Saturday, 30 June 2018

Trago Mills boss insults many potential customers.

News that that  he head of discount store Trago Mills has described Welsh language signage as “visual clutter”, criticised Welsh-medium education and advised people to embrace English.

In a letter that has enraged  not just language activists but many other people in Cymru , Bruce Robertson sent his comments to Welsh Language Commissioner Meri Huws in May.

The letter from the chairman of the Cornwall-based company whose latest outlet opened in Merthyr Tydfil in April was leaked to Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg, the Welsh Language Society.

A past donor to Ukip, he described Trago Mills’ policy towards bilingual signage: “Felicitations, departmental descriptions, directional, welfare and safety signage will ultimately display Welsh and English language [sic]. but beyond that we have no plans to cascade its use a great deal further at present.”

He may have been encouraged by the vote Ulip's David Rowlands's  who is now a Regional AM received  in the 2015 General Election.

Party Candidate Votes % ±

Labour Gerald Jones 17,619 53.9 +10.2

UKIP Dave Rowlands 6,106 18.7 +15.9

Conservative Bill Rees 3,292 10.1 +2.5

Plaid Cymru Rhayna Pritchard 3,099 9.5 +4.4

Liberal Democrat Bob Griffin[13] 1,351 4.1 −26.9

Green Elspeth Parris 603 1.8 n/a

Independent Eddy Blanche 459 1.4 n/a

Communist Robert David Griffiths 186 0.6 n/a
Majority 11,513 35.2 +22.6
Turnout 32,715 53.0 −5.6

Labour hold Swing -2.8

 Did Mr Roberson visit the site during the election and make a donation to Dave Rowlands campaign?

 Mr Robertson stated that he had developed

 “an acute sense of what is important to ... customers during the last 45 years”, and held “similarly strong views on the avoidance of visual clutter, a topic that is gaining increasing awareness both in private and public sector circles, road signage being a case in point (I suffer poor eyesight thus find excessive verbiage tedious and unhelpful)”.

Well he is clearly short sighted.

He said he had spent considerable time in Merthyr since the firm bought its first site in Pentrebach in the late 1980s.

“In all that time [I] have considered English to be the locals’ language of choice, the other tongues most commonly heard being Polish, Portuguese or possibly something further south again," he said.

 Referring to Welsh-medium education, he wrote:

 “I also harbour misgivings upon the challenge to the educational system that teaching another language will pose, certainly if the existing standard of literacy is indicative, ‘furniture’ last week only being spelt by a [sic] employee as ‘fernicher’: forgive my ignorance but for all I know that may be the correct spelling ... in Welsh!”
Mr Robertson also stated:

 “I will not trouble you by debating the broader economic benefits of exploiting our almost God-given gift of speaking the most dominant language in the world, as that case was made long before this brief correspondence between you and I.”
You know I can't be botheredd to write paragraphs  pointing out the evidence that contradicts the absurd statements of Robinson, though many have,

 Wyn Williams, chair of the local branch of Cymdeithas yr Iaith, said:

 “This anti-Welsh language rant is very offensive. It demonstrates a complete disrespect for our country as well as our unique national language.
"They also reflect imperialistic attitudes that belong in the far distant past. The comments about education are completely ignorant – experts are clear that Welsh-medium education means pupils become fluent in both Welsh and in English. There are tens of thousands of Welsh speakers in the area the store serves, and it’s insulting to them.
“But more than anything else this shows once again that strong legislation is needed to ensure the full use of Welsh in the private sector. We won’t see a thriving language if we depend on the goodwill of companies like this; the Labour Welsh Government’s plans to weaken the language law is music to their ears. It’s sad to say, but, at the moment, our own Government is behaving like the best friend of this ugly face of big business.”

Mr Robertson  father  once placed advertisements in the 1980s and 1990s calling for the castration of gay men. The United Kingdom Advertising Standards Authority ruled against Trago Mills and demanded the withdrawal of all advertisements in 1998 Trago still occasionally runs inflammatory copy within their ads, one entitled "For any cash strapped Moslems reading this…" appeared in the Falmouth Packet in 2009 to promote a book by senior UKIP official David Challice
With his son and successor, Bruce, Robertson supported Eurosceptic political parties, most recently the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP). Robertson famously threatened to refuse to stop using imperial measures in his stores, attributing UK metricisation to the European Union (Trago today sells goods in metric quantities, sometimes with imperial equivalents, in line with the law). He remains opposed to speculative immigration from Eastern Europeans. Robertson supports job-specific immigration, more liberally than some in UKIP.[ In January 2007, the Mid Devon Star noted his large Newton Abbot site employed around 30 Poles. So that may where his familiarity with that language cones from.

In September 2011, the company was fined £199,588 after admitting five breaches of the Environmental Protection Act. This followed the discovery of "several thousand tonnes" of dumped waste, including asbestos, at its Newton Abbot and Liskeard sites. The fine was reduced to £65,000 in January 2012 after an Exeter Crown Court judge accepted that Trago Mills had paid nearly £500,000 in clean-up costs.
In 2014, Trago Mills was featured on BBC's Fake Britain, after local trading standards discovered fake top-brand shampoo on sale in store. Trago management said that the product had been purchased from a reliable source and they had worked closely with local trading standards to ensure that the product was taken off sale once it had been identified as a fake,

Many have questioned how Trago Mill were even allowed planning pernission for their hideous building
I leave you with cartoon which needs no translation #
  10h10 hours ago
Cartŵn: yn taro llygad dros y busnes Trago Mills 'ma

Friday, 29 June 2018

Will Tory leadership contest affect a possible Plaid's?

So we are facing at least (probably) at least three battles  for the leader of three of the Unionist Branch Offices  and  (possibly) one for the only true Welsh Party.
Ogmore AM Huw Irranca-Davies is launching a bid to become Labour's new leader in Wales and first minister.
He joins Mark Drakeford, Vaughan Gething and Eluned Morgan in vying to take over from Carwyn Jones when he steps down later this year.
So far only Mark Drakeford has enough support from fellow Labour AMs to secure a place on the ballot paper.
It is understood Mr Irranca Davies is yet to ask his Labour colleagues to nominate him.
Anyone wanting to add their name to the ballot paper needs the backing of five other AMs.

Wales Online points out 

While at least four AMs are eyeing up their chances of succeeding Carwyn Jones it's far from certain that everyone who wants to stand will be able to. As things stand, a candidate needs the support of six AMs (including themselves) for their name to appear on the ballot paper.
So far, only the Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford has reached that threshold although the Health Secretary Vaughan Gething is only one short. Neither Mr Irranca-Davies nor another announced candidate Eluned Morgan appear close to crossing the line.

"Welsh" Labour  have 30 AMs if we assume  that current Third Rate Minister Carwyn Jones will not take part in the Nominations it means four is the maximum of candidates.

AM may have learned the "poor old Jeremy  let's nominate him even if we are not going to vote for him"  lesson so there may not be enough for at least one of the declairees.

After Andrew RT Davies's unexpected resignation it is uncertain whether the Conservatives will have a leadership contest. Preseli Pembrokeshire AM Paul Davies has been chosen as the group’s interim leader and been endorsed by Nick Ramsay, the Monmouth AM who was the runner-up in the 2011 contest.

We maybe see the regional AM for South Wales West Suzy Davies a former solicitor, and was a founding board member of the Welsh International Film Festival throwing her hat in the ring
She was first elected to the assembly in 2011, and is also an assembly commissioner. Ms Davies has fronted the party's criticism of the Welsh Government's relationship with Pinewood, as well as the group's support of the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon.

Darren Millar  who was the  stand-in for Andrew RT Davies and Alun Cairns when the pair could not decide who would take part in a general election debate may decide he should do so in his own right again,

If he doesn't then we may see a battle between Davies and Davies o replace Davies.

Meanwhile, Ukip is in a battle to secure a future for the party. With Neil Hamilton seeking to get his job back after being replaced by Caroline Jones, an assembly member for south-west Wales in a recent coup. Since thenrty's UK deputy leader Mike Hookem has informed the group of five AMs about that there must be a ballot vote among the 1000 "strong" Welsh Membership ,

Since then  controversial (even for Ukip) AM Gareth Bennett is running in the party's Welsh Assembly leadership contest.

Mr Bennett was seen as the only Hamilton loyalist in the Assembly group but now he seems to have betrayed him.
 Meanwhile the he period in which nominations for a Plaid leadership challenge can be made will close this weekend.  somea activists have called for both Carmarthen East and Dinefwr’s Adam Price and Anglesey’s Rhun ap Iorwerth to mount a challenge to Leanne Wood.
 I wonder what will be the effect of Andrew RT Davies on any challenge on Leanne.

She may even welcome the opportunity to put forward a progressive platform and raise the Independence issue in contrast to the Unionist Parties where none of the candidates even argue for greater powers.

On the other hand avoiding claims that the party is split and putting a united face, could suit all the aspiring candidates who may have only until the next election to wait given that Leanne has said she will quit if she's nor first minister.

One wonders how much interest the UK media will pay to these contests however.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Spineless "Welsh" Labour fail to back no confidence vote in Welsh Secretary.

The  bid by Plaid Cymru to humiliate Alun Cairns in the National Assembly with a vote of no confidence may as the Wasting Mule put it  flopped  but it does show how cooperation with Unionist Parties when it comes to Welsh issues proves to be difficult.

The vote would only have been symbolic as Mr Cairns is not a member of the Assembly and AMs have no power over UK Government roles.But it would have showed the anger in Wales as we are betrayed by Westminster ,

Instead Labour put the Union first and avoided controversy

Only nine AMs backed the no confidence motion with 40 against and no abstentions.

Plaid said Labour had let the Vale of Glamorgan MP off the hook,

"despite his serious failures to do what's best for Wales".
Instead a Welsh Government amendment that was heavily critical of Mr Cairns and regretted the lack of investment was passed.
Plaid Cymru had called the vote saying it had no faith in either Alun Cairns or the post of Secretary of State for Wales as a whole.

Plaid AM Simon Thomas said his party's motion came after the refusal to back the tidal lagoon and an earlier decision by Theresa May not to progress with electrifying the railway between Cardiff and Swansea. 

Opening the debate, Mr Thomas said:

 "I understand not everyone will support the content of the motion, and there are amendments before us, but I think it is vital that we allow ourselves to debate the motion of no confidence in the Secretary of State.
"We're here to judge one man's responsibility, and one man's responsibility to deliver on manifesto commitments, and that's what I want to judge the Secretary of State on a commitment in 2015 to do two major pieces of infrastructure investment in Wales, worth over £2 billion of investment to electrify the railway between Swansea and Cardiff, and to support the tidal lagoon."
He said that Mr Cairns was elected on a manifesto to "finish the job on electrification and to support the tidal lagoon".

"Since that 2015 manifesto circumstances have changed, many of them created by the Conservative Government itself, of course, in calling the referendum on leaving the European Union, but neither of those major investments have been made, calling into question not only the good words of the Secretary of State himself but, I think, politics more widely.
"All of us who stand for election on manifestos and I've seen some of the response this week from my constituents around this, who now feel that they are not being listened to, that manifesto commitments and promises can be broken willy-nilly".

Rhun ap Iorwerth said that Mr Cairns was "Westminster's man in Wales, not Wales' man in Westminster".

"Alun Cairns is reinventing the role of Welsh Secretary as governor general for Wales? I oppose that in principle, I oppose that as a Welshman, and when it's clear that that governor general is working against Wales's interest, isn't it incumbent on all of us to vote no confidence in him?"
.A total of nine AMs backed the no-confidence motion, versus 40 against.
Instead a Welsh Government amendment criticising Mr Cairns for failing Wales, but not going as far Plaid, was passed 31 votes to 18.

The Conservatives backed their party colleague Mr Cairns.

Newly installed interim leader of the Welsh Conservatives group Paul Davies said his colleagues shared the disappointment about the lagoon announcement, made on Monday.
He said it is 

"only appropriate that we take the opportunity to be a little more objective and recognise some of the positive outcomes delivered by the Secretary of State".
 What would Plaid Cymru do if Westminster sought to pass a vote of no confidence in the first minister," said Tory AM and former deputy presiding officer David Melding.He called the motion "constitutional nonsense" and silly politics"

 This is a government with form when it comes to saying no to Wales," said Welsh Government finance secretary and Labour AM Mark Drakeford.
He said there was little that Labour AMs would have dissented from in Mr Thomas' comments, but said it did not make the best sense to pass no-confidence motions of people who are not AMs.

 There was very little in what Simon Thomas had to say in opening this debate that I would have dissented from at all. I think it is simply that on this side, we do not believe that it makes best sense for this institution to be drawn into passing motions of no confidence in individuals who are not elected to the National Assembly nor answerable to it.
"In the minds of the public, a motion of no confidence in a political setting has a particular purpose.
"If it is carried, the individual must resign. And we know that this would not be the case in this instance; it would be a gesture, the leader of Plaid Cymru told us.

Of course it;s a gesture but Jeremy Corbyn calling for the cancellation of Donald Trump's visit is also a gesture .

What is an amendment regretting the lack of investment anything but a gesture in that Westminster  will pay absolutely no interest in it?

Everybody knows the Assembly does not appoint the Governor  General Welsh Secretary but when he or she lets down Wales in the manner Alun Cairns' has done a vote of no confidence is the strongest gesture we have.

Labour stance can only be interpenetrated as preserving the integrity of the Welsh Secretary and the Assembly passing a motion in no confidence in their man or woman in the job.

Once again we were shown there is no "Welsh" Labour  as they put the symbolism of a Office of State before the interests of Wales.

There has been speculation stirring by some Labour pundits  trying to discredit Plaid  that there could be a Tory-Plaid coalition government in the Welsh Assembly

Quite how worse  to a spineless "Welsh" labour government would be open to question.

But if Plaid were to back either there would surely have to be a major move to an immediate parity with Scotland  when it came to powers.

Anything else would be a true example of a gesture.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

"Welsh" Ukip from Farce to Fiasco,

 I know it's Ukip but really!

On; last week i was writingThe BBC reports that UKIP party members are to be balloted on who should be leader of the party's assembly group in the Welsh assembly.Welsh" Ukip's civil war develops into a farce.

 The move could see Caroline Jones - who has only been leader since May after she ousted Neil Hamilton - replaced.The South Wales West AM took over the leadership of the group from Neil Hamilton after two other members - David Rowlands and Michelle Brown - backed her.

She told BBC Wales the party's UK deputy leader Mike Hookem informed the group of five AMs about the vote in a meeting on Monday.
Ms Jones hoped she will win members' support, but said she did not know why a ballot had been called.

With Ms Jones and Mr Hamilton expected to stand  the choice  of the Ukip membership in Wales  estimated by former leader Mr Hamilton around 1,000". ment yjay two out of the three existing AMs would fight for the leadership.

Untoll now because it has emerged   that controversial (even for Ukip) AM Gareth Bennett is running in the party's Welsh Assembly leadership contest.

Mr Bennett was seen as the only Hamilton loyalist in the Assembly group but now he seems to have betrayed him

Seen as being on the right of the party (yes I know) Mr Bennett is Ccalling for a new referendum on devolution, he said he will campaign to abolish the assembly.
Mr Bennett is the second AM to announce their candidacy, after ex-group leader Neil Hamilton put his hat in the ring.
UKIP in members in Wales will be balloted by the end of July. Current leader Caroline Jones has yet to launch a campaign.
A ballot was declared for the leadership following a visit by UKIP deputy leader Mike Hookem to the assembly last week.

Mr Bennett said he would also campaign to row back "against the increasing cost of the Welsh language provisions".

"I am the only candidate with radical policies. The others are just offering things that are little different from the mainstream parties," he said.
"In Wales, the people now need to be able to have their say on whether or not they think that the Welsh Assembly serves a useful purpose.
"The last referendum, in 2011, was a complete con-trick, as people who did not support the existence of the Assembly had no option to vote for. We now need to have a meaningful referendum on this."
He added: "We have to review whether throwing millions of pounds of taxpayers money at a random target of achieving one million Welsh speakers is actually going to achieve anything.

"We should protect the Welsh Language in its heartlands in the Western areas."

 Before we start laughing however we need to remember that the  Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party (even with Ukip standing) achieved 4.4%  in the last Assembly elections (even with Ukip standing ) and a combined vote would even with Mr Bennett's  party low standing could see Anti-Devolution and Anti Welsh language  AM enter the Siambr.

It may have been a nightmare to see 7 Ukip AM elected two years ago , rather than see it end it could get  worse.

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Armed Forces Day should go back to being Veterans Day

There can be no coincidence that a House of Commons Defence Committee report says the defence budget should rise from 2% of GDP to 3% (£60bn) and Armed Forces Day falling on Saturday  30th June.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has reportedly demanded an extra £20bn for his department.
A government spokesman said: "We have been clear we will continue to exceed Nato's 2% spending target."
The committee said the extra money for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) could be spent on increasing the readiness of the armed forces and to bolster Britain's anti-submarine warfare to counter possible threats from Russia.
The report recommends increasing the defence budget to 3% of GDP but says a rise to 2.5% would "comfortably fill the 'black hole' in the existing MoD budget".
It argued that without such investment the UK armed forces' usefulness to the US would be diminished.
The MPs' report also notes comments by US Defence Secretary James Mattis that the UK benefits from its defence relationship with the US by £3bn a year.
"This implies that both the UK armed forces and HM Treasury benefit from our close relationship with the US," the report says.
"However, that will continue to be true only while the UK military retains both the capacity and capability to maintain interoperability with the US military and to relieve US burdens.
At next month's Nato summit in Brussels, US President Donald Trump is expected to repeat his demands for European allies to spend more on defence.
BBC defence correspondent Jonathan Beale says the committee's report will "add fuel to what seems to be an increasingly acrimonious row between the defence secretary, Gavin Williamson, and the Treasury and the prime minister."
He says there have been warnings of a Conservative backbench rebellion if more funding is not forthcoming.
The government must not let this happen," the report says.

As I said  with Armed Forces Day on Saturday it is an appropriate time to publish this,

Armed Forces Day (formerly Veterans' Day) in the United Kingdom is an annual event celebrated in late June to commemorate the service of men and women in the British Armed Forces. Veterans' Day was first observed in 2006.[1] Although an official event, it is not a public holiday in the UK. 

The name was changed to Armed Forces Day in 2009. Armed Forces Day has so far been observed on the last Saturday of June.

On 25 June 2007, Jim Devine the then Member of Parliament for Livingston, tabled a House of Commons Early Day Motion calling for the day to be a public holiday, stating "that this House recognises the outstanding contribution that veterans have made to the country; and believes that Veterans' Day should be a national public holiday across the United Kingdom."

I do not support  Armed Forces Day it seems to me more about  supporting  Government  Military Policy than supporting those in the military and especially veterans.

In 2013 it was reported" Up to 9,000 British heroes who served Queen and country are homeless after leaving the military", a Sunday Mirror investigation revealed

Don't get these figures mentioned in recruitment adds

They also seem to insult Towns like Newcastle  and Bridgend with their born in-made in claim and that there is no future in these towns,

Plaid Cymru MP Liz Saville Roberts has campaigned  raise the age of army recruitment from 16 to 18 ( the sort of people the above adds are aimed at) over concerns about the long-term impact on young recruits.   says young recruits are more vulnerable to mental health illness, suicide and death or injury than adult recruits.
The Ministry of Defence has no plans to raise the age, arguing enlistment could be beneficial for youngsters.
The Plaid Cymru MP is due to lead a Westminster Hall debate on the topic.She said:
 "The outcomes, the future that happens to the young people who are recruited into the army in the United Kingdom, they are not good prospects.
"It concerns me that this country still recruits people under the age of 18 when, in all honesty, we are the only country in the EU, in Europe, that does so."

Recently the  he British army has targeted recruitment material at “stressed and vulnerable” 16-year-olds via social media on and around GCSE results day,

Paid-for Facebook messages suggested to 16-year-olds that a career in the army would still be open to them if they did not get the grades they hoped for.
Campaigners against the recruitment of child soldiers accused the army of cynically trying to recruit young people at a time when they are worried about their results and future prospects.
Rachel Taylor, director of programmes at Child Soldiers International, said: “Targeting army advertisements at teenagers when they are stressed and vulnerable is abhorrent. These adverts prove once again that the MoD is deliberately targeting children at the lowest limit of the legal recruitment age to fill the lowest qualified, least popular and hardest-to-recruit army roles.
“Using Facebook to target the country’s young people unwittingly and exploiting the anxiety of those who may be disappointed with their GCSE results with idealised and unrealistic advertisements is shameful.”
 Liz Saville Roberts said:

 “The government’s recruitment ads on social media tell young people that exam results don’t matter. If they truly have potential army recruits’ best interests at heart, they should prioritise their education budget over the army’s social media budget.”
We should go back to the renaming  Armed Forced Day "Veterans Day" and concentrate on helping the plight of those who have faithfully served in the forces  and who have been constantly let down by those  who have sent them to illegal wars in order to either secure their place in history (Blair) and or to maintain the myth that the UK is a world power (Gavin Williamson and the current government)

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Welsh Tories Row Over Airbus And Tidal Lagoon .

There seem to be a number of differences emerging within the "Welsh" Conservatives ;

First a row broke out  party after its Welsh leader (or whatever he is)  accused Airbus of exaggerating the risk of job losses if a no-deal Brexit happens.
Andrew RT Davies said the European planemaker of making threats and "hyperbole" after it warned it could quit the UK.

Guto Bebb, a UK defence minister, said the comments were "inflammatory".
Airbus employs more than 6,400 people at bases in Wales.

It has warned it could leave the UK if it exits the European Union single market and customs union without a transition deal after Brexit, putting thousands of jobs at risk.

There still seems to be a question whether he is the Welsh Tory leader or merely the leader of the Assembly group but  Andrew RT Davies has  accused Airbus of making "threats".
He said:

 "Clearly Airbus is an important company to the United Kingdom and to Wales - but it's worth remembering that it's the dynamic highly skilled UK workforce that has made Airbus the success it has become.
"Talking so casually about de-camping to China does those workers a disservice, and you'd think that Airbus was the first company to entertain slashing costs and by extension standards - and it doesn't usually end well.
"We are getting to the business end of the negotiations, and there is a lot of hyperbole flying around."
"But it's in everyone's interest to ensure that trade remains as free and frictionless as possible once we have left the European Union".
But Guto Bebb, Conservative MP for Aberconwy, said Airbus have been

 "consistent in their concerns and the government shares their aspiration for an early and comprehensive deal."
Mr Bebb disputed Mr Davies' title as leader of the Welsh Conservatives and said he does not speak in such a capacity.
He told BBC Wales

 "He is the leader of the assembly group and whilst I am unaware of whether he consulted his colleagues before issuing his inflammatory statement he certainly did not consult with myself as an MP in North Wales.
"Shooting the messenger is an unworthy position for a politician to take not least when that politician aspires to lead a government in Wales.
"He should retract his comments."

Meanwhile Andrew RT Davies  Assembly colleague Suzy Davies has  claimed that  "Backing for a tidal lagoon in Swansea could "unleash an economic revolution",project the go-ahead amid expectations UK ministers are about to pull the plug.
Ministers have said the £1.3bn scheme must prove it is value for money.

South Wales West AM  Ms Davies said real value for money would be delivered as the UK could become the "undisputed" global centre for expertise.

The project was backed in January 2017 by an independent review set up by the UK government, but ministers have not yet approved it, warning that the energy produced would cost a lot more than nuclear power.
Mrs Davies claimed tidal lagoon power was no longer set to be so expensive, and would be a major boost to the Welsh economy.

"The tidal lagoon is an opportunity to unleash an economic revolution in Wales, on a scale not seen since the regeneration of Cardiff Bay,"
 It's an innovative long-term source of low carbon energy, built in Wales and supported by a largely UK-based supply chain - including Welsh steel.
"If that doesn't represent value for money, I'm not sure what does, although it's worth noting that the project is now being proposed on the same terms as Hinkley Point," Mrs Davies added, referring to a new nuclear power station in Somerset.

"In any case, the real value for money comes in being the first - with the UK becoming the undisputed global centre for lagoon expertise and manufacturing.
"Ultimately, this scheme holds great promise to be the most reliable and resilient source of green energy available.
"It has huge local support and all parties in Wales have been supportive of this ambitious scheme since day one."

So the Tory Cardiff Branch Office seems to be clashing with  its London HQ .

One in which the Assembly Leader appears to be joining the Brexit fundamentalists  and  Boris Johnson  who replied  ‘f*** business’ when asked about employers’ fears that leaving the European Union could damage British jobs and industry.

 The other is Backing for a tidal lagoon in Swansea in which they are faced with their London Bosses scraping it.

Like  "Welsh" Labour however the Union will always come first if that means backing Brexit to the level that we lose a major employer like Airbus or accepting the loss of potential jobs if the London bosses scrap tidal lagoon.

How much longer can we go on with these politicians in our Assembly who put the Union and Westminster first?

Saturday, 23 June 2018

War on drugs. No surrender but a responsible armistice.

Despite the fact that I used to have extremely long hair and moustache, I've never  taken cannabis .

Well that's not entirely true  I actually id the reverse of Bill Clinton who famously claimed he didn’t inhale when smoking weed during his Rhodes scholar years.

 “When I was in England, I experimented with marijuana a time or two, and didn’t like it,” Clinton said. “I didn’t inhale, and I didn’t try it again.”

I on the other hand  would sit in a small room in collage  with friends and while they smoked I presume I would have inhaled cannabis fumes.

The thing is that my friends although they were breaking the law where often more decent and honest than those who did not smoke weed.

I doubt that many in these islands have never had similar friends.

Certainly former Conservative leader and Welsh Secretary Lord Hague 
is right when he called on the Government to legalise cannabis. 

He called for reform following the outrage after mum Charlotte Caldwell had supplies of cannabis oil she had bought in Canada for her 12-year-old son Billy, who has acute epilepsy, confiscated at Heathrow airport.

Mr Hague, writing in the Telegraph, said the idea cannabis can be "driven off the streets and out of people's lives by the state is nothing short of deluded".
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has suggested "a different way" was needed following Billy's case being highlighted.

Writing in the Telegraph, Lord Hague, who led the party from 1997 to 2001 and was foreign secretary under David Cameron from 2010 to 2014, called for the party to rethink policy, saying the war against the drug had been lost.
He wrote:

 "Everyone sitting in a Whitehall conference room needs to recognise that, out there, cannabis is ubiquitous, and issuing orders to the police to defeat its use is about as up-to-date and relevant as asking the Army to recover the Empire.
"This battle is effectively over."

Mr Mr Hague once told a magazine he had not always taken such good care of his body. Between the ages of 15 and 21 he drank 14 pints a day during a summer job hauling crates of drinks into pubs across South Yorkshire for his family's soft drinks firm.

"We used to have a pint at every stop and we used to have about 10 stops a day," he said. "You worked hard so you didn't feel you'd drunk 10 pints by four o'clock - you used to sweat so much."
And the day's drinking did not stop there, he explained. "Then [we would] go home for tea and then go out in the evening to the pub. I think when you're a teenager you can do that."

OK we may treat this with scepticism , but who would argue  that the health issues of excessive alcohol drinking are worse than having a few joints.

I am not saying Cannabis is safer  but that if we were to use the same criteria of dangerous drugs on alcohol, then we would have to ban it.

Prohibition in the USA has shown us how banning a drug (in this case alcohol) doest work'

Would we see people completely stoned  out of their heads if we legalised cannabis?

There may be an initial upsurge but with proper controls   then it will ease  and as some underage drinkers found when they reached 18 there was less of an attraction to drinking alcohol when it was legal for them to do so.

Controls on how it is sold could lead to the quality of the drug being smoked   being understood and the really dangerous  sorts excluded.

It will not be easy but  the time  has come not to surrender in the War against drugs bur to work out a responsible armistice.

Friday, 22 June 2018

Why should Nicola trust Carwyn?

I wonder  how as the the Welsh and Scottish governments  call Theresa May's plan for the UK's departure from the EU not "consistent with the national interest" how much the First Minister of Scotland trusts the Third Rate Minister of Wales to stick with her.

 The Welsh governments after all capitulated over the long-running Brexit "power-grab" row relating to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill back in April leaving Scotland alone.

I am not saying that we would not have seen the gone in 15 minutes power grab that saw the UK government ignore the wishes of the majority of the Scottish parliament ( the minority being "Scottish" Tories, but they case was made easier.

 In a speech in London last week, Carwyn Jones called on Theresa May to "come clean" on Brexit and put the national interest ahead of her party

How can he say this after handing powers back to Westminster  and the Tories.

When he sats National Interst he is not refeing to Wales is he?

The two leaders  issued a statement urging the prime minister to pledge to stay in the EU's single market and customs union.

Ministers from Cardiff and Edinburgh join the UK and Irish governments later for a British Irish Council meeting.

The UK government said it was committed to maintaining a good working relationship with the Welsh Government.

Before the meeting in Guernsey, the cabinet office minister said despite the "inevitable political noise" as the UK prepares for Brexit, he would "ensure that we maintain the depth of our ongoing engagement" with the devolved governments.
David Lidington said: 

"Working together is exactly what people all across the UK want to see their respective governments doing. They want to see their lives being improved through joint endeavour.
"They don't expect different governments - with politicians from different parties - to agree on everything.
"But they do expect us to keep talking - and listening - to each other, and to co-operate on the big issues that affect us all."

Mr Lidington's message was directed in particular towards the Scottish Government, which has failed to reach agreement with ministers in Westminster over issues relating to devolution after Brexit. 

However it is clear that while he accepts that Wales and Scotland  could disagree with Westminster all they can do is to talk about it.

In the end Westminster will certainly simply ignore us. What kind of democracy is this?
Third Class Minister  Carwyn Jones  and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon have joined together to make a similar call ahead of the British Irish Council meeting, saying that the prime minister's plan to leave the EU's single market and customs union is increasingly difficult to reconcile with her "position on issues such as customs arrangements and regulatory alignment".
They both said:

 "She cannot come clean because she is held hostage by the Brexiteers in her cabinet and party. This cannot continue.
"We call on the UK government in its forthcoming White Paper to commit to staying inside the single market and customs union recognising that this will require continued alignment with the EU regulatory environment."
I am sure that  Nicola Sturgeon would prefer it was Leanne Jones  joining her, but she is left with Carwyn who has betrayed her once and could well do again.

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Whatever happened to four nations as equal partners?

 Yes Devolution as we know  is dead, it is clear from the actions of the Secretaries of Stare for Wales and Scotland with the former treating Cardiff Bat with contempt and the latter announcing that Scotland is not a partner in the UK, but is merely a part of the UK.

BBC Wales reports that 

The Welsh secretary's refusal to give evidence in person about the replacement of EU funds post-Brexit "shows a worrying disregard for Wales", an assembly committee chair has said.
Alun Cairns told the finance committee he did not feel it necessary to attend.
Simon Thomas accused Mr Cairns of failing to engage "appropriately and respectfully".
The Wales Office said the Welsh Secretary was accountable to Parliament.
The assembly's finance committee is conducting an inquiry into the preparations for replacing EU funding for Wales after the UK leaves the 28-nation bloc.
Mr Cairns has been criticised previously for not attending the committee to give evidence.
In a letter to the chair, the Welsh secretary said he "did not think it necessary" to attend the inquiry in person but pledged to engage with the committee at the "earliest opportunity".
He said he recognised the importance of the funds to Wales.

Mr Thomas, a Plaid Cymru AM, said Mr Cairns "also failed to provide the committee to date" with any written evidence.
As one of the poorer parts of the European Union, Wales will have received more than £5bn in so-called structural funds by 2020 - roughly £370m a year.
Wales also receives more than £300m annually from the EU's main agricultural funding scheme, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
Both funding streams are set to come to an end after the UK leaves the EU, with UK and Welsh Government ministers working on successor programmes.

Responding to the letter, Mr Thomas said:

"Refusing to attend such an important inquiry, including refusing to provide any evidence in his absence, shows a worrying disregard for Wales.
"This failure is part of a pattern of behaviour by Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns, to engage appropriately and respectfully with the National Assembly.
"Hiding from scrutiny makes me wonder if he has any ideas at all about what will replace these valuable funding streams,"

A spokesperson for the Wales Office said Mr Cairns had "given evidence to National Assembly committees on several occasions in recent months on Britain's exit from the EU".
"As a UK minister, it is important to note and widely recognised that the Secretary of State for Wales is accountable to Parliament and in particular to the Welsh Affairs Select Committee," the spokesperson said.
"We have also committed to future engagement with stakeholders including the Welsh Government and the National Assembly on Brexit issues, but did not consider it the right time to give evidence on this occasion."
 It used to be a question.

Does the Welsh Secretary represent Wales in the Cabinet, or the Cabinet in Wales?

Well we seem to have an answer. He or she does not represent Wales at all!

Meanwhile  Scottish Secretary of State David Mundell has has thrown the whole  "Better Together"  he  claimed that Scotland is not a partner in the UK, but is merely a part of the UK.
The Conservative MP’s comments came during a debate in the House of Commons which covered the so-called Power Grab which will see Westminster seize control of devolved issues for up to seven years.
During the debate Mr Mundell took issue with a description of Scotland as an equal partner in the United Kingdom.  


Brexit clearly has been seen to put Scotland (and Wales) in their place

Like an abusive  partner who begs their spouse not to leave saying they love them and they can change. Unionists after Brexit now feel empowered  and believe   that we must stay with them because we have no where else to go.

Perhaps taking thier cue from Spain's treatment of Catalonia the the Tories feel they can smash any attempts at Independence indeed take power back.

All pretence of love however has ended.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

We should call Trump for what he is. A Proto- Fascist.

We sometimes forget that at the same time (1964) as Nelson Mandela was condemned them to life imprisonment. there were still] states in rge USA opposing segregation legislation which sought to end America own version of Apartheid in the South.

In the summer of 1964, civil rights groups brought almost 1,000 activists to Mississippi.[83] Most of them were white college students.[84]p. 66 Their goals were to work together with black activists to register voters, and to teach summer school to black children in "Freedom Schools." They also wanted to help create the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP). At the time, only white people could take part in the Mississippi Democratic Party. The MFDP was planned as another political party that would allow black and white Democrats to take part in politics.[83]
Many white Mississippians were angry that people from other states were coming in and trying to change their society. Government workers, police, the Ku Klux Klan, and other racist whites used many strategies to attack the activists and black people who were trying to register to vote. The Freedom Summer project lasted for ten weeks. During that time, 1,062 activists were arrested; 80 were beaten; and 4 were killed. Three black Mississippians were murdered because they supported civil rights. Thirty-seven churches, and thirty black homes or businesses, were bombed or burned.[84]
On June 21, 1964, three Freedom Summer activists disappeared. Weeks later, their bodies were found. They had been murdered by members of the local Ku Klux Klan - including some who were also police in the Neshoba County sheriff's department.[83] When people were searching for their bodies in local swamps and rivers, they found the bodies of a 14-year-old boy and seven other men who also seemed to have been murdered at some time.[85]
During Freedom Summer, activists set up at least 30 Freedom Schools, and taught about 3,500 students.[86] The students included children, adults, and the elderly. The schools taught about many things, like black history; civil rights; politics; the freedom movement; and the basic reading and writing skills needed to vote.[87]
Also during the summer, about 17,000 black Mississippians tried to register to vote. Only 1,600 were able to. However, more than 80,000 joined the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP). This 
 This showed that they wanted to vote and take part in politics, not just let white people do it for them

Despite the Civil Rights Acts such attitudes still persist in the US today but arguably we have never seen an actively racist president in our lifetime.

As the Guardian reports
Donald Trump heads to Capitol Hill on Tuesday afternoon facing an extraordinary backlash from his own party – and the American public – over his policy of separating children from their parents at the southern US border.
The separations occur when, under a “zero tolerance” immigration policy, adults are arrested for crossing the border illegally. As children cannot be held in an adult jail, they are held separately.
According to a Quinnipiac University national poll, two in three voters oppose the separations. Outcry from Democratic and Republican politicians, former first ladies, churches, commentators and business leaders is gathering momentum.
The president, however, seems determined only to up the ante. On Tuesday morning he tweeted that Democrats want undocumented migrants “to pour into and infest our country”. In a lunchtime speech to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), he said the US had two options: “Totally open borders or criminal prosecution for lawbreaking.”
Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac poll, asked: “When does public opinion become a demand that politicians just can’t ignore? Two-thirds of American voters oppose the family separation policy at our borders. Neither quotes from the Bible nor get-tough talk can soften the images of crying children nor reverse the pain so many Americans feel.”
Trump’s campaign was built around a tough stance on immigration, with “build the wall” a frequent chant at his rallies. He is now losing the battle for public opinion, though support among his base is resilient.
For example, Republicans support the zero tolerance policy at the border by 55% to 35%, the Quinnipiac survey found. And while national voters oppose building a wall on the border with Mexico by 58% to 39%, three in four Republicans back it.
Trump's racist policy also give comfort to other here on Europe

Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini of Italy's far-right League
   has announced plans for a census of the Roma community. While those deemed to be foreign could be deported, he said, Italian Roma would "unfortunately" be allowed to stay.

We cannot also ignore Brexit has given comfort to Racist  in these islands and the  dangers that this brings.

As the Far Right take over the White house there are those who say we  are wrong to accuse him of being a fascist, but I think we should call it now before it is to late.