Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Latest Pol takes us back to square one in Wales

The latest Welsh barometer poll  comes as shock only that it shows a  a return to the norm with huge reversal in the positions of Labour and the Conservatives, with Labour up nine points and the Tories down seven.
Previous polling had suggested that the Conservatives were about to make a historic breakthrough in Wales, seizing a slew of seats from Labour and sending more Welsh MPs to Westminster than any other party. However, if these numbers are accurate, only a single seat will change hands — as Labour take Gower back from the Conservatives. 
Conservatives: 41% (+1)
Labour: 35% (+5)
Plaid Cymru: 11% (-2)
Liberal Democrats: 7% (-1)
UKIP: 4% (-2)
Others: 2% (-1)
A situation one commentator seemed to think was not so bad if  it kept out Plaid out.
The Tories look set to make deep inroads into South and North Wales. Veteran contrarian Paul Flynn is set to lose while Kevin Brennan is in a dead heat in Cardiff West. Perhaps most strikingly, Owen Smith, who challenged Jeremy Corbyn last year for the leadership, is within a couple of thousand votes of losing in Pontypridd.
However, as bad as the situation looks, it could be worse. What happened in Scotland does not seem imminent in Wales.
It’s notable that Plaid’s number one target, Ynys Mon, a seat where they finished just 1% behind Labour in 2015 looks set to swing to the Tories rather than them.
The structure of Labour’s problem in Wales is as elsewhere across England: banks of Ukip votes tumbling to the Tories while Jeremy Corbyn turns off traditional Labour voters. Dreadful as this is, it’s still better than Plaid expanding across North Wales, breaking into South Wales and shutting Labour out entirely, as the SNP have in Scotland.

Latest
Of course there may be a few changes in individual  seats however but it looks the squeeze on other Parties is on.
For Plaid in particular it id a disappointing  poll after what did look like promise.
Some have been comparing Plaid to the SNP  but lets remember that even with a much more viable Scottish Media  the SNP 

974 (Feb)Increase 21.9%
7 / 71
1974 (Oct)Increase 30.4%
11 / 71
High-water mark, until 2015. Increased presence contributed to Labour holding a devolution referendum in 1979.
1979Decrease 17.3%
2 / 71
Poor performance compared to the two 1974 elections caused internal ructions during the 1980s.
1983Decrease 11.7%
2 / 72
1987Increase 14.0%
3 / 72
During this period the SNP did win the Govern By election with Jim Sillars
1992Increase 21.5%
3 / 72
A large rise in the SNP vote saw no increase in seats but did highlight that Scotland had voted against the Tories and despite  50 Labour MPs the  feeble 50) these were largely useless when it came to fighting Scotland cause
1997Increase 22.1%
6 / 72
Th year of Balir's victory  and when there were no Tories in Scotland and Wales
2001Decrease 20.1%
5 / 72
2005Decrease 17.7%
6 / 59
2010Increase 19.9%
6 / 59
2015Increase 50.0%
56 / 59

The Independence referendum changed everything , but in order to to do this the SNP had to win in Holyrood .
Before then they, as Plaid are now were caught in a Catch 22 situation that in order to garner momentum they first had to win .
No Plaid leader has managed to make such an impact in UK elections as Leanne Wood  and I suspect a replacement would find it very hard..

Unless Plaid were to get lucky and there's a by election  win in the next few years which would create the momentum , but after the elation of 1974 the SNP found it hard going,
Clearly the answer is to win control of the Assembly , but even this could be a hard task.




Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Manchester Attack

In the  wake of the news of last night apparent terrorist  attack in Manchester . my  pithy polemics seem irrelevant.

\my thoughts are with the victims and their families.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Post Brexit we will be going Cap in hand to Westminster even more.

It has been speculated that one of reasons that Wales voted with England to leave the European Union was that Welsh Politicians were too busy fighting the Assembly Elections to put the case for the EU especially pointing out the funding that came from Brussels .
The latest 2014-2020 round of European Structural Funds was due to inject more than £2bn into the poorest parts of Wales.
Now we will be no longer getting such funding  in the future , the question now is we will receive equivalent funding  from Westminster?


Maybe not 
The Conservative manifesto states: 
“We will use the structural fund money that comes back to the UK following Brexit to create a United Kingdom Shared Prosperity Fund, specifically designed to reduce inequalities between communities across our four nations. The money that is spent will help deliver sustainable, inclusive growth based on our modern industrial strategy.
“We will consult widely on the design of the fund, including with the devolved administrations, local authorities, businesses and public bodies. The UK Shared Prosperity Fund will be cheap to administer, low in bureaucracy and targeted where it is needed most.”
Wales Online reports   Cardiff University’s Professor Kevin Morgan – one of Wales’ leading experts on regeneration and an adviser to the European Commission on regional policy – said Wales had the greatest level of need in the UK. as saying

“I really think it would be a really regressive step, a real step backwards, if central government saw the prosperity fund as [a fund] where poor areas simply bid into it willy-nilly on a one-off ad hoc basis...
“When you treat unequals equally that’s not a recipe for territorial justice...
“If the prosperity fund is treating unequal regions equally then it’s not a recipe for sustaining the union let alone rebalancing the economy. It would be a step backwards if the prosperity fund was simply a new bidding system and it didn’t recognise the structural inequalities that exist today, which is what the European Commission recognised.”
He also pointed out that it is important where the decision  will be made 
 With economic development being a devolved matter, I personally believe that that money that’s coming to Wales ought to be devolved to the [Welsh Government]...“It was an explicit promise from the Leave campaign that Wales would not be worse off as a result of Brexit, the implication being that London would underwrite the money that’s currently flowing from Brussels.”
: “Whatever’s wrong with the European Commission, and there’s lots wrong with it, at least in its very DNA it’s got a commitment to regional policy... Whereas you can’t say the same of Conservative Governments in Whitehall.”
Its about this time we listened to the Proclaimers ,



The Tories hope to control funding for Wales not only through how much is allocated , but how it is spent.



The former leader f the Quebec Party  Option National  Jean-Martin Aussant . puts it this way 

: Imagine you have $50 to buy music you like. Your neighbour takes the $50, and promises to give you back $55 worth of tunes."What he doesn't tell you is that it's music you don't like -- and there are $25 in administrative fees,"  "So you started off with $50 and you ended up with $30 worth of music you don't even like."That's Canadian equalization. We need to face the facts: We'd be better off keeping our money and choosing our own music."
This is true of Wales and Scotland as well


That means that this may result in infrastructure  projects being built , that could be as I have already argued see Wales divided into two and absorbed into England


Projects like reopening the Carmarthen- Aberystwyth line,  will be declared superfluous to our needs and although it will never be admitted of little benefit to the regions around Liverpool or Bristol.

We need decide what we want for Wales .

If you really believe bring absorbed by English regions  will benefit , then vote Tory or Labour (because  it is Labour councillors in the likes of Cardiff backing tying South Wales to Bristol)

However if you believe its time Wales grew up and  stopped going Cap in Hand  
then it time to consider Independence as an option.



Sunday, 21 May 2017

"Welsh" Conservatives pick candidates from outside Wales

I think it was Syd Morgan who once said that the Tories could pick a candidate for a Valleys from outside Wales who would only be seen on the night of the count  catch the Train back to London the next day,

I thought  these days had changed , but (and these are only a few samples) it seems the term Welsh Conservatives is only a Geographic term

Pontypridd

ASH
Juliette
(address in the
Oxford West and
Abingdon
Constituency /
cyfeiriad yn
Etholaeth Oxford
West ac Abingdon)

Carmarthen East and DIinefwr

HUGHES
Anthony Havard Maengwyn (Ok Welsh Name)
99 Hillsborough Court
Mortimer Crescent
London
NW6 5NT

Rhondda

CROSBIE
Virginia
(address in the
Kensington and
Chelsea Constituency
/ cyfeiriad yn Etholaeth
Kensington a Chelsea


Some may have close connections to the Constituency but  I wonder if the Tories in Scotlamd would dare to send some  party Apparatchik north of the boarder to be a candidate  even if it was to defend Theresa May's  "Precious Union"

Of course if Plaid were to publish a list of Tory and other  candidates studding  in Wales from outside London  then the would be cries of racism ,

It is cleat from his name the Tory party candidate   Ynys Mon  Tomos Dafydd Davies has some Welsh connectionbut his address is given as  Streatham.

The point is the "Welsh" Conservatives try to pretend that they at least have some autonomy  and speak for Wales ,

But it is clear aren't even a Branch Office  but more of little more than a Postal Address ,

Vote Tory on June 8th and you may well find you have an MP for whom the Constituency  is no different from one in Kent , and the fact that it is in Wales  is irrelevant.

While I'm at it  this is the address given for Neil Hamilton already a Welsh Assembly  member standing for  something called Ukip Wales

Carmarthen East and DIinefwr

HAMILTON
Mostyn Neil
Bradfield
Hullavington
Wiltshire

SN14 6EU

How much longer will we be treated by contempt by Parties claiming to speak for Wales  who long term plan is to fully absorb us into England.

Extra



The ever vigilant Y Cneifiwr has given us a profile on the Tory Havard Hughes for Carmarthen East and DIinefwr, who does seem to have some local connections.

But as with some of the other  candidates above it is indicative that (and this ids not only the Tories) seem to think that actually living in Wales let alone the constituency  somehow means you are not qualified to be a MP>

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Tories Photo ID voting is a plan to gerrymander voting.

The Tory manifesto has commitment to forcing  people to use photo ID to vote, stopping millions from taking part in future elections
The manifesto reads.
"We will legislate to ensure that a form of identification must be presented before voting, to reform postal voting and to improve other aspects of the elections process to ensure that our elections are the most secure in the world. We will retain the traditional method of voting by pencil and paper, and tackle every aspect of electoral fraud," the manifesto reads.
The plans to force people to show ID when they vote could stop millions of people from taking part in future elections.
The law would stop an estimated 3.5 million people, or 7.5 per cent of the electorate, from voting,if they don't own a passport or a driving licence.ccording to the Electoral Commission. Those people would be stopped from voting entirely
Not withstanding  the simple fact that voting fraud largely exist in Postal Voting where presumably  Photo Id will not be used and that at a bypath, clearly those who have no such thing as a passport or  a driving  licences are more. likely to be poorer and non-Tory voters,

How would you go about getting an Id card anyway. 

Presumably it would need you to send of your Birth Certificate
As a 63 job seeker with health problems I have been sent to Remploy to aid me in seeking work.

There I was asked for proof of  identification and after offering my Bus Pass managed to have my Credit Card accepted as proof.

I was also informed that if I was to find work I would need a copy of my full Birth Certificate, and was told how to get one when I explained I had mislaid mine.

For his thriller Day of the Jackal  - about a marksman hired to assassinate France's President de Gaulle - Fredrick  Forsyth chose a method, by far the most straightforward and effective.to falsely obtain a Birth Certificate.

The book's protagonist - the Jackal - trawls three village graveyards looking for the headstone of a baby boy who, had he not died, would have been about the same age as the assassin.
Taking the details of the late Alexander James Quentin Duggan to the Central Registry of Births, Marriages and Deaths, the Jackal buys a copy of the deceased's birth certificate - all the proof he needs to successfully apply for a passport.

Things may have tightened  up but all I need to know was

My date of birth

Where I was born

Fathers Name

Mothers Name and previous surname.

A trip to the National Library and a few hours looking up Births ,Deaths and Marriages in 1953 copies of the Pontypridd Observer would have provided the information.

So basically in order to get the information to obtain the certificate that will give you the means to obtain Photo Id.

It is unlikely that we would see a mass campaign using this information to perpetuate a huge voter fraud.

But that's the point, the Tory photo voter ID plan is a Sledge Hammer to crack enough.

But as I said its not at the polling booth  that the majority of the small number of voting fraud takes place.

The truth is its allowing Political  Parties and candidates to organise the collection of some postal voted  that is the problem may arise ( though there seems to have been only a few cases) and we probably will see no change there.

This is part of a long term Policy for the Tories wsho are already Gerrymandering  constituencies by counting registered  voters rather than actual population , to further disfranchise voters who they feel will not vote for them.




Friday, 19 May 2017

Tory Manifesto calls for Wales to be absorbed by English Regions.

I have long argued that Wales should receive Parity with Scotland and looking at the Tory Manifesto brief reference to us it may be that my wish may be granted.

But alas not in the way I have hoped.

Because it is cleat that the Tories intend clawing back powers from both Walesa and Scotland  and if the Unionist make big gains in both Nations may have along tern plan to emasculate both Legislatures that voters agree to abolish them.

No way yo may say especially in Scotland. But if Indy2 fails then the long term project will be to absorb both Nations into a permanent  

 The Manifesto may states

“We will respect the devolution settlements: no decision-making that has been devolved will be taken back to Westminster. Indeed, we envisage that the powers of the devolved administrations will increase as we leave the EU.”

But aalso included  the  Tory plans for Wales to be absorbed and to create Wangland



Looking at this it is clear the Plan ( Which Labour also push) is to amalgamate North Wales int into Northern England and South Wales into a Bristol dominated region.

So we can kiss goodbye to projects like reopening the Aberystwyth - Carmarthen line and Improving communication between North and South 

"Ensuring that the border between England and Wales does not become a barrier to business, education or communities.

Does that not mean that Education could be taken over by Westminster for instance.

Vote Tory next month and they will go ahead with the project of absorbing Wales into England and claim "it was in our Manifesto".

Within 10 years we will all but cease to exist , a nation voting itself out of existence .

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Rhodri Morgan the man who saved the Assembly?

I know that it is a bit cloying to praise political opponents  but news that  Former first minister Rhodri Morgan has died, aged 77 leaves Wales a lot poorer today
Although Born in Cardiff, He  was the son of Professor T. J. Morgan and the brother of the historian Prys Morgan. His second cousin is Professor Garel Rhys. He  could be described as  a pure Cracach that  term used in Wales for powerful people, especially those Welsh Speakers who whilst eulogising Wales are scion of the establishment
However  he proved to be somewhat of an Anti-establishment figure  who could be argued to have stopped the drift of Labour voters to Plaid Cymru but managed to secure the existence of that body from hostile elements in hus own party.
Morgan was elected as Member of Parliament (MP) for Cardiff West in 1987. securing the seat after it had fallen to a right wing Tory in the last General election.
Hw was one of the few Labour MPs  who decided to stand asab AM when the assembly was created in 1999.
He took the helm of the assembly nine months later, replacing Alun Michael who had stood down. He is widely credited with having brought stability to the fledgling institution after a turbulent start.
His realrionship with Tony Blair who did his best to Block him from becoming First Minister .
Blair saw him as being too much "Old Labour"  and ironically too much of an enthusiast for Devolution.
Ehich led Rhodri to comment on Blair
"It's very strange for me to be standing here today talking about a person who shafted me on one occasion but on the other hand, compared to what has happened with Iraq, I think that's pretty small beer to be honest with you. Life is far too short to be bearing grudges of that sort."
Mr Morgan served as first minister for nine years, from 2000 to 2009, before Carwyn Jones took over as first minister and Welsh Labour leader.
Did Rhodri save devolution from those Labour stalwarts who hoped in would fail, or is he partly responsible for its inertia and lack of vision.
I would  be inclined to support the former , if he had not ended up as First Minister, Plaid may have capitalised on their spectacular 17 seats they won in the first Assembly elections..
But i suspect he often regretted that he couldn't take his party further along the Devolution Road and see Wales emulate Scotland.
History will decide Rhodri Morgan's legacy but events perhaps over the next month which could see Wales voting Tory and Wales being totally absorbed into Englan may decide it.