Wednesday, November 17, 2010

It's still all about the Will..

Ok a royal wedding next year? Yup we've got it thanks for the coverage, can we now move on?
Seriously there was major flooding in Cornwall, Ireland is about to bring the eurozone to its knees, oh and Wales and Scotland are announcing their new budgets for the next three years...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

It's all about the Will...

Sadly not a wry reference to the upcoming Green Lantern film, but more a passing comment to the excitement that has been generated by the fact that Prince William and Kate Middleton are marrying next year and settling in Wales.

It must seem like Xmas and birthday combination for the Western Mail; but really who cares? Personally I think there should be an X-Factor type vote as to where they should live, although the moon is awfully far away...

Swansea Council considering the unthinkable?

Swansea Council have put their head above the parapet and are potentially opening the door to private companies to run vital services for the most vulnerable people across Swansea.

Priviatisation by the back door is how Andrew Davies AM is defining it. The Conservatives in WAG are clearly defining their position, money is tight, the Labour led coalition has asked Councils to think the unthinkable, when they do they slammed by the very members who asking them in the first place.

Betsan's Blog
Has a more sardonic view to this debate.

My original home Sandwell has been floating the idea for months of a social enterprise model for social services - one I might add that was abandoned almost as quickly as it was conceived but Swansea council are taking things a step further and through a series of nudges and winks that would make any codebreaker confused, are testing the water ona potential sell off.

What is not being alluded to however, is the reason that Swansea is the first local authority to actually consider this as an option.
The reason is simply; the Council have mismanaged their finances and services to such an extent that (I repeat the leader Chris Holley's assertion) the Council is broke!

The waste of money between 2004 -2007 was and still is staggering. Tens of millions wasted on a failed IT project, a new road network that no one wanted and so on.
Swansea were the first Council to make a real cuts within the education sector -a full year before most local authorities even considered the idea.

Let's be charitable; some of this was down to inexperience. A lack of understanding of basic economics also was an early problem for the Lib-Dem led coalition in Swansea. However that cannot excuse the failure to address some of the core problems at the heart of Swansea and the incessant whining 'that it's not our fault', 'we blame the Assembly', 'we blame central government' (although strangely the latter has abated of late) is tiresome at best.

It's easy now to get on the bandwaggon that everyone is facing cuts, they are. Swansea however is starting from a distinct disadvantage, we spent more than we had in the good times, maxed out the credit card to such an extent that when the bad times hit and we were facing real and undeniable problems, there was no money left.

That is the issue that is being forgotten in the argument about privitisation by the backdoor.
We shouldn't be in this predicament in the first place!
This is the start of some seismic and generation changing decisions being made from Swansea Council and all bets are off.

For more comments regarding this issue see the press release from Andrew Davies AM at:

Friday, November 12, 2010

Lest we forget..

A heartening sight yesterday to see many students, side by side with academics noting the minute of silence to mark the ending of the Great War, and for many to remember those that have fallen in more recent conflicts. A quiet dignity was felt across the campus and we are all the better for it.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The honeymoon is over are we going Back to the Future?

How apt perhaps that in the same month that the 25th Anniversary for Back to the Future is released into the cinemas in the UK, then we have scenes yesterday rather reminiscent of the 1980's. I speak of course of the violence that erupted on the streets of London during a usual peaceful student demonstration.

No one condones violence and it is clear that those perpetratng the crimes will be punished, the police will also examine their handling of the situation. However I think this does emphasise the beginning of a more turbulent, dare I say traditional form of politics. The angry demonstration synonymous with the anti-Thatcher anger of the 1980's was on display for the first time in many years.
Certainly the heady mix, of occupied buildings, fires, mass placade waving and destruction of property had more in common with the poll tax riots of the early 90's than the anti-war demos of the last decade?

It must be a very interesting dynamic for Nick Clegg at the moment to be on the inspiration of effigies rather than leading the charge of demonstrators who tradionally burn them. The anger is real; although as NUS President Aaron Porter highlighted, yesterday won the student movement no fans. Why so angry? Is it based on the hypocrisy of the Lib-Dems switiching their anti-fees stance, one that defined them until May of this year to get into bed with a more conservative government than any really thought possible?

I should make the point of course that Clegg was never really against tuition fees / top-up fees, in fact he was minded to dump that election promise in March of this year, but was talked out of it by many in his party.

So the frustration and aggravation of students was on show yesterday, that was merely the swig of water before the starter is chosen, things will get much, much worse...

A new type of politics?
The contrary Mr Clegg a rather old type of politics is at work.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Your country needs you?

Does it really? perhaps...

I've had a long battling argument with my good friend Crispin lewis about this very point?
Crispin eloquently argues that Uk citizens should start being defined not by their worldly weath or worldly posessions but by a sense of pulling together, community work, supporting your neighbours, working for charities...either Crispin is a Tory - perhaps? Or DC has snatched the centre ground from Labour?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I'm back and it's about time...

Well it's taken me a while but a couple of people have encouraged me to start a fresh, so let the political blogging of an International Officer and a local Labour Councillor begin in earnest again...

The hot topic of conversation right now is the Milliband saga dominating the TV and newspapers. 'Red' Ed vs Blairite David.
One as leader, one as a quiet backbench MP. I've been defending Ed milliband quite a bit on the blogs sphere and on Facebook, but ultimately there is really no need. His success or apparent failure will not be known for several months yet. Until that point all the speculation in the world won't change a thing. Let's remember Ed's leadership speech could have been given virtually word for word by David, with the noted exception of the comment on Iraq.
I for one was an ardent supporter of Ed who wobbled to David at the last possible moment. I'm now facing a conundrum, would David have been ultimately better, have we gifted the Con-Dems an easy ride? Is Ed a pushover, will he make the tough decisions.

As yet he's untested but he does have to have a certain taste for making hard decisions, his dmolition of his brother is a good example of this...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Should he stay or should he go?

The expenses row now it's overblown second week (I mean really aren't we in the midst of the worst recession since 1945, or so the newspapers tell us?) is targeting Michael Martin the speaker of the house for his foolish handling of this continuing crisis the answer?


There is no doubt he has handled the affair with all the grace and common sense of a hedgehod crossing a motorway but is he the vilified demonic gatekeeper that some politicians and media outlets are portraying him as?

I fear as the crisis rolls on politicians from all sides are desperate; to have something; anything to draw a line in the sand.
Would a forced resignation force the media to move on to the next story? Probably, although lest us not forget that the Telegraph is enjoying it's best circulation figures in years.

The public are angry, however how much of this is being recycled by the media machine is for discussion, but what is clear is that the story needs to move on not just for the weary MPs; but for democacy in the UK as a whole.

The resignation of Michael Martin maybe the beginning of some sort of catharsis for all voters in the UK.