Tuesday, 30 June 2009

A new book, free wine and a lot of politicians…

Dewi Dau and myself (Dewi Tri is still missing but was with us in spirit!) have just returned from the launch of David Melding’s new book on the future of the British constitution.

Tŷ Hywel was the venue, packed to the rafters with the who’s who of Welsh politics: the Presiding Officer himself was there, as were assorted AMs (like Alun Cairns - sporting a lovely tan it must be said: real or not, I’ll let you decide), journalists and interested parties.

The book itself champions a more federal system of Governance in the UK. 'That's no new argument,' I hear you cry, but remember this is a Conservative saying it. David Melding is unashamedly proud of being British and in his speech to the assorted crowd he told us how this new approach - Federal Parliamentarianism - could be the saviour of Britishness. We have transported the system across the Globe, to Canada and Australia and now, according to David Melding, it’s time to look closer to home.

What will David Cameron make of this approach from a prominent Welsh Tory I wonder? Will he be supportive of the opportunity to get Welsh issues off his agenda - no more LCOs - or will he rubbish it as a fad, an idea more akin to the Liberal Democrats?

David Cameron’s opinion may well become more important if, as is widely expected, his party wins the next General Election. But for now David Melding can sit back and bask in the glory of his completed work - five years after putting pen to paper for the first time. Much praise has already been heaped upon him by those fortunate enough to have finished reading his book - none more so than Dafydd Ellis-Thomas. He brimmed with energy and excitement as he opened the evening with his comments.

A good night was had by all whether you agree with Melding’s analysis or whether you think it’s a pile of the proverbial.

As for PoliticsCymru - we managed to hand out some business cards (yes we have them!) and were asked to gave a quick interview to ITV’s “Sharp End” programme so be sure to watch on Thursday night: hopefully we won't end up on the cutting room floor.

Dewi Un


Lobby briefings, 30/06/2009 (minus a Dewi)

With Dewi Tri AWOL there are only two videos to bring you from this week's lobby briefing.

First up, Dewi Dau brings you to speed with what was said at the Tories' press conference:

And Dewi Un brings you the latest from the Welsh Liberal Democrats:

So there you go, did Kirsty's explanations for Messrs German and Black's claims satisfy you?

Dewis Un a Dau

PS. If you spot a confused Dewi Tri on your travels, please return him to PC HQ - ideally before this week's podcast!


Monday, 29 June 2009

AMs' Expenses | Treuliau ACau

Our AMs' expenses are out today.

Yesterday Ieuan Wyn Jones and David Melding told the BBC's Politics Show they had nothing to worry about.

But which AMs are getting up this morning after spending a sleepless night in their second home?

Which AMs are turning on their extravagant flat screen TVs, bought at the taxpayer's expense, in fear of finding their name pop up on the local news?

Which AMs are on edge as they feed their dog this morning, scared that the tin of Pedigree Chum may have somehow found its way onto an expenses claim?

We'll be trawling through the info today. But in the meantime here's the link for you to go looking for your AM's expenses. Maybe you can help us out be drawing our attention to some cheeky claims!

Os hoffech edrych ar y wybodaeth yn y Gymraeg, cliciwch yma.

We look forward to hearing from you,

Dewi Dau



Just a few findings we've been tweeting today.

Thanks to @annahwt for this: Mike German claims £745 for return flight to Paris.No cheaper/greener alternative? http://tiny.cc/dbI5U
less than 20 seconds ago from web

Eleanor Burnham claims 45p for a newspaper: http://www.allowances.assem...
28 minutes ago from web

So here's what the BBC have found in the expenses: http://bit.ly/10pDZ5 .....
30 minutes ago from web

.....and as per usual, Golwg has: http://www.golwg360.com/UI/...
30 minutes ago from web

The Three Dewis are now fully-fledged journalists having got our results today!But no rest for the wicked: dodgy expenses claims to look at!
about 1 hour ago from web

Dewis off to a meeting now. Back this afternoon with more expenses news!
less than a minute ago

Rhodri Glyn: £217.33 for cleaning materials inc. two rolls of Carmarthenshire County Council bin bags: http://tiny.cc/trNEE 24/11/2008
8 minutes ago

Looking through expenses. Looks like @peterblackwales claimed £12 to get into the Eisteddfod last summer: http://tiny.cc/Bv0Mr
12 minutes ago


Friday, 26 June 2009

Sgwrs a chlonc efo Vaughan Roderick

Ddoe fe fuom ar grwydr i'r Bae i recordio podlediad wythnosol BBC Cymru efo golygydd materion Cymreig y Bib, Vaughan Roderick.

Dyw e ddim cystal a'n rhai ni wrth gwrs, ond mae'n werth picio draw i'r wefan i wrando ta beth!

Y Tri Dewi


Thursday, 25 June 2009

Podcast #27: Good night and good luck!

Busy day for the Dewis today!

First of all, here's our weekly vodcast - this week coming from the Nos Da bar and hostel in the shadow of the Millennium Stadium.

On the agenda today: the All Wales Convention - what will its finding be? AMs - why are so many of them calling it a day? And can the WAG really save the planet with £300 million?

All that as well as the usual banter, leg-pulling and quiz only a click away!

And this afternoon we were sat on the sofas in the BBC's Cardiff Bay studio talking to Welsh Affairs editor, Vaughan Roderick as guests on his weekly podcast.

That's out tomorrow and is well worth a listen - his podcasts are nearly as good as ours!

Hwyl am y tro,

Y Tri Dewi


Wednesday, 24 June 2009

A Taste of Wales in the US of A

The 43rd annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival gets underway in Washington today and this year, Wales takes centre stage.

The Smithsonian Institution is the world's largest museum complex and research organisation. It's composed of 19 museums, 9 research centres...and a zoo. Each year it arranges a festival to celebrate the cultural traditions of places inside and outside the United States. The event attracts around a million visitors each year.

First Minister Rhodri Morgan and a host of Welsh stars have gone over to the US to promote Welsh culture.

Betty Belanus is a senior curator at the Smithsonian Centre for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. I spoke to her about the festival and about people's awareness of Wales in America.

Find more about the event here and here.

Dewi Dau


Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Lobby Briefings, 23rd June

We were down in the Bay this morning for today's press briefings and there's plenty to talk about once again in this week's video digests!

Dewi Tri covers the Welsh Assembly Government's press conference in this video. The Environment Minister Jane Davidson was in the hot seat this week.

Dewi Un brings you the news from the Welsh Conservatives...

...and here, Dewi Dau passes on what was said by Kirsty Williams and Peter Black in the Welsh Liberal Democrats' briefing.

Thanks for watching,

Y Tri Dewi


Friday, 19 June 2009

Another one bites the dust

I think there must be something in the water. Politicians left right and centre are either resigning, retiring or ‘spending more time with the family’ be it in the European Parliament, Westminster or down the Bay.

The latest from the Senedd; Dr Brian Gibbons former minister for health and current local government and social justice minister has told his Aberavon constituency that he intends to step down at the next Assembly elections.

The Labour party must now know how the Liberal Democrats felt after hearing about Mick Bates; Brian Gibbons has been in the Assembly since 1999 and has been a minister for nine years - he will undoubtedly be missed by the party in Wales.

The AM for Aberavon says that he wants to return to his previous life as a GP and do some travelling before retiring completely.

As with all political retirements questions will be asked as to whether or not Dr Gibbons knows something we don’t and is therefore making his decision based on a possible Labour massacre at the next Assembly elections and over the coming years.

It is also the case with political retirements that intrigue over the successor is rife, how well does Eluned Morgan know the Aberavon area I wonder? I also wonder if Alun Davies is gutted that he announced his plans so soon?

The political scene in the bay will undergo a quiet transformation in 2011 regardless of the results – what with Rhodri Morgan, Mick Bates and Brian Gibbons departing. All senior AMs with good reputations down the bay, so who’s next I wonder?

Thoughts on the other runners and riders for early retirement / spending more time for the family / switching profession:

2/1 – Rhodri Glyn Thomas (Westminster bound)

3/1 – Gwenda Thomas

7/1 – Irene James

7/1 – Karen Sinclair

10 /1– William Graham

25/1 – Lord Ellis – Thomas

50/1 – Mike German

Who do you think?

Dewi Un

P.S I must confess i'm not a betting expert...


Court summons, big tellys...and wigs!

And so at last the expenses scandal throws up a bit of light entertainment.

Surely the award for most extravagant/curious/intriguing claim must go to...you guessed it, the Honourable member for Montgomeryshire, Mr Lembit Opik!

Once again the Daily Sport's columnist, and one time star of Ant and Dec's Saturday night takeaway, has well and truly taken the biscuit:

"MPs' expenses: Mother of All Wigs for Lembit Opik's fancy dress" reads one headline on The Daily Telegraph's site today.

"Lembit Opik claimed £30 for two fancy dress wigs from Hamleys on his office expenses," we're told.

The Liberal Democrat housing spokesman submitted a receipt for the 'Mother of All Wigs', (£19.99), and a 'Filmstar Wig' (£9.99).

This of course comes after it was revealed he claimed for a court summons and tried to claim for a 42" plasma TV.

Now we all know how important it is to make an effort at these fancy dress parties. And I'm sure Lembit was carrying out some useful parliamentary duty at the shindig: a bit of networking here, a spot of lobbying there. All of which would have been seriously undermined without a thoroughly convincing and utterly impressive disguise.

There's nothing worse than turning up to an event dressed in jeans and a shirt when all the other guests are Marilyn Monroe, Darth Vader or Mickey Mouse (apart maybe from turning up to a party as the only one in fancy dress - Bridget Jones style - that is!).

In total a third of Welsh MPs have now paid money back. Find out more here.

What we'd like to know is which filmstar you think Lembit Opik was trying to resemble?

Send us your witty suggestions by the usual means!

Dewi Dau


Thursday, 18 June 2009

Podcast #26: Three Wise Owls

It's Thursday so here's your weekly dose of fun and games (and a bit of politics) from Y Tri Dewi.

On the agenda this week: the collapse of the housing LCO, the Tories' plans to scrap free prescriptions to all, and - on the day we all get to see what those at The Telegraph have known for weeks - we also touch upon that thorny issue of MPs' expenses!

All this and more in our second vodcast - this week coming from the Gwdihŵ bar and café in Cardiff's city centre.

So how was it for you? Post your comments or Twitter us - we love hearing from you!

Y Tri Dewi


Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Plaid vs. The Secretary of State

Elfyn Llwyd has issued a harsh attack on the recently reinstated Peter Hain in which he accuses the Secretary of State of being out of touch with the Welsh Labour Party, Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Assembly.

Mr Llwyd says: “Only a matter of days after being re-installed as Secretary of State Peter Hain is continuing where he left off with his one-man campaign to stall the devolution process, and undermine the One Wales Government which he always opposed.”

It comes after Peter Hain said that the referendum on full law making powers is unlikely to be held before the 2011 deadline.

Dewi Tri


Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Digital Wales

The future of plurality in the Welsh media has recently been called into question by the Assembly Communities & Culture Committee.

There’s a great deal of concern that the BBC has obtained a near-monopoly on news coverage in Wales.

Today the British Government published its White Paper: Digital Britain.

As a part of it the Culture Secretary proposed spending some of the money left over from the digital switchover on funding regional news pilot schemes in an English region, Scotland and in Wales between now and the next licence fee settlement in 2013.

That could mean funding ITV Wales with what is effectively public money.

The Assembly Culture Committee had a similar idea but they wanted a £25m independent commission, funded by a mixture of a levy on non Public Service Broadcast providers, lottery funding and public money from the Welsh and UK governments.

The difference between the two? Well for one under the Assembly’s plan the Assembly would have more control over Welsh media (which isn’t a devolved area).

Either way this could well see an end to commercial TV as we know it in Wales…

There’s undoubtedly a value to having more than one TV news provider in a country but will either of these proposals solve the problem we find ourselves facing?

Dewi Tri


Housing LCO: A success or failure of the system?

Leanne Wood has hit out at the announcement that the Housing LCO will be dropped and called it a "failure of democracy".

This morning in the lobby briefing, Andrew Davies told the press that, in actual fact, the demise of Housing LCO Mark I was actually a demonstration of the success of the democratic system because it showed not everything just goes through on the nod.

Ms Wood says: "It is a complete failure of democracy that the democratically elected government in Wales is unable to carry out a policy that it was elected to carry out."

What do we think? One thing's for sure, this is going to make it very difficult for the Assembly to meet their housing targets before 2011...

Dewi Tri


Three lobby briefings - three Dewis (what more would you want?)

And so in yet another Politics Cymru first, today we bring you a digest of what was said in each of today's three lobby briefings.

First off Dewi Un has some ground-breaking news from the Welsh Assembly Government's briefing, held today by Andrew Davies:

Dewi Dau brings you the latest from Nick Bourne and the Conservative camp:

And Dewi Tri shares all from the Welsh Liberal Democrats' press conference held, as always, by Kirsty Williams:

So was this at all interesting or useful? Let us know and this could become a weekly feature!

Y Tri Dewi (far from dead, extinct and ceasing to be!)


Monday, 15 June 2009

Made in Portugal - the highest point in Wales

It was with much anticipation and long-awaited excitement that Rhodri Morgan banished the "highest slum in Wales" to memory and unveiled the brand new visitor centre on the top of Snowdon last week.

It was also with much interest and intrigue that John Bufton was elected as Wales' fourth MEP. He of course hails from the euro-hostile UK Independence Party.

And it was with much irony that these two events took place within such a small space of time.

You may remember the controversy surrounding the announcement that the new centre's roof would be formed of granite imported from Portugal - despite there being plenty of granite laying about on the peaks of Snowdonia.

This is because under EU rules, it is illegal for contractors to insist on using locally sourced material when the material's cost goes above a certain threshold.

Back in 2006 the Snowdonia National Park's chief executive, Aneurin Phillips, said:

"Under European law the Authority cannot insist that local people use local materials only. The Authority encourages people to use natural materials wherever possible and preferably from local sources.

"Up to the 1980s it is true that the Authority required only Welsh slate but it lost a legal case and the advice that we received from solicitors in this case is that we would be in breach of European treaty principles if we stipulated in the contract that the contractor must use local materials only," he added.

Ironically, granite was chosen by the architects in the first place because it would blend in with the Snowdonian surroundings!

And curiously Mr Bufton and his researchers seem to have missed out on their first opportunity to do some Europe-bashing - and it is surely doubtful the MEP will ever be offered a higher stage to perform on!

Dewi Dau


Bye, bye Bates

More bad news to follow the Euro election results for the Liberal Democrats. Senior AM Mick Bates has decided to step down to spend more time with his family and his sheep. The member for Montgomeryshire has announced his plans early to give the party plenty of time to find a suitable successor.

The chair of the sustainability committee will leave behind a proven track record of dealing with rural affairs issues, leading the way on sustainability policy and let's not forget free school milk.

The announcement is said to have nothing to do with the party's election results but instead has been planned for a long time. Whatever the motivation it leaves the party with a headache; trying to fill Mick Bates' considerable shoes will not be a straightforward task. The recent election results can be interpreted as showing that support in Montgomeryshire for the Liberal Democrats is waning, and so the name on the ballot box next time around will be key.

However it is also an opportunity for the party to breathe fresh life into the Assembly group - if they can’t get another AM via electoral results maybe a new face from an old seat will spark some life into the party in Wales.

Dewi Un


Friday, 12 June 2009

Looking after your rabbit: a WAG's guide!

How do you care for rabbits and how do you cope in hot weather?*

Send your tips on a postcard to...the Welsh Assembly Government!

According to the Tories, those are just two areas into which Assembly ministers have launched consultations since the start of the year. It's alleged there have been 92 seperate consultations during that time and the Tories suggest the government is "in danger of becoming paralysed by consultation-itis." (Witty eh?)

The shadow minister for the environment in the Assembly, Angela Burns said:

"While some consultations are an important part of government decision making, it seems ministers cannot open an envelope without ordering one.

"Asking for so many reports and consultations is putting additional stress on staff and undermining the work of government," she added.

The AM for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire also thinks there might be political motivations for the WAG's obsession with consultations:

"Ministers are disguising their reluctance to act on key issues through the smokescreen of ordering more inquiries."

Mrs Burns conceded that: "The government is right to consult on major issues such as the future of local hospitals or issues like the Severn Barrage. We have always argued that the public must have a say on crucial issues such as these."

But she suggested "constantly asking others what to do is a clear sign of a government in crisis. It is clear ministers have run out of ideas and can’t make decisions for themselves."

Mrs Burns also questioned the WAG's reasoning behind holding a consultation into the welfare of rabbits.

According to the WAG website, the purpose of the 'rabbit' Code of Practice "is to provide advice on how to meet the needs of your rabbit. It applies to all persons who have responsibility for rabbits kept as a companion animal."

But Mrs Burns wasn't impressed: "We all support the highest possible standards of animal welfare, but in the middle of a recession many people will question why ministers are spending six weeks looking at the best way to look after pet rabbits."

If you own a rabbit you may want to read more about how to look after it here!

And for those of you getting concerned about coping in the hot weather this summer, have a look here! You'll find how the WAG plans to "reduce the risks to health associated with extreme heat."

Dewi Dau

*Perhaps a future consultation could look at how rabbits cope in hot weather.


Thursday, 11 June 2009

Podcast #25: 3 Dewis, 2 cameras, 1 vodcast!

After months of thinking about it we've finally got around to doing a Politics Cymru video podcast (or vodcast?) and for those of you who didn't see us coming out of the closet on S4C during the Eisteddfod week, at long last you can now put a face to a Dewi!

Plenty to talk about as usual this week including the European elections and Gordon Brown's troubles.

All this as well as the usual fun and games in this PC VP!

And what do you think of Dewi Tri's hair-related concerns before the cameras started rolling?!

So what do you think?
Send us your suggestions for venues we could visit in the capital to record future video podcasts!

Y Tri Dewi


Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Plaid’s dissolution motion fails

340 MPs voted against the joint Plaid and SNP bid to try and force Gordon Brown into calling an ‘early’ election; with 268 in support. Watching the debate today it was plain to see that it had come a few days too late. Despite the presence of some big hitting backbenchers there was a distinct lack of any party leaders - leaving Peter Hain, William Hague and Lembit Opik as the foremost members from each of the major parties at the debate.

Had convention allowed for the debate to be held in the midst of the reshuffle and the not so coup d’etat then perhaps it’s significance would have been greater, but as it was - with Gordon Brown now on a surer footing and the rebels putting away their knifes, the appetite for cross bench voting had diminished.

When the debate focused on the issues (and not descending into pot-shots between Labour and the nationalists) it was interesting to hear the arguments from both sides of the commons. Peter Hain insisting that the lesson from the European election debacle was to focus on governing, the opposition claiming that not calling an election was pure selfishness.

It now looks like Gordon is safe until at least October, I also get the feeling that he’s going to cling on as long as humanly possible in the hope that an economic recovery saves his job. The 29 Welsh MPs will be praying along with him, hoping that an upturn stops the electoral catastrophe that's staring them in the face after Sunday's results.

Dewi Un


Tomorrow Wales present their case

And so as Elfyn Llwyd and Adam Price call for constitutional reform and a general election in Westminster, today Tomorrow Wales - the 'unofficial' 'yes' campaign - put their case forward for reform outside the Assembly.

Around a hundred people gathered on the steps of the Senedd to back the "Declaration for Welsh Democracy", presented by the Most Rev. Dr Barry Morgan and apparently signed by "prominent Welsh writers, actors, sportsmen, poets, churchmen and politicians"

They include British Lions Team Manager, Gerald Davies and the swimmer David Davies; two of Wales’s National Poets, Gillian Clarke and Gwyneth Lewis, and actor Mathew Rhys.

The Declaration highlights four principles that the government system in Wales should fulfil:

* To be efficient in its use of time and resources
* To be comprehensible and transparent
* To promote wide participation by he public and civil society
* Respect for the autonomy of the National Assembly as the elected body that represents the people of Wales.

"It is very important that people are aware of what is at stake in the debate on Wales’ constitutional future and I am confident that the Declaration will be an aid in raising awareness of this," said Dr. Barry Morgan, the Archbishop of Wales.

"I would urge everyone who believes that Wales needs a system of governance that would allow the Assembly to get to grips with changing the lives of the people of Wales for the better, and which will be stable, accountable and democratic, to support this Declaration," he added.

Dewi Dau


Motion for Dissolution of Parliament

“That this House requests the Prime Minister to seek a dissolution of the present Parliament”

That's the motion Plaid and the SNP have put before Westminster today. It's due to be debated in Parliament shortly.

Here's what Plaid's leader in Westminster, Elfyn Llwyd has been saying:

"Plaid Cymru and the SNP are giving Parliament the chance to give the people back their say – and this can only be the beginning of a shake-up in the political system. We need reform of MPs' expenses, the first-past-the-post system, a fully elected House of Lords, a fixed term Parliament, and in Wales, a referendum on full law-making powers."

But will the big man be there? Mr Llwyd's not too sure:

"With such an important debate, I would presume that the Prime Minister would be in attendance, especially given the current amount of interest in Parliament and from the media.

"However, unfortunately the Prime Minister has a record of not being around when the going gets tough - and tomorrow may be no different."

Plaid promise us, "this debate will be a reflection of the extent of concern currently surrounding the state of Parliament as expressed by the public. " Not sure we should be expecting egg-throwing but it should be quite exciting!

We'll keep you up to date here on Politics Cymru and on Twitter.

*Update :15:25

In response to Gordon Brown's statement this morning, Mr Llwyd said:

"The proposed reforms are overdue but at least this is a start and I’m pleased that the impetus is now there to get things moving. We will repeat calls this afternoon for the dissolution of Parliament and a General Election. Reforms need to be implemented but through an inclusive and wider discussion process. "

The Prime Minister announced this morning that a referendum to change the voting system could take place - but only after the next General Election. He also told MPs a debate on legislation regarding MPs' code of conduct in light of recent revelations would also happen.

"Plaid have emphasised the need for a referendum to give the public a say on important democratic issues including: the present voting system, the power of the Whips, the Royal prerogative and calling for a fixed term parliament," said Mr Llwyd.

"Real electoral and expenses reform at Westminster is long overdue, but by addressing these measures we can begin to rebuild the public’s trust," he added.

Predictably the Plaid MP for Dwyfor and Meirionydd has also pre-empted a defeat in the Commons tonight when the Plaid/SNP motion is due to be voted upon:

"Even if we lose the vote tonight, we will have sparked a debate about the wider constitutional issues as Mr Brown has already demonstrated," said Mr Llwyd.

Dewi Dau


Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Dim croeso i ddysgwraig o'r Wladfa! | Welsh learner sent packing!

Mae dysgwraig o Batagonia wedi cael ei gwrthod rhag ddod i Gymru i ddysgu'r Gymraeg gan y Swyddfa Gartref.

Bwriad Evelyn Calcabrini oedd aros efo teulu yng Ngogledd Cymru i ddysgu Cymraeg ond ar ôl iddi wynebu swyddogion mewnfudo ym Maes Awyr Heathrow fe gafodd hi ei throi i ffwrdd.

Mae Politics Cymru wedi cysylltu â Llywodraeth y Cynulliad am ymateb ond fe ddywedon nhw wrthon ni nad mater iddyn nhw ydy mewnfudo a materion yn ymwneud a ffiniau'r wlad.

Mwy i ddilyn - cadwch lygad!

Dewi Dau

A Welsh learner from Patagonia who was hoping to visit Wales to improve her understanding of the language has been turned away by immigration officials.

Evelyn Calcabrini was turned away at Heathrow airport after being questioned by officials.

Politics Cymru has spoken to the Welsh Assembly Government. They told us they could not comment because immigration is not a devolved field.

More to follow - keep an eye!

Dewi Dau


Nick Bourne and Mike German talk to Politics Cymru

Nick Bourne was like the cat who got the cream in the Tories' weekly press briefing today. We caught up with the leader of the opposition in the Assembly, here's what he had to tell us:

We also got an opportunity to quiz the Welsh Liberal Democrats' spokesman on Europe, Mike German, in his office in the Assembly. We asked him if he thought Lembit Opik was still the right man for the job in Montgomeryshire and what Labour's result means for Welsh politics.

Dewi Un and Dewi Dau


Press Briefings 9/6/2009

Myself and Dewi Dau popped down to the Senedd this morning to see first hand the reactions to Sunday's earthquake. This week will no doubt be full of retrospective analysis coupled with a lot of pontificating about the future of Welsh politics.

Firstly we had Rhodri Morgan’s lobby briefing. The room was packed (compared to usual), the two Dewis slotted into our usual back row seats (that’s where all the cool kids sit) eager to hear what Mr Morgan had to say.

Labour was “out-organised and outfought”- Rhodri’s opening salvo. Mr Morgan was clear in his belief that Labour voters had simply stayed at home, however he also believes that now the Conservatives have shown an ability to win in Wales the Labour core will once again take up arms against their blue enemy.

Mr Morgan conceded that centre left parties had done badly across Europe leading to a result that placed Labour “in the pits”. So the task of recovering from this low ebb? Similar to climbing mount Snowdon according to the First Minister. Labour activists will hope that Mr Morgan is right when he says that the Labour core is not as loyal as their Conservative equivalents when it comes to by-elections (Europe being essentially a by-election), so the great hope for Welsh Labour is that they show up at the next ballot and vote Labour.

When asked about his future Rhodri Morgan said once again what he’s always said – he plans to stand down on his 70th birthday unless something (like a general election) gets in the way. Asked about whether Eluned Morgan would be an asset to the Assembly, Mr Morgan refused to answer.

Next up Nick Bourne in jubilant mood, despite a lot of scrutiny from the assembled press his spirit would not be dampened. According to the Welsh Conservative leader they are the only party that can beat Labour in Wales. Challenged on his position as leader Nick Bourne said that the Tories here were a “secure and united group”.

1859 was the last time the Conservatives won in Wales and according to Mr Bourne not even UKIPs rise will stop them from repeating this result in the general and Assembly elections to come.

And finally it was time for Kirsty Williams and the Liberal Democrats. Despite being disappointed to not get the 4th seat they were pleased at the progress made in some target areas. Kirsty pointed at Swansea West and Newport East where the Lib Dems were within hundreds of votes from beating Labour into first place. And just like Basil Fawlty not mentioning the war – don’t mention Ceredigion(!) - a result that has been painted as a disappointment by the press was actually pleasing for Kirsty Williams.

That’s about it form today’s press conferences – more to come over the coming weeks!

Dewi Un


Monday, 8 June 2009

Parti Plaid - sgwrs efo IWJ a Jill Evans

Un sedd yn unig gawson nhw ond heddiw roedd byddin y Blaid allan i ddathlu ei llwyddiant yn yr etholiadau Ewropeaidd.

Roedd y baneri allan a Ieuan Wyn Jones yn wen o glust i glust wrth gyflwyno tusw lliwgar iawn o flodau i ASE Plaid Cymru, Jill Evans.

Mi fues i’n siarad efo’r ddau ohonyn nhw wedi i’r dathliad ddod i ben.

Dyma'r sgwrs efo arweinydd Plaid Cymru, Ieuan Wyn Jones. Fe ddechreuais i drwy ofyn iddo am ei ymateb i ganlyniadau'r etholiadau:

A dyma ddywedodd Jill Evans wrtha'i pan ofynais i iddi hithau am ei hymateb:

Dewi Dau


Plaid Cymru's Election Party

The flags were out and so were all the usual suspects. Plaid Cymru had rounded up all the troops for their election party today where Jill Evans MEP was presented with a most impressive bouquet of flowers following her vctory in yesterday's election.

But did the party really have cause for celebration? Should they not have done better given the problems facing the major parties in Westminster at the moment? And what does UKiP's success mean for Wales?

Those are a few of the questions I put to Plaid Cymru leader, Ieuan Wyn Jones:

I also spoke to the party's MEP, Jill Evans:

Dewi Dau


Wales Euro Results: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly*

So there we have it - the first time since 1918 that Labour has failed to win the popular vote here in Wales. The Welsh result from last night’s Euro elections have been compared by lots of different people to an earthquake – but an earthquake that will help shake Gordon Brown from Number 10? We wait with baited breath to see. The 29 Welsh Labour MPs will now surely be having nightmares at the prospect of joining the after dinner speeches circuit sooner than desired.

But what is the real story in Wales? There are so many to choose from – the Tories winning in Labour heartland, so staggering an outcome that this morning David Cameron chose Cardiff to hail his party's overall results. Is it UKIP winning the fourth seat and catapulting themselves onto the Welsh political scene? Could it be Plaid Cymru failing to beat Labour despite all their campaign hyperbole? Or is it the Welsh Liberal Democrats' utter failure to make the slightest mark on the outcome of the result, even losing the votes in Montgomeryshire, and Brecon and Radnorshire?

It probably depends on your own sensibilities as to which of the above you think is the most surprising but whichever of them tickles your fancy there's a bucket-load of lessons to be learnt that can inform us about the future prospects of Wales electorally.

Turnout was low – around 30.4% (not quite as bad as the Dewis predicted) – and so will have had a massive impact on the outcome: Labour’s percentage of the vote fell by 12%. Put these two facts together and it tells you that Labour voters stayed in and watched Coronation Street on Thursday rather than going to the polling booths. It also tells you that we have yet to learn who these voters will defect to, if anyone, when the general election rolls around. The other three main parties will be a little upset that they didn’t pick them up this time...

Despite Plaid’s disappointment last night (a picture sometimes paints a thousand words - just look at their supporters' faces when the results were read out), they topped the polls in places like Ynys Mon and Llanelli – 2 key target seats for them in the next general election. In fact if these results were repeated then they could return up to seven MPs next time out. However does their inability to beat Labour show a lack of killer instinct and an unwillingness for people to turn from Labour to Plaid?

The Liberal Democrats really thought they could do it this time – but once again in a European election they find themselves out of the top four (pardon the football analogy). It will be interesting to hear Kirsty Williams’s opinion on these results given that they lost in her Assembly constituency and in Montgomeryshire (Lembit Opik’s patch) and made only minimal gains in Ceredigion. Given Nick Clegg’s reputation is at an all time high does last night show that the Lib Dems just won’t be able to crack the Welsh nut?

Will Wales go Conservative at a general election? Unthinkable until recently but on last night results they stand a chance of returning 12 Welsh conservative MPs. It may be that last night has shown that Wales has moved on from the politics of class and is ready to give the Conservatives a go. Nick Bourne, who has had his fair share of doubters recently, will no doubt be walking a little taller today.

Of course it could be that we are reading too much into these results – European elections never impact on generals (just ask Neil Kinnock). The expenses saga changed voting patterns – that will return to form soon – and turnout was so low that we just can’t tell what the people of Wales really think.

Whether these results teach us anything or not, they at least make for very interesting reading and promise an interesting few days for the Labour party.

Dewi Un

*you decide which party's which.


Labour activist: It's time for Rhodri to go!

And so the fallout of yesterday's results begins and much of the attention has been firmly focused on Labour's failings here in Wales.

Not since the days of Lloyd-George has Labour not won the popular vote in Wales.

Earlier today I spoke to Marcus Warner - Labour activist and political blogger. He says it's time for a change of leadership - in the Bay and in Westminster.

I began by asking him for his reaction to the results.

Visit Marcus' blog by clicking here

Dewi Dau


UKIP Get Welsh Seat

Well we didn’t see that one coming.

The Conservatives beat Labour in Wales for the first time as well.

The Conservatives are obviously playing it up. It’s a big step for them. But will this result be translated into General Election or even National Assembly electoral success?

That surely remains to be seen.

We’ll be back over the next few days with analysis and the fallout, for now, Politics Cymru leaves you with the result from the Euro Elections 2009:

BNP 37,114
Christian 1,337
Conservative 145,193
Jury 3,793
Labour 138,852
Lib Dem 73,082
No 2 EU 8,600
Plaid 126,732
Socialist 12,402
Green 38,160
UKIP 87,585

Dewi Tri


Sunday, 7 June 2009

Politics Cymru covering Europe!

Politics_Cymru Nick Robinson: "What we are hearing from Wales is extraordinary. We are talking about a night that is reshaping the political map in Britain."