Thursday, 24 December 2009

Nadolig Llawen

Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda i chi gyd!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!

From / Oddi Wrth

Y Dewis


Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Bagpuss, acronyms and chocolate Cludo...

Well our Assembly Members have been away from Cardiff Bay for a week or so now and thanks to glorious modern technology we can follow what they're up to!

Here's some highlights from Assembly Member's Twitter feeds (that you can follow @Politics_Cymru/AMsWhoTweet):

@bethanjenkins I won chocolate cludo! How chuffed am I?!!!!

@peterblackwales has enjoyed BBC4 documentary on Oliver Postgate. Bagpuss was meant to be marmalade coloured but dye went wrong. Who knew?

@JonMorganAM was strangely looking forward to going to the panto tonight!

@LeanneWood last (half day) at the office. Yipee!

@DarrenMillarAM Just realised that mince pies is an anagram of 'mice penis'. Very alarming given that I have consumed so many over the past few weeks!

@huwlewis thinks Merthyr looks like a Christmas card picture this morning

@peterblackwales has decided that it is time to put the Christmas decorations up

@DarrenMillarAM Snow, snow, snow, snow! Snow, snow, snow, snow! Lovely snow!

Merry Christmas everyone
Dewi Tri


Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Being left out is the best thing that could have happened to the nationalists

I remember a few months ago we were saying how one of the most interesting things about the problems MPs were facing was how parties like Plaid hadn’t been able to capitalise on the misfortunes of their mainstream colleagues.

It’s because they were now lumped in with their mainstream colleagues. Plaid here in Wales and their sister party, the SNP in Scotland, are now parties of Government and can no longer count on picking up votes by being anti-(English) establishment.

But now our national broadcasters could seemingly have thrown them a bone!

They’ve been left out of those mainstream English debates that will have to debate all those issues that are devolved in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The nationalist parties could now go back to their grassroots, back to their communities, and claim that they are once again the party of the people not of the establishment.

Why are Alex Salmond and Elfyn Llwyd kicking up such a fuss?

Couldn’t they say they’re not the same as everyone else now...

Dewi Tri


Kirsty WIlliams: One Year On

A week may be a long time in politics but doesn't a year just fly by!!

Twelve months ago Kirsty Williams was elected the leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, the first woman to lead a party at the Assembly.

We went out to meet her in Ystradgynlais in her constituency to see how the year had gone and to look ahead to the General Election next year...

Y Dewis


Monday, 21 December 2009

Uh, what about us?

Well Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg are all (apparently) very excited about facing each other in a primetime TV debate but not everyone’s happy with the news.

No sooner had the news been announced than Elfyn Llwyd’s people had issued a press release stating their disapproval at being left out of the whole thing.

Mr LLwyd says:

"Plaid Cymru and the SNP have been key parties in Westminster for decades. By choosing to leave out the respective leaders of these parties from this highly publicised televised debate, it gives the three London parties an unfair advantage in this election."

All other minority parties are also being left out of the debate.

One might argue that if the purpose of these debates is to engage with the electorate then (quite literally) filling a stage with people in suits might not be the best remedy.

Another point that doesn’t seem to have been raised yet is the question of what exactly is going to be debated?? Baring in mind that certain policy areas (little things like health and education for instance) are devolved matters and this election will have no direct result on how money is spent in the NHS and in schools in Wales (and Scotland).

The complex British constitution isn’t easily explained or’ll be interesting to see how ITV, Sky and the BBC try to break down the barriers between politics and the public...

Dewi Tri


New Cabinet and a trip to Copenhagen

Another video Podcast from the Dewis!

It's all about Carwyn Jones' new cabinet, the Copenhagen summit and the news that Kim Howells is set to stand down in Pontypridd.

(We recorded this last week and due to technical issues are only getting it up now)


Y Dewis


Wednesday, 16 December 2009


Anything strike you as odd about the following statement from Martyn Jones MP for Clwyd South?

"I'm concerned about the number of people with long-term conditions in my constituency who may be choosing to go without vital medicines... Gordon Brown was right to promise free prescriptions for people with long-term conditions, but he must now follow through and implement this promise as soon as possible."

I think that Mr Jones may have misunderstood just a little whose responsibility it is to act on such issues, given that the Labour lead Welsh Assembly Government have already legislated on the matter!

Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t ‘free prescriptions’ one of Welsh Labour and the Welsh Assembly Governments marquee polices? Hasn’t Welsh Labour defended the policy over and over again, and lauded its success? Isn’t this a prime example of a WAG policy that appeals to the Labour grass roots and legitimises their claim to be the party of the people?

If so it seems a bit odd to me that Martyn Jones a Labour MP would have forgotten about it? Maybe he just simply misunderstood the current devolution settlement? He wouldn’t be the first and he probably won’t be the last.

Dewi Un


I need your clothes, your boots and your motorcycle... and some environment policies

With the World’s eyes trained on Copenhagen the going has been tough for the leaders struggling to broker a worthwhile deal. However some have found the experience a bit more rewarding having had their efforts praised by none other than the Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger (aka Conan the Barbarian, The Terminator, Mr Freeze).

One such individual is our own environment minister Jane Davidson, whose been busy chairing meetings and having talks about the positive impact that regional and sub national governments can have in lowering carbon emissions.

So what has the Welsh Assembly Government actually pledged to do? Well it has made a commitment to reduce carbon emissions annually by 3% from 2011 onwards (in devolved areas of course). It has put aside £300 million to try and achieve this goal, whilst also putting nearly £250,000 in a pot to help areas of Uganda deal with climate change. So is this enough?

Jane Davidson clearly thinks so saying "It is clear from the commitments that regional governments across the world have already made that we are setting the pace on this agenda and hopefully our example will lead to a deal by the end of the week."

And so it would seem does Arnie, telling WAG officials to “Keep up the good work in your efforts to fight climate change”.

But are the WAG really ‘‘setting the pace?’’ Pressure groups are sceptical many of whom (like Oxfam Cymru) are calling for Carwyn Jones and his new cabinet to treble their commitment and pledge to cut emissions by 9%. Setting the pace? Maybe not then.

If regional governments like the WAG, whose efforts are being praised, aren’t even cutting the mustard, then what hope is there for a worthwhile global deal?

And doesn’t the mathematics of it all mean that in reality their efforts are a bit pointless if the Worlds big polluters (USA, China, India e.t.c) don’t vote for drastic change?

We wait with baited breath for the outcome of the Copenhagen talks on Friday, I wonder if the rest of the World will follow Wales’ (strong or weak - you decide) lead?

Hasta la vista, baby (sorry could not help myself!).

Dewi Un


Thursday, 10 December 2009

So much to do...

Let us know what you think his priorities should be.

Dewi Un


Carwyn Jones' Cabinet

So we now know who's in and who's out. It's a fairly well shuffled pack on the Labour side.

Here's the team that will lead Wales:

First Minister - Carwyn Jones
Health - Edwina Hart
Business and Budget - Jane Hutt
Children, Education and Lifelong Learning - Leighton Andrews
Environment, Sustainability and Housing - Jane Davidson
Social Justice - Carl Sargeant
Skills (Deputy Minister) - Lesley Griffiths
Children (Deputy Minister) - Huw Lewis
Social Services (Deputy Minister)- Gwenda Thomas
Counsel General - John Griffiths
Chief Whip - Janice Gregory

The Plaid Ministers remain unchanged.

So what do we think? Exciting? Disappointing?

Dewi Tri


Wednesday, 9 December 2009

A Busy Week So Far

The Dewis return to video!

(Can you tell we've got a new toy today?)

It's been a busy week so far and so we reflect on Rhodri Morgan's last day and that surprising news that Mr Asghar crossed the floor.

Y Dewis


A Dewi Meets Dai Lloyd

Following our interview with Mohammad Asghar.

Dewi Un sat down with Dai Lloyd to find out Plaid Cymru's response to his colleague's defection to the Welsh Conservatives.

Y Dewis


Mohammad Asghar and a Dewi

Well Mr Mohammad Asghar AM caused a bit of a stir yesterday!

We had the chance to sit down with him at the Assembly to ask him about his defection from Plaid to the Conservatives...

Y Dewis


Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Today of all days

It’s been a busy day down the Senedd today; after the morning winds had calmed down we took some time out, had a cup of tea, and reflected on the day’s events.

Today was supposed to be all about Rhodri’s last question time and his last moments as First Minister and in all honesty it was. That’s what the record books will remember and by the close of play today that’s what was on the minds of those still milling around.

However the Welsh Conservatives did upset the applecart a little earlier with their shock announcement that caught all of us, including Plaid Cymru, off guard.

So why today? Considering the party had managed to keep the whole thing such a secret for some time the decision to announce this morning was obviously calculated. I assumed initially, and still believe, that this was a plan to steal some headlines and air time away from Rhodri and the Labour party. Think about it, the Conservatives must be fed up of all the coverage the Labour party have had over the past few months what with the election campaign and all. This was a great opportunity to share some of the limelight.

However whilst a defection is good news for the Conservatives, given the unresolved issues surrounding the defection (staffing issues e.t.c) and Oscar’s ability (or lack of) to communicate to camera, were the Conservatives were actually trying to bury the news a touch? After all instead of a full 3 minute piece on the news you were now more likely to simply get a 30 second clip...

It doesn’t really matter what their motives were I suppose the facts remain the same – but I thought it an interesting consideration and one you may like to ponder over a cup of tea yourselves.

Dewi Un


"The people of the South Wales region did not want a second Tory AM"

Here's Plaid's response (in full) to Mohammad Asghar's defection:

The Leader of Plaid Cymru Ieuan Wyn Jones AM has responded with surprise and disappointment to the news that Mohammad Asghar, the Assembly Member for South Wales East has left Plaid Cymru to join the Conservative group in the Assembly.

Mr Asghar was elected to represent the South Wales East region on behalf of Plaid Cymru in 2007. The Plaid Leader Ieuan Wyn Jones said:

We very much regret Mohammad Asghar’s decision and it comes as a shock to members both of the Plaid Cymru group and the wider party. We were particularly surprised to hear of this news from the media. We were very proud of the fact that in campaigning hard for Mohammad Asghar’s election in 2007 that Plaid Cymru ensured the first ever Assembly Member from the black minority ethnic community. It is has come as a shock that he has now decided that he shares the same values as those held by the Conservative and Unionist party.”

The Chair of the Plaid Cymru group Dai Lloyd said:

We now call on Mohammad Asghar to take the honourable decision to resign his seat as a Plaid Cymru AM. The people of the South Wales region did not want a second Tory AM to represent the area – they elected a Plaid Cymru AM. Mr Asghar does not have the political mandate to sit in the Assembly as a Conservative member for the South East.”

Dewi Tri


Mohammad Asghar Crosses the Floor!

The lobby were in for a huge surprise at this morning's Tory briefing.

The entire Tory group (led by Nick Bourne and Cheryl Gillan) packed out the media room too announce that Plaid Cymru AM Mohammad Asghar would be joining their group for the remainder of the Assembly.

He says his feelings jar more and more with his Plaid party who selected him as a list member for the 2007 Assembly Election in South East Wales...

He hasn't told Ieuan Wyn Jones yet.

Expect a day of high drama in Cardiff Bay...

Dewi Tri

ADD: Believe it or not even though Mohammad Asghar is a list member for Plaid Cymru in South East Wales he is allowed to switch parties.

Once a member is elected, he or she is elected but if he was to stand down Plaid would be allowed to nominate the successor to that seat.

On an interesting note, apparently Nick Ramsey was spotted moving out of his office late last night possibly to make way for their party’s latest addition...


Monday, 7 December 2009

Remember the one about the vegetarian agriculture minister?

On Saturday Labour elected Christine Gwyther to be their candidate for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr in the general election. The former Assembly Member for Carmarthen West and South Pembroke has been out of frontline politics since 2007 and is now ready for her comeback.

An AM for 8 years she was controversially appointed minister for agriculture by Alun Michael despite the fact she was a vegetarian. With Wales being in the middle of a beef crisis at the time opposition parties and farming unions weren’t best pleased to say the least. When Rhodri took over the reins she was replaced by the now First Minister in waiting Carwyn Jones, ironically on the eve of the Royal Welsh show.

The selection of Gwyther shows that the Labour Party are beefing up their efforts in Carmarthen East and Dinefwr. Despite her sketchy record as minister for agriculture Christine Gwyther has been an elected politician for some time and is an experienced campaigner. The Labour party in the area must be hoping that they can take advantage of Adam Price’s decision to step down and the selection of an old head must be an attempt to counter Plaid’s candidate Jonathan Edwards.

It will be interesting what impact Chrisitne Gwyther will make in the seat, with a big majority to overturn is she simply a lame duck?

Dewi Un

UPDTAE 16:45

Having just spoken to a local Labour party insider it may well be that it was the lack of competition that swung the vote for Christine Gwyther and not some grand plan emphasising experience!

This is a voice mail message left by one of her competitors to a 19 year old brass band member who pulled out of a concert (granted it was in Lybia). It's quite infamous by now so you may remember it.


The week ahead...

It’s a big week for Welsh politics.

One First Minister leaves and a new one gets started (although not at the same time so we will be First Ministerless for a chunk of the week too).

With so much procedure and protocol I just thought I’d run through what’s going to happen (as far as we know):


  • Rhodri Morgan holds his last ever First Minister’s Question time in the chamber at 1.30pm (I wonder how sad he will be to see an end to them?)
  • There’ll be a debate on the budget late tomorrow afternoon (which might be finished by 5.30pm-ish – but Plenary session timings are not an exact science...)
  • Rhodri Morgan will send off an email to Buckingham Palace (who have been warned to expect it). He will cease to be First Minister when the Queen accepts his resignation


    Providing Her Majesty checks her emails on Tuesday night...

  • The Presiding Officer will call a vote in Plenary after Ministerial questions (so around 2.30pm...probably closer to 3pm). The only thing we don’t know yet is whether or not the Tories and Lib Dems will try to vote down Carwyn Jones, abstain from the vote or (unlikely but you never know) vote for him...
  • Dafydd El gives the Queen a ring afterwards to let her know the outcome
  • The Queen invites Carwyn Jones to be Welsh First Minister. He becomes First Minister if/when he accepts but can’t exercise the duties of the office until he’s sworn in which won’t happen until...


  • Carwyn Jones sworn in as new First Minister by Wales’ most senior Judge who’s called Nigel Davies (as well as any new cabinet members who Carwyn can’t actually nominate until he’s taken the oath himself)

    And then a whole new chapter begins...ish...

    Dewi Tri

  • Thursday, 3 December 2009

    Andrew Davies - Jumped or Pushed?

    Finance and Public Services Delivery Minister Andrew Davies has announced today that he is to stand down as an AM at the next Assembly Election. The man behind Edwina Harts campaign said that “it is time for me to have a greater balance and change of pace in my life and to seek out new challenges.”

    The question we’re asking is did he jump before he was pushed? We know that Andrew Davies isn’t Carwyn Jones’ biggest fan, recently he described his role in the Cabinet as “semi-detached”. We also know that Carwyn will be looking to promote some of his supporters into the cabinet (Leighton Andrews anyone?) and so it may be that the prospect of being demoted to a backbench AM was something he didn’t fancy.

    The news will also come as a bit of a kick in the teeth to Carwyn Jones who had been quite successful in pushing his theme of post election party unity. I wonder if this announcement will take some of the gloss off Tuesday’s events? In saying that, this does make his reshuffle a little easier, he can now claim that because Andrew Davies is stepping down in 2011 he had to replace him in the cabinet, and it therefore had nothing to do with their frosty relationship (but such a strategy could leave him in hot water because of Jane Davidson).

    Today’s news offers a whole host of implications for the upcoming reshuffle and is likely to spawn several conspiracy theories, it could just be that Andrew Davies fancied a change!
    His decision to step down has been on the cards for a while according to some, but others have been caught by surprise. As late as last night some Plaid Cymru sources had been telling the Western Mail that Carwyn Jones should keep Andrew Davies in the Cabinet. I doubt they’ll be saying that today. You can read more about that here.

    Andrew Davies will leave behind a Swansea West constituency that is high on the Liberal Democrats hit list, which whilst not making everyone quake in fear should give the Labour party some cause for concern. The Liberals have steadily increased their council representation in Swansea and have a strong operation in the area.

    The list of AMs stepping down at the next election is growing almost monthly, which means that whatever the outcome politically there will bve a host of new faces come 2011.

    Dewi Un

    P.S a quick plug: If you’re not already following us on Twitter you should be! Here’s the link take a look to see who broke the news first...


    Wednesday, 2 December 2009

    Le Cabinet

    So now for a bit of rampant speculation. Here’s my guess as to the makeup of Carwyn’s Cabinet.

    Here’s what it looks like Now:

    First Minister: Rhodri Morgan
    Deputy and Economy and Transport: Ieuan Wyn Jones
    Environment, Sustainability and Housing: Jane Davidson
    Finance and Public Service Delivery: Andrew Davies
    Social Justice and Local Government: Dr Brian Gibbons
    Health and Social Services: Edwina Hart
    Children Education Lifelong Learning and Skills: Jane Hutt
    Heritage: Alun Ffred Jones
    Counsel General: Carwyn Jones
    Rural Affairs: Elin Jones

    I have no basis for the following breakdown just some gossip and backrooms whispers. Think of it as a bit of fun ( I need to get out more!!)

    First Minister: Carwyn Jones (New)
    Deputy and Economy and Transport: Ieuan Wyn Jones
    Environment, Sustainability and Housing: Jane Davidson
    Finance and Public Service Delivery: Leighton Andrews (New)
    Social Justice and Local Government: John Griffiths (New)
    Health and Social Services: Edwina Hart
    Children Education Lifelong Learning and Skills: Huw Lewis (New)
    Heritage: Alun Ffred Jones
    Counsel General: Removed (or still done by Carwyn / unelected official)
    Rural Affairs: Elin Jones

    John Griffiths and Huw Lewis could easily be the other way around, to be fair most of the list could be different!

    There’s my largely uneducated punt – agree???

    Dewi Un


    Carwyn Who?

    The two remaining Dewis have just spent 5 minutes having a flick through the UK’s national press to find no mentions of Carwyn Jones’ election.

    Not one.

    Will making a splash on the front page of the Western Mail really be enough to let the people of Wales know who he is? (Let alone letting them know what he wants to do?)

    Dewi Tri

    PS interesting thoughts from Michael White on Good Morning Wales this morning (2 hours 55 minutes in on iPlayer)
    PPS if we missed the story do let us know!


    In limbo?

    It’s down to work for Mr Jones, First Minister-elect, then!

    Last night he wouldn’t be drawn on who would be in his cabinet and whatever rumours we’ve heard so far would appear to be just that.

    What is for sure is for the next few weeks none of the other Assembly Members will really know what to do with themselves. They’re there to hold the Assembly Government to account, but the Assembly Government is about to be reshuffled (how significantly it’s hard to tell) and until all the pieces fall into place not everyone’s going to know where they stand.

    There’s the budget to keep them somewhat busy. And Carwyn Jones’ cabinet choices.

    But as was apparent from the lobby briefings yesterday, those two stories (the latter in particular) are pretty much going to dominate Cardiff Bay up until Christmas.

    We’ll not see business-as-usual until the new year.

    Dewi Tri


    Tuesday, 1 December 2009

    It's Carwyn after all...

    Months of speculation, weeks of campaigning and days of guessing and here we are, finally having confirmation that Carwyn Jones has been elected as the next leader of the Welsh Labour party.

    Whilst the result wasn’t surprising the scale of his victory certainly was. The man who is now first minister elect received 51% of the first round vote, winning outright and removing the need to worry about second preference votes.

    So what’s next? Well there are 2 key questions I suppose:

    1) What shape will the cabinet now take? Who’s in, who’s out?
    2) What’s his stance on an autumn referendum?

    In his interviews post result Carwyn batted all these contentious issues aside and instead focused on the unifying effect of the election. All three candidates expressed their belief that this is now a Labour party united and ready to take the fight to the Tories et al come May/June.

    The speculation is now rife as to the future of many things – but for tonight let’s just leave it at the facts.

    Carwyn Jones - 51.98 %
    Edwina Hart - 29.19 %
    Huw Lewis - 18.84 %

    Dewi Un