Saturday, 24 June 2017

The wishes of the Islanders are paramount,

The government spent more than a £1bn and suffered the loss of British and Argentinian lives in the Falklands war, because it said that the wishes of the islanders were paramount, and that they should not be "betrayed". 
For many this was a case of rank  hypocrisy  when it came to the case of the Chagos Islands;  
Now after many years one of  the UK most recent crimes may at last see Justice finally  carried our
The BBC reported that 
 A dispute between the UK and Mauritius over disputed island territory in the Indian Ocean is to be referred to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The UN General Assembly voted by 94 countries to 15 that The Hague should examine the legal status of the Chagos Islands.
The former British colony used to be part of Mauritius but was detached in 1965 and is now home to a US airbase.The Foreign Office said it would be an "inappropriate" use of the ICJ."This is a disappointing outcome," a Foreign Office spokesman said: "Sovereignty of the British Indian Ocean Territory is clearly a matter for the UK and Mauritius to resolve ourselves."Taking this dispute to the International Court of Justice is an inappropriate use of the ICJ mechanism."Mauritius, which gained independence from Britain in 1968, argues that the UK broke international law when it separated off the islands before granting Mauritius its independence.

Officially part of the British Indian Ocean Territory, the Chagos were home to the Chagossians, a Bourbonnais Creole speaking people, for more than a century and a half until the United Kingdom evicted them between 1967 and 1973 to allow the United States to build a military base on Diego Garcia, the largest of the Chagos Islands. Since 1971, only the atoll of Diego Garcia is inhabited, and only by military and civilian contracted personnel.
Chagos map.PNG
On November 16, 2016, the UK Foreign Office maintained their ban on resettlement of the islands.] In response to this decision, the Prime Minister of Mauritius expressed his country's plan to advance the sovereignty dispute to the International Court of Justice.] The British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has sought Indian assistance for resolving the dispute involving UK, USA and Mauritius. India has maintained considerable influence in Mauritius through deep cultural and economic ties. While India has maintained that the matter of whether or not to proceed with the UN General Assembly move is a decision for the Mauritian government to make.
On 23 June 2017, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) voted in favour of referring the territorial dispute between Mauritius and the UK to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in order to clarify the legal status of the Chagos Islands archipelago in the Indian Ocean. The motion was approved by a majority vote with 94 voting for and 15 against.

The Foreign Office said it did not recognise Mauritius's claim to sovereignty over the islands - but that it would return the islands when they were no longer needed for defence.
"We have committed to cede them to Mauritius when the territory is no longer required for defence purposes," the spokesman said."At present it plays an important role in regional and global security, helping to keep the UK, US and other allies, including Mauritius, safe."
Safe from whom?
The government said it would "robustly defend" its position ahead of the ICJ's decision, which would not be legally binding.
During the Blair=Brown years there was a small hope that justice for the Islanders would be met , but to no avail.
It would be encouraging if Labour were to back the case of the Islanders now,
Most EU countries abstained from the vote, which BBC diplomatic correspondent James Landale described as an "embarrassing diplomatic defeat" for the UK.
He said it signalled that Britain's diplomatic clout had waned after the vote for Brexit.
In 2015, the UK Supreme Court denied a legal challenge by former islanders to return to Chagos after being removed more than 40 years ago.
The court rejected claims that islanders suffered a "significant injustice" by being forcibly removed from their homeland.which seems to me one of the most ridiculous directions ever made  .
 What other reason can we find in these two treatments  of the Falk;amfs and Chargos other than one group is brown-skinned and the other white settlers?

Friday, 23 June 2017

Tories may have broken electoral expenses law again.

A Channel 4 News investigation has found. The Conservative Party contracted a secretive call centre during the election campaign which may have broken data protection and election laws,

An undercover reporter working for Channel 4 News secured work at Blue Telecoms, a firm in Neath, South Wales.

The report says

In an area plagued by unemployment and low wages, the call centre hired up to a hundred people on zero-hours contracts. For weeks, they contacted thousands of potential voters in marginal seats across the UK.
The investigation has uncovered what appear to be underhand and potentially unlawful practices at the centre, in calls made on behalf of the Conservative Party. These allegations include:● Paid canvassing on behalf of Conservative election candidates – banned under election law.● Political cold calling to prohibited numbers● Misleading calls claiming to be from an ‘independent market research company’ which does not apparently exist

Channel 4 News obtained evidence that at least ten key marginal seats were targeted by the call centre on election day. Calls were placed to voters in Caerphilly, Camarthen East, Ceredigion, Pontypridd, Torfaen, Newport West, Bridgend, Gower, Clywd South and Wrexham.

During election day, on the 8th of June, callers at Blue Telecoms were told that they would spend the day making calls on behalf of named Conservative parliamentary candidates in Wales.

Guidance from the Electoral Commission for candidates and agents says: ‘During the campaign, you must not…pay canvassers. Canvassing means trying to persuade an elector to vote for or against a particular candidate or party’

The candidates were named during the calls and, again, floating voters were subjected to key Conservative messages.

 Interestingly in some of these marginal seats Carmarthen East for example if the "Canvassers" stuck to the Corbyn script and not mentioned Plaid they may encouraged voters to vote Labour

Indeed as the result proved the Labour and Tory vote rose in nearly every constituency as Plaid was squeegeed.

The Tories may have wasted their money but they did manage to push the Two Party sytem, which would please the two Unionist parties.
Will this revelation make a difference ?

Well the Tories failed to win any of thee above seats but even if they did the Electoral Commission and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) have proved to be toothless over the Tories in particular when it comes to breaking electoral rules.

One Question remains is the Welsh example , the only one or have call centres in other parts of the UK? and ave other parties also done this?

I suspect that because all parties sail close to the wind when it comes to electoral expenses, they are not going to pour over opponents declarations and highlight irregularities.

But is it not time somebody did and we had a proper audit after the election ,

Canada has the same electoral system as us and Wikipedia supply s similar results page for each constituency .

But with one  stark difference as becomes cleat when we lok at Prime Ministers Trudeau result
LiberalJustin Trudeau26,39151.98+14.05$129,821.55
New DemocraticAnne Lagacé Dowson13,13225.87-3.6$111,652.95
Bloc QuébécoisMaxime Claveau6,18212.18-12.71$19,007.27
ConservativeYvon Vadnais2,3904.71-0.33$5,649.91
GreenDanny Polifroni1,4432.84+0.95$82.71
IndependentChris Lloyd5050.99$5,759.41
RhinocerosTommy Gaudet3230.64
IndependentKim Waldron1590.31$2,101.20
Marxist–LeninistPeter Macrisopoulos1420.28-0.25
No affiliationBeverly Bernardo1030.2
Total valid votes/Expense limit50,770100.0$213,091.49
Total rejected ballots698
Eligible voters78,64

As you can see the candidates "declared" expenditure is included
how accurate this is may be open to question  but it would be useful to see a similar  practise for UK results.

At least we would have some idea just how much a Parties expenditure affects the result.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Labour Lexiters and On Off Welsh Nationalism.

It may be that the Queens Speech was somewhat light on proposed Bill because of the lack of a Conservative majority or Brexit  but  it does seem that ot was rather cruel to get ab 91 year old Women to read out this crap in the middle  of a Heat Wave.

  1. A Civil Liability Bill, designed to address the "compensation culture" around motoring insurance claims
  2. A Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill, establishing a Domestic Violence and Abuse Commissioner to stand up for victims and survivors and monitor the response of the authorities
  3. A Tenant's Fees Bill, banning landlords from charging "letting fees"
  4. A High-Speed Two Bill to authorise the second leg of the rail link from Birmingham to Crewe
  5. A Data Protection Bill to strengthen individuals' rights and introduce a "right to be forgotten".
  6. An Armed Forces Bill allowing people to serve on a part-time and flexible basis
Of course the devil is in the detail  but I wonder how much position there will be to the above.

Which makes me wonder if ther are has been a Tacit agreement with those (including Jeremy Corbyn) who have not exactly voiced opposition to a hard Brexit and who have been accused of being Lexiters (Left leavers)

As far as Wales is concerned Labour has accused Theresa May of treating Wales with “disrespect and disregard” in setting out her legislative programme in the Queen’s Speech.

Shadow Welsh Secretary Christina Rees claimed the Conservatives had “no mandate” in Wales, where the tally of Tory MPs fell from 11 out of 40 to just eight.
Neath MP Ms Rees said
: “This Queen’s speech is the latest example of the disrespect and disregard that Theresa May’s Tories have for Wales... There is no vision and no agenda for Wales – which is perhaps unsurprising from a Tory PM with no mandate here in Wales.”
Ho a member of a UK Unionist  party can claim another Unionist party has 2No mandate in part of that Union is beyond me.

You can't be a Welsh or Scottish Nationalist when it suits your party.

Mid and West Wales Labour AM Eluned Morgan warned of a potential Westminster “power grab” when powers today held by Brussels in devolved areas are returned.
She said:
“There is an assumption in the Queen’s Speech that when powers over agriculture and fisheries return from the EU, that a UK framework will be established. Whilst this at first might look like common sense, this statement represents a power grab by the UK Government of Welsh Government powers.
“This is an unacceptable and we in Wales should resist this onslaught of the devolution settlement at every step. The fact that there was almost no reference to Wales at all in the rest of the Queens speech, simply rubs salt in the wound.”
Plaid Cymru Westminster leader Liz Saville Roberts – whose group has increased in number from three to four – pledged to try and amend the Queen’s Speech, saying: 
“The Prime Minister’s legislative programme is focused far more on soundbites than substance. It is a deficient plan for defining times.
“The UK Government has been completely exposed as having no majority, no mandate and now no plan. The UK Government has neglected its duty to present a legislative programme for all four countries in the UK.
“Despite a vague reference to working with devolved parliaments to build consensus, there was not a single commitment to deliver for Wales. Warm words will not protect the Welsh economy.
“Plaid Cymru will seek to significantly strengthen this legislative programme by placing a series of amendments, including on policing, national finances and fuel poverty, with the Welsh national interest at their heart and to ensure that the legislative programme reflects the challenges facing the whole of the UK.”
It seems to me that the Tories have put forward just enough Non-Brexit  legislation  to avoid a commons defeat.

Just to what extent Jeremy Corbyn and his fellow Lexiters will allow the Tories a free hand is open to question ?

Could it be that any perceive  enthusiasm for a Second General Election is only Hot air?

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

The Guardian is no different from the Telegraph .when it comes to Welsh.

Readers of this Blog , will know that I have been advocating a "Progressive Alliance" for a number of years now.

I suppose for some it outside mainstream politics would consist of Guardian readers types, that being seen as the most liberal minded  paper as opposed to most of the rest of the media except for the Mirror but the latter is is hardly a progressive paper.I do not expect for other progressives to share my views on Welsh Independence, but i do expect an  acceptance of devolution  and reconsecration  of Wales as an identity and Nation.

So when the Guardian publishes such utter Drivel  as Yesterdays   
‘We’re told we’re anti-Welsh bigots and fascists’ – the storm over Welsh-only schools
I become more than a little annoyed  

For some reason the Gruniard digs up the Llangennech  row and gors all Telegtaph on it..

You know it not going to be a balanced article when  it starts.

“We’ve been told we are anti-Welsh bigots and even fascists,” says Alice Morgan in her soft Welsh accent. The comments she is talking about began when she and other parents raised objections to a plan to turn their primary school in the village of Llangennech into one that teaches only in Welsh. They are worried that some children used to being taught in English won’t cope.
 The mention of a "Soft Welsh accent" should  have pointed me to the London Centric   attitude of the authors.

Ur goes on.
Feelings are running high. On one side are those who want to increase the number of Welsh speakers in the country. On the other are campaigners who say the evidence shows this method is futile and that children’s education is being sacrificed for politics.

Further along  after failing to mention that those opposing the changes were photographed with Ukips Neil Hamilton and his odious wife

the Guardian makes the audacious  claim that

There is debate among educationists as to whether the “immersion” method of language teaching is effective or the opposite: for some children, being plunged into a classroom where they are unable to communicate or comprehend can be a terrifying, isolating and miserable experience.
According to Save the Children, which works in multilingual contexts across the world, “adults often have powerful reasons for choosing a school language that children do not know. Nevertheless, it has been shown that if the school language is different from the language children use at home, this is a major cause of educational failure.”
Despite efforts to bolster the Welsh language over the past two decades, its use is in decline. The 2011 census found that the number of Welsh speakers had fallen from 21% of the population to 19% over the previous 10 years. In Carmarthenshire, the drop was steeper – from 50% to 44%. The Welsh government is trying to double the number of Welsh speakers to a million by 2050. In Carmarthenshire, led by Plaid Cymru, it is the council’s intention “to move every primary and secondary school along the language continuum” – meaning that schools will teach only in Welsh.
Save the Children  Cymru have said that they have been taken out of context .

The whole article is riddled with  misleading assertions,

So lets be clear

  1. Most academics agree that bilingual education is a benefit for all children.
  2. No child educated in  Welsh Medium School comes out of it unable to speak English . Indeed their grammar is often better than those in Monoglot English Schools
  3. The plans to end dual stream teaching where some pupils are educated through the medium of Welsh  and others English, Show can anybody think this is a good system
  4. Travelling 3 miles to a school is not uncommon in rural areas and people in other parts of Wales who want Welsh Medium Education have to travel much further.
  5. The plans for Llangennech was drawn up under the previous Labour led council.
  6. It is also inline with the plans of the Welsh Labour Government.

Twitter has exploded with criticism  and rebuttals of the Guardian  article .

But we need to ask" how this  came to be written and more importantly why."

We have very few friends in the English Media but we would expect the Guardian  not to be an enemy .

It reminds me of the old adage 

"Scratch a British Liberal and you will draw the same imperialist blood as an English Tory"


Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Surely there's an alternative to a Plaid-Con coalition on Conwy.?

The leader (for now at least) of Conwy council has said he may quit Plaid Cymru after forming a cabinet with Conservatives in defiance of what he called a "diktat" from his party bosses.
Gareth Jones told a meeting of the full council on Monday that party politics "should not distract us".
However, two other Plaid members named as members of the cabinet have quit.
Plaid Cymru said it was a proudly grassroots party "governed by the will of its membership".
The former Plaid Cymru AM announced earlier in June he wanted to appoint a cabinet representing all groups after no party won a majority in May's local election.
However, on Friday Plaid Cymru's national executive committee rejected the proposal to include Conservatives in his administration.
The cabinet is currently made up of two Plaid Cymru councillors - including Mr Jones - five Conservative and one independent. Labour had declined the invitation.
Mr Jones said he wanted to reassure people there was "no impasse with delivering services" and the council was "proceeding with full speed".
How Mr Jones cam be described as the Leader of a Cabinet where he is outnumbered by Tory members is a question,
Presenting his team to the full council, Mr Jones said: "I respect the people of Conwy and how they voted. That's what's important, not a diktat that isn't democratic.
"Party politics should have no place here and should not distract us."
A party spokeswoman said: 
"Plaid Cymru is a proudly grassroots party that is governed by the will of its membership.
"Gareth Jones' proposals were put to the party's National Executive Committee where they were rejected in a democratic vote.
"Plaid Cymru will not enter into this proposed coalition on Conwy council."
Party leader Leanne Wood met Conwy's Plaid Cymru councillors following the full council meeting.
When asked if Mr Jones would remain a member of Plaid Cymru, she replied:
"You'll have to ask him".
Mr Jones said he was likely to stay on as leader, but not in the name of Plaid Cymru.
"I believe that the way forward would be for me to relinquish that [membership], to maintain the leadership and try again to persevere towards this consensus," he said.
"It might be a more positive step forward that I do that as an independent than in the name of Plaid Cymru."
Mr Jones is expected to make a final decision after a meeting of the local Plaid Cymru branch on Tuesday.
I believe that Councilor Jones is a man of principle but surely he realises the damage  going into coalitions with the Tories will damage the Party,
We can wonder wonder what the announcement that Plaid were about to do a deal with the Tories on Conwy before the June General Election  did to the Plaid vote
Unless the independents are even worse than the Tories then there must be better way
Maybe not 
The current makeup does seem to put the Independents in the driving seat
CouncilMajorityRun byWebTotalLABPCCONLDGRNOtherVacantLast change
ConwyINDIND...URL598101640210Election, 4 May 2017
So why haven't the y done a deal
Are Labour avoiding a Lab, Plaid, Lib Dem  Coalition.with some independents.
Gareth Jones may be wrong to go into Coalition  with the Tories , but before we condemn him  we need ask . why there seems to be no alternative even if it excludes Plaid?

Monday, 19 June 2017

Welsh Home Rule should not be our final destination.

Over at Nation Cymru Dr James Lucite puts forward  the argument  that we need to build the Welsh nation through devolution before rushing for independence…

I contain part of his thought provoking article but you should read it all via this link.

Home rule has long been the goal of Plaid Cymru – although its precise meaning has not been clearly and consistently conveyed to the voters.What is important here is that Home Rule or Devo-max seeks to build Welsh democracy initially within the context of the United Kingdom, our beloved “Family of Nations.” This has yet to be fully attempted.Moreover, building Home Rule creates the conditions of possibility for independence through a process of political, economic, social and cultural development.My argument surrounding independence is based upon the simple principle:If the constitutional design and political economy of the United Kingdom cannot accommodate our aspirations for a robust Welsh democracy, then the question of independence becomes inescapable.At this point in a long history, there is much reason to doubt that the British state would ever allow Welsh democracy to come to fruition.  Yet, what is the British state – or better, who is the British state?Much is possible in the context of Parliamentary sovereignty and Labour did, in fact, deliver devolution in 1999.Yet, since this time, it has only been Plaid Cymru which has pushed the process further: and this has been Plaid Cymru’s longstanding policy.The Tories and Labour have maintained Wales in a state of arrested development.  Only a Plaid Cymru government in the National Assembly can begin to liberate Welsh democracy.After Brexit, in order to avoid the homogeneity of a London-dominated unipolar UK, it will be necessary to create a multipolar UK.Home rule in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales will allow the emergence of countervailing poles to re-balance the UK political economy.This is possible in the context of current devolutionary tendencies: much has been achieved by Scotland, for instance.It is important to remember that devolution is a constitutional project to ameliorate democratic deficiencies with regards to minority nations.The same project can be harnessed to transform the political economic structure of the UK after Brexit.This is why, for the next elections to what will then be called the Welsh Parliament, Plaid Cymru must emphasise a renewed and consistent focus on building Home Rule.In this context, independence would be the stick to the carrot of authentic devolution. Plaid Cymru, over the next few years, must educate the Welsh populace on how devolution can allow us to “take back control.”Indeed, home rule is a much more tangible offering for a population where the vast majority are still wary of the spectre of independence.I feel that proponents of independence, in their enthusiasm, often forget that we still need to build the Welsh state – and that much of this work can be done prior to independence.This work is done by building home rule and the establishment of a true Welsh social democracy.Home rule is something people can grasp and understand. And thankfully, it is 90% of the way to independence.
I agree with Dr Luchte  to some extent in that we need to build institutions , especially a Welsh Judiciary before we take the ultimate step , but we need to insist that our goal is still independence not a half way house or even thee quarters way house .

It is however  important to note Home rule is not, however, even comparable with federalism. Whereas states in a federal system of government (have a guaranteed constitutional existence, a devolved home rule system of government is created by ordinary legislation and can be reformed, or even abolished, by repeal or amendment of that ordinary legislation.

Home Rule or Devo Max does not in their selves  have a model that gives us the extent (or lack) of either,

A central Government could for instance claim that Scotland has Home Rule already  with Westminster keeping control of those powers considered necessary .

Since thre is no guarantee of a constitutional framework it is entirely possible that the central government can take away powers from the Home Rule Parliament  or abolish it  together  after a concerted campaign.

Federalism also has its problem in that I cannot envisage England accepting a role where Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are equal partners.

Even if it was to become that UK Federalism  included Parliaments  on English Regions (and of course Cornwall). That would be saying that the Nations of Wales and Scotland  accept a role as a UK  Region  which for many would be unacceptable.

At the end of the day Independence is the only solution for Wales and Scotland, It is not the response of crude "Blood and Iron" Nationalism , but the sought of recognition that we are Nations in our own minds and rights.

Although Dr Lucite does not seem to be advocating  Home Rule as the pinnacle of our National Ambition, it seems to me that it is foolish to claim to be aiming for the moon rather than the stars.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

A return to to party system will be a disaster for devolution.

Could it be that Theresa May has some how saved the Union by bringing the UK back to a two Party state ?

The Result of the 2017 General election saw Labour and the Tories sharing 82..% of the vote between them
Of total±Of total±
Conservative PartyTheresa May31748.8%
317 / 650
Labour PartyJeremy Corbyn26240.3%
262 / 650
Scottish National PartyNicola Sturgeon355.4%
35 / 650
Liberal DemocratsTim Farron121.8%
12 / 650
Democratic Unionist PartyArlene Foster101.5%
10 / 650
Sinn FéinGerry Adams71.1%
7 / 650
Plaid CymruLeanne Wood40.6%
4 / 650
Green PartyJonathan Bartley
Caroline Lucas
1 / 650
SpeakerJohn Bercow10.2%
1 / 650
Independent UnionistSylvia Hermon10.2%
1 / 650
UK Independence PartyPaul Nuttall00.0%
0 / 650
Social Democratic & Labour PartyColum Eastwood00.0%
0 / 650
Ulster Unionist PartyRobin Swann00.0%
0 / 650
Alliance Party of Northern IrelandNaomi Long00.0%
0 / 650

The Previous 2015 contest had seen them take 74.4 of the vote.

Of totalOf total
Conservative PartyDavid Cameron33050.8%
330 / 650
Labour PartyEd Miliband23235.7%
232 / 650
Scottish National PartyNicola Sturgeon568.6%
56 / 650
Liberal DemocratsNick Clegg81.2%
8 / 650
Democratic Unionist PartyPeter Robinson81.2%
8 / 650
Sinn FéinGerry Adams40.6%
4 / 650
Plaid CymruLeanne Wood30.5%
3 / 650
Social Democratic & Labour PartyAlasdair McDonnell30.5%
3 / 650
Ulster Unionist PartyMike Nesbitt20.3%
2 / 650
UK Independence PartyNigel Farage10.2%
1 / 650
Green PartyNatalie Bennett10.2%
1 / 650
SpeakerJohn Bercow10.2%
1 / 650
Independent UnionistSylvia Hermon10.2%
1 / 650
Even under the Blair land slide the two main Parties only received 73.9 % of the vote.

PartyLeaderStandingElectedGainedUnseatedNet % of total %No.Net %
LabourTony Blair6394181450+14563.443.213,518,167+8.8
ConservativeJohn Major6481650178–17825.030.79,600,943–11.2
Liberal DemocratPaddy Ashdown63946302+287.016.85,242,947–1.0
ReferendumJames Goldsmith54700002.6811,849N/A
SNPAlex Salmond72630+30.92.0621,550+0.1
UUPDavid Trimble161010+11.50.8258,3490.0
SDLPJohn Hume18301–10.50.6190,814+0.1
Plaid CymruDafydd Wigley4040000.60.5161,0300.0
Sinn FéinGerry Adams17220+20.30.4126,9210.0
DUPIan Paisley9201–10.30.3107,3480.0
UKIPAlan Sked19300000.3105,722N/A
GreenPeg Alexander and David Taylor8900000.361,731–0.2
AllianceJohn Alderdice1700000.262,9720.0

Much of this is due to the demise of the LIB Dem who no longer seem a home for disgruntled Tory or Labour voters to go to.

With many of the SNP seats now marginals a two party presidential contest should be of concern as a continuation of the Corbyn rise in support would threaten both the SNP and Plaid Cymru.

For those who argue for a Progressive Alliance should be concerned . Neither Corbyn or his Parliamentary Party who are currently hypocritically praising him are progressives . when it comes to voting reform or devolution.

Indeed  Labour may well be considering closing down any further devolution as they once again turn to Westminster solutions for everything.

That will necessitate destroying the SNP in Scotland even to the extent in allowing  the Tories to be the temporally vanguard of Unionism as they did in June's poll.

If there is a election in the Autumn in Scotland and Wales we could  wake up on the Morning after the poll to find Corbyn as Prime Minister the  and the Nationalist Parties all but wiped out.

Despite years of experience It will see Corbyn taking a Westminster Centralist   approach , which will once again not solve our problems,