Archive for March, 2015

Ukip and the Welsh language

Ukip campaign in Porthmadog

Ukip campaign in Porthmadog

A meeting with no provision for Welsh speakers in a Welsh speaking town causes row.

UKIP holding a meeting using English with no translation in the very Welsh speaking Town of Porthmadog might seem to be another gaff by the party. After all the party has been very accident-prone of late.

So when Ukip’s deputy leader Paul Nuttall said that people moving to Wales to work in organisations like the NHS should learn to speak English it looked again like another example of the party shooting itself in the foot.

It certainly sparked a language row. Welsh language campaigners interrupted the meeting itself.  Not an altogether surprising development.

Ukip were accused of having no respect for the Welsh language. Certainly there was no translation facilities or any Welsh language leaflets provided. They made no effort to acknowledge the culture and language of the town.

Residents of Porthmadog, who are predominantly Welsh speaking, could not have contributed, at what was billed as a ‘public’ meeting, in their native language.

A major error on their part, or was it?

Whatever can be said of Porthmadog and the Dwyfor Meirionnydd constituency natural UKIP territory it ain’t.

Even the most zealot English nationalist, of whom there are many in the Ukip, would not regard Porthmadog and its hinterland as promising terrain for their political brand of nationalism.

A snowball’s chance in hell comes to mind.

But on the other hand if you want to appeal to a group of people that have settled in Wales or a constituents who have no sympathy at all for the Welsh language where better to get the oxygen of publicity. Hold a public meeting in English there and like Pavlov’s dogs you’ll get a robust response.

It doesn’t take a great gift for prophecy to realize that  an almighty row would breakout. It did.

And those that have settled from England along the North Wales coast would have heard Ukip’s anti-Welsh language message and will unfortunately warm to the cause. Effective campaigning, maybe.

It’s called dog whistle politics.

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Cameron announces when he wants to leave top job.

Going, going, gone.

Going, going, gone.

Office is like shredded wheat two terms is fine but three could be to much.

Giving up the top job is never easy, when to announce you’re leaving the stage is particularly difficult in the UK. Unlike many another democracy there is no fixed term for the job of PM.

Announcing your going at the end of the next term before the electors have decided that your worthy of that second term is presumptuous to say the least. An attitude likely to go down badly with voters who hate to be taken for granted

What a bizarre thing to do as the election campaign kicks-off. It’s gifting an open goal to opposition parties.

A five year leadership contest

The attention will be more on his likely successors than on him. It opens up a five year Tory leadership contest.

Why did he do it? He’s certainly far too experience a politician to just answer a straightforward question in the way that he did.

Its more likely that his thinking was that by flagging up well in advance when he’s going it allows him a free hand to get on with the job and not be subject to speculation as to when he’s leaving.

Knives out

Yesterday, his pitch was I’ve only half done the job, give me a break and I’ll finish the job. A strategy to buoy up support not so much as with the electors but within his own party.

Unless he delivers an absolute majority and this looks increasingly unlikely, the knives are going to be out and he looks vulnerable.

If that’s the strategy it’s a mistake.

He’s has set in motion speculation that will undermine the Tory campaign. And even if it doesn’t and he scrapes back into 10 Downing Street he will suffer the same fate as US Presidents in their second term, they become lame duck leaders.

It all points to a Prime Minister that is more interested in being in office but not in power.

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Leaders in Wales and Scotland may want the same outcome from election

Backing Miliband?

Backing Miliband?

Carwyn Jones’s Welsh Labour and Nicolas Sturgeon’s SNP would both  be happy to see a weak Tory government in Westminster after May.

An unpopular coalition in Westminster gave Labour a fantastic poll lead here in Wales to for the Assembly election in 2011, rocketing Carwyn Jones into government without the need for little helpers from the smaller parties to prop it up.

Backing Miliband?

Backing Miliband?

History often repeats itself and there’s no reason to doubt that a Tory minority government in Westminster would not provide a similar lift for Welsh Labour again.

The SNP have an even greater need to see the Tories ruling the UK roost. After all the prospect of an independent Scotland will come sooner rather than later with Cameron in number ten.

But Nicolas Sturgean needs first to win for her party as many seats as possible. To do this  she needs to play the anti-tory card. That’s why she talks of helping young Ed get the keys to Downing Street. Polls show that such an alliance would be the most popular election result in Scotland and politicians certainly listen to what the polls tell them.

To revive the independence narrative the SNP need a right wing Tory government in office. She needs to show that the Westminster is doing the opposite of what Scotland needs and wants.

She wants Cameron and his in-or-out referendum on the European Union. Oh how happy she would be if England voted to leave and Scotland to stay. Oh what fun the SNP would have with such a result.

It surely would be used as at launch pad for another independence vote.

A right wing government in Westminster doing both Wales and Scotland down suits the campaign narrative of both the leaders very well indeed. Both, of course, will never ever own up the fact.

What do the polls say?

How likely is this to happen? It would be a very foolish bookie that took bets on Labour not being the majority party of Wales after May. After all they’ve done it in the last 19 elections.

But returning Labour MPs in Wales will not deliver the election victory to Miliband.  He needs Scotland and Scotland he most certainly won’t get.

The latest ICM figures for the Guardian would see the SNP leap from its current six MPs to take 43 of Scotland’s 59 seats. Labour being reduced to a rump of just 12 MPs unlikely to be enough to give Miliband a majority.

For the two main parties the election is likely to prove less a Game of Thrones more a Game of Losers.

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