Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Iraq vote - a distraction

I did not support the war in Iraq and having stood in several elections have had made my views clear on numerous occassions. However I see no point in today's vote - except for opportunism early in the new term, which happens to see elections in Wales and Scotland.

Now we are there the focus should be on resolving the complex issues the invasion has unfolded, not discussing if and when an investigation is required.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Is technology our only saviour ?

In the light of today's climate change report is there any hope within our selfish society apart from advances in technology across the globe ? Certainly the minor impacts of individual action, for example in Wales/UK, are dwarfed by international issues.

Let's be up front, I support the general principle of green taxes but feel we need to think about offsetting regressive impacts on hard presed parts of our communities.

Why not visit SERA and see what red and green might debate in this subject area.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Multi cultural North West Wales

An enjoybale afternoon at Bangor's first multi cultural festival, and well done the Mayor for bringing it all together. It was an inspiration and success breeds success. However in spite of their candidate's smiling face can I humbly suggest the festival is a big challenge for Plaid Cymru. Their "fortress Gwynedd" policies don't sit very well with a celebration of our now multi cultural, community.

But as long as everyone learns Welsh then the thought police won't throw them out They can't cope with the "English", so heaven knows what they do with multi-culturalism in this part of Wales.

Brighter still

This weekend Caernarfon has witnessed one of the best shows, I suugest, available in the world this weekend. "Merlin's Magical Quest" was a son et lumiere on the walls of Caernarfon Castle - magnifique !. If you did not attend then you missed out. Check out Y Grael cyf for more information and news on future shows.

This is exciting and Caernarfon must take advantage.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Brighter economic future

I am sorry to tell Peter Black that Peter Hain - the man he respectfuly calls "rent a gob" on his blog - was today in Parc Menai, Bangor and received a warm welcome at the CAST centre. There is so much exciting technology happening in this centre and it is a fantastic mark of the success of Objective One funding in North West Wales. Now the innovation and technolgy is kicking in and the link with the University is vital. It is exactly where part of our economy needs to be and promises a brighter future for our area.

Peter was off to Belfast in the evening for his Northern Ireland responsibilities,and is clearly a Labour figure managing a major brief with great competence. To me "rent a gob" looks good material for at least Deputy Leader.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Chief's blog mischief

Given the publicity surrounding Richard Brunstrom's blog I thought we'd better show some blogging solidarity by linking up.

He manages to cause major debate in our media - but people sometimes need to remember that a bit of controversy if often his aim.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Of interest

This posting on e-politix may be of interest.

Stats and real outcomes

For me this type of story from the Western Mail brings in to focus the challenge in managing the public services effectively. I will not comment on the detail as I would need to check the facts, but our focus must be on scrutinising the effects of investment and must move to the outcomes acheived not just statistical manoueveres.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Budget delays

Well in spite of Elis Thomas and Marek the opposition have found enough common ground to tell us what they won't support - and the Assembly budget decision is delayed. That will start costing us all money as I'm told the budget included some extra spending for schools, roads and social services.

However in the coming days the opposition wil have to agree on what they want from their un-costed wish list. We await with interest.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Massive target announced

Today's announcement about tackling child poverty plants a massive red flag at the heart of Welsh politics. The degree of co-ordination and commitment required to deliver on this aim needs careful consideration, and a special relationship with Westminster.

It is what the analysts will call a 'dividing line' come next May's election and if to be acheived could require wide ranging and creative use of the Assembly's additional powers.

Many say that politics can be boring, but the aim announced today could shape Wales, and Welsh politics, for a generation.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Cardiff and Wolves

A gap in posting as I travelled down to Cardiff for Labour's Welsh Policy Forum. A weak excuse for a blogger I know (at least Peter Black was in Copenhagen when he had problems), but it sometimes helps to debate issues with people rather than in cyberspace !

Anyway a successful day of discusiion as Labour prepares for a special conference in November, and the countdown to next May's manifesto. We seem in good spirits in Wales.

On the football front I had warned Leighton Andrews AM that Cardiff's wheels might come off if Chopra was injured. Well he (Chopra not Leighton !) was suspended yesterday and Cardiff went down 1-0 !

Leighton is also quick off the mark blogging on the takeover at the club.

Meanwhile the Black counytry derby resuumed and Albion racked up 3 more goals, incuding a strike from Hartson. All is good !! Same players - different team : funny old game.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Coalition - chapter 510 !

I suppose it was inevitable. HTV stole a march last week with comments from their interview with Nick Bourne, so 'Dragon's Eye' got some words from Rhodri Glyn Tomos to keep the fire burning. After the current budget debate (surely that, and the 'wish list' should have been this week's debate Rhun !?) this coalition stuff could continue until we all publish manifestos and we have real policies to compare.

Once again I say that only one party (Welsh Labour) can publish, and deliver, a manifesto - if the people of Wales want us to.

To acheive that we need to win seats like Arfon. So the advice in Arfon remains - vote Labour (Eaglestone) and possibly get Wigley as well off the list.

Meanwhile expect more kites to be flown ......

Driving for growth

For those in other parts of Wales you may be interested in the new initiative launched today which seeks to give extra momentum to initiatives that are trying to overcome some big issues facing North West Wales. Andrew Davies has endorsed, and will chair the Mon-Menai Delivery Board. It was therefore a little disapointing to hear Richard Parry Hughes, Plaid Cymru leader of Gwynedd Council, pouring some cold water on the idea by 5.00pm (interview on Post Prynhawn). Some of us thought this was an idea the councils wanted, and in bringing the Minister centre stage (like the Heads of the Valley initiative) it means we are on the agenda. Grab the chance and don't loose time squabbling over what money is clean, and what is redirected. Let's put enough practical ideas in place to give the Minister a headache !

£21 billion - perhaps it is an event !!

Having followed the tax stuff I thought i would release as follows and I assume an Assembly colleague will ask Nick Bourne to square the circle.

PRESS RELEASE - Tory Tax Hypocrisy

Martin Eaglestone, Labour's Assembly candidate in Arfon, has called in to question the logic of Tory tax policy.

Martin Eaglestone said "The news that the Tory party are to consider £21 billion pounds of tax cuts exposes the hypocrisy of their group in the National Assembly who at the very same time are demanding more expenditure from the Welsh Assembly Government. The uncosted wish list published by opposition groups this week is seeking more expenditure. yet we can now see the real Tory agenda is the old story of tax cuts for the most well off".

"This report exposes the contradiction in the Tories position. It is not possible to square the circle of reduced tax and ever higher public expenditure as set out in the wish list. The Tories have to come clean on what they want - tax give aways to the rich or investment in public services".

Gwynedd accents

I have received the folowing message which seems suitable material to publicise via the blog amongst other routes :

"Subject: Gwynedd Accents

Dear All,

I know this isn't technically archival, but a friend asked if I could
circulate this to anyone who might be able to help.

The University of Birmingham are looking for people from Caernarfon for
help with a project they are currently running - they need individuals who
have lived in the area their whole lives as part of their study on
regional accent and dialect.

Further details from here:

If anyone has contacts who might be able to help, I'm sure the project
would be really grateful.


Jess Sykes"

Why not get in touch if relevant to study.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

£21 bilion non event ?

I am getting a little suspicious. I wonder whether Cameron has set up a couple of commission's to provide some barmy ideas that he could dump as a sign of new strength ?

Save post offices, fund the health service, extend public services - but cut £21 billion. I think not. We wait to see.

By the way what do we loose in Wales to save £21 billion ???? I hope Nick Bourne has his calculator out given the Tories wish list in the Assembly budget negotiations.

Politics of the wish list

Well the Assembly draft budget has been published and no doubt our small press family in Wales will have fun following the ins and outs of negotiations that are inevitable under a minority administration. However sensible opposition surely requires more than a wish list and must provide detailed ideas as to what the wish list costs. If the wish list is to be funded from the budget we need to know what is not going to be funded. I am not a great financier but I know some simple rules of these budgets.

So my question to Alun Ffred and Plaid Cymru is whether Labour's pledge on free prescriptions will be undermined, or free school meals or which other element of policy ?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

My day

Late home from work but fellow bloggers have alerted me to the History Matters blog site so I have posted a little record

Monday, October 16, 2006

Leighton's insight

Leighton Andrews AM has provided a useful insight to some blogging activity across Wales. However I must say I see nothing wrong in my football tastes given the 5 knocked past Ipswich. I started the season thinking big John Hartson would lead us back, however its seem the pace of Kamara and guile of Philips may do the job. Of course big John now has incentive to work harder.

Striking photos

This feature in the online Guardian causes some pause for thought.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


As it is Sunday and a time for reflection I thought I'd post this link.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Iwan's Scottish fantasies

Dafydd Iwan has been up to Scotland and clearly taken in the Braveheart and Rob Roy air. He tells us that "Free nations" beckon and we look forward to hearing about their taxation plans to pay for all their election promises.

Meanwhile the rest of us who live in (I must assume the currently oppressed /incarcerated country !) Wales get on with building an economy, investing in public services and strengthening our democratic structure.

Happy dreaming Dafydd !!

Crikey - I nearly lost count

Well even better than an away draw, and so many goals I almost lost count ! 5 - that will do very nicely.
Meanwhile Leighton Andrews AM remains in seventh heaven as David Jones leads Cardiff to another victory.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Look - a manager

Well after rumour and wait it seems that Tony Mowbray is to take over next week. Good luck to him although with Hartson, Kamara, Philips and Ellington all fit it seems Pearson has an embarresment of riches before we stuff Ipswich.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Crikey chaps - sort it out !

Anyone standing for the Assembly, and watching Dragon's Eye tonight, must be alarmed by the contributions seen from Marek and Elis Thomas. This will not help the status and standing of the newly empowered Assembly.

Some advice Lord Dafydd, and as they might say to you in the House of Lords - crikey chaps, sort it out

Old and new technology

This piece in the Guardian seems to show the difference between 'old' and 'new' media. The polling data comes a little more alive with the technolgy.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Lib Dem trys to flush out his own leaders !

Well it comes to something when a Lib Dem AM uses his blog to try and flush out the truth from his own leaders about coalition talks. This is what Peter Black wrote :

For our part, the Liberal Democrat Party Leadership privately deny that any talks have been going on in preparation for a coalition, but they seem curiously reluctant to make this declaration in public or to rule out serving in a coalition under a Tory First Minister. Such an announcement would be useful in my view simply because it give a clear indication of the direction of travel of the party.

The smart money must be on Boure, Wyn Jones and German keeping the rainbow afloat (surely a mixed metaphor!) but not wanting to admit it - except for Bourne, sort of hinting about it.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

New media frenzy

I really should have invented Youtube and then bailed out the Labour Party !

However the merits of all these new media sources is causing interesting debate. This is covered in the Guardian debates section regarding another new source involving some Tory plus other bloggers.

Leighton Andrews AM also launched Rhondda TV - all great example sof politics moving beyond what mainstream tv presents.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Talking rubbish !

Some might say I always do, but my work as a planning officer has shown me the controversy generated by waste issues. As a society we live a lifestyle that generates lots of waste - but an attitude which seems to want to ignore the consequences.

Jackie Ashley takes up some of the political consequences in today's Guardian.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

It's contractual

Ray Stubb's says it's contractual. I don;t think that would affect the credits, but we know that the FAW sold the rights to Sky. Perhaps a way of hiding the horrors.

Match of the Day

I stand to be corrected but I am sure the opening credits on tonight's Match of the Day failed to include Wales. No wonder my nationalist friends sometimes suspect a plot. Whatever the score was, we should not be ignored.

Well done Scotland

Llongyfarchiadau i'r Alban. Gwell dweud dim am y gweddill.

Well done Scotland. We'll pass over the rest.....

Friday, October 06, 2006

Lib Dem cant see it - he's been Copenhagen-ed

Peter Black AM tells us he can't know about the Rainbow as he is stuck in a hotel in Copenhagen. And we all thought a person of Peter's technology skills would find such distance no problem. A tactical, sorry, technical hitch obviously !

This is how a Tory sees it

Glyn Davies AM has blogged as follows below. I think his tone of surprise slightly flys in the face of his recent S4C programme with Alun Ffred Jones, where Glyn mentioned the coaliation, and Ffred said words to the effect that we won't mention that (on the programme).

"Friday, October 06, 2006
Waterfront again

I watched Waterfront again last night. It is becoming compulsive viewing. Lee Waters is becoming a real handful. What a waste it will be if he ever goes into politics himself! I could have done without his reference to me as 'troublesome' though. He made me sound like some rabid right winger - which will please one of my Newport friends who accused me yesterday of being a 'soft old b*****'after I backed the Government's support for poverty in Africa. I could have been wrong on that but I do admit that I can be a 'bit soft' on this sort of issue.

But the real big mega story last night was that there have been discussions going on between Nick B, Ieuan WJ and Mike G about a coalition after the next Assembly election. I could have fallen off my chair. I expected it to be the story of the day today. I suppose the BBC played the story down because it was ITV Wales. Surely they will look for a different angle on the story on Sunday and then run it as their exclusive!! Six months ago, I would have been downright 'troublesome' if I had heard this. But things move on. The way Labour are trying to 'fix' the constitution in Wales to suit the 'government of the day' makes it imperative that they are forced to try opposition for themselves. If it takes a coalition to deliver a lesson in how to build a constitution - so be it. When I update the betting on next May's Cardiff Bay Quadrennial Handicap, I would not be at all surprised to see Rainbow Coalition take over the favourite's spot".

This is how the Post saw it

The Daily Post picked up on the "rainbow coalition" as folows :

'Informal' Assembly coalition talksOct 6 2006

by Daily Post

THE Tories’ leader in the Welsh Assembly last night said parties were informally discussing forming a coalition government after next May’s election.

Nick Bourne’s comments in a television interview are the most explicit public disclosure yet about the possibility of a power-sharing deal between the Opposition parties.

He pointedly refused to rule out serving under a Plaid Cymru First Minister in a hung Assembly, despite senior Plaid figures refusing to contemplate being junior partners to the Tories.

Mr Bourne insisted there had been no talk of “divvying up” Cabinet jobs ahead of the election.

He told ITV Wales’s political programme Waterfront: “There are discussions going on, of course there are, on an informal basis between parties about what is going to happen after the next election.

“The idea of divvying up jobs I think it’s just not on. I categorically, absolutely deny there’s any suggestion of that amongst opposition parties.”

The Tories, Liberal Democrats, Plaid and independent AMs have united to vote-down the Labour administration since it fell into a minority at the last General Election".

Vote Plaid - get the Tories : I Told you so.
Vote Labour - Get Labour (and perhaps Mr Wigley on the list!)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Quick - tell Alun Ffred its in the open !

Well in spite of silence, and denials, it seems Nick Bourne has let the cat out of the bag, talked of the elephant on the door step and called a spade a spade. There is clear talk between opposition parties of a "rainbow coalition" to replace Labour after May 2007. Have al ook at Waterfront tonight.

So Alun Ffred can I repeat my offer of some months - will you go in to coalition with the Tories or not ? Your recent programme on S4C was interesting - a warm alliance with Glyn Davies - a sign of things to come.

Time for Dafydd El and Elfyn Llwyd to speak

Events at the enterprise company Cymad, and its subsiduary Galw, get stranger by the week. Given that these board members are fine upstanding members of Plaid Cymru (like most of the Board members and the Chief Executive) it is surely time for local representatives Elfyn Llwyd MP, Dafydd Elis Thomas AM, Hywel Williams MP and Alun Ffred Jones AM to speak out ?.

Many local people know the links - and yes it will be a little embarassing for Plaid cymru -but surely someone has the courage to step forward and sort this all out ?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Pathetic Lib Dem radio debate

The Welsh Assembly Government have made a small but significant step on the Millennium Development Goals as part of aid for Africa. I debated this on Radio Cymru today with Tories, Plaid Cymru and Lib Dem AM Eleanor Burnham. Tories "praised" the move, Plaid Cymru "welomed" it. The Lib Dems made some pathetic noises about people stealing aid money, and corrupt leaders. Wrong point at the wrong time.

Lib Dems fail the aid for Africa challenge.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Useful BBC Resource

Some people got upset about the cost of the new BBC mini adverts, but I think his new section on health of their web site is a good resource worth looking around.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Tories many bricks short of a full house !

Obviously Tory AM Glyn Davies fears that the Tories are falling short on policy and will be exposed in Wales and Scotland. Is this not the exact point we have all been making - Mr Cameron flying around`the world to smile at the camera and tell us the perils of global warming - meanwhile lihjt on policy.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

"Nice"`new Tories ?

It's about 23.10 and have I really just seen George Osborne (one of their bright new things!) try and suggest Gordon Brown is somehow autistic on Sky News ?

And this is the "nice" new Tories ?

These people are showing a great skill at being offensive, and it only comes on the back of a few opinion polls, with no real substance.

Value for money at the hawthorns

Well a red card, missed penalty, 3-0 followed by 4-2. It is value for money at the very least as the Baggies pick up a big 3 points off Leeds before the international break.