Monday, 31 August 2015

Osborne in Jobs Bribe for Scotland to accept Trident.

Only two of Scottish MPs approve of renewing Trident and the SNP which came close to a clean sweep in Mays election  made it a part of their  election campaign

So the news that Chancellor George Osborne will today unveil £500 million of investment in the Faslane submarine base on the Clyde in a move which confirms Tory ministers will press ahead with the replacement of the UK’s Trident nuclear deterrent. It looks like a deliberate snub to the views of the people of Scotland.

Of course  £500 million is an attractive bribe in moving opinion

The money, announced during a visit to the base by the Chancellor, will be spent on ship lifts, sea walls, jetties and other major projects. The government says it will secure 6,700 jobs and create thousands more.

We can only from this Welsh village on how many alternative and permanent jobs could be create with this amount of money

The announcement  according to Westminster  will ensure Faslane continues as “a world leading naval base” until at least 2067 as home to the new Astute class attack submarines and the successors to the Vanguard submarines which carry the nuclear deterrent. 

Even though Westminster  has not yet agreed on a replacement.

The  SNP's defence spokesman Brendan O’Hara condemned the announcement.
Mr O’Hara said: “

With the UK government facing a United Nations probe over its cuts to support for disabled people, George Osborne has his priorities all wrong.
“He should be defending the disabled, not his government’s indefensible decision to spend £100bn on a new generation of nuclear weapons – and this so-called investment in Faslane will directly support the deployment of Trident submarines.”
 There is something fundamentally wrong with Westminster’s values and priorities if the Chancellor thinks wasting billions on nuclear weapons is something to boast about when people are dying within our benefits system.”
He added: 

“In defence terms too, at a time when Scotland’s conventional defence footprint has never been smaller with major capability gaps, base closures and personnel numbers at an all-time low, it seems the Treasury apparently has a limitless pot to keep an unwanted and obscene arsenal of nuclear weapons afloat.
“Investment in Faslane is welcome – but it must be as a conventional base and not more money spent on weapons of mass destruction.

He also pointed out that with  pre-empting” the vote by MPs on renewing Trident with Labour set to elect Jeremy Corbyn as leader with an anti-nuclear weapons policy. 

It is very disturbing that  the Tories think that the only form of Investment in Job creation is in building weapons of Mass destruction and the means of delivering them, and of course to justify this it also becomes necessary to have an enemy. 

There never seems to be a "Peace Dividend" and even after the Cold war ended the spes in which we found new enemies was staggering 

An Orwellian world where we are constantly at war and the enemy changes to suit the ruling powers.

This is being heavily covered by the BBC Breakfast programme who a doing their best to be little more that a Government mouth piece twisting the argument to show the Chancellors announcement in the best possible light whilst pretending to be impartial.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Corbyn and Plaid Left or Right for the latter.

Gareth Hughes over at The Welsh Almanac has been pondering on the effects of a Corbyn Victory what I found particularly interesting was  his question  of Plaids position in the wake of a Corbyn victory

He writes.

Where does Plaid go?

But it’s not only Labour that would have to reflect on a Corbyn victory but Plaid Cymru. As a party they’ve always positioned themselves as left of Labour. They could hardly push themselves to the left of a Corbyn Labour party.
So how will they respond? Will they try to re-position the party in the centre ground of Welsh politics with a move to the right? It’s unlikely that this will happen whilst Leanne Wood is leader but certainly the pressure will be on for such a move.
What intrigues me is the notion  that Plaid Left-Right stance could or should be based on the position of the Labour Party .

Its a pity poor political party whose policies depend on those of another party (Lib Dems for example).

As some one who when a Plaid member in the 80's  helped formed the original National Left  and pushed for Plaid to adopt "Decentralised Socialism" it was not so much as a response as to what was happening in the Left Right battle but what we felt was the best option for Wales and  an Independent Wales at that.

Plaid might find easy to work with Corbyn on the opposition benches at Westminster but that does not mean they except his entire package .

Corbyn may be a change for the Labour Party on the Left-Right spectrum  being more decentralised and "more democratic than his predecessors but my view is that it will be the same Old Labour Party.

Its not a case of Plaid positioning itself on the Left or Right of Labour it what kind of Socialist Principles it means on their Membership card and what kind of Independent Wales they envisage.


Saturday, 29 August 2015

More Control Freakery From Welsh Labour Government?

The Wasting Mule reports that Carwyn Jones has been urged to order an independent investigation into how his top adviser was asked by a senior civil servant to approve a response sent to someone who complained about her conduct.

According to the online version

During the general election campaign earlier this year, Jo Kiernan attended a Labour Party fundraising event addressed by Ed Balls, the then Shadow Chancellor.
Ms Kiernan, a former ITV Wales political editor, is the senior special adviser to the First Minister, and is often by his side when he makes public appearances.
Related story: Former ITV Wales political journalist Jo Kiernan given special adviser role by Carwyn Jones
A member of the public who does not wish to be identified claimed Ms Kiernan had breached the special advisers’ code when she attended the event at the Bayside Brasserie restaurant in Cardiff Bay in April.
 Ms Kiernan, who used to present the Waterfront programme on ITV (Wales) and was appointed by Rhodri Morgan as his media adviser in 2006, has carried on in that roleunder Carwyn Jones.

If Ms Kiernan was a Labour Party employed adviser there would be no problem but  Special advisers are paid for by the Tax payer and are forbidden from participating in election campaigns.

Mr Jones wrote back to the complainant saying Ms Kiernan had not broken the code because the dinner was a private, rather than a public event.

 The Mule continues..
It has now emerged that Ms Kiernan personally approved the response sent by the First Minister to the person who complained.
A series of emails disclosed to the complainant following a request under the Data Protection Act shows that David Richards, the Welsh Government’s Director of Governance, was asked by Permanent Secretary Sir Derek Jones to investigate the complaint.
After drafting an email, Mr Richards ran it past Ms Kiernan, asking:
 “Is that okay with you as a response?
 She responded:

Happy with that David. Many thanks, Jo.”
 She also asked for, and was given, the full name of the complainant.

A spokesman for the Welsh Conservatives said: 

This matter raises concerns about the process followed by the Welsh Government and senior civil servants when dealing with serious complaints about staff conduct.
“It is clearly unacceptable for the subject of a complaint to play any role in its determination, and this email exchange appears to indicate that the special adviser in question was actually given an opportunity to approve the First Minister’s official response.
“The First Minister needs to issue a statement clarifying the procedure, while also addressing these concerns over potential conflict of interest.
“It would also appear that there has been a serious breach of data protection, with the complainant’s identity discussed on several occasions.
“Clearly, if that is the case then Labour’s First Minister will have to consider whether his special adviser’s role has now become untenable.”
The original complainant has now asked Mr Jones to order an independent investigation into whether she broke the code by involving herself in responding to a complaint against her conduct and asking for the identity of the complainant to be revealed to her.
The complainant has also asked Sir Jeremy Heywood, head of the Home Civil Service, to investigate the conduct of Mr Richards.
A spokesman for the Permanent Secretary would only say: 

“Let’s be clear – there is no case to answer here. Under these circumstances, a member of staff or special adviser is permitted to know who is making allegations about their conduct.”
This is somewhat typical of the control freakery of Labour in the Assembly in that they manage to turn what at first was a relatively minor complaint into a larger one.

On 8 July 2014 Labour AM Alun Davies e was sacked by First Minister Carwyn Jones following his repeated written requests to his civil servants for the private details of Common Agricultural Policy payments made to opposition members, including: Andrew RT Davies (Leader, Welsh Conservatives); Antoinette Sandbach (Conservative); Kirsty Williams (Leader, Welsh Liberal Democrats); William Powell (Welsh Liberal Democrats); and Llyr Gryffudd (Plaid Cymru).

It sems that once again in order to please their political masters,Civil servants are oversleeping the mark .I am not sure whether Sir Humphrey Appleby, from the Television series Yes Minister and Yes, Prime Minister, would approve.

Friday, 28 August 2015

45 new Peers created by a PM who wants ro cut 50 MPs from the Commons.

It sometimes happens that in a company a senior member of staff retires or in some cases is made redundant. His or hers colleagues  have a whip-round for a leaving gift or throw a party.

The following Monday the leaver turns up and starts carrying out more or less the same role but this time as  freelance consultant.

The equivalent in our Westminster Parliament of course is when a MP retires or is defeated at the election they return to the palace of Westminster as members of the House of Lords and lo and behold among e David  Cameron's nominations of  26 new Tory peers, 11 Liberal Democrats and 8  new Labour members of the Lords there are some familiar faces. 

Wings over Scotland comments on by simply showing a picture of Alistair Darling former Chancellor and leader of the Better Together campaign under the headline the journey


Whilst WelshnotBritish finds the irony closer to home

Mr Hain has defended his decision to accept a peerage, despite saying he supported an elected second chamber.
He said the Lords needed members who were willing to accept change or else it would not happen.
And Mr Hain argued a second chamber which was made up of representatives elected proportionally from each of the UK's nations and regions would increase democratic legitimacy and help ease the “constitutional crisis provoked by the continued pressure for Scottish independence”

Oh bless him hes taking this arduous task on for the good of us.

I give him a year before he's claiming that the Lords play a vital role in scrutinising the Government as many reformers who enter the Lords and get their noses in the trough have done for decades.

He is joined by two former  Welsh Secretaries  Paul Murphy and William Hague so it seems that the lowest post in the cabinet may have some use in the future of a politician.

The LibDems who were reduced to 8 MPs in May will see 11 new Peers some of them retired or defeated colleagues maybe that says more about the nominations than anything else .

Among the Tories is Douglas Martin Hogg, 3rd Viscount Hailsham, PC, QC (born 5 February 1945) who left Commons in 2010 under a cloud when   The Daily Telegraph  exposed that he claimed  upwards of £2,000 of taxpayers' money so-called for the purposes of "cleaning the moat" of his country estate, the Kettlethorpe Hall; 

So hes going to be right at home among the ermine .

The creation of 26 Tory Peers by Cameron is particularly insulting as he is seeking  to reduce the numbers in the Commons by some 50 MP .

So he in just one year he has created almost as many Peers (45)  in the unelected chamber as he seeks to reduce the democratic elected one.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Is it not time we showed a little humanity on the refugee crisis ?

A Ukip council candidate has resigned from the party after a Facebook post emerged from last year in which he said immigrants should be gassed.
Bobby Douglas, who is standing at a by-election in Caerphilly next week, was responding to a social media advertisement which said: “Nigel Farage has called for all immigrants to be banned from receiving benefits until they have been resident in Britain for at least five years. Share if you agree.”
Mr Douglas responded:

 “To [sic] right. Gas the b******* if they don’t go. If its [sic] good enough for badgers its [sic] good enough for scum.”
In another post he said a woman should have been “painted black” to get into the UK, before describing migrants as “sponging, scrounging parasites”.#

Challenged about the comments by the Caerphilly Observer newspaper, Mr Douglas claimed the “gassing” comment was “in jest” and that he has a “black sense of humour”.
Asked if it was wrong he said: “Yes, it was said out of context to somebody.”
Later he posted a statement which said: 

I deeply regret any offence I have caused by posting and reposting various remarks on Facebook.
"They were made in poor humour at a time when I was not a candidate and not even considering standing for election. I was furthermore not even a member of the party at the time these comments were made.
“I accept full responsibility for these comments and am therefore resigning my membership with immediate effect.”
Ukip Welsh assembly election campaign co-ordinator Sam Gould ( I thought that was former MP Marl Reclless's job) said he was “deeply disappointed”.

The comments are disgusting, vile and sickening,” he said. “The Facebook posts weren’t visible to us when he was selected. We suspended him within two hours of finding out, and he’s now no longer a member of the party – we have a zero-tolerance approach to this kind of thing.”

Former Welsh Secretary Ron Davies, who is standing in the Bedwas, Trethomas and Machen ward as a Plaid Cymru candidate next Thursday (3rd September) , said: 

These comments are vile and abhorrent and he should issue a statement withdrawing his candidacy. I find it extraordinary that someone holding such views about fellow human beings should seek public office, which is about serving your fellow humans.

” The by-election was caused by the death of long-serving Labour councillor Ray Davies a man who would be appalled to see someone with the views of Bobby Douglas.

Even if you were to accept that this was "Black Humour" on behalf of Me Douglas it reflects a distressing trend in Social Media were there appears to be little sympathy to the refugee crisis (Or migrants as the media keep labelling them).

Only yesterday rescuers there came news that  rescuers  have saved about 3,000 refugees but found more than 50 dead on boats near the coast of Libya, according to the Italian coastguard.
Who cannot recognise the desperation of Refuges in that they try to cross the Med crammed in such flimsy a vessel

At least 55 bodies were discovered on Wednesday on three overcrowded boats in the Mediterranean Sea, the coastguard said.
Of them, 51 were found in the hold of a wooden boat found drifting precariously off the Libyan coast by the Poseidon, a Swedish ship mobilised under the European Union's rescue mission Triton.

Tens of thousands of people, mainly from Africa and the Middle East, have put to sea this year in the hope of reaching Europe, often dangerously packed into small vessels that were never designed to cross the Mediterranean.

Thousands have died but the media including the BBC still keep using the term migrants in their coverage and treat this as a crisis for the UK and the rest of Europe and not for the refuges fleeing violence in their own countries.

Its time we started to show more humanity to the refugees and it shpuld start with the media and the UK government.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Simon Brooks seems to have answered his own question.

The LibDems over at Subordinate Central shared the  The Western Mule  delight in reportimg that a former activist, asked  whether Plaid Cymru have given up Welsh nationalism to become just ‘a generic British anti-austerity party’?
In an article for the current affairs magazine Planet, Simon Brooks – who founded the Welsh language communities movement Cymuned and is the author of several books on Welsh cultural issues – suggests that the cause of Welsh nationalism has become subsumed within what he calls “a pan-British anti-austerity radicalism”.
He writes: 
“Opposing fracking, standing up to the cuts, support for the latest public sector strike: these are worthy causes, but British in character and the word is not meant in any pejorative sense.
“There is a failure here to develop a national narrative.
“The image of political hugging on the stage during the leaders’ debates [when Plaid leader Leanne Wood, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon and Green Party leader Natalie Bennett had group hugs], the ‘anti-austerity alliance’, is the image of a nationalism which is a point on the political compass of a wider British radicalism rather than the compass itself.
“Nationalism has become party to a pan-British radicalism, and generous towards those who reject the national cause.
“This was an election in which Plaid Cymru embraced a party, the England and Wales Green Party, which was standing against its own candidates, including in Ceredigion, its main target seat.”
According to Brooks, there is nothing new in what he calls Plaid Cymru’s new-found interest in the British Left: “Making common cause with English radicals has been the bulwark of every Welsh general election campaign since 1968.
“This alliance delivered to the Liberal Party its hegemony between 1862 and 1922 … and to Labour its hold over anglophone Wales up to the current day.
“By becoming Old Labour Lite – that is, by portraying Welsh Labour as Red Tories, and Welsh nationalists as inheritors of Lloyd George and Nye Bevan, the Party of Wales hopes to inherit the radical crown.”
But, Brooks argues, the strategy contains within itself the seeds of its own destruction.
“Civic nationalism” of the kind being pursued by Plaid does not differ from similar approaches in England and the wider UK, and therefore there can be no logical reason to press for the break-up of the UK.
He writes 
In its argument for progressive British politics, Plaid Cymru may well be undermining ‘Red Tories’, but it is making the intellectual case for the continued dominance of an improved Labour Party in Wales.”

 I was going to write a response to Simon Brooks article but it appears he has somewhat answered his own question. because today's Wasting Mule online reports that Simon has rejoined the Party and his reason for doing so is interesting
He said:

 “I’ve rejoined Plaid Cymru and feel a lot better for it. I think it makes total sense for Plaid to be anti-austerity. My concern was that the party needed to focus on why cuts were bad for Wales specifically.

“In Gwynedd, where I live, we are of course very dependent on the public sector for employment, and cuts are damaging our communities.“I have known Leanne for 20 years and in this part of Wales she is regarded as something of a rock star.”

It just goes to show that a critical analysis of a approach does not necessary mean that it is the wrong one only that it may lead you away from your ultimate goal.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

So Welsh is not part of the “social fabric” of our capital.

The Wasting Mule online today has the news that  leader of Wales’ largest council has caused uproar in Welsh language circles by claiming Welsh is not part of the “social fabric” of the capital city.

Cardiff council’s Labour leader Phil Bale made the statement during correspondence with Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg, the Welsh Language Society, about Cardiff’s Local Development Plan (LDP).

Writing on behalf of the council Mr Bale stated:

 “[On] the basis of the evidence presented, this response comes to the conclusion that the use of the Welsh language is not part of the social fabric [of the city], in accordance with national guidelines.

“This means that it is not considered that development proposals which are noted in the Plan materially affect the linguistic balance of communities across Cardiff, at the expense of the use of the language.

“As a result, I understand it is not considered that any specific policies are necessary in the Plan to deal with the specific interests of the Welsh language.”

In response, Carl  Morris (No relation to this author) wrote to the Planning Inspectorate on behalf of Cymdeithas yr Iaith.

He said: 

“It must be said that this claim is daft and completely ignorant, and obviously raises questions which need to be answered in terms of the attitude and the policy of the authority and its officers.

“We are not of the view that the remark reflects the support of the present leader of the council for the language, but rather the ignorance of officers in the planning department.
“We ask you to insist that the council, in its development plan, considers the Welsh language in terms of its status, requirements in terms of new schools and education provision, and its place in our communities.”

Mr Morris said there were a number of areas in the city where the Welsh language was strong, but it was thought that the desire of people in the city to see the Welsh language strengthen should also be considered.
He said: “

The support of people right across the city is reflected in the demand for Welsh-medium education.
“In addition, and although we are not of the view that percentages or numbers of speakers should decide whether consideration is given to the Welsh language in the plan or not, it’s clear, not only from the tens of thousands of Welsh speakers who live, visit and work in the city, but also the number of places where Welsh is the main language used in the city – from chapels and schools to social spaces – that Welsh is a vital part of the social fabric of the capital city.
“You will be aware a number of developments that have been given English-only names over the years – from Assembly Square to Central Square.
“Giving private developments English-only names undermines the status and use of the language. Furthermore, there are a number of new English-only street names and monolingual signs which are part of new developments.
“These will have a negative effect on the use and status of the language as well.”

A Cardiff council spokesman, said: 

“The LDP is currently being examined by the Welsh Government Planning Inspector. The Welsh language has been considered as part of the examination process.
“The wording that is quoted by the Welsh Language Society – is technical language – taken from a national planning guidance document.
“Unfortunately, the wording has been used selectively in this instance, as it fails to show the full context on how the wording was used in this planning document.
“It is disappointing that this issue has been raised so late. Ample opportunity has been given for everyone who wants to, to comment through the consultation process.
Nevertheless the choice of words by Mr Bale that Welsh is not part of the “social fabric" is insulting coming from our Capital City.

There has always been a feeling that Cardiff wants to Boer Capital without actually part of  of Wales.

It is reflected in Mr Bale  plans for Cardiff and Bristol are to work more closely to help compete for future investment.

I do not expect for Cardiff to give thought on housing developments and other planing issues on the Welsh language in the same way as Gwynedd does.

and as Mr Morris pointed out it should reflect this in the use of street names for instance.

But it should aim to use Welsh as much as possible to reflect it status.  

Monday, 24 August 2015

New Left Wing Pro-Independence party to form in Scotland

Next Saturday will see the creation of a new Socialist Party formed in Scotland to fight the Scottish Parliamentary elections next year

According to the Herald newspaper

The grassroots anti-austerity movement, anchored around the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) and the Scottish Left Project (SLP), has been taking shape over the last eight months under the nickname the Scottish Syriza.
However it will be be formally launched as RISE, which stands for Respect, Independence, Socialism and Environmentalism, in Glasgow next Saturday [August 29, 2015].
Up to 1000 activists are expected to attend the Marriott Hotel for the event, which will include more than 30 speakers and examine policies for next May’s Holyrood election.
Among those taking part will be representatives from Syriza, Spain’s Podemos movement, Quebec Solidaire and Black Lives Matter, plus independent MSP Jean Urquhart, German MP Andrej Hunko of the Left party Die Linke, and Mike Small, founder of the Bella Caledonia blog.
There will also be a message of support from veteran journalist Tariq Ali.
Describing itself as “Scotland’s Left Alliance”, RISE will field candidates exclusively on regional lists, from which MSPs can be elected with as little as 5.2 per cent of the vote.
As part of an electoral pact to maximise the chance of socialist MSPs being elected, the SSP will refrain from standing candidates, giving RISE a clear run.
The umbrella model is based on Syriza in Greece, which was formed in 2004 as a coalition of 13 radical groups, including Maoists, Trotskyists, feminists and environmentalists.
The Respect element of RISE refers to equalities -- it has no links to George Galloway’s party.
The new name, with its whiff of revolution, is intended to catch the attention of voters drawn to the left in response to the Tory government, but who doubt the commitment of Scottish Labour and the Scottish National Party to radical change.

Apparently RISE stands for:
  • Respect: We stand for a society where we end racism, sexism, discrimination on the grounds of sexuality and where people of all backgrounds, colours and creeds are treated with respect and dignity.
  • Independence: We stand for Independence for Scotland. But our Independence is based on ending neoliberalism, austerity and the membership of NATO. We are for ending the monarchy and putting people in charge.
  • Socialism: We are for a social alternative to capitalism where people run the affairs of our society democratically and where the vast resources of society are utilised in common, rather than for the super-rich.
  • Environmentalism: We believe that environmentalism must be central to social change. Our world is being destroyed by the ruthless pursuit of profit over everything else. Sustainable ecology – where we maximise our enormous renewable energy potential to power Scotland – at the heart of a radical vision for change.
Which looks similar to the original programme outline of Quebec Soidaire.

  • "Nous sommes écologistes" ("We are environmentalists")
  • "Nous sommes de gauche" ("We are on the Left")
  • "Nous sommes démocrates" ("We are democrats")
  • "Nous sommes féministes" ("We are feminists")
  • "Nous sommes altermondialistes" ("We are alter-globalists")
  • "Nous sommes d'un Québec pluriel" ("We are from a plural Quebec")
  • "Nous sommes d'un Québec souverain et solidaire" ("We are from a sovereign and united [literally: solidarity-showing] Quebec")
  • "Un autre parti, pour un autre Québec!" ("Another party, for another Quebec!")

Already there has been speculation  that it could lead to defections from the SNP to the new party .

It will be interesting to see  if this will lead to s significant  number of MSPs elected via the List System  on the RISE ticket.

There has been a number of articles by Unionist that Scotland under the SNP is becoming a single party state.

Though there is no complaint that a similar  situation exist in Wales under "Welsh" Labour .

I bet those who moan about the SNP having to many MPs and MSP for a democracy would go into panic if the opposition turned out not only to the left but also committed to Independence.

From a Welsh point of view  a Syriza type of alliance among left wing groups in Wales which is also committed to Independence seems unlikely.

Too many Welsh Socialists are still committed Unionists or as they try to put it

"I'm not a Nationalist , I'm an Internationalist"

It is a bit of a enigma that  in order for there to be a left alternative to Plaid there needs to be successful Plaid Cymru and probably a legislature that can promote real change.


Sunday, 23 August 2015

Has Osborne treated devolved counterparts with contempt?

The finance ministers of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have united to warn that UK Government spending cuts are moving “too fast and too far”.

In a letter to Chief Secretary to the Treasury Greg Hands, In a joint letter, the SNP’s John Swinney,  "Welsh " Labour’s Jane Hutt and Arlene Foster of the DUP, also complained about the “unsatisfactory” way the Treasury had treated the three devolved administrations over recent budget changes.and  call for an urgent meeting in advance of the Government’s forthcoming spending review.

The letter said: 

“The three devolved administrations share the view that the UK Government’s ongoing austerity plans, reflected in both the in-year spending reductions announced on June 4 and in the Summer Budget, continue to reduce public spending in the UK too fast and too far, and present unnecessary risks to our public services.

“We also share the view that the UK Government’s plans were developed and communicated in an unsatisfactory way, with neither advance notice nor apparent consideration of the implications for the devolved administrations.”
“The planned announcement date of November 25 leaves very little time for setting our own budgets before the beginning of 2016-17, presenting us with significant operational challenges and potentially constraining the time available for respective parliamentary and assembly processes,” the letter states.
“There will in addition be considerable difficulties for our delivery bodies and stakeholders who will have little notice of their future allocations.”
 Pointing out there has not been a meeting of Treasury ministers and devolved finance ministers since November 2013, the trio "propose an early quadrilateral meeting as soon as possible following the summer recess, to discuss current issues

John Swinney said 
 “The UK Government’s broken austerity programme is reducing household income, damaging economic confidence and weakening public finances. That represents a clear threat to our public services.
“The recent Budget was misguided and deeply unfair, with disproportionate cuts falling on the poorest and most vulnerable sections of society while giving tax breaks to the better-off.
“The planned announcement of the UK Spending Review in late November leaves little time for setting our own budgets before 2016-17, presenting significant operational challenges and potentially constraining the time available for Parliamentary process.
“We therefore need early engagement to help us understand, as fully and as early as possible, the shape of likely funding settlements from the Spending Review.
“The Scottish Government will continue to argue against the failed austerity programme and speak up for the policies to promote economic growth, protect our public services and help the most vulnerable in society.”
It seems that Cameron and Osborne  have treated the devolved legislatures with contempt in not consulting them on the proposed cuts  

It would been  common courtesy to explain to the devolved powers why and how the Government  have decided to  carry out the savage cuts.Instead they operate by diktat which has seen Ministers as diverse as the DUP Arlene Foster who before defecting was part of a "rightwing cabal within the UUP known as the 'baby barristers'." joining forces with the SNP@s Swinney and "Welsh Labour's  Jane Hutt to deplore the London Government's cuts.

The response from Number 11 may show us what the relationship with the devolved powers will be for the next five years.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Ann Clwyd still in denial over Iraq.

Cynon MP Ann Clwyd who served as Tony Blair’s special envoy on human rights in Iraq has said she “profoundly” disagrees with Jeremy Corbyn's call for Labour to apologise to the British people for “taking them into the Iraq War on the basis of deception” .

Off course she would it would be hard for her to admit to being duped

Ms Clwyd campaigned for the indictment of members of the Iraqi regime in the years leading up to the invasion.
She said: 
“When people say I was in favour of war, what I was in favour of was bringing Saddam Hussein and his colleagues to justice. That’s why I spent a long time chairing Indict, the organisation which collected evidence of Iraqi war crimes.”

: “I was in Kurdistan in the February, and they told me there was no other way except to go to war. And that was the first time I’d ever heard them say it...
“Now, people should ask the Kurds and the Shia whether they are pleased Saddam Hussein has gone or not... [Of] course they are.”
 Well cearly the Kurds probably have no longing  for Saddam Hussein but  what about the rerst of Iraq

The New Labour Charge Sheet Reads:
Ms Clwyd added
 What we should be talking about now is what more we can do to help Iraq, both firefight Isis and also [help it] become a stable functioning democracy... I really do think it’s simplistic to argue that we should apologise...“So I profoundly disagree with Jeremy on that.”

But if you can argue this for removing  Saddam. Hussein then it would apply to Kim Jong-un North Korea

Oh that's right North Korea hasn't huge Oil reserves

OK I admit China would be a big problem but then China is hardly a beacon of Human rights either and yet it is treated with Kid  
d Gloves. But the West has bee highly selective in who they wished to remove in the guise of Human rights

. In March 2003, for instance, she wrote a piece for The Times in which she claimed that Saddam's regime used people shredders: "See men shredded, then say you don't back war".

 Brendan O'Neill wrote in the Guardian  on the background to Clwyd's claim: suffice to say that five years on Saddam's people shredders have proved as elusive to locate as his WMD. But Clwyd's article, though being a load of cobblers, served its purpose: it helped sway public opinion to be more supportive of war.

She may have bee misled and indeed have had Noble intentions in bringing democracy to Iraq by removing a dictator .

But how can she claim that Iraq today is better off, more democratic or peoples rights have improved.

Ann Clwyd some years ago kept saying that the "Green Shoots of Democracy" are appearing in Iraq alas history has shown us that they are in fact weeds strangling any real shoots. 

Friday, 21 August 2015

Carmarthenshire councillor who failed to declare a £25,000 payment from an energy firm

The news that  Carmarthenshire councillor who failed to declare a £25,000 payment from an energy firm before a vote on its wind farm plan has been suspended is interesting but points to a certain anomaly when it comes to the difference between rules for our local councilors and our AM and MPs
Councillor Haulwen Lewis, of Llanfihangel-ar-Arth community council, was paid by RWE NPower Renewables Ltd.She failed to mention the "prejudicial interest" at a planning vote linked to its proposed Brechfa Forest West Wind Farm.An adjudication panel has now suspended her for three months.Mrs Lewis and her husband, John, entered an agreement with the company to allow an access road to be built on their land at Carregwen Farm.'They were paid £25,000, with a further £30,000 to be handed over if the wind-farm proposal went ahead. The project, since approved, consists of a dozen wind turbines, which are yet to be built.Mrs Lewis attended a council meeting and secret ballot on 16 January 2012 and failed to disclose the deal.The Public Services Ombusman for Wales received a complaint in December 2013 and the Adjudication Panel for Wales held a hearing in Carmarthen on Thursday.It found she fell foul of the council's code of conduct, calling this a "serious" breach and noting she had only admitted it a day before the hearing was due to take place.Mrs Lewis said she abstained in the vote, with her ballot paper left blank.She will remain suspended from the community council until November.
I an not here to defend Councillor Haulwen Lewis and I do not know if she has any political affiliation she clearly is in in the wrong
But its odd that even after the Cash-for-questions affair our MPs still  only get into trouble iid they don't declare an intrest but are free to Lobby for those they may have a financial  interest in our receiving a dirct payment.
A simple trawl of most MPs interest shows that they often receive payment for work often nominal outside their Parliamentary duties .
At least they are supposed to relinquish them when joining the Cabinet or other government positions.
But it does appear the rules for a lowly community councilor are stil tougher than that of a MP and can't be right.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Ukip send Englishman to tell Welsh Polticians they are out of touch.

It is rather indicative of a party like Ukip to claim that it other parties are out of touch with ordinary people when they are actualy even more remote.

For instance  Mark Reckless th Englishman who lives there  and who is  spearheading Ukip’s campaign for the Assembly next year says most voters don’t want to see Wales getting the same powers as Scotland.

Mark Reckless, who is drawing up the party’s manifesto for the May elections, says the Cardiff Bay establishment sees devolution as “something that is about them”.

The head of Ukip’s policy development, in comments to the BBC, said Ukip accept devolution but said he didn’t understand why a consensus had grown over devolving income tax without a referendum first.

The former MP for Rochester & Strood said that “most people in Wales” did not want to see more powers devolved along the lines of the Scottish model, the BBC reported.

“There seems to be a distance from what I describe as the Cardiff Bay establishment and just people I speak to on the doorstep in Wales,” he said.
“They’re out of touch with voters. And I think part of that is the Cardiff Bay establishment sees devolution as something that’s about them and about their powers and their importance.”
Mr Reckless suggested there should be a referendum before the National Assembly gets powers over income tax.
“We don’t want to see taxes raised and I don’t think there’s any burning desire from people in Wales to be paying yet more tax than people in England,”.
“I don’t understand why there’s such a consensus in the Cardiff Bay establishment that that’s the way to go, having promised that that wouldn’t happen back in 2011 (when the last devolution referendum was held),”
Now its not Ukip arguing against devolving Tax they have every right to do so its bringing someone in from outside Wales that I find objectable.

and this is not because Mr Reckless is English it is because he doesn't live here and will not be voting next year and live under that decision .

If he was Welsh born but did not live here I would still object.

Its not only Welsh Nationalist who find this ridiculous .

Montgomeryshires Tory MP writing in his blog  "A View From Rural Wales" wrote .

 If UKIP did not publish a single leaflet, or issue a single press release, I'd expect the party to do quite well in next year's Welsh Assembly elections. They won't win any 'constituency seats', but the additional member PR system is likely to deliver a few 'regional member' seats. As watching the party's election guru in Wales, Mark Reckless, on TV today, I conclude that the biggest threat to a decent UKIP result is the party itself. I just cannot see how a man of Kent, about as unWelsh as you can imagine, crossing Offa's Dyke to tell us how we should vote will help at all.

Just imagine Ukip sending an Englishman from South of the Boarder running the Scottish Parliamentary campaign.

Actually I could  .

It could be deliberately provocative  Ukip have no chance of getting a MSP next here and maybe would like to exploit the idea of Politicians there being Anti-English".

It may be the tactic that they  are applying here hoping that it can gather votes from people not born in Wales and stil see themselves as English.

Or Ukip may think we wil be shy about  criticising  " a man of Kent, about as unWelsh as you can imagine, crossing Offa's Dyke to tell us how we should vote".

We should not be shy about pointing out that Mr Reckless has no connection with Wales and the objections simply that its not Anti-English ts Anti-Outside Interference .

It is maybe ironic in that it comes from a party that makes much of its objection to perceived interference from Brussels.


Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Adam Price on possibility of a Lab, Plaid, Green progressive alliance.

The Wasting Mule Online has been contacting Welsh Politicians  on the future of Labour under Jermey Corbyn the favourite to win the Leadership next month

Most of them are Labour

 Neil now Lord  Kinnock, whose was once a Labour firebrand himself said
Kinnock whose battle with the hard left led to Bairism and the end of the soft left of  Labour. and its heart.

“I can see why people are angry and want to protest. But then they’ve got to make a decision on whether they want to be part of a labour movement which produced a political party to seriously contest for democratic power or they want to be in perpetual demonstration, which is fulfilling and noble, but ultimately rarely effective.”
So its interesting that the most effective   response came from Plaid's Adam  Price  who responded to Mr Kinnock’s description of the choice between protest and power, saying: 

“Principled opposition has its place and can often be a brake on the worst excesses of right-of-centre governments but ultimately the purpose of democratic politics for progressives is the prospect of change which can only be delivered ultimately through winning and holding power. The problem with modernisers within the Labour party is that they ultimately sacrificed so much of their principles in the pursuit of power, when victory finally arrived they had forgotten what the original purpose was.
“The fact that even the soft left within Labour trod this path, jettisoning idealism and essentially becoming a slightly more compassionate version of Thatcherism is why they are facing a Corbyn victory as the mother-of-all-pendulum swings. If Corbyn does win though he will be a leader of a parliamentary party that distrusts him and the members that elected him – a recipe for division and potential electoral disaster.”

He went on to say

“Corbyn’s best hope it seems to be would be to return to the pluralist roots that gave birth to the Labour Party, the kind of progressive alliance that first saw Keir Hardie, another unlikely and atypical leader, elected 100 years ago. It would not be easy for Labour, Plaid, the Greens and even a re-invented Liberal party to cooperate, but if the 2020 vision were compelling enough – a confederal Britain, abolition of the House of Lords, social ownership of public monopolies on the Glas Cymru model in each of the nations, a massive programme of public works, especially housing and real public transport (not national vanity projects like Heathrow and HS2) then I think a progressive alliance could not only repeat the achievement of a Tory-free Wales, we could see a reforming, revitalising Government on the significance scale of 1945, or 1906.”

Its certainly an intriguing prospect it would depend on whether a Corbyn led Labour party was not only a Left leaning party but progressive and decentralised.

Something tells me that the current crop of Labour MPs under Corbyn would rally behind his left agenda for now especially ambitious ones but be overwhelming  against the sort of Constitutional change needed to put forward such Progressive Alliance.

I wonder why Adam hasn't included the SNP in this he may well have come to the conclusion that Scotland time in the Union will be over sooner than later and    the Scottish members of the UK parliament will not be there for long  enough to join such a progressive alliance.

It may be dreaming on Adam's part but by God we need something to give us an alternative to the current Red Tory- Blue Tory  impasse that has left so many disillusioned with politics.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Paul Flynn Rebel with a cause (but has no beleif it can win).

I must admit i have always admired Paul Flynn the Labour MP for Newport West  and he probably have been the only Labour candidate in Wales I would have voted for .

Acording to  They work for you 

  • Paul Flynn consistently voted against the Iraq war, while most Labour MPs generally voted for. Show votes
  • Paul Flynn generally voted against use of UK military forces in combat operations overseas, while most Labour MPs generally voted for. Show votes
  • Paul Flynn almost always voted against replacing Trident with a new nuclear weapons system, while most Labour MPs generally voted for. Show votes
So it comes as a surprise that he is not backing fellow rebel Jeremy Corbyn 

but Blarite Liz Kendal

In his Blog he makes a attempt to justify this

I had a phone call this morning from a party member asking which way I intend to vote in the leadership elections.
Of course I know all the candidates well but I have never tried to persuade party members on which way they should vote. The Newport West Executive decided not to nominate. I have no quarrel with that. Members will make their own minds up.
My caller today asked why I have not declared support for Jeremy Corbyn. He is my closest friend among the candidates. I have spoken on more public platforms with him in recent years than any other MP. Tribune has forecast that I will be offered a star shadow cabinet role if Jeremy is elected! On all the key issues of war and environment in the Commons, we both always speak and vote on the same side.
VOTE: Paul Flynn said he would not be voting for Jeremy Corbyn in the Labour leadership election
Alas now another Red Tory
Today’s Western Mail reports that Jeremy has just read the book Clear Red Water and enthusiastically supports its message. I wrote the introduction to the book and remain its greatest fan. (Below). So why am I not voting for him for leader? It’s because Labour is a national political party, not a pressure group. It’s futile being ideologically perfect but politically impotent. We can change the leader: we cannot change the electorate.
There were small parties in the General Election who campaigned on the green and radical policies that Jeremy and I espouse. Their support was minute. Some voters backed us both Jeremy and I for our left of centre views. Most voted for our Labour Party ticket.  It's a myth that there is an untapped reservoir of radical votes.
I would love to believe that a Government with Jeremy’s policies could be elected in 2020. It would create a fairer, more rational and peaceful country. The achievements of the great 1945-51 Government could be repeated. If only. Between the dream and the reality falls the leaden curtain truth. Sadly, I fear that the Government of Attlee and Bevan would not be elected in 2020. I write as one of only a handful of MPs who worked in the 1945 election. I was a precocious ten-year-old political nerd but the excitement and pride in achievement  are precious living memories. 
The party must have a chance of changing its mind on this vote with a fresh election in two years time. If the victor is as popular as the party then she/he would be re-elected.  Meanwhile we have the deadly serious job of exposing the policies of injustice, bad science, greed and environmental vandalism of the present Government. We can best do that by uniting and working under the new leader whoever she/he is.

So is Paul saying that winning power is the only goal that we should abandon our belief in a fairer society because people won't vote for it?

Is he supporting Kendal because he believes the Blarites are right and only Red Tories can win against the Blur version?

Maybe he feels that having another right wing Labour government means that he can rebel on issues that he believes in .

He can then sit on the government benches whilst smugly telling us in his blog that his conscious  is clear.

Can it be that rather than be unelectable   he fears that Corbyn may strike a chord with  the millions of disposed voters as the SNP did in Scotland last May.

He would then find that he is the establishment no longer having a reason to rebel and therefore becoming just another backbencher. 

Paul Flynn may well be a Rebel with a cause  but it seems that he either believes it is lost or is afraid of it actually wining.