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 Iraq....so 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 Plaid.....so 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 Plaid....it 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 Plaid....so 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.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Simon Thomas launches Plaid Campaign in a Mosque

Simon Thomas MP used a visit to a Mosque in Cardiff today to explain how Plaid Cymru seeks to represent all who live in wales. Simon also attacked the Labour and Tory parties for stirring up racism as part of their campaigns.

I have seen the New Labour apologists in the guardian and Observer saying Michael Howards campaign is so bad they have to forget Iraq, tuition fees, the attacks on civil liberties, the transport housing and other crisis and give Blair a blank cheque for the next four years.

I dont like the Tories but i would never refer to another human being as a mongrol as a Labour MP did of Michael Howard. The Labour campaign leaflets in the Hodge Hill by-election attacked the Lib Dems for being supportive of asylum seekers and in Cardiff they put out leaflets about gypsies that the CRE condemned as inflamatory and racist.

I am pleased the Plaid are standing firm on our anti-racist platform. Wales is a small country and we need all who live here to play their part in making it a better country. Three of the five five Muslim county councillors in Wales are Plaid...in Newport, Cardiff and Colwyn Bay.

Denbigh High street

Had fun yesterday evening visiting shops and businesses in Denbigh. Am pushing hard the line that we want to abolish national non-domestic rates and replace with a tax on profits. Lots of small business people support this...happy to pay more in a good year but unhappy with a fixed cost in a bad year.

Denbigh is going from strength to strength with successful bids to boost the town as a heritage centre. Much more work needs to be done to boost the south of Denbighshire as a tourist attraction. Some signs from Llandudno would be good for a start and cost pennies in real terms.

There are quite a few empty shops though and more needs to be done to support more business...hence the campaign to scrap national non domestic rates.

Today was spent dealing with the royal mail to approve my election address then delivering leaflets in the rain in parts of Meliden. Its all glamour this politics stuff!

Monday, April 04, 2005

What we will do if elected....

We will not support military action without UN sanction

We will continue to campaign for the impeachment of Tony Blair

We will support fair trade

We will support an increase in aid budget to 0.7% of GDP

Will vote for a proper parliament for wales

We will fight for fairer funding for wales

We will support measures to achieve a fairer distribution of wealth from rich to poor

We will fight to increase the capacity of the NHS in Wales

We will vote for the retirement pension to be increased each year in line with average earnings.

We will vote to scrap the council tax and replace it with local income tax.

We will propose changes in the law to boost affordable housing

we will work to protect our high streets and family farms from the excessive domination of supermarkets and major food corporations

We will oppose id cards

We will oppose top up tuition fees

The threat from climate change will be at the heart of our work in parliament .

We will always put the people of Wales first.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Rhys Ifans underpants

After a bit of a delay my double cd and dvd from the Alarm turned up yesterday....glorious footstomping tunes, excellent lyrics and astonishing vocals from yer man Mike Peters....

A film is being made about one of the recent incidents in Mike's career....he is quoted being delighted that Rhys Ifans might play him but only " if he ditches the grey underpants from Notting hill".....

Friday, April 01, 2005

Hain admits Tories wont win....

Labour's campaign to date has been about scaring people with the prospect of a Tory victory. Writing in the guardian on Monday Peter hain inadvertently let it slip that the Tories have no chance of getting back into government.

Hain claimed that voting for anyone other than Labour will let the Tories in. He quotes John Curtice as saying that the effect of defections from Labour could be the Conservatives gaining 71 seats. Lets imagine for one moment that this actually happens. If they pick up 71 seats from Labour then the Tories will probably make a net gain against the Lib dems...perhaps gaining another nine. So stick 80 seats onto the Tories and .....they have all of 250 seats......still a massive 80(ish) short of a majority. Assuming Labour lose another dozen to the Lib dems ourselves and the SNP Labour would be in a minority government.

Labour losses on this scale would spell the end of Tony Blair and leave Labour dependent in the House of Commons, not on the increasingly right wing Liberal Democrats but on a block of Plaid/SNP MPs. Given that Plaid/SNP policies are directly in line with mainstream Labour MPs on most issues. Thats a result many would be happy with.

The same day he was writing in the guardian Peter Hain was in North Wales frightening people with the prospects of a Tory government. The truth is this election is a golden opportunity for the "left" and all who care about public services, civil liberties, the environment and internationalism to have a free hit on the government and vote for people who put these concerns at the top of their agenda. Peter Hain, in acknowledging the Tories wont win, has given the green light to former Labour supporters to cast their votes elsewhere, safe in the knowledge the Tories will not be back in government any time soon.

Monday Morning feeling...

Looks like it will all start on Monday.

Am feeling the usual mixture of excitment, optimisim and sheer panic.

Excitement because here we go at last. I am really looking forward to getting out and about with the voters. All the evidence is that this election is still very open. The big danger is that the election will be "stolen" through dodgy postal vote applications in places such as Birmingham. However this is the chance to show Wales and the wider world our vision for the future and I will keep trying to post as much as possible.

Am optimistic because things look good for Plaid. A BBC/ICM poll put us second recently when people were asked which party's policies were closest to their own priorities. The same poll found 50% of people want a proper parliament in Wales and agree with us that this is the only way we will see improvements in public services and be able to move our economy forward.

A council by-election in highly marginal Clwyd West, in a ward where we finished 9th in June 2004 saw us move to second place and poll double the Labour vote.......straws in the wind but all positive.

Panic of course because there is never enough time..or enough people to help etc.....but we are slowly getting geared up......seeing first draft of my election address today certainly makes the whole thing more real.

Vienna....

Have you heard the one about the Welshman, the Austrian, the Peruvian and the Sais.....?

Just got back from a memorable three days in Vienna. Stayed with long standing friends who now make their home there. At least part of the time as Graham works two weeks in London one week in Vienna. Thanks to Graham and Romana for their hospitality almost enough for me to forgive Graham for constantly referring to me as "english".....

Standing waiting in the crowd the Austrian became puzzled by my wife and I wearing Welsh shirts and speaking in Spanish. A friendly conversation followed where I explained my wife Susi is Peruvian....I then pointed out that the other couple in front were an englishman (wearing an Austrian shirt) and an Austrian to general merriment....sitting with the Austrian fans was fun a bit of good natured banter but nothing unpleasent.

Astonished by how many chances Wales managed to miss in the first half.....and of course to lose to an utterly daft goal is just heart breaking....