Sunday, September 30, 2007

Fight back ????

It is perhaps a sign of the weakness in the Tory's current position that the conference is opended by the phrase "the great Conservative fight back". I cannnot see how the launch of a "fightback" ties in with speculation that this conference sits on the verge of an election. It just feels all wrong tactically from their perspective. Surely they should be sitting on top of a curve, hammering the government, and with the public sweeping in behind.

It is the absence of these forces that must make an election very attractive for Gordon Brown.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Shining new ground

Being married to a rabid Evertonian I was amused to be sent a picture of their new ground. The sender may have supported the other Merseyside team !

Being NMs guest blogger

Normal Mouth invited me to answer a few questions. You can see my responses here.

(thanks given for not mentioning Cardiff City too often after results this week !)

Entertainment in the sunshine

Not much was expected at the Oval today.A weakened Caernarfon - too many recent headbuts and punches - against table topping Llanelli.

It started badly with Llanelli scoring inside 30 seconds at the Oval before, to most people's surprise, Caernarfon bounced back to lead 3-2 at half time. The entertainment was increased by the number of errors, but Llanelli made fewer in the second half to run out 4-3 winners.

Then I come home to see Wales blow my £12 in the office sweep.

I have some feeling that Fiji were my second team out of the sweep so we are all, unfortunately, Fijians now.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Taking policy up a level

I didn't make it to Bournemouth but monitoring activities via the computer suggests I was successful in election to Labour's national policy forum. Conference approved Gordon Brown's reforms so it will be an interesting period in which to directly participate in national policy development on behalf of Welsh CLPs.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Vaughan well briefed

The BBCs Vaughan Roderick blogs about Welsh Labour's election review and I suspect is well briefed. How do I know? Well as one of those who helped the review group it became clear the Party needed an honest, open assessment so we could learn valuable lessons to strengthen our future activities. Find a translation here.

Clearly the circumstances of the next Assembly elections will be different by 2011 and we will have completed several more sets of elections before that time (Westminster, councils and Europe) but the need for a clear programme of work and activities is made in the report.

The report may well feed a short frenzy of speculation but mature responses will realise that it is valuable for a Party like Labour to reflect, learn and move forward. While Gordon's poll ratings give us a valuable short term boost we must continue to adapt our work to evolving situations.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Waiting for Leighton !

Its only a mickey mouse cup ! I can just hear Leighton Andrews winding up some obsevations on Baggies 2-Cardiff 4........

Keeping the tent large

Eluned Morgan MEP has started to unfold the debate about lessons Welsh Labour may need to absorb after May's Assembly elections. Eluned's point is well made that our electoral strategy has to maintain a broad base and a drift to any comfortable territory on the left could leave the Tories space to prosper. This is one of many difficult issues Welsh Labour must face as we move forward from May 2007.

Blogs offer coverage here, here, here amongst others.

Paul Flynn takes an upbeat view.

Advice taken

So advice taken, blog upgraded, and over the next few days various links will be added. I have got in to practise with a couple of Labour bloggers but will diversify as time allows.

Monday, September 24, 2007

So thats a yes then ?

Lord Wigley of Derby ? Valleys Man notes developments in the Lordships saga. Plaid have become so "New Nationalist" that Lord Dafydd is simply another pragmatic stage of transformation. If the support of the Plaid group is as high a test as is now necessary, then surely its a done deal - or would the Arfon-Anglesey tension in Plaid see an attempt to block Dafydd's Lordship bid ? Unlikely.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

32 miles + - I am the junior partner

The Eaglestones ran 32 miles today and we were sent on our way by Colin Jackson. Nice guy. Anyway to clear up any misunderstanding I am the junior partner and it was Sue who completed the Marathon Mon-Anglesey Marathon, while I made do with the 10k.

I spoke to one man who was completing his circa 250th marathon - Madness on two legs...?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

"A step in the dark"

I have been unsure how I might present today's posting. I have decided as follows.

Today I sat in the company of an IRA bomber and the daughter of a Tory MP.

It was a priviledge because the people concerned were Jo Berry and Patrick Magee who spoke at the All Wales Peace Festival at Y Galeri in Caernarfon. "A step in the dark" was a phrase used by Prof Nick Wheeler at the event to describe that moment when people take a step the consequence of which they cannot be sure, but which can open the door to peace and reconciliation.

Jo Berry is the daughter of Tory MP Sir Anthony Berry who was killed by Patrick Magee with the Brighton bomb in 1984. They stood together to explain how their journey had taken them to find the human face behind the conflict but I'm not sure any words in a blog can convey the power of being present before such witness.

Friday, September 21, 2007

10,000 plus - but time to be more communial

It seems that over 10,000 visits have been made to read over my musings about politics, the Baggies etc etc. I however realise I have not been very communal in my links so over the next week I am taking advice (yes I need techie support) to add some more links. Blogging is simple but I don't find the making of links easy. How sad.

I also think we need a North West Wales/North Wales bloggers get-together, even though it may prove more risky for a Labour blogger!. However I might get a chance to gather some spectrum of views, over a drink, for my pamphlet on Labour, language and rights.

Let me know what you think ?

Galeri bar ?

Are you dancing ?

Well its High School Musical II so I hope you are tuned in and dancing ?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Belgium on the BBC

My thoughts about beer and chocolates are shared here. If beer is one of the few things keeping them together then Welsh seperatists should presumably produce lots of crap beer ?

10 years ago

Lots of recollections about where people were ten years ago. For my part it was delivering pre-breakfast 'vote today' leaflets in the Maes Barcer estate,Caernarfon and at the end of the day at the Gwynedd area count at Arfon leisure centre. I think someone has footage of Tom Jones (T&G) and myself jumping arm in arm as the 'yes' vote was announced. One of many memories I have with Tom over the years of union/political work.

Prior to that point I also recall the atmosphere going a little colder when some of our nationalist friends thought it was slipping to a 'no'. ? But we are all friends now.

Inside the tent

Glyn makes use of some leaked info which I find perfectly illustrates why the dynamic of Welsh politics changed with the One Wales agreement.

If IWJ and other Plaid politicians now find themselves speaking to official stats rather than the former tactic of pursuing people like Andrew Davies then I see that as a benefit if having them in the tent. Their former motives (perhaps just the role of opposition?) can be queried but what do their activists think - surely their world didn;t improve that quickly ? Or is was never too bad in the first place ?

Oh well welcome to Government and a new maturity.

1-1 and then another Cofis win

Well Bristol City fought back and took an honourable draw with the Baggies. In truth a point away from home against a team high on the adrenelin of promotion is okay.

Meanwhile Caernarfon returned to winning ways away at new entrants Llangefni. My place of campaigning against my place of work.

Now as for Mourinio - well I think he'll land on his feet, and suspect the new manager(s) know the rules (i.e Chamions League within two seaosons or out) .

Nice compo cheque I'm sure !

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

An unwritten rule of capitalsim - they write the rules

After the financial events of the last few days many people are left in wonder at the situation where those people who have earned huge incomes (in various forms) for many years telling all us ordinary folk - for which I will include politicians for now - that the power of the economy is best left to the unfettered private finance, and all will be well.
Keep away you state/politicos as we knows wots best.

Now it seems that state support, and semi nationalsition of debt, (I am sure it is not described as such in our Treasury announcements) is best for all.

In my younger days I would have ranted and raved at such situations but I now just accept that one unwriten rule of our system is that they will at critical times re-write the rules to suit them. And it is probably in all our best intererests that the economy on which we now depend for so much does not throw an even bigger wobble.

No doubt someone has today been cashing in as some investor confidence was restored and share prices increased - will that be handed to us the taxpayers who underwote the cheque called "confidence" ? I somehow suspect not.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Long way to go yet

I didn't manage to get to the Oval on Saturday and therefore missed Caernarfon's first loss of the season. Glyn makes comment but loosing to Rhyl 1-0 is not a disaster and perhaps, in a way, shows some of the improvement made. Still there's a long way to go and everyon emay now be finding their feet.

Meanwhile the mighty Baggies bang in 4 and I say bring on Trundle, Bristol City and all that tomorrow night.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Will people accept Plaid facing two ways ?

One of the big unknowns after the One Wales agreement, and Plaid taking seats in government, is the extent to which ordinary voters will accept Plaid seeking to face in two directions (similar but not the same concerns for Labour as we did it before). IWJ is right to focus on the big change this means for Plaid.

At one level the tactic of putting Labour at semi-arm's length is understandable but many people will not be fooled by conference rhetoric. To deliver each element of our Assembly programme we need each other to be supportive, and, as Labour has the whip hand in London then, for the moment at least, I judge they need us more.

So Adam can sabre rattle as he wants, but Elfyn seems to be talking real politik (step forward Lord Wigley of ??), and Ieuan knows that One Wales (and his future?) sinks or swims by joint effort. Blow it and there is no certainty of a sunnier day on the horizon.

Meanwhile we wait to see how the Assembly events influence the Westminster election process - because in reality noone really knows. It will actually be for Wales an election in a unique context.

Half time - sweep prize under pressure

Cymru - Cymru. There is still hope but my stake in the office sweep looks a little under pressure ! C'mon Cymru.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Only a few years - but so many grey hairs !

Leighton Andrews AM has flagged up the fact that HTV have put coverage of the Assembly referendum on line. A really interesting view and a chance to see how political views can be caught out in a very short period of time.

Original request remians-sensible debate please

I won't go into what suddenly came out of my posting about Labour, language and the rights agenda but I have a genuine ongoing wish to explore the issue.

Needless to say I did not see the Daily Post until a work colleague made a comment about Labour over morning coffee.So if anyone still wishes to post comments (perhaps less likely now??) then I will follow up - it seems I was right to think there may be a debate to iron out.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Review not yet complete

It seems some academics want to wind up Labour as the new Assembly term gets close. A bit strange given that Labour's internal fundamental review,set uo after May's weak result, is ongoing and will have a number of vital things to say. But it cannot be disclosed until the Welsh Executive has met to review the report and the review turned in to a concrete set of actions for Welsh Labour in the coming years. Perhaps we are facing up to big questions but taking time to consider issues in the depth they deserve.

Meanwhile some issue in the Lib Dems only sneaks on to the bottom of page 11 of the Daily Post - a word no one can currently associate withe LDs: leadership.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Brunstrom blog draws strange comment in Observer

Brunstrom being zapped on his blog is picked up by Porter in The Obersver but with the slightly strange argument that the N Wales Police, and their new baseball caps, are better armed than troops in Afgahnistan. It is this type of sunday paper argument I find a little strange and showing a loss of perspective for what might be an important point (adewquarw resources for the Army).

(anyway after an early wobble Wales won and I remian confisent of collecting my office sweep - provided several other nations have a handicap of at least 50 points!).

Saturday, September 08, 2007

My big opportunity ?

The Caernarfon Herald this week reports an investment opportunity that I may find hard to resist, and I have Plaid lead Gwynedd Council to thank for my current dilemna. It seems that flats in the new, and endlessly debated, Victoria Dock development will soon be available and I will only have to find £690,000 - yes thats nearly seven hundred thousand pounds - to take advantage.
I may need to lower my bedroom matress nearly three inches to grab this golden opportunity !
Any way up above is Rhodri taking a look at the site back in May - perhaps it was the £690,000 that caused the heart scare !
On a more serious note this situation stirs several thoughts.
Firstly when and where will the affordable housing pushed by Gwynedd Council and, we are told, that has been promised in exchange for this development site be delivered ?
Secondly will other homeowners have cause to celebrate as these prices filter in to the local housing market ?
Thirdly if I am forced to hold back my investment due to stock market uncertanties can the project survive ?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Cymru Cymru

Well the world cup approaches and although I am not much of a rugby fan I am now fully committed to the cause having drawn Cymru in the office sweep. No matter what Woodward says I know Jenks can deliver the big £12 prize for me ! Does anyone feel my 2nd team Fiji have a better chance ?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Communities First brings more success-ask Max Boyce

It seems that even Max Boyce has felt the power of Communities First with the success of the funding in Maes Barcer bringing new people to Y Galeri to see a perfroming opportunity. This is just one example of how Labour's programme for hard pressed communities can bring success.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Interesting few months

Many people have been focussed on the coverage about whether Brown will go for an early poll.

However having been away for the Bank Holiday weekend I have been a bit slow in picking up on more local developments of interest. The Herald has run a story announcing the arrival of a new political party that promises to dislodge Plaid Cymru councillors in the elections of May 2008.

I find it a pity that Labour is not seen as a home for the protests of such people but accept this is unlikely to happen in a Gwynedd context. Perhaps one of Plaid's success since 1996 has been to corale many an "independent" under their banner and subject them to the Plaid whip. As`their influence extended they have become the establishment and show many of the traits associated with those who feel beyond reach.

This is fascinating stuff as my guess is a number of those involved with the new party include many Plaid Cymru stalwarts who know where the bodies lie ! There are a number of voices raised in protest at Plaid's actions in Gwynedd and disillusion at a small cabal who effectively wield power.

So it will still be time to start lining up the wards and the candidiates .... interesting times.

Monday, September 03, 2007

All Wales Peace Festival - experiences not to be missed

The All Wales Peace Festival will be held in Caernarfon in Y Galeri on Saturday 22nd September from 12.00 midday onwards.

There will be many interesting activities and speakers that should not be missed including Jo Berry and Patrick Magee. Indeed I was looking at an exhibition for Forgiveness project at Greenbelt and it makes one realise the depth of emotional, political and spiritual journey that many people make.

Anyway the Festival deserves our support.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Sorry Orwell

Today's Observer contains the latest of what seem ever more regular commentary in newspapers about those who dabble in blogging. There seems some great confusion that those blogging are seeking to engage in some great literary mission when, I think, many are just exercising some democratic expression/frustration and happy to share our thoughts with others. Often badly written and misspelt (can I be bothered spell checking ?). I'm glad Orwell would have done the same but is it really that important ?

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Not quite Brazil

Unfortunately it did not turn out to be Brazilian style football today and on balance, and in spite of taking an early lead, Caernarfon were perhaps the happiest with their 1-1 draw. Anyway still unbeaten after three league games which is good in any league.

Its just like watching Brazil ......

Well it will be another Saturday afternoon with table topping Caernarfon Town at the Oval. And what a strange sight to see TNS languishing at the other end. But its still "early doors" as the footie saying goes...

Do you know something we don't ?

That was the question of interest to one Plaid Cymru councillor as Arfon Labour hit the campaign train with a street stall this morning in Caernarfon.

Who knows ????- but Arfon Labour is ready and we will be working hard in the coming weeks to build up our profile just in case Gordon Brown wants to pulverise Cameron at the polls.