He's got a day job!

The Bright side of Insomnia has gone to sleep. But before we all become morose and full of mourning the insomniac is now up and about in daylight hours on his new Red Flag and Dragon blog - enjoy!


The Referendum Lie

Much excitement on the BBC about the latest devolution opinion poll commissioned by the Corporation. Rather than cause me excitement however the poll leaves me in despair.

Because of the failings of previous Welsh opinion polls supporters of devolution are using polls that show a lead, but not a substantial lead, to play into the hands of the opponents of devolution. Devolutionists will not demand a referendum until the polls show substantially more support for further powers than those polls in 1997 that predicted more than 60% support for devolution. This is silly, an inaccurate poll is an inaccurate poll, and if today's poll showed 75% support for further powers it still couldn't be relied on. Those who want opinion polls to predict the best time to hold a referendum should be campaigning for more accurate polls rather than being panicked by inaccurate ones.

The whole referendum issue is, of course, a farce. Those Labour and Lib Dem MPs who stood in the last Westminster election insisting that a referendum should be held on the European constitution but who have now ditched that commitment are blatant hypocrites for insisting that a further devolution referendum is still necessary. A referendum on the Government of Wales Act would not have anything like the constitutional implications of the Lisbon Treaty. Indeed if a referendum was held tomorrow and was heavily defeated it wouldn't prevent the Assembly from acquiring all of the powers offered in the GoW Act over time through the LCO system.

The thing that caused me the most despair, however, was that the BBC and the political pundits insist on peddling the lie that a referendum will put the Assembly on a par with the Scottish Parliament, Betsan Powys' reports even suggested that the question asked in the poll mentioned Scottish Powers. The Government of Wales Act offers the Assembly fewer than a fifth of the limited powers that Scotland has - politicians and broadcasters who claim otherwise are deliberately deceiving the public.


The President of Cuckoo Land

I missed Dragons Eye last night unfortunately, but I will have to make sure that I see the repeat showing on Sunday. According to the BBC's Welsh news site the programme includes an extraordinary outburst by Assembly Presiding Officer and Plaid AM for Dwyfor Meirionnydd, Dafydd Elis Thomas, stating that Plaid members who believed Plaid's manifesto commitments and the guarantees that Plaid had included in the One Wales Agreement are living in Cuckoo Land!

A Question of Sport

Rhodri Glyn has noted that Wales will lose out to the tune of 80 million pounds because of Lottery funding diverted to the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Alex Salmond recons that the cost to Scotland will be 150 million pounds, but, he goes on to say It is entirely reasonable to call for an equivalent sum to be returned to Scotland to help us deliver a real, lasting legacy from the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

If Mr Salmond gets the support that he wants for the Commonwealth Games will that mean that Wales will lose further million of pounds of Lottery funding?

Is Wales going to lose out to Glasgow as well as London?

What will Wales' payback be for supporting international games prestige for England and Scotland?

Isn't it entirely reasonable for Wales to ask for support for sport and exercise, equivalent to that given to England and Scotland based on need, rather than on attracting prestige events?


One Wales - Un Byd

The One Wales Agreement contained a commitment to funding a Welsh Language daily newspaper. It was an unequivocal commitment:

We will expand the funding and support for Welsh-medium magazines and newspapers, including the establishment of a Welsh-language daily newspaper.

There is no way that either party to the One Wales Agreement can wiggle their way out of the fact that Rhodri Glyn Thomas' announcement on funding the Welsh Press, which sounded the death knell to establishing a Welsh language daily in the near future, is a broken promise.

The harm that this decision has caused to Plaid is loud and clear. Many of those who support Plaid Cymru for its defence of the language are bitterly disappointed. The harm to the Labour Party may not be as acute, but it adds to the perception that Cymdeithas Cledwyn noted in Llandudno last week that Labour is seen to be anti-Welsh.

In the long term, however, the decision not to fund Y Byd may prove to be a godsend to the future of the language. As long a go as the early eighties Emyr Llywelyn, in his book Adfer a'r Fro Gymraeg, noted that too many supporters of the language rely too heavily on government intervention as the only means of safeguarding Welsh. Little is done to gain support for the language from within the Welsh speaking community itself and little is done to fund language initiatives from non-governmental sources.

Since the idea of a Welsh language newspaper was first suggested some three years or so ago I have not been directly approached by anybody canvassing my support for the publication. All I know about the issue has come through third parties such as messages on Maes E. Most of my Welsh reading acquaintances in the local community first heard of Y Byd when they were told of its demise last week! Pathetic.

The paper wanted £600K per year grant for the publication plus a £200K guarantee of advertising revenue from the Assembly. But have they sought any long-term advertising or sponsorship deals from other sources such as Tesco or HSBC? Apparently not! It has been a policy of government or bust.

One Wales was wrong to make and brake a promise, but the lesson that not even a government with Plaid support can guarantee everything that supporters of the language want, might be a valuable lesson learned. A lesson that encourages those of us who wish to see the language flourish to stop being over dependent on the state for everything.


Socialism in Action?

Whilst I am being condemned by Plaid supporters for daring to oppose socialism and supporting capitalism, I hear odd rumours about the proposed whereabouts of the leader of Plaid Sosialaidd Cymru on March 1st.

I am told that the leader of the Welsh Socialist Soviet, Brother Ieuan Wyn Jones, will be celebrating St Davids Day by ringing the bell to open the Nest of Capitalist Vipers that is the New York Stock Exchange.

Say it ain't so bro, please, say it ain't so
That's not what I wanna hear bro
And I got a right to know
Say it ain't so bro, please, say it ain't so
I'm sure they're telling us lies bro
Please tell us it ain't so

Sign the Petition!

I dont have much faith in on-line petitions, I don't know of one that has ever succeeded in changing anything.

But if there is one petition that deserves to succeed it i this one:

We, European citizens of all origins and of all political persuasions, wish to express our total opposition to the nomination of Tony Blair to the Presidency of the European Council

Sign it!


Is There Anything More Miserable? Yes!

My post last Wednesday, in which I quoted an anti Welsh socialist rant, seems to have touched some raw nerves. Bethan Jenkins AM seems to have been particularly peeved by it, so peeved that she has posted an intemperate response on her own blog. Ms Jenkins asks in her post Is there anything more miserable than a Miserable Old Fart?

Unfortunately it appears that the answer is YES. The thing that is more miserable than a Miserable Old fart is a Militant Young Socialist.

Ms Jenkins tells me that she supports socialism because she is not in the business of advocating Independence without taking in to regard the type of Independent Wales [she] would like to see. Fine, but at least have the courtesy to accept that I oppose socialism for exactly the same reason. I want Wales to be independent but I don't want it to be a statist country, where social class is divided against social class in a way that has always been alien to the Welsh communities in which I have lived

I don’t want an independent Wales to be based on an economic system characterized by state ownership of the means of production and distribution. I don't want an independent Wales where people are despised for being entrepreneurs, or punished for being economically successful. I want to live in an independent country in which the citizens of that country are also independent and not dependent on the state.

The main criticism of my post seem to be that it was somehow wrong to link Plaid's socialist tendency with the views of a member of the incongruously named Respect Party. They may both be socialist parties but it's unacceptable to tar all socialists with the same brush. However, as it is the socialists themselves who choose to use the same label to describe their political philosophy, there must be some basic principals that they share. Some of the comments from Respect seem to be fairly typical socialist principals, the sort of arguments that one has been use to hearing from socialists of all hues for many years:

No nations! No borders!
Internationalism and solidarity!
Somebody Welsh on the minimum wage has more in common with an English or Polish worker than a Welsh millionaire!

If Ms Jenkins and her ilk, don't believe that class solidarity overrides national solidarity, why do they insist on using the socialist tag?

Whenever I criticise Plaid's socialist tendency I can guarantee that somebody will say that I shouldn't do so, because they are fellow nationalists and my criticism should be aimed at unionists. Ignoring the fact that most posts on this blog have promoted independence and opposed unionism. I am also told that there is no need to criticise Plaid because Plaid is a broad church (or as Adam Price would prefer, a broad inter faith community). This is a myth. Plaid's aims, as noted on its membership card, are based on decentralist socialism. Because I believe that socialism is an evil doctrine, because I believe that an independent Wales would be best served by a vibrant capitalist economy I am excluded from the party by its aims, and my economic and political philosophy is condemned by the party's aims. The idea that I should embrace a party or refrain from criticising a party that excludes me and condemns my views by virtue of its stated aims is laughable.

The only thing that separates me from David Jones MP, Nick Bourne AM and especially Glyn Davies is that I believe that Wales should be independent and they (for reasons that are beyond my understanding) do not. I disagree with Plaid's socialist tendency on a range of economic and social attitudes, so is it any wonder that I criticise Plaid more often than I criticise the Tories?

The saddest thing about the demise of Plaid's core values over the past few decades is that I can't even agree with Plaid on the independence issue any more. Plaid has done bugger all to promote independence in the last 20 years because the party is too hung up on the evolution of devolution to care about making a positive case for independence.


Eisteddfod funding secured

Back in December I published a post that suggested that this year's Urdd National Eisteddfod, due to be held in Conwy county might be in jeopardy due to funding problems arising from the Assembly's grant to local authorities:

The Urdd National Eisteddfod is due to be held in the county next year. Because hosting the festival is likely to give a six million pound boost to the local economy, the county had agreed to support it with £300,000. However, because of the paucity of the Assembly grant increase, the council may be forced to renege on this promise as part of its cut backs.

If the council's support is withdrawn the Festival may have to be cancelled. The 15,000 children who take part in the Eisteddfod will be denied the opportunity to display their talents and 150,000 festival visitors will be deprived of the opportunity of enjoying the event. If this happens it will be a disaster for Conwy and for Wales as a whole.

I was pleased to hear today that this problem has now been resolved following the Assembly's promise to ensure that all councils in Wales will receive a minimum 2% increase, which is a slight but important increase on the 1.1% that Conwy had initially been given.

Although a final decision about the funding promised to the Urdd won't be made until February 28th, the council's cabinet member for finance, Cllr Dilwyn Roberts has told Urdd officials that it is very likely that the council would now be in a position to donate the promised funding.

Well done Conwy Council!


Nobody Loves Me!

The lovable Labour PPC for Arfon seems to think that I am unloved because of my recent tirade against socialism!

Nothing could be further from the truth. I have been sent a Valentines card that proves just how much I am loved and valued:

OK! It wasn't sent by Bethan, Leanne or Adam, it came from a Man in a Shed!


Obama - fur coat no knickers

The United States candidate nomination elections are an enigma to me. I'm never quite sure what a victory in a state is. Some are primaries some are caucuses, some are winner takes all some are proportional some give many delegates others few. The bitterness, the hate adverts and the vitriol between people who are supposed to be in the same party is beyond my comprehension.

If I could vote in America, I would vote for Mrs Clinton. My primary reason is that she is of Welsh decent and connections to current or past US presidents is a major boost to our tourist industry.

A secondary reason is that Mr Obama gives me the impression of a person that my grandmother would describe as fur coat but no knickers. His presentation is good, but when you strip off the outer coating, he is left naked! Obama is charismatic, lovable and cuddly, but what are his policies on anything? We just don’t know!

Mrs C may be boring when she discuses health, wealth and international relations, but she does have practical policies on these issues and at the end of the day it’s the policies and not the presentation that count!

There are a lot of people of Welsh descent who live in Wisconsin, many of whom are related to me. My message to them is - do your old country proud, vote for the Welsh girl!

And they wonder why I hate socialism!

The following quote is from a socialist who wishes to arrange a counter demonstration against the St David's day parade in Cardiff. It is typical of the socialist mindset. Read it and understand why I hate the fact that the likes of Adam Price, Bethan Jenkins and Leanne Wood have dragged Plaid Cymru into the socialist mire.

Socialism and Nationalism are clearly incompatible ideologies. Plaid must decide either nationalism or socialism it can't be both!

As we know over the last few years the nationalists have stepped up their attempts to impose conformity and their bigoted ideology on our locale, they will be using St David's Day to impose the idea that Wales is a nation cosily united - rich and poor - against English oppression and waving their flags. They will be attempting to construct a 'welsh identity' that never existed and various other ideas that mystify social reality, class division and block the forming of genuine grassroots culture based on solidarity and diy principles.

It's time to organise a class war counter parade stating clearly -

No nations! No borders!
Internationalism and solidarity!
The working class has no country!
Somebody welsh on the minimum wage has more in common with an English or Polish worker than a welsh millionaire!
We will create our own culture from below that is fluid and dynamic not have some fake culture based on nationalism, patriotism and other authoritarian and servile crap forced upon us.

Major Arsehole

Hat Tip: Rhys Wynne


Have the Lib Dems heard of Devolution?

Mark Young, Parliamentary Candidate for the Lib Dems in the Vale of Clwyd, proudly informs us that the Welsh Liberal Democrats have succeeded in having a petition accepted on the, patently useless, Petitions to the Prime Minister site.

It is a very laudable petition:


We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Create a new
target, which will encourage NHS Hospitals to create adequate
car parking spaces.

Many Hospitals have insufficient car parking spaces. Patients,Visitors, Staff, out-patients have to queue up for scarce and insufficient car parking spaces.

Visitors may be charged two pounds for visiting a relative in the afternoon, and a second charge of two pounds for visiting in the evening.

Can the Government please encourage NHS hospitals to increase the number of car parking spaces. At the same time, introduce fair and reasonable concessions for those customers who are unable to afford some charges.

However shouldn't a Welsh Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate be expected to know that hospital parking is a devolved issue, and that the National Assembly has its own Petitions System?


Independence in Europe at last

At long last it appears that Wales may have gained the status of independence in Europe. Not in the EU, but in the Eurovision Song Contest. According to a report in today's Herald newspaper the competition's organiser, the European Broadcasting Union has told SNP MEP Alyn Smith that there is nothing to prevent Scotland from entering on its own merit. If there is nothing to stop Scotland, then there is nothing to stop Wales either!

Hat tip: Adam Smith was a Socialist

The need for a Referendums Act

I Want a Referendum is holding a private ballot in 10 constituencies across the UK to determine how many people think the UK should hold a national referendum on the Lisbon Treaty and whether people think the UK should agree to the treaty or reject it. One of the constituencies chosen for the private ballot is the Aberconwy constituency where I live*

I received my ballot paper this morning. I was disappointed to discover that the ballot paper and leaflet giving both sides of the argument are only in English, especially as Guto Bebb stated on yesterday's the Politics Show opt out that he had been busy translating all the material.

The ballot paper has two questions

1 Should the United Kingdom hold a national referendum on the EU's Lisbon Treaty Yes/No
2. Should the United Kingdom approve the EU's Lisbon Treaty Yes/No

I will be voting NO to the second question. Since the UK joined the European Community in the 1970's, gradualist reforming treaties have changed the institution out of all proportion and these gradual reforms seem to be leading inevitably towards an United States of Europe, a new European Empire. An European Superstate which will result in Wales having even less of a voice in the economic and social debates that will effect the country than it currently has in the British Union.

I am uncertain about the first question. I will probably vote yes, in favour of a referendum but I will do so with some doubts. The reason why this government is refusing to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty is quite simply that it strongly suspects that it knows that the result will not be the result that it wants. Exactly the same reason why Margaret Thatcher and John Major's Governments didn't call referendums on the Single European Act and the Mastricht Treaty.

If referendums are to be used as part of the democratic process then calling them at the whim of a government only when it knows what the result will be is an abuse of the democratic process. If referendums are to be used as part of the democratic decision making process then they should be triggered "automatically" by circumstances laid out by a Referendums Act whether the government likes it or not.

Many of those who are calling for a referendum on Lisbon are the same people who wanted a referendum on the SEA and Mastricht. So why haven't those (especially the MPs amongst them) who have been calling for referendums for the past 21 years used that period to campaign for a Referendum's Act? Because they are as guilty as the present government of only wanting a referendum when they think the result will be the one that they want; because they are frightened that a democratic system that triggers referendums according to circumstances rather than whim might cause a referendum to be forced upon them when the result isn't likely to go their way. The unsavoury truth is that many politicians on both sides of the argument over a referendum on Lisbon are opportunists rather than democrats.

*As the constituency is in the process of boundary changes, it could be the Conwy constituency that is being balloted.

Free Nicotine Replacement Therapy

I was chatting to an acquaintance earlier who has been trying to stop smoking. Despite feeling the health benefits of not having had a fag since New Year he was disappointed that he wasn't feeling any financial benefit yet. He is using nicotine patches to aid his abstinence and, apparently, they are very expensive things to buy.

I found his comments about the cost of patches to be rather surprising. Nicotine patches, gum, inhalators etc are all available on prescription from the family doctor. Prescriptions are free in Wales now, of course, so there is no need for any Welsh person to pay for Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT).

As persuading people to stop smoking is a cornerstone of the Assembly's policy to improve the health of Wales, why doesn’t the Welsh Assembly Government advertise the fact that NRT is available, without charge, for any Welsh man or woman who wants to give it a go?


Whats in it for me?

The National Assembly has been lauded for its new Epilepsy Strategy that is, apparently, the UK's first of its kind. I am always happy to see the Assembly being innovative and being the first to do good deeds - it makes me proud to be Welsh.

As a person who has lived with epilepsy for the past 30 odd years I am a bit under whelmed by what I have read about the Assembly's Epilepsy Strategy. It seems to be strategy to tell doctors to fiddle with sufferer's medication; this shouldn't need a new strategy. Good GP's should review anticonvulsant treatments at least once a year under present good practice guidelines (as my GP does).

It also claims to include measures to provide more hospital care closer to peoples' homes. The rare hospital involvement in my treatment has always been provided by my local general hospital, so I can't see how better hospital care can practically be provided any closer to my home. So-called quality treatments normaly involve centralising services, and centralising services for people whose disability usually prohibits them from driving is not a good idea!

As much as I would like to shout hoorah! Wales leads the world in services for people who live with epilepsy! From what I have read about the strategy, so far, it isn't going to make a blind bit of difference to my life!


Accommodating Shariah?

I am prohibited by English law (the alien law that I am forced to live by) from expressing my true feelings about Islam, should I do so I would be arrested, as another blogger has been, for inciting religious hatred, despite the fact that I am not a hateful person and I believe sincerely in the principal of freedom of religious expression.

During the last ten years or so fundamentalist secularists have used Islam and other religion's rights to try and undermine the existence of Christianity in Europe. They do this on those spurious grounds that my enemy's enemy is my enemy.

Secular politicians and activists have positively promoted Islam to the detriment of Christianity and, as a result, the Ismlamisation of Europe is a real and present danger. A danger that it is difficult to raise in public without being accused of Islamophobia, prejudice or being hateful in other ways.

Unlike Iain Dale I do not consider Rowan Williams to be an Idiotic Priest. I have always thought Dr Williams to be a very wise man. He is a man of huge intellect and an astute politician. As the Primus Inter Pares of a very diverse organisation that could be split on many issues, he has shown himself to be a great conciliator and an able diplomat since his enthronement.

Despite my disagreement with his view, I welcome Dr Williams's comments. His comments have invited a world wide rational debate on this important issue. Had he raised this issue from the other side of the argument, had he condemned Shariah law, it would have led to a political crisis, diplomatic incidents and snivelling apologies from the British Government.

By making these comments that suggest support for Shariah law, Dr Williams has opened an important debate that those who are opposed to this mediaeval legal system could never have opened themselves for fear of damnable reprobation by the secularist fundamentalists, so Diolch yn Fawr Rowan.

Others worth reading on this subject:
Rhys Llwyd; FaithWorld; Independent; London Village; Newbie Anglican; The Ugley Vicar; Our Kingdom; Archbishop Cranmer and many others


... and Welsh Labour woes

The fun and games for Labour are not confined to Scotland, it appears that Wales still has its share. Having lost his cabinet jobs because of the donations scandal, Peter Hain has now become embroiled in the employment of relatives fiasco. Most of the Sunday's seem to be making hay over the fact that Mr Hain employs his 80 year old mother as a secretary.

Scottish Labour woes

Whilst waiting for the Electoral Commission to make a decision on alleged illegal donations to her leadership campaign, Wendy Alexander, the leader of Labour in the Scottish Parliament has received a blow from an unexpected quarter. The Standards Commissioner of the Scottish Parliament has referred her case to the Procurator Fiscal in Lothian and Borders. Ms Alexander, who is a close friend of Gordon Brown, now faces a police investigation and possible charges if the fiscal concludes the alleged offences are criminal.

To add to the party's problems another Labour MSP has also been reported to the police for allegedly failing to declare a gift worth £1,000. Former health minister Andy Kerr, apparently received hospitality from McDonald's, the burger company. In fairness I can understand why a former health minister might feel embarrassed by such a gift - £1k's worth of hospitality adds up to a lot of Big Macs & fries!