Wednesday 30 November 2016

Ukip may have a point on M4 upgrade and Brexit it will affect Ireland

Yesterday a Ukip AM asked the Welsh government to seek EU funding from the Irish government to help upgrade a motorway between London and south Wales.

The M4 motorway is the main artery between the main cities of Wales and the rest of the UK – but it also carries a large amount of Irish goods exported and sold there.

It is part of European route E 30 ian A-Class West-East European route, extending from the southern Irish port of Cork in the west to the Russian city of Omsk in the east. For much of its Russian stretch, it coincides with Trans-Siberian Highway and, east of the Ural Mountains, with AH6 of the Asian Highway Network, which continues to Busan, South Korea. This route is approximately 6,500 kilometres (4,000 mi)

Ukip assembly member David Rowlands made the appeal to the Welsh National Assembly yesterday afternoon. He says that Irish exporters also rely on the M4 to transport goods to other EU countries on the continent – and told that it is “quite a reasonable idea to explore”.

Rowlands – one of seven Ukip representatives in the Welsh National Assembly – asked Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones today to seek Ireland’s help in rebuilding the motorway, using EU transport funds.

“First Minister, given that a large proportion of all Irish exports, both to the UK and the EU, pass along the M4 motorway,” Rowlands began – before halting to read the question posed on the order of business.

Recommencing, he said:

Will the First Minister explore the possibility of part of the costs for the M4 improvement scheme being borne by the Irish government, given that three quarters of all Irish exports to the EU and the UK pass along that road?

The First Minister replied:
No, it’s for the Welsh government to maintain the trunk roads and motorways of Wales.

To jeers, Rowlands said:
I thank the First Minister for the answer, but this is a serious proposition, as I understand Ireland may be able to access European funds from the trans-European highway funds.

“Very ironic, I think,” he added. He proceeded to quote from the EU’s fund allocation principles, which, according to Rowlands, read:

Although we have been investing a lot in improving transport infrastructure, there is under-investment in many smaller cross-border sections, and bottlenecks.“I trust that they know what they’re saying, and that we can now get funds from the EU. Post-Brexit, of course.”
Speaking this afternoon to the Irish news,  who may not have found  his question so ridiculous Rowlands said:
“Of course I’m glad they all realise the irony in what I was saying to the assembly, and they were all intelligent enough to pick it up.
“But this is quite a reasonable idea to explore, if you think about it. That bottleneck in Newport is as damaging to the Irish economy as it is to the Welsh or English economy, really.
It is a very main access for the Irish economy to get into the UK and Europe, and it must be causing considerable costs to the Irish motor industry and the haulage industry.
“In a way, if you think about, Ireland – southern Ireland – is still part of the European Union, and it still desires access to the EU and to the British, the UK markets,” he added.

“And if the European Parliament is committed, as they say they are, to having a pan-European highway and networks, they can’t say to Ireland ‘you’re out on a limb now’.
So it’s reasonable for the Irish government to say that ‘this is a vital link’.
“It’s the same with anything with regard to Brexit, I realise the irony.”
So  Mr Rowlands may actually a point  particularly from an Irish  point of view but of course he could have added  that the UK was also out on a limb.

I'm not sure about him being Ironic . It seems he has highlighted a major flaw in Brexit in that the UK will no longer  mean that we will see signs that claim a infrastructure project is being built as a result of European funding.

Asking the EU  to pay for an Upgrade in Infrastructure in the UK when it no longer contributes  is plainly ridiculous.

Such funding with regards the a pan-European highway and networks, was part of the European which benefited all members opening markets both ways between Nations.

Whatever "Brexit means Brexit" actually result in the future of the UK economy will still be intertwined with European Markets .

Mr Rowlands may have identified a problem with Brexit but maybe he should realise that he and other Leave supporters could be responsible for Europe saying such an idea a part a pan-European highway and networks starts in Calais

After Brexit we may see a further development of projects like the H2 Train link which will largely benefit London and the South East of England.

Wales without European Funding  and reliant on Westminster will be "Out on a Limb" not only from Europe but from the UK as a whole.

Tuesday 29 November 2016

Labour really needs to address the "English Question",

The Wasting Mule claims that Welsh Labour has turned its guns on newly elected Ukip leader Paul Nuttall after he pledged to “promote the English” in his first speech at the helm of the anti-EU party.
Mr Nuttall insisted he was a unionist but promised a new devolution deal for England.
Moments after being named the winner with 62.6% of the vote, he told activists:
 “Whilst we as a party believe in the United Kingdom and are unionist to our fingertips, under my leadership we will champion a fair devolution deal for England and we will promote the English.
“I say this because there is a value that unites the vast majority of British people away from the small metropolitan clique, and that value is patriotism...
“My ambition is not insignificant. I want to replace the Labour party and make Ukip the patriotic voice of working people.”
Mr Nuttall  does not seem  to realise that patriotism and xenophobia are not  intertwined. You can want the best for your nation with out playing the race card.

Plaid Cymr, SNP and Mebyon Kernow promote a Civic Nationalism that is inclusive and progressive  and are the polar opposite of Paul Nuttalls Blood and Soil Nationalism.

But it looks like Ukip are going to portray themselves as an English Nationalist party 

Apparently his remarks alarmed Shadow Welsh Secretary Jo Stevens

The Cardiff Central Labour MP said: 
“Paul Nuttall has barely been elected an hour but already he’s turning his back on the people of Wales and making clear that Ukip don’t and won’t represent our interests.
“They may have changed the captain but Ukip is still a sinking ship... [It’s] clear that he simply doesn’t share the priorities or values of the people of Wales. No party that will only promote the interests of England has any business being elected anywhere in Wales
But they have and they will .

It seems that Ms Stevens is more concerned that Ukip seeming rebrand as an English Nationalist Party rather than its  xenophobia  and far right platform.
Indeed Ms Stevens does not seem keen on devolution in England

A detailed report from experts at the Queen Mary University of London concludes that the measures do “not give adequate opportunity for the expression of England’s voice”.

EVEL gives English – or English and Welsh – MPs the opportunity to veto legislation that relates exclusively to their parts of the UK. But for a Bill to become law it must win the support of a majority of all MPs.

English stages last 'around two minutes'

The authors note that MPs have not grasped the opportunity to engage in “substantive debate” during “English stages”, stating that “the legislative grand committee stages have so far been almost entirely perfunctory” and “most have lasted around two minutes, and have been almost invisible within the legislative process.

The Cardiff Central Labour MP said: 
“So-called English Votes for English Laws was a complete dogs dinner that even Government Ministers didn’t understand and couldn’t explain... It’s right for English MPs to have a strong voice in Parliament but that shouldn’t lead to a two tier system that excludes Welsh MPs and their constituents.
“Many people in Wales work or use services in England, so their local MPs should be able to defend their rights in Parliament when these services are being discussed and decisions made. The Government needs to go back and think again about how to get the balance right, but for now it should scrap the complicated, objectively useless and discriminatory EVEL procedures.”
Clearly EVEL is a ridiculous solution to the English Question but Labour needs to address it and either call for an English Parliament  or substantial devolution to the English Regions.

Plaid Cymru’s are also not happy with EVEL but at least have an alternative. With  Westminster leader Hywel Williams MP   called for England – alongside each of the UK nations – to have its own parliament.
He said: 
“Plaid Cymru supports the principle that England-only matters should be decided by English MPs and Plaid Cymru MPs don’t vote on anything that has no impact on Wales, whether we are allowed to or not.
“However, the complex nature of the way the different nations of the UK are funded means that there is very rarely anything that has an impact on England and involves funding that does not also have an impact on the other nations. If England wanted to privatise its NHS for example, that would have a very damaging impact on the money available for the Welsh budget.
“To exclude Welsh MPs on voting on matters with such grave consequences for the people they represent would be unacceptable. Ultimately, the best way to ensure all of the UK countries are fairly represented is to reform the outdated Barnett formula and ensure that each country, including England, has its own Parliament – all on an equal footing.”
Can Labour's desire to preserve the Union be so strong that they are prepared to see our friends across the boarder being conned by the "Blood and Soil Nationalism"  masquerading as patriotism that appears to be on Paul Nuttall agenda.

Monday 28 November 2016

This is Cardiff.

Yesterday I posted that
Yes we can give numerous examples of Local Government waste and you can bet that we will see numerous examples in the run up to May elections.
But even the most well intentioned would be councillor, if elected under the banner of the ruling  group will have to take very difficult decisions on Social care  and how to at least keep up standards.
It didn't take Cardiff City Council long to  come up with a example where things go wrong
After a long wait for the £30,000 tree to be shipped over from China it has now been put up outside Cardiff Castle.
According to information from Cardiff Council, the artificial tree is 40m high - making it taller than Christ the Redeemer, which stands at 38m, and twice the height of the Angel of the North.
The artificial tree is covered in golden baubles and all the decorations and illuminations were pre-attached.
Cardiff  Council officials were probably hoping that the initial controversy over the design and cost would fade as it became an attraction and showed the Council to be initiative and outdoing its rivals.
However When the Christmas tree at centre stage of Cardiff's festive celebrations went up - it did not quite measure up to expectations.
Cardiff council said it had ordered a pre-decorated 40m - or 131ft - "tree-shaped structure" from China for outside Cardiff Castle.
But when the centre piece, costing £10,000 a year, went up on Friday night it was revealed to be just 40ft.
The authority apologised to anyone who had been expecting "a bigger tree".
A council spokeswoman confirmed the tree was 40ft not the 40m that had been advertised.
"The person who told us the tree was 40m high has since revealed he believes he is 18ft tall,"
"We apologise to everyone who was expecting a bigger tree and are cutting the person responsible down to size."
If that was meant as a joke it was a poor one'
Costing £30,000 over a three year lease from UK-based company MK Illuminations, the structure arrived in Wales with all the golden baubles pre-attached. It been compared to a stack of Fererro Roche  chocolates.
But the authority says the tree will save the tax payer £5,000 a year compared to previous "tree installations".
We can however wonder what the cost of a Council looking incompetent and being a laughing a stock may lead to.
It is reminiscent pf the spoof documentary  This is Spinal Tap
One of the most famous and hilarious scenes when England's notorious "Spinal Tap" run into some difficulties when lead guitarist Nigel (Christopher Guest ) confuses inches with feet.

So a  Council that had hoped to be seen as Bold and initiative  are now seen as a laughing stock.
Mistakes happen but this seems to reflect the hubris of the controlling Labour group.

Sunday 27 November 2016

UK governments have passed the buck on social care.for decades.

Today's Observer  reports that 
Social care services that support elderly and disabled people are facing “an existential crisis” despite being as important to national wellbeing as the NHS, council leaders will claim on Wednesday.
Councils will have to continue reducing at-home support for older people and paying for beds in care homes because of Whitehall budget cuts, according to the Local Government Association.
Rising costs, the ageing population, difficulties recruiting staff and years of central government reducing its grant have left the service in crisis, the cross-party body claims in a new report. 
Councils have had to provide less care at a time of growing need, leaving more vulnerable people isolated and at risk, it says.
Philip Hammond, the chancellor, must recognise the “perilous” state social care is now in and ease the pressures on it when he delivers his autumn statement on 23 November, says the LGA, which represents 370 councils in England and Wales.
Izzi Seccombe, chair of the LGA’s community wellbeing board and the Conservative leader of Warwickshire county council. said
“The situation is now critical and it is no exaggeration to say that our care and support system is in crisis,” said Izzi Seccombe, chair of the LGA’s community wellbeing board and the Conservative leader of Warwickshire county council.
“For too long the service has too often been seen by decision-makers as an adjunct to the NHS, rather than a service of equal importance,” she added. Theresa May needed to deliver on her promise of building “a country that works for everyone” as prime minister to avoid the sector suffering even more damag
 Richard Humphries, a social care expert at the King’s Fund, said: 

“It defies all sense and reason that social care spending will slip back to less than 1% of GDP by the end of the parliament when the number of older and disabled people is increasing and demand for services is rising. This is an unsustainable situation.”
Whatever your opinion  political (or non-political) party controls your council I suspect none would like to cut back on social care faced as they are with the reality f the situation.

It shows the gulf between Westminster  Politicians who may not be directly dealing with the daily crisis local government leaders and Managers face with the Social care and are forced to make cuts in other areas like Libraries and Leisure centres.

Over the last six years firstly  the Tories and their Liberal Democrat bag carriers and then the Tories alone have seen council funding cut to the bone.

For the two main parties in Westminster Tory and Labour it may be that they are not worried if their colleagues on a local council get stick for cuts in social care so long as its not MP's in the UK parliament. .

What this show is we need a complete review of the funding of local government 

Yes we can give numerous examples of Local Government waste and you can bet that we will see numerous examples in the run up to May elections.

But even the most well intentioned would be councillor, if elected under the banner of the ruling  group will have to take very difficult decisions on Social care  and how to at least keep up standards.

There will be other reasons to vote for X,Y or Z next May, but unless Westminster admits its responsibility  we are faced a bleak future in social care.

Saturday 26 November 2016

Remember Tryweryn and stand by Standing Rock.

Wales may have more reason than many to stand with the Tribal members of Standing Rock and recognise  both the pain and the inspiration those Defending their land are experiencing.

Back in April, a few Standing Rock tribal members set up camp in a small valley where the Cannonball River flows into Lake Oahe. They were protesting a pipeline designed to carry oil 1,200 miles from the Bakken oil fields to a distribution center in Illinois.

Fueled by social media, the protest caught fire, and the camp is now larger than most small towns in North Dakota.

Standing Rock Tribal Chair Dave Archambault said he's been overwhelmed by the response to a carefully considered decision to fight the Dakota Access pipeline.
"This started with prayer, this started with ceremony," he said. "I think there's a spirit rising in all of us across this nation, across this world, saying, 'Enough is enough.' I'm not the one that's doing all of this. It's beyond people. It's the creator is taking over.""It's earth-shaking, something like this, where three departments come together and start to recognize and expand the jurisdiction for indigenous people and to look at what the wrongs are,"

"It feels powerful," said Galeson EagleStar, of Pine Ridge, S.D., as he stood overlooking a second encampment that became necessary when arriving sympathizers outgrew the first. It sits on land owned by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Hundreds of colorful tents dot the landscape among motor homes, campers, cars and trucks. About three dozen traditional teepees are scattered across the campsite. There are rows of portable toilets, a camp kitchen, a tent school for children, dozens of horses and mountains of donated supplies.
And dozens of tribal nation flags flap in the breeze.
"I gathered information that there was over 100 different indigenous North American native tribes here camped out," EagleStar said. He's nearly 70, but he still proudly wears a T-shirt bearing the logo of the American Indian Movement, a protest group he joined in the 1970s.
EagleStar pointed to a large tent in the center of the camp. It houses the seven warrior societies of the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota nations.

It is reminiscent of the Tryweryn

In 1956, a private bill sponsored by Liverpool City Council was brought before Parliament to develop a water reservoir from the Tryweryn Valley. The development would include the flooding of Capel Celyn an almost overwhelmingly Welsh speaking community . By obtaining authority via an Act of Parliament, Liverpool City Council would not require planning consent from the relevant Welsh local authorities. This, together with the fact that the village was one of the last Welsh-only speaking communities, ensured that the proposals became deeply controversial. Thirty-five out of thirty-six Welsh Members of Parliament (MPs) opposed the bill (the other did not vote), but in 1957 it was passed. The members of the community waged an eight-year effort, ultimately unsuccessful, to prevent the destruction of their homes.

When the valley was flooded in 1965, the village and its buildings, including the post office, the school, and a chapel with cemetery, were all lost. Twelve houses and farms were submerged, and 48 people of the 67 who lived in the valley lost their homes. In all some 800 acres (3.2 km²; 320 ha) of land were submerged. A new reservoir, Llyn Celyn, was formed. Many of the stones from the original chapel were re-used in the construction of the new Memorial Chapel.

The building of the reservoir was instrumental in an increase in support for the Welsh nationalist party, Plaid Cymru, during the late 1950s. Almost unanimous Welsh political opposition had failed to stop approval of the scheme, a fact that seemed to underline Plaid Cymru's argument that the Welsh national community was powerless.] At the subsequent General Election the party's support increased from 3.1% to 5.2%.

In October 1965 the Llyn Celyn reservoir opened to a sizeable Plaid Cymru organised demonstration. A year later, Gwynfor Evans won Plaid Cymru's first Parliamentary seat in Carmarthen. According to some commentators though, Capel Celyn did not play a major part in Gwynfor Evans's victory, since apart from Carmarthen's distance from Tryweryn, they claim that Plaid Cymru's victory owed as much to an anti-Labour backlash in the constituency's mining communities as it did to Plaid's successful depiction of Labour's policies as being a threat to the viability of small Welsh communities.

But like Standing Rock , Tryweryn was a symbol of the rights of an Indigenous people being overruled from outside.

There should be a Message of support sent to Standing Rock from the Welsh Assembly giving support from Wales in the name of Tryweryn and Capel Celyn.

Friday 25 November 2016


It was a bad day yesterday for Welsh News coverage

Firstly came the result pf analysis by Cardiff University for the BBC Trust found the BBC had generally increased its coverage of the nations but Welsh stories lagged behind.

The BBC said editors from the nations regularly discussed stories together.

Elan Closs Stephens said the report was generally encouraging.

I'm not sure in what way she found it encouraging 
But she added: 
"There has been improvement but I'm not fully satisfied. It's a long journey and we're going in the right direction."
Cardiff University monitored output by the BBC over a four-week period in October and November 2015 and followed it up with a snapshot review over two weeks in early 2016.
The 2015 research found that coverage of Welsh stories on the BBC's UK-wide programmes had fallen compared to a similar study completed in 2009.
Only 1.4% of stories on network TV news bulletins were specifically about Wales, compared to 3.8% in 2009.
By contrast, Scotland accounted for 10.2% of stories in 2015 compared to 6.7% in 2009 while Northern Ireland stories were 5% of the TV output, compared to 3.7% in 2009.
Of course the "Independence" question is still a talking point in Scotland  but that does not explain the low figures 
For some reason  a two week 2016 snapshot found 3.6% of TV news stories were about Wales, while 5.9% were about Scotland. Northern Ireland stories were 0.7% of the network TV news was included.
Any story which a BBC Editor found interesting would clearly make an impact on a Two Week snapshot and we can learn nothing from this. 
When comparing all of the BBC's TV and radio output, as well as some commercial TV news, Cardiff University found that stories with specific relevance to Wales accounted for 1.9% of those covered.
The BBC said it had improved its labelling of stories that only applied to specific parts of the UK and pointed to improvements it had made to increase coverage of the devolved governments, including the introduction of a "nations news belt" on its TV news.
I suspect the only coverage of devolved government  will be when then a major controversy and the  Assembly  government looking ridiculous (mind you some think this happens more often than not.
The other bad news  is that  the newspaper group Trinity Mirror is consulting with staff over closing its printing site in Cardiff.
The group prints most of south Wales' newspapers, including the Western Mail, South Wales Echo, South Wales Evening Post and the Llanelli Star.
A spokesman blamed declining print volumes and the relocation of a number of titles within its network.
It said it had entered into consultation with the 33 staff affected.
Alistair Milburn was editor of the South Wales Echo when the printing press facility was launched 13 years ago by Prince Charles.
He told BBC Radio Wales' Good Evening Wales programme.
"You'll come to a day sooner rather than later where the likes of the Western Mail won't exist as a print product,"
"The nationals will get slightly slower, the weeklies are still quite strong and you've got these regional papers that are really caught between the two, so it won't exist before long.
"I think it's a sign of the times. It's a sign of very low print runs. The Western Mail can be printed in less than an hour these days.
"Things have changed now, the news is more instant and it's going online
I suspect that this will start with the closure of the South Wales Echo which editions are publishes two editions : News Extra for morning sales and City Final for evening sales. There is also a Weekend edition published every Saturday
Clearly these will mot be appearing in South Wales as quickly off the presses  as  we are used to.
I suspect that Trinity Mirror will try and close the Echo in the hope that readers will switch to the Wasting Mule.
With hardly any indigenous Welsh Media it is hardly surprising that people who get their information from the main UK News outlets , are unaware of what is happening in Wales .

Small number the Welsh Electorate are confused about were powers lie and who represents them.
It is Ironic that the 2016 Welsh Election Study (WES) about voter recognition of their elected representatives. managed to hit the UK Media with the news that hardly anyone recognised their MEP

Name Recognition for Individual MEPs/False Names

Name % Selected
Derek Vaughan  Labour   9%
Nathan Gill Ukip 16%
Kay Swinburne Conservative  6%
Jill Evans Plaid Cymru  11%
David Sherwood  Fictional 5%
Elwyn Davies Fictional  12%
Lynn Goodwin Fictional  5%
Jenny Green  Fictional 5%

As Professor Scully pointed out  at the time
It’s difficult to know what to say about some of these results. It is, I think, probably unsurprising that Nathan Gill came top, given the higher profile that his role in the Assembly election was giving him. But none of the other Welsh MEPs were selected by a greater proportion of the WES respondents that that legendary figure in Welsh politics ‘Elwyn Davies’ – whose contributions to our national political life I feel I need not elaborate upon. Even Jill Evans, who had been an MEP for Wales for almost 17 years at the time this survey was implemented, had her name selected by fewer people than chose the mysteriously popular Mr Davies. For Kay Swinburne, Conservative MEP for Wales since 2009, the picture is even worse: her name was picked out barely more than any of the false names 
When the Welsh electorate are reading the SUN or even the Daily Mirror and only watching the main BBC news then this will continue.

Of course some will remember the Welsh Mirror which was supposed to see coverage of Welsh News  after the first Assembly elections  but which some would argue was intended to reverse the growth of Plaid Cymru and which having succeeded, was quietly dropped.

But the SNP face a Scottish media which is almost totally hostile, to the extent they are Unionist propaganda machine , But the daily onslaught of SNP Bad does not sem to be working.

So maybe in Wales we would be better of with an Unionist media that at least covered Welsh News.

Thursday 24 November 2016

Ignorance or Hypocrisy? "Welsh Labour on letting agencies.

It seems the Shadow Welsh Secretary Jo Stevens has not quite what powers have been devolved to Wales.

Tweeting n the news that Letting agents in England will be banned from charging fees to tenants under a policy announced in the Autumn Statement.

Jo Stevens MP Retweeted Mirror PoliticsIf right, it's good news for Central. We've had a 2 yr campaign against extortionate letting agency fees. Devil in the detail

Representing a constituency with a large student population she of course should be concerned about this.

However it did not long for people to point out this is a devolved issue and her colleagues in the Assembly don't be so keen.
In reply to Jo Stevens MP

Hi @JoStevensLabour did you know @Plaid_Cymru tried to amend Renting Homes Act to ban letting agents fees in Wales? Welsh Labour blocked.

12 hours agoLabour blocking 's attempts to outlaw letting agent fees now looks ridiculous: Wales will be only nation to rip tenants off

Ms Steven;s counterpart in the Assembly 
Jenny Rathbone, AM for Cardiff Central, said she was frustrated the "English government" seemed to have "stolen a march" on Wales.

Though she's on the list of those who voted against the amendment 

Never mind she has a good excuse she said she did this after being told by the Welsh Government it did not think the assembly had the power to ban the fees.
But she said she had since found out the "best legal advice" was that the assembly does hold that power.
 Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford said the context between England and Wales was "completely differed 
Mr Drakeford, said: "

"We have a different set of policies, a different set of legal frameworks here."You cannot pick up an idea and just drop it into Wales and copy it.".

If this True then it show another flaw in the Devolution Settlement , but I suspect it was opposed because it came from Plaid and Labour simply didn't want Plaid to get the credit for this
In her Tweet Jo Stevens claimed 
We've had a 2 yr campaign against extortionate letting agency fees. Devil in the detail,
If she was as involved in this campaign  as she claims then she surely would have been aware  

That this was a devolved issue
Labour in the Assembly blocked a similar move proposed by Plaid.

Ignorance or Hypocrisy? You decide.

Wednesday 23 November 2016

More concerns raised about Circuit of Wales viability.

As I have already stated that I have a fair bit of cynicism over the viability of the Circuit of Wales but lean to taking the risk 

I am not being helped however by news in the Wasting Mule that ..

Former Economy Minister Edwina Hart ignored warnings from a senior civil servant about financial transactions which subsequently totalled almost £1m involving the controversial Circuit of Wales project, 

Freedom of Information requests from the Welsh Conservativeshave revealed that Mrs Hart ignored advice from senior civil servants to refuse payments from the publicly funded Heads of the Valleys Development Company (HOTVDC) to Aventa Capital Partners Ltd for services related to the project.

An email to Mrs Hart’s private secretary from senior civil servant James Price, now Deputy Permanent Secretary for Economy, Skills and Natural Resources, stated in July 2014 that following the Minister’s approval of a loan guarantee worth up to £4.6m, it had become clear that HOTVDC wanted to make substantial payments to Aventa, which is wholly owned by Michael Carrick.

In his email, Mr Price said: 

“In challenging Michael Carrick to evidence what these payments relate to, we are concerned about the Aventa payments, as the schedule of services provided by this company appear to relate entirely to the management of the project, including negotiating with the Welsh Government.”

Mr Price said he understood that Aventa had been engaged by HOTVDC under a service contract relating to

“fundraising, equity structuring, debt arranging and management investments”. He added: “On a simple analysis ... it appears that our loan guarantee will facilitate a very substantial payment from one company in which Michael Carrick has a significant interest to another wholly under his control. Consequently I have been resisting allowing these payments to be funded from the guaranteed loan.”

Which seems to me that it is Civil Servant speak for take care this could be dodgy as it looks like  thos involved  are .“paying themselves to advise themselves” through consultancy fees;

 Mr Price added that the chairman of the company had stated in a letter that 

if the Welsh Government did not agree to the payments then “...Directors would also have to give serious thought to the viability of the project given the loss of the key men and their own role in the company...”

Mr Price stated:
Chris Munday [another senior official] and I have discussed this concern that whilst this guarantee carries a significant risk for Welsh Government by using our guarantee to pay Aventa the result is that Michael Carrick is not sharing any of that risk. The position is further exacerbated by a lack of evidence of what the money is actually to be spent on by Aventa or the contractual basis for payment. If the Minister is content we will continue to hold this line.”
It appears that Ms Hart ignored the advice , Unfortunate she is no longer an AM  and may not be inclined to tell us why. 

Perhaps Of even greater concern is the Conservative leader  Andrew T T Davies  producing  invoices detailing several thousand pounds had been paid to Labour to sponsor events by Aventa owned by Michael Carrick (who established HOVC), suggesting it was used to access Welsh Government Minister.

Before even a penny is paid by the Welsh Assembly  we need an enquiry into the links  between Aventa and HOVC and ask if this  a responsible arrangement.

There is a danger that Wales looks so desperate to secure such projects that the Assembly  Government will look at any fly by night offer with favour.

The Circuit of Wales could be a brilliant success but recent events are surly worrying

Tuesday 22 November 2016

Are the Lib Dems being principled or cynical in calling for another Referendum.?

The Liberal  Democrats who have may have seen a revival in Local Government Elections have not seen it  replicated  in Parliamentary polls .
Polling organisation/clientSample sizeConLabUKIPLib DemSNPGreenOthersLead
18–20 NovICM/The Guardian2,03142%28%11%9%4%3%2%14%
15–18 NovOpinium2,00541%29%12%7%6%3%1%12%
14–15 NovYouGov/The Times1,71742%28%11%8%7%[a]4%1%14%
11–14 NovIpsos MORI1,01342%33%7%10%5%[a]3%1%9%
1–4 NovOpinium2,00140%32%13%6%6%4%8%
31 Oct–1 NovYouGov/The Times1,60841%27%11%10%6%[a]4%1%14%
28–30 OctICM/The Guardian2,04043%27%12%8%4%5%1%16%
24–25 OctYouGov/The Times1,65540%27%11%11%7%[a]3%1%13%
19–24 OctBMG1,54642%28%12%8%5%4%1%14%
20 OctBy-elections in Witney and Batley & Spen
19–20 OctYouGov/Election Data1,60842%26%12%8%6%[a]5%1%16%
14–17 OctIpsos MORI1,01647%29%6%7%6%[a]4%1%18%
11–12 OctYouGov/The Times1,66942%28%11%9%6%[a]3%0%14%
7–9 OctICM/The Guardian2,01743%26%11%8%4%6%2%17%
4 OctDiane James resigns as the leader of UKIP
28–29 SepYouGov/The Times1,65839%30%13%8%6%[a]3%0%9%
24 SepJeremy Corbyn is re-elected as leader of the Labour Party
21–23 SepICM/Sun on Sunday2,01541%26%14%8%5%4%2%15%
20–23 SepBMG2,02639%28%13%8%5%5%2%11%
19–21 SepYouGov/The Times3,28539%30%13%8%6%[a]3%1%9%
16 SepDiane James is elected the leader of UKIP
13–14 SepYouGov/The Times1,73238%31%13%7%6%4%7%
10–14 SepIpsos MORI/Evening Standard1,00040%34%9%6%4%[a]5%1%6%
9–11 SepICM/The Guardian2,01341%27%14%8%5%4%2%14%
4–5 SepYouGov/The Times1,61640%29%13%7%7%[a]3%

So Lib Dems like former AM Peter Black seem to be clinging to a fantasy scenario  where they can garner votes on one issue that of Brexit 

In Peter's own words

The lay of the land is that the Tories and UKIP are committed to coming out of the European Union, the Liberal Democrats want a referendum on any deal and Labour, well Labour are all over the shop but seem to be leaning towards a soft Brexit. 

Just what impact these positions could have on the future electoral prospects of these parties has been revealed by a new poll.

The Independent reports that a YouGov survey has concluded that the Liberal Democrats could beat Labour at the next general election because of their pledge to hold a second EU referendum.
According to the survey if all the parties except the Liberal Democrats said they would press ahead with Brexit, my party would gain 22 per cent of the vote, while Labour would score just 19 per cent.
The Conservatives would come first with 39 per cent of the vote and UKIP would take 14 per cent.
They say that the results would produce a notional Tory majority in the Commons of over 100 seats, according to an electoral calculus projection of the results.
Labour, the Conservatives and UKIP have all already said they would accept the result of Brexit – while the Liberal Democrats have said they would offer a second referendum.
The stakes are very high but Tim Farron's principled position on our membership of the EU certainly has the potential to help a Liberal Democrats revival.

How principled it is to claim to be speaking for those who oppose Brexit in order to get 22% of the vote is open to question?

It seems however that the Liberal Democrats may be concerned hat their cunning plan to return to the pre-coalition days will be thwarted by Tony Blair returning to UK Poltics 

Peter writes.

Those who recall Margaret Thatcher's triumph return to the Tory Party Conference, when she announced that 'The Mummy has returned" in direct reference to a poster advertising an American action adventure fantasy film, may feel a twinge of Déjà vu at this weekend's news that Tony Blair is to re-enter politics.

The Independent says that the controversial former Prime Minister is engineering a comeback because he feels he can fill a political vacuum caused by Theresa May being a “light weight” and Jeremy Corbyn being a “nutter”. They add that Blair is sourcing premises near Westminster in order to relocate 130 staff to the UK’s political hub:
They add that a source allegedly told the Sunday Times: “He’s not impressed with Theresa May. He thinks she’s a total lightweight. He thinks Jeremy Corbyn’s a nutter and the Tories are screwing up Brexit. He thinks there’s a massive hole in British politics that he can fill.”
None of this is confirmed of course nor is their any indication as to what role Blair will seek to take up if the speculation proves to be true. 
The account in the Independent as to Blair's views on Brexit is interesting:
In October, Mr Blair called for a second Brexit referendum to be held when it becomes clearer what EU withdrawal would actually look like. He said: “If you want to retain that access to the single market there will be various obligations that are imposed upon you, in relation to the free movement of people, to legal obligations…you are going to have to work out at that point, ‘are the freedoms that we’re going to enjoy…really so substantial that we want to leave the European Union?’. 
“Another possibility is that you actually go for a much harder form of Brexit, you leave the single market altogether…then you’re going to be able to calculate, how much pain, how much difficulty, economic/social restructuring, is going to be necessary to make a success of that.”
Mr Blair added that people supporting Remain are: “the insurgents now. We have to build the capability to mobilise and to organise. We have to prise apart the alliance which gave us Brexit.”
In calling for a referendum on the terms of exit, Blair is much more in line with Liberal Democrats' thinking than that of Labour. Nevertheless, I cannot see Tim Farron picking up the phone and ringing him anytime soon.

It seems Peter is an avid independent reader, maybe because it gives him the news he wants to see
I do not want Brexit but accept that people voted for it and unless there was a clear change in the electorates opinion . I can not see how apart for Scotland and Northern Ireland we can oppose in total or call for another referendum.

I suspect that it would result in a bigger majority for leave as Remainers would  shift to leave angry that the views expressed in the first were ignored.

The only course for those of us who oppose Brexit is to see that it is as soft as possible , and to make sure it is not used to destroy Human rights or make the UK a satellite of Trumps America.

And what of Wales? It is imperative that Brexit does not lead to us to be poorer West Britons than we are now.

Our argument should be that Brexit , will mean we are that we a face a very hard future and that we should offer the Welsh Electorate either a future where  Wales rejoins the EU or at the very least will be able to form own own Trading agreements  on a Norway or Swiz model. 

Cynically calling for s a second referendum which you know you will lose , but hope will see an increase in votes and Westminster seats is not the way to fight Brexit.