No Comment

Me and my computer are going to have a trial separation for a few days.

The last time I was away, a very nasty libellous comment was left on one of my blogs. Fortunately on that occasion the person libelled was very understanding and didn't take the matter further.

However to avoid the risk of a similar occurrence I have put comments onto moderation until my return on Friday night.

Where will I be? Here is a clue:


Cohabiting? - No Sympathy for Laws!

Many moons ago a nursing colleague and I decided to leave the National Health Service in order to establish a private care home.

Whilst we were waiting for the registration process to go through its paces we signed on. Whilst awaiting registration we lived in the house which we hoped to turn into a care home. Because both of us did odd jobs for nursing agencies we never actually received any benefit payments, but we were warned that if we ever had a payment we would be investigated on the basis that both of us were living on the same premises and both of us were signing on as single people rather than as a couple.

When we protested that our relationship was totally business and not sexual, we were informed that co-habitation is sharing a table rather than sharing a bed and if we ate together (which we often did) we were a couple in benefit speak, and one of us had to claim as the head and the other had to claim as his partner.

Fortunately we never got any benefits so we were never prosecuted, but it's a sobering thought, I could have been prosecuted for living in sin with a bloke who I never, ever would have wished to sin with!

Many people on benefits have been fined and imprisoned for falsely claiming benefits as individuals whilst living in a relationship, some intentionally, some innocently, because they didn't realise what a relationship is in law!

Which brings one to the case of David Laws!

He claimed Parliamentary expenses to pay his gay lover rent. MP's are not allowed to claim for rental payments to their wives, their husbands, their girlfriends or their boyfriends or those who cohabit with them / share the same table as them.

I don't understand the sympathy Mr Laws seems to be receiving amongst the political class, I have no sympathy for him at all. A benefit claimant would be in court facing a fine or imprisonment for doing what he did!

At worst Mr Laws might get a slap on the wrist from a Parliamentary committee! Had he claimed that 40 grand as a state benifit rather than as a parliamentry perk he would be looking at time inside!


Kids Being Naughty isn't a Crime

I was bought up in a period when the physical chastisement of children was the norm. If you were naughty in school you would be caned by the headmaster; if you were naughty outside school you would get the belt from your Dad. When I was a youngster I felt that the system was cruel, unjust and arbitrary. I was caned and belted for things that I either hadn't done or for things which I hadn't considered particularly bad when I did them.

I generally support the abolition of the physical chastisement of children.

If I went home after school and told my Dad that I had been given the cane by my headmaster I would have received a second beating from him for bringing the family into disrepute. If I was told by my son that he had been beaten by his headmaster in the way that I was beaten by mine I'd throttle the headmaster!

But I am confused by the alternatives.

One of the things I was punished for both at school and at home was an I'll show you mine if you show me yours incident with a younger neighbourhood girl, when I was about ten or eleven years old.

Yesterday two young boys of a similar age were in the Old Bailey accused of rape, convicted of attempted rape and have had their names put on the sexual offenders register for similar naughtiness!

That is not a reasonable alternative to the cane, the belt and the birch of my childhood.

If we want to abolish the corporal punishment of children we must find an alternative way of dealing with naughtiness that doesn't involve the draconian use of the criminal law and the courts in the sickening way that this case has done.

These two boys were very naughty boys, without any doubt, they deserve to be punished, but they are not attempted rapists or sex offenders or even criminals!

They would have deserved six of the best 40 years ago, they don't deserve to be criminalised today – I oppose both. But what the happy medium between the two options is I don't know, but it is a subject that must be discussed and resolved if we want to remain a civilised society.


Cymru na fydd - the heirs of Lloyd George?

There is an interesting post on the Liberal Democrat site Freedom Central that picks up on a comment made by Cynog Dafis the former Plaid AM and MP regarding demographic change in Ceredigion.

This is what Cynog said:

There has also been a demographic change in Ceredigion, to the point where up to half of the inhabitants are people who have either moved here themselves from England or are the children of people who have done so.
“This demographic change has reduced the number of people who have a Welsh perspective on politics.
“When the Liberal Democrat bubble was punctured towards the end of the campaign, voters elsewhere gravitated to the Tories or Labour. In Ceredigion, those parties don’t figure, so people tended to stick with the Lib Dems, whose only rivals were the Nats.

Cynog's comments are factually correct. A huge number of people have moved from England into the most rural areas of Wales and that demographic change does present an additional challenge to all political parties.

Plaid has risen to that challenge by making it clear that the party campaigns for the people who live in Wales, whatever their ancestry.

Of course the Liberal Democrats have jumped on Cynog's comments and condemned them as anti-English racism.

This comes as no surprise!

Since the advent of the National Assembly a consensus has developed between the Labour Party the Conservative Party and Plaid that being Welsh (in the widest possible sense of the word) is a positive thing, the Liberal Democrats have found a gap in the market and have attempted to exploit it by positioning themselves as the most ant-Welsh, even most racists towards the Welsh, party.

It is not a coincidence that the Lib Dems have only one Welsh speaking member in the Assembly, that it is the party that has benefited least from the Welsh lessons offered to Assembly members (0% success compared to very many successes in the other parties). It is not a coincidence that 39 out of 40 of the candidates in last week's election were not fluent enough to be interviewed on S4C and Radio Cymru, it is not a coincidence that well over half of the Lib Dem candidates were born outside Wales.

These things are not a coincidence they are the effect of where the Liberal Democrat Party has decided to position itself - as the anti Welsh Party in Wales. Lloyd George and (both) Tom Ellis' must be spinning in their graves!

Tip for pundits. Ask a sheep shagging joke in Wales, if you get a laugh you've found a Lib Dem strategist!


Fair votes from students!

So the main responsibility of the New Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, will be constitutional issues. I wish him well in the job, there are, without doubt, a number of constitutional anomalies in the current, so called democratic, system that we have desperate need to sort out.

There is one glaring anomaly that Clegg probably won't even think about changing The Corrupt Student Vote.

Nick won't deal with it because it has benefited his party for the last two elections.

Residential students can register to vote in both their home constituency (at their parents address) AND in their collage constituency (their hall of residence or lodgings address).

Despite the presidential style of last week's election, where we were fed the line that we were electing a Prime Minister, the fact is that the election was about electing 650 constituency representatives.

In many of those constituencies the residential student vote made the difference between which candidate was elected and which was defeated. Up to a third of those students whose votes made the difference will move out of the constituency within the next month and a half. If we have a five year fixed parliament 90% of the students will have left, leaving both locals and new students with an MP who may not represent them.

Much worse than the fact that student voters vote for a local candidate, when they know that they are about to up sticks and burden a constituency with an MP, whom they will not have to suffer for much longer, is the fact that in reality students have two votes.

There is no way to cross reference that a student registered in both Oxford and Barmouth hasn't voted twice. If s/he has been inspired to vote the chances are that s/he did vote twice.

I can't find a reference but I have heard anecdotal claims that the Tories could have got an overall majority for want of 16,000 votes in the right constituencies, and Labour could have won with 40,000 extra votes! I don't know if these figures are correct, but the potential difference that a small minority of the 1.9 million UK students voting twice could make may be very significant!

Sorry Nick, but the student vote that you have chased so vigorously over the last two elections is fundamentally corrupt, if you really want to clean up politics get rid of the two vote student's vote!


For Daran

Daran Hill, discussing the appointment of the MP for Chesham and Amersham as secretary of State for Wales, says on another blog:

Were she, or any other MP from an English seat, to be appointed to the Secretary of State’s role then things would change. The first line of attack from across the rest of the political spectrum label her appointment an “insult to Wales.” The clips of John Redwood mouthing along to Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau would be back on our screens before you could say “Gwlad”. Or even “Brad”. We would be catapulted as a nation back to the politics of 15 years ago.

Happy to oblige Daran, her appointment IS an insult to Wales, and here is Mr Redwood:

Plus la change Plus la Meme Chose

All's well for GB - poor Wales!


Has the Tory Press Murdered a ConDem Deal?

The bitter vitriol being poured on Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats in today's Tory Supporting Papers is incredible

The Sun:
NOW we see the Lib Dems for what they are... double-crossing, two-faced shysters who would sell their mothers for political gain.

Daily Mail:
In public, Nick Clegg, that supposed torch carrier for the ‘new’ politics, insisted it was his duty to first hold coalition talks with a Tory party given by far the strongest mandate to govern.
In private, the man who is emerging as the Madame Fifi of British politics was soliciting for the highest bid.

Mr Brown’s actions may tempt us to joke about Robert Mugabe stealing an election, with Nick Clegg in the role of Morgan Tsvangarai seduced into shaking hands with the man responsible for his nation’s misfortunes.

Comments on Tory blogs are even more bitter.

I suspect that the Lib Dem conversations with Labour were intended to be just a means of bringing extra pressure to bear on the Conservative party. But the over reaction of Tory supporters to the first minor difficulty in the negotiations might have made a Lib Con pact or coalition totally unobtainable and unsustainable. The Tory press' overreaction may well have cost David Cameron the keys to No10.


Nationalist Should Let the Tories Govern England

A number of bloggers and commentators have suggested that Labour should try to form a grand alliance with the Lib Dems, the Ulster parties and the Nationalists. I think that such an idea is absolutely stupid, unsustainable and reeks of desperation to hold / gain power for power's sake. Such a deal would be heavily punished in the ballot box in the next election.

As I noted a few days ago the only really sustainable deal that the Celtic Block could offer would be a supply and confidence agreement to a Conservative minority Government based on abstaining from English only issues with an agreement that the knock on effects of such issues would not impinge on Welsh/Scottish/NI consequentials.

The maths is there for such an agreement, and it wouldn't involve jumping into bed with the Hairy Arsed Tory Monster, just agreeing not to disagree on English Votes for English Issues, if they contained a Celtic caveat.

Of course such an agreement would allow some policies on Education or Health etc that we find objectionable to be passed for England – but England voted Tory so So What?!

England voted Conservative by a fair majority, the best option for the Celtic Block is to agree to enable the Conservatives to govern England, in exchange for a deal that is beneficial to Wales, Scotland and NI!

If I was one of the big guns in Plaid the DUP or the SNP I would be on the phone offering such a deal to Cameron, before a Lib /Con deal was brokered!


A shit night made good

Congratulations Glyn!

Worst posible result for Plaid avoided

Plaid has held on / won Arfon. Whew! A moment of relief at least Plaid's representation won't go down (I hope)

Bad night for the Nationalists?

I'ts looking like the worst night possible for Plaid – failed to win Ynys Mon, Aberconwy, Ceredigion o'r Llanelli and things looking a bit iffy in Arfon.

Winning / holding (depends how you look at it) Arfon looks like it could be Plaid's best hope.

From what I hear from Scotland things are looking grim there too, SNP to lose some seats?


A pedant writes....

A bit of pedantry for those media outlets who insist on using a picture of a noose to create scare stories about a balanced parliament.

Criminals are HANGED

Pretty things like pictures are HUNG! This is what a hung parliament would look like:

Remember to Vote.....


Expected Welsh Declaration Times

I am grateful to Vaughan Roderick for pointing me in the direction of the PA's list of declaration times for the result of the election. All of the Welsh seats are declaring in the early hours of Friday morning below are the expected times. (Baring recounts and other unforeseen events).

Between 1:00am and 1:30am
Vale of Clwyd
Ynys Mon


Brecon & Radnorshire

Blaenau Gwent
Cardiff Central
Cardiff North
Cardiff South & Penarth
Dwyfor Meirionnydd
Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney
Newport East
Newport West
Preseli Pembrokeshire
Vale of Glamorgan

Carmarthen East & Dinefwr
Carmarthen West & Pembrokeshire South
Cardiff West
Clwyd South
Clwyd West
Cynon Valley
Swansea East
Swansea West

Alyn & Deeside

Agreeing to Abstain in a Balanced Parliament?

Because of unequal devolution in the United Kingdom a number of issues that are devolved to Scotland, Wales and the north of Ireland become English only isssues that continue to be legislated on in Westminster.

Even if there is a hung / balanced parliament on Friday, there is little doubt that there will be a clear Conservative majority of seats in England.

This is an aspect that even the media in Wales and scotland have failed to address whilst asking the Nationalist parties who they will support in the event of a balanced parliament.

To get concessions from a Conservative Minority Government Plaid, the SNP and the northern Irish parties that take their seats, might not need to offer any sort of support to the government, all they have to do is to guarantee to continue to do what they have tended to do in the past parliament – not vote on devolved issues!


A Nationalist in Ysbyty and a Quisling in Deganwy!

Why did Guto make a point of telling a voter in Ysbyty Ifan that his grandfather was a founding member of Plaid Cymru, but denied that his family had any Plaid connections to a voter in Deganwy?

Shame that Ysbyty and Deganwy voters are siblings, who compared notes and came to the conclusion that Guto is two faced - a nationalist in Ysbyty and a Quisling in Deganwy!

Did my Dad have more from Labour Past?

When I am not doing politics, my other great passion is family history.

Family historians often have to evaluate documents that deal with money in days gone by.

Was great grandfather generous or not when he bequeathed his youngest daughter £30 in 1872?

Was great, great Grandmother guilty of a major crime when she was hanged for stealing 6d worth of goods in 1728 or was she subject to a barbaric law that used capital punishment for petty crimes?

When Dad worked in the 1960's for £15 a week was he well paid or exploited?

The rule of thumb is to double the value of everything every ten years!

So a wage of £15 in 1960 would be £30 in 1970, £60 in 1980, £120 in 1990, £480 in 2000 and £960 a week in 2010 - a very good wage by today's standards

Only part of the double rule is accounted for by inflation, the other part is accounted for in greater expectations: Indoor toilets, television, a home computer etc. Things that my ancestors never had but, one would be considered very poor for not having today.

When the Labour Party boasts that it has doubled the funding of the Welsh Assembly over the past ten years, as a badge of honour, what they are really saying is that they give as much today to the Assembly as they gave ten years ago – no more, no less!


Dave's Tesco Policy illustrated

On a visit to the Delyn Constituency yesterday David Cameron said that the public sector could learn a lot from the supermarket Tesco. Here are some pictures to illustrate what he meant:

For the better off

For the rest of us

The Welsh Leaders on the BBC

I have to say that I was plesantly suprised by last night's Welsh Leaders debate on the BBC. Unlike the British Prime Ministeraial debates the discussion was free flowing, interesting and one in which all parties had something worth contributing to the discussion.

Rather than feeling that one representative had won my main feeling at the end of the programme was one of pride that Wales is spoiled for choice between such exceptional talent from all four main parties and even from some of the minor parties that had a word in.

Whilst the London media feeds on a frenzy of loss of faith in politicians who are in politics for what they can get out of it, seeing the leaders of the four main Welsh Parties pleading from the heart for us to vote for what is best for Wales was like a breath of fresh air blowing through the putrid current of the present election campaign

Peter Hain had a mountain to climb, it's hard for a rep from the party that has been at the helm for many years to ask for more time to introduce even better results, especially when many of us believe that the country has gone to the dogs under their watch. I felt that Peter succeeded exceptionally well to deliver that message despite the strained circumstances.

Apparently, travel difficulties were responsible for Nick Bourn taking over from Cheryl Gillian as the leader of the Welsh Conservatives last night, not the feeling that she had bombed in the previous two debates. Whatever the reason I suspect that most Welsh Conservatives will be glad that Nick Bourn took her place. He succeeded to translate Conservative Unionist policy into something that was relevant to Wales and Welsh localities with aplomb. Nick turned Cameron's Big Society idea around into an idea of lots of small societies an idea that has more appeal in Wales and is probably what Cameron meant anyway, but failed to articulate as well as Nick did!

In the previous two Welsh debates Kirsty Williams came across as over excitable, squeaky, and too stuck to the script. Last night she had obviously thrown the script away – she was herself, and she came across as a person who passionately believes in Liberal Democracy and the benefits that it could provide for Wales. By speaking from the heart rather than from the script Kirsty was at the top of her game and last night her contribution was the best ever that I have seen from her since she became her party's Welsh leader, she showed elements of a charisma that I didn't think that she possessed.

Ieuan Wyn! Wow! I was bowled over by his performance. He may only be Deputy First Minister but he had the gravitas of a president. He had all the facts at his fingertips, where compromise was needed he compromised, where he needed to stand alone for the sake of righteousness, he justified standing alone with authority, he was electrifying, amazing, fantastic.

The Strictly Come Politicking marks are high, very high:
Ieuan 9.9
Nick 9.6
Kirsty 9.5
Peter 9.4

Only a hair's breadth between Ieuan in first and Peter in fourth, but the reason why Ieuan doesn't get the perfect 10 is because that accolade goes to Betsan Powys and BBC Wales for producing the most informative, interesting and watchable of all 12 Leaders Debate Programmes – Congratulation to both.