Sunday, 25 December 2011

In a pathetic effort to be different NL wishes you.

The first of Ick is Hogswatchday, the Disc's New Year, and the winter solstice from the perspective of Ankh-
Morpork. In the Astronomical Year the second midwinter (the year's midway point) is called Crueltide, but due to people using the Agricultural Year this is the same festival.The 32nd of December, or the day
before the New Year, is known as Hogswatchnight; Traditionally associated with pig-killing, to ensure
there is enough food for the rest of the winter. Many Hogswatch traditions resemble a festival on a certain
spheroid world, including a decorated oak tree in a pot, strings of paper sausages, and, of course, a visit by the Hogfather.

To those on the speroid world Nadolig Llawen

Friday, 23 December 2011

Is Peter Black about to "Do an Oscar"?

Peter Black, seems to be defending the Westminster ConLib government on a regular basis these days . In a recent post he attacked Plaids Jonathan Edwards  for daring to suggest that  changes to the housing benefits system for the continuing rise in homelessness.

Despite the fact that charities like Crisis were a;ready warning in June  that  government attacks on Housing would have  a  malign effect on the poorer members of Society .

Claiming  the government's own figures Cris have claimed  that almost one in five of the 62,500 people in England, Scotland and Wales affected by the proposed extension of the Shared Accommodation Rate (SAR) have a disability.
From 1 January 2012, single people aged 25-34 will only be able to claim housing benefit based on the cost of a room in a shared house rather than a modest one-bed flat, bringing them into line with existing rates for people under 25. The average loss will be £41 a week. 
This will force many disabled people into housing that is inappropriate for their condition, said Crisis.

 And thats just the disabled

Figures  shows the restriction of Local Housing Allowances - which are currently based on the median rent in an area - to the 30th percentile of private rents will affect 774,970 households across the UK, who will lose an average of £9 a week.

New limits on the amount paid according to the size of a property, including a cap of £400 a week on a four bedroom house, will affect fewer households more dramatically. A total of 21,060 will lose on average £74 per week
Peter response was that amendments were being made in the House of Lords were some changes may be made. stating that 
"The political games being played by Plaid politicians on this issue do not help any of the families who have lost their home. Instead we need to concentrate putting appropriate support services into place throughout Wales and increasing the supply of affordable housing"
Peters seems to be of the opinion that when his leader La Pasionaria raises an issue that the Welsh Government rightly  need to look into she is providing  positive and constructive opposition .Whilst any one who criticises the Con/Lib coalition disastrous policies on welfare are being opportunist.

With the LibDems facing electoral meltdown next May in the local government elections and languishing in the polls where in the next parliament, they may find they have more AMs than MPs .Can it be long before Peter decides his future lies with the Tories rather than the sinking ship that are the Liberal Democrat?

Is this why he seems to have shifted to the right recently?

Monday, 19 December 2011

Plaid and the "I" word.

It seems that Syniadau has lit the Blur Touchpaper ,on  his recent Blogs on the call to discipline both Dafydd Elis Thomas and Rhodri  Glyn Thomas to the extent that he states...
"When I and others made our formal complaint about what Dafydd Elis-Thomas and Rhodri Glyn Thomas had said, our first purpose was not to get either man deselected. We sought a conciliatory solution, recommending that the party should formally instruct them to make public statements saying unequivocally that they support the aims of the party ... and specifically the aims of independence for Wales within Europe and Wales becoming a member of the United Nations. We only wanted to see a more severe sanction if they refused to make such a statement, and suggested that this should be removal from the party's national register of candidates so that they could not stand for Plaid Cymru in future elections"
Not being a Party member Its not for me to judge on this cal,l.But here goes anyway  Although I understand the frustration Syniadau has. Can a Party which can not command anything like the support the SNP in Scotland afford to carry in squabbling over Syntax?

What has emerged is an intolerance on the part of some Plaid supporters with those who shy away from the "I" word partly because they feel that as no Nation is truly Independent these days then the word is meaningless.

The problem is there is no other word that seems to be available,and I use it because that Independence in Europe means equality with countries from the likes of Germany to Luxembourg (Though even here some are more equal than others).

I have considered the possibility of a Federal Britain here but I feel that politician in England would not be willing to accept a role where they are not the dominant partner .

So as you can read on my Profile I accept the "I " word because I can see no other.

Of course Plaids new emphasis on Independence has come after the success of the SNP in Scotland but those pushing it here should realise that the SNP have achieved their position by proving that they were an effective opposition with alternative plans for Scotland's future even under the current devolution settlement and when they did form a government proved to be an effective one.

Support for Scottish Independence has still not achieved over 50% in the polls and I am very doubtful that the SNP can win a referendum on Idependence.

But even if you think you are not going to get a 100% mark in an examination . That is not a reason not to sit it and even if  the SNP realised they can't win it, calling a referendum will make it clear that sovereignty over Scotlands future lies with the Scottish people and not Westminster Governments.

Though if there is a additional Devomax question then I believe this will be won easily.

Plaid and Wales are decades away from being in such a position and whilst there is no reason that the Party should make its ultimate goal clear. It must also work to increase the powers of the Assembly and seek to secure parity with what ever Scotland will receive from a Devomax vote and reach out to those who feel that they can accept this even if they have doubts about Independence.

By raising the issue in such away Syniadau has shown that Plaid will seek to place Independence on the forefront of its policies (and why not) but the response to a pretty poor spoof on Dafydd Elis Thomas' position from some  commentators (who believed it to be true) show that some supporters are intolerant over those who are not in complete agreement.

However those who have doubts should treat the Party members and suppoters  with respect. It is one thing to show disquiet with a the major part of aParty policy its another to think as Dafydd Elis Thomas and Rhodri Glyn Thomas have , that they are above Part discipline whether it is fitting or not.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Plaid Runner and Riders.

 sNews that Leanne Wood, has become the fourth Plaid Cymru AM to enter the race for the party leadership, will delight a number of people in Wales not just those who are Plaid members

She will look for backing when nominations open in the new year. But I doubt that she would not have made her announcement  if she wasn't sure of receiving it.

I doubt if any other candidate will throw their hat in the ring, as it is now  a pretty crowded field.

So what I do I think of those who have put their names forward

Dafydd Elis Thomas

  • Highly experienced has led the Party in the past.
  • His role has Presiding Officer has helped to cement the Assembly in the Welsh psyche.
  • Can deal with hostile interviewers with aplomb
  • In this capacity can make the most outrages statement seem plausible.
  • Can appeal to those who are worried about the Independence issue by appealing for more gradual approach.
  • Has a safe constituency seat so is not subject  to the "Bourne effect" where a rise in Plaid seats means the loss of topup ones
  • Welsh speaking.
  • Will be nearly 69 by the time of the next Assembly Election  and though age should not be a factor . Members will probably be looking for a younger leader
  • It would seem strange for a former gamekeeper (Presiding Officer ) to  turn poacher ( Party leader)
  • Can be petulant  when challenged..
  • Often gives the impression of shooting from the hip and seaming a bit of a maverick
  • Has long .alienated the Right-Wing of the party and now has probably done the same to his former Left supporters.
  • The stronger emphasis by the Party on Independence and his disquiet may well work against him.

Simon Thomas
  • Despite being a new AM has Parliamentary experience which may give him a bit more gravitas
  • Has long been spouted as a potential leaders by commentators outside the party.
  • As D.E.T's, recent statements on Independence may align with those worried about a fundamentalist approach
  • Affable and intelligent preforms does well in interviews.
  • Despite his Ceredigion connexions. His Aberdare upbringing might help to appeal to Valley supporters and voters.
  • Speaks Welsh.Indeed learned it (always goes down well)
  • Lost the Cerdigion seat  in 2001 and there was clearly some disquiet he did not fight it again in 2010
  • Like D.E.T unless he explains his position clearly on the Independence issue he may well lose support.
  • Represent a regional seat and is particularly vulnerable to the Bourne effect and therfore if Plaid won Llanelli  and Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire  then could well fail to be elected  (Though he could stand possibly in latter if polls show the party gaining support there)
Elin Jones
  • Has represented Cerdigion in the assembly since the Assembly was formed and has always given a good account of herself
  • Being leader will almost surley mean he Constituency seat will be safe.
  • Was a particularly effective Minister in the Lab-Plaid coalition and received plaudits from the farming Lobby
  • This included having the courage to agree on a Badger Cull against much opposition so will be seen s as  not afraid to make unpopular (in some quarters) decisions.
  • Speaks Welsh fluently and will  appeal to cultural nationalist.
  • The failure to implement the Badger cull and it very idea will count against her in some quarters.
  • Does not have any seeming connection with the South Wales Valleys could be seen as only representing Rural interestand Plaids comfort Zone.
  • Needs to improve her performance in English Interviews sometime can be seen to be Umming and Arring.
Leanne Wood
  • Experienced and has a certain Charisma 
  • May manage to express the Independence issue in away that will appeal well beyond purely Nationalist sentiments.
  • Although representing a Regional Topup seat any Plaid would have to do exceptionally well for her to experience the Bourne effect.
  • Will appeal to the Left and Republican wings of the Party.
  • Will appeal to those who feel Plaid should concentrate on raising its vote in the South Wales Valleys.
  • May well appeal to dissatisfied Labour voters and indeed some of their party  activist.
  • Has already seemed to have received the support of Jonathan Edwards and may be able to get Adam Prices backing.Could be seen as Plaid's Nicola Sturgeon to Price's Alex Salmond.
  • Will be seen a new start for the Party breaking away from its  Y Fro Cymreig comfort zone
  • Her Left wing and republican views will be attacked mercilessly by the Media and all the other other political parties (including Labour).
  • Will probably not appeal to traditional and more Right-Wing voters.
  • Could be seen as only keeping the seat warm for Adam  Price .
  • Would be the first Plaid Leader not fluent in Welsh
As the Leadership election progress I'm sure the  Pros and Cons for all will change but I think todays announcement by Leanne Wood will lead to a more exiting and certainly  more open election .

With the Leader to be announced in March I'm sure Plaid will be hoping that this will galvanise the membership and hopefully carry on the effect into the next election.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

"Jonny" Wilkinson retires . Praise from a Welshman.

I think only David Duckham  the Is the only English Player who was capped 36 times 1969 to 1976  has ene endeared himself to Welsh Rugby fans and this was partly due to the fact that it was with the Lions under Carwyn James he was part of the successful British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand and  encouraged by that  coach s, he found an attacking freedom that was lacking in the English game. He scored 11 tries in his 16 games on tour.

He was the only English back in the 1973 Barbarians side that beat the All Blacks 23-11 at Cardiff Arms Park. In the first half he made a run that has become part of rugby lore, that brought gasps and cheers from a Welsh crowd more accustomed to regarding him with hostility

This led to a memory of him playing in a charity match iat Penygraig where on soring a Try there was a beam of a smile when the announcer said "that try was scored by Dukham".

Johnny Wilkinson never enters Welsh hearts but I also feel on the announcement of his International reritement he should receive the praise he deeserves from this side of the border.

My attitude to Wilkinson changed when I realised in a match at Twikenham against South Africa he was clearly targeted by a South African player in order to take him out of the game and I found myself for the first and only time shouting for England.

Although his goal kicking was what he was most famous for and this the comparison to Neil Jenkins may have clouded many Welsh fans judgment .it was total commitment in defence that I feel showed himself at his best.

Indeed perhaps he was often too committed and his carer was blighted by injury he would probably surpassed Neil Jenkins record of International points in 2005a few years earlier.Though Jenkins should have been capped more by Wales in his career.

It has been suggested inat his old club Newcastle Falcons he was relied on so much he was left vulnerable to tackles by opposing players and was forced to take a greater role in defence that a fly half really should.

At this years World Cup he had failed to shine and like a number of veteran goal kickers seemed to have a particularly  hard time coping with the match ball.

So I hope the rest of Welsh Rugby fans will join me in raising a glass to an old foe on his retirement. Like Shane Williams he his a Rugby legend and we should acknowledge him as such.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Are the Libdems just a Tory Faction now?

Well no its worse than that if Nick Glegg was a Government Minister and  the leader of a faction  within the Tory party (Like the Bruge group) and he had been humiliated by his leader. To the extent that  the Deputy prime minister was
"bitterly disappointed" by the outcome of the EU summit, and says he is still committed to the coalition government with the Conservatives. adding that David Cameron's decision to veto a new EU treaty would leave the UK "isolated and marginalised".
 He could, no probably nd would have resigned  from his cabinet position and  returned to the Backbenches and be probably be followed  if they had any ounce of morality by his fellow Libdem ministers.

U K's new position on the World Map
Of course this would have led to the fall of the coalition . So Clegg and his colleagues are showing that far from being a moderating influence on Camerons Conservative, they are in such a weak position that they can't even stand up for their principals and are prepared to accept th UK Isolationist Role and its new position as a Mid Atlantic Island with no influence in Europe treated like a minor power by the US and the rest of the World regarding us as the home of greedy bankers .

Clegg seems to be a impossible position he clearly leads a party that if they were in opposition would have been the most vocal opponent of Cameron's pathetic kowtowing to the Tory Eurosceptic right who may be a faction that  but clearly has more and influence that he ad his rag tag army has.
However if he was to call time on the coalition and force a General Election it it is unlikely his party would return anything but a rump.

Cameron has clearly humiliated his deputy but unlike previous Ministers, who had previously experienced  this such as  such as Geoffrey Howe after in the aftermath of the Prime Minister's Margaret Thatcher position at the Rome European Council meeting way back in November 1990, at which she had declared for the first time that Britain would never enter a single currency , left the Cabinet and  this led to his resignation speech. where he offered a striking cricket metaphor for British negotiations on EMU in Europe:
"It is rather like sending your opening batsmen to the crease, only for them to find, as the first balls are being bowled, that their bats have been broken before the game by the team captain". 
In Clegg's case it seems that he wasn't even allowed on the team bus.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

By trying do to the right thing School Banding hides the problem.

Ive been looking at the Welsh Assemblies  Banding for schools you can download an excel version here .

Its difficult to extrapolate any useful data from this because

Within each category, a school's score is modified to take into account the percentage of pupils eligible for free school meals. This allows for the challenges of running a school in a deprived area.

Most of the categories also take into account a school's progress over time, to reward schools that are making improvements in performance.

I have compared the Band 1 and Band 5 schools yn the area of free meals and  if you weren't aware of the fact that the information was "weighted" towards Schools in deprived areas then you may be led to assume that   social deprivation did not have a marked effect on education standards.

What we really need is a before and after these factors are taken into account .

But do Goverments really point to people the influence social deprevation have on Childrens Education.

The Welsh Assembly are right to take these factors into account and the percentage of freemeals  is a useful benchmark but it musn't be used to hide the very problem they are taken into account.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Peter Black Censors Debate.

On the fourth of December Welsh Liberal Democrat AM Peter Black posted on Subordinate Central about the failure of the UK Department of Education to provide a bilingual version of a letter they sent out to teachers in Wales.

He then went on to make a further comment on his own personal Blog on this an I used the opportunity (as I have in the past) to comment on this stating....

"You criticism of the DOE would have more value if the Liberal Democrats in wales published all their election leaflets for example bilingually.
Was your correspondence last May fully Bilingual. Many of your colleagues failed to do so.
By all means point out these failings but also address your own"
T o which Peter replied......
The DOE are subject to the Welsh Language Act, we are not. We produced our leaflets as appropriate for the communities concerned.

I didn't think this was sufficient enough an answer and attempted to post a comment on my belief which I have often stated that Political Parties should set an example and have a moral duty to provide fully Bilingual Literature in their election campaign before they crticised others.

I was disappointed when Peter failed to publish it but I was prepared to move on when I read the following exchange on the same post.....
Regrettably, Peter, from your decisions to censor/withhold comments, we now know what a total hypocrite you are.
You can take both the 'liberal' and the 'democrat' out of your description.
 posted by maen_tramgwydd : 9:56 PM.
 Peter respose was
I refer you to the moderation guidance and in particular those parts that refer to 'off-topic', repetition and boring.
# posted by Peter Black : 8:20 AM.
I suspect that  maen_tramgwydd a regular and insightful (Who I do not always agree with) commentator on the Welsh Blogosphere had made a similar point as myself and I attempted once again to post on the moral duty of the Libdems  to publish fully bilingual leaflets but he has so far not published it.

Some may argue that he has a right to put what he likes on his Blog but Peter Black is an elected politician who uses his Blog to further the cause of his Party and he should publish criticism of his stance.

Blogs are an open forum not a propaganda  sheet.

Yes by all means censor racist or potentially libelous comments but to use 'off-topic', repetition and boring. as an excuse amounts to accusing you of being a Troll (someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion..)

If Peter wants to accuse me of this fine but quite frankly I don't see pointing out the Hypocrisy of his and his Parties position on Bilingualism is a valid criticism and amounts to censor ship because he can't handle the truth.

Monday, 5 December 2011

It seems £500 is enough to sway Scots.

It appears from a recent survey  that  two thirds  of Scots would back Independence if they believed it would make them £500 better off,,

But only one in five would want to go it alone if it meant a £500 a year reduction in living standards.

The findings suggest the economy will be key in the run-up to the SNP's referendum, expected in 2014.

I respective of this, overall, 32 per cent of voters said they were in favour of independence,, the figure is the highest recorded by the Scottish Centre for Social Research since 2005, when it stood at 35 per cent.

Support bounced back from a low of 23 per cent last year.

This shows that the key to a yes vote will be the SNP convincing the Scottish Electorate that they will financially be better of asan Independent Nation.

This would seem obvious but the fact that only £500 a year increase in their pocket points to Scots needing very little in a incentive to vote yes especially if 20 per cent  were willing to see a decrease in income as the price to pay for an Independence Scotland and points to a solid bse for the pro-independence body.

The poll showed that, at present, 34 per cent think the economy would perform better if Scotland split from the UK, while 29 per cent think it would do less well. 

Of course the Unionist argument will be that in this time of uncertainty  and the UK moves to recession then this is not the time to risk leaving the Union though of course the argument in the time of financial boom was also that this was not the time to risk leaving the Union.

I'.m still unconvinced that the SNP can win an Independence referendum bit if a Devomax option was included I think there would be a substantial majority.

But over the next few Months the economic argument will be crucial as both sides will produce figures to support their argument . Though economics seem to be a subject that you can find a expert to support your position on the benefits or otherwise  at the drop of a hat.So it may simply come down to the heart ruling the head and people voting purely on a Nationalist or Unionist  instinct.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

So whats the difference between Clarkson and an idiot on Facebook?

It seems that BBC has received more than 21,000 (and growing)complaints over Jeremy Clarkson's remarks that striking public sector workers should be shot. However it seems slow to respond and it is somewhat typical that it reporters and try to point out the fact that Clarkson somehow made positive about the strike .before hiss crass remarks. Though it was largely on his ability to drive through London unhibited by other traffic.

Mr Clarkson said he had not intended for the comments on The One Show to be taken seriously and was "happy to apologise" if offence had been caused. Though to my mind it was less tan convincing rather like a smirking schoolboy who has been forced to apologise for his behavior but clearly is quite pleased with himself.

We have to ask to what extent Clarkson remarks were planned well in advance of the programme going on the air and to what extent those producing the One Show were aware of what he was going to say. I cab't believe there no run through with guests. So are the BBC complacent in the remarks?

The other point is it seems that live you are allowed to get away with such appalling behavior on Television but to do so on the New Social Media is unacceptable as the case of Plaid Councillor Neil McEvoy shows.

But  if you were to look at the fact that Clarkson appears to be inciting people to violence afainst others . What exactly is the difference between a number of stupid young men who were imprisoned for calling people to riot.
Jordan Blackshaw, 20, set up an "event" called Smash Down in Northwich Town for the night of 8 August on the social networking site but no one apart from the police, who were monitoring the page, turned up at the pre-arranged meeting point outside a McDonalds restaurant. Blackshaw was promptly arrested.

Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan, 22, of Latchford, Warrington, used his Facebook account in the early hours of 9 August to design a web page entitled The Warrington Riots. The court was told it caused a wave of panic in the town. When he woke up the following morning with a hangover, he removed the page and apologised, saying it had been a joke. His message was distributed to 400 Facebook contacts, but no rioting broke out as a result.

Less people saw these postings  than Clarkson appearance  indeed he had more complaints than those who saw the Facebook pages for which the two were imprisoned.

So being a working class idiot who makes a stupid remark (and they were stupid) gets the full force of the law against you whilst being a TV personality is treated in some quarters as  eccentric humour.

I'm not calling for Clarkson to be imprisoned but its about time the BBC stood up to him and told him that his behavior was unacceptable to behave himself or find employment else where.( Though how many Final "Final Warnings" has he had?)
Valeys Mam gets it right when she points out that he has a DVD or a book or a programme to publicise so may be he is canny

The rest of us can show our disapproval by not buying his musings on DVD or print and to stop watchinf Top Gear entirely a massive drop in viewing figures may just may just give the BBC bossed some backbone.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

What exactly are we paying for? And How much?

It is very difficult to find out how many Tomahwk cruise missiles were deployed by the UK in the latest Action against Colonel Gaddafi forces.

We know it was at leasts12 and probably more. at a cost of about £500,000 per missile, were used this amounts to a minimum of £6 Million before we bring the cost of deployment .

Even the simple presence of the submarines and aircraft that launched them cost a fortune  .Figures released by the Government in response to questions in Parliament show that it costs £35,000 to keep a Tornado GR4 in the air for an hour and £70,000 for a Typhoon, taking into account the cost of fuel, staffing and maintenance.

By sheer coincidence just before I started this post I happened to look at Left foot forward and Kate Hudson's on how rhe Con/Libdem bypassing parliament and admitted that it has committed a further £2 billion to replacing Trident.

My reason for this number crunching is not however to comment on the rights or wrong of this expenditure but to try and show how it relates to the Welsh Budget.

This is not a case of "Comparing Apples with Oranges" but an attempt to show that how little a million pounds  is these days .

Clearly the £20 Million pound diverted to Education due to the agreement between Labour and the Libdems  looks a very small amount when we consider what the cost of just one days action in the Libyan conflict could have been  and the  £216Million   capital budget for building work will get an additional s a result of Chancellor George Osborne's Autumn Statement.  pales when we look at the cost of renewing Trident..

The recent Talbot Green bypass which came in on Budget cos £90 million for 4.6 miles . So working on this the money would be gone if we built  just over ten miles of major roads.

Even £14.5bn budget looks less a samll amount  in the final analysis and anyway and what do we need by a billion?
Acording to the Oxford Dictionary
In British English, a billion used to be equivalent to a million million (i.e. 1,000,000,000,000), while in American English it has always equated to a thousand million (i.e. 1,000,000,000). British English has now adopted the American figure, though, so that a billion equals a thousand million in both varieties of English.
But this is not always the case. and confusion looms large try reading this if you what to set your head spinning and it does seem that the powers that be can be selective when they use it.

 Is not time to stop make it absolutely clear when we using this term? Or perhaps do away with it altogether and refer to a Million Million or Thousand million  so poor confused persons like myself have a clearer idea what we are talking about.

Perhaps what we need is a standard unit which we can compare expenditure say a the cost of building Comprehensive School to accommodate  1500 pupils called the Compo.

Any Ideas of a more Comprehensive (Sorry about that) standard unit.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Welsh Budget. Simply robbing Peter to pay Paul won't do.

I have taken some time to look at look at the Lab-Libdem deal to pass the Assembly budget the main concession the Libdems seem to have wrung are...

1: An extra £20million for the "Pupil Deprivation Grant".

There can be no doubt that will be the Welsh Libdems main thrust in the next few months. La Pasionaria makes this on Subordinate Central (When is she going to realise the photo here just makes her look smug)? claiming that.
"We have agreed to support the 2012-2013 budget on the basis that we will be introducing a Welsh Pupil Premium. This means that from April 2012, every child in Wales on free schools meals will recieve an extra £450 of funding – no matter where they live, or what school they go to. This is a total Pupil Premium spending of £32 million, of which £20 million is brand new money for the education budge".

At first this looks at impressive. However  one wonders how much of the £32 million will go on implementing the project.

 But the main problem, is that poor pupils education is largely affected outside the school, where their parents may have had a negative experience of schooling and generation after generation are caught in a cycle of ppr educational achivement .

What we need to do is bring these Parents into the School Culture and . It may be an interesting project to instead of looking at accademic results to look at things like the Parents past experiance and indeed the strength of the P.T.A..There are good teachers in so called failing schools who work their socks off and they should no be held responsible for the failings of society.

The second part cover some of the same ground .

2: A £38.9million economic stimulus package over the next two years to be spent on capital :investment in schools, skills, and an increase in funding for the Arbed energy efficiency scheme.

but it is the third part of the agreement. that intrests me

3: Any consequentials resulting from the UK Government's Autumn Statement will be discussed between the two leaders.
The Third part of the agreement seem to commit Labour LibDems to a further pact.

This despite La Pasionaria's claim that
But let me be clear, this is purely an agreement about the budget for next year. With Labour lacking the ‘comfortable majority’ they predicted before the election, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have had the opportunity to influence the direction of our country. I am proud we have done this in such a positive way.

Do the LibDems believe that they can have power with responsibility ?

Well yes.But then hey always do

They can claim they secured money for education but they do not have to answer questions as Welsh Government  Ministers in the Assembly will of where it coming from?  They do not have to say from where the £20Million has been diverted to their "Pupil Premium"  .

If they want to be in government then enter into a formal pact or coalition and take responsibility for this.

The Welsh Assembly can only the £14.5bn it receives from central government and cannot raise any more through its own tax levy And with the political parties (all of them) mindful that spending money on Education and the NHS and constantly call for more money for both.

But they often seem to believe in Government that Money can be diverted from one to another and in opposition criticize from where to where doesn't matter.

In the meantime there's no money to stimulate the Welsh economy by supporting the infrastructure and helping business in Wales 

When you are preparing your electoral leaflets then parading  £20 million you've secured for education looks good and for opposition parties a £20 million shortfall in the NHS budget looks equally good.

Expect this for next May council elections.

We need a Welsh Government of vision and who don't look at just the NHS (Peter? and Education(Paul?) as the only important responsibility they have and opposition parties must act responsibly when calling for reform and more money for these  and look beyond the two and act responsibly  Let us  look at the future of Welsh economy as well.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Arab Spring reaches California.

This is not Cairo or Damascus but California USA. Whats the difference?

Wheres the outrage from the Media in the UK?  If you haven't seen the story then

A US university has suspended two campus police officers over the use of pepper spray on students at a peaceful protest on Friday in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Video of the incident shows police blasting seated protesters in the face with the chemical at close range.

The chancellor of the University of California, Davis, who had called in the police, criticised the use of pepper spray on the protesters.

However, she says she will not resign.

Ironically The demonstration was intended to show solidarity with protesters at another branch of the University of California, in Berkeley, who were hit with batons by police on 9 November.

The footage of the pepper spray incident, which has been circulated widely on the internet, caused outrage among students.

The protesters are seen sitting in a line on the floor with their arms interlocked, refusing to move.

The violence was unprovoked, disproportional and excessive”Davis Faculty Association statement

They try to cover their faces as officers in riot gear walk along emptying canisters of the spray on to them.

It seems that once again the West has dual standards .

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Conservative Students Still Racist Bigots

BIt seems that Conservative Students have not changed their  ways

An effigy of US President Barack Obama was burned over the weekend by members of the Conservative student association at St Andrews University.

The incident is understood to have taken place on Friday evening on the town's East Sands beach.

One of those who attended said members of the association had ''no input'' and were ''surprised'' to discover Obama was on the bonfire.

The St Andrews Conservative Association apologised for any offence caused.

The university said it was aware of the reports and had asked to meet the president of the society to discuss ''very understandable concerns''.

A spokesman said it would be inappropriate to comment further.

Matthew Marshall, president of the St Andrews Conservative Association, said: ''President Obama is an important ally to the British government. It was a stupid thing to do and we apologise for any offence caused.

Some may argue that Left wing students have  in the past burned effigies etc of Magraet Thatcher but the difference here is that there is more than a hint of racism in the burning of an effigy of Obama
And it can not be dismissed as a youthful prank  because it shows hidden depths of racism from those who cannot accept that a Blackman has been elected a President of the U.S.A,
Most of the who tool part at the gathering were probably shocked when they found out what had occurred but unless they take immediate action by expelling those responsible than  they will be tainted with this stupid act .

Of course some of us remember similar behavior from Conservative students before.

In the late 80 as Student a t a mature  Aberystwyth  I was generally shocked when what was then Called Federation of Conservative students 
  • Dressed in Springbok rugby jerseys in order to show their support for the South African apartheid regimes .Some of whom greeted each other with Nazi salutes claiminfgthey were being ironic.
  • Racially abused a member of the Student Union Staff for which individual members were suspended from the Union.
  • Went on a drinking Binge to celebrate the rise of Adolf Hitler to power. Which was too much for the Conservatives themselves and they were disbanded.from the current association emerged
Although I have no recollection of it happening at Aber some F.C.S in the UK wore Hang Nelson Mandela T shirts or stickers similar to the poster below.

The last Chairman of the F.C.S. (1986) in the year it was disbanded was John Bercow  now of course the Speaker of the House of Commons.

Who knows where those on the  Beach at St Andrews will be in 15 years time ? some may well l have important positions in the party some may well be in the House of Commons even in the Cabinet I just hope this comes back to haunt them

Monday, 21 November 2011

Bulding a few Houses

David Cameron and Nick Clegg announcement  a £400m initiative to build up to 16,000 new homes by allowing an acceleration of investment in "ready-to-go" construction sites where work has stalled.

The prime minister and his deputy will hail the initiative, which involves new money and could see the start of building work next July, as a sign of the coalition's determination to reverse the slow rate of house building

Once again it is difficult to see that this strategy is one for England or the whole of the UK.

But if it is for England then if the Welsh Government  were to follow  suit  then this would be just under 1000 houses to be built or about 45 houses divided between the 22 Welsh Unitary authorities.

And this assuming that these Housed will be built on top of any that would have been done so anyway.

More welcome is a new scheme, running to hundreds of millions of pounds, to underwrite a small percentage of mortgages for "new-build" homes. The scheme is designed to reduce the size of a deposit, particularly for first-time buyers, by shifting the "loan-to-value" ratio. Banks are currently demanding deposits of up to 20% of the value of a property from first-time buyers.

Though it may well be the case that it will only make it easier for first time buyers to secure a mortgage not more likely and will not result in a grater number of first time buyers securing their mortgages..

What we have here is publicity exercise where numbers are thrown in which at first look impressive but in reality a just a drop in the ocean.

Some will claim that its a start.But what we need is a radical revue of housing especially social housing one solution would have been to use Northern Rock which was owned by the British Taxpayer, to provide the sort of Loans that the government have been talking about. But they have already missed that opportunity by selling the bank to Richard Branson. We could have used this bank as a means to setting the template for all banks but it was not to be.

We need a government whether in Westminster or Wales (or both) with vision and commitment.What we have today  is the equivalent of adding a few more bowls to the soup kitchen

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Basil D'Oliveria

Tributes are coming in to Basil D'Oliveira CBE (4 October 1931 – 19 November 2011), who  known affectionately around the world as "Dolly", Although born in  South African-born cricketer. D'Oliveira was classified as 'coloured' under the apartheid regime, and hence barred from first-class cricket. He captained South Africa's national non-white cricket team, and also played football for the non-white national side. However under the Apartheid  refime he was forced to pursue his carrer un England for who played  in forty-four Test matches, and four ODIs. Despite his cricketing prowess, he was best known because of the "D'Oliveira affair", centred around his inclusion in the England side for a planned tour to South Africa in 1968

Dispite his undoubted talents he was left out of the touring party under the pretext that his bowling would not be effective in his native country. South African cricket officials, realising that the inclusion of D'Oliveira would lead to the cancellation of the tour and probable exclusion from Test cricket, exerted pressure on the MCC hierarchy and the decision not to pick him was felt by opponents of apartheid to be a way of keeping cricket links with South Africa open

.There was dissent in the press . But too many it was Doolys treatment by the MCC which brought out the worst in the people running English cricket,  and made us  confront the appalling reality of Apartheid and all but the MCC ducked the issue  and if my memory serves me led a particularly strong denouncement from BBC presenter David Coleman of the MCC cowidice  live on air  

In the  to this course of events and when Warwickshire's Tom Cartwright was ruled out because of injury, D'Oliveira was called up into the squad.] South African prime minister B. J. Vorster had already made it clear that D'Oliveira's inclusion was not acceptable, and despite many negotiations the tour was cancelled.  seen as a watershed in the sporting boycott of apartheid South Africa.

The D'Oliveria Afffair perhaps opened many more eyes to apartheid and was instrumental in the Gleneagles Agreement which led to the sporting and cultural boycott of South Africa so he indirectly played a huge part in the dismantling of apartheid which had forced him to play cricket  in another country.

I was a 15 year Schoolboy at the time and the affair was an important part in my education as the idea that a man should be excluded from anything because of his colour was abhorrent and a year later saw me taking part first demonstrations against the 1969 springbok tour in which my parents backed all the way.

The case of Basil D' Oliveria showed and still does that you cannot exclude politics from sport and the recent events in football and the comments of Sepp Blatter shows we  must  ever vigilant in opposing discrimination and racism. where ever it appears

Friday, 18 November 2011

Ruabon: Labour gain seat by one vote.

Labour took the Ruabon Seat of Plaid by just one vite Yesterday the result was
Dana Davies (Lab) 231
Pol Wong (Plaid Cymru) 230
Andy Kendrick (Ind) 155
Adam Owen (Tory) 59

This compares with the 2008 Election in which Plaid gained the seat from Labour
Nick Coulbane (Lab)184:
Andy Kendrick (Ind) 248:
Barrie  Price  (Plaid Cymru)  337:

However  if we look at the 2004 Election we can see that This was a seat Labour has a big lead over Plaid and had taken the seat of an former Labour Councillor standing as an Independent.

Michael Adams (Lib) 76
Nick Colbourne (Lab 289
James Kelvyn (FW) 75
Barrie Price 140 
Cyril Williams (Ind) 207

So whilst there must be disappointment amongst Plaid in Wrexham especially losing by one  vote it must be encouraging for the three remaining Councillor who face reelection next May, and  through the  high profile through the Plaid Wrecsam Blog which I'm sure most of you would agree is one of the best Council party group blogs not only in Wales but in the U.K. may will see them comfortably reelected. Though they may not be able to increase their numbers if Labour carry on riding the tide of anti Tory cuts.

But Plaid in Wrexham like the Party throughout Wales need Plaid to sort its act out on a Wales and increase its exposure of the lethargy of the Labour Assembly Government. Certainly isn't about time for those seeking the leadership of Plaid to throw their hats in the ring?

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

We cannot depend on Scottish Voters.

Delivering a lecture on the future of devolution at Aberystwyth First Minister Carwyn Jones , has suggested.he Welsh Assembly should get wider powers if Scotland votes for independence,

He said Wales' relationship to the rest of the UK would need a "radical reconsideration" if the Scots back independence at a referendum.

Independence or full fiscal autonomy would make the UK very different, he said in a lecture in Aberystwyth.

But he said further devolution for its own sake did not appeal to him.

Is this where Labour are in Wales or West Briton as they seem sometimes to regard it.

Is he really saying that any change to Devolution in Wales depends on the votes of people in another Nation? Surely the impetus should be coming from inside Wales?

And Carwyn could well be wrong. When the Irish Free State was created in 1922 , the concept of " Home Rule all round " which was advocated bt the Liberals and indeed the Labour Party  in the period prior to this died almost overnight and necessitated the creation of the  Plaid Cymru (1925 and SNP (1934).

And this may happen again . I f by the time The Scottish People vote for Independence or (I think more likely) some form of Devomax, the Welsh Assembly have not at the very least has Policing and Law and Order devolved to it. Then dominated by an London based Media and totally outnumbered at Westminster the attitude from there  may well be that there is no way Wales will be allowed to go the way of Scotland.

Clearly taking Carwyn Jones position then there will be no further calls from Labour for more powers to be devolved in the current Assembly. The Conservatives under R.T. (Homer) Davies, have reverted to crude Unionism and the Libdems under La Pasionaria,  seem to be content simply  attack on the easy targets for any Opposition the NHS and Education.

Which leaves Plaid. Who whilst they have committed themselves  to Independence need to look at the current Assembly and start drawing up list of powers they  feel should be devolved now.

Whilst some Nationalist seem to think that Independence should be the only option for the Party. There is no reason why it can't embrace those who feel that although they do not fully support this position would like to see a Devomax Parliament in Wales.We can argue about going further (and for the record I think we should) later.But we need to start now and certainly not wait foe events in Scotland to take their course.

To be fair the long leadership campaign has not helped and the lack of AMs willing to throw tier hat in the ring means we have not yet seen any really debate within the party. 

Any future  coalition deal between Plaid and Labour  should include a commitment to the Assembly becoming a full Parliament or at the very lest control over Policing and Law and order. Oh and how this body is elected.

Nevertheless with a Labour Administration lacking an overall majority Plaid should already be wringing concessions from Labour  and it could well be the current Budget stalemate  means this is already happening but just as Plaid have clearly upped thier game with their attacks  Welsh Governments inertia over using the legislative powers that we voted for last March they must see that any Welsh Government seek further powers not as Carwyn said for the "Sake of Devolution" but for the sake of Wales.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

West Briton Labour shows its true colours

West-Britain Labour,have backed their leader Peter Hain over the man who pretends to be leader Carwyn Jones, over the idea that if the number of Welsh Westminster seats are cut 30.Then the Welsh assembly seats should be cut to mirror them and should  elect two members by the First oast the Post system,

The Anniuncement read.....
Welsh Labour united over Assembly voting system
 Tory Secretary of State must accept UK Government has “No mandate for change” 
Welsh Labour First Minister Carwyn Jones and Shadow Secretary of State Peter Hain today (Saturday November 11) issued a clear message to the Tory-led UK Government – “You have no mandate to change the current electoral system in Wales.” 
In a joint statement issued following a meeting of the Welsh Labour Executive Committee they said:
“Welsh Labour is at one on this issue. The Tory-led UK Government has absolutely no mandate to change the voting system here in Wales. Any attempt to do so without a clear mandate from the people of Wales would be deeply disrespectful to both them and the Welsh Government.
“As such, after consultation with Party members across Wales, we are calling on the Tory Secretary of State to rule out any changes to the Assembly voting system without such a mandate.
“However, Welsh Labour also realises the need for a clear position should the Tory-led UK Government press ahead with proposals for change, to properly inform debate and push for an outcome that best serves Wales.
“Therefore if, as expected, proposals for change are made along the 30 new Parliamentary boundaries, Welsh Labour’s preference would be for a 60 member Assembly, comprising 30 two member seats. This position reflects the preference for first past the post expressed by an overwhelming majority of the electorate in the referendum on the alternative vote for Westminster in May 2011.
“The message from Welsh Labour could not be any clearer. The Tory-led Government have absolutely no mandate for change, but should they attempt to bypass the people of Wales, Welsh Labour is united behind a common goal of securing a voting system that best serves the people of Wales.”
Of course they qualify thus with IF the Welsh seats are cut, and as the delay in the proposed Boundary changes goes on it could well be that the commission are finding reducing the number of Welsh seats  to 30 an impossible task withou having  constituencies that  have no relevance to the constituents. So it could be that the number of Welsh seats will actually be over 30 when we see the proposals. Which would mean either increasing  the number of AMs to 62 or 64 say and would make the other ingestion of 30 seats elected by FPTP and 30 by the current top up system impracticable.

A privious attempt  to attempt to rearange the Welsh consituenies  to fit the ConLib requirements led to farcical  which I commented on with a special regards my own ward. here

But the major problem with West- Briton Labour  is the way they are proposing an even more undemocratic solution to the redrawn boundaries by proposing  Welsh Assembly seats be redrawn on this basis and  should elect  2 members by FPTP and try and twist the facts by stating.

Welsh Labour’s preference would be for a 60 member Assembly, comprising 30 two member seats. This position reflects the preference for first past the post expressed by an overwhelming majority of the electorate in the referendum on the alternative vote for Westminster in May 2011.

This referendum had nothing  to do with the way the Welsh Assembly is or could be elected . It was a vote on the Westminster system and I have seen no indication that the Welsh electorate should like to see  a change to the way the Assembly would be elected even to my preference of STV.

And as I have already commented on in a previous post basing the Welsh Assembly  seats on Westminster ones does not take into account demographic changes that could see Wales loosing or gaining a seat in future Boundary Commission revues.

What West -Briton  Labour has shown is whose in charge (Peter Hain) and that idea of A "Welsh Labour" Party is a myth .

There is in fact  NO Party registered  as "Welsh Labour" possibly because it would have to disclose to what extent it is funded beyond Wales. It is only a nme they use for electoral purposes to disguise the actual control come from their London HQ.

What West Briton Labour has shown is like it ConLib counterparts that they have no interest in having a truely democratic voting system or making the Welsh Assembly a true legislature  but are little more than emissaries for their London Masters.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Should Edwina Hart wear this?

In a response to a Plaid Cymru tabled a motion saying it "regrets" Labour's "failure" to respond to the economic crisis, problems faced by the manufacturing sector and youth unemployment.
Labours minister in charge of helping the private sector and boosting the Welsh economy Edwina Hart Hart told the Senedd on Wednesday: said.....
"Can I say that I was disappointed when I read the motion, but in view of the fact that it said 'regret' perhaps I should say 'regret' because in life we all regret many things.Continue reading the main story“Start Quote...if you want to go to history lessons perhaps I need to go back to Karl Marx and Engels and we could have a discussion about those issues"I regret about the capitalist system, if you want to go to history lessons perhaps I need to go back to Karl Marx and Engels and we could have a discussion about those issues."those issues.".

Though the actions of the Labour Welsh Government reminds me of the  old French Student joke

"je suis un marxiste - de la tendance Groucho"
So we might just see the Edwina and the rest of the Welsh Cabinet  wearing one if these,

Thursday, 10 November 2011

I will not wear a Poppy tomorrow. Because I will not be Bullied.

In june  2010 I blogged on Armed Forces Day . To save you the trouble I am copying its ome of it below

"I am really sorry but I can't support Armed Forces Day..
My late Father spent most of the Second World War in the Orkney Isles.
However he was to take part in D-Day, where he lasted only three days before being seriously injured by shrapnel from a mine. and after major surgery he was given a plate in his head which was to be part of him until the end.
This injury affected him all his life, He suffered fro Blackouts and was a contribution to his death nearly 10 years ago.
He hardly ever talked about his experience and it was only later in life that he applied for his War Medals for which he received three and when I see the be-medaled members of the Royal Family I wonder.
He also received an inadequate war pension which ironically was far less than if he been a member of the German armed forces.
I doubt very much that he would have approved of Armed Forces day, he rarely wore a red poppy on Armistice Day and I think that he would have wondered why another day should be set aside.
I think I know! Despite the increased politicisation of Remembrance Sunday where it appears for weeks before it is compulsory to wear red poppy on the BBC. The last government needed such a day in order to justify their involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq and the coalition will follow suite.
What would the BBC reaction to someone who insisted on wearing a White Poppy (which you can get from the Peace Pledge Union) here. Or how would all the Media react to MP or Am wearing the White Poppy in the Commons or Assembly chamber?
Incidentally I stopped wearing the White Poppy believing that we should have separate day for remembering all victims of war: But now because of Armed Forces Day I will reconsider my position.
It is thought that 1968 is only year since the Second World War when no British soldier was killed in action.
I believe that far too many of our armed Forces have died because successive governments have involved themselves in conflicts in order to maintain the illusion that Britain is still a Major power.
We are being spun in order that concern for the safety for soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq manifest as support for government policy.
There also those in the Military complex of senior armed forces personnel and contractors who have a vested in interest in a large military force.
If you wish to take part in today’s events, do so with Pride, but remember many of us who disapprove of Armed Forces Day also have the interest of the ordinary Soldier. Sailor, and Airmen at heart."

Sadly noting has changed our young men are still. in Afghanistan and in Iraq and the annual Poppy campaign is still being for Political reasons and not for its True intention.

I was however pleased to see the return of Welsh Political Twins who blogged on the subject and give us hope that not everyone has been cowed.

We may be a small minority though since our viewpoint is almost totally excluded from the Media then we have no idea how many of us there are.

Just imagine the BBC or the rest of the Media reporting on a country where everyone who appears on Television there is forced virtually forced to wear a symbol (no matter its merits). They would argue that it was totalitarian and would interview those who oppose it.

Or footballers from Argentina wearing a symbol of their fallen in the Falklands.

The compulsory wearing of Poppies on the BBC where it results in comedians wearing them on Panel shows  which are then repeated 3 or 6 months later  or every week on Dave.

The problem now of course is that no BBC Director General would reverse the policy  it would be a very brave politician  who would be seen in any of our legislative chambers (out side Northern Ireland) not wearing a Red Poppy let alone a White one.

I really feel the only way to express my disquiet is to not wear a poppy but I will feel uncomfortable because I would like to show that I remember in a particular a young man from  Treforest ,Pontypridd  who landed on Gold Beach  on Dday and paid with his injury the rest of his life for helping us defeat Nazi Tyranny

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Unions must stand up to Labour Councils

Grangetown Jack  has recently Blogged on the disgraceful attitude to Labour led  Bridgend Council towards its workforce ,who are  following  Labour Controlled  R.C.T  and Neath Port Talbot, in implementing  changes towards its workforce, which must make Tory  Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Erik Pickles, wish the English councils for which he is responsible would follow suit.

Why is it Labour Councils who are behaving this way ?
Could it be that thy feel that the Unions like the GMB will bluster and condemn such moves will not condemn the Labour Part for carrying out such cuts?.

In February  there was a Union led Rally in Pontypridd against the cuts proposed by the Labour controlled council which I blogged on here. 

As I commented at the time the only Politician allowed to address us at the ticket only meeting.was  Labour's Candidate for the Pontypridd seat Mick Antoniw. who managed to address us on a protest on the attack on the work force of Labour controlled R.C.T. without once mentioning them. A remarkable feat and it was a generous audience who allowed him to do this.

If Plaid had been in control of R.C.T at the time all the Labour  AM's  and MPs who represent the constituencies  of Pontypridd,Rhondda and Cynon Valley would be shouting from the rooftops how Plaid were implementing the Tory cuts and we would have seen the Unions act much more decisively.

Mick Antoniw. subsequently went on to win the seat and now with MP Owen Smith use the GMB Pontypridd HQ as Offices and delights in showing us his Union support
What will the Unions be doing next May.local government  elections?

  • Will they be contributing to the Labour expenses in Bridgend, Neath Port Talbot and R.C.T.?
  • Will their Offices have posters calling on us to vote for the Party that has so disgracefully treated their Members?
  • Will Labour candidates, who as councillors voted for these measures proudly boast of their Union credentials?
In next May local government ,I expect Labour to make big gains in Wales  on a campaign berating the ConLibDem coalition for making cuts and are likely to regain full control of councils such as Blaneau Gwent, Torfaen ,Caerphilly  and Swansea and maybe even Cardiff.. And will probably base much of their campaign in Wales against London Cuts in the safe knowledge the Unions will not speak out  on the gross hypocricy of "Welsh" Labour.and unless Plaid up their game, will get away with it.

If I was an already low paid worker on these councils I would be very worried indeed..

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Wales needs a New Cooperative Movement.

Writing in the Magazine Prospect Labour AM Huw Lewis said.....
"In May, nine Labour and Cooperative assembly members were elected to the Welsh assembly, including two cabinet ministers. The cooperative movement has never been better represented at the heart of decision-making. We have a cooperative moment here in Wales and I am determined to capitalise on that.

What he actualy means who are members of hte Cooperative Party.
The Co-operative Party is a committed to supporting and representing co-operative principles. The party does not put up separate candidates for any UK election itself. Instead, Co-operative candidates stand jointly with the Labour Party as "Labour and Co-operative Party" candidates. Although a sister party of the Labour Party, the Co-operative Party is legally a separate political organisation, and members of the Co-operative Party do not have to join the Labour Party although they are not permitted to be members of another political party.

So it is restrictive and therefore not an open movement.

For the record the Labour Members of the Assembly who are also members of the Cooperative Party are

Alun Davies (AM for Blaenau Gwent
Ann Jones (AM for Vale of Clwyd)
Christine Chapman (AM for Cynon Valley)
Huw Lewis (AM for Mertyr Tydfil and Rhymney)
John Griffiths (AM for Newport East)
Lynne Neagle (AM for Torfaen)
Mick Antoniw (AM for Pontypridd)
Vaughan Gething (AM for Cardiff South and Penarth)
Sandra (Sandy) Mewies (AM for Delyn) 

I am sure that any financial contribution to their electoral expenses from the Cooperative Party has nothing do do with their membership.

With 9 of the 30 Labour Am's being also members of the Cooperative Party one would expect a greater emphasis especially in these troubled time on Cooperatives from the Assembly government but in fact beyond Social Housing legisaltion proposed by Huw Lewis there has been very little ambition.

Where are the proposals for setting up cooperatives throughout Wales ? Where is the ambition? where is the finances to set these up rather in spending money trying to attract foreign companies who either pull out as LG did or leave after a few years to move to another country which offer them a greater incentive.

What we seem to have is the equivalent of those who join a supporters club of a Rugby or Football clubs but never watch their Team Play. Though they will wear the replica strip at every occasion but probably could't name more than 3 members of the Teams Squad.

If we are to have a viable Cooperative Movement then it should consist of Members of all parties and those who are not affiliated to any party who have a vision beyond just giving vocal support which is more or less what the Cooperative Party does at the moment.

Unfortunately there seems to be desire from the other Plank that should support a Welsh Cooperative movement the Trade Unions who are still tied to the Labour Party to promote a radical alternative such as creation of Mondragon type solution. which exist in the Basque country.

And Huw Lewis who seems to be the Champion of Cooperatives in the Labour Party in Wales is to much of a partisan politician to contemplate any solution that involves politician outside his own party and would dismiss a Cooperative movement that identified strongly with the idea of Welsh Nationhood as Mondragon does with Euskadi.

Wales needs a new Cooperative movement that looks at Mondragon and other examples the Cooperative party with its narrow political base and its ambition can't be the answer.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Team GB. Only half the story again

Here we go again with the British media reports on the propossed mens GB team for the 2012 Olympics

The BBC report that....

Wales captain Aaron Ramsey has followed compatriot Gareth Bale's lead by posing in a Great Britain supporters' shirt.
Bale, who caused controversy by wearing the shirt, says he wants to play for Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics.
And 20-year-old Arsenal midfielder Ramsey has echoed Bale's sentiments, saying: "If we have the opportunity to play, why not?"
The Football Association of Wales [FAW] is against its players playing in the British team.
The FAW along with its Scottish and Northern Irish counterparts fear a British team threatens their independence as football nations.
Great Britain will enter a men's football team for the first time since 1960 and will be coached by England Under-21 manager Stuart Pearce at the 2012 event.

One wonders who persuaded Ramsey and Bale to do this . I suspect a media set up.

This News coincided with a report that

David Beckham has reiterated his interest in playing for the Great Britain football team at the London Olympics and insists he can still perform at the top level.
The 36-year-old's deal with current club the Los Angeles Galaxy is about to run out and he admits there has been interest from Barclays Premier League clubs as well as Ligue 1 side Paris St Germain.

There are also  claims..
"The former England skipper has been linked with the team for next year's Games and of the possibility of being involved, Beckham told BBC Sport: "We all dream about it and we all think about it. If it happens, I'll be honoured.",

But Beckham would be an unlikely squad member given the ruling that only three over 23-year-olds are permitted in Olympic squads.He will be 37 by then

The reason for this is The World Cup is the major competition and the Olympics cannot be seen as runing a secondary comeitition hence the under 23's where there is no equivalent FIFA one.

But not all the media point this out and there is no mention of this by the BBC or when they reported the Beckham.

The rules state:
“All players participating in the preliminary and final competitions of the Tournament shall be born on or after 1 January 1989. However, a maximum of three male players who do not meet this age limit may also be included in the official list of players for the final competition.
The inclusion of a 37as part of the three overage whose inclusion will be seen as many as merely to publicize the event would surely show this for the sham it is..

The London Media and (the Welsh Media) for that matter should stop giving the impression that this is a full blown international tournament. It is not and they should say so

Another Sport that could cause a problem is Ruby 7's

On 13 August 2009 it was announced that the IOC executive board was recommending rugby sevens for inclusion in the 2016 Olympic Games and on 9 October 2009 the full IOC, at its 121st IOC Session in Copenhagen, voted to include Rugby Sevens in the 2016 games.

This came after the IRB announced that they would drop the Rugby World Cup Sevens in order to improve the chances of the sport being included. The benefit of this move would be to make the Olympics the premier event in international rugby sevens.

Therer would appear at  first to be less controversy in this as there is no threat to the Identity of English,Scottish and Welsh sides but I can see a problem when it comes to Northern Ireland players.

Will the GB side contain players from Northern Ireland or if will players from the six counties be only eligible for an all Ireland side whether they field a side or not?
Ireland  do not regularly play 7 tournaments.

There is a precedent for this. I understand that Boxing like Ruby Union is an all Ireland sport and those from Northern Ireland Box in the Olympics for Ireland not GB. 

I imagine when this potential problem is realised we might have even greater controversy than that over a minor football competition.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Scottish Liberal Democrats - A disgrace.

Hat Tip to Bettter Nation for this.(Though I suspect the Scottish Blogasphere will be burning on this).

Anyone who has fallen for The LibDems portrayal of a party that doesn't fight dirty  and are the nice Political Party  of Politics in these Islands.

The Scottish Libdems have promoting this Photo in response to Alex Salmond visit to the Middle East.

Apart for the ridiculous and puerile nature of the Photo. It appears that they have "Blacked Up" Alex Salmond. If it wasn't for the fact that they would support the Death Penalty and Anti Gay theme it could have come from the BNP.

If you think that this was just the work of some young interns at the Scottish Lidem (SLD) HQ. Then think again because it appeared for a brief time on the SLD leaders Willie Rennie's facebook page though he seems to have realised what a disastrous move this was and removed it. saying.....
I apologise for the offence that has been clearly caused by our cartoon on the First Minister's remarks in Qatar. Although I did not approve its publication I accept responsibility for it. It has been interpreted in ways that were not intended. It has now been withdrawn. I apologise.
So thats OK then. We will see.

And if you think the SLD have a point about Salmond visiting Quatar whose this meetimg the The Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani on 27 October, 2010 in London?,

 Yep its Nick Clegg I Hope the Qatar leaders have a copy of the Photo Fit produced by his Scottish Colleagues the next time he meets them.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Presidents and Heirs.

My last post on the Election of Michael D Higgins as the 9th Prisident of Ireland ( Uachtarán na hÉireann) didn't leave me any space to add any Information. But Michael D rocking in the Dail was written in 1994 so it seems he had the unique opportunity of having a campaign song 17 years before his campaign for the Presidency.

I am delighted with Michael D election he will be a brilliant and Progressive President and although it would not be my place to tell the Irish Electorate who to vote for he would have been my choice.

There have been some in commentators on the Welsh Blogasphere who seem to have lent to Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness during the election and believe his  13.7% of the  first preference  vote was some how a major advance . Though in fact  the number of transfers seem low for MCGuiness  seem to point to his vote being polarised..

Irish presidential election, 2011[193][194]
PartyCandidateNominated by % 1st PrefCount 1Count 2Count 3Count 4
Labour PartyMichael D. HigginsOireachtas: Labour Party39.6701,101730,480793,1281,007,104
IndependentSeán GallagherCounty and City Councils28.5504,964529,401548,373628,114
Sinn FéinMartin McGuinnessOireachtas: Sinn Féin & Independents13.7243,030252,611265,196
Fine GaelGay MitchellOireachtas: Fine Gael6.4113,321127,357136,309
IndependentDavid NorrisCounty and City Councils6.2109,469116,526
IndependentDana Rosemary ScallonCounty and City Councils2.951,220
IndependentMary DavisCounty and City Councils2.748,657
Electorate: 3,191,157   Valid: 1,771,762   Spoilt: 18,676 (1.0%)   Quota: 885,882   Turnout: 1,790,438 (56.1%)

The position of President is largely ceremonial rather the head of state in the UK and there was some campaign in the Republic to abolish it . But this largely faded under the last two Presidents Mary Robinson and  Mary McAleese, who both rose the profile on the world Stage with their commitment to Humanitarianism throughout the World

It is  somewhat Ironic that at almost the same time as the Presedential Election the British Establishment were enthusing over  the decision the change the rules over succession to the head of State of the UK and claiming this was "Democratic and Modern"

What a non-story this was. Taking into account that the current heir to the throne  William should live till he's at least 80. It will be 2062 before any heir succeeds him. So I'll be long gone by them but hopefully Wales will be a Republic.

The biggest joke was Cameron et al portraying this as some kind of democratic coup and modernisation. No change can make the idea of an hereditary head of state either democratic and modern.

And today we have news that Prince Charles has been offered a veto over 12 government bills since 2005 Ministers sought prince's consent under secretive constitutional loophole on bills covering issues from gambling to the OlympicSo the Republic of Ireland so often portrayed as narrow minded conservative country elect a progressive humanitarian as they President and have the opportunity in 7 years time to change him if it they disaprove.. Whilst we are told we are being democratic and modern because the first born will be heir to throne regardless of sex and will not be dis bared if they marry a Catholics. Which of these two states is really demcratic and modern?