Friday, 30 September 2011

Gwynedd By-elections Plaid win both seats

There were two By-elections in  Gwynedd last night. and credit  to Blog Menai for being so up to date with the result

Diffwys a Maenofferen

Catrin Elin Roberts, Llais Gwynedd - 153
Mandy Williams Davies, Plaid Cymru - 210
Olaid Gain from Llaus Gwynedd

Plaid Gain

This was the second Byelection in  Diffwys a Maenofferen in this period Llais Gwyned had held the seat in a By-election in July 2010  when the result was

Llais Gwynedd 185 (50.5%; +1.2)
PC 181 (49.5%; +8.3)
[Lab 0 (0.0%; -9.6)]   


Rhian Jones, Llais Gwynedd -233
 Dafydd Thomas, Annibynnol  (Independent) - 91
 Gareth Thomas, Plaid Cymru - 515

Plaid Hold

This could have been a difficult one for Plaid  as their former councilor, Dewi E Lewis,  was jailed for theft of £53 000 from the post office he ran and you would normally have expected a Backlash. It is possible that there was some sympathy for Evans and acceptance that he took the cash to keep his business afloat.

Hpwever it was  clearly a bad night for Llais Gwynedd and one wonders they will go the same way of Blanau Gwent Peoples Voice and the group in Torfaen. I suspect it will depend on how much in common they have apart from the school reorganisation issue and I suspect very little.

The result  means that Plaid now have a overall majority on Gwynedd council.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

The I word or the F word.

There have been some interesting comments on the Syniadau Blog regarding Dafydd Elis Thomas comments on the Independence Issue which you can read here.

As I'm not a member of Plaid I can't tell people who are what their part policy should be but what intrigued me was some seemed to have a functionalist stance on membership being dependent on total support for Independence and the suggestion that those who took a Federalist stance should find another party such as the Liberal Democrats.

It would be sad to see people told they are not welcome because they question the meaning of the word Independence or even those who would like to take part of the journey as outlined some time back with an allegoric refence to the TrawsCumbrias bus journey.

Some will argue that a Nationalist Party like Plaid should have a clear and fixed idea if what it means by Independence  but it really is very difficult to actually do this and react to current events What ever happens the majority of the Welsh people must be carried with it and to do this then they must see that the party that will lead an Independent Wales are competent to do so

What the SNP have shown is that they are capable of taking Scotland to the next step Wales and Plaid are probably 10 years behind them.

In a perfect world I could find myself attracted to a form of federalism formed around a "Council of the Islands" resembling the original Benelux countries. Where Wales,Scotland Northern Ireland and England can meet an discuss issues of mutual interest have a common defense policy which is non-aligned and non-nuclear.

Alas I can'r see this happening and there does not seem to be Part advocating such a policy anywhere in the UK. The Libdem policy of federalism when they ever mention it  seems to be to devolve power in England in a similar way as it was in Wale. This has been exposed by the English Parliament campaigner Torque.

But Wales is not a Region of the UK it has a national Identity and a Federal solution that treats Wales in the same manner as the South East of England  is not the answer.

So I can't really see my Idea of a Council of the Islands " coming to any fruition but circumstances change and as people see the need for Wales and Scotland to express themselves nationally beyond events like the Rugby World come the whole relationship between the current members of the UK may throw up a number of solutions. Though It will be difficult for England to relinquish its dominant role or even admit it has one.

If you feel that this Blog is full of contradictions then you are right but then the concept of Independence  or the idea of Federalism are full of contradictions . Who among as have  all  the answers

Monday, 26 September 2011

Wales win against Namibia but it was not a fair fixture..

Don't get me wrong It was a fine Welsh performance this morning against Namibia and has eased my woories over the Fiji Game. But its a disgrace that Namibia were forced to play us only 4 days after playing South Africa. The fixtures should be fare not based on preferential treatment of the top tier nations based on "Fan appeal or broadcast considerations" as the IRB admits.

Samoan Centre Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu may have gone overboars with his twitter rant.
 "IRB, Stop exploiting my people. Please, all we ask, is fairness. If they get a week, give us a week. Simple. justice."he later added: "Ok, it's obvious the IRB are unjust. Wales get 7 days, we get 3. Unfair treatment, like slavery, like the holocaust, like apartheid."Give Wales 3 days off and give Samoa a week! We would kill them!""You can't get punished for speaking out against injustice. That would be unjust. Anyone can tackle a man. Try tackling injustice."

But he had a point over the unfairness of  making his side and other sides which are not seen in the top tier of Rugby play games with less of a break than those seen to be over  the top and his references to Slavery and the Holocaust allowed most of the media to miss the legitimacy of his argument.

Apart from being unfair it darn right dangerous. It was clear Namibia  were tiring badly in the Scrum at the end of the game against Wales and it could have resulted in a serious injury, The IRB should make sure that such discrimination should not happen again .

On another not surly  Bagpipes are much of a cultural  importance to Scotland as the Haka is to New Zealand? So why are they banned from the stands?

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Danish Elections and Three Liberal parties

Further to my last post on the plight of the Libdems sister party in Germany the Free Democrats . I have just reads Ffranc Sais's Blog on the comparative succes of the Liberals in Denmark. Though I find his assertion that because there because there are two has two fully-accredited Liberal parties. That Danish Voters are getting Two parties for one is a bit optimistic.

In the  Danish Election the result was

There were Three what you could cal Classical Liberal Parties Standing.
  • Venstre ( It translates as Left but means Liberals in actuality) a A centre rightFreemarket Liberal Party which is tied to Agranianism.
  • Radikale Venstre  More accurately translated as Radical Liberals A centre Left Liberal Party 
  • Liberal Alliance centre party based on Economic Liberalism which is currently not a member of the European Liberal grouping.
As you can see in the Election the parties aligned them selves in Left Right fractions

The Red Alliance
of the Social Democrats ,Radikale Venstr.Socialist Peoples Party and Red-Green Alliance
The Blue Alliance.
of Venstre,Danish People's Party ,Liberal Alliance,Conservative People's Party, and Christian Democrats (Who dis not win any seats)

So although they lost a seat the Social Democrats led by Neil Kinnock's daughter in law will form a government  because their alies the Left leaning Liberals andfLeft Red- Green alliance made gains

If I was a Liberal Democrat I would note not so much the presence of three Liberal parties in Denmark but the success of the Left leaning one  as they own party under Clegg drifts further to the right asset out in  the  Orange Book then  perhaps its a  time to  consider a move back towards the current Liberal Party after all its not just Denmark that has more than one and can the LibDems really contain those who are little more than Tories with a Coniscience  and those who like Ffranc Sais still have a bit of radicalism in them.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

If I was you Kirsty. I'd look at Germany.

I must admit I raise my hat to La Pasionaria, in her political misdirection of the Lib Dems political woes with her speech to her party conference where she managed to grab some headlins with her claim
Lib Dems 'can learn Plaid's coalition lesson'. After all to concentrate on a rivals poor results in the Welsh Assembly Elections  draws attention  from the fact that under her leadership in Wales the Libdems
  • Where reduced from 6 to 5 seats in a Assembly of 60
  • So a huge fall in their vote especially in seats that they were running a close second.
  • Saw 17 of their candidates lose tier deposits.
To be fair to her however it was hardly her fault , for she had grabbed the headlines with her attacks on the way the Assembly Government were running the NHS here and although there was an element of shroud waving she appeared to be the leading opposition member in the Assembly.

Like wise the Libdem also managed to gain some headlines on Education with which figuers that shows that the total spent on average per pupil in Wales is £604 less than the total spent per pupil on average in England. Though this has been masterfully shown to be a false argument by John Dixon in his Borthlas Blog. 

But event this use of the gift of attacking government on the NHS and Education.  Subjects that I doubt the public would never give a satisfied approval rating on. The Libdems in Wales suffered from reaction against their colleagues participation in a Tory  led coalition.

If  La Pasionaria is loking for lessons . Then I suggest she looks at the Libdems sister party in Germany the Free Democrats. (FDP)

In the national vote on September 27, 2009 the FDP increased its share of the vote by 4.8% to 14.6%, an all-time record so far. This percentage was enough to offset a decline in the CDU/CSU's vote compared to 2005, to create a CDU-FDP governing coalition in the Bundestag with a 53% majority of seats.

Since then however the FDP have had a drubing in a nuber of State Elections this year 

In Hamburg they did manane to gain 9 seats but

In Saxony-Anhalt they lost all their 7 seats

In Rhineland-Palaaden-Württembergtinate They lost all their 10 seats

In Baden-Württemberg election 2011 they lost 8 of their 15 seats .

In Bremen they lost al thier five seats

In the latest poll in Berlin they filled to win a seat.

In comparison The FDP partners the CDU/CSU have fared better and it is the junior partner that the voters appear to be deserting in droves

Though  its not something Labour should look at with relish.For the Opposition SPD have not been doing very well either .

The big winners in all these Elections have been the Greens and they now have ea seat in every Landtag and now lead tjhe administration in Baden-Württemberg. and it is of interest that Germany has not turned to right wing parties . In Berlin  the Pirate party a libertarian group concerned with civil rights  on the internet  for example won 15 seats.

Only in Scotland perhaps  so far has any Party appeared to have gained overwhelmingly from voters disillusionment with the Libdems in the Westminster coalition where the SNP seemed to have had almost total gain in these votes. 
Why didn't this happen in Wales? Well here La Pasionaria may be right in her analysis  but I very much doubt that knowledge of the problem facing her party will help her or the LibDems in the rest of the UKin the long run.

Monday, 19 September 2011

La Pasionaria climbs in the Lists

There are two posts on Subordinate Center which are of note

The latest is that La Pasionaria has jumped 19 p;aces in the Daily Telegraphs in its list of the top 50 most influential Liberal Democrats, placing the Welsh Party Leader at 31 this year.

So champagne all round From last to number 31 most impressive.

Subordinate Centre, in its usual manner copy in full the Telegraph's citation without comment here it is

A vocal member of the Welsh Assembly, Williams became Wales’ first female party leader when she was elected at the end of 2008. Having joined the Liberal party at the age of just 15, Williams is clearly something of a die-hard: she was a staunch campaigner for a Welsh Assembly in the 1997 referendum, and became an Assembly Member in its first ever election in 1999. She is struggling to give the Welsh Lib Dems a new identity but by comparison to her Celtic colleagues in Scotland the Welsh Lib Dems did well in the 2011 Assembly elections and Williams can take the credit for that, even though they lost one seat overall.
So that's the measure of LibDem success not doing as badly as their colleagues in Scotland and since when loosing thousands of votes and having only I AM directly elected out of 40 (La Pasionaria) and therefore relying on the Top up system ever be counted as success.

Subordinate Centre also give us a reprint of La Pasionaria interveiw in Wales on Sunday in which she claims Liberal Democrats at a UK level must not repeat the mistakes made by Plaid Cymru as a junior partner in a coalition

Suspend your disbelief when you read it . You may agree with her on her analysis of Plaids's campaign for this years Assembly :elections but to suggest that a party that is facing wipe out in the elections leading up to and including the next Assembly elections can learn from this.

But La Pasionaria seems to be making the case not for the LibDems in the Toxic Westminster coalition but to join the government in Cardiff bay.

In a obvious overture to Carwyn and Welsh Labour she said

, Lib Dems will not try and wreck First Minister Carwyn Jones’ budget if he brings forward plans for health and education which they can support.
She said: “We won’t pull any punches where we feel the Labour party are going wrong but nor will we create tensions where there is no need for them to exist.”
Stating that Wales needs “stable government,” she said: “Carwyn said himself his party hasn’t a monopoly on good ideas.
“He has to work with others and we are ready to play that constructive role if we feel the Labour party is serious about tackling educational outcomes, tackling the health service [and] making sure we’ve got good value for the budget that we’ve got.”ays..

But her problem is such is the lukewarm legislative programme that Carwyn and his Government have proposed so far . He can easily wait a few years or at least until after next May where local government elections will probably see the LbDem hemorrhaging Welsh councilors. further weakening La Pasionaria position where she will agree to almost any condition in order to escape the toxic effect of tier coalition with the Tories.

So will La Pasionaria have a higher influence in the Telegraph pole next year .She might well but only because some of those above have decided its time to desert a sinking ship.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Let me through I'm a politician.

At first I was impressed by Peter Hain  and other  polticians and community leaders actions with regards the men have been trapped by water at Gleision Colliery near Cilybebyll, Pontardawe in the Swansea Valley . As the local MP he seamed to be saying the right things and doing what is part of his job.

However his constant aperances in the Press conferences presents the danger  "that he is the Story".

I do not entriley blame in I could have easily entitled this "Let me through I'm from the BBC" . I accept there is a vital need for the public to be kept up to date but there must be a question of when the in thier frantic haste towards being first with the news  become a hindrance to the rescue operation as jaxxlander has already pointed out.
......there is something distasteful about how press and politicians seem to outnumber rescuers as events unfold at the mine in Pontardawe?.
 There was also something ghoulish about the speculation of the trapped miners as some of the press questions asked  of those actually conducting the rescue proved.

Can the vast number of media and people constantly on tap to add their comments which often add nothing to our knowledge and often revert to pure speculation which must prove distressing to the families involved . especially in the era of 24 Hour News become a potential hazard to the rescue operation.?

I admit Peter Hain is in a difficult position because if he hadn't turned up then some would be asking where he was and the presence of someone recognisable  by the public is a godsend to the media desperate to find the human touch. But is it absolutely necessary for him to appear with the rescuers and emergency services when they make a press statement?

I think the media is more to blame than Peter Hain here but as these sad events evolve we must ask ourselves what is more vital rescuing the trapped victims or the news event?

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Self Determination or Independence

I must admit I have some sympathy with Dafydd Elis Thomas, over the Independence issue.

On the eve of the Plaid conference in Llandudno focussing on ‘renewal’, the Dwyfor Merionnydd AM said:....
I was happy to talk about self government and self determination but independence is something I found ethically incompatible.
“I am a Welsh European first and foremost.

I share his position as I  personalty always felt that no Nation can call it self Independent if it..

  • Acccepts membership and the rules of the United Nations
  • Signs and obeys the Geneva Convention
  • Agrees to the judgement of International Courts.
  • Signs Trade agreements that bind you to a specific economic model
  • Joins an organisation like the original Common Market
  • Agrees to the development of the above as it becomes a legislative body as the European Union has become.
  • Joins alliance like NATO,

Except for the last, I agree with all the above and have nothing but scorn for those petty nationalists who think they country can some how be self sufficient and ignore the rest of the World and International Laws.
However the success of the SNP  in promoting the use of  Independence on the Scottish Stage means that the "I" word is in the ascendancy  and compared to it Self-Determination  sounds a bit like non-alcoholic lager. 
 Although I can see no difference between the SNP  plans for Scotland to have the same sovereign status within the EU as the likes of Germany, Latvia or Luxembourg as Plaids plans for Wales.

So although I would still  prefer Plaids  previous  position 
The important thing is what they mean by Independent  and make it clear No  Sovereign Nation  today (apart for North Korea perhaps) can claim to be fully Independent?  
The negative connotations that Independence may have  will  of course be raised by the British .Unionist Parties (Labour, Conservative and Libdem) but they should be faced

Iincidentally I have used the term British Unionist rather than British Nationalist because the former has been seized by the far right and I don't want to appear to smear them . I hope when they react to the Independence call from Wales and Scotland they do not use as means to smear Welsh and Scottish Nationalism.

Do I share the doubts of Dafydd El whether Wales could be Independent at this  moment in time . Wel Yes. But when ever I sat an exam I never thought I get 100% but I always tried to get the best mark I could.

The challenge of Nationlist in or out of Plaid is to envisage the Wales they want in a World they want and work towards it.

Monday, 12 September 2011

When Plaid met Gaddafi embarrassing but 35 years old.

It seems that the Western Mail  have dug up an old story of a Plaid Cymry Delegation travelling to Libya for funding Talks with Colonel Gaddafi..

Although the headlines look sensational you have to read the article to find that thee events took place in the 1970's .

In fact it was in 1976 seven years after Gaddafi had seized power and was first reported I believe in (the much missed magazine Rebecca). So congrats to the Western Mail researcher for digging in this up35 year old story up but no points for trying to present in as a current news Story..

I'm not going to defend Plaids action at the time because it was pretty indefensible and even in 1976 it was cleat that Gaddafi was a ruthless dictator whohould't have been touched with a Bargepole except to say that most Western Governments had a dubious relationship with the Libyan dictator.

At the time I thought it was an embarrassment  for the Party but since there was no further exposures of Plaid -Libya links it does seem to be a one off and I would have expected the Labour government of the day (or Thatcher's 3 years latter) for a chance to accuse Plaid to be in the pay of the Libyan dictator a major  issue  it if there was anything really serious in it.It could be rightly argues that those involved should come clean and the evasion of some of those involved does them no credit but lets face it its not a major scandal today.

I could be wrong ,Perhaps papers will appear in Tripoli that Plaid was awash with Libyan gold in the latter part of the 1970's but I doubt it.

One can expect Plaid opponents to seize on this and its no suprise that Subordinate Centre in thier uusall
manner copy the Western article in full and then add thier pithy comment. in this case

"Willa fuller (Sic) story ever emerge? Not if Plaid Cymu have anything to do with it."
To tell the truth I don't blame them for concentrating on a 35 year old scandal in Plaid rather than  the more up to date story in the Daily Telegraph  that The Liberal Democrats' biggest donor has become one of Britain's most wanted men after being convicted of stealing millions from a form a former football boss.

I shall be looking at the next Subordinate Central to catch up with current events and their calls of whether they should return the £2.5 million pounds they have received from a convicted felony

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Why are New Zealand allowed the advantage of the Haka?

lI must admit that though I admire the Haka I can't help thinking that it gives New Zealand a psychological advantage for at least for the first 5 minutes of the game at must be worth at least a early penalty.and should such a advantage be given in a non-friendly game especially in the World Cup?  Similarly  should the   "War Dances" of the South seas Islanders should be allowed?

Wales in 2008 showed how to respond to the Haka  in the 2008 match which you can view here (Watch it it's perhaps Ryan Jones' finest moment) where on their Home ground they refused to back down even to the ref and insisted the All Blacks should move first.

The Haka great entertainment but this is serious business and should such an advantage be given to a side ? I don't think so.

Mind you England's decision to wear n all Black aternative strip is a deliberate provocation and prehaps could be seen in the context of Glasgow Rangers playing in green hoops.

I give some credit to the organisers for the timing of the opening ceremony as the 12 hour time difference means that we will have to rise earlier to watch the matches but it the same for New Zealanders and the other southern hemisphere nations when the World cup is in Europe.
And I wonder what the reaction in Wales would be to a 9:30 Pm kick off as fans and players will be asked to do for Wales South Africa match tomorrow?

No praise for ITV's coverage though EyeONWales a blog which is well worth a visit covers most of my critcsism. But here some of my own  anyway.

The coverage of the opening ceremony was appalling far to many  Add- breaks and studio contributions . My niece switched to S4C and I suspect most Welsh speakers or even those with a smattering will do so when the coverage is available
Especially after the Match commentaries I've heard so. It comes to something that BBC Wales' coverage of the Leinster-Dragons match last night surpassed  that of ITV coverage of the opening New Zealand -Tonga match.and shows the difference betweem the true professional and the merely gifted amateur . Though I'm not sure about the gifted.

It looks like we will have to put up with references to England at every opportunity and although on the BBC Brian Moore has a "slight" bias towards England at least he will criticize them and point out their weaknesss and he is entertaining.

Likewise the  ITV pundits are boring and there's nothing like the insight of Gusgott,Woods and our own Jonathan Davies all of whom may have a bias towards their own Nations but it is acceptable because they at least know what they are talking about.

The BBC can be annoying in its refernces to England .Who can forget  the reference to the "England -France match some years ago as "The Main event" but ITV as they have been in every World Cup they covered have given the impression that England is the only Home nation in the competition.

The France-Japan game has just finished and after a few minutes "analysis"  they have moved on too The England Game. Even if England are knocked out at the qualifying stage  (unlikely as it is) we will probably more coverage of what went wrong rather than the success of othe Home sides.

Why have the BBC failed yet again to cover the Rugby World cup and left us with piss- poor amateur  coverage from ITV?

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

An Independent Scotland is no guarantee for Wales.

Plaid Wrecsam points out that in a recent poll in Scotland hows those who would vote Yes for independence ahead by 39% to 38%.

One can't read to much in this and  I would expect that if a referendum was to succeed then the polls would have to be at least a 10% lead  before the referendum campaigns starts as  the vast majority of pro-union media campaigns against Independence.

What interested me however were some of the comments

Great news, and we will get independence by default. Let's smash the union now
....Scots are far ahead of us on this issue but if they achieve independence and make a success of it (which they will in my opinion) then the calls for Welsh independence will grow stronger. That day can't come soon enough!
There has always been a assumption that  if Scotland became  Independent  then there would be a natural upsurge for Welsh Independence.

This however may be the actual outcome.

Prior ti the establishment of the Irish Free State the concept of Home Rule all Round was possibly even popular in Wales than in Scotland  where religious difference  influenced  support, and if my memory serves me correctly .When I was a student of his at  Aber .John (Bwylchlan) Davies, once  claimed in a lecture  that there was even some idea that the Highlands  would join in a confederation with form a Hibernian Nation.

Both the Liberal Party and the fledgling Labour supported the idea of Home Rule all Round  but the failure of Lloyd Georges Cymru Fydd pointed to the weakness in the movement.

Both Wales and to a much larger extent  Scotland were also  caught up in the British Empire  supplying the military and Administrators needed to maintain it.

Interestingly there was a an argument against Irish Nationalism that ...
The fact that Ireland wished to leave the greatest Empire in the World meant that they were not ready to do so,
Whatever. After Ireland  obtained what was then Dominion Status (similar to Canada) which was the principal of Home Rule all Round the motor that drove this concept outside Ireland  no longer existed and the Labour Party apart from a few dropped the idea and the Liberals Party still occasionally cling to some form of federalist ideal went into a speedy decline.

Indeed it became necessary to form Plaid Cymru in 1925, and it was not until 1934 the SNP was formed after the the merger of National Party of Scotland (1928) and the Scottish Party (1930) . Nevertheless Home Rule almost vanished from the political scene not to really emerge again until l the 1960's.

The argument that the creation of an Independent Scotland will automatically lead to an Independent Wales is alas not self evident.

Indeed Wales could be worse off. Picked on by a renewed English Nationalism and Labour Politicians who would need Welsh votes even more the former opposed any financial assistance to Wales and whilst claiming that we were a drain on England and the latter claiming wales could not survive without support from England opposing any idea of Welsh Independence.   and In Wales  without the institutions and media to speak out there could develop a fear of taking any  step towards Independence. Scottish Independence  as it did in after the creation of the Free state in 1922 kill  the Independence movement here for years

I'm not saying this will be the outcome but we should not rely on the creation of an Independent Scotland to lead us to similar status. We must not only campaign for an Independent Wales but to campaign for the Institutions and Society to sustain it.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Maybe we should ignore Clarkson, but the BBC shouldn't

It seems that Jeremy Clarkson  has been attacking Wales again .

In his Sun column he wrote

“I think we are fast approaching the time when the United Nations should start to think seriously about abolishing other languages.
“What’s the point of Welsh for example? All it does is provide a silly maypole around which a bunch of hotheads can get all nationalistic.”
Peter Black has an interesting take for he writes on his Blog. commeting ....
" I do not blame those who wish to respond in this way. The comment is complete nonsense, but really is it worth getting into a lather over? On the other hand surely it is time to put Clarkson out to pasture".
What a ridiculous position. I don't really see an argument for ignoring something from someone who is at the same time commenting on it

Personally I blame the BBC, who have let Clarkson get away with his offensive remarks for far to long. He is a classic Schoolboy bully along with his two sniggering Top Gear minions James May and Richard Hammond.Who follow him around hoping that if he picking on someone else he wouldn't be picking on them

But the BBC is always inconsiderable when it comes to Clarkson 

Remember the BBC reaction to Carol Thatcher when the British media reported that during the 2009 Australian Open Thatcher had, in a conversation in the show's green room, referred to a black tennis player, reportedly Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, as a golliwog.

According to The Times, Thatcher called Tsonga "half-golliwog" and "the golliwog Frog". Presenter Adrian Chiles, comedian Jo Brand, journalists and several guests were with Thatcher when she made the remark. When others protested about her use of the word, Thatcher stated through her spokesperson that the comment was meant in jest.

The BBC stated that Thatcher would not work again on The One Show unless she made a more sincere apology Thatcher refused, saying "I stand by what I said. I wasn't going to apologise. I never meant it in a racist way. It was shorthand. I described someone's appearance colloquially—someone I happen to greatly admire."

There was no excuse for her remarks but they were not broadcast on Air and came to light after others complained. Clarkson and his colleagues on the other hand has made offensive remarks on Air and in Print 

I never seen Clarkson voice his views in a real debate with someone opposed what he spews out. Any one who even remotely suports any form of environmental  agenda is mocked on Top Gear and in Clarksons newspaper column but how long would he last in a meaningful  debate without sounding like the ignorant bully he is. This is the man who seemingly believes that
"eco-mentalists" are a by-product of the "old trade unionists and CND lesbians" who had found a more relevant cause"
Interviewing Alastair Campbell on Top Gear Clarkson once said
"I don't believe what I write, any more than you (Alastair Campbell) believe what you say"

I think he does believe in what he writes .How long will the BBC put up with him and views they would not tolerate in any other personality?. Probably as long as people watch Top Gear for fear he would decamp to SKY if censured to much. Personally I can't wait for him to do so.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Lembit Öpik loses it in more ways than one

Lembit Öpik  has failed in his bid to be LibDem  candidate for London Mayor next year. Coming last in a field of four. our hero saw comparisons with another great man.

Lembit said

 "I think like every great politician you have to have some wilderness years. Nelson Mandela had them. Many other people had them."
I will give him the benifit that this was a form of joke and he wasn't really comparing himself to a man who spent Mandela was imprisoned on the notorious  Robben Island where he spent  eighteen of his twenty-seven years in prison for standing up against the ecvils of Apartheid.and who on his release led all the peoples of South Africa to democratic election and government.

The trouble for Lembit is even as an ironic jest many will see this as the musing of a vainglorious hasbeen.

The victor in the LibDem nominations was Brian Paddick  who on the Todays programme  claimed that he realises that current Mayor Boris Johnson was unpopular with Londoners because he been talking to Taxi Drives.

Readers of Private Eye and the occasional column " A Taxi Driver Writes –  may well see something on the lines of

Today No. 13458 N Griffin: 
I had that Brian Paddick in the back of my cab . Clever Man got Boris  and Ken bang to rights. They say he an ex-copper. Thats what we need . He sort out those looters. String them up thats  what I say. He's what! Blimey did they know that in the Met? 

Got what a choice they have in London Johnson , Livingstone and Paddick. I hope for progressive voters sake the Greens find a prominent candidate and they can afford to put up a decent fight.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Vote Labour to Stop Labour?

I apologise  if you have had problems with previous drafts of this post but Blogger is not working well through Opera (My preferred system)and I've had to use Google Chrome.

Hat Tip to Gareth Hughes and Plaid Wrecsam for their analysis of Labours plans for Local Government in Wales and a special mention to Cibwr for a well thought out case on reform ,especially on Community councils.

 As Gareth states. 
One can understand the impatience of Welsh Government with the current local government structure. But to reorganise by stealth is not the way forward. A coherent set of proposals need to be produced and the public need to be involved in deciding how services should be delivered in the future.
In some ways Labour's proposals is a Mirrors  opposite that of David Cameron's Big Soceity in that the intention is to hand areas like Education to unelected bodies in Cameron's case voluntary but in the two case s there is no room for directly elected representation.  but both proposal,s which in the beginning may have some popular support will soon run into trouble when people realise that they will have no direct access to voice their concerns via their local Councilor . I f your Councilor fails you in their representation. You have the option of voting for someone else. Both the Con/Libdem and Labour  proposals means that direct democratic access (via your representative)is curtailed.

 The frightening  thing in the Welsh context is how it is evident that the Labour Assembly Government sending in of Commissioners to councils which their have decided as failing (Blaneau Gwent,Pembrokeshire,and Isle of Anglesey) is clearly linked to Labours Assembly Government plans to obtain merger of councils through the back door and increase the Assembly Governments influence.

It is also  clear to me that the singling of out of these councils is largely  linked to next years local government elections as Labour try to link Non-Labour councils to poor performance.

At the moment Labour only have overall  control of RCT and Neat h Port Talbot but next may they must have high hopes of regaining their local dominance..

They must expect to

Gain a Absolute Majority in

Blaneau Gwent, Bridgend,Caerphilly Flintshier ,Merthyr Tydfil,Newport,Torfaen and Swansea

 And if the expected Libdem collapse occurs.Then they could add Wrexham, and the "Jewel in the Crown " that is Cardiff to the list.

 However if Labour do win these Councils then along with RCT and Neath Port Talbot then Labour will be in overall control of 12 of the 22 Welsh Unitary authorities.

 If it is even only a few less councils they control . To what extent would the new Labour leaders of these councils wish to see areas that they have gained responsibility for passed to these Regional government Quangos.? Would the Labour Assembly Government risk a revolt from tier own councilors as they seek to retain tier powers? and anyway would they feel the necessity for change if they are back in control of the majority of Welsh Councils?

Ironically it seems that the best way to make sure the Assemblies plans for local government do not end with these undemocratic regional areas ,would be to vote Labour next year..