Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Tories will only devolve powers that suites them

It is hardly surprising that the only change to the Devolution Settlement  for proposed by the Conservatives for Wales in the wake of the Scottish Independence Referendum is one that they believe will give them an electoral advantage.
The Mule reports that  Conservative Assembly leader Andrew RT Davies has set his sights on making a “low tax revolution” a reality following Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb’s call for the Assembly to have the ability to vary individual income tax rates.
Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Mr Crabb announced this week that he wanted to remove the highly controversial “lockstep” in the Wales Bill which would only allow AMs to raise or lower tax rates in unison.
South Wales Central AM Mr Davies wants to lower the 40p rate of income tax in a bid to boost entrepreneurship.
Speaking shortly after a joint appearance with Mr Crabb at the Conservative party conference, he said: “ I want to drive forward a low tax revolution in Wales. This is the vehicle that we will debate on and ultimately show the difference between left and right in Wales and make politics more engaging for the people of Wales.”
The AM argues the 40p rate could be cut by between one and – over time – five pence.
He said the removal of the lockstep was in keeping with the recommendations of the cross-party Silk Commission and argued the transfer of the powers would boost accountability.
“The key thing here is that we all are aware that the people of Wales warm to devolution,” he said. “But what hasn’t happened is the responsibility and accountability element following many of the changes that have happened [when] it comes to the financial matters.
“And Silk, in fairness, was set up by the coalition Government, looked at this, came up with a suite of measures they believed [would] deliver that. Everyone in the Assembly voted for that.
OK you got that the Silk Commission recommendation of Tax varying powers should be adopted and I agree but not because it would give the Tories a platform of promise to reduce taxes
However Andrew RT Davies  thinks Justice and Policing  should not be devolved
He said: 
“Ultimately, Silk 2 goes into different areas, talking about police, criminal justice etc, and those are areas that I am extremely cautious over whether they should be devolved. It’s my own personal view that the case has not been made in those particular areas but what we’ve got to do is make sure Wales is front and centre of those discussions.”

Further changes would have to be in the interests of the people of Wales, he said, instead of being “politicians’ dreams that they dreamt up when they were in university talking around debating society tables”

So basically we are grown up enough to Ta ourselves but not to Police ourselves?

Of course The Tories see the Electoral Advantage of being  sen as Tough on Crime emitting from Westminster. and probably feel it would not make a difference if the message came from there instead of the Assembly.

The change in heart over the Lockstep is welcome as  is  Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb's cal to move to a model of devolution in which the Assembly is free to legislate in areas that have not been specifically “reserved” by Westminster, 
He said he wanted a constitutional framework that “actually fosters unity” and voiced concerns the present settlement “pushes nations apart”.

But the Tories can't  indeed the other Parties can't set up a commission  and then  simply pick out the parts that they believe will benefit them electorally.

Who I am I kidding that's exactly what they can do .

And it asks the question . What is the point of spending millions of pounds consulting with people only to reject most of its finding apart from what suites you electorally?

Monday, 29 September 2014

Lib Dems set to lose Cardiff Central in 2015.

I could only find one Welsh seat  in Lord Ashcrofts poll of Marginal seats  but it is  an interesting one nevertheless

Cardiff Central is probably the  only seat in Wales that could be described  as a three way marginal At the last election> Jenny Willot held the seat for that she gained from Labour in 2005
General Election 2010: Cardiff Central[3][4]
Liberal DemocratJenny Willott14,97641.4−8.4
LabourJenny Rathbone10,40028.8−5.5
ConservativeKaren Robson7,79921.6+12.3
Plaid CymruChris Williams1,2463.4-0.1
UKIPSue Davies7652.1+1.1
GreenSam Coates5751.6+1.6
TUSCRoss Saunders1620.4+0.4
Monster Raving LoonyMark Beech (A.K.A.- 'The Good Knight Sir NosDa')1420.4+0.4
IndependentAlun Mathias860.2+0.2
Liberal Democrat holdSwing−1.4

Now according to Lord Ashcroft she is likely to lose it

The poll  puts thr Parties on

Conservative 16%
Labour 29%
Lib Dem 12%
Ukip 8%
Plaid 6%
Green 6%

Maybe the rel int rest here is the spread of votes  at 6% Plaid and the Greens would have thier largest share (Paltry as it is) in the constituency). and the  8% for Ukip whilst much higher  than 2010 doesn't point to them making huge inroads into Wales.

Its unlikely that Plaid and Green voters will switch to the LIb Dems this time after the latter becomes Toxic when it became bag carriers to the Tories in the Coalition Government.

Of course things can sand  will change in the run up to the General Election .

In Cardiff Central the Lib Dems have had one of the most formidable Constituency organisation in the UK let  alone Wales but I suspect it will a uphill struggle this time.

Iindeedif this was reflected throughout Wales they could Welsh  lose all their Welsh seats  and even Mark Williams sitting on a comfortably Majority  must be nervous

General Election 2010: Ceredigion[16][17]
Liberal DemocratMark Williams19,13950.0+13.5
Plaid CymruPenri James10,81528.3-7.6
ConservativeLuke Evetts4,42111.6-0.8
LabourRichard Boudier2,2105.8-6.3
UKIPElwyn Williams9772.6N/A
GreenLeila Kiersch6961.8-0.5
Liberal Democrat holdSwing+10.6
Before that he has only a 219 majority and that might be more reflective of the reality there.

General Election 2005: Ceredigion
Liberal DemocratMark Williams13,13036.53+9.66
Plaid CymruSimon Thomas12,91135.92-2.35
ConservativeJohn Harrison4,45512.39-7.05
LabourAlun Davies4,33712.06-3.36
GreenDave Bradney8462.35
VeritasIain Sheldon2680.75
Liberal Democrat gain from Plaid CymruSwing+6.0

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Ukip the voice of the "Man in the street" . Oh really!

The Wasting Mule recently reported that UKIP plans to target voters in Labour’s heartlands in the South Wales Valleys with a dedicated branch, it

Speaking at the Eurosceptic party’s national conference in Doncaster, Nathan Gill said the party hoped to win over traditional Labour voters.

If you haven't heard of Mr Gill you could do worse than Jac's in depth profile of possibly the worst person to represent a Welsh Constituency ever and by God we have has some Lulu's

Labour “no longer represents people on the streets of Wales,” he said.

Well I can't argue with that but a party that at times looks like the heirs of Margret Thatcher is not the answer.

Despite it appears no branches inmany parts of Wales including the Valley;s In May’s European elections UKIP narrowly took fewer votes than Labour in Wales.

It topped the poll in Conwy, Flintshire, Denbighshire, Wrexham, Vale of Glamorgan and Powys and came second to Labour in four other constituencies, including Merthyr Tydfil.

Mr Gill told BBC Wales that the party’s success in traditional Labour heartlands at the last European elections was a sign of changing attitudes.

He said: 

“For too long the Labour Party has taken Wales and the people of Wales for granted.“Merthyr Tydfil like so many other towns and cities in Wales has woken to the fact that after 114 years and six Labour prime ministers, and 15 years of Labour rule in Cardiff, the Labour Party no longer speaks for or represents the man and woman on the street. 

When I was actively involved in Party Politics in the 70's and there was always talk of the Anti-Labour vote .

This consisted of those not only on the right who would vote for any party but Labour .

The trouble with this was you never truly converted them they would move from support to hostility depending if they thought you had a chance of beating the Labour candidate,

In the last General Election Amy Kitcher who has now joined Plaid saw the biggest swing from Labour in the whole of Wales.

True Dai Havard could wel be a challenge to Nathan Gill as the worst person to represent a Welsh Constituency which might be behind this swing.

But Methyr has been let down by Labour in living memory and also like many a Valley consistency has seen Cardiff Creep where people move from our beloved capital where there's cheaper housing and they can commute.

Recently Cardiff Creep might well be the reason or support for the Liberal Democrats as they took that Parties vigorous campaigning with them.

Will they now change to Ukip or can Plaid seize the initiative in Merthyr and the other Valleys.

If the recent Independence Referendum taught us any thing positive campaigning in working class areas can bear results.

The SNP itslef must have been amazed as the YES campaign went beyond their own campaign in places like Glasgow and maybe even more amazed that even after a NO vote the campaign saw a huge increase to that Parties membership .

With another right wing Tory defecting to Ukip yesterday they might find it difficult to don flat caps and be the pretend to speaks for or represents the man and woman on the street.

But it is up to the other Parties to offer another voice than that of the coastal resorts of Southern England.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Iraq Vote shows need for a Progressive Aliance.



Diane Abbott

Graham Allen

Anne Begg

Ronnie Campbell

Martin Caton

Katy Clark

Ian Davidson

Paul Flynn

Stephen Hepburn

Kate Hoey

Kelvin Hopkins

Sian James

Mark Lazraowicz

John Mc Donnell

Iain McKenzie

Austin Mitchell

Grahame Morris

George Mudie

Linda Riordan

Barry Sheerman

Dennis Skinner

Graham Stringer

Mike wood

Jeremy Corbyn

Plus: Rushanara Ali (Formal abstention)


Richard Bacon

John Baron

Gordon Henderson

Adam Holloway

Nigel Mills
Mark Reckles

Lib Dems:

Julian Huppert


Mark Durkan

Alasdair McDonnell

Margaret Ritchie

Plaid Cymru:

Jonathan Edwards

Hywel Williams


George Gallway


Stewart Hosie

Angus Roberton

Mike Weir

Eilidh Whiteford

Angus Brendan McNeill

Pete Wishart


Caroline Lucas

I believe Plaid's Elfyn Llawyd was absent  whilst one of the SNP MPs acted as teller.

Naturally the Media concentrated on "Gorgeous George" Galloway and it would be  nice for us to see the more thoughtful contribution from the Plaid anad SNP Benches..

The Medias also kept referring to those who voted No to bombing as "Rebels" but only Labour,Tories and Liberal Democrats were such . The others were reflecting Party policy.

But once again Plaid, SNP Green and SDLP prove the need for closer cooperation  between themselves and as I have argued before it would be advantageous for this to be more formal.

In particular it is surely time for the SDLP to break its pact with UK Labour and join in Progressive Nation list/Green alliance

Friday, 26 September 2014

1984 and 2014 we are being manipulated

One of the   aspect of George Orwell's  1984  is yjat a perpetual war among Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia, The story starts with Oceania allied with Eastasia .  That alliance ends and Oceania allied with Eurasia fights Eastasia, a change which occurred during the Hate Week dedicated to creating patriotic fervour for the Party's perpetual war. The public are blind to the change; in mid-sentence an orator changes the name of the enemy from "Eurasia" to "Eastasia" without pause. When the public are enraged at noticing that the wrong flags and posters are displayed they tear them down—thus the origin of the idiom "We've always been at war with Eastasia

It comes to something when this letter appeared in the Daily Mail

No one can deny that IS is a evil organisation and needs to be defeated but bombing civilians is not the answer.

One of the answers might be to recognise an Independent Kurdistan and support them.

But it is clear that the mes that Tony Blair  helped make of the Middle East continues .

There are some including myself that he did it to enhance his standing on the World stage.

Now we have another Prime Minister who believes that bombing Civilians whilst claiming to be attacking the bad guys will do the same for his reputation on that World stage.

If IS exist it is due to the western Intervention in the Middle East as we tried to remove governments we did not like whether they  were pro Islamic fundamentalist like Afghanistan Taliban or anti like  
Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

Whilst making Allies of Fundamentalist  Islamic states like Saudi Arabia who  partly  behind  IS.are totaly undemocratic and carry out beheadings regularly (those its done legaly so that alright by the UK).

We are truly entering Orwell'snightmatre.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Assembly and Public in dark over £104,000 fraud

There has been little reaction to the news that Public funds totalling £104,000 were paid into a fraudulent bank account unlikely" to be recovered, a Welsh assembly committee has heard.
The money was paid over a four-month period by the Assembly Commission, which is the corporate body for the National Assembly for Wales.
Its public accounts committee was told police are investigating and an arrest had been made.
The incident may be be an isolated one. but it sems most of our AMs and the public are still in the dark with an assembly spokesman saying it could not give any further information about the bank account or what the money was intended to pay for while police were investigating.
Surely most of the investigation has been completed and  with commission member Peter Black  (whose Blog is silent on the matter) telling  committee members on Tuesday that £71,000 was paid into the fraudulent account during the 2013-14 financial year, and the remainder was paid this year. We are entitled to more details especially since this as already been announced as a fraud so how can more details prejudice the investigation or trial?
Peter Black said it was "highly unlikely" the commission would recover the money.
Members were told it was an isolated incident and the commission was strengthening controls around the way it records and verifies data supplied by outside bodies.
Claire Clancy, chief executive and clerk of the National Assembly for Wales, said: "The strengthened controls will help to ensure the integrity of our payments system and minimise risks from external sources".

. The Commission is responsible for ensuring the property, staff and services are provided for the Assembly. The Assembly Commission consists of the Presiding Officer and four Members from different Political parties, who each have different portfolios of work. The Commission is supported by staff in the Commission and Assembly Support Service.
The  present Commissioners for the  Assembly are as follows:
The Presiding Officer, Rosemary Butler AM (Welsh Labour)
Sandy Mewies AM (Welsh Labour)
Angela Burns AM (Welsh Conservatives)
Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM (Plaid Cymru)
Peter Black AM (Welsh Liberal Democrats)
So it night not be in the interest of any of the Parties to make  much of a fuss over this.
But I hope that we are not going kept in the dark because it might embarrass a political party in Wales again.

But wee need to know  more details short of compromising any Fraud trials.

But as we know such trials are complex and do not always lead to conviction

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Support for Welsh Independence on 3%! Am I really in such a minority?

I must admit I find it very curious  but the Wasting Mule gleefully claims that "Support for Welsh independence has fallen to its lowest recorded level in the wake of the Scottish referendum, according to a new poll for BBC Wales.
The survey, carried out for tonight’s Week in Week Out programme after Scotland voted No to independence, found just 3% wanted Wales to be independent. The programme explores what the new political and economic landscape might mean for people in Wales and asks who will be making the decisions that impact Wales.
The BBC own website is somewhat sparse on information only giving . Westminster voting intentions

Maybe it will be published on their website after the programme  but its hard to make a judgement  without all the details.
ICM Research interviewed a random sample of 1,006 Welsh adults aged 18 or over by telephone on 19-22nd September 2014. Interviews were conducted across Wales and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.


There was strangely only a small drop in support for Plaid .

Ironically it is Labour who seem to be  suffering from a rise in Ukip support.

There was strong support for the idea of more powers being devolved to the Welsh Government, with 49% backing this option. Only 12% wanted to see the Assembly abolished. (but there was no accompanying Table).
Last week’s No vote in Scotland has led to serious debate about the future of the UK constitution and of the relationship between the separate governments.
Professor Roger Scully, of the Wales Governance Centre at Cardiff University, said:

Support for independence is the lowest I’ve seen anywhere. There has been a clear move towards supporting more powers, and some of the people who may have said ‘independence’ have gone in that direction.
“We’re getting close to a majority saying they want things to go further. There are also pretty low levels of support for abolition of the Assembly – the extreme positions are losing out.”
An analysis of the voting intention figures by Prof Scully suggests that, on a uniform swing, Labour would gain two seats in the capital – Cardiff North and Cardiff Central – at next May’s election. The Conservatives would lose Cardiff North but gain Brecon and Radnor from the Lib Dems; Plaid Cymru would retain their three seats but the Liberal Democrats would be reduced to a solitary Welsh seat at Westminster – Ceredigion. 
Though I suspect Plaid in Cerdigion and Ynys Mon may have hopes of winning there.

Maybe its a rogue poll as I said I find it very curious  especially 3% for Independence .
I imagine Professor Scully  has more details than us ordinary mortals but it would be nice if we had them as well

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Labour may lose Scotland . What of Wales?

Labour should be delighted . Ther's am unpopular coalition in Westminster and the Tories face a challenge from the right from Ukip in a similar way the SDP/Liberal alliance  helped  prevent Labour winning two General Elections in the 8O's

On top of that there was  NO vote in Scotland and they probably expected the SNP do fal back in despair and in fighting.

But alas for ED Miliband the polls still fail to give Labour the sort of margin they need and Ukip in England at least may well be a focus for a protest vote almost as much in their strongholds as Tory Southern England

And in Scotland  Labour may be hoping this "Powerful Insight " from a online Mag which seems to be US based . I invite Scottish readers to have a look and a laught.

The decisive loss of the Yes campaign in last week's independence referendum has left the Scottish National Party with bruises it is trying desperately to heal — bruises that could wipe it off the U.K. political map by the 2016 election.
Former First Minister Alex Salmond touched on the SNP's need for a new directionwhen announcing his resignation on Friday, saying the country could "still carry the political initiative" after the loss. "Scotland can still emerge as the real winner," he said. "For me as leader my time is nearly over, but for Scotland the campaign continues and the dream shall never die."
The dream, however, is much murkier than before. And with such vague ideals, the SNP may not last. 
Unfortunately for Labour  the reverse seems to be to be happenings

It looks like Nicol Sturgeon will  be elected unopposed and it generally acepted She had a better campaign than even Big Eck

In recent days nationalist party membership has soared by almost 20000 since Scotland voted to reject independence last week while 3,000 people have joined the Scottish Greens.
The number of SNP members was 45,336 as at 4pm today, compared to 25,642 at 5pm last Thursday.
The last confirmed UK-wide Lib Dems' membership number was 43,451 at the start of this year, although the party said it expected to top the 44,000 mark in April.
Ukip had 38,124 members as of May 19.

So that makes the SNP the third  Largest party by Membership in the UK

The Poll after the vote taken after the  NO vote see the SNP gaining a comfortable third term in Holyrood
Party % share
SNP 49.2
LAB 32.7
CON 13.4
LD 3.4
Another 1.3

And then there's Wales of course

First Minister Carwyn Jones challenged Labour to be the party that delivers “home rule” for Wales when he took the party conference stage in Manchester.
The Welsh Labour leader (is he or is it Owen Smith?) told the conference audience that the “old days of Westminster sovereignty” are over and gave a stark warning that the union cannot be taken for granted.
He said: “The union has suffered a serious injury and a sticking plaster won’t do.”
This from a Man who has been very hapy with the status Quo in the Assembly so far . 
Calling for Wales to be offered the same powers that will be devolved to the Scottish Parliament, he said: 

[The] future we promised to Scotland must be delivered - an equal share of resources, a seat at the table, a powerful Parliament - that must be offered to Wales and Northern Ireland too. Not just home rule for Scotland, but home rule all round.”

So is he caling for parity with Scotland  does Owen Smith agree with this? 
Mr Jones warned that people were tempted to vote for independence if they believed conditions “can’t get worse”.
Well as the Blue-Labour Conference continues with its commitment to be good boys anf girls and make no promises to reverse the draconian Tory/Lib Dem cuts there may well be some in Wales who look at Scotland and are inspired.

Things may well change but its beginning to look like Labour are going will be the biggest  looser after the referendum in  Scotland losing out to the SNP there and to the Tories in England as Cameron exploits English Votes for English Laws

And again I ask "What of Wales".

Monday, 22 September 2014

EVEL can't and will not work.

The prospect of English Votes for English Laws EVEL (Must advoid EVIL) has risen due to Cameron using the Scottish Independence referendum to boost his own English Nationalism.

The argument that England is in the position of having Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland MPs voting on English  Laws is a compelling one  but Cameron's solution will create huge constitutional problems.

It could see a Labour Prime Minister not having a majority of English MPs and constantly losing ELEV votes .

It could see the Leader of the Opposition be effectively English Prime Minister  and  the UK Prime Minister or may be his or her deputy being leader of the opposition.

Having a Cabinet minister in areas like Education and Health from outside England at the Westminster Parliament is controversial now, It would be Impossible under EVEL

This would mean that there wil be few opportunities for Welsh and Scottish members to climb the greasy pole with probably (Outside the Wales and Scottish Office) only PM,Chancellor ,Defence Foreign and Home secretary open. NI members do not usually seek such office.

But with even junior posts denied them  there 's not much future for a Welsh or Scottish MP who has high ambitions.

It will see English  MPs justifiably claiming they working harder than their Celtic counterparts and demanding more pay.

There are many more problems but there's one that may have to be addressed

What will effectively be an English Parliament  with the same powers and Scotland (and that shows our Assembly's weakness) will the own one not elected under PR.

Clearly currently an English Parliament ou side Westminster under PR would have a large number of Ukip members and s mattering of Greens. But  unless votes under EVEL are weighted meaning  Green MP Caroline Lucus may be given say 10 votes it would be pretty undemocratic compared to the devolved Powers.

EVEL will create more problems that it solves. If the English Question is to be answered it will not be through this.

Its about time the Westminster Parties took it seriously and looked at what would best be best for England and not their own political advantage.