Friday, 31 August 2018

3 Steps to Heaven, 7 to Independence but only 1 to Hell,

I will be 65 this year and as I look to the future i have a recurring nightmare followed by a dream.

The nightmare  has me in a nursing fully Compos of - of sound mind, memory, and understanding but unable to move or speak and there's some kind of Royal event on the Television and the staff have stuck a Union Hat Flag on my head expecting me to enjoy the spectacle.

The other has me still reasonable mobile standing in Cardiff Bay at Midnight on a July 31 in the future as we see the  Union Flag lowered and the Draig Goch raised as we face Dydd Gwyl Dewi and the dawn as an Independent Nation.

So I was interested to see Plaid leadership contender  Adam Price list his


Here is my proposal. Every plan needs to be refined and developed further but here is an outline of seven key steps to securing independence for Wales by the end of the next decade.

1: Elect a pro-independence government for Wales in 2021.Plaid Cymru needs to be in government in 2021.  It is only Plaid Cymru who can do the necessary nation-building to secure independence. 
2: Pass a Wales 2030 Referendum Act.We need a nation-wide debate on our future.  By the end of the next decade, we will give the people of Wales a vote on self-determination. 
3: Set up a National Commission as part of the 2030 Process. Creating the new Wales is the work of the entire nation. The National Commission will oversee the 2030 Process and give Welsh citizens a say in what an independent Wales will look like 
4: Be bold, radical, and visionary.We must act as if we are already independent.  All we do must make Wales a healthier, fairer, more prosperous place to live. In 2026, we must win re-election, 
5: Reduce the gap between our income and our spending.We must show that we’re not too small for independence. By 2030, our fiscal gap can be sustainable and we’ll have proved that Wales is not too small to stand on her own two feet. 
6: Grow Wales’ economy.We need to improve Wales’ economic performance.  This will improve the lives of the people of Wales and make our independence an attractive and realistic option. 
7: Build a new Welsh media. Our nation needs a thriving media. A strong and diverse Welsh media is crucial to the national debate on our future.
Well it's a plan but and one that seems to be in two parts.

1-4 could easily be derailed in 2021 an Plaid fail to not only form at least a minority government if they fail then its put back five years and we will be in  2035 before we get a referendum and I will be voting at 82.

Even so as John Dixon points out we need not to wait so long.

The plan places a dependence on Plaid winning two Assembly elections before holding a referendum.That is a wholly artificial dependency.For sure, it took two elections ‘won’ by the SNP before Scotland held a referendum, but that was because they formed only a minority government in their first term and there was no majority in the Scottish Parliament for a bill calling a referendum.The real dependency here is that question of a parliamentary majority – it requires only one election victory for a party or group of parties committed to holding a referendum to be legitimately able to call one.It could be, of course, that Adam is assuming that any election victory by Plaid in 2021 would be as a minority administration rather than a majority. It’s not an unrealistic assumption, and if that were to be the case, then it would, of course,be necessary to postpone any referendum bill until there were a majority.And it’s equally true that a minority government committed to a referendum would probably reflect, at best, a lukewarm public attitude to independence.But if a party commits to not holding a referendum until it has won at least two elections, then it ends up with no legitimate mandate to hold such a referendum even if it were to win the first election overwhelmingly.then it ends up with no legitimate mandate to hold such a referendum even if it were to win the first election overwhelmingly.then it ends up with no legitimate mandate to hold such a referendum even if it were to win the first election overwhelmingly.

Indeed  I think Adam has put the Cart before the Horse as we need to develop the Idea of Independence throughout Wales and when people vote in every election it is Plaid they see as ensuring this and vote accordingly.

In this Brexit  and its aftermath should become the  Antithesis  of any plans  future Wales and the argument clearly made that we have the choice of either being Poor West Britons seen little more than an annex of a increasing right wing English Government, or an Independent Wales in Europe emulating the Social Democracy of the likes of Sweden and Denmark and of course an Independent Scotland.

There are Three Steps to Heaven and maybe Seven Steps to Independence  but there is only One step to Hell and by voting for Brexit we may have already taken the last one.

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Are "Together for Labour" exploiting Data Loophole

After the Cambridge Analytica   scandal small wonder  questions have been raised about a new group founded by Welsh Labour leadership candidate Vaughan Gething called Together for Labour.
IIn March, The New York Times, working with The Observer of London and The Guardian, obtained a cache of documents from inside Cambridge Analytica, the data firm principally owned by the right-wing donor Robert Mercer. The documents proved that the firm, where the former Trump aide Stephen K. Bannon was a board member, used data improperly obtained from Facebook to build voter profiles. 
A spokesman for Mr Gething's campaign said that the intention behind the group was to "keep campaigning and engaging as a Welsh Labour family whether we win or lose".
A Welsh Labour source suggested that the group had been stablished separately to Mr Gething's leadership bid in order to retain data gathered during the course of the forthcoming campaign.
According to the Wasting Mule
The new group called Together for Labour, which as yet has no internet presence and is not registered with the Electoral Commission, is soliciting support for Mr Gething.
A Welsh Labour source said: 
“The data they gather will be held by Together for Labour rather than the campaign which would have to destroy it.
"It is not very transparent, as people signing up on Vaughan’s campaign website could reasonably expect that their data would not be owned by or shared with a third party, and to be destroyed when the campaign concludes.
“Why are they wanting to hold on to Labour membership and supporter data after the campaign ends? 
“They appear to be exploiting a loophole in GDPR [General Data Protection Regulation] which will allow them to keep hold of data after Vaughan’s campaign ends.
 A Vaughan for Leader spokesman said:

Our campaign will comply fully with both the letter and the spirit of GDPR regulations.
“Any suggestion to the contrary from anonymous sources is conspiracist nonsense and should be treated as such.
“Our campaign is about engaging meaningfully with members and trade unionists, not just trying to secure their votes.
“As Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign illustrated, carrying on these conversations after leadership elections end can help generate campaigns, policy and passion in quite astonishing ways – just look at Momentum and Welsh Labour Grassroots.
“Our campaign is no different, and our intention to keep campaigning and engaging as a Welsh Labour family whether we win or lose this leadership election is something we are extremely proud of.
Obviously  this is not the same as the  Cambridge Analytical scandal but 
the latter  was significant for inciting public discussion on ethical standards for social media companies, political consulting organizations, and politicians. Consumer advocates called for greater consumer protection in online media and right to privacy as well as curbs on misinformation and propaganda.

Many suspect that the frontrunner in Welsh Labour's leadership contest Mark Drayford could possibly only serve one term and many of the Young Turks putting their names forward are eyeing a contest  in five years time or sooner if Mark Drayford  flops in the  202 Assembly Elections.

Such in formation obtained by Together for Labour although dated would be a useful tool in any future contest.

Many who have been members or supporters of Political Party in the past find at election time they may be individually singled out for canvassing and whilst this is annoying g at times , it is part ogf modern politics.

Whether "Together for Labour" have taken this a bit to far is a question we need to ask.

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Where and when will Trump's Reichstag fire occur?

The Reichstag fire (GermanReichstagsbrand was an arson attack on the Reichstag building (home of the German parliament) in Berlin on 27 February 1933, one month after Adolf Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor of Germany. The National Socialist party stated that Marinus van der Lubbe, a Dutch council communist, was found near the building and attributed the fire to communist agitators in general—though in 1933, a German court decided that van der Lubbe had acted alone, as he claimed. After the fire, the Reichstag Fire Decree was passed. The Nazi Party used the fire as evidence that communists were plotting against the German government, and the event is considered pivotal in the establishment of Nazi Germany. The term Reichstag fire has come to refer to false flag actions perpetrated or facilitated by an authority to promote their own interests through popular approval of retribution or retraction of civil right
I was reminded of this  as US President Trump,seems not only losing his grip on reality and dictatorial as he tries to face down critics
 in a series of early morning Twitter posts on Tuesday, he  attacked Google for what he claimed was an effort to intentionally suppress conservative news outlets supportive of his administration.
According to the New York Times
Mr. Trump’s remarks — and an additional warning later in the day that Google, Facebook and Twitter “have to be careful” — escalated a conservative campaign against the internet industry that has become more pointed since Apple, Google and Facebook removed content from Alex Jones, a right-wing conspiracy theorist who runs the site InfoWars and has been a vocal supporter of Mr. Trump.
“Google search results for ‘Trump News’ shows only the viewing/reporting of Fake New Media,” Mr. Trump said on Twitter at 5:24 a.m. “In other words, they have it RIGGED, for me & others, so that almost all stories & news is BAD. Fake CNN is prominent.”
Mr. Trump added that 
“they are controlling what we can & cannot see. This is a very serious situation-will be addressed!”

At the same time the Guardian reports that
In a private meeting with Christian ministers, Donald Trump warned of “violence” if Republicans do not maintain control of Congress in the midterm elections, according to an audio recording of the meeting obtained by the New York Times.
At a state dinner for evangelical Christian ministers on Monday night at the White House, Trump urged religious leaders to use the power of their pulpits to make sure that “all of your people vote” in November, the New York Times reported.
“You’re one election away from losing everything you’ve got,” Trump reportedly told them.
If Republicans lose Congress, “they will end everything immediately”, the president said, seemingly referring to Congressional Democrats.

He went on:
 “They will overturn everything that we’ve done and they’ll do it quickly and violently. And violently. There’s violence. When you look at antifa, and you look at some of these groups, these are violent people.”
The Times reported that these additional remarks did not make clear “whom he was talking about”.
One of the ironies of American politics is that despite the three times married Trump facing multiple accusation of sexual misconduct and other improprieties he receives substantial support from evangelical Christians.
It used to be said of Ex-President Clinton that his supporter 
"Didn't mind who he slept with so long as he as President tell Citizens who they can sleep with.
It seems Evangelical  Christians  don't care how many of their  "family values" they claim to support are broken by Trump as long as professes them its OK,

Trump's argument over violence seems that he is preparing for his supporters who include American Nazis to take to the streets if he loses Congress and faces impeachment.

But blaming it on his opponents . Remember he defended the white nationalists who protested in Charlottesville on Tuesday, saying they included “some very fine people,” 

Speaking in the lobby of Trump Tower at what had been billed as a statement on infrastructure, a combative Trump defended his slowness to condemn white nationalists and neo-Nazis after the melee in central Virginia, which ended in the death of one woman and injuries to dozens of others, and compared the tearing down of Confederate monuments to the hypothetical removal of monuments to the Founding Fathers. He also said that counter-protesters deserve an equal amount of blame for the violence.
“What about the alt-left that came charging at, as you say, at the alt-right?” Trump said. “Do they have any semblance of guilt?”
“I’ve condemned neo-Nazis. I’ve condemned many different groups. But not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me,” 
“You had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists,” Trump said. “The press has treated them absolutely unfairly.”

Trump is the biggest  danger to Western Democracy since the 1930's and I believe that he is preparing to use the far-right to cling on to power 

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Wales has no choice? What an argument.

I am still not convinced that plans to move mud dredged from alongside a new nuclear power plant to near Cardiff,  will mean that it will contain radioactive material but then I am also not convinced it will not.

I am certainly not being helped with the argument put forward by the claims made on Wales Online  Natural Resources Wales insist the mud is safe and that refusing it would end up in legal action Wales would lose,

Wales' biggest quango has said it would open itself up to a legal action it would be certain to lose if it sought to revoke a dumping licence for 300,000 tonnes of mud from a nuclear site.
 In advance of the demonstration at the Senedd Yesterday  it released a new statement setting out its position.
The statement says:
 “We have no powers to suspend the licence unless we are presented with new evidence demonstrating that the mud contains radioactive levels above a certain threshold – and no such evidence exists.
“If we suspended the licence without that evidence we’d be operating illegally and the operator could challenge our decision through the courts. We can only act on evidence.”
 Several hundred people were at the protest on Monday afternoon organised by independent AM Neil McEvoy and it may be his populist campaigning on the issue may have put some like myself off.

Nevertheless it does seem he has reasonable argument

He said 
"Many more people are aware now and horrified, and we want the Welsh Government to intervene," r.
A Welsh Government spokesperson said NRW's decision was based on "expert advice" and added tests concluded "the material is within safe limits and poses no radiological risk" to people or the environment.
Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans was at the protest and believes in the precautionary principle.
"If there is any doubt, you take note of that doubt and you don't go ahead unless you are absolutely confident there is no danger," she said. "And I don't believe that's the case here".
The  eexplanation  why the mud can’t be disposed of near its present site on the English side of the estuary, NRW states is hardly reassuring.

“Sediment dredging operations are very common around the UK and Welsh coast, and the material needs to be disposed of at designated disposal sites.“This means we can ensure the sediments are released at a suitable site and will not harm sensitive habitats or wildlife. By using a designated disposal site, we can also make sure sediment does not build up in one place, creating a hazard to shipping, for example.“For the sediments coming from the Hinkley site, the Cardiff Grounds disposal site is the closest designated disposal site. This will also make sure emissions from transporting the material are kept to a minimum."
It's as if your next door neighbour,  announced that he was going throw rubbish from his garden over the hedge into yours because it was more convenient

Neil McEvoy AM joined hundreds of locals donning banners and flags who wanted to protest against the move outside the Senedd steps on Monday afternoon.

The Assembly Member tweeted
 "The people of Wales are standing up. We're not going to be overlooked. We're not going to be forgotten. We're not having anyone's nuclear mud dumped on us."
“The mud has not been tested enough. Only five samples below 5cm were tested back in 2009.
"I asked for the methodology, modelling and raw data to check with scientists opposing the Welsh Government’s position. No raw data was provided, because it was destroyed.
"Why? If any nasty hot radioactive particles exist, they will be below the surface.
 Labour AM Mike Hedges who was not at the protest but was given as much space on the BBc website as those who were there  said the mud samples and data should be made available to "external" experts while David Melding, a Conservative, said he was "satisfied that [the samples] do meet the standards as set by international law".
A Welsh Government spokesman said: 
"The recent Petition Committee's report showed Natural Resources Wales made their determination based on expert advice."It also confirmed all tests and assessments concluded the material is within safe limits, poses no radiological risk to human health or the environment and is safe and suitable to be disposed of at sea

I along with many who initially accepted the Welsh Government and  Natural Resources Wales assurances now feel that Mr McEvoy has at least some points, perhaps nor so much by his arguments but by the way those who are responsible for this deal have handled it.

The least that should happen is an open, in depth  and independent  examination of this mud and a review on why we agreed to this in the first place,

Monday, 27 August 2018

Wales "Hanging on the Telephone"

The BBC report that  patient waited 62 hours for an by the Welsh Ambulance Service, which has by far the worst record in the UK needs a deeper investigation.
We really need to look at the circumstances  which shows that  The longest delays in the UK were recorded by Welsh Ambulance Service, which kept four patients waiting for more than 50 hours.
A spokesman said the figures were "not typical" and "represent the extreme end of the waiting time spectrum".
The Patients Association said they were "extremely concerning".
Between June 2017 and June 2018, ambulances from four services took 24 hours to reach patients, including some with breathing and mental health problems.
The trusts said the longest waits were for "less serious calls", and they had to prioritise responding to people in life-threatening or urgent conditions.
Most ambulance services also reported achieving the national target of responding to the most serious type of call in an average of eight minutes or less.

Chart showing longest waits for an ambulance

Lucy Watson, from the Patients Association, said: "Everybody should be getting the services that they need.
"We know that demand has gone up on all health services as our population is getting older, and we need to see the level of investment increasing so our ambulances can respond in a timely way."
To what extent the figures reflect how the various services operate a variant of  Triage (in medical use) the assignment of degrees of urgency to wounds or illnesses to decide the order of treatment of a large number of patients or casualties would be useful but distance and the availability of other forms of transport and whether GP or other medical visits do not seem to be a factor.
Stephen Clinton, assistant director of operations for Welsh Ambulance Service, said:
 "We fully accept that a number of patients waited far longer than anyone would like.
"That said, these figures represent the extreme end of the waiting time spectrum and are neither typical nor do they explain the circumstances of these individual cases."
He said in some of the cases the patients were already in the care of medical teams, and others were affected by extreme weather conditions.
The service did not provide details of the four patients who waited more than 50 hours.
But the longest three calls were in the second-most serious "amber" category, classified as "patients who may need treatment at scene or taking quickly to health facility".
The remaining call was rated "green", a classification used for "less urgent calls".
Equally worrying is that Tens of thousands of callers to the police non-emergency line have hung-up in frustration at long waiting times.
A total of 135,389 calls to Welsh police via 101 were abandoned or redirected last year - almost 14% of all calls.
Wendy Lewis, from Swansea, waited for 22 minutes while trying to get help for a young mother who was being harassed.
"In the end I gave up," she said. Police bosses said improvements had been made.
Introduced almost a decade ago, the 101 service is for reporting non-emergency incidents such as criminal damage or stolen vehicles.
But figures obtained by BBC Wales show that since 2013 the number of calls abandoned has risen across Wales' four police forces.
The highest rate of abandoned 101 calls was in the Gwent force area, where just over a fifth of calls - or more than 47,000 - were dropped before being answered in 2017.
There are no standard times for answering calls, with each force setting its own targets.
I suppose it is encouraging that people are using the 101 services rather than 999. but we should ask ourselves to what extent people are doing so because their local Police Station has closed or as in the case of one near to me kept open but closed to the public  and there's no "Desk Sargent" who you can approach with the sought of problems Wendy Lewis was trying to bring the police attention to.
As i said we need a real in depth investigation into the circumstances of what looks like a stark contrast with the rest of the UK. Are people elsewhere advised to to use public transport  for what is considered a "Green" case. 
All this doesn't help people who are already in distress and it is up to the Welsh Labour government to sort out, after all the UK Party leader Jeremy Corbyn , is all to ready criticise  the SNP government in Scotland despite it having a far superior response time to Wales.

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Plaid should not falter in its support for minorities

These two pictures appeared on the Social Media Pages yesterday  of Leanne Wood and AdamPrice?   two of the candidates  for the Plaid Leadership contest,

As you can see among the many photos is one of them both with Plaid Pride. The other candidate Rhun ap Iowerth  was not there but posted his support.

But why wasn't there a Photo of Leanne and Adam together?

Surely yesterday was one for unity. Indeed it would have been nice  to see all the many politicians  from different parties being in a picture together.

It is particularly important to Plaid as there seems to a move  in some quarters for Plaid to move away from standing up for minorities.

Take this from Simon Brooks on Nation Cymru.

Adam Price is the best-placed candidate to lead Plaid Cymru.His appeal is multifaceted, and answers many of these theoretical problems associated with Leanne and Rhun.Firstly, he is firmly on the Left, but he understands more fully than Leanne the risks of assimilation.Plaid’s vote collapsed in the 2017 General Election as a direct result of the party’s unofficial pact with Corbynism.Plaid voters decided that to get Corbyn they might as well vote Corbyn. Adam would not repeat this mistake.Secondly, I believe that he understands minorities. Adam is a gay man from a working-class background. He has campaigned for Cymdeithas yr Iaith. He has campaigned for gay rights.This is crucial because the promotion of justice for minority and minoritised groups is the key contribution Leanne has made to Welsh political practice.The only ethical justification for Plaid Cymru is that the Welsh nation is a historical, ‘material’ reality which has been ‘minoritised’, and should be emancipated.But this is the fate of others too – language groups, women, ethnic minorities, sexual minorities, the disabled, non-metropolitan communities, the working-class.Emancipation of the nation thus means the emancipation of all these groups. But at times, Leanne and others have sought to interpret intersectionality in a way which has not really addressed the problem of difference within a Welsh context.For example, do men on low incomes in working-class Welsh-speaking communities far from the metropolis really enjoy ‘privilege’?We know from academic work that the poverty they face is structural and directly connected to their membership of a minoritised language group.Supporters of Leanne have not thought sufficiently about how theories developed in Seattle or Bristol (where no such group exists) might work in the context of Blaenau Ffestiniog.
I disagree with Simon what is wrong with standing with people who may not join in your belief in an Independent Wales against  discrimination and Hate,

Indeed it is vital to ensure minorities in Wales that they have nothing to fear from an Independent Wales.

Or we end up with this.

For anyone still unsure where went wrong . . . Suggesting that someone with a penis is a man is "completely abhorrent to the core values of Plaid Cymru" and "brings the party into disrepute".

The worst part of this is the comments from some of Jac's supporters  .

I am not LGBT  (lesbiangaybisexualtransgender), BAME Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (used to refer to members of non-white communities in the UK) or a Welsh Speaker and yet support all these causes .

Leanne Wood has  Crossed the Bridge when it comes to learning Cymraeg ,since she became leader, but can any one claim that she had not overwhelmingly support equality for Cymraeg before she took up the reins.

Supporting minority causes will not win Independence or see an increase in votes for Plaid, but it is the right thing to do.

Indeed is that not what all of us should be doing  whether we are in Seattle, Bristol or  Blaenau Ffestiniog?