Sunday, 31 May 2009

The Home Stretch

There are just 4 days to go until Wales and the rest of the UK go to the polls in this year's European election and there could well be a body blow for the Labour party if they lose their second seat here.

We had thought early on in the campaign that it would be the Tories to take advantage of Labour's weakness but since then the expenses scandal has come to light and Plaid have been attempting to distance themselves from the rest of the politicians at Westminster.

Could this be a strategy that would see them return a second MEP after all?

There's also been some praise for the Lib Dems' lead candidate on the campaign trail but to what extent that will help the party remains to be seen – the whole proceedings have been somewhat overshadowed by other events.

I'd be keen to know what you think's going to happen. It seems likely that Labour could lose enough votes but who do you think will gain that last seat.

As we head onto the home stretch it would appear to be anybody's game...

Dewi Tri


Friday, 29 May 2009

Podcast #23: A Grand Day Out!

It's another Friday Podcast and with the AMs off on their jollies we thought we'd take a trip down to Cardiff Bay where the Urdd Eisteddfod is drawing to a close.

We talk to Chris Moyles' producer Aled Haydn Jones and the Chair of the All Wales Convention Sir Emyr Jones Parry (two people who've probably never shared a sentence before...)

We're also talking about this week's rants from Jonathan Morgan and Ieuan Wyn Jones.

Enjoy the show!

Y Tri Dewi


Lisa Stevens tweets Politics Cymru

And so onto our third and final Twitterview of the week (because the Tories never got back to us). This lunchtime the three Dewis took over the Prifysgol Aberystwyth University stall on the Eisteddfod maes to twitterview Labour's Lisa Stevens. She's second on the party's list of European candidates.

The whole event attracted plenty of attention - not least from chair of the All Wales Convention, Sir Emyr Jones Parry who seemed most impressed by this unusual concept!

Here's how the conversation went:

The Dewis are at the Eisteddfod for our third and final Twitterview coming up at 12 with @Lisa_Stevens. Any more questions anyone?about 6 hours ago from web

Lisa will be with us shortly! In the meantime - thanks to Aberystwyth University for letting us use their computer on the Maes!about 6 hours ago from web

Politics_Cymru@Lisa_Stevens Hi Lisa, are you there? Thanks for taking part! How's your campaign going?about 6 hours ago from web

Lisa_Stevens@Politics_Cymru hello all! Ready for my first 'twitterview'about 5 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Politics_Cymru @Lisa_Stevens How's the campaign going?about 6 hours ago from web in reply to Lisa_Stevens

Lisa_Stevens@Politics_Cymru very well thanks - and the sun is shining!!about 5 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Politics_Cymru @Lisa_Stevens Isn't it lovely? Since we're at the Urdd Eisteddfod why do you think young people aren't interested in European politics?about 5 hours ago from web in reply to Lisa_Stevens

Lisa_Stevens@Politics_Cymru I think many are actually interested in the issues - but just put-off by the 'yah-boo' macho style of politics...about 5 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Politics_Cymru @Lisa_Stevens Isn't that just Westminster politics? How aware are they of what the EP is doing?about 5 hours ago from web in reply to Lisa_Stevens

Lisa_Stevens@Politics_Cymru Yes it largely is, but Westminster dominates the media and so perceptions. Also why young not aware of EP!about 5 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Politics_Cymru@Lisa_Stevens What about the wider public, are they interested in what you're doing?about 5 hours ago from web

Lisa_Stevens@Politics_Cymru they're interested in jobs, the environment, rights at work... and often surprised how Europe has delivered for them on theseabout 5 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Politics_Cymru @Lisa_Stevens from @Marcuswarner, how will you work together with the other Welsh MEPs on these issues?about 5 hours ago from web

Lisa_Stevens@Politics_Cymru @MarcusWarner the EP is all about cooperation and achieving consensus - across Party lines and national lines tooabout 5 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Politics_Cymru @Lisa_Stevens So what's made you want to stand?about 5 hours ago from web

Lisa_Stevens@Politics_Cymru because I believe working through Europe is vital to tackling the challenges Wales faces - on jobs, environment, security...about 5 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Lisa_Stevens@Politics_Cymru and because we need more young voices too!about 5 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Politics_Cymru @Lisa_Stevens And what has Labour achieved in Europe so far?about 5 hours ago from web

Lisa_Stevens@Politics_Cymru billions of Euro-funding for Wales, improved righs for workers, environmental protection, slashing mobile roaming costs...about 5 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Politics_Cymru @Lisa_Stevens "Plaid has demanded that the two current Welsh Labour MEPs publish their expenses". Would you publish yours?about 5 hours ago from web

Lisa_Stevens@Politics_Cymru all Labour candidates pledge to publish expenses and receipts every six months and we're calling on other parties to do alsoabout 5 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Politics_Cymru @Lisa_Stevens Turnout's a big worry for this election. Will it be less than 40% do you think?about 5 hours ago from web

Lisa_Stevens@Politics_Cymru It's very difficult to say. I'm working hard to get as many voters out as possibe!about 5 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Politics_Cymru @Lisa_Stevens But if it is low, will Labour be hit hardest?about 5 hours ago from web

Lisa_Stevens@Politics_Cymru Again, it's very hard to say! We are focusing on getting our message out - only Labour delivers for Wales in Europeabout 5 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Politics_Cymru @Lisa_Stevens If you're not elected, it will be the first time in a long time Labour have lost a pop. vote in Wales. What will that mean?about 5 hours ago from web

Lisa_Stevens@Politics_Cymru I think we'll have to deal with the meaning of any outcome if it happens! I'm out campaigning to ensure we do win 2 seats!about 5 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Politics_Cymru @Lisa_Stevens Well thanks for your time Lisa! Do you think this has been a success? Will we be seeing more ‘Twitterviews’ in the future?

Lisa_Stevens@Politics_Cymru thank you! I think it's great new way to communicate! Enjoy the Urdd...about 5 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Thanks to @europlaid, @alanbp and @Lisa_Stevens for taking part in this week's historic twitterviews! Diolch yn fawr!about 5 hours ago from web

Y Tri Dewi


Thursday, 28 May 2009

30 Years Since Thatcher...and 10 Years of the Welsh Assembly

We've not got a Podcast today (but do come back tomorrow for our Eisteddfod special from the Maes!).

Instead, the Dewis are looking back over some Welsh history.

It's been 30 years since Margaret Thatcher was elected Prime Minister and most agree that her impact on Wales was profound. Here, Dewi Un explores her legacy:

Also recently we've been celebrating a decade of Welsh democracy and Dewi Tri went along to join the party:

Dewis Un & Tri


Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Alan Butt Philip tells Politics Cymru: Less than 1 in 3 people will vote next week

Welsh Lib Dems’ lead European candidate Alan Butt Philip has told us in our latest Twitterview that he expects to see just 30% of voters out at the polls on June 4th.

He seemed to think that might benefit the Lib Dems, though, because their traditional supporters “are keener to vote than most”.

The effects of the economic downturn, the expenses scandal and a general apathy towards Europe are all causing the main parties concern ahead of the vote next week.

So what did Alan Butt Philip have to say? See for yourself:

Before the Twitterview Dewis 1, 2 and 3 would like to say hello to the regulars! Also @emmagilliam @egrommet @rachelq82 @ruthmosalski

@politics_cymru hello, few tehnical probs but i'm here and ready to start

@alanbp Hi Alan! Thanks for taking part. How’s the campaign going so far? #ldtvabout 1 hour ago from web in reply to alanbp

@politics_cymru Hi there! The campaign is going really well. Lots of enthusiasm from supporters. Good interest from the general public #ldtvabout 1 hour ago from web

@alanbp So you haven't been tarnished with the same brush as other politicians in the wake of the expenses scandal? #ldtv43 minutes ago from web

@politics_cymru Not really. People are relieved to discover I have a normal job so can't be involved in the scandal from Westminster #ldtv42 minutes ago from web

@alanbp So why do you want to be a politcian like the rest of them? #ldtv39 minutes ago from web

@politics_cymruThere is a specific job to be done representing Welsh people to the EU institutions. I have the experience for this #ldtv39 minutes ago from web

@alanbp How would your experience make you any different to the MEPs we’ve already got? #ldtv36 minutes ago from web

@politics_cymru I have been involved in researching and advising those who influence EU decision-making as an academic for 30years #ldtv36 minutes ago from web

@alanbp from @annahwt With which of the other MEPs (Wales or otherwise) would you align yourself if elected?33 minutes ago from web

@politics_cymru Obviously fellow Liberal Democrats in UK, and throughout Europe - there were about 100 in the last Euro-Parliament #ldtv34 minutes ago from web

@alanbp How aware are people as to what these elections are all about? #ldtv30 minutes ago from web

@politics_cymru I think people are aware that the EU is important, but they don't really know the details. They want to know more #ldtv30 minutes ago from web

@alanbp Ok. So to paraphrase Monty Python: what’s Europe ever done for us? #ldtv26minutes ago from web in reply to alanbp

@politics_cymru Europe invests heavily in Welsh economic development - more jobs. Also Europe has cleaned up our air and water quality #ldtv26 minutes ago from web

@alanbp Are you geting that message across or is your pro-Europe stance hurting your chances? #ldtv22 minutes ago from web

@politics_cymru The message that we depend on other countries and cross-border action does resonate with people - better than before #ldtv22 minutes ago from web

@alanbp So you're not worried voters will turn to anti-Europe and extremist parties particularly in light of the expenses scandal? #ldtv18 minutes ago from web in reply to alanbp

@politics_cymru Some voters will stay at home, but many are determined to back strong open-minded people and parties #ldtv18 minutes ago from web

@alanbp So how badly will the turnout be affected do you think? Will it be less than 40%? #ldtv14 minutes ago from web

@politics_cymru Closer to 30% I would think and that's a real shame because the elected MEPs won't have a strong mandate #ldtv14 minutes ago from web

@alanbp And how would a low turnout affect you personally do you think? #ldtv11 minutes ago from web

@politics_cymru I think that Lib Dem voters are keener to vote than most, so I don't expect low turnout to be our problem #ldtv10 minutes ago from web

@alanbp So you think you stand a good chance of being the Welsh Lib Dems’ first MEP then? #ldtv7 minutes ago from web

@politics_cymru Yes. This election gives the LibDems the best chance we've have ever had. Our supporters sense this & are working hard #ldtv5 minutes ago from web

@alanbp Thanks for your time Alan! Do you think this has been a success? Will we be seeing more ‘Twitterviews’ in the future? #ldtv2 minutes ago from web

@politics_cymru Yes, this is a great new medium. Forces us candidates to give short, snappy, understandable answers. After June 7th...#ldtv1 minute ago from web

We’ll let @alanbp get back to the campaign trail! Our next Twitterview will be with Labour’s @Lisa_Stevens – coming soon! Diolch bawb!

Y Tri Dewi


Tuesday, 26 May 2009

This just in: Twitterview with Jill Evans MEP

For those of you following us on Twitter this lunchtime you'll have seen our Twitterview with Jill Evans MEP! For those of you who missed it - where were you?! But you can read it in full here (and make sure you're following us tomorrow for our Twitterview with Alan Butt-Philip):

Before the Twitterview Dewis 1, 2 and 3 would like to say hello to the regulars! Also @egrommet @Marcuswarner @aledwg @aliguana @huwthomas

Just waiting for Jill then we'll get going with the World's first ever Wales! about 1 hour ago from web

@politics_cymru Helo - barod i fynd. Hello - ready to go #pctv

@europlaid Siwmae Jill! How has the campaign been going so far? #pctv #plaidcymru about 1 hour ago from web

@politics_cymru #pctv Really good! Lots of support all over the country. Nice to be doing something a bit different today!about 1 hour ago from web

@europlaid Let's crack on then! Thanks to @Marcuswarner: being a minority party in Europe, do you think you lack influence? #pctv about 1 hour ago from web

@politics_cymru #pctv Ha ha! No, we punch above our weight. Euro' funding, EIB, local food, Workers' rights, Welsh lang status and on & onabout 1 hour ago from web

@europlaid So do you really stand a chance of getting a second MEP then? #pctv43 minutes ago from web

@politics_cymru #pctv YES!about 1 hour ago from web

@europlaid Even if the turnout's low? #pctv 41 minutes ago from web

@politics_cymru I hope turn-out isn't low although I fear it might be. The Labour vote is collapsing. People trust Plaid Cymru #pctv42 minutes ago from web

@europlaid Do people really trust any politicians right now? #pctv36 minutes ago from web

@politics_cymru Some have behaved disgracefully. I have campaigned for reform and greater transparency. Hopefully this will now occur #pctv37 minutes ago from web

@europlaid In that case from @PhilBowen how can you regain the trust of the voting public? #pctv30 minutes ago from web

@politics_cymru By radically reforming the system, being open and honest and putting people of Wales first #pctv34 minutes ago from web

@europlaid from @aledwg, in fallout of expenses scandal how worried are you about the threat from extremist parties? #pctv28 minutes ago from web

@politics_cymru I have faith in the values and traditions of the people of Wales who will shun the lies and racism of the far right #pctv30 minutes ago from web

@EuroPlaid But are you doing anything to actively discourage people from turning to the extremists? #pctv 23 minutes ago from web in reply to EuroPlaid

@politics_cymru Yes, by winning the argument year in, year out & promoting our vision 4 Wales.This is who I am and why I'm in politics #pctv 26 minutes ago from web

RT @Plaid_Cymru Jill Twitterweliad / Twitterview : #pctv 20 minutes ago from web

@europlaid from @annahwt Do you consider the EP to be giving sufficient weight to climate change issues? #pctv19 minutes ago from web

@politics_cymru No. Labour and the Tories must stop blocking stronger laws. The EU should be leading the way. Much done but more needed#pctv22 minutes ago from web

@EuroPlaid So will that be a part of your focus over the next 5 years? #pctv14 minutes ago from web

@politics_cymru It has been for the last 10 years and will be for the next 5. The climate & economic crises must be tackled together #pctv16 minutes ago from web

@EuroPlaid (that's if you're elected of course) #pctv12 minutes ago from web

@politics_cymru Of course #pctv14 minutes ago from web

@europlaid from @aliguana Is Wales respected in Europe as a country, or a region of England? #pctv10 minutes ago from web

@politics_cymru Increasingly so but we don't enjoy the benefits of Member-Statehood yet (no. of MEPs, Commissioner, vote @ Council etc #pctv9 minutes ago from web

@europlaid So thanks for your time Jill! Do you think this has been a success? Will we be seeing more ‘Twitterviews’ in the future? #pctv3 minutes ago from web

@politics_cymru Thanks for the European first for Plaid again! How about a post-election twitterview? #pctv8 minutes ago from web

@europlaid We look forward to that then! #pctv2 minutes ago from web

@politics_cymru So that's a yes! Hwyl fawr :) #pctv6 minutes ago from web

Thanks to everyone who got involved! Diolch yn fawr iawn! We're doing it all again tomorrow with Lib Dem’s @alanbp so join us at 2pm! Hwyl!half a minute ago from web

Y Tri Dewi


Monday, 25 May 2009

How do you save a sinking ship? Socialism...

Fresh back from the Hay festival where I took the opportunity to listen to Roy Hattersley speak (Fry was sold out…). The former deputy leader of the Labour party was putting forward his case for a return to traditional socialism, government intervention in the economy, strong welfare state, social determinism etc…

A charismatic speaker Baron Hattersley fielded questions from the audience himself (slighting a Guardian journalist quite openly - who was supposed to act as chair). One Plaid Cymru member stood up and said "I agree with 99% of what you said, but I must say you sound out of date…” to which the former MP for Birmingham Sparkbrook said (paraphrased) “Christians haven’t stopped going on about the sermon on the mound because its 2,000 years old - if you think something’s right then say it". The member of Plaid, very publicly fooled, sat down having learned the lesson - don’t mess with the big guns or you will get burned.

It was refreshing to hear a politician talk of ideology again. Whether you agree with Keynes or not it was nice to hear a real opinion, not spun rhetoric from the centre ground - Roy was very firmly off the fence and proud of it (which is not true of many politicians nowadays). He is spending his summer advocating the move to Proportional Representation - which despite his claims otherwise is quite ironic. Now that the Labour party are looking like losing next time out some prominent figures in the party are seeking a change to PR, coincidence?

An interesting anecdote that came up during the 77 year olds speech underlines the current state of politics in my humble opinion. He told a story where Tony Blair once said to him “the people out there don’t want ideology… they want to be managed”.

So how do you save a sinking ship? By working together as a community as opposed to singularly as individuals according to Roy Hattersley. Expect to hear more from him in the coming months, he plans to spend his time explaining the evils or the free market (and why they’re to blame for the proverbial hitting the fan), the merits of PR, and why socialism isn’t dead all summer long…

Dewi Un


Friday, 22 May 2009

Politics Cymru in UK Political First...we think! Buddugoliaeth Gwleidyddol i Politics'n meddwl!

On Tuesday the 26th May Politics Cymru will be participating in what is believed to be the UK's first political Twitterview (or Twinterview). This is an interview carried out in public on the microblogging site, Twitter.

All questions and answers will have to be less than 140 characters in length.

The only known example of such an event saw George Stephanopoulos of CNN 'twitterview' Senator John McCain two months ago.

Politics Cymru's Twitterview will be with Plaid Cymru MEP, Jill Evans. You can follow the historic event live by logging onto and following Politics Cymru and EuroPlaid.

A second Twitterview has also been scheduled for 2pm on Wednesday with the Welsh Liberal Democrats' lead candidate in the forthcoming elections, Alan Butt Philip.

The Three Dewis


Dydd Mawrth y 26ain o Fai bydd Politics Cymru yn cymryd rhan mewn Twitterweliad. Credir taw dyma'r cyfweliad cyntaf o'i fath ym Mhrydain. Cynhelir y cyfweliad yn gyhoeddus ar y wefan meicroflogio, Twitter.

Bydd yn rhaid i bob cwestiwn ac ateb fod yn llai na 140 llythyren o hyd.

Twitterweliad George Stephanopoulos gyda'r Seneddwr John McCain deufis yn ôl yw'r unig enghraifft gwybyddus o'r fath yma o gyfweliad.

ASE Plaid Cymru, Jill Evans fydd yn cael ei chyfweld gan Politics Cymru. Gallwch ddilyn y digwyddiad hanesyddol drwy ymweld â a chlicio i ddilyn Politics Cymru a EuroPlaid.

Mae Twitterweliad arall hefyd wedi ei threfnu â phrif ymgeisydd y Demcratiaid Rhyddfrydol yng Nghmyru yn etholiadau Ewrop,
Alan Butt Philip ar gyfer 2yh ddydd Mercher.

Y Tri Dewi


Thursday, 21 May 2009

Podcast #22: Big News

It's been a big news week. The Speaker's out - could a Welsh MP be about to step into the role? A few more Welsh MPs have been getting into trouble over expenses and find out how little we know about the European Union!

It's fun times here at Politics Cymru. Comments, tweets and votes always welcome (and look out for the Twitterviews next week!)

Y Tri Dewi


Wednesday, 20 May 2009

For Sale

A day late but worth a translation nevertheless: Ar Werth by Vaughan Roderick.

"The general belief is that Lembit will lose Montgomery and another Liberal Democrat could win."

It was telling today that Kirsty Williams didn't disagree with that statement in her weekly news conference.

Kirsty also announced that every one of the party's parliamentary candidates will have to sign a code of conduct promising to repay any profit made by selling second homes in Westminster. Current MPs will be expected to follow suit. No current member will be allowed to stand if he or she refuses to sign. That includes any member who was elected in 1997 before the huge rise in house prices.

Is Kirsty quietly hoping someone will refuse to sign?

What does Lembit have to say? It's time for us to visit his column in the Daily Sport.

"All the same, the general mood is to portray us all as naughty people on the make. It's a shame. You'd probably like most MPs if you met them. It's also a shame that the actions of the Telegraph have not been properly scrutinised. I suggest you stick to the Sport. You know what you're getting, and, unlike the Telegraph's info none of the boobs are remotely dodgy."

Translation by Dewi Dau


Sunday, 17 May 2009

Brunstrom not going quietly

He just could not resist could he? Arguably the most controversial police chief constable in Britain has dipped his toe into the cesspool of MPs expenses. The North Wales chief is climbing on the bandwagon and suggesting that he may investigate MPs in his patch that have been fiddling the public purse. Now his idea makes sense treating the MPs just like everyone else, also his plan will undoubtedly win some public support, but does anyone smell a rat? Could it be that with a dream job in the Bahamas no longer in the offing Richard Brunstrom is starting to get ready for a push into the Senedd?

It may be the case that Richard Brunstrom is looking to investigate individuals who hold a position he himself covets? This is PURE SPECULATION of course but a recent article in the Daily Post got me thinking (I've looked but I can't find it online for some reason). With Brunstrom leaving in July (surely not enough time for a full investigation) he is taking the credit as the people’s champion without having to do the leg work - clever stuff.

It may be that, in keeping with my recent form with predictions, he just goes on the after dinner circuit and puts his feet up - but that’s not his style is it?

Dewi Un


Plaid to Royal Mail: Stop Distributing Illegal BNP Leaflets!

Plaid Cymru has today called on the Royal Mail to stop distributing BNP leaflets.

Research by Plaid Cymru has shown that the BNP “supporters” quoted on their election address are in fact stock photos from

The party believes the BNP's leaflets break electoral guidelines and are therefore illegal and this is why Adam Price, the party's Director of Election has called on the Royal Mail to put an end to the distribution of BNP flyers.

The leaflet is in the process of being delivered to millions of homes in the UK. It includes pictures of a doctor, a group of "British" workers and an elderly couple. All the individuals are quoted as giving their support to the BNP.

However, according to Plaid, the doctor - who claims he will be “voting BNP” - is a model. The elderly couple - quoted as saying they want to see pensioners put before asylum seekers - are the parents of photographer, Luca di Fillippo, and it is alleged the “British” workers actually posed for Boone Rodriguez: a photographer based in Portland, Oregon.

So, it appears that none of the photographed individuals are British or supporters of the BNP.

Here's Adam Price:

"On their leaflets they [the BNP] use a series of photos of supposed BNP supporters. However the truth is that the ‘British’ workers in front of the union jack are actually American builders on a site in the USA. The ‘doctor’ who says ‘he’s voting BNP’ is actually a stock photo of an American actor, who probably has never heard of the BNP and I would be very surprised if he was eligible to vote here. The pensioners featured in the leaflet were totally unaware that their photo has been used on this leaflet in such a way.

"It is a sick irony that the people photographed, and indeed the photographers are from other countries - the very people that the BNP seeks to demonize."

Mr Price insists circulation of the leaflet must end:

"These leaflets hideously misrepresent the views of the people photographed. I believe that they have breached the guidelines set out for electoral communications and I call on the Royal Mail to stop their distribution immediately."

We have contacted the BNP for a response to these comments and will post their reaction once we have it! In the meantime, what are your thoughts?

Dewi Dau

p.s. iStock's Content license agreement states that a client may not "use or display any Content that features a model or person in a manner that (i) would lead a reasonable person to think that such person uses or personally endorses any business, product, service, cause, association or other endeavour;"


Saturday, 16 May 2009

Bottom Up or Top Down?

This whole expenses fiasco got me thinking about the selection process for prospective candidates and where the power really lies.

Let's get the obvious out the way first - people are pis*ed off (pardon the French). There is massive dissatisfaction and anger out there towards the political class be it MPs, AMs, MEPs or county councillors. These people now have the dubious honour of being the most reviled group in Britain, I bet that traffic wardens are feeling pretty smug now.

I’ve been wondering as to whether the local parties will listen to the collective cry from across the four nations of Britain calling almost in unison “get these cheating bast*rds out!” (again pardon the French - I think it was necessary to convey the right emotion.) Will local parties take the initiative and start de-selecting MPs who have been taking them for a ride over the past however many years?

The Labour party has prided itself historically on being a party of the people. Their policy-making process has a sizable input from grass-roots members: the national executive committee diluting the power of party leaders and often frustrating them with their left wing militancy. Traditionally Labour’s selection process for candidates (when not held to ransom by the trade unions) has been very bottom up in approach giving an important role to the local party - but what now?

What if the local members of Salford put their foot down and say “its time to deselect Hazel” or if the local Labour party in Dewsbury say “we’ve had enough of Shahid”? Where does the power lie? There is a lot of pressure to try and rekindle the public belief and respect for Parliament and many feel a new one would do the trick - so will we see the de-selection process used?
It’s not so tricky for the Tories, local members have only had a vote in their leadership elections for 12 years so the tradition of top-down decision making is not new to them, but in an attempt to be whiter than white (classic Cameron) they may de-select some MPs to teach them a lesson, which would be a nightmare for the upkeep of a certain moat.

I expect the top down approach will prevail and most members of the House of Commons will keep their nomination (if they still want it), otherwise it would be like the naughty kids in school running detention. But you never know, some plucky local parties may just cause a stir and give back to politics a little a bit of credibility (well, maybe).

Dewi Un

P.S I think de-selection would earn some respect and support from the public.


The Battle for Blaenau

Vaughan Roderick's post, Brwydr Blaenau, translated for you by Politics Cymru:

Do you remember Kramer v Kramer? Well it's Alun v Alun in Blaenau Gwent!

The former culture minister, Alun Pugh, has decided to try for the Labour nomination for the 2011 election. Alun Davies AM is already in the race of course. This is one to watch!

If Alun (P) succeeds will Alun (D) head back to the west with his tail between his legs? Will Joyce Watson be waiting for him with open arms, I wonder?

Alun (P) has promised not* to make personal attacks on the current member, Trish Law which, in a way, is a personal attack against Alun (D). There'll be blood on the walls before this one is over!

Translation by Dewi Dau

*corrected, 14:10, 16/05/2009


Friday, 15 May 2009

Podcast #21: Exam week...

On our way to the pub post-exams yesterday afternoon we had a chance to record this week's Podcast.

MP's expenses, why nobody's talking about the Euro elections and we're STILL celebrating 10 years of devolution.

All that and more in our 21st Podcast.

Powered by

Y Tri Dewi


Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Plaid Cymru - the party of "poodles"

So Plaid have done it. They've voted strongly in favour of Labour's plans to introduce top-up fees in Wales for Welsh students.

Today in the Senedd Peter Black called on the Assembly to reverse its decision to scrap the tuition fees grant.

Only two Plaid AMs voted in favour of Mr. Black's proposal. (No prizes for guessing who they were!)

This goes against what the party's membership had hoped for and asks more questions of Plaid's role in government.

"Compromise" and "pragmatism" - those are the two words Plaid's Chairman, John Dixon has consistently used in debates on this issue. "Propping up a Labour government" is the counter-argument.

Here's Kirsty Williams' response to today's vote:

"We proposed this motion today because we believe access to education is a principle worth fighting for. We know that many Plaid Cymru Assembly Members feel the same and that their supporters voted for them because they promised and end to top-up fees.

"Today was a chance for redemption, for Plaid to say sorry and back Welsh students. Instead they chose to play the poodle, to climb so far into bed with Labour that you wouldn't know there's two different parties playing under the sheets."

Here's what one of the Plaid rebels*, Bethan Jenkins, has to say on the matter:

"I recognise that being in government means making difficult decisions. Although I can see where the Government is coming from in this decision to an extent, I can’t support the ending of the tuition fee grant.

"While I understand that the majority of my fellow Plaid members will accept the constraints, and the need to compromise that comes with being a party in government, I am grateful that the group understands my position and have accepted that two of us will be voting differently on this occasion."

*Is it fair to call a politician who sticks to the party's manifesto and election commitments a rebel? Just a thought.

Dewi Dau

Picture used courtesy of Contadini @


When tomorrow comes…

Translation of Pan ddaw yfory... by Vaughan Roderick

Tomorrow [Wednesday] the Welsh Assembly Government will be publishing its strategy for Welsh language education. In my humble opinion this plan will be more important than the Welsh Language LCO in terms of the language and it should go some way towards lessening the worries of language campaigners about the present coalition.

As you’d imagine it’s going to be the Education Minister, Jane Hutt, who launches the strategy. If they wanted to, Plaid Cymru could take some of the credit but it appears they will not attempt to do so.

But why? Well there are two reasons. Firstly, some councils will be spitting blood over the proposals. It’ll be more difficult for them to complain about “the language zealots” and “forcing Welsh down our throats” if Plaid Cymru keep their distance. Secondly, there are a series of appeals relating to Welsh education (notably in Carmarthenshire and Cardiff) likely to arrive in the Minister’s in-tray in the next few months. Will Jane be willing to undermine the strategy she herself has launched? Unlikely.

Translation by Dewi Tri


Lord Elis-Thomas on Devolution

Many apologies for PC's lack of posting in the last week or so - it's been a busy few days for us!

Yesterday though I found some time to head to the Senedd where they were (still) celebrating 10 years of devolution. As part of the celebrations pupils from schools across South Wales had come to the old chamber in Ty Hywel for a mock Assembly run by CEWC Cymru (with whom I was very impressed!).

They also got the chance to quiz the Presiding Officer, Lord Elis-Thomas, on devolution and the work of the Assembly.

After their chat I took the PO over to a quiet corner to talk about the enthusiasm for Welsh democracy, the successes of the Welsh Assembly and why, in the long term, independence is not the answer...

Hear the interview in full here.

Dewi Tri


Friday, 8 May 2009

Building bridges...

If you missed tonight's Dragon's eye then you should watch to see Cheryl Gillan making an effort to build positive relations with some AMs - AMs that she will undoubtedly be dealing with often if and when the Tories get into office.

There is nothing like handbags at dawn sometimes...

Dewi Un


Thursday, 7 May 2009

Podcast #20: Out and about

We're celebrating 10 years of devolution (because let's face it - we wouldn't be here without it).

And Dewis Dau and Tri went along to Ask Rhodri last night so what did we ask and what did he say?

It's all here in this week's Politics Cymru Podcast which returns to its rightful place on a Thursday evening!

Comments and Tweets are always welcome!

Y Tri Dewi


In case you were wondering...

I feel a little like the voice-over man on the apprentice, here are your candidates.

Conservative Party - Plaid Geidwadol Cymru

1. Kay Swinburne
2. Evan David Lewis Price
3. Emma Louise Greenow
4. David Chipp

The Green Party - Plaid Werdd

1. Jake Griffiths
2. Kay Roney
3. Ann Were
4. John Matthews

The Labour Party - Y Blaid Lafur

1. Derek Vaughan
2. Lisa Stevens
3. Rachel Elizabeth Maycock
4. Leighton Veale

Liberal Democrats - Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol Cymru

1. Alan Andrew Shaile Butt Philip
2. Kevin Domonic Lee O'Connor
3. Nicholas John Tregoning
4. Jacqueline Radford

Jury Team

1. Paul Joseph Sabanskis
2. James Gareth Eustace
3. Neil Morgan
4. Steven Phillip Partridge

Plaid Cymru - The Party of Wales

1. Jill Evans
2. Eurig Wyn
3. Ioan Bellin
4. Natasha Asghar

British National Party

1. Ennys Hughes
2. Laurence Reid
3. Clive Bennett
4. Kevin Anthony Edwards

United Kingdom Independence Party - Plaid Annibyniaeth Y Deyrnas Unedig

1. John Andreas Bufton
2. David Maybery Bevan
3. Kevin Phillip Mahoney
4. David William Lloyd Rowlands

Socialist Labour Party (Arthur Scargills party)

1. Robert Charles English
2. Richard George Booth
3. Liz Screen
4. Judith Rachel Sambrook

Christian Party "proclaiming Christ's Lordship" -- Plaid Gristinogol Cymru "datgan Arglwyddiaeth Crist"

1. Jeffrey David Green
2. David Philip Griffiths
3. Alun Clive Owen
4. John Harrold

No2EU:Yes to Democracy

1. Robert David Griffiths
2. Robert Williams
3. Laura Picand
4. Trevor Arnold Jones

No need to thank me...

Dewi Un

N.B No Libertas party - they couldn't get the necessary £5,000 together in time


Wednesday, 6 May 2009

The Lib Dems: party poopers?

(Continued from previous post)

And surely we can forget about the recession as well, just for one day. Can't we Kirsty?

"10 years of devolution has been a step forward for Wales. We have moved closer to the people's parliament that Wales should have and the Welsh Liberal Democrats hope that this process can be accelerated in the near future.

But today is no day for backslapping and cosy congratulation. We're in the middle of a devastating recession and we face years of huge public spending cuts. After 10 years of rising budgets, building up public debt during the credit-fuelled boom years, this Assembly must now take a reality check."

And there's more:

"In assessing the success of the National Assembly for Wales we must examine the legacy that ten years has left: a legacy of the continued poverty for many welsh communities, of unaffordable higher education, of vital health service failures and a lack of resilience to peak oil and climate change.

It is the next two decades that will reveal the damage this legacy has done to Wales."

Ah well, never mind.

Dewi Dau


The two Dafydds 10 years on

This just in from Plaid Cymru's honorary president, Dafydd Wigley:

"10 years ago today was one of the most exciting days in my political career.

For over 70 years Plaid had been campaigning for a Welsh Parliament and despite its weaknesses, which were apparent even then, the prospect of Welsh politicians finally being responsible for the destiny of our nation was truly remarkable.

Of course we all had to wait until the following day for the count to take place but it was possible to sense the silent earthquake that was on its way and everyone knew that Welsh politics would never be the same again."

Lovely stuff. Nice to see a political figure able to forget about partisan divides on a day like today, when all four parties will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Assembly's first elections.

But then the party's actual president, Dafydd Iwan has also had his say:

"I, along with many others who had campaigned for a Welsh parliament for so long, saw 1999 as a great step forward.

But be under no illusion, there are still many vital steps ahead of us until Wales gets what it deserves.

For most of the last ten years, we have had weak Labour governments in Westminster and Cardiff who have failed to deliver for the people of Wales.

We now need real powers for the Assembly to defend us from the whims of future Tory or Labour governments in London."

Never mind, I suppose politics just wouldn't be politics without a bit of politics.

Dewi Dau


Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Civil War

And now a more serious message from BBC Wales' Welsh Affairs Editor - apparently intent on disrupting my revision!

Politicians hate answering rhetorical questions or at least pretend to hate them if they wish to avoid giving an answer! But what if a rhetorical question involves a situation that's likely to happen and what if the situation is key to the future of Wales?

That's the scenario for you. By October 2010 it's quite possible that the UK will have a Conservative government. In such circumstances apparently two thirds of the members in the Bay would vote in favour of holding a referendum on gaining full legislative powers for the Assembly. There aren't enough Conservative members to block such a move and besides more than one Tory AM has told me they would ignore any whip to vote against a referendum.

Given those circumstances would the Secretary of State, Cheryl Gillan (or perhaps Jonathan Evans) reject the application? Peter Hain was of the opinion that no Secretary of State would dare do so. Apparently that was also the opinion Wyn Roberts' survey of the party's devolution policy until a few Conservative bigwigs got hold of the report and deleted one or two crucial clauses.

At present the Conservatives are preparing their manifesto for the general election. There's increasing pressure on Nick Bourne to ensure the document contains a specific and definite promise that the Secretary of State would not reject demands for a referendum. According to one forthright Conservative failure to do so would be disastrous and would allow the other parties to paint the Tories as an anti-Wales party: "if Nick Bourne loses the battle or refuses to fight it, then all the work he has done over the last decade will have been undone."

Translation by Dewi Dau


Lembit's breakfast

A little gem from Vaughan Roderick's blog:

Why on earth do people not like poor Lembit? Al Murray the 'Pub Landlord' is the latest to condemn the Montgomery member according to the Times.

"If I don't ever have to interview Öpik again it would be too soon," Murray told Geoff Lloyd on Absolute Radio. "He was a bit of a twit. He came on thinking, 'I'll knock some lumps off this chap' and you sort of think 'that's not going to happen because we've spent all week sharpening this knife'."

It's unlikely Lembit will respond. He's too busy offering health advice to Daily Sport readers.

"Remember, you can't catch pig flu from eating pig meat. However bad things get, we'll still have bacon sandwiches."


The BNP’s chances of a Welsh victory

"We certainly look at Wales as the next target."

Those the words of BNP spokesman Simon Darby ahead of the European elections next month – words that will undoubtedly send a shiver down the spine of a fair few in mainstream politics.

The comments came in response to Neil Kinnock’s warning to the Labour party that the far-right nationalists will be the beneficiaries of their in-fighting.

But what are the real prospects of the BNP holding a Welsh seat in the next European Parliament. Well the numbers are interesting (to a political anorak like me).

Here’s the result from 2004:

Labour - 297,810 (148,905)
Conservative - 177,771
Plaid - 159,888
UKIP - 96,677
Lib Dem - 96,116
Greens - 32,761
BNP - 27,135
Others – 29,528

The indication this time is that Labour is likely to lose votes both to other parties and from their core supporters staying at home.

The other party that are likely to lose votes this time around is UKIP who don’t have the same momentum behind their campaign this time around. So where do their votes go?

The Tories will certainly be hoping to pick up a few and they probably will – the question is whether they can pick up enough votes to overtake Labour. Or indeed could Plaid?

The fourth seat is the one that’s up in the air.

IF Labour get more votes than the Tories, and Plaid remain the only party to get more than half the number of the votes they get everything stays the same.

IF Labour lose the first popular vote they will have lost in Wales for more than half a century and they’re overtaken by the Tories, and Plaid remain the only party to get more than half the number of votes then there will be 2 Tories returned to Europe with one Labour and one Plaid.

IF another party – be it the Liberal Democrats, the BNP or even the Green party – get more than half the number of votes of the leading party they will gain that crucial 4th seat.

That’s a tall order. If (yes another “if”) the leading party get as many votes as Labour did last time (297,810) the fourth party would have to get at least 148,906 votes to stand any chance of a seat - although due to turnout and a more divided vote this number could well be considerably smaller but lets take it as a benchmark for now. Here’s what those other parties would have to gain:

Lib Dem – 52,790
Greens – 116,145
BNP – 121,771

That’s quite a big swing for any of those parties but it’s not necessarily impossible…

This could well be an interesting race.

Dewi Tri


Friday, 1 May 2009

Career Suicide - Testing, Testing 1,2,3,

I was in need of testing a new gadget that I’ve got hold of so I’m here in the Bay, supping a Corona waiting for a friend to join me for a drink, reflecting on a really fun week of work experience (spot the nifty camerawork on Dragons Eye!). So what to blog about to test this new piece of kit?

Well, highlight of the week has to be Alun Davies and his career suicide! The one time Plaid enthusiast announced Tuesday morning that he intends to stand for the Labour nomination in Blaenau Gwent, he came out all guns blazing slagging Trish Law off. The most memorable quote in my mind was his description of her as “invisible especially when she’s on her feet” he said she was a “woeful” AM and she should be “ashamed” - pretty strong from the Mid and West Wales member . He described his contribution to the Assembly as “groundbreaking” and amidst several mentions of his Tredegar heritage claimed that he could represent the constituency much better than Trish Law.

Why has Alun Davies done this then? As I have been reminded of on several occasions this week, Blaenau Gwent politics is poisonous, the Labour party there is in disarray with several high profile defections recently. Going on history Alun Davies can’t even be sure of securing the nomination let alone winning the vote come election time, what is he to do then? Trot back to Mid and West Wales and say “oh don’t worry that was all a joke, I really only care about the people of Mid and West Wales, honestly”? I’m sure that would play well with the voters there.
So why risk it? As top dog on the list in the Mid West he’s virtually guaranteed to be sitting comfortably in the chamber after 2011. It may be that young Mr Davies feels the need to prove his Labour credentials to those who still suspect him of harbouring nationalist loyalties (See Ordovicius' brilliant You Tube clip) or it may be an attempt o prove himself to get a Cabinet position next time around, who knows? I’m not sure if Alun Davies really knows!

And what’s Trish Law's response to all this commotion? “Bring it on”.

Dewi Un

p.s looks like the old new technology worked! Nice…


Cuts? What Cuts?

Dr Eurfyl Ap Gwilym told the World yesterday that Universal public services in Wales face a tricky future, either they remain but get worse, or they maintain standards but become not so Universal (i.e. means tested). He indicated that given the financial settlement for Wales, big projects like free prescriptions for all, free school breakfasts (free laptops), and the M4 relief road would all have to (cue that Queen song) bite the dust.

So what does Ieuan Wyn Jones (IWJ) make of his economic guru's thoughts? Well on last night's Dragon's Eye programme he seemed to agree with him, saying that Wales was looking at tough times well into the next decade - pretty strong stuff. So where would these cuts be made? Nowhere apparently - no job cuts and no slowdown in capital expenditure. Now, no-one wants to hear that job cuts have to be made but isn't denial worse?

Am I the only one who thinks there's a bit of tension in what we heard from IWJ? On the one hand he said that public services will be severely affected, whilst on the other he refused to accept that job cuts and capital cuts are inevitable. Can the WAG who have made £600 million in savings over the last four years really expect to make £600 million savings A YEAR over the next few?

IWJ passionately defended Universality of services like free prescriptions and again said that One Wales projects would not be shelved, what we essentially heard was public services face a tough time but they will stay exactly the same, hmmm.

I hope he's right and public service job cuts are avoided but surely he must understand why people are a bit sceptical.

Dewi Un