Tuesday 31 December 2013

48% of Community Councils seats not contested

Its not often I praise the Tories but they deserve some for pointing out that a total of 45% of community councillors in Wales stood unopposed at last year’s local elections,

Figures released by the party suggested that 45% of community councillors in Wales stood unopposed at last year’s local elections, totalling 3,600 seats. ans some were not even filed

There are a total of 730 town and community councils in Wales, with 8,000 community councillors representing more than 1.6 million people.

In Wrexham alone, 89% of seats were uncontested – with a fifth of the seats remaining vacant after the election as there was not a single candidate.

Janet Finch-Saunders, the Tories’ Shadow Local Government Minister, said: 
“These are astonishing figures showing that in one of the most important tiers of government, so many voters were denied the chance to hold their elected representative to account and elect a town or community councillor.
“Town and community councils in Wales spend millions of pounds every year and there is a considerable democratic deficit if voters are unable to have their say on how this money is spent.
“Being a town or community councillor can be one of the most rewarding roles in local politics where the bond between the electorate and the representative is at its strongest, but these figures suggest that link is broken.”

Unfortunately Ms Finch-Saunders does not appear to offer a solution and it was left to
Stephen Brooks, director of the Electoral Reform Society in Wales, said:

 “Strengthening neighbourhood government could give communities greater control over local services, but as the Welsh Conservatives’ figures show, many community councils are falling at the first hurdle.
“Against the backdrop of collaboration and mergers between Wales’ 22 unitary authorities, the Welsh Government must now launch a review into town and community councils. The review should look at the role of community councils, how they are structured and resourced, and how democratic accountability to voters can be assured.”
One reason for lack of interest  may be the lack of powers given to community councils and the fact that those with political ambitions now  seem to go straight to standing for the County council as seen by the seats that now have over 4 candidates standing

There could be a number of ways that I think we can improve participation
  • Increase the powers of the Council  we really need to make sure that  we get our lowest democratic institution working  and this may be that they are given more actual work to do.
  • Increase the inter-participation between the councils perhaps including some community councillors  on county council committees  especially after the news that a row has broken out over local authorities in Wales having  people who are not elected councillors sitting on at least one committee. Most commonly these include independent members of Standards and Audit committees, but unelected individuals also sit on some scrutiny committees.Unelected voting members are already paid up to £256 a day if meetings they attend last for more than four hours – but under the new rules they could receive the full rate even if the meeting finishes in under four hours.So would it not make sense include community councillors on a non-voting basis who can give the view of their council. in some cases the Local county councillor sits on his or hers community anyway.
  • Reduce the age of voting and standing  to 16.
  • make it easier for people to stand by reducing the paperwork for nominations.
  • Consider a publicity campaign 3 Months before the election leafleting every home  explaining the role of the community or town council and how to stand.
Before the next elections we  need to sort it how and we need our political parties to offer solutions as well as highlighting the problem.

Sunday 29 December 2013

Plaid at least see through Tax varying Con job.

Here at National Left there's a certain amount of relief that Plaid Leader  Leanne Wood has seen through the Conservative Con  (Pun intended) over  granting Wales so called Tax varying powers.

In an  interview with WalesOnlinel,  Leanne seems to be agreeing with this Blog (though she may not have read it) that this wasn't worth putting vital campaign resources into.  as the Westminster government refused to remove a controversial “lockstep” which means the Welsh Government would only be able to move all three income tax bands together, rather than vary individual bands. The decision - which the UK Government said was to ward against possible movement of peoples around the border to take advantage of more favourable tax arrangements - meant the powers were “useless”, Ms Wood said, and was one of many “deliberate barriers” set up by the UK and Welsh governments in the wake of the commission’s first report.

She said:

 “All we can do is look what has happened in Scotland. Those powers have been there since the very beginning. They’ve included a lockstep, they’ve never been used. By any of the governments.
“You’ve had Labour governments - Labour-Lib Dem governments, SNP governments. None of them have opted to use those powers, because there’s no point in using them in that form.
“So to be honest with you, if the lockstep is still there then pursuing this course of action won’t be a priority for Plaid Cymru.
“We will be putting forward a Programme of Government for 2016, that will be based on a range of measures for improving the economy. Clearly sharing income tax powers and being able to vary the different bands of income tax would’ve been a fantastic set of tools to be able to do the job of improving the Welsh economy, and future governments will be hampered without having those tools, there’s no doubt about that. But there are other mechanisms, and there are other tools.”

Indeed the only scenario I can see in which these "powers " would be used  would occur if there was a Labour Government in Westminster and a Tory government in Cardiff Bay  with the latter varying some tax rates as an experiment with which to  woo English voters for the next UK General Election.

There is a danger that rejection of the Conservative proposals on Tax  in a referendum would be portrayed by the very people as a rejection of further devolution by the vary people campaigning for a Yes vote.

But Plaid should be campaigning for much more anyway and its good that they appear not to be sucked in to supporting something that drains their resources and give us something which is not what we want and need true control over our finances.

Saturday 28 December 2013

Wasting Mule's Movers and Shakers 2013. Wow!

 The Mule has published its Movers and Shakers in Welsh Politics 20136 its hardly an asspiring read

The movers and shakers in Wales' political power list of 2013

ANN CLWYD, Labour Cynon Valley MP
WM: Ms Clwyd’s deeply moving account of her husband’s last days spent in “battery hen” conditions in a Cardiff hospital led to her being asked to do a major review of patient care in England and cemented her enduring reputation as one of Wales’ political giants.

NL: Except of course that  this Giant has been a MP for nerarly 20 years including 13 years in government and it has taken the death of her husband to alert her to the dire state of the NHS  in Wales 

MARK DRAKEFORD, Health minister
WM: Wales is on track to become the first nation in the UK where it will be assumed that people are happy for their organs to be donated to others when they die.

NL: However this had cross party support so may well have come about whoever was in charge 

DAVID JONES, Secretary of State for Wales
WM: Foes of the Clwyd West Conservative MP describe him as a devo-sceptic but he is now a passionate campaigner for a referendum which could give the Assembly the power to raise and lower income tax rates.

NL:Except that its not the Tax powers Silk recommended and  since it has never been used in Scotland why do we expect change in Wales.

CARWYN JONES, First Minister of Wales
WM:The First Minister made international waves in March with the £52m purchase of Cardiff Airport – here was 21st century state-intervention, Welsh Labour-style.

N: However this was hardly on the same scale of  Lévesque buying out Hydro Quebec in 1962 which has become a symbol of Quebecois belief in themselves.]

PETER BLACK, Liberal Democrat South Wales West MP
WM: Mr Black successfully piloted the Assembly’s very first Private Member’s Bill which established clear rights for mobile home residents. 

NL: Which shows more or less the  powers the assembly has and the ambition of those who use them.

 RHUN AP IORWERTH, Plaid Cymru by-election winner
WM:It is notoriously hard to predict how the Anglesey electorate will vote, but his 9,166 vote majority was the definition of “thumping” and instantly marked the former television presenter out as a potential future leader of Plaid.

NL Does the Mule mean the assassinated American president or the former LibDem Leader? Either way not the the much of a future realy.

WM LEIGHTON ANDREWS, Labour Rhondda AM and former education minster
Critics of the Assembly once bemoaned the lack of talent on the back-benches but the resignation of Mr Andrews means there is at least one big beast with a licence to roam. His decision to order the regrading of GCSE papers may have riled his Westminster counterparts but it resulted in 2,400 English language pupils getting a better result; in June he resigned amid controversy about his defence of a local primary school that faced closure.
He Tweeted: “I have always wanted to live long enough to read and hear my obituaries
NL The only gigantic thing about Andrews is his ego

WM ADAM PRICE, Plaid Cymru Carmarthen East and Dinefwr Assembly candidate

WM:  s an MP he tried to impeach Tony Blair and he did not lose his knack for making headlines when he went to Harvard. His selection in July as the Assembly candidate for his old Westminster seat ended speculation about whether he wanted to jump back into the political arena.
He told the Western Mail: “There’s only one goal for us worth going for – and that’s to form a Government. That’s the project I’m signing up for.”

NL: Well he's got to get elected first and that's not entirely sure

PAUL SILK, chairman, Commission on Devolution in Wales

WM:  Paul Silk was a highly significant under-the-radar figure during his half a decade as clerk to the National Assembly but as chairman of the cross-party commission charged with recommending changes to the devolution settlement he has opened the door to the Welsh Government gaining a raft of new fiscal powers.

NL: More like a twiddler than a reformer and   there no real sign that these powers wil come either from Labour or Conservatives and NL ask what was the point anyway?

DAVID DAVIES, chairman, Welsh Affairs committee

WM: The Monmouth MP steers so far away from the middle of the road it’s a wonder there are any verges left in his constituency.In November he denounced young men who abandon women and their children, saying: “It is utterly shocking and I hope that the ministers will take note of this and get hold of some of these feckless fathers, drag them off, make them work, put them in chains if necessary, make them work and make them pay back to society for the cost of bringing up the children they chose to bring into this world

NL: The Mule still has this Mans crap online are they as disproving as they claim?
DAFYDD ELIS-THOMAS, Plaid Cymru Dwyfor Meirionnydd AM and peer

WM: The SNP may be pushing for a Yes vote in Scotland’s September independence referendum but Dafydd-El made it clear in June that he had no interest in breaking away from the UK, saying: “I’m an out and out UK federalist... There was never a project for Welsh independence, anyway.”

NL:  Not even Dafydd El knows what he believes any more I suspect

MICHAEL GOVE, Education Secretary

 WM: Wales’ bottom-of-the-UK results for reading, maths and science in the OECD rankings were a desperate disappointment that prompted the Conservatives’ Mr Gove to deliver a stinging critique of post-devolution Labour education policy.

NL: Frankly he should sort the mess out in his country  and leave the criticism to his Party leader in the Assembly. Whats his name.


WM: Neil Kinnock’s gruelling years at the helm of the Labour party did not put his son off politics. Not only has he married Helle Thoring-Schmidt, the present Danish prime minister, he has let it be known he would like to succeed Hywel Francis as the Labour MP for Aberavon.
He said: “My mam and dad are really pleased that I have decided to stand, and they have been very supportive.”

NL:The Mule seems to behind this carpet bagger why?

LEE WATERS, director of the Institute of  Welsh Affairs

WM: He has been at the heart of Wales’ politics since the dawn of the devolution era as a key aide to former Welsh Secretary Ron Davies, as a leading political journalist, and as a pivotal member of the 2011 referendum Yes campaign. As the new director of the IWA he has done his best to puncture the cosy consensus which often cloaks political debate.
In one of his first articles, he said: “When challenged Carwyn Jones can show his innate ability. But he is not often challenged externally, and he doesn’t encourage challenge from within: not from his ministers, his advisers or from wider circles.”

NL: Looks like another Labour wannabee biding his time before getting a safe seat . Provre me wromg Mr Waters.

KIRSTY WILLIAMS, Welsh Liberal Democrat leader and Brecon and Radnorshire AM

WM: There are strikingly few female frontbenchers among the Westminster Lib Dems and Ms Williams’ spirited performance at the UK conference triggered a wave of interest in her long-term plans. In recent interviews she has not ruled out the possibility of standing for the Commons.
She said: “I got myself into a bunch of trouble for saying, ‘Never say never’... My husband and I have a bit of a pre-nup: for most people it’s about money, for us it’s about me not going to London, so it would take a serious renegotiation on my behalf to get me out of that.”

NL: Except the LibDems are likely to lose half their seats  and even a coalition with Labour or again with the Conservatives will mean they will stil be the whipping boys when it comes to unpopular polices.

ELFYN LLWYD, Plaid Cymru Westminster leader 
WM In October he announced he would stand down at the next election, and
the selection of Liz Saville Roberts as the Plaid 2015 candidate raises the prospect of the party gaining its first female MP.

Mr Llwyd said: “I’ll never leave Plaid until I leave this earth. I’ll be leaving this job with the party in better health than it’s ever been.

NL: What new Chapter Lord Elfyn of Bala? maybe not 

Lets hope for something better in 2014 but don.t hold your breath.

Tuesday 24 December 2013

Nadolig Llawen

Like everyone else I will be taking a break over Christmas so I would like tom wish you al l a Merry Christmas  whatever your Religion or as in my case lack of one. The message of Peace On Earth And Good Will To All Men is one we all should share

And we al desevre to put our troubles away and enjoy ourselves even for a few days.

Nadolig Llawen I bawb.


Monday 23 December 2013

Is Vince planning a palace coup?

Vince Cable  was on the  The Andrew Marr Show in which he went much further than his leader Nick Clegg in accusing  the Conservatives of grubbing for Ukip votes with irresponsible and populist rhetoric reminiscent both of Enoch Powell and prewar antisemitism.
He said the Tories were creating a panic in Britain about the scale of migration from the European Union, saying it was the duty of political leaders to provide reassurance during times of national anxiety.

Cables brandied David Cameron as irresponsible in his pandering for Ukip votes and likening the rhetoric to Enoch Powell's Rivers of Blood speech highly regarded as racist and this at will cause most friction as the coalition seeks to remain a functioning government before the 2015 general election. 

Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr programme, Cable said:

 "I think there's a bigger picture here. We periodically get these immigration panics, I remember going back to Enoch Powell and 'rivers of blood' and all that, and if you go back a century there were panics over Jewish immigrants.
But whilst Powell was a Lone Wolf in  at least voicing his appalling views it is the leader of the Tory party ans Prime Minister a man that projected himself as a moderate reformer whose pushing this with the full support of his party

Cable also voiced his concern  for the country's social fabric because of the scale of public spending cuts and for the first time warned there may have to be an increase in interest rates to ease a "raging housing boom" in the south-east.

He said if no action were taken, there was a risk that in parts of London housing would be too expensive for anyone but foreigners and bankers.

 There is a raging housing boom, in London and the south east but not in other parts of the country," he said.
"The danger of raising interest rates is that you hit those parts of the country which are not yet fully recovered, you push up the exchange rate and that hits manufacturing.
"We don't want that. On the other hand, if you do not increase interest rates -– if that is the way the governor and the Bank of England go – then this boom that is taking place in housing prices gets out of control and the only people that can afford to live in large parts of London are foreigners and bankers, and we don't want that either."
"We certainly do need to look at that [Help to Buy] again. I notice that the ratings agency Standard & Poor's is expressing serious concerns on that front. It was conceived in different circumstances."
"We can be proud as a party of what we have done in government, lifting large numbers of low earners out of tax altogether," he continued. "We will argue for a fairere tax system, the Conservatives want to go in the opposite direction. We will be arguing on a very, very distinct agenda on tax when the election comes.

Which makes me wonder is Cable preparing a distinctive voice for his party before the next Election?

Is he envisioning a scenario of  him challenging Clegg for the leadership winning and then pulling the LibDems out  of the Coalition.

But unless the LibDems  were still to back the Tories in a confidence  vote  this would perpetuate  a General Election probably not enough time to remove the toxic effect of the coalition on his party

Quite frankly the only option for him would be to resign from the cabinet and present himself as a leader in waiting. Taking over after the next General Election but then his hopes would ride on the LibDems losing seats hardly something to admit to.

But then with a hung parliament and the LibDems courted for another coalition what would he do.

Sunday 22 December 2013

What Internet Browser should I use for this Blog?

 This morning I'm just going to comment on my Internet Browser

At the moment I am using Firefox as my server for this Blog . I usually use Google  as it supposed to ne the one Blogger was designed for.

But recently it has given me problems especially with commentating on my own Blog, Have you been unable to post a comment?

Internet Explorer keeps crashing and Opera may be  a Browser  to many. and last time I used it it t didn't t work with Blogger

But Firefox seems to be working and unless Google changed I wil be using this  for now.

Saturday 21 December 2013

Croesyceiliog North on Torfaen Coubcil Byelection

There was a Council byelection on Thursday (2oth Dec )  Croesyceiliog North on Torfaen Council which bypassed my RADAR  and probably most of yous as well..

December 20, 2013
Lab 227 (45.8%; -13.5)
UKIP 122 (24.6%; +24.6)
Ind 79 (15.9%; 8.3)
Con 55 (11.1%; -5.5)
PC 13 (2.6%; +2.6)
Lab Hold
Majority 105

Previou Election 2 seats May 2012

Lab 479 627
Ind 258 224 92
Con 175

So Labour hold the seat on a small turn out?

A  pretty good boost  for UKip an embarrassment  for the others, Plaid in particular

Whast this tell us I don't know apart from Ukip being the party of protest maybe

But with less people voting in total than the candidate at the previous election Indifference wins the day yet again

Friday 20 December 2013

Cardiff must not br another London.

As this is the anniversary of Cardiff becoming  1955) the capitol of Wales  though we had no choice in the matter it is interesting to consider Vince Cable's The business secretary claiming  that expanding Heathrow Airport would mean London would continue to be a “giant suction machine draining the life” out of the rest of the count

I'm also minded to repeat Eurfyl  ap Gwylims brilliant performance during the last General Election against  a sneering Jeremey Paxman.

Paxman had gone on the attack as he interviewed Dr ap Gwilym, asking why Plaid is calling for more cash for Wales when the country already gets more than every English region. When the Plaid adviser pointed out that London is in England and gets 115% of average UK public funding per head against 112% for Wales, Paxman tried to suggest that London was not a region.
Dr ap Gwilym told Paxman he should do his homework and said London was classified as a region by the Treasury., Resulting in Paxman going losing it.
At the moments all roads lead to London and the needs of that City outride the rest of the UK. Whilst at the same time we here moans from there amongst the great and god that they are subsidising the rest of us.

But we need to take a lesson from this a devolved government in Wales must look at Cardiff in the same way .

Prior to Cardiff becoming our Capitol our great institutions were scattered through out Wales . thats why the National Library is in Aberystwyth.

We must not make the mistake that everything must be in Cardiff and we need to consider spreading our resources throughout our Nation.

Thursday 19 December 2013

Nigel Dix in hot water and not for Nat bashing.

 Labour councillor  Nigel Dix is a  well known Nat Basher and member of True Wales who fought for a No vote in the last referendum
Now it seems he has little confidence in his own party members and  is  under investigation by his party after he sent an e-mail describing his local AM as “a joke”.
According to Wales on Line Dix, who represents Blackwood on Caerphilly council, made the comment about Islwyn AM Gwyn Price in a message to a friend that he inadvertently forwarded to Mr Price’s researcher and to every member of staff in the authority’s education department.
In the same e-mail he also described fellow councillor Gez Kirby, chief whip of the controlling Labour group on Caerphilly council, as a joke.....
In the thread of eight e-mails from earlier this month mistakenly forwarded by Mr Dix, he and his fellow Labour Party member and friend Andrew Whitcombe initially discuss the reselection prospects of Islwyn MP Chris Evans, who was confirmed as the constituency’s general election candidate last Friday.

They then move on to discuss whether Mr Price will seek re-election at the next National Assembly election in 2016. Mr Whitcombe states: “Gwyn has to announce by March. Who is favourite should he decide not to run?”

Mr Dixsends a message saying: “Oh joy”, to which Mr Whitcombe responded: “Is it right our pal Gwyn {Price} wants to go in {20}16 so Gez Kirby gets his seat and he gets Gez’s council seat and becomes leader?”

Mr Dix then responds: “They can dream on. Kirby is a joke, as is Gwyn, but they are not funny.”

Oh dear it looks like Cllr Dix is going to be pretty unpopular with his own party

Wednesday 18 December 2013

Independent Scotland and a "New England"?

I know many on the Left in Wales who support Independence are sorry that we appear to have few counterparts in England. English Nationlism often perceived as the domain of the extreme right.

There are occasions for hope often from the uttering of the musicians Billy Bragg

This week he has given us afresh approach to the Scottish Referendum telling the Scotsman Newspaper  , that the end of Britain could herald a new England led by a centre-left party akin to the SNP

 Bragg’s comments about Salmond “putting forward a nationalism that’s inclusive and mature – something that we don’t have in England”

Is in direct contrast to those on the left in  English left and the rest of the UK  who have long feared the prospect of Tory domination in Westminster should Scotland gain independence. 
Bragg says: that he envisages

 Not an English national party, but a party for England of civic nationalism that puts forward the progressive ideas of the SNP. Scottish independence throws up the possibility of a more progressive England,”

he continued 

 “The problem for us from this is that if you’re in England and you want no fees and free prescriptions, who do you vote for? There’s a real problem that’s opening up with that and I worry that the Labour Party will be punished because people won’t vote for it because it hasn’t grasped all this.”

So Bragg sees Scottish Independence  as a catalyst for his "New England" an opportunity for his nation to have a progressive left of centre his nation deserves.

Sadly it is unlikely to come from Labour unless it shakes of both its Blareite  Blue-Labour element but comes to realise that there is a future for the left in England without Scotland  (and even Wales) but it will involve them shaking of their British Nationalism and becoming English progressives.

Tuesday 17 December 2013

How mantt "Agency Workers" are there in Wales?

News that Hundreds of jobs at a solar panel factory are set to be lost after electronics firm Sharp announced plans to cease production at its facility in Wrexham, North Wales. Comes as a devastating blow
Bosses at the electrical giant have blamed "unavoidable market conditions" in their decision to cut 250 posts and not to renew around 350 agency workers' contracts.
Company CEO Hiroshi Sasaoka said a 30% drop in the unit price of European solar panels since the start of 2012 had left Wrexham's output uncompetitive in the UK.

This is particularly bad as  the BBC were announcing  in June 2012 that the  company making solar panels was expected to announced that it is planning to move its European HQ from Hamburg in Germany to Wrexham. 

Maybe this was to make it easier to close it down German Law being more protective of its Workforce.

The firm said it was stopping production of solar panels at its Llay factory in February

The company said the decision affecting its Llay factory was "unavoidable" given trading conditions which "left Wrexham's output uncompetitive".

Perhaps one important  fact that we should consider  when looking at this is the fact the majority of people  working at the  Wrexham plant were "Agency  Workers"

Just how typical is that of our manufacturing industry in Wales?.

How many Agency workers or  staff employed on short term contracts by the company themselves do we have here?.

Could it be approaching the majority in manufacturing industries?

Shouldn't the Welsh TUC  research this?

We here much about Zero Contracts but for a lot of people who are on longer contracts usually fortnightly this is the time of year that they are laid off for a short period then reemployed  a week later so the company can claim they are not permanent staff.

What is the longest period that someone has being working in a company on such a basis?

At the same time we need a survey of how many people are on part time contracts who wish to work full time.

So this is a challenge for the Welsh TUC. Sstart this investigation now; Or are you afraid the results will show how little influence you have amongst though involved in these industries.?

Monday 16 December 2013

Do we need a referendum on powers we won't use.

The result of a referendum on whether the Welsh Government should be able to vary income tax rates up or down would be too close to call, according to an exclusive poll for the Wasting Mule.

The poll – undertaken for the Mule  by Cardiff-based Beaufort Research – showed that 32% of voters would back such a power being devolved to Wales, with 30% against. Some 19% said they would not vote while a further 17% said they didn’t know. 1% of the sample were too young to vote. The figures do not add up to 100% because of rounding.

The 36% who are either Don't knows or simply admit they won't vote is understandable when you consider most of us wil probably find it hard to follow what is going on 

And it is a great pity the Mule does nor tel us what question was asked but a quick search of the Beaufort Website tells us that.

In the latest wave of the Beaufort Wales Omnibus survey, conducted in November, 1,022 adults in Wales aged 16 and over were informed that the UK Government says it will pass a law to enable a referendum to be held on whether the Welsh Government should be able to vary rates of income tax up or down in Wales.  Following this they were then asked “If such a referendum were held tomorrow, how would you vote?” 

To be fair the question is clear enough but maybe it should have had added that the overall Tax rate will not change 

Indeed this has led to Plaid Cymru Treasury spokesman Jonathan Edwards. claiming that No referendum is needed on the proposals to devolve income tax-varying powers to the Assembly, 
The Mule reports that .....

The Carmarthen East & Dinefwr MP argues that the type of powers of offer to Wales are less flexible than those recommended by the cross-party Silk Commission and will not require a public vote.
Instead of giving AMs the ability to vary individual income tax rates as originally proposed, it is expected the legislation anticipated to be unveiled this week will only all
ow all the rates to be moved up or down together in a “lockstep”.
The  ‘lockstep’ power  is one than exisist in Scotland and in the 14 years that it has been in existence under Labour Led or SNP governments have not been used once.
As Jonathen Edwards says 
“The fact that greater investment powers will be tied to the ‘lock-step’ income tax-sharing arrangement means that Labour are now trapped. There will be a limit on the amount that the Welsh Government can borrow to invest - however, the limit will be much lower unless it adopts the income tax-sharing arrangement.
He continued: “Personally, I do not see the need for a referendum if all we are to get is the lock-step arrangement that will not allow the Welsh Government to realistically vary income tax rates as it is not the original proposal agreed by all the parties...
“As a party, Plaid Cymru will seek to table amendments to the Bill when it is formally debated at Westminster in order to preserve the integrity of the original Silk Commission recommendations which were agreed upon by all the parties in Wales. For us, these are the bare minimum of powers that are needed, and were agreed as a compromise.”
Do we need a referendum on Tax varying powers which are unlikely to be used>

Indeed what's the point unless its a simple symbol of an increased authority  of the assembly.

But there's also the possibility that people will vote NO not because they don't want Tax powers but because they don't see the point of powers that will not be used .

The likelihood is win or lose the referendum turnout will be low unless there's a more substantial change on offer.

Next year Scotland face a referendum on Independence when all we in Wales have is the opportunity to vary some income tax and as I repeat "are unlikely to use".

Says it all really 

Sunday 15 December 2013

Plaid go local in Merionnydd. Aberafan to go for Kinnock Junior (surely not)?

Plaid Cymru has chosen its candidate to contest the Westminster seat of Dwyfor Meirionnydd at the 2015 General Election and it it should barring disasters mean that it will have its first female MP in the Party's History

Liz Saville Roberts has been chosen to contest the seat.
The decision was taken during a hustings meeting in Dolgellau yesterday
Ms Roberts said: 
"I'm extremely pleased to have been chosen and very much look forward to working with Plaid Cymru members in the constituency to secure success in 2015."The hard work starts now throughout the constituency, from Llyn to Meirionnydd

But perhaps more interest might be for us who are political anoraks is that   Neil Kinnock's son, Stephen, is seeking nomination for the Aberafan seat - despite working in Switzerland and having a family in Denmark (he's married to the Danish Prime Minister).

She of the notorious Selfie with Cameron and Obama

Is that appropriate? Images of the three leaders taking the group photo prompted outrage online

It appears, he already has a £500,000 flat in London so he won't have to spend too much time in Wales. So perhaps he might be not claiming a huge living allowance  

Though in 2010 he was investigated by police  Police in Denmark are considering a complaint about the financial affairs 

It must be said that Mr Kinnock, a director of the World Economic Forum in Geneva, probably did not break any rules. 

He was  paying  income tax on his £110,000 salary in Switzerland, where the rate is considerably lower than in Denmark. He told the Danish authorities that he spent no more than 33 weekends, from Friday to Monday, in Denmark each year.

Still it looks like he might be comfortable with the Westminster gravy train .

But surely the last thing Aberafan needs is a Labour apparatchik parachuted in and who has no connection with the constituency and who if elected will have a wife and family in another country.

Stephen Kinnock should not be considered because he is the son of Neil Kinnock nor should ththis preven him from standing but because it is clear that he sees Aberafan as a means of getting his bum on the Gren benches of the House of Commons not because he has a commitment to the people of Aberafan.

Just one thing please do not comment on this over the smears on Stephen Kinnock's sexuality.  I am not interested in this nor do I think they are true or indeed relevant.

Friday 13 December 2013

For the Unionist grouping Better Together their biggest ally outside the UK is Spanish Prime Minister  Mariano Rajoy,s who back in November aid it was important that Scots were “realistic” about the consequences of a ‘yes’ vote next year and warned against “regions” of member states embarking on “solo adventures”.It became clear  that Rajoy,s,  leader of the governing Peoples Party, main concern was based on his own problems when he vowed vowed to block an attempt by Catalan leaders to hold an independence referendum on November 9, 2014.
A few hours after Catalan political chief Artur Mas unveiled the date and wording of the poll, the Spanish leader refused even to countenance a break-up of the nation.
"It is unconstitutional and it will not take place," Rajoy,s told a news conference.
"This initiative collides head-on with the foundation of the constitution which is the indissoluble unity of the Spanish nation," 
Catalan President Artur Mas has announced that the referendum on independence for Catalonia would l be held on November 9th 2014. The referendum will have a double question. The first one will be asking: 
"Do you want Catalonia to become a State?".
 The second one will be asking: 
"Do you want this State to be independent?".
The double question has been agreed by four out of seven political parties in the autonomous Catalan Parliament, including the two largest parties (pro-sovereignity centre-right Convergence and Union, CiU (50 seats), and pro-independence centre-left Republican Left, ERC (21 seats). Two smaller parties (pro-sovereignty ecologist Initiative for Catalonia, ICV (13 seats) , and pro-independence leftist Popular Unity Candidature CUP (3 seats) have also given their support.

Opposed  where the People Party 19 seats ,the Socialist 20 seats and the ani- nationalist Citizens party 9 seats.

So although it was a clear majority 86-48 the Spanish government will try to block any referendum.

These are the friends of Better Together .who whether you support Catalonian Independence or not deny them the right to chose.

Let us here no more from Better Together quoting warnings from a Right Wing Spanish politician on Scotland's place in Europe who deny Catalonia even the right to vote on Independence even though the vast majority of its elected members voted  for one.

Wednesday 11 December 2013

Labour set to dominate Welsh Politics for now.

There's a Interesting YouGov pol in the Wasting Mule that shows Labours Hegemony in Wales seemingly unchallenged for the next three elections here

General Election 
Constituency                                        Seats
Lab 46% +10                                          33+7
Con 21% -5                                             3-5
LibDem 12% -12                                     2-1
Plaid % 12% +1                                       2-1                        
Ukip 10%


Constituency                  Region      Seats
Lab 43 +1                       40+3           30 Np change
Con 19-6                       19-3.5          11-3
Plaid 20 +1                      15-3           9-2
Lib Dem 9-2                      9+1           5 - No Change
Ukip 7                                10            5 +5

European Elections

Lab 41
Con 20
Lib Dem  8
Plaid 13
Ukip 13
 Such a result would see Labour taking three of the four Welsh seats – up two from 2009 – with the other going to the Conservatives. Both Plaid Cymru and Ukip would lose the seats they currently hold.
There are some oddities in the Polls  Plaid usually do better in the Regional vote for the Assembly yet although its Constituency vote rose slightly its regional vote fell.
You would expect with 10% of the potential vote in the General Election Ukip would do better than 13% in the European Elections.
But it is clear that "Welsh" Labours policy of do nothing and blame everything on Westminster is working 
The dificultiy for Plaid in particular is to expose this but with papers like the Mule seemingly complacent with Labour here its going to be a struggle.