Saturday 30 November 2013

What if it was England prepossessing to leave the UK?

I was inspired  to write this after reading this on the tongue in cheek blog  National Collective.

For it begs the question  if it was England who wished to leave the Union what questions would the  media be asking.

Its not that far fetched. Supposing in 2017 in the European Referendum England voted to leave but the vote to stay in was largely won by Wales,Scotland and Ireland saying yes.

There could be call led by Ukip for England to leave the UK in order that it can leave the EU.

So the question then would not be whether England could stay in the EU but what was left as a rump. Wales,Scotland and Northern Island could ?

After all they would be in the same position as what was left of the UK if Scotland voted Yes.

Would we be told we have to reapply for membership  because it is England that is the major state even though it was they who chose to leave?

Perhaps we can ask this admittedly theoretical question of the EU commission?

After li the idea of a United Kingdom of England and Scotland suggest a marriage of equals.

So if it is England that decides to leave then shouldn't they be asked the same questions of who will get what and who gets the Bank of England, BBC etc.

Shouldn't as National Collective point out the UK assests should be transfered to Scotland.
The UK’s Central Bank, currently the Bank of England, will be renamed the Bank of Scotland.  Revenues from Britain’s natural resources will flow to the Exchequer in Edinburgh, which will issue ‘block grants’ to the rest of the UK (in respect of England’s larger contribution they will receive a slightly higher gran

OK maybe Science Fantasy but when you consider it it proves that a Union of Equals  is a myth and the argument over whether Scotland can stay in the European Union is based not that Scotland is currently a country in partnership with the other nations of the UK but a vassal state. 

Yes or No the Scottish Independence referendum will show that the idea of a Union of Equals is a misnomer 

It is a United Kingdom of England and its Vassal States 

Friday 29 November 2013

Will what's left after Scottish Independence also have to rejoin the EU?

With the Scottish referendum on Independence coming in 2016 the argument of Scotland place in the European Union continues.

The Labour Unionist Blog continues to muddy the water by referring to the "expertese " not of the European Commission but to the right wing Prime Minister of Spain

Taking a quote from the Guardian  they refer Mariano Rajoy  as saying said his government believed an independent Scotland could only apply to join the EU from outside the organisation as a new state, as he warned against regions of Europe embarking on "solo adventures in an uncertain future".

“It’s very clear to me, as it is for everybody else in the world, that a country that would obtain independence from the EU would remain out of the EU, and that is good for Scottish citizens to know and for all EU citizens to know.”
Though even Ed Jacobs who gleaned this  from a article in the Guardian  points out that Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who himself faces a separatist movement in the region of Catalonia.

So it probable that Rajoy was aiming this remarks for the people of Catalonia and that he aims to derail the movement there by potentially vetoing Scottish Independence.

However lets face it it may be that Scotland will have to negotiate some new entry but it will have until March 26 and the rest of the UK may have voted to leave the European Union before then.

Indeed the EU will probably look on a Independent Scotland more kindly.

What Rajoy, LFF  and inded the European Commission have not addressed is what will be the position nof the rump after independence

No one doubts the name of the new Independent State will be Scotland but what of the rest ?

Since the term United Kingdom was created  in the  1707 Acts of Union which  declared that the Kingdoms of England and Scotland were "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain and then United Kingdom of Great Britain and 1801 it has already change twice.

The curent  name "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" was adopted in 1927 by the Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act. It reflected the independence of the Irish Free State, and the partition of Ireland, in 1922, which left Northern Ireland as the only part of the island of Ireland within the UK.

So the new rump state would need to be remained as it no longer all of Great Britain (i;e the Island)

So will it  be the United Kingdom of England, Wales and Northern Ireland or even Britain?

Since the term United Kingdom was created to give the pretence that it was an equal Union Of England and Scotland there will be no need  to carry on with it . 

The position of this rump state .which unlike Scotland could need a new flag is unclear.

Will it automatically remain in the EU even if Scotland has to reapply? Or will the countries in the EU realise that they have the opportunity to get rid of a country that does nothing but complain since it joined ?

If Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond  has to find out the true position of an Independent Scotland in the EU then should't Prime Minister david Cameron make sure where what remains position is  also.

Thursday 28 November 2013

Tory AM cites Orkney and Shetland to argue against Welsh Jurisdiction

Wales Online have an article where Welsh Conservative Byron Davies hits out at proposal to devolve policing to Wales

Mr Davies, a regional AM for South Wales West and a one-time officer in the Metropolitan Police and served for a number of years at the UK National Crime Squad, said: “What needs to be explained is where is the demand for the devolution of policing.

“Where is the public demand for the Welsh Government to run policing?
“Why would the Welsh Government run policing better than the UK Government or Police and Crime Commissioners?
“The truth is that there is little discussion around Wales about policing being given to the Welsh Government. Why should there be?
“Crime is falling year-on-year under this UK Government and police and crime commissioners now offer the most radical localised policing solutions we have seen.”

He said: “Policing is not an area that would benefit from being in the hands of the Welsh Government.

“When I chat to old colleagues - a lot of them still serving - not one of them talks about the devolution of the police. Talk to barristers and they say the same - namely that they currently have the ability to practice across a jurisdiction seen as one of the fairest and most successful in the world.”
From the start there's a problem with his argument

Firstly Where was the public demand for Police and Crime Commissioners? 

Secondly just a year after the public registered their approval of the election of  Police Crime Commissioners PCCs by largely not voting, and which saw less than 15% in Wales bothering to turn out. Including a Newport Polling Station which saw no one bother to exercise their franchise.  There comes  a poll revealing that nine out of 10 people in the UK cannot name the politicians who hold their police forces to account.
According to the Wasting Mule a year after commissioners took office, at a cost of £75m, a YouGov survey found that two thirds of people felt the commissioners had made no difference to police accountability.
Mr Davies maybe to show how well informed he is comes up with a somewhat bizarre argument  that the the idea that as the National Assembly accumulated more powers and becomes more separate in its body of law, it would require its own jurisdiction, citing a body of law in Shetland and Orkney which still had supremacy over Scots law - “Udal law”, which derived from Magnus the Great of Norway in the 5th Century - as an example where differences could be incorporated into the same jurisdiction.
He added: “Is Welsh devolution so far different from these examples, and therefore in need of a separate legal jurisdiction with its own statute? No.”
Well maybe not at the moment . But I think that most would agree that we are heading there and there is a strong argument that we should prepare for this by devolving policing and jurisdiction

As for Udal law i resorted to Wikipedia
Udal law is a near-defunct Norse derived legal system, which is found in Shetland and Orkney, Scotland and in Manx law [1] at the Isle of Man. It is closely related to Odelsrett.Udal law was codified by the kings Magnus I of Norway "the good" and Magnus VI of Norway "lawmender". The Treaty of Perth transferred the Outer Hebrides and Isle of Man to Scots law while Norse law and rule still applied for Shetland and Orkney.
Scottish Courts have intermittently acknowledged the supremacy of Udal law in property cases up to the present day. Major differences from Scots law include shore ownership rights, important for pipelines and cables.
Udal law generally holds sway in Shetland and Orkney, along with Scots law.
More of an example how this can be accommodated in Scots Law which has been different from that from "England and Wales" since the creation of the Union and always needed a separate judiciary
So it was inevitable it was devolved to the Scottish Parliament.
It is clear that we are heading the way that  and jurisdiction in Wales will be distinct from that in England in some cases and it would be ridiculous to place this through Westminster rather that Cardiff. 
I think that the argument should be not whether  jurisdiction and policing should be devolved as a natural part of devolution. but how we will run it afterwards.
Should we be aiming to have a unified police Force as in Scotland, keep the current police authorities even  look at another way.
Maybe Byron Davies experience would be welcome here . His knowledge of Shetland and Orkney law serves us no use whatsoever.

Wednesday 27 November 2013

Carwyn: An Apology.

There was I thinking that our beloved First Minister was the sort of man who given the opportunity to build a Greenhouse decided that he is harpy with a Window box and even but then can't decide what to put in it.

That was until I read Click on Wales and Adam Ramsay analyses the constitutional positioning of "the man he thinks the most talented senior Labour politician in the UK", and I realised how mistaken I've been.

Like hell i have!. Its one of the biggest loads of tosh the Institute of Welsh Affairs have placed on their blog.

I can only assume they do this to prevent accusation of being proto-nationalists.

Ramsay, who puts forward his argument without any real evidence ,seems to be living in a fantasy world

Just look at his final words.

...: Carwyn Jones is, I think by some way, the most talented senior Labour politician in the UK. Were the SNP facing him, their prospects would be very different: while Scottish Labour have been crushed by the SNP, Welsh Labour under him and his predecessor Rhodri Morgan, has thrived.
More significantly, it’s worth considering this comparison. The Mayor of London is regularly tipped to be the next leader of the Conservative party. I suspect you can name him without me prompting. The First Minister of Wales has much more power than the Mayor. While his metropolitan opposite number is playing around with bikes, Carwyn Jones is genuinely bending the UK’s future to his – and his people’s – will. He is younger than Boris, and has achieved remarkable electoral success through the darkest days his party has known. Yet you won’t find anyone tipping him in any discussion of future UK Prime Ministers. If we want to understand how warped UK politics is towards London, think for a moment about the assertion I started with. Most people haven’t heard of Carwyn Jones.

The reason most people haven't heard of Carwyn is that he has presided over an administration that is content to do little to rock the boat  and hope that blame for the dire state of the Welsh economy will be placed entirely  on the Con/Libdem government in Westminster. 

As the only Labour leader in the UK he could have provided an alternative vision to the Tory led attack on the welfare state admittedly limited  but we get nothing.

But he has reduced the Assembly to simply working out how to spend Westminster's pocket money. Morning that he hasn't got enough but offering no real dynamism or alternative.

Click on Wales tell us that Adam Ramsay is Co-Editor of OurKingdom where this article first appeared. (and should have remained He also works with Bright Green? Before he was a full time campaigner with People & Planet?

I can see nothing to show Mr Ramsey has any real insight into our First Minister or knowledge of our Assembly.

It all looks like wishful thinking on his part . But does show the state of "Her Majesties Opposition" in Westminster that people have to turn to the lethargic Labour government in Cardiff for any inspiration.


I have been having trouble when replying to comments to this Blog which have included some justified criticism. For some reason blogspot is preventing me from doing so . Sorry

Monday 25 November 2013

Welsh Speakers at an advantage (because they have more qualifications)!!

After yesterdays Blog (below but Syniadau is better on the subject than myself) )on a sensationalist headline in Wales on Sunday entitled 
Vulnerable autistic children  have been banned from using a school canteen because they do not speak Welsh.
 Come another from today's The Wasting Mule's 

This Time its
Welsh speakers 'more likely to get top qualifications and jobs'

Which immediately lead the Anti-Welsh lobby to cry...

"Ah I new it Monoglot English speakers are being unfairly discriminated against".

But even the  Mule has to admit the truth in the facts 

Up to 40% of those who can read, write or speak Welsh have a degree level qualification, compared to an overall average of 33% for Wales.
Figures released last week by the Welsh Government showed Welsh workers with qualifications at levels 7-8, which include higher degrees and diplomas, earn on average 73% more a week than people qualified to level 3 (this would include A-levels or NVQ level 3) or below.
And Wales’ best-educated workers earn 124% more a week than people with no qualifications.
Around 11% of Welsh speakers hold a level 7-8 qualification, meaning they are qualified for the most senior professions (e.g. doctors, postgraduates) versus 7% of non-Welsh speakers.
As the level of highest qualification increases the gap between Welsh speakers and monoglot English speakers widens – up to 41% of Welsh speakers hold qualifications at level four (first degree and NVQ level four) and above, compared to 30% for non-Welsh speakers.

So it seems that  th main reason that Welsh speakers get Top Jobs  as the Mule headline seems to emphasise is that they are better qualified.

But even if it was only that (They speak Welsh), it is a result of that they have an extra string to their bow. in being Bilingual it clearly should be taking into account.

I have had long called for investigation into whether there is greater unemployment among those who cannot drive as opposed those who can.

The ability to speak Welsh, is an advantage but it is an advantage open to all. Simply see that your children receive a Welsh Language Education)

OK its not that simple (In Newport for instance) but its up to our Assembly to make it so.

The Mule article clearly shows that the main reason that Welsh speakers have the top jobs is that they are better qualified . But I can't help wondering if the reason for the story was to give the impression that Monoglot English speakers are being discriminated against

We are not in this case (I'm a monoglot English speakers) but it looks like the Mule and its sister papers are determined to give the impression that it exist.
 even when the related facts show it doesn't.

Sunday 24 November 2013

A case of Prejudice at Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Teyrnon?

Today's Wales Onine (So probably Wales on Sunday)  has the headline 

Vulnerable autistic children  have been banned from using a school canteen because they do not speak Welsh.

The youngsters have to eat in a small two-classroom building on the site of newly-created Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Teyrnon in Newport.

The article says 

Last year, when the school was the English language Brynglas Primary, the children were able to eat in the canteen.
But since the September, the unit for austistic children has been separated from the new Welsh-language school and the children in the unit receive food from the canteen delivered to their classroom.
In an email, Newport Council’s education chief James Harris said: “The pupils will be eating in the base initially as the Welsh school will be using Welsh language only and the management team and teachers at Maes Ebbw feel it will be confusing for the pupils.”

At first this looks like a disastrous  policy and hints of prejudice from the Welsh Language School.

But only a slight examination goes to show that the problem has come from the inherent policy of meeting calls for Welsh language Education by taking over an English School  or as happened in some cases having mixed "Units".

It helps no one to have mixed units whether the children have special needs or not.

What Idiot when devising this scheme in Newport decided that the needs of Autistic Children can be met by keeping them in a Welsh speaking School.

Or the fact that there was a unit there and these children would be distressed to move to another School made it unsuitable for them to move.

It looks like the authorities have turned to the Head of Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Teyrnon saying how you deal with this unit is your problem.

I admit that the action of  Bro Teyrnon looks insensitive and prejudicial against these autistic children.

But it seems that the problem lies in that they are English speakers in a Welsh schol not thier autism.

But can any one really argue that these children would find it more stressful to be in an environment where the other children in the school speak another language?

This will give ammunition to the Anti-welsh Lobby as the comments on the Wales On Line page will undoubtedly show.

I think that the best thing the school can do is go back to allowing these children to share the canteen and for Newport Council to investigate whether having mixed English speaking and Welsh Units are viable.

This may be a case of Prejudice but it seems that it may be the policy of the Council that's at fault and that it has led to prejudice being used against Welsh Language Education and vulnerable children being used to justify it.

Saturday 23 November 2013

Ukip and Plaid both want more Peers.

Wales Online report Ukip and Plaid Cymru  are pushing for more members of the House of Lords

Interesting hat  the Mule story  seems to have originated with Ukip leader making  a similar call

Plaid Cymru has not had the opportunity to send new members to the upper house since Lord Wigley entered in 2011. Elfyn Llwyd, Plaid’s parliamentary leader, yesterday said the situation facing his party was “disgraceful”.

The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats’ programme for government contains a pledge that “Lords appointments will be made with the objective of creating a second chamber that is reflective of the share of the vote secured by the political parties in the last general election.”

Mr Llwyd is due to retire as a MP at the election so some eyebrows might be raised that he is preparing  to rejoin Westminster as Lord Elfyn of Bala..

But maybe not: Lord Wigley, a former Plaid leader who sat in both the Commons and the Assembly, was nominated by his party to enter the Lords in 2008 following an internal poll, alongside economist Eurfyl ap Gwilym - now a member of the Silk Commission - and former AM Janet Davies. So there's already a cue.

Many in Plaid do not feel that there should be Plaid members of an unelected second chamber but it looks like the party leadership can't wait for reform (if it ever comes) and want working peers now.

Mr Llwyd called for the appointment of another Plaid peer, saying: 
It’s long overdue and I seriously hope that there will be a movement. We keep on pushing this.“It’s actually quite disgraceful considering we have had representation in parliament since the 1960s and we are still having to go sort of cap and hand for these things.”
In a magazine interview, Ukip leader Mr Farage said:

 “What I will say that it’s an absolute outrage that we haven’t been offered any peerages for the party already. Just an outrage.
“Cameron blathers on about wanting a House of Lords that represents the way people in this country vote, well crikey O’Reilly, we’ve been offered nothing, it just goes to show, doesn’t it.”

 At present there are 781 members of the Lords, of whom 222 are Conservative, 221 are Labour and 99 are Liberal Democrat. There are 88 remaining hereditary peers and 23 bishops.

So its top heavy and plainly undemocratic.

But it goes to show the problem of an unelected Peers.

On the basis of opinion polls Ukip should have about  the same number of peers as the Liberal Democrats.

But then what if Ukip collapsed? They would have a 100 peers there for life who had no support from the public.

If we are to have members of the second chamber then it must be elected. Politicians have put of this for two long .

A few Plaid or Ukip peers won't make it more democratic. 

The fault is in the system itself. 

Thursday 21 November 2013

Carwyn's Scottish Speech . "Running on Empty"

Click on Wales have reproduced Carwyn Jones  speech to Edinburgh  last urging  people in Scotland to go down the independence Road

I can only hope the Delivery was better than the content because it was hardly inspiring take this part for instance.

The Welsh experience of devolution. 
Let’s start then with our Welsh experience of devolution. The journey has not been a straight line from A to B – indeed we’ve had three fundamentally different models of devolution in less than fifteen years.Devolution has had to work hard to win hearts and minds in Wales, and it is striking how support for devolution in Wales has shifted over a generation. The trust that has been gained has been hard won and we do not take it for granted, but there is no question now that devolution is the settled will of the Welsh people. The UK Government’s long awaited response to the Silk Commission (which I’ll come back to in a moment), suggests that they too have finally come to accept this.So, over the last fifteen years there have been frustrations. But, that is grown up politics. And that is the point about the nationalist case for independence – is it grown up politics?  I’m not sure that it is.What is the case for independence – a strong economy? No, the IFS has sunk that boat. Better health or education? No, both Scotland and Wales can already develop their own policies in these areas.In Wales, we have taken best practise from Scandinavia and introduced our Foundation Phase – a ‘learn through doing’ curriculum for our 3-7 year olds; we have the Youth Guarantee, which will ensure every young person in Wales has access to a place in post-16 education and training; and we’ve recently passed ground breaking legislation on a ‘opt-out’ system for organ donationSo, will independence mean a stronger sporting and cultural output? Well, we didn’t need independence to win the Grand Slam, to introduce legislation to safeguard our language or to blaze the trail with free access to museums.So what will independence mean?  Will the Saltire seem a little more blue? Hang a little more firmly on the flagpole? Is that it?

Those with even the slightest knowledge of education in Wales  may be raising an eyebrow to his claims here as Wales was ranked lowest of the UK countries in the 2010 Pisa statistic sand his own Minister has admitted that Parents should not expect to see a rise in Wales' literacy, maths and science results in international rankings from next month,

But to revert to "We didn't need independence to win the Grand Slam",  shows how empty his argument is, in giving an example of Wales as being a example of the success of devolution.

The argument of the one day Welshman 

Carwyn finishes on the same theme

So having discussed our experience of devolution in Wales working, outlined the benefits as I see it of a lasting constitutional settlement, and why I think as a union we are stronger together than apart, I want to briefly address one other issue.
Much will no doubt be made of the notion that if you are a true patriot, then of course, you must want independence for your country. I am a Labour politician. I am a fluent Welsh speaker. I enjoy and cherish Wales’ cultural distinctiveness. I am a fierce supporter of our national rugby team.In short, I feel very patriotic about my country.
I want the very best for my country.
And I would say to Labour voters, you can be a patriotic Scot and still want to stay in the UK – because that’s what’s best for your country! The referendum decision is entirely a matter for the Scottish people, but its implications will be felt way beyond your borders.
I ask you not to forget your friends in Wales and in the wider UK.  A strong Scotland in a strong UK is a positive choice.

 Yesterday I said that Carwyn "Was  a bit like a 2nd division football manager telling his counterpart in the Championship  that they should not strive for promotion to the Premiership because its better life  in the lower divisions.

It is a sheer embarrassment for Wales to be  presented to a Nation that even if it votes No in the Independence election will leap ahead of us with further "Devomax" , When we congratulate ourselves because the Tories say they will allow us to have some Tax raising revenue even if they may tell us what to spend it on.

After Fifteen years on this performance and argument he seems only concerned to ensure that Wales doesn't drop out of the league altogether .

No vision , little to boast about and content to Welsh Identity expressed through the Rugby side.

Wales deserved better than this 

Wednesday 20 November 2013

Barnet should not divide Wales and Scotland.

Two interesting pieces on Wales Oniline this Morning 

The first concerns our beloved First Minister visit to Scotland  to tell them that they should vote No in the Independence Referendum

Earlier he said

"That a lasting devolution settlement within a strong United Kingdom is a better route than separatism.”
“While independence is not on the agenda in Wales, we are following the debate in Scotland with interest. This is an opportunity for me to set out why I believe a strong Scotland in a strong UK is a positive choice in next year’s referendum.”

Its a bit like a 2nd division football manager telling his counterpart in the Championship  that they should not strive for promotion to the Premiership because its better life  in the lower divisions

But it is the SNP response which is interesting because they have accused Carwyn  of supporting cuts to the Scottish Government’s budget if the country remains in the UK, suggesting it could fall by £4bn if there are changes to the Barnett formula used to allocate Treasury cash.

The SNP stated that 

Scotland generates 9.9% of UK tax revenues but receives just 9.3% of UK public spending.
The prospect of changes to the Barnett formula would see further money taken from Scotland in order to boost spending in Wales – a move that Carwyn Jones should come clean with people in Scotland about.
Linda Fabiani, an SNP member of the Scottish Parliament, said: 

“Carwyn Jones has never been shy about his desire to change the Barnett formula in a way that would disadvantage Scotland. The Welsh First Minister has the perfect opportunity to use his visit to Scotland to spell out to people here just how much he wants Scotland’s budget cut by if there is a No vote next year.”

So its interesting to look at the other piece in the Mule. Where Plaid have challenged Labour to make reform of the controversial Barnett Formula a manifesto commitment at the next general election in 2015

Plaid Cymru Treasury spokesman Jonathan Edwards has challenged Labour’s Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls to clarify his party’s policy on reform of the Barnett Formula.

He said Labour’s “dithering” on the issue had exposed it as the “anti-devolution party”, and that Wales needed a Government committed to what’s best for its people, not for its MPs.

Mr Edwards said:

 “Edward Balls has consistently stated that he has no ambition to reform the Barnett Formula. Now that the First Minister of Wales has said that the Labour Party does not support an income-tax sharing arrangement as proposed by the all-party UK Government-sponsored Silk Commission, it is imperative that the people of Wales are informed whether or not a future Labour UK Government will reform the funding formula for Wales.
“If Edward Balls has not changed his position in relation to this issue, then I’m afraid the First Minister finds himself stuck under a torrential cloudburst without an umbrella

So does this mean that Plaid also  favour a cut in the Barnett formula in Scotland and the money diverted to Wales?

Probably not 

But shouldn't Plaid make it clear that robbing "Peter to pay Paul" is no what they are suggesting.

Tuesday 19 November 2013

Tax varying powers or pointless tokenism.

One of the first articles I wrote on this blog was admission that I found the nitty gritty of financial arguments hard to grasp and the only one i really understood was  The Sam Vimes "Boots" Theory of Economic Injustice

To save you from clicking on the link I'll reproduce it.

A really good pair of leather boots, the sort that would last years and years, cost fifty dollars. This was beyond his pocket and the most he, Vimes, could hope for was an affordable pair of boots costing ten dollars, which might with luck last a year or so before he, Vimes, would need to resort to makeshift cardboard insoles so as to prolong the moment of shelling out another ten dollars. 
Therefore over a period of ten years, he, Vimes, might have paid out a hundred dollars on boots, twice as much as the man who could afford fifty dollars up front ten years before. And he would still have wet feet.

The Sam Vimes "Boots" Theory of Economic Injustice Men at Arms (Terry Pratchett)

So I admit that that the argument over he proposal to devolve a limited income tax-varying system on a par with Scotland - dubbed the “lockstep” - 

The system would mean the different bands of income tax could not be varied (up to 10p in the pound) independently from one another and has been criticised as too restrictive, with the Silk Commission recommendations specifically recommending greater flexibility.

Since I believe that Scotland has not used these powers it seems likely that the Assembly will be unlikely to do so as well.

So we seem to be offered a referendum that offers a choice of a Tax system that may not be (or even unlikely) to  use.

So what's the point?

As i said I may like most of the Welsh Electorate find the nitty gritty of economic argument difficult to grasp . But this looks like sheer tokenism . I'd vote yes in referendum for this because its a small step but in doing so I will not be expecting it to change Wales  and how we raise our own money much.

Monday 18 November 2013

Why pander to Oxbridge? Make Welsh Universities thier equall

The Wasting Mule reports that "A top UK economist has told young people in Wales’ most deprived communities nothing should stop them from applying for places at the Britain’s top two universities"

The Mule reports that Kevin Gardiner, who was born and brought up in Ely in Cardiff – one of Wales’ worst unemployment blackspots – is among the country’s foremost economic thinkers.
He leads Barclays Bank’s investment strategy, deciding on multi-million pound global deals on a daily basis and influencing policies of decision-makers around the world.
And he now wants young people from Wales with similar backgrounds to his own to aspire to go to Oxford or Cambridge.
Mr Gardiner spent time with pupils at Michaelston Community College, in Ely, as part of the drive by Torfaen MP Mr Murphy  and former Secretary of State for Wales who has been appointed by the Welsh Government as Its Oxbridge Ambassador to inspire Welsh youngsters to go for a place at Oxford or Cambridge.
However the figures from the Mule does tend to point to the difficulties that those who do apply face.
Four of the 10 areas of the UK with the lowest application rates were in Wales, with Blaenau Gwent, Torfaen, Anglesey and Neath Port Talbot yielding just 28 Oxbridge applications between them.
Meanwhile, Anglesey, Flintshire, Torfaen, Blaenau Gwent and Merthyr Tydfil won just four offers from Oxford and Cambridge for September 2012 entry.
Not good: But lets think about the solution.

Notwithstanding that most of the problem still lies in the fact that the Oxbridge Colleges are elitist in their selection process favouring applicants from the English Public School system .

Shouldn't the Welsh Government be concentrating  building up our Universities here so that they rival Oxford and Cambridge?

Isn't it time we stopped pandering to these Universities who still represent elements of the British class system and start telling our Brightest and Best in Wales that they can gen an equally god education in Aberystwyth, Cardiff ,Swansea or any other Welsh University?

It seems odd that most of our AM seem to have gone to a Welsh University still pander to an outdated forelock tugging inferiority complex  over their University Education here compared to the likes of some Ex Eton Schoolboy who went to Cambridge.

The Answer is to raise standards here; Not accept than Oxbridge position as the top University is set for ever.

Sunday 17 November 2013

Another raft of Anti-Union legislation on the way?

It is begining  to look like the Tories may be using the current dispute in Falkirk over claims of vote-rigging in the  constituency party in an attempt to secure the selection of Unite's favoured candidate for parliament.and thhat union's involvement over the proposal, to close Grangemouth  to prepare another range oof Anti-Union legislation

 David Cameron has ordered an inquiry into the tactics of the trade unions in the wake of the bitter industrial dispute which almost led to the closure of the Grangemouth oil refinery in Scotland.

Downing Street said the wide-ranging review, headed by Bruce Carr QC, will investigate allegations of the use of so-called "leverage" tactics by the unions as well as the impact of such disputes on the critical national infrastructure.

Which looks like it going o be one sided and regard the Unions as the only combatant in the dispute.

However, in a sign of renewed coalition tensions, the Liberal Democrat Business Secretary Vince Cable made clear he had only agreed to the inquiry on the basis that it would also examine the practises of employers, such as the "blacklisting" of workers.

But I doubt that will be the focus of this enquiry

The Unite union dismissed the review as a "Tory election stunt" and warned that no trade union would be prepared to "collaborate" with it.

The review follows claims that Unite sought to intimidate executives from Ineos, the refinery's owners, including sending "mobs" of demonstrators to protest outside their homes and premises associated with Ineos chairman, Jim Ratcliffe.

There does not seem to be any case that the inquiry may look at the case that Ineos manufactured the dispute tin order to break the Union at the refinery. Something that they succeeded in doing.

Even those of us who clearly see the Ani-Union bias of our media, should  admit that Unite's  Len McCluskey has not played his cards well and has let his members down badly.

But for Cameron to use to implement Thatcherite Union bashing and fail to look at employers  intimidation of their workforce especially of those standing up for their fellow workers shows that there is one side Cameron and the Tories will listen to and its not the often exploited workforce.

Saturday 16 November 2013

Will the UK continue to rule the Scottish Banknote

There appears to be an indication that if,(as proposed by the SNP ) a Independent Scotland would find itself tied to a United Kingdom pound then the Unionist will use this to control or even  wreck the Scottish economy.
By the way will the rump that remains stile be able to call itself the United Kingdom?
Writing in the always excellent Bella Caledonia Jamie Maxwell points out. that
Speaking in Glasgow a few months ago, George Osborne said currency union would impose “significant constraints on [an independent Scotland’s] economic sovereignty”. SNP leaders were quick to dismiss this warning in public, but privately they must have known it was far from an empty threat. The Chancellor, armed with standard Tory prejudices about Scottish profligacy, will do what he can to limit public expenditure north of the border, whether Scotland is part of the UK or not.Nationalists may hope Labour’s shadow chancellor, Ed Balls, would offer less restrictive terms during the negotiations over any prospective post-UK “sterlingzone”. They shouldn’t bank on it. Balls economic record suggests he would be at least as uncompromising as Osborne – if not more so.As an influential Treasury adviser at the time, Balls was one of the driving forces behind Gordon Brown’s decision to grant the Bank of England operational independence in 1997. The move completed Labour’s shift away from post-war Keynesianism and towards a form of monetarism based on “sound money” and rule-based spending constraints.
The Economic crash  probably ended any consideration that an independent Scotland should join the Euro and so the option before the SNP was and Independent currency or to remain bound to the UK pound.

There is a precedent for this from the foundation of the Irish Free state and the creation of Irish Currency in 1928 and the Republic of Ireland continued with a one to one parity and also introducing  Decimalisation at the same time as the UK.

This ended in 1978 when Ireland joined the European Monetary System when the UK stayed out and Ireland was to eventually adopt the Euro  replacing the Punt in January 2002.

But an Independent Scotland will be different and it must be sheer arrogance on the UK Chancellor Exchequer or governor of the Bank of England  ( whoever they me be ) that they alone can decide on how pound sterling is run.

Scottish Independence will be divorce of equal partners  but it looks like one is determined to still control the other . They well find that unlike the Irish Government from the period of tied-currency,an independent Scotland may well want a larger say in this .

Friday 15 November 2013

PCC's : Pathetic, Pointless. Cronyism

Just a year after the public registered their approval of the election of  Police Crime Commissioners PCCs by largely not voting, and which saw less than 15% in Wales bothering to turn out. Including a Newport Polling Station which saw no one bother to exercise their franchise.  There comes  a poll revealing that nine out of 10 people in the UK cannot name the politicians who hold their police forces to account.
According to the Wasting Mule a year after commissioners took office, at a cost of £75m, a YouGov survey found that two thirds of people felt the commissioners had made no difference to police accountability.
Around 64% said that they had noticed no difference in the effectiveness of their local force.
Christopher Salmon, the commissioner for Dyfed-Powys said:

' “It’s disappointing not more people know of us, but it’s our job to raise our profiles and explain what we’re doing for the public.“I think our main achievement has been to create an office which offers a voice to the public and offers a focus on policing crime, particularly low-level crime which may not always grab the headlines but does cause untold misery to victims.”
Although recognition rates revealed by the YouGov poll are low, they are slightly better than for the police authorities that preceded them.
It should be afterthe money spent electing them which would have been better suited given directly to the Police.
Police and crime commissioner for South Wales, Alun Michael, said:

 “On election, I said I was determined to be tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime.“This is something which I have embedded in the South Wales Police approach during the first year. For me, the point of being a police and crime commissioner is to add value to the police service in South Wales.

Perhaps its better for the PCC's that people don't know who they are. Because for most of us who have paid attention thier main achievements have been to appoint their mates as their deputies leading to charges of cronyism or controversial removals of their Chief Constable.

This is looking like one of the greatest failures in changes to policing ever . Can anyone see much of an increase in voting next time?

Well maybe;But I suspect that will be people turning out to vote against the current incumbent.

How long will it be the Politicians who were responsible for this farce admit it has failed and scrap it.

But here in Wales we can start by calling for policing to be devolved to our Assembly and we can look at how we can make our Police both accountable and deployed in the way which serves us as we want.

Thursday 14 November 2013

Calum Higgins part time councillor for MP? (Doesn't look like it)

Only last week Labour Parliamentary candidate Carmarthen East & Dinefwr seat at the next general election Calum Higgins and Plaid was criticising sitting Plaid MP  afterLabour lost a crucial vote in the House of Commons over its plan to freeze energy prices for 20 months.
Mr Higgins, recently unveiled as his party's choice to fight the Carmarthen East and Dinefwr seat at the 2015 General Election, slammed Plaid for failing to back the move to freeze gas and electricity prices in the UK.
“Not even bothering to turn up to the vote brings back memories of 1997 when Plaid MPs couldn’t be bothered to stay late and vote for the introduction of a minimum wage," he said. "They keep saying they are the party of Wales but their voting records tell a whole other picture.

Alas for Mr Higgins this has led Plaid  to counter attack as reported in the Wasting Mule Pointing out that he  being paid from public funds to work as an AM’s assistant despite enrolling on a full-time university course. Whilst also receiving  an allowance of £13,175 for being a councillor representing Tycroes. 

There has been criticism of his attendance record in the current council year – 29% and 33% on each of two committees. And despite also being a member of the Mid and West Wales Fire Authority, Mr Higgins has not attended a meeting since June.

Even more peculiar  On October 19 he announced on Facebook that he had moved to Cardiff!!

Alun Davies, the Plaid Cymru councillor for the neighbouring ward of Saron, said:
“Serious questions need to be asked about how a student can undertake an intensive full-time course, be paid to work for an Assembly Member – a demanding job in itself – and continue his duties as an elected county councillor in a ward 60 miles away from where he lives.
“More should certainly be done to encourage people of working age to be local representatives, but put simply, his appalling attendance record for some committees this year shows the young councillor is failing to do a job of work. His lack of attendance at various committees – including meetings of the fire authority – is certainly being noticed locally and within his own Labour group on the council.

 A Welsh Labour spokesman said:  The Mule can always find one ...
This is desperate stuff from Plaid, and shows just how worried they are about haemorrhaging support in their core areas in Carmarthenshire. Calum is a fierce campaigner and has championed locally Labour’s campaign to freeze energy bills while the local Plaid MP Jonathan Edwards didn’t even bother to turn up and vote. Calum lives in Carmarthenshire and works part time for a local AM.“He spends up to two days a week in Cardiff as part of his postgraduate university course which will be finishing early next year.
And  there you have it. Mr Higgins seems to think Plaid MP should be at the Beck and Call of the Labour Party to support Labour Energy Freeze Policy which appears to be Ed Milibands only card but can't be bothered to carry out his duties as a councillor. 

And by the way Mr Higgins what your view of Labour no show at bedroom tax debate which they called and which all 3 Plaid MPs t0ok part.

Looks like a Parliamentary campaign which is over  after just one week