Week 16 to 21 February
A spat over the number of deaths in Welsh Hospitals has arisen between Labour and the Conservatives. The Conservatives want an inquiry but Health Minister Mark Drakeford was dismissive calling it a “nonsensical trap”. It comes after the medical director of the NHS in England suggested that the Welsh rates were worrying and should be probed. Transparency is the name of the game, after neglect and abuse at Stafford Hospital led to hundreds of unnecessary deaths between 2005 and 2008 and prompted a public inquiry. But there are such things as damned lies and statistics or as Mr Drakeford would put it rather more delicately data for England and Wales is collected differently and can’t be compared. Expect the row to continue as the Conservatives use the Welsh Labour government’s ‘failures’ to taunt Ed Miliband.
Mr Cameron visited Pembrokeshire in his tour of flood-stricken areas. Quick as a flash flood Natural Resources Minister Alan Davies demanded that the bundle of cash the Prime Minister was promising to repair the damage caused would also come into Welsh Government’s sticky hands too. (See also http://welshpolitics.co.uk/2014/02/noah-was-right/)
The Welsh Assembly Conservative group meeting was a lively affair in the aftermath of four of their number been stripped of their front bench responsibilities. Threats and counter threats. Well, nothing new there then. The old adage that the political opposition are in the other parties but that political enemies are in the party’s own rank seems to be very true amongst Welsh Conservatives. (See also http://welshpolitics.co.uk/2014/02/no-vote-no-job/)
The volume of retail sales was down for January by 1.5% having shown a strong performance in the Christmas period, according to the Office for National Statistics. It still 4.3% higher than the previous January year. So despite shoppers been spent out by Christmas there are still enough flashing the old plastic to keep the retail sector sweet.
The Scots having been told that they can’t use the pound or stay in the EU after independence were hit by further bad news by that purveyor of gloom, Alistair Darling. He now says that Lottery cash would dry up. Gosh, that really is hitting below the belt. Not true, says Scottish Finance Secretary Swinney, Scotland would still receive Lottery funding following a “Yes” vote in the referendum. How about a little punt on who’s saying porkies.
TNS BMRB YES 29%, NO 42%, 29% (DK) (the fieldwork was completed a fortnight ago).
Survation/Daily Mail. YES 38% (32%) NO 47%(52%) 16% (DK). The poll was taken after Chancellor Osborne’s intervention, it gives some credence to the view that the more the Westminster government intervenes in the debate the more Scottish voters are moved to vote.
The Yougov poll conducted for ITV Cymru Wales and the Wales Governance Centre were published on Monday. (in brackets are the December results for comparison).
The Assembly Poll would give Labour 30 seats unchanged from now, the big difference is what happens with the Opposition parties. The Conservatives loose 3 seats and Plaid Cymru 2 to UKIP. The Liberal Democrats retain their current 5. With such a fragmented opposition Labour would be in a strong position to push through its programme of government.
If the polls are accurate Plaid Cymru would loose their 1 European seat to UKIP. Parliament since it’s members has been elected. The brackets are
Westminster CON 22%(+1), LAB 47%(+1), LD 7%(-1), Plaid 11%(-1), UKIP 9%(-1)
Welsh Assembly (Const): CON 21%(+2), LAB 42%(-1), LD 9%(nc), Plaid 19%(-1), UKIP 5%(-2)
Welsh Assembly (Reg): CON 19%(nc), LAB 39%(-1), LD 9%(nc), Plaid 17%(+2), UKIP 10%(nc)
European: CON 17%(-3), LAB 39%(-2), LDEM 7%(-1), Plaid 12%(-1), UKIP 18%(+5)
YouGov/Sunday Times CON 32%, LAB 39%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 12%.
ComRes/Indep. on Sunday CON 32%(+2), LAB 37%(+2), LDEM 9%(+1), UKIP 15%(-4).