Thursday, 31 August 2017

Welsh and Scottish Labour need a Left Leader but not a Left-Unionist.

Kezia Dugdale’s decision to stand down as leader of the Scottish Labour Party – with immediate effect – means the party is seeking its fifth leader in only six years.

Given Jeremy Corbyn has just completed an 18-constituency tour of Scotland, his rallies packed with supporters though not overwhelming with supporters

Corbyn’s rally at Leith Links in Edinburgh 

 there has been speculation Dugdale’s decision to quit in the context of Corbynism. that she has  been “forced out”, as some have suggested, but it is factually accurate to say she supported his opponent Owen Smith in last year’s doomed leadership challenge.

Though we can wonder how many Left Wingers Corbyn supporters  considering that Scotland was the only part of the UK to vote for Owen Smith in the leadership election.

Will someone who backed Corbyn from the start run for the leadership , or will it be just someone  who now  declare's their Left credentials and loyalty to the leader despite not voting for him in the past.

What of our own Welsh Branch Manager There is a widespread assumption that Mr Jones will stand down in 2019 after 10 years in the job and sufficiently in advance of the next Assembly election in 2021 to enable the new leader to settle in and put their stamp on the administration.

Will Ms Dugdale's decision  hasten this sothe Party can get both over quickly and speak with one voice.

A left-wing AM has confirmed that he may be a candidate to succeed Carwyn Jones when the First Minister and Welsh Labour leader eventually stands down.
Mike Hedges, who represents Swansea East and is a former leader of the city’s council, said left-wing members of the 29-strong Labour group at the National Assembly would definitely be fielding a candidate.
Is Mr Hedge's Left Wing  I never thought so.
Mr Hedges told us:
 “There are four of us on the left who could stand – Mick Antoniw, Mark Drakeford, John Griffiths and myself – as well as a couple of others who haven’t declared their support for Jeremy Corbyn publicly. There will definitely be a left candidate.”
However could you be a Left Wing Candidate and oppose Corbyn's Unionist ideology and push the autonomy agenda ?
A Left Wing leader in Scotland who is happy to be Corbyn's Branch manager  will be as useless to our Nations as a centrist  or Blairite .
It may be that the Left-Right  credentials of the next Scottish Branch Manager will be irrelevant in Scotland as Labour continue to be eclipsed by the SNP.
Even in Wales where they could be First Minister a genuine Left of Centre candidate could make some diffrence.
But that will still depend on them having a vision for the future of our Nation and certainly not one that reflects the Left-Unionist views of Mr Corbyn. 

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

The Welsh Tories appear to be right on this.

Only a few days ago I thought that the Welsh Tories Welsh Tories criticism that Pay packages for three directors at a television company that received a £4m Welsh Government loan could be seen as another silly season outrage.

It seems that I own them an apology as it has emerged that a
A civil servant went to work for a production firm that received a £4m Welsh Government loan

According to Wales Online 

There are now calls for an investigation into the transfer of the senior official who went first on secondment and then became Bad Wolf's interim chief operating officer

The £4m loan came to light when it emerged that the directors of Bad Wolf had paid themselves £1.8m in their first 18 months , despite making a pre-tax loss of £2.8m.
The senior civil servant, Natasha Hale, held senior roles in the Welsh Government in which she was involved in providing financial support to creative organisations as Head of Creative Industries and later as Deputy Director of Sectors and Business.
A spokesman for the Welsh Government said that she did not have a vote “in any of the associated approvals” when the loan to Bad Wolf was made in 2015.
Natasha was seconded to Bad Wolf from August 2016 to March 31, 2017 to develop the company’s activities across the industry in Wales in order to benefit the wider community.
“Any risks arou“nd conflicts of interest were discussed with relevant officials. The terms of the secondment recognised these and put in place measures to manage potential issues for the period of Natasha’s secondment.”
 Welsh Conservative shadow secretary for culture Suzy Davies wrote: 

“The employee in question held the role of Deputy Director of Sectors and Business between April 2013 and March 2017.“Prior to this the employee held the role of Head of Creative Industries for more than a two-year period.“Given the senior positions previously undertaken by this person in the Welsh Government, there are very reasonable questions to which concerned taxpayers are expecting answers.
“It may well be–and I very much hope this to be the case –that there is no wrong doing of any kind. But in light of the intense media scrutiny recently received by Bad Wolf Ltd, Assembly Members and the public will be seeking assurances that all potential for conflict of interest was properly managed in the individual’s transition from Welsh Government employee to Bad Wolf COO.
“Indeed, it would be helpful if you could make explicit in your response the proper steps Welsh Government employees are expected to take to avoid conflicts of interest, and whether in this case they were satisfactorily adhered to.
“In order to properly satisfy the above concerns, I would urge you to undertake an investigation into this case at your earliest convenience.”
Bad Wolf issued a statement, which said:
 “Bad Wolf received a commercial loan from Welsh Government to bring international television productions to Wales. The company has established its headquarters in South Wales and has already brought in more than £35million in production, fees and investments, with additional funds being brought into the Welsh economy in 2018.”
I share Ms Davies's concern and coming on top of the news that Concerns have been raised after it was revealed a world-famous film studio leased a £5m Welsh Government site for free for two years we really need an investigation into whether such investments even if they are profitable are  the right ones.

Pinewood Studio Wales opened in 2015 but rent was not paid until January.

The Welsh Conservatives said potential job claims were "grossly exaggerated", with figures suggesting fewer than 50 at the site as of March.

The Welsh Government - which set aside £30m for Pinewood projects - said it was proud of its investment.

If a local authority was to to act in a similar manner then I suspect they could well feature in Private Eyes's "Rotten Boroughs".

The Welsh Conservatives should be congratulates for this it may well be that they mistaken in their criticism  but we need to know and consider ourselves whether such projects are being run openly correctly.

Which leaves me with the question "Where are Plaid on this?".

They may well have looked at the evidence and come to the conclusion  that there no case to answer  or that t could be that excessive critic may damage the growing media industry

But they are an opposition party an whilst  don't believe on opposition for the sake of opposition but I suspect scrutiny from Plaid.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

To Corbyn Wales and Scotland are English Regions.

Despite recently campaigning  against Plaid in Arfon and the SNP in Scotland (rater than the Tories) I wonder how far Jeremy Corbyn even understands that Wales and Scotland are different  Nations and not regions of England as the below shows.

Corbyn said  would consider implementing a federal government structure if it won power in Westminster, Jeremy Corbyn has said.
The party's leader said his government would look at "all options around devolution" if he became Prime Minister and would look at handing more powers to English regions as well as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Pressed on whether federalism was an option, he said: "Everything is on the table."
In its manifesto ahead of the snap General Election in June, Labour pledged to establish a constitutional convention to advise on reforming "the way Britain works at a fundamental level".
It said: "The convention will look at extending democracy locally, regionally and nationally, considering the option of a more federalised country."
This of course is not Corbyn coming out for Federalism  even a Federalism that regards Wales and Scotland as mere regions of England like the West Midlands.

Speaking on his tour in Scotland, the Labour leader said he wanted “genuine devolution” of powers from Westminster.

But he added that separating economic and legal structures would be “difficult”.

For a Senior politician not to realise Scotland already has a separate legal structure even before devolution is extrodinary

In a question and answer session in Edinburgh, Mr Corbyn had been asked whether Labour’s commitment to federalism could allow Scotland to reflect its strong Remain vote in the EU referendum.
He replied:

 “We are thinking very hard about what forms devolution would take in the future. Devolution in Scotland has gone a long way.“We are looking at the way we bring about genuine devolution and particularly economic devolution. Could you have a separate economic and legal system in different parts of the UK?“I think that becomes difficult and very problematic. I want a Labour government that is going to legislate better working conditions for everybody across the UK.” 

Joanna Cherry, the SNP’s justice spokeswoman and a QC, said the comments were “embarrassing and worrying”.

She added:
Odd that Corbyn thinks it "difficult & problematic" for Scotland to have a separate legal system given that we already have one 😖 

Quite frankly I think this reflects Corbyn London Centric thinking as I doubt he has ever really considerd the role of devolution n the current "constitutional" set up.

His hard Brexit stance  makes him look like a "Socialism in one Country" politician  and he can't see a difference  between Britain and England.

To him Wales and Scotland only importance is providing Labour MPs as Lobby Fodder for the Westminster Party.

Can we have a Progressive Alliance  with him and Labour when he carries on if not even being hostile , indifferent to the claims of our nationhood?

Monday, 28 August 2017

Labour's new Brexit position is totally false.

According to the media Labour is to  dramatic policy shift by backing continued membership of the EU single market beyond March 2019, when Britain leaves the EU, establishing a clear dividing line with the Tories on Brexit for the first time.
 The Guardian says.

In a move that positions it decisively as the party of “soft Brexit”, Labour have said support full participation in the single market and customs union during a lengthy “transitional period” that it believes could last between two and four years after the day of departure, it is to announce on Sunday.
This will mean that under a Labour government the UK would continue to abide by the EU’s free movement rules, accept the jurisdiction of the European court of justice on trade and economic issues, and pay into the EU budget for a period of years after Brexit, in the hope of lessening the shock of leaving to the UK economy. In a further move that will delight many pro-EU Labour backers, Jeremy Corbyn’s party will also leave open the option of the UK remaining a member of the customs union and single market for good, beyond the end of the transitional period.
Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said a transitional period was needed to avoid a "cliff edge" for the economy, so that goods and services could continue to flow between the EU and UK while negotiations on the permanent deal continued.
"Labour would seek a transitional deal that maintains the same basic terms that we currently enjoy with the EU," he wrote.
"That means we would seek to remain in a customs union with the EU and within the single market during this period.
"It means we would abide by the common rules of both."
He compared this with the government's preference for "bespoke" transitional arrangements after leaving the EU, which, Sir Keir said, were highly unlikely to be negotiated before March 2019.
He did not say how long the transitional period would be - only that it would be "as short as possible, but as long as is necessary".
Its not often I find myself in agreement with Peter Black but he right in saying 

This is not a vision for the future, it is a holding position forced on him by his failure to take his colleagues with him. It is spin more than substance, yet another failure of leadership by the official opposition.

All this spin means is that Labour are trying to present themselves  in the Brexit debate , as appearing to support a Soft Brexit  and still allow the Hard Brexiters  in the party  which includes their leader  Jeremy Corbyn  leeway and allow the party to remain united going into the next election.

It reminds me of St Augustine's plea 
"Lord, Make me chaste, but not yet."

Those tempted by Labour "Lets have a Hard Brexit, but not yet" spin my well consider another St Augustine's quote,

Sunday, 27 August 2017

"Some people in Wales speak Welsh , Get over it".

A children’s magazine has come under fire after publishing an article that listed reasons why minority languages weren’t needed.

Under a picture of children reading books in Welsh, The Week Junior listed “three reasons why we don’t need minority languages”.

Since November 2015 The Week has published a children's edition, The Week Junior, a current affairs magazine aimed at 8 to 14 year olds.

Its website claims
The Week Junior is a brilliant current affairs magazine for children aged between 8 and 14. It’s filled with fascinating stories and information, written to engage curious young minds and encourage them to explore and understand the world around them.
By exploring real world matters, The Week Junior equip s young people with the skills to think critically, learn about the world around them and ask questions. It gives context to what they learn in the classroom – and encourages them to look further.

But if this is an example then maybe its not the best example 2For young minds",

Among the reasons, the magazine said that there “was little use” for the languages, that the classroom should be used to teach “useful” languages instead, and that it was a “waste of money”.

By using Welsh as an example in the photograph it is clear that any argument against the use of minority languages includes Welsh.

The magazine did, however, say that minority languages “come with their own rich traditions in the form of poems and stories”.

But having the line “Learning a second language has proven benefits for developing minds,” is hardly an argument for "Minority" languages but reinforces the bigoted claim children in Wales should be learning French, German or some other majority  language.

Has the Week Junior's Big Debate questioned other attempts to promote Women's Equality for example?

This was just one response.

  Retweeted  15 hours ago15 hours agoMoreBigWelshSteve Retweeted Rhodri   for British media to promote xenophobic prejudice arguing to suffocate Welsh culture as a fair position? To children this time! 😠😢

I am not a conspiracy  theorist but coming after the Newsnight scandal in which we were presented with a poorly researched and biased that asked whether the Welsh language was a "help or hindrance to the nation". I think we can ask if we are seeing a campaign against the Welsh Language from the London Media

There should always be debate on the status of Cymraeg , but it should nor start  with “three reasons why we don’t need minority languages”. or "help or hindrance to the nation".

To paraphrase  the Pride Event in Cardiff Yesterday.

"Some people in Wales speak Welsh and want to use it , Get over it".

Saturday, 26 August 2017

For Plaid to be relevant , then they must make th assembly relevant.

 It would be difficult to disagree with Neil McEvoy that  "Plaid Cymru remains a well-kept secret and irrelevant to many Welsh youngsters,."
Writing on the Nation.Cymru website, backbencher Neil McEvoy a Plaid Assembly member should end co-operation with Labour, accusing it of working to "meekly" influence the governing party.
He writes,
My political party is as irrelevant to many Welsh youngsters in 2017, as it was to me in 1987; this needs to change.
Plaid needs to be confident and proud of what we are, or perhaps what we should be.
Plaid should be a social movement, not just a political party isolated in the Bay Bubble. We should loudly stand for a fully self-governing and sovereign Wales at every given opportunity.
The national Welsh project must be our centre of gravity. The national cause is more important than any individual or indeed any group of individuals. Just look at what Sinn Fein and the SNP have achieved with a united goal.
We must define our rights as Welsh people through a Welsh constitution. This will establish the standards we can expect in public life through a social contract between Welsh people and the Welsh institutions that govern us; all backed up by a fully-fledged sovereign law system.
We must stand for a reversal of the centuries old trend of young people having to leave Wales to seek their fortune. Neo-liberal capitalism continues to be a very isolating and lonely system of economics that we must reject. No amount of consumerism can fill the voids left in people’s lives in 21st century Wales.
Building community is the key. We should also seek to give people a stake in their workplace. John Lewis shows how successful an employee owned business can be; Wales has a radical history of workers’ cooperatives. Plaid also needs to be pushing this for the industries of the future. Relentlessly defending free trade agreements is not going to get us anywhere and aids neo-liberalism.
Social and environmental criteria must be inserted into economic growth models and plans. Furthermore, Plaid should put proper distance between the Party and Cardiff Bay lobbyists; we should clean up the Bay in every sense.
Above all we must light up the national imagination, empowering people and communities from the bottom up. I never did like top down politics; Plaid must practise grassroots innovation. Plaid politicians should get elected to empower people to live their own lives.
CosyCrucially, instead of meekly seeking to “influence” Labour to implement Plaid Manifesto ideas, which is our current trajectory, we should embrace full-on opposition.
Opposition done in the right way carries its own power; a group of just 2 Plaid councillors out of 75 in Cardiff 2012-2017 proved this time and time again.
As just one example, look at Ysgol Hamadrayad in Butetown. 45 out of 75 Labour councillors were unable to stop the rolling ball of opposition we kick started in September 2013 and Labour’s decision to scrap the new Welsh medium school was defeated.
What could 11 Plaid AMs do against a Labour Government with a soon to be wafer thin majority? Let’s find out.
I want to see the Plaid Group in the Assembly supporting what is right, but opposing with every ounce of our energy what is wrong.
Let’s stop hearing “Would the First Minister agree…” questions from Plaid and bin the cosy pairing system, where we have prior agreement on how many votes the Government will win by.
Let’s take Welsh politics to the Welsh people outside of Cardiff Bay.
Labour has run Wales for close on 100 years and look at the state we are in. In 1997 Labour won in Westminster with a massive majority. After the unprecedented loyalty Wales showed to Labour, you would have thought that going to war on poverty in Wales would have been the priority.
But instead Labour spent billions going to war in Afghanistan and Iraq. They showed no loyalty to us and they never will.
It is time for change. Plaid Cymru must prove through actions that we are that change. I want to defeat the Welsh Establishment. I don’t want to be instructed to bend my knee to it.
Labour is the Establishment in Wales. We will not move Wales forward until we move Labour out of the way. Let’s get it done.

But where are the details?

Where should Plaid be opposing Labour in the Assembly?

To my mind  the problem in the Assembly  is that Carwyn Jones policy is to do nothing radical on the right or left  and therefore leave little to oppose.

Plaid could come up with a wish list of polices that they would implement  in power but that's not going to generate the publicity Plaid need.

There is also a danger of the party adopting a campaign of populist policies like Ukip, but this could mean adopting the sort of rhetoric Ukip uses as well.

Neil's argument of "Let’s take Welsh politics to the Welsh people outside of Cardiff Bay". seems to be just what Plaid's leader has been doing . I don't think any Plaid leader has taken to the streets as she has and not just in her native Rhondda.

I get Neil Mcevoy's drift that Plaid must raise its profile but without a real "Welsh" media that the people of Wales connect to it is hard to see how they can do it.

To my mind Plaid should increase its demand for parity with Scotland and the independence issue.

It may be a Catch 22 question but for Plaid to be relevant  then the Assembly must become relevant.

Plaid should be arguing for the Assembly to have the same powers as Scotland and explain how they would use these powers like the SNP in Scotland.

However this does nor mean opposing the Welsh Labour Government for the sake of opposition.

With no allies in the Assembly opposition who share not  only Plaid's left of centre stance but also empowering the assembly and with a Conservative government  that results in Welsh voters turning back to Labour it's a huge task.

I don't want to sound despondent  but it may well be events beyond their control and the Tories and Labour falling apart  , that gives Plaid an opportunity to fill the vacuum.

If it happens. then the Party need to have something more to offer  the people of Wales not only Independence but a vision of how this will make our people lives. better

Friday, 25 August 2017

Silly Season. Silly Party.

Less than a fortnight ago Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies was calling  for a  Brexit minister to  be appointed to put Wales' interests "at the centre" of negotiations 

He said,

"More than 400 days after Wales voted to leave the EU, Wales remains without a Brexit ministry, unlike its counterparts in Scotland and Westminster,""In order to ensure that Wales' national interests stay at the centre of Brexit negotiations, we need a department led by an experienced minister solely dedicated to this process."It's a job too big for one man alone and there's a real danger that in trying to juggle domestic issues with the biggest constitutional challenge of our time, the first minister will allow one or both of these responsibilities to flounder."A Welsh minister for Brexit could deliver strong and constructive representation to the UK government and facilitate better working with the devolved nations - not barrack idly from the sidelines as the first minister has so far contented himself to do."
So its a bit odd to see this on their website. and facebook

"Instead of letting Nicola Sturgeon call the shots, Carwyn Jones should put the Welsh and UK interest first and back the Brexit effort.
Please like & share with friends!"
First ministers Nicola Sturgeon and Carwyn Jones has  met in Edinburgh in the latest move to coordinate opposition to the EU Withdrawal Bill.
They fear the Westminster government is planning to use the bill to launch a "power grab" of devolved powers.
The two governments said they would work together on amendments "to provide a constructive way forward".
The UK government insists there are no plans for a power grab, and says Brexit will actually see more powers devolved to both nations.
The talks are the latest in a series held between senior Scottish and Welsh government figures in recent weeks as the two administrations join forces in an attempt to secure a greater say.
Here's part of Andrew Davies comments again.
"A Welsh minister for Brexit could deliver strong and constructive representation to the UK government and facilitate better working with the devolved nations - not barrack idly from the sidelines as the first minister has so far contented himself to do."
From their recent reaction  it seems the Tories our Welsh  governments  representation should consist of telling the other devolved nations to agree with anything that Westminster decides.

Accepting unlike Scotland Wales voted for Brexit does not mean we should roll over and let Westminster walk all over us and use Brexit as an excuse for a power grab.

Unlike Ms Sturgeon Carwyn Jones cannot claim to have a mandate to oppose Brexit , but that does not mean he or our government should not fight our corner vigorously and that means we must seek common cause with Scotland to protect  ourselves from the Tories using Brexit  to weaken Welsh democracy,

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Bad Wolf or Bad Debt?

Its still August and the silly season is not yet over so I am not sure that the Welsh Tories criticism that  Pay packages for three directors at a television company that received a £4m Welsh Government loan should be treated with much outrage
Accounts for Bad Wolf revealed large remuneration packages worth a total of £1.8m over 18-months.

They have already secured three major productions for Wales in His Dark Materials, an adaptation of Philip Pullman’s trilogy of fantasy novels, A Discovery of Witches, based on Deborah Harkness’ historical fantasy novel, and an adaptation of Bernard Cornwell’s trilogy The Warlord Chronicles.
Bad Wolf also has a partnership with US cable company HBO.
None of these have any real Welsh connection. So its another Made in Wales production d be and nice if the assembly invested in film companies that made productions that actually reflected  Wales
Tory AM Suzy Davies said the payments were a "cause for concern".
But the firm said the company has brought in millions more in investment to Wales, and says it has just struck deals with HBO and Sky.
The two firms have taken a minority stake in the company. Bad Wolf said it would be paying back the loan with interest.
According to the BBC
The company, which was set up in 2015 by former BBC executives Julie Gardner and Jane Tranter and is based in south Wales and Los Angeles, is currently working on two pf the projects series, A Discovery Of Witches and His Dark Materials.
Accounts for July 2015 to December 2016 show the Welsh Government gave the firm a loan worth just under £4m.
The documents says that Ms Tranter received £855,417 while Ms Gardner was given £519,301. A third director, Miles Ketley, received £441,539. He resigned from the company in March 2017.
Part of Ms Tranter's pay - £300,000 - was earmarked for relocation expenses. She was also given a loan of £270,645. At the end of 2016 £186,861 of the loan was still owing.
The accounts state that the firm achieved a turnover of £1.8m and a gross profit of £519,941, but after administrative expenses of £3.7m it made a loss of £3.1m.
Ms Davies, the Welsh Conservative's culture spokeswoman, said while the party hopes that Bad Wolf and its pipeline projects will achieve great success, "there are aspects of its finances which are concerning".
She said it was "curious" why the Welsh Government loan was guaranteed against the value of the company's assets, which she said the report showed "are worth a mere fraction relative to the loan's value".
"That the three directors are collectively paying themselves an annual income equivalent to nearly half of loan's value is also a cause for concern - especially given that their projects are still in the inchoate stages and are yet to make a return," she said.
"The Welsh Government's less-than-stellar record on investment decisions has been well-publicised, and taxpayers will rightly be questioning how ministers have found themselves in this position yet again - especially in a sector where Wales is working hard to promote a strong international offer."

I don't know what  the sought of remunerations  people in a similar role are but obviously until  the productions start receiving advertising revenue , they are going to take a while before they move in to profit.

In the meantime  people have to get paid and much as we may deplore the size of their earnings  unless we have comparisons in the film industries  are the Tories really in a position to criticize?

Northern Ireland's economy has been boosted  by the Blockbuster series Game of Thrones  with numerous locations being used .

To what extent Bad Wolf will use Welsh Locations remains to be seen.

Hopefully it would be extensive but lets hope it will also see Welsh storylines included in the future.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Welsh "Brain Drain" will continue to make us Poor West Britons.

Q: What do you say to a recent Welsh University Graduate. 
A: I'll have Fries with that.
Not very funny when you read that  among Welsh graduates who went to university in Wales and stayed for work, 40.6% are in non-graduate jobs, the report by the Resolution Foundation think-tank said.

Prof Sir Deian - a former vice-chancellor of London South Bank University - told BBC Radio Cymru's Post Cyntaf programme that graduate jobs had been lost in the public sector, but had not been created at the same rate in the private sector.
"This is a difficult circle to close, because the government should invest more and more in creating jobs that will attract and keep graduates in Wales," he said.
"But if employers are not investing at the same time there's a restriction on government - they can't do that much."
 Conservative shadow education secretary Darren Millar said: 

"It should come as no surprise that Wales is experiencing a brain drain when the Welsh Labour Government is failing to deliver the dynamic modern economy that we need."
UKIP said it would scrap tuition fees for science and technology courses at university.
Plaid Cymru would offer graduates £6,000 a year to help pay off debts if they stay or return to Wales after university.
The Welsh Government said it remained committed to making the investment Wales needs, and would develop opportunities for young people.
"We recognise that offering incentives for graduates to remain in, or return to, Wales could be part of this," a spokesman said, adding it was taking action including a new commitment for those who receive nursing bursaries to work in the Welsh NHS.
This becomes more concerning  when we here that  "A quarter of Welsh constituencies have less than 25% of 18 year-olds going to university."

According the the Wasting Mule  erious concern has been expressed over the low level of university applications from school leavers in many parts of Wales.
Official figures compiled by the admissions body Ucas show that while the constituency with the highest proportion of 18 year-olds applying to university was Cardiff , with 47%, the lowest was Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney with just 19.3%.
A further nine constituencies – Swansea West, Torfaen, Swansea East, Blaenau Gwent, Islwyn, Neath, Aberavon, Rhondda and Clwyd South – have less than 25% of their 18 year-olds submitting applications.
Plaid Cymru Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills Llyr Gruffydd said: 
“The gap in application rates within Wales reveals a fundamental problem. Large areas of post-industrial Wales are being under-represented in university applications, even in parts of the country where universities are located like Swansea and the Valleys. Applications from these areas are falling in Wales while rising in England and Northern Ireland.
“The Welsh Government knows about the link between poverty and low educational attainment and these figures confirm the problem still exists. In more deprived areas, fewer young people make it to university. We need to break that cycle and we do that by focusing on early intervention, investing in good quality childcare from a very early age, and targeting young people when they begin to fall behind.
“It is true that not everyone has to go to university. But Plaid Cymru has a serious concern about inequality within Wales and the impact that has on educational attainment. It is fair to ask the Labour-led Government here, what they are doing to do about it.”
I suppose  you could argue that its just as well because there are no graduate type jobs for these young people when they finish University anyway,

But it is a worrying trend that we are loosing so many of best young people
Wales attracted 23,807 graduates between 2013 and 2016, but 44,335 left - a difference of 20,528.
The only areas where this difference was greater, was Yorkshire and Humber (23,115) and the north-east of England (22,543).
It reflects the "Poor West Britons" nature of our relationship with the Union that we can't provide the top jobs for our some of our brightest and 40.6% may be wondering why they bothered going to and amassed  a huge debt.
Unless we take control of our future this story will continue and we will see a Brain Drain away from Wales which will see a future of a high unemployment,low pay, low expectations economy.