared that almost all of the government's 'work-for-your-benefit' employment schemes were unlawful. is different .

Cait Reilly responded  off accusations that she is little more than a "job snob", as the work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith once branded her. She is currently working on the checkout in Morrisons. And she is no scrounger. "I hated being on benefits," she said.

What roused the 24-year-old geology graduate, a self-described reticent and shy woman, who likes to "keep herself to herself", was her Jobcentre telling her that she could no longer do her work experience in her local museum.

Instead, she was told that she had to do unpaid work stacking shelves in Poundland.

"My first reaction was to be really upset because I loved going in there. They [the museum] depended upon me quite a lot and I depended on them for the experience.
"And then it was a feeling of frustration because it didn't make any sense," she said of having to trade one unpaid placement, which she was personally gaining from, to stacking shelves in Poundland – something she had already had plenty of practice doing.
Her Jobcentre managers, she said, "knew I was doing the work experience ... they knew I wanted to go into museum work and they just said, 'you've got to do it, you've got no choice ... it's mandatory.'"
Guardian 13 February 2013 
I wonder what Iain Duncan Smith or ant Westminster politicians reaction would be if their son and daughter was told that apparently their future lay with stacking shelves at Poundland?

But of course they have the connections to make sure that their spouses no matter their academic achievement or lack . Will not spend much time on jobseeker s allowance but Mummy or Daddy will find them a job or an unpaid internship and give them an allowance more than a working class kid getss on the dole.

If any one is a snob its the likes of IDS who believe that those on jobseekers allowance are lazy good for nothings who need to spend time working in a mindless job which will hardly improve their CV and will hardly advance their sense of value.

Indeed we need to ask whether in Cait Reilly's case putting "stacking Shelves " in Poundland  for the sort of jobs she would be applying  for would be a deterrent among Human Resources Managers . Who might simply label her as workshy and point to a compulsory job placement as proof.

What we need are real Jobs on a living wage and not exploit young people like Cait Reilly who clearly was already willing to work unpaid at something she valued rather than be exploited by the likes of Poundland.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Westminster Unionist never learn.

“We are bound to lose Ireland in consequence of years of cruelty, stupidity and misgovernment and I would rather lose her as a friend than as a foe.”
William E. Gladstone (British Statesman and Prime Minister (1868-1894),

The UK Government should keep this in mind when measuring their response to the 2014 Scottish referendum.

Their latest campaign  Scottish independence of questioning the legal status of a separate Scotland.
by insisting  that while the remainder of the UK would inherit more than 14,000 international treaties, an independent Scotland would not.smacks of colonial arrogance ,

In what it calls an "unusual step" ( ie for political not legal purposes) Whitehall has published its legal advice on the international law aspects of Scottish independence. 

It claims that international precedent dictates that an independent Scotland would become a “new state” and what’s left of the UK would be considered a "continuing state".

According to its legal opinion, (and its only an opinion) only the remainder of the UK would automatically continue to exercise the same rights, obligations and powers under international law as the UK currently does, and would not have to renegotiate existing treaties of re-apply for membership of international organisations.

I have no legal training but it seems to me that unlike Wales and even Ireland . Scotland entered the so called Union voluntarily  and in a similar way a company mergers into a partnership.

Now some want to dissolve that partnership and it would be natural to assume that if this was so all existing s assets and liabilities will be divided accordingly and all contracts valid.

The UK legal advisers seem to think this is not the case, though I suspect not in the case of liabilities

It seems that this legal advice is the one that the government asked for and has been skewed to meet their case.

The Unionists seem to be arguing on one hand that it is a partnership of equals and on the other hand that if it is dissolved only one state will have any international status.

Why the Unionist are arguing their case in this arrogant way is beyond me it reeks of colonial bullying.

It used to be argued in the 19th century  that the fact that Ireland wanted to leave the "greatest empire in the world" clearly meant that they were no suitable for independence.
Clearly among Westminster politician  and their advisers that mindset still exists.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Condemnations but no Solutions.

It is not surprising that all three opposition parties in the Assembly have put their   'two-penneth'  in  following  a revelation from Health Minister Lesley Griffiths that seven out of 12 dignity spot-checks by watchdog Healthcare Inspectorate Wales highlighted concerns about staffing levels and the impact on patient safety.

In response to a written question by Plaid Cymru, Ms Griffiths said: “Since the ‘Dignity and Essential Care inspections’ programme began in November 2011, 12 inspections have been undertaken. Seven of the 12 inspections have highlighted concerns in relation to safe staffing levels.

Plaid Cymru’s health spokeswoman Elin Jones responded:
The figures are truly shocking. What is particularly worrying is the fact that local health boards have been asked to continue to cut staffing numbers here until they meet budget constraints, so it’s likely that they will fall even further.
“The Welsh Government must react decisively to the inspectorate’s findings to ensure sufficient levels of staff in each hospital in Wales. At the moment it seems that good care exists in pockets, but too often, staff are stretched too far. This simply isn’t good enough.”
La Pasiomaria (Kirsty Williams), leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, said:
 “High quality, compassionate and dignified patient care is very much reliant on staffing levels on hospital wards. Doctors and nurses work very hard under very difficult circumstances but when they are stretched to their limits, this is when patients feel the consequences of a health system that has been run into the ground.
“While I accept that the report does conclude by saying that, generally, care is being provided in a way that is appropriate and compassionate, the Health Minister and her senior managers must never be complacent about the state of the NHS in Wales.
“Statistics, waiting times and targets already paint a very grim picture of our NHS. I am really concerned that we are close to breaking point and it will be patients who will suffer.”

Shadow Health Minister Darren Millar said:
 “These findings are extremely worrying, particularly given the Health Minister’s reassurances last week, following the inquiry into neglect at Stafford Hospital.“Cost-cutting has swamped everything our health service does. This culture must be stamped out if patient care is ever to reach the highest standards and if hard-working frontline staff are ever to get the support they deserve.”
So worthy words from all three, But unless they come up with an alternative they are the words of Parties who have the luxery of Opposition wino can call for more money for the NHS with out telling us from where in tr Welsh Budget pocket Money it should come.

The Tories and Lib Dems also have to answer to the shambles in the NHS in England under their watch despite their Prime Minsters  claim that things were worse in Wales . which don't really add up.

This is not a defence of Labours running of the NHS in Wales but the opposition parties need to provide us with thier solutions and this should not involve calling for more money unless thier are prepared to tell us which are they would make cuts in.

Or make a serious call for Tax varying powers and make a case for taxing the better off with a promise that it will be ring fenced for the NHS.

I'm not defending the Labour Party running of the NHS in Wales they have clearly failed  us over the years and  exposing failings of Government is a major part of the job of the opposition.

The trouble is thats the easy part . The hard work is coninuing up witjh a workable solution beyond the perceived move in England to a two tier NHS.

The LibDem leader La Pasionaria has been very effective in the Senedd in her attacks but does she have any answers?