Thursday, 31 October 2019

How much will be wasted on another State Opening of Parliament?

As we enter another General Election  I wonder how many politicians (we  have no MPs in this period) over the cost of  the State Opening of Parliament on October the 14th.

I recognise the "Constitutional" for this  and in  most legislatures hhistorically, each session of a parliament would last less than one year, ceasing with a prorogation during which legislators could return to their constituencies.or short periods, meaning that parliamentary sessions typically last for more than one year,  though the length of sessions varies. Legislatures plan their business within a legislative calendar, which lays out how bills will proceed before a session ceases, although related but unofficial affairs may be conducted by legislators outside a session or during a session on days in which parliament is not meeting.

But  what we saw only a fortnight was a lavish affair (where's the Tax Payers Alliance on this)  and Licence's payers money wasted on a huge amount of coverage to what in affect was a Conservative Party Manifesto and in January (or not much later)we will have to go through it all again.

So we the Tax Payer  need to  ask

  • What is the  cost of the annual State Opening of the UK Parliament and how does this compare  to other legislatures?
  • How much of the licence payers money was spent  by the BBC on this coverage and considering the very real possibility  (now realised) of an General Election in a few Weeks with another State Opening in January be justified.
  • Is an annual State Opening really necessary, couldn't we have at least  it for a new parliament after an election  and an annual low key statement akin to the budget.
  • Does it really need all the ridiculous Pomp

Is it not time we ended this and bearing in mind the age of the monarch (even if you are like me an republican), should she be put through this again so soon?

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

70% of leave voters in Wales think violence towards MPs is a "price worth paying" for Brexit.

 On the night of January 30, 1933, SA men paraded with torches through Berlin to celebrate Hitler’s appointment as chancellor.
Men parade through the street at night carrying torches.
I have often wondered what went through the minds on those Germans , who were not members  or supporters of Hitler and the Nazi's as they saw the parade of thugs who used violence and intimidation against those who opposed them .
Did they think "How as it come to this"

A poll has found that 70% of leave voters in Wales think violence towards MPs is a "price worth paying" for Brexit., which frankly is the most disturbing impact of the whole farrago i have seen
According to Wales Online
The same research found 57% of remain voters in Wales think protests in which members of the public are badly injured are a "price worth paying" to stop Brexit and remain in the EU.
So its on both sides  , though the number in the Leave camp are far higher

The research, asking what people would be willing to see happen to get their way on Brexit, has been carried out by YouGov and Cardiff University and the University of Edinburgh and is broken down between England, Wales and Scotland.
The research found majorities in England, Scotland and Wales think that violence towards MPs and violent protests in which people are badly injured is ‘likely to occur’ if Brexit takes place.
  • Most Leave voters across all three countries think violence towards MPs is a ‘price worth paying’ for Brexit - 71% in England, 60% in Scotland and 70% in Wales.
  • The majority of Remain voters across all three countries think violence towards MPs is a ‘price worth paying’ to Remain - 58% in England, 53% in Scotland and 56% in Wales.
  • A majority of Remain voters across all three countries think protests in which members of the public are badly injured are a ‘price worth paying’ to stop Brexit and remain in the EU - 57% in England, 56% in Scotland and 57% in Wales.
  • In all three countries, leave voters think protests in which members of the public are badly injured are a ‘price worth paying’ to achieve Brexit - 69% in England, 62% in Scotland and 70% in Wales
 What generally worries me is that there seems no way ought  , Stopping Brexit, would only see very angry leave voters , who seem intent of driving of the cliff with a no seal , and it seems that we have passed the time when any compromise over a single market and or freedom of movement would be acceptable to Boris's last ditchers.  

'It's hard not to be genuinely shocked'
Professor Richard Wyn Jones, co-director of the Future of England Survey and director of Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre, said: "It’s not often that one finds oneself shaken by research findings, but in this case it’s hard to not be genuinely shocked - not only by the fact that so many think that violence is a likely consequence of Brexit, but that so many on either side of the Brexit divide seem to think that such events might be ‘worth it’ in order to secure their preferred outcome.

"Given that we appear to be on the brink of another general election in which further polarisation could be a deliberate campaign strategy for some parties, these findings should give all of us pause for thought and underline the importance of responsible and measured debate."
Half of all those polled in Wales (47%), more than half in England (52%) and almost two thirds in Scotland (61%) think that Brexit is likely to lead to the break-up of the UK.
Remain voters are particularly likely to believe that Brexit will lead to the breakup of the UK (around three quarters in Scotland, England and Wales believe this) but similar proportions of Leave voters believe staying in the EU will undermine faith in the union.
Majorities on both sides of the Brexit divide are willing to see substantial change to the union to get their own way on Brexit.
Among Leave voters, 74% in England, 74% in Wales and 59% in Scotland believe the breakup of the UK would be worth it to "take back control" via Brexit.
Staying in the EU will likely decrease faith in the union. Brexit could well change its borders."Individuals might profess an attachment to the union, but Brexit has revealed most in Britain to be ambivalent unionists who now see it as expendable to get their own way on Brexit.
"Because this holds for both Leave and Remain voters, it confirms just how much the Brexit debate has polarised the electorates in Britain. These findings show that polarisation is reshaping how we argue with one another, and what we argue about, but could reshape the union as well."
The sample, carried out between September 27 and October 1, was of 1,503 people for Wales.

The only solution is to end not the European Union , but the UK one and Scotland can stay in or rejoin the EU. Northern Ireland reunite with the South and England  live in a dreamworld of Empire 2.0.

But what of Wales who voted leave .

Can it follow Scotland or be absorbed into England ?

We have very little time to decide.

Monday, 28 October 2019

Should the Haka be part of the Rugby World Cup/

We may be out of the Rugby World Cup . but the tournament is not over for Cymru as we will now play New Zealand, for the 3rd and 4th placing.

Normally this is a damp squib of a match as it is difficult to motivate both fans and players but for Cymru the chance to break the long list of 60 years of defeat by the All Blacks.

Indeed it could break the mindset that is a barrier to finally creating a belief that we can beat anybody.

Which brings me to the Haka and whether it should be allowed in World Cup matches.

It may be open to debate whether r the Haka creates a psychological advantage for the All Blacks . but i think that it does so i the first often vital minutes of the match

England are set to discover on Monday whether they will be fined for their V-shaped response to New Zealand’s haka in their World Cup semi-final victory against the All Blacks on Saturday.

England’s players revealed that Eddie Jones was behind the plan to counter New Zealand’s traditional Maori challenge in order to show they were “ready for anything”.

Mako Vunipola admitted that “we knew it would rile them up” while the captain, Owen Farrell, who could be seen smirking during the dance, said: “We wanted not to just stand there and let them come at us.”

Aaron Smith, the New Zealand scrum-half, said afterwards that Farrell was winking at him while the haka was being performed.

In 2011 France formed an arrow shape and advanced on New Zealand while they performed the haka before the World Cup final and were subsequently fined £2,500 for breaching a “cultural ritual protocol”.

It is understood that the protocol states that opponents must not cross the halfway line but at the two tips of England’s V formation, six players – Joe Marler, Billy Vunipola, Mark Wilson, Elliot Daly, Luke Cowan‑Dickie and Ben Youngs – appeared to be standing in the All Blacks’ half.

Match officials could be seen trying to encourage the players to return to their own half, but to no avail. It is believed World Rugby will consider on Monday whether any punishment is warranted but, given the precedent set with France eight years ago, it would be a surprise if England were not sanctioned in a similar manner.

“[Joe Marler] said he got confused,” Mako Vunipola said. “He thought he was supposed to go all the way around it and go to their 10. But because of that, he’s the one who has to pay the fine. He dishes it out a lot so the boys would be more than happy if he has to pay it.”

In 2008 Wales responded to the Haka Wales played the All Blacks at Millennium Stadium in 2008, having not defeated the Kiwis in a Test since 1953. New Zealander Warren Gatland had been installed as Wales coach one year earlier. In a team meeting three days before the match, Gatland asked the Welsh players if they understood the significance of the haka. In particular, did they know that the haka was only finished when the opposition walked away? Flanker Martyn Williams had the obvious follow-up: what would happen if the opposition didn’t walk away?

South African referee Jonathan Kaplan gave a hilarious account of the incident:
“When the haka finished I thought we were ready for the start of the game. But how wrong I was,” he recalls. “I sensed something was different though when the crowd got into it. I noticed some of the All Blacks not moving. I asked them to please go to their stations so we could start the game. They told me to tell the opponents to go. I said I would, so I went over to [Wales captain] Ryan [Jones] and asked him if he wouldn’t mind moving on. He told me that they wouldn’t move until the All Blacks moved first. I did feel a bit weird asking Ryan to move and I was also out of my comfort zone. But I was aware the crowd were enjoying it, So I just let it roll a little longer because it added to the theatre of the occasion. The stand-off was a couple of minutes long. Given that neither team was willing to move I decided it wasn’t my responsibility. Before the match there is a steward to make sure things run smoothly prior to ki
ck-off. So I went back to the halfway line and started kicking the ball around.”

The Welsh national anthem is now synonymous with Welsh sporting events, particularly rugby and football internationals. It’s a tradition that dates back to 1905, when the rugby union teams of Wales and New Zealand were about to clash for the first time at Cardiff Arms Park.

After the All Blacks finished their fearsome war dance, the haka, the Welsh crowd struck back with "Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau". It’s the first recorded instance of a national anthem being sung before an international sporting fixture. And that time, it worked: Wales won 3-0.

So we in Cymru owe the Haka a debt and of course the best National Anthem in the World sang by thousands of Welsh Men and Women perhaps gives us a psychological advantage.

However I think England were right to confront the Haka indeed I think the Haka should not be allowed in World Cup competitions.

This after all is World Cup and no side should establish any Psychological advanage minutes before kick off apart from the anthem of course.

Sunday, 27 October 2019

Y Senedd should realise Second Homes loophole is a social issue.

The issue of second homes is one that affects communities from Orkney to the Cornwall  and you can easily argue beyond the shores of these Islands.

The benefits are questionable but i is clear that they price out local families and we  real need a new policy not just on a Wales bias , but throughout Europe.

For Wales i has the additional problem that it Y Fro Gymraeg used to refer to the linguistic area in Wales where the Welsh language is used by the majority or a large part of the population; it is the heartland of the Welsh language and second (holiday homes ) clearly have an adverse affect on the strength of Cymraeg, but we should not forget that it can be said that even in English speaking communities the local culture and way of life is adversely  affected.

This article in the Guardian gives an insight to the whole of the problem in the whole of the  UK read it ,

The BBC report that
A law meant to help councils combat the effects of second home ownership on communities is doing exactly the opposite, it has been claimed.
Since 2016, councils have been able to raise a premium on council tax on second homes, with money used to boost affordable housing.
But rising numbers of second homes are being designated as businesses, meaning owners pay no council tax at all.
The Welsh Government said councils are best placed to address the issue.
Abersoch, Gwynedd is well known as the "second home capital" of north Wales. A beach hut could set you back over £100,000 with houses selling for far more.
There are worries buying is out of the question for many local young people
Rhys Elvins runs Abersoch Quality Homes, managing around 90 holiday homes within a five mile radius.A growing family business, this company prides itself in giving home owners and holidaymakers a personal service.
Around half of its clients designate their homes as businesses which means they pay no local taxes, as long as their holiday home is let for 70 days a year and available to let for 140 days. As small businesses, many are also exempt from paying business rates.
Mr Elvins told the BBC Sunday Politics Wales: programme


"I'd say it's fair. I wouldn't call it a loophole."It's the way the properties are staggered in terms of council and business rates - if a property is making an income then its considered a small business. They're bringing in money and people who are spending money in the local area so I consider it to be OK".
Well in the words of Mandy Rice Davies 

"Well he would, wouldn't he?"

Plaid Cymru has been campaigning for a change to the law.The party's Arfon assembly member Sian Gwenllian called it an "unfair loophole" and said it added to pressures on housing for local people, with prices becoming "completely unaffordable".
She added: "They have no choice but to leave the area or live in poor rented accommodation.
"There are 2,000 people on social register waiting for housing in Gwynedd, then you have another 1,000 who have found a way of paying no tax at all. It's scandalous that this is allowed to happen."
 At nearby Llanengan, local councillor and pub landlord John Hughes thinks amending planning laws to make it easier for young people to build their own homes is one answer."The future for our youngsters is very bleak, we've got the let them build on their own land, we've got to let them build a house that's suitable."
It's an issue close to his heart, with one of his daughters choosing to move to New Zealand.
"She can't afford to live in Abersoch, she's renting at the moment - she's a chef with schools and enjoys it but there's nothing for her here, she can't afford the rent. I'm sad, because I don't want to see her go."]
 Gwynedd Council has around 5,000 second homes - more than other county in Wales.The Welsh Local Government Association's rural forum wants the Welsh Government to take action.
Gwynedd council leader Dyfrig Siencyn said: "We are asking Welsh Government to make an amendment to the local government finance act so we prevent domestic dwellings from transferring into business properties - which then means they do not pay any tax at all in most cases".
The Welsh Government said it did not agree that there was a loophole in the law.
A spokesperson said there was "specific letting criteria which owners must meet for their property to be treated as self-catering accommodation",
"Local authorities are best placed to address this issue and that is why we have given them the discretionary power to charge premiums to up to 100% on the council tax of long-term empty and second homes in their area to use alongside the other powers available to them," the government added.

This a pathetic response perhaps they  see this as a "Nationalist" agenda , but this goes beyond Wales

This from the Guardian article I mentioned 
Properties are empty, so the community is empty’
Second homes destroy the fabric of the town and spoil the very things that made it attractive to the second home owner in the first place.
Where I live properties are empty, so the community is empty. Those who visit don’t participate in the life of the town. In winter, shops close because there are fewer people, which is true of coastal towns anyway, but worse when the properties are holiday homes.
Local families can’t live in town, so the schools are under subscribed, there’s very little police presence because the population of permanent residents is small. We believe in freedom and democracy and each person’s second home is still their castle, but perhaps there should be a quota allowed – designated numbers allowed in each road so that whole streets are not denuded of the local people. I would like to see a law where people had to live in them at least 190 days a year.
Name witheld, 60, Whitstable

The Lake District National Park Authority has pioneer  the idea of increasing the  huge rise in council tax for existing second homes, but the loophole may avoid this.

But it is appalling that our own government in Cardiff Bay is burying its head in the sand , and realise this is not a nationalistic issue ( though the the issue of Cymraeg is important)  but a social one.that it can ignore and it must address it

Saturday, 26 October 2019

I dont want to be voting on a cold and dark december

I must admit that part of me that doesn't want a General election in December is because the Tories will probably win a majority push through a no deal Brexit and then start on their real agenda of screwing workers , destroying the welfare state and handing the NHS to US companies .

Though as the last election showed being in line for a landslide before the 

election is not necessary going to continue on polling day

The main problem I see apart from students being on holiday and affecting marginal seats for the benefit of the Tories. Is we will be expected to vote in the dark, when our  priorities are  preparing for Christmas.

For most of us voting on a cold, wet and dark December is a turn off and there is also the possibility especially in Scotland that snow can could make voting impossible for some and even postal votes being delayed.

Even Council Byelections tend not to be called in this period.

Also for those parties (everyone but the Tories and Farage's limited company) who do not enjoy the support of right wing press owned by no-domicile press barons , getting out on the streets, to deliver leaflets or canvass  and take te message direct to the people is going to be difficult.

In my 50 years of voting  I have never been canvassed or met on the street a Tory in an election.

In the past in some valley constituencies the Tory candidate would play fleeting visits to the Rhondda or Caerphilly and most would only see him (it was nearly always a him)  at the count.

Surely democracy is dependent on there being no impairment  to people voting or taking part in the democratic process 

Holding a election on December 12 would be such an impairment.

Friday, 25 October 2019

Caerphilly should be the top Senedd target for Plaid

If Plaid has any target seat for the next Senedd elections then surley Caerphilly  should be top priority

In the last election  Plaid came a good second and with Delyth Jewell as candidate it is vital that this rapidly rising star  secures a place in the Senedd and not rely on a top up seat
Welsh Assembly Election 2016: Caerphilly
LabourHefin David9,58435.3−13.6
Plaid CymruLindsay Whittle8,00929.5−0.2
UKIPSam Gould5,95422.0+22.0
ConservativeJane Pratt2,4128.9−4.3
GreenAndrew Creak7702.8+2.8
Liberal DemocratsAladdin Ayesh3861.4-2.7
Labour holdSwin
Delyth proved her worth with an inspirational speech  at the Plaid conference ad followed it later with another one at the SNP conference.
UK Government Cabinet member Michael Gove has been accused of a “dangerous con trick” after admitting that no impact assessment has been carried out on the Brexit deal’s effect on Holyhead port, the UK’s second largest.
The most recent version of the Brexit deal would effectively create a hard border in the Irish Sea, potentially causing disruption at what is the UK’s second busiest port.Michael Gove was questioned by Plaid Cymru Assembly Member Delyth Jewell while giving evidence to the Senedd’s External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee this afternoon.Delyth Jewell had asked how AMs could be expected to back the deal without knowing the impact on the port, which has over 400,000 lorries passing through it every year.“It’s difficult to have an impact assessment because there are so many variables in play and I always remember the words of the economist JK Galbraith who said that economic forecasting was invented in order to give astrology a good name,” Michael Gove said.“It’s important of course for all of us to look at the variety of different factors but no impact assessment can ever give us the unvarnished truth because by definition it is impossible to predict with certainty how something as multi-faceted as the UK economy will grow and develop in the future.”Mr Gove then suggested that Holyhead would prosper under the deal, saying that if the deal were passed, Holyhead would be in a “stronger position than ever”. Plaid Cymru’s parliamentary candidate for Ynys Môn Aled ap Dafydd said his words amounted to a “dangerous con trick”.“Michael Gove has confirmed what we have long suspected,” he said. “The UK Government has made no assessment of the impact of this deal on the UK’s second busiest port.“Over 600 workers at Holyhead and in communities surrounding the town want to know what the effect of a border in the Irish Sea would have on their livelihoods.“It is a dangerous con trick for this Conservative government to argue that Holyhead would be ‘better off’ without backing it up with evidence.“The people of Ynys Môn will not be fooled by a bumbling minister who is full of empty rhetoric.”

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Labour should include a commitment to devolving Welsh Justice In its next manifesto.

Y Senedd have been meeting for over 20 years now , people will vote and even stand in the next election  who weren't even born, when we first elected the first ever all Wales Legislature and yet whilst they have grown up unfortunately the powers that it has hardly matured and despite numerous commissions  have lent to powers alongside those enjoyed by Scotland  both Labour and Tory  governments have rejected it and so it continues
Wales should have full control of its justice system - with powers to run policing, prisons and appoint its own judges, says an independent commission.
People in Wales are "let down by the system in its current state", it found.
As well as switching funding, including for legal aid, it believes laws applying in Wales should be treated as being distinct from English law.
That would mean devolving powers from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), but it has poured cold water on the idea.
The MoJ believes it would be too costly and lead to significant duplication.
"It is our belief that a single jurisdiction is the most effective way to deliver justice across England and Wales," said a spokesman.
"We welcome this important and thorough report and will review its content carefully."
The commission has been chaired by Lord John Thomas of Cwmgiedd who, as former Lord Chief Justice, was once the most senior judge in England and Wales.
Over nearly two years, it took dozens of submissions, held consultation events from Rhyl to Butetown, and has produced 78 different recommendations.
 It is set against a background of 20 years of devolution, with Welsh ministers creating 6,000 different regulations, while 41 acts have been passed by the Welsh assembly in the last seven years alone.But there is a long list of areas which Wales is not responsible for - when laid down in law, this runs to 44 pages - from policing to dangerous dogs.
It is felt Wales needs parity with Scotland and Northern Ireland, as it grows, with the system as it stands now too complicated and inefficient.
"The way that responsibilities are split between Westminster and Cardiff has created pointless complexity, confusion and incoherence in justice and policing in Wales," said Lord Thomas.

What is wrong with the justice system in Wales? 10 things
  • "Significant cuts" to legal aid made in 2012 have hit Wales hard, leading to "advice deserts" in rural and Valleys areas where people struggle to receive legal support
  • Increasing numbers of people represent themselves in courts
  • Coordination between devolved and non-devolved bodies is overly complex and expensive
  • Victims need to be included more, while the approach to those with mental health issues is not properly addressed
  • Significantly greater spending is now on prisons rather than crime reduction - and Wales' prison population is one of the highest in western Europe
  • There is a lack of facilities for women offenders in Wales and black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people are over-represented as offenders.
  • A "complex division" between UK and Welsh government responsibilities in family justice, with "significant further action" needed to tackle increase in children going into care
  • People with civil disputes are faced with high fees which deter many from pursuing a court case - while there is a lack of coordination between different organisations able to help resolve conflicts
  • Court and tribunal closures have left people in many parts of rural and post-industrial Wales facing long and difficult journeys, while advantages of digital technology have not yet been fully realised
  • Too many gaps in Welsh language provision and too much dependence on the goodwill of individuals.
The wide-ranging report says policies should reduce the number of people going to prison, with a greater emphasis on problem solving.
But it also calls for sufficient funding to follow the powers, saying Wales has been significantly affected by UK government cuts, with the Welsh Government plugging almost 40% of the gap created.
"This position is unsustainable when the Welsh Government has so little say in justice policy and overall spending," says the commission.
 It is critical of the lack of accountability and how the system's complexity wastes resources.The nine-person commission - which includes lawyers, academics and a former chief constable - also criticises a failure to develop a coherent set of overall policies and the lack of innovation.

What does it recommend?
Some key suggestions:
  • Devolution of justice - similar to the Northern Ireland Assembly and the Scottish Parliament - and accompanied by a full transfer of financial resources
  • A new Justice Department in the Welsh Government led by a cabinet minister
  • Create a "law of Wales", distinct to the law of England and Wales
  • Wales could also gets its own high court and court of appeal, although lawyers could still work across England and Wales. There would be a Welsh judge at the Supreme Court
  • The age of criminal responsibility should be raised from 10 to at least 12 years old in Wales - similar to Scotland. Although the youth justice system is generally doing well, the commission says there are better ways of dealing with behaviour than criminalising children
  • Alternatives to prison should be developed "as soon as possible"
  • Policing and crime reduction policy, including drug abuse and mental health-related issues, should be devolved to chime with already devolved Welsh health, education and social policies
  • The law relating to children and family justice in Wales should be brought together in one coherent legal system, while the overarching aim should be the reduction in numbers of children taken into care
  • Legal aid should be devolved and funding for it - and advice by charities - should be brought under a single fund and an independent body
  • All justice bodies should be subject to the 2011 Welsh Language Measure, while all coroner services should be available in Welsh
Would changes to delivering legal aid help?
Speakeasy Law Centre in Cardiff is increasingly reliant on charitable grants and donations for its work, providing free legal support for people whare struggling with debt or need help with appeals for benefit problems.
Its legal aid funding has dropped from 70% to 20% of its income.

"It's difficult to provide a continuous and effective service," said solicitor Warren Palmer.
But he said Cardiff was better placed than more rural parts of Wales.
"I'm hoping the commission recognises that investment in advice is worthwhile at an early stage because of the huge impact on mental health," he said. "We can give reassurance when people receive a bailiff letter - that we can deal with it and stop matters escalating. There's also evidence that by not nipping it in the bud, it ends up costing more."
What could be done now?
The report also includes a damning assessment of the duplication and waste of resources with the number of boards and committees across Wales. It calls for mergers where appropriate - aware that its remit does not stretch to assessing the need for fewer local councils in Wales.
Over the years, Wales has been developing policies to make change where it can. But in the complex devolved arrangement, that's created a messy picture. Spreading like a weed to fill in the gaps, the picture is tangled, overlapping and complex.
The commission believes there is also much that could be done now to simplify that picture.

What does it not recommend?

It wants policing devolved - about a third of funding for Welsh forces currently comes from a Home Office grant - but believes the idea of a single Welsh police force should be one to consider in future.
Immigration, national security, money laundering, firearms and misuse of drugs are not included - and are not devolved to Scotland or Northern Ireland either.
A women's prison for Wales - the commission would like a commitment instead to a number of women's centres offering treatment, training and support as alternatives to custody.
Scotland of course has always had a separate Legal system as the UK and Boris Johnson have found out as he plays fast and lose with parliamentary democracy.

One could easily imagine that the UK Home Office does not want to relinquish powers to the pesky Welsh .

How much longer can we put up with being treated 

The late Gwyn Alf Williams once said 

2We have been around for two thousand years. It's time we were given the key of the door.

Sadly whilst our big sister is out,  we are constantly told we cannot be trusted with our own lives.

We are approaching a General Election , Jeremy Corbyn could at least show that he  is thinking outside London and include  Lord John Thomas recommendations in  Labour's manifesto instead of the small paragraph we often see  in election after election.

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Siân, Sinéad, Jean and Joan .

Siân, Sinéad, Jean and Joan have been sharing a flat for a number of years now in a communal building consisting of 25 separate flats.

A few years ago Jean announced she was fed up with Joan's domineering character and that she wanted to move into a separate flat in the building.

Joan told her she would not be allowed to stay in the communal building and if she left their flat she would have to find accommodation elsewhere  and indicated that it would be much worse  than where Jean was living with her.

Then Jane  announced She wanted to leave the communal building and whereas  Siân meekly agreed Sinéad said she would like to move into the flat with her sister on the next floor , and then announced  that if Joan insisted she leave she would but her own flat in the building.

However the lease was in Joan's name and she  insisted they all leave, though there was an argument whether Sinéad would be allowed to spend more time with her sister and the rest of the building.

Even Siân was alarmed when it became obvious Jean had not found any suitable alternative accommodation and what she was proposing was little more than a slum.

Some of  Siân's friends who want her to leave Jean's dominance don't want her to move in to her own flat in the communal building but to find her own , whilst most think that would also be a slum.

Poor Siân so subdued after living with Joan for so many years . will she have the courage and follow Jean into a new flat in the communal building?

We can only wait and see,

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Two apparent scandals seem too much for Caerphilly,

Is there any connection between the news that a council chief has been fired after spending more than six years suspended on full pay. and  that council's interim leader has apologised to other leaders in south Wales for any "inconvenience" caused by her predecessor, amid an inquiry into his declaration of financial interests.
I am not suggesting that they are directly connected but you cant help wondering if two scandals were deemed too much and perhaps a new leader may have more resolve to put to an end the six years aga of Former Caerphilly County Borough Council chief executive Anthony O'Sullivan was suspended with full pay in March 2013 following allegations he engineered a pay increase for himself along with two other senior officers.
For six and a half years, Mr O'Sullivan has been paid his full £137,000 salary. This is despite not turning up for work once.
Councillors met on  this month  to consider a report recommending he be dismissed ''without notice for gross misconduct.''
The report described his behaviour as ''grossly negligent'' and said he ''wilfully breached his contract.''
After a meeting, held in private, interim council leader Councillor Barbara Jones said a decision was made to ''dismiss Mr O'Sullivan was immediate effect.''
In a statement, she said the council regretted ''the amount of time and money that has been spent on this matter.''
Since his suspension, Mr O'Sullivan has received nearly £900,000 in salary payments.
With legal costs and payouts to the two other officers involved, the cost to the tax payer has been estimated at between £4m and £6m.
Barbara Jones has apologised to the Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) cabinet after the Wales Audit Office raised issues over David Poole's interest in a company.
He stepped down as Caerphilly leader in September pending an investigation.Mr Poole stepped down from the CCR and as Caerphilly council leader pending an inquiry into his holding of shares in the high-tech manufacturer IQE, which had been given £38.5m of public funds.
He has reportedly said he bought the shares in late 2018 - a year after the city deal investment was agreed - and was advised he did not need to declare it.
In an email seen by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Mr Poole said his decision to step down had been "a temporary one" and that he expected to be cleared of any breach of his council's code of conduct.
He may well be cleared but hsus fellow Labour councillors may consider that the speed that there was at least a move to resolve the six year old scandal of mr Sullivan only came after  David Poole stepped as leader down they would be better of with a new leader.
It is not completely over , as  Anthony O'Sullivanas said he will appeal the decision. We await with anticipation of what would  evolve from any tribunal.

Monday, 21 October 2019

Boris Johnson could be arrested by the end of the week.

What are the possibilities of a UK Prime Minister being arrested and possibly jailed for  Contempt of Court?

The Huffington Post tells us that
Judges are set to decide whether the unsigned letter sent by Boris Johnson asking for a Brexit extension from the EU complied with the Benn Act, or if the prime minister is in contempt of court.
Although Johnson sent a letter to the EU requesting an extension, as required by the so-called Benn Act, he did not sign it and also sent a second letter – which he signed – that said a delay would be a mistake.

At first Primme Minister Johnson was behaving childishly and it was the Westminster Parliament he was treating with contempt 


A hearing at the Court of Session in Edinburgh by Scotland’s most senior judge Lord Carloway, and two other judges, was postponed until after the deadline for the extension letter to be sent under the terms of the Benn Act.

Now that the deadline has passed, the hearing is set to resume on Monday but the prime minister’s attempts to avoid requesting an extension raises questions about whether the court views the unsigned letter – and second contradictory letter – as obeying the law.
The petitioners behind the legal challenge at the Court of Session, led by Good Law Project founder Jolyon Maugham QC, confirmed that the resumed hearing would go ahead on Monday.

During the case’s first hearing on October 9, the government’s lawyers assured the court that Johnson would adhere to the law in writing and before the judges – despite the prime minister’s repeated public declarations that he would never request an extension.
If the three judges find Johnson has failed to uphold the law, they could find him in contempt, with potential punishments including a fine or even a jail sentence.
Clearly the court accepted  the government's promise, to obey the law and by not signing the letter could indeed be found not to have deliberately misled the judges and had no intention of complying with any palimentry vote to seek a extention in writing.

EU Commission president Donald Tusk confirmed at 10pm on Saturday that he had received the prime minister’s request, tweeting: “The extension request has just arrived. I will now start consulting EU leaders on how to react.”
In his signed letter, Johnson wrote: “A further extension would damage the interests of the UK and our EU partners, and the relationship between us.”
The letter, to Tusk and copied to European Council president Jean-Claude Juncker, references his regret at being defeated over the Letwin amendment in the House of Commons on Saturday.
It states: “Regrettably, parliament missed the opportunity to inject momentum into the ratification process for the new Withdrawal Agreement.”
MPs voted by 322 to 306 in favour of amending the Brexit deal in order to withhold the Commons’ approval until the necessary UK legislation to leave the EU has been passed. The government’s response was to cancel Saturday’s vote on the deal, with it expected to be brought back before MPs during the week.
Joanna Cherry QC, an SNP MP who has been involved in bringing proceedings to court, described Johnson’s actions as a “childish trick of not signing the letter and sending a contradictory covering letter”.
She added: “Our legal team are instructed to remind the court that as well as promising to comply with the letter of the Benn Act, the PM also promised not to seek to frustrate the purpose of the legislation.
“It will be for the court to decide whether his actions in failing to sign the letter of request and sending a letter setting out his contrary intentions

I find it extraordinary that this is not the major news issue   in that  a UK  Prime minister faces arrest  for  contempt .

Plaid's Liz Saville Roberts Plaid Cymru MP Liz Saville-Roberts has previously  asked Speaker John Bercow for advice on whether they can table a motion to impeach the Prime Minister.

It might well be something that she should revive.