Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Go for it Alex and Ieuan!

Excellent to see Alex Salmond become the First Minsiter of Scotland. He understands that he needs to reach out to a broad cross-section of the Scottish nation but I'm sure Salmond will also understand another important thing.

Salmond knows that he needs to be brave and promote a confident nationalist agenda. Being too conciliatory will be a massive mistake. By pushing a strong and sensible nationalist agenda Salmond and the SNP will out-manoeuvre Labour and set the political agenda for the next decade.

Back in Wales, I now hope Ieuan Wyn will become our First Minister. And the message is the same - Ieuan - see the woods from the trees, be brave, don't be afraid of Labour - go for it! And Ieuan - go for the radical agenda, promote Welsh nationalism - don't be an 'Alun Michael' and don't make the same mistake as Labour.

At the end of 4 years you want to be able to point to massive changes which you and Plaid have instigated - unlike Welsh Labour who have absolutely nothing to show for their last 4 years in government!

Monday, May 21, 2007


Just happened to see an item on the news a few days ago about Carmarthenshire county council's decision to close some schools. In any case, I was struck how much more impressive the inside of Carmarthenshire's chamber was compared to our national Senedd.

The inside of the Senedd looks like the house of MDF. What is that screen behind the Llywydd? What's that star-fish thing on the floor in the centre of the debating chamber - the centre-piece of our democracy? Is this the only chamber in the world which doesn't have the crest or flag of the people its meant to represent on display?

The Welsh Senedd could actually be any chamber in the world. There's nothing to say what or who it represents. And all that talk of the chamber being inclusive - you can't even see half the chamber if you're one of the lucky few to get into the gallery! At least those members of the public who go into the Carmarthenshire chamber can see the whole proceedings - and protest about them!

Senedd - an unlucky marriage of the anti-Welsh Brit Nat and the post-national Nationalists.

It's all very well going on about the environmentally sound part of the building, but did the designers and politicians praise the House of Commons's excellent sewage system when it was built in the 1860s and raise that as the main purpose of the building?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Plaid & Housing

Glad to see that Plaid actually took the issue of affordable housing seriously in their manifesto.

Not quite sure if the £5k will work without pushing the prices of houses up further. One thing Plaid could do, which would be easier to implement and not cost anything, is tackle the issue of social housing, especially in rural areas where houses are given to people outside the county.

The issue is clearly made by Cllr. Gareth Winston Roberts of Amlwch on Anglesey who wants the points system changed to favour local people and who supports Cymuned's www.cartrefi.com campaign.

It's incredible that the exact people any county needs to keep - young people, doing important jobs (all jobs are important) who may have children - are unable to get social housing. Why? Because counties like Ynys Môn are obliged, or are given financial incentives, to take in people from the big cities in England. There's an issue of opportunity for these people, but surely the first priority of a county council is to invest in people whose parents or they have paid taxes over a period of years?

There's also the question of language - the Welsh language. I nearly chocked when I saw the 10 o'Clock News on the BBC the other night, showing that the English were concerned that such a large percentage of school children came from non-English speaking families. This, the English told us, was creating difficulty in integrating and teaching.

Duw, this is the situation Welsh has been living with for centuries but the Brit Nats called us racists for raising this concern. Try immersing kids from Liverpool or Birmingham in a Welsh school - that's a challenge.

With discussions on the future make-up of the Government still on-going, Plaid should make housing one of their core demands in any coalition or supporting role. Plaid should champion the right of councils to prioritise those from their county or who have employment in the county to have social housing. This is both logical (it also keeps extended families together - saving tax-payers money in the long-term) and, in Welsh-speaking areas, gives the Welsh language a living chance.

Housing is a massive issue. The Brit Nats in the Labour party have done nothing - after all betraying the Welsh working class is a price worth paying if it means weakening the Welsh language.

Plaid has some good policies - but revamping the points system would be more effective, and fairer, than the £5k loan.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Make Way for Wigley!

Less than a week after the election It's time to start thinking about 2011.

Plaid did very well with a good campaign and a clear message. This is because fundamentally, despite various differences, Plaid actually believes in something. Labour and the LibDems don't - and suffered.

But what would have happened had Wigley (or Adam Price) been leader. My guess is that Plaid could quite possibly have overtaken Labour as the largest party.

It's time for Plaid to put politics above personalities. Janet Ryder should do the honourable thing, and stand down from her north Wales seat and abdicate for Wigley.

Plaid got 292 more votes than the Tories in the north Wales region (50,558 compared to 50,266). If the Tories had managed to get 292 more votes, Plaid would not have won a single additional seat in the north Wales region, let alone 2! The fact that Plaid got such a strong vote in the north was in no small part down to Wigley. In truth - without Dafydd Wigley, Janet Ryder would be an ex-AM today. Plaid can't afford to leave such a popular politician at home gardening.

Janet's a good, solid AM but Wigley has star quality. If Plaid want to win in 2011 it needs a charismatic leader who'll be able to milk every single possible Plaid vote. It need someone who can appeal to floating Tory and Labour voters and can bring gravitas to the job.

Plaid needs someone who looks like a leader. It has two choices, Wigley and Adam Price. Plaid's job is to get both of them into the Assembly by 2011. But first of all, Janet Ryder needs to stand down.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Good Day for Welsh Nationalism

Mohammad Ashgar made history as he was elected on the South Wales East regional list. Mohammad is the first member of Wales' 'ethnic minority' communities to be elected to our National Assembly.

And guess what - he's a member of Plaid!

So much for the Brit Nat Labour hate-stories. Time for Brit Nat Labour to eat some humble pie.

Bad day for British Nationalism - the extreme manifestation of it saw the BNP come within spitting distance (spitting being the operative word, one guesses) of winning a seat in the North.

Who are these people who vote BNP? The 'narrow minded' Welsh-speaker who want to live in a 'mythical medieval' community and attend the National Eisteddfod - 'the festival of hate' as it was called by the Brit Nat Labour supporting Welsh Mirror?

Well, sure as hell there are some racist Welsh-speakers but is that the core BNP vote? My guess; the party that flies the Union Jack so beloved by Brit Nat Gordon Brown, is more likely to be drawing votes from a core English community in the North.

People who may be part of the 'white flight' which Dafydd Iwan referred to some years ago, only to be accused of condoning it by Labour; people who may be as uncomfortable with the Welsh language as they are with Poles and Pakistanis.

Maybe, Mark Tammi and other Brit Nat MPs and AMs should look more closely at their own imagined community, political identity and philosophy before attacking Welsh nationalists - after all, the BNP have more in common with Labour than with Plaid.

As I said, a good day for Welsh nationalism - Mohammad Ashgar - HERO!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Go for Plaid!

The Welsh nationalist community is a broad church - including people who are Christian, Muslim, atheist, communist, capitalists, pacifists, ex-army people, a few nutters and yes, Nicholas Morgan. We have our differences and different priorities.

But on Thursday 3 May we have 2 votes. My vote will go to Plaid and I urge all nationalists to do so too. Not only do I agree with most of their policies but they seem the only party which has thought in details about governing Wales and will implement them - without the OK from a Viceroy or another Party leader.

There is also one other simple reason. Were Plaid to win on 3 May the headlines of all the UK's newspapers will be that Wales is a nation and Wales needs to be respected and taken notice of. A vote for any of the other parties will be a vote for an invisible and irrelevant Wales - and in the case of Labour, a mediocre Wales too.

Wales - a nation not a region. Make Wales count - make your vote count. Vote twice for Plaid.

Plaid Party Political Broadcast #3