Monday, April 30, 2007

Battle bus hits road for closing days

So with only days to go the "battle bus" has hit the road the the loudspeakers are stirring up support for the final stage. Weather reamins glorious (but will it snow on Thursday !!)

Don't give Wales an uncertain future - vote Labour

Today's publication of public expenditure figures for Wales show that public services in Wales continue to benefit massively from the successful partnership between Labour in Wales, and Labour in the Westminster Government.

Since 1999 the Assembly Government's budget has more than doubled, rising from £7 billion to £14 billion. Overall public expenditure in Wales is 14% higher per head than it is England.
Health expenditure in Wales has risen by 60% since 2001-2. Wales is now spending 6% per head more on health than in England. Education expenditure has risen by 35%.since 2001-2. Per head, Wales is now spending 5% more on education than England, while expenditure on transport and economic development is 43% higher in Wales than in England.

This has contributed to Wales' remarkable record in attracting new jobs and reducing unemployment.

The successful partnership that Labour has maintained has been achieved through the Barnett formula, which has provided Wales with secure, favourable and rising public expenditure.
Labour's opposition parties in the 3 May election want to dump both the Barnett formula and Labour's working partnership with Westminster. They have not explained to the people of Wales that an alternative to Barnett may well decrease the bonus that Wales now gets in public expenditure.

First Minister RHODRI MORGAN said:
"A vote for the Nationalists and the Liberal Democrats risks putting the Tories into Welsh Government and getting less money for public services in Wales. John Redwood became famous for sending money back to London; Ieuan Wyn Jones and Mike German want to dump the Barnett formula and put at risk the money Wales gets – they want to join the Redwood Club".

Sunday, April 29, 2007

"Don't know-Don't Care" poses Blamerbell

I suppose this posting shows the thoughts of Blamerbell have had the desired effect. I will hovever post a few thoughts on this final weekend of the campaign, before heading back in to the warmth of Arfon to campaign.

Firstly there has been no lack of the hard slog and traditional campaigning in Arfon. Most people still appreciate a knock on door, I just wish a few more would be at home when we called ! Perhaps we should introduce a compulsory time for beibng at home to greet your candidate !

Or a regulatiion allowing each of us a 2 hour slot in the local Tesco/ASDA etc so we can see people as they carry out this new national pastime - shopping.

It is a candidate's most frustrating experience to hear "you didn't call on me"`when you know you tried a copule of times - but found noone in.

Secondly the real campaigning now tends to focus on those candidiates having a realistic chance of success in a specific constituency. However that it perhaps a recognition of reality - why flog a dead horse when time can be spent elsewhere perhaps making a real difference for your chosen party.

Thirdly campaigning techniques such as the phone are now playing a strionger real in identifying supporters.

Finally it is an established fact that candidates are all delicate flowers, we really should not be subject to such criticsim !!!!

Money questions for Plaid

2011: A crazy nationalist odyssey -

Flawed nationalist spending plans would punish Welsh workers and core public services NATIONALIST spending plans for Wales have been branded as "not of this planet" in a major attack by Labour. According to Plaid Cymru, it will be able to pay for policies such as free laptops for schoolchildren and £5,000 grants for first-time buyers, as well as maintaining spending levels for our public services, within the existing Assembly budget.

But new analysis revealed by Labour shows that this would not be possible without freezing the wages of public sector workers and raiding the budgets of core public services. Plaid Cymru's spending plans would mean:

A wage freeze for all public sector workers in Wales, even assuming that other overheads, such as energy costs, will be frozen ·

A reversal of Labour's projected growth in NHS spending ·

A reversal of Labour's projected growth in social services ·

A reversal of Labour's projected growth in education spending

Labour First Minister RHODRI MORGAN said: "This is sci-fi politics from the nationalists. Almost every week we have a new outlandish spending commitment, each time making their claims to be a serious party of government seem all the less credible. "These are spending promises not of this planet. "Plaid Cymru says it can be trusted with the NHS, yet its plans would mean a reversal of our proposed growth in the health budget. The nationalists say in leaflets and meetings across Wales that they want to protect rural schools, yet they want to reverse our planned growth in education. They say they are the party that stands up for public sector workers, yet their policies would effectively mean pay cuts for all our public sector workers. "These are policies, Ieuan, but not as we know it. This shoddy and irresponsible wish-list would lead Wales into a crazy nationalist odyssey, a nation in such a shambles by 2011 that the institution of devolution would be a laughing stock.

"Only Labour can be trusted with our public services, our children's futures and our jobs."

Notes: It does not serve Welsh politics well that the Plaid Cymru manifesto has been built on calculations of available new resources which are fundamentally flawed and present to the electorate a programme of which less than a quarter could possibly be delivered. Plaid Cymru states an assumption that there will be an additional £1.582bn for Assembly Government expenditure during the three years 2008-9 to 2010-11. This figure can only be calculated by adding together the Chancellor's forecast for two per cent real growth and two per cent inflation; this would allow Plaid Cymru to assume four per cent cash budget growth, just over £500m a year. In allocating all of this cash growth to new programmes Plaid Cymru has made no provision for increased wages or other costs. They have assumed a total wage freeze in the Welsh public sector and assumed that all other costs, such as energy costs, can similarly be frozen. They would need to reverse all the projected growth that the Government has built into existing programmes for the NHS, social services and education. Labour has been in Government for the past eight years. Our manifesto reflects the fact that we have been the party of government with a well established programme of policy development and budget planning. The budget for 2007-8 is already fully allocated and no new programmes can begin in this financial year.

Over the three year period after 2008, the cost over and above existing budget plans will be £243.5 million; £41.5 million revenue and £36 million capital each year. The Chancellor of the Exchequer's 2007 Budget announced that public spending will increase by 2% annually in real terms in the spending review period 2008-9 to 2010-11. Until next Autumn's Spending Review we can not be certain whether the Assembly Government Block Grant will a little below or a little above that real terms growth figure; it depends on the balance of allocations between devolved and non-devolved programmes. Ends

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Campaign centre

Two slightly boring photos perhaps (where are the people ?) but here is our splendid campaign centre in Caernarfon. It is right opposite the Wetherspoons, and while that is great for coffee breaks etc, I promise I have not actually lifted a glass of their reasomnably priced ale in spite of the attractions of their current real ale campaign.

What a sacrifice for the cause.

However pride of place goes to "free prescriptions" and especially "No Tory coalition".

Friday, April 27, 2007

With friends like this .....

I let many a comment through moderation, including posts that challenge myself/Labour. It includes a post that had the following praise for my campaign in Arfon ...............:

"You are a truly pathetic politician and a miserable excuse for a human being. Arfon and Wales would be better places if you were to cease to exist".

That is what I call constructive debate.

Educational gains

A warm welcome for Jane Davidson our Education Minister at Ysgol Maesincla and the adjoining Integrated Children's Centre called Plas Pawb in Caernarfon. If you want to see what Labour's values have started to deliver for children then you should also make this visit.

Also a chance for Jane to check the work nearing nearing completion at the new Ysgol Pendalar. She last saw the project at foundations stage.

Thursday, April 26, 2007


There are worse places to canvas than parts of Arfon, here was the scene in Nantlle at about 3pm today, looking towards Snowdon.
Yet even within half a mile of here there were residents complaints about slate dust and disturbance from slate waste removal (I witnessed some 10 heavy lorries in about 30 minutes) and a major row about a home for a local couple that was refused by Gwynedd "locals only" Council.

Tough !

Some of my regullar commentators have become upset that moderation is in place till after May 3rd , and yes as the blogger I will simply reject any comments that do not please me, especially at the end of a tiring day of campaigning.

Not all comments suffer this fate as my blog will show , but a bit of Dalek style destruction raises my spirits at least. Tough luck to those who don't like it. Get blogging yourself so you can comment to your heart's content.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Strange events in the Daily Post - Plaid rule breaking ?

Here is Welsh Labour's press release after the rather bizzare double page colour advert that appeared in today's Daily Post from Plaid MP Hywel Williams with the message "This communication was funded by the House of Commons" !

25 April 2007 Plaid Cymru on the run in Arfon

Misuse of public funds a sign of nationalist panic, says Labour.
PLAID Cymru is on the run and panicking about losing in the Arfon constituency, Labour said today. Nationalist Caernarfon MP Hywel Williams has taken out a double-page advert in today's Daily Post, paid for by public funds, to promote Plaid Cymru. The cost of a double-page colour advert in the paper is £8,930, including VAT.

Labour believes Plaid Cymru has clearly contravened public rules on the promotion of MPs. Labour Arfon candidate Martin Eaglestone said the advert was a desperate move from a party panicked about slumping to defeat on May 3. He called on the nationalists to pay back the cash to the public purse. Labour will also make a formal request to the House of Commons authorities to look into this misuse of public funds.

MARTIN EAGLESTONE said: "The nationalists are running scared in Arfon. They know as well as I do that reaction on the doorstep in the area has been extremely positive towards Welsh Labour. "People here want an Assembly Government run by Rhodri Morgan's Welsh Labour, not by Plaid Cymru and the Tories. They do not want Tory Ministers back in charge of the NHS, jobs and schools. "This is a desperate move from Plaid Cymru, terrified of a slump in the polls on May 3. This is a clear misuse of public funds, using taxpayers' money to promote the politics of Plaid Cymru.

"The timing of this advert stinks. Its use of Plaid Cymru's logo in such a prominent way and the fact that the newspaper's circulation extends well beyond the boundaries of the Caernarfon constituency, all point towards the nationalists canvassing for votes using public funds. "Plaid Cymru should use some of the windfall it received from its rich, London benefactor to repay the taxpayer for this disgraceful misuse of public funds."

Notes: Guidelines issued by Parliament on the communications allowance and the use of House Stationery states: "The use of party logos, while not disallowed entirely, is restricted to proportionate and discreet use; alternatively you may prefer to use the House emblem (the crowned portcullis) as this reflects the Parliamentary nature and purpose of the material being circulated."

Labour is concerned at the timing of the advert, appearing as it did a mere week before voters go to the polls in the Assembly election and at a time when postal voters have already received their voting papers. The use of a regional daily newspaper, in the opinion of Labour, also brings the validity of the advert into question. The paper's circulation extends well beyond the boundaries of Hywel Williams' constituency of Caernarfon. Why not simply advertise in his local weekly newspaper? In Labour's opinion this is a clear attempt to influence voters across the North Wales region.

I can note that some people were angry, while some were simply scratching their heads on why an MP would take out two full pages at this stage promoting himself at this time. Surely overshadowing all PLaid's AM candidates. Secondly his understanding of devolution seems limited as some of the topics raised are now devolved and not for the MP.

If the current rules allow for such blatant political adverts then this is another set of rules Labour must change in the interest of the public purse.

Strange events indeed.........

Wigley bits and pieces

Blamerbell briefs picks up on the tittle tattle about DWs role in the election . Having failed to be shoe horned in to Arfon (see previous posting about Dafydd Iwan's letter) he ends up second on the North Wales list.

Given that PR is still a relatively new process in Wales, even I am unsure if people are yet sophisticated enough to make calculations about the relative vlaue of their 2 votes - but as Blamerbell notes

Vote Eaglestone and get Wigley too is a possibility for those wishing to consider any tzactical approach to their 2 votes in Arfon.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Message to all candidate's ????

While working around an estate in Rhosgadfan my eye fell upon the following sign near the front door. As there was no response (what a surprise) we could not canvas - so who was it intended for ?

Calm down ! - Another view from the BBC

I was looking around the BBC web coverage tonight, and saw the following from Guto Thomas :

"Do not believe any predictions about the likely result of the Welsh assembly election on 3 May".

It comes as part of the BBCs attempted explanation of the Assembly voting system. Perhaps it puts some of today's fevered speculation in perspective and we should all calm down.

(I have a story to telll how I heard about this morning's BBC news - but will hold back for now!)

Arfon - "New seat offering hope to Labour"

It was yesterday's profile in the Daily Post that lead my agent to ask me "What happened to that article about Dafydd Iwan wanting Dafydd Wigley in Arfon?".

It gives us a chance to dust down the letter that was sent by Dafydd Iwan to Dafydd Elis Thomas suggesting that DET should fight the Aberconwy seat, Alun Ffred Jones jump ship to Dwyfor-Meirionydd and Wigley stand in Arfon. DET stopped all of that.

The letter was posted to me by a nice friend, and it is full of praise from Iwan for DET, before the killler suggestion that he move seats.

So the only solution for Plaid supporters now is the "Vote Eaglestone and Get Wigley too" ticket.

(perhaps this is the coalition the BBC are referring to !!!).

Enough said !

Rhodri Morgan has totally rubbished the BBC Wales story that Welsh Labour was considering a deal with Plaid Cymru after May's election. "This story is rubbish from start to finish. A formal complaint is being made to BBC Wales about their decision to run such a story at such a critical point in the election, despite the story being comprehensively denied by Welsh Labour official sources. "

Neither I nor anyone else acting with my authority has been engaged in any such considerations or discussions. The obsession of the media and the minor parties is with coalition speculation. As previously stated on scores of occasions, Welsh Labour is aiming to form a government based on a mandate from the people of Wales. "The key dividing line in this election is that the other parties can only form a coalition government. Welsh Labour can form a government based on a proper mandate from the people of Wales. That is what we are seeking. We are certainly not going to be knocked of course by baseless media tittle-tattle."

Now how is that Plaid-Tory "agreement" or "understanding" coming along ??

Monday, April 23, 2007

Caption contest 2

I can't resist this one and the chance for a second caption contest in roughly a week.

All polite contributions welcomed :

"This tv is showing a penalty against Man Utd !"

9 hours NHS dentistry wasted in a week

Health Minister Brian Gibbons joined me in Arfon today and we visited the Eryri community hospital which has received much investment over the last five years and the Oasis dental centre on the Cinbyn estate.

The Oasis centre has opened 9,000 NHS places in Caernarfon in the last twelve months. However it was disturbing to see the sign on the wall stating that in a recent week 9 hours of time was wasted by "no show" patients. People need to reflect on their actions if this valuable NHS resource is being wasted.

Daily Post covers Arfon

The Post today profiles the Arfon seat. Someone greeted me as the "veteran" campaigner.

Dylan in attack on Plaid in neighbouring constituencies

Dylan Jones Evans in Aberconwy has got hot under the collar about Plaid's housing policies in the Dwyfor area of Gwynedd. Many people are finding conflicts in Plaid's words and their actions.

Dylan asks some interesting questions, that I have posted about previously.

I do not see a stand alone "locals only" policy as making sense and we need to increase the supply of homes, not just increase demand by first time "bribery" (sorry it was term used by AFJ and Wigley, I meant grants).

However as I read the Assembly guidance issued in June 2006 it already allows much of the action described by Dylan to take place where the council has the evidence of need. I'm not convinced of the need for a "commission" but would support a clear focus of practical effort on bringing public and private partners togetherr to make things happen.

Did you spot the missing Party ?

Well on 'hope not hate' Sunday I abided by the spirit of the day, and acknowledged the common stance taken by candidates on behalf of the Lib Dems, Conservative and Labour. Of course blogging comrade Cymro then decides to question why I was calling the Tories colleagues.

Of course Cymro failed to pick up the very obvious point (that I will therefore blog on today) which is - where were Plaid Cymru ?

I think there was a general and genuine shock at their failure to attend this event in North Wales agreed by the main party leaders for hope not hate.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Hope not Hate

I travelled across to Flint Town Hall to mark the cross party agreement to mark today as "Hope not Hate" day in our Assembly campaign, and whatever out political differences, our common ground in condemning facism - and to protest at the appearance of the BNP on each list in Wales.

Here I am with Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem colleagues to mark "Hope not Hate" day.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Moderation till May 4th

Well patience was running thin. I am still the only candidate in Arfon trying to maintain a blog, and one other blogger keeps boring me and taking advantage. It is unfortunate as we occassionally try and have some on line debate which is constructive.

However the time has come to announce moderation until at least May 4th. Apologies to all, as the blog will be less interactive - but I've got bored with you. (Cymro !)

By the way I'm up front and open in my approach (which does not mean we should always agree) - so why do these people remain anonymous ?

Arfon - voting has started !

For those constituents registered for a postal vote then they already have the chance to vote for their new AM. One of our members wanted to have the moment captured for the blog, and here is seen posting their vote in Bethesda at 9.10 this morning.

A day in the campaign

Greeting the next generation, behind bars in Bethesda, and flags aloft in Carmel.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Blast from the past !

The following picture was sent to me today reminding me of the long term reasons why the Plaid-Tory coalition would be wrong. 'Make People Matter' was a nalgo (who them ?) campaign that tried to promote unemployment issues in the last Tory reign. I recall many Plaid people thinking it was a good campaign - before they decided to try and grab power by understanding/agreement/ coalition.

Also that my hair was once dark !

Jeff Evans with the handlebar 'tache is the same JE who stood down in favour of P Rodgers on Ynys Mon. Bizzare company we can all keep at times.....

What a cracker on the road to "understanding"

Elfyn Llwyd, one of Plaid's leaders, told BBC Radio that Plaid could seek an "understanding" with the Conservatives after May 3rd. Ieaun Wyn did not deny the scope for colaition/understanding/agreement on tv last night. (I get confused on the terminology)

Meanwhile renewed labour has found this cracking little quote from Leanne Wood AM of Plaid Cymru:

"if Plaid went into coalition with the Tories, we would completely lose the trust of working-class people in Wales - and we could forget ever making that breakthough in the Valleys we need to realise full self-government".

They must be facing an interesting tactical discussion over the weekend in Plaid.

As I pledged at their conference, and repeat here - NO TORY COALITION.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

In the sunshine with Glenys

Pleased to welcome Glenys Kinock to the campaign today. We visited some residential homes and met a resident of 103. She nudged her mate after our chat and using her life expereince said "There must be voting going on".

Coffee at the Snowdon Mountain railway and glad to hear of a succsessful Easter. The midday train was full and Glenys purchased some souveneirs. Nice campaigning.

Pobl peblig

Caernarfon Online have posted a feature on an initiative in Peblig ward in Caernarfon funded by Labour's Communities First programme.

I think people sometimes overlook these important local actions that could be lost if Labour does not hold power after May 3rd. I can see no equivalent scheme in other manifestos - but am hapy to be corrected !

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The housing thing

I think it is good to debate the "affordable" housing issue. At the start of this posting let me make a small declaration of interest as I am a planning officer (MRTPI), and part of my varied work includes affordable housing issues. I will also make clear that I think Labour's policy initiatives have helped move us forward.

I will start from a general assumption that most people would like to find solutions to the issues surrounding affordable housing. I then post (for debate) some ideas as follows, it hopefully shows I am open to ideas and ready to listen to debate :

a) So let's really kick off with some controversy -Those requiring solutions will include the developers/builders as it is not in their interest to see increasing numbers, of reasonably paid people, disconnected from the market. Some market adjustment - partly driven by policy - may result from market influence itself, (controversy 2 - is this the new Labour part of me ?)

b) Promoting demand side solutions alone (like Plaid's means tested 5k grant) is not a sensible solution given the restrictions on supply. Has anyone seen the means tests yet please ???? Estate agents must be rubbing their hands in joy.
(is this the economist bit of me ?)

c) Increasing supply will sometimes require some strong decisions in the face of NIMBY pressures,
(I speak with the planner bit of me-don't assume people welcome housing that involves affordable housing as I feel many now fear vital social housing element of affordable housing),

d) Changes to Assembly policy mean councils now already have a right to influence the mix of new development, negotiate/ require affordable housing where evidence supports action
(the planning bit of me),

e) I don't see blanket application of "locals only" policies as a sensible solution. However I read existing Assembly policy as allowing the case to be made, in certain areas, and these policies should now be used to best effect by councils. I fear people are so busy complaining they haven't read/implemented what we now have.
(the 'read/use what you have already got' bit of me)

f) in our hearts some of us would like to see a council house building programme but in our heads see no appetite on the doorstep to stump up the tax levels required (the Labour/union bit of me tempered by doorstep reality)

g) In rural areas the debate about a few people fortunate to own/obtain a plot can be a real distraction from the real issues : do rural communities want to develop the level of housing that might transform the age structure and help retain services,

h) How many of those making voiciferous complaints have used the property boom of the last 10 years to invest in further homes, buy to let and various other schemes that have restricted the supply ? (the hint of hypocrisy in me).

i) As an Assembly candidate I would be interested in using my experience (of parts of the system) to help tackle this problem.

I think Labour's manifesto and policies help in this challenge - but perhaps a new post war "homes for heroes" spirit is required - and I don't beleive "homes for locals" is anywhere near an equivalent campaign.

So what is the equivalent 21st century slogan ???? - Comments welcome.

One blog only

Several regualrs monitors of my blog seem to feel I am running several blog domains/names (I'm trying to appear knowledgable and cool n techno awareness here!). Can I assue you all I am not. If I have an opinion to express ,or an idea to share, then it will be on my own blog, not coming in second hand from somewhere else.

Crikey I am working to win the seat and running one blog is hard enough. (let alone trying to respond to concerns that I post in only one language-like Plaid Cymru adverts).

If it helps "Cymro" to save time with his cut and paste efforts, I am happy to confirm as follows, because none of it is a secret, and I am happy to give my opinions:

a) Iraq : I did not support the decision to go to war, as I have said on radio/tv consistently since the start,

b) Trident - not my cup of tea, but I can understand the concerns of those making a deterrence argument in a very uncertain world,

c) Child poverty - we are making progress, but have more to do. Hence our election pledge and commitment to more legislation and action. I don't think a lap top is the answer !.

I think that (a) to (c) might help respond to several hundred postings. Lets move on, and moderation might hopefully be relaxed in the interests of more debate - negative and positive contributions.

You wiull see I have let through a number of negative comments because negative contributions in their own right don't concern me, just boring repetition.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Vaynol - combining the old and the new

A visit to the Vaynol/Faenol estate outside Bangor with Carwyn Jones AM. The estate is now famous for the Bryn Terfel festival, but inside the estate fantastic work is taking place to teach traditional construction skills to a new generation of workers. The teaching is applied in restoring buildings and items on the estate and provide skillls to be used around the country.

An inspirational project to someone like myself with a qualification in planning and interest in such environmental matters.

A great asset and major opportunity for North West Wales.

Caption time !

I suppose each campaign carries moments when the camera catches an image requiring a caption.

Here I am with Enterprise Minister Andrew Davies, Alun Davies (Mid Wales list) and David Philips (Dwyfor-Meirionnydd) :

"It looks like slate, and feels like slate... perhaps you should taste it!".

Further sugggestions welcome (but apologies for moderation)

Monday, April 16, 2007

Peter Black entertains me

Peter Black has blogged as follows and in truth it gave me great, post canvas, entertainment - just think how many monolingual English adverts this money could have purchased !

Plaid kicked into touch

Plaid Cymru's attempt to spend their London legacy has run into the ground somewhat with the BBC's refusal to broadcast rugby games from the grounds of regional sides where the Party has paid for pitch-side advertising.Plaid paid £6,000 for the hoardings and are rather miffed that the broadcaster has seen through their little ploy to get around broadcast rules. They have written to the BBC Controller in Wales, Menna Richards to demand that the BBC acknowledges it has no right to order the removal of the posters and that assurances be given to the clubs that the adverts can be replaced.

For their part the BBC say that their rules are quite clear:"In the UK, there are legal restrictions imposed on broadcasters to ensure that where controversial subjects are covered, for example elections, such coverage is presented with due accuracy and impartiality. "I think the purpose of such restrictions is clear - it is to ensure fairness. In this context, this means fairness as between political parties. The BBC is under a legal obligation to comply with these restrictions - they are not optional."During an election period, the requirement of due impartiality as between political parties arguably becomes even more important. The BBC goes to great lengths to ensure that it meets its obligations of due impartiality during election periods."The inclusion of political advertising within sports programming places the BBC in a difficult position. We do not want to interfere with a political party's ability to advertise.

At the same time, we have to operate in accordance with the law, and treat parties in this context with due impartiality. It is for this reason that we do not at present believe that we would be able to broadcast matches where there is the prospect of your party's advertisements being featured to any significant degree."The Welsh Rugby Union is under a contractual obligation to the BBC to ensure that any advertisements in relevant venues do not infringe the BBC's Charter and Agreement or our Editorial Guidelines. These requirements were included so that our broadcasts do not breach our legal obligations."

I suppose it was worth Plaid trying it on, especially as they can afford it.

I was really upset !! But surely someone has some explaining to do on how that London legacy is being spent.

Moderation returns

Well we tried to quietly drop moderation but a few blog 'friends' could not resiist the chance to restart some repetetive debates. It seemed to be going okay, but it then gets boring.

Moderation has returned.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Hacio rosette

It was an S4C programme and here is my "Hacio" election special rosette. Don't tell the Plaid Cymru candidates but it came from a manufacturer in England. I expect immedaite protests from Plaid as material crosses the Offa's Dyke.

Why would I say this ?. Well one of their candidates (Dyfed Edwards -list North Wales) wrote to our local papers complaining about letters issued from Labour's campaign centre in Newcastle Upon Tyne. Apparently this is a great crime for Arfon!

Of course Plaid funding their high spending , but flatlining, campaign from some London property sales is somehow okay !

Catching up !

Here is Rhodri arriving for the great knock up ( does that sound right ?) in Bangor.

Glorious campaigning weather

The fine weather continued to smile on the campaign in Arfon so we took a mini manifesto roadshow to Caernarfon and Bangor. Here we are preparing for some work in Caernarfon.

Lord Barry Jones joined us in Bangor and we had some good fun with his traditional campaigning techniques.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

English only here ?

The Western Mail briefly picks up today (page 13) on an issue that I blogged about some weeks ago, Alun Ffred Jones of Plaid Cymru only advertising in the English language in the local weekly papers in Arfon. I feel this must be one of the most, I use the word carefully this time, hypocritical acts that Plaid have engaged in for many a long year. Only recently you will find these Plaid Cymru representatives rushing to a Cymdeithas yr Iath rally in Bangor to support protests at Morrison's lack of bilingualism. This included occupying the shop, and then wasting Police time to supervise the protest.

How must Morrison's feel now as it is clearly a matter of expediency whether to use Welsh or not. Apparently Alun Ffred told the Mail that

"In four of the local Welsh language papurau bro we have printed Welsh-only adverts".

So please take note the next time Cymdeiathas or Cymuned come to you about a lack of bilingualism and say you simply follow Plaid Cymru's example - English only adverts in the mainstream weekly papers, and Welsh language adverts when in the papurau bro.

My adverts will use both Welsh and English languages.

Of course I also suggest that if you applied for a job with Plaid lead Gwynedd council suggesting this approach you would not get very far !

Friday, April 13, 2007

Update - campaign heats up

Apologies as a busy campaign has meant postings have become less frequent. A summary of the last few days :

"Hacio" - I took a very late booking to help in Hacio's (S4C young person's programme) and the excitement of an election special. A number of stories to share, but I will show some respect to other, younger, candidates and not spill the beans. Broadcast at some point prior to election.

Rhodri Morgan in Bangor and a cracking night on the door.

Part of the panel for 'Dau o'r Bae' on Radio Cymru about the manifesto, and other stuff.

Front page of the Bangor and Anglesey Mail with some non story about the Mayor snubbing Peter Hain's walkabout. I invited the mayor out of courtesey, even though he is not of Labour persuasion.

The Mail reports dramatically :

"But once Labour's Arfon candidiate Martin Eaglestone arrived on the scene, Cllr Madge made a hasty exit.

He explained "I said that I had another appointment and left the office".

Despite his claims to a "hasty" exit I will be e-mailing Councillor Madge the various photos that he posed for in the Deiniol centre - funny thing that word "hasty"!

Thanks for the front page councillor Madge !

Photos to follow.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Partnership at work

Should we have success in Arfon then one big plus point will be the chance to work with Betty Williams MP. Today we worked in Bangor and Betty's hard work for the last ten years showed through on the doorstep.

Manifesto day

I kept knocking doors in Arfon, but we launched our manifesto today and it offers the people of Wales much for the period after the 3rd May. Here is the link.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Short and sweet

Constituency treasurer Arnold Bohana has a letter in the weekly paper, the Caernarfon and Denbigh Herald, that is short and sweet.

"At least after Martin Eaglestone's visit to the Plaid Cymru conference we know one big difference on May 3.

A Vote for Labour will keep out the Tories. A vote for Plaid Cymru could let in the Tories.

The people of Arfon have been warned".

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Communities First - an understated benefit

Campaigning in Dyffryn Nantlle, and further evidence that Labour's Communities First programme is benefiting some of our hard pressed communities.

Even here some strong views about Plaid Cymru's decision on Victoria Dock, and issues at the Cilgwyn waste tip - but many others just enjoying the glorious Easter sunshine.

Any way here we are at the Communities First office which is an example of Labour's policies for those of our communities needing some extra support..

Friday, April 06, 2007

Welcome one and all

It is a glorious Easter weekend in Arfon and visitors seem to be out in some force enjoying the fantastic environment of North West Wales. Politics goes on, but here is a little glimpse of what I could be enjoying, with a cold beer, only 30 yards from my back door, if not delivering leaflets/knocking doors.

The local tourist industry seems to have geared up with lots of Ester egg events, classic car rallies and new features in local attractions. Tourism- a vital element of our local economy which I wish well in the year ahead.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

If you want Labour - get out and vote Labour

Sudden outburst of excitement as we have the rare event of an opinion poll for the Assembly election. Some very general lines like Blamerbell here commenting about this poll and predicting a Labour decline. I don't see it on the ground but one thing is now totally clear.

If the people of Wales want a Labour administration after May 3rd then they must go and vote for it. Otherwise we face the prospect of a growing Tory influence. That is their democratic choice on May 3rd and it seems that a vote for the flat lining (but big spending) Plaid is just a distraction.

Perhaps this is how politics use to be, before Labour's recent landslides, and we need to keep reminding people how precious a vote for Labour can be.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Lawnsio safle we-Launch of web site

No, not which has been in place for some time but Welsh Labour's own site for May 3rd 2007.

Here is the Arfon bit of the site.

Peter's high recognition factor

We were in Bnagor campaigning with Peter Hain Secretary of State for Wales and Northern Ireland.
Any time spent with Peter makes you realise what a remarkably high recognition factor he has. All sorts of people, including non-Labour voters, happily coming to say hello. Visitors from Ireland congratulating him on the progress in Northern Ireland.
The representatives of the local business community were happy to describe ongoing investment in the City Centre, and Bangor's role in driving forward the economy of the local region.

A strange election offer ?

While working in Bnagor today workers spotted this poster in a local butchers. The shop was busy !!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

11 for 11 in North Wales

Along the A55 to Old Colwyn to join Rhodri and comrade candidates for the campaign launch and the launch of our North Wales mini manifesto. 11 promises for 20011 shows our focus on the coming years, not just Plaid's 7 for 07.

Here I am with Rhodri and the North Wales mini manifesto, before heading to Colwyn bay market to help Alan Pugh fight for Clwyd West.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Election period leads to moderation

It had become a bit like the film groundhog day with the same recurrent postings from a few limited sources. A bit disapointing but it has lead (I think) to comments being moderated. At least it has if I have understood the technology correctly !.

I think Blamerbell briefs thought my blog had hit the stratosphere - until it was realised most came from one source.

The costs of democracy, but the blog continues with moderation enabled.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Free prescriptions

Today marks one landmark policy of the Welsh Assembly Government with the introduction of free prescriptions in Wales. Barry and I marked the event in Llanberis yesterday.