Friday, June 29, 2007
Plaid leader Ieuan Wyn Jones stikes me as the sort of dodgy bloke canvassing agressively for business.....Could hear him shout 'Hey missus, do you a deal on a new drive!' Wouldn't trust him as far as I could throw him. ...and on 'Hey Rodri, do you a deal with Plaid then.' ..lots in it for me and shoddy material and finishing.. ...don't think his team are whole heartedly behind him!
It will all end in tears.
Julian Tudor Hart on the debate as to whether we should support the proposed Labour-Plaid coalition. The actual text of the coalition agreement, 'One Wales' can be downloaded from the BBC website.
The Labour Party was not formed as a socialist party, but as an attempt to create a virtually undefined voice for working people themselves, rather than through well-heeled Liberals – which as Jim says, Blair rightly identified as the key decision which he and the rest of New Labour seek to reverse. The newborn Party included a minority of socialists in organized groups, some of which (e.g. Clarion cyclists and all associated with Blatchford’s Merrie England) had a mass base and undertook mass agitational/educational activity. Others developed elementary Marxist ideas, the SDF on sectarian lines, the Miners’ Next Step men on syndicalist lines. In South Wales and on the Clyde these all together became a mighty force, helping to create the situation which in 1918 led to acceptance of Clause 4 state socialism by the entire Labour Party. However, a large majority inside and voting for the Party never had a socialist agenda in any but the vaguest terms.
For a large part of the Party and its affiliated unions this acceptance was, from the very beginning, nominal – a bow to circumstances, the worldwide hopes raised by the Russian communist revolution of October 1917 in the desperate conditions of a still unfinished world war, which have receded ever since, barring the exceptional circumstances from 1941 to 1945. The final collapse of that idea in 1990 knocked out cold the apparent foundations of all socialist beliefs. We are still only beginning to understand that there were and still are other, deeper foundations on which to build, and close to home, not in remote utopias. The Labour Party was then, and even today remains, a political coalition that is class-based, in which a large majority still asks only for a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work, with all significant power and property left in the hands of the capitalist class. No doubt we wish it were otherwise, but obviously it is not. The politically educated minority of socialists is smaller and older today than it has ever been since 1903, and don’t we know it. It might also be wiser.
In these circumstances it is simply absurd to pretend that the minority of socialists in Plaid Cymru is essentially different from the minority of socialists in our Labour Party, in any respect other than organization. I don’t know about Plaid, but for Labour, organization means only work during and between elections to ensure that we win the next one. We do absolutely nothing – repeat, nothing – to recruit or educate new generations of socialists, committed to a society different in kind from what we live in today. In large part this abdication from responsibility is due to shame and embarrassment. We know that none of our leaders at Westminster shares any such commitment. How can we teach young people what we have not only obviously failed to do ourselves, but what is actively opposed by those leaders? New Labour is not just “not socialist”, it is antisocialist. However, both in the Labour Party and in Plaid, socialists can regain the initiative if they dare to take it; they, and only they, have the innovative ideas that could revive social solidarity in the electorate. And hopefully, our leaders in Cardiff see things differently from leaders at Westminster, even if they speak of their ideas only in whispers inaudible to the electorate.
Throughout the world, political parties and their voters are undergoing a transformation as profound as that which gave birth to the Labour Party, and to all other mass workers’ parties in the two decades preceding World War 1. We are in the middle of that transformation. We can at best only guess at its outcome. In these circumstances we should trust the capacity of everyone who lives and thinks from what they do rather than from what they own or control; all whose lives depend on their work rather than their wealth and power. Anything that brings these broadly defined working people together deserves our support. I think our coalition with Plaid could be a possibly decisive step in that direction, so I heartily support it.
Following the sale of 26 Bupa hospitals to a private equity firm, the Healthcare Commission regulator is to examine the increasing role of such companies in Britain's healthcare. Of the top seven private hospital groups, just two are not controlled by private equity. The financial stability of such hospitals could be implicated, the regulator's head of independent healthcare has said.
NHS Support Campaign Keep NHS Public
For more information and to download a copy of Stuart's paper see: http://www.cynefinywerin.org.uk/index.php?docid=249
Temple of Peace, Cardiff, on Saturday 7th July from 2pm.
See also PFI Secret Military BASE and if you lok down this page to the right you will find a list of references to womens voice campaign agaisnt St Athans.
You, particularly if you are a bloke - could be dropped into a safe seat and given a prestigious job and even in some cases end up as Northern Ireland sec! Wow! Inflict anyone on the people of Northern Ireland and don't even ask want they think about it. Not only that Tony would have us give him all the credit for 'peace', do you get the same impression as me, that Mo Molan is being written out of the history of N Ireland?
Even Slugger O Toole has no comment on the appointment of Shaun Woodward as Northern Ireland Secretary. Obviously there to put Tories on the map slugger! What a dreadful expression for a name!
Formerly a Tory MP for David Cameron’s seat of Whitney, Mr Woodward defected to Labour in 1999 after opposing the party’s position on gay rights. In the 2001 general election after Labour 'found' him the working-class seat of St Helens South.However, I am worried that the government seems to think Northern Ireland is a problem solved. If any other city in the UK was divided by walls and totally segregated, with more than their fair share of racists and womens rights and representation 50 years behind the rest of the uk, that would be a serious problem. At the same time, the government is set on expanding the numbers of faith schools in England in the mistaken belief that it is better for children, perhaps they should take some heed of what has happened and is happening in Northern Ireland after all and recognise the terrible consequences of the role of faith schools in propagating hate between communities.
A enlightened prime minister with courage could have appointed a woman to lead Northern Ireand into the future.
I feel that the women of Northern Ireland are due an apology if not compenstation for the shabby dicriminating treatment they received at the hands of the likes of Ian Paisley and other orange leaders and politicans which added considerabley to the bigotry and religious discrimination they already had to endure . I feel sick when I see Paisley lauded by Blair and the labour party.
Sorry that I am not surprised by the news that Sir Digby is to be given a peerage and will have to join the Labour Party in order to serve as a minister. Why join the labour party at all as it is only a brand name that you can apparently buy into. I have the view that government ministers should be elected so that they are at the very least accountable to their electorate. How foolish was I to think that the labour party represented a stand against patronage and class privilege.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
The charity helps the children and young people of South Wales, who experience the negative effects of poverty, abuse, neglect, homelessness, violence, crime, illness and disability. In the last 10 years, we've helped thousands of South Wales' most disadvantaged children, raised thousands of pounds and had lots of fun along the way!Join us as we celebrate this fantastic achievement at one just one of the events we're holding throughout July and as a Behind the Mic member you're eligible to receive a 10% discount on all the events listed. Simply quote 'Behind the Mic' when booking.
Welsh Charity Film Premiere - Die Hard 4.0, Monday July 2nd 2007 Tickets for the Welsh Charity Premiere cost £15 for a VIP Gallery ticket (limited number) or just £10 for a standard ticket.A Night at Mujibs, Tuesday July 10thTickets cost just £20 per person, with 100% being donated to Help A South Wales Child, courtesy of the Empire Group.
'The Perfect 10' Charity Ladies Night, Wednesday July 18thJoin us for a girly night out. All you need to do is relax with a cocktail, sample some of the mouth watering canapés courtesy of the Cardiff Hilton Chef...and enjoy. Tickets cost just £10 per person (including complimentary drink on arrival and canapés)
The Help A South Wales Child 'Big Birthday Bash', Sunday July 22nd 2007.On Sunday July 22nd we hope to put smiles on even more kids faces as we let our hair down with a Big Birthday Bash, featuring Erbie the Clown, music, play, face painting and special guests. You can nominate a child or special group of children to attend here.
You can get more information about any of these events here. To reserve your tickets, call or email Red Dragon's Charity Manager Lisa Buckley on 029 2094 2955 or firstname.lastname@example.orgThe Red Dragon Team
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
What Women See When They See Hillary By Lakshmi Chaudhry, The Nation Putting Hillary Clinton in the White House would shatter an enormous glass ceiling, yet many feminists aren't cheering at that prospect. Here's a look at how some of Clinton's most ardent supporters became her biggest resisters. Read more »
I always found Tony repulsive, smarmy - in spite of jokes about him being the first Labour leader you could go to bed with the lights on! Perhaps the guys liked him? I remember him speaking at conference before it turned into a show but I left the room. How could those old labour or original labour people left in the party tolerate this smarmy, arrogant bloke? Why have MPs continued to support him when he has lied and lied and betrayed them - effectively kicking them in the teeth? Perhaps they should take advice from domestic abuse campaigns, fight denial, have zero tolerance for being abused and treated so badly. So many people have died as a result of Tony Blair's behaviour and he leaves acting triumphant when he should be crawling out of office in shame at the very least. Good riddance Tony.
I can never forgive you for destroying everything I believed in - and now we get brown the other side of coin - Ian Paisley control freak type? and the mps fell for that too. ...
Monday, June 25, 2007
Paxman: "Do you think the party should say sorry for what has happened [in Iraq]?
Jon Cruddas: "I do, actually, as part of the general reconciliation with the British people over what's been a disaster in Iraq...
"Harriet Harman [interrupting]: "Yep, I agree."
Cruddas: "I don't think we can actually rebuild a sense of trust and a dialogue with the British people unless we fundamentally reconcile ourselves to what the situation is on the ground and our own culpability in creating it."
Harman: "I agree with that."
BBC Radio 4's Today programme this morning:
"I've never said that the government should apologise."
How many times can I say it? I haven't asked anybody else to do anything, I've just explained what my position is."
What I said was that we had to recognise the anger and bitterness that has been caused by Iraq, and we do, whilst at the same time strongly supporting our troops."
I said I voted for the war on the basis there were weapons of mass destruction and that that was a mistaken belief and I had to acknowledge that.
I've said that if knew then what I know now, I wouldn't have voted for it."
I don't think that's what the party members elected me for."They elected me because they've known me for 20 years helping Labour win elections and also because I put on the political agenda things that otherwise might get overlooked, which are not things to do with Iraq but are things to do with family."
John McDonnell MP - 'This is a real kick in the teeth for all those trade union general secretaries who loyally nominated Brown to the leadership of the party.'
[Published: Monday 25, June 2007 - 10:27]
I suppose that astonishment is not the word for it. Stupefaction comes to mind. I simply could not believe my ears in Beirut when a phone call told me Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara was going to create "Palestine". I checked the date - no, it was not April 1 - but I remain overwhelmed that this vain, deceitful man, this proven liar, a trumped-up lawyer who has the blood of thousands of Arab men, women and children on his hands is contemplating being "our" Middle East envoy.
Can this be true?
I had always assumed Balfour, Sykes and Picot were the epitome of Middle Eastern hubris. But Blair? That this (soon-to-be) ex-prime minister, this man who took his country into the sands of Iraq, should actually believe he has a role in the region - he whose own preposterous envoy, Lord Levy, made so many secret trips there, to no avail - is going to sully his hands (and, I fear, our lives) in the world's last colonial war is simply overwhelming.Of course, he'll be in touch with Mahmoud Abbas, will try to marginalise Hamas, will talk endlessly about " moderates". We'll have to listen to him pontificating about morality, how he's completely confident that he's doing the right thing (this is the same man who postponed a ceasefire in Lebanon last year in order to share George Bush's ridiculous hope of an Israeli victory over Hezbollah) in bringing peace to the Middle East.Not once - ever - has he apologised. Not once has he said he was sorry for what he did in our name. Yet Lord Blair actually believes - in what must be a record act of self-indulgence for a man who cooked up the fake evidence of Iraq's " weapons of mass destruction" - that he can do good in the Middle East.Here is a man totally discredited in the region now believing he is the right man to lead the Quartet to patch up "Palestine".In the hunt for quislings to do our bidding I suppose Blair has his uses. His blend of ruthlessness and dishonesty will no doubt go down quite well with our local Arab dictators.And I have a suspicion - always assuming this extraordinary story is true - that Blair will be able to tour around Damascus, even Tehran, in his hunt for "peace", thus paving the way for an American exit strategy in Iraq. But "Palestine"?The Palestinians held elections - the democratic variety - and Hamas won. But Blair will presumably not be able to talk to Hamas. He'll need to talk only to Abbas's flunkies, to negotiate with an administration described so accurately this week by my old colleague Rami Khoury as a "government of the imagination".The Americans are talking, and here I quote State Department spokesman, Sean McCormack, about an envoy who can work "with the Palestinians in the Palestinian system" to develop institutions for a "well- governed state". I can see the appeal for Lord Blair, though I'm a bit puzzled about what the "Palestinian system" is meant to be.It was James Wolfensohn who was originally "our" Middle East envoy, a former World Bank president who left in frustration because he could neither reconstruct Gaza nor work with a "peace process" that was being eroded with every new Jewish settlement and every Qassam rocket fired into Israel. Does Blair think he can do better? What honeyed words will we hear?There will be appeals for restraint "on all sides", endless calls for " moderation", none for justice (which is all the people of the Middle East have been pleading for for 100 years).And Israel likes Lord Blair. Indeed, Blair's slippery use of language is likely to appeal to Ehud Olmert, whose government continues to take Arab land for Jews and Jews only as he waits to discover a Palestinian with whom he can "negotiate" , Mahmoud Abbas now having the prestige of a rabbit after his forces were crushed in Gaza.Which of "Palestine's" two prime ministers will Blair talk to? Why, the one with a collar and tie, of course, who works for Mr Abbas, who will demand more "security", tougher laws, less democracy.I have never been able to figure out why the Middle East draws the Balfours and the Sykeses and the Blairs into its maw. Once, our favourite trouble-shooter was James Baker, who worked for George W's father until the Israelis got tired of him. Before that we had a whole list of UN Secretary Generals who visited the region, frowned and warned of serious consequences if peace did not soon come.I recall another man with Blair's pomposity, Kurt Waldheim who - no longer the UN's boss - actually believed he could be an "envoy" for peace in the Middle East, despite his war- time career as an intelligence officer for the Wehrmacht's Army Group "E".Waldheim's ability to draw a curtain over his wartime past does have one thing in common with Blair. For he steadfastly refused to acknowledge that he had ever done anything wrong. Who does that remind you of?
© Belfast Telegraph
Or is it 61% EVER done a crime not REGULARLY?
CAMPAIGNERS fear a nuclear power station located on the Welsh border could suffer a Chernobyl-style meltdown because it has not been fitted with an important safety system. Censored documents released under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act to the Stop Oldbury campaign, reveal a one-in-1,000 risk of a fire at Oldbury nuclear power station, located around five miles from Chepstow.
Western Mail 25th June 2007
Great idea Tony sorry Gordon and Garriet - lets have motre nuclear power stations so we can sleep better at nights?
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Surprise winner from the six candidates competing for the position of Gordon Brown's deputy. 50.43% of the votes in the 5th round against Alan Johnsons 49.56%!
Looking at the pictures in todays papers it could be Blair and Cherie - now morphed into Gordon and Harriet - BC to GH? While she is less hectoring than asbo Hazel she does go on.
But the turnout was low.
Epolitx report Party chairman Hazel Blears was eliminated in the first round of voting, with second preferences then distributed to the other candidates.
Northern Ireland secretary Peter Hain was last in the second round of voting, while international development secretary Hilary Benn - judged to be second favourite ahead of the contest - was eliminated in the third round.
With no candidate having a majority by the fourth round, Dagenham MP Jon Cruddas was eliminated. In the fifth round of voting against Harman polled 50.43 per cent, against 49.56 per cent for Alan Johnson.
Johnson - the favourite going into the contest - had been three points ahead in the fourth round, but when Cruddas dropped out there was a swing to Harman, especially among party members.
She told the Labour special conference it was an "honour and a privilege" to be chosen for the job, and said she and the party were confident about the future.
Friday, June 15, 2007
Western Mail 15th June 2007
Thursday, June 7, 2007
Demonstration to "welcome" Gordon Brown to Cardiff and call for a change in UK foreign policy supported by anti-war campaigners from across Wales
Saturday 9 June Assemble 10.30 am
Cardiff International Arena (CIA)
Mary Ann Street (opposite the Cineworld Cinema)
Cardiff City Centre(5 mins walk from Queen Street)
Please forward this message to as many people as possible - as soon as possible!
Bring placards, banners, drums etc.!
In 2003, Gordon Brown, was asked how much he was prepared to spend waging war on Iraq. He replied - "As much as it takes!"
Gordon Brown will be speaking at a "hustings" meeting in Cardiff on Saturday. It is vital that there is a mega anti-war lobby calling for troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan, no attack on Iran & a break with US foreign policy.
Note: It is possible that the venue may change at short notice, we will try and keep people up to date, contact no. for demo, 07792720667
Lebanon was the straw that broke Blair's back and resulted in him not serving a full term in office. We now have the government on the defensive: the majority of the population is now anti-war - !
1518 NON-PROLIFERATION TREATY REVIEW Jeremy Corbyn MP
That this House regrets the statement by the Government to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) PrepCom in Vienna that `The UK Government has decided to begin the concept and design work required to make possible a replacement for our current ballistic missile submarines'; believes that this conflicts with the Government's assertion that `the UK remains committed to the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons'; applauds the statement on behalf of the New Agenda Coalition countries that nuclear weapon states should not undertake the replacement or modernisation of their nuclear weapons systems; further applauds the presentation by Mexico of a draft model Nuclear Weapons Convention before the PrepCom as a working paper; and calls on the Government now actively to engage in this multilateral initiative in order to bring about a global disarmament at the earliest date as required by Article Six of the NPT. > Full text
INDEPENDENT Davies, Dai
1517 NATIONAL MISSILE DEFENCE Jeremy Corbyn MP
That this House expresses concern at US intentions to develop National Missile Defence (NMD) bases across Europe and the UK's continued involvement at Fylingdales and Menwith Hill in both the operational and logistical components of NMD and the advancement of the space based infra red system; is further concerned that the programme will encourage a new nuclear arms race; fears that it will put the UK in the frontline in future wars whereby the US will have the technological and military capability to launch first-strike attacks without fear of retaliation; and recommends that the Government withdraws its support and encourages the US to cease this programme, which is widely interpreted as aggressive not defensive. > Full text
Signed by Plaid Cymru Llwyd, Elfyn Price, Adam Williams, Hywel
INDEPENDENT Davies, Dai
1471 NUCLEAR TEST VETERANS Ian Gibson MP
That this House applauds the work New Zealand Nuclear Test Veterans Study - a cytogenetic analysis conducted by Dr Al Rowland of the Institute of Molecular Biosciences, Massey University, New Zealand, into the effects of nuclear weapons tests on navy veterans; recognises that the results of this research clearly demonstrate that those exposed to nuclear radiation in Operation Grapple suffered, without their prior knowledge, exposure to dangerously high levels of radiation that has resulted in long-term genetic damage; and urges the Government to carry out similar tests to ensure that British personnel involved in Operation Grapple can see whether they have suffered similar DNA damage to their counterparts from New Zealand. > Full text
Monday, June 4, 2007
Johnson and Benn top both polls - although the fieldwork was done before the Newsnight programme. The good news is that Blears comes last.Yougov's electoral college projection, which assumes that MPs vote for the candidates they nominated, currently gives 24% of first-preference votes to Johnson, 20% to Benn, 18% to Harman, 14% to Hain, 14% to Cruddas, 10% to Blears. Cruddas has said that he'll give his own second-preference vote to Harman.
Labour Against The War quotes the various candidates as follows:
When asked: Should Britain spend billions on Trident II?
Alan Johnson: Yes.
Hilary Benn: I stood on a manifesto commitment to do so. We should keep our word. Harriet
Harman: We’ll have to keep it under review.
Jon Cruddas: No. I voted against Trident in Parliament. Hazel Blears: Yes. Britain needs its nuclear defence, and we must decide to upgrade now in order to keep Britain strong in the future.
Peter Hain: I believe in nuclear disarmament, but it must be multilateral. Until then, we should keep our nuclear deterrent.
When asked: Do you regret voting for the Iraq war?
Alan Johnson: No. Given the circumstances I would do so again.
Hilary Benn: No. We should now support Iraq’s fragile democracy against the sectarian butchers.
Harriet Harman: Yes. I would not have if I had known there were no weapons of mass destruction.
Jon Cruddas: Yes, I got it wrong and I bitterly regret that. We need to be honest with the British people about our mistakes.
Hazel Blears: No. Removing Saddam and his sons was the right thing to do.
Peter Hain: We must learn from our lessons in Iraq. But I voted to take action against Saddam Hussein, and it would be wrong to wriggle away from my decision.
Saturday, June 2, 2007
I am an activist and a public sector worker from Merseyside. I am running a petition on the 10 Downing Street website in support of a living wage, which has 380 signatures so far. Please can you take a minute to read my e-mail and if you wish to sign, click on the link and fill in your personal details.
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to take steps to replace the national minimum wage with a living wage based on the level of pay and conditions that enables a full-time worker to make ends meet for themselves and their family. Official regional living wage figures should be announced such as the one given by Mayor Livingstone for London (and increased by the GLA in April 2007 to £7.20 an hour).
I have also now started a blog to run alongside it, which will be regularly updated and expanded over the coming months, with useful information including what the living wage campaign is about, who supports it, and details of recents news stories and events : http://livingwageuk.wordpress.com
A living wage in every region in the UK would be a huge boost to millions of low paid workers. Jean Lambert (Green Party MEP) said in support of my petition
British people work some of the longest hours in Europe yet 7 out of 10 people working over 48 hours per week say they would like to work fewer hours. For many however this is impossible as they simply cannnot afford to do so. It is currently possible for someone to work more than 60 hours a week and still be paid less than £11,000 per year. The number of people living below the poverty line in the UK is higher than the EU average and continues to increase. The long hours culture is endangering our health and acting as a detriment to our family life. We can't have a culture that says you can not rest. We need a national living wage immediately to ensure this changes and everyone can make ends meet without working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Labour Party councillor Richard Bertin (Vale of Glamorgan) added these commentsYes we have now thankfully got the minimum wage, and yes it is helping thousands of low paid workers. But with the economy doing so well there are repercussions one of which is the rising house prices. Unfortunately, the gap between the rich and poor continues to grow and this needs to be addressed now ! - How ? By rightly establishing a national living wage to ensure that we improve the lives of those on low pay and also do our bit to remove poverty from the 4th largest economy on the world - Great Britain. We need a living wage and we need it now ! Thanks for your timeNick Wall
Friday, June 1, 2007
The Government yesterday confirmed that it is planning to sell a 25 per cent stake in British Energy after the nuclear power firm posted a 44 per cent rise in underlying profit and announced its first dividend since a state bail-out.
Birmingham Post 31st May 2007