Political boffin, keen fisherman looking forward to retirement.
Monday, April 30, 2007
The hits for the various broadcasts are as follows:
Plaid Episode 1 Welsh
Plaid Episode 1 English
Plaid Episode 2 Welsh
Plaid Episode 2 English
Sunday, April 29, 2007
The talismanic moment in the Carmeron shift was his Conference speech when he uttered “in three letters”, NHS. Aware that whilst the Tories were seen as anti-NHS they had little chance of getting elected, Cameron and the Tory leadership have gone out of their way to commit themselves to seemingly support public provision of health services. Coming from the man who was behind the Tory 2005 manifesto which advocated patients passports – a scheme that would have created a two tier health system, this has been touted as a major ideological shift.
As I have argued before, unmask the Tory spin and not everything is quite as they would have you believe. For the upcoming Assembly elections, the Tories are advocating allowing hospitals in Wales to seek Foundation status. These reforms are seen as a key part of the Blair - Brown agenda for hospitals in England, and basically allow succeeding hospitals to opt out of the NHS – effectively it means denationalising the NHS.
Allowing foundation hospitals in Wales would be deeply divisive and elitist. Foundation hospitals are able to offer separate terms and conditions and raise their own money, enabling them to poach the best staff and resources from neighbouring hospitals and Trusts. Basically it is a two tier health service in all but name. In a country as small as Wales the policy will be disastrous. Inevitably hospitals in the richer areas of our country will go from strength to strength, while the rest of us will have a sub standard service.
When the current health Minister mentioned last week that the days of NHS Trusts were over, perhaps this was what he meant – a round of Blairite health reforms.
Furthermore their manifesto makes a commitment to increase Labour’s mixed economy approach to public services. This means opening up public service contracts to private firms. Labour is already doing this of course, for example in Carmarthenshire there is a huge row over the Labour Cabinet Member (who happens to be the candidate in Carmarthen East) who is trying to privatise home care at the behest of the Assembly Government’s Audit Inspectorate. This policy that would be bad for patients and bad for carers (I note a personal interest as my mother is currently an employee of the County in this very sphere). When will the Thatcherite parties learn that running public services on the basis of profit is lunacy?
I sincerely hope that if my party is in power after Thursday that the Audit Commission and the regulatory bodies instructed by the Assembly Government are given a brief to ensure ‘best value’ based on the quality of service not on cutting costs. Only then will we start to get the sort of public services we deserve.
I don’t often agree with David Davies but he was right the other day, Labour and the Tories are by far the two parties that are most politically compatible.
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Looks like Plaids ppb's aren't that far off the mark.
Expect Labour to get really dirty in the last few days of the campaign.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
What this BNP activist is effectively saying is that if they ever win power they will re-introduce capital punishment and execute those who do not share their fascist bigotry.
I was fortunate enough to meet Plaid star Adam Price MP the other day; he said if I can remember correctly:
“Young men from the South Wales Valleys fought and died against fascism in Spain and the Second World War. We have to remember what these people stand for and the lessons of history.”
I am personally amazed that fascism is being given such generous coverage during this campaign. The Glamorgan Gazette in its wisdom even provided Nick Griffin with a full profile, whilst refusing at any point to print hardly any legitimate local political stories by Plaid (despite countless press notices by local candidates), the official opposition in the Assembly. That paper and Celtic Press should be ashamed of themselves. The BNP have been given air time on radio programmes and even a party election broadcast. All this just legitimises the fascist movement.
I don’t believe that democratic parties should share a political platform with these people. I never refer to fascist replies on this blog. How can you debate sensibly with people who are so fundamentally warped in their thinking?
Journalists tell me that they have a duty to report everything no matter how uncomfortable, and that all political movements have a right to freedom of speech. I vehemently disagree; any political movement which fundamentally disagrees with the values of a democratic society should be exempt from the benefits afforded by democracy to political movements.
The threat to execute members of Plaid Cymru in a BNP blog is not an idle threat. This is what these people will do if they assume power. Whilst some members of the London political class might snigger at such a prospect – this is a very serious threat which all democratic political parties need to unite to combat and to build a consensus to ensure that fascism has no place in Wales.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Will things be different under Brown? Not likely have a look at some of his legacy, mother thatcher would be proud. Which makes it even more ridiculous and politically incoherrent that Labour have fought this campaign on the Tory bogeyman.
Stuck to the spending targets of the previous Tory Government between 1998-2001
Cut single parent benefit
Paltry basic state pension increase of only 75p in 2000
Centralist approach to public service reform
Taxation on expenditure not income
Continued Nigel Lawson’s legacy of disposing public assets, privatising services and redirecting social security towards means testing
In opposition ruled out privatisation and pfi – but fully embraced it whilst in Government
Brown privatised: Royal Mint, the Tote, air Traffic control.
Private property developers invited to bid for Government buildings
Council flats made available to private developers – Thatcher right to buy only extended to tenants
Continued John Major’s plans to privatise the tube – a project which proved catastrophic costing £500m
Across the UK over a million manufacturing jobs have been lost since this Government came to Office, and Wales has been losing jobs at a faster rate than any other area of the UK. 71,000
Welsh manufacturing jobs, nearly a third of all sector jobs have been lost since New Labour came to power
Across the UK, 2 million pensioners live below the poverty line
3.4 million children continue to live in poverty
This Government has already committed itself to an astonishing £160bn of pfi repayments over the next 26 years based on existing projects
In 1997 Government spending on consultants was £300m. By 2005 this has risen to £2.4bn – mostly companies negotiating pfi deals
By 2007 – 20% of all public expenditure is expected to be delivered by private contractors
Introduced a social security system based on means testing by announcing a range of tax credits
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
It is clear that the Welsh and Unionist wing of the Labour party in Wales are in a sate of open warfare. The VPGT election strategy devised by unionists such Hain, Andrews and Lewis is deservedly going to lead to a kicking in the polls – any party that creates a lie to win votes deserves no less – and some enlightened Labour politicians and activists have expressed a little bit of disquiet. Personally I’m surprised that they have stayed quiet for so long. A buffoon could have come up with something more inspiring than the ‘Torey bogeyman’ nonsense we have been subjected to from Labour to date. What a damning indictment of a once proud party that seems clearly to have lost all sense of purpose and direction.
Far from trying to bury the story Huw has decided to open fire on his own party members. Although mentioning no names the attack seemed very personal and clearly directed. I’m not surprised he’s so angry, as the strategy of his wing of the party is clearly in tatters.
Even more interestingly when pressed on a possible red – green coalition he refused to rule it out. The contradictions in this whole affair are mindblowing.
By saying he would go in response to a bad result Rhodri Morgan has really brought this on himself. Clearly in the political vacuum created by such a statement suitors for the Labour leadership would position themselves. Looks like open warfare has already commenced.
update - here's the transcript for those of you who missed the niterview
HL: "Well I’ve sounded out the opinions of other Labour Assembly Members and party members today and I can tell you that the mood is unanimously one of great anger towards some cowardly anonymous tipster who is trying to somehow construct a government without reference to the Welsh electorate.
I believe very firmly that we wait until the third of May for the Welsh people to say what kind of assembly we will have. And we will take things from there. It shows a contempt for Rhodri our leader, contempt for our party members and a degree of contempt for the Welsh electorate as well"
Interviewer: It’s not unheard of though is it. We saw for example in the budget negotiations last year Rhodri Morgan and Ieuan Wyn Jones went into a room together they came to an agreement and Plaid abstained and the budget got passed. We’ve seen ad hoc agreements being made previously?
HL: "Yes but what this election campaign ought to be about. What I should... what I would be able to be talking about if it wasn't for this anonymous person or persons that we mentioned earlier is Labour's future promise and past achievements. And how we put that before the electorate with the aim of winning a Labour majority government which we have done before and we can do again. We have been upended in our campaign today by this individual or individuals. That combined actually with very damaging internet speculation which is going on at the moment I think has been a bad day for Labour and it needn't have been… I mean obviously there are people out there who think that they can play puppet master with the Welsh electorate. And indeed with the Labour party. Well they’ve got another thing coming.
Interviewer: Are they playing puppet master though Mr Lewis or are they simply recognizing something which some Labour sources have said is a fact which is that Labour are not going to get a Majority on May the 3r and therefore they are trying to think about what possible solutions for keeping Labour in government?
HL: Well look I think punditry is for pundits and not a serious politician. Politicians in all sincerity and that is what I’ve been doing with my party members shoulder to shoulder have been putting the Labour manifesto before the people door by door in my constituency. I saw the faces of those party members this morning when they heard about this speculation. I would just like to issue a quick challenge to our anonymous government constructor out there. Stand up to the microphone and identify yourself or get back to work knocking on doors and building a Labour majority.
Interviewer: As an aside there is more than one source for this story but that is an aside. Can I clarify Mr Lewis then. Is Labour ruling out any form of formal cooperation with Plaid Cymruwhatsoever come May the 3rd onwards?
HL: Well look I just condemned punditry and speculation and I’m not about to engage in it myself. I believe that Labour if we put our case to the Welsh electorate has every opportunity of building a majority government as we have done before to give clear leadership to Wales . I also believe that every vote for Plaid Cymru insidently brings the Tories closer to government in Wales and we have to remind people of that.”
Yet again Labour has been caught with their pants down. By fighting the most negative campaign in electoral history, getting found out like this was what Labour deserved.
The unionist wing of the Labour party must be in uproar.
Labour deserves a pounding at the polls. Let’s hope the people of Wales have the confidence on May the 3rd to grasp their own destiny. The London parties are all as bad as each other. It’s time we move away from the deceit and dishonesty which characterises the London consensus.
update -as reported on BBC blogs Labour have issued threatening press notices accusing the BBC of fabricating the story. Peter Hain is in uproar that his careful plotting and deceit has been uncovered. It's a disgrace that instead of coming clean Labour continue to lie. I wouldn't expect nothing better from the unionist wing of the Labour party, but I would have expected Rhodri Morgan to act with a bit more dignity during what seems increasingly likely to be his last few days in Office.
Monday, April 23, 2007
These super rich, the likes of Lakshmi Mittal; Philip Green; Hans Rausing; Mohamed Al Fayed; and Roman Abramovich, who are amongst the richest people on the planet pay virtually no tax for living in the UK.
Gordon Brown to herald a new socialist dawn – don’t make me laugh.
Friday, April 20, 2007
For our part in Plaid we will use the powers of the Assembly to make as much of a contribution as possible to the fight against child poverty. Our universal affordable childcare pledge will make a substantial contribution as will our pledge on free school meals. However until we have responsibility over fiscal policy and the benefits system to be able to redistribute wealth we are honest enough to admit that this issue can not be dealt addressed within the remit of the Assembly's powers.
Shame on Labour therefore for basing their election campaign on a promise they know full well they can't deliver.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
I have long argues that Brown has been a chancer, he has deliberately changed the goalposts and gerrymandered the economy to ensure his short term goals are met. Economies such as Wales' traditional manufacturing base have been abandoned by Labour as the City has been let to go hay wire destabilising the long term prosperity of the whole economy. (Its little wonder that wealth levels in Wales have collapsed by 6% in the last 10 years compared to the UK average). The end result is an economic legacy built on sand - correction is inevitable sooner or later.
The concerns are outlined by Hilton as follows -
- a massive balance of payments deficit
- low productivity
- poor state of education
- dependence on the public sector for job creation
- unprecedented levels of personal unsecured debt fuelled by unsustainable house prices
- the reliance on the City to drive UK growth based on mispricing of risk and quasi-monopolistic extraction of fees and bonuses
I could add
- growing north-south divide
- loss of over a million manufacturing jobs
- growing individual wealth inequalities
Hilton argues frighteningly that the whole UK economy is basically one giant hedge fund - a massive one way bet on financial services. Brown has put is eggs all in one basket with no plan B.
The relevance of all this to us in Wales is we desperately need a change of Government on May the 3rd so that we can have a change of approach that develops our indigenous businesses using the opportunities provided by convergence funding in particular in our poorest areas. The clouds are gathering and we need to develop our own plan B in Wales.
Brown is coming to Wales tomorrow. The political illiteracy of Rhodri Morgan and so called Welsh Labour is that they view this 'Son of Thatcher' as an electoral asset. I'm sure the people of Wales are delighted to get a visit from the man who has been responsible for making us the poorest part of the UK.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
a'r fersiwn Cymraeg
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
By fighting on the politics of fear, Labour have got it badly wrong this year. The only way to avoid the fall out of the last days of Blair, would have been to come up with a positive new vision for the future of Wales. By concentrating on such negative tactics they have reminded people of the worst aspects of Blair -deceit, dishonesty - spin and smear.
What have the South Wales West Lib Dems got to say about this. Do they agree with their Council leader in Cardiff?
Far from being anti Cardiff - what Plaid have been doing is attacking the Cardiff Bay Centric and centralisation tendencies of the current Administration. Typical Fib Dems - they'll say anything and create any miss-impression to get votes whilst trying to portray themselves as the cuddly alternative.
Monday, April 16, 2007
And there was I thinking that local health bodies had formed local implementation plans based on the strategic guidance of his government.
If Rhodri is right, we desperately need a change of government willing to rain in these unruly bureaucrats, because clearly Labour have lost all control.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Labour's response was pathetic - if it is irresponsible to rule out top up fees in Wales, does that mean that the commitment of the Labour party in Scotland, to rule out top up fees, is also irresponsible?
The most disgraceful aspect of this whole episode is that Labour in Wales have been claiming credit for the current position in relation to top up fees, when it was the combined opposition that put their intention to introduce top up fees to bed.
The introduction of tuition fees was the driving force for me in joining Plaid in the late 90s. I could never support a party that believes in undermining the right to free education. Labour is no longer the party of ordinary working people - it has sold its soul for power. These sort of regressive policies are the inevitable result.
What has been disappointing is that Labour have been allowed to get away with this for over a year. I have watched countless BBC and HTV interviews in which Labour politicians have been allowed to spin this lie without being challenged at all. The paramaters of this election therefore are being fought in the make belief world of Labour spin doctors. My own view is that public broadcasters have fuelled that lie in their inability to expose it for what it is.
In some ways you have to admire the ability of the Labour party in Wales to bully its way into getting its message across in Wales. On the other hand, to rely merely on the politics of fear during an election in the long term will be seen as a damning indictment of a once proud party that has lost all sense of purpose and direction.
Friday, April 13, 2007
- Under the last Tory Government the number of NHS beds in Wales fell by 7,847
- Under the Tories 60 hospitals in Wales closed.
- In 1991 the Tories introduced the internal market into the health service – which essentially means that service provision in based on economic viability rather than the health requirements of the population.
- In 1991 the Tories introduced capital charging whereby NHS Trusts bodies were required to pay an interest charge on all capital investments – effectively a tax on investment.
- In 1992, they unveiled the Finance Initiative schemes for funding capital investment in the health service. The result is a mountain of debt which is driving the need for rationalisation and centralisation of services.
- During the last Tory government the number of local authority care places fell by 48%
- During the 2005 General Election the Tories proposed the creations of a system of patient passports which would have created a two tier health system.
Labour have done nothing to reverse Tory reforms. They're both as bad as each other.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
I know definitely I’m in the right party when fascist right wing bigots with their warped understanding of the world are attacking you. Just shows that Plaid is the party with the vision for every part of Wales and for everyone who has chosen to make Wales their home.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
It’s clear Plaid’s narrative of policies based on hope for the future has caught Labour off guard. I welcome Labour’s change of emphasis, although it is clear there is no vision there, merely panic stricken induced policy announcements.
The choice for the people of Wales is quite clear. Plaid’s comprehensive programme and clear vision or Labour’s piecemeal and ill thought out offering?
Monday, April 9, 2007
Friday, April 6, 2007
Seems that the poll indicating a Tory victory in Ynys Mon was bogus after all. I wonder who would benefit from creating a bogus polling company to talk up the chances of the Tories in Ynys Mon by providing dubious polling data to the local paper????
Allegedly Labour have been up to the same sort of thing on a national basis in Scotland.
Thursday, April 5, 2007
With meltdown impending it looks like there will be three Labour leadership contents kick starting after May the 3rd - Blair, McConnell and Morgan.
This blog has long argued that Labour’s failure to come up with a new vision has been down to the inability of the main post Rhodri candidates to come to a common agreement. The hugely negative ‘Tory bogeyman’ strategy is being driven by the unionist wing of the party – whose own leadership chances will be vastly improved by a strong Tory showing on May the 3rd.
Step forward Leighton Andrews – the man who would be king?
The key difference in Scotland of course is the existence of a distinct separate media. A multitude of daily papers have been building up the election for the best part of a year; there have already been two leadership TV contests (including one by Sky) – and there is still a month to go; Newsnight Scotland offers a nightly avenue for Scottish based political debate. Put simply there are ample opportunities for politicians to engage with the electorate via the media.
The situation in Wales can not be any different. The Western Mail and the Daily Post have a combined circulation of less than 100,000. The Welsh political programmes are watched by less people than follow Caerbryn football club (trust me that’s not a lot) –due to the slots available (Who except for a complete political hack is going to watch Waterfront at 11ish on a Thursday night?); admittedly during election month the BBC are providing some coverage – but local radio stations are eroding BBC radio figures and most of the eastern half of Wales get their signal from across the border meaning they don’t watch BBC Wales or HTV Wales news. Basically the Welsh news agenda is set in London mostly and they won’t care about Wales until independence is imminent.
The fault doesn’t lie at the hands of the Welsh based media of course, they can only work within the context they are given. As usual these decisions are made in London.
As Wales develops politically it is essential that we also see the growth of a distinct and powerful media in Wales. The main news programme should be based in Wales offering national and international coverage and the London papers should at the very least employ a Welsh correspondent and preferably Welsh editions or Welsh versions.
Together politicians and the Welsh media can complement each other as Wales develops as a political entity.
Tuesday, April 3, 2007
Blamerbell has written an excellent report on the whole situation. The inconsistencies in Labour’s argument are quite frankly staggering. Not only does their seemingly backtracking of today amount to an abandonment of a policy they have pursued for at least three years, but of comments the Health Minister himself made in the Assembly only two weeks ago. Or is it as Blamerbell suggests merely a confirmation of their downgrade proposals for Llandudno hospital?
Let there be no doubt there is only one way to scrap New Labour’s hospital closure and downgrade programme – and that’s by electing a Plaid Government that will rip up Labour’s Designed for Life policy document.
Monday, April 2, 2007
Sunday, April 1, 2007
Labour sources are placing the blame directly on McConnell. The report further criticises Labour’s lack of strategy – claiming decisions are being made on a day to day basis.
The same goes for Labour in Wales of course. Labour has no organised central core. The strategy seems all over the place. And Rhodri Morgan has the look of a man resigned to failure.
In Scotland, neither the Tories nor Labour have ruled out a Red-Blue coalition of unionists in order to stop the SNP forming a Government. Should Plaid do better than expected and gain parity with Labour, would we see a Red-Blue deal in Wales?
- Plaid Win youtube battle
- NH Yes – More like ‘End the NHS’
- Labour send for the Cavalry
- BNP Election Pledge – “Plaid to hang if we win pow...
- Taflennu'r Ceidwadwyr
- Is there such a thing as Blairism?
- Huw Lewis Throws First Leadership Punch
- Plaid Youth Website Launched
- Labour Election Strategy Torn to Shreds
- The UK a Tax Haven – International Monetary Fund
- Plaid Win in Abercynon South
- Labour's Child Poverty Pledge Exposed
- There May Be Trouble Ahead
- Gwellhad Buan i Grav
- Plaid Election Broadcast - Episode 2
- Labour Poll Meltdown
- Yet More Fib Dem Duplicity
- Rhodri Abdicates Responsibility for NHS
- £7k Tuition Fees Coming to Wales?
- Martin Shipton - Labourn Election Strategy Based o...
- Tory Health Record in Wales
- Rearranging the Deckchairs on the Titanic?
- The First of Many?
- The Fib Dems are at it again
- BNP Target Plaid
- Plaid Setting the Agenda
- Croeso i Gymru Tony
- Bogus Poll Ynys Mon
- Who will take over from Rhodri?
- Election fever.....in Scotland
- The Worst Ever Election Website?
- Labour Election Strategy in Complete Shambles
- Plaid yn Lawnsio 3'ydd Poster
- 'Uninspiring and Clueless' - Labour
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