Wednesday, 13 May 2015

And so it begins...

It didn't take long for the nasty tory party to show their teeth, and remove that carefully manufactured image for election purposes only (sell by date 8 May, 2015) of a one nation caring sharing Conservative Party.

It was not surprising, that when the fawning political presenters of BBC News talked about the new government cabinet, they rather than analysing the new appointees ability to deliver their portfolios instead talked about how good they were in front of the microphone.

Style over substance then.

Take their grim determination to rid them of the 'budresome' European Court of Human Rights, that dares defend the human rights of us all. All because like the spoilt posh kids they are, when they can't get their own way they want to sulk and take the ball home.

Of course they could follow the recommendations of the Independent Commission On Human Rights that reported back in 2012 which said and I quote:

In accordance with the Commission’s terms of reference this conclusion is put forward on the basis that such a Bill would incorporate and build on all of the UK’s obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights. However, the wider constitutional and political dimension is also of crucial significance in considering the way forward towards the introduction of a Bill of Rights, and it is essential that it provides no less protection than is contained in the Human Rights Act and the devolution settlements, although some of us believe that it could usefully define more clearly the scope of some rights and adjust the balance between different rights. [my emphasis]

I await with interest to see whether this comes about, but I'm not holding my breath, after all for such a change you would need someone at the Justice Department whom has a deep understanding of the both domestic and international law, a lawyer for example.

A former Justice Secretary and barrister Kenneth Clarke last year lambasted Tory plans to ensure that rulings by the European court of human rights (ECHR) are no longer enforceable in the UK, warning that future governments could make arbitrary decisions.

So it seems better appoint someone who will do as asked, and not raise important legal questions that cast doubt as to the principle or legality of their actions.

Someone like Michael Gove, he with an English degree and a background in journalism.

Yep you've guessed style over substance.

And wot was that cry again made by Call me Dave, something about the Conservatives being the new working man's party was it.

Lets see what Sajid Javid, the former banker appointed by David Cameron to be business secretary, has in store.

Lets begin with what he believes and as reported by the BBC:

"I believe passionately in free enterprise, that free enterprise is the lifeblood of any successful economy. My decisions for creating more jobs… crating investment in the economy will be looking towards free enterprise and what more deregulation we can have.”

“What we do know is that sometimes when government creates new rules and regulations they make things worse not better. We are clearly on the side of business and as a government we can help make a better environment for business because it’s those businesses by and large that create jobs.

And there within is the failed neo liberal ideology of small government and private enterprise knows best, if you choose to gloss over the banking crash of 2008, which according to the rewritten history as presented by the defenders of the right wing, was all the fault of Gordon Brown for doing what they preach, and nothing at all to do with private business greedily corrupting the banking system.

The party of the working person did they say?....that's as long as you are compliant, and loyal and never say boo to a goose maybe.

But wot have they in store for the rest of us. Take their hatred of the public sector, that occassionaly exercise their basic human right to withdraw labour and strike for better terms and conditions.

The party that now governs with just 37% of the popular vote, wants to impose a test greater than that for when a strike can be called. Hypocrites is not the word for it, it's a word not used often in polite society rhymes with punts.

In any contract it's important that the rights of both parties are equal, or otherwise it is unfair. Some say that employment law already favour the employer side too much. This proposal by a party of deregulation to regulate (they can't see the irony in that) to make it even harder to strike is blatantly unfair.

But don't expect the red tops to point this out, especially the Desmond and Murdoch papers and shareholders in rival TV stations to the BBC. After all Murdoch assisted Thatcher to break the unions if you recall.

And talking of the BBC and the current review of its Charter. I'm not optimistic that we will see a better BBC by the end of 2020, but one radically different, with less choice and variety on offer.....After all, will Dave and co say no when the media moguls coming knocking and demand payback for their support. I doubt it very much.

We will have less rights, we will be spied on more, our jobs won't be as secure as before, and with BBC neutered it will be all style over substance.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

I see dark clouds on the horizon, the future look pretty bleak for most.

It was an unexpected election result, that many, including me,  hoped we wouldn't poorly paraphrase Monty Python "nobody was expecting a tory majority".  Even if Labour had not melted as rapidly as the ice caps of the North Pole in Scotland, they still would have lost.

And now who knows the horrors the triumphant Tory party will unleash onto the UK. Let's say I'm not optimistic at all, for all of Cameron's talk of one nation politics, we know he only means in reality England.

Boris Johnson it seems was ready when he purchased in advance them water cannons, for he must have had predicted the likely ground swell of anger that would rise even there, when Ian Duncan Smith is released to decimate the welfare state, and we find out where the axe will fall, and where the £12 billion in cuts will come from. When those who can least afford it are hit hardest and those whom don't need it are given a handout.

True, the Conservatives in Wales had their best result for aeons, as they defeated Labour in Gower of all places, and kicked Clegg further by gaining two seats from the Lib Dems. But don't expect this motley crew of Welsh Tories to stand up for Wales when the tories impose policies that favour England at the cost of us Welsh.

Not that I'm saying anyone one of them (the eleven welsh tories) don't have Wales interests at heart - in reality, they will be told where to stand and what to say...period.

I suppose if I was digging around for good news, it would be that maybe Cameron might keep his promise to devolve more power to Wales as he devolves more power to the English regions. Though what are the odds do you think that whilst the devolution of powers will be imposed in England, here in Wales he will want a referendum held first. And the result of a referendum on further welsh assembly powers is not a certainty by any means.

Oh and Nigel Farage wasn't elected, nor UKIP's Welsh leader and son of polish hiring family, Nathan Gill.

Now, and this is important. With the Tories making gains in Wales and UKIP share of the vote rising we need to start worrying about next years Assembly Elections.

Let's think what would happened if the Tories gained power here, that would be goodbye to many many things that we the Welsh feel justly proud of. It would be goodbye free prescriptions, free school  breakfast clubs, and the start of the end of the Welsh NHS as we know it, to name just three.

It would, in my humble opinion, be a disaster to most of us in Wales.  This is why, Plaid Cymru must keep on building on the momentum they got from the General Election and the good standing that it gave Leanne Wood; though not maybe in share of vote, by taking progressive politics in Wales forward, by reaching out to all in Wales, by being the true one nation party of Wales, there to represent the interest of Wales first, second and last as their priority, without having to first gain permission from party headquarters over the border.

And I hope Carwyn Jones, won't do a Miliband and refuse to talk coalition, that all parties that want a progressive Wales, a successful Wales, with social justice and social principles at its heart form an alliance now or soon before we all wake up to being a region of England.

Lastly for now, I am truly concerned as to the UK's future (not in terms of the current union, I've long argued for a UK Federal Republic) but for it's future economic prosperity. For now it's highly likely there will be a referendum on continued membership of the EU, and again the result of that is far from certain.

Most serious commentators be they politicians, academics or business leaders agree it would be a disaster if the UK left the EU. They only hope is that Cameron can pull it off again as he did last week and over the Scottish Referendum, albeit with help from Labour in the later....or hold on, thinking about it, in both cases.

If Brexit happens, it could truly spell the end of the United Kingdom as a union. What many feared with a Labour/SNP coalition, because master strategist Lynton Crosby scared them to think so, they have by voting in the Tories in reality made the prospect of it happening a greater likelihood than ever before.

I'm back

It hard to believe it's been nearly two years ago from my last post, well now well rested I'm back.

First new post soon.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Our AM election -Thursday 1 August

It goes without saying that there is only one candidate we on Ynys Mon should vote for this Thursday.....

And that would be Rhun ap Iorweth, he of Plaid Cymru and an Anglesey lad through and through

You know it makes sense.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Right-Wing Push For Austerity Based On Excel Spreadsheet Error

Do you remember the justifications given for the austerity we are all now facing?

George Osborne said in February, 2010 said:

So while private sector debt was the cause of this crisis, public sector debt is likely to be the cause of the next one. As Ken Rogoff himself puts it, “there’s no question that the most significant vulnerability as we emerge from recession is the soaring government debt. It’s very likely that will trigger the next crisis as governments have been stretched so wide.”

The latest research suggests that once debt reaches more than about 90% of GDP the risks of a large negative impact on long term growth become highly significant. If off-balance sheet liabilities such as public sector pensions are included we are already well beyond that. And even on official internationally comparable measures of debt, we are forecast to break through 90% of GDP in just two years time…

To entrench economic stability for the long term, we need fundamental reform of our fiscal policy framework….As I have made clear, our aim will be to eliminate the bulk of the structural current budget deficit over a Parliament.

The key phrase above, is one used by right wing politicians all over the world as justification for their austerity and its:

"The latest research suggests that once debt reaches more than about 90% of GDP the risks of a large negative impact on long term growth become highly significant."

And that research was carried out by economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff. But there's a problem they got it wrong.

The New Yorker Blog has an excellent summary of where they went wrong.

"To sum up, there may well be a threshold at which high levels of public debt tend to be associated with very bad growth outcomes and financial crises, but it isn’t ninety per cent of G.D.P., or even a hundred per cent. Maybe it’s a hundred and twenty per cent, although that figure isn’t a firm one, either".

And Chris Hayes explains further in this following video:

Friday, 26 April 2013

The current model is broken - bring back the committee.

Ask yourself what is the core function of a Council?

I would reply to deliver high standard services which aspire to meet the expectations of the local ratepayer. And to deliver those services, be they i.e Planning Control or Education you need to employ professional people that know what they are doing.

In other words the day to day running of the Council should be left to those employed to do so, at the head of which would be a Chief Executive and a Board of Directors.

I have always thought the idea of a Council being run by a 'Cabinet' of Councillors was flawed. After all democracy isn't really that good at choosing suitable candidates to be given such powers. If you believe in democracy you must also accept that sometimes we will make the wrong choice.

And if you want a good example of where it has not worked,  that would here on Ynys Môn. You see when you start paying the leader of the Council £45,000 then it becomes something worth fighting for, it's a good earner. So you start asking questions as whom do I need as allies, and what would I have to promise them for their support....etc etc - and you can see already how this can quickly descend to political infighting. After all if you hadn't been chosen as leader, you'd be upset right?'d want to show that they'd made the wrong choice.

And as we know at Ynys Môn this is worse when the Council has no one in overall control, by which I mean, of the main political parties. And you are left with small groups of independents attempting to form coalitions whilst at the same time trying to promote whomever the leader of their small group is, whilst also attempting to discredit any perceived threat. Of course it's then important to be in the winning group of independents, so we have the hoping frog syndrome, after all if you support the new leader he might give you a nice paid cabinet post.

And history records the house of cards soon falls down - as I said the current model is broken, time to bring back the committee.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

March - a busy month for emergency calls.

I see once again the Welsh Conservatives and their buddies, the Liberal Democrats, are "disgusted" that in March the Welsh Ambulance service failed to reach it's all Wales target of reaching 65% life threatening emergency calls withing 8 minutes. According to the BBC Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams accused Welsh ministers of failing to address the issue calling the figures an "absolute disgrace".

I've posted in the past that I think the statistics collected are a bit worthless see 999 responce times and pointless statistics.

And we all know what the Conservative led Coalition in England want to do with the NHS - privatise it completely. See BBC House of Lords to debate NHS 'privatisation'

But back to March 2013 - when fast swathes of Wales was covered in deep snow, whilst the rest of us shivered in bitter cold winds, it was not surprising that the number of emergency calls in March where up by 2,069 compared to March 2012.  In fact March 2013 had the highest monthly number of Category A calls since the service classification changes introduced in December 2011.

Something both the BBC "Ambulance delays: Wales targets missed in every area." and the Daily Post  "Ambulance Service misses 999 response time target for most serious calls for tenth month in a row" think not important to point out.

But why let the facts get in the way of a good story or some political point scoring.

For "latest National Statistics produced by the Welsh Government were released on 24 April 2013 according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority" see Ambulance services, March 2013.

When asked people of Ynys Môn overall quite happy.

The BBC has an interesting report today on the well-being survey - What are the top five happiest parts of the UK?

It is a digest of the recently published Measuring National Well-being - Where we Live, 2012 by the ONS.

When asked "Overall, how happy did you feel yesterday":

Monday, 15 April 2013

Rescue at Sea - RNLI Peterhead Tamar Lifeboat in action.

The old and the new
It was good to read that the new lifeboat station at Moelfre has finally been given planning permission. See Daily Post - New Moelfre lifeboat station gets green light.

It will house the new Tamar class Lifeboat, named Kiwi, which replaces the old Mersey class lifeboat named Robert & Violet.

You can find out more about the Moelfre Lifeboat at:  RNLI Moelfre Lifeboat Station.

The video below shows the Peterhead Tamar Lifeboat 'The Misses Roberston of Kintail' in action from 2009 and it was the RNLI film of the year.  The little yaught rudder control had become stuck and she could only go in a straight line.

One of the other ships seen in the video is the Far Supporter, and is there in support and to stop large waves from crashing onto the yacht.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Leanne Wood - a natural welsh speaker.

When Plaid Cymru announced whom had won the contest to be the new leader of the party following our Ieuan, I was initially concerned that Leanne Wood's first language was not welsh.

However, judging by the following video, you'd be hard pressed to even know she was a welsh learner, coming across may I add far better in welsh than she does in the english version. In fact her spoken welsh is far better these day than many other so called welsh politician.

FIDEO: Plaid Cymru - Y bont sy'n arwain at ddyfodol gwell.

So da iawn Leanne for showing it's possible to learn and be fluent in welsh.