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The political week

A week when Wales hears is has  more poor children than elsewhere and Westminster politicians visit Assembly

Oh how politicians can’t resist spin. Take the latest from PM Cameron. Apparently he’s delighted the process of “reform and renegotiation” of the UK’s membership of the EU is “properly under way”. Talk about egging it on. This “delight” was based on a 10 minute contribution at a dinner. A dose of reality came from the European Council’s Donald Tusk who is overseeing the membership negotiations. He said “One thing should be clear from the very beginning: the fundamental values of the European Union are not for sale and so are non-negotiable.” Hmmm a bit of a way to go before the right wing of his party will equally be “delighted” then.

Wales has the highest rate of child poverty in the UK according to figures released by the DWP. In Wales just under a third of children (31%) lived in poverty, compared to a quarter (25%) in Northern Ireland, slightly over a fifth(21%) in Scotland, and 28% in the whole of England. Only London had higher numbers of children in poverty. Last week the Assembly’s Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee, that expressed concern over the Welsh Government’s lack of progress in tackling poverty. Accusing them of dealing with the symptoms rather than the causes of deprivation. All this before the £12 billion welfare cuts that are on their way.

“No taxation without representation” might have been the cry of the founding fathers of the US, but in Wales’s its

Crabb says he's hearing strong objections to a referendum on tax

Crabb says he’s hearing strong objections to a referendum on tax

representation, legislation but no taxation. At least not taxation raised by the Welsh Government itself. This state of affairs can’t go on says Secretary of State Crabb. That’s the message he delivered when presenting the Queen’s speech to the Welsh Senedd. See http://welshpolitics.co.uk/2015/06/crabbs-speech-to-assembly/.

A number of high profile Labour Assembly Members have decided to call it a day. The latest announcements include a cabinet minister – Edwina Hart, a former deputy Minister – Gwenda Thomas and backbencher Keith Davies. Of course speculation is rife as to who will replace these. Names mentioned Jeremy Miles, Lee Waters, Sian James and Eluned Morgan. See http://welshpolitics.co.uk/2015/06/cabinet-changes-3/

The wanabees visit Wales. Yes, those that have their eye on the main chance are doing the rounds. In Wales this week, Labour’s Yvette Cooper who says  “[The new party leader] has to be someone who can feel at home, whether it’s in a business boardroom or a workingmen’s club or at the school gates – and that’s what I believe I can do.” Also after the same job Liz Kendall who responded to the taint that she was the “New Labour Taliban.” By saying “Anybody who uses terms like ‘Taliban’ or ‘Tory’, I think, just shows that they are stuck in the past and the comfort zone of politics – and if we do that we won’t win in 2020, and that’s what we’ve got to do.” Meanwhile Liberal Democrat Tim Farron MP visited the assembly. His arrival coincides with the ballot papers going out for the leadership election which takes place on the 16 July 2015. See http://welshpolitics.co.uk/2015/06/liberal-leadership-candidate-visits-senedd/IMG_1354

 

Meanwhile, there is concern that the trade unions are trying to manipulate the Labour leadership election to favour their chosen one(s). Now that trade union members have to “opt-in” if they want to vote.  Only 3,788 have signed up in the affiliates section, making just 1.5 per cent of the electorate compared to a third under the old system. Apparently, Unite and the GMB, two of the biggest trade unions are delaying registering supporters until the final days of the campaign.  Why? You may ask. They can give the contact details to the candidates they favour whilst the rest of the field will only get the details when Labour get the information at the end of July. Leaving them with about 11 days to campaign amongst the brothers and sisters. It was always thus.

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