Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Moral questions

The season of goodwill and some Church people decide to lash out on moral questions. This one caught my eye as clearly those women are a subversive bunch and I am not sure on what moral basis people seek to wreck the unity of a Church based on gender. But that is their business not mine. The musings over the work of the Labour Government are worth a reflection, but perhaps they should worry more about the work of the Church. Any criticism on our work around poverty is I feel deserving of considered reflection - but the Bishops took on the feel of a Christmas rant.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Cyfarchion y tymor - Season's Greetings

Well with some form of sahopping lunacy overcoming the nation can I wish you all the best for the Season.

Of course three points off the Spurs tomorrow would help lighten the footballing mood. And not long before all the transfer window speculation kicks in.

Will 2009 be the year when the 'credit crunch' bursts the bubble of Premiership football finances???

Friday, December 19, 2008

Helo!! - Olympic football team

Yes I'm still alive if a little slack on the blogging front. However today I ended up on Radio Cymru debating a British team for the 2012 Olympics. Why I'l never know, I assume they were short of contributors!!

Seems like a bit of harmless fun to me - but there is big football politics in the background it seems.

Oh well better let Tony Mowbray he is not lined as Olympic manager yet, and Scott Carson that he is not yet the Olympic number one.

But would it really be such a bad thing for the 2012 Olympics .......

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Point off Pompey

That's okay and nothing to complain about but we must now take three of Sunderland to keep hope alive for New Year. But new manager syndrome... ???

Friday, November 28, 2008

Exploring political ideas

Huw Lewis AM has posted some interesting thoughts based on his speech to the Institute for Political Affairs. See here.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Wide ranging measures

I suppose it is a fact of life that Alistair Darling has a rhetorical style that alllows him to deliver such a significant financial statement in a calm delibeate manner. By all accounts this package is significant and even commentators like Wil Hutton acknowledge the issues involved.

So the pattern is clear the scale of the issues enveloping us all are seen to be so large that some old fashioned recipes are required including spend now, tax later and raising a few more quid off those (2% of tax payers it seems) earning more. Some shortt erm money for low earners, child allowance and pensioners and a VAT reduction all round.

The last measure (VAT) leaves me a little cold but I suppose it is meant to be effective as spending is stimulated. I wait to see.

Anyway in the classic battles of modern politics the "lines" are drawn and Labour is committed to investing/spending out of the crisis, while I remain alittle unclear what the Tories will do - apart from disagree with Labour.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


There is clear disintegration in the extreme right and the leaking of membership names is the latest chapter in tensions that will see some rearranging of power - it has happened before and will happen again.

However the response made by Hazel Blear's is interesting as it comes from a person who has been influencing policies at the centre for some years and therefore bears some responsibility for the problem she describes. Those who have been active in the trade union wing of the Labour movement have not ignored the issues around the far right. For example UNISON have been vigilant and invested significant sums in campaigns against the far right.

So yes Hazel let us bring our Party, our representatives and our movement back in to concerted effort in taking a message and the ideological battle to the BNP and their like.

Oh dear

I must reject a suggestion that the low number of postings reflects the lowly position of my football team! but in reality just a bit busy, and less frequent access to my on line laptop.

But a few stories to pick up over the weekend, after recovering from this bottom of the pile feeling.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Tesco loyalty card - that's alright then!

I understand that George Osborne is a wealthy man but as the Tories shadow Chancellor he clearly wants to stress his common touch. So forget the Bullingdon club this is the man who tells the Times "I have a Tesco loyalty card in my wallet"!!.

Well done George, that makes you as normal as the rest of us then.

I suppose an inquisitive journalist would ask to see the record of transactions on the card and see how often George shops at Tesco's and for what products?

So George how about going on tv and opening up our Tesco purchasing records to the nation. Mine includes too much wine for my own good, CDs, socks pants and food. George's card?

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Sky high - help the cause please

For a reason that is beyond me (probably youth and excitement) my son Gareth and his mate Barry are going to sky dive and raise a few quid for a good cause.

If you want to help them reach their target then see here :

and give these young men a few quid for their chosen cause.

Setting the States alight!

Its not just Obama making the headlines in the States this week but the great progress being made by Shan Jones of Y Felinheli, Gwynedd. This week's great news includes her recognition as "Freshman" (??) of the year and recognition for a record setting pace in the goal scoring section.

To quote:

"Jones was honored as the conference freshman of the year as well as being named to the Sun Belt All-First Team. The talented forward ranks 55th in the nation in goals per game and 96th in points per game. Jones leads the Blue Raiders in goals scored, points, shooting percentage, shots on goal, shots-on-goal percentage and game-winning goals.

Despite being in just her first season of collegiate soccer, the Gwynedd, Wales native sits in eighth place in school history for most goals scored in a season and already finds herself in fifth place in school history for most game-winning goals in a career".

Da iawn Shan ymlaen a ti.

Is Tosh watching .........................

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Scottish satisfaction

After another break I return with a strange sense of smugness. Not the fact that Obama won (well) and has given one of those occasional, and much neeeded, lifts to the tone of poltics but events in Scotland.

For some strange reason Salmond is one of those politicians who riles me. He projects a smugness that, combined with his nationalist politics, makes me pleased to see some better perspective on the cause of Scottish independence. I supect some focus on day to day challenges may now occupy his mind more than a drive to areferendums.

Then again perhaps now is the time to renew the call once made by Wendy Alexander and demand the independence referendum. As I have said before we live in inter-dependent times, not independent times.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Obama dreaming

Experience of 1997 tells me that not too much faith should be placed in one political figure but it is hard not to get the same feeling of excitement watching and reading the US election coverage. The sight of people queueing for hours to use their vote, many to overcome previous democratic travesties, is a sign to warm the heart. Obama dreaming.

This could indeed be one of those genuine 'historic' moments should the prevailing impression of the media prove true when the votes are counted.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Perverted priorities

The world is facing more events of "catastrophic proportions" and yet, judging by the breakfast news and most newspapers, such suffering is nothing compared to two rude DJs on Radio 2. Through a sleepy blur I think I saw Breakfast news manage a few seconds on the Congo, after several minutes on the DJ issue.

It is a perfect summary of the perverted priorities that have overtaken our media obsessed age. I am sure history will find this perversion of priorities perplexing. It was unwise of my Prime Minister to even get involved in commenting on what has become a self obsessed debate at the BBC.

Let us hope we can focus our efforts on real and catastrophic events in the years to come.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Downturn blues ?

The economic transition which is in progress will have a range of impacts. The squeeze on house prices is something many will welcome as "affordability" and entry prices become easier for more people. Yet for those facing negative equity the squeeze is less welcome. The problems of house builders are one other example of the impacts of the down turn and are likely to test the robustness of many companies financial models and assumptions.

There is no escaping this adjustment and the political consequences are unclear. Gordon seems to have responded well to a "crisis" while Cameron, having promised much as a new face, seems to have an empty pantry.

And yet, out and about over half term, the shops still seem to be in good business. Perhaps the impact on such activity will be a third phase. Phase one - financial sector/liquidity, phase two - employers and builders etc, phase three (Jan onwards?) - increasing employment problems?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Strange goings on in Conwy

I found the story about the recruitment of a new Chief Executive at Conwy County Borough Council bemusing, especially with the added dimension of Plaid Cymru influence over the authority. Clearly each employer must make their own recruitment decisions but the lack clarity about the language proficiency required of the candidate seems strange. Of course there can be the argument that the council wishes to consider as open a field as possible with language proficiency being one consideration for a Chief Executive.

So what have the council in mind and are they open to challenge if they fail to meet their own statutory language scheme - this could run for some time given the politics which can surround language politics.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

What goes around..comes around

Given the somewhat blurry 'facts' we have about this Russian-Corfu party, except that Osborne was present, what the hell was Osborne doing launching his attack on Mandelson. Bizzare politics of the big own goal variety.

Did he feel that he was safe, as the host was I understand a Bullingdon member, and that has spectacularly backfired with Mr Rothschild clearly peeved by George's blubbering. The smell of blood ........

Monday, October 20, 2008

Men of a certain age.....

Men (perhaps we should be called boys) of a certain age are very happy this week as the new AC/DC album flies off the shelves of our local supermarkets. The band's first "new" album in years - Black Ice - and anyone using the word "new" in this context needs a healthy supply of "-" !

You know what your getting, the X Factor it ain't but men of a certain age will smile all the way to their CD players.

It doesn't disappoint.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Public service debate

These pieces in the Guardian caught my eye with debate around the impact of the financial turmoil on public services. Some good thoughts about the role of civil society and perhaps reflecting some of the pressures that will arise, like the financial allocations to Welsh councils today.

I suspect this debate will run and run.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Eluned has served us well

With Eluned Morgan MEP standing down at the next Euro election it is appropriate to say 'thank you' and hope a woman of her talents can serve Welsh politics in the future. Through her work on Europe and her promotion of Cymdeithas Cledwyn she has much yet to offer Labour politics.

ps - as a postscript to my last posting I am not ill (to the best of my knowledge) just facing the implications of changed personal circumstances - no more to be said).

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Job vacancy - Parliamentary Candidate for Arfon

As the years roll by we might expect to start expecting the unexpected. In my case there have been a number of changes in my personal life that have lead me to review commitments.

As a result I submitted my resignation as Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Arfon on Friday. The people of Arfon will now be safe from my efforts to leaflet and canvas them for Labour's cause. The Party's work will of course go on and, as soon as a new candidate is elected, I am sure the constituency will focus their efforts on mounting a campaign for the next Westminster election (and playing their part in the Euro elections of 2009).

So to everyone who helped my campaigning in Arfon over the last 8 years or so, many thanks. To those people who may have cast a vote in my, and Labour's, favour - thank you. To my political opponents I have a respect for playing their part in keeping democracy alive. It is a very precious commodity. Not being a 'nationalist' is always a driving force in my personal politics but I have a mutual respect for those who take on political roles in the modern age.

Blogging will continue as a Labour blogger - we can't really afford to loose people blogging in Labour's cause in Wales. Perhaps blog menai will get his wish and my thoughts will be less campaigned focussed and more free style in their approach.

So time to amend blog profile and re emerge as Martin Eaglestone - Labour blogger (not PPC Arfon)- Perhaps to fight Labour's cause again another day.

Friday, October 10, 2008

USA soccer superstar

It is great to see a success story like Shan Jones from Y Felinheli. Shan took up a soccer scholarship in Tenessee, America and those of us following the Blue Raiders are thrilled to see the girl, who grew up amongst her friends in the village, becoming a sports star on the USA women's soccer scene.

And the bottom line is she is great footballer. Wales take pride.

Time for 'Y Goron Fach' Caernarfon to extend their horizons and organise a trip to support Wales's latest soccer star.

"Best brains" problem

I am sure I heard Digby Jones on Radio Four say the government should be careful in their regulation of the financial sector as the "best brains" will flee the country and we will be the worse off after the credit crunch settles down.

If the "best brains" have got us to this point then it seems I should start praying if the less well capable should get their hands on the financial controls!!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

"Pop combo"

There may be a credit crunch but rock and roll goes on. So off to Liverpool with my teenage daughter and a possie to visit the Carling Academy for "One Night Only" !!!!!!

Review here soon - lets get down pop pickers.

More exciting is the news I saw at HMV that AC/DC are to release their long awaited new gem at the end of the month. Hooray.

My daughter was not as impressed by that!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Public sector consequences?

As the financial fallout continues and governments seek responses to the banking crisis my mind turns to the consequences for the coming years. The general uplift in the economy witnessed over the last decade has provided some good news for public services. Expanding budgets and investment in infrastructure to start overcoming previous Tory neglect.

But the climate for the coming years must now be very different and it will be interesting to see how Welsh public services, the Assembly Government and public sector workers cope (declaration of interest!).

Much food for thought and many organisations like councils will face massive decisions about priority spending areas and their obligations (whether old persons, waste management, equal pay or education reform to name just a few).

(blogging not quite as frequent at moment but normal service to resume soon with explanation)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Manchester 08

I actually found the Manchester conference quite interesting. The changing economic climate meant the progressive left were debating ideas with relatively more freedom than recent years. In contrast to the 'personality' fixation of the mainstream media.I attended any number of fringe events in which ideas were explored. Amongst highlights I heard were Benn (H) at the SERA event, Crudas, Miliband (E) and many others.

A tear in the eye at the Welsh night with a fine tribute to Glenys Kinnock MEP.

I thought Gordon delivered a godd solid spech in which he gave portions of his natural emotions and driving force. More please.


Wel after a period in the wilderness I'm back and will start posting again. Hello!

Monday, September 22, 2008

You Tube

Manchester 08 and a chance for a You Tube clinic. Her's hoping a video appears and take the chance to post a few comments.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Top 40 pop pickers - is this a crisis?

Yes after another break I am using other prolific bloggers to catch up on news in blog land. Ordovicius helps point out that that my mi spelt ramblings is ranked in some top 40 for Wales. I feel like that act who make the fringes of the 'pop' chart - before disappearing forever!

I somehow feel this is a bit of a crisis for blogging. We need to increase our activity rates in Wales as there is no feasable way the blabberings I post should be in a top 40 for Wales.

Point on the board!

Alistair may be predicting ongoing economic challenges but as its Saturday then its time to welcome a point in the Premiership at Bolton.

I am still concerned that we need to put chances away if our points total is going to creep near safety. But here is one, away from home.

But I suspect Alistair's words might still be the matters under discussion next week not our point at Bolton.

Is it just me who feels that while these are clearly more challenging economic times that it does not feel like the worst conditions for 60 years?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Prison debate underway

I recently had the chance to show David Hanson MP, Minister of State at the Ministry of Justice, the 'Ferodo' site and to consider the implications of the being on the Ministry of Justice shortlist. As a result my press release said :


"The impact of new jobs from constructing and then running a new prison needs careful consideration" says Martin Eaglestone Labour's Parliamentary candiidate in Arfon. Mr Eaglestone said this as the Ministry of Justice announced that the site of the former Ferodo factory outside Caernarfon is on a shortlist of potential sites for new prisons in Wales".
"This would be a significant investment and create a significant number of relatively well paid jobs in the Caernarfon area. That needs careful consideration in the current consultation process and I would urge people to make thier views known".
"The former Ferodo site is well placed and if we can see further improvements in public transport then it is strategically located near to the new courts complex in Caernarfon. This gives the site a number of advantages".

The local people, The Caernarfon Herald, is now engaging well with this debate and it not surprising to see the pros and cons being aired. The more debate the better.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Weather doing my head in!

This "summer" weather can get you down. Or alternatively, for Lord opf the Ring fans, it is a model of an ork from Leeds Royal Armouries Museum.

Fishy story

Good to see expertise from Bangor University helping to provide for a sustainable fish industry by linking up with a supermarket. Many choose to criticise supermarkets (if not so much the more ethical Co op) but applying research and academic expertise from our Universities can only help influence, and change, for the better what will remain predominant lifestyles for years to come.

Monday, August 18, 2008

"Does a civilized society allow citizens to starve and die?"

I continue to catch up with post holiday blog postings and see that Cangen Bontnewydd of Plaid Cymru have posted a less than balanced piece on the debate around welfare reform, including the less than rational comment with which I lead this post. The fact that this question follows on from an admission that many questions remain unanswered, perhaps points us to the need for more realistic debate, not empty rhetoric.
There are a number of issues that must be teased out of Ministers as the proposals move from the initial debate to formal legislation, but hot air won't achieve that.
How we move from reasoned debate about welfare reform to citizens who "starve and die" I'm not sure, but the Party of Wales seem to want to make a noise. I think this debate needs sharp minds, and the shining of clear daylight to test out Ministers thinking and intentions. More precision- less heat.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Urban renewal - up north!

Yes, the gap in postings was due to a family holiday and I took note of my friends advice from last year not to announce an absence from home on the internet (security mad fools!). Anyway it seems the Tory inspired Policy Exchange decided to provide a Tebbit style blast from the past. Huw Lewis is one of many tp pick up the story I note.
Quite ironic as a UK based holiday included visits to regeneration sites in Liverpool, Salford and Leeds. The Leeds visit including the "No such thing as a society" exhibition. None of these visits made me feel I should be heading south, and via the Tate in Liverpool, Lowry in Salford and Royal Armaments in Leeds these north west/northern cities seem to be doing quite well.
Even simple public art like banana lambs can create mass excitement!
It also makes me me wonder why we call for investment, and then have a panic at a project like Victoria Dock. Investment brings change - my leisure time around north/north west made this clear.

A platform

So after a traumatic opening five minutes, the afternoon at the Emirates was not quite as bad as feared. Teams will come off far worse than 1-0 here, and there is a platform on which to build (so I tell myself).

Aresenal away is not the place for vital points.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Mallorcs'a quite close really!

In fact it was just off the M5 junction today and created a reasonably entertaining 1-1 draw - it is pre season!.
The Baggies showed off the Championship trophy and, at half time, it was presented to a 100 year old fan who attended his first game in 1918. (Not me, or Dad, shown above). However this beautifully summarises the madness of football supporters as written about by Adrian Chiles in his entertaining book "We don't know what we're doing - adventures with the extraordinary fans of an ordinary team". Chiles of course being far away in Beejing.
So having seen two pre season games what are my predictions for the season ahead : we still need a decent centre half and 'leader' at the back. Ishmael Miller can be exciting but seems to need that extra second the Premiership often fails to give. Ronan Bednar may prove a surprise package, but we willl need to play two forwards to help each other. We will also need some luck!
Survival will be hard work - fingers crossed.
(of course Philips scores late in Brum debut to make a point!).

Friday, August 08, 2008

Off to Mallorca

Yes that's Real Mallorca in the pre-season game at the Hawthorns tomorrow.

Little doubt it will be feast of football in glorious August weather!!!!!

Of course old foes like Wolves are kicking off in the lowly Championship the same day but is Premiership big boys are still warming up for our kick off

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Useful blog service

I occasionally exchange a cross word with Ordovicius (and often spell the blog name with various random spellings!) but will always acknowledge his useful contribution to Welsh blogging with views, analysis and translations of Welsh language articles like this one here. This helps take the debate beyond the immediate Welsh speaking target audience, and is vital to a bilingual country.
What is interesting to me now is the change of tune in nationalism, reflected in this article and other signals.
For example Deputy First Minister Ieaun Wyn Jones wrote in the Daily Post this week under the banner headline "We must see bigger picture". It was an article worthy of a Minister but just strikes me that only a short time ago Mr Jones would have been writing a very different article, in the same circumstances, from the opposition benches!!
Welcome to the hard world of government.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Prison needs fair consideration

Rt Hon David Hanson MP and Martin Eaglestone on site of the former Ferodo factory outside Caernarfon.


"The impact of new jobs from constructing and then running a new prison needs careful consideration" says Martin Eaglestone Labour's Parliamentary candiidate in Arfon. Mr Eaglestone said this as the Ministry of Justice announced that the site of the former Ferodo factory outside Caernarfon is on a shortlist of potential sites for new prisons in Wales".

"This would be a significant investment and create a significant number of relatively well paid jobs in the Caernarfon area. That needs careful consideration in the current consultation process and I would urge people to make thier views known".
"The former Ferodo site is well placed and if we can see further improvements in public transport then it is strategically located near to the new courts complex in Caernarfon. This gives the site a number of advantages".
Information from the Ministry of Justice web site.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Independence - let the case be made

I find it somewhat reassuring that Helen Mary Jones has returned to the theme of "independence" for Wales. I think it is a case that needs to be argued, explored and I feel will then be flattened by the people of Wales. Perhaps the Party of Wales see the need to reassure those people who have peeled off to people like Llais Gwynedd in the council elections. This is the age of inter dependence not independence, and the debate over issues like neuro surgery made this point in a more telling way than any politician could manage.
Meanwhile the Constitutional Convention will get on with testing the water as to whether a referendum should be held on greater powers for the Assembly. ( I still predict 'not yet' will be a concensus response).
So with the credit crunch, energy and food price increases, Euro elections looming in 2009 let us welcome the distraction of "independence" for Wales.

Monday, August 04, 2008

£12 million pound investment in Caernarfon

It was great to welcome Rt Hon David Hanson MP to Caernarfon and Bangor today. The main purpose being to see the progress being made on the new court facilities on Llanberis Road, Caernarfon. This is a £12 million pound investment by Her Majesty's Court Service (HMCS)
and a major vote of confidence in the town of Caernarfon.
It is investments of this type tking on the renewal of our civil infrastructure that have become important under the Labour Government.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Scones on Bangor Pier

Well the weather was kind today and the constituency "Sunday lunch club" met in Bangor, with a post meal stroll to the delights of Bangor pier. While the picture is not very busy there were plenty of people strolling, and fishing, with a number of visitors amongst them.
In spite of the substantial Sunday lunch served by 'The Nelson' several of the group could not resist the splendid scones served in the tea room at the end of the pier.
So there you are next time you visit Bangor stick the pier on your list, and have a splendid scone.
It's not all hard work this politics........


So in a desperate attempt to be in touch with modern culture it was a visit to Batman on Friday evening. I am no great film critic and the film was reasonably good escapism for a few hours - quite a long film it seemed. Well worth a visit although, like other films I have seen, I am not sure the hype is justified. Part of it seems like the rock band who loose a singer (think AC/DC etc) and it seems to generate even more interest.
So a 6.5/7 out of 10 , worth the evening out, but no I don't think it was the future of film - just good distraction from life. Job done.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

The sun shone and the flowesr were in fine bloom at the Bangor Festival. It is good to see a spirit which maintains such community events and the opportunity to fund raise for a variety of good causes.

More reading

It seems this blog has been around for a while but I have been slow off the mark. However it is another blogging voice about Wales so a link will follow.

There, lazy posting done for today. Time for the Bangor Festival.

and the Baggies won last night .......... (2-1 at the mighty Hereford)

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Donny hits the campaign trail????

Recent profiles have suggested that David Miliband was compared to Donny Osmond in his younger days - I know not. However having missed his appearance with Jeremy Vine I saw the Newnisght coverage. I don't think such things happen by mistake in modern politics. We'll see.

However my advice is still to go on holiday!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Feeling the heat

It is the ongoing squeeze on energy prices which shows the heat will not go away, and how the same impacts would affect any colour of Government at present. I'll hazard a guess that returning energy to the public sector is not likely on any foreseeable time horizon and so we must get used to higher energy prices.

While this undoubtedly will make many more people conscious of energy efficiency (a good thing) there are many who will struggle, or some elderly who will perceive a need to not use energy even when necessary for their well being.

Energy supply and food production have come back with a vengance.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Its the silly season

As Ordovicius himself admits in a post here it is the 'silly season'. Well after the time in Warwick I have been catching up on Welsh blogging over the last week and I found another example of the silly season here.
It seems I have changed allegiance and joined Llais Gwynedd. Must say I didn't notice and will have to update my membership!
It strikes me there is a strangely intolerant streak in some nationalist blogs who feel they can dish it out at will, but when voices are raised in criticism or opposition it gets a bit uncomfortable. Some things said by Llais Gwynedd have struck a chord, as have some things said by other political groups/parties, but that can hardly equate to switching allegiance.
I assume this outburst was prompted by welcoming Gwilym Euros to the world of blogging. Orovicius must learn blogging is a tolerant world of many different views.

Not totally sure on this one Ffred

The new Culture Minister has weighed in to the Olympics. Part of his rationale being :

"If money is taken out then to promote one activity in one specific area then I think that is wrong."

Well does that principle not equally apply to the Ryder Cup in Wales, or any site of excellence that we might choose to promote. The Millennium Centre or the National Botanic Gardens being other potential examples. Do they not receive funding to "promote one activity in one specific area".

So the Olympics is perhaps a larger scale version but it is a rare visit that it makes to the UK. My expectation would be to see Lottery funds prioritised to nations ans regions after the Olympics so we can catch up with any monies 'lost' in the build up to 2012.

The Minsiters energy might be better used driving for every possible positive spin off from the Games and the associated activity.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Go on your holidays........

My advice to Labour MPs is to head off on their holidays and stop the speculative discussion over Gordon Brown. The Party and the Government need a period of respite over the Summer so that a process of rebuilding is available over the winter in preparation for the Euro elections next year. (yes the next elections are not that far away..).
Having been at the Warwick negotiations over the weekend it seems that we have a platform of ideas ready for the next election and to take forward our work in the coming years. Leadership debates and the nonsense about 'union power', so beloved by the media, are distractions. Effective government is the best solution.
Does anyone truly believe that the country would go back to the 70's? (Tory placards in Warwick!!).Nonsense.
So have nice holidays, recharge your batteries and come back fresh to move us forward. Meanwhile us humble workers will still be at our desks etc.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Hard work goes on.

A break in postings as I was one of those people locked away at the University of Warwick hammering out key issue for the next manifesto. My biggest reflection is that, in spite of the dark political clouds which have gathered, the National Policy Forum went about its business in a very serious and hard headed manner. Yes lots of late night negotiations and agreements to be reached but the NPF did manage to complete its business in the face of intense political and bureaucratic pressures. Thousands of amendments, endless meetings to seek concensus and a final session to vote on outstanding amendments. All Party's have a debt of gratitude for their staff - Labour has an incredible thank you to its staff this weekend and they got a standing ovation for their effort (and lack of sleep).
Of course I have little doubt the papers want a "Brown caves in" or "Party split" headline. It didn't happen, whatever is written. The Forum signed up to the documents ready for conference in September.
So lets get back to governance and running the country.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

"No stickiness of any significance"

It is little phrases like this which make me wonder whether I missed my vocation in the media (misspillings and all!).

Why faced with a minor security breach would people wish to comment on "no stickiness of any significance". Very strange.

What if it had been significant ? A real sticky situation......

Minor stickiness ? A mild pasting ......

It could go on and on.

"Feast" of football

We could hardly contain our excitement as the grass grew in Shropshire. Anyway having gone 2-0 down, and sent some of us to the bar, the Baggies woke up and ended up with a pre season 2-2 draw. The joys of pre season football ...........

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


The appointment of a local politician to a Cabinet deserves recognition. So llongyfarchiadau to Alun Ffred Jones AM on his appointment to the Assembly Government.

Over Offa's Dyke.......

Yes the fever has struck and no time for that serious political blogging. Shrewsbury beckons tonight as the mighty Baggies continue the build up to the new Premiership season ..............

Monday, July 21, 2008

Cangen Bontnewydd in a froth

Welfare reform has always been a difficult subject. There are a generation of Labour activists (myself included) who find it difficult to move beyond the Tebbit/Thatcher years and who have a twitch when Labour enter this territory.
Yet over recent years we have worked hard to create a spirit in which being available for work, and overcoming the perils of inactivity, have been challenged in creative ways. Being active is good for any number of reasons and steps to promote activity I will support.
So the knee jerk reaction of Bontnewydd Plaid Cymru (for which we can read Rhydian) is perhaps not fully balanced, but will no doubt fire up Hywel Williams campaigning for the coming months.
These proposals have a long way to go. It is strange that a "Green Paper" should generate such hostiity and Rhydian will be aware that many a rough edge will be removed before we get to the "Act". This could be an interesting debate for some time to come.

Bangor at leading edge

Pleasing to see the research monies awarded to Bangor University to help learn more about climate change. Bangor has a number of leading edge subjects and being part of this network can only help develop the knowledge and research base in North West Wales.
Anyone considering their future career prospects whether on a local, national or global scale could do worse than the "environment" whether climate change, oceans, design, architecture, planning or design.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Parademics ready!

Due to a work commitment I did not make my annual appearance in the village 10k run earlier this month (phew!!). But the time has come to face my fears, dust down the trainers and start preparing for a 10k on Anglesey in September (not the marathon!).

So yet more competition for precious time - but this one will hopefully have more health benefits than blogging.

Paramedics get ready ...........

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Time for Ffred?

Political and life incidents can hit us all in different ways and the resignation of Culture Minister Rhodri Glyn leaves me a little confused. It is difficult not to assume there is more to it than meets the eye and I wish him all the best. Everyone is in trouble if Ministers have to resign bcause of "gaffes"- we are only human after all.

Let us also hope Alun Ffred Jones has his house in order if he is to step forward as the new Minister.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Back to work - football

So back to the job but so many e-mails. Is this the modern plague of working life. We have stopped talking and just e-mail each other!

Anyway the Baggies are doing the bizz and strengthening the defence. Good news.

So after a hectic week the pub will win tonight. Short posting as a result!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Croeso Gwilym

Croeso to Gwilym Euros Roberts the Llais Gwynedd councillor in Gwynedd. Juding by some of the insults already in blog land by Plaid Cymru supporters this might prove interesting. Amdani Gwilym!

Day 2

So back to the picket line at 7am for day two of the local government pay dispute. Am I alone in thinking the media and public tone leans to the sympathetic ? A few reflections:
a) a two day strike is not the point in itself,
b) the level of support has taken employers by surprise,
c) more stayed away on day 2 than day 1,
d) it is a means to an end (i.e a better pay rise than 2.45%)
e) the will be resolved by talking , not striking,
f) the employers have to agree to hold talks to review their previous "final offer" to allow the wheels to turn,
The more action that is forced on employees the higher the final settlement bar will rise - my advice to the employers (and any government Minister passing by this blog) is get the wheels moving soon.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

2.45% - no thanks

So across Wales council workers have put up their picket lines, closed civic centres, many schools etc in protest at the local government employers "final offer" of 2.45% . The effect seems to have been significant and a further day of action takes place tomorrow. Pictured are a couple of shots from Llangefni and the pickets outside the council HQ.
So I hear you shout what about the politics of this ? Well I think it is a dispute that should have been avoided. For not significant amounts, enough could have been done to make people feel a touch more comfortable and, as inflation has risen, 2.45% does not look too clever.But the politics also includes the fact that the council employers now have a significant Tory voice and I wonder do they want to settle or drag Brown/Labour in to the battle?.
If I was the relevant Westminster Minister - this is not a devolved issue - I would ask people to get round the table, see this year in the context of a three year pay deal (rather than a one off) and bring extra money in to year one.
But I'm not the negotiator so I have to see how the employers respond after two days of dispute.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The cheque book is out....

With moves for new goal keeper afoot the Baggies are also strengthening other areas of defence. It was the most worrying aspect of last season - lots of goals scored, but lots conceded.

Eve of a strike

Wednesday and Thursday will see industrial action by UNISON members over the pay negotiations in local government for England and Wales. Members voted to reject the "final offer" and action remains the final tool to persuade the employers that council workers require a larger increase. I hope to bring you pictures from the picket line.
I hope there are not many dissenting voices in this organisation!

"Planning Aid Wales"

Town and country planning can be a bemusing topic full of regulations, procedures and professional jargon (this last characterictic not being confined to planning!) so I was pleased to travel to the Senedd yesterday for the launch of Planning Aid Wales new website and AGM. The offering of support and advice to community and disadvantged groups, town and community councils and others is very important, and empowering people vital to the health of democracy.
So the next time you face a major planning issue and are looking for advice and support consider Planning Aid Wales.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Impact of blogging

The Observer runs another of the stories about bloggers impacting on"mainstream" writers, this time fears for the future of "critics". These are amusing little stories, but as far as I can see informed opinion will always have a role while newspapers continue to survive. That is perhpas the bigger challenge as we have entered the blackberry/ipod age.
In spite of the depth and breath of material accessible via the web there remains something reassuring about picking up a newspaper and happily skimming/reading at will. It is also convenient to carry round and disposed of (recycled of course) at moment of choosing.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Footbal happiness ......

Yes I accept it is not earth shattering news, and the 08/09 football season is still some weeks away, but I can't help smiling at the news that the 2008-2009 season on Sky Sports will start with the Arsenal v WBA game. Yes, Sky need the quality teams on the box to get the season off to a flying start, and obviously to maximise the advertising revenue with the Baggies global brand!

Tom Bodden of the Daily Post will already be quaking at the 2nd game - WBA v Everton as the aggregate score in the Baggies last Premiership season was 6-2 to the Albion (I don't often mention that useless fact in front of the Blue noses in my house!).

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Passing the torch!!!

We all have moments in life when the baton is passed to the next generation and we have to face our mortality! This week I have reflected on my eldest daughter attending a festival with her friends (Wakestock) and 'Dad' not being there.

I had my youth at Donnington Park, various Apollos, Stafford Bingley Hall, Thin Lizy, AC/DC etc.

The torch of youth has passed on - it is time for my slippers and a glass of port.............

Hope someone knows the answers!

When a fundamental political question is asked I think it helps if someone has some idea of the possible answer. Reviewing the Barnett formula became a mantra that formed part of the One Wales agreement. With the chair being announced I hope that we know the direction of travel.

A review that ends up in Whitehall/Cariff Bay impasse will help no one and cost taxpayers in Wales a few quid in the process. So I hope we have pragmatic thinkers to help the forthcoming review, who can negotiate a good deal. I must check who is the union rep on the group!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Look over your shoulder Don

There are a number of things that could be concerning Labour MPs at present, and a focus on some big UK issues is advisable as we seek to address the global credit crunch, downturn in the UK economy, pay disputes needing some government intervention, a big by election in Scotland, all might be good things to start with.

Quite why Don Touhig should let rip at the One Wales Government as one year passes by is therefore a little strange, if not out of character. Don the Welsh party voted for the One Wales government, they are going about their business and I was not aware that Edwina Hart, Jane Davidson and others were not making their mark.

Sometimes it does not help to stand in the green house throwing stones!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Rural housing

An interesting consultation was today issued by Minister Jane Davidson regarding several elements of housing policy for rural Wales. It has both a political and professional interest and is certain to get a number of lobby groups hot under the collar.
Not yet policy, but following consultation changes to national policy are proposed. Some worthy principles around succession planning in farming, affordable homes etc. It will be interesting to see how 'planning' copes with the consequences of what I feel is potentially a significant shift in policy, with the outcome largely in the hands of Wales planning authorities, not the Minister.
Ponderosa a go-go or sensible planned reaction. We`wait to see !

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Glasgow, Labour policy and all that stuff

For those journalists who have not foreseen this yet then let us pick up an interesting link from all the speculation about Labour's forthcoming by election in Glasgow East. I have to admit that I am finding the thirst for damaging Brown quite mystifying but I suppose there is long evidence that an element of politics is often driven by the 'smell of blood'.
Anyway the interesting link is that on the morning (and weekend) after the Glasgow result many of Labour's representatives will gather in the 'National Policy Forum' to start finalising policy for the next Westminster election. As one of the reps for Wales I'l be in attendance and have spent recent days working through the headaches of paperwork such a role brings. Hence blogging was a little quiet midweek.
A by election victory will give some fresh opportunity to focus on the policy debate of the coming years, but another defeat will provide lots of distraction from talking about the future to the electoral issues of the here and now.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

From health to high jinks!

So while people gathered on a hill in Tredegar to remember Bevan's great act Y Felinheli had its annual carnival day. Dodging the showers and basking in periods of sun it seems good fun has been had by all. Thanks to the organisers.


On the 60th anniversary of the NHS this seems a suitable way of saying thanks to the founding father. I am pleased to see UNISON is a sponsor given the union's membership in the NHS.

I suppose we all have ways to be thankful for the unique qualities of the NHS. I would simply like to say thank you to all those staff who serve us all in times of need.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Gwyl Y Felinheli 2008

My home village, Y Felinheli is very fortunate to have one of the top village festivals in Wales - Gwyl Y Felinheli.
It is a credit to all those who volunteer time This years events are well undeway and this evening we all warmed up for the Euro final with some congregational singing in the company of Cor y Penrhyn (Penrhyn male voice choir) accompanied by Enesmble Pres Biwmares.
If you are anywhere near North West Wales this week the varied programme and events in the Gwyl are well worth a visit.

Caernarfon needs "emergency" marketing

In welcoming Eluned Morgan MEP to Caernarfon last Friday I have made a call for an "emergency" marketing campaign for Caernarfon to help the town through the current problems of redevelopment and change.

I discussed with Eluned the challenges which face the town as it goes through a period of major change. My key message remains the same. The decision about Victoria Dock has been made, and the big challenge now is that the 'old' and the 'new' town must find effective ways of working together for everyone's long term benefit. When there is disruption and change that is not easy, but the focus must be on making the best of the changes taking place. To help in that I am calling on Gwynedd Council and the Welsh Assembly Government to lead an "emergency" marketing campaign in local hotels, caravan parks and camping sites during the Summer holidays to ensure visitors are not put off coming to the town. This will ensure the town can best respond to the challenge of this change and be helped through a difficult period.

It often falls on local councils to lead marketing initiatives and given the impact of the current scheme it would seem very sensible to put an emergency campaign in place which will help traders over the Summer period and make sure the town can benefit from the investment and change.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Do Wigley and Jones now think a "bribe" is a good thing?

I suppose we all come to revise our opinions over time.
It was during the lead up to the last Assembly election that Dafydd Wigley and Alun Ffred Jones AM issued a letter referring to the role of regeneration grants and that using such incentives to attract companies could be a "bribe". I called for the withdrawal of such a stupid allegation and note that no such noises have been made with recent job creating announcements by the One Wales Government.
It seems the Plaid leader of Gwynedd Council has no qualms about an Assembly grant, and I wonder whether the Deputy First Minister sees his announcement as a "bribe" or, my view, just sensible use of monies to help support and improve the local economy ?
As I say we can all change our opinions over time, especially if we move from the opposition benches to Government limos!!

Bloggers rage - "Poor Martin"

Dear me it seems that to blog we now require perfect spilling (!!) of every word, and to spend our waking time checking postings. Little did I realise that giving a little of my time to offloading random thoughts, stories, pictures and ideas would cause such upset. I don't force anyone to read this - indeed I am sure there are more constructive uses of time.

However after previous rounds of 'nat' attacks on the blog I do generally moderate and that can cuase some delay in posting comments. For example yesterday I was largley away from a pc after the posting on Cymdeithas Cledwyn, and I have only just caught up with a couple of comments-which are now posted.

I am more than happy to take the personal criticism and insults - perhaps it makes someone out there feel better. In contrast to the frustration expressed by Ordivicus, I think blogmenai has posted some valid comments about creating reasons to vote 'for' something, rather than just being anti-Tory.

Perhaps in truth a few of my nationalist friends just get upset at a Labour voice posing questions, poking the local establishment and who just won't go away (like a bad rash).

Friday, June 27, 2008

Ymgyrchu yn Y Fro - Campaigning in the heartland

I will join Eluned Morgan MEP in Caernarfon this morning for the launch of a report by Cymdeithas Cledwyn on Labour's campaign and electoral work in the Welsh language heartlands of West and Norh WestWales. This is one of the reviews that arose from the last Assembly results and makes for interesting reading.

Diddorol fydd ymuno ac Eluned Morgan ASE yng Nhaernarfon wrth lawnsio adroddiad Cymdeithas Cledwyn ar ymgyrchoedd Llafur yn Gorllewin a Gogledd Orllewin Cymru. Dyma adroddiad diddorol ac un arolygiad gan Llafur ar ol canlyniadau etholiadau Y Cynulliad yn 2007.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Red-Blue upsets them all

It seems my simple message that following the next Westminster election the people of Arfon will have a red or blue government has got under the collar of a few more people. Ordovicius -link on right hand side if you want- carries this lovely paragrpah in his recent posting about Gwilym Euros of Llais Gwynedd (yes, I'm just catchinhg up!)

"Gwilym, not wanting to exert himself too much with standards, has obviously decided to emulate Martin Eaglestone's purile style of blogging, which does note bode well for his chances of being reelected in 2012, as Martin himself has yet to discover any sane reason why anybody should vote for him".

Very entertaining - although the personalised attack on Gwilym Euros seems a little OTT. People in Plaid Cymru really must come to accept election defeats a little more gracefully. Winning and loosing elections is one price of democracy. However :

New hospital in Tremadog
Multi million pound investment in regenerating Caernarfon
Investment in new facilities in Ysbyty Gwynedd
Communities First work in Caernarfon, Bangor and Dyffryn Nantlle
New multi million facilities at Bangor University
Rail investment
New court buildings
Plas Pawb intgrated children's centre
Ty Cegin healthy living centre
DWP offices in Parc Menai

etc etc etc - the list of acheivements could get boring.

It seems a better option to me that letting in the Tories - and yes I beleive that wasting a vote on Plaid does not make much sense for Wales, and in protecting our evolving Assembly (oops here I go again !)

Squeeze on local government ?

I have often wondered how long it can be before local government feels the squueze of an Assembly Government making promises that it does not directly control. The latest report on delivering more affordable homes is another example of a WAG promise that partly (largely?) depends on the vageries/variations of local authorities.
Can the One Wales government afford to have a flagship policy that is does not more directly control ?
Will the idea that the Minister take more direct control of performance lead to changes in the existing relationships of central and local ?
Will people really care provided the homes are delivered ?
Of course it can always be convenient to have systems which mean a lack of delivery is linked to some complexity between differing layers of government responsibility. But a promise of 6500 homes won't be forgotten and with the downturn in the housing market it is looking more challenging, unless someone signs some big cheques for direct delivery of these homes.
There is also a need to get shifting. It takes time to build homes - ask a planner - so its time to get the skates on.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Upsetting blog meani

Having taken a break I am only just catching up with the recent blog postings of others. It seems that my recent arguments in the local weekly press about the next Westminster election clearly now being a clear red-blue choice has upset the prolific blogmenai. Roughly and abruptly translated "The problem with Martin Eaglestone" is that by making this choice very clear it is negative campaigning, and giving people a reason why they should vote Labour.

Fair argument menai, but while Plaid may be quite happy to consider deals with the Tories, and we know that the Party of Wales in Arfon voted to support the 'Rainbow' in the Assembly, some of us are still motivated by the desire to keep the Tories out.

Voting Labour in Arfon in the next Westminster election is one simple way to acheive that outcome and protect Arfon from the Tories.

Now I need to speak to Gordon about riding out the storm and providing the good reasons why Arfon needs Labour - but those investments and new opportunities were listed in the press if ignored by menai in his posting.

Passenger overboard !

Dafydd Iwan has had a bad political year and might have hoped comrades in the Party of Wales would give him some comfort and activities to occupy his spare time and energy. Well not so it seems, and Elfyn Llwyd has decided there is no better time to kick a man then when he is falling.
Some of the opening comments in this Presidential campaign point to potential fireworks ahead.
Of course Elfyn will also be open to public questioning and perhaps we can usefully probe a few issues on what he new knew about the goings on in Cymad, what and when he knew, as he tries to become a national political figure leading his troops on the path from "navel gazing" to a brighter future.
Right time to frame some legally correct questions for Mr Llwyd........

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

"It is a funny issue, planning"

So lets start with an article in the Guardian that caught my eye and the debate over reforms to the system of town and country planning, which is where I earn my daily crust.
The Westminster government have some worthy aspirations to reform the planning system which can make it more fit for purpose in a fast changing world. Yet it is not proving straightforward and it will be interesting to see how our Welsh Assembly Government take forward some of these issues in Wales.
The RTPI (planners professional body) today put out the following release about changes to the Bill.
Whether in your local community or on the national stage planning can kick up a debate.

Had a break!

I suppose we all need a break to deal with life sometimes so I think the longest break in postings since I started blogging is now over.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

From "Y Doc" to Afffordable Homes

Well the Victoria Dock development has not yet delivered any affordable homes, although some form of off site provision is mentioned whenever questions are asked of gwynedd Council. This is of interest as the Joseph Rowntree foundation today published reserach on affordable homes in rural Wales. As someone engaged in town planning to earn my daily crust I found much of the report familiar, and am not really persuaded by those of the recommendations that lead us to yet more research and evidence gathering.
Property prices are beyond incomes, the existing property owners benefit and the social concience it seems is not yet big enough to show enough care for those unable to enter the market. The billions might impact on tax rates - a windfalll tax for affordable homes ? (noting that as government prepares for a development levy the market takes a nasty turn).
The focus is best placed on proactive steps to increase supply, and building a concensus for more capital to build more homes. The recommendation which caught my eye however was the need for a "seismic upward shift in affordable housing provision" which takes us to the whole debate about the adequacy of house building rates in recent years and is a challenge to the prevailing culture of recent years whic has at times been anti-development.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

More Victoria "Doc" Fictoria photos

The photos of Y Doc caused some interest and I have therefore posted a couple more shots taken in Sunday's glorious weather.
Anyway more marketing stuff here from Watkin Jones web site.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Dinner at the "Doc"

A nice lunchtime having Sunday dinner with members of Arfon CLP. A new monthly 'Sunday lunch club' with a once a month social get together. Better than that politics thing!
Anyway this month's venue was the much debated Doc Victoria Dock - the "new" face of Caernarfon. With shops, hotels and restaurant now open it is becoming more lively, although still stimulates much debate over scale and design of the development- even in the lunch club!
So here are a couple of pictures. Some members popped off for a nose at the 'show homes' which come in at the local price of around 750k and 620k . The smaller apartments are around 220kk. Good luck to anyone who has the cash to enjoy the waterside luxury.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Dafydd's clarifications - more please

For those who don't read Y Cymro then the reference to Dafydd Iwan's letter in the press would not have made much sense. So courtesy of Plaid Cymru Bontnewydd (Plaid's unofficial web site it seems) and a linked translation from Sanddef here is the clarification to election rumours.

So Dafydd can we be clear :

1. Do you still hold shares in the company Arianrhod, where you were a former director ?

2. Does that company own several properties on Castle Square Caernarfon ?

3. Will those properties generally benefit from the Assembly/Gwynedd Council improvement works on their doorstep?

4. What is the nature of your brother's (Arfon's AM) shreholding interest in the company?

5. Since what does has he held shares in this company ?

6. Was it before January 2008 ?

7. Did he, or you, hold shares when the publicly funded improvements were being discussed ?

8. Which other Plaid Cymru AMs have shareholding interest in Arianrhod ?

Just asking as you seem in the mood for public statements to provide post election clarifications. Don't want any ticking timebombs left unanswered.

Clarification will reassure all those people who tell me the "facts" and "questions" I have published are of legitimate public interest.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Frank views

It seems various people continue to flag up former Councillior Iwan's recent letters to the papers . A Llais Gwynedd candidate blogs a few notes of doubt.

For my part I am as interested in the January declaration by Mr Alun Ffred Jones about holding shares in Arianrhod. Must send off that e-mail seeking clarification.

Wet Wednesday - its the Urdd

So the worst weather of the week so it must be the day I've booked to visit the Urdd Eisteddfod. Conveniently camped just down the A55 so, apaprt from peak traffic times, it should be a visit in which more time is spent on the Maes than travelling in the car. How nice.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

How to secure local tourism

The Bank Holiday seemed reasonably busy although we have to await reports of whether the tills were ringing. The local area has a number of great attractions and although Snowdon etc grab the headlines there are great family attractions like the Greenwood centre delivering a high quality product.
The recent review of tourism hits many of the right notes in stressing that unique cultural products need to be showcased. But in a European and global market there are forces working to ensure our experience is of a more homogeneous product. It now takes more effort to find a local workforce in many major hospitality/leisure operations. So training, enterprise and reward will be important in developing the future of this great industry that may strengthen again as fuel prices bite.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The solution is too govern well

I have read the endless commentary since Thursday's election result, reflected on the tone of some the debates at the Wales TUC, and listened to the Sunday morning analysis. I reach the simple conclusion that with the election still being on the far horizon the best solution for Labour in Westminster (or anywhere else) is to govern well. Effective and progressive decision making in government that moves us closer to our aims on social justice and child poverty will be the best response to the stormy political weather.
People elect a political party to run democratic systems and tackle the wicked conflicting issues. Unlike opposition it is not easy and we have to brave enough to renew and change course where necessary. No, I don't have a long list of such issues but cheesing off those who empathise with Labour by, for example tight restrictions on public sector pay, does not help.
I see no merit whatsoever in the 'change' the leader strand of debate. Yes Labour should use the range of skills available to us. Johnson is a good communicator and I feel Harriet performs well in spite of a hostile media. Others should step up to the mark so it is clear Gordon leads a talented team of people, while he applies his natural talent to assisting the Chancellor with the big economic challenges facing the world economy.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Westminster - Red or Blue

At the end of the Wales TUC I contributed to "Taro Post" Radio Cymru's lunchtime debate - not surprisingly the topic was Crewe and Nantwich. It amused me that during discussion on such a day we managed to get Eleanor Burnham talking about Nick Clegg's leadership of the Lib Dems, but on the substantive issue my view has crystallised in to a very simple choice.
At the next Westminster election, whenever it arrives, there will be simple choice of Westminster government : Red or Blue.
Forget the negative talk of there being no difference (I won't produce a boring list), no moaning about a Government's alleged wrong decisions,, but a straight choice as to broadly which way the country will face : Red or Blue.
Dispel any thought that a protest vote for some orange or green brand somehow allows someone to feel better, but naked political choice. This is a message I started delivering to the local papers three weeks ago and it is a message I will not bore in driving home in the time ahead.
I make no apology for that, and must hope that the international financial climate, and UK political fortunes, turn to provide a more favourable wind by election time. But the choice will be stark and in my view there will be no home for a progressive vote apart from Labour to keep Cameron out of Downing Street.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Wales TUC

The Wales TUC meets in Llandudno from Wednesday morning till Friday this week. I will be in attendance at various times, and find many of the debates/fringe meetings instrumental in identifying key issues of concern. The debate over public sector pay, migrant workers and the conference contributions by elected representatives are important. It is always useful to sit in on some legal briefings by the leading employment law firms given the increasing litigation climate in our society.
Of course as with all conference activity many eyes will be on the fringe and who is speaking to who! This becomes more interesting amongst those of the trade unions affiliated to Labour with Rhodri's successor becoming an ever closer event. Friday morning may prove interesting given the by-election of the previous day.
So a time to meet comrades from across Wales, consider the trade union challenges of the coming years and, no doubt, enjoy a drink or two. Unions may not be the force they were and the movement faces its own major challenges to recruit and organise in a less collective society, but still a worthwhile event.

Best wishes to Karen

My best wishes go to Karen Sinclair AM folowing this announcement today.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Best wishes Andrew

I have just returned from a jog as I start preparing for the Gwyl Y Felin 10k. On checking the news I catch up with the story about Minister Andrew Davies. Andrew is Labour to the core and I wish him well in the coming days and weeks.

It seems we all need to take more notice of our own Government's health messages.

I look forward to seeing Andrew back at work and campaigning.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Action better than words

I didn't think "I feel your pain" was a response that would be sufficient for the 10p issue. So I welcome today's statement by the Chancellor that shows we can move to sort out issues for the low paid as well as the big money issues around the credit crunch.

Sure there will be opposition moans and groans, and insincere accussations, but this does show better action - action that will count more than thousands of words.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Arianrhod - the search continues

Some comments suggested I had only posted queries about Arianrhod due to the election. Well an election period is a legitimate period to ask questions about any overlap of private and public interests, and seek answers. The matter is of legitimate public interest and the research continues.
I will be e-mailing Mr Alun Ffred Jones AM, as suggested by some commentators, to ask the questions. The press may have beaten me to it so the answers shouldn't take long.
I would also like to ask if all other Plaid Cymru AMs have declared any shareholdings in Arianrhod on the Assembly register ?
I cannot see any entries in the January register so can I suggest any oversights need tidying up quickly.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Sea aliens?

Yes I'm in a phase where the digi camera is not far away and tonight's eye catcher was a concrete lorry reversing in to the Menai Strait. With eager volunteers keen to repair Y Felinheli sailing club slip way but from a distance I saw some space ship with aliens from the sea plot! (yes the mind works in strange ways on occassions).

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Old Trafford here we come

and of course in case you thought I was not going to mention it, here is the web site story about WBA returning to the Premiership. A good season with FA cup semi final, major entertainment and promotion.

As Boris of London might say "Well done chaps".

A break from the politics

Some time to look around the local area and enjoy the (mostly) nice Bank Holiday weekend. Just a short distance from the back door is this cove and after the heavy downpour earlier today a nice mix of evening sun and water running off the land. The joys of a small digital camera making us all great artists!.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Energy to move forward

After Thursday's drubbing the biggest challenge in a people centred activity like politics is to establish a fresh energy to meet the new challenge and move forward. Arfon Labour started that process today, with some de briefing on the council elections, taking stock of Gwynedd Council and I spooted a number of smiles at the losses which beset Plaid cymru and their local leaders. Comfort in small matters!
Realistically Plaid are assumed to retain the driving seat on the council as they only need to offer some sweeties to a few Plaid friendly independents. It is unclear whether Llais Gwynedd have enough cohesion to build a 'rainbow' and take up power - they know what they oppose, but have they the cohesion around what they would do? Perhaps they will remian the awkward squad, picking fights to unsettle Plaid.
But Labour face the bigger challenge, and we must bring a clear focus on why Arfon must choose Labour at the next Westminster election. Perhaps people will now more clearly realise the Tories are a threat in Westminster and it is in Wales best interest to retain Labour MPs. This is very important to us in Arfon and is a message we must push home in the campaigning times ahead.
In spite of Adam Price's speculation, of Plaid working with the Tories, it is not a prospect many in Arfon would relish.I wonder what Hywel thinks of working with the Tories?

Friday, May 02, 2008


National coverage is gloomy for Labour. Onwards and upwards !

Interesting to see results emerging in the Meirionydd area of Gwynedd who have counted tonight. Llais Gwynedd and independents gaining it would seem.


The bloggers are now mainstream occupying chunks of BBC coverage - was this the idea or is that now the transfer to mainstream ?

Anyway back in Gwynedd I detect a bad night for Plaid and possibly Labour : predict Llais Gwynedd delivering results.

So will they show their ex-Plaid, or some other face: my posting about the independent/Llais Gwynedd axis looks interesting.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Polls closed

So people who forgot to vote have lost their chance. Predictions :

Big scalps in Plaid (Mr Iwan in trouble in suggest)

Labour and Plaid swap some seats depending on local candidates?

Plaid loose out to Llais in rural areas ?

Some Plaid gains in more urban areas ?

We wait to see.

In spite of the intensity of some debates (e.g. schools) does turnout reflect the importance of the issues ?