Archive for April, 2014

A week in politics

Week 6  to 11 April

Wales

The Welsh Liberal Democrats conference had Clegg promising fill implementation of Silk. Kirsty Williams accusing Carwyn Jones of “taking cover behind the people he is meant to lead” and that he was a “weight around our nation’s neck”. It promises to be a bright future for all, if only Liberal Democrats run the roost.

You may have thought that Wales has more than enough water. Well, that’s not the way Natural Resources Minister Alun Davies sees it. Water is “not a limitless resource”, and needs managing, according to him. So he’s consulting on whether Water meters should be introduced in all homes in order to reduce waste.

The Welsh Conservative’s meet in Llangollen in their Spring Conference  spate of speakers from the Prime Minister downwards will come down to show how much better they can do things than the Welsh Labour Government. But its taking the ‘proverbial’ asking Whitehall civil servants to check the facts with Welsh Government civil servants. Cameron clearly thinks that turkeys do vote for Christmas.

Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies visited a supermarket in Barry to take part in a picture opportunity in advance of the conference. He took a turn on the checkout and then moved to the bakery to jam and cream  a sponge cake. Apparently it’s to underline the Tory policies intended to keep more money in people’s pockets. Some wags might argue that it might equally illustrate being short-changed and that jam will come tomorrow. Dangerous things photo-ops.

 Rest

In the most comprehensive assessment to date scientist and officials in a major report by the UN warn that the impacts of global warming are likely to be “severe, pervasive and irreversible.” Natural systems now bear the brunt, but increasingly there will be a growing impact on humans.  Health, homes, food and safety are all likely to be threatened by rising temperatures. The summary highlights the fact that on all continents and across the oceans, changes in the climate have caused impacts on natural and human systems in recent decades. “Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change,” according IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri. So even Wales is not immune. Can’t say we haven’t been warned.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu is calling for an anti-apartheid type boycott against those fossil fuel industries in order to stop them exploring for new oil, coal and gas sources. “People of conscience need to break their ties with corpoations financing the injiustice of climate change. We can, for instance boycott events, sport teams and media programming sponsored by fossil-fuel energy companies.” Can’t see Peter Hain dusting down his placard, somehow.

 The Scottish National Party are marking their eightieth conference this weekend. There will be little else but a major appeal for a ‘yes’ vote. Nicola Sturgoen will appeal to Labour supporters to “reclaim” their party by voting for independence. Such a vote could rejuvenate Scottish Labour apparently.

Politics and this Almanac taking a break until after Easter. 

Polls

Thursday

Ipsos MORI‘/Standard. CON 31%(-1), LAB 37%(+2), LDEM 9%(-4), UKIP 15%(+4)

YouGov/Sun. CON 33%, LAB 36%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 14%,

Wednesday

Two European election polls.

Populus/FT CON 27%, LAB 31%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 25%, GRN 3%. Fieldwork after the Clegg-Farage debate.

TNS-BMRB CON 21%, LAB 30%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 29%. Also after the Clegg-Farage debate

Sunday

YouGov/Sunday Times          CON 34%, LAB 39%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 12%. They also asked on European elections CON 23%(-1) LAB 30%(-2) LDEM 9%(-2) UKIP 28%(+5) Survation/Mail on Sunday CON 29%(-5), LAB 36%(+1), LDEM 10%(+1), UKIP 20%(+4)

European voting intentions

Survation/Mail on Sunday CON 21%(-6), LAB 34%(+2), LDEM 9%(+2), UKIP 27%(+4).

ComRes/People CON 22%(+1), LAB 30%(+2), LDEM 8%(nc), UKIP 30%(nc), Others 10%

 Scottish Referendum

Thursday

Survation/Record YES 37%(-2), NO 47%(-1).

Panelbase YES 40%(-1), NO 45%(-1).

 Monday

Panelbase/Wings Over Scotland YES 41%(+1), NO 46%(+1),

 

 

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Who’ll represent us

P82400412The working class have been made an underclass. Topple the establishment. Join and be part of a people’s army.

Not a call to arms by Plaid Cymru to get Labour voters to change sides and join their venture, but Nigel Farage in his debate with Nick Clegg.

What it isn’t, is a call for the disaffected Tory vote. Why? That’s already in the bag. But an appeal to what at one time could be regarded as traditional Labour voters.

Nigel Farage has twigged that both Labour and the Tory parties are aiming their appeal as the floating middle class voter who swing elections. This leaves a gap in the political market place, the working class.

More particularly that group of older, less skilled and less well educated working class voter that feels marginalised by Labour becoming in the main, a party for the professional middle-classes.

Ok, granted that’s not true in Wales, Welsh Labour has tried to maintain clear red water between itself and the Westminster unionist wing.  But often there is guilt by association.   In unpopular times, as in the days of Blair and Brown the New Labour appeal the Welsh working class valley’s vote was transferred to Plaid Cymru.

But will it now with Farage riding high. Clearly, Plaid Cymru’s high command recognise the danger, hence Leanne Wood’s blistering attack on UKIP in her conference speech. Despite it causing problems

Now for years UKIP was regarded as a bit of a joke, making headway only in euro elections but this has now changed. They have been scoring consistently high in the polls, have come second in many by-elections and saw 140 elected in the council election in England. They have grown their members up to figure of 30,000 members, a respectable number for a small political party.

Analysis shows that in the last European election saw gains for them by drawing votes from the same group in society “ordinary” people betrayed by the political class. All the omen’s are that they will do even better this May.

The polls indicated that Farage is milking the distrust that people have against the political class. A distrust that has been further underlined by that woman called Maria,

Never mind that Farage, in his debate with Clegg was peddling half-truths, no truths and exaggeration he was believed.

What matters to many is that he seems to be standing up for them. Perhaps, more importantly in a language they understand. He’s that ordinary bloke from the pub, who like’s his fag and a pint, just like us.

Forget the fact that the man is a right wing ex-City slicker and an ex-Tory. What he can do in buckets is speak in a language that ordinary punters can understand and is far from the jargon of the political elite.

UKIP may claim, if they succeed, as seems likely, that the Euro elections are a referendum on Europe.

It’s certainly won’t be the reason for their success. Their success lies in UKIP having succeeded in tapping into the concerns of the forgotten working classes. Unless other parties recognize this and address the concerns Farage’s xenophobia will win the day.

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The last week of term

Week 30 March  to 4 April

Wales

Now Wales is going to get the same financial powers as Scotland according to shadow Welsh secretary Owen Smith. He told the Welsh Labour conference in Llandudno 15p of the 20p basic rate of income tax could be devolved. Labour was also committed to bringing back the 50p top rate of income tax if it wins the general election in 2015. Labour leader Ed Miliband also announced that Wales’ legal powers would be brought into line with Scotland’s thus clearing up confusion over what the Welsh assembly can and cannot do. He would legislate so that powers were assumed to have been devolved “unless specifically reserved”. Wonderful what the brazing sea air in Llandudno will do for politicians.

National Parliament of Wales, or Senedd Cenedlaethol Cymru. That’s what the Assembly should be called according to Plaid Cymru. To that end Plaid Cymru in Westminster have put down an amendment to the Wales Bill for officially changing the name of the Welsh Assembly. The leader of the Tory’s in the Assembly, Andrew RT Davies has supported the idea in the past, so that should ensure that the Secretary of State for Wales will oppose the move. Provided, of course, he’s still in the job.

 Service delivery may not be Welsh Government’s strongest card but my god, it is good at banning things. It now wants to ban the use of electronic cigarettes in enclosed public places.

Ministers are concerned that the devices normalise smoking and undermine the smoking ban.  Its not only fags that are under the lash its booze as well. The government intend to imposea minimum alcohol price of 50p per unit. But for those that have a weak bladder, good news they want councils to develop a strategy to ensure toilets are publically available in local communities. Oh what bliss.

So your complaints about public service will be dealt with in  future be Nick Bennett. He has been appointed the new public service ombudsman for Wales. He is currently the boss of Community Housing Cymru.  The cuts agenda should ensure that Bennett will be a busy boy.

After his bruising in the debate with Nigel Farage, Nick Clegg enters the tranquil waters of the Welsh Liberal Democrats’s Spring Conference. A weekend of earnest political debate in the offering. Oh joy.

Rest

In the most comprehensive assessment to date scientist and officials in a major report by the UN warn that the impacts of global warming are likely to be “severe, pervasive and irreversible.” Natural systems now bear the brunt, but  increasingly there will be a growing impact on humans.  Health, homes, food and safety are all likely to be threatened by rising temperatures. The summary highlights the fact that on all continents and across the oceans, changes in the climate have caused impacts on natural and human systems in recent decades. “Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change,” according IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri. So even Wales is not immune. Can’t say we haven’t been warned.

 Chancellor George Osborne  has been doing the rounds boasting about his budget. Apparently it’s  “the biggest reduction of business and personal tax in two decades”. Meanwhile Labour claims Mr Osborne has already made households £900 a year worse off. This knockabout stuff will last until May 2015. Yawn.

 Apparently it’s dawning on UK Ministers that the Yes campaign could win the Scottish independence referendum. Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael has confirmed comments he made in an interview with the Observer newspaper. He said a Yes vote was “not impossible” and that the No campaign needed to show more “hunger”. First Minister Alex Salmond said the Yes campaign has “the wind at its back” at the moment. And according to the Secretary of State more money in their war chest. An exciting summer in prospect over Hadrian’s wall.

Polls

Monday

YouGov/Sun          CON 33%, LAB 37%, LD 10%, UKIP 12%

 Sunday

YouGov/Sunday Times          CON 33%, LAB 40%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 11%. They also asked on European elections CON 24% LAB 32% LDEM 11% UKIP 23% GRN 5%.

Opinium/Observer                   CON 32%(+2), LAB 33%(-2), LDEM 10%(nc), UKIP 15%(-1).

 

 

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