Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Paddy Ashdown digs the gutter for Unionists to fight in.

I have always considered  Jeremy John Durham Ashdown, Baron Ashdown of Norton-sub-HamdonGCMGCHKBEPC  commonly known as Paddy Ashdown  to be a pompous prat and yesterday Morning he did little to change my mind.
The former Liberal Democrat leader claimed that the SNP are coming south to burn Westminster and make it dysfunctional. made the statement whilst speaking to the BBC yesterday morning as the first official day of campaigning for the 2015 general election got underway.
Polls suggest that the SNP will secure the majority of seats in Scotland at the general election, with an ICM poll for the Guardian newspaper last week putting support for the SNP at 43%. It wculd mean the Liberal Democrats could potentially lose all 12 of thier seats in Scotland. so it may well have been in his mind  when he appeared to make a attempt to smear the SNP by comparing them to Serbs during the Balkalnds wars.
Ashdown said: 
"The SNP has got one aim. They're not coming south to help Westminster work, they're coming south as a Scottish raiding party to burn Westminster down and to make the thing dysfunctional.
"I watched it happen in the Balkans, by the way. You first of all make it dysfunctional and then you have a case for breaking away. That's what their aim is."
 Ashdown  when chalenged  added that he was not comparing Alex Salmond to former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic.

Bit that's  the way i saw it .

The Liberal Democrats always claim they are above gutter politics but once again they prove not only are wiling to fight in the gutter but in Ashdown's case dig it as well.  

Monday, 30 March 2015

If David Cameron or Ed Miliband win in May I warn you.

I'm going to start by quoting of all people Neil Kinnock .....

If Margaret Thatcher is re-elected as prime minister on Thursday, I warn you. I warn you that you will have pain – when healing and relief depend upon payment. I warn you that you will have ignorance – when talents are untended and wits are wasted, when learning is a privilege and not a right. I warn you that you will have poverty – when pensions slip and benefits are whittled away by a government that won’t pay in an economy that can't pay. I warn you that you will be cold – when fuel charges are used as a tax system that the rich don't notice and the poor can't afford.I warn you that you must not expect work – when many cannot spend, more will not be able to earn. When they don't earn, they don't spend. When they don't spend, work dies. I warn you not to go into the streets alone after dark or into the streets in large crowds of protest in the light. I warn you that you will be quiet – when the curfew of fear and the gibbet of unemployment make you obedient. I warn you that you will have defence of a sort – with a risk and at a price that passes all understanding. I warn you that you will be home-bound – when fares and transport bills kill leisure and lock you up. I warn you that you will borrow less – when credit, loans, mortgages and easy payments are refused to people on your melting income.
If Margaret Thatcher wins on Thursday, I warn you not to be ordinary. I warn you not to be young. I warn you not to fall ill. I warn you not to get old.

  • Robert Harris, "The Making of Neil Kinnock" (Faber and Faber, 1984), page 208.

Though I normaly find it hard to hide my contempt for Kinnock It was one of his best. But  it would not take a effort to change e Magret Thatcher for David Camerom and even  the Leader of Blue Labour  Ed Miliband. as they both intend to cut the Welfare Budget nut are reluctant  to tell us who will be affected .

Politicians love to tell us how better  off we will be in their Election Manifestos
Tax reductions bigger pensions  and they justify grandiose ides with the  weds
It's all been fully costed .

But when it comes to Cuts they seem reluctant to tell us  how they intend to do this.
Yesterday both Labour and the the Conservatives may not reveal details of plans to slash £12bn from the benefits bill before voters go to the polls on 7 May, Iain Duncan Smith has said.
The welfare secretary said it may not be “relevant” to explain where the rest of the cuts will fall until after the election.
His comments on Sunday came after the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) thinktank said the planned cuts will be difficult to achieve, involving “pretty dramatic” reductions in areas such as housing and disability benefits over the next three years.
The institute’s director, Paul Johnson, said reductions under Labour would be “quite a lot less” but could involve big cuts in the first couple of years after the election and would leave the country with a deficit of up to £30bn – while the Tories would eliminate it altogether. 
Duncan Smith was asked by Andrew Marr to address a leaked document obtained by the BBC on Friday that appeared to suggest his Department for Work and Pensions was considering changes to industrial injuries compensation, child benefit, the carer’s allowance and disability benefis
The paper was one of a number drawn up for consideration by civil servants and did not represent government or Conservative party policy, he said.
The former Tory leader told the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show that theConservatives had already announced about a quarter of the £12bn cuts it has pencilled in for working-age welfare benefits, by extending a freeze for a further two years and reducing the cap on household claims from 26,000 to 23,000.
He said:
 “When we are right and we are ready, we will talk about what we plan to do …
“[Voters] know for certain that we are going to save that £12bn. We may, we may not, decide that it’s relevant to put something out there about some of those changes.
“As and when the time is right, we will make it very clear what our position is. A quarter of what we need to save is already out there. That’s a good indication that we know where we are going to go to be able to make those savings.”
Insisting that he was not intending to carry out “cheeseparing cuts”, Duncan Smith said: “I cannot and will not on this programme try to write the next spending review. What I will say to you is that there are some things that we will do, and want to do, that are of life-changing, dramatic effects. That is about getting people back to work and improving their life chances.”

Meanwhile  here in Wales  according to Welsh  
First Minister Carwyn Jones has Electing a Labour government at either end of the M4 would end the "cuts and conflict" of the past five years, First Minister Carwyn Jones

Welsh Labour launches its general election campaign on Monday.


Mr Jones said

: "For five years Welsh Labour has had to stand up for Wales against the damaging cuts of the Tory-led government in Westminster.
"The respect agenda we were promised by David Cameron was a sham and Wales has lost out as a result. This election gives us the chance to have two Labour governments working together in the interests of Wales.
"That is a future we need to fight for over the next few weeks - a future of co-operation, not more cuts and more conflict."

So we have one party who are going to cut the welfare budget  and will not tell us how they are going to do this

And another in Wales who claim they will fight cuts even though they Westminster colleagues  have signed up ,to the Austerity project  and who welfare  about will be tougher than the Tories when it comes to slashing the benefits bill, 

Remember Rachel Reeves, the  shadow work and pensions secretary has said Labour will be tougher than the Tories when it comes to slashing the benefits bill, .

When it comes to welfare its clear that the  two major Parties are intent on attacking the most vulnerable members of Society scapegoating them and blaming those who have no voice  for their failures.

For many of these vulnerable people it will meaf  either the Red or Blue Tories win next month they are going to be stamped on and stamped on hard.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Chris Bryant and Jimmy Carr. So What's the difference?

Jimmy Carr did nothing Illegal but was condemned by MPs

In June 2012, the comedian Jimmy  Carr's involvement in an alleged K2 tax avoidance scheme came to light after an investigation by The Times newspaper.[The scheme is understood to involve UK earners "quitting" their job and signing new employment contracts with offshore shell companies based in the low tax jurisdiction of Jersey

. British Prime Minister David Cameron commented on the issue: 

"People work hard, they pay their taxes, they save up to go to one of his shows. They buy the tickets. He is taking the money from those tickets and he, as far as I can see, is putting all of that into some very dodgy tax avoiding scheme
It wasn't illegal  but many would say it wasn't moral. and it was condemned by MPs of all parties.
Chris Bryant we still waiting for Labour MPs to condemn his  actions 

So what's the difference between Carr's Tax Avoidance  and the news that dozens of MPs – including Rhondda’s Chris Bryant  claiming  expenses for London rent or hotels despite owning a property in the capital, a Channel 4 News investigation has found.

Analysis shows the expenses claims cost the taxpayer more than £1.3m since 2012.
The Channel 4 News investigation found many of the 46 MPs bought their London properties with the help of the taxpayer when the previous expenses system allowed mortgage claims.
But when mortgage claims were banned following the expenses scandal they switched to letting out their properties, in some cases for up to £3,000 a month. They then started claiming expenses for rent and hotels in the capital.
Labour’s Shadow Culture Minister Chris Bryant claimed expenses totalling £35,350 in 2012-13 and 2013-14 to rent a London flat – despite already owning a penthouse. He bought the property in 2005, claiming around £1,000 a month in mortgage claims. But when the rules changed he let it out.
Estate agent brochures seen by Channel 4 News show the two-bed apartment with a private lift and porter has since been marketed for rent for around £3,000 a month.

So Bryant expenses for renting £35350 would have been almost ecactly what  he would have been claiming if he was still living  under the old mortgage scheme .
So why is he doing it.
It could be that as he is MP for the safe Rhondda seat he realises that he in twenty years he could well retire as a MP and sell his London home for Millions .

As  Ian Dury sang 
There ain't half been some clever bastards(Lucky bleeders, lucky bleeders)There ain't half been some clever bas-tards
So what can we do.

Weill Shelley Rees-Owen seems to be putting up a decent fight  for Plaid in the Rhondda as Plaid hope to get a decent vote  in preparation for its leader Leanne Wood challenge for the Assembly seat next year .
The electors there could do worse than causing a major shock in May by giving Plaid ( or any party except Ulip) their vote in May .

Saturday, 28 March 2015

By-Elections report. No joy for Plaid but SNP win 3 out of 4.

There was only oneb by -  election im Wales this week  amd saw spme cheer for the Tories as they sek to defend the marfinal Vale of Glamorgan  in May. .Information from Aldc and Political betting 


March 26, 2015

Conservative 1,016 [40.8%; +18.7%]
Llantwit Major First I1,004 [40.3%; -15.8%]
Labour 378 [15.2%; +0.5%]
Plaid Cymru 95 [3.8%; -3.5%]
Majority: 12
Conservative gain from Llantwit Major First Independent
Percentage change since 2012

This is I believe the only Tory win in Wales since the 5010 election

Result of ward at last election (2012) : E denotes Elected

Llantwit First: John 2,068 E, Hacker 1,603 E, Williams 1,490 E, Geary 1,327 E (57%)
Conservatives: Clifford 813, Austin 759, Downe 544, Grant 536 (23%)
Labour: Price 541, Beech 502, Batchelor 471, Denman 411 (17%)
Plaid Cymru: Stephens 269 (2%)

Obviously Llantwit Major was never going to be an area where Labour or Plaid would create a shock.

But the same could have ben said of parts of Scotland for the SNP .

Bit on Thursday there was Four By-elections in Scotland and if pundits were hoping for some kind of indication that the Polls were misleading and the SNP were not going to make a mahor break through they were to be disappointed/ These elections were held under STV  so analysis is a bit harder but the numbers speak for themselves.

March 26, 2015
First Preference votes listed below:
SNP 1,485 [59.5%; +5.6%]Independent 696 [27.9%; -8.2%]
Conservative 315 [12.6%; +2.6%]
SNP gain from IndependentPercentage change since 2012
Result of ward at last election (2012) : E denotes Elected
Independent: McKay 648 E, MacKay 557 E (48%)
Scottish National Party: McDonald 967 E, McDonald 169 (45%)
Conservative: Gambles 179 (7%)
Candidates duly nominated: Norman Calder (Ind), Tim Eagle (Con), Sonya Warren (SNP

March 26, 2015
First preference votes listed below:
SNP 2,539 [55.3%; +24.6%]Labour 1,643 [35.8%; -10.7%]
Conservative 202 [4.4%; -0.7%]
UKIP 146 [3.2%; +3.2%]
LD Jane Liaton 61 [1.3%; -1.4%]
[Independents [0.0%; -15%]]
Turnout: 32.59%
SNP gain from LabourPercentage change since 2012
Scottish National Party: Brown 910 E, Walker 349, Grant 941 E (42%)
Labour: Craik 708 E, Campbell 1,424 E (41%)
Independents: Robertson 147, Taylor 192 (7%)
Scottish Pensioners Party: Dawson 271 (5%)
Conservative: Irvine 155 (3%)
Liberal Democrat: Adamson 83 (2%)
Candidates duly nominated: Martin Green (UKIP), Jane Liston (Lib Dem), Alan Seath (Lab), Craig Walker (SNP), John Wheatley (Con)
March 26, 2015
First Preference votes listed below:
SNP 1620 [43.4%;+23.5%]
Labour 1009 [27.1%;+8.8%]
Ind 756 [20.3%;-38.6%]
Con 255 [6.8%;+3.9]
Green 90 [2.4%;+2.4]
SNP hold
Percentage change since 2012
SNP seat, Cause: disqualification.
Result of ward at last election (2012) : E denotes Elected
Independent: Borrowman 2,541 E (57%)
Scottish National Party: Williamson 168, Hutton 861 E (23%)
Labour: Dixon 788 E (17%)
Conservative: Kerr 125 (3%)
Candidates duly nominated: Ian Burgess (Con), Jenny Johnson (Green), Sarah King (SNP), Scott MacKay (Ind), Andrew McGuire (Lab)

March 26, 2015
First preference votes listed below:
Independent 437 [59.1%; +13.8%]
SNP 302 [40.9%; +15.5%]
Labour [0.0%; -29.3%]]
Independent gain from LabourPercentage change since 2012
Result of ward at last election (2012) : E denotes Elected
Independents: Taylor 93, MacLean 75, Beaton 212 E, Robertson 316 E (65%)
Labour: Campbell 204 E (19%)
Scottish National Party: Walker 177 (16%)

Even the EILEAN SIAR  could not have come as a dispointment to the SNP as the council concil  tend to back Independents.
: Independents 21, Scottish National Party 7, Labour 3 (Independent majority of 11)

In four Byelections  thge SNP gained 2 seats ,held 1 and lost none .and the media and most political pundits can't see or ignore the significance,,

Friday, 27 March 2015

First of the Election leaflets for Ponty and Labour score badly,

So GE2015  officially starts

In the Pontypridd Constituency  we are not expecting the challenge for the seat  from the Liberal Democrats that we sow in 2010  and although they have the same candidate he has nit nursed the Constituency  and  leafleting well before the campaign  began

General Election 2010a : Pontypridd[14]
LabourOwen Smith14,22038.8−15.4
Liberal DemocratMike Powell11,43531.2+11.2
ConservativeLee Gonzalez5,93216.2+4.6
Plaid CymruIoan Bellin2,6737.3−3.7
UKIPDavid Bevan1,2293.4+0.8
Socialist LabourSimon Parsons4561.2N/A
ChristianDonald Watson3651.0N/A
GreenJohn Matthews3611.0N/A
Labour holdSwing−13.3

So i hope to amylase many of the leaflets  during this campaign  as the seat as probably become safe again and I will not inondadted.

First off the Blocj has been Labour Yesterday with Labour Candidate (and Current MP) Owen Smith with a paper called Labour Herald.

In it there clear indication in Ponty at least going for the more Traditional  We;sh voter

I wonder if similar sentiments will be in Labour Manifesto  as Labour moves to appease Middle England and areas of Low wages like Pontypridd  will be ignored id Ed Balls becomes Shadow Chancellor ;

After all in thirteen years of the Blair/Brown government we waited in vain for such a policy that Owen Smith  has promised (but will not be able to deliver.

There was also in this paper a shameful attempt to tide on the hard work a number of volunteers  had done in preserving their local amenities cut by Labour controlled  Rhondda Cynon Taf. in which the Pontyprdd  Constituency lies.

Many of the volunteers will be Labour members and supporters  but others will be those who are disgusted with Labour councillors who voted to close their Library.

It all well and good blaming the Tory- Lib/Dem coalition  but  Nowhere  have I found Mr Smith condemning his Labour Colleagues  on the Council and suggesting that they cut allowances and Executive pay before damaging our communities.

At times it looks like he is taken credit for his Party in the work if others.

So how many points will I give to this  first e;ection leaflet?

Once again the Welsh Language is absent from electoral leaflet and leads me to dock even more points for the score I would give it.

On the whole printed on low quality paper hard to read  especially by the poor sighted . Full of promises that Labour may not even place in their GE2015 Manifesto 3/10,

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Tory AM shows contempt for aAsembly by seeking English Westminster seat.

Any doubts that the Tories  do not take the Welsh Assembly seriously  comes with news that one of their number  has been selected for the safe English Conservative seat of Eddisbury in Chesire.

General Election 2010: Eddisbury [5]
ConservativeStephen O'Brien23,47251.7+4.8
Liberal DemocratBob Thompson10,21722.5+4.5
LabourPat Merrick9,79421.6−10.5
UKIPCharles Dodman1,9314.3+1.3
Conservative holdSwing+0.2
Antoinette Sandbach has  generously said she will stand down as an AM if she wins at the May 7 poll, and vowed to give up her salary to charity for the campaigning period.( That's good of her).
This means three Tory AMs are now campaigning for a Westminster seat.
Both Byron Davies and Mark Isherwood have been selected for Gower and Delyn respectively.
All  three are Regional Lists AM  so if they are successful and if  they  resign their Assembly seats there will be no by-election and they will be be presumably replaced with whoever was next on the list.
 In the case of  Ms Sandbach  who position would be open to ridicule if she was to stay on until 2016   it could be the third person on the list.  on the list, Janet Haworth, who could take her seat for the remainder of the Assembly term.. If Mr Isherwood was to  win Delyn. Not an impossibility 
General Election 2010: Delyn[5][6]
LabourDavid Hanson15,08340.8−4.9
ConservativeAntoinette Sandbach12,81134.6+8.5
Liberal DemocratBill Brereton5,74715.5−2.4
Plaid CymruPeter Ryder1,8445.0−2.4
BNPJennifer Matthys8442.3N/A
UKIPAndrew Haigh6551.8+0.2
Labour holdSwing−6.
 And do the right thing and resign his Assembly seat the Tories might turn to the fourth on the list  Julian Thompson-Hill . Though if both Janet Haworth  and Thompson-Hill were to decline. I presume they could pick anyone  not even bothering to have an internal party vote in North Wales.
It wouldn’t be the first time that Tory Assembly Members have crossed over to Westminster.
Previous AMs David Davies and Alun Cairns have seats in the Commons, in the seats of Monmouth and the Vale of Glamorgan. and they stayed onfor the duration of the previous Assembly.
 Before the vote Ms Sandbach said:
 “I have a strong track record of representing my constituents in Wales and I would like to use that experience for the benefit of residents in Eddisbury.“I have been overwhelmed by the messages of support from my constituents and I am very proud to have represented them over the last four years.“I am taking nothing for granted and clearly both Eddisbury Conservatives and the Eddisbury voters will want to vote for the person that will best represent them.“I would want to ensure a proper handover to my successor and clearly, if elected, I will be standing down as an Assembly Member – but I would like to make sure that there is a seamless transition for my casework and my staff.“My successor may well need to make arrangements of their own, so I will be consulting with the Welsh Conservatives about the best way to ensure an appropriate handover.”
Tory Assembly group leader Andrew RT Davies said:

 "Antoinette has been an exceptional Assembly Member and I would like to wish her every success in her campaign as a prospective parliamentary candidate.
"With her committed approach to representing constituents and her wide experience of devolution, I know Antoinette will make a first class MP for the people of Eddisbury.”
Mr Davies was quizzed earlier this week by journalists as to whether he was disappointed by so many of his AMs going for Westminster seats.
“I don’t see it at all as looking at this place as a staging post [for the Commons,]” said he said.“It’s just a sign that the team that I am privileged to lead have talents that are recognised by the party more widely.“What will be a huge benefit to Welsh devolution and in particular the Welsh Conservatives will be to have three extra MPs in Westminster who have an unique understanding of devolution because they have served as Assembly Members.“I look forward to campaigning with my colleagues over the next six to eight weeks to make sure they do get elected... I’m sure they will make great MPs.” “I don’t see it as a promotion at all. There’s traffic moving both ways all the time, such is politics.”

Well it looks one way to me  

But voters are entitled to ask . How committed are Tory AM to nor only the Assembly but to Devolution?

We should also ask about the nature of the Additional List system/ The idea that after May North Wales could be represented by people who were third or fourth on the Tory  list im 2011 or if they declined (maybe they are also Westminster Candidates for English seats) by someone who wasn't even on the list.

At the next Assembly election every Tory standing  in the Assembly election will have to answer the Question

Do you really;y want  to be a part of the Welsh Legislature  or do your ambitions lie elsewhere?.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

George Brown - Paul Nuttal / How not to address Y Fro Cymraeg

I seem to recall that during the 1970 General Election Campaign Geprge Brown, the then Deputy Leader of the Labour Party in a rally in North Wales issued the infamous words.
"Who cares about your Bloody Language?"

It became part of a popular poster, distributed throughout y Fro Cymraeg before the following election in 1974.

Now in what is claimed to be T the first ever English-language public meeting in Porthmadog, a town where the vast majority of residents live their lives through the medium of the Welsh language another Deputy leader Paul Nuttall . of Ukip has courted similar controversy

During a discussion about youth unemployment Mr Nuttall began to be heckled (otr may be admonished is a better word ) by two people who were outraged that no provision was available to ask questions in Welsh.

Dr Simon Brooks and Richard Roberts were the men taking UKIP to task, and Dr Brooks said:

The fact that there are no translation facilities, no Welsh leaflets, and no representatives who speak Welsh – in a town where most people speak Welsh – is a disgrace.”

Mr Nuttall accused Dr Brooks and Mr Roberts of being...
“the enemies of free speech and anti-democratic.

“We are one country, the majority of people in Wales speak English, if people come here they should learn English.”
I wonder hoe this will go down in Y Fro Cymraeg especially ?

Could it be that Ukip are seeking the votes of the minority of Anti-Welsh language voters , Not all by along chalk incomers to Wales .

Of course if they were to switch from the major parties this could in fact help Plaid in the constituencies they are fighting to win in GE2015 .

If the Anti Welsh Language crowd who wish to vote against Plaid under the First Past the Post system switch from Labour in most seats (or Lib Dem ) in Ceredigion it could sweep Plaid in to something like the six seats they will need to make a mark next May.

But before you start cheering in other parts of Wales Ukip may pick up the sort of votes of dissatisfied Labour supporters which Plaid may be seeking to win in May.

It would be great to see Plaid wining in Ynys Mon Ceredigion and Llanellli but lets hope that they are not eclipsed in the Industrial Valleys where in the end the future of an Independent Democratic and Socialist Wales lies.