Tag Archives: Labour

  • Serving whose interests?

    Our First Minister seems to have had a nice little jaunt to Norway to see how they cope with being outside the EU but inside the Single Market.  A small oil-rich country on the fringes of the EU sounds almost similar to Wales – apart from the ‘oil-rich’ bit, which is pretty central to Norway’s economic success and is economically more important than any apparent similarities.  Oh, and the bulk of their exports to the EU consist of oil and gas delivered through pipelines rather than goods which need to be physically checked to ascertain their true origin. 

  • Fair, Unfair and Workfare

    Blame the unemployed for unemployment. This is the basic principle behind New Labour’s proposals to reform welfare benefits. Failure to find employment is no longer the result of labour market conditions or health barriers to work, but rather a motivational failure on the part of the unemployed. If they have their way, New Labour will preside over the dismantling of the welfare state, which has existed in a recognisable form since the reforms which came out of the Beveridge report.

  • Flipping Piggy?

    If you had any doubts that the National Assembly is a far more cost-effective solution to Wales’s democratic deficit, just look at the list of AMs claiming for second homes.

    Not for them the flipping, ducking, moat-diving of their Westminster counterparts, and all for the fairly simple reason that Wales is a relatively small country.

  • Lunar troughing

    The insinuation of the Daily Telegraph that I have bought and retained goods using my Parliamentary allowance to furnish my home in Wales is unfounded. Before making purchases I have always contacted the Department of Finance and Administration to confirm that I was acting within the rules.

  • How a mini-Lib Dem wags the Welsh dog

    The announcement on the board about the business scheduled for the Assembly briefing room was amusing – to cynical journalists – but also, as it turned out, completely misleading.

    “Welsh Lib Dem” said the board, which sparked jokes about how small the party had recently grown.

    But the gist of the press briefing was just the opposite – it was about how a party holding only one council seat in eight in Wales was able wheedle its way onto the cabinets of fully half the Welsh local authorities.

    The Lib Dems hold 156 out of 1,264 seats, and yet they sit in 11 of the 22 cabinets, or similar. A trifle like Labour’s Militant Tendency of old, but far more successful.

    The party performs this trick without “controlling” (ie, possessing a majority of seats) on a single authority. The National Assembly’s extremely handy Local Elections Guide 2008 lists the Lib Dems as the hardly-rans compared with the other parties (the “control” table); but then that Guide doesn’t total up cabinet seats; and neither does it total how many councils is “led” by each party (ie, who supplies the council leader”).

    One of the few councils the Lib Dems most regret not having a say in is Torfaen; the result there was perhaps the biggest shock in last May’s elections – Labour hung onto control only through the assistance of the tiny Plaid Cymru group.

    But the Lib Dems got their own back on Plaid in Carmarthenshire. The document written by party officials and presented to the press today states that the council is “in administration” – which is not that it is bankrupt, but that the Lib Dems are “part of the administration”. In fact, Carms could be said to be a Lib Dem failure; their single councillor votes with the controlling Independents, but has been given no seat in the cabinet.

    It seems as if the Lib Dems centrally before the election pushed on all their federal parties and affiliates to follow a candidates’ policy which aims to get a core of good, able people elected on each council, who could then work towards gaining leadership on the authority through a seat in the cabinet.