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)