Anonymous said...

I allow anonymous comments on my blog, many bloggers don't do so.

I understand why people might wish to remain anonymous - If their real names were linked to comments some could face problems in their work, social or family life.

Anonymity allows people to say what they think without repercussions.

The secret blog comment is as important to politics today, as was the secret ballot 150 years ago.

However I did think that this comment posted by a nonny was quite hilarious

Anonymous said...
Who is NM? Is his identity publicly known? Or maybe it's a she? Just wondering

People who post comments under Anonymous said... clearly have no right to try to "out" those who post under regular monikers!


For Wales see Scotland

Not satisfied with his role in telling us Welsh nationalist where we are going wrong, I see that Welsh Labour blogger and Golwg columnist Normal Mouth, has decided to take on the might of the SNP too.

NM is currently enjoying a long thread debate on a post by soon to be SNP MP for the Gordon constituency, Richard Thompson's blog, on why Labour is right and the SNP is wrong re the wording of the forthcoming independence referendum.

Rhodri Morgan use to base his past success in Wales on the clear red water that was between Traditional Welsh Labour and New Labour in Westminster. I would have thought that Welsh Labour would wish to create a Clear Red Ocean between itself and the shambles that is the Labour Party in Scotland. But if Normal wants to associate the Welsh Labour party with Wendy Alexander's troubled patch, I shan't complain.

On the subject of Scottish bloggers and columnists in Welsh language magazines, I was plesantly suprised to see that Will Patterson aka J Arthur MacNumpty now has a column in the Welsh language monthly current affairs mag Barn.

I do hope that Will follows Normal's example by publishing the English "original" on blog after the mags official publication date.


Eaglestone's Shame

During the mid eighties, house prices in some of the metropolitan and more affluent areas of the UK soared, whilst prices in the rural areas remained relatively low. One result of this was that a person could sell a house in London, say, move to rural Wales, buy a new house and have a substantial amount of change from the London house sale to invest in a business. Many local people in those rural areas were subsequently priced out of the market and unable to compete on a level playing field with the incomers.

Rather than just complain about the situation 70 or so established business owners in Gwynedd decided to do something practical, they started a not or profit company – Arianrhod. Arianrhod bought shops and other buildings which they then rented to local people. The rents and equity on the properties bought were then reinvested in further properties. This scheme has allowed a number of people in Gwynedd, restaurateurs, jewellers, butchers etc. to start up businesses which they wouldn't have had a hope in hell of starting otherwise.

One would have thought that this sort of scheme would be supported by the Labour Party. It shows a commitment to the community. It has the spirit of the co-operative movement. It enables skilled people from poorer backgrounds to start up their own small enterprises. It has everything that one would expect Labour to hold up as an example of what can be done to help other deprived areas.

But no! Unfortunately the people who set up and run Arianrhod belong to the wrong party, they include Dafydd Iwan Plaid Cymru's president and his brother Alun Ffred the Plaid AM. And a good idea from Plaid people has to be opposed at all costs.

Martin Eaglestone, Labour's serial candidate in Arfon, has done his best to undermine Arianrhod's good works by smear and innuendo in the local press and on his blog over recent months. Some of his friends in Llais Gwynedd have gone even further by making statements about the venture that border on libellous.

Regular readers of this blog know that I am neither Dafydd Iwan or Plaid Cymru's biggest fan in the world, but undermining an organisation dedicated to improving the local economy in Gwynedd for petty part political reasons is just sick.

A Question of politics?

If you were to hold a hustings meeting to find out who the majority of Plaid Cymru members want to represent them as the party's lead candidate in the European Parliament elections, where would you hold it?

A) In Blackwood, Monmouthshire

B) In Blaenau Ffestiniog, Merionethshire

I am grateful to Ordovicius for explaining why the right answer:

A Blackwood

has nothing to do with trying to ensure that incumbent MEP, Jill Evans, secures the party's first place nomination spot, now that the party has given up on its women first policy.

The sad thing is that most Plaid members feel that Jill has been a good MEP, she could win the nomination on pure merit in Meirionnydd and elsewhere.

This sort of gerrymandering will discredit her as a candidate and add to Llais Gwynedd's claim that Plaid takes their heartlands for granted, whilst doing nothing to show that women in the party can win on merit, rather than through machinations.


All party support for further powers

An interesting story has appeared on the IC wales website. As I have seen no comments about it from other blogs, I assume that it will appear in today's Western Mail.

The story relates to the details in the latest in the series of studies into attitudes towards devolution carried out by Profs Richard Wyn Jones and Roger Scully of Aberystwyth University.

The first bit of the research will please Glyn Davies
SCORES of Conservative voters have abandoned their hostility to devolution and around 40% want to see a law-making Welsh Parliament.

Which means that Glyn's position on devolution isn't as isolated as many have claimed over the past few months.

With the exception of the Lib Dems who are split 38% to 38% on the parliament / status quo question, Conservative, Plaid and Labour voters all prefer the full law making powers. Strangely 12% of Lib Dems support independence!

This research shows, yet again, that it isn't the will of the people that is stopping a referendum from being called, but the self interest of a handful of Labour MPs.


Evidently chickentown helpfully draws the attention of Welsh blog readers to this site, which offers political lookalikes for all occasions.

There is only one MP for a Welsh seat on the list:

What I can't understand is why anybody would wish to employ a cheap imitation, when the real thing appears to be so readily available for any and every opportunity for a bit of trash celeb publicity.


Interesting Goings on in Ceredigion

Earlier this month independents won 12 seats on Ceredigion council, Plaid gained 19 seats. The Lib Dems gained 10 and Labour managed to elect just one councillor.

Despite having just 10 councillors to Plaid's 19 the Lib Dems lead the council in coalition with the Labour man and most of the independents. The ruling group has 22 members with the opposition being made up of Plaid and one independent has 20 members.

Over the weekend one of the Liberal Democrat councilors, Eric Giffith, has resigned after being arrested for a sexual offence.

Plaid came second in Mr Griffiths' ward of Aberystwyth Central on May 1st. If they can gain this seat in a by-election then both leading group and opposition would have 21 seats each!

Blogging Welsh Poltics #2

Clive Betts is the grandfather of Welsh political commentary. He has been around the Welsh political scene for so long that I wouldn't be surprised if his first political interview was with the newly elected Lloyd George.

He's been blogging for just over a month though, but he has really caught the bug. He has made two posts in two days about how important the Welsh blogosphere will prove to be in the future.

His latest offering includes the statement:

People will start to evaluate the political candidates of tomorrow by the quality of their websites, their social networking (Facebook) profile and by their blogging ability.
I'm not so sure. An enthusiastic web presence could also be an impediment to a political career, as I have said in response to his post:

My blog, which has been going for some 14 months or so, basically contains the thoughts that I would previously have shared with family members, close friends and drinking buddies. It is basically an online pub rant.

If I fancied throwing my hat into the ring for the next election, at any level, what I may have told my wife or my friends or the lads down the Dog & Duck wouldn’t stop me from being nominated.

The fact that I have told a wider audience that Ieuan Wyn is a wimp, Mike German is a waste of space, Rhodri Morgan is a prat and Nick Bourne is a bore means that I have peed on my chips as far as being nominated by any party is concerned. The parties know that if I was selected my words would be used against me by the opposition.

The down side of the web is that many potentially good young people with an interest in politics may find themselves disbarred from the political process because of over-enthusiastic comments that they have made will be cached forever.
Last year's Dave Collins affair is a case in point.

At pesent the political blogs are made up of silver-bloggers, such as myself who no longer have any political ambition to sacrifice. People who did politics before they did blogging, like Iain Dale, Martin Eaglestone, Peter Black, Adam Price, etc who had political copy books that they knew couldn't be blotted when they started blogging; and people like Paul Flynn who were an established part of the awkward squad before blogging began.

The blogging problem is going to exist for potential politicians such as Southpaw Grammar, or New Welsh Right who have started blogging in anticipation of greater things. It will be even worse for those who may gain an interest in politics later in life, but have already made themselves look like prats on Bebo or Facebook.


Bank Holiday Joke

As Valleys Mam says that Bank Holidays are for jokes*, and as I am a good boy who always does what Mam says here is a Joke (thanks to Tommy English):

Gordon Brown and his driver were driving along a country road one
night when all of a sudden they hit a pig, killing it instantly. Gordon told
his driver to go up to the farmhouse and explain to the owners what had
happened. About one hour later Gordon sees his driver staggering back
to the car with a bottle of wine in one hand, a cigar in the other and his
clothes all ripped and torn.

"What happened to you?" asked Gordon.

"Well, the Farmer gave me the wine, his wife gave me the cigar and his 19-year-
old daughter made mad passionate love to me."

"Gosh! What did you tell them?" asks Brown.

The driver replies, "I'm Gordon Brown's driver, and I just killed the pig."

Somebody seems to have taken offence at Mam's jokes she has now deleated the post - shame!


Blogging Welsh Politics

Clive Betts' latest post mentions the Holy Grail of blogging in these islands – making political blogs as influential here as they are in the USA.

Evidently chikentown takes up the theme by noting how bloggers are being invited to be part of the “press corps” in the presidential conventions.

There are some signs that British blogs are moving in the same direction. Some of the major blogs, such as Iain Dale's Diary and Guido Fawkes have a large daily readership.

But what about Welsh blogs?

One of the problems with the MSM in Wales is that we don't have a national newspaper. The Western Mail may call its self the National Newspaper of Wales, but the only way that I can obtain a copy in my local newsagent is by placing a regular order. The Manchester Evening News can be bought off the shelf!

The same problem exists with broadcast media. Aerials are turned towards England rather than Wales. I recently asked for a FreeSat card from Sky, and I had problems trying to persuade them that I wanted Welsh channels in the top four spots – rather than the default north west of England channels that they gave me as "appropriate for my postcode".

So sod the American experience. How do we make sure that the Welsh blogosphere doesn't suffer from the same difficulties as the Welsh press and Welsh broadcasting?

I suspect that the core of my Welsh readership is incestuous, made up of other Welsh poli-bloggers reading my posts in the hope that I will read theirs. I also suspect that more Welsh readers read Iain Dale than read any individual Welsh blog .

If blogs are going to play a part in the politics of the future, then Welsh bloggers need to work out how at least a few of us are going to reach out to thousands, rather than dozens, of Welsh reader. Otherwise we will suffer the same fate as the traditional media, where people remain ignorant of what is going on in Wales, because they only get news and views from English blogs.

I ask the question. But I haven't got a clue about the answer!

Cambria Politico #2

Clive Betts, the Archdruid of Welsh Political commentary, has moved house. His pearls of wisdom can now be found here


Did science beat religion?

I don't understand why the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill debate has been seen as a victory of science over religion.

I admit that I don't understand much about science and that I fall into the religious camp. I have been a Methodist local preacher for over 30 years, and I am firmly in the evangelical wing of the Methodist church. In the unlikely event that any party had adopted me and any constituency had voted for me to be their MP, I would have supported all but one of the controversial clauses.

I don't like abortion, I wish that abortion never happened. It must be a traumatic experience for any woman who goes through it, but I believe that we have a Christian duty to allow women to terminate unwanted pregnancies. The how many weeks argument was a farce. Those who wanted to reduce the time limit to 22 or 20 weeks were liars. They were people who oppose abortion and would have had more credibility if they stood by their guns and just said no to all abortions rather than trying to fiddle the numbers of weeks.

I don't see the problem with saviour siblings, as long as the saviour child is also wanted in his/her self and will be loved and cherished by the family as an individual, and not just as a tool to save big brother.

There is something quite ychi about mixing human and animal cells, but if it is done under strict guidance for specific reasons and is ultimately beneficial, I can't see the argument that it is in anyway unchristian.

The only clause that I have doubts about is the no father one. And those doubts are secular rather than religious.

My great grandmother was an "industrial accident", a child born to a prostitute. It is bloody annoying not knowing, and not being able to know, who her father was. She didn't suffer in any way by not having a father. But I wish that I knew who he was.

I have no problems with both parents in a same sex couple having full parenting rights, but I do doubt that their rights should over-ride their children, grand children and great grand children etc being denied an honest genealogy.

The idea that passing the bill somehow equated to Scientist 4 Christians 0 and the death of religion, as some have claimed, requires a huge leap of faith that I would not be willing to jump.

Bizarre voters

Glyn Davies' latest post mentions bizarre reasons for supporting candidates in elections.

The oddest reason to vote experience, that I had was campaigning for the Liberal Party in the first 1974 election.

I was given the task of canvasing the Carmelite Convent in Dolgellau. The nuns told me that they had decided that they had a duty to vote, but that politics was a consideration beyond their vows. They also thought that all of them should vote in the same way so that the election didn't cause division within the community.

The decision that the sisters made was that they would all vote for the best looking candidate. Which left me in the embarrassing position of being a pubescent 15 year old trying to explain, to a bunch of professional virgins, why my candidate was a sexier looking bloke than the other three men in the race!


Cultural Politics

The general consensus* on Welsh blogs towards Dylan Hammond's representations of Thatcher and Bevan in the Assembly has been negative. Loath as I am, to break the consensus – I have to disagree. I think that they are bloody fantastic.

All art should provoke a reaction, and there is no doubt that Dylan's work has provoked a reaction. I have seen people polarised about public art on a local level before, either loving or hating something that is in their back yard, but I have never seen such a reaction to an individual piece of public art discussed with such passion on a national level before.

I went down to my local last night, where the UEFA cup final was being shown. Despite the football people were discussing Art and discussing the Assembly – an incredible experience! What was brilliant was the way the locals were claiming ownership of the Assembly - in a way that they didn't do last May

13 months ago if the pub regulars mentioned the Assembly elections it was along the lines of what's the point of voting for the Cardiff Assembly and its all to do with the south – it does nothing for us. Last night people were saying:

That bitch did nothing for Wales why is she being shown in our Assembly

I've voted Tory all my life, it's my Assembly too – its right that my politics is shown there – not just south Wales Labour

Gwynfor / Lloyd George were more important Welsh politicians and if it wasn't for Plaid / the Liberals WE wouldn't have an Assembly at all.

I've only seen the exhibition on the TV – I will make a point of visiting Cardiff soon to see the real thing. From what I saw on the telly what stuck me was the way that the images of both extremes of politician seemed to blend into the Senedd building – almost as if the Senedd was devouring them and saying this is Welsh politics now – you two are just shadows from an ancient past.

*Others on Hammond's art:
Leighton Andrews
Socialist Unity
Bethan Jenkins AM
David Cornock
Valleys Mam
Normal Mouth
Cynical Dragon
............... and many more!


evidently chicken town

evidently chicken town is a poem by "punk poet" John Cooper Clarke, notable for its use of the f word twice in each line

the fucking pies are fucking old
the fucking chips are fucking cold
the fucking beer is fucking flat
the fucking flats have fucking rats
the fucking clocks are fucking wrong
the fucking days are fucking long
it fucking gets you fucking down
evidently chicken town

The poem has inspired a new blog on politics, news, culture and Wales


New Blogs galore

A number of new blogs have appeared since the election.

Two of the new Plaid Cymru councillors in Wrexham have a joint blog here

Another Plaid Councillor, Carwyn Fowler of Pembre Community Council is here

Also lending support to Plaid is I Support Plaid Cymru.

And John Dixon one of the big names in Plaid has resurrected his blog too (HT to Ordo fo this one).

Away fom Plaid, Blaenau Ffestiniog's Llais Gwynedd Councilor Gwilym Euros Williams is blogging here


The Cops or the Cane?

The Children's Commissioner for Wales isn't very happy about the fact that Westminster has stopped the National Assembly from outlawing the physical chastisement of children in Wales. Quite right too. Members elected by the people of Wales should be allowed to decide upon this issue. I can't understand the logic that says that politicians in Westminster are more competent to decide how hard Welsh children are thrashed than politicians in the Bay.

If the competence is passed down to the Assembly, members of all parties have agreed that physical chastisement should be abolished in Wales.

I understand the arguments against the physical punishment of children, but Helen Mary made a point on Question Time last night that makes me wonder if the arguments are as child friendly as they might appear.

In response to a question about the increase in the number of girls gaining criminal records, Helen suggested that girls' behaviour wasn't worse now than it had ever been, it is just that issues that might previously have been dealt with within schools are now being reported to the police.

Isn't this a direct result of teachers and parents being denied the ability to chastise children?

If I had hit a fellow pupil when I was in school, I would have been caned by the headmaster. If my son hits a classmate he will be charged with assault, taken to court and have a criminal record for the rest of his life. Whatever the rights or wrongs of corporal punishment, given the choice, I would prefer the cane!

I know from bitter experience that when Mr Evans (my headmaster) caned a boy he couldn't sit in comfort for a week and a half, but surely that is less cruel than being condemned as a criminal for the whole of ones life.


Click the Flag

I am not sure if it is strictly a blog or a web page. However, newly elected Councillor Owen Llywelyn (Plaid Cymru, Dyffryn Aeron) has a new "with feeds" presence on the internet.

The page has caused some controversy on the Welsh Language discussion board Maes-e

Cllr Llywelyn has a bilingual site. To read his pearls of wisdom in Welsh one clicks a Red Dragon Flag, to read them in English click the Union Jack.

To me this gives the message that only Welsh speakers are truly Welsh and that non Welsh speaking Welsh people are Brits.

I'm sure that this message is unintentional, perhaps I'm being petty. I would like to know what others feel, especially non Welsh speaking nationalists / supporters of Plaid.


Plaid Poodles?

The latest offering from Paul Flynn MP mentions that his classic book Dragons Led by Poodles is, and always has been available on line. I didn't know that! Had I known, I wouldn't have bought the hard copy. However it was interesting to revisit the book and remember the good old days!

In one of my earliest posts on this blog I mentioned the anomaly of how Scotland has more powers but Wales appears to have more independence. The main reason for this is, of course, because of that London v Wales battle that Wales won so early on in the era of Devolution.

The Labour government in Scotland took its orders from London for 8 devolved years and became a puppet government, which is only know realising the strength of its position under a different party. London has taken a once bitten twice shy attitude towards Wales after Alun Michael was sacked, and has allowed Wales to follow its own agenda.

If one thinks about the mess in Scotland over Wendy Alexander's sort-of support for a referendum. She said Brown supported it, he said he agreed with what she said but what she said wasn't what others thought they heard, and she agreed with Brown but wasn't backing down on what she said because he said what she said so they both agree!

That couldn't happen in Wales, we all know that if Brown said NO, Rhodri would say “**** you“, and do as he pleased.

Its was called Clear Red Water and it worked.

But hold on – London Labour says no referendum in Wales before 2012. Why hasn't Rhodri given the Welsh Agincourt salute to London's NO, on this issue?

Could it be that the poodles have won the long game?

Or could it be that the so called dragons in Labour have no intention of holding a referendum before 2012?

Why is Plaid still supporting Labour in the Assembly, on the basis of an agreement that said that the referendum would be held before 2010, if both poodles and dragons are opposed?

Could it be that Plaid likes the trappings of government, and has sold the nation for petty power?

Surely not!

What does Plaid want?
A referendum on extra powers within the next 16 months? Or an excuse to remain Labour's partner until 2015?

What does Labour want?
An excuse to hold Plaid over a barrel for three years? Or what's best for Wales?

We deserve to know the truth from both parties!


Boris' Welsh Voice-peace

I am dumbfounded. Ian Dale reports that a few months after leaving the Beeb for a job with communications company Fleishman Hillard Guto Harri has resigned, in order to become Boris Johnson's Director of Communications.

Apparently Guto and Boris were mates in Oxford University.

Pum Punt?

Amongst the organisations that Heritage Minister Rhodri Glyn Thomas intends to bring under the Welsh Language Act are the Bank of England, about time too!

Services provided under the Act tend to be those that are most visible, signage, official documents etc. The most visible service provided by the Bank of England is issuing bank notes. Will including the bank under the terms of the act result in issuing bilingual bank notes. I do hope so!


Save my Kids - legalise drugs!

I have never taken an illegal drug in my life. When I was at the influential age drugs weren't a part of the culture of rural mid-Wales, so I didn't have the chance to use drugs as a teenager / young adult. But I fell for beer and fags without much of a fight - so I would, probably, have gone for other things had they been available.

When I see people who suffer from drug addiction I don't feel holier than thou, I feel there but for the grace of God go I!

I am the father of two boys who are approaching teenage years. I hope that neither of them ever touch a presently illegal drug, but statistics suggest that my hope will not be realised. I hope against hope that they will buck the trend and live drug free lives. But, if they become part of the statistics I want them to have the safest possible experience.

The reason that the Government wants to reclassify cannabis is because the cannabis on sale now is apparently stronger than it use to be. Today's joint may be 10 x stronger than the joint of a decade ago.

Many overdose deaths are caused because users think that they are taking the same amount of a drug as usual. Apparently the purity of some drugs depends on market forces. A dose of heroin may be as high as 100% purity or as low as 10% purity, so you don't know if you are drinking a pint of whisky or a pint of beer!

If my kids do go down the drugs road, I would prefer that road to be regulated by the Government rather than the Mafia. I would prefer them to be able to read strength and cutting ingredients on the package under trading standards rules, rather than to guess strength and hope that nothing toxic has been used in the cut.

Like every Tory MP and Daily Mail reader I would like to live in a society where recreational drugs don't exist or only exist amongst the criminally insane. Unfortunately that place is now called Cloud Cuckoo Land. Drug taking is part of our current social existence. Banning drugs has failed miserably. Legalising drugs under strict licence is the only sensible way of dealing with the problem, and the only way of ensuring the safety of our children as they grow up in a drug taking world.


A Normal Referendum

I enjoy Normal Mouth's contributions to Golwg, they are generally better than his usual blog posts. I suspect that he tries to be less partisan in the magazine than he is on his blog, by doing so he gives an interesting view on Welsh politics.

As an aside Normal is obviously employed by Golwg as a blogger - he took over the column from Blamerbell - so why doesn't the magazine recognise this by publishing his and other Welsh blogger's URLs?

I was disappointed by Normal's latest offering in which he claims that those who want an early referendum on further powers for the Assembly are faking it and that all of us really truly support Peter Hain and Paul Murphy's policies of procrastination.

Normal's current article is full of inaccuracies.

Firstly he says:

The Welsh political elite currently divides into three camps: those who say they want primary powers via an earlier referendum, those who say they want primary powers via a later referendum and those who don’t want primary powers at all

There is a fourth option. some of us believe (for a variety of different reasons) that a referendum is not needed / undesirable and that it would be better if the Government of Wales Act was amended forthwith to get rid of the referendum clause.

Secondly Normal claims:

Few politicians genuinely seem to want an early referendum. Labour has claimed credit for the Convention idea, a device that at least punts decision time into the future. Some, however, credit Plaid as the true authors of this deft delaying tactic.

If a snap referendum was held tomorrow all the signs seem to suggest that it would be won by the YES side. The sediment in the clear spring water appears to be a fear that some Labour dinosaurs (naming no names) would do a Kinnock and campaign against Labour Party policy in a big way, scupering the referendum, as in 1979. This is a real problem. But I can't see that delay will solve it. Is there any guarantee that they will have changed their minds by 2012 or 2016? No!

There have been pro and anti home rule wings in Labour since its inception 100 years ago and if the anti's are appeased they will continue for another 100 years. The Labour opponents of enhanced devolution need to be taken by the horns and fought with now. Delaying the fight won't make the fight less bloody, won't make the outcome more secure and wont make victory smell sweeter of defeat smell less bitter.

Those who believe in enhanced devolution, in all parties, should campaign for it and aim for it now - there is nothing to be gained by procrastination!

Thirdly Normal claims that:

The consequences of a “no” vote would be catastrophic, for devolution and for Plaid.

I disagree. On three counts:

  • No new powers will be given to the Assembly by a Yes vote. The powers are already there in the Act. A Yes vote just makes gaining the powers simpler. Loosing the vote will be an administrative rather than a political problem.

  • Win or loose the nationalist cause (with or without Plaid, but probably with) will be enabled to go on to the next step in the evolution of devolution.

  • In other countries (Quebec for example) losing a referendum on autonomy has strengthened the national party. Their most extreme proposal is put off for a generation, which makes them stronger "regional" representatives within the status quo. A raging nationalist bull may not be electable, but emasculate it by referendum and it may be given the chance to govern, as a tame bullock, until its cahones reappear!

    The worst failing in Normal's article is this statement:

    It is hard to argue for a referendum so that people can vote no

    There has only ever been one UK wide referendum, the EU one in 197?. The purpose then was to get a yes vote. In Wales we have had many more referendums. The Sunday drinking referendums were introduced specifically to enable a no vote, in order to reverse an act perceived by both Labour and Conservative politicians as passed as an appeasement to north Wales, Welsh speaking, chapel-going, Liberals. The 1979 devolution referendums which included the if you are dead you have voted no clause was hardly geared to the yes side. Most calls for UK referenda, the Euro, Mastricht, Lisbon etc, of recent years have been called for, specifically, in order to gain a no vote.

    All in all, it is those who are opposed to Wales, those who have a NO attitude to Wales, who insist on a referendum for Wales to be treated as a grown up country and who also insist that such a referendum should be delayed forever and a day.
  • Election Thoughts

    This is a late post on my thoughts about the council elections, but inspired by The Prof's latest post.

    Dylan thinks that there will be a Plaid Cymru / Llais Gwynedd coalition in Gwynedd!

    I think that it is unlikely that Plaid and Llais will kiss and make up. If Llais was to co-operate with Plaid, having stood an election on a basically anti-Plaid ticket, they would look like real prats!

    However, I suspect that the reason he might think that they are close is because they are both nationalist parties. Meaning that nationalists made a net gain of eight seats in Gwynedd last week. A bad night for Plaid, maybe, - but a good night for Welsh nationalism? Having nationalists in both government and opposition in Gwynedd will be interesting - will a nationalist debate enhance the cause or will a nationalist split wound it?

    Dylan says that the Tories should exclude Plaid Cymru in Conwy as there is no political benefit whatsoever to the Conservatives to have them sitting in the cabinet.

    Plaid and the Conservatives have served together in Conwy over the past four years. The fact that the Tories will want to exclude them this time has got nothing to do with sob stories in Gogarth. With Labour hemorrhaging votes and the most Labour part of Conwy having been swapped for a more Plaidish area in the new seat, the next Westminster election is going to be Tory v Plaid in Aberconwy. So it is probably not in either party's best interest for them to work together. However the Plaid group decided that they would not serve in a Tory led council - they have NOT been excluded by the Conservatives!

    Looking at the wider picture Plaid has more county councillors today than it has ever had and gained more seats in Wales than the Lib Dems gained in both England and Wales. Interestingly half of the Lib Dems' total gains came from Wales. A good result for both Welsh parties on the whole.


    When people protest against Labour in Wales either Plaid and or / the Liberal Democrats should be making hay. Neither party (separately or jointly) made the sorts of gains they should have made in the wake of a Labour meltdown!

    Next years Euro-elections might be a better indicator of the way the party winds are blowing, when the independents and the localistics won’t muddy the waters as much. However if the natural benefactors of protest votes don’t up the ante during the next twelve months, then the others the Greens, UKIP, the BNP, The Monster Raving Loonies etc might attract sufficient votes to allow Labour to retain its spare Welsh euro-seat.

    Silly Old Fart!

    A few of the next posts are going to be rather late, in that they are things that I could have and should have said over the weekend. I could make the excuse that it was because of the bank holiday and family duties etc. Unfortunately the reason for my late comments are a bit more stupid.

    Having stopped up to watch the election results all night last Thursday / Friday and, as one does, drinking a can in toast at every good result and throwing a can at the telly for every bad result, I came across an interesting story on the BBC that said that computer keyboards are full of germs. To cut a long story short here is a warning for computer buffs:

    Don’t try to clean your keyboard with bleach when you're drunk, it buggers up the keyboard!

    I bought a new keyboard today so I can post a few late thoughts now.


    Dafydd Iwan Out?

    Although not confirmed yet, apparently Dafydd Iwan, Plaid's President and Richard Parry the leader of Plaid on Gwynedd council have both lost their seats on Gwynedd council haven being beaten by Llais Gwynedd candidates.

    Congratulations Gethin

    A quick note to congratulate my nephew Gethin Williams, who I hear has won the Dolgellau rural seat for Llais Gwynedd. Gwilym Euros has also made a gain for Llais Gwynedd in the Blaenau Ffestiniog area, Llais have also won another seat in Meironnydd but I don't know which yet


    The Welsh Lobbyist

    Another blogger has joined the Welsh Politics Club : The Welsh Lobbyist. Welcome.

    Open Primaries and Democracy

    Since my own favoured candidate dropped out of the race and was replaced by a candidate who I had doubts about (and who has also now fallen by the wayside) I have lost interest in the London Mayoral election.

    However there is a post on the Our Kingdom site which I found interesting, not because of its implications for London, but because of a move by the Conservative Party that might have implications on a wider scale.

    OK asked supporters of four of the candidates to present a “democratic” case for their mayoral candidate. Amongst the claims made by the Tory's supporter was this claim:

    Boris was selected to be the Conservative candidate by open primary. This means that every Londoner was able to help decide that he should be the Conservative candidate - and shows that Boris is more than merely the candidate for one party, but for all Londoners. The current U.S. presidential election campaign has demonstrated how open primaries can transform the democratic process. We believe that all those standing for public office should be selected in this way .

    I understand that Glyn Davies was selected as the PPC for Montgomeryshire in a similar fashion.

    This trend worries me. The number of people voting in British elections has declined as the influence of US election practices has increased on these shores. One of the worst examples has been for parties to decide policy based on the views of focus groups rather than on the views of party activists. This has resulted in the main parties having almost indistinguishable manifestos because all their policies are based on the views of focus groups constituted by the same social profiles. It has also devalued the roll of the party activist. If the activist no longer has a voice in party policy, s/he is no longer enthused to do the donkey work needed to get the paarty candidate elected – canvassing, leafleting, licking envelopes, postering, knocking up etc.

    If party activists can't even select their own candidates, if candidates are selected by open to all meetings then there will be even less difference between candidates than there is now and even less reason for people to get involved in party politics, or even to vote in elections.

    If I can vote in an open primary I'm going to vote for a conservative Welsh nationalist to stand for Plaid, Labour, Conservative, Green and even UKIP in this constituency! But if six political clones stand in a general election, is there any reason to go out and vote?

    If focus groups and primaries decide who stands for my party, your party, his and her party - why on earth should we waste money on party membership, never mind waste time on party work?