Thursday, 31 January 2019

Welsh Government education White Paper needs to be fleshed out.

I always worry when Welsh Government Minister s  come up with shake-ups of the school curriculum as it often ends up looking like that they feel that they need  to be seeing in doing something , rather than being able to carry it out.
A consultation begins as Education Minister Kirsty Williams unveils a white paper setting out her vision for the future of education in Wales.
The delayed proposals have already been criticised by education bosses as "poorly defined" and "weak".
But Ms Williams said they were "ambitious and far-reaching".
Her plan is based on an independent review conducted by Prof Graham Donaldson in 2015 which recommended a new curriculum focusing on literacy, numeracy and digital skills.
One of the controversial is that  Welsh would no longer be considered a second language in English-medium schools, with more opportunities to use the language.
Something that i would strongly support but as Siân Gwenllian, Plaid Cymru AM for Arfon points out in Nation Cymru
Excellent in principle. Most of us would agree that teaching Welsh as a second language has been ineffective in giving young people who do not speak the language at home the skills to use Welsh in everyday life.But the devil is in the detail.The There is already a shortage of Welsh-speaking teachers – the government said it was working to boost skills but that could take many years. Currently, around one-third of Welsh teachers speak Welsh, which is a good starting point.According to research commissioned by Plaid Cymru, this number will need to be at least doubled in order to realise the ambition of providing an education system that will produce a million Welsh speakers.Current strategies for attracting more teachers for the Welsh medium sector are neither sufficient nor comprehensive.Over the next ten years 3,000 teachers will need to be trained for the primary sector and 2,600 for the secondary sector so we can even begin to achieve the million Welsh speakers target.Does the Welsh Government have a plan on how to achieve this other than vague statements about providing intensive Welsh-language training to teachers and teaching assistants through a sabbatical scheme? I’m yet to be convinced.English-medium pupils will not necessarily be expected to meet the same standard as Welsh-medium students under the new curriculum.It is logical that the Welsh second language GCSE will ultimately need to go, but it is not clear yet how a single qualification for pupils across all schools would work. Lack of clarity around this is creating unnecessary worry among pupils, parents and teachers.

It has since emerged that  the lack of thinking of how to implement such a grandiose plan have been highlighted by concerns have been raised about the Welsh Government's plans to make English a compulsory subject for children in Welsh-medium nurseries.

.....Welsh teaching union Ucac said the proposal in the new Curriculum White Paper was "a serious concern".
Campaigners Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg (The Welsh Language Society) and Plaid Cymru have also raised concerns.
But ministers say Welsh language immersion will be a "key feature" of the draft curriculum out in April.
Currently, English is introduced incrementally from the age of seven in Welsh-medium schools.
Under the new proposals, English would be introduced to three-year-olds in "cylchoedd meithrin" settings, that is Welsh-medium playgroups.
The consultation document said it would be a "duty on all schools and funded nursery settings to teach English as a compulsory element of the new curriculum for Wales".
Rebecca Williams, Ucac deputy general secretary, wants clarification as soon as possible.
Allowing children to immerse themselves in the Welsh language has proved extremely effective at giving children from all linguistic backgrounds the skills to become fluent, she said.

"In a situation such as in Wales, where we have a minority language living alongside one of the world's most powerful languages, this has proven to be the most effective model," Ms Williams added.
"It gives learners a strong foothold in Welsh that they would probably not acquire otherwise, whilst also fully developing their English language skills."
She said the proposal threatened effective practice and was in direct conflict with Welsh Government policy to boost the number of Welsh speakers.

I suspect that in reality education minister   Kirsty Wiliams  and her advisers in their zeal  to be "doing something" have not looked hard enough into its implementations.

The idea of introducing English into Welsh Medium Nurseries, seems to so badly thought out that I suspect the minister may not even had realised that this would be the result of her White Paper.

There is much to praise in the ambition to move Welsh Education to be fully bilingual,  but  the Welsh Gove
rnment must surely give us much more details on how it should be delivered.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Corbyn's :" It's the the wrong kind of Brexit" attitude is not enough.

"The wrong type of snow" or "the wrong kind of snow" is a phrase coined by the British media in 1991 after severe weather caused disruption to many of British Rail's services. A British Rail press release implied that management and its engineering staff were unaware of different types of snow. Henceforth in the United Kingdom, the phrase became a byword for euphemistic and pointless excuses.

As we face a catastrophe that will see  years of shortages all we get from the Labour leader  is that it is "The wrong kind of Brexit).

With the possibility of more snow showers this evening   it is well to reflect that it is common for supplies like milk and bread to run out as some people stockpile on the sight of the first snowflakes.

It has led me to reflect that the day we are due to leave the EU March 29 could well be the , earliest date that we are unlikely to see it combined with of a  heavy snowfall and bone-chilling temperatures wreak havoc across the country, with most place subjected to snow.
Severe winter weather brought significant snowfall and unseasonably low temperatures to many parts of the UK in late March to early April 2013.
This was the last time it snowed in the UK, when the country experienced a prolonged spell of below average temperatures with winds bringing in bitterly cold air from northern Europe and Siberia - the same reason the UK is experiencing bitter conditions at the moment.
In 2013, strong easterly wind contributed to a significant wind chill and snow affected the southern coast and the Channel Islands, north-east England and Eastern Scotland.
There are less that  60 days until the UK is due to leave the European Union and whereas we may not have a snowstorm we are facing a shitstorm as we experience a mixture of food and medicine shortages.

Wales online report that And the Welsh Government has published a website called Preparing Wales detailing what it believes will happen if there is no deal.
The Wales online say says: 
"The Welsh Government has been clear since the EU referendum result that a disorderly no deal Brexit would be disastrous for Wales.
"Since the 2016 referendum, we have worked constructively in Wales, Westminster and Brussels to deliver a deal that works for Wales, which protects our people, our economy and our environment.
"But as it has become clearer a no deal outcome is a real possibility, so we have been actively increasing our preparations to safeguard the interests of Wales and its people."
The website, which will be updated as information changes, covers a number of different topics:
People should not stockpile medication as this could cause supply disruption.
At this stage, the Welsh Government says it does not anticipate the cancellation of operations, and A&E and GP services will continue to function as normal.
"We do not anticipate any immediate impact on day-to-day NHS or social care services – primary care and hospital services will continue to work as normal and we do not expect planned or emergency operations to be cancelled in the event of a no deal Brexit.
"This includes A&E care, social care, GP and dentist services."
Over the last year, the Welsh Government, UK Government and pharmaceutical industry have been working to maintain the supply of medicines and drugs for people in the event of a no deal.
In Wales, extra steps are being taking to prevent clinicians having to write longer NHS prescriptions....
It continues....  
The website says that the "precise impact" is not known, "but we do know that the likely impact of a disorderly exit from the EU would be of a scale that could result in some potentially significant disruption to aspects of day-to-day life.

"The Welsh Government is working closely with our public and private sector partners and other organisations and institutions across Wales to put in place plans to try to reduce this impact as far as possible and protect the smooth running of public services.

"At this stage, there are no immediate actions people need to take to prepare for a no deal outcome in terms of our own daily lives bu
t it is vital that everyone is aware of the potential impacts and are informed as and when circumstances change." 

I have considered stock pilling essential  medicine like insulin and ramipril (High blood pressure)and tinned food , not because I have confidence in the UK Government , making sure we are supplied, but because I have no desire to make the situation worse and deprive people who are more dependent that me on such supplies.

I find it extraordinary however  that we have got our self into such a mess even more so when the main opposition party under Jeremy Corbyn completely failing to oppose this.

Monday, 28 January 2019

Trump to recognise Corbyn as UK PM after Tories suspend democracy.

I may gave expressed concern i that Jacob Rees-Mogg has urged  Theresa May to suspend parliament if attempts to thwart a no-deal Brexit are successful, but that  appears to be minor compared to Brexit planners are looking at the possibility of imposing martial law in Britain in the event of a “no-deal”.

According to reports 

Brexit planners are looking at the possibility of imposing martial law in Britain in the event of a “no-deal”, it has emerged.
Legislation which gives ministers the powers to impose curfews and travel bans, confiscate property and deploy the armed forces is being examined by Whitehall officials, the Sunday Times reports.
Powers available under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 could be used to stop civil disobedience after Britain leaves the EU, according to the newspaper.
A source was quoted as saying: 
“The over-riding them in all the no-deal planning is civil disobedience and the fear that it will lead to death in the event of food and medical shortages.”
The move has been described by sources as the civil service "prepping" for all possibilities.

A Downing Street spokesperson said: 
"Respecting the referendum decision means leaving the EU.
"The PM has said that there will be disruption in the event of no deal, but as a responsible Government we are taking the appropriate steps to minimise this disruption and ensure the country is prepared."

Responding to news the Government was looking at the possibility of a martial law scenario, Labour MP and Best for Britain campaign supporter, David Lammy said: "This is a full-blown crisis.
"The Government is recklessly drawing up plans for a colossal act of self-harm.
"Through continuing on the path to Brexit, despite having achieved no consensus on a deal in Parliament, the Government is preparing to declare war on itself.
"The idea that the Government has any mandate for this catastrophic scenario is ludicrous.
 "The Leave campaign promised a stable new trading relationship with the EU after Brexit, not total isolation and soldiers in our airports."

Don't worry though if the Tories do follow Rees-Mogg in suspending parliament, and Mrs May imposes martial law, we can rest assured that our  western allies will copy 
  what's happened in Venezuela with Juan Guaidó appointing himself President of the country despite the fact he didn't even stand in the 2018 Presidential election, let alone win it.

The Trump administration pressed its case on Thursday, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calling on all countries in the hemisphere to reject Mr. Maduro and “align themselves with democracy,” setting up a test of wills with the Kremlin.
Only a day before, Mr. Maduro’s political nemesis, the opposition leader Juan Guaidó, seemed to have the momentum. During nationwide protests against the government, he proclaimed himself the country’s rightful president, earning endorsements from President Trump and several governments in the region.

Clearly we can expect similar action taken against a UK government that suspends parliament  and imposes Martial Law.

Any fear that I have for the future of UK democracy I am reassured that we can expect similar response to the  Venezuela crisis and President Trump and other "democratic" leaders and recognise opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn as UK Prime Minister.

Saturday, 26 January 2019

Spirit of Scrooge lives on in Cardifff Tory.

In Stave One of A Christmas Carol (December 1843) charity collectors approach Scrooge:

"At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge," said the gentleman, taking up a pen, "it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and Destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir."
"Are there no prisons?" asked Scrooge.
"Plenty of prisons," said the gentleman, laying down the pen again.
"And the Union workhouses?" demanded Scrooge. "Are they still in operation?"
"They are. Still," returned the gentleman, "I wish I could say they were not."
"The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?" said Scrooge. [Stave 1: 50-51]
Yes Scrooge's spirit lives on as we here that a  Cardiff Conservative councillor who called for homeless people's tents to be torn down has been suspended from the group.
Kathryn Kelloway was branded "inhuman" for asking Cardiff's Labour council leader to "tear down these tents".

Ms Keloway represents leafy Cyncoed, a ward  which share with twoLiberal Democrats
Cyncoed - results
Election CandidatePartyVotes%
 Wendy Myfanwy CongreveWelsh Liberal Democrats / Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol Cymru187414%Elected
 Kathryn Francis KellowayWelsh Conservative Party Candidate / Ymgeisydd Plaid Geidwadol Cymru185214%Elected
 Bablin MolikWelsh Liberal Democrats / Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol Cymru176913%Elected
 Lee David Patrick CanningWelsh Conservative Party Candidate / Ymgeisydd Plaid Geidwadol Cymru173713%Not elected
 Lee Grant GonzalezWelsh Conservative Party Candidate / Ymgeisydd Plaid Geidwadol Cymru173313%Not elected
 Jayne Alice LutwycheWelsh Liberal Democrats / Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol Cymru172713%Not elected
 Ian Charles BoundsWelsh Labour / Llafur Cymru9967%Not elected
 Alvin Kin Bing ShumWelsh Labour / Llafur Cymru7576%Not elected
 Louise ThomasWelsh Labour / Llafur Cymru7105%Not elected
 Timothy Aaron JonesWales Green Party / Plaid Werdd Cymru4153%Not elected

Ms Kelloway said she stood by her comments and was "glad what I said has raised so much awareness".
Her Twitter post sparked a massive backlash and the Conservative group said her suspension was "in light of recent comments on social media".

The tweet, which has received more than 1,400 replies, said: "Cllr Thomas, if you seek safety in our city centre, if you seek prosperity for local businesses, if you seek a better image for Cardiff. Cllr Thomas come to Queen Street.
Well wrapped up for the weather she is pictured in front of the tents 
“Cllr Thomas, tear down these tents.”
The council's Conservative group had dist

She attracted more than 2,000 replies to her original tweet and among her critics were former Wales rugby players Gareth Jenkins, who said she made him "sick", and Ian Gough who called her "a disgrace to humanity".
Other people called the tweet "inhuman", "vile" and "disgusting".
In response, Ms Kelloway said:
 "I stand by what I said - I want to raise awareness of such an important issue.
"There's no denying there's a problem, I'm glad what I said has raised so much awareness and is a platform for people to discuss."

But even her Conservarive colleagues seem to be appealed by her  publicity stunt.
he council's Conservative group had distanced itself from Councillor Kelloway saying her views "in no way reflect the views of the Welsh Conservatives".
Now Cllr Kelloway has been suspended from the group.
Writing on Twitter on Friday evening, Conservative councillor Jayne Cowan said: 
"In light of recent comments on social media, Cllr Kathryn Kelloway has been suspended from Cardiff's Conservative Group. No further comments will be made at this time."
She said the suspension had been made pending an investigation.
Wales Online reports that

The decision also comes after Cllr Kelloway attacked Twitter critics in a further statement by describing them as "virtue signallers" who don't represent public opinion.
She said:
"I have long wanted to raise awareness that there are enough spaces in Cardiff’s hostels, where homeless people receive fantastic support from the council and partnered charities. I have many times asked the council executive to do more to make the public aware of this and dispel the myth that rough sleepers have nowhere to go. I’m glad that my tweet has gone some way to achieving this.
“The most important thing is that homeless people are in warm, safe accommodation where they can receive support, rather than on the street where they are at risk. A permissive attitude to tents will not help toward this goal."Twitter is not representative of the public. It is disproportionately used by political activists who are happy to misrepresent the views of others in order to signal their virtue and justify their hatred of opponents."

 Responding to Cllr Kelloway, Cardiff council's Labour leader Huw Thomas described her comments as "awfully judged".

He said:
 "An awfully judged tweet.
"Of course no one wants tents in our city centre, but we have to act sensitively, and support people into accommodation with help for their underlying needs. Small wonder homelessness is soaring under this Tory Gov, if 'tearing down tents' is their mindset."
Former Welsh rugby international Gareth Thomas told Cllr Kelloway "
You make me sick. I have friends who live in tents there and the circumstances that brought them there and keeping them there are terrible."

Ms Kelloway's defence is pathetic it is typical of the Tories attitude who believe that they should not encounter the result of their policies  and that there's a adequate system to help those who have ben left behind.

Friday, 25 January 2019

I have no "Common Ground" with Rees-Mogg and never will.

Whether Mrs Windsor call for “common ground” and “never losing sight of the bigger picture” in a speech to mark the centenary of the Sandringham Women’s Institute (WI), which is likely to be interpreted as a veiled reference to the toxic debate around Brexit is a reflection of her views or her advisers is probably something we will never know.
But there may be concern in Buckingham Palace that Jacob Rees-Mogg has urging of Theresa May to suspend parliament if attempts to thwart a no-deal Brexit are successful could provoke a constitutional crisis which the elderly monarch will at the centre .
Mrs Windsor spoke of the virtues of “respecting” the other person’s point of view, as parliament remains deeply divided over the issue of Britain leaving the EU.
The  head of state constitutionally remains publicly politically neutral, reflected in her speech on a year of change, during which it was clear the qualities of the WI endure, she said.
She added:
 “The continued emphasis on patience, friendship, a strong community-focus and considering the needs of others are as important today as they were when the group was founded all those years ago.
“Of course, every generation faces fresh challenges and opportunities. As we look for new answers in the modern age, I for one prefer the tried and tested recipes, like speaking well of each other and respecting different points of view; coming together to seek out the common ground; and never losing sight of the bigger picture. To me, t
hese approaches are timeless, and I commend them to everyone.”

Mr Rees- Mogg said that no deal could only be taken off the table if the government “connived in doing it”. He added: “If the House of Commons undermines our basic constitutional conventions then the executive is entitled to use other vestigial constitutional means to stop it.
“By which I basically mean prorogation ... And I think that would be the government’s answer, that is the government’s backstop, to use a choice phrase.”
Prorogation is the time between the end of a parliamentary session and the state opening that marks the beginning of the next session. Under these circumstances, any pending legislation would fall, including Ms Cooper’s bill.
Ms May refused to discuss suspending parliament when pressed on the issue by Brexiteer Sir Desmond Swayne last week. 
It is clear that there are elements in the Tory Party that will seek to ensure that they can further their right wing agenda after Brexit and will seek to undermine the democratic process in order to do so, by ensuring permanent Tory government  even if they see it by edict.
I have no common ground with these, or their allies in the British Media , and fear for the vary essence of democracy after Brexit under the Tories,let alone the growing numbers of racists and fascists on our streets.
If we are to have Brexit we must swiftly form a progressive alliance of the opposition parties , in which Labour must be prepared to join, to make sure that we strengthen our democratic structure .

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Corbyn's Lexit response seems to be to assume the Crash Position.

Plaid Cymru Adam Price has written a column  on Wales Online that should be read by not only in Wales but beyond.

Adam writes

Last week, the Welsh Government and our national parliament supported Plaid Cymru’s motion rejecting, in any circumstances, an exit from the European Union with no deal.
The best way to stop a no deal is to move on to the real solutions, to extend Article 50, and put the question of our European future to the people. By refusing to back a People’s Vote, however, the Labour Party is as guilty as the Tories in precipitating a no deal exit from the EU.
You could argue that Adam should be concentrating on the Tories , but the reality is that even though they are divided over Europe  Mrs May's part have no intention on carrying on with the Brexit deadline no matter what .

They resemble a coach driver heading for the cliff's edge but although they have breaks will not apply them, either believing the cliff is not that big or somehow they will survive the crash and build a luxury coach from the wreckage.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn resembles the passenger who realises this but will not dash forward and force the driver to break.

Adam continues...

It is worth reiterating how disastrous a no deal is.

A no deal scenario would cost the Welsh economy billions, endangering jobs and communities across Wales.
It threatens a financial crisis, the aftershocks of which will be felt for a generation or more.
Such is expected depth of impact in certain sectors – the car industry, pharmaceuticals, aerospace, farming – that it will leave an immovable shadow of economic decline. And because Wales has a higher concentration in most of these sectors we would likely suffer disproportionately.

On March 30, in a crash out scenario we can expect a rapid and radical worsening of these already existing trends. The pound would tumble – probably at least a further 20% to parity with the dollar.
There would be widespread concern about the UK’s financial stability, accompanied by a frantic flow of capital out of the country; and a whole range of financial institutions would be likely severely tested. This is likely to echo 2008, but with the added dimension that both the UK and global economies are in a more fragile state than then and have far less capacity to respond.
Last October Theresa May  made a bold pledge to bring a decade of austerity to a close, as she appealed to the public over the heads of her squabbling party to back her to deliver a Brexit deal. Speaking in Birmingham on at the end of the Conservatives’ annual conference, which was marred by repeated clashes over Europe, May cast aside the chancellor’s concerns about the health of the country’s finances and signalled Brexit would mark an end to public spending cuts.

But even if she was right it cannot be denied that we will be immediately plunged into more austerity as Adam writes,. The only real question id for how long.

I suspect that some Tories want to see it so they can finally end the welfare state which they have always hated .

Why is Corvyn not realising this I know he believes that Brexit means leaving a Capitalist  and he can build s Shining Socialist Utopia from the ashes. But he and I both will be dead long before that  even if it happens.

Adam continues..

The impact on the tradeable goods sector is likely to be sudden and explosive; every cross-border transaction will be affected, indeed whole new borders will be created where they currently do not exist. Red tape, delays, chaos and confusion will fatally undermine and threaten the very basis of much UK just-in-time manufacturing industry. One can envisage company shut downs and cash flow problems kicking in very quickly given the scale of change and uncertainty.
This is without even mentioning the chaos it would cause for necessities which we import including food and medicine.
In particular, there are a subset of medicines and equipment – medical isotopes – that are governed by the Euratom agreement.
As a member of Euratom, the UK currently has access to a secure and consistent supply of radioisotopes which are vital in medicine for diagnosis, clinical pathology and treatment.
More than 10,000 patients across the UK receive cancer treatments using these materials. As isotopes have a short half-life and cannot be stock piled in the event of a ‘no deal’, continuous and timely access is vital for patient safety.

Parliament cannot come to an agreement on the way forward, so now is the time for the people to decide on our European future and avoid a catastrophic no-deal.
Allowing the people to endorse or reject the Prime Minister deal and opting to Remain in the EU via a People’s Vote, alongside setting a decisive timetable for its implementation, would provide certainty at a time when the devastating effects of parliamentary paralysis are not only being felt in the political sphere but in the economy too.
Plaid Cymru’s version of the People’s Vote would not be a re-run of the 2016 referendum. Instead, it would involve a compact of civility on its conduct. Far from being divisive, it could be a way of healing the deep rifts in society.
We firmly believe that a People’s Vote is a solution for everyone however the Labour Party continues to stand in the way.
I am not sire if Adam is right  that a Peoples vote will  "way of healing the deep rifts in society" , a simple look at the media's response to any attempt to even slow down Mrs May's Brexit plans.

However Brexit has already let the racist genie out of the bottle and a People's Vote or not they feel empowered, how we deal with it is a really difficult question .

What we must do is ever give in to them and no surrender a single inch , including as  both Labour and Tories have pandering to such sentiments by pandering to them.

But as Adam concludes if we leave the EU with a No Deal then Labour will have a lot to answer for. 
Labour has, by now, satisfied one element of their conference policy by calling a motion of no confidence – albeit an unsuccessful one. The time has come for Labour to listen to its own party members and move towards a People’s Vote now that a General Election is off the cards.
Labour cannot continue to waste time through meaningless and doomed-to-fail motions of no confidence. The Brexit deadlock is the single biggest issue that Parliament has faced for decades. Created by a Tory Government more intent on chasing unicorns than finding solutions, it is being helped along by a stubborn Labour Party leadership more concerned with short term party advantage than the public’s long term interest.
Their irresponsibility is on show for all to see and it is our country and communities who will pay the price
Plaid Cymru believes that a final say referendum is the only remaining solution to the political stalemate and the only possible way to avoid a catastrophic no deal scenario.
It’s about time Labour realised this.
As Labour shirks its leadership responsibility then the case for another, different people’s vote – for Welsh independence within the European Union grows stronger than ever especially among young people. Labour can protect their future now by backing a People’s Vote. If they fail to do so, the young people of Wales will never forgive them.

The  Brexit Bus is heading for the Cliff and we have a  leader of the opposition who seems to have put himself, and his party into a crash position.

What he needs to do is stop it Plaid ,SNP ,Grens and LibDems  want to help him to try and prevent a disaster, we can only hope that he will accept it.