25th to 30th January
Two polls testing the political temperature in Wales were produced this week. The first you can see here http://welshpolitics.co.uk/2015/01/poll-position-3/ . The second was for BBC. Both polls pointed to very little change in Wales. The BBC reckoned as few as two Welsh seats would change hands. Their survey conducted by ICM put Labour on 38%, no change since September, the Conservatives down two percentage points to 21%, UKIP on 13% (down one), Plaid Cymru on 12% (down one), the Lib Dems unchanged at 7% and the Green Party up from 2% in September to 6% now. The growth of the Green party support was also mirrored in the other poll.
Health dominated the political debate both in Wales and in Westminster (see http://welshpolitics.co.uk/2015/01/health-options/.)Meanwhile an actual step taken to limit ill-health was taken by Mark Drakeford he gave his consent to the new Westminster law introducing standardised packaging for cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco applying to Wales. The regulations, which will be subject to a vote by MPs, is intended to come into force by May 2016.
Politics and Rugby are supposedly the two Welsh passions. Many a Gog would dispute that the latter is as important as football. But that said, politicians just so love to be associated with sport. Their hope is that some of sport’s popularity will rub off on them. So like manna from heaven an issue falls into their lap that they can show what good guys and gals they are. The issue, ‘free-to-view’ rugby coverage. Apparently there’s a threat that the six nations competition will vanish off the BBC and into the hands of those TV companies that charge to view. No, no says Welsh sports minister, Ken Skates. Owen Smith, the shadow Welsh Secreatary says over his dead body. Let’s hope nobody takes him up on his offer. Quicker off the mark, the Liberal Democrats they’ve organised a petition and their leader Kirsty Williams is writing to John Feehan, Chief Executive of the Six Nations tournament, imploring on him to choose a rights deal with a free-to-air channel. So politicians can disagree on matters of war and peace, but when it comes to rugby well, that’s a different game, eh.
Lord Dafydd Wigley who is master minding Plaid Cymru’s election campaign and seen as very much in the ranks of Plaid Cymru seen as a safe pair of hands dropped the ball rather badly. He made a comparison between Auschwitz and jobs coming to Wales should Trident move to Milford Haven. The point he was trying to make was that it wasn’t jobs at all cost. He quickly realized his gaff and apologized. But of course by then the story was making it big in the London press. Not the most auspicious of starts to Plaid’s campaign, me thinks, Lord.
Mr Miliband visited Scotland to confirm that a “Home Rule bill for Scotland” would be introduced within the first 100 days of a Labour government. Well, he would. After all, despite his protests to the contrary, he might be dependent on SNP support if he’s to get the keys of Number 10. But with the SNP pretty ill-disposed to the current Home Rule bill as keeping 70% of taxation and 85% of welfare spending in Westminster, Mr Miliband might well find himself having to introduce a very different Home Rule bill to the one he invisages, if he’s to gain Ms Sturgeon’s support.
A party that was the hope of the working class, with a mass membership and the bulk of trade unions affiliated to it, is looking oblivion in the face. (see http://welshpolitics.co.uk/2015/01/a-mighty-fall-from-grace/)
Police forces across England and Wales have been ordered to review nearly 2,000 cases of alleged corruption in their ranks over concerns that they were not properly investigated. A report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has found that no action was taken in two-thirds of the investigations into alleged police corruption last year. Clearly, the blind eye, has it.
According to the Institute of Fiscal Studies the wage squeeze means that British workers are taking less home in real terms than in 2001. Wages were 1% lower in the third quarter of 2014 than in the same period 13 years earlier after taking inflation into account. Opposition politicians were quick to latch on with the predictable – it’s a “cost of living crisis.”
The polling averages point to a hung parliament with Labour one short of an overall majority. The Welsh polls are dealt elsewhere in this blog.
YouGov/Sun Con 34% Lab 33% LibDem 6% UKIP 15% Green 7%
ComRes/Independent Con 31%(+2) Lab 30%(-1) LibDem 8%(-4) UKIP 17%(+1) Green 7%(+2)
Populus Con 34% Lab 35% LibDem 9% UKIP 13% Green 6%
Ashcroft Con 32%(+3) Lab 32%(+4) LibDem 6%(-3) UKIP 15% nc) Green 9% (-2)
Survation/Daily Mirror Con 31% Lab 30% LibDem 7% Green 3% UKIP 23%
YouGov/Sunday Times Con 32% Lab 32% LibDem 7% UKIP 15% Green 7%