The Christmas Commission

Here is a sobering thought for those of us who save our pennies in order to give our kids a good Christmas, even more sobering for those who buy Christmas on credit:
As of last Thursday we are nearer to next Christmas than we are to last Christmas.
I set up this blog to comment on the last Assembly election, in fits and starts it has kept on going. Incredibly we are now nearer the next Assembly election than we are to the last one. How time flies when one is enjoying oneself! Time to start looking forward to 2011, perhaps, rather than harping back to 2007!

One thing that has become clear since the inception of the Assembly is that the chances of having a single party majority government, under the current system of election, is highly unlikely. We are either going to have a coalition government or a minority government (which is a coalition of opposition, in all but name).

The way that the parties have dealt with the inevitability of coalition over the past 10 years is by creating commissions, conventions and committees to deal with contentious issues and by doing so, passing the buck to others.

By voting for Assembly Members we employ THEM to make difficult decisions, we don't employ them to employ others to take the difficult decisions away!

I have nothing against consultation or seeking expert opinion when it is used for the best of reasons. But using consultation and seeking expert opinion to procrastinate on contentious coalition issues is an abuse of process for the worst of reasons. It stifles good governance and it makes a mockery of democracy!

As they look forward to the next Assembly elections and start to prepare for the possibility of being in a coalition, all parties must consider what their red line issue are, what they won't compromise on. And to make it clear to the electorate that those issues will be dealt with, by the Assembly, rather than by some Santa Clause Commission.


Win Patrick Hannan's latest book

Patrick Hannan has been commenting on Welsh politics since Lloyd George was just a lad - and he's still going strong. Apart from his work for the BBC, HTV and the Western Mail Patrick has also produced a number of good books on politics including:
2001 A Year in Wales, Wales Off Message, The Welsh Illusion and When Arthur Met Maggie.

His latest tome is entitled A Useful Fiction: Adventures in British Democracy:
Leading political commentator and broadcaster Patrick Hannan provides an enlightening and entertaining analysis of a post-devolution Britain and the concept of Britishness in politics, society and the media. With power no longer residing at one address, A Useful Fiction is a fascinating look at the new structure of the United Kingdom and whether the unfinished business of devolution might actually be England itself.

O'Neill on A Pint of Unionist Lite has promised a review of the book soon. In which case every Welsh, English, Scottish and Irish nationalist blog commentator needs a copy so that they can refute O'Neill's comments authoritatively.

Costing between £10 and £12, depending on supplier, I know that some skinflint readers of this blog will balk at the price. But there is a chance of getting a copy for free, sod all and for nothing.

The Liberal England blog is offering up a prize of two copies of the book to the winners of an e-mail quiz, which includes the question:

Which MP is currently 326th in the line of succession to the British throne?

The only one that I can't answer - so help please!

Entries close at 23:59 on Tuesday 7 July 2009 and the winners will be drawn by Lord Bonkers (honestly - that what it says!)


Sir Em doesn't drink in the same pubs as me!

On the S4C Welsh Language news last night there was an interview with Sir Emyr Jones-Parry of the devo committee. In the interview the benighted gent said that, in his opinion, there was little interest in the nitty gritty of devolution in the local pubs of Wales. He claims that:
The people in the pubs are interested in the Lion's game, the economy, the Health Service, not devolution

Interesting conclusion when one considers that not a single one of his consultations were held in a pub!

Also interesting was that the interview was only broadcast in Welsh! The gist of the interview was reported by Betsan in English, without an English word from Sir Emyr himself!

It looks like the Welsh speaking nashies are being forewarned that the Syr Em commission is going to say NO! (Or, diplomatically - not yet!)!

However, it is clear that Syr Em doesn't drink in the same pubs as me!

He is right when he says that questions about the Health Service, The Economy, The Environment etc are uppermost in peoples minds, but in my pub the big question is What is the Welsh Assembly going to do about these issues?

Three or four years ago the people on the barstools would have asked What is the Government (-i.e. the Westminster Government) going to do about them?

The fact that it is those arseholes in Cardiff who are now blamed for all our woes rather than the arseholes in London is an important development.

On almost every bread and butter issue discussed in my local, one can guarentee that somebody will moan that The Welsh Assembly should do more

There is a major gap between the idea that the Assembly should do more and the idea that the Assembly should have the power to do more, but that gap isn't one that a committee or a commission should fill. That is the job for the politicians!

It is time for the 60 elected and well paid Assembly Members to come out from the protection of Syr Em's shield and tell us what they want, what they really, really want! And what they are going to do about it!


The Mother of All Wigs

Valley's Mam, Glyn and the Three Dewis have been wondering what Lembit's mother of all wigs looks like. Happy to oblige:

Also available in black, red and blond.

The wig illustrated above costs £18.69, the tax payer paid £19.99 for Lembit's wig. The Welsh MP's wig was more expensive because of barnet formula consequentials.

Whiskey Galore?

I am disgusted by the most recent Welsh MP's expenses scandal.

If I was in a job where I could get away with putting a crate of whiskey on expenses I would go for it at least once a month.

Huw Irranca Davies has been an MP for 7 years, and in that time he has managed to claim for just one measly crate! - Pathetic!

Bloody armature Welsh Labour MPs - can't even milk the expenses properly.


I'm SO important

Ali Goldsworthy has an interesting post on the Lib Dem blog Freedom Central, in which she discusses Plaid's referendum dilemmas. She quotes John Osmond a Plaid Candidate in the last Assembly election claiming that a referendum is ‘frankly unlikely’ in this term of office.

She then goes on to claim that
in recent weeks influential members have called for them to back out of the coalition because they don’t think it will be achieved.

The term influential members is hyper-linked. Because I wasn't aware of any influential Plaid members making such a call, I clicked the link with enthusiasm, exited to find out who these influential members were. Imagine my surprise to find that the Plaid member with such great influence was ME! I don't know who should feel more insulted, myself or Plaid Cymru.

I'm sorry to disappoint you Ali, but I have never been an influential member of Plaid, I haven't even been a Plaid member without influence for over 8 years.

I am gutted - the note about my great importance has been has been edited and replaced with a link to a story about Alan in Dyfed! The shame, the shame :-(

A "Peaceful Protest" in Iran?

I don't know enough about Iranian politics to be able to judge the veracity of Hilary Clinton's worries that the Iranian election was fixed. Welsh language blogger Cai Larsen claims that Western Powers build up a case for pro Western candidates and then get upset when common voters don't vote in accordance with Western hype. He may be right, he may be wrong. I don't know.

What I do know, however, having just watched a BBC World News report on protests against the election result is that the BBC is very inconsistent in its reporting style about pro western protests in Iran and anti western protests in Britain.

A few weeks ago a dozen, or so, Islamists protested during a military parade in Luton. They shouted abusive slogans at the soldiers and held up abusive placards. Their protest was described as offensive, appalling, disgraceful, extremist, abusive, incitive etc. I agree with all of those adjectives. As offensive as I found their protest there is little doubt that the protest was within the bounds of what might be called the British tradition of peaceful protest. But you won't find that word peaceful in any Western report covering the demo.

During the BBC's report on the Iranian protests, however, the term peaceful protest was used four times in a 60 second item. Whilst the term was being used pictures were being shown of thousands people running riot in the street, stones being thrown, vehicles being burned and soldiers and policemen being physically attacked.

If Mrs Clinton's claim of vote rigging is true one can argue that the protests are justified. Given the claimed circumstances one can even say that the protest was restrained, but what you can't say once, never mind four times, is that it was peaceful.

What I find unacceptable in the BBC's reporting is that it doesn't see the danger of the duplicity of its reportage. You can't get away from the fact that calling 12 people shouting extreme, and calling thousands rioting peaceful is inconsistent to say the least.

This form of stupid reporting by the BBC, and others, just plays into the hands of those who want to recruit faithful young British Muslims into the extremist Islamist cause by claiming that the West is clearly anti-Muslim and two faced when it comes to reporting stories about Muslims in different continents!



Time for a Referendum Rethink

Almost two years exactly ago, during the tortuous coalition negations I made this comment:

The only thing that would make me support a Red-Green coalition would be a guarantee that the Government of Wales Act 2006 will be amended to give Full Law Making powers to the Assembly without the need for a referendum

Others disagreed, they thought that the Red-Green coalition could both make the coalition happen and guarantee a yes vote.

Things are very different now.

Support for devolution is stronger now than it has ever been, but it is a well known fact that votes in referendums are often used as much to kick the government of the day, as they are to express an opinion on the issue in question. The 1979 disaster was as much to do with the unpopularity of the tired, old, failing Callaghan Government that proposed it as it was about devolution. The scrape through in 1997 was partially to do with the fresh new popular government of Tony Blair.

If a referendum was called by Mr Brown and Mr Hain tomorrow, I fear that too many supporters of devolution would cut their noses off to spite their face and either not vote or vote No! Those opposed to Labour would seize their chance and vote this time, despite not voting last time, as a means of kicking Labour in the teeth.

What if we wait 12 months and get an agreement that a Tory government will support the holding of a referendum in 2011?

Despite last weeks vote there are too many people in Wales who hate the hairy arsed Tory monster who would also cut their noses off to spite their faces just because it was a Conservative government who called the referendum.

I fear that the window for a referendum has been lost. We could be stuck with the present cumbersome eLCO system (which has yet to deliver a Welsh Law) until about 2030.

The only chance left is for Plaid to play its Trump card and to tell Labour All deals are off unless the GoW Act 2006 is amended in this Parliamentary Session

I realise that some people might think that such a move would be bad, especially after Labour has reneged on its Lisbourn Referendum promise. But there are two reason why I think that such a deal would be justified.

Firstly if a referendum was held and voted No tomorrow all the powers in the Act would still, eventually, be available to Wales through the eLCO process, a process that is bogged down at the moment, and isn't working well. There is a practical justification for just doing away with this tortuous process. There is also something immoral in the present clause that the powers may be transferred in a different way even if we vote No.

Secondly the media, academia and many devolutionist have described the next step in the evolution of devolution for Wales as "Scottish Powers". Scottish powers are what have been envisaged in most polls. Scottish Powers will not be available through the current GoW act referendum provision, just legislative powers on current assembly powers without the need for eLCOs. To amend the Act to make true Scottish Powers available in a referendum sometime in the distant future, would keep within the spirit of the promise.

Plaid Cymru must consider this position urgently, before the current Westminster Parliament is dissolved


Should Plaid be more Eurosceptic?

In response to my post Reflections on the Euro Result James D made an interesting comment:

James D said...

I think there's another side to it: the Tories and the English Independence Party did well in a European election because of their Euroscepticism, whilst the Liberals got buried thanks to their being Eurofederalists. Plaid would do a lot better to fight to reclaim our rights from both Westminster and Brussels, rather than schizophrenically taking from one and giving to the other.

I think that James makes a fair point. Plaids enthusiasm for the EU isn't in tune with the view of the majority of Welsh voters and it does appear to be a bit hypocritical to be asking for separation from one Union which is too big and remote to consider the needs of Wales but to enthuse about full membership of a bigger even more remote union.

Of course the support for Europe is, like the support for Socialism, one of those policies adopted by the party in the mid eighties, when the party started to move away from its nationalist beginnings. In the 1975 EEC referendum Plaid Cymru was against the UK remaining in the community, Dafydd Elis was a particularly vigorous campaigner for a No vote.

Having been a supporter of the EEC in 1975 I was pleased when Plaid changed its oppositionist policy. However the policy was, at the time, one where Plaid wanted Wales to be part of a reformed EEC where economic co-operation was not dependent on Europe wide rules and regulations, but was an Europe of the Nations. A policy similar in many respects to William Hague's In Europe but not run by Europe stance. A return to such a policy would make much more sense and be more in tune with Plaid's heritage than appearing to support the creeping moves towards an European Nation State.

It was 1865 when the Tories did it last!

William Hague said it was 1931.

Adam Price said it was 1918

As the only person old enough to remember, I can state categorically, that it was in 1865 that the Tories last won the popular vote in a Welsh election.

Of course womenfolk and common folk weren't allowed to vote then - so maybe it doesn't count!

I hope that it will take at least another 144 years before they do it again. If it does I'll blog the result with a link back to this post!

Reflections on the Euro Result

The first comment has to be feeling absolutely sickened at the fact that two British fascists have been elected to the European Parliament.

To think that just two days ago we were remembering the sacrifices that people from these islands made in order to rid Europe of Fascists.

Today we are sending Fascist to be part of Europe's Parliament. Words cannot describe how bitterly I feel about this result - the people who voted for this evil party have pissed on every cenotaph in Britain and every allied war grave in Europe.

The result in Wales was also a bitter disappointment.

Adam Price has been spinning about how good the result in Wales was for Plaid, with only 2% points between Plaid and the Tory winners. But the truth is that Plaid has lost 14,000 votes since the last Euro Elections.

The last Euro elections were generally seen as a disastrous result for Plaid, but this time round the party lost votes and only managed a 1.5% increase in its share of the vote when the main opponents, Labour, lost 12% of its vote share.

This election was not only a disaster for Labour in Wales but was also a disaster for Plaid.

UKIP, a party that believes that Wales is just a geographical expression, a party that wants the National Assembly abolished and a party that opposes any use of the Welsh language now has 1/4 of the Welsh representation in the EU parliament.

Plaid gave them that seat by not fighting vigorously for Wales and not exposing UKIP for the vile anti Welsh party that it is. If Plaid has to learn one lesson from this election it must be that they must never give UKIP such an easy ride in any election again.

The SNP appears to be doing exceptionally well in Scotland, the BBC is projecting that it will beat Labour into second place with a lead of about 10%. There is little difference in policy issues that divide Plaid and the SNP. There are similar demographics between Scotland and Wales, so why is the SNP doing so well and Plaid doing so badly?

I would suggest that it is the way that the parties portray themselves.

The SNP is clearly a nationalist party that supports social democracy. Plaid comes across as a socialist party that supports Welsh democracy.

Plaid policies, Plaid members and Plaid's appeal are not socialist they are Nationalist. The party doesn't need to change what it believes in, it needs to change the way in which it sells those beliefs, by emulating the SNP and becoming a nationalist party that believes in social democracy rather than portraying itself as a closet communist party.

Congratulations Dick Cole #2

With Cornwall being a small part of the huge South west of England region (which includes the Rock of Gibraltar) Mebion Kernow wasn't going to make much of a mark in the Euro elections. The good news, however, is that in Cornwall itself MK came ahead of the Labour Party. Well done Dick!


Vaughan has the number of constituencies won by each party in Wales:

Conservative 17
Labour 15
Plaid 7
Lib Dem 1

Clearly with such a low turnout these results wont be reflected in either a Westminster or Assembly general election, but they will make some of them interesting!


Derek Brokway Forecasts Brown's Downfall

Derek Brokway is the nearest we have to a modern day prophet in Wales. He Forecasts the weather with 99% accuracy on BBC Wales on a daily basis.

Last August I published this post:

Toque believes that Gordon Brown holidaying in Britain, this year and last, has put a curse on the weather. Apparently, Mr Brown use to go to Cape Cod for his holidays before becoming PM, Toque thinks that the weather might improve should Gordon Sod off back to Cape Cod.

Derek has said that this summer is going to be a good one. That must mean that Gordon Brown will be out before summer begins on the 21st of this month!

If Mr Brown hasn't left Downing Street by June 22, don't bother rummaging for your bucket and spade - Derek has got it wrong and it it is going to p**s down until next May!


Bugger Blogger

My number one reason for not supporting Labour was supposed to be published automatically at 8 am on Thursday Morning, for some weird reason it appears to have been published 2 days late!

Apart from blogger making a balls up I also, inadvertently left numbers 10 and 28 out of my 101 reasons for not supporting Labour.

That is a problem easily resolved:

10) Glenys Kinnock being elevated to the Lords (amongst many others to fill the Labour ranks). Gordon Brown seems to think that every Lord he selects is an addition to the talents that the government can call on. He appears to be stuffing the Lords with Labour supporters in a way that would have embarrassed any Tory government and even Lloyd George. (Plaid Lords still not approved, of course)!

28) When I made my comments about the abuse of Civil Liberties I noted:

58) Keeping the DNA of innocent people on police databases

59) Ignoring a European Court of Human Rights ruling that the "blanket and indiscriminate" retention of suspects' DNA is unlawful.

It appears that the situation is worse than that. Apparently the police have been instructed to arrest, without sufficient evidence, children who they think might be potential criminals in order to harvest their DNA!

Number One Reason why I hate Labour

Thomas George Thomas, 1st Viscount Tonypandy

The most sycophantic Brit ever born in Wales. A man embarrassed by his nationality and his father's language, a man with a pathological hatred of all things Welsh. A man who would use and abuse his Welsh heritage for self advancement but refused to give anything back.

Some might claim that he is an exception rather than the rule. But when Wil Edwards MP lost his seat to Plaid Cymru in 1974 he put it down to the fact that for every one Cledwyn there are 10 George Thomases in the Labour Party.

This remains the truth today. For every one Carwyn Jones there are 10 Don Touhigs and Ian Lucases and Chris Bryants and Paul Murpheys in the party. People who make working class Welsh people feel inferior, rather than raising them up, as the Labour Party, of all parties, was created to do.


Congratulations Dick Cole

Hearty congratulations to Cllr Dick Cole the leader of Mebion Kernow on winning a seat on the new Cornish Unitary Council with a massive 78% of the vote in his division:

St Enoder results Candidate Party Votes %
Dick Cole Mebyon Kernow 927 78% Elected
Jacqueline Fair Conservative 177 15% Not elected
Keith William Hugh Wonnacott Liberal Democrat 91 8% Not elected

Voting Summary Details Number
Total votes 1195
Electorate 3346
Ballot Papers Issued 1199
Number of ballot papers rejected 4
Turnout 36%

Glenys gets her nose back in the trough

Gordon Brown has just announced that Glenys Kinnock is to be made a member of the House of Lords and made minister for Europe.

It was bad enough that Peter Hain should be returned to frontline government, but this shows just how desperate Labour is.


101 Reasons for Not Voting Labour # 2- 9

Some odds and sods to finish of my penultimate post on reasons for not voting Labour

2) Gordon Brown promises British Jobs for British Workers, but fails to deliver.

3) Labour MP's condemn those who took Brown at his word for being racist!!!

4) Keith Vaz MP condemns the video Game Canis Canem Edit (Bully). Vaz thinks the game should be treated like a violent film and should go before the British Board of Film Classification or be banned completely. It is actually a game that a parent can play with teenage children and use to tackle issues of bullying, from both a victim and perpetrators point of view.

5 (For Peddu) Irene James

6 10p tax fiasco

7 bitchy blogs that do more harm than good for Labour

8 If you have a bowler hat they’ll help you; a hard hat, they’re not interested

9 Creeping privatisation selling off Wales

101 Reasons for Not Voting Labour # 11-27

Whenever a Welsh nationalist complains about the Labour party not giving due support to Wales, one can always guarantee that one of the party's rent-a-gobs will come up with the line that it was Labour that delivered the Welsh Assembly. One has to accept that it was a Labour Government that passed the Government of Wales Act 1998, but that doesn't make Labour the heroes of Welsh self determination. One of my main reasons for hating the Labour party is the fact that they have had to be dragged kicking and screaming for almost 100 years before allowing Wales to have a second rate elected chamber.

When he was elected as the first Welsh Labour MP in 1900 Keir Hardy promised a legislative parliament for Wales. The fact that Labour have failed to keep up with this 109 year old policy form my next 15 reasons for not voting Labour

11) 77 years latter, the Labour party introduced a bill to allow the weakest possible form of devolution for Wales.

12) The Labour Government didn't support devolution for Wales out of principal, it promised a bill in order to gain Plaid and SNP votes in a hung parliament, in order to hang on to power for a few more desperate years.

13) Labour renaged on its promies to the national parties by insisting on a referendum

14) It skewed the referendum by ensuring that dead people who couldn't vote were considered to be opponents of devolution

15) It allowed members of the party to campaign against government policy without fear or hindrance. Indeed it allowed the likes of Neil Kinnock to base their future careers in the Labour Party hierarchy on the basis of opposing the Governments supposed support for devolution

16) Labour realized that it had to secure it's Scottish heartlands in order to form a government, so agreed a policy of Scottish devolution fort the sake of self preservation. A weakened form of Welsh devolution was thrown into the pot for good measure.

17) Wales was offered a parish council, rather than the parliament that Scotland was given.

18) Despite the good offices of some Welsh Labour politicians, Labour party members were the most vociferous opponents of devolution, yet again, in 1998

19) After electing a new Assembly for Wales, Westminster Labour decided who the First secretary should be

20) Realizing that devolution to wales wasn't working, Labour decide not to change things, but to employ a commission, the Richards Commission to investigate the devolution settlement

21) One million pounds latter Labour ignore the findings of the Richards commission

22) The Government of Wales Act 2006 invents LCO's

23) LCO's prove unworkable but Labour refuses to back down on the system

24) Despite the findings of the Killbrandon Commission and the Richards Commission, Labour employs yet another commission, the Emyr Jones Commission to look again at devolution.

25) Labour politicians (and most Plaid AM's) can't see that it is elected members who are employed to make decisions - not unelected commissioners!

26) Welsh Labour MPs with the support of English Tories make the ELCO system unworkable

27) The GoW Act 2006 contains yet another referendum clause. And Labour's anti Welsh brigade join in with die-hard Tories to form "True Wales" to oppose further right for Wales

Bring it On?

There has been much blogging comment* on Plaid and the SNP's use of their opposition day motion to call for an immediate dissolution of parliament. Most of it has been supportive.

If the Tories and the Lib Dems stick to their principals and support the motion, and if enough peeved Labour MPs either support it or abstain then there is a very slight chance that the move might be successful.

There is no doubt that by pushing for an election in a practical way that the national parties are capturing the mood of the country (as the pundits say). They will be supported by the vast majority of the good people of these islands on this occasion. If successful they might have a big publicity boost that may benefit them in a forthcoming General election. But, there are dangers in their posturing too.

In 1979 it was support from the SNP that was the decisive factor in passing a vote of no confidence in the Callaghan government. The election that followed was the beginning of Thatcherism and 18 years of Tory government.

Thatcherism was not particularly welcome in Wales or Scotland, and Labour made hay out of the fact that it was the nationalists who paved Mrs T's way to Downing Street by virtue of the SNP voting yea in the no confidence vote.

A silly argument, of course. If the vote had been won by Jim he could have limped on for a few more months and Labour would still have been decimated in the polling booths. Mrs T would still have become PM, Tory history would not have been different. However the charge of letting Thatcher in did harm the advances of both Plaid and the SNP.

If the national parties win the vote next Wednesday there is little doubt that it will be the first step towards another long period of Tory government in Westminster. A government that will not be popular in either Scotland or Wales, and a government that Labour will, yet again, be able to blame the nationalists for.

Bring it on? Perhaps not!

*Some blogs on the SNP/Plaid debate:
SNP Tactical Voting
Penri James
Che Grav-ara
Politics Cymru
Plaid Monmouth
Andrew Nutt

101 Reasons for not voting Labour # 29 - 53

When the Labour Party was first elected back in 1997 Gordon Brown gained a reputation for economic prudence and competence. It was probably never deserved. Little of the so called economic miracle effected Wales, which has remained as poor as it was in the aftermath of the de-industrialization policies of Mrs Thatcher. Without doubt that reputation is now completely shattered. Rather than causing the end of boom and bust Brown has presided over one of the worst busts since the 1930's. My next 25 reasons for not voting Labour are all based on the economic mess that the party has caused.

29) The worst economic recession since the great depression

30) £697 billion of government debt which it will take generations to repay

31) Unemployment rates soaring. Up to 100,000 jobs per month being lost with projections that unemployment will reach 3,000,000 before long.

32) Savings made worthless due to the 0.5% interest rate

33) Output from factories hits fastest rate of decline for 28 years, with a likelihood that the rate will accelerate.

Welsh factories closing on a daily basis

34) Indesit in Bodelwyddan

35) Rexam Plastics in Flintshire

36) Corus steel plants, across Wales

37) Serious Food, Llantrisant

38) Bosch, Miskin

39) L’Oreal, Talbot Green

40) Dolgarog Aluminium

To name just a few

41) A generation stripped of self-belief as unemployment hits the under 25s in Wales particularly hard

42) Thousands of families loosing their homes

43) Northern Rock

44) HBoS

45) RBS

46) Printing £75 billion of extra money

47) Devaluing the pound.

48) Small businesses are essential to improving the economy, but they are generally ignored by Labour

49) Advice services for small businesses are being withdrawn

50) Despite paying billions to bail out the banks, the Government can't persuade the banks that it now owns to support small businesses

51) Gordon Brown refuses to accept any responsibility for the recession. Blaming "the world" rather than his own poor judgement and mismanagement

52) The arrogant assumption that those who got us into this mess are the only ones who can get us out of it

53) At a time when competence is most needed Alistair Darling always gets his predictions wrong


Ffred a Super-Hero

I don't know weather it is appropriate to feel sad o glad at the news that my old friend Ffred Ffransis has been sent to prison, yet again, because of his campaigning for the status of the Welsh language.

I first met Ffred when I was a youngster, in my teens, during a road signs protest in Llanelltyd near Dolgellau in about 1975/6. He has been one of my heroes ever since.

Many have been arrested, many have served gaol sentences as a result of their support for the rights of the Welsh language to survive.

Lots of the old campaigners have abused their former status as language rebels to gain influential jobs.

Many of us have had to give up because of the mendacity's of life, holding down a job, raising children, caring for spouses and parents, living with a disability etc, but Ffred has carried on with the cause with a vengance.

I salute and praise Ffred for his pertinacity and his perseverance in the language cause, for sticking with it into his 60's when many of us gave up in our 20's.

Da was, Da a Ffyddlon


101 Reasons for not voting Labour # 54-65

As a party founded to protect the working classes from oppression one would have expected the Labour Party to be a staunch defender of civil liberties and human rights. Over the past 12 years, however the Labour government's record on civil liberties and human rights has been atrocious.

54) The terrorism Act 2000, replaced previous temporary measures with a permenant set of rules. The act defines terrorism in a very broad way. An act of terrorism is defined as an action or the threat of action that is made for advancing a cause, that attempts to influence the government and that falls into one of several categories including serious damage to property or disruption of an electronic system. Under this definition any "direct action" protest group, such as Cymdeithas yr Iaith, can be prosecuted under terrorism legislation.

The Act has been used against anti war protesters, protesters against expansion of Heathrow Airport and the Government of Iceland

55) The Regulation of Investigatory Powers (RIP) Act 2000 a snoopers charter, which makes it compulsory for ISPs to record every customer's e-mail contacts and web browsing habits and to hand that info over to the authorities on request.

56) The 2003 RIP extension, in which David Blunket extended the right to access of records your telephone and internet activities to any government agency including jobcentres, local authorities and school inspectors.

57) Continuing extensions of the RIP Act. In 2000 only nine organizations, including the police and security services were allowed access to this data by 2008, it had grown to 792 organizations and is growing still. It is so wide now that it is even used by councils to spy on families suspected of putting their rubbish out on the wrong day

58) Keeping the DNA of innocent people on police databases

59) Ignoring a European Court of Human Rights ruling that the "blanket and indiscriminate" retention of suspects' DNA is unlawful.

60) The Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 extended the offence of incitement to racial hatred to cover criticizing another person's religious belief seriously undermining the right to have a legitimate debate about the rights and wrongs of religious beliefs.

61) The Serious Organized Crime and Police Act 2005

62) The Government being complicit in the torture of British Nationals by foreign agencies

63) Wanting to extend the time people can be held in custody without trial. Of course it is claimed that this would only be used to combat terrorism, but see how wide the definition of terrorism is in (54) above.

64) ID cards, again apparently being used to combat terrorism, despite the fact that a consultant to one of the Governments own spying factories saying that this was absolute bunkum.

65) Gordon brown suggesting that all these encroachments of civil liberties are actually a defence of civil liberty.

This is only a small selection of examples of Labour abuses of Human Rights and Civil Liberties, many more examples could be added. Further details can be found on the Liberty website


"MK candidate is a twat", says Lib Dem

A lovely little tale about Liberal Democrats dirty campaigning tactics on the BBC's Cornish pages:

Liberal Democrats have apologised after a campaign leaflet was sent out which uses a swear word to describe a Cornish nationalist candidate.

The paperwork was distributed on behalf of Anna Pascoe, Lib Dem candidate for Cornwall Council elections on 4 June.

It calls Mebyon Kernow candidate Stuart Cullimore a greasy-haired twat. He is considering what action to take.

The Lib Dems are investigating how about 40 of the leaflets were printed and distributed around Camborne.

Dick Cole, leader of Mebyon Kernow, which wants self-government for Cornwall, said the attack was "totally unacceptable".

He said Mr Cullimore, who declined to comment, was "very upset and offended".

He said: "We have accepted the apology, but we are pretty angry and concerned how this kind of thing can come out of an official Lib Dem office and be distributed during an election period.

From the Oxford Compact Dictionary
/twat, twot/
• noun vulgar slang 1 a woman’s genitals. 2 a stupid or obnoxious person.

How much does it cost to join a political party?

I haven't been a paid up member of any political party for about 8 years. I was, however, a member of the old Liberal party for 7 years and of Plaid Cymru for over 20 years. From what I remember the membership fee was quite reasonable for both parties. I was quite shocked to read on the Conservative Home blog a comment suggesting that the membership fee for joining the Conservatives seems to be quite exorbitant. The cost arises in a comment by a wannabe candidate who is upset at Mr Cameron's idea of opening up candidates lists to non members:

Last year, I had to join the Conservatives before I could go in front of the PAB, at a cost of £225 plus VAT. Now, Mr Cameron says that anyone is welcome, whatever their political background. How does that work? Will I get a refund?

As the paid up members are the backbone of any party and the ones that can be called upon and relied upon to do the donkey work during election periods, I would have thought that the joining up fee should be pitched at a level that encouraged people to join. Even if I was the biggest Tory fan in the world, I doubt if I would fork out £225 plus VAT (another thirty odd quid?) to join.

Is this sort of membership fee common to all parties now, or is it just the Conservatives who think that their supporters can afford such high fees?

My Favourite Sad Song

If Rhydian had sung this on the X Factor I might have been persuaded to pick up the phone rather than to moan about phone in rip off telly:

101 Reasons for not voting Labour # 66-79

The Welsh language is a working class language it has survived because it has been used by the lower classes of society.

The Welsh gentry ditched it in the 1600's when it became socially and politically advantageous for them to do so.

The middle and aspiring classes ditched the language gradually over the centuries because they saw it as a block to getting on in the world.

In 1891, the only time that Welsh was officially recorded as the majority language of Wales, almost every declared Welsh speaker was born into a working class family.

Given that Welsh is a working class language one would expect that the Labour Party, the worker's party would be one of its strongest supporters.

Not so.

The Labour party has been the greatest force in trying to kill off the Welsh language since the Acts of Union. I don't understand why any Welsh speaker who isn't embarrassed about his or her linguistic heritage should vote Labour.

Here are numbers 66 to 79 of my 101 reasons for not voting Labour

66) A Labour Councillor suggests that providing comprehensive Welsh Language Education for all who choose to be educated in Welsh, whatever their ethnic background, is a form of ethnic cleansing

67) His party leader, the First Minister, agrees with him!!!

68) Glenys Kinnock, a Lady from Anglesey, claims that non Welsh speaking kids in Anglesey are made to piss in their pants, because the can't ask for the toilet in Welsh. Even when her own father tells her that she is wrong - she refuses to apologise!

69) When a Welsh learner asks the European Union to respect the Welsh Language one would expect that the only two native Welsh speakers in the parliament would support the measure. But no Eluned Morgan and Glenys Kinnock voted against official European recognition for their own first language.

70) The Labour Party, quite rightly, apologies about their racist slurs against Gypsies, but fail to see any similarity between the way that the state has oppresses both the Welsh and the Romany Languages.

71) Rhys Williams, a fluent Welsh speaking Labour candidate noting that he hates every other Welsh speaking person.

72) Ian Lucas refuses to use his legitimate parliamentary allowance to produce a bilingual Annual Report.

73)Ian Lucas insults a constituent for suggesting that his report should be bilingual

74) Chris Bryant (and Ian Lucas again) complaining about the fact that some Welsh Railway stations use the Welsh Language in their announcements.

75)Mark Tami MP for Alyn and Deeside's claim that Welsh Language communities group Cymuned is racist, because it supports the Welsh Language.

76) Dave Collins the brains of the Welsh Labour presence on the Internet suggesting that Welsh is a Brain Dead language

77) One of the more intelligent Labour bloggers Marcus Warner is sacked for having a blog, in the wake of Dave Collns' stupidity. Despite the fact that Marcus is making the effort to learn Welsh himself and will give his kids a Welsh language education.

78) Even some some people within the Labour party accept that the party is Anti Welsh

79) Huw Lewis thinks that those within the Labour party, who recognise that their anti Welsh image is harmful are delusional.