Thursday, January 31, 2008

Croeso Carwyn

Roeddwn yn falch i croesawu Carwyn Jones AC i Arfon heddiw.
A busy day with Carwyn Jones AM in Arfon today. A visit to the Management Centre at Bangor University and a guest lecturing spot for carwyn on the powers of the Assembly and questions about the job of a 'Counsel General'. Touch base with the President of the Students Union, a visit to the public exhibition about redevelopment ideas for Hirael Bay, Bangor, interviews with BBC on line and Champion Radio before a whistle stop tour of new investment in Caernarfon, and meetings with Party members.
Unwinding over a curry at the award winning Sopna restaurant (Welsh curry house of the year 2007) and a chance to hear Carwyn's take on the progress of the One Wales government. Generally very positive with significant benefits from the extra stability acheived through the majority represented by the One Wales partners.
Diolch Carwyn.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


The Chief and his Deputy have taken the sensible decision to apologise to Ian Lucas MP. The episode filmed for tv (Derek and Clive as I called it) did their roles no good, and was a nonsense they can do without given some of the ways they choose to challenge us on other issues.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Day for dreams

Its the sort of day when football fans (well except for Everton, Spurs etc) allow their minds to think about May and a cup final. In the Baggies case dreams of promotion and cup final double !

But first of all Preston tomorrow night in the Championship, where everyone seems to have learnt how to beat everyone else, and the top of the league is looking very exciting for many teams.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Not a Lord !

The timing of political events sometimes throws up huge ironies. So on the day that Plaid Cymru met to nominate for the House of Lords , Tony Benn, who rejected his peerage, came to the Galeri Theatre in Caernarfon (about 3 miles from Dafydd Wigley's house) to give his view of world events. It is not necessary to agree with everything that Tony says. But, given the animosity he has suffered at times, he now occupies a strangely warm position in many people's hearts.
I told him that after marching with him for many a mile, in various protests around the country, (often several miles back in the march), it was nice to sit down for a cup of tea in Caernarfon !
With the years and the experiences, I now feel comes an element of vulnerability. Tony was in fine form - not surprisingly gave the government a kicking - and Cameron fared worse, he body swerved questions about his son in the Cabinet, but seemed to leave many satisfied customers in a sold out theatre. Well done to UNISON for sponsoring the event and enabling a high profile eventt o reach North West Wales.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Peter Hain

Well goodbye for now and hello to a familiar face. I feel sadness at Peter's resignation as he is someone who brought some vigour and energy to Welsh politics. A strong campaigner and while there was no need to always agree, there always something to have a debate about. I suspect devolution may have lost a friendly face - whatever Elfyn Llwyd feels!.
During last December's national policy forum I told a colleague from Wales that the problem was that the events were beyond the Party's control. Having introduced laws and regulations then breaches of our own policies would mean external forces coming in to play.
So what are my thoughts ?
Well I am still astonished that Peter managed, even felt it necessary, to spend such a huge sum on his deputy leadership campaign. As others have said such a position must not recur.
On the wider front we wait and see what is the fall out from this event. I don't think anyone wins from such situations. Many will just see it as part of political "sleaze", and that is what will hurt Peter most. (I am sure personally and politically).
I have never had reason to doubt Peter was an honest individual, with an out of the ordinary life history, and a deep instinct for politics.
I wish him and Elizabeth well and hope to see him having another chance in high politics.

Disapoitment for Blue Noses

As some regular readers will know I married a Blue Nose Evertonian and, whats more, I failed to win the children over to the Baggies cause. So on Sue's birthday we went to Goodison and in spite of the disappointing (but overall fair !) result spirits were lifted as pictures were grabbed with players. Here is son Gareth with the very impressive Mr Lescott. I suspect with the new England manager in the ground JL did himself no harm, although he needs to occasionally sort out his ball carrying from defence. (says a Championship fan !)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Forewarned ?

Gordon Brown's New Year message foretold of potential troubles during 2008. The Fed has taken an early decision to intervene and while a UK slow down is the most likely outcome the 24 hour media want to generate a crisis. We wait to see.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Gwilym wedi ei siomi ?

Mae Gwilym Owen yn defnyddio ei colom yn Y Cymro i datgan elfen o siom at gorymdaith Rhodri - "Disgwyl gwell gan Rhodri". Rwan mae yna elfennau o'r erthygl fedrai derbyn yn hawdd. Er enghraifft bod unrhyw plaid yn dibynnol ar ei weithgaredd lleol, ac yn absenoldeb hynny mae yna broblem hel ymgeiswyr, cynnal profil llwyddiannus ag ati.

Ond dwi yn anghytuno efo Gwilym ar prif pwrpas y gorymdaith. Os yw Llafur wedi colli tir yn ardaloedd o Cymru mae yn bwysig cydnabod hynny fel cam gyntaf tuag at cyweiro'r sefyllfa. Nid Rhodri ei hun fydd yn gwneud hynny (mae ymddeoliad yn rhy cynnar am hynny) ond mae ei datganiad yn symbol pwysig am rhan o gwaith Llafur dros y flynyddoedd nesaf.

Dwi yn edrych ymlaen at y gwaith yma ac mi fydd ambell i trafodaeth duddir dwi yn sicr, o fewn ein plaid, ac ar draws ambell ffin gwleidyddol.

Gwilym Owen uses his weekly column in the Cymro to express some disapointment at Rhodri's journey around Wales. The article makes some valid points (e.g. the need for vibrant local parties) but I think is misplaced in other respects. It was symbolically important that Rhodri set out to say Labour has lessons to learn, as it is the necessary first step to making change some issues.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Interesting fault lines

Watching the Sky News round up of the US primaries it is fascinating to see Barack Obama in Church, in prayer, as part of the campaign. Whereas in the UK Blair's faith journey was for some a matter of concern (to be kept out of politics) here is the Democrat making an open display of faith.

I feel it is one of those interesting fault lines between US and UK politics.

Scotland's first time buyers

I noticed this piece in the Observer reporting the latest attempt to offset some of the impacts of the UK property market. I am sure various schemes of this kind will help a little, but we still need to face the big supply side question - are we building enough homes of the right type ?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Honours even - goals galore

Well the Baggies had to split the spoils with Cardiff so honours even with Leighton Andrews AM. I had predicted 3 goals for the Baggies, but in this hugely entertaining season we are also giving our opponents goals, and occasional leads, which means the regulars must be hugely entertained. Long may it continue in the hope the country's top scorers get their reward at the end.

Friday, January 18, 2008

"The Black Cat" is Dead !

Tonight I will be Hughes Le Grandbutte Deputy Mayor of Casablanca ! Yes I am attending a murder mystery dinner and am acting the part of "a loyal bureaucratic servant of the Vichy administration. I will be the epitome of solid respctability".

The Black Cat mime artist has been murdered - who did it ?

More on this over the weekend - have a good one....

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Points of view

Following Rhodri's visit and the protest by Cymdeithas yr Iaith I wrote to the local papers who have published the letter as follows :

Dear editor,

Last Friday I welcomed Rhodri Morgan to Caernarfon and provided the opportunity for representatives of the local business community to meet with him and explain what action is required to help make the town more succsessful. Our focus was on improving the local economy and sharing ideas on how best to bring togther the 'old' town and Victoria Dock in a successful future.

We then walked as a group around the town to view various projects and key sites.

Unfortunately the Welsh Language Society decided this was a chance to protest, and distract Rhodri Morgan from my main objective of focusing his thoughts on improving the local economy. I am of course a democrat and respect their right to protest. But I must ask exactly how did the protest help the future of the Welsh Langauge when it simply meant Mr Morgan was distracted from talking to business people and focussing on the future of the economy of the town ? Surely improving the economy, and seeking better paid jobs, is the way ahead for our communities and Welsh Language. I am working to develop a positive image for Arfon I think others have to reflect on what they acheived by such a protest ?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

An interesting new blog

Lots could be read in to the launch of a blog by the Bontnewydd branch of Plaid Cymru - with Bros Wigley and Iwan on the patch we should expect a lot - but will it survive beyond May's elections ? (or perhaps develop a life as the alternative leadership voice if 'One Wales' hits rocky waters ?).

Anyway I have posted best wishes to Dafydd on his Lordship mission, and await more news over the coming weeks and months.

Hat tip to Miserable Old Fart

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

FA Cup


Now to focus on beating Leighton Andrews Cardiff at the weekend.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Politics has an unsurprising event !

Mnay of us are commenting on it and I suppoose the most surprising thing is that none of us are surprised !.

The supposed conditions are a hurdle set at a height a ruptured snail could jump over.

So Plaid's transition from voice of protest/opposition continues, principles out of the window and in to the murky world of Council, Assembly,Westminster (unelected) and Europe.

Anyway I wish him all the best should he get elected to the role by his colleagues.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Well I couldn't resist the top shot in which Rhodri and myself give a passable impression of the dance scene in the film Full Monty !
In the bottom shot we are pictured with Councillor Brian Jones of Gwynedd Council who sat in on the meeting with business representatives and heard a few views from the heart about issues relating to Plaid controlled Gwynedd Council.

Connecting North and Mid Wales

After Rhodri had safely moved on from Caernarfon I headed down to Llandrindod Wells to join Cymru Wales UNISON (APF) conference. As well as listening to the views and concerns of Unison activists about the nature of Gordon's 3 year pay announcement it was a chance to catch up with Alun Davies AM.
Alun is building a good reputatioon on the backbenches of the Assembly and, given the fears of the fragility in our vote in Mid Wales, could have many years ahead as our Regional list Member.
We continued the de-brief about May 2007 and discussed a few of the issues that could be of interest from the Dwyfor end of the former Caernarfon constituency.

Rhodri in Caernarfon

The Daily Post has posted a video of Rhodri's visit to Caernarfon. A pity (but inevitable) that it focusses on the Cymdeithas protest rather than the interesting discussion with local shop traders and business representatives. In the video Rhodri confimrs that a new language act forcing langauge measures on the private sector is not on the horizon.
Having been in Mid Wales since yesterday evening I will post more photos soon.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Rhodri listening

I warmly welcomed Rhodri to Caernarfon today and his first appointment was with representatives of the TGWU/Unite for an update on the former Ferodo site and the continuing campaign for justice for the dismissed workers.
The site may have a brightrer future on the horizon but Rhodri was keen to hear how the recent sale relates to the ongoing dispute. Anyway here are Gerald Parry, Tom Jones and Paddy McNaught in good early morning spirits with Rhodri.
Pictures of the walkabout, and our welcome from Cymdeithas Yr Iaith to follow. (they are on someone else's camera!)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Croeso Rhodri

I met the new slim line Rhodri Morgan on his "Taith Iaith" in Bangor this afternoon, before time in Caernarfon tomorrow.

Meanwhile - wow - but I think it is cock up not conspiracy.

This announcement - but what about the waste ?

and this (okay not as important but you know my interests).

Photos of Rhodri tomorrow as we meet local business reps and meet and greet the public.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Was it the tears ?

I was pleaed to see the high turnout and the initial two primaries give the prospect of exciting times ahead in the US. Was it Hilary's tears or the fact that Ian Dale (top Tory blogger) was on Sky News predicting an Obama win by 8 points (I think-but it was late).

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

High quality opportunity - but remember the workers

The site has a deep history in local communities but it seems a new high quality opportunity may be coming along. While it may never employ a 1,000+ people again let us hope that its superb location can help boost North West Wales.

However somewhere in this all some greater justice must be found for the former Friction Dynamics workers.


Whatever happens later this year it is at least encouraging to see the high level of interest in the US Presidential hustings. There is long way to go and alot of money to be spent but a good start.

Monday, January 07, 2008

"I do not wish to be a member of Plaid Cymru any more"

This was the opening sentence of a sensational letter from Dewi Thomas announcing in the Daily Post (letters page) that he had left Plaid Cymru. The final sentence of his letter reads "I have my first Plaid Cymru membership card dated December 1959 when I was a schoolboy full of ideals and dreams" (resigning after a membership one month less than I have been on planet in total !)

In between the letter states

"Following the decision by Gwynedd County Council to carry on with their plan to reorganise primary schools my conscience will not permit me to continue my association with Plaid.

I cannot remain a member when they intend to close Bronyfoel and Baladeulyn schools and destroy communities.

Here are some of the events that influenced my decision ; primarily the protest in Caernarfon on December 13 and the general feeling amongst the long-time Plaid members present that it was a sad day for Plaid.

It was so different to the many other protests I've been involved with over a long period of time, nationalists protesting against nationalists. If this is what being in power involves, then keep me out of it.

During the so called consultation period the views of the school governors was completely ignored,the opinions of those with experience in education was disregarded.

At a special meeting of the Plaid Constituency one of the leaders made shameful remarks about Seimon Glyn,Owen Williams and Alwyn Gruffydd, that they cared nothing for education, but only wanted to stab Plaid in the back. I respect the three's perspective as staunch nationalists over the years.

Dafydd iwan deliberately misrepresented what I said about area schools.

Rhydian James's view in his latest letter was the final nail in the coffin. It appears that I am not a true idealist or nationalist, I've been in the wilderness for the last 50 years if that is true. You've won Rhydian, you've got rid of an old dinosaur.The future's yours.

Are the other sad people I talked with`or saw during that rally also mistaken ?
Are they not true nationalists?

I have my first Plaid Cymru card dated December 1959,when I was a schoolboy full of ideals and dreams".

I know Dewi and there must be some personal pain in such a letter. There is also a lot of political trouble!

Champion of a cause

The appointment of a Commissioner for Older Persons is making news beyond Wales and is another small example of the Assembly Government setting a pattern for modern politics. I also suspect there will be enough activity in differential patterns of service, energy charges and care to keep the Commissioner busy.

(I did not blog yesterday as requested here).

Saturday, January 05, 2008

New summit emerges

My parents passed me this photo as they had caught the emergence of the new summit building on Snowdon/Wyddfa on one of the finer mornings last week. I have expanded the relevant bit which shows the progress made. I might event have to walk up to inspect - but not toady !

The future of politics

"The future of politics will be determined by a burgeoning blogosphere"

is how Paul Flynn ends an over enthusiastic piece about his appearance on Welsh radio with Jane Davidson. I am not so sure about this. It is certainly a very welcome tool for politics and certainly provides some avenues beyond the main stream media to network news and views of interest to politicos. However we might also be in one of those technology phases where a still (relative) newness is giving an oxygen to use that will settle over time.

However I am also very concious that my own children probably spend as much/more time on line with youtube/myspace/bebo and facebook than they spend watching "ordinary" tv. So perhaps the times are a changin....

On line protest - of silence

I am not sure whether blogging should be silent or, perhaps more effectively, seek mass blogging on a single subject across the globe. Anyway I noted this request on the Guardian's blog section and will take note for tomorrow. Another simple example of how things we take for granted can be more difficult elsewhere in the world.

In the meantime it seems that Welsh blog land is reawakening after a Christmas break although some intemperate views on One Wales show us that we have an interesting year ahead as the Labour-Plaid Welsh Assembly Government face their first full year of decisions.

Meanwhile I am looking forward to welcoming Rhodri Morgan this week as part of his New Year 'Taith Iaith' . As stated in Y Cymro

"Barn Llafur erioed yw bod ffyniant yr economi a ffyniant yr economi a ffyniant yr iaith yn mynd law yn llaw" (economic and linguistic well being go hand in hand)

This is so true for Arfon and North West Wales as it is building a brighter economic future that will secure the socio-economic conditions to help foster the two languages, and bilingual character of our communities.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Sad news

I was saddened to hear of the death of Merfyn Williams. I worked with Merfyn in the Snowdonia National Park many years ago and had in more recent times shared time with him at various conferences and seminars. Always time for a chat and a good sense of humour. Rest in peace.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

If I was Gordon Brown in 2008 I would .......

I am preparing for the first campaign meeting of 2008 to get Arfon's 'Team Labour' up and running for the year ahead. As I scribbled ideas and strategies it struck me that a good open ended question for the blog would be :
"If I was Gordon Brown then in 2008 I would ........." Insert Answer.
Yes moderation is enabled, but perhaps some New Year wit might help provide the big political idea for 2008 and beyond.
Over to you.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

enough of football...

Anyway I felt you'd had enough of football so the less said the better.

City of Culture 08

Blwyddyn Newydd da a croeso i 2008.
Happy New Year and welcome to 2008.
Well Liverpools' not too far away and, for most North Walians, means we can choose to access a wide range of events (many free of charge) far easier than for example the Millennium centre or in the Bay. Anyway I may have missed the ringing of 'Great George' but this website will allow us to keep up with activities in the coming weeks and months.