Sunday, 29 September 2013

Is Silk A Tory Trojan Horse?

The Wasting Mule  has given us some insight of what the Tories mean by their claim that that have come to "accept" devolution
It seems that they feel that the idea of some form of tax raising powers will lead to them gaining power in the Assembly and probably then preventing more powers being devolved.
Andrew RT Davies. The opposition leader said he was “confident” that the Assembly will gain new powers, despite the delay in the UK Government’s official response to the Silk Commission which called for a new wave of devolution.
Mr Davies said it was “imperative” for the Westminster coalition to “deliver” on Silk and predicted that the impact would be “transformational”.
Looking ahead to a time when Conservatives can fight Assembly elections as a party of low taxation, he said:
 “My whole political philosophy, and that of my party, is that the best people to spend their money are the people themselves rather than the government spending it for them.  That really, as I said, would be transformational if that entered the Welsh political debate.”
As the Mule says 
 "The UK Government’s response to the Silk Commission, which recommended the devolution of borrowing powers and, subject to a referendum, the ability to vary income tax, had been expected in the spring.A consultation has subsequently taken place on the impact of devolving stamp duty, which examined cross-border issues"
 Mr Davies said..
 “I think it is imperative for the Government in Westminster to deliver on Silk. I fully accept there is work to be done.“I don’t get quite as excited about some of my political colleagues about the delay because, obviously, the Welsh situation is quite different to Scotland.”

So it may be that the Tories see Fiscal powers as a Trojan horse in which they can argue that Westminster when they cut any monies they give the Welsh Assembly Government  and are attacked by the latter say..

If you want any more  raise it yourself.

Then the Tories  in will  fight against any increases and fight Assembly elections as a party of low taxation, as RT Davies  says:

 “My whole political philosophy, and that of my party, is that the best people to spend their money are the people themselves rather than the government spending it for them.  That really, as I said, would be transformational if that entered the Welsh political debate.”

So perhaps we should be cautious about having these powers, when the Assembly still hasn't anything like the powers of the Scottish Parliament.

But i believe that we should not shirk from this . We are after all arguing for a cutting of the "Apron Strings" from Westminster and we must take the argument to the people arguing that we can run ourselves responsibly and that when it comes to taxation it will be affordable but also fair.

We can't go on blaming Westminster Governments for the lack of investment in Wales we must show that an independent Wales will use Taxation to benefit all the people of Wales. It will be hard when faced will Tories likes of  R.T. Davies who will offer reduced taxes and carry on with  the same smear on those dependent on welfare that the Con/Lib Dem and the previous Labour Government  have successfully managed to do at Westminster.

As I said the Tories may well  see this as a Trojan horse  but it is one we must risk for our Welsh Government whatever its colour  to run Wales for the benefit of the people of Wales  to grow.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Goliath win was unlawful but David still losses.

I was solely tempted to answer jaxxlands question  Does unlawful mean illegal? with

Unlawful means something that is against the law . Whilst illegal is a sick bird of prey.

But Frank H Little may well be right. in that .

The difference seems to be that "unlawful" actions can't be prosecuted. :

The subject of the question is of course to serious for my flippancy in that 

A pledge by Carmarthenshire council to cover the court costs of its chief executive fighting a libel case against a blogger was unlawful, auditors say.
The Wales Audit Office said the authority was wrong to provide indemnity in Mark James's libel action against Jacqui Thompson.
He won the case and Mrs Thompson was ordered to pay costs of £23,217.  in a David and Goliath battle in which Goliath won and  Mrs Thompson was ordered to pay costs of £23,217.
The council's appointed auditor from the Wales Audit Office, Anthony Barrett, has now told the council he views that arrangement as unlawful.
In a separate issue, his report also found that a council payment of £16,353 in lieu of pension contributions to Mr James was also unlawful.
Carmarthenshire council insisted that it still believes the decision about the libel case indemnity and the payment in lieu of pension contributions are both lawful.
The spokesman said its own independent legal advice, along with the outcome of the libel court case and the comments of the judge in that case "further reinforce our opinion that we acted properly".
"Regarding the issue of the indemnity to an officer of the council to take action for libel, we would like to make it clear that we consulted the Wales Audit Office prior to the decision being taken in January 2012 and that it has taken almost two years for these concerns to have been expressed," a spokesman said."We have discussed the matter with them on several occasions and in August of 2012 they indicated, in response to questions from a third party, that they agreed that the council had the legal powers to grant the indemnity. 
"It is disappointing that they have now expressed a different view so late in the day, and too late for the council to act upon it."

Well lets see the Independent legal advice . Many questioned the legal aspect of the councils indemnity   and it does seem that it was clearly against rules that Councils were forbidden to do this.

So lets see the full report.

Carmarthenshire council who often display supreme disdain for those who criticise it, which saw it act against Jacqui Thomas  her arrest by Police for trying to film council meetings and ended up in the London courts, where she counter sued Chief Executive  Mark James who had the advantage of the councils indemnity backing.  

It could well be that they simply note the unlawful ruling and simply try and move on because unless Local Government Minister Lesley Griffiths' take up the auditor's report with the Wales Audit Office. and then acts. There will be no action taken against  Carmarthenshire council either legally or by the Assembly Government  ,and Goliath wins again.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Labour's New Flag and Logo, a bit disturbing?

It seems Labour might be less confident of a NO vote in next years Scottish referendum.  They seem to have adapted the Union Jack to give more prominence to the Cross of St George and that of St Andrew and St Patrick are pushed to the background.

No place for Cymru of course.

Some like the Och Aye the News Scotlandshire (Have a look) have pointed out that it looks a bit like a friendship flag for the Conservatives and Ulster Unionist


And as Wings over Scotland pointed out ,,,,
 Johann Lamont’s speech to the Labour conference “appeared to allude to the European 20th century fascist  when attacking Salmon and the SNP.
But  perhaps she should look behind her.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Tory MP claims too many Welsh speakers in poll.

The Wasting Mule  has reported that a Tory MP has more or less claimed that  poll findings used by a commission that is recommending extra powers for the National Assembly, saying opinions were sought from too many Welsh speakers and therefore inaccurate..
Monmouth MP David Davies, who chairs the Commons’ Welsh Affairs Committee, said he found it “ridiculous” that as many as 40% of those who participated in a poll paid for by the Silk Commission said they could speak Welsh.
Last night the commission stood by the poll findings, saying the proportion of Welsh speakers surveyed – with 16% identifying themselves as fluent speakers of the language and a further 24% as “non-fluent” Welsh speakers – was broadly in line with other polls.
The poll – undertaken by Cardiff-based Beaufort Research and published last month – found 70% believe renewable energy projects of over 50MW capacity should be decided on in Cardiff rather than London, 63% said that policing should also be devolved while 58% also favoured broadcasting and media regulation.
Altogether, 62% of those surveyed said they would like to see increased powers for the Assembly, including the 9% in favour of independence, with 24% in favour of the status quo
Mr Davies said: 
“I am very concerned that the proportion of Welsh speakers who were surveyed for the Silk Commission is significantly higher than what we know about the numbers of people who identify themselves as Welsh speakers.
“According to the 2011 census, the ‘gold standard’ of national statistics, 16% of over 16 year olds speak Welsh. And the National Survey for Wales 2012-2013, which interviewed 14,500 people, found that 10% of the adult population are fluent in Welsh.
“The Silk Commission should not be bandying around figures based on a sample of the Welsh population that is not accurate. Successive surveys have found that Welsh speakers are more likely to support more powers for the Assembly than non-Welsh speakers, and in my opinion it’s clear that these results are skewed.
Last night the commission stood by the poll findings, saying the proportion of Welsh speakers surveyed – with 16% identifying themselves as fluent speakers of the language and a further 24% as “non-fluent” Welsh speakers – was broadly in line with other polls.

And that rather than the Sample being skewed as  "source" close to the Researchers pointed out  also suggested that non-fluent Welsh speakers were less likely to identify themselves as such if they were simply asked whether they could speak Welsh or not. Non-fluency, said the source, covered a broad spectrum from those who could say a few words to those who weren’t quite confident enough to describe themselves as fluent. 

Indeed  as this may relate to the Number of people in Wales relate to being Welsh not British as shown by the  Syniadau  Blog today.

If you were allowed to choose the nationality that appears on
     your passport, which of these descriptions would you choose?

There are far more people who can carry out more than a reasonable conversion in Welsh and much of the data on the ability to speak Welsh is because many do not se themselves as Fluent because they don't speak like a BC or S4C presenter.

Indeed if English speakers were to use similar criteris were to use a similar criteria . How many of us monoglot English speakers could claim fluency?

As some have indicated in coments about this blog not me.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Johanne Lanont the voice of Scottish Labour is a disgrace.

The Unionist side on the Scottish Referendum  reverted to Gutter politics  at the Labour party conference  when in a speech peppered with references to Alex  SalmondLabour Scottish Leader  Johanne Lamont delivered a virulent attack on the “politics of nationalism”.
Although she did not name any particular examples, such as Nazi Germany, she described it as

Johann Lamont used her speech at the Labour conference to attack the 'politics of nationalism'a “virus that has affected so many nations and done so much harm”.“For the Nationalists the misery of the people isn’t a wrong to be corrected – it is a chance to be exploited. For them, grievance is not to be addressed – it is to be nurtured,” she said.“And that cynicism, that calculation which leaves families suffering now is a price worth paying if it translates into votes next September. It’s a cynicism which corrodes our politics. It should create in us a revulsion.”
Although opposition is always “frustrating” in politics, she said it was particularly so in Scotland because the SNP acts like a “reckless opposition” itself despite being in power.
Ms Lamont said the Scottish Government was happy to take all the credit, “energetic” in blame that  Alex Salmond’s government is not interested in using its powers to dilute the impact of the Coalition’s austerity programme and benefits reforms.
Instead she told delegates that they see a “political opportunity” to stir up antipathy towards the rest of the UK in the hope of winning next year.
Except the SNP government have been trying to mitigate the effect of the bedroom taxas one example.
Nationalist in Wales and Scotland don't need lessons on the "virus of nationalism" from a British Unionist/British Nationalist who supported the media wrapping themselves in the Union Jack  pretending they are still a world power and taking part in illegal military  adventures
Is British Nationlism of the Labour type more ethical than than that of Wales and Scotland?
I leave it to you.
And who can deny that there a certain glee in Labour Shadow Ministers eyes as they see the Con/Lib government implement cuts that they would have liked to impoe in order to please that mythical beast "Middle England".
If Johanne Lanont is the sort of Unionist Politician who wishes to run the Scottish Government then it would be clearly the omly way to avoid this for Scotland to vote yes. 

Monday, 23 September 2013

John Craven's Newsround for Welsh Adults.

It was by pure chance I came across "Newsweek Wales" Today saw the launch of a new programme from ITV News. Newsweek Wales features special guests offering a fresh perspective on the week's biggest stories.

This week First Minister Carwyn Jones, and journalist Carolyn Hitt join Carl Edwards on the sofa, to talk about what's been making the news this week.

here was also archive footage of how the Welsh News was covers 50 years ago.

Probably commissioned so that ITV bosses can claim to have filed their quota of Welsh factual programmes . It was a sort of John Craven's Newsround but aimed at Welsh Adults.

The interview with Carwyn Jones couldn't be less challenging if it tried covering the new Flanders Memorial, his thoughts on the Scottish referendum and its impact on Wales and the new St David' Awards but at no time no real probing the First Minister on how he can claim that

"where it makes sense to take a decision in Wales, it should be taken in Wales".
and that devolution should be

 "less of a process and more of an event" -

 a twist on the words made famous by former Welsh Secretary Ron Davies, who described devolution as a "process not an event".

It told me nothing on Carwyn views on the powers that Wales should have or what a new written UK constitution which favours devolution would mean..

ITV "Wales" will probably argues that this is not a Political News programme and its not there to enlighten and inform but it is hard to see what it is there for.

I will look at this again but I hold faint hope that we will see a true News and Information programme from the ITV network.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

RCT : Ruling Labour Group To Impose Savage Cuts..

Wales online tells us that The leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council of warned his workforce in a letter that public services will be 'decimated' by the UK Government’s austerity measures.

Anthony Christopher warns of the “harsh reality” that compulsory redundancies could not be ruled out in order to bridge a £56m budget gap.

In the letter, Councillor Christopher wrote:

So severe are the cuts being imposed on public sector funding by the UK Government we are faced with making some unprecedentedly difficult decisions.“I very much fear that, just as Thatcher decimated our nationalised industries locally in the 1980s, the same effect is going to be felt on our public services locally because of the ruthless austerity measures being imposed by the UK Government. In my 25 years in local government neither I or my colleagues have never had to consider such a bleak financial outlook.”“Such difficult decisions will inevitably force us to reduce the number of people the council employs and that is why the chief executive and I have written to all our workforce today explaining the harsh realities of the situation we face ahead,” the letter continues. We will do all we can to avoid the need for compulsory redundancies, but with such a dramatic reduction in the level of service we provide being necessary, it is impossible to rule this out moving into the future.”

 Pete Crews, Unison RCT branch secretary, said he was inundated with calls yesterday from council staff following the announcement.

“We knew this was coming and it is a devastating blow for the staff and for our communities. If people lose their jobs, they stop spending and then communities suffer from that as well as service cuts,” he said.

It will be interesting to see if the Unions accept Anthony Christopher  explanaton that this is all due to the London Governments cuts

Whilst clearly Mr Christopher has a strong argument in pointing most of the Blame to Westminster. If his workforce are to see cuts in their numbers . Perhaps he and his fellow councillors should  consider taking a substantial  cut in their allowances .

After all we are all in this together or are Politicians whatever the colour of their rosette exempt?

Friday, 20 September 2013

Farage a Young Fascist surley not.

I suppose we must be fair to Nigel Farage  and give him some kind of leeway in reports that some of his teachers thought he was a fascist when a schoolboy.
However it makes interesting reading.
We have a long letter (below) written in June 1981 by a young English teacher, Chloe Deakin, begging the master of the college (head teacher), David Emms, to reconsider his decision to appoint Farage as a prefect. Deakin did not know Farage personally but her letter includes an account of what was said by staff at their annual meeting, held a few days earlier, to discuss new prefects.The letter says that when one teacher said Farage was "a fascist, but that was no reason why he would not make a good prefect," there was "considerable reaction" from colleagues.The letter continues: "Another colleague, who teaches the boy, described his publicly professed racist and neo-fascist views; and he cited a particular incident in which Farage was so offensive to a boy in his set, that he had to be removed from the lesson. This master stated his view that this behaviour was precisely why the boy should not be made a prefect. Yet another colleague described how, at a Combined Cadet Force (CCF) camp organised by the college, Farage and others had marched through a quiet Sussex village very late at night shouting Hitler-youth songs."
Farage response is that he was "Winding up Left-Wing Teachers".
Nigel Farage  He admits he was a "troublemaker" at school who "wound people up" with all sorts of views. He says some of the things he said may have been perceived as racist, but certainly weren't.
"I did say things that would offend deeply," he says. "And there were certainly two or three members of the English staff I made arguments against, that I didn't necessarily believe in."But any accusation I was ever involved in far right politics is utterly untrue."
I don't know any Hitler youth songs, in English or German."

But one can only wonder what the youthful Farage  considered to be left wing in a school like Dulwich.

My political awareness began about  the age of 14 and my views haven't really shifted from a Left Welsh Nationalism inded I've probably grown more left wing..

Other people may have years later different  views from their school-days.

One can only hope that Farage views have changed . But I doubt that he would admit it if they haven't.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

When the Lib Dems didn't like "Happy Meals".

 Nick Clegg’s  managed to get much needed headlines with his plans for free lunches for primary school children  in England .

And so AM Aled Roberts  at Subordinate  Central   immediately call s on the Welsh Government to copy such a scheme.

He writes.

The Welsh Labour government should use the money which will come to Wales as a result of yeserday’s school meals announcement in England to fund a similar scheme.
As a result of Nick Clegg’s announcement yesterday of free school meals for every child in infant schools in England, Wales is set to receive around £30m under the Barnett Formula.
The Liberal Democrats understand the financial strain families across the UK are under and we are doing all we can to help people in difficult times.
The Welsh Liberal Democrats are calling on the money that will come from the Treasury, following this announcement, to fund a similar programme in Wales.
Families across the UK spend around £400 on school meals in a year. The announcement by Nick Clegg at the Liberal Democrat conference will help the family budget. We want to see the Welsh Labour government do something similar to ease the pressure families in Wales are under.

But as Aled knows Wales already offers s Free Breakfast scheme which the Lib Dems have not always been enthusiastic about.

Back in 2007 The Liberal Democrats have opened their spring conference in Swansea by accusing their opponents of adopting "happy meal politics".

Then just a AM Kirsty Williams attacked the other parties for offering free giveaways in the assembly elections campaign rather than substantial plans for Wales.

Before any Lib Dems claim that she wasn't talking about Free Breakfasts  for school children ,La Pasionaria had  also criticised minister in Cardiff for introducing free breakfasts at the expense of teacher numbers. In 2006 she argued

“Powys may lose up to 70 teachers this year because of cuts in education. While of course I recognise the importance of a good breakfast to a child’s wellbeing, resources are finite. When it comes to a choice between the two, I would rather see teachers in classrooms than breakfasts. The Labour Assembly Government clearly does not share my priorities, and I am concerned that it is our children’s education that will suffer.”

So if Wales were to receive extra money why shouldn't this be targeted to the Free Breakfast scheme  and any residue towards increasing Teacher number? 

Or will credit go to the Welsh Government rather than Kirsty's Party.

Once again the Lib Dems come up with a policy they previously criticised some Councils for they did in  Southwark (Hat Tip toLeft Foot Foward.
Free school meals

Typical Lib Dems attack other Ideas . Then claim them for themselves.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Lib Dems Conference, do not want a Welsh Voice on the Bed Room Tax?

A Interesting Post  by Peter Black in which he lays out the speech he would have given at the Liberal Democrat Conference in Glasgow on the Bed Room Tax

It would have been n pertinent  speech. Where Peter outlays much of the types of problems the Bed Room Tax amongst the  disabled 

However it is not his speech that never was that is interesting .

It is the reason he claims why he wasn't called.

Because he starts his post with....

"OK this post is quite self-indulgent but as I had written the speech anyway and as the Chair of the debate on 'Making housing benefit work for tenants in social housing' and her aide deemed that they did not want a Welsh voice, I did not see the point in wasting it:
A Welsh voice not wanted?

If this true, I think we need an explanation  .

Perhaps this Chair and her aide thought Housing Benefit was a devolved  issue

But if I was a Liberal Democrat . I would/t be just posting "What I would have said if I had been called in the "bedroom tax" debate".

I would have been calling fo a point of order and demanding a apology

It seems that the Li Dems only want to here from La Pasionaria as a Welsh voice at their conference.

If this is a example of how federalism which she argued for in the debate on the constitutional agenda.. them may be she should talk to her own party....

Our mantra of being stronger together in the European Union applies equally, if not more, for the union of the four nations that make up the United Kingdom."

We can only wait to see if the Lib Dm leadership will react to Peters  claim that they "don't want a Welsh Voice" on issue that affects Wales deeply.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Education:. We need more than simply increase spending.

La Pasionaria managed to get some valid news coverage with her claim that  Children in schools in Wales are in danger of falling further behind their counterparts in England,

Kirsty Williams said more money was being spent per pupil in England which was an "inequality" in the system.

She was speaking before addressing the Liberal Democrats' UK conference in Glasgow on Monday.

The Welsh government said it was providing funding to support disadvantaged pupils.

Ms Williams said education would be a key Lib Dem priority in the next round of deals with Labour on the Welsh budget, and her party would be pressing the issue hard.

And Ms Williams said education would be a priority going into those talks.

"Why should it be that a pupil from the poorest background in Wrexham gets £450 extra for their education whereas if they were across the border in Cheshire, they'd get £1,500?" she added.
"That's an inequality. Welsh children are in danger of being left further behind because of the Welsh Labour government.
"Education used to be of the highest, highest standard in Wales - something we prided ourselves on - but unfortunately after a decade of Labour rule in Cardiff, we've slipped further behind.
"I want to change that and I want to start with the children who need the help the most".

So does she have a point? Maybe; But is comparing Wales to England as a whole  a true comparison or even Wrexham with Cheshire?

Shouldn't  comparisons be made with areas of similar economic and social deprivation .

How rather than England as a whole does Wales compare with  the figures for English Regions.?

Ms Williams may well have a point , but can such problems solely be solved just by spending more money?

Are other factors, such as the parents attitude to their children's education something we need to work on?

If the parents are not interested or able to help their offspring outside school, then we are creating a circle of non-involvement  that results in generations passing on their own poor education experience on to the next.

The Lib Dems make much of their Pupil Premium , but  evidence of it success is thin on the ground and there is some disquiet that Schools are just adding it to their school budget and not allocating it where it is intended .

There is a strong argument that we need to increase expenditure on education in Wales, but the cake as grown smaller under the Tory/Lib Dems government and if opposition parties are to call for this maybe they should tell us who gets a smaller slice as a result.

But more importantly we need to ensure that any extra money goes where it is  intended .

La Pasionaria  got the headlines she wanted  and is justified in pointing out that Labour who have run the Assembly alone or with the Lib Dems and Plaid and  must take responsibility for the education failings here.

But apart from increasing spending what other solution does she, or any other Welsh politician have.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

"Welsh" MEP votes against help for minority languages.

I was altered  to this at Fulup Hoskins at the Cornish Republican.

It is a list of  the tiny minority - 26 - who voted against the protection of endangered languages and linguistic diversity in the European parliament we find our Ukip MEPs. Details of the motion presented by the Corsican MEP François Alfonsi of the European Free Alliance  can be found here: Corsican MEP battles for Europe to protect endangered languages. The full list of those who voted against can be found below:

United Kingdom
Little Englanders-Right
Nigel FARAGE Ukip 


Marielle GALLO Union des Démocrates Indépendents
Dominique RIQUET Parti Radical

Jean-Pierre AUDY Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (UMP)

Philippe de VILLIERS Mouvement pour la France 
Bruno GOLLNISCH Front National (FN)

Jean-Luc MÉLENCHON Front de Gauche

Lucas HARTONG Partij voor de Vrijheid (PVV)
Daniël van der STOEP Ex PVV now independent 

So a mixture of  Right and  and one Far Left Politicians Including  Ukip and amongst them Leader Nigel Farge and  Ukip  Welsh MEP John Bufton .

So its   relief that Bufton  will be retiring as a MEp this year.

But one doubts if those who top that Part List for next yars  Euro Elections will vote any differently and follow Farage in opposing support for minority Languages.

If you need proof that Ukip are an Little England Nationalist party it' here.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Royal Mail Privatisation will result in Zoning.

When I was  a  mature student in  Aber in the 1989 there was a running battle between the Royal Mail and residents of Neuadd  Pantycelyn who kept on painting the Post Box outside the hall green as a protest against the Post Offices use of the Welsh Language.

So it is with nostalgia rather than any real bias that I look to Aber again and report that

Plaid Cymru in Ceredigion has launched a campaign and petition against the Westminster Government’s plans to privatise the Royal Mail.

Ceredigion is a apt place to launch such a a campaign as  it has much to fear from privatisation 

Currently, the Royal Mail charges the same for its services in urban and rural areas, and ensures daily deliveries for almost all customers. In the long-term, there are concerns over whether new private owners will guarantee the same service to homes and businesses in rural areas.

It is likely in then future that there will be some kind of Zoning and  that deliveries to rural areas such as Ceredigion will cost a lot more.

Indeed the tem Post Code Lottery may prove to extremely ironic..

Mike Parker, the local author and broadcaster who is Plaid Cymru’s Ceredigion candidate at the next Westminster election, said,
The Royal Mail’s universal service is vital to areas such as ours. At the moment, it costs the same to send a letter in Ceredigion as it does in London, and we get the same daily deliveries. New private owners will of course want to cherry-pick the most profitable parts of the business, and that will not be rural Wales. Under private ownership, profits for shareholders will always come first. We’ve already seen huge rises in the price of stamps to make the Royal Mail more attractive for buyers; if this carries on we could soon see prices rise to £1 or more.Talking to people on street stalls and on the doorstep right across the county, I’ve been struck by the strength of feeling locally on this issue. This is a bad idea and I call on the Westminster Government to drop the plan.”

Elin Jones, Plaid Cymru AM for Ceredigion, added,

Privatising the Royal Mail is something that even Thatcher didn’t dare to try. No wonder that 70% of the public are opposed, and that postal workers voted against it by a huge margin. As well as threatening price rises and service cuts for our area, the plans are a new threat to the future of our Post Office network, and could lead to centralisation of delivery services and local job losses.”

No doubt others will expressing such views but it is perhaps a sign of Plaid's organisational skills that they are able to react so swiftly. 

Clearly this will se other parties involved but it will be difficult for Liberal Democrats  to join i as its their St Vince whose pushing it forward.

And Labour mooted a similar privatisation   under the Blair/Brown government .

We will probably not be able to stop this from going through but we can warn those responsible that they wil pay a price at the next election if they bak it and amongst them must be Liberal Democrat MP for Ceredigion Mark Wiliams.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Syria: Are there any weapons that are not ones of mass destruction?

It may just be me but I can't help feeling that there's a huge disappointment amongst thee media that there apparently not going to be a military intervention in Syria  at least for now,

They seem to relish the opportunity to place reporters on the front line and others were probably working on their "

Brian Hanrahan I counted them all out, and I counted them all back': Quote

John Dixon at  Bothlas   has posted a excellent comment on the issue of the hypocrisy of Nations who condemn Chemical attacks whilst  having weapons of mass destruction  themselves.

"Horrific though chemical weapons are, and outlawed as they are under international law, the method by which Syrians are being killed daily is surely secondary to the fact that they’re being killed – from their point of view at the very least.  There is a real danger that the US, UK, and others are telling Syria that killing people on a large-scale is fine with the international community, as long as they use the “right” weapons to do it.
Further, the outrage at the use of chemical weapons is coming from people who themselves own, and want the rest of the world to believe that they would in certain circumstances use, weapons of mass destruction.  It’s not a particularly high ground on which to stand and moralise".
Indeed when we can take account the destructive power of modern weapons . How much difference is there between Chemical Weapons and the "Shock and Awe" policy of the United States Military,

Thousands have died in the Syrian Civil War (And Why Don't we call it that) and there is no clear side which the Western Democracies can feel it can hope to be victors.

Indeed if Assad regime was to fall  which might end Iranian influence in part of that region  . It could easily be replaced by an Al Qaeda  influenced government.

In the meantime ordinary civilians are killed ,live their days in constant fear or are forced to become refugees.

I don't know other than mediation  what the UN can do but whilst a proxy war between the US (and its allies)  and Iran backed by Russia is being fought out in Syria it looks like  Million might have to die via what we euphemistically  call conventional weapons.

Monday, 9 September 2013

A Welsh Entry In Eurovision?

Wales Online  have produces   are part of scores of submissions to the National Assembly petitions committee – celebrated as one of its most democratic features – that have been rejected in the past three years.
It does show a natural confusion  of what  of what the Assembly has powers over might be an issue, with dozens of petitions thrown out by Assembly Members because they’re the responsibility of Westminster, local councils, 
The article tells us that One petitioner’s call for the National Assembly for Wales to put pressure on the BBC and the Eurovision Song Contest to ditch the United Kingdom entry in favour of a standalone Welsh one (along with separate English, Scottish and Northern Irish entries) fell on deaf ears.
The response from the committee was blunt, saying: “Non-devolved. Powers on broadcasting are retained at Westminster / UK Government.”
However I can see no reason that the Assembly can't call for this to happen!
Campaigners for a Welsh Eurovision entry have been boosted by statements from the European Broadcasting Union that there was nothing to stop nations within Britain that had their own national broadcasters from submitting an entry – which could be done by BBC Wales, ITV Wales and West or S4C – separate from the UK one.
Plaid Cymru Member for the European Parliament Jill Evans, who has campaigned for a separate Welsh entry in the past, said the rejection didn’t mean the death for the campaign.
“I want to see Wales on the international stage at every opportunity,” she said.
“I have proposed an independent Welsh entry to the broadcasters in the past, to no avail. As the Land of Song, we could strike a real chord internationally. No one else could do pennillion [verse] singing and the rest of Europe must be crying out for a male voice choir.
“It would be a boost for the Welsh economy, too, for Wales to host the contest and get worldwide coverage. I know that whenever I have staged a concert or exhibition in the European Parliament it has attracted a huge audience and resulted in more people wanting to visit Wales. We should go for it.
Taking into account the UK appalling record  in Eurovision Wales and  may well do far better as a separate entrant.

Not hampered by the baggage of the UK having been at war with most European Countries at some time in the past and the irritation with the BBC treating the contest as joke we might even win

Perhaps the biggest problem we would face  would be if we were to win ,and faced the huge expense in hosting the following years final.

Fans of Father Ted  will recall the episode where TEd and Dougal enter Song for Ireland  performance  when despite their appaling song , and against the evident wishes of the audience, Irish Eurosong boss Charles Hedges awards "My Lovely Horse" first place. This is apparently because he wants to guarantee Ireland lose the main competition, since Ireland has won the contest every year from 1991 to 1995 and it is too expensive for Ireland to host the competition every year

Part of the problem could be solved by  the fact that although participating broadcaster is required to broadcast the show in its entirety: including all songs, recap, voting and reprise, skipping only the interval act for advertising breaks if they wish.] From 1999 onwards, broadcasters who wished to do so have been given the opportunity to take more advertising breaks as short, non-essential hiatuses were introduced into the program

But may be it would help to allow the host country to share advertising revenue with other broadcasters,

Indeed if the winning country were to profit from wining it may improve the quality of the performances.

But then can it be taken from the BBC and placed on commercial channel .

We may have to wait for an Independent Wales before we can truly enter this contest.


Sunday, 8 September 2013

3 Months in and Ynys Mon Independents start fighting each other again.

Just 3 Months after the Elections that aimed to stop Councillors on Anglesey fighting like Kilarney Cats comes the perhaps unsurprising news that Peter Rogers former Conservative AM who quit the party when he was not selected for the following assembly, standing as a Independent on the Island in subsequent Elections and probably stopping Plaid from gaining the Westminster seat but ironically making sure his former Conservative partners progress was severely damaged, has left the independents on Anglesey Council after becoming “disillusioned” with what he describes as a lack of direction.

Cllr Rogers has called for an “immediate cabinet reshuffle” and says better use should be made of the council’s “new blood”. he also also urged the council leader not to disregard non-Welsh speakers just on the basis of language (who can he mean?).

Council leader Ieuan Williams said he was “disappointed” but remained “committed” to working with all the county’s councillors.

In his resignation statement, Cllr Rogers expressed disappointment with the leadership of the council since May’s election, describing it as a “damp squib”.

He said:

“I urge the council leader to implement an immediate cabinet reshuffle and recognise some of the skills and talents he has in his new councillors.“A reshuffle would bring in expertise, business acumen and a fresh vigour. He must also recognise that it is not detrimental to have non–Welsh speakers in his cabinet.“Failing this, his only hope of survival is to start talking to Plaid Cymru about forming coalition.”
This I believe leaves the Independents still with a reasonable majority.

With the Coalition of I Lib Dem of 3Labour and 13 Independents Councillors.

A Opposition of 12 Plaid

And Peter Rodgers Unaffiliated (Where he will be free to cause as much mischief as he likes.

One can only wonder if this may be the first of several cracks on the ruling coalition

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Another analysis of Welsh that's ends up as a Anti-Nat diatribe.

Hat Tip to Jaxxland at Inside out  for pointing me to this article  for pointing me to  this artiicle by Evan Harris on the decline of the Welsh language

But having read it I think once again a opportunity to argue that Welsh Language policy has failed in agenda to promote an Anti-Nationalist diatribe.

Harris makes an argument that Welsh Medium Education does not produce the advantages many of its supporters  claim and that I accept can always be open for debate .

But all you really have to do is read Harris's last two paragraphs to see where he's getting at.

We are now twenty four years later; twenty four years of policy and investment in the language. Plus ça change. Use of the language has increased and has perhaps peaked, but benefits to those who have learnt the language have not followed its growth. Rhetorically, the Welsh people have been invited to join the Welsh Class, but few have achieved that social movement. The economic benefits of bilingualism are limited, and limited to this already advantaged group of people. So too the prestige of speaking Welsh and the aspiration to speak it, but few are fluent and even fewer use it in a way that the Welsh Class can. Welsh language education does not, and perhaps will not, give students access to the benefits the Welsh Class enjoys – what gives students access to these benefits is class movement, something the Welsh education system and economy facilitates for few.
Let’s be clear, for intrinsic reasons, I am not advocating the death of the Welsh language. When a language dies a history and culture goes with it, a unique human subjectivity is lost. But if nationalism adopts instrumental rhetoric then it must be repudiated – the literature shows that the language and culture is not instrumentally beneficial to learners. What reasons remain for its policy support are status and identity. But speaking Welsh does not, should not, connote a more prestigious or authentic ‘Welsh identity’. The idea that a middle-class bilingual from Gwynedd or Cardiff Bay is more authentically ‘Welsh’ than a working-class anglophone from Merthyr is self-evidently repugnant. Those who will claim this is not the Welsh nationalist rhetoric are naïve - this is the rhetoric used in schools, in political chambers, is implicit in policy documents and is evident in people’s reported desire to use the language so as to feel more ‘Welsh’.
The preservation of the language and its minority culture may not be mutually exclusive with an egalitarian, social politics, but currently contributes very little or nothing to the lives of an economically and educationally disadvantaged majority. Patriots like to think of Wales as a nation of story and song; these are not attributes that create good policy. The country is in a mire, the elites tell tales and point at dragon shadows in the mud.
Once again an examination of the Welsh Medium Education ends up as claim that there  is a Welsh Speaking "Nationalist" elite Promoting the  language to enhance their own status.

Where if ever has Harris seen the claim that a.....

middle-class bilingual from Gwynedd or Cardiff Bay is more authentically ‘Welsh’ than a working-class anglophone from Merthyr

I have never heard the claim from supporters of a bilingual Wales and yet I've heard it many times from those who do not.

There is a need for a fair and balanced and investigation here and one that is not afraid to be critical of Welsh Medium Education particularly  in the lack of use of Welsh by some pupils after they left School but it should not be as part of agenda to once again claim that its some kind of Nationalist Plot  

I have never heard  of Evan Harris before and can't find any further details about him

Harris starts his article by claiming that when challenged by his housemate t say something in Welsh. He rried to say ‘I’m in my flat, frying vegetables’ but couldn’t think of the word for vegetables, or flat

He doesn't tell us where this was  or how long he has been living there . Is it in Wales?.

Perhaps a more biographical details are needed from the Author in order to see where he coming from .I think its clear where he's going.