Rules of engagement

In a recent exchange of opinion on another blog I was accused of building a Straw Man, but I stuck one up my opponent by proving that he had used arguments Ad Hominem. Touche!

(This proves that both me and my opponent are very clever chaps and that we both understand the classical laws of logic - see!)

Regardless of the merits of what He said or what I said or what He said I said which I didn't say and vice verca, are these classical rules of engagement important in the modern political arena?

If a fallacy of argument helps you to get one over on your political opponent and helps to kick him square in the goolies - what's wrong with using it?

And isn't appealing to the rules itself a fallacy of argument? - In being a diversion from the issue in question to an issue of the rules of engagement!

Do other bloggers, writers of letters to the editor or commentators on politics in general really rate these rules?

Should they be obeyed?

Or should they be abused, with a passion, in order to advance the cause?

(NB This post is not an admission that I have used fallacies of argument against anybody! As if I would! It is just a general question!)


Not a Happy New Year for Plaid in Gwynedd?

It appears that the Plaid Cymru ruling group in Gwynedd County Council is about to implode during the New Year.

Cllr Gwylym Euros Roberts has already noted on his blog that Cllr Linda Wyn Jones has resigned from the Plaid Group and that another two Plaid Councilors are considering their position and are having discussions about their futures with the group leaders over the holiday period.

Another Plaid Cymru councillor has told me that he is one of at least seven group members who are awaiting the outcome of the two's discussions - and that if they jump ship then the other seven are likely to jump with them.

If Plaid loses another 10 councillors in addition to those it lost to Llais Gwynedd in May's elections the party in Gwynedd will be in total disarray. Considering that one of the two Westminster seats that Plaid holds in Gwynedd is considered as "Labour" under boundary changes, the party can't afford this sort of rift.

Earlier this year I predicted that it might, just, be possible for Plaid to gain as many as 9 seats in the next General Election, I also thought that Plaid was on course to gain a second Euro seat next June. But if Plaid can't sort out the infighting in its own heartland with a big announcement that will please traditionalists and show that it has learned its lessons from the May fiasco in Gwynedd, then Adam Price might be a very lonely man in Westminster after the next election, and Jill might be on the dole by July.

Is that what Plaid's ignorant tendancy wants?


Christmas greetings

I have taken on board criticism that my seasonal posting last year showed that I hadn't quite grasped the spirit of Christmas. This year I am a reformed character, to prove it I have even invested in some Christmas lights to decorate my house during the festive season:

A Merry Christmas to all who read my musings. Nadolig llawen iawn.


What is Plaid Cymru For?

There use to be a time when Plaid Cymru was the party that one could expect to defend local communities. Now it is a party that closes local facilities such as schools and public conveniences and shouts down and swears at those who offer solutions that might help save services.

It use to be a party that supported the Welsh Language, but since being in government they have renegade on some promises made to support the language and failed to deliver on others. They even voted against a proposal to establish a Welsh Language Commissioner.

Plaid use to be a party that supported self government for Wales, but according to the Western Mail Speaking as a Plaid Assembly Member and a former leader of the party Dafydd Elis Thomas says that he is opposed to a referendum on further powers for the Assembly untill well after 2011. Indeed this mam who vociferously opposed the 40% threshold imposed by Labour in 1979 is now opposed to further self government unless it is clear that at least 60% of voters support further powers.

If Plaid doesn't defend local communities, doesn't deliver on the language and doesn't campaign for further self government is there any reason for the party's continuing existence?

Fast trains and faster trains

On Monday last week a new fast train service between north and south Wales was launched, taking just under 4 hours to travel from Holyhead to Cardiff (180 miles for crows) - brilliant (or it would be brilliant if the service hadn't failed the day after its launch).

Yesterday the SNP announced* support for a fast train service from Glasgow to London (414 miles) that would take just two and a half hours!

If the same type of train was used to link north and south Wales as is being mooted to link Glasgow and London (335 mph top speed) it would take less than three quarters of an hour to go between Cardiff and Holyhead nonstop - that would be fast!

*HT Jeff @ SNP-TV


Fishy Come Dancing

I am not a fan of TV shows where one has to phone in and vote. I tend to get cross every time I get a phone bill that shows that the wife and kids have sometimes cost me more than a months licence fee in call charges to Last Choir Standing, Big Brother, X Factor or other subliminal pay per view programmes.

When one pays for these sort of programmes (twice) one hopes that at least the voting is fair and nothing is fixed but there was something very fishy about the latest series of Strictly Come Dancing, something that just doesn't add up.

In week 10 John Sergeant dropped out of the programme voluntarily, he was not voted off. Despite the fact that he had gone a vote was held on November 24th and Jodi Kidd was knocked out of the competition too. With two celebrities leaving in week 10, rather than the expected one, the scheduling should have left the series one episode short. But the series continued on schedule without losing an episode.

In week 13 we are told that an unforeseen difficulty in the way the votes were calculated meant that the vote off was canceled so three contestants made it to the final rather than two.

As there was no change to the schedule and no episode was lost there can only be two possible explanations:

1) The John Sergent controversy was a fix contrived to boost ratings

2) The show intended to have three in the final all along and the excuse for voting difficulties last week was a lie.

Which ever of these two explanations is the correct one the BBC has broken trust with viewers who pay for these phone in programmes yet again. Despite all the controversy and criticism and promises to clean up their act it appears that nothing has changed!


Annie, The Beeb and Me

Last night I attended a performance of my children's school's annual Christmas show. A performance of the musical Annie. It was a brilliant performance, all of the children showed what a wealth of talent we have in Wales. A couple of the older performers showed that they have the ability to go far if they choose to follow a performing career.

A huge amount of extra curricular work and dedication from both pupils and teachers went into the performance and all involved deserve a vast amount of praise for their effort. Of course my boy's part made me a very, very proud Dad and made the show ten times better than anything that the West End or Broadway could ever offer.

A couple of days ago I made a post on my Welsh language blog Hen Rhech Flin entitled Anabl i Fwynhau Sioe'r Nadolig (Unable to Enjoy the Christmas Show). The post noted the difficulty that I, and other people who are hard of hearing, have at this time of the year because few school halls in Wales provide loop systems for hearing aid users. As school halls are public buildings and are subject to the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, all of them should have such basic "access" equipment as standard.

My post was picked up by the BBC. I was phoned and asked if I would be willing to be interviewed about the subject of my post during the school show.

I said no!

It would be unfair to the individual school to be picked on for a problem that exists in all schools and it would be unfair to my boy to hear his Dad making a complaint about the school play that he was taking part in and had put so much effort into.

I did offer to be interviewed on the general point and to complain about the local authorities who have failed to provide the necessary equipment in all schools - but that wasn't good enough. The story was dropped.

I think that the Beebs attitude stinks. The fact that local authorities have failed to comply with their legal obligation; the fact that they have failed miserably to provide basic access for hard of hearing people to public buildings under their control, should be a good enough story, in its own right, for their journalists to investigate. The fact that they don't believe that the story is good enough unless it is sexed up by a complaint by a father criticising his own son's show just proves how dumbed down to gutter level the BBC's reporting has become of late.

Blogger links oddity

Anybody got any idea what is happening to the "Links to this post" bit of Blogger? My last post has well over a dozen claimed links - none of which contain links to the post! The one post that does link to it, isn't mentioned though. Very odd!


The Bourne Conspiracy

I have never rated Nick Bourne as a party leader, he's too nice, too diplomatic; he doesn't have the killer instinct he's written books about justice and fair play whilst his colleagues have been reading The Prince by Machiavelli.

But I don't understand the fuss about the iPod! Apparently he bought the iPod in order to download Welsh Language lessons. If this is the case then he has my heartiest support. I think that it is absolutely brilliant that the leader of the Conservatives takes Welsh lessons so seriously and I look forward to him using his new found language skills in the chamber.

Like Blog Menai, I am more intrigued by his need for a £5,000 bathroom make over, never having seen a £5000 bathroom myself. But the journalists who see Mr Bourne as this week's meat probably don't appreciate the extravagance, as they probably have £6,000 bathrooms themselves courtesy of the BBC and Trinity Mirror!

The odd thing about the Sack Nick campaign is that it appears to be a campaign lead by reporters rather than by Conservative party members, or Conservative AM's. I find this worrying. The fourth estate has its role in a democracy, but that role shouldn't include campaigning to topple the leader of a political party.

Love Nick or loath him the leadership of the Conservative Party in Wales is the Conservative Party in Wales' prerogative, it must never be put into the hands of either the BBC or the Western Mail.

This is a matter for supporters of other parties too. If the Beeb and the Mule succeed in deciding who will be the Tory leader in Wales, they wont stop there - they will be going for another scalp soon too! As Rhodri is going and Mike has gone, the most likely next victim will be Ieuan Wyn!



Last week I noted that I wouldn't be posting much before Christmas because I was bogged down by, amongst other things, preparing a case that I was to present to a War Pensions Appeal Tribunal.

The tribunal was heard today and I am overjoyed to announce that we won!

Today's decision is a landmark one which will be of significance to hundreds of non-deployed Gulf War Veterans who have been fighting for almost 18 years to have their condition recognised by the Service Personnel and Veterans' Agency.

I will post further details latter, for now I'm going to pop a few champagne corks with my "client" (who also happens to be my little sister) - so I will probably be unfit to blog until tomorrow!


Poems and Politics - Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien

Those of you who eagerly await my pearls of wisdom are going to be disappointed until after Christmas. Apart from Christmas being a busy time for parents and apart from the MOF suffering from a stinking cold, I have a lot on my plate at the moment. The most interesting task being a War Pensions Appeal Tribunal next week that I am the rep for, which should prove significant to the Gulf War Syndrome debate whatever the outcome - details will be posted after the verdict!

The other thing that I am trying to fit in around my blogging time is a course on revising schooldays French. When I learned French at school I learned a lot of songs - Sur la Pont d'Avignon and Frere Jacques in class and - Mademoiselle from Armentieres in the school yard! Here is a French song that fits in with my Poems and Politics thread on the blog as it was used as an exit quote by Norman Lamont a long time ago - so it is political!

No! No regrets
No! I will have no regrets
All the things
That went wrong
For at last I have learned to be strong

No! No regrets
No! I will have no regrets
For the grief doesn't last
It is gone
I've forgotten the past

And the memories I had
I no longer desire
Both the good and the bad
I have flung in a fire
And I feel in my heart
That the seed has been sown
It is something quite new
It's like nothing I've known

No! No regrets
No! I will have no regrets
All the things that went wrong
For at last I have learned to be strong

No! No regrets
No! I will have no regrets
For the seed that is new
It's the love that is growing for you