Friday, 30 May 2014

Wrecsam prison to be built by multinational Tory donor

The Australian multinational firm selected by the Tory-Lib Dem coalition to build the new prison in Wrecsam is a donor to Tory party events.

 The company, Lend Lease, also has a chequered past. It admitted to overbilling public bodies in the USA on a huge scheme in New York and was forced to pay $56m in fines.

 Lend Lease was awarded the £151m contract to build the UK's largest prison in Wrecsam by the Ministry of Justice. The company plans to spend just £30m of that on local firms and it now appears that "local" is a 50-mile radius that includes Liverpool and Manchester.

 Plaid Cymru's justice spokesperson Elfyn Llwyd MP said:
"I have, from the very beginning, opposed the titan prison at Wrexham on two main grounds."Firstly, it will do nothing to rehabilitate prisoners and therefore will end up as merely a revolving door."In addition, it will mean that it is almost three times the size required for servicing Welsh needs from north and mid Wales."Obviously other prisoners will be brought in and those in turn will be distanced further from their families."I have also argued against on economic grounds. I would take the figure of a thousand jobs with a large pinch of salt and I cannot understand why it is not possible to keep building jobs virtually all local when so many people are looking for work." 

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Pressure is on Wrexham Council over the cost of the Mayor.

The Mayor making ceremony on Tuesday night has increased the furore locally over the £138,000 cost of the Mayoralty in Wrexham. Plaid Cymru Councillors have been in the forefront of a campaign to abolish the Mayor in its entirety and to replace him/her with a Chair of Council so as to bring Wrexham in line with the other five North Wales Authorities and to save money. This campaign is gaining momentum and there is widespread criticism on Social Media at Labour's defensive attempts at justification of the cost or as the Deputy Mayor, Cllr Barbara Roxburgh said,
I am a traditionalist and I think it is one of the traditions that keeps the county borough together. I have lived in Wrexham all my life, I was born here and schooled here and I respect greatly the role of the Mayor. I feel honoured to be named Deputy Mayor. I take umbrage at people saying it costs this and that. It is damn good value and it doesn't really cost that much in the scheme of things. People don't see the time it takes and the effort that goes into it. 
The Leader of the Council, Neil Rogers in his justification can only repeat himself for the umpteenth time:
I have also challenged members several times over the last 12 months to submit a motion to council to debate the questions they have raised about the mayoralty but to date they have refused to do so. 
In fact that end bit in bold is quite misleading and I wrote the following letter to the Leader to correct it:
Dear Editor, 
I would be grateful if you would allow me to correct a comment in your article 'Mayoral role defended...etc' Leader, May 19th. For the umpteenth time Council Leader Neil Rogers says he's challenged members to bring a motion relating to the Mayor and said that members have refused to do so. Neil Rogers knows that is misleading; The Opposition Groups on Wrexham Council moved a motion to amend the budget and included in that amendment motion was a proposal to reduce the Mayoral budget by £50,000. The Labour/Tory coalition that purports to run Wrexham Council rejected that proposal. 
What we need is a 'grass roots referendum' to show the coalition how out of touch they are with public opinion in Wrexham 
Regards, 
Arfon Jones. 
Unsurprisingly the Leader have not published the letter as it seems they may going through sort of self imposed Purdah.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

When is a disqualification not a disqualification?

Just over 12 months ago, Mike Whitby a BNP activist and ex Community Councillor from Wrecsam was disqualified for 5 years from becoming a member of any County Council or other relevant authority within the meaning of the Local Government Act 2000. Mr Whitby had been found by the Adjudication Panel for Wales to have breached the Members Code of Conduct whilst a member of Coedpoeth Community Council, by bringing the council into disrepute.

This disqualification has however not prevented Mr Whitby from becoming the lead candidate for the BNP in Wales at the forthcoming European election. This is an absurd situation but is one that is permitted as the Electoral Commission's Guidance for Candidates and Agents clearly shows.

Personally, I believe that anyone (not just Whitby), who is disqualified from any election at whatever level and that includes Assembly, Westminster and Europe, should be disqualified from ALL elections.

Perhaps we need to campaign to amend the Local Government Act 2000, to extend disqualification to all elections. Anomalies or loopholes such as this does nothing to enhance the reputation and credibility of our legislatures.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Do you believe Labour?

Letter to the Daily Post


Dear Editor,

In launching Welsh Labour's manifesto for the European Elections (Post, 2nd May), their lead candidate Derek Vaughan claims to want to protect 190,000 Welsh jobs directly linked to EU trade, which if true is a commendable aim.

However, what Mr Vaughan doesn't tell the Welsh electorate in his manifesto is that he and his Labour Party also support a secretive trade deal between Europe and the US which will lead to a, 'prolonged and substantial' threat to jobs.

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is the 'elephant in the room' for Labour and a vote for them is a vote against workers rights and social justice which is why they are rightly known as Red Tories.
Regards,

Councillor Arfon Jones.