Thursday, 31 July 2008

Turning water into wine?

Alun Ffred Jones was in an Italian supermarket when he got the call to become the new Heritage Minister. He said: "I was in the supermarket in Sorrento when Rhodri Morgan phoned me. I was busy buying wine and water."

 You suspect he's going to have to turn the water into wine to win over some sceptics on Welsh language issues. Pob lwc Ffred!

Rhodri Morgan.

Dwi ddim yn meddwl fod Rhodri M yn dda iawn...fe glywais i o yn siarad yn gyfarfod blynyddol AVOW (Mudiadau Gwirfoddol Wrecsam). Cychwynodd Rhodri ei araith drwy gymharu natur gwirfoddolwyr yn Wrecsam hefo Swydd Gaer...pobol Wrecsam yn ddosbarth gweithiol a phobol Caer yn broffesiynol ac o ddosbarthiadau canol ag uwch. Cymhariaeth anffafriol o Gymru i gymharu a Lloegr ond fy ngair i fasa 'nawddoglyd' i ddisgrifio' r araith. Disgwyl gwell gan arweinydd ein gwlad na cael ein disgrifio yn wlad eilradd i Lloegr. Fel bod hyna ddim yn ddigon mae Rhodri'n cael ei ddyfynnu yn y Daily Post heddiw yn disgrifio problemau Gordon Brown a cymharu yr amser hefo problemau Thatcher ai phoblogrwydd wedi rhyfel y Malvinas. Gofynnodd y newyddiadur iddo os oedd yn argymell mynd i ryfel in neud Gordon Brown yn fwy poblogaidd ond gwadu hyny nath Rhodri!! Dwi'n meddwl bod hi'n amser i'r hen Rhodri ymddeol cyn iddo neud mwy o ddrwg i Gymru...Allwn ni ddim aros!!

You couldn't make it up

From Newsnight Scotland, July 29

Lord George Foulkes (Labour): "The SNP are on a very dangerous tack at the moment. What they are doing is trying to build up a situation in Scotland where the services are manifestly better than south of the border in a number of areas."

Presenter: "Is that a bad thing?"

Lord George Foulkes: "No, but they are doing it deliberately."

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Reform of Planning Policy in Wales

Please see below a copy of a letter I have sent for publication to the Daily Post:

Dear Editor

The announcement that the Welsh Assembly will provide Planning Authorities in Wales (Extra cash to help local planning, Post July 26) with £250,000 is to be welcomed. It is however a shame that Mrs Davidson and her advisors are not announcing a 'root and branch' review of Planning Policy in Wales to ensure that planning decisions are made to meet local needs and demands and not to meet the demands of large developers whose only interest is to maximise their profits by converting large swathes of Wrexham County Borough Council into a 'concrete jungle, just because its easier to get planning consent inWrexham than in Chester. The massive increase in the building of unaffordable homes in Wrexham over the last 4 years has contributed to the 60% increase in house prices.

We in local authorities know what needs to be done but we cannot do it knowing that the Planning Inspectorate in Wales will probably allow any appeal against our decisions...the law needs changing now.

Friday, 25 July 2008

The SNP

Late night last night watching the result come in from Glasgow East, Labour's third safest seat in Scotland and they lose it to the SNP's John Mason by 365 votes or a massive 22% swing from Labour to the SNP. The Plaid Cymru group congratulate the SNP on this historic win which will take both our nations closer to greater self government. What happens now to Labour...do they panic and dump Gordon Brown, I don't think so because they haven't anyone to replace him. At this rate of demise I would even predict that Ian Lucas's would lose his seat...the only one likely to retain his seat in North Wales against such swings would be Mark Tami in Deeside.
Out with Lucas would be Betty Williams, Chris Ruane and Albert Owen, North Wales would be nearly a Labour free zone and Plaid Cymru would very likely pick up two of those four seats.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Lord George Brown

Some of you who are as or older than me will remember a certain minister in the Wilson government called George Brown who was well known to the demon drink and regularly 'put his foot in it' as a consequence of the drink. It would appear that some in the coalition in Cardiff may not have learnt the lesson that politics/ministerial responsibilities and drink just don't mix. I refer of course to our own, ex Heritage Minister, Rhodri Glyn Thomas, who 'resigned' from the Welsh Assembly Government...did he jump or was he pushed...we shall never know!! Poor old Rhodri has had a pretty torrid 12 months...spending lots of money keeping the Millenium Centre and the Botanical Gardens open, failing to support Y Byd, the first daily newspaper in Welsh, not doing much about establishing a Welsh Federal College etc, etc. The end must have been in sight a few weeks ago when Rhodri screwed up in spectacular style (Oh, I still cringe) with the book awards where he gave the runner up the first prize and then realised his mistake. Last day before the summer recess in the Assembly sounds like a day out on the pop with journalists in the Eli Jenkins pub in the Bay, where Rhodri seems to hit rock bottom, when he was asked to leave because he was smoking a cigar in the pub!! Now I smoke and I know just how conscious one is of being a smoker, you just do not light up in any building that is now ingrained into me. I just wonder why it wasn't ingrained into Rhodri or was he not capable of making rational decisions. Anyway that must have been the last straw for the RM and IWJ and Rhodri was off and us Gogs hope that his replacement will be non other than the highly regarded AM for Caernarfon, Alun Ffred Jones. If he is the new Heritage Minister...one word of caution, avoid getting drunk in the presence of Vaughan Roderick unless he wants to get hung out to dry on his blog like Rhodri Glyn Thomas was.

Friday, 18 July 2008

Glyndwr University - a new era for Wrecsam

The launch of Glyndwr University marks a new era for Wrecsam. This is not just a name change but a sea change, as the institution will now be able to award degrees and develop fully its research potential.
 Praise must go to vice principal Mike Scott and staff for the slog in getting University status for Wrecsam. He also deserves praise for his vision in naming the university after one of Wales's most dynamic figures - a rebel, a warrior, a man of letters and a polyglot who saw the need for universities in both north and south Wales 600 years ago.
 As First Minister Rhodri Morgan said: "Sometimes it takes a while for manifesto promises to be realised".
 Criticism of the name change has been predictable. Some said nobody had heard of Glyndwr, which begged the question of who the hell had heard of NEWI? The University of Wrexham was the preferred choice of some but, as was made clear today, this is a university that will also have campuses at Northop and possibly in Denbighshire too. This is going to be a University of the North-east and will be a centre of excellence that will serve to strengthen our Welsh identity rather than opt for bland conformity.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Caia Park Environmental Open Day success

Caia Park Environmental Open Day braved the weather and was rewarded with a great day's entertainment at Gwenfro School. Congratulations must go to Dorothy and all the volunteers from the Caia Park Environmental Group who helped to make it such a success. 

It shows what can be done with a determined community effort. 

 The Bring and Take stall, where people can bring unwanted goods and take anything that they find useful, attracted many interested visitors - the kids in particular were delighted to get free toys. This is a scheme that's ahead of its time and I hope that Wrexham Council, among others, will take it more seriously than they have so far. 

 The only downside was that, at the end of the day, none of the rubbish could be recycled! Hopefully next year, as well as seeing Recycle with Michael we can actually do it in practice.
 

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Plaid "Runs Rings Round Labour"

Who said that? No it wasn't a Plaid Cymru politician it was none other than Don Touhig, Labour MP for Islwyn and former Welsh Office Minister. He is well known for his attacks on Plaid Cymru, one of the most anti of all Labour MP's. He opposed the One Wales Coalition and on its anniversary describes Plaid Cymru as running rings round Labour!! He goes on to describe his party as too dull...is there any future for Labour when its senior members describe it in such terms?

Monday, 7 July 2008

Gwersyllt News.

Yesterday we attended the Gwersyllt Community Council Civic Service at the Holy Trinity Church at Gwersyllt which was exceptionally well attended where the lessons were read by the Chair of the Community Council, Councillor June White and the Assembly Member Lesley Griffiths. Also present was Ian Lucas and his wife as well as the Mayor David Griffiths and his wife. Following the service light refreshments were provided at the Gwersyllt Workingmens Club. My thanks go to the Clerk of the Community Council, Keith Bryant for organising the event.

There are many initiatives ongoing in Gwersyllt presently: The Early Intervention Team (part of the Youth Offending Service) are working in conjunction with the Youth Services to introduce initiatives to divert young people away from crime and anti social behaviour. Part of this initiative is to work with the Housing Office and the Police to identify land that can be used as an allotment/community garden. Secondly, we are awaiting approval of our plans for environmental improvements, one of these is to improve the area around Derek's Minimarket on Wheatsheaf Lane. Personally I am looking to substantial improvements to Moss Road especially the area near the Livery Stables where the wall collapsed especially as there are children who walk along that road to school.

In addition to my ward work I am also lead member for Children and Young Persons (Additional Learning, Safeguarding and Support)...so that's where I'm off to now, a meeting with the Chief Officers.

Surgery Dates:
10th July, 11am to 1pm.
16th July, 2pm to 4pm.
Resource Centre, Second Avenue, Gwersyllt.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

The BBC and Wales

However hard we try we just can't seem to get away from the Greater British State in the form of the BBC making fun of us. When was the last time the BBC National News actually reported sensibly or coherently about anything that went on in the Assembly or WAG? The answer is rarely. Last night Rhodri Glyn Thomas made the BBC national news for all the wrong reasons... announcing the wrong winner of the Book Prize in a ceremony. The poor runner up who was named the winner had got to the podium by the time Rhodri had realised his mistake...it made me cringe watching it on TV. It begs the question what idiot places the winner and the runner's up name on the same piece of paper in the same envelope. But the real point is the BBC nationally looking down their noses at us.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Y Cynghorydd Seimon Glyn.

Ar ol fy ngwyliau dwi'n dal i fyny hefo'r newyddion ag ar hyn o bryd yn darllen Golwg 5ed o Fehefin. A be sy'n cymeryd fy niddordeb i ydy y penawd, "Llais Gwynedd - angen i swyddogion dderbyn cyfrifoldeb." Dim ond Cynghorwr bach dibrofiad dwi ond er hyny dwi'n dal i sylweddoli mae swyddogaeth Cynghorwyr ydy craffu ar waith swyddogion, dyna pam fod gan Cyngor Sir Gwynedd pwyllgorau craffu. Felly dydy o ddim digon da i Seimon drio beio swyddogion am y ffiasgo ysgolion, mae swyddogion isio ag i fod i dderbyn arweiniad gwleidyddol ac os nad ydy'n nhw'n i gael o pwy ellith ei beio nhw am neud ei gorau hebddo fo. Mae'n amser i Gynghorwyr fel Seimon Glyn edrych ar ei diffyg arweiniad yn lle pasio'r bai ar swyddogion.

Getting things sorted

One common complaint about the council is that people get passed from pillar to post in trying to get things sorted. Councillors sometimes feel the same way!
If you've been frustrated in this way, give a new phone hotline called Streetscene a go. If you have a concern about your street or area, phone 01978 298989 and report it. I've used it and found that work is done the next day if the issue is pressing.
Constituents should also get in touch with their councillors of course and, if a service is working badly or well, let us know.