Monday, 31 March 2014

Where's the Meat?

 It seems that soeone at  the Wasting Mule may have felt that recent articles on "Welsh Labour management of  the Welsh assmbly may have been a little to unfavorable and that the final review should  be abit more positive.

So it fell to Martin Shipton to tell us.

Conventional wisdom says that political party conferences these days are no more than rallies designed to energise members in advance of forthcoming election campaigns.
This weekend’s Welsh Labour conference in Llandudno, however, defied conventional wisdom by having meat on the bone.

So where in his coverage was this meat?

Well apparently  the claim that Ed Miliband’s confirmation on Saturday that under a future Labour government Wales will move to a Scottish-style “reserved powers” model of devolution is not as I posted yesterday  a technical adjustment, but in fact it has the potential to change people’s lives for the better. 

Oh boy I can hardly wait  for the next Labour assembly government whose current lethargy is entirely down to the "confusion" over reserved powers.

What else does Martin Shipton think adds Meat to the Bone.

Well even he admits 

"that Labour’s position on the devolution of income tax powers was expressed somewhat incoherently by Owen Smith.Initially asserting that this was not a priority for the party, he went on to argue how it could be of benefit. Greater clarity over this issue would also be appreciated "
Well yes for instance  whether they would include the  lockstep. Scotland has never used it and neither would Wales.

 That's why Plaid have decided its not a priority to fighr  tax-varying powers we probably will not use . Remove the lockstep and we are getting  something  that all can campaign for ..

Or maybe not all

Go to a referendum with the lockstep and people will say why bother  not vote or vote no and then the Tories and Labour ,will argue that Wales does not want Tax powers or any more powers which i suspect is Owen Smith much of his Labour colleagues as well as their u_Tnionist buddies the Tories position.

I f this is all the meat Martin Shipton can find maybe he better call for a DNA test because it looks like  Horse-meat (or perhaps Mule-meat)posing as prime bee.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Miliband offer Wales no new powers just "ending confusion".

According to the Wasting Mule .Ed Miliband vowed to give Wales greater devolution powers under a future Labour government

No he didn't.

What he promised the party's Welsh conference in Llandudno was Labour would legislate so that powers are assumed to be devolved "unless specifically reserved".

In other words his and the  present Government failed to legislate properly when devolving powers which has left Waled with 15 years of confusion.

Mr Miliband said:

“Labour has always believed in bringing power closer to people. And Labour in the Welsh Assembly has shown the huge difference that can make to people’s lives. But we know that the devolution settlement can be improved.

“We all remember what happened when Wales tried to keep the Agricultural Wages Board and protect vulnerable farm workers. It ended with the ridiculous spectacle of a Conservative secretary of state
Well that is wrong - and under a Labour government it will never, ever happen again.

“That is why I can announce that following the Silk Commission and the advice of the Welsh Government, the next Labour government will legislate to extend further the model of devolution for Wales under a new Government of Wales Act, with powers assumed as devolved to Wales, unless specifically reserved. Bringing Wales into line with Scotland - modernising and advancing the devolution settlement for generations to come.”
Briging Wales into line with Scotland  is anpt parity apparently no devolution Policing or Criminal Justice here .

So this is not more powers is making sure just exactly were the powers lie. Still you would wonder if he was UK PM and the Welsh government tried to go down a different path as they did with the Agricultural board. Would it be Owen Smith scuttling to the Supreme Court to try to stop the Welsh Government not simply following Westminster.

You Betcha

Still it's is a welcome though belated promise.

But it is not "greater devolution powers" its simply making clear where the powers lie.

Ed Miliband actually offered nothing except to clear-up
an anomaly which shouldn't have existed in the first place.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Two Tribes go to War over Welsh NHS.

As the"Welsh"  Labour foot soldiers troop to Llandudno to here their leaders tell them how evil the Tories are but not why they supported the latter in the cap of welfare benefits something which saw only the three Plaid MPs opposing the continued demonising of the poor and vulnerable by all three parties . The blog Left Foot Foward  tells us that they are going to lovebomb us.

Well not exactly

Because what the theme of their Spring Conference is to respond to Tories exploiting  negative stories on how the Welsh assembly Government are running areas like Health and Education to try and claim it attack on the Nation itself.

After the Daily Mail's frankly ridiculous  byline.

The People's Republic of Wales: Soaring NHS waiting lists, plummeting school standards, jobs for the boyos... but still Red Ed hails it as his blueprint for Britain

They have been gifted  with this argument something which became clear in a recent comment by Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith.

“I think it is outrageous that a party here at Westminster that purports to be a British Government can think it legitimate to attack as viciously as the Tories have with such scant evidence, and with inference and innuendo, and smear a part of Britain that they are meant to be jointly responsible for but which they simply see as a means to attack Labour by proxy. Contrast this with what Cameron said when he came in, in my constituency, when he said we need a new respect agenda.
“Well, he has showed absolutely no respect for Wales at any point. His only interest in Wales is attacking it or using as George Osborne did [on his post-Budget visit to a Cardiff bingo hall] as a working-class backdrop for their attempts to, frankly, cheaply gather working-class votes with what they think working class voters want, ie beer and bingo.
“That’s patronising and what’s worst about the way they are going about it is that it is just such low politics, ill-informed, misrepresenting the facts, half-truths…”

It may well work the Labour party here having  little to offer strategy indeed (winning strategy)  has been to claim "we are not the Tories" and rely on the traditional antipathy to the latter to carry them through.

How long can this go on is open to question .

For the Tories who don't give a dam for Wales the state of our NHS and education  is a gift in England and may be for Welsh Labour (if not the UK party) it may give them the chance to wrap themselves in the Draig Goch claiming victimisation.

But its a worrying as as the two go to war in Wales over Health and Education  both offering criticism but no solutions the people of wales are likely to be crushed  under the wheels of their Tanks getting nothing and our two great Legacy to their beloved union the National Health Service and first rate education for all falling further behind.

So who ever wins this war of  words  we The People of Wales lose

As Framnkie goes to Hollywood pointed out 

"When two tribes go to war, a point is all that you can score ."

Friday, 28 March 2014

SDLP should abandon Blue Labour and form a Nationlist Bloc With Plaid and SNP.

The number of Mp who voted against the welfare cap In the vote
 there were 13 Labour MPs  who voted against the Welfare Cap, including the two teller Thirty-eight Labour MPs abstained or were absent from the vote., as well as three Plaid Cymru, one Respect, three SDLP, and five SNP MPs (one absent).  Thirty-eight Labour MPs abstained or were absent from the vote. I believe  the Greens Caroline Lucus may well have  joined this small number prepared to stand up for some of the most vulnerable of our Citizens but she is of course involved in a court case over her arrest over an anti=fracking protest.

In Wales Scotland and Northern Ireland the only opponents were the Nationalist parties.

Which brings me to the SDLP  t Westminster  they have  ties with Labour whose whip they informally accept and when the latter is in government they will sit on the government benches.


Labour no longer supports an United Ireland and there is no real sign that they support further devolution of powers while Northern Ireland remains part of the United Kingdom.

How can a"Nationalist Party" like the SDLP ally themselves with a party that attacks fellow Nationalist  in the way those putting forward project fear over Scottish Independence?

As they marched through the NO lobby maybe they should have looked at just who
their true allies are..

If Scotland does fall for Project Fear and there will be SNP MPs in the Westminster government . The SDLP should consider its position and whatever happens (unless there's a coalition)  remain on the opposition benches forming a Progressive Bloc with Plaid. the SNP and maybe the Greens.

There's no future in them in their relationship with Blue Labour

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Labour ,Tories, and LibDems in three-legged race to botom.

 Two Bad stories for Labour Yesterday

Firstly, opposition parties were granted an own goal  when   Labour AMs  voted to prevent  Labour MP Ann Clwyd from being invited to appear before the assembly's health committee. 

Labour committee members voted to ensure a Plaid Cymru proposal to call her to discuss her concerns about the Welsh NHS was rejected.

Opposition AMs called their action "outrageous", "cynical" and "disgraceful". But Labour said it was "constitutionally inappropriate" for the committee to interview backbench MPs on devolved matters.
Elin Jones AM Plaid Cymru health spokeswoman 

David Cameron asked the Cynon Valley MP to lead the investigation after she claimed her husband spent 27 hours on a trolley before dying in 2012.

Now you can ask how many of he constituents  came to her with similar stories as her's before her husband death and what she did about it . Pass it on to her oposite number in the Assembly Christian Chapman for instance.

Labour response through Leighton Andrews was to claim that

 Opposition members are fully aware that it would be constitutionally inappropriate for the Health Committee to interview backbench MPs on their views around devolved matters - just as we wouldn’t expect backbench AMs to be giving evidence to Select Committees in Parliament. Rather than trying to manufacture rows in this way, the opposition focus should be on using the committee’s time to make sure the NHS is delivering the best possible care for the whole of Wales.

Last week, First Minister Carwyn Jones said Ms Clwyd had "no evidence" to back up her criticisms of the service.
He said material provided by Ms Clwyd had not enabled it or the NHS to investigate her allegations of poor care.
But she has insisted she provided Mr Jones with a comprehensive summary of complaints raised about Welsh hospitals whilst she was leading a UK government-commissioned inquiry on how NHS hospitals in England handle complaints.

So this is not a simple case of some kind of constitutional protocol. Shouldn't Carwyn loyalist welcome the chance to put their case against Ms Clwyd?

What ever you think about Ms Clwyd's claims sticking their finger in their ears going "Nah,Nah,Nah"  is not going to make
her go away.

What would he think about Labour backing Tories to cap welfare?
And the Party of Nye Bevan hardly covered itself in Glory  when it joined with the Tories and liberal democrats to overwhelmingly backplans to introduce an overall cap on the amount the UK spends on welfare each year.
Welfare spending, excluding the state pension and some unemployment benefits, will be capped next year at £119.5bn.

The idea, put forward by Chancellor George Osborne in last week's Budget, would in future see limits set at the beginning of each Parliament.

With Labour supporting the idea, the measure was approved in the House of Commons by 520 to 22 votes.
However, eleven Labour backbenchers defied their leadership by voting against the plan.
The rebels included former shadow ministers Diane Abbott and Tom Watson.
The cap will include spending on the vast majority of benefits, including pension credits, severe disablement allowance, incapacity benefits, child benefit, both maternity and paternity pay, universal credit and housing benefit.
However, Jobseeker's allowance and the state pension will be excluded.

Why did Ed Milliband do this because he afraid of being labled as the leader of the Party of Welfare by Cameron maybe.
But when you let your opponents dictate to you how you should act  you've lost any case to claim to speak out for the poor and disposed .

Last week   Mr Miliband  attacked Scottish first minister: "Alex Salmond  by saying  that Salmond used to claim he was a great social democrat.

"When he is advocating the race to the bottom that he used to condemn when it came from a Tory government.

It looks like Salmond will have to put a spurt on to pass the Labour Leader who seems to be in two-legged race with Cameron. Or three-legged race if yo include Nick Clegg.

Its frighting to think that its only Plaid,SNP and Greens who are providing any real opposition in the Westminster Parliament.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

"The People's Republic of Wales", If only.

In the "Good Old Days of Margaret Thatcher" Tory papers like the Daily Mail would seek out Labour council that dared to attempt to fight the Iron Lay's agenda and label them Loon Left or tag with the satirical People republic of....

Some of these councils like Sheffield  (under David Blunkett no less) or Ken Livingston GLC carried  genuinely popular measures and Thatcher of course unable to defeat the GLC at the ballot box abolished it.

Those days are gone most councils have been striped of their powers by curbs on the council tax and so the Mail must go looking elsewhere .

Those of you who like me were under the delusion that we living under a Lethargic Assembly government and look with envy towards the SNP run Scotland would be surprised see acording to the Daily Mail we are living in the new Peoples Repuplic.

Because Wales is in trouble.
Take the health service. Welsh patients — or their loved ones — who want a full investigation into why the Principality has some of the UK’s most alarming hospital statistics are told there’s no need for one.
And woe betide those who won’t take ‘no’ for an answer.
Look at this week’s demonisation of Labour MP Ann Clwyd, who saw her husband ‘die like a battery hen’ in a Cardiff hospital in 2012 and has become a mouthpiece for thousands in the same situation.
No wonder there’s been an exodus to hospitals in England, as we report today.
Meanwhile, in Welsh schools, standards are falling further behind the rest the UK.
But don’t try complaining that Wales is plummeting down the international education rankings (43rd out of 65) or that there are no league tables to compare schools’ performances or that a brand new system of ‘Wales-only’ GCSEs has, this week, been revealed as a dismal failure.
Just accept that party dogma on such matters trumps selfish bourgeois concerns.
From university applications to house-building, it’s a similar story.
For example, a new law will require all new homes in Wales to install a £3,000 sprinkler system.
Given that the number of new homes registered in Wales was 12 per cent down last year — against a rise of 28 per cent across the UK — how is this sort of extra red tape going to help Welsh builders?
Never mind. The main thing is there’s another Welsh initiative with a Welsh dragon stamped all over it. On this side of the border, the public sector accounts for nearly 70 per cent of all output anyway.

Now lets be fair to the writer Robert Hardman has been given an own goal by our assembly  government .But this is clearly an attempt to  portray Wales as a failure of Socialist planning and bot none of the poorest areas of the UK struggling in Austerity Britain .

But Hardman may be forgiven for pointing out these failings for failings they are if he suddenly switches his attack to the Welsh language.

I have listened to a group of parents in West Wales who have fought a fruitless battle to secure what one might regard as a basic parental right — to have their children taught in English as opposed to Welsh.
I have listened to the despair of a Cardigan mother who has been told not to read to her children in English at home because it ‘confuses’ them. ‘My six-year-old cannot go to the toilet until she asks in Welsh,’ she says.
A stroppy little Englander from across the border? Actually, she is a Welsh-born, Welsh-speaking hill farmer’s daughter who wants her children to learn Welsh — but to speak English first.

He could have mentioned  that

 Education watchdog Estyn said the West Wales council was “very robust and efficient” when intervening in schools and that pupil attendance rates were the best in the country.
It praised the authority’s excellent use of data and the effective way in which it promotes social inclusion and wellbeing.
Strategic leadership was considered strong, both politically and corporately, and senior officers were said to have a very good understanding of priorities.
Pupils in Ceredigion schools perform above average in all three key stages and no child has left full-time education without a recognised qualification in the past three years.

But no he reverts to bigotry and exposes part of his agenda is simply an attack on Wales for not being a good little West England.

But lets be clear it time that Labour woke up in tha Assembly under thier letharic leadership and reluctance to gain the real powers we need to take action here . They are endangering Wales threatening the existence of our Aassembly .

If they can't or will not take action then its time they spent time in opposition and let others sort things out.

Wales was once a beacon for health with pioneering South Wales Miners Federation health schemes and Education where according to the Historian K. p Morgan

In the fifties, the proportion of pupils attending grammar schools in Wales varied between 36 and 50 percent compared with18-25% for England. ..
..Indeed in rural Cardiganshire the figure of those proceeding to higher forms of education rose to 60% of the school population. the highest in the British Isles.
Wales Rebirth of a Nation  (OUP 1982)

We did it in the past and with people on vision and  energy we can do it again .

Its in our hands not right wing English Journalist who come to find fault

Monday, 24 March 2014

Fall in unemployment not so wonderfull in reality.

There was an interesting piece by former first Minister on Wales Online last Saturday in which he points out that the reduction in the number of jobless does not equal  an increase in the in work

He wrote....
"The unemployment figures came out on Budget Day. As a result they got lost in all the hoopla about George Osborne’s pension reform announcements. They are remarkable though.
The Welsh unemployment rate fell sharply over the three months to 6.7%, significantly below the UK rate of 7.2%.
Below the surface there is something rather odd going on. The total number of jobs in the Welsh economy only went up by 1,000 to 1,380,000 but unemployment fell by 12,000! How can that happen?
I guess that we are looking at the “discouraged worker” phenomenon. What it means is that 11,000 more people took themselves out of the labour market.
Not working but looking for work either, therefore, they don’t class themselves as unemployed.
Normally you get the opposite effect in a recovery – the “encouraged worker phenomenon”.
In the pit of a recession people with no work think the prospect of ever finding a job is so remote, they don’t consider themselves as unemployed.
During a recovery, jobs become a less hopeless prospect, so the same person would then be in the market for any jobs going. Therefore they’re unemployed."
So where are those who are not longer "signing on" but who are not in work?

One case I know of is a married women who became redundant  decided to sign, on even though any "benefits"  she would received would be reduced because her husband was in work .

But faced with the demands of the Universal Job Match system  she decided to sign off and carry on looking for work on her own bat, 

But of course we don't have details of the sort of jobs those who have actually found work have entered into. How many are part time,how many on the minimum wage for instance?.

Before Cameron,Clegg and Osbourne start patting themselves on the back lets see the reality.
 Since March 2013 use of the Universal Jobmatch site has normally been mandatory for all Jobseekers Allowance claimants but, in recent weeks, concerns has grown about the quality of the site's adverts.

An investigation by Channel 4 News finds that as many as one-in-three jobs now advertised on the government's Universal Jobmatch website are suspect.

The former Welfare Reform Minister Frank Field  hardly a man soft on welfare claimants  called on the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, to "get a grip" on the Jobmatch service which is run by for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP)

Field said the site was "bedevilled by fraud" and "out of control".

So the much vaunted fall in those jobless is not as big as it seems and if part time work is taken into account may not actually exist and those seeking work are told to apply for Jobs  on a system which advertises  which may not exist and even be run by people seeking to exploiting the jobseekrs by charging some sort of fee?

Rather than stark figures we need a full investigation to discover the reality of the sort of work  there is available and whether people are being foxed by their lical jobcentre to take up positions in which the may be exploited.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

GMB spokesman fails to condemn Labour for cuts at RCT.

Yesterday, I attended a rally  against the Rhondda Cynon Taf (RCT) cutsat the Muni Pontypridd  Disappointingly it was poorly attended, but there were some worthy reports from activist.

The poor attendance  may be as "some put it" down to apathy, but for me there may have been some indication from a speaker from the GMB Union,  who seemed to indicate that his Union were concentrating on managing redundancies payments rather than fighting them

Nowhere in his speech did he condemn the ruling Labour group  for the management of the cuts, even if there was a case that cuts were inevitable.

Indeed he managed only to condemn a Liberal Democrat councillor  RCT redundancy packages  were to 'too generous'

He admitted he was a Labour member but from his address we saw the problem with the Unions  who sometimes forget that they main purpose is to represent their members and not the Labour Party.

I had to leave early but I would have liked to pointed out that the Muni the  building we were in was threatened with closure and the sheer irony that just across the road was the GMB area offices which also doubled as offices for local AM and MP and when election comes there will be posters supporting the Labour Party plastered across this building.

Wales has the worst of both worlds a Conservative lib/Dem government in London imposing savage cuts on us   and a Labour Part that runs our Assembly and many of our councils who are content to carry out these cuts blaming  London.

Welsh Unitary Authorities

 Control  Con   Labour  LibDem UKIP Green  Plaid  Others 
Blaenau Gwent Lab   33         9
Bridgend Lab 1 39 3     1 10
Caerphilly Lab   50       20 3
Cardiff Lab 7 46 16     2 4
Carmarthenshire     22       28 24
Ceredigion     1 7     19 15
Conwy   13 10 5     12 19
Denbighshire   9 18 1     7 12
Flintshire   8 30 7     1 24
Gwynedd     4 2     37 31
Isle of Anglesey     3 1     12 14
Merthyr Tydfil Lab   24   1     8
Monmouthshire   19 11 3       10
Neath Port Talbot Lab   52       8 4
Newport Lab 10 37 1       2
Pembrokeshire Ind 3 9 1     5 42
Powys Ind 10 7 8       48
Rhondda Cynon Taff Lab 1 60 1     9 4
Swansea Lab 4 49 11       8
Torfaen Lab 4 30       2 8
Vale of Glamorgan   11 21   1   7 7
Wrexham   5 23 4     1 19
Wales Totals  105 579 71 2 0 171 325
In this they are being helped by the Unions .

Imagine if it was not Labour running RCT but Plaid . Would the GMB Union be so lukewarm in their defence against the management of the cuts.

Would be the same if the LibDems still led Cardiff and Swansea though I suppose they would be more open to criticism being part of the Westminster government.

But we would certainly not be sitting in Halls  when  a Union spokesman fails to condemn the ruling party for the management of the cuts.

The origins of the Labour Party may be rooted in the Trade Unions bit the former no longer represent Labour  as shown yesterday with the selection of Stephen Kinnock  for Aberavon seat. A man who Father and Mother may have some links to Labour roots but whose career makes him remote from the ordinary people of Aberavon.

It s time for the Unions to stop baking a party that no longer represents their members and concentrate on working on those members interest instead.


Saturday, 22 March 2014

Who are the Tatan Tories Today?

Got to give it to Ed Miliband.  He delivered his speech  to Labour's Scottish Conference  with a completely strait face

With  Johann Lamont his parties leader in Scotland by his side  he argued

If Salmond won his quest for independence, Miliband  argued,

"think how hard it would be to stop a race to the bottom happening if, on one island, we had a border running along the middle so we were divided in two. It would be two lanes in a race to the bottom, with David Cameron and Alex Salmond at the starting blocks in which the only way they win is for you to lose."
But  what would Scots I wonder expect  if they stayed in the Union and Labour won back Holyrood

Well back in September 2012 Johann Lamont give us some insight
 "This is the stark choice that Scotland has to face up to: if we wish to continue some policies as they are then they come with a cost which has to be paid for either through increased taxation, direct charges or cuts elsewhere. "If we do not confront these hard decisions soon, then the choice will be taken from us when we will be left with little options."
Something that could have come out of the mouth of the leader of the Scottish Conservatives and our own "Top Tory" Andrew R. T. Davies

Labour used to accuse the SNP of being "Tartan Tories" but it seems that the decline of the real Tories in Scotland it is Scottish Labour that have taken up that mantle.

Miliband party has  already agreed not to oppose Osborne's cap in the welfare budget indeed Labour has already said it will introduce a three-year cap on welfare spending if elected in 2015..

With his own party in Scotland sounding like the Tories an h,e continuing pandering to the ranks of "Middle England" and Southern Tory voters the choice for Scotland  is Independence  or to be dragged to the bottom  by the next Labour or Conservative  government with  both demonizing  the Unemployed , Sick and  the excluded.

If Ed Miliband wants to portray the UK as being Better Together then maybe he should stop his party being little more that Tory Lite and look back at his socialist heritage because what he offers no is not much to those who have given their votes loyally to Labour not only in Scotland

Friday, 21 March 2014

Welsh based does not make a programme about Wales.

 The Wasting Mule once again cannot tell the difference between Welsh programmes and Welsh "based programmes.

They write
a new Wales-based children’s drama prepares to air on the CBBC channel, the country’s growing reputation as a filming location could spark a return to those glory days.
Rocket’s Island, which is to be premiered in Cardiff this week, is made by Bafta-winning Lime Pictures, founded by Phil Redmond, creator of Grange Hill.
Set on the fictional island of Dirgelmor, the series follows the magical adventures of schoolboy Rocket Boulsworth and his friends.

Firstly  this is the second series and I didn't see  first as Welsh programme or about Wales

Indeed the BBC own synopsis tells us that it is set in the Isle of Man

Tucked away in a corner of the beautiful Isle of Man is a farm called The Knot - a special place where raw and rugged nature plays host to a stream of urban kids, all fostered by Peter and Sarah Boulsworth and their kids, Rocket (11) and Alli (14). But Rocket and Alli never signed up for this.
Sure, they have the freedom of the farm, which they zoom around on quad bike and horseback, but they never volunteered to have dozens of brothers and sisters – after all, some days just one sibling feels like one too many...

 The Mule coninues..
The Welsh film and television sector is in the midst of an unprecedented boom thanks in part to the The Wales Screen Commission, part of the Welsh Government’s creative industries team, which, since its inception in 2002 has helped attract a host of notable productions.
Hollywood projects assisted by the commission include Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows while high-profile television productions include Doctor Who, Da Vinci’s Demons, Torchwood, Gavin and Stacey and Sherlock.

Only a few have Welsh connections and  only DE Who which has severed any story lines set in Wales are still being produced.

If we are to celebrate the Welsh film and TV centre   shouldn't we start with  those Made.About and Set in Wales and stop all this Welsh Based nonsense claiming a connection only because it was shot here.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Beer and Bingo the new Bread and Circuses?

It used to be "Bread and Circus but now it seems that it has ben replaced by Beeer and Bingo after yesterdays budget

Conservative chairman Grant Shapps used his Twitter feed to unveil the party's advert, which claimed the measures would "help hardworking people do more of the things they enjoy".

Even Liberal Democrat colleague Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander described it as "extraordinary". and he looked like he could have crawled under a chair

But lets face it the ridiculous thing is that a Penny of a pint will make a difference .

I don't drink that often but I was out Saturday and a pint was £3.10

So I would have to drink 310 pints before I could in theory get one free

Of course I never will when was the last time you bought a pint that involved copper coins so it may not be passed on to the consumer . I t would ne okay if it helped hard up landlords and landladies but it is likely it will go to the breweries.

The Department of Health guidelines recommend not regularly drinking more than:
  • three or four units a day for men
  • two or three units a day for women
The UK aims to state on the label of all alcohol drinks how much alcohol they contain. This is expressed as ‘percentage alcohol by volume’ (% ABV). The packaging should also give the number of units of alcohol the drink contains.

One unit is equal to 10ml by volume or 8g by weight, of pure alcohol – the amount of alcohol an average adult can process in one hour. The number of units of alcohol in different drinks varies, for example:

one 25ml single measure of spirit (37.5% ABV) is equal to one unit
a 175ml (standard) glass of red wine (12% ABV) is equal to two units
a pint of beer (4% ABV) contains 2.3 units
a pint of cider (4.5% ABV) contains 2.6 unitts 

So That's not a lot anyway about 10 pints a week if you are drinking under DOH guidelines. So it 35 weeks before you get a free pint If it is passed on.

But in a budget aimed at pensioners and savers the real nitty gritty over the budget will emerge over the next few days

But it clearly had the next election in mind cutting the welfare budget and aiming for the sort of Middle class .It might just persuade those leaning towards Ukip to stay with them

But less face  for the most part Budgets are unfathomable to ordinary  people and it takes an age before we begin to notice any benefit   (losses are often more apparent) and by then we have another Budget.

Sill Bread and Circuses or Beer and Bingo jyst how far you can fool the people is open to question

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Assembly actualy do domething useful.

At last we see the Assembly actually doing something useful

A landmark Bill which aims to revolutionise how social services are deliver in Wales passed its final Assembly hurdle last night.

Assembly Members voted through the "Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Bill " into law, meaning it will now go forward for Royal Assent.

 Assembly Members voted by 53-5 to pass the law, with the Liberal Democrats voting against.

According to La Pasionaria at Subordinate Central this is was because
The Welsh Liberal Democrats are deeply concerned about the impact of the recent trend of fast tracked and emergency legislation on the ability of the Assembly to properly scrutinise legislation.
Close examination of these bills has highlighted a lack of evidence and detail which are the hallmarks and result of a poorly drafted Bill, rushed through the legislative process without sufficient opportunity for scrutiny. This is no way to make legislation that will ultimately affect people’s lives.
We are also concerned about the Welsh Labour Government’s tactic of introducing framework bills that rely heavily on regulations to flesh out the detail. These regulations are not subject to the same scrutiny as bills, so we are effectively being asked to vote on legislation without knowing who it will affect and what its impact will be. Again, this is simply not acceptable. This is not just a case of process, Bills such as the Social Care Bill will have impact upon some of the most vulnerable people in Wales and it is our responsibility to ensure they are effective.
There are a number of large bills coming up in the legislative programme and it is vital that the Welsh Labour Government ends these detrimental tactics to allow the Assembly to properly scrutinise the legislation that is coming before us.
If her argument is valid and it may well be. Though whether this is a valid reason to oppose the bill unless ts a case of making a point,  it looks like this is a case for Increasing assembly members so that members serve on less committees and can devote more time to the ones they are on to fleshing out the details of such Bills..

Changes rubber-stamped by AMs in the final stages yesterday included a Plaid Cymru amendment placing a legal duty on local authorities to provide support for care leavers who wish to stay with their carers after 18, while a further amendment ensures care workers are allocated enough time to carry out the tasks that are required of them.

But a Plaid bid to outlaw zero-hours contracts in the care sector was voted down by Labour and the Conservatives, with the Deputy Minister for Social Services, Gwenda Thomas, questioning whether it would be within the Assembly’s powers

Again if this is true and lets find out  we should be shouting for this power now. But one wonders how committed Labour are to opposing Zero contracts .It would surely make the aims of the Bill to improve the running  Social care if people are employed on Zero contracts.

We surely end to see the providers of Social care are not only committed to the job but are also have a felling that they have a full or part-time career..

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Two governments off the rails?

It is likely that the next time both UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Welsh First Minister will be facing tricky questions from the opposition on just who promised to pay for the electrification of the Valleys line.

First Minister Carwyn Jones claims the UK government agreed it would fund the electrification of the London-Swansea main line and the Valleys lines.

But Welsh Secretary David Jones said that was not the agreed deal.

The UK government insists ministers in Cardiff agreed to bear the cost of electrifying the Valleys lines.
The main line upgrade from London Paddington to Cardiff is due to be completed by 2017, and extended to Swansea by 2018 at a cost of £850m.

In an interview with BBC Wales last October, Mr Cameron said:

 "It's this government that's putting the money into the electrification of the railway line all the way up to Swansea and, of course, the Valley lines."
However the Wales Office  office now  points to an exchange of letters between then UK Transport Secretary Justine Greening and then Welsh Transport Minister Carl Sargeant.
In her letter on July 13 2012, Ms Greening hails

 "a deal which will be perhaps the most significant infrastructure announcement for Wales for many years".

Electrified services in the Valleys will be included in the Wales and Borders franchise, it says. The two governments are joint signatories of the franchise.
Her letter says there will be 

"a specific access charge on the franchise to repay the infrastructure investment by Network Rail.

Clear I think not.

But if the Welsh government had agreed to pay for electrification of the valleys line  between 2019 and 2024.

triang hornby the freightmaster electric train set from triang trains
Probably the best we can expect is this running around Carwyn's Office
An outline business case for Valleys rail electrification - written by the Welsh government in 2012 - estimates the cost at between £309m and £463m. it is hard to think where unless it was given borrowing powers where it could find the money to pay for it.on existing budgets. Which
John Osmond emphasises in today's Click on Wales

It may well prove fortuitous for Plaid Cymru that they replaced their Transport spokesman Dafydd Elis Thomas as he seems to be a little to sympathetic to the Labour ruling group on the Assembly.

If this is a misunderstanding rather than one or both sides lying it still shows the limitations of Devolution where Wales is granted the equivalent of pocket money and at present cannot raise their own money and can only look on Westminster ability to pay for such grand projects as HS2 whilst the best it can afford is an Hormby train set.

Monday, 17 March 2014

5 Impossible things before breakfast and 1 for you to add

Last night I was watching Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland although Burton put it in the words of Alice  I was remembered of this...
 Alice laughed: "There's no use trying," she said; "one can't believe impossible things."
"I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
Alice in Wonderland.
So its 7:30 am and I've decided to think about "Six impossible things before breakfast"
1. Wales will be come an Independent Nation 
Not Impossible at all . Who would have predicted 30 years ago that the Baltic Countries would not only be Independent but also members of the European Union .
2. There can never be true equality throughout the World
We could start here an see that an independent Wales  works towards every  child from the moment they are born gets the best education and opportunities possible
3. The Welsh Language is domed to decline in an English speaking world
We should start a target now for every school to turn out bilingual (no trilingual i.e foreign language within 20 years. or less.
4. There can never be full employment
We need to create many more cooperatives and not rely on fly by night multinationals coming for subsidies then leaving when they are offered  by other nations
5. There can never be world peace
An Independent Wales should create the Henry Richard Peace movement and become a world centre for negotiations between nations in conflict 

And number  six I will leave up to you

The main point is none of these are exactly impossible but as with exams even if you don't get 100%  given your all is the important part knowing you did all you could .

Lets start by working towards an Independent Wales and include a vision of that wales which could be a beacon to the world.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Recevinfg a ATOS assestment before getting full treatment for my ilness.

Yesterday I received a letter from ATOS  calling me in for "An assessment for fitness for work.

I don;'tn have a problem with that I have been  receiving Sick notes for about 9 months now and can understand why there is a need to make sure I am actually unfit.

However I have been called in for this Assessment  before I've been given a date for the Surgery for my Acromegaly which hopefully will cure me and make fit for work.

I have been on the list since November but it was last April when I started having sever pains in my right arm and lesser pains in my other arm and legs.

My GP immediately flagged up my previous Acromegaly of 1994 and ordered Blood test and this pointed to  type 2 Diabetes  (It was Type 1 last time) and started the whole rigmarole of appointments with endocrine unit.

After waiting for MRI scans which wee not conclusive . It was not until I saw the Surgeon at the Neurology department at the Heath that it was absolutely confirmed  tumour on my pituitary gland had regrown and I needed surgery.

I am still in pain and cannot really use my right arm for heavy duties for more than 5 minutes and even using the phone for a period is painfully.

I recognise that as far as the surgery is concerned  I am well down on sorority when it comes to Neurosurgery there are after all  many people with neurological problems worse of than me and it would only take some poor bugger with aneurysm o knbock me down the list.

What worries me is that I wil be seemed fit to look for work even though I can't use my arm for a long period and would have to explain to any potential employer that I was waiting for major surgery.

But common sense doesn't seem to be entering the equation.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Tony Benn Democrat and Socialist .

The Death of Tony Benn 1925- 2014 leaves us much diminished.

Unlike most politician who tended to move to the right as they grew older Tony seemed to go the other way over the years.

In his early years he was on the soft left and was not part of
 the  Bevanite campaign
Before he even parliament he was responsible for a change in the constitution

In November 1960 Bens father  Viscount Stansgate died and Benn automatically became a peer Benn's elder brother Michael was intending to enter the priesthood and had no objections to inheriting a peerage. However, Michael was later killed in an accident while on active service in the Second World War, and this left Benn as the heir to the peerage. He made several attempts to renounce the succession, but they were unsuccessful and

But was thus prevented from sitting in the House of Commons. Insisting on his right to abandon his peerage, Benn fought to retain his seat in a by-election caused by his succession on 4 May 1961. Although he was disqualified from taking his seat, he was re-elected. An election court found that the voters were fully aware that Benn was disqualified, and declared the seat won by the Conservative runner-up, Malcolm St Clair, who ironically was at the time also the heir presumptive to a peerage. Benn continued his campaign outside Parliament, and eventually the Conservative Government of the time accepted the need for a change in the law.[25] The Peerage Act 1963, allowing renunciation of peerages, became law shortly after 6 pm on 31 July 1963. Benn was the first peer to renounce his title, which he did at 6.22 pm that day.

 St Clair, fulfilling a promise he had made at the time of his election, then accepted the office of Stewardship of the Manor of Northstead, disqualifying himself from the House (outright resignation not being possible). Benn returned to the Commons after winning a by-election on 20 August 1963.

My admitting of Benn comes from  his commitment not only  to the left but to democracy as well

In 1991 he introduced the Commonwealth of Britain Bill  of the United Kingdom. It proposed abolishing the British monarchy, with the United Kingdom becoming a "democratic, federal and secular commonwealth", i
  • The constitutional status of the Crown would be ended;
  • The Church of England would be disestablished;
  • The head of state would be the President, elected by a joint sitting of both Houses of the Commonwealth Parliament;
  • Many functions of the Royal Prerogative would not be transferred to the President, but instead to Parliament;
  • The Privy Council would be abolished, and replaced by a Council of State;
  • The House of Lords would be replaced by an elected House of the People, with equal representation of men and women;
  • The House of Commons would similarly have equal representation of men and women;
  • England, Scotland and Wales would have their own National Parliaments;
  • County Court judges and magistrates would be elected; and
  • British jurisdiction over Northern Ireland would be ended.
I would of course argue for welsh Independence but I couldn't disagree  with the Democratic thrust of the Bill

As we look at the Labour Benches today full of the heirs of Blair and not Benn you must ask if someone with Tony Benn's views would even considering  joining Labour and if he was welsh, Scottish or Cornish that Independence would bring his ideals democratic socialist ideals closer.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

It seems Scotland are not experiencing the Westminster cuts according to Labour.

As Councils throughout Wales  are imposing savage cuts and blaming this with justification on the Westminster governments . We must ask ourselves why this does not seem to be happening in Scotland?

Wings Over Scotland  Supplies us with two Quotes from Labour's Alistair Darling and Liberal Democrat Danny Alexander

We don’t mind telling you, folks, we’re struggling on this one.
But… don’t…

 So a Senior member of the Labour Opposition in Westminster who are constantly opposing these savage cuts . seems to be in total sync with a senior member of that government imposing these cuts.

Labour have already jumped into bed with the Tories and LibDems into bullying Scotland into voting No by claiming they would prevent an Independent Scotland from keeping the Pound.

Now it seems they are claiming Scotland is not being affected by the cuts.

Or perhaps they are saying this will be worse?

Or the SNP government is doing so well in Edinburgh that ther's no need for cuts in Scotland.

But it does seem that the better Together campaign are prepared to come up with any negative  claim and Labour Members are prepared to gloss over the shortfalls of their seemed political enemies in Westminster to make the case.

But then Labour they would prefer Wales Scotland and Cornwall to be governed by Right Wing Tories  in London rather than by progressive governments at home