Friday, January 06, 2006

try the new blogg

Have a new blogg up and running by the name of Cymrumark....struggled to come up with a clever name ...please use that one in future...

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Rhondda Boys.......

I wonder what the Rhondda did to deserve being represented by Leighton Andrews in Cardiff Bay and Chris Bryant in Westminster? Perhaps it is some form of bizarre punishment for the, sadly brief, period when Rhondda elected a Plaid assembly member and a Plaid Council. Neither seem to have anything worthwhile to contribute to the debates in the institutions to which they are elected.

In the case of Chris Bryant this is only to be expected. In a previous life I was a Lib Dem political assistant in Hackney when Bryant was a Labour councillor and a whip for the Labour group. Before the Labour group split in 1996 they had run the council for 30 years or more and achieved the distinction of the highest council tax in London and arguably the worst services. A group of councillors left the Labour group claiming that the Labour leadership was not willing to back an independent enquiry into the Mark Trotter affair. Trotter was a Labour activist and senior trade union official, who worked for Hackney Social services, against whom three seperate allegations of child abuse were made and never properly investigated. After his death it emerged that merseyside police were investigating him regarding allegations of abuse.

One faction in the Labour group resigned the Labour whip and formed a new group called Hackney New Labour.Eventually this group disbanded and its members found their way into the lib dem and Tory groups. There were various enquiries and attempts to sort out the boroughs problems were made with no great success.

Of all the Labour councillors who remained in the Labour group only Chris Bryant has gone on to hold any form of elected office. Why has he escaped the "curse of Hackney" when no one else did. Anybody who has witnessed his performances in the Commons or in the media would confirm it is unlikely to be purely on ability. Perhaps he just got lucky.

Leighton Andrews on the other hand is a complete mystery to me. His splenetic rants in the Assembly debating chamber are the stuff of legend and there was a fine example in the budget debate the other day. Yet the Leighton Andrews I observed in the Liberal Party in the 80's was a very different character. Always associated with the ALC/Liberator self appointed keepers of the radical flame element he was a fluent persuasive speaker with impeccable anti authoritarian views.

It was astonishing to see him in Welsh Labour and his contributions to the assembly seem utterly at odds with his previously expressed opinions. One of the handful of Lib dems who still speak to me was in Llandudno recently . Over a beer or two he concluded that the only explanation for Leighton Andrews was alien abduction. He had know Leighton well as a member of the Liberal party and was convinced the two people could not be the same. Confronted with photographic evidence he suggested the real Leighton had been kidnapped by aliens. Who can argue with this?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

High spot of September....

The best part of September just gone was the Plaid conference. This may seem surprising to those who were not able to make it and followed the event in the press. On the eve of the conference there was what seems the annual Lord Ellis Thomas press story that then overshadows the conference.

Anyone who attends conferences knows that the most important parts are what happens away from the prying eye of the press. This conference was about putting in the hard work preparing a policy programme for the post 2007 assembly and improving the party's campaigning and communications skills. The re-launch of the partys youth movement as cymrux is very welcome even if attending their late night gig in the Cwps brought home to some of us that we can no longer do two early morning a day.

Sadly most of the press missed the fact that....the party is now fully united on all issues of substance....that it has realised the key task is to update its approach to campaigning in order to get its message across. We can hardly complain if the media are given negative stories about the party by people who lack the self discipline needed for real political success however we are entitled to a bit of a moan if the media do not also take the trouble to see what else is happening in the party. One journalist ...Tom Boden ....did notice that Adam Price has now taken over responsibility for directing election campaigns and realised how significant it will be. Given that Adam will be working alongside Simon Thomas and Helen Mary Jones who have responsibility for policy and communications, most sensible commentators will conclude that Plaid will present a strong challenge to Labour in 2007.

Back by popular request.....

As the political season seems to be back in full swing I was wondering if I should start the blog again. Both my fans have asked me to return to blogging.....Peter Black AM will be happy I am not filling his comments section to the same extent ....and at least one journalist has another blog to look at ......

Have recovered from the general election and was fairly pleased with my own result as our vote actually went up slightly....some important lessons to be learnt at national and local level for Plaid...and quite a few for me if I am a candidate once again......

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

To all those reaching for the nose pegs....

Much as I loathe the Guardian I have been reading it the last few days. The wretched Polly Toynbee has offered to supply nose pegs to those on the left who know the truth about new Labour and Tony Blair but feel the need to "keep out" Michael Howard.

In the 1980s I voted tactically for Labour against the Tories made sense as the Tories were in power. Now I just want to add my thoughts to the millions of others flying round the internet, pubs, coffee bars family gatherings etc.

The so called "nose peg" argument is absed on a giant lie. A lie that sits alongside the famous 45 minutes claim. There is no prospect of Michael Howard becoming prime Minister. A month ago Peter Haid told the guardian that 70 Labour seats were vulnerable to the Tories if Labour voters went elsewhere. This is true. However it will still leave the Tories miles away from power. The Tories are not going to to win.

Today the guardian called for "progressives" to vote to keep out the Tories. Frankly the Guardian is now at the same level as the Sun. It cheers for its tribal "side" without any serious thought.

A vote Labour is a vote to endorse the war in Iraq. You cannot vote Labour and pretend to be against the disastrous occupation of Iraq. 40 people have died in Iraq this month and its only May 3rd. Going onm a March, writing to your MP even resigning your Labour membership means nothing if you go out and vote for them. All they care about is your vote.

If you give them your vote you are giving them a blank cheque to attack another country. march all you want...moan all you want...if you vote for them again you are saying its ok and they will be off to Iran or Syria next.

If you give them your vote the mad privatiser Gordon Brown will continue to inflict PFI on education and the NHS with all the diastrous consequences for future generations. The poverty gap will remain, our government will continue to be utterly dysfunctional.

If you vote Labour on May 5th dont moan about them ever again. Please dont come on a peace march again, or campaign against cuts in public services or privatisation. There is no excuse for voting Labour. The Tories are not going to win. This is the time to send Labour a very clear message. You do that by voting Plaid, SNP, Green or Respect even the real nose peg option of voting Lib dem. There is no reason to vote Labour in this election.

Friday, April 29, 2005

How not to run a government

Its quite astonishing that the cabinet never received the full drafts of the Attorny generals advice prior to the cabinet meeting that agreed to support the war. Not to have all the papers well in advance in order to frame appropriate questions is astonishing......and Gordon Brown admitted that he too would have invaded vote Tony get Gordon and another war in the middle east, more privatisation etc....

Now is the moment to switch support to Plaid SNP and whoever you choose in England....

feeling good.........

had a very good day today out in Rhyl, then St Asaph then Prestatyn.

In St Asaph got very friendly response and some of our members and leafleters are telling us that people who they never believed would vote Plaid will do so on May 5th for the first time ever.

Have had a very good response to the leaflets we have done with some new members and supporters emerging. Looks like out vote will be up.

Best thing thats happend this week is getting a Labour leaflet that says "lots of people are thinking about voting Plaid" then of course warning that by voting Plaid you may get a tory government.

Interesting because they did not mention the Lib dems or other candidates.......for the tories to win Vale of Clwyd due to a swing from Labour to Plaid....we would need a swing of 18% from Labour to with a week to go Labour must think we have already achieved an 18% swing....can we get the 7% more we need to win! :) :)

Labour are in a panic.......its quite fun to watch! The Tories are not picking up anything apart from their core and some of them are switching because of the council tax issue...

A better NHS

NHS hospitals in Wales have reached crisis point due to the failures of the Labour government in Wales assisted during the coalition years by the Liberal Democrats.The most urgent need for the NHS in Wales is to reduce the immediate pressure on hospitals. We need to ensure that hospital resources are used only where they are the most appropriate and efficient way of responding to people’s needs. At present, hospital beds and staff often have to stand in as substitutes for other forms of care and treatment.Plaid Cymru, the Party of Wales, calls for -

1. The use of existing capacity - and the development of new capacity - in GP surgeries so that more treatments can be carried out there. Facilities in GP surgeries are generally cheaper to provide than equivalent facilities in hospitals, and are generally more convenient for patients to get to and often more appropriate to their needs.2. The establishment of new NHS Walk-in Centres and Diagnostic & Treatment Centres and the full utilisation of the potential of our community hospitals in order to take the pressure off hospital Accident and Emergency departments.3. Steps to be taken to make it easier for people to move out of hospital when their treatment is completed or when hospital is not the best place for them. In particular, there should be a programme of building (or converting existing buildings) of accommodation for care, convalescence, nursing and rehabilitation. It doesn’t always have to be hospital that provides the care. 4. Payments to care/nursing homes by local authorities should be increased by £50 per bed per week. The costs involved will still generally be far less expensive than the use of hospital beds.5. Improved out-of-hospital care for people with disabilities, particularly in their own homes. There should be free home care for the disabled.6. Increased support for carers looking after people in their own homes, so that they do not reach a point where putting someone in hospital comes to look like the only practical option. Carers themselves need some care, support, advice, and respite from their responsibilities.7. A school nurse to be available to every pupil at school so that parents don’t feel it is necessary to involve hospitals in minor problems, but have assessment and treatment for their children easily available.8. More use of the skills of health professionals other than doctors, more availability of training for them; and improved working conditions. This will make it possible to place less reliance on doctors where they are not the most appropriate people for particular tasks, freeing them up for work where they are the most appropriate people.Critically urgent steps have to be taken within hospitals to improve the way they currently operate, so that more patients can be treated. We want to see:9. An increase in the provision of intensive care beds (50 additional beds), to respond more adequately and promptly to the most urgent needs within hospitals.10. There needs to be co-ordinated planning on an all-Wales level to ensure that capacity is used sensibly, with patients being taken off waiting lists and into treatment where the capacity exists to treat them. Medical Assessment Units should be established in every hospital.11. No more operations cancelled on the day. Some are currently being cancelled even after the premedication injection! This upsets not only patients but also their relatives and friends, and undermines confidence in the health service. Guarantees must be introduced to ring-fence elective surgery beds in order to protect patients’ interests in this area.12. A campaign to combat the MRSA “super bugs” – particularly through reversing the privatisation of hospital cleaning services, which have led to a lack of joint working and communication between cleaning staff and medical staff.In the longer term, there need to be changes to the structure and financial organisation of the NHS in Wales; together with public health and health promotion measures to tackle the underlying causes of ill-health; and changes to secure improvements in dentistry, mental health, and specialised services. Our proposals in this document have, however, focused on steps that can achieve results in hospitals in Wales within the next few years.The NHS in Wales – and especially our hospitals – has reached crisis point. Urgent action is essential. What better time to send this message loud and clear than election time?
posted by cymrumark at 7:16 PM

Do nothing budget no use for Wales

Friday, April 22, 2005

Good news from Anglesey

The first opinion poll taken in Wales was released this week. NOP asked people on the Isle of Anglesey how they would vote....and the poll put Plaid 4% ahead with the Tories trailing badly. Very good news for was front page of the Daily Post. The Daily Post was nice to us earlier in the week praising our NHS plans and saying they are a serious programme for government. Its fair to say the Daily Post is not usually positive about very good news all round.

Mourning a great leader

The news that Plaid Cymru's first ever MP and longest serving Party President(leader) Gwynfor Evans has died has at first deflated many of our workers. Most of them knew Gwynfor personally and had worked with him for years. He is the man who created Plaid Cymru and the party is built in his image.

However over the last two days the mood has slowly changed to one of....lets get the best result ever as a real tribute. The door knocking has produced some surprising results in the last two days. I am astounded by how many people say they dont wish to support Labour or Conservative...we are gently knudging them in our direction.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Rhyl and Bodelwyddan

Day of contrasts today. First out and about in Bodelwyddan with local party activist talking to residents businesses etc. Cold and rainy weather not very condusive to conversation but generally the usual friendly response.

Lunch time saw a long planned visit to the Mosque and a chat with some of the worshippers afterwards. Told them about living most of my life in Leicester and my previous contacts with the Muslim community. Explained why we need a parliament and eventual independence and how Plaid seeks to be the party of everyone who lives in Wales. Got a very warm reception indeed.

Had lots of good questions but none on Iraq or the Middle East. Those came later as we chatting less formally. Lots of very positive people and some possible new members.

First Radio Debate

Had the first debate of the campaign last night in Denbigh. The four main candidates at the table and the Independent and Legalise cannabis candidates in the audience. Had very nice feed back from both the audience and people who listened to the programme. The first debate is always hard as you try and find your rhythym and the best way to put your ideas across. In fact its the first time I have represented Plaid on a public platform with other candidates so I was quite nervous.

Luckily the Labour candidate went first and he was very agressive attacking the Conservatives in an over the top manner. This brought a response from a local Tory in the audience and everyone is shouting at each other within seconds.

After that it was easy to present our ideas just by being calm and avoiding the slanging match. Sadly didnt manage to get a plug in for Sonowwho but maybe next time.

Out campaigning today a couple of people told me they heard us on the radio and would now vote for me.

During the debate on foxhunting I said the whole debate was a waste of Westminster time and we should have been debating issues such as rural schools housing etc. The Labour candidate talked at length about it being a democracy, blaming the House of Lords, (which Labour failed to reform fully) and that foxhunting was in the manifesto etc. As Simon Law an audience member shouted "So the foxes are safe but the schools are closing" the whole audience laughed and the Labour candidate was confused and wandering.