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.