Monday, 28 February 2011

Arlywydd Gerry o Derry!

Mi glywais i gan ffrind fod Sinn Fein yn agos iawn i'r trothwy o TD's yn y Dail i allu rhoi ymgeisydd ymlaen i arlywyliaeth Iwerddon yn mis Tachwedd. Fasa cael yr Arlywydd Gerry o Derry yn dipyn o sioc i'r sefydliad Prydeinig ond yn dipyn o sbort i nifer fawr yn y cenhedloedd Celtaidd!

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Trafferth y Blaid Lafur!

Soniodd Blog Menai yma fod Alwyn Humphreys wedi tynnu ei enw yn ol fel ymgeisydd Llafur yn etholaeth Arfon am resymau anhysbus. Wedi clywed heddiw fod yr hen Alwyn wedi cwympo allan hefo 'hoelion wyth' y Blaid Lafur yn Rhosllanerchrugog yn arbenig Stella Matthews, Cyn Gynghorydd Llafur a oedd hefyd yn gweithio i'r cyn AS Martyn Jones ydy hi. Mae'n amlwg fod gan Stella dal dipyn o bwer a dylanwyd yn etholaeth De Clwyd.

Tybed be neith Alwyn tro yma? Ia hwn di'r ail dro iddo adael y Blaid Lafur. Y tro cyntaf oedd iddo fynd hefo John Marek i ymuno a Chymru Ymlaen tybed eith o step fach nesa ac ymuno hefo'i hen ffrind Dr Marek eto?

Wrth ddarllen wal Gweplyfr Alwyn mae ddigon hawdd gweld ei fod yn eitha chwerw am y sefyllfa, a dyma be a ddwed am ei ddaliadau gwleidyddol,
"Centre left socialist - Labour once upon a time...not anymore...the 'fairies' have taken over....fair...ugh! ugh! what's that?"


Mae rhaid teimlo chydig yn sori dros y Blaid Lafur Etholaeth Arfon, ddim yn unig mae raid chwilio am ymgeisydd newydd ond mae hefyd angen chwilio am fwy o arian ar ol gwastraffu cannoedd o bunnau yn argraffu miloedd o daflenni etholiadol Alwyn Humphreys!

Amseriad gwych Alwyn! Tybed be neith Tecwyn ar holl bapur yna?

Saturday, 26 February 2011

End of a dynasty.

The main casualty of the Irish General election so far is Sean Haughey, Fianna Fáil TD for Dublin North Central and who was a Minister of State in the Department of Education and Skills. He has conceded prior to the declaration of the first preference votes which indicates a heavy defeat.

Haughey was the son of the controversial and well known Charles Haughey, Leader of Fianna Fáil from 1979 to 1992 and Taoiseach of Ireland on three occassions in the 1980's. Sean Haughey's grandfather was Sean Lemass, veteran of the 1916 Easter Rising, the War of Independence and the Civil War and founder with Eamon De Valera of Fianna Fáil. Lemass served as a TD in Dáil Éireann from 1924 to 1969 and was Taoiseach from 1959 to 1966.

End of a dynasty indeed.

Results from the Irish General Election.

With thirteen of the 43 constituencies having declared their first preference votes, 14 TD's have been elected to the new Dáil Éireann:
Fine Gael - 6 seats (35.4%)
Labour - 4 seats (23.2%)
Indepependents - 2 seats (11.7%)
Fianna Fáil - 1 seat (16%)
Sinn Féin - 0 seats (6%)
Socialist Party - 1 seat (2.9%)
Green Party - 0 seats (2.6%)

UPDATE
37 out of 166 TD's now elected the picture is as follows:
FG - 15 (36.3%)
Labour - 10 (20.1%)
FF - 3 (17.5%)
Indy's - 5 (12%)
SF - 3 (9.5%)
Green - 0 (2.1%)
Socialists - 1 (1.5%)

UPDATE 27/2/11
@RTE_Elections: 130 TDs have so far been elected to the 31st Dáil - 59 Fine Gael, 31 Labour, 13 Fianna Fáil, 13 Sinn Féin, 3 Socialists and 11 Independents.

Exit Poll - Irish General Election

Disaster day for Fianna Fail if these predictions are correct and best result for Fine Gael since 1932! Sinn Fein will not be happy either if the 10% mark is to be believed.


First preferences should start to come in by lunchtime.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Prophets of Doom and Gloom.

We often hear that North Wales loses out to South Wales when it comes to getting monies out of the Welsh Government, the prophets of doom and gloom claim that South Wales gets everything but is it really the case?

In the last financial year Wrecsam CBC had the highest Local Authority budget settlement in Wales resulting in a budget of £208,000,000. In addition to that Wrecsam got a total of £47 million in grants, mostly from the Welsh Government but some from the Home Office, £11 million of that was for 21st Century Schools with £14 million earmarked for the next financial year. The Welsh Government have already approved £41 million in grants for the 2011/12 year with some grant allocations yet to be decided.

Whether in North or South Wales, what cannot be denied is that local authority budgets in Wales and our ability to continue to provide front line services are a lot healthier in Wales than in England.

What the prophets of doom and gloom fail to understand is that only one third of the population of Wales live in North Wales and one of the biggest factors in deciding on financial allocation is need and deprivation and most deprivation are in South Wales authorities like Blaenau Gwent, Merthyr and Rhondda Cynon Taf, so it is hardly surprising that more money goes to South Wales.

Whilst we would all like more money for their area and admittedly there is unfairness in the system, but the answer is not to 'throw the baby out with the bath water' by voting No, but to vote Yes so that we have less bureaucracy in the legislative process which will serve the people of Wales far better than the current mess.

Welsh households pay £466 less a year for council services than English households

I thought this WLGA press release was worth publising in its entirety. It shows that the Welsh Government does provide value for money compared to English local authorities. £466 a household is a lot of money in this current economic climate.
The WLGA predicts that the average council tax increase across Wales for 2011-12 will be the lowest since devolution, at approximately 2.93%. This is well below the Consumer Price Index (CPI) which is currently running at 4%. This prediction is based on a survey of councils across Wales, although not all councils have yet finalised their budgets and council tax increases for 2011-12.

Responding to this historically low average increase, Cllr John Davies (Pembrokeshire) WLGA Leader said:

“I’m pleased that by working with colleagues across Wales we have managed to keep council tax increases down to the bare minimum required to protect the services that people value while at the same time trying not to put too much pressure on household budgets. As it stands this increase amounts to 52 pence per week for the average Band D payer in Wales.”

“There is no doubt that the next few years will be very tough for local government finances and councils must therefore be prudent in their council tax setting decisions to ensure that they have sufficient funding over the medium term and for the next financial year. At the same time councils are forcing more efficiency from their systems, reducing their workforces and are looking to implement a second year pay freeze. These actions, taken together with modest increases in council tax will help councils protect vital front line services.”

“There has been some criticism that Welsh councils have failed to freeze tax increases like their counterparts in Scotland and England. The Taxpayers Alliance never let the facts spoil a good argument - in England the UK Government has earmarked funding to councils to freeze council tax whereas in Wales the Welsh Assembly Government has earmarked councils’ funding to provide additional support for education and social services and has recognised the need for councils to strike a balance between sustaining these key services and limiting any additional pressure on hard-pressed households. If comparisons are to be drawn between England and Wales, then council tax in Wales represents value for money compared to England with the average Band D Bill for 2011-12 likely to be £466 less than in England.”

Cllr Rodney Berman (Cardiff), WLGA Finance Spokesperson said:

“Councils have again had to make some difficult decisions in this budget round, trying to balance the pressures facing frontline services with the need to protect citizens in their communities from higher council tax increases.”

“The Local Government Settlement for 2011-12 is the worst since devolution, representing a cash cut in our grant of -1.4%. Despite this and increasing demands for services, particularly social services, councils have made a concerted effort to keep tax increases as low as possible.”

In the last financial year Wrecsam CBC had the seventh lowest Band D Council tax rate in England and Wales.

Llongyfarchiadau i S4C.

Ar ol blog ddoe, roeddwn yn meddwl fasa'n well i fi ddeud rywbeth neis am S4C a'i llongyfarch am y sioe gomedi orau dwi wedi weld ar y sianel ers tipyn. Cyfeirio ydw i at Pawb a'i Farn o Gaergybi neithiwr, ar siambls llwyr wnaeth Bill Hughes ag Eric Howells o geisio rhoi dadleuon yr ochor Na drosodd mewn ffordd resymegol.

Y peth neisia ddwedwyd amdanynt ar y sylwadau trydar #pawbaifarn oedd eu bod fel dau glown! Disgrifiad da arall oedd y ddau hen ddyn ar y 'Muppet Show' a rhywyn am roi Horlicks i'r ddau!

Ond tra ryda ni'n son am Dori's, lle yn union oedd Paul Williams ymgeisydd y Ceidwadwyr ar Ynys Mon neithiwr?. Fel arfer mae gan Paul lot i ddeud fel y Derwydd ar y blog 'The Druid - Fighting for Anglesey.' Fel Cymro Cymraeg ac yn wleidydd amlwg a lleol y tebygrwydd ydy fod Paul wedi cael gwahoddiad i fod ar panel neu yn y gynulleidfa. Gobeitho cawn eglurhad gan Paul am ei absenoldeb!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Gwaseidd-dra S4C

Mae'n amlwg fod y BBC wedi dechrau dylanwadu ar S4C yn barod neu sut arall fasa ni'n cael y datganiad hurt yma ynglyn a rhaglenni y Gwanwyn:
Gyda phriodas y flwyddyn yn digwydd ddydd Gwener 29 Ebrill, bydd S4C yn dathlu gyda’r Tywysog William a Kate Middleton mewn rhaglen arbennig Y Briodas Frenhinol.

Dydy o ddim yn ddigon y byddwn yn cael rhaglen ar ol rhaglen hyd syrffed ar bob blydi sianel arall heb gael o ar S4C hefyd?. Yn amlwg dwi wedi gneud y penderfyniad iawn o fynd i Dulyn am y diwrnod, hwyrach nai aros am yr wsnos i gael gwared o flas drwg gwaseidd-dra y sefydliadau 'Cymraeg newydd.' Tybed os ydy Bwrdd S4C yn gwybod am hyn?

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Pwy sy'n iawn?

Mae hi wedi mynd yn dipyn o gystadleuaeth rhyngddo ni ym Mhlaid Wrecsam a Blog Menai i ddarogan canlyniad etholiad gyffredinol Iwerddon. Dwi o'r farn na fydd Fine Gael yn gallu llywodraethu ar ben ei hyn a bydd angen clymblaid hefo Llafur neu hefo TD's Annibynnol, ond fel dywed Blog Menai, mae ymgeiswyr Annibynnol un ai yn gyn FF neu yn tueddu i'r chwith a ddim yn bartneriad naturiol i blaid sydd yn tueddu i'r dde fel FG.

Mae Blog Menai or farn y galla FG lywodraethu ar ei phen ei hun ond mae proffwydoliaeth yr Irish Polling Report yn dangos mae 74 o seddau mae FG yn debyg o'i hennill o'r arolygon barn diweddara sydd ddim yn ddigon.

Amser a ddel!

Monday, 21 February 2011

Re-structure of the North Wales Police.

I understand that North Wales Police have decided on their new command structure to be introduced in May to support the ten new districts and however many response hubs there will be. To be fair to NWP they have consulted on the new districts and response hubs...with Councillors at least; not too sure of the rest of the public who will pay 4% in Band D precept this year.

One thing that NWP have not consulted upon or even discussed with anyone is the new Command structure, where the old geographical Basic Command Units coterminous with local authority areas will disappear to be replaced with a 'functional command model' based forcewide. What this means in effect is that the Chief Superintendents and Superintendents locally based will now be based at the centre but will have specific forcewide responsibility. For example Superintendent Neill Anderson currently Divisional Commander in Eastern Division with responsibility for Flintshire and Wrecsam will leave to take 'functional command' of Public Protection Units across the force. This will mean that any serious child protection matter which is currently being dealt with locally by the Detective Chief Inspector will soon be dealt with by Mr Anderson in Colwyn Bay or St Asaph, who has not only got responsibility for Wrecsam, but the five other local authorities as well.

This will mean less LOCAL accountability and will make partnership working difficult to manage because of the sheer size and bureaucracies of partnerships and subsequently relations between public services will suffer.

This is yet another centralisation that has been allowed to happen right under the noses of the Tory led coalition in Westminster, where were Guto Bebb and David Jones?

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Y diweddara o Etholiad Iwerddon.

Pump diwrnod i fynd tan etholiad Iwerddon a dyma be mae'r arolwg barn diweddara gan Sunday Independent/Millward Brown yn ei ddatgan:

Fine Gael: 37%(-1%)
Llafur: 20%(-3%)
Fianna Fáil: 16%(+4%)
Sinn Féin: 12%(+2)
Y Blaid Werdd: 1%(dim newid)
Annibynnol: 14%(-2%)

Er cymaint mae Fine Gael a Llafur yn lladd ar ei gilydd y tebygrwydd ydy y bydd y ddwy blaid yma yn ffurfio clymblaid ar ol dydd Gwener nesa. Y cwestiwn mawr ydy, faint o grasfa geith Fianna Fáil a faint o seddau gawn nhw yn y Dáil Éireann newydd. Mae hi'n edrych yn debyg fel fydd y Gwyrddion fel partner FF yn y glymblaid ddiweddara hefyd yn mynd i gael crasfa yn ennill dim ond un neu ddau y cant o'r bleidlais ac yn debyg o golli pob sedd ond un. Ar hyn o bryd mae hi'n edrych fel fydd ymgeiswyr annibynnol yn ennill cymaint a 15 i 18 o seddau ond dydy hi ddim yn edrych fel y byddent yn dal y balans fel sydd wedi digwydd yn y gorffennol.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Cutting their nose to spite their face!

I've never understood the rationale of Labour supporters voting No in the March 3rd Referendum. Whatever happens after the Assembly Elections on the 5th May, the opinion polls suggest that Labour will be the largest party in the Assembly and will form a government either on their own or in coalition. Whatever form it will take, a Yes vote will make it a lot quicker and less bureaucratic to legislate so one would have expected grass roots Labour to overwhelmingly support a Yes vote.

So why do Labour vote No? I can't answer for the rest of Wales but a Labour 'insider'in Wrecsam have told us that the four Labour Councillors who attended the infamous No launch are voting No because of their 'hatred' of Plaid Cymru whom they perceive as leading the Yes campaign.

This is supported by an article in the Daily Post on the 9th February, where it says (quote):
A statement signed by Ted George, Paul Blackwell, Neil Rogers and Mike Williams said, "We believe that Labour's decision to accept a demand from Plaid Cymru a referendum on increased law making powers as a condition of forming the coalition in 2007 was wrong. We are convinced that Plaid's motive for this was to drive forward its agenda on independence for Wales, a potentially disastrous for the economy of this great nation if it ever came about."

I wonder what's changed since November's Full Council when two of these Labour Councillors supported the Plaid Cymru motion to back a Yes vote?

It seems that the only reason that these four Councillors support a No vote is that they are putting narrow partisan interests before the interests of the people of Wales who deserve a more efficient system of governance. They are cutting their noses to spite their faces.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

There's something about Wrexham FC...


... that attracts some of the most unpleasant businessmen to try to run it.

The likes of Hamilton and Guterman are well known, as is Andy Smith (who tried to sell plots of swampland to householders). The news that Stevie Vaughan, a convicted fraudster and the man who took Chester City FC to the brink of extinction, was behind a recent bid was another bleak moment.

Now we have Steve Cleeve, who has the good grace to look like a pantomime villain as well. He was at the Crawley game sitting between Ian Roberts and Geoff Moss, the current owners, in the director's box on Tuesday night, as this excellent piece of investigative journalism reveals.

His murky business past deserves full exposure.
He was banned from being a company director for eight years in 2000 for his part in a £60m whisky investment fraud. The BBC has exposed his company in 2006 for trying to sell plots of land with no planning permission for potential housebuilders. The man is so unpopular that even UKIP, the home for political fruitcakes, kicked him out.
The man also has a similar track record in Australia, where attacked an investigative journalist who exposed him (see 2:24 on this TV programme).

No-one with Wrexham FC's interest at heart would entertain this man in the director's box. Wrexham fans have done their due diligence in exposing his murky past, isn't it about time the current owners did the same?
The sooner the Racecourse and football club is out of the reaches of predators like this, the better. We urgently need a community-run club that can get behind Dean Saunders and the team to win promotion.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Dyfodol y Wyddeleg

Mae'n drist gweld pleidiau gwleidyddol Iwerddon yn defnyddio yr iaith Wyddeleg fel arf wleidyddol i guro'i hunain hefo o flaen etholiad gyffredinol. Dyna be mae y blaid geidwadol Wyddelig, Fine Gael yn ei neud drwy ddatgan eu bod am ddileu y Wyddeleg fel pwnc gorfodol i'r myfyrwyr sydd yn astudio am y cymhwyster, 'Leaving Certificate' mewn ysgolion. Mae y penderfyniad yma wedi codi dipyn o stwr gyda cannoedd o fyfyrwyr yn protestio tu allan i bencadlys Fine Gael yn Dulyn yn ddiweddar. Hefyd mae Sinn Fein, fel y disgwyl wedi dod allan yn gadarnhaol dros y Wyddeleg ac yn feirniadol iawn o bolisi Fine Gael.

Mae na wers yma i ni yng Nghymru; dim bwys be ydy ein sefyllfa wleidyddol ni - annibynniaeth neu fwy o ddatganoli neu aros yn ein hunfan, tydi brwydr yr iaith ddim wedi ei hennill ac mae angen dal ati i hyrwyddo ac ymladd dros yr iaith ymhob maes o fywyd yng Nghymru.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Voltaire

Now I'm no great philosopher but I do like my quotes, especially political ones. At today's Executive Board I recalled this particular quote by Voltaire:
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it.

This quote was particularly relevant to the subject under discussion, which was approval of a 'new protocol' for use of Queens Square and Llwyn Isaf in Wrecsam which is owned by Wrecsam CBC and is a common location for political parties, pressure groups and activists to gather and listen to speeches or otherwise convey their views (Wrecsam's Hyde Park Corner!!). The protocol consists of a long list of terms and conditions amongst which are:
Events will not be permitted which in the OPINION of the Town Centre Manager, promote political parties, groups, organisations or individuals or which are deemed to be political canvassing.

The background to these draconian illiberal conditions by a Liberal Democrat controlled coalition was to prevent gatherings by the WDL/EDL and the BNP and to prevent disorder. The argument being that the authority couldn't ban some political parties and not others which was fair enough; but one shouldn't ban legitimate, lawful groups and individuals from holding a political rally or protest just because a minority will cause disruption and behave in an offensive manner.

Anyone who gathers in a public place and causes disruption or offence should be dealt with under criminal law by the Police and not by Local Authorities. As for the EDL/WDL there is plenty of evidence that there is disruption and disorder wherever they go and Chief Constables and Council Chief Executives should apply for an order from the Home Secretary to prevent them marching and not 'protocols' such as this.

We should take care that we don't allow the minority to restict the rights of the people to free assembly and free speech. Fortunately a majority of the Executive Board voted to defer the matter for consideration by the Corporate Governance Scrutiny Committee.

After the behaviour of certain elected members preventing other Councillors from attending a 'public meeting' last week, one wonders where certain Councillors (who support this protocol) will stop at restricting the 'civil liberties' of others.

Direct Democracy!

As part of David Cameron's Big Society policy the Prime Minister advocates that petitions with over 100,000 names should be debated by Parliament. Perhaps before introducing a system of direct democracy into our parliamentary system Cameron should learn the lessons from the not so Golden State of California where Guy Adams warns us that, "...in the Golden States's decline into misery, there probably lies a lesson for us all."

This is what Adams had to say on the effect of direct democracy on the governance of the state of California:
California's greatest mistakes, however, came as a result of its obsession with "direct democracy". In rules designed to put citizens at the heart of government, small interest groups were allowed to create new laws by electoral "ballot measures". Any "proposition" that can attract the support of a few hundred thousand people prepared to sign a petition can then be put to voters in a referendum. If more than 50 per cent of them support it, that "proposition" becomes law.

In theory, this concept sounds empowering. In practice, it has in recent decades resulted in legislative chaos. Ballot papers on election day run to dozens of pages, with referendums on anything from gay marriage to drug legalisation. And dozens of measures, passed over the years by different generations of voters, have left State government paralysed, and unable to properly manage its finances.

Property tax, a mainstay of revenues, was frozen for many residents in the 1970s, as a result of one public vote. Income tax cannot be raised unless two-thirds of lawmakers agree thanks to another ballot measure, passed in the 1980s. A raft of further referendums endorsed by the people control California's spending to the extent that only a only a quarter of its entire budget is considered "discretionary". The rest is already earmarked for a particular cause. Endless business legislation has driven employers to greener pastures.

In this environment, the only way Governors of California can balance their financial books has, for decades, been via borrowing. As a result, even servicing the state's public debt now costs around 10 per cent of all its tax revenue. So in 2008, when a faltering global economy further decimated tax revenues, the already-teetering state was pushed to the brink of bankruptcy, and left unable to protect its most vulnerable citizens.

All of which should be mulled over by architects of Mr Cameron's Big Society. The British Prime Minister is fond of "direct democracy" and has touted plans for Parliament to debate petitions that receive more than 100,000 signatures. This no doubt sounds like a wonderful idea. But it is wrong to think it will produce better laws. California shows that, when an electorate is empowered to make everyday decisions, it tends to vote selfishly. People want low taxes, but expensive services. They vote emotively, and often bad laws. The Golden State may be many time zones from Westminster, and its sun-drenched beaches can feel like they belong to another planet.

So here we have it, another one of Cameron's 'big ideas' blown totally out of the water!

Monday, 14 February 2011

Cameron's Passionate Mission!

David Cameron has had to come out to defend his Big Society policy following criticism that it is vague and a cover for cuts. He did this in a speech to social entrepreneurs in London today. Rather than being a vague concept he's actually put some money towards the Big Society...£200 million in a Big Society Bank.

Mr Cameron's clarification of what the Big Society is about comes after a very effective demolition of the Big Society by Johann Hari in last Friday's Independent. It is worth reproducing Hari's comments on the Big Society in full:
The Big Society. It is unfair that people keep saying the idea of the Big Society is "incomprehensible" and "unclear." It's actually a clear proposition, articulated plainly by Cameron. It is the belief that as the state cuts back its services, volunteers will step in to provide those services for free. So you can stop paying the local librarians, or the local youth club, or the local museum, and local people will step in and run it themselves, for nothing. The state "crowds out" volunteers, and when it retreats, they come flooding back.

This is perfectly comprehensible. The only problem is that it doesn't match reality. To find out why, just look at the facts. The sociologist Amitai Etzioni conducted a major international study of volunteerism. He found that volunteering is highest where state funding is highest, and lowest where state funding is lowest. So high-tax Massachusetts has the most volunteers in the US, while low-tax Mississippi has the fewest. High-tax Sweden has the most volunteers in Europe, while low-tax Eastern Europe has the lowest. Far from "crowding out" volunteers, a big state attracts them, and a small state drives them away. Why? There are several reasons. A well-funded state can recruit, train and direct volunteers. And in a high-solidarity society, people are less panicked about losing their own jobs and more likely to trust their fellow citizens enough to want to give something back to them.

If Cameron had bothered to look, he would have known all this. If he had wanted to increase volunteerism, he would have increased the budget to promote and recruit volunteers. Instead, he all but shut it down when he came to power. This shows that the Big Society was always a rebranding trick – a way of making the biggest cuts to public spending since the 1920s sound upbeat. I'm not taking away your library, I'm empowering you to run it!

As I've said before, voluntary and third sector organisations cannot operate in a vacuum, they need an infrastructure and support, and that costs money...probably a lot more than £200 million.

Meet the silver spoon brigade

Tories auction off work experience placements at top City firms

It's so outrageous, it could be a Daily Star headline. Instead it's an expose in the Daily Mail of how the Tories have been auctioning off work experience - or internships to use the awful US jargon - placements at top City firms at their fundraising dinners.

Wealth Tories were paying up to £3,000 to buy their kids placements with hedge funds and other prestige City firms, with the money going to fund the Tory party. The auction took place at a dinner attended by Cameron and his wife.

Last week it was disclosed that more than half of the Tories’ £22.5 million donations last year came from City firms and bankers. When Mr Cameron became party leader in 2005, they supplied only a quarter of the party’s income.
The 900 Black and White Party guests paid a minimum £400 a head – £4,000 for a table for ten. It is believed the event raised £500,000 for the Conservative party.
Guests included Mr Cameron and his wife Samantha, Chancellor George Osborne, Tory treasurer Lord Fink and a host of City tycoons and socialites including Emma Pilkington, girlfriend of Carphone Warehouse boss David Ross, and Olympics fundraiser Helen Macintyre, who reportedly recently had a child by Boris Johnson.
Five lucrative City internships were auctioned off for £14,000.
They included Lot 4, a two-week internship at CMC Markets, offering an ‘incredible opportunity for a potential young trader to get an inside look at the world of international finance and online trading’.
It promised that ‘this much-sought- after experience will furnish the intern’s CV with a financial brand that is recognised the world over’. It went for £3,000.

We're all in it together? You're having a laugh.

UPDATE: This comment on the Daily Mail website summed it up:

We are told that the banks employ "the brightest and the best", when in fact they only employ the richest and the greediest. These rich morons probably teach their kids that no matter how bad you do at something, you should always expect a huge reward. That way, they fit straight into the banking sector.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Alex's War Chest

It was great to read in the Scotland on Sunday today, that Brian Souter the multi millionaire co-founder of Stagecoach is 'bankrolling' the SNP's Scottish Parliament campaign to the tune of half a million pounds. For every pound the SNP receives Mr Souter will match fund it up to £500,000. In a statement, Mr Souter said:
"I am offering to match the giving of other members and friends of the SNP pound for pound up to a total of £500,000.

"Alex Salmond and his team have run a professional administration at Holyrood for the last four years and freezing the council tax has benefited every Scottish family by more than £300 per year.

"Furthermore, they have delivered most of their promises despite being a minority government."

"I believe Alex deserves another kick of the ball and as we face challenging times we need the type of strong leadership he has demonstrated."

Scotland deserve another four years of Alex Salmond; and the election of the un-inspiring Iain Gray as First Minister would be an unmitigated disaster for the Scottish economy.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

A Labour council...

There are only two Labour-controlled councils left in Wales (out of 22) and both of those, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Neath Port Talbot, have managed to excel themselves when it comes to appalling treatment of their workforces.

Rhondda Cynon Taf issued redundancy notices to all 10,000 of their workers. Today, following the joint trade unions registering a dispute, the council announced it is not prepared to participate in mediation with the Joint Secretaries of the Welsh Local Government Association and the Trade Unions. This is unheard of and demonstrates that the council has no interest at all in any form of collective agreement.

A source from within the workforce said:
"The trade unions now have no alternative but to initiate a ballot for industrial action. Why a Labour council has chosen to go down this route in anybody's guess. Senior members of the Labour Party are not happy - it is thought that perhaps councillors do not realise what is going on!"

Unions will be organising a mass rally in Pontypridd against the cuts on Saturday, 19th February.

Abandoned: ex-squaddies in civvy street

Good to see Elfyn Llwyd, Plaid's MP for Meirionnydd Dwyfor, having a say on the scandal of ex-squaddies abandoned by the British establishment in a Panorama special on BBC1 tonight.
As one traumatised ex-soldier from Wales said: "It takes six months to train a civilian to be a soldier, but there's no time given to train a soldier to be a civilian."
Elfyn Llwyd has led a consistent campaign to highlight the impact that the MoD's policy of abandoning former soldiers has on our society. It's estimated that more than 1 in 10 of the prison population are ex-squaddies and many are among those sleeping rough on the streets and suffering from alcohol and substance misuse as well as PTSD.
There's one simple way to reduce the problem of PTSD and other mental health problems future squaddies will face when they're abandoned in civvy street - that's to get them out of Afghanistan as soon as possible and to stop engaging in illegal or unwinnable wars.
Welsh troops make up 11% of the British Army - more than double the proportion of our population. Wales consequently carries a greater burden of returning ex-servicemen struggling to find homes, jobs and deal with the trauma of war.
Elfyn Llwyd is highlighting a very real problem that exists both for the individuals affected, their families and our wider society.

Getting the message out - Yes for Wales


Mae'n dechrau poethi efo'r ymgyrch refferendwm ac mae angen eich help chi i ddosbarthu papur newydd i bob ty yn y sir.

Os gallwch helpu ddosbarthu rhai yn eich stryt, eich ardal neu'ch pentre, e-bostiwch marcvjones [at] gmail.com.

Now to the serious work of getting the real message out to the people of Wrecsam - volunteers are needed to get these newspapers to every home in the county.

If you can help deliver some in your street, your neighbourhood or your village please e-mail marcvjones [at] gmail.com

How does this work?

At the launch of the No campaign at Wrecsam yesterday, Tory Councillor Paul Rogers for Brymbo and wannabee Conservative AM for Clwyd South was quoted in the Leader as saying,
"I will be voting No. I believe in devolution but real devolution in local communities and councils."

Now I don't know if anyone else follows the gist of the argument but it seems to go something like, 'We can only have real devolution locally if we stop real devolution nationally.'

Now how exactly does that work? Can I suggest this as a hypothetical example:
The Welsh Assembly desires to pass responsibility for a certain service onto Local Authorities in Wales (as they do on a regular basis). Although they already have devolved responsibility for the subject matter, the particular detail needs 'mother's' consent. The National assembly frame the Legislative Competency Order and agree it, they then send it to Westminster for the Commons, the Lords and the Queen to have a look at it. Three years later they send it back to the Assembly with a 'pat on the head' for being so patient. Then it becomes law and local authorities implement it.

Is that what Paul Rogers calls 'real devolution.'? Justice delayed is justice denied.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

The Tories drop their guard!

Rank and file Tories always claim that their opposition to more powers for the Assembly and their support for a No vote is based on genuine concern about good governance in Wales and that what they see as an incompetent government shouldn't be given further powers.

Unfortunately for them a prominent Clwyd South Conservative, John Broughton has let his guard drop and in a Twitter comment praising Jonathan Morgan AM's blog on 'localism' said:
@grahnat: Good article by J Morgan on localism. But it won't happen via a yes vote 'cos we aint in charge. Vote No 03/03 http://tinyurl.com/66vcte6

What does 'cos we ain't in charge' mean? To me it means that if the Tories were in a position to form a government after May's Assembly elections they would be happy for extra powers but because they are unlikey of being part of the next government they intend to vote No to stop a Labour or a Labour Plaid Cymru government from governing effectively.

But what I find absolutely ironic about all of this is that the title of Jonathan Morgan's blog is (wait for it) "Trust people to manage their affairs"... can you believe it?

The grass root Tory opposition to a Yes vote is based on rank hypocrisy and sacrificing good governance in favour of political point scoring.

What a No vote really means!

Carwyn Jones sums up what a No vote really means and he expresses it as a rugby analogy:
Carwyn says current system (of government) is like Warren Gatland having to get Martin Johnson's permission to select the Welsh squad.

Brilliant analogy! Vote Yes Yes Yes on the 3rd March.

How No can you go?


It wasn't quite the Dirty Dozen. But 11 rather sheepish Wrecsam councillors tramped into the Memorial Hall to launch the local "No" campaign at an open meeting at 1pm today.
Except it wasn't open. No, that was a mistake by the Leader. It was private.
The definition of private, it seems, is anyone who may not support their views. So a prominent local lawyer found himself excluded along with other councillors and members of the public. A strangely defensive way to launch a "no" campaign, no?
Cllr Phil Wynn, who is spearheading this elite campaign force, has claimed that 20 councillors are supporting his campaign. The others must be even more camera shy and less confident of their views than the ones who attended. Behind closed doors, the meeting descended into more paranoid rantings about Plaid's agenda (OK, OK, we admit it - the dragon statue is just the first step to complete world domination).
For the record, the councillors attending comprised of three Tories, three Labour, two Liberal Democrats and three independents. At least two of these voted "yes" in a recent full council debate on the matter, so perhaps they can explain their change of heart to their voters.

UPDATE: Today's Daily Post notes that a fourth Labour councillor has backed the No campaign. Cllr Paul Blackwell (Plas Madoc) at least had the decency to vote consistently in the full council debate on the matter in December, unlike two of his colleagues.

Pictured, from left, are Cllrs Hugh Jones, Paul Rogers, Bob Dutton, Mike Williams*, Phil Wynn, Malcolm Williams and Ted George.
Cllr Williams requested that we did not show his image.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Dragon project gets approval


Tonight's planning committee approved the Dragon project at Chirk, after long deliberation and some concerns at the traffic problems on the A483 roundabout nearby, the business plan and the look of the actual dragon.
Some councillors raised genuine concerns about the project, as they had done last month, but the 10-5 in favour of the project was a clear mandate.
This project has had to overcome many hurdles - and rightly so because it will be a huge legacy. However, I feel we set the bar higher on this project than on - say - a fast-food takeway or a supermarket because councillors and officers were nervous about the "white elephant" (to mix animal metaphors) syndrome.
The scale of the dragon is pretty epic and needs to be if it is to make an impact similar to the Angel of the North. Sceptics who say it is not as iconic as that public artwork were probably matched by councillors in Newcastle who would have moaned that the statue was ugly, would rust and be an eyesore. Within a decade it has become an icon for the north-east of England and rightly so.
One pernickity councillor warned us against being carried away on a tide of national identity (aka nationalism). I think that was the last thing on most councillors' minds, with an unholy alliance of Labour and Tory councillors opposing for a variety of reasons.
One Labour councillor opposed on the grounds that the dragon wouldn't be red. It won't. It will be a burnished bronze that will be tempered by the weather - do we have to be so literal in our understanding?
The dragon, situated at the gateway to a series of emerging and established attractions in the north-east, has the same potential. It will stand proud and will be a fantastic symbol right on the border.
As well as attracting tourists from outside Wales, it will also be popular with people from within Wales.
Tonight was a vote of confidence rather than a vote of timidity.

Effective Scrutiny.

One of the arguments that campaigners are putting forward in support of a No vote is the fact that the Welsh Assembly Government would be able to make laws without effective scrutiny because the National Assembly of Wales unicameral (only has one house) whereby the Westminster Parliament is bicameral and if the Commons passes a bad law it will be blocked by the Lords.

I would question that if bicameral legislatures are such effective scrutineers of Parliament, then how did Tony Blair succeed in taking us to war without effective scrutiny of EITHER house.

This is yet again another misleading statement by Welsh apologists like Phil Wynn (up and coming North East Wales spokesman for True Wales) as the Scottish Parliament and the North of Ireland Assembly both only have unicameral houses and seem to legislate quite successfully.

We even have a situation in Éire whereby the three main political parties, Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour all propose the abolition of Seanad Éireann, the upper house of the Oireachtas (Irish Parliament) leaving all decisions to the directly elected 166 members of the Dáil Éireann. If its good enough for a mature democracy like Ireland its most certainly good enough for a fledgling democracy such as the National Assembly for Wales.

The people of Wales must be trusted to make their own laws in the twenty devolved areas and these self defeating apologists must not be allowed to get away with their blatant lies.

Community fields campaigner says 'Yes for Wales'


A well-known campaigner for playing fields in Wales has joined the growing ranks of the "Yes for Wales" campaign.

Lynne Hayes, of Herbert Jennings Avenue, Acton, Wrexham, was the founder of the Save Open Spaces campaign after seeing a school playing field in her neighbourhood sold for housing more than a decade ago.

She said:
"I have campaigned for over 10 years to save playing fields and I'm pleased to note that Wales leads the way when it comes to playing field protection.

"Dai Lloyd, Plaid Cymru AM, introduced a Measure on the selling off of playing fields. It placed a duty on local authorities to consider the impact that selling any playing fields could have on the communities around them before proceeding with a sale.

"This means that local residents, sports clubs etc all have their say in the consultation process. This is a great leap forward"


She added that the Assembly then went a stage further in defending public playing fields:
"That's thanks to Assembly Member Lisa Francis's measure, which ensures that any proposed sell-off of playing fields as small as a junior football pitch has to be approved by the Sports Council for Wales. In England only sell-offs of adult pitches have to be approved, so her measure will save smaller playing fields. It will also ensure that Wales has an accurate record of our playing field losses."

She said she was supporting law-making powers for the Assembly because there was so much work to be done in the planning area:
"The Assembly has responded to pressure from communities across Wales. However, there are loopholes in Planning Policy Wales that allow councils to sell off parts of playing fields even though a particular community may have a huge deficit in playing field provision. This has to stop and the loopholes must be closed. I am hoping that a 'yes' vote from the people of Wales will allow our planning policies to be changed and strengthened so that we can protect our playing fields for both present and future generations.

"Once a playing field has gone, it has gone forever and we must not lose sight of this fact.

"Once Wales can make its own laws, I intend to visit the Welsh Assembly to lobby our AMs to bring about the changes that are so desperately needed to protect our playing fields forever."


More on Save Open Spaces here

Sunday, 6 February 2011

No campaign's lies

The "No" campaign will launch in Wrecsam on Tuesday and, if the following frothing-at-the-mouth press release is anything to go by, it will be an interesting meeting.
One councillor in particular has been very busy trying to get fellow councillors to sign up to this hysterical attack on the Plaid group. We didn't realise we'd upset him so much!
The councillor in question, Cllr Phil Wynn, did not attend the recent full council meeting at which Wrecsam councillors voted 34-7 in favour of supporting a yes vote.
Is Cllr Wynn by any chance related to the Cllr Wynn who expects the Welsh Government to provide money for the purchase of the Racecourse?

Press Release

As citizens of the county of Wrexham we wish to outline to the people of Wrexham ours reasons why we personally be voting "No" in the forth-coming Welsh referendum on the 3rd March 2011:

1. The professional politicians of Wales, who are all publicly backing the "Yes" campaign, have yet to demonstrate how Welsh legislation emanating from the Welsh Assembly will be scrutinised effectively.

2. We fear that allowing the Welsh Assembly Government to pass primary legislation will result in fast-tracking of Welsh legislation, ultimately resulting in the introduction of poor laws, which will impact negatively on the lives of the people of Wrexham.

3. Whilst we agree that the current method of referring Welsh legislation to the Houses of Parliament for ratification is cumbersome, no alternative method of scrutiny has been advanced, other than the Welsh Assembly Government grasping more power for itself.

4. None of our Assembly Members are explaining the consequences that are likely to follow a successful "Yes" campaign i.e. The Richard Commission’s Report advances the argument for twenty additional AMs, the civil servants that support them and tax raising powers for the WAG. Talking about our nation being on a journey allows the professional Welsh politicians to deny the electorate a view of the final destination they are taking us all to.

5. Whilst Baron [Dafydd] Wigley of Caernarfon [at the launch of the Wrexham "Yes" campaign] stated that a "Yes" vote is a vote of confidence in Wales, we believe that a "Yes" vote is really about providing the Welsh Assembly with a vote of confidence, which at this moment in time we are not prepared to give. The South Wales-centric political apparatus has done little to dispel the genuine concerns of North Walians ,that we are a South Walian after-thought.

6. The Welsh Assembly, since its inception in 1999, has failed to engage the Welsh people's interest in our fledgling democracy. Whilst 65% of the Welsh electorate are motivated to vote in General elections, sadly only 44% of the Welsh electorate have ever voted in the 1999, 2003 and 2007 Welsh Assembly elections. We argue that the Welsh Assembly ought to focus on better engagement with the Welsh electorate, in particular here in Wrexham.

7. The economic well-being of the residents of Wrexham is closely linked to our ability to trade freely with our neighbouring Welsh counties to the west and English counties and cities to the east. The attitude of the Nationalists in Wrexham is one of automatic challenge to any joint initiatives that Wrexham County Borough Council enter into with its English counter-parts. Moreover, our Welsh Assembly Government Ministers seem solely focused on transport links north-south within Wales, rather than east-west between north Wales and the north-west of England.

8. Peter Hain [Shadow Welsh Secretary] has confirmed that the Welsh referendum is being held in March at the insistence of Plaid Cymru, inevitably resulting in a poor turnout and thereby weakening the legitimacy of the referendum . The referendum ought to have been held on 5th May 2011, at little additional cost to the taxpayer, alongside the Welsh Assembly election, thereby ensuring an electoral turnout of closer to 50%.

9. A "Yes" outcome in the referendum will feed the Welsh Nationalists’ agenda in Wrexham to deliver an independent state of Wales and our departure from the Union, the consequences of which will be economic suicide for the people of Wrexham.

Our wish is to see Wales better governed and s of the people of north Wales and Wrexham at the Welsh Assembly. A "Yes" vote means more of the same, whereas your "No" vote will send a clear message to our professional politicians in Cardiff Bay that we want a better deal for the people of Wrexham and an unequivocal rejection of the Nationalists’ agenda of an Independent Wales.
Whatever the outcome of the referndum vote in Wrexham we hope that the voters turn out in numbers, so as to give legitamacy to the result.

Signatories:
Cllr Phil Wynn

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Careful what you wish for!

Since the start of the demonstrations in Egypt many people who I follow on Twitter praise the bravery of those ordinary Egyptians who have gathered in support of freedom and democratic government in Egypt. There is nothing more noble than democracy but it's always at the back of my mind to be careful what you wish for. Egypt may well elect a democratic government and it may improve the lot of the Egyptian people, or, on the other hand it may not, Egypt may well end up the same as Iran.

I tend to agree with Julie Birchill in her column in the Independent last Thursday, "Armchair revolutionaries: be careful what you wish for in the Middle East," where she says,
It would be wonderful to think that what replaces Mubarak will be better. But here's the thing about Middle Eastern regimes: they're all vile. The ones that are "friendly" are vile and the ones that hate us are vile. Revolutions in the region have a habit of going horribly wrong, and this may well have something to do with the fact that Islam and democracy appear to find it difficult to co-exist for long.

Julie concludes by saying,
"Don't let's allow the vicarious thrills we are currently getting from the events unfolding in Egypt to blind us to the effects of what happens in the Muslim world when revolutions go wrong."

Perhaps in uncertain times such as these it's better, "the devil we know."

The General Election in Ireland.

The General Election in Ireland on the 25th February 2011, seems set to make history with Ireland's largest party Fianna Fáil heading for its heaviest defeat since 1927 and the centre right party Fine Gael heading for it's highest proportion of votes, again since 1927. It seems likely that the new Dáil Éireann, will be formed by a coalition of Fine Gael and Labour with the Leader of Fine Gael, Enda Kenny as the new Taoisiach. The last time Fine Gael led a coalition government was the 27th Dáil Éireann from 1994 to 1997, and in fact Fine Gael have only formed six of the 22 Dail's since 1937. The most recent opinion polls show Fianna Fáil on about 16% support, Labour on 24% and Fine Gael on 35% with Sinn Fein just behind Fianna Fáil.

For more information on the Irish General Election go here.

Last line of defence!

This is the heading for an article written for the Guardian by Helen Grant MP, Conservative MP for Maidstone and the Waeld. Helen is a Legal Aid Solicitor; and she expresses concern at her Government's intention to cut a third off the £2 billion Legal Aid budget stating that
"Legal Aid is the only shield in the armoury for the vulnerable. Without it, justice will be eroded."

This article is quite a damning indictement of the coalition government's intention to reduce the Legal Aid budget whilst demand for services continues to rise. This isn't just about reducing Legal Aid for court work but Legal Aid also funds advice centres like Citizens Advice Bureaux's who receive a significant chunks of their funding via the Legal Services Commission to provide debt advice and representation in Court...all this will go if this green paper does what it proposes. Helen Grant goes on to say:
My firm continues to work in partnership with citizens advice bureaux, law centres, not-for-profit (NFP) organisations and charities in the south-east, and I remain in personal contact with many of them. They tell me that the predicted increase in volume and complexity of cases will be both unmanageable and unsustainable, even under existing funding arrangements. This will only be exacerbated by the forthcoming reductions in their own legal aid funding and other cuts in revenue from local authorities, charitable donations and central government grants.

These proposals could be the straw that breaks the camel's back, effectively dismantling an established infrastructure which achieves an amazing amount with very little. What a waste. NFP doesn't mean: "No funds, please" – they need cash just to stand still, let alone absorb the fallout from the legal sector.

Over the last three decades the distance between the haves and have- nots has increased, and our society has weakened due to the demise of the family unit and the rise of the benefits culture. These are ailments that will take some time to cure; but to stem the flow of legal aid while we are in such a critical condition, amid a stifling recession, could prove devastating.

Local Authorities need to be aware of the crisis that is being created nationally when making funding decisions on third sector and voluntary organisations. This is not happening at the moment which was evidenced by Birmingham City Council's decision to cut £600,000 from Citizens Advice service and Wrecsam CBC's decision to cease funding Shelter Cymru for providing specialised housing advice. These are 'double whammy's' that we could well do without and we need some 'joined up thinking' between national and local government on how these organisations are funded.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Noson gymdeithasol y refferendwm / Referendum results night social


Pass the parcel: London parties playing politics with the Post Office

Letter in today's Leader:

The latest threat to our post office network from the planned privatisation of the Royal Mail by the Tory-Lib Dem coalition has revived some of the usual tit-for-tat name calling that passes for politics among the main parties.

The Tories believe that Labour are being hypocritical in their condemnation when so many post offices were closed during the last government's term. Quite right - who could forget the loud protests from our local MPs while their own government was wielding the axe.

But for the Tories to cry foul is equally hypocritical. What will Paul Rogers and John Bell do to oppose the Royal Mail sell-off, which unions and industry analysts alike believe will result in the closure of more post offices? The National Federation of Sub-Postmasters fears that the privatisation will weaken the post office network as a standalone organisation, making it impossible for many smaller post offices to stay open.

There is a whiff of hypocrisy about both parties, as they try to blame each other for destroying a vital community facility.

There is another way. One that revives and revitalises the post office as a community bank, as a people's bank. We as taxpayers have thrown billions at the banks and seen them spend large chunks of that money on bonuses rather than helping to stimulate the economy. By contrast, a People's Bank that provided loans to small businesses and first-time buyers to get on the housing ladder would make a positive impact on our communities.

People deserve answers to the problems they face rather than name calling and finger pointing from the big London parties.


Marc Jones

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Why society benefits from an end to illiteracy

I really like this latest aspiration from Plaid Cymru - to make sure no child leaves primary school unable to read or write.

It will take additional investment but in the long run it will more than pay for itself as those children are able to contribute to secondary school more fully. Not only that, but studies have shown that half the juvenile prison population is functionally illiterate - the cost to society of illiteracy is huge.

The same article estimates that it costs £40,000 a year to keep a prisoner in jail. Investing in those early years and ensuring that children are able to participate fully in school would be a real step forward.

PLAID CALLS FOR ILLITERACY TO BE TACKLED HEAD ON
Plaid Cymru’s education spokesperson speaking in a Welsh government debate on literacy in Wales has said that poor standards of literacy and numeracy in Wales have to be tackled head on. Referring to Plaid Cymru’s recently announced proposals for tackling illiteracy, Ms Evans said that no child should aim to leave primary school unable to read or write. On Monday, Plaid Cymru launched its policy proposals for eradicating illiteracy for children leaving primary school by 2020. Nerys Evans said that recent reports have shown that the current education system is failing children and is in need of a radical action and leadership.
The Plaid Cymru Education spokesperson was also highly critical of Tory plans for education in Wales and their proposals to slash funding for schools in Wales. She said that their plans to cut the education budget by up to a fifth would make an already worrying situation far worse.
Plaid Cymru Education spokesperson, Nerys Evans AM said:

“Plaid Cymru wants to create an environment where every child has the opportunity to achieve their full potential and that means a radical overhaul of the education system. Our children are being let down as things stand and that is simply not acceptable. In light of the dismaying recent reports and results it is clear that we need radical action and leadership on this matter.

“Instead of asking why a child is failing, we need to ask why the teaching method is failing the child. Where this is happening we need to look at alternative teaching methods and that is why Plaid is proposing the introduction of techniques such as synthetic phonics.

“Standards of literacy impact on society and the economy as a whole and education must be prioritised as an issue. It is vital that education is properly funded by government and that’s why the Tories innumerate proposals to slash education funding are so shocking. Under their plans each school would see their budget cut by at least £40,000, this would have devastating consequences for pupils.

“It is also just as important that the teaching methods employed are fit for purpose. That is why Plaid is calling for a root and branch review to be carried out on our education system. We want to have the structures and systems in place to ensure that the education that our children are getting is the best that it can possibly be.”

Do the Tories want an elected mayor for Wrecsam?

I only ask the question because the Tory Assembly candidate for Wrecsam Dr John Marek organised a meeting at the Memorial Hall today. Only six people turned up to discuss his proposal for an elected mayor for Wrecsam, who would have direct powers on spending the council's budget.
Of those who turned up, four were - to be polite - hostile to the idea and certainly not supporters of Dr Marek or the Tories.
It seems Dr Marek is struggling to get his own party's faithful out to back his campaign.

Wrexham mini-referendum says 'No' to city status

Nine out of 10 people who voted in a mini-referendum on Wrexham having city status were against the idea.

The survey, carried out by Plaid Cymru councillors and their supporters earlier this week, found that 87% of people voted "no" to city status. In just an hour and a half, the street survey had the opinions of almost 400 people in a mini referendum held in Wrecsam town centre on Monday. For the organisers this came as no surprise.

Plaid Cymru councillor for Whitegate Marc Jones said:
"The council is asking people to take part in an online survey on this matter, but that won't reach everyone. So we wanted to find out what people on the street thought.

"Having listened to people in my ward over the past few weeks, this is no shock result. The only surprise was the margin of the 'no' vote.

"This mini-referendum only reaffirms what a recent newspaper poll demonstrated, that the majority of people in Wrexham are against the council putting in a bid at a cost of £20,000. What was interesting about the mini-referendum was the strength of feeling against city status.

"Many people were passionate that Wrexham is their town and that it should remain a town. I think the success of our mini-referendum also goes to show that genuine consultation does not have to cost a penny and can be very effective, providing the will is there to do it. We simply asked people to fill in a survey with their name and address and to list a yes or no view. We will now ensure the results are passed to the council."


Queensway councillor Carrie Harper, who was also involved in the street poll, added:
"Unlike the council's online survey, which has a blatant city status message, we did not push an argument one way or the other and simply asked people what they thought. They were very quick to tell us in their hundreds that it was a definite no.

"Many expressed conerns that the council would simply ignore their views and go ahead anyway. If that were to happen I do not think it would be a very wise move at all. Council leader Aled Roberts had said this decision would be made according to local opinion and we will certainly be arguing that they should stick to that promise."