Week 14 June to 20 June
Oh how a week’s a long time in politics. For it was only last week the Almanac carried the story that despite Alun Davies the environment minister breaking guidelines on how a minister should act the First Minister Carwyn Jones decided not to sack him. And now Davies has gone. The reason he was sacked, trying to find out about the farm subsidy payments given to opposition AMs with farming interests. Davies lost his environment post after it emerged that he had repeatedly asked civil servants for details of opposition AMs’ subsidies, despite being told the information was private and not publically available. This left Mr Jones with little choice but to sack him. (see http://welshpolitics.co.uk/2014/07/alun-davies-sacked-as-minister/)
The Supreme Court backed the Welsh Assembly’s right to pass a law to help protect the wages of farm hands. It comes after a dispute over whether Wales had the power to set minimum wages, or if that right laid with the UK government. (see http://welshpolitics.co.uk/2014/07/judges-back-assembly/)
The Funky Dragon’s flame may be extinguished. It’s lost its funding from the Welsh Government. It’s a charity that lets kids have their say on Welsh politics. The Youth Assembly for Wales or Funky Dragon as its better known includes youngsters elected from each local council area to discuss issues like health and education. It received its core funding from the Welsh government since it was created in 2002 and last financial year, got £418,000 from the Welsh government, as well as EU funding of £326,000 and smaller amounts from other sources. This year its application for cash from the Welsh Government was turned down. It may have to close down as early as October unless other sources of income can be found.
Politicians may generate a great deal of hot air but useful wind seems to be a no, no. Take the government offices in Aberystwyth for instance, there a wind turbine was installed costing us the taxpayer £48,000. But it only generated an average of just £5 worth of electricity per month. At the time the manufacturers said that it was placed in the wrong place. It appeared that the government wanted it outside its offices to give out the right “on-message” that it was an eco-friendly government, despite the fact that it hardly produced any electricity. Now it’s being is being removed, ‘cos it’s broken, clearly not through over work. The manufacturers that built it have since gone into liquidation. Green no, red faces all round, yes.
Mark Drakeford the Health Minister announced that the salaries of the lowest paid NHS staff would be increased to the level of the living wage, at least £7.65 an hour from September. But he’s refusing to offer consultants a general pay rise of 1% a figure that a review body suggested. The minister said that the rise would only go to consultants at the top of their pay grades, who do not automatically receive an increase for progressing in their jobs. The minister is of the view that those with “the broadest shoulders” – should share the burden of the financial squeeze facing the health service. It’s not the way the BMA Welsh Secretary Dr Richard Lewis sees it. He says it could worsen the recruitment and retention crisis already facing the Welsh NHS.
If you think that the cost of buying a stamp is a rip-off think how much you’ve been ripped-off as a Taxpayers when Royal Mail was privatized. According to the House of Commons’s Business, Innovation and Skills select committee the taxpayer lost out on about £1bn from the undervaluing of Royal Mail. Apparently the fear of failure drove the government to act on bad advice over the Royal Mail stock market flotation. Strange eh the Business Secretary Vince Cable doesn’t accept the criticism He said: “We sold at a price that was regarded as the best that could be achieved in the context in which we sold it.The point we have stressed, and I’ve stressed over and again, that the price of shares is very, very volatile – these things go up and down and we’ve seen in the last few weeks the price of Royal Mail shares actually falling like a stone.” Hmmm, me thinks you protest to much Mr Cable.
Oh dear, another bill being rushed through at the last minute before Parliament breaks for their holidays. Experience shows to act in haste means repenting at leisure. This time it’s a bill to deal with emergency powers to ensure police and security services can continue to access our phone and internet records. Prime Minister David Cameron says he needs to take urgent action to protect us, the public, from “criminals and terrorists.” So it’s to protect us. Well, that’s all right then. Why is it I don’t feel re-assured. Might it have something to do with Mr Snowden’s revelations as to how much the snoopers are snooping on us.
Survation/Daily Record YES 41%, NO 46%, Don’t Know 13%.
Populus CON 31%, LAB 38%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 14%
Ashcroft CON 27%,(-4) LAB 34%,(+3) LDEM 11%(+2), UKIP 15%(nc)
YouGov/Sunday Times CON 34%, LAB 36%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13%.
Opinium/Observer CON 29%(-2), LAB 35(nc), LDEM 7%(nc), UKIP 18%(+1).
TNS/BMRB YES 32%(+2), NO 46%(+4). Without don’t knows, it becomes YES 41, NO 59%