Why Independence as a "Long Term Aim" is wrong

When Simon Thomas was an MP he suggested that Plaid should aim for an independent Wales by 2050, because I am already well into my sixth decade, voting for a party that promises independence by 2050, would be an altruistic act for me, the chances of my living until 2050 are minimal. In an article on Wales Home Adam Price suggests 2036 as the date that the party should advocate for its long term policy, when I may be a sprightly 77 years old.

Plaid Cymru has seen generations of activists shuffle off this mortal coil knowing that they would never live in an independent Wales, why should I expect better? Shouldn't I too campaign for independence as a long term aim that will benefit my children and my grandchildren after I am gone?

Possibly, but probably not!

I am a realist, I know that Independence has hovered around the 10% +3 -3 margine of error in opinion polls for the last 30 years, so there isn't a great appetite for Independence in Wales at the moment. One of the reasons for this stagnation is that nobody has made the case for independence. And therein lays the problem of kicking independence into the long grass. If we see independence as a long term issue that can be ignored for another 20 30, 50 years, Wales will never be independent!

For either Adam or Simon to be right, for independence to be achieved in 2036 or 2050 we must campaign for Independence Today. Ignoring the issue as something for the long term just puts off making the case for independence until 2036 or 2050 or 2075 or 2974 or 3465 or for eternity!

If there is a case for Welsh independence it should be made today by all who believe in the cause. Postponing the argument as something for the long term is both duplicitous and dishonest!


If you want to live in an Independent Wales move to Scotland!

Apparently nobody understands the concept of an Independent Wales, or so says Plaid Cymru AM Rhodri Glyn Thomas!

Despite being an elected member of Plaid, Rhodri's advice to those of us who support Welsh independence is F*** off to Scotland. When I was a member of Plaid in the 1970's and 1980's that was the sort of sh*t I use to hear from Labour and Conservative dinosaurs whilst canvassing , go and live in Ireland if you hate Britain so much!

This blog has criticised Plaid Cymru's lack of faith in the national cause over the years, but even I hadn't thought that the Party had sunk to such depths that its elected representatives despise nationalists so much that they feel that they should be exiled to Scotland!

What Rhodri is quoted as saying in the Western Mail is clearly incompatible with any description of Welsh Nationalism. I hope that Rhodri comes forward with a press release that condemns the Western Mail for misquoting him and makes a four square case for the national cause!

If he doesn't I would have to ask any nationalist who supports Plaid Why are you in the same party as Rhodri Glyn? Either he should be kicked out or you should move out and help create a true new Welsh Nationalist Party.


Constitutional change isn't esoteric - as the ConDems know!

Whatever the result of the Scottish Independence referendum it will affect Wales for better or worse. Whether it is for better or for worse will depend on how Welsh politicians prepare for the result and that preparation should be made now by nationalists and unionists alike.

Waiting for the referendum result and playing it by ear after the fact will be bad for Wales.

I agree with Jonathan Edwards MP that the Welsh Government should be preparing for Scottish independence and putting forward a coherent vision for the Welsh nation’s constitutional future if Scottish independence happens.

Whatever one's views on Scottish Independence, it is something that could happen within the next few years. Even if Welsh Labour and Welsh Liberal Democrats were willing to bet the national debt on Scotland remaining within the Union, common sense says that Wales should prepare for the effect that Scottish independence would have on Wales if it comes to pass. Not doing so is true fantasy politics.

Peter Black, in condemning Jonathan Edwards for raising the need for the National Assembly to consider the possibility of a YES vote says:

I do know that the most urgent issues facing the Welsh Government today are the economy, an under-performing education system and the health service. Why would any sane minister take his or her eye off those problems to worry about esoteric constitutional issues?"

The ConDem government is only a year and a half old. Since its inception we have had a referendum on the powers of the National Assembly, a referendum on UK voting reform, an act that guarantees a referendum on changes to Britain's relationship with the EU, a Fixed Term Parliament, an act that reduces the number of Welsh MPs by a quarter, proposals for the election of Police Commissioners and withdrawing police control from local authorities, the establishment of the Silk Commission, and Britain being on the cusp of getting kicked out of the EU – that's a hell of a lot of constitutional change from a government who's supporters believe that constitutional matters are esoteric!

Why have the ConDems perused this wholesale constitutional change?

Because they know that constitutional change isn't esoteric – The constitution is the bedrock on which economic, social and ethical issues stand.

Peter Black's opposition to constitutional change for Wales, other than the wholesale changes imposed by the ConDems, is, in reality, an opposition to Wales having a better economic, social and ethical future based on a an alternative constitution to that offered by the corrupt UKanian State that he supports.


The Unacceptable Face of Capitalism

Standards & Poor's is a company, nothing more nothing less; but it has just threatened 15 Euro Zone countries with downgrading their creditworthiness and those sovereign countries are expected to react to this single company's musings by changing economic policies that will affect over half a billion citizens.

When a single company can dictate economic policy to 15 countries and half a billion people, we don't have democracy; we have a tyranny that is worse than that used by any Self-serving Monarch or Evil dictator in the past history of mankind.

The Euro Zone should tell Standards & Poor's to ****** (expletives deleted), make its sort of trading illegal, ban it and stop it from blackmailing democratically elected governments in future.

The answer to the current economic crisis is not to bow to the markets that created and are exacerbating the crisis. The answer is to regulate the markets so that companies like Standards and Poors can no longer profit out of the economic misery that they wish to impose on billions of people for the sake of a fast buck for their few shareholders.


Tory Brain on Strike?

Perhaps I am a bit thick, but I have difficulty in understanding the argument that the Tories are making ad nausium against today's strike.

Apparently the unions are irresponsible for conducting a strike while negotiations are ongoing!

Isn't the time that negotiations are omgoing the best time to protest and express strength of feeling?

Wouldn't strike action, protest, complaint etc be rather redundant after negotiations ended, after coming to agreement or after a decision is made?


Mebyon Kernow Conference

Mebyon Kernow held their Annual Conference in Bodmin last weekend here are a selection of contributions;

First MK's leader Cllr Dick Cole:

And a contribution from Plaid Cymru's Jonathan Edwards MP

and a speech from the SNP's Kenneth Gibson MSP


Wear Your Poppy With Shame!

It is probably an age thing!

I can understand the Welsh Political Twins antipathy towards the Poppy Symbol, but they are a lot younger than me. I was born 14 years after the end of WWII. The Cenotaphs in Dolgellau, Barmouth, Cilfynydd, Ludlow, Trawsfynydd and Minsterly don't just have names on them they have the names of real people who my parents and grandparents really grieved for, and for whom I still feel a duty of rememberance.

Y Prifardd Hedd Wyn, the Welsh language icon of War loss was my paternal grandfather's cousin. Wilfred Owen, probably the best English language War Poet, was my maternal grandmother's cousin. The words of these two relatives are still used and abused in remembrance.

Armistice Day / Remembrance Sunday is an emotional day for me. My family tree is full of names of fantastic people who I would have known had they not been butchered and damned in the two world wars. So I wear a poppy in respect and remembrance of them!

But think about it! What is poppy money for?

A Charity that supports disabled ex-service personnel!

Why do those who have served King and Country need to depend on charity for support?

Shouldn't the government that recruited them, conscripted them and deployed them pick up the tab for disabled service personnel?

The fact that I have to put a couple of quid into a charity box to buy a poppy, in order to ensure that disabled soldiers are looked after is a shameful reflection on the UK's policy of care for its war heroes!

The Poppy isn't a Symbol of Pride, it is a Symbol of Shame! Shame that a charity is doing what the government should have a moral duty to do!

e-Petition: Recall LDP’s

An e-petition to the Assembly Worthy of Support:

We call upon the National Assembly for Wales to urge the Welsh government to recall all Local Development Plans across Wales and to scrap the use of population projections issued by the Statistical Directorate that are used to inflate housing numbers in local development plans.

We call for all LDPs at whatever stage of development to be halted immediately in order to bring the level of housing growth in line with genuine local needs.We the undersigned view all LDPs guided by the Welsh Government s population projections as ill thought out, fundamentally flawed and detrimental to the communities of Wales.This type of planning is not sustainable, is not needed and is not wanted by the people of Wales. In order to halt the damage that is already being done and to prevent further irreversible damage and devastation to our communities, environment and identity across Wales, we appeal to the Welsh Government to intervene immediately.


Silk - Clichés or Answers?

It was with a certain amount of despair that I heard on the BBC that the Silk Commission:
will hold its first meeting at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Friday
What a bloody depressing cliché. They may as well have launched the Commission down The Big Pit or on a mountain farm where the farmer had been arrested for shagging his sheep – if the Millennium Stadium is their starting point, we may as well accept that the ending point will be a report full of platitudes and bereft of substance.

If the Commission had any intention of delivering a visionary way forward for Welsh governance and finance they might, at least, have launched their consultation in the memorial hall of a deprived community or in the canteen of a thriving company. Either would have shown some appreciation of the needs of Wales.

Launching in the spiritual home of the 80 minute patriot bodes ill for the value of the Silk Commission!


Good Food Guide

Apparently if we in Wales ate an English diet our health will improve dramatically. As I'm feeling a bit peckish now, what would you suggest as a quick snack? A Brummy sandwich, Scouser on toast or a tasty morsel of East Anglian with a nice chianti.
Dr Hannibal Lecter – Welsh food pioneer


Left, Right or Welsh Nationalist?

I am a Welsh nationalist. I believe that Wales should be an Independent Country. I use to be a member and a branch officer of Plaid Cymru, I have been an electoral agent for the party and I have made speeches in many of the party conferences!

I have not stopped being a supporter of Plaid Cymru, I just stopped paying my membership fees after Dafydd Wigley's statement that plaid had never ever supported Independence for Wales, some 15 years ago!

I support independence!

It's interesting to see Plaid Members calling out Plaid reps on the independence question now!

The one thing that stops me joining Plaid is a quote that appears often on Syniadau's blog when he calls others to order:

2.2 To ensure................, decentralist socialism.

Decentralised socialism is an oxymoron. You can do what you want in your neighbourhood as long as it is Socialist – that isn't decentralisation! It's as stupid as saying that Wales can be independent as long as it remains British!

I was a member of Plaid when this Socialist crap came to a head, in the days of the Hydro Group. The silly thing was that on individual motions there was never a "Hydro" v "Socialist" split, both groups either supported each other, or both split amongst themselves!

I think that there is something quite pathetic in the fact that Plaid's rules exclude me from membership of the party for agreeing on social policy from a right wing Christian position with Welsh Ramblings ultra left atheist position on many areas of public policy. Surely it's the policy that counts - not the background doctrine!!!!


Isn't it funny?

Those who supported Mr Obama in his campaign for the White House a few years ago were using the power of the internet for progressive politics!

The Qaddafi regime was overthrown by the use of modern communications that overrode official propaganda.

Mobile phone videos are destroying the credibility of Syrian State TV propaganda.

The internet is working to create political change, for the better, in every part of the world apart from Scotland where the undemocratic nature of the internet is in play according to Bashar al-Assad Scots Labour leader, Iain Grey:

Pro-independence bloggers the so-called “cybernats” go online in an attempt to trash the reputations of those whom they think do not support the SNP’s cause. Gray warned Labour candidates that cybernats and bloggers would question their sexuality and drag their families into the “vitriol”.
I say to the candidates. Don’t kid yourself. You will be attacked. You will be smeared. You will be lied about. You will be threatened,” Gray said. The cybernats and the bedsit bloggers will call you traitor, quisling, lapdog and worse. They will question your appearance, your integrity and your sexuality. They will drag your family and your faith into the lies and the vitriol. It will be worse if you are a woman.
This is the poison some have brought into our politics and it is vile.

I sympathise with Mr Grey, the Labour Party has a divine right to govern Scotland! Using any new technology to dispute that right is like feeding Satan!

It shouldn't be allowed.


Tax advice for the Silk Committee.

I know that the membership has just been announced, and that it hasn't even met yet, but I would like to offer one word of premature advice to the Silk Committee – Don't do what the press assumes that you are going to do, do not look at tax raising powers for the National Assembly!

Raising is an ambiguous word.

To raise taxes suggests to most of us that the level of taxation will go up, in the sense that VAT has risen from 15% to 20%, and that raising the price of a pint of beer means charging £3 a pint rather than £2.50 a pint etc

In the political world raising taxes means collecting money for the purpose of running government. So in an oxymoronic way a government that cuts taxes by 90% would still be a government that "raises" taxes.

Any public consultation on the Assembly having the ability to raise taxes will be met with howls of protestation, because none of us want our taxes raised in the colloquial sense of them being made higher!

To avoid complication and to have honest consultation the Commission must look at tax setting or tax levying powers for the Assembly, not tax raising powers!

And those of us who belive that the Assembly should have some direct responsibility for its own financial situation should avoid the trap of using the term tax raising.

Normally pedantry is petty, in this case pedantry is important.


Social Housing e-petition to the Assembly

Royston Jones ( Jac o' the North) has posted the following petition to the Assembly:

We call upon the National Assembly for Wales to urge the Welsh Government to address the flawed system for allocating social housing in Wales.

At present, a person who has never visited Wales can qualify for social housing ahead of someone born and bred in Wales. This is due to the points system giving preference to the homeless, those in unfit accommodation, those recently released from institutions, etc.

At first glance, commendable; but when applied on a UK basis we see an endless stream of people with ‘problems’ from outside Wales denying Welsh people social housing and, too often, blighting Welsh communities.

To remedy this problem we call on the Welsh Government to introduce a period of five-years’ residency in Wales before anyone qualifies for social housing, exempting only political refugees and others escaping persecution.

Those wishing to sign the petition can do so by clicking here

The bum side of antique telly programmes

I have just watched an old edition of Antiques Road Show on BBC sign zone.

As is usual in all of these antique programmes it contained the obligatory I bought this in a boot sale for next to nothing item that turns out to be valued at £1000. When this happens it is always seen as fantastic, brilliant, wonderful – which it must be for the purchaser.

But why do these programmes never spare a thought for the poor bugger watching at home who sold that five thousand pound vase for 10p in the boot sale?

When I was younger I use to sell in the occasional car boot sale, every time that Flog It, Real Deal and similar programmes are on the telly, I live in dread that one of the things that I sold as brick-a-brack for a couple of bob might turn up on the programme as a valuable antique. If it did I'd feel gutted, sick, disconsolate.

Show some sympathy telly people!


Why RT is wrong on cancer and millionaire's paracetamol

If I happened to be the winner of yesterday's £85 million Euro Millions Lottery Jackpot, and I decided to use my windfall in order to move into a mansion in a leafy English shire, I would still be able to get free prescriptions on the English NHS. So if Andrew RT Davies objects to free prescriptions being given to Welsh millionaires, of whom there are few, why do his friends in Westminster continue to provide free prescriptions to millionaires in England (of whom there are many)?

Free prescriptions (regardless of income) are available to English millionaires who are aged 60 or over, and those who suffer from some long term illnesses such as epilepsy or diabetes, and those who are pregnant or have been pregnant during the past 12 months.

Cancer is an emotive subject; it is probably the disease that frightens many of us most. When Andrew states that patients are being deprived of cancer drugs because millionaires are getting free paracetamol in Wales, he makes an emotive point. An emotive point that is frankly immoral. To gain enough money to give just one patient a course of Avistin, his fabled Welsh millionaire would have to give up one hundred and fifty thousand courses of free prescription paracetamol. The cost of the 24 cancer drugs that Andrew RT wants to provided on the NHS in Wales would cost as much as 1380 Trillion boxes of paracetamol. Andrew's millionaire mate must have one hell of a headache!

If the drugs that Andrew RT Davies was complaining about cured cancer, I would have sympathy for his argument, but they don't. The drugs extend life for between 3 and 5 months, months that will be lived suffering from cancer rather than living with cancer, at a cost estimated by the Scottish Government in 2006 of between £24k and £93k per patient for the drugs alone (the prolonged palliative care will add to the cost).

If my doctor tells me tomorrow that I am going to die before next Christmas I can see no justification in spending £93K+ in keeping me alive until next Easter.

To expect hundreds of ill people in Wales to fork out £7.50 a script for drugs that will make them better, in order to finance my terminal illness for an extra two months of a drug comatosed life would be selfishly sick.


St Peter don't you call me 'cos I can't go, I owe my body to Carwyn and co!

Whilst I'm being slagged off for opposing the Cardiff Bay consensus I may as well add that I agree entirely with the doubts raised by Archbishop Barry Morgan regarding a presumed consent for organ donation:
There is, in presumed consent, a subtle or perhaps not so subtle change of emphasis in the relationship between the individual and the state.

That is, that unless we have opted out, our organs belong to the state and the state has the right to do with them as it wills.

The implication, by default, is that the state can decide on our behalf. I think that compromises individual rights and freedoms and poses the moral question as to whether the state can make such decisions.

Is this a legitimate power, in other words, for any state? True, the state will argue such power will only be taken after consultation with relatives but there is a presumption in favour of the state and almost the belief that our bodies are state assets and therefore at the State’s disposal.

I also agree with Glyn Davies MP's very pertinent point: at present the state has an interest in encouraging people to think about this matter. Under 'presumed consent' the state's interest will be for there to be no publicity and no knowledge of the system.

At the moment there are public service broadcasts encouraging us to opt in to the system. Under presumed consent will there be as many public service broadcasts informing us of our right to opt out? I doubt it!

In the 1950's there use to be a leftist country and western mining song with the words

St Peter don't you call me 'cos I can't go
I owe my soul to the Company Sto'

Perhaps the wording should be changed in Wales to

St Peter don't you call me 'cos I can't go
I owe my body to Carwyn and co!

Those wishing to register their consent to organ donation can do so voluntarily (whilst they still own their own bodies) by clicking here


The Bag Rip Off Starts Next Sunday

As of next Sunday every plastic bag or paper bag used by shoppers in Wales to take their goods home will carry a 5p surcharge. I am surprised that all of the major retail chains have agreed to acquiesce. Under European law minimum pricing is illegal and this charge on bags is a clear case of illegal minimum pricing.

Because the Welsh Assembly Government is unable to raise taxes the proceeds from the 5p charge for each bag used in the larger retailers is going to be given to charity. Some supermarkets have named the charities that are going to benefit. Tesco will give to the RSPB, Morrison's to Save the Children, Boots to MacMillan Nurses. Others just note that the money raised will support unspecified charities; Asda will donate to local good causes and the Co-Op to environmental projects.

It would be interesting to know if the money given to the likes of the RSPB, environmental projects and MacMillan Nurses will be for the benefit of those causes' work in Wales alone; or will my bag money be subsidising their work in more affluent parts of the UK?

Will the plastic bags charge help or hinder charities?

When the nice lady from the local church comes round with her Save the Children envelope every year I am quite happy to give a couple of bob to the cause. But if I feel that I have been ripped off by Save the Children every time I shop in Morrisons – she might be sent away with a flea in her ear the next time she comes-a-knocking.

Many local charities raise money at Christmas and other holiday periods by offering to pack customers bags for them in exchange for a small donation; it's a major income source for many youth club, Scouts, Urdd etc groups. I will not be willing to be forced to give money to one charity for the bags and then volunteer to give to another for the packing. This bag charge could be the death knell for many local youth groups.

Isn't the point of charitable giving that it is voluntary? There are some registered charities who's objectives and activities I totally oppose. At the moment I can choose not to support them if I so wish. From next Sunday, if my local supermarket offers its support to one of those charities, I will be obliged under the force of law to donate a sum of money to them, against my wishes, in order to take my shopping home in a biodegradable plastic or paper bag! I suspect that there might be a human rights issue there!

Q Anybody know a no-win-no-fee HR lawyer who might take the issue on?

A Don't be silly Alwyn! The leftists who support Human Rights are the same people who support this enforced giving to anti-Welsh charities like the ROYAL Society for the Protection of Birds and the English National Trust (AKA The Save Snowdon from the Welsh Society)!

This is a Nationalist issue which Plaid should oppose on Nationalist grounds, but which Plaid stupidly supports in order to prove its British Socialist and British Environmental credentials!


Welsh Fiscal and Constitutional Commission #2

At the end of my last post I asked the questions:

Should Plaid join the Commission, in spite of the Westminster centred politicians? Or ignore it as an insult to Wales?

I think that I know where I stand on this question, but it would be interesting to hear other's views before declaring!
Thanks to those who responded. The two who came closest to my thinking were:

Better Wales who said... I really don't think anyone cares, least of all the people of Wales.


Anonymous 16:52 who said... why bother. It'll be like the Richard Report. Lots of energy wasted for Labour to do nothing in case they win in London in 2015.

There is a very special shelf in the National Library of Wales, covered in dust and cobwebs where the ignored reports of Welsh Commissions are stored, Kilbrandon, Richards, Holtham etc etc! Every so often a staff member has to go down into this dusty corner to place another Commission report onto that shelf – s/he is probably the only public servant in Wales who has no fear of redundancy – his or her job is a job for life!

Is there any point in Plaid taking part in this Commission? Probably not; but there is probably not much point, other than window dressing, in the other parties taking part either!

Should Plaid refuse to be part of the commission because of the supposed exclusion clause? – Absolutely not!

The clause is there as an elephant trap, that silly people think might catch Plaid off balance. But it is the worst trap that anybody has ever constructed.

Despite claims from True Wales that last May's referendum campaign had something to do with independence it was actually about Wales' continuing constitutional status within the UK, Plaid played a leading role in that campaign – so why should the party call foul on a Commission that wants to look at an extension of devolution that wishes to continue to secure the position of Wales within the UK? That, after all, is the whole point of devolution isn't it?

Plaid supports "gradualism" the hope that devolution will expand into Independence, as happened in Canada and Australia. Until the final act of the gradualist approach Devo-Max +, occurs then any step on that road will be a step that aims to continue to secure the position of Wales within the UK – surely! So whoever thought that the UK clause would make Plaid spit its dummy out, doesn't know much about Plaid!


Welsh Fiscal and Constitutional Commission #1

On the IWA's blog Click on Wales, John Osmond has some interesting comments about the progress of the soon to be formed Welsh Fiscal and Constitutional Commission dubbed ap Calman by some. At the end of his article John makes a rather disturbing comment:
Plaid Cymru’s nominee is likely to be its economics adviser Eurfyl ap Gwilym who is currently also heading its Commission looking at the party’s organisation and policy in the wake of its poor election results in May.

However, a question mark is hanging over Plaid Cymru’s involvement. This is because the Cabinet Office have suggested amending the Commission’s terms of reference agreed last July so that, in addition to examining the “current constitutional settlement in the light of experience and recommend changes”, it would have the words added: “and continue to secure the position of Wales within the UK”. According to leading figures in the party, if such an addition finds its way into the terms of reference that eventually emerge, the motivation would be to ensure that Plaid Cymru does not participate in the Commission.
The original Calman commission was set up by the unionist parties in Scotland as a response to Alex Salmond's National Conversation on the constitution of Scotland; the theory being that the Nats could have a conversation amongst themselves about Independence, the other parties would have a commission talking about Scotland's constitutional future within the UK.

It appears that some wise soul has decided that the Welsh Fiscal and Constitutional Commission should be held along similar lines. I'm not sure why though, because it shows a lack of appreciation of how the Welsh experience of devolution has differed to the Scottish one.

In Scotland the Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem's MPs shared visceral hatred of the Nationalists was transferred into the Scottish Parliament and has helped the SNP by creating a narrative where only one party stands up for Scotland in the Scottish Parliament elections. Both Rhodri Morgan's clear red water and Nick Bourn's clear blue water have created (at least the illusion of) Labour and Conservative parties that patriotic Welsh voters can support on a Welsh electoral stage. The clear coloured waters have enabled all of the big four parties to create a fairly consensual Welsh attitude to the evolution of devolution, despite doubts expressed by Westminster colleagues such as Peter Hain and Stephen Crabb.

This has been a problem for Plaid, because of the clear coloured waters; the London Parties jibe doesn't have the same resonance in Wales as it has in Scotland.

Almost everybody in Wales knows that Plaid Cymru members go to bed at night and dream about constitutional matters! The idea of a Constitutional Commission from which Plaid is artificially excluded will be seen as a farce by most Welsh people. From a purely electoral point of view, excluding Plaid from the commission will be manna for Plaid – without Plaid's input the Commission will be a London body dictating how Wales should be run! Is this how those setting up the Commission wish to see it perceived?

Should Plaid join the Commission, in spite of the Westminster centred politicians? Or ignore it as an insult to Wales?
I think that I know where I stand on this question, but it would be interesting to hear other's views before declaring!


And another thing that peeves me about Glan Conwy Council!

According to the last published minutes of the Council those in attendance were:

Cllr.Mrs.S.Lesiter-Burgess, Cllr.J.Spicer, Cllr.Mrs.C.Evans, Cllr.Mrs.A.Parry, Cllr.Mrs.P.Rogers, Cllr.T.S.Buckley, Cllr.O.Evans-Jones, Cllr.C.P.Barton, Cllr.D.J.Rees, Cllr.Mrs.S.Edmondson.

Why is Cllr Dai Rees described as Cllr, but Cllr Pam Rogers described as Cllr Mrs?

Isn't noting a female councillor's gender and marital status rather Jurassic?

Doesn't this council need kicking into the 21st century?


Congratulations ARTD!

Andrew RT Davies has a new job, he has my hearty congratulations, but I'm not sure that he has the support of the voters of Wales! Last time I looked, Carwyn Jones was, unfortunately, the Leader of the Welsh Assembly!

I'm sure that RT FaRTy, would make a brilliant Assembly Leader, if elected! But before being described as Leader of the Welsh Assembly – shouldn't he overcome the teeny, weeny, bitty hurdle of being elected to the post?

Hat Tip to Toque – and I agree with his sentiment that the Tories, of all parties, appear to have neglected to include a representative of one (rather big) part of the UK in their An United Kingdom debate!


Duw! It's hard.

RIP: Phillip Hill, Charles Breslin, David Powell, and Garry Jenkins; names added to a list that is already too long.

No democracy in co-option!

Putting apart sour grapes (and my grapes are very sour) elections are the way in which we should choose our representatives. There is something wrong in the way that community councillors are co-opted under the current system!

The rules are that ten people have to ask for a community council by-election; if that doesn't happen then the council co-opts.

In my last experience three candidates wanted to be considered as community councillor - but there was no election.

In my opinion three candidates should automatically trigger an election – three people after the same elected job – put it to the voters!

Surely the very fact that more than one person wants an elected position should automatically trigger an election makes sense in a democracy!

The only reason for co-option should be if nobody had put their name forward for election!

And now for some more sour grapes - Drew wouldn't have stood a chance against me in an open election, so he wouldn't have taken the risk of standing! I would have won unoposed!

So much for democracy!


Glan Conwy Community Council

The council co-opted a vacancy today to a person who lives in Eglwysbach, rather than a resident of our village!

I am very annoyed. Only two people have asked the voters of Glan Conwy to support their membership of the community council in the past 30 years! Me and Dan.

Dan won fair and square in the August poll, but I had more votes than any other member of the community council has ever gained! It is a travesty that the support that I gained in an open election should be overridden by internal favouritism.

I will stand for election again next May, on my record of community service, which I hope the people of Glan Conwy will respect! I can guarantee that I will beat some of the nodding donkies who are, with all respect, an embarrassment to Glan Conwy Council!

Dafydd Elis Thomas - a National Hero!

Dafydd Elis Thomas is one of my mega heroes. I have known Dafydd since I was a 14 year old canvasser for the old Liberal Party in the February 1974 Westminster election.

After his election I use to attend every surgery DET held in Dolgellau as a Pain in the Arse Complainant barracking for the Liberal cause, but he never refused to see me!

After his re election in October 1974 Dafydd set me a challenge: Because I could oppose him for his seat in 1980, when I would have been old enough to stand, I had to be able to debate with him in Welsh.

Being a first language English speaker, if it wasn't for Dafydd El's challenge, I wouldn't be a fluent and confident Welsh speaker today!

Before the 2007 election, when the SNP became the government of Scotland, any stranger to UK devolved politics comparing Scotland and Wales, would have assumed that Wales had more independence than Scotland, despite the fact that Scotland has many more powers than Wales had, this wasn't because of Rhodri's Clear Red Water, but because Dafydd El had made himself President of Wales.

Dafydd El crowning himself as President of Wales in 1997 was as significant an event in Welsh history as Owain Glyndwr crowning himself as Prince of Wales in 1404!

I wouldn't support Dafydd's current bid for the leadership of the party, he's done his bit brilliantly and it's time for him to move on. Having said that, there is no doubt that Dafydd Elis Thomas is a national treasure and a national hero! I find the hate comments made by too many nationalist against Dafydd, very unsavoury, because if I had contributed a quarter as much as Dafydd has contributed to the National cause I would be a very, very, proud Nationalist!


Why should Wales be DEPENDENT?

I am grateful to Stuart for drawing my attention to yesterday's Radio Wales Phone-in with Jason Mohammad. The first half of the programme delt with the question Should Wales become independent?

Stuart said about the programme I was struck by the fact that the debate wasn't hijacked by the usual suspects and that most people giving their views were at least open to discussing the subject. And I must say that I agree. It was a breath of fresh air to hear a programme about the issue of Welsh self determination where most of the contributors for both sides made sensible arguments.

The Scottish contributor a Dr Ray Donnelly, who was described as an expert on Scottish independence was the only contributor who took the debate into the realms of stupidity both by trying to flirt with Helen Mary on air and by making nonsensical comments such as "the Scots will have to eat porridge with whisky for breakfast if Scotland becomes independent". I may not agree with it, but the retention of the UK is a legitimate political position to hold – surely its proponents deserve better exponents of their cause than this!

The contribution that stood out for me was one that came from Catrin in Aberdare How about turning the question around, Jase, Should Wales be dependent I'm at a loss to see why anyone would say that Wales has done well out of being dependent on the UK". Quite right Catrin!

Perhaps those of us who support the national cause should stop trying to justify Independence and start asking the others why they want Wales to remain Dependent?


South Africa 17 - Wales 16

Any mediocre team can beat an opposing 15.

A good team must be able to beat the opposing fifteen, a bad referee, the wind, the rain and Lady Luck!

Wales failed and was less than mediocre. There are no excuses!


Sleepwalking into complacency about OUR future!

One of the opposition arguments made, not so much against the SNP, but against the people of Scotland is that they may sleepwalk into independence!

The argument is that the people of Scotland are so star struck by Alex Salmond, that they might vote YES in a referendum because of what they feel in their bellies, rather than what they know in their heads; Mr Salmond's charisma might mesmerise them into voting for independence against their better judgement!

Or, to put it in other words, the people of Scotland may support independence in a referendum because they are too stupid to know better! A good unionist vote winning strategy!!!!

At the moment the Unionist supporters seem to be banking on the fact that the vote will go their way. They might be right, they might be wrong, who knows until the votes are counted?

Supposing that Scotland votes YES and becomes independent, where does that leave Wales, where does it leave England?

The term used in the Scottish blogosphere is rUK (remainder United Kingdom), which is fair enough from a Scottish prospective – but where does it leave those of us who continue to live in the remainder?

I have heard of no plans from the Conservatives, the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats nor even Plaid and MK about what happens next IF Scotland votes for Independence.

Which raises the question Who are the Sleepwalkers?. What are the people of England, Wales, Cornwall and the north of Ireland going to do, going to be, if Scotland becomes independent?

Surely all parties need to plan for the inevitability of Scottish Independence and its ramifications for the rest of us! Sleepwalking into post Scottish Independence must not be an option!



Apologies to those who have been trying to read this blog today but have found it as "invite only". I have been having problems with a person intent on using the comments section to post spam links, so I switched the blog off whilst I deleted them, and forgot to switch it back on again. Sorry!

Glan Conwy- a place where many sleep but few live?

There have been a number of posts on the Welsh blogosphere in the past few days noting the latest Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation Statistics; as Jac 'o the North notes there aren't that many surprises in the statistics – the poor areas of Wales are still poor, although as Plaid Wrecsam notes, not all is woe, some areas have improved.

The statistics will, undoubtedly, help politicians and others to see that something should be done and attempt to offer something as an answer to those problems; good luck to them – I hope that something works.

It is easy to split large towns and cities into areas of social deprivation on a ward to ward basis; Caia Park is a poor area of Wrecsam, St Mellon's Estate is a poor area of Cardiff / Newport, the West End is a poor part of Rhyl etc. Something must be done for them!

But what about the poor in my village - Llansanffraid Glan Conwy?

Both wards in my little village are doing all right; both are in the upper percentile of Welsh communities, as are most rural wards. But this hides the fact that wards divide the rich and the poor in cities and large towns, but leylandii hedges divide them in rural communities!

A side effect of the ward based needs analysis used by the Assembly Government is that the needs of locals in my ward and similar wards thorough Wales are ignored, because the needs of the native poor of working age are masked by the wealth of incoming retirees – which makes us a statistically rich community but means that locals haven't got a hope in hell of getting any support from the Assembly or any other Government Agency to create work or leisure or community spirit in our village.

So my village becomes a place in which many sleep but few live!

Something should be done about this too!


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?


On Dragons and Tongues

There is a typically Guardianista debate taking place on the Comment is Free site about intellectual clichés:

"We've all been there. You're in the middle of a heated discussion – debating the news over a pint in the pub, or firing off comments below an article on Comment is free. Suddenly, you remember that someone famous once put your argument in a much pithier way than you ever could. It might be an old canard like "Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth" from the Old Testament, or trendy economist-speak such as Malcolm Gladwell's well-worn phrase "the tipping point". The point is: you didn't really read the original text, and you're not all that sure what the author was really going on about in the first place. But you quote it anyway. Everyone – commenters, commentators, yes, even editors – sometimes resorts to intellectual clichés."
As if by magic our own Wales Home came up with a perfect example "The Dragon Has Two Tongues", a debate about whether or not Wales Home should publish posts in Welsh without translating them into English, a theme picked up by John Tyler.

In the Context of the CiF debate the cliché's origins are not in a debate just about the language, but in a book by Glyn Jones and a HTV series where Prof Gwyn Alf Williams debated with Wynford Vaughan Thomas, not so much about language, but about conservatism and radicalism. Both Wynford and Glyn were fluent Welsh speakers the tongues that divided their dragon wasn't linguistic but cultural; it wasn't can speak Welsh v can't speak Welsh but right v left.

In the intervening 30 odd years since the programme was made, only one party has successfully taken on the lessons learned from the programme - the Conservative Party - The only party that doesn't really mind the language that you use as long as the message is right in both senses of the word. Unfortunately the Tories oppose national self determination for Wales, so I can't support them!

Plaid Cymru, a party that one would expect to unite all Welsh speakers and all who have an abiding interest in Welsh culture and history cuts us Wynford types out, because we are not Gwyn Alf's disciples who believe that the Gresford disaster and Streic y Penrhyn are the be all and end all of North Wales' history, because we are not all left wing. Plaid treats our Dragon's Tongue with opposition, opprobrium and derision.

Unless and until a national movement unites all who want Welsh independence, left and right, cultural and practical, Welsh speaking or not, one of the dragon's tongues will remain very, very wilted!


Time to disqualify the disqualifications

I have refrained from commenting on the Lib Dem two, because I feel that it would have been unfair to do so before the legal advice was available. It has now been published.

From what I understand, John Dixon has fallen on his sword and Aled Roberts will challenge any motion to dismiss him in the courts.

The thing that has caused me the most disquiet about this saga isn't about whether the rules were broken or not but whether the rules are fair!

Unlike Mr Dixon I have consulted the list of disqualified people, and unlike Mr Roberts I have looked at the list in Welsh and English. My impression is that it is a big list for a small country, and that many of the people most likely to want to represent their area in our National Assembly are the sort of people who have already served Wales well by giving their services to these sorts of bodies.

Disqualifying hundreds of citizens who have already proven their willingness to serve the nation by being members of public bodies from being AMs is bloody stupid!

Rather than sacking Mr Dixon and Mr Roberts the Assembly should change the rules.

I can understand why you can't be an AM and a member of some (but not all) of the prohibited bodies. But surely a rule that says you can stand for election as a member of a public body and if elected you resign your membership of the body before taking up your Assembly seat through the oath would enable more people who are committed to Welsh civic life to stand for election!

Barring so many contributors to Welsh civic life (in all parties) can't be democratic or good for Welsh Governance!

Here is the banned from our democratic process list:

You are not allowed to be an Assembly member if you are also a member of:

A committee established by the Pensions Regulator under section 9 of the Pensions Act 2004;
A National Park authority for a National Park in Wales;
A panel, established under Schedule 10 to the Rent Act 1977, of persons to act as chairmen and other members of rent assessment committees for an area or areas every part of which is in Wales;
A tribunal constituted under section 27 of, and Schedule 3 to the Education Act 2005;
A tribunal referred to in paragraph 10 of Schedule 26 to the Schools Standards and Framework Act 1998(4);
Adjudication Panel for Wales or Panel Dyfarnu Cymru;
Agricultural Land Tribunal;
An urban development corporation for an urban development area wholly in Wales;
Anglesey Recovery Board;
Any member of the Big Lottery Fund appointed under paragraph 1 of Schedule 4A to the National Lottery Etc. Act 1993(5) or of a committee established under paragraph 7(1)(b) of that Schedule;
Arts Council of Wales;
Board of Trustees of the National Library of Wales appointed by the Welsh Ministers;
Board of Trustees of the National Museum of Wales appointed by the Welsh Ministers;
Board of the Pension Protection Fund;
British Waterways Board;
Board of Medical Referees appointed by the Welsh Ministers);
British Broadcasting Corporation Trust;
British Transport Police Authority;
Care Council for Wales or Cyngor Gofal Cymru;
Care Quality Commission;
Central Arbitration Committee;
Channel Four Television Corporation;
Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission;
Commission for Equality and Human Rights;
Competition Appeal Tribunal;
Competition Commission;
Competition Service;
Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence;
Council of the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service;
Countryside Council for Wales;
Electoral Commission or Comisiwn Etholiadol;
Environment Agency or Asiantaeth yr Amgylchedd;
First-tier tribunal;
Food & Drink Advisory Partnership;
Food Standards Agency or yr Asiantaeth Safonau Bwyd;
Food Standards Agency Advisory Committee for Wales;
Gas and Electricity Markets Authority;
General Teaching Council for Wales or Cyngor Addysgu Cyffredinol Cymru;
Health and Safety Executive;
Health Protection Agency or yr Asiantaeth Diogelu Iechyd;
Higher Education Funding Council for Wales other than a member who is also an employee of the Council;
Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority;
Human Tissue Authority;
Independent Appeal Panel for Farmers;
Independent Police Complaints Commission;
Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales;
Independent Social Services Complaints Panel;
Joint Nature Conservation Committee;
Local Better Regulation Office;
Local Government Boundary Commission for Wales;
Meat Promotions Wales or Hybu Cig Cymru;
Mental Health Review Tribunal for Wales;
National Employment Savings Trust Corporation;
Office of Communications;
Office of Fair Trading;
Pensions Regulator;
Postal Services Commission;
Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales;
Sianel Pedwar Cymru;
Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee;
Sports Council for Wales;
Statistics Board or Bwrdd Ystadegau established by the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007;
Upper Tribunal;
Valuation Tribunal for Wales;
Welsh Industrial Development Advisory Board;
Welsh Language Board or Bwrdd yr Iaith Gymraeg;
Welsh Levy Board or Bwrdd Ardollau Cymru.
A person appointed by the Welsh Ministers under section 3(1) of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989
An auditor appointed under section 13(2) of the Public Audit (Wales) Act 2004;
Ambassador or Permanent Representative to an international organization representing Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom;
Auditor General for Wales and members of his or her staff;
Certification officer and any assistant certification officer having functions under the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992;
Chair of Welsh Health Specialised Services Committee;
Chair and members of the Marine Management Organisation;
Chair and members of the Welsh Committee of the Administrative Justice & Tribunals Council;
Chair and Chief Executive of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills or a Director or a Commissioner of that Commission appointed by the First Minister for Wales;
Chairman and Chief Executive of the Student Loans Company Limited;
Chairman and Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board;
Chairman and deputy chairman of the Civil Service Appeal Board;
Chairman and vice chairman of the Sustainable Development Commission;
Chairman and any other member of the Passengers’ Council in receipt of remuneration;
Chairman and any member, not being also an employee, of a Local Health Board for an area in Wales;
Chairman and any member, not being also an employee, of a Special Health Authority performing functions partly or wholly in respect of Wales;
Chairman and Director General of the British Council;
Chairman and non-executive director of a National Health Service Trust all or some of whose hospitals, establishments or other facilities are situated in Wales;
Chairman of the Beef Assurance Scheme Panel;
Children’s Commissioner for Wales or Comisiyndd Plant Cymru, Deputy Children’s Commissioner and members of his or her staff;
Civil Service Commissioner;
Commissioner for Older People in Wales or Comisiyndd Pobl hŷn Cymru, Deputy Commissioner and members of his or her staff;
Commissioner for Public Appointments;
Commissioner and assistant Commissioner of the Boundary Commission for England;
Commissioner and assistant Commissioner of the Boundary Commission for Northern Ireland;
Commissioner and assistant Commissioner of the Boundary Commission for Scotland;
Commissioner and assistant Commissioner of the Boundary Commission for Wales;
Comptroller and Auditor General;
Director of Finance Wales Public Limited Company or any wholly owned subsidiary of Finance Wales Public Limited Company;
Director of the Pensions Advisory Service Limited;
Director of the Post Office company (within the meaning of Part 4 of the Postal Services Act 2000(12)) being a director nominated or appointed by a Minister of the Crown or by a person acting on behalf of the Crown;
Forestry Commissioners and member of their staff;
Governor or Administrator of a British overseas territory within the meaning of section 50(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981;
Health Service Commissioner;
Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education and Training in Wales or Prif Arolygydd Ei Mawrhydi dros Addysg a Hyfforddiant yng Nghymru;
High Commissioner representing Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom;
Independent Case Examiner for the Department for Work and Pensions;
Independent Groundwater Complaints Administrator appointed under section 21 of and paragraph 27 of Schedule 7 to the Cardiff Bay Barrage Act 1993;
Ombudsman for the Board of the Pension Protection Fund appointed under section 209 of the Pensions Act 2004(15) and any deputy to that Ombudsman appointed under section 210 of that Act;
Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration;
Pensions Ombudsman appointed under section 145 of the Pensions Schemes Act 1993 and any deputy to that Ombudsman appointed under section 145A of that Act;
Person holding a politically restricted post, within the meaning of Part 1 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989(17), under—
(a)a local authority in Wales, within the meaning of that Part,
(b)a National Park Authority for a National Park in Wales;
President of the Special Educational Needs Tribunal for Wales, or member of a panel of persons appointed to act as chairman or other member of that Tribunal;
Returning officer for a constituency or an electoral region of the National Assembly for Wales;
Social Fund Commissioner;
Trustee of the Independent Living Fund (2006).


Breakfast Time in The Bay

The Electoral Commission will be launching its statutory report on the referendum on the law-making powers of the National Assembly for Wales at 8:00am on Wednesday 13 July 2011 in Conference Room 24 in Tŷ Hywel, the National Assembly for Wales.

The event, which is sponsored by the Deputy Presiding Officer, David Melding AM, will be an opportunity for the Chief Counting Officer, Jenny Watson, to outline the Commission’s main findings about what they learnt in the process of running the referendum.

Breakfast will be provided!

As one of those registered to campaign in the referendum I have been invited to the do! Great! Thanks for the invitation!

I would love to meet the Electoral Commissioners to discuss how successful (or not) the Commission was in running the referendum. It is clear from my blogs and my campaign during the referendum that I was unhappy with the way that the referendum was run, so an opportunity to voice those concerns with the Commissioners would be very welcome.

However the practical problems of getting to Cardiff from Llandudno for a breakfast meeting at eight o'clock in the morning, with all respect, is so absurd as to make such a meeting part of the problem.

Discussing the way in which the referendum was run over bacon eggs and lava bread first thing in the morning at a venue that it is impossible for all but the few "within the bubble" to attend shows just how out of touch with needs of ordinary campaigners for Welsh Democracy the Electoral Commission is!

The time and place is worse than just Cardiff Centric, having looked at the timetables, even if I decided to go down to Cardiff the day before and spend the night with my sister in St Mellons, a few miles away from the Bay, it would still be difficult for me to get to Tŷ Hywel for 8am by public transport.

If the Electoral Commission is really interested in engaging with all stakeholders in the referendum process I call on it to cancel this totally ridiculous breakfast meeting and to arrange a meeting at a sensible time in a sensible place that would give access to the many rather than the select few!

Using Welsh by Blogging

The latest addition to my Blog List is Everyday Welsh. I will let the blogger explain what the blog is for:

Right, to begin, I would like firstly to explain (briefly) my intentions for this blog.

This blog should NOT be used as your PRIMARY source for learning Welsh.

I assume, that any visitors here have already delved somewhat into the beautiful language and know at least some basics. My goal is to IMMERSE you in modern/essential Welsh culture, current Welsh culture! Therefore, I have decided to aid all of your learning by teaching aspects of the language through Videos/Music etc. Short, engaging clips that you SHOULD watch OVER & OVER... and with my help you WILL come to UNDERSTAND their meanings.

I set the idea out, knowing that this EXPOSURE to Welsh IS very beneficial. Studies have been conducted PROVING that exposure to the target language (i.e. Welsh in this case) improves language acquisition, or, the rate it will take you to grasp the language. Although incomprehensible initially, YOU WILL start to know the media clips on this site WELL. You therefore will have a REPOSITORY or a WELL of available vocab etc. you can SQUEEZE into your conversations!!

One point I would like to stress.... ENJOY the clips! Have fun! Don't worry if you don't understand at first... YOU WILL BE ABLE TO. Good, so... relaxed?

I wish all the best to "Everyday Welsh". It is an interesting addition to Welsh learning facilities and I hope that it succeeds in its mission.


In defence of Vincent Bailey

If the internet existed when I was in my late teens and early twenties and I had had a web presence on it, my profile would undoubtedly have declared that I was an Adonis, a Lothario and a more successful serial shager than either Casanova or Nick Clegg; I'm sure that it would have declared that I was brave and cool and had done all sorts of things that were seen as "manly" and against the rules including drug taking and violence.

The truth is that I was 22 before I had my first fumblingly disappointing sexual conquest, I have never taken an illegal drug in my life and if anybody had threatened me with violence I would have run home to my Mam as my primary way of confronting the threat; as would the vast majority of the lads in my peer group. If I had been truthful I would have been drummed out of my peer group by friends who were as virginal, clean living and frightened as I was – but afraid to admit it. Young lads lie about sex and their social equivalent of drugs and rock'n roll; always have done and always will do!

When I was a young lad those lies were unimportant, unrecorded and are now only remembered by those of a similar age who know that we all lied together for the same reason. Because my teenage fantasies and bravado were never written down, they can't come back to haunt me now, should I decide to stand for election or decide to give support to a candidate for election.

Vincent Bailey, isn't a bad person who has no place in Welsh politics. When he was doing what I did at his age he was caught up in a new technological system without realising its consequences for his future, something I didn't need to worry about!

I suspect that every possible future politician, political aid or political supporter under 35 could find themselves in the same boat as Vincent. Any young person who shows an interest in his or her country's politics may be threatened and dissuaded from becoming politically active because a silly tweet or a profile or a blog comment might come back to haunt him or her forever! That is bad, very bad, for democracy!

The villain in this story is not Mr Bailey, but the person who decided to trawl through Mr Bailey's internet history in order to embarrass him and in order to embarrass Andrew RT Davies' campaign to lead the Welsh Conservative Party!

Dirty Dave, should be ashamed of himself as should his cronies at Trinity Mirror / Western Mail for regurgitating his dirt digging in the ancient history of a political opponents' puerile web presence!

And if Andrew wants to show some leadership skills he should stand four square with the now (hopefully) mature Mr Bailey, rather than throwing him out as a sacrifice to Dave's dirty tricks!


Fantastic Poll for Plaid

Politicall Betting has a poll that makes fantastic reading for Plaid Cymru. It is an UK wide poll by Comres for the Independent and gives the parties the following vote share:

CON 37:
LAB 37:
LD 11:
BNP 9%:
SNP 5%:
GRN 4%:

PC 4%:

UKIP 4%:

As Wales makes up just 5% of the UK vote, for Plaid to have 4% of the UK vote it would have to poll about 80% in Wales itself. Should we get the champagne out or just put this down to yet further proof that polls are rubbish?

Primark, the Beeb and Me

Way back in 2008 I made a post about a Panorama programme regarding Primark. Since the programme was broadcast the Beeb has had a spanked bottom for not telling the whole truth in the programme!

Primark have asked me to note the fact that they have been vindicated, to publish a link to their rebuttal and their Youtube on this blog!

As I supported Primark rather than Panorama in my post I am happy to abide with their request!

I hope that all those trendy left blogs that criticised Primark for enabling working class people to get clothes at an affordable price and who fell for the Beeb's propaganda will also show the rebuttal link and video, by way of apology.


This should make me laugh (apparently)

People who send me e-mails, expecting me to plug their blogs, addressed to Al, rather than to Dear Mr ap Huw Humphreys piss me off rather than make me laugh! So I was not amused by this request:
Hi Al
This should cheer you up you miserable old fart, a news blog but it's meant to make you laugh:


When did you Last Vote Plaid Because of its Support for the Queen?

When did you Last Vote Plaid Because of its Support for the Queen?

A silly question asked by a rather drunken friend in response to a boorish Tory in my local tonight!

But a pertinent point!

Absent without leave

I liked this post from Andrew so much, I have decided to pinch it and repost it here:

Thursday, 9 June 2011
Attendance for Welsh Assembly as of Jan 2011

Ieuan Wyn Jones, Plaid Cymru – 78%.

Jane Davidson, Labour – 77%.

Sandy Mewies, Labour – 74%.

Christine Chapman, Labour – 73%.

Carl Sargeant, Labour – 69%.

Carwyn Jones, Labour – 67%

Irene James, Labour – 58%.

Lynne Neagle, Labour – 39% (long illness).

Even Lynne, with her long term illness probably has a better attendance record than most MPs.

This is what the House of Commons looks like most of the time during important debates.

And then the division bell rings and 650 votes are casts, despite the fact that 630 MP's couldn't be arsed to listen to the arguments for or against.


Disrespectful Behaviour by Assembly Members

A number of National Assembly Members behaved in a disgustingly disrespectful way during the Queen of England's visit to the Senedd yesterday.

The vast majority of the members of the Assembly were elected having stood for election as Socialists, Nationalists or Liberal Democrats. Socialists are supposed to believe that everyone is equal, there is no nobility and peasant, that no person is better than another because of accident of birth. Nationalists are supposed to believe that Wales is a nation that sovereignty comes from the people of Wales rather than from the monarch of another country. Democrats are supposed to believe that the head of state should be elected by the people rather than given to us "By the Grace of God" and heredity. By standing for election on such tickets it is totally unreasonable to argue that, having won, elected members should then throw their principals away by cow-towing to a monarchy that their principals suggest that they oppose. But 38 out of 45 of them chose to do so yesterday!

The behaviour of 38 of the Assembly Members who decided to attend the Royal Opening of The Senedd yesterday was extremely disrespectful. It showed a lack of respect to the voters who elected them as Socialists, Democrats and Nationalists, it showed a lack of respect to the principles of Socialism, Nationalism and Democracy, but even worse it showed a distinct lack of self-respect, as the members lowered themselves into doing something that their election tags suggested that they did not wish to do, for the sake of systemic propriety!

Thank goodness for the few who showed a bit of respect for their constituents, their principles and themselves!


The Green Monster

There is an interesting post on the Better Nation Blog that looks at how likely people are to vote Green. To paraphrase and over simplify the post, it claims that more than 50% of us see the Greens as a cuddly nice party who we might vote for in the right circumstances. This confirms my own non-empirical experience of how people across the political spectrum view the Green Party. Pleidwyr, Labourites, Lib Dems and Tories all see the Greens as a party they COULD vote for and a party that they don't fundamentally oppose.

The Greens are seen as a generally progressive, slightly left of centre party, a party with a heart of gold even if some of their policies seem a tad too idealistic, but this impression is wrong. The Greens are not a left of centre moderately progressive party; they are an extremely regressive anti-Welsh party.

Thirty years ago only the rich Jet-setters could afford to board an aeroplane to visit overseas countries at great expense; that wasn't an environmental problem! The problem is caused by us hoi-polloi being able to easy-jet to Spain, or wherever in our thousands.

Forty years ago only the gentry could afford a motor car, no problem. The problem is caused by those of us living in council houses having cars!

Sixty years ago the rich could have a range of good food in all seasons. The poor had to survive on salted meat and vegetables that had grown stringy in frost covered ground (if they were lucky); the environmental problems are caused by the lower classes expecting fresh meat and fresh veg from the supermarket in all seasons.

Wales has poorer road links, poorer air links, and fewer factories than other parts of the UK, because of that Wales has a GDP that is 26% lower than the UK average, but any attempt to build new roads, improve our air service or to re-industrialise our post industrial areas are met with howls of protest from the Green lobby!

And what are we offered by the Greens in exchange for giving up all the advantages that a 21st century economy could give us?- Yr Hen Ffordd Gymreig o Fyw (The Old Welsh way of Country Life)? No chance!

What we get is New Age Colonialist English Hippies who oppose anything to do with Welsh culture.

The Green Party is an anti-working class, anti-business, anti-Welsh abomination, that deserves no support from anyone in Wales.


We should we prepare for having independence thrust upon us!

The response to the SNP's outstanding victory in this month's Scottish Parliament Election from unionists within Scotland and British Nationalists outside Scotland has been interesting. The general opinion seems to be that Alex Salmond will bottle out of a referendum on independence, because he knows that it will fail to deliver a Yes vote. They base this on polling results that suggest that "only" 33% or so of Scottish voters poll as supporting independence; a rather blinkered view, in my opinion.

The last two referenda on the Scottish constitution managed a 60% and a 62% turnout. If one makes the fair assumption that those who support independence are likely to be more motivated to vote than those who are ambiguous or disinterested on the No side then the current polling already suggests that the Yes side COULD gain a simple majority of votes cast if the referendum was held today. (I'm not good at maths but I think that if 33% of the electorate vote yes in a 60% turn out it gives something like a 55% Yes 45% no vote.)

Whatever our opinion about how desirable Scottish Independence is, we should all accept that it is a possibility that Scotland might become independent within the next few years and recognise that if Scotland does become independent that it will have an effect on all of us that remain in the rest of the UK.

Northern Ireland's Unionist link to the UK is very much a link with Scotland. Where does Scottish Independence leave the NI unionists? Would they want to remain a member of the remainder UK linked to England but not to their Scottish heritage?

Polling support for English Independence is much higher than support for Scottish independence, but independence has a lower priority on the political scale in England than it has in Scotland. A campaign for Scottish independence, especially a successful campaign could raise the issue of English self determination on the English agenda.

So where does this leave Wales, where polls suggest that a miserly 10 to 15% of us support independence for our country? We could have independence thrust upon us without having made any preparations for it.

Perhaps even those dinosaurs who oppose any form of Welsh self-determination should wake up and smell the coffee and prepare for the possibility that we may have to take care of our own destiny whether we like it or not!


Wales Needs A Campaign for Independence

For elected politicians being in opposition is a nightmare, you've slogged your guts out to get hold of elected office, you've had the jubilation of victory in your own patch after campaigning for the policies that you believe can change society, only to find that a majority of those elected to the same chamber thwart your vision and your mandate every time.

For political activists the opposite is true. No government does exactly what its rank and file party members want it to do, but party members have to bite their tongues and offer support despite themselves and that is bloody frustrating. It is even more frustrating if ones party is in coalition and has to compromise on issues that are held dear to the rank and file.

Opposition is a damned site easier for party activists than being in government and incredibly easier than being in coalition government.

The way that the two dominant British Parties overcome this conundrum is by having extra parliamentary groups that support their core values, and campaign for those core values, even when they are in government, keeping the flame alight.

When Labour introduced a minimum wage, rather than a living wage, the trades union movement continued to campaign for a living wage. Whilst the ConDems are increasing the tax take, the ultra Conservative Tax Payer's Alliance continue to campaign for lower taxation.

One of the reasons that the Lib Dems took a hammering in this month's elections, in every part of the UK, is because there is no extra parliamentary Campaign for Liberalism and Democracy that fundamentalists can support and campaign for as an alternative ideal out with the party's practicalities!

Plaid Cymru's period in government was partially similar to that being endured by the Liberal Democrats. On Language issues campaigners could keep their purity by supporting Cymdeithas yr Iaith's protests about the Welsh Language Measure, Welsh Language provision in Further and Higher Education etc, but on the wider nationalist issues there was nowhere for us to express our purity whilst accepting the compromises of government.

In every election that I can remember (1970 Westminster is my earliest) Plaid has said This election isn't about independence it's about XYZ, each time it has been truthful, the problem is that Plaid has done nothing since 1970 to ensure that the next election "IS" about independence, and it will not do so unless there is a non party Campaign for Independence, that puts independence on the political agenda!


They think it's the Streisand Effect, I can't Imogen why!

I am not breaking any injunction by reporting the fact that the most boring joke on Twitter, repeated ad infinitum over the past 48 hours (at least 196,000 times according to Google), is Ryan Giggs is suing Twitter I Can't Imogen why!

This is supposed to be an example of the Streisand Effect according to Wikepedia.
The Streisand effect is a primarily online phenomenon in which an attempt to hide or remove a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely.
The Footballer who has taken Twitter to court, is refuting rather than accepting the Streisand Effect.

I had heard the name mentioned three weeks ago, chatting in the pub a few days ago everybody used the footballer's name – everybody knew who he was!

By naming Twitter in Yesterday's injunction the footballer was not causing a Streisand Effect, because that effect was already old news.

The thousands of I am Spartacus tweet drive to try and invalidate the footballer's attempts to find out who initially named and shamed him are futile!

The first tweet that named the footballer is the only evidence that we Spartacus types have for repeating the footballer's name. If the first tweeter was wrong – all 196 thousand of us are also wrong, and we have been made mugs of!

If that first Tweet that alerted us to the footballer's identity is correct, then it came from a very small privileged circle of people. Even the judge, before the story broke, didn't know the identity of the plaintiff.

So who was the individual who leaked the footballer's identity, and broke the injunction and Tweeter's T&C's by so doing?

Somebody who took the internet community for fools!

An MSM Journo who is on his / her way to gaol, I suspect!

I hope that s/he is caught and severely punished!