Monday 30 September 2019

Is Boris Johnson "Thigh Gate" accusation a "dead cat on the table"

I am not sure what to make of the claim  Boris Johnson has been accused of squeezing the thighs of two women.

Journalist Charlotte Edwards told the Sunday Times the Prime Minister had put his hand “high” up her leg.

She said he had "enough inner flesh beneath his fingers" to make her "sit suddenly upright".

Ms Edwardes said she later recounted the tale to another guest at the same lunch, who said: “Oh God, he did exactly the same to me.”

The alleged incident took place at the offices of the Spectator magazine just after he took over as editor in 1999.

Ms Edwardes wrote: "I’m seated on Johnson’s right; on his left is a young woman I know.

"More wine is poured; more wine is drunk. Under the table I feel Johnson’s hand on my thigh. He gives it a squeeze. His hand is high up my leg and he has enough inner flesh beneath his fingers to make me sit suddenly upright.”

She also said he referred to Marina Wheeler as his “current wife.”

Mr Johnson had married Ms Wheeler six years earlier in 1993.

Downing Street declined to comment, according to The Mirror .

Asked if Boris Johnson had questions to answer about squeezing a female journalist’s thigh, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “No.

"The thing about Boris is that firstly, we are concentrating on the things people really want us to deliver on.

"And of course there’s always lots of other stories in papers but we’re concentrating on things that are our real priorities.

"And the other thing I’d say is Boris has never lectured other people about their private lives.

"And I think we should concentrate on delivering on what we are in politics for which in my view is to serve the citizens of this country.”

But Labour's Shadow Women and Equalities minister Dawn Butler said it was "shockin

It's  what  Women I worked with used to warn new recruits about a male coleagur as "having wandering hands".

Former Defence secretary Michael   Fallon who was identified s the cabinet minister who repeatedly touched the broadcaster Julia Hartley-Brewer’s knee at a dinner in 2002 – though Hartley-Brewer herself played down the incident, saying she was not “remotely distressed”.
Though she must have known what the likely repercussions were.

I'm not playing down the accusations because it surely despicable behaviour but it is worrying if someone made a accusation  that is 20 years ago whether it is true or not, could end someones career , unless there was evidence that it had been subsequently repeated.

However one wonders if this is not a  "dead cat on the table"  if not actually by design a distraction from other damaging accusations.
"In a 2013 article for The Daily Telegraph , Boris Johnson noted that one of Crosby's tactics when losing an argument because the facts are against you was to do the equivalent of "throwing a dead cat on the table": bring up an issue you want to talk about that draws widespread attention from the populace, forcing opponents to also talk about your new issue instead of the previous issue

News that avery real Boris Johnson has been referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) to assess whether he should be investigated for the criminal offence of misconduct in public office while he was mayor of London.
The Greater London Authority (GLA) said in a statement that the authority’s monitoring officer had recorded a “conduct matter” against the Prime Minister over allegations the businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri received favourable treatment because of her friendship with him.
“A ‘conduct matter’ exists where there is information that indicates that a criminal offence may have been committed,” the statement said.
“It does not mean that this is proved in any way. The IOPC will now consider if it is necessary for the matter to be investigated.”
The issue has been referred to the IOPC, which deals with complaints against police forces in England and Wales, because Mr Johnson at the time held the post equivalent to a police and crime commissioner.
Mr Johnson, who denies any wrongdoing, has previously said that he will co-operate with any investigation into his links with Ms Arcuri by the London Assembly.
The move is another potential setback for the Prime Minister at the end of a tumultuous week which saw the Supreme Court rule that his controversial decision to suspend Parliament for five weeks was unlawful.
It follows a report by The Sunday Times that Ms Arcuri, an American who moved to London seven years ago, was given £126,000 in public money and was treated to privileged access to three foreign trade missions led by Mr Johnson while he was mayor.
The Government has since frozen a £100,000 grant to Ms Arcuri's company, Hacker House, pending a review. It is facing embarrassing questions about the verification process carried out before awarding the money.
It could be that  "Thigh Gate" would prove to be less damaging to Johnson than actually being found guilty of misconduct in public office .
Surely the time for Charlotte Edwards to tell us of these accusation  was when Hartley-Brewer made hers.

Sunday 29 September 2019

Brexit has united Far Right and Far left nut jobs.

You can only wonder if there's a law for ordinary members of the public and another for politicians particularly on the right

The news that Police will not take any action against Nigel Farage after he vowed to "take the knife to the pen pushers in Whitehall" at a Brexit Party rally sms rather odd

The politician sparked anger when he made the comment to a 500-strong crowd last week.

He told the audience: "Once Brexit is done, we will take the knife to the pen pushers in Whitehall."

Alliance Party MEP Naomi Long asked police on Twitter if they would be investigating "this clear case of incitement to violence against staff in the civil service".

Gwent Police replied, saying:

"We have been made aware of comments made last night in Newport and we are looking into these allegations."

Meanwhile a guest on a BBC News politics show said British people should be rioting over delays to Brexit.

Brendan O'Neill, labelled an outspoken columnist (i.e nut job)who supports Brexit, made the incendiary comments on the BBC's Politics Live show on Friday.

One of England's former top prosecutors said police should now speak to O'Neill over his comments. There is legislation against inciting criminal activity, including violence and public disorder.

O'Neill, a former communist who has a newfound popularity among right-wing audiences, said British voters were told frequently that the Brexit referendum result would be delivered.

He asked what British people must think about "these so-called experts, and these lawyers, and these judges, and these parliamentarians" delaying or disrupting Brexit.

"They must just be watching this and thinking what's happened to democracy in this country?" he said, adding that he is "amazed that there haven't been riots yet."

When asked by the host if he thought there would be riots, O'Neill replied: "I think there should be."

His fellow panelists were shocked by the suggestion that people should riot.

O'Neill said he looks at the Gilets Jaunes in France, also known as the Yellow Vests, who have protested against the Macron government—sometimes violently—and "what I continually think is why have the British people been so patient?"
"I'm not talking about smashing up shops," O'Neill said, noting that the Suffragettes took "physical action" in their campaign for the women's vote.
"There is a fine tradition in this country of radical protest...when people's voices have been ignored. I think we have reached that level now."

Once a Trotskyist Marxist, O'Neill was formerly a member of Revolutionary Communist Party and wrote for the party's journal, Living Marxism. O'Neill self identifies as a Marxist libertarian [1] and writes for a range of publications.He began his career at Spiked's predecessor, Living Marxism, the journal of the Revolutionary Communist Party, which ceased publication after ITN won their libel action against it.

In April 2019, three former members of the Revolutionary Communist Party, Claire Fox, James Heartfield and Dr Alka Sehgal Cuthbert were selected as candidates for Nigel Farage's Brexit Party in the 2019 European Parliament election in the United Kingdom.[56][57][58]
Fox is now an MEP whilst Heartfeild will stand against Jerermy Corbyn at the next General Election.

It seems that maybe Brexit is being fueled by the sort of people on the far left and right for who politics is a sort of fetish in which they like to campaign and shock people but in reality they have no plans for actually leading the country.

Like spoilt children playing a board game with others , they have no actual interest in the how it should be played and in some respect even winning, so long as everybody pays them attention.

However if they lose they throw a tantrum and and smash the board.

The temptation is to let them win to shut them up , but it doednt solve the problem , and to ensure they win again they make up new rules to ensure  that no one else can challenge them.

Saturday 28 September 2019

Scotland could declare Independence before Christmas.

Could  Scotland issue a Universal Declaration Of Independence  before the start of next year ?

Consider the circumstances of the Conservative winning  the next General Election with under 45% of the vote as they often have  and under First Past the post  have a comfortable working majority.

Now consider  the SNP also wining a majority (even all seats)in Scotland there with a similar percentage of the votes

If the Tories can claim a mandate  to run the UK with such a vote  then epically if they won every seat the SNP could also claim that Scotland effectively voted for Independence .

With all 59 Westminster seats and a majority (with the Greens) of pro Independence in the Scottish Parliament , then flanked with MPs and MSPs    Nicola Sturgeon could declare an Independent Scotland  on the Steps pf Holyrood  at the same time Boris Johnson returns from the Queen after a frosty meeting) to announce the formation of an UK government.

Unlikely as the SNP currently claim they would seek legitimacy , through a second independence referendum.

But  Johnson makes it clear that he would not allow an Independence Referendum in the next UK parliament, then a UDI by Nicola Sturgeon may well come before  Christmas.

We are living in Interesting time in the manner of the old Chinese curse and can we be absolutely sure that Scotland will want to be part of a UK effectively run by quasi  Brexit Tory fascists 

Friday 27 September 2019

We need to ensure that we are a participating democracy bt all.

Latest estimates by the Electoral Commission show that a million more people are not registered to vote correctly than was previously thought.
According to Left Foot Forward
They have found that between 8.3 and 9.4 million people in Great Britain who are eligible to be on local government registers are not registered properly.Cat Smith MP, shadow minister for voter engagement and youth affairs, previously shared data in a written parliamentary question that suggested the figure was around a million less than what is now estimated.In her question on 2 September, using data from a 2016 study, she had found that between 7.8 and 8.5 million people were incorrectly registered.Addressing the issue back in April, Labour said they were considering using an automatic voter registration as a new policy.They suggested the idea after examining the automatic voter registration process in other parts of the world where it had been adopted successfully and increased overall registrations.Reacting to the current findings about incorrect registrations, Cat Smith said it’s ‘absolutely shocking’.“The Tories know that when lots of people are registered to vote, they are less likely to do well in elections, which is why the government has done nothing to address this unprecedented democratic crisis,” she explained.“The Prime Minister even tried to fix the date of when a general election might happen to make it harder for students to take part.“Ahead of the most important general election for a generation, it’s vital that every eligible voter can have their say, which is why Labour’s social media teams and our army of activists on the doorsteps will be working hard to increase voter registration.”
It seems strange to me that as you approach Pension Age you  appear to get information from the government  and reminded to apply for it.

For a government that seems to keep track of you for tax purposes cannot automatically add people to the register.
The suspicion of course  is that it suits the Conservatives in particular benefit  from voting registration and that the recent attempts to introduce voter ID are intended to exclude even more people from voting who may not be Conservative supporters.

As this Petition points out 

  Evidence from around the world shows that forcing voters to bring photographic ID to the polling station just makes it harder for people to vote – while doing little to increase faith in the integrity of the system or stop determined fraudsters. We don’t need more barriers to people taking part in our democracy.Electoral fraud in the UK
Thankfully electoral fraud is very rare in the UK. Where voter fraud has occurred, it has been isolated and therefore is best tackled locally.
Out of 44.6 million votes cast in 2017, there was one conviction resulting from the 28 allegations of in-person voter fraud – that’s 0.000063%. Adding a major barrier to democratic engagement off the back of this would be a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

At the same time, voter ID laws would make no difference to allegations of fraud with postal votes, proxy votes, breaches of secrecy, tampering with ballot papers, bribery, undue influence, or electoral expenditure. But it would make it harder to vote for millions of legitimate voters.

A barrier to democracy
There’s evidence that strict voter ID rules in the USA disproportionately disadvantage already marginalised groups. Why? Unlike in mainland Europe where everyone has a mandatory national ID card, in the UK and USA the richer you are the more likely you have ID. Many citizens who can’t afford to go on foreign holidays don’t have passports, and those that can’t drive don’t have driving licences.
Here in the UK, 3.5 million citizens do not have access to photo ID and 11 million citizens do not have a passport or driving licence – in 2013/14 1.7 million lack even a bank account. That makes mandatory voter ID – with no free provision – a barrier to many people exercising their right to vote.
Allowing the use of non-photographic (and easily-forgeable) utility bills would mean the change could actually do more harm than good – making it harder to vote for honest voters, while not tackling any of the alleged problems.
Even if the government decide to pay for a free national electoral ID card, forcing people to bring it to exercise their right to vote will lead to inevitable mistakes and accidents.
With no evidence of widespread fraud, even a handful of people not voting as they left their ID at home would have a far bigger impact on election results than alleged fraud.
Tackling fraud
Trust in our democratic system is vital, which is why scaremongering about the extent of fraud is dangerous. We need to be combatting the huge challenges that undermine our democracy, not building straw men at the polling station.
Clearer guidance and better training of election staff and Returning Officers, stronger powers against voter intimidation, and making it easier to launch ‘election petitions’ to report fraud are very much worth trialling. But the government needs to think very carefully before using an extremely blunt instrument to deal with a complex and varied issue.
So while voter ID might sound like an easy option, raising barriers to voting is rarely something to be welcomed, particularly in our already less-than-perfect democracy

We should  also consider compulsory  voting albeit  including the option of None of the Above being part the Ballot Paper.

If you are to claim to be a democracy then it must be a participating democracy and we should seek to see that is what the UK and future  independent Wales  should do its best implement.

Thursday 26 September 2019

Next AUOB YES Cymru, YES Scotland should be in London with YES Catalonia.

For those considering the next Independence Marches n both Cymru and Scotland, may I make a serious suggestion.

Given that both Yes Cymru and YES Scotland and AUOB owe a debt to Catalonia for helping to revatlise our own our movements, should we now considering the rise in violence from the Spanish State  consider a joint YES Cymru/Scotland/Catalonia  march in London to pass outside the Spanish Embassy

What a sight a combined march would bestow

This from Reuters 
Spanish police arrested on Monday nine people linked to Catalonia's pro-independence movement who prosecutors said were plotting violent acts in the coming weeks and had been charged with terrorism and possessing explosives.
Two were later released, acting Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska told reporters, without elaborating on why. He added that "all the rights of all those under investigation are guaranteed."
Hundreds of pro-independence protesters rallied late on Monday in the Catalan cities of Barcelona and nearby Sabadell, demanding that those detained be freed and that Madrid "end repressions" in the region.
The Spanish High Court's prosecutors said in a statement the court had ordered the arrests to prevent the unspecified actions which "could have caused irreparable damage due to the advanced stage of preparations".
They said the court was certain the actions were planned for some time between the anniversary of Catalonia's Oct. 1, 2017, independence referendum and the announcement of the verdict in a trial of separatist leaders in Madrid - widely expected in the first half of October.
The head of Catalonia’s government hit back, accusing Madrid of creating a "false narrative" of Catalan violence and saying the pro-independence movement would "always be peaceful."
The Catalan secession movement has been a major challenge for Spain for years, triggering its biggest political crisis in decades in 2017 when the region briefly declared independence.
But it has largely been a peaceful movement characterized by mass protests, in contrast to a Basque separatist campaign that was for decades marked by a violent insurgency until ETA (Basque Homeland and Liberty) ended their fight in 2018.
Police said the investigation and raids targeted local groups working under the name Committees for the Defence of the Republic (CDR), which have staged periodic protests across Catalonia since separatist leaders were arrested after the 2017 independence declaration.
Police said they had seized documents, computers and materials that could be used to make explosive devices.
Those arrested were charged with rebellion, terrorism and possession of explosives, the prosecutors said.
A spokesman for the Guardia Civil national police force in Catalonia said the arrests followed a year-long investigation by the High Court.

"The repressive surge does not stop, it continues ... with the firm goal of breaking apart the democratic aspirations of our people," the CDR said on Twitter.
Catalonia's main separatist parties called on the interior minister to answer questions in Congress, and regional government leader Quim Torra criticized Madrid.
"Repression remains the only answer from the Spanish state. They are trying to build again a narrative of violence before the rulings. They will not achieve it. The pro-independence movement is and will always be peaceful," he said on Twitter.
If it is confirmed the materials seized were to be used in explosives, it would mark a first for CDR, a police spokesman said. Its members have been accused of rebellions and terrorism before but the charges were dropped.
In October 2018, in a bid to mark the one-year anniversary of the region's referendum, members of the CDR occupied a train station in the Catalan city of Girona and blocked highways, forcing train cancellations and snarling traffic. They later attempted, but failed, to storm the Catalan parliament.
Bear  in mind that a change in government from the Heirs of Franco People Party to the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE), has  made no difference to the repression from Madrid and it may be that the UK Labour Party silence on the whole  aspiration of Catalonia is because the PSOE is a European Ally .

My suggestion of a joint march, of course should of course need an appraisal of turnout , but it would be an opportunity  for Wales and Scotland  (and hopefully a Cornish presence), to stand with an ally who face such repression and as the UK descend  a parliament  led by an ugly English Nationalism prepare for Westminster to respond in the same way that the Heirs of Franco (including the PSOE) in the same way to us.

Wednesday 25 September 2019

Is Prince Andrew above the law?

Since the UK has no written constitution it is perhaps to early to work out the full impact of yesterday's supreme court ruling that has effectively overruled the executive (UK government) and Head of State ( Queen of England).

There is one major difference with other states that have such separation of powers however ,

Whereas parliamentary and the judiciary   who are involved in any scandal the Monarch and her immediate family are protected by a wall of silence.

The BBC report that,

University of South Wales should not have hosted Prince Andrew in Newport while he faces "serious allegations", Plaid Cymru's Leanne Wood has said.
American woman Virginia Giuffre, who says she had sex with the Duke of York when she was 17, recently told a US TV network she was "trafficked" to him.
Prince Andrew has denied having "any form of sexual contact or relationship" with Ms Giuffre.
The university said the event, aimed at entrepreneurs, was arranged months ago.
University of South Wales hosted the prince's Pitch@Palace event, aimed at helping the work of entrepreneurs, on Tuesday.
Buckingham Palace, on behalf of the prince, has said the claims against him were "false and without any foundation".

Ms Giuffre is one of several women who claim they were abused by financier Jeffrey Epstein, who took his own life in August while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
The financier was accused of paying underage girls to perform sex acts at his Manhattan and Florida mansions between 2002 and 2005.
A controversial secret plea deal in 2008 saw him plead guilty to a lesser charge of soliciting a minor for prostitution. He received an 18-month prison sentence and was released on probation in 2010.

During the summer Prince Andrew defended his former friendship with Epstein after footage emerged reportedly showing the prince at his mansion in Manhattan in 2010.
He said it was a "mistake" to meet Epstein after he left prison in 2010, but said "at no stage" did he "see or suspect" any criminal behaviour.
"During the time I knew him, I saw him infrequently and probably no more than only once or twice a year," the 59-year-old prince said.
Ms Wood said the visit, which took place at the university's Newport campus, was alarming.
Speaking in the Senedd, she said: "I was alarmed to see that the monarch's second son has been invited to attend a campus of the University of South Wales.
"While I'm a firm believer in the principle of innocent until proven guilty this member of the royal family has been accused of some very serious crimes and abuses of power."
She said his association with Jeffrey Epstein and the allegations made by Virginia Giuffre should be enough to ensure that this man is not welcome to the University of South Wales, while such serious allegations without any adequate explanation are hanging over his head."
"The allegations should not mean business as usual," Ms Wood said, adding she believed the event could damage the university's credibility.
 Ms Wood asked government business minister Rebecca Evans "pressure can the Welsh Government bring to bear so that institutions under its charge do not have guests in this unsavoury situation welcomed into the campus with open arms".Ms Evans said: "Universities in Wales are independent and autonomous institutions, and it is a matter for universities as to whom they invite onto their campuses.
"Welsh Government has no say in such matters."
A university spokesperson said: "We hosted a Pitch@Palace event as part of our commitment to support the development of entrepreneurs within our region. We were asked to host the event some months ago.
"We were pleased to welcome entrepreneurs and start-up businesses into our University to encourage their growth."
Students were not in the audience at the event on the university's Newport campus, it added.
The events following the revelations  following the death of Jimmy Saville  led to to Operation Yewtree  a police investigation to sexual abuse allegations, predominantly the abuse of children, against the British media personality Savile and others. The investigation, led by the Metropolitan Police Service, started in October 2012. After a period of assessment it became a full criminal investigation, involving inquiries into living people, notably other celebrities as well as Savile.
The report of the investigations into the activities of Savile himself was published, as Giving Victims a Voice, in January 2013. Operation Yewtree continued as an investigation into others, some but not all linked with Savile. By October 2015, 19 people had been arrested by Operation Yewtree; seven of these arrests led to convictions. The "Yewtree effect" has been credited for an increase in the number of reported sex crimes,[3] while the operation also sparked a debate on police procedure and rights of those accused of sex crimes.

I don't know to what extent the allegations against Prince Andrew resemble the investigation of operation Yew Tree or whether there is a case to answer.

However his position should not exempt himself from any investigation, that would be carried out on any citizen of these Islands.

He should have withdrawn from any public duties whilst any investigation takes place over  the allegations.

But there's the rub , he appears to be above the law and he is unlikely to face any criminal charges if he has a case to answer and that is a scandal in itself. 

Tuesday 24 September 2019

Labour fence siting over Brexit continues.

Weirdly Labourr Party members backing Jeremy Corbyn and voting down a motion which would have led to the party becoming actually a honest one though it will leave many confused  and it will be interesting to see how "Welsh" Labour  whosleader Mark Drakeford, has written to party members confirming that Welsh Labour will campaign to remain if there is another referendum on Brexit. in any forthcoming election.
I suppose it may depend on who produces the leaflets we get trough our doors , your candidates electoral address , my differ from  UK wide Labour leaflet.
The UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has promised that a government he leads will negotiate a new Brexit deal and put it to a referendum but he has resisted calls to say how the party should campaign.
Wales Online reports that.
A vote was held at the conference in Brighton yesterday afternoon afternoon.
Earlier in the day, it had looked like Mr Corbyn would be forced into supporting remain - against his wishes after the UK's largest union, Unison, said it will back a motion for the party to back remain in any second EU referendum.
However, delegates voted for a motion put forward by the National Executive Committee.
The main part of that motion reads: "If people vote to leave on those terms, Labour will deliver that and leave the EU with that negotiated deal. If people vote to remain, Labour would implement that and seek to reform the EU as members.
"A Labour government will deliver whichever decision is made by the people of the UK."

The three options which were voted on
  1. The National Executive Committee (NEC) motion says the party should "only decide how to campaign" at a one-day special conference, following the election of a Labour Government PASSED
  1. Composite 13 says a General Election is needed and "the only way to resolve Brexit is through a confirmatory referendum with an option to remain in the EU, against a credible leave option". LOST
  1. The final option, which Aberconwy constituency Labour Party has backed, says a no deal Brexit would be "damaging" and "supports the party leadership continuing to prioritise the fight to block a No Deal Brexit/Hard-Brexit, using all necessary and available means, including moving a Vote of no confidence in the Government, fighting for a general election and supporting a public vote on the terms of any departure from the European Union". PASSED
 Te truth is that there is that there is a significant  number of Labour members and supporters including Jeremy Corbyn , who regard  the European Union as a Capitalist Club.

They may well have a point but they are delusioned  the idea that LEXIT (Left Brexit) will result in these Islands becoming some kind of Socialist Utopia.

The idea that out of the ashes of Brexit  people will realise that the Tories will be exposed for self interested claque that is only there to increase their  own interest and who are intent on destroying the NHS and Welfare state , may look good on paper  but the reality is , that only a few years after a Labour Government invokes Brexit , it wil be they that will be held responsible for the economic disaster that will follow, and an even more vicious (if it possible) will be swept into power in the manner of Margaret Thatcher 40 years ago.

 Wales must rejectt this and follow Scotland out of the Brexit (Left or Right) union.

Monday 23 September 2019

"It's the bloody Welsh who are the problem".

We must be very careful in completely accepting  the claim by  research by Oxford  Wales would not have voted by a majority for Brexit if not for retired English people moving across the border,.

Nation Cymru covers a report  that says
This was despite a pro-Leave vote in the valleys of the south-east of Wales, according to Danny Dorling, professor of geography at Oxford.
“Wales was made to look like a Brexit-supporting nation by its English settlers,” he told the Sunday Times.
In the 2016 referendum, border towns and areas of central Wales popular with English settlers saw a large proportion of leave votes. Wrexham and Powys were examples of this, he said.
Dorling revealed the statistics at the British Science Association’s annual meeting at Warwick University.
He said: “The Welsh did not want to quit the EU, but that is one of many false beliefs about Brexit.
“The biggest is that the pro-leave vote was due to northerners. It’s true some northern areas were strongly pro-Brexit, but the population there is too small to swing the vote.
“The real support for Brexit, in terms of numbers of votes, was in places like Cornwall, which was 57% for leave, Hampshire, with 54%, Essex with 62% and Norfolk with 57%.
“It is those southern English voters that are dragging Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland unwillingly out of Europe.
“Everyone blames Wigan and Stoke for Brexit but we should really be blaming Cornwall and Devon.”

Map showing the percentage of the population born in England according to the 2011 census.
There does nit seem to a major correlation  with the percentage born in England  and the areas (in blue) that had a majority voting for Brexit.

Indeed some of the areas that did have the lowest number of those born in England had  a large vote for Brexit. Especially the "Working Class" Labour voting valleys,

I haven't seen the complete details of the Oxford University research , but even if it is true . We must accept that in large areas of Wales and with the highest population it was Welsh born people  who voted for Brexit.

In the years after Brexit as Wales sees itself suffering the consequence it may be that some will attempt to attribute blame on "English immigration" that did not give us the moral authority of claiming (as Scotland can) that "
Wales didn't vote for Brexit".

The late Gwyn Alf Williams often said that "it's the bloody Welsh who are the problem".

The danger of attributing Wales's problems to "outsiders"  must be averted the whole Independence  campaign based on us taking responsibility for not only our future but our past as well.

Sunday 22 September 2019

Welsh Labour not even a Branch Office and more off a P.O.Box.

It is surely a bit late in the Day for Unionist Politicians in Wales to start talking about reforming the UK.
The BBC reports that 
The UK must be reformed to survive, the Welsh first minister will tell the Labour party conference.The UK must be reformed to survive
Mark Drakeford will describe how the bonds keeping the four nations together are "being torn apart by Brexit" and "couldn't-care-less Tory governments".
In Brighton, he will also repeat a commitment to campaign to remain in the EU in an election or fresh referendum.
Mr Drakeford previously said Welsh independence was "rising up the political agenda".
"Our task under a new UK Labour government must be to build a new United Kingdom," he is expected to say.
"One that genuinely works for its four constituent parts."
It is the first UK Labour conference since Mr Drakeford took over as Welsh Labour leader and first minister from Carwyn Jones last December.
In his speech on Sunday, he will set out a plan to reform the union, saying it "can only be Labour that articulates a different vision for those repelled by the poisonous politics of division and despair".
Mr Drakeford will add that through reforming the UK and remaining as part of the EU, the Labour party can offer an alternative to "narrow nationalism and worn-out imperialism".
His stance on campaigning to remain in the EU has put him at odds with the UK Labour stance on Brexit.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said if the party wins power it will offer a referendum choice between Remain and a "credible" Brexit option
I must have not been paying attention for the last  20 years  as Labour who have run the Assembly either in a coalition with the Liberal Democrats  or Plaid Cymru have had a laissez-faire attitude towards on going devolution and  despite seeing a successful template in Scotland have made little attempt to seek parity with that nation .

Indeed they actually hamded back powers to Westminster

 In April the Labour Welsh Government agreed to the Westminster Government’s EU Withdrawal Bill which meant that Wales lost control over 24 devolved policy areas after Brexit.

The agreement said that Ministers in London can make changes to devolved fields even If Wales objects.
Today AMs voted to repeal the Welsh Continuity Act to allow the transfer of powers to go ahead.
The late and much missed Plaid Cymru Shadow Cabinet Secretary for External Affairs Steffan Lewis AM said that Wales had lost its “legislative shield” which provided legal protection for Welsh devolution.
He said that it didn’t make sense for Wales to give up control when it seemed that the Westminster Government were sailing towards a hard Brexit.

Now faced with a growing Independence movement in Wales they make vague statements about reform , without putting any real radical proposals.

Indeed as Mr Drakeford  goes to his Party conference after being  humiliated after the Head Office   about who makes the rules on selecting Parliamentary candidates.

According to Wales Online 

This latest decision has prompted some Labour sources to claim Jeremy Corbyn's office has "completely mishandled" what should have been a straightforward attempt to clear up the rulebook.It has put the UK and Welsh wings of Labour on a collision course, and risked the previously good relationship between the two leaders.So, what's happened?Welsh Labour has power over selecting (and reselecting) candidates in council and Assembly elections.If there is an attempt to oust a candidate, Welsh Labour rules mean more than half of the branch association's membership have to vote to deselect the candidate and hold a a full selection battle, with nominations, campaigns and the like.But when it comes to selecting candidates for general elections, the rules are slightly different.In 2018, the UK Labour conference voted to reduce the percentage needed to force a re-selection battle to 33%. It was widely seen as an attempt to make it easier to "purge" critics of Jeremy Corbyn and hand power to left-wing groups like Momentum within Labour.In a bid to draw a clear distinction in Wales and give Welsh Labour MPs the same protection as Welsh Labour AMs, Mick Antoniw AM this week went as First Minister Mark Drakeford's representative to Labour's ruling body, the NEC, with a motion to ensure Welsh Labour rules applied to selection battles for parliamentary candidates in Wales.In essence, he was taking something to Labour's decision-making body that Mark Drakeford wanted approval for. One source told WalesOnline Mr Drakeford would only have done that if he expected it to have been backed.However, the NEC overwhelmingly said no.

The reality  is there is no "Welsh" Labour Party and indeed it is not even really a Branch Office more of the equivalent of a Post Office Box , which London has all the access to.

Saturday 21 September 2019

Is it the media that is setting the perception of Corbyn rather than reflecting it.?

I am not a great fan of Jeremy Corbyn largely because his stand on Brexit (whatever that is) and because he is also a Unionist who doesn't even seem to understand  what devolution is about

Never the less  I view the report by political betting on Corbyn's approval ratings with disquiet

Ipsos-MORI, has been polling UK politics since 1977, and throughout that time has been asking in exactly the same manner if those sampled are satisfied/dissatisfied with a range of political leaders. We had the latest numbers for Jo Swinson yesterday. Today the Corbyn figures are released and have the LAB leader with a dissatisfied rating of 76% with just 16% saying satisfied.Amongst those who voted LAB at 6E2107 33% said they were satisfied with 60% saying satisfied. Compare that with the 42% satisfied to 35% dissatisfied that the same segment recorded for Jo Swinson.As Keiran’s Tweet points out these are the worst figures any opposition leader recorded by the firm and his Tweet looks at the record lows for all who’ve held that post for more than half a century.
The LAB leader needs to stage a recovery far far in excess of what happened at GE2017 for his party to have any chance. Then Corbyn started the campaign with a net rating of -25%. That compares with today’s net rating of minus 60

There does seem a higher percentage of disapproval for Labour Leaders  those from the Tory Party and we can well ask  if the dominance of a Right-Wing  Media is setting the public perception rather than reflecting it?

The only one on the list to receive a + is of course Blair, and he was never a figure of the Left and one wonders if the media reaction to him and to some extent John Smith short tenure before his untimely death was due to a feeling among the Press Barons that it was time to change government now that Margaret Thatcher had gone.

You can only wonder Thatcher  had gone earlier if Neil Kinnock , would have been rehabilitated, in the eyes of the media.

With the Tory Prime Ministers Cameron , May and now Johnson competing for the title worst in history. the Labour  should be well ahead .

But then Corbyn is not the one that te Right Wing Media and establishment want .

Friday 20 September 2019

When is it wrong to call an arsehole an arsehole?

Whilst  we should expect high standards from our elected officials it is absurd that   tweet by Plaid Cymru AM Leanne Wood has been criticised by the Assembly's Standards Commissioner for calling a blogger an "arsehole" on Twitter.
A complaint was made by an unnamed person alleging Ms Wood breached the Code of Conduct for Assembly Members by referring to an author of a tweet about a fellow AM as “an arsehole”.
Blogger Jac' o' the North tweeted a screenshot of the personal Twitter profile of Delyth Jewell - then newly-announced to be Plaid's successor to the late Steffan Lewis and wrote "women’s rights and international development’. God help @Plaid Cymru."

At the time I wrote that if they had done any real research  then they would find ironically that Delyth Jewell  won the Overall Researcher of the Year award at Westminster. in  2014 whilst working for the then Plaid MP on his stalking bill

The panel of judges, made up of MPs, peers and the National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses which sponsors the event, said that her work on the stalking bill “went far beyond what would be asked of a researcher”.

In fact she's holding two trophies, because she also won the award for Crossbench or Other Parties’ Researcher of the Year.
They might realise that such an award out of hundreds of researchers some of who may well be now MP's or future ones is a huge accomplishment.
Plaid are very lucky to see someone step in the shoes of a a AM who was renown in the Siambr for the quality of his research.
At 9.37pm that night, Ms Wood responded "Do you have to be an arsehole all the time? Have a day off".

In her defence of her tweet, Ms Wood said that the person who wrote the tweet was "a persistent, pernicious influence in Welsh politics for many years".
"His blogs often contain disparaging comments about women and minorities as well as Plaid Cymru; which are seemingly his pet hates. I defend freedom of speech but there are limits to this and Jones frequently crosses the line and regularly writes untruths.”

At the Time  the "Arsehole of the North responded 

"On reflection, the tweet I put out could have been worded better, and I shall clarify below why I have misgivings about Ms Jewell’s elevation. But no disrespect was meant to Ms Jewell, personally, for I don’t know her. (Though that never seems to deter my detractors.) She may turn out to be an excellent Assembly Member, but her background, and professed interests, do not fill me with confidence, as I shall explain.But then, some might think that Leanne Wood’s tweet was a little OTT as well, maybe abusing her position of influence. Perhaps it even qualifies as the kind of ‘bullying’ we hear so much about from Cardiff Bay (another source of endless entertainment".
It seems that he had realised he had made a error of judgement , indeed in making the complaint  he has probably led even more people  to realise  what a prejudiced  man he is.

His supporters of course will rally behind him, but it seems that people may well realise that hei is not the Champion of Welsh Idenity he professes to be , but  a bigotted arsehole.

Thursday 19 September 2019

New Concessionary Bus Pass has all the hallmarks of a disaster.

For my sins  I volunteer in Beddau and Tynant Community  Library , which due to inspirational leaderships reopened after it was closed by Rhondda Cynon Taf council.

The need for such a facility has become clear in the last weeks,  as we have attempted to deal with enquiries over the change in concessionary bus passes in Wales.

Large numbers of people applying for new free bus passes have crashed part of a government website.
About 730,000 over-65s use concessionary cards in Wales and have until 31 December to sign up for new electronic ones.
Applications opened on Wednesday and Transport for Wales (TfW) reported "high volumes" of traffic to its website.
It told users not to panic as old cards are valid until the end of the year.
TfW, which took over running public transport in Wales last year, wants users to switch to new-style cards, which are recognised on electronic readers so they will "work as part of an integrated travel network in the future".
A statement on its website said: 
"We're experiencing an exceptionally high volume of hits to our new concessionary travel card site."
It added it planned to take down the new website in a bid to "boost the capacity to better manage" the traffic.
The  l is currently unavailable. We’ve been extensively testing the site and upgrades are now in place. Before we relaunch the site, we’re working with Age Cymru to carry out further user testing and we expect to reopen the online portal early next week (w/c 23 September 2019). 
Given that many people over sixty do not have direct access to the portal anyway , we in the library anticipate helping many to use our computers and this will be repeated throughout Libraries throughout Wales.

TfW here's  may well state that ther eis plenty of time to apply: Your current pass is still valid and will continue to be accepted for travel until 31 December 2019.
A paper application form is available here to download below for you to print at home.  

This week we in Library have handed out about  50 application forms to local residents at acost by us of 20p to cover the cost of printing and paper ( I doubt you will find it cheaper.
Guidance on how to complete the paper application form is also available here
Once you’ve completed your application, please double check all the details are correct and post it to: 
Concessionary Travel Card
PO Box 55
LL49 0AY
If this is repeated throughout Wales then I wonder if a PO Box will be able to cope.

It does seem that those running the system have not sufficiently prepared  and may not have enough staff.