Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Significant day in history ?

I don't recall a previous day when China sneezed and many others caught a cold. I suspect this is a new chapter in our economic lives the significance of which is difficult to foresee - or I may simply be over reacting to inevitable variations in a stock market.

Its the promotion which counts !

Of course I can now say we never wanted to progress in the FA Cup and the promotion from the Championship is the main thing. (but a game with Man Utd would have been nice!). Pity about the red card.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

So how would Plaid reconfigure health ?

Plaid have decided to announce they would stop the reconfigeration of hospitals - the same policy as the Tories ???? (somewhere over the rainbow!!)

Helen Mary Jones told the Western Mail :

“We are making a commitment to stopping the current reconfiguration process, full stop,” she said.

Okay. So what "reconfiguration" do PLaid intend to implement ? Surely we need to be told prior to the election ?

Being against things is easy, but what are they for ?

Useful round up of blogging views

Wales Elects 2007 is proving a useful summary of views and comments around the Welsh blogging world. It shows the mix of attack, defence and wacky views we try and present to the world.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Taking on the Aberdaron to Aberdyfi challenge

Nice to spend some more time with David Phillips who will now take on the challenge of the new Dwyfor-Meirionnydd seat for Labour. At conference we spent time discussing common issues like the the Welsh Highland Railway, the new community hospital at Tremadog (Labour investment in action) and local economic issues.

David was also busy talking to Andrew Davies and Rhodri Morgan about the loss of jobs in Bala.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Fair point over the rainbow

I have now caught up with a few blogs including this interesting point from Blamerbell Briefs based on Elfyn Llwyd's rant on Thursday about the rainbow coalition.

Vote for Plaid opens door for Tories

Rhodri is right. The big threat on May 3rd is the Tories. That is why a vote for Plaid would be dangerous in Arfon as it just opens doors for the Tories. Redwood, Hague, Thatcher - painful memories.

Da iawn Tec

Yn anisgwyl ddoeth Tecwyn Thomas i cadar Llafur Cymru y flwyddyn yma oherwydd salwch gwr y Cadeirydd.

Erbyn rwan mae o'n swyddogol yn Cadeirydd ar gyfer 2007-08. Cydnabyddiaeth gwych i gweithiwr fyddlon y Plaid Lafur yn Arfo, Cymru a tu hwnt.

Congratulations to Tecwyn Thomas of the Arfon Labour Party on his election as the chair of the Wales Labour Party for 2007-08. A worthy recognition for a fantastic servant of working people.

Leighton in happy days

Aren't football fans unbearable when their team is doing well. Leighton Andrews took time out from his fantastic campaign in defence of the Burberry workers to enjoy Cardiff's 4-1 win. However over this morning coffees at Welsh conference in Llandudno he was obvioulsy unbearable !

Baggies kept up their decent away run. Happy days all round.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Vegetarian kills Welsh language

Just back from a quick trip to Welshpool for the Welsh language equivalent of Question Time - "Pawb A'i Farn". I thought a rather strange selection of questions that did niot give the programme the political edge that might have been expected.

However it will stick in my memory for Rhys Mwyn anarchist, musician, promoter (and good comapny) being lambasted for the potential death of the Welsh language through his vegeterianism. It seems that his anarchist roots, punk musical background were okay but not being vegeterian in his home farming county.

In conversation I recalled Rhys doing a gig for Nicaragua solidarity in the Vic, Menai Bridge amongst various "roadie" stories.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Sorry Leighton ! (and Blamerbell )

It was all very predictable given my formula of home wins and away draws for success this year. Cardiff back down the M5 pointless. Apologies to Leighton Andrews AM and Blamerbell briefs.

Nice to see Ellington find the net. We need not only to hunt down but get well past Derby as games in hand look a potential problem.

Anyway Boro and then Man Utd so we can have promotion and an FA Cup. Nice !

Monday, February 19, 2007

Plotting for Wigley as Plaid leader

Dafydd Iwan's failed letter promoting Dafydd Wigley as the Plaid candidate for Arfon has got me in to a creative mood and I thought I would join those speculating about polling outcomes in May.

Here's a good scenario :

People have had enough of Ieuan on Ynys Mon so vote him down.

People like the idea of Wigley returning so they vote Labour in Arfon.

In Aberconwy they choose a non-Plaid candidiate (I firmly recommend Denise)

Hey presto Mr Wigley is suddenly a serious contender for, not only a return from number 2 on the North Wales list, but also leader of Plaid after Ieuan's demise on Ynys Mon.

Surely politics is not that Machiavelian ???

Remember you heard it here via the words of no less a figure than 'Suanders Lewis' -

Vote Eaglestone and get Wigley too
Two for the price of one
A real bargain

Perhaps Dafydd Wigley will write a short recommendation for my election address, and perhaps Iwan will second it, given his obvious affection for Mr Wigley.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Independence - A journey towards factionalism ?

Some of those now blogging for independence have pointed to the stresses between three factions in Plaid Cymru. This fact has been clear to many of us who watch and listen to them, as there is little in common between Plaid in "fortress Gwynedd" and Plaid in other places.

I think it was Ieuan WJ who admitted at the (last ?) election that Plaid have the benefit of being able to say different things to people in different parts of Wales.

However it is a very interesting analysis that sugggests one result of Plaid's work is/will be their their demise in to factions. I suppose it is interesting to speculate as to which faction would have the upper hand in any Rainbow coalition (back on Glyn Davies's agenda this week).

Accuracy of news

The BBC report on the funding of Healthy Living Centres and use the example of Maesgeirchen in Bangor where the HLC is making a difficult transition from lottery to mainstream funding. The centre is in Bangor.

However why this should be described by the BBC as near Caernarfon leads one to question how accurate reporting can sometimes be. Is it the case that everywhere will not to be mentioned directly, but simply by reference to being near somewhere else down the road ?.

In addition we do face some difficult questions over the coming years as a number of lottery and European funded projects that have been put in place will come to the end of their grant period, and we must all hope that funding viability has been acheived.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Blogger in blood pressure alert !

Blamerbell clearly had a relaxing afternoon with the football !! Heaven knows what Leighton Andrews AM will be reporting.

I recall several other reports of Leeds unwise tactics this year.

Meanwhile the Baggies held to my theory of away draws and home wins by holding Boro 2-2.

In the hat for the next round, even if the replay must be won as well.

Friday, February 16, 2007

"Saunders Lewis" twist to campaign slogan

Last Sunday's blog about Dafydd Iwan preferring Dafydd Wigley as Plaid's candidate for Arfon drew a number of reactions - the idea clearly upsets some of my Plaid blogging colleagues.

However amongst the comments you will see 'Saunders Lewis' has stepped forward to suggest that the slogan needs some fine tuning :

"Vote Eaglestone and get Wigley too.

Two for the price of one.
A real bargain"

I must keep working at this campaign, and more suggestions would be welcome.

Please keep , them clean - robust is fine and democratic, but I don't want to have to moderate.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Impartial press ?

I know it doesn't always help to pick an argument with the press, but with the weekly help we can all see being given to the Conservative candidate in Aberconwy I thought I would send off the following letter to the Daily Post :

Dear editor,

As a Labour Party candidate in the elections to our National Assembly on May 3rd can I possibly request that your paper provides me with the same facility as Dylan Jones Evans who seems to have been given a weekly permit to write material favourable to himself and his campaign. I have no objection to reading Dylan's views, as I beleive debate is the lifeblood of democracy, but I would hope as a regular purchaser of your paper that other candidates might get the same opportunity so that readers have a balanced view of the many issues they will vote upon this May.For example when writing about health issues I might like to report Labour's record investment in our NHS and to contrast Dylan's words with the record of his own party when last in power.

Yours sincerely
Martin Eaglestone
Labour Party candidate
Arfon constituency

I wait to see whether other voices are even allowed on to the letters page !

Cash incentive does not add up for me

I have an active interest in affordable housing issues as part of my work as a planning officer involves seeking solutions to this challenge. Knowing a little about the situation - but only one piece of a complex jigsaw - I cannot quite make sense of Plaid's announcement regarding grants (will these also be called "bribes" as Plaid recently described economic develolpment grants?) to first time buyers.

I fear these grants will only assist sellers of property, as the market will quickly adjust and absorb any additiional purchasing power, and estate agents if their business levels increase.
Furthermore it can only assist those who are in a situation near to purchase, and so the most vulnerable will loose out as public money for housing is diverted towards those who are on the verge of owning property, not those in most need.

It is being promoted, I assume, as it is eye catching for Plaid's middle class supporters - New Plaid Cymru - now where have we heard such policies criticised before ? Perhaps an increase in house building in areas like Gwynedd would help ease pressures ?

I am happy to be informed if my interpretation is wrong as Plaid's web site lacks detail of how this system will work.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Given the coverage of this report and the significance of the issue please find the link to UNICEF here.

"Stunning win"

Another fine win for the Baggies at fortress Colchester. See posting on club site here. I think we need to chase down Derby as Brum have too many games in hand for comfort.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

First Minister's latest speech

The Assembly provides a link to information on Rhodri Morgan's latest speech, you can also read the previous contributions. Full version of speech will follow.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Wales and employment

Andrew Davies AM has a letter in today's Western Mail

Monday, 12 February 2007
Feb 12 2007
Peter Morrell, Western Mail

For more Welsh jobs, only Labour will do

SIR - Alun Cairns, Conservative and Alun Ffred Jones, Plaid Cymru, have recently joined forces on your letters page to attack the achievements of Welsh companies in creating jobs. (Western Mail, Letters, February 2 and February 5). The independent Office for National Statistics' Labour Force Survey is the definitive account of public and private sector employment. This survey shows that since 1999 the percentage increase in private sector employment in Wales is over twice that for the UK as a whole. Furthermore, Wales is the only part of the UK to have seen a bigger percentage increase in private sector employment than public sector employment since 1999.

This record is a tribute to the skill and talents of Welsh employees. Working in partnership, the Assembly Government and UK Government have created an environment where companies can invest in confidence. Wales provides world-class business support and good transport links in a low inflation, low interest rate environment.

The Tories want to take us back to the bad old days of the 1980s. Plaid Cymru want to shut Wales off from the world economy. Only Labour is standing up for Wales and delivering jobs and prosperity across the country.


Sunday, February 11, 2007

Dafydd Iwan's choice for Arfon - Dafydd Wigley

This morning I return to the letter which Plaid President Dafydd Iwan issued to Lord Elis-Thomas about Plaid's candidates for May 2007. The letter reveals that the preferred choice of Plaid President Dafydd Iwan for the new seat of Arfon was Dafydd Wigley, not Alun Ffred Jones. Indeed Mr Iwan wanted Ffred to stand in Dwyfor-Meirionnydd and with Lord DET moving to Aberconwy to help this happen.

I know that some of my blogging colleagues will say this means nothing, and is part of the normal business of running a party in preparation for the elections. However in the small world that is Plaid Cymru in North West Wales I think it is more than a little significant that the pattern of candidiates this May is nothing like the President intended. It also suggests that the President has little influence in his own Party, as it would surely be sensible to sort out such thoughts in private not by written correspondence.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Seeing the future !

Lovely quote on page 2 of tody's Guardian

"If you are asking me for predictions when exactly it will open up again then it is hard to say"

Astrologer Jonathon Cainer on the closoure of his Psychic Museum in York.

That put a smile on my face.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Distaw ! Hush - the policy that dare not speak its name

Dragon's Eye provided great interest with a feature on "independence". It seems to me that if you are to feature on the media then don't stand around near the cameras being filmed taking advice and then not appearing. The fact that a blog and politics may differ is hardly news but at least stand up and explain your views.

We all know that "independence" is not to be spolen about in public but given the coverage in blog land Ieuan has come forward to offfer an article to those pushing for true independence.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Read the policy document

A somewhat standard non-story in the Western Mail from people who are not familiar with our pre conference policy documents. Politics is the art of the possible so let those campaigning for new measures identify practicalground for progress - rather than absolute stances.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Damaging "bribe" allegation must be withdrawn

I have read again the letter issued by Alun Ffred Jones and Dafydd Wigley claiming that companies receive a "bribe" to locate in Wales. I find this allegation in a letter to local business in Arfon both bizzare, and possibly damaging to our economic interests. As Andrew Davies told the Asembly :

"However, the other candidate was a present Assembly Member, who wrote to local businesses in the Arfon constituency stating that, over the past 30 successive years, Governments, Conservative and Labour alike, have placed far too much emphasis on paying grants to bribe—a word that I would like Members to note—large companies into Wales rather than nurturing our own business sector. I am sure that companies such as Inspired Broadcast Networks, at Technium CAST in Parc Menai, Bangor, and Brandsauce, which has created 30 jobs, and The Book People, both of which are also at Parc Menai, would be interested to hear that a Government is offering bribes and that such companies are willing to accept them. Plaid Cymru needs to consider whether it is in favour of developing a sustainable economy or whether, just as in its attitude to the defence industry and the Ministry of Defence, it wants to put up barriers around Wales".

This "bribe" allegation should be withdrawn. Plaid must put up or shut up based on evidence :

Which local companies got a "bribe" ?

How many jobs will be lost if such grant support is not offered - is it not part of the purpose of Ob jective One to offer grants in Arfon?

Sunday, February 04, 2007

One weekend per year ?

I watched the speed boat go by this morning from my bedrrom window, and it made a fair noise as it passed by Y Felinheli. I don't think we want the Strait to be used for this type of high speed activity as it would conflict with other uses.

However one weekend per year - well supervised - might help diversify and extend the tourist season. But careful thought required.

Extraordinary posting

Blamerbell Briefs has made an extraordinary posting about the Electoral Commission and the BNP. I await the clarification mentioned.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Peter blogs Andrew

Peter Black blogged pretty fully on Andrew Davies's Assembly contribution this week saying :

"Perhaps it was the fact that we held Plenary on a Thursday, but as other bloggers have already pointed out there was definitely something in the air. I am not convinced like Glyn Davies that Andrew Davies' sustained assault on Plaid Cymru was a calculated leadership bid, but it certainly will do him no harm in the future. That after all was the intention when Leighton Andrews planted the question:

Leighton Andrews: I congratulate the Minister on his role, along with the First Minister and colleagues at Westminster, in helping to bring that development to south Wales. Does he agree that we would not want Wales to be seen as a place that is not welcoming of the British military? We believe that these investments have a considerable role to play in the Welsh economy and that Wales has not, in the past, enjoyed its fair share of such investments.

Andrew Davies: I very much agree. It has been a fantastic team effort, as you said; I pay tribute to your parliamentary colleague, Chris Bryant, who led a very effective lobbying campaign at Westminster. As well as a team effort, it was a Team Wales effort, and it was an attempt to change the perception of Wales. We have been successful in doing that. However, we have to bear in mind that some parties would not even have been bidding for the defence training academy.Plaid Cymru has made its position on this clear. Certainly, Elfyn Llwyd, one of its many leaders, signed a parliamentary motion in November 2006, opposing the entire defence training review programme. We would not even be in this position of celebrating success if we had followed Plaid Cymru. This matter has a long history in that party. Who will ever forget Saunders Lewis’s infamous arson attack on the Pwllheli military training camp on the eve of the second world war? Yet another of Plaid Cymru’s leaders, Dafydd Iwan, the president, has called for an end to all army activity, including training, in Wales. Who could forget the social justice spokeswoman, Leanne Wood—I am afraid that she is not here at the moment—demanding that representatives of the armed forces be banned from Welsh schools? If we had followed Plaid’s policy, we would not have been standing up for Wales; we would be hauling up the white flag for Wales. Where would we be on the north-south air service from Cardiff to RAF Valley, which the Government is introducing? Presumably, Plaid should not really support that, because it is based on a defence site. Where is Elin Jones on the issue of unmanned aerial vehicles?Elin Jones: I am here.Andrew Davies: Where are you now on the unmanned aerial vehicle aerospace park at Parc Aberporth? We have worked with the Ministry of Defence, as a Labour Government, to bring that to Wales. We could go on and on, about constituency after constituency, where Plaid Cymru would want to see the end of defence expenditure and an end to the creation of thousands of jobs in Wales.And it went on:Andrew Davies: I think that it is a bit rich of Owen John Thomas to ask about local jobs. We would not even be in this position, if we had followed the policy of Plaid Cymru’s leader of opposing the defence training academy. One of our key strengths in bidding for the defence academy, with our parliamentary colleagues in London, was that we were able to address the Ministry of Defence’s concerns about local skills and local sourcing. One of our major strengths was that we could demonstrate that we had the necessary skills in Wales and the capacity and expertise in our further and higher education institutions. We were standing up for Wales, creating wealth and jobs, unlike Plaid Cymru, the party that would put up barriers around Wales.

It was so good that Conservative AM, David Melding, could not resist congratulating the Minister on it:David Melding: Minister, I must congratulate you on your astonishing and utterly spontaneous replies; they put on record some hard political facts. [Laughter.]

Just when we thought it was over, the Labour AM for Islwyn, Irene James, planted another question:

Irene James: As you have already alluded to in your answer, inward investment is a key part of the economy of industrialised south Wales. Will you give an assurance that, as part of a Labour Welsh Assembly Government, you will not turn your back on the opportunities of inward investment, as advocated by nationalists fighting a nationalist agenda, whatever the cost to economic health and opportunities? Do you agree that indigenous business growth, inward investment, and economic diversity are all essential to a successful, thriving and prosperous Welsh economy?

Andrew Davies: I agree. You need a balanced approach in a modern economy. You need the public sector and Government leading and developing policies that encourage business, entrepreneurial activity and innovation, whether it is Welsh-based companies or inward investors.I was somewhat taken aback when someone brought to my attention a letter that was sent out by two parliamentary candidates from Plaid Cymru—[Assembly Members: ‘Oh.’]—one of whom was a former leader. The trouble is that there have been so many leaders, it is always difficult to remember their roles. However, the other candidate was a present Assembly Member, who wrote to local businesses in the Arfon constituency stating that, over the past 30 successive years, Governments, Conservative and Labour alike, have placed far too much emphasis on paying grants to bribe—a word that I would like Members to note—large companies into Wales rather than nurturing our own business sector. I am sure that companies such as Inspired Broadcast Networks, at Technium CAST in Parc Menai, Bangor, and Brandsauce, which has created 30 jobs, and The Book People, both of which are also at Parc Menai, would be interested to hear that a Government is offering bribes and that such companies are willing to accept them. Plaid Cymru needs to consider whether it is in favour of developing a sustainable economy or whether, just as in its attitude to the defence industry and the Ministry of Defence, it wants to put up barriers around Wales.So that is 'no' to a coalition with Plaid Cymru then? Or is it?

How did Andrew in far away Cardiff learn about that Plaid Cymru letter I wonder ????

Not in tune !

Blamerbell Briefs gets excited over claims that Plaid and Cymuned are mis using the start of the rugby season.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Where were you ?

An enjoyable few hours with Bangor NUS and catching up with the variety of student life in Bangor. As Assembly candidates we were invited to form a panel. I was the only candidate to attend so rather than being quizzed on current issues (potentially painful !) I spent time looking around the stalls/activities and enjoyed the whole event. (was my last visit to Time clubfor the great Robert Plant ? or a dance).

Congratulations to Storm Radio = 87.7 fm (Bangor's student sound/Sain Myfyrwyr Bangor) on 30K of renovation work, an official opening by Cllr Dorothy Bulled and best wishes for many years happy broadcasting to your University audience.

Also some happy memories of being parts of the Ents team at Birmigham Poly (Polytechnic - what that ??) back in early 1980's. But I'm sure today's studenst are more mature in outlook.