Saturday, 16 December 2017

Plaid and SNP should offer practical support to MK.

Yesterday the Leader of Mebyon Kernow  (MK) did an interview on the Daily Politics show in which he made the case for a Cornish tickbox on the 2021 census. This follows the meeting with the ONS that he attended in Westminster on behalf of Cornwall Council on Wednesday.

If you didn’t get the chance to see the piece, it can be viewed at:

Dick put his case well and prevented Andrew Neil from his obvious attempt to trivialise the matter.

It was a long struggle to get Welsh or Scottish  on the Census Tickbox  and I like many other are frustrated  when filing in forms in other areas and seeing the only option as British .

I am guilty as others when blogging to talk about Wales. Scotland and Ireland to forget about Kernow, but we need to realise that their claim to Nationhood is as valid as our own.

There is no one that is to small and has a clear identity that cannot have limits set on how it sees its place in the world.  

Remember  it was  not untill Gwynfor and Winnie Ewing  won Carmarthen and Hamilton in byelections  in 1966 and 1977 that Plaid and the SNP were treated seriously,

At the last General Election  Mebyon Kernow did not put up a candidate in any Cornish Constituency   caught out by the Theresa  May unexpected "going to the nation" in a gamble that backfired spectacularly.

At its 2017 National Conference, MK members voted to put forward a candidate for the next Police and Crime Commissioner elections, due to take place in 2020, and to contest the next General Election, though resources will be targeted into a single seat or a small number of seats.
Which leads me to a suggestion,  How about Plaid and SNP constituency parties  twinning with a MK one and providing help if not financially (but anything would help) but help with expertise and strategy information that has been gained by years of campaigning  and importantly winning. 
Or Yes Cymru and Yes Scotland helping in creating a Yes Kernow.?

Who knows a Byelection in a Cornish seat could one day set  Mebyon Kernowon a road that leads them to become part of the Progressive coalition of SNP. Plaid and Greens at Westminster and the first step to nationhood . 

Friday, 15 December 2017

We must consider out own attitude to the English.

The Football Association of Wales (FAW) will not take action against chief executive Jonathan Ford for saying the next Wales manager could be "foreign", but "definitely not English".

 There will be  many who consider this a trivial matter and not worth an enquiry, bbut  just imagine the reaction if the English FA had said the next English Manager could be  "foreign", but "definitely not Welsh or Scottish".

The FAW had set up a three-person panel to investigate a BBC Sport Wales interview in which Ford said: "We have always favoured Welsh people because arguably the passion is there.
"Somebody said this earlier, Welsh most definitely, foreign possibly but definitely not English."
A statement from the FAW said they will not "take the matter any further" after Ford apologised for the remarks.
The interview, at the Wales Sport Awards, was discussed at an FAW council meeting when Ford was asked to leave the room.

An FAW statement said Ford would not face any further action.
The statement said: 

"Following a matter arising from the Football Association of Wales Council meeting of 12 December 2017 in Cardiff, meetings have taken place between the Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Ford, the President, David Griffiths and Vice President, Kieran O'Connor of the Association.
"The CEO has clarified comments made in a media interview, where he repeated details of a previous conversation, in which a third party stated that the search for a national team manager should preclude an English applicant.
"Following the discussions today, it was accepted the documented comments were taken out of context and not in the manner in which they were intended.
"The FAW and CEO will conduct a search for the new manager in an open and objective fashion, the appointee will be the best person for the role.
"The CEO has apologised for the statement and the FAW Officers, having reviewed the situation, do not propose to take the matter any further.
"The Officers of the Association fully support the CEO, acknowledge the significant achievements in taking Welsh Football forward over the last eight years and look forward to continue to work together in the future.

I must admit that I subscribe to the ABE (Anyone But England) mantra and I often wear a Tshirt with the Logo  
"I support  Wales and who ever is playing England"

But this is a reaction to the  media promoting English the  side in every event whilst ignoring other National  teams from these Islands in the same compition.

My ABE is not Anti-English but a stand against the media insistence  that I should support an English Team.

If you asked me what Football side I support I would say not Cardiff or Swansea but Barcelona   because it is a team run by its fans and prepared to take sides n the debate on the future of Catalonia.

But I occasionally need  a reminder that the seemed free rein to make remarks about the Welsh,Scottish and Irish by English "comedians" that would be considered  racist if a said about other nationalities, can also apply to "jokes" about the English from ourselves.

We must be ever vigilant in our own writing and utterances , particularly  with reference to our friends across the boarder.

It is not OK to do so and the recent FAW case is an example of why.


Thursday, 14 December 2017

Roy Moore's vile views surface in the Welsh Assembly.

I don't want to sound gloomy but the election of Doug Jones, the man who made his name prosecuting two former Ku Klux Klan members who bombed a black church, and who won a stunning victory in the Senate race in Alabama and the first Democrat to win such a seat in the state for 25 years does not really suggest a more liberal consensus in this fundamental Christian state.

Mr Jones’s fortunes increased sharply after Mr Moore’s campaign was rocked by allegations that he abused teenage girls and women when he was in his thirties and working as a local prosecutor and I unfortunately do not come to conclusion that Mr Moore would have lost if the allegation  had come to light.

Moore is considered an advocate of far-right politics. He attracted national media attention and controversy over what has been called strong homophobia, antisemitic and islamophobic views, his belief that Christianity should order public policy, and his past ties to neo-Confederates and white nationalist groups. 

Black voters in Alabama -- particularly black women -- voted overwhelmingly in favour of Democrat Doug Jones, according to exit poll data.
Making up 17% of the voters, 98% of black women who voted on Tuesday cast their ballots for Jones, while just 2% voted for Republican Roy Moore, exit polls showed.

The real worry is that Moore had despite  his appalling views had a majority of White votes particularly White Men and whilst there may be some movement to a more Liberal attitude the majority of voters in Alabama support polices that are an anathema to most Western Democracies.  

But before we start congratulating  ourselves and feeling superior we had a sharp reminder that the sought of views of Roy Moore are not to far beneath the surface .

News that in our own Assembly UKIP AM Gareth Bennett has been barred from speaking in Senedd debates in 2018 following a speech about transgender rights.

Mr Bennett refused to apologise for saying society could implode if there was too much "deviation from the norm".
Presiding Officer Elin Jones said on Wednesday some of the comments were "particularly hateful".
Ms Jones wants the AM to say sorry before he can contribute again, but he said he had no intention of doing so.
In a debate on Tuesday, Mr Bennett told the assembly: 

"There is only so much deviation from the norm that any society can take before that society completely implodes.
"If we carry on down this road of appeasing the nuttiest elements of the transgender movement," he said, "then what we will face as a society, within a very short space of time, is total implosion."
He was speaking about a UK government proposal to make the process of changing legal gender easier.

After Labour AM Joyce Watson raised a point of order on Wednesday objecting to Mr Bennett's remarks, Ms Jones said: "Some of the comments were particularly hateful to the transgender community."

"This chamber is not a platform to demean citizens of Wales. Everyone deserves our respect and our understanding."
The presiding officer asked Mr Bennett to withdraw his comments and apologise. He refused.

Among those critical of Mr Bennett was Plaid Cymru AM Sian Gwenllian, who said the comments were "shameful". 
She said
"Members of minority groups have an unquestionable right to be treated equally, regardless of their gender identity, sexual orientation, colour of their skin, religion, disability or anything else"..

UKIP Wales leader Neil Hamilton said he had a "frank exchange of views with the presiding officer" on Wednesday afternoon, with a further meeting planned over the recess.
"UKIP is a minority whose rights need to be protected as well," he added.
"We were elected to confront the Cardiff Bay consensus and political correctness and will continue to do so."

Which is a bit like a wasp complaining of being stung by a bee. 

Former UKip leader  Nigel Farage spoke in favour of Roy Moore in a rally in Alabalma and we can only ask how much Ukip shares the failed candidate views (Moore not Farage but it applies to both) .

On the basis of Gareth Bennett attack on a vulnerable majority  we must be ever vigilant that  that we make sure that such wives are treated by scorn,

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Welsh Labour will shelve expert panels recommendations again.

Quite frankly I could have saved the Welsh taxpayer the cost of the  expert panel that recommends that the number of Assembly Members elected to the Senedd should rise from 60 to 89 or 90, the introduction of the Single Transferable Vote  and votes at sixteen.

It something this Blog has already proposed  though I haven't suggested a gender quota to boost the number of women in the Senedd, and the option of standing as a "job share" candidate would aim to encourage people with disabilities or caring responsibilities.I am not averse. to the proposal.

Since my almost identical proposals would never been considered by some of the Unionist Parties we could have saved money because I suspect like nearly every commission  that have been held into  how our Assembly is run and/or its powers have been ignored.

 Labour have already  said it would not take a decision before its conference in the spring of 2019 after consulting on the proposals next year.

Plaid Cymru AM Simon Thomas has claimed Labour's position "kills dead any hope of passing the necessary legislation before the next assembly elections", due in 2021. 

" It makes no sense that our assembly is so much smaller compared with parliaments of comparable size and competence."
 An extra 30 members would cost an additional £9.6m a year, says the report – equivalent to 0.08% of the Assembly’s block grant from Westminster.

So its not as if it would break the Assembly budget  and the alternative to decrease AMs workloads would be for them to employ more staff , hardly a democratic option.

Defending the report’s central recommendation to increase the number of AMs by 50%, Prof McAllister said:

 “Our recommendations are designed to ensure that the Assembly has the number of Members it needs to effectively represent the people and communities it serves, hold the Welsh Government to account, and be a parliament that truly works for Wales now and in the future.
“In 1999, AMs had very little scope to affect the daily lives of people in Wales. Today, they are responsible for a budget of £15bn, they make the law in Wales in a host of important areas such as health and education, and they can change the taxes we pay. Today’s institution still has only sixty Members and, with its increasing powers to affect people’s lives, it lacks the capacity it needs.
“This matters. The Assembly and its Members have a real, direct and positive impact on the lives of every one of us in Wales. Calling for more politicians is unpopular; but we have to report as we see the evidence. The Panel believes that, as its powers increase, the Assembly cannot continue as it is without risking its ability to deliver effectively for the people of Wales. There is a compelling case for an increase in size to at least 80, and ideally closer to 90 Members. There is no good time to remedy this. However, if this is not done now, the Assembly will continue to be undersized, presenting a risk to its ability to deliver for the people it serves.

 The simplest option would be to be to pair the current 40 constituencies to merge them into 20 seats, each with four AMs, giving a total of 80.

This could be followed by boundary reviews that could also increase or decrease the members of each consistency  bearing in mind  there is no reason for the Assembly to consist of a nice round number. Maybe 83 would be a better option.

An open letter signed by 12 former AMs also backed the recommendation to increase the number of AMs. It said: “Wales needs an Assembly which has the resources to ensure that the financial, policy and legislative decisions taken by Welsh Government are robust.

“As former AMs, we write to support the case for increasing the number of Members who serve in our National Assembly for the sake of our communities and the people of Wales.
“The recently published report by the Expert Panel on Electoral Reform made the case for more Members both urgent and compelling. It concludes that because of its current size, “it is only a matter of time before the Assembly is unable to fulfil its responsibilities to work for and represent the people of Wales effectively.
“Our Members need more time available to them to scrutinise Ministers properly, and to deal with the challenges and opportunities they face in this changing constitutional and political environment. The need for more Members was first highlighted with the publication of the Richard Commission report in 2004. Since then, over the last 13 years, our Assembly has become a parliament with greater areas of responsibility, including law-making and tax-varying powers.
“Currently, most Members are expected to sit on so many committees that their time and ability to pursue matters with the depth and intensity required, is severely restricted.
“Other avenues to increase capacity have not only been explored but have also been implemented – with the hours, the days and the weeks Assembly Members sit in session all extended.
“When comparing the size of our National Assembly with other institutions in the UK and abroad, it is clear that our institution is unusually small, and that the people of Wales are far less well represented per head of population compared with equivalent legislatures across the world. In fact, our national parliament has fewer elected representatives than many local authorities in Wales. In Wales, we need an effective, dynamic and strong institution which delivers for our communities, and we cannot afford too much delay before addressing this matter. We understand and appreciate the public’s reluctance to see an increase in the number of politicians. We believe however that the overwhelming case for an increase in the numbers of AMs should overcome any such reluctance when explained clearly and honestly.”

As I stated  the proposal are in line with what I would have proposed even if I accept that in the times of continuing austerity  and cuts, increasing the number of AM will not be popular.

My only concern is that as we have seen before  the Labour Government  as set up commissions and panels to investigate the future of the Assembly only to completely ignore the recommendations.

It seems that the only way to change the Assembly electoral system is to elect parties who support it. but then it seems impossible to  do so without changing the electoral system.

How we get around this Catch 22 dilemma  is the rue question,



Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Unbiased BBC? The case of the Independence referendum.

 Checking the BBC News website I was directed to this by a button entitled "Why you can trust BBC news"
The BBC is recognised by audiences in the UK and around the world as a provider of news that you can trust. Our website, like our TV and radio services, strives for journalism that is accurate, impartial, independent and fair.
Our editorial values say: "The trust that our audience has in all our content underpins everything that we do. We are independent, impartial and honest. We are committed to achieving the highest standards of accuracy and impartiality and strive to avoid knowingly or materially misleading our audiences.
"Our commitment to impartiality is at the heart of that relationship of trust. In all our output we will treat every subject with an impartiality that reflects the full range of views. We will consider all the relevant facts fairly and with an open mind."
Research shows that, compared to other broadcasters, newspapers and online sites, the BBC is seen as by far the most trusted and impartial news provider in the UK.
Even so, we know that identifying credible journalism on the internet can be a confusing experience. We also know that audiences want to understand more about how BBC journalism is produced.
For these reasons, BBC News is making even greater efforts to explain what type of information you are reading or watching on our website, who and where the information is coming from, and how a story was crafted the way it was. By doing so, we can help you judge for yourself why BBC News can be trusted.
We are also making these indicators of trustworthy journalism "machine-readable", meaning that they can be picked up by search engines and social media platforms, helping them to better identify reliable sources of information too
More here, 

 So I had  a quick look at Wikipedis artivcle on criticism of the BBC and saw this

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) criticised the BBC in October 2012 for its poor coverage of the Scotland independence referendum which took place on 18 September 2014. The BBC reportedly "downplayed the costs of referendum coverage, claiming it was a 'one off'." According to a research team led by Dr John Robertson from the University of the West of Scotland the BBC's first year of referendum coverage (to September 2013) was biased towards the pro-Unionist No campaign.
Andrew Marr, the BBC presenter, was accused of expressing anti-independence views in a March 2014 interview with Alex Salmond.[230][231] The BBC allowed the Better Together campaign to make a pro-unionist cinema advertisement at its Glasgow studios in April 2014 which was thought to contravene its editorial guidelines.[232] According to The Scotsman, the BBC appointed Kezia Dugdale, Labour’s education spokeswoman, as presenter of Crossfire, a radio programme debating issues relating to the referendum. The newspaper believed this arrangement was also a breach of the corporation's guidelines and asserted that Dugdale is "a member of Scottish Labour’s Truth Team – set up to monitor all SNP and Yes Scotland interviews, press statements and briefing papers" in the run-up to the September vote.[233]
A report by the Audience Council Scotland, the BBC Trust's advisory body in Scotland, questioned the impartiality of BBC Scotland in covering the independence referendum in July 2014.A Sunday Times article, also in July 2014, queried the BBC's approach to the independence referendum, and stated that emails by a senior member of a production company organising debates for the corporation gave advance notice to the No campaign.
On 10 September 2014 the BBC were accused of bias in their reporting of an Alex Salmond press conference for the international media. In a response to a question by the BBC's Nick Robinson, Salmond accused him of heckling and wanted an inquiry by the UK's Cabinet Secretary into a leak to the BBC from the Treasury concerning the plans of the Royal Bank of Scotland to relocate its registered office to London which had been in the previous evening's newsn response to complaints about editing of the live coverage of the conference for later bulletins, the corporation said: "The BBC considers that the questions were valid and the overall report balanced and impartial, in line with our editorial guidelines."
After a day of protests from Yes campaigners, and demands that Robinson should be sacked,he following Monday (15 September), Salmond responded to questions from journalists at Edinburgh Airport. About Robinson's report in later bulletins, he said: "I don't think it was fair for Nick to suggest that I hadn't answered a question when I actually answered it twice." He did not believe Robinson should be sacked.

Channel 4's director of creative diversity, Stuart Cosgrove called for a re-think at the BBC on the nature of balance and due impartiality based. This was during a BBC Scotland radio conversation hosted by John Beattie. Cosgrove commented: "Yesterday, I was watching the rolling BBC News very closely and it was clear that notions of balance were being predicated on a party political basis. It would go from Cameron to Miliband to Clegg and back. If you look at it as a different premise – it’s a yes/no question – then Patrick Harvie of the Scottish Greens, who is not the leader but is a significant political person within the Yes campaign, should have had exactly the same coverage as Ed Miliband. Do you think for a second he got that? Of course he didn’t. I think there’s been a failure of the understanding of the nature of balance and due impartiality. It’s simply wrong and not acceptable."
An interview of Alex Salmond for the Sunday Herald published on 14 September 2014 included his opinion that the BBC had displayed a pro-union bias during the referendum.

This is for the Scottish referendum if I was to list examples of perceived BBC bias I could go on for pages.

Accusations come from both Left and right, but it is my view that the BBC is biased towards the establishment  and  tries to avoid to muchcriticism of the sitting government  to protect its funding,

Personally  I see the principle f BBC claims to impartiality in by the old adage

  "The louder he talked of his honour, the faster we counted our spoons".

If the BBC was truly impartial it could be that they wouldn't  have to keep tell us about it.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Carl Sargeant's son to seek Labour nomination for his seat.

The son of late Labour politician Carl Sargeant has said he wants to succeed his father in the Welsh Assembly.

Jack Sargeant, 23, has put his name forward for the Labour nomination in Alyn and Deeside where a by-election is to be held after his father's death.
He said he wanted to continue his father's "legacy" in the constituency.

Idon't like  hereditary as a means of selecting our political representatives and although I have no reason to question Jack Sargeant's capability to represent Alun and Deeside and certainly sympathise with his desire to " continue his father's "legacy" especially in the tragic circumstances of his fathers death is a by-election or any election a vehicle to carry out a internal party feud?

However Jack Sargeant is making all the right noises 

He said:

 “I grew up here, went to school here, got my engineering apprenticeship here at our local college and then went to the local university down the road in Wrexham.
“I never expected to be going into public life. I studied engineering, not law or politics but I think I can bring real-world experience into the Welsh Assembly – and I think the Assembly needs that.
“I know what people in Alyn and Deeside are thinking and feeling. They’ve been hit by austerity that has forced down real wages and made it tough for people struggling to make ends meet.
“I’ve been lucky enough to work for a local business in the engineering sector – the kind of company that helps to build prosperity for local economies and our local area. With Airbus just nearby, I want to make sure local businesses can benefit from foreign investment to create and retain local jobs.
“I want to make a difference. Like my Dad did, whether he was trying to get better housing for local people, to protect our environment by driving forward recycling plans across Wales and supporting green jobs, or standing up for women who had been subject to domestic violence, playing his part in getting a new law through the Assembly to protect them.
“I’m a loyal Labour member. Proud to be a Labour member. It was an honour to meet Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn when he came to Dad’s funeral last week.

“But I’ll be my own man. I have my own principles and values. They’re Labour values – they’re about standing up for ordinary hard-working people
“Creating jobs, more apprenticeships for local youngsters. Giving every child a real chance of a better start in life. Investment in our public services – hospitals, schools and social services. Local services that my family – mother Bernie, sister Lucy, my uncles and aunts and my grandparents – use every day in Alyn and Deeside.
“Our area’s been through tough times. It needs a champion from the local community - someone who knows it like I do and like my Dad did. People here know me, my family and our values.
“I’m a hard worker and a good listener. I’ll put in the hours it takes to get things done. I’ll be there for my community and the people living here. You can count on me.”
 If he is selected then I think there is no doubt he will win and Labour nay well not  decide on the risk  of running another candidate particuarly one who is seen as being imposed from outside even if the perception is wrong.

Meanwhile a senior Labour councillor in Flintshire says he will run as an independent in the assembly by-election in Alyn and Deeside if a grassroots candidate is not chosen for his party.
Meanwhile a senior Labour councillor in Flintshire says he will run as an independent in the assembly by-election in Alyn and Deeside if a grassroots candidate is not chosen for his party.
Bernie Attridge said he does not want to stand but told BBC Wales that will "depend on who the Welsh Labour candidate is".
Mr Attridge has demanded the resignation of Carwyn Jones over how he handled allegations against Mr Sargeant, who the first minister sacked from the Welsh Government cabinet after learning of allegations about the AM's conduct.
 The deputy leader of Flintshire, who was a close friend of Mr Sargeant, said.
"To be perfectly honest there's no appetite whatsoever in Alyn and Deeside [for the by-election] - there's just lots of anger,"
"But for myself I've made it clear that I have no intention of standing."
But he said that was "caveated... depending on who the Welsh Labour candidate is".
"I've seen it before in Alyn and Deeside, when people have been parachuted in," he said.
"If the person isn't chosen as a grassroots member of Alyn and Deeside to stand for that seat, then I will be resigning from the Labour party and standing as an independent."
The selection of Jack Sargant may well ensure that Labour win the By-election but it will undoubtedly  cause a huge headache for the first minister Carwyn Jones.


Saturday, 9 December 2017

Lets have a 2 Tone revival in Music and Ethos.

 By sheer coincidence I had been listing  n my MP3 player to "The Best of Two Tone" so though I am disappointed  that Swansea didn't win the UK city of culture . I am rather pleased that Coventry won because it should lead to a revival of 2 tone and the ethos of Multi-culturalism  it  led to 

The Specials  Ghost Town  addressing themes of urban decay, deindustrialisation, unemployment and violence in inner cities,may not be sen as an advert for the city, but it is a vital part of their heritage.

 The song is remembered for being a hit at the same time as riots were occurring in British cities. Internal tensions within the band were also coming to a head when the single was being recorded, resulting in the song being the last single recorded by the original seven members of the group before splitting up. However, the song was hailed by the contemporary UK music press as a major piece of popular social commentary, and all three of the major UK music magazines of the time awarded "Ghost Town" the accolade of "Single of the Year" for 1981.

It also led to the Specials working AKA of the hit record Free Nelson Mandela which unlike most protest songs, the track is upbeat and celebratory, drawing on musical influences from South Africa. 

It still beings tears of joy in the hope it gave to me. 

Other groups like The Selector also gave us a mixture of expressing some despair but also hope.

I hope that the message that came out of 2 Tone will figure promptly in the year of Coventry UK City of Culture  and it leads to the sought of collaboration between Black and White musicians , which offered so much in the bleak days of Thatcherism and  the  onslaught of racism.

Friday, 8 December 2017

When Neil Hamuilton shamed Kirsty and D.E.T.

Senedd Home have luckily for us given us a detailed coverage  of the  Welsh Assembly vote condemning  Spanish “heavy-handedness” during the attempts to hold a Independence  in Catalonia,

The Plaid Cymru Motion was rather mild

The Senedd:
  • Notes the strong links between Wales and Catalonia dating back to the Spanish Civil War.
  • Notes the vote of the Catalan Parliament to hold an independence referendum.
  • Regrets the heavy-handed response by the Spanish Government and resulting imprisonment of elected Catalan representatives.
  • Supports the right of parliaments in the EU to make decisions for the future of their citizens.
As Senedd Home points out 

Firstly  the motion carries no weight. Foreign policy is the responsibility of the UK Government, who are in turn supporting the Spanish Government.
Secondly, the motion is neutral on the issue of Catalan independence; it neither backs the October referendum or the result – only acknowledging that it took place.

The Welsh Government Response was a very if not expected stance

Leader of the House, Julie James (Lab, Swansea West)
  • It’s not the Welsh Government’s position to express a view on internal matters in Catalonia or Spain – but it is legitimate for AMs to express opinions on democratic principles.
  • Spain deserves credit for being a model for transitioning from a dictatorship to a democracy in a relatively short space of time
The Welsh Government abstained – because the Leader of the House said they didn’t want to be seen to be interfering in the affairs of another state – but gave backbench Labour AMs a free vote.

  Red ae Lab, Green Plaid, Yellow Lib Dem, and Purple Ukip.

 So both Liberal Democrat Kirsty Williams  and former Plaid leader  Dafydd Elis Thomas (D.E.T) followed the Welsh Government line.

I doubt if voting for the motion would have been a sacking issue and it would be  handy  to see  some sort of explanation from both considering they both presumable  still hold some candle for democracy.

There were some worthy  elements  in favour of teh motion.
Lee Waters AM (Lab, Llanelli)
  For: It’s a matter of democracy.
  • It’s not just a matter for nationalists – he doesn’t support Catalan independence – but democrats; a principle of consent is central to any democracy.
  • To the UK Government’s credit, it respected the desires of the Scottish people to hold a referendum on secession – though that’s not the same everywhere.
  • He was “disgusted” by the European Union, which stood silent while a constituent nation was trampled over.

Neil Hamilton AM (UKIP, Mid & West Wales) For: The Spanish Constitution isn’t fit for purpose.
  • “A nation is a nation that feels it’s a nation”; the right to self-determination is enshrined in the UN Charter and that includes Wales.
  • The ghost of General Franco still hovers over the Spanish political system; the constitution needs to change.
 Cynics may may think that support for Catalonia from Ukip is more about causing trouble for the EU than backing democracy, but  it comes to something when Hamilton shames both Kirsty Williams and Dafydd Elis Thomas
Mick Antoniw AM (Lab, Pontypridd) For: The rule of law is paramount.
  • While he commemorated the International Brigades in Cardiff, people in Spain were making fascist salutes and singing Franco-era songs.
  • This isn’t about Catalan independence but rule of law and a constitution that represents the will of the people.
  • Disappointed the UK Government adopted a hypocritical position where they’ve previously supported the right of self-determination in the Falklands, Gibraltar and elsewhere, but not this.
Mick has been prominent on this issue and desevres praise
What about those opposed
David Melding AM (Con, South Wales Central) Against: The Catalan Government aren’t blameless; secession isn’t justified.
  • The Catalan Government failed to create an environment where those who oppose independence could express their views.
  • Secession referendums in the UK only proceed when both sides agree; that didn’t happen.
  • He believes the charges of sedition tabled at independence supporters are “foolish”.
  • Very few political philosophers accept the principle of secession; it seems unjustified as long as a multi-national state is democratic.
David who has been the most pro-devolution  Conservative AM disappoint me , Those who opposed  Independence  were denied  the chance to express a view  because they were told by the Spanish Government  that they would  physically prevent the vote.
As for  "Very few political philosophers accept the principle of secession; it seems unjustified as long as a multi-national state is democratic". I don't understand this  argument at all .
Denying the right of secession to those who have a belief they have a historic right particually to regain Nationhood by a majority  is hardly democratic in my view
Plaid AM Simon Thomas  Invited David Melding to return to William & Mary College (as an alumnus) and say the same things to Americans who dared to declare independence from the UK.
Some may say that the whole vote was meaningless , but it is important for us to see who stands with a Catalonia in their right to vote for independence and those like Dafydd Elis Thomas and Kirsty Williams  who seems to have abandoned  issues they would have  previously  supported  for a place on the Government Benches.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Guardian gives space to Heir of Franco on Catalonia,

That great  Liberal Newspaper the Guardian has  given space to Spanish Prime Minister
The article

May backed us on Catalonia. Brexit will not break our bond 

Allows Rajoy  to state...

The United Kingdom is leaving the European Union, but not Europe. The aim will be to build a strategic alliance to respond to the common challenges and goals of the 21st century: job creation, migration, climate change, development, cybersecurity and terrorism.

We must not forget that the UK and Spain have always stood firm and united in their fight against the scourge of terrorism, which continues to cause great pain and which has struck both our countries this year. I am convinced that, together, we will be able to better stand up to any challenge.
Our unity can also be seen in the firmness and clarity of May’s government in the face of the events that have recently taken place in the autonomous region of Catalonia.
Britain’s stance is particularly important, as it is the cradle of parliamentarism and the rule of law. I hope that the coming regional elections in Catalonia will allow us to return to the normality and stability that our institutions require and our citizens deserve.

Least we forget Rajoy

Sent Police in to physically attack voters in attempt to disrupt a referendum/
Introduced direct rule to Catalonia,.
Imprisoned  Catalan leaders.
Called elections whilst suppressing opposition including the use on colour yellow by independistas. 


And yet the UK newspaper that has long professed itself as the lone voice of liberalism and anti-imperialism  as opposed to a fright wing and sometimes racist  UK dominated media has given space to the leader of the Spanish party that  many regard as the heirs of Franco.

Small wonder many have abandoned  this paper  and see it as little more than a Unionist paper that occasionally displays a social conscious.  



Wednesday, 6 December 2017

We need a UK wide open boarder, but then why bother with Brexit?

As usual John Dixon over at Borthlas, puts it far clearer than I can in what the current row over whether there should be a hard or open boarder  between Northern Ireland and and the Republic in the South,

As John states,

The solution proposed by May, guaranteeing no regulatory divergence between the North and the Republic, is a neat solution to the specific, but it does nothing to resolve the generic.  It merely shifts the issue from a line drawn across an island to a line drawn in the sea – it is the Brexiteers’ desire to opt out of the EU regulatory regime which causes the problem, not the Irish Government.  The only thing surprising about the opposition of the DUP to anything which effectively puts the North outside the UK regulatory regime – which is the apparently inevitable consequence of what the proposed agreement said – is that it did, indeed, seem to come as a surprise to May.
The call from Scotland, Wales and London to be given the same deal as Northern Ireland makes eminent sense politically.  As Nicola Sturgeon put it,

If one part of UK can retain regulatory alignment with EU and effectively stay in the single market (which is the right solution for Northern Ireland) there is surely no good practical reason why others can’t.”
 John continues
Whilst I wholly agree with the sentiment, I don’t agree with the bit about there being ‘no good practical reason’.  For the reasons referred to above, putting Wales or Scotland in a different regulatory regime from that operating in England requires borders between those countries; and doing the same for London requires a border around that city.  Theresa May – or any other UK Prime Minister – is not going to ‘solve’ the problem of the Irish border by creating three new borders within the island of Great Britain.
Left Foot Forward also recognise that the UK government  may have only one way out

... the DUP can’t have it both ways. If the UK as a whole leaves the Single Market and Customs Union (keeping NI and rUK ‘united’ on the trade policy front), there would need to be a ‘hard border’ on the island, to track goods, impose tariffs, and to check they met the differing regulatory standards. The DUP is firmly opposed to a hard border.
So the only way to get around this – to avoid a hard border and avoid ‘[separating] NI from the rest of UK’ is to ensure Ireland and the UK have the same trade and regulatory standards.
The solution? The UK stays in the Single Market and the Customs Union. Or, in other words, EU membership ‘in all but name’, according to leading Brexiteers…like, funnily enough, the pro-Brexit DUP.

A lot of course  depends on the the parliamentary arithmetic.

Would the DUP accept Single Market and Customs Union for the whole of the UK and just how many on the Tory benches are last ditch brexiters?

The Lib Dems Plaid and the SNP, would assumedly back a UK wide  single Market and Customs Union  so it may al depend on Jeremy Corbyn and Labour.

Corbyn is of course Pro-Brexit and has done virtually nothing  to back a Soft Brexit and has allowed the Hard Brexit Tories (Who may only number about 50 ) to dictate the wholeof Mrs May's hand in the negotiations.

There may be some Plaid and SNP supporters  who actually back Brexit and others who believe  that it would lead to the UK crash and burn and take us on the road to independence.

There will be Labour supporters who also believe that Brexit   may well bring the Tory government  down , but  is it not time that we had a clear indication from that Party's leadership what they would do differently.

Would a change of government  with a Labour majority really change the
omnishambles that is now emerging.
I voted leave and reluctantly accept the vote , but I don't want to see Cymru becoming even more Poor West Britons .

An open boarder between the Irish Republic and the North would see boarder controls shifted to Welsh ports to disastrous effects, but so would a hard boarder.

For Wales, Scotland, and even London to call for  a similar arrangement that was proposed for Northern  Ireland may make political capitol, but clearly the real solution is to keep open boarders with the rest of Europe.

But that leads us to ask the question why bother with Brexit at all?

It's one we need both Mrs May and Jeremy Corbyn to answer.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

The DUP have no mandate for Leave or in the NI Assembly.

When Theresa May signed her Faustian pact with the DUP leader  Arlene Foster  I wonder if she even considered that the whole Brexit negotiations will be controlled by DUP.

The prime minister  believed that she had  pulled out of a deal with Brussels that would have kick-started trade talks after meeting fierce resistance from the DUP.

However that party said it would not accept a deal which saw Northern Ireland treated differently from the rest of the UK.

It is important to note that Northern Ireland  voted to remain in the EU/

Results by constituent countries

Country Electorate Voter turnout,
of eligible
Votes Proportion of votes
Remain Leave Remain Leave

(including Gibraltar)
39,005,781 73.0% 13,266,996 15,188,406 46.62% 53.38%

Northern Ireland 1,260,955 62.7% 440,707 349,442 55.78% 44.22%

Scotland 3,987,112 67.2% 1,661,191 1,018,322 62.00% 38.00%

Wales 2,270,272 71.7% 772,347 854,572 47.47% 52.53%

To what extent the boarder question played in the Remain vote is up for question but  the result meant that every constituency  on the Irish boarder voted Remain.

 But every Constituency on the  Irish Boarder voted ;eave/

Indeed the DUP were i a minority of political parties there campaigming fpr a leave vote with the Ulster Unionists campaigning to Remain

Indeed when it comes to seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly then  they are in a minority  even if as the BBC claims "they are the Largest" party they have no electoral mandate to speak for Norhern Ireland

Number of seats by party

  • DUP (Leave) 28 28.08%
  • SF (Remain) 27 27.93%
  • SDLP(Remain) 12 11.95%
  • UUP (Remain) 10 12.81%
  • AP (Remain) 8 9.06%
  • Ind/O 5 10.17%
  • 90 of 90 Seats filled
  • 18 of 18 1st preference complete
  • 18 of 18 Constituencies complete
  • 64.66% Turnout
Could this be the real reason for the failure  of the Northern Ireland Assembly to meet.

Can the DUP be working on then premiss that they have more power in Westminster than in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

I have no problem with a minority party exploiting a hung parliament and promoting their agend   by deals such as the DUP ave done with the Tories.

But the DUP do not have a majority in Northern Ireland  and by the very nature of Northern Ireland  politics only speak  for at best half the population.

We in Wales voted to leave so we have placed ourselves at the mercy of Westminster.

But Scotland voted to remain ans the SNP have a mandate in Scotland and yet Scotland is ignored and the wishes of the DUP who have no Mandate when it comes to Leave or in the Northern Assembly votes can decide whether there is a hard boarder with the Republic.

And yet if the SNP where backing a Labour government in Westminster the London media would be in meltdown.