Thursday, 31 May 2018

A second public vote must offer more than Leave or Remain

BBC Wales tell us that 
More than 30 Welsh politicians are calling for a second public vote on the final Brexit deal.
Actually its 31 so why not say so

They go on to say ..
A group of mainly Labour MPs, AMs and council leaders say the final deal will be "too big" to be left to a vote in the UK Parliament.
The UK government is refusing to hold a second referendum.
Labour MP Stephen Kinnock did not back the letter, saying that arguing to reverse Brexit would forfeit his right to have a voice in shaping it.
The letter puts further pressure on Labour's UK leadership to shift Brexit policy...
An open letter, co-ordinated by anti-Brexit campaign group Wales For Europe and signed by 31 senior Welsh politicians, urges "everyone in Wales of goodwill, from all parties and none, to stand with us in calling on our MPs to pledge their support for a people's vote on the final Brexit deal."....

...The letter said:

"Will it be the right deal for the people of Wales and the rest of the UK? Will it secure a good future for our young people and allow them to thrive? Will it help protect and grow the number of well-paid, highly-skilled, jobs that Wales needs?"
It is signed by eight council leaders, two of Wales' four MEPs, and 12 of the 40 Welsh MPs, including Owen Smith who was fired as shadow Northern Ireland secretary by Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn for calling for another EU referendum against party policy.
Welsh Labour MPs Anna McMorrin and Tonia Antoniazzi have signed the letter despite being shadow parliamentary private secretaries who are expected to follow the party's line.

Nine AMs have also put their name to the letter, including Plaid Cymru Leader Leanne Wood and the Welsh Government's Local Government Secretary Alun Davies.
Mr Davies accused the UK government of being in chaos and said he had no trust in its "ability to bring back a deal that will meet the needs of the people of Wales".He said.
"That means the people of Wales have to have the opportunity to vote on what the UK government does bring back", he said.

First Minister Carwyn Jones has consistently said that he does not want to re-run the referendum campaign and that Wales and the UK should respect the will of the public vote.
Asked to clarify the Welsh Government's position on a second vote, a spokeswoman said: "The First Minister's priority remains securing the best deal possible for the people of Wales and the UK."
The Labour MP for Aberavon, Stephen Kinnock, was asked to sign up to the letter but refused.
Mr Kinnock added:

"I've been campaigning for an EEA-based Brexit solidly for over 18 months. If I were to now start supporting a campaign that's designed to reverse Brexit before 29 March then the credibility of my EEA arguments would be fatally undermined.
"By arguing to reverse Brexit I would effectively be forfeiting my right to have a voice in shaping it."

In a recent lecture for the campaign group 'Wales For Europe', the Welsh Government's lead on Brexit Mark Drakeford said a referendum "is only one way in which the acceptability or otherwise of such a final deal could be tested".
But he added that
"now is not the moment to be over-definitive about the nature of the question that we would pose at such a point nor the way in which that question would be resolved".
 Meanwhile  Wale Online reports that
Labour will reap electoral rewards in Wales if the party moves to oppose Brexit, a leading pro-EU group has claimed as it publishes its latest research.
Best for Britain says its analysis shows that in every constituency held by a Welsh Labour MP a majority of the people who voted for them also backed Remain.
It claims that 437,606 people who voted Labour in 2017 backed Remain in the Brexit referendum, with just 215,497 supporting Leave.
In contrast, it says that only 114,693 people who backed the Conservatives last year wanted the UK to stay in the EU, with 382,814 voting for Brexit.

How many Welsh voters for each party backed Remain?

01020304050607080%JS chart by amCharts
Labour: 56.7Conservatives: 21.7Lib Dem: 75.2Plaid Cymru: 55.9Green: 59.8

 I would like more details on how this survey was carried  out how many voters were involved in the survey  and was it a UK one with only a few hundred  taking part?

Anything less than a thousand is statistically meaningless

Best for Britain

Eloise Todd, the chief executive of Best for Britain, said:

 “These are the results of a massive research project that Best for Britain has undertaken. Our data shows that every single Labour MP in Wales has more Remain voters than Leave voters.
Though as i noted how many were surveyed in Wales and more importantly how many Ukip voters who previously voted for any of the above parties have now     switched allegiance due to that parties demise.?

Ia still sceptical that a second vote would halt Brexit  and even if it did would Europe hen say OK we carry on as before  or insist the UK drop its opt outs.

Clearly the Tories have made a dog's breakfast over the negotiations and Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn's clear support for Brexit has undermined even any parliamentary  opposition to the way it is being conducted,let alone opposing the whole idea.

Unfortunately the second vote call from Labour seems more like an attempted coup against their leader.

If there is a second vote it must be based on a practical alternative not just scrap two years of negotiations  and  go back to where we were.

Unfortunately I doubt whether the UK public even those who backed  Remain two years ago or have shifted their opinions would do so unless it offered something new.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Should Westminster implement UK abortion laws in NI.

 After Sundays post asking "Will we be soon envying Socially Progressive Ireland?" a of friend of mime left this comment.

As the Northern Ireland Assembly is suspended now is the time for the Westminster Government to implement the same change in Northern Ireland....
Its a question  many have been asking

Theresa May has been urged to help liberalise Northern Ireland's abortion law by a woman whose experience brought the issue back before the courts.

Northern Ireland has been without a government since January 2017, after a power-sharing deal between the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Féin collapsed.

When the 1967 act was introduced as a Private Members Bill by David Steel, the Parliament of Northern Ireland at Stormont was still making its own laws. There was no appetite among the parliament's members - then dominated by the Ulster Unionist Party - to follow the example set by the rest of the UK, says Fiona Bloomer of Ulster University, an expert in Northern Ireland abortion policy, who is pro-choice. "Essentially they just ignored it. There was no mention of it," she says.
The collapse of Stormont in 1972 introduced direct rule from Westminster, but successive UK governments were reluctant to make Northern Ireland's abortion law the same as that in England, Scotland and Wales. In 1990, Health Minister Virginia Bottomley told the Commons that to her knowledge "no Northern Ireland Member of Parliament has ever called for changes in the Northern Ireland abortion laws

Currently, a termination is only permitted in Northern Ireland if a woman's life is at risk or if there is a risk of permanent and serious damage to her mental or physical health.

Even rape, incest and fatal foetal abnormalities are not circumstances in which an abortion can be performed legally.

 The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader has said.The result of Ireland's abortion referendum has no impact on the law in Northern Ireland,

Foster said the legislation governing abortion is a devolved issue and the Northern Ireland Assembly should debate such issues.
The government agreed with Mrs Foster.

Labour and a number of senior Conservative MPs have called on Theresa May to back a reform in NI's abortion law after Friday's historic referendum.
A government spokesperson said abortion law is a devolved matter in Northern Ireland.
"This very sensitive issue highlights the pressing need to restore a fully functioning executive,"
Northern Ireland's abortion law is more restrictive than the rest of the UK.

Even if the Northern Ireland Assembly were  to meet the legislation that evolved from the Good Friday Agreement   which parties can appoint ministers to the Northern Ireland Executive means that the DUP have practically a veto on the issue.

 Unlike the United Kingdom Parliament and the Oireachtas (Irish Parliament), the Assembly had no provision for an official opposition to hold governing parties to account until legislation was passed in 2016.

However because of the way it is set up even if the majority of members were to support an abortion act , it will be almost impossible to pass

  • in appointing ministers to the Executive (except for the Minister of Justice), the D'Hondt method is followed so that ministerial portfolios are divided among the parties in proportion to their strength in the Assembly.[25] This means that all parties with a significant number of seats are entitled to at least one minister;
  • certain resolutions must receive "cross community support", or the support of a minimum number of MLAs from both communities, to be passed by the Assembly. Every MLA is officially designated as either nationalist, unionist or other. The election of the Speaker,[26] appointment of the Minister of Justice, any changes to the standing orders[27] and the adoption of certain money bills must all occur with cross-community support. The election of the First and deputy First Ministers previously occurred by parallel consent but the positions are now filled by appointment; and
  • any vote taken by the Assembly can be made dependent on cross-community support if a petition of concern is presented to the Speaker. A petition of concern may be brought by 30 or more MLAs.[28] In such cases, a vote on proposed legislation will only pass if supported by a weighted majority (60%) of members voting, including at least 40% of each of the nationalist and unionist designations present and voting. Effectively this means that, provided enough MLAs from a given community agree, that community (or a sufficiently large party in that community) can exercise a veto over the Assembly's decisions. The purpose is to protect each community from legislation that would favour the other community.

This effectively means the DUP  even if its members are the only opposition to an Abortion Act , then if Stormont was meeting they can effectively block it.

I am loath to support Westminster interfering on devolved issues, but in this case then there is a strong argument that it should.

Nevertheless it would be preferable that changes on this issue came from within Northern Ireland itself.

Perhaps the solution is for the sort of campaign south of the boarder in which politicians  in the Dail were influenced by a long running campaign of women in particular.

This became clear during the referendum campaign that it was not male politicians  who were the impetus  but the "Women of Ireland",

A Pro-choice  campaign could hopefully break through the sectarian barrier and force those on both sides to accept the sought of change we saw in the Republic last week.

Monday, 28 May 2018

I am an Independentista Cymru, not Welsh Nationlist,

 I admit that I am not quite in agreement with Leanne Wood in her Nation Cymru  musings,


‘Welsh nationalist’, an insult? Quite the opposite

 Leanne writes
“Welsh nationalist” is the ‘insult’ Labour and Tories alike level at me and my Plaid Cymru colleagues. And every time I hear that phrase I smile, safe in the knowledge we have won the argument.
The fundamental mistake made by the Westminster establishment parties – that is both Labour and the Tories – is every time they deploy this ‘insult’ they reaffirm that Plaid Cymru has Wales’s best interests at heart, whilst Westminster ranks higher in their order of priorities.
It’s less of an accusation and more of a statement of fact – a compliment even.
So, let’s set the record straight, what does it mean to be a Welsh nationalist?
The obvious starting place is the constitutional question – where should decisions about Wales be made? To me, that answer is not complicated – decisions about Wales, should be made in Wales.
Why should politicians in Westminster, who have never been to Wales, have a say over the future of our country?
Despite years of Westminster ignoring Wales’s interest, the establishment parties both disagree.
For Labour and the Tories, Westminster and the London establishment must remain the centre of power...

.... Welsh nationalism means recognising this deep economic injustice, created by the Westminster establishment parties, is not something to celebrate.
It means believing that we can build an economy that doesn’t see a third of Welsh children grow up in poverty. It means taking responsibility for the future of our country and the well-being of our people.
But at both ends of the M4, we have parties in power that have no interest in ending Wales’s dependence on Westminster.

Of course all ideologies can be thrown at you as an insult and in the United States socialists and even liberal  are used by the right as an insult and unlike here where we can use Tory the mainstream right are not perhaps labeled in insulting terms.

The problem I have with "Welsh Nationalist"  is not that it is used as an insult but it is too broad a term for a movement seeing Independence.

As  John Dixon points out 
"In “The desire of nations” in 1974, R Tudur Jones wrote: “An Englishman never calls himself a nationalist.  This is one of the characteristics of English nationalism.”  In its essence, the very idea that ‘nationalism’ is something from which ‘our’ nation is uniquely exempt is a highly nationalistic statement, necessarily underpinned by a perception of uniqueness and specialness when compared to all those ‘others’.
It’s unfair, of course, to say that all English people share this sense of uniqueness in the world, but it often seems as though most politicians and ministers do, and we saw a classic example from Michael Gove last week, attempting to claim that Brexit was nothing at all to do with identity politics – that was something from which only Scots (and presumably, by extension, Welsh independentistas as well) suffered.
One of the other characteristics of most English nationalists is that they seem to suffer from a complete inability to recognise the difference between England and Britain.  Monday’s tweet from Conservative HQ was an absolute classic:
.@BrandonLewis :The citizens of our country have created for themselves an inclusive & thoughtful English identity. One based on the values of freedom, fairness & justice. Principals that are not just shared in England under the St George’s Cross, but across our whole Union #PX
The stress on identity rather undermines what Gove said just a few days earlier, of course, but consistency is hardly one of the current government's great strengths.  It shows a complete confusion between ‘England’ and the ‘Union’ which can only encourage people to believe that the English consider themselves the superior driving force.  But leaving aside both that (and the fact that the ‘principals’ which we apparently all share obviously don’t include a commitment to accurate spelling), only a died-in-the-wool nationalist could really believe that “freedom, fairness and justice” are values which uniquely underpin one particular national identity.  Do they really believe – and expect the rest of us to believe – that these values are found nowhere else?
The important  relevant piece here to me is the term independentistas.

John  I believe is the originator of using  independentista here in Wales and i believe we should follow his example.

Whereas Welsh Nationalist can mean could be used to those  seeking Home Rule, Dominion Status, a Federal UK and Independence in the manner of our friends in the Republic of Ireland

Independentistas  Is what it says on the label .

Well actually more than that, it confers a desire to run your nation yourself . It does not mean that you believe that you are ethnically different or superior, but you have an identity that can express it self as an Indepenfent state.

One of the major aspects of the independentista movement in Catalonia is that there seems to be complete lack of any anti-immigration rhetoric.

It has been said of Franco that he was a Nationalist  who behaved like a Fascist .

This can be said of his heirs in the ruling Spanish Government  .

In making the difference between  Spanish Nationalists in Madrid and Catalonian  independentistas. in Barcelona we have an example between British and Weksh "Nationlism".

So Leanne lets stop calling ourselves Welsh "Nationalists" but
independentistas Cymru.

It may take a while to get used to, but it may well be worth it.

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Will we be soon envying Socially Progressive Ireland?

After a period of rather depressing World politics in which progressive forces have been seen to be in retreat, yesterdays result from Ireland is a bit of fresh air.

 Indeed  the social change in Ireland since 1983 when the 8the amendment  Gave constitutional recognition to the equal right to life of the unborn to entrench the statutory prohibition of abortion by 66.9% to 33.1% to repeal by 66.4% to 33.6% is staggering

The 2015  which saw a similar landslide in favour of same sex sex marriages pointed to this change .

As a fan of the Saw Doctors  it came as no surorise that the e REPEAL project release music video for Saw Doctors Everyday ahead of referendum
The emotional track was written in 1995 about the Irish women who travel overseas each day in order to access abortions and the proper medical care.

Listen to it and hope that it no longer  happens

On the repeal of the 8th

  • Among party voters 74.9% of Fine Gael supporters backed yes; 74.5% of Sinn Féin; 80.3% of Labour; 88.9% of Green; and 82.1% of Solidarity-People Before Profit voted yes.
  • However, 50.3% of Fianna Fáil supporters backed a no vote and 49.7% said yes, while Renua supporters surveyed all rejected any suggestion of changing the eighth amendment.
    Those of us viewing politics outside the republic  have often been bemused by the dominance of two conservative parties in Fine Gael and  Fianna Fail  the latter 20 the 2011 election  for the the first time since the September 1927 election that it was not the largest party in the chamber.
     It is  the more socially conservative  Fianna Fáil that  is a member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe[25] and of Liberal International whereas  Fine Gael is a member  of  European People's Party and a member of the Centrist Democrat International.
    Maybe it is time to stop defining  Irish politics via Pro and Anti treaty parties  of the 1920's and 30's.

    But if Ireland is changing to a more Liberal society  post Brexit UK (outside Scotland) seems to be heading thhe other away.

    it is not impossible for Jacob Rees Mogg who would like to take us back to the sort of Catholic Conservativism that Ireland has thrown off to become Prime Minister.

    Who knows that in a short time those of us who regard ourselves as  Socially Progressive will we be soon envying Ireland?

    Indeed will we see a UK version of the Saw Doctors Everyday only about women making the sad journey the other way.

    Saturday, 26 May 2018

    Is the smoking ban going too far?

     I have never smoked but I realise that many that do who would like to quit are having problems with the current stick and no carrot that currently exists.

    A ban inside public places but I am not sure that extending it to outside such places  is wise.

    BBC Wales reports that

    A ban on smoking in outdoor grounds of hospitals, schools and playgrounds in Wales has moved a step closer.
    Health Secretary Vaughan Gething has launched a consultation with the ban planned for summer 2019 and those who break it could face a fine.
    Voluntary bans are currently in place in some school and hospital grounds and also in public playgrounds.
    If the new law is passed, it will mean patients and visitors will have to leave hospital grounds to smoke.
    The consultation, which will help shape the final legislation, is also seeking views on plans to introduce additional changes to the existing smoking ban, which did not include hospital grounds or playgrounds.
    These include:

    • Placing an 18 month time limit on the permission to designate a room for smoking within mental health units. The time limit would allow managers to work towards the removal of indoor smoking facilities and designate outdoor areas instead.
    • A similar time limit on the permission to designate a bedroom in hotels, guesthouses, inns, hostels and members' clubs.
    The changes will be introduced under the Public Health (Wales) Act 2017, which was passed by Assembly Members last year.
    Mr Gething launched the consultation at Glan Clwyd Hospital in Denbighshire. The hospital has received complaints about people ignoring the current voluntary ban in place, so mothers visiting the maternity unit have to bring babies in and out past people who are smoking. 
     This is understandable  but how big an  area do we need

    The ban is part of moves to change the culture around smoking, by making it seen as unacceptable where children might be influenced or in places where good health is being promoted.
    Mr Gething said:
    "We have seen significant changes to the attitudes to smoking since 2007.
    "Back then we received some resistance to change, but we have seen a remarkable culture change and I am pleased our plan to extend smoke-free areas to outdoor public spaces has received overwhelming public support."
    "This is another step in the right direction to de-normalise smoking in Wales.

    But Simon Clark of smokers' group Forest said: 

    "Smoking outside poses no threat to public health, nor is there evidence that children start smoking because they witness complete strangers lighting up in public."
    He also said threatening hospital patients, visitors and staff with fines was "despicable" when some of them may be at their most vulnerable.
    I find it hard to agree with a Forest  spokesperson as I have always considered them to be the enemy but there is avalid argument here .

    We are dealing with addicts  here  and the sight of men and women in dressing gowns being forced to walk 100 of yards to the boarder of exclusion zone is disturbing.

     They include (and remember we are dealing with parients here)
    Physical Symptoms. During the quitting process people should consider the following physical symptoms of withdrawal as they were recuperating from a disease and treat them accordingly as they would any physical symptoms:
    • Tingling in the hands and feet
    • Sweating
    • Intestinal disorders (cramps, nausea)
    • Headache
    • Cold symptoms as the lungs begin to clear (sore throats, coughing, and other signs of colds and respiratory problem)
    Mental and Emotional Symptoms. Tension and craving build up during periods of withdrawal, sometimes to a nearly intolerable point. One European study found that the incidence of workplace accidents increases on No Smoking Day, a day in which up to 2 million smokers either reduce the amount they smoke or abstain altogether.
    Nearly every moderate to heavy smoker experiences more than one of the following strong emotional and mental responses to withdrawal.
    • Feelings of being an infant: temper tantrums, intense needs, feelings of dependency, a state of near paralysis.
    • Insomnia
    • Mental confusion
    • Vagueness
    • Irritability
    • Anxiety
    • Depression is common in the short and long term. In the short term it may mimic the feelings of grief felt when a loved one is lost. As foolish as it sounds, a smoker should plan on a period of actual mourning in order to get through the early withdrawal depression.
    Do we really want to put hospitalised people who  are mobile through this for want of a cigarette.

    Ideally we should reduce the number of smokers to zero in Wales, but we need thin more about rewarding people for not smoking and not punishment.

    Friday, 25 May 2018

    Would Trump desevre Peace Prize more than Obama?

     To be honest if US President Trump and  North Korea's Kim Jong Unhdo manage to meet and agree on a settlement  then they might well deserve the Nobel Peace Prize (it would certainly have to be jointly).

    Certainly more than Trump's predecessor Barack Obama who was  inaugurated on January 20, 2009. Nine months later, Obama was named the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, accepting the award with the caveat that he felt there were others "far more deserving of this honour than I."

     The decision was greeted with ridicule in the U.S., and it unsettled even supporters of the president, who hadn’t finished his first year in office. Still Mr. Obama flew to Oslo and delivered one of his trademark speeches. The philosopher-president was the toast of Europe.
    Mr. Obama today almost never mentions the prize, and the Nobel Committee’s former secretary has expressed regret over the choice. 

    The committee that awarded the prize hoped for an America that would no longer play the hegemon. The Norwegians wanted a U.S. president who would “strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples,” as the Nobel citation put it. A leader who would emphasize “the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play,” whose decisions would track the “attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world’s population.” 

    Well that didn't happen  and Trump who jealously of Obama popularity both in the USA and abroad is clearly , would clearly love the award whilst claiming that his administration had  achieved   something far more visible.

    However  according to This Week  

    President Trump has now decided to pull out of his June 12 summit with North Korea's Kim Jong Un while talking with advisers Thursday morning from 7-9 a.m., then dictated his Dear Kim letter — to hawkish National Security Adviser John Bolton, according to Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) — and released it to the public at 9:43 a.m. without warning allies, members of Congress, or North Korea, all of whom seemed blindsided and upset by the sudden cancellation. Trump and his advisers had only started discussing cancelling the meeting less than 12 hours earlier,

     NBC News reports.
    North Korea has threatened to pull out of the meeting after comments by US National Security Adviser John Bolton.
    The country reacted furiously when Mr Bolton suggested it would follow a "Libya model" of denuclearisation.
    Libya's former leader Muammar Gaddafi agreed with Western powers in 2003 to dismantle his programme in return for the lifting of sanctions. Eight years later he was killed at the hands of Western-backed rebels.
    North Korea is also angry at current US-South Korea military drills and has halted talks with the South in response.

     If the price for inflating he egos of both Trump and Kim Jong Unis is lasting peace settlement is a Nobel Peace Prize , then it may well be worth paying.

    Unfortunately  neither would like to be outshone by the  other and we are likely to see their masochism and vanity getting in the way and they are unlikely be going to Oslo any time soon.

    Thursday, 24 May 2018

    "Welsh" Labour off the Rails.

    The BBC reports that The Wales and Borders rail service should have been taken over by the state, trade unions and Plaid Cymru have said.
    The Welsh Government has announced France's Keolis and Spanish-owned Amey will take over from Arriva in October.
    The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union said privatisation was being enforced on Wales while the East Coast franchise had been nationalised again.
    Meanwhile Tory AM Russell George called for "quick wins" for commuters.
    The Welsh Government - which has taken control of the franchise from the UK government - had wanted a change in legislation to allow them to allow public bodies to act as franchises.
    But economy secretary Ken Skates told WalesOnline in 2016 that UK government rules prevented this.
    Plaid argues that if Welsh Government had wanted the powers Labour should not have supported the Wales Bill 2017 which did not fully devolve the railways, and that Labour had promised a not-for-profit railway in two manifestos.
    So basically Welsh Labour

    • Call for a Not for Profit Rail Franchise.
    • Refuse to seek the powers to do this.
    • Give the franchise to a French owned company, who take any profits outside  Wales possibly to invest elsewhere.

     Jeremy Corbyn sits on a train with his head in his hands.

    RMT general secretary Mick Cash said the union's policy was for "a national integrated railway under public ownership".
    "The Welsh Government has made it clear that this is their aspiration as well if they did not have to work under the pro-privatisation legislative straitjacket imposed by the UK Government," he added.
    "The fact that rail privatisation is being enforced on the people of Wales by Whitehall is even more galling when the Tories have been forced to nationalise East Coast and the Westminster cross-party Public Accounts Committee have said the rail franchising model is broken."
    Keolis is part-owned by French state railway operator SNCF, and takes over from Arriva Trains Wales, an arm of the German state railway Deutsche Bahn.
    Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the Transport Salaried Staffs Association, said: "Instead of the Welsh taxpayers subsidising the the railways of Berlin and Bonn, they'll be contributing to the railways of Paris and Provence."

    Announcing the decision, Economy Secretary Ken Skates said: 

    "Throughout the procurement process we have prioritised investment in the quality of trains, stations and services for the Wales and Borders Rail Service and South Wales Metro."
    He later told the Senedd it was too early to start "unwrapping the presents" in terms of revealing what the preferred bidder had promised for the service, due to the statutory 10-day standstill period which allowed the unsuccessful bidder an opportunity to challenge the decision.
    Mr Skates said he also had "every confidence" in the Transport for Wales team who advised on the decision, despite Conservative criticism of one official's actions over the Circuit of Wales race track project in a previous role.

    Plaid Cymru's transport spokesman Adam Price said the railways "must be brought into public hands and the Labour government must put passengers before profit".

    Mr Price said:

     "The bidding process has been flawed from start to finish - this extends to the nature of the announcement, a one-page written statement for a £5bn project just before recess is inexcusable.
    "The government hasn't even published its Invitation to Tender which it must do today so we know exactly what they asked for."
    Mr Price said the Welsh Government must explain "why it has appointed two international mega-companies to run our railways for the next 15 years".
    Russell George, Welsh Conservative infrastructure spokesman, expressed concerns over the Welsh Government's "lamentable record delivering major projects in Wales".
    He said: 

    "We can only hope for the sake of millions of passengers across the country that lessons have been learned.
    "As promised by the cabinet secretary last year, commuters will be expecting immediate improvements - quick wins - in their daily service."
    Mr George called for passenger priorities to be "at the heart" of the new franchise, including reliability, sufficient seating and scope to handle expanding passenger numbers over time.

    There was some support for the Wellsh Govement  however

    UKIP AM David Rowlands congratulated the winner of the contract and praised the Welsh Government's Transport for Wales arm for securing what appeared to be an "above expectations" tender.
    "What we need to know now is when will shovels be turning turf," he said.
    Mr Rowlands said he supported the renationalisation of the railways, saying he resented the fact that foreign companies "are allowed to come in and purchase these franchises".
    However, he added: "I don't think we can blame the Welsh Government for that."
    A Department for Transport spokesman said: "Devolving responsibility of the Wales and Borders franchise is a positive step and means the operator will be accountable to the Welsh Government."

    Wednesday, 23 May 2018

    Populist Ukip style group formed within Plaid.

    It is clear to me  that Neil McEvoy has played Plaid like a Fish and if he wasn't
    already was expelled from Plaid Cymru for 18 months - since reduced to 12 months - in March after being accused of breaching party rules, he would be disappointed

    He now sits as an Independent in the Assembly, announced the launch of  new group within Plaid and announced the launch of Propel at an event in Cardiff on Monday evening.
    The group, which is within Plaid Cymru

    In a Trump like manner  MceEoy delights i n portraying himself as an outsider who is going to clean up the swamp.

    In Trump case he has as Lisa Simpsom would  put  replaced the swamp with a cesspit.

     Propel claims that it  is based around the principles of individual, community and national sovereignty and has been set up, Mr McEvoy said, to attempt to take back power from the "UK elite". 

    In a speech at the launch event, which was attended by around 100 people, the AM said: 

    "It's simple - we are going to change politics."
    The group will campaign for the rights of communities to have a say in decisions affecting their areas - such as major developments - with referendums held on issues such as Local Development Plans.
    "Nobody is going to change Wales for us," Mr McEvoy said.
    "We have to get together and do it for ourselves
    "Our job is to expose, oppose and rip out the rotting beams of Welsh politics."
    He added he was particularly keen to fight against "political correctness" and "virtue signalling", saying ideas are often repressed by people claiming to be offended.
    "We are heading towards a Wales 1984 unless we fight and win the battle of ideas," he said.
    "Nowadays being offended is a hobby."
    He added: "We are going to change the direction of policy in Wales.
    "We are going to propel Wales forward."

    Maybe Mr McEvoy has been looking at the rise of Momentum within Labour  and even a Thesaurus.

    Though McEvoy  uses the neither Left or Right adage to promote  his Populist agenda 

     Certainly ther was a  very good turnout for the launch

    Campaigner Heledd Gwyndaf also spoke at Monday's meeting at the historic 

    Coal Exchange, where she said fighting against perceptions of Wales was key.
    "We are in a situation where our nation and our language is made fun of and ridiculed We are stupid, our language and our nation is without purpose," she said.
    "Nobody wants this movement to have to exist, but we've been forced into existence, and that's because significant things worry us.
    "It worries me when the national movement says we are not ready for independence. That's the language of colonists."
    Activist Bethan Phillips, of Neath, also spoke at the meeting. 

    Propel is open to members of Plaid Cymru or those who are not members of a political party, but members of other parties may not join. 

     The new group will also campaign on agendas like tackling corruption in Wales, reaching out to those who have been let down and left behind by the political establishment, a united Wales that does not pit people against each other based on their background and building a new economy by reindustrialising Wales for the 21st century.

    Which is a platform that is understingly attractive

    However I wonder how many of those attending the rally were aware of McEvoys hostility to  Women's groups?

    Propel main planks seem to be
    • Individual Sovereignty: natural justice, due process and free speech must be at the heart of Welsh life. Individual rights will not be sacrificed in the name of groupthink, dogma and those who are easily offended.
    • Community Sovereignty: the rights of communities to influence decisions will be respected. Referenda on issues such as Local Development plans and planning will be respected. It will be up to communities to decide who represents them at every level of government. Decentralisation of decision making to community level will be fully encouraged.
    • National Sovereignty: Wales can stand on its own two feet and we have a duty and responsibility to govern our own country. We will push for a referendum for Welsh national sovereignty, with international recognition as soon as a majority in the Welsh Parliament is achieved.

    The first part is chilling it puts Propel in the same bed as  the far right claiming that they are denied free speech  when they are prevented from venting their racist, homophobic and misogynist spleen.

     I wonder how many signing up to Propel realise this?

    For McEvoy it gives him the power base within Plaid  and judging by the numbers a pretty good chance of getting renominated for Cardiff West and topping the South Wales Central regional list.

    Is Propel ambitious move to change Wales or merley the ambition of one man.