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 ?