Two faced Bryant

Chris Bryant MP's reaction to Roger Lewis' vicious attack on the Welsh:
"I can't believe Jonathan Edwards has risen to the bait," says Chris Bryant, Labour MP for Rhondda in South Wales. "Roger Lewis's piece is fatuous nonsense, but the last thing people want is a moaning version of Welsh nationalism. Wales is at its best when it is triumphantly insouciant about the criticism of others, and if we can't take a bit of scabrous attack without running to the police, it's a sad day for Wales."

Chris Bryant MP's reaction to Alun Cairns silly comment about the Italian football team:
Rhondda Labour MP Chris Bryant said: “David Cameron has had over two months to decide whether or not Alun Cairns should be sacked as the Tory candidate in the Vale of Glamorgan. “It’s very much decision time for David Cameron on this issue.
“Failing to sack Alun Cairns shows how indecisive Cameron really is when it comes to taking tough decisions.”

Sack somebody for making an ill informed joke about the Italians, but laugh off a scurrilous attack on the Welsh!

Typical Welsh Labour MP!


A Greater Advert

Peter Black AM has a bit of a thing about cats, so his latest post draws attention to Aldi's fish finger advert which features a Welsh cat, he thinks it is a great advert.

I am more interested in booze than cats, so I think that this one in the series is an even greater advert:


Petitioning the Government

A couple of weeks ago I was asked to sign an e-petition on the re-vamped HM Government e petitions website.

The petition that I signed asked for Recognition of Cornwall as a National Minority, which was a subject that I was happy to support, despite a lack of faith in on line petition sites.

The site is an interesting place to browse, not so much because of the influence it may or may not have on British politics, but because it is an interesting cross section of the sorts of things that people in these islands think are important enough to petition the government on. There were, when I last looked, over 5500 petitions that one could sign which range from the eminently sensible to the outright whacky!

Apparently the difference between the new site and the old Number 10 petitions site is that there is now a commitment that if over 100,000 people sign a petition then that issue will be debated in parliament. From my latest visit I noticed that only two petitions have actually broken the 100k benchmark:

Convicted London rioters should lose all benefits.
Any persons convicted of criminal acts during the current London riots should have all financial benefits removed. No tax payer should have to contribute to those who have destroyed property, stolen from their community and shown a disregard for the country that provides for them.

Full disclosure of all government documents relating to 1989 Hillsborough disaster

Full government disclosure and publication of all documents, discussions and reports relating to the 1989 Hillsborough disater. As requested by information commissioner Christopher Graham.

The petition originally backed as the one to be the first to get 100k votes was Guido Fawkes' petition for a reintroduction of Capital Punishment, that petition is floundering at the 17k mark, whilst the opposing petition to retain the ban on Capital Punishment is the third most popular petition on the site with 25k+ signatures!

This raises an important point! Guido's petition received a lot of publicity and backing from certain sections of the online and mainstream media, but with a mainly online fightback the petition is currently being beaten, but not every petition has its oppisite.

What if I think that making every person convicted of offences during the recent riots vagrants and beggars is going to increase social incohesion and is a bloody stupid idea?

How do I oppose this tabloid backed petition?

I could start my own petition, which might be one of a hundred similar petitions with only a couple of dozen votes, but without similar tabloid backing what chance would my petition have?

Surely every on line e-petition, that is supposedly going to influence government thinking should have two options - I support or I oppose this petition!

It seems wrong to me that the Daily Hate Mail, The Sun, Dale and Co, Guido etc can push petitions in a way that others can't, without a simple NO button option that enables those of us who read their propaganda and disagree with them to note our disagreement.


Undue Influence in London Mayoral Election?

This is a quote from the Representation of the People Act

115 Undue influence.
(1)A person shall be guilty of a corrupt practice if he is guilty of undue influence.
(2)A person shall be guilty of undue influence—
(a)if he, directly or indirectly, by himself or by any other person on his behalf, makes use of or threatens to make use of any force, violence or restraint, or inflicts or threatens to inflict, by himself or by any other person, any temporal or spiritual injury, damage, harm or loss upon or against any person in order to induce or compel that person to vote or refrain from voting, or on account of that person having voted or refrained from voting;

The threat of a spiritual injury would include telling people that they risked eternal damnation if they vote for a certain candidate, or saying things like The people that don't vote for me will be weighed in the balance, come Judgement Day. The Archangel Gabriel will say, 'You didn't vote for Ken Livingstone in 2012. Oh dear, burn forever. Your skin flayed for all eternity'.

The comments might have been uttered in jest, but uttered they were and as we have seen recently only joking is no defence, so if I was a London supporter of Mr Johnston or any other mayoral candidate I might be very tempted to send a copy of the latest edition of Total Politics to Mr Plod at the Yard


Are Postal Votes Sexist?

Because of my former involvement in party politics I have attended a number of election counts, for all levels of election Community, County, Assembly, Westminster and Euro, but until last week I have never attended a preliminary postal vote count.

Of the 300 odd votes cast in the Glan Conwy Community Council election 68 were postal votes. Postal votes are accompanied by a signed declaration by the voter which "proves" that the votes had been validly cast. The declarations are scanned by a computer and the computer highlights those that don't "match" the details on the postal vote application.

The computer rejected a dozen or so votes (a fairly high percentage – about 1 in 5,). My opponent, the returning officer and I then had to visually verify the rejected statements. Most were caused by a failure of the scanning apparatus to distinguish between 9s 6s and 0 in the date of birth section of the declaration, all overturned. Some were cases where a voter had given a sample signature as John Jones but signed the declaration as J Jones, but because the Jones was undoubtedly visually the same, all three of us accepted the signatures as genuine.

Two postal votes were rejected, I thought that both were genuine but the returning officer and the other candidate disagreed with me. One was from a very old voter, I thought that the signature showed deterioration in handwriting fluidity due to age, the others thought that it was another person's signature; the second was from a female voter who was recently married. She had given her sample signature in her maiden name when she applied for a postal vote, but signed in her married name whilst casting this vote.

OK – it was only one vote and it didn't affect the outcome of the election, so in a sense it didn't matter, but it was still a case of a woman being disenfranchised for being a woman and it formed 1/300th of the vote, in some close call constituencies during the last Westminster election one in three hundred votes might have been decisive.

As a bloke I can get divorced tomorrow* and re-marry on Saturday and use the same signature on my postal vote, but my ex-wife reverting to her maiden name and my new wife adopting my name by marriage will both have their votes discounted! That's not fair – is it?

* Note to Mrs MOF - point used as an example not as an intention – honest!


The People have spoken – the bastards*

*A quote from Dick Tuck's concession speech following his loss in the 1966 California State Senate election; not my assessment of the people of Glan Conwy :-)

The result of the Llansanffraid Glan Conwy Community Council Bryn Rhys Ward by election was:

David Alwyn ap Huw Humphreys Independent 112 (43%)
Daniel Worsley Conservative 197 (57%)

Congratulations to Dan on his victory and a huge thank you to those who gave me their support. I was worried sick last night about how I would live it down if Dan had 4 or 5 hundred votes and I had 4 or 5. Although I am obviously disappointed at not winning I am also relived that I wasn't humiliated.

Despite having campaigned in numerous elections since 1970 this is the first time I have actually put my own head on the block, and I must say that it has, on the whole, been an enjoyable experience. I have seen nooks and crannies of the village that I didn't know existed. I have been able to put names to faces of people who I have greeted on the street for the past 20 years, without quite knowing who they are. I have been bitten by the bug and I will definitely be standing again when the whole council comes up for election again next May!


Peter Black Says that Welsh Language Campaigner is "Not right in the Head"

Before Mr Black sends his libel lawyers after me I hasten to say that

1 Peter Black has NEVER made such a claim


2 If he goes ahead with his support of Google Translate to translate the Cofnod (the official proceedings of the Assembly) he wouldn't have a legal leg to stand on, because Google Translate undoubtedly translates a recent comment made by him as accusing a language campaigner of being Not right in the Head (nad yw'n ddim yn iawn pen).

Not right in the head, especially in the south Wales dialect, suggests severe brain damage He hasn't been right in the head since the pit ceiling come down on him.

Wrongheaded, however is a much more benign term that just means contrary to sound judgment

The difference between the two terms is a subtlety that only a human translator can differentiate at the moment, and Google failed to spot the difference!

If Peter and friends decide to go down the Google route to translate the Cofnod I can guarantee that myself and others will pick up these nuances of translation and use them with glee come the next Assembly Election!

Do users of the English language in the Assembly really want to risk giving those of us who can spot the nuances our field day, by insisting on a machine generated bilingual record?

Are Lib-Lab-Con parking their tank on Plaid's grass again?

There is rather pathetic post on Wales Home in which David Torrance tries to fry Scottish First minister Alex Salmond for a lack of commitment to proper independence for Scotland!

Indeed, over the past 15 years the SNP leader has gone out of his way to emphasis an almost Burkean continuity with the United Kingdom, preserving whichever features of the ,ancien regime he judges Scots voters, however patriotic, are reluctant to sacrifice.

From the election of Gwynfor in 1966 up to the devolution referenda of 1979, the Unionists (to use Mr Torrance's all inclusive phrase) built up an independence straw man: If Scotland or Wales were to become independent they would be like Albania or Cambodia, cut off from the rest of the world economically, socially, culturally and in every other respect.

The nationalist response was always that such a claim was complete and utter tosh; an independent Scotland or Wales would become individuals in the family of nations and would retain strong links with all the nations with whom they had bonds prior to independence, including England, and that some of those bonds would be strengthened through independence.

Nothing has changed in the nationalist camp. We were saying forty years ago that many countries had shared currencies, the Irish Punt and the US dollar being typical examples at that time. We were saying forty years ago that many countries allowed foreign forces to have bases in their territory for the sake of mutual protection (like Greenham common!) We were also saying forty years ago that after independence Scotland and Wales had the option of being part of the Commonwealth of Nations and retaining the Queen as our titular head, as many other independent countries do. Alex Salmond is singing from the same old hymn sheet as his predecessors sang from in the 60's and 70's!

What has changed is the Unionist attack. Salmond is now derided for only wanting Devo Max or Independence lite, rather than the full blooded Albanian isolationism that he and his party were wrongly accused of supporting in the 60's and 70's.

The funny thing is that Plaid has had a squeaky bum period of being frightened of mentioning the I word preferring to talk about full national identity, the evolution of devolution and such like; terms that are not dissimilar to the Scottish Unionists Devo Max and Independence Lite!

Another example of the British Parties parking their tanks on Plaid's grass?