Thursday, November 29, 2007

Plaid's leaders try to find their front foot

No doubt numerous e-mails and phone calls have flown around and Plaid's leaders can clearly see a need to try and get on a front foot on the Gwynedd schools reorgansiation.

Dafydd El on tv telling the people of Meirion-Dwyfor about the benefits of the Gwynedd scheme and now Dafydd Iwan in Barn -see translation here -and in the Caernarfon Herald.

In the Herald letters page Dafydd gets star treatment - i.e. his letter is in a box and he says

"I look forward to a period of well-informed and creative debate as we work together....".

Horses and stable doors come to mind !

Meanwhile the Herald reports another defection from Plaid to Llais y Bobl, that being Alwyn Gruffydd of Porthmadog. (40 years Plaid membership). There is a common theme in many statements - people have not voted Plaid for these years for this outcome.

As I have said before it is the hypocrisy that is doing for Plaid in this debate- even Dafydd Iwan in the Barn piece has to cover his back on his contribution over Ysgol Bryncroes many years ago - see here. The only question is whether they bottle it in the full council, and then what ?

Meanwhile the Herald has created a treasure trove of resources on the issue at

so you can follow the evolving nationalist crisis.

(in honesty at least for some of us its a distraction from Labour's evolving funding crisis !)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Gathering the points

3 points away from home in the absence of Philips and Miller is very pleasing.

Baggies need to keep in the mix until Feb and then push on. I am feeling very hopeful - on the football front !


My posting about the recent letter asking me to call a phone line at £1.50 a minute to claim a prize has drawn a series of new readers and is an interesting aspect of blogging that helps to keep the "hobby" lively. It seems I am not alone in concerns at this activity and will continue to follow up with Ministers. I see a Trading Standards address has also been posted so I will drop them a note as well.

Thanks - keep any comments coming.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Chief - the new Derek and Clive ! (reaction at 23.40)

Watched the 'The Chief' on BBC Wales which dragged me away from keeping a week ahead with Spooks.

David Williams captured some significant journalism and I am sure could not believe the whole biker issue that blew up during filming. All of that that is well known and in the public domain.

What I also found quite remarakable however was the agreement to allow filming of the Friday afternoon rant. After an initial smile at their apparent hurt, I found the ranting about elected representatives quite disturbing, even ranting about them being from England and parachuting in to Wales. I found such ranting by a Chief Constable quite extraordinary. (I also found his theory on Cymuned/Cymdeithas interesting)

I somehow feel the clearly political element of the programme may give Brunstrom more trouble as I am not all sure it is the role of the Chief and his Deputy to sit around, like Derek and Clive (aka Peter Cook and Dudley Moore) ranting in such a way. We wait to see. What does his code say about such matters ?

Vaughan's take over the rainbow

I read this report on the thoughts of Vaughan Roderick with interest - that Plaid lacked the guts to take the Rainbow option. Tactically it may suit them to see some Government action from a minority position.

With my team doing its best to inflict self harm who knows where it is all heading. Cameron must be feeling rather pleased at doing very little and gaining so much. However polls come and polls go.

Monday, November 26, 2007

It never rains - but pours !

Clearly the fates have decided that the Labour leadership should end 2007 being tested in many endless ways. There is no point my blog ducking these issues as we need to get out of this year and improve in 2008.

I was going to blog about the Lord/General who last week spoke out and then this week re appears fronting a Cameron task group - not clever. I'm not sure its worth it just now !

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Joyful youth

Young people often take a lot of unfair criticism but today's annaul club competition at the Bangor Gym Club gave around a 100 young people the chance to display the gymnastic skills they have acquired whether as starter, intermediate or senior gymnast.

My own interest comes via daughters who have competed for several years, including a fractured wrist a few years ago.

A great tribute to the coaches and voluntary helpers and congratulations to everyone concerned..

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Goal feast - lets hope Baggies catch the fever !

Being married to an Evertonian I share the occasional opportunity to accompany Sue to Goodison Park - I'm not sure whether a Baggie should admit this!.

However today was one of those days and what a good choice. 7-1.

The last time I saw a score like this (in professional football) was when WBA stuffed Coventry 7-1 at the Hawthorns back in 1980 (?).

Anyway today's game was enjoyable although the match was aided by Sunderland trying to play football and just shut the door - if not very well at times - and their inability to defend an occasional route one ball.

Arteta is a gem of a player and his touch and skill at times suggests Everton should fear a move from a big (Spanish) club at some point. However I'm told he doesn't make the Spanish team so his face must not fit with someone.

Enjoyable and Everton looked a solid team with good edge.

Anyway lets hope this good luck runs off on the Baggies tomorrow as we take on our old rivals Wolves.

Friday, November 23, 2007

A good use for the new Assembly powers

Today the post office delivered to me a letter stating "This is not circular" in which "Call4cash" invited me to contact them about a series of prizes. Apparently I may have won 15k or a car.

However as always the small print reveals the real prize for this company - "Calls cost £1.50 per minute from a BT landline. Max time 6 min 55secs, calls from other networks may vary".

So a simple suggestion for the use of new Assembly powers for any AM happening to pass by this blog - how about an Order to prevent such activities here in Wales. It is not unlawful at present and there may be so many it is difficult, but do we have to expose people to what, in my opinion, are scams.

At Westminster level I will be taking up the issue to see who is keeping an eye on such premium rate activity.

Sir Emyr v Don - a new punch and judy show

It gets a little bizzare all round. Thursday is action packed anyway for political anoraks with Wales packing in its politics with Question Time and Newnight etc for good measure.

On 'Dragon's Eye' Don continued his, calm, rant about sat navs and devolution. By the time of 'Waterfront' Sir Emyr is qouting his experience of Iraq resolutions in defence of his role in the Wales convention.

I think we all need to calm down !

Yes, in Labour there are a wide variety of views about devolution. As I have said before Labour probably reflects the people of Wales in that respect. Although I don't quite think we are at Iraq resolution levels !

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Christmas Wales !

My attention has been drawn to the perfect Christmas present for Dafydd Iwan and all my nationalist friends which - according to shopping online in China is a Wales flag foldable chair !

The teams not making Europe is one thing but surely this is a step too far .........

Sharing with a new generation

Work took me to Liverpool John Moore's University and a chance to consider the major regeneration work taking place along the waterfront and city centre. Clearly the well established Albert Dock is now only a small part of what the City of Culture 08 will have to offer. However in the best British traditions much of the work will not be completed for Jan o8 and lookis like it has some time to go.
The "lecture" to under graduate and post graduatre students gave a chance for reflection on changes taking place in town and country planning. Indeed I can hardly recall a time when issues central to much planning work : sustainable development, climate change, housing supply and affordable housing, energy and infrastucture were so high on the "political" and policy agendas.

A good chance for reflection and interesting times for those involved with this sector.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Time for Britain ?

Given the general failure of everyone to boost the sale of Brain's, McEwans, John Smith's (what do they drink in N Ireand ?) or Guiness in UK supermarkets next summer is it now time for a"British team" in these European, world and olympic affairs ?

ps its tongue in cheek !

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Plaid breach - update

I thought I'd check out a few reactions to Hywel Williams, and his colleagues breach of the spending rules

Glyn Davies headlines the issue in a hard way,

Ordovicus is a little more factual, but little sympathy,

Peter Black thinks they were caught out- "Guilty as charged"

Paul Flynn lets fly !

Elfyn Llwyd meanwhile is as arrogant as a Lord - perhaps a sign of things to come ? However some clarification is required :

LABOUR today demanded that the parliamentary leader of Plaid Cymru immediately clarify his position over the use of public money to promote Plaid Cymru at the Assembly election. On last night's BBC Good Evening Wales radio programme, Elfyn Llwyd stated that the parliamentary authorities had seen the Plaid Cymru adverts in full before they were published.

But the official report published by the cross-party Committee on Standards and Privileges, the Commons' Director of Operations states that of the three nationalist MPs, only Adam Price submitted the full advert for inspection. Labour whip and MP for Caerphilly Wayne David, in a letter to Elfyn Llwyd this morning, demanded that Plaid Cymru clarified its position.

WAYNE DAVID said: "Plaid Cymru has shown a great deal of arrogance and contempt towards the electorate in its reaction to the report published yesterday by the respected Committee on Standards and Privileges. "Rather than doing the right thing, which was to apologise to the House of Commons and the people of Wales, you have chosen to react in an intemperate way towards anyone who has questioned your use of public money for the purposes of party political campaigning.

"Yesterday evening on BBC Wales' flagship radio programme Good Evening Wales, you stated that Plaid Cymru had submitted its complete adverts to the House of Commons authorities for approval. But yesterday's standards report states clearly that you did not. In fact it quotes the Director of Operations of the House of Commons as saying that you did not. "Moreover, the Report clearly states that you did not indicate to the fees office that the advertisement was going to be placed in a newspaper which circulates well beyond your constituency and that it was to be placed one week before the Assembly election.

"The people of your constituency and other areas of Wales, who will feel rightly aggrieved at your attempt to use their money to fund party political campaigning for Plaid Cymru, will demand to know the truth.

"Who is telling the truth on this matter?"

Records go AWOL

There will be much written about this incident in the coming days. As someone who works in a bureaucracy I often think about the human element of this - what the hell did this man feel when he was told/briefed about the loss of these disks ?
It is difficult to know how one might feel when your staff come to you to say you are managing "an unprecedented" breach of confidentiality, and it has happened (it is suspected) because people have not followed procedures.
If only there was a camera that followed the moments when the staff thought "its only a couple of disks, throw it in the post", and what was happening in the period leading up to that result. If you could bottle the lessons, there is big money to be made in the risk management business.
But the human bit aside, it is a big political issue and the Chancellor has to get on top of it quickly.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Political analysis shared

This posting on the deliberations of blogmenai about Plaid's schools reorganisation is very telling.

It seems that some want to narrow down the crisis to now naming a few people including the Party President !

An interesting strategy.

Political analysis shared

This posting on the deliberations of blogmenai about Plaid's schools reorganisation is very telling.

It seems that some want to narrow down the crisis to now naming a few people including the Party President !

An interesting strategy.

Apologise - don't dig a deeper hole

Perhaps it is typical of the Westminster process that a report on Plaid Cymru's political adverts that were actually published back in April has only just found the light of day. I am calling upon Hywel Williams who is reported as making the biggest transgressions to apologise.

Very few people had any doubt that the adverts were a breach of public spending rules and the months of twisting and turning did not help their cause.

What now happens to Plaid's election spending, as the adverts are a declarable cost, we will wait and see.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Arglwyddi / Lords

Its "Ie" / "Yes".

Well I fail to recall how many words I have heard my nationalist friends rant against this institution.

First One Wales, now this - no wonder Simon Glyn choked on his cornflakes.

Off to the Lords ?

With the "People" uprising across Dwyfor-Meirionnydd perhaps even Elfyn may find a seat in the Lords an attractive proposition at some point in the not too distant future ?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Gwynedd's Leader blinks - or did he ? Is it too late ?

Well the boxers were lined up chin to chin and eye to eye - who blinked first ?

Well the Caernarfon Herald reports firstly that Plaid councillors met in closed session last Monday and are sworn to secrecy.

However it then reports that Richard Parry Hughes blinked in a meeting with Porthmadog Town council on Tuesday when he suggested "big changes" would be made to the report on schools reorganisation.

But we then learn that the "big changes" may be an inaccurate description of the changes, and the emphasis perhaps lies in extending the timetable (guess what -beyond May 2008 !!).

However is it too late ?

People deserting Plaid's sinking ship and reactions in the Daily Post getting personal and bitter. The letters page of the Post and Herald are equally entertaining.

Meanwhile an absolute silence from Hywel Williams MP who seems to be strangely quiet about the crisis. Of course it is now very inconvenient that all this can't be blamed on Labour : did Plaid see this coming when they signed up to One Wales ?

Others suggest I am "dribbling" in my posts on this matter - perhaps as in football I am dribbling towards an open goal........

Thursday, November 15, 2007

World in perspective

The tragic news about the loss of Sion Hardy, who shared my place of work when not at Liverpool University, puts other issues in perspective.

There was shock and gloom at work today at such a loss. Everyone's thoughts are with his family.

Plaid's "political suicide"

No, its not an OTT comment from myself but Councillor Simon Glyn's comments as he uses GOLWG to announce his resignation from Plaid Cymru. I have little doubt that much is being written in blog land about this nationalist crisis in Gwynedd. Here is my little angle.

Firstly I think the schools debate is simply the tipping point. The tension in Plaid has been running for some time and I firmly beleive the roots of this split go back to at least the rise of Cymuned and the debacle over Pwllheli marina. While some people's paths have seperated since Cymuned was formed, the cultural v moderniser divide was evident. Isaid so at thetime, although Plaid rushed to deny it.

Will Plaid be worried ?.

Firstly lets see what happens in Gwynedd council betwen now and Christmas. Final consultation reports are yet to be signed off, and this is a council with a track record of back tracking when the pressure is on. But could they really back down now ? My guess is no -unless of course another council leader is to resign. In addition the de selection, and resignation, of longstanding members like Richard "Moi" Jones was already shifting the sands

Then clearly the council elections of May 2008 are now a real battle ground. Even the prospect of elections in places that may have forgotten what it is like to have a choice of candidates in their county election !

As to any wider implications ? Well Labour knows better than most what happens once the internal concensus is broken, and a rebellion follows. All sorts of consequences can be felt by MPs, AMs and others.

This will keep running......

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Happy days and stupid ideas

So Labour's 47 year old campaign has become a 48 year old campaigner. Happy days with the family, and the Baggies notching up 4 goals last night to mark the eve of the great event.

To be fair a rubbish first half but they got their heads together for the second half and ran out worthy winners.

In politics there was a stupid idea that caught my eye and it escapes me how this system would work in reality. Indeed how would people feel having voted against an increase only to see it happen for 12 months - is another ballot held for the following 12 months. I see recipe for chaos and administrative disaster. Stupid idea.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Remembrance Sunday

Remembrance Sunday in Y Felinheli where there is a good turnout each year and signs that the numbers attending are increasing. Perhaps this is partly a result of the country being involved with ongoing conflicts, but also some recognition that the final links to the generation of the Great War is being lost.

Anyway here is Y Felinheli's war memorial, recently restored by the community council, after this morning's event.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Referendums might only reinforce NIMBYs

A break in postings because I wandered off to Aberteifi and Cei Newydd. In spite of the November wind and storms the dolphins made an appearance of Cei Newydd. Excellent.
I return home and spot an interesting story about a community referendum on a housing scheme just down the coast. I don't want to comment on the specific scheme because there might be good reason both and/or against the development. But in the age when we are pressing hard for more homes and affordable homes I am not sure that a growth of referendums against development will help.
We seem to be in an age when we can mount campaigns to stop new homes being built but not many specific campaigns in favour of specific sites and projects. The climate is not easy and could make it difficult for the One Wales government to deliver their target for affordable homes.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

About my overdraft

Dear Minister,

I sometimes find my overdraft gets in the way of my enjoying life. Can you fling a few quid in my direction so that the quality of my leisure experience here in the North is not impaired.

Many thanks


Monday, November 05, 2007

Bethan on board with budget

I've been checking contributions on the Assembly budget. Bethan is on board with the budget and its potential implications while Glyn, Davies, after his appearance on radio, detects that Alun Ffred is a little more reticent in his belief in his own government's new role:

"Rhodri Morgan to set out the Government's position - as expected. But then it was over to Alun Ffed Jones for what seemed like a response - which took the biggest chunk of the remaining time. For all the world as if he was representing the 'opposition'. Has the news that Plaid Cymru are now in Government reached the Bangor studio yet?"

Well Glyn knows that Ffred is tied in to the budget, and it will be interesting to hear how his colleagues in Gwynedd Council react over the next few weeks.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Here we go,here we go, here we go

So after a busy morning in Caernarfon the members of Arfon have now made their choice and my diary will as a result be busier with campaigning activity for the next Westminster election. Tecwyn Thomas the chair of the Wales Labour Party was present and offered his congratulations on my selection as the Prospective Parliamentary Candidate.
I always enjoy the campaigning and with a reasonable assumption this will be a long haul its time to buy several pairs of new shoes !
Dyma Tecwyn Thomas Cadeirydd Plaid Llafur Cymru yn fyn llongyfarch ar gael fyn dewis fel darpar Ymgeisydd Seneddol yn Arfon ar gyfer yr etholiad nesaf i San Steffan. Digon o ymgyrchu o'm flaen ac amser i prynnu sawl par o sgidiau newydd !

Friday, November 02, 2007

The calm before the storm

Well at some point tomorrow the Labour Party members in Arfon will make a decision that could shape my diary for the next few weeks, months or years - or on the other hand somebody else's diary. As with previous selection events it feels like the calm before the storm, and in the end what will be will be.

Anyway it promises to be an interesting few months. Hywel Williams seems to have gone to ground in spite of the schools debate his Party have generated in Gwynedd . On the political front does Hywel think Seimon Glyn should resign from the Plaid Cymru group on Gwynedd council but remain a Party member ? How exactly does that work if a political party is to have any cohesive credibility ?

What does Hywel think about Cymad and the issues around management of the company ? Again he seems very quiet ?

Anyway lets see what happens tomorrow.

What were you doing 25 years ago ?

This article sparked that thought ss back in 1982 the creation of S4C was not on my highlights of the year. I was in post Polytechnic (what that ?) job pursuit mode, probably gigging and having fun. But dman that reference to Thatcher which will ujpset me and remind me what was wrong with whole period.