Week 23 to 29 November
Hywel Francis is to stand down as an MP in the next election. It’s a job he’s held since 2011. A safe seat such as this will have them all out of the woodwork, so watch the elbows come into play as candidates try to advantage themselves in the rush to gain the nomination.
It’s a testing time in schools. Next year all our kids will have to take Maths tests to gradually push up standards. But there is a slight problem many pupils in Wales have no idea how to take a maths test according to a highly critical report produced for the Welsh Government. They found the kids didn’t understand basic concepts or check their work, copied from each other, or left most questions blank. They also gave ridiculous answers. Well at least with the latter they can aim to be politicians later in life.
Those little green posters outside some of Wales’s café’s and other eating places will now spread to all of them. Why? Only places with good ratings ever showed the food hygiene ratings. But now it’s all to change. Wales will become the first part of the UK to force all food outlets to prominently display ratings. The new law means that over the next 18 months, restaurants, takeaways and supermarkets must display ratings from 0 (lowest) to 5 (highest). Kebab houses will have to show them, even if their customers are to inebriated to read them.
Apparently it’s not just in the Commons and the Assembly there’s gas aplenty. According to companies keen on extracting shale gas there are “substantial” supplies in Wales. The firms were setting out their stall to the Welsh Affairs Select Committee’s inquiry into energy generation. The gas is obtained by hydraulic fracturing. This involves injecting water and other chemicals into shale rock at high pressure. The rocks are subsequently shattered, releasing trapped natural gas. As soon as Welsh Councils give approval for exploratory drilling and many are, fracking opponents get their placards out. Looks like fun and games aplenty in the new year twhen the protestors take on the drillers and the councils.
Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) should be abolished and replaced by a new system, according to a review of policing in England and Wales by ex-Met Police Commissioner Lord Stevens for the Labour Party. Commissioners should be given the boot in 2016 and replaced by new structure based on local councillors . It says the current 43-force structure is “untenable” and forces ought to merge. There were 37 radical proposals in the report and Ed Miliband says the report will not gather dust but be implemented should Labour win the next election. Clearly a policeman’s lot will be a different if Miliband gets his way, who know whether it will be a happy one.
Another sign that Miliband’s more effective than Cameron let’s on is the government latest reaction to Miliband’s energy freeze. The government are begging the big six energy firms to hold prices until the middle of 2015. A date set conveniently after the next general election. Purely co-incidental, old boy. Labour have already promised to freeze energy prices for 20 months if elected and are now promising a massive shake-up of the energy industry in order to keep the prices low thereafter. One would think they’re all trying to buy off the voters. Surely not.
Alex Salmond in Glasgow launched the Scottish Independence White paper. It sets out in fascinating detail what the Scottish government would aspire to introduce following independence. Just a little snag, much of what he wants depends on striking a deal with either Cameron or Miliband depending on whose in government after the general election. If Mr Salmond successfully pursades his fellow countrymen and women to vote Yes it will be a leap of faith, ‘cos what finally emerges from the negotiations will be anybody’s guess. See Whose Pound?
YouGov/Sun CON 32%, LAB 39%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 12%.
ComRes /Independent CON 32%(+4), LAB 37%(+1), LDEM 9%(-2), UKIP 11%(-1).
Populus CON 34%, LAB 39%, LDEM 12%, UKIP 7%.
YouGov /S.Times CON 33%, LAB 40%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 11%.
Panelbase./Sunday Times YES 38%, NO 47%, DK 15%
This is in line with Panelbase’s previous polling a NO lead of around 8 to 10 points since the summer of 2012.