Friday, May 25, 2007

Time to build a progressive alliance, and let the left really win in Wales

The election of Rhodri Morgan as First Minister under a minority Welsh Labour government, is firstly a victory of progressive, left wing socialist politics and shows that, in Wales at least, the European left is very much still alive. In fact 63% voted for progressive centre-left parties in Wales (Welsh Labour, Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats), and they have gotten what they wanted, NO Tories in the cabinent. The fact is Labour, Plaid and the Liberal Democrats have more in common with each other, then they do with the Conservative Party, and people like Darren Miller AM (Tory).

The make-up of the third Assembly and the (hopefully long term) end of the "Rainbow Allaince" has given Wales a unique opportunity to go down a new path, a path were Labour,Plaid and the Liberal Democrats co-operate more closely and work together for a common goal. However this will require a change in attitudes in all the political parties, especally Welsh Labour, who haven't had the same opportunity as Plaid, Tories and Liberals have of co-operation during the past term of government.

Welsh Labour must forgive Ieuan for wanting to jump into bed with the Tory Party, it is understandable that he wanted to be First Minister at any cost, however that does not make Plaid Cymru "weak dafodil Tories" and I do not believe the party are a reactionary right wing party. The Liberal Democrats are another matter, since they swing all over the place.

During this next term, Welsh Labour need to learn and modernise itself to adapt to the Propotional Representation which Wales has, through the minority government it has to learn about co-operation, cabinet coalition and working with other parties for a common goal. The Welsh Labour Party also need to modernise in other ways (however I do NOT mean becoming another Blairite New "Labour" party as that would be disasterous), but that is another matter.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Was the assassin's bullet fired tonight?

The Liberal Democrats in Wales rejecting to do deals with either Labour or Plaid and the Tories, has left Wales in political limbo. Will we see a Lab-Plaid informal coalition (or formal with any luck?) Or will Labour trot on in a minority government for a while, until something better for Wales can be sorted out (Lab-Lib, Plaid-Lab or other, since a minority government is not good for Wales) ? Or will Plaid and Tories try and go it alone with the sort of Trish Law (not at all likely, and electoral suicide for Plaid and Trish.)

However you have to wonder if tonight was the firing of the assassin's bullet at Mike German in the Liberal Democrats, otherwise why else would they want to turn down a deal with both Labour and Plaid+Tories? It makes little sense to me, since either way they would have seen Liberal Democrat policies on the table and put into action, and Liberal Democratic ministers around the cabinet table.

The argument about the Welsh people not wanting Labour nor the Tories, nor Plaid in government is mute, because the Welsh people want a government and a majority of them did vote for a majority government, be it Plaid-Lab, Lib-Lab, Rainbow or other. They do not want a minority Labour government, not even Labour members want that (at least ones with any sense), and they definitely do not want to see another election in a few weeks time, they would disastrous for the three main political parties (Labour, Plaid, Tories) and especially the Lib Dems (don't think they deserve to be called a main party after this), as well as devolution and Wales as a whole, it could even set back a referendum on further law making powers for a long time, and that would be a very Bad thing, since Wales needs more powers.

I feel this was internal Liberal Democrat politics, and if it is, the Welsh voters should not and hopefully will not forgive the Liberal Democrats too easy, and their reputation will be knocked for six. The Lib Dems will be damaged for this, but I fear the damage will leak over to all the other parties, especially Labour and Plaid Cymru.

This could be the biggest disaster to hit devolution, and it is now up to Labour and Plaid Cymru to sort something out fast and come to a face saving compromise for Labour, for Plaid and for Wales and Welsh devolution, or otherwise Wales will become a massive laughing stock and public opinion on devolution will drop like a stone, and that is something I don't think anyone in Welsh politics wants.

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Hodge helps the BNP cause, again.

Yet again government minister, Margaret Hodge, has assisted the BNP cause, this time by calling for British families to be favoured over immigrant and asylum seekers, when it comes to the allocated of council houses.

This, she claims, is because British families feel they have "a legitimate sense of entitlement" to the limited amount of social houses, and stated that the rules should "promote torlerance, rather then inviting division." Now maybe I am being a bit stupid here, but how does implying that the shortage of council house is the fault of immigrants "promote torlerance..." I would have thought personally, that making such claims would invite division and encourge more people to vote BNP, rather then create unity and encourging people to vote Labour.

The fact is, policies of discrimination, be it agaisnt British people, or immigrants, will not help the council housing crisis that many people in Britain face today, what should be done to try and help improve the sitution is revoking the right to buy for the short term (however the right to buy is not a bad thing in itself), and also build more decent quality council homes (even if it means building over"green field" sites) and also more help for people to get onto the housing market, so the social housing system us not over burderned because house prices are too expensive.

We must not pander to the far-right to try and counter them, we must offer clear alternatives that can work, and it is not the fault of the immigrants that there are a lakc of council housing it is the fault of New "Labour" in the failure to build new houses, provide the funds and make sure that councils build them, its the failure of New "Labour" to make sure that people can afford to buy houses and get onto the housing ladder, however the government still has time to sort out the problem, by building new good quality council houses and by making sure that people can get onto the housing ladder, and not by pandering to the BNP. The fact is immigrants and asylum seekers do not get that much help from the state, they are not entitled to council houses and they have already got restrictions on their benifits.

It is a dangerous path to go down, when you start rationing services on the base of where people are from, how long before immigrants are denied NHS treatmet in favour of British people?, or places in state schools favour British pupils and not immigrants, and how long is it before immigrants end up as second class citizens, in the underclass of our society?

However it is not suprising that Margeret Hodge has made such statemetns, as she has made simular ones reguarding the BNP before, she should be offering real solutions to these problems, not trying to boost her own popularity by spouting off vile claptrap like she has down, and not by possibley floating ideas that may possibley be planted by some elements to test the water, prehapes, not saying that is the case though, but it is not unknown.

However such claims as the ones made by Margeret Hodge will only cause more racism and more resentment amoung people who feel that they are being negelected by the British government and will only serve to drive them into the arms of the BNP, for that Hodge should resign and not stand in the next election.

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Post Office Closures

As someone who lives in a town and uneffected, I may not know what I am talking about ("What's new?" I hear a lot of you say), however I do believe that these closures are wrong, and deeply bad for social justice and rural communities.

This is because Post Officers are vital public services for those who use it, and even though that might be a minority of people in some rural areas, it is still important for them, what the New "Labour" government fails to understand in Westminister that some people do not own the internet, they may not even own a computer, that means that they cannot use the internet to print off stamps, nor can they send e-mails to people. Their is also the fact that some of them won't own a car or are unable to drive for whatever reason, how are they meant to get into a town to post a pracel? Public transport is a shambles and can be quiet expensive to use it just to get into town to do a simple thing like posting a parcel, which they could have done in their local post office.

If people are not using the Post Office, it could well be because the govenment has removed a lot of services from there (dare I suggest that this was a long term plan of theirs with the conclusion of privatisation yet to come?) however some people still need and use the post office, its an important stone in the community.

Closing them would hurt vunerble people, and leave them without anywhere to turn to, that is not what the Labour Party was meant about, we are meant to be the party protecting the vunerble and the worst off, not doing some crackpot money saving cuts, it's a public service, if it is making a loss (which is the fault of withdrawing services) fix it by returning the services there, or doing something else to keep the open (like proper nationalisation), closing them down is the wrong thing to do.

With more closures planned in deprived urban areas, this policy will only serve to be regressive and against the principles of the Labour Party. If New "Labour" truely wanted to be a progressive party, it would keep the Post Offices open and keep them as a true nationalised company, instead of this crazy package of closure, to "save money" and attempt to justify privatisation, which would have even worse conquences then the closures.

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Anyone up for a Threesome?

Well it seems like abysmal Mike German has lost the battle in his pathetic party and has now conceed to the right wing about having a threesome with Ieuan Wyn Jones of Plaid and Nick Bourne of the Tories. This saids alot about the Liberal Democrats, how they are willing to jump from the centre-left with Labour, to the Centre-right with Tories so easily, it shows that they have no principles beyond that of power, that is why the Lib Dems are everywhere saying different things to different people (including one asking me to tatically vote AGAINST Plaid in Ceredigion, and then they turn around and do this, very hyprocritical of them, as usualy) and try to be everything to everyone and nothing to nobody.

In councils the Lib Dems and Tories run, they cut services and cut funding to services, they are more like European Liberal, then European Social Democrats, and if the voters didn't want Welsh Labour, then they certainlly didn't want the Lib Dems, who only had 6 seats, and the lowest amount % of the vote of any political party in the Assembly, yet try and claim the democratic high ground (again a sign of the hyprocracy of the Lib Dems.)

Mike German is not a leader, never has been, he is a follower, he followed Labour into coalition in 2000, when it suited him, and he is following the lead of Ieuan Wyn Jones and Nick Bourne, it is time for the Lib Dems to sack Mike German and get rid of this aimless leader, and get in a person who actually will lead the Lib Dem and not follower the smell of power and the lead of those who will grant him it.

Hopefully Plaid will have more principles and will show themselves to be socialists, aswell as nationalists, and will re-consider the threesome, which would hurt Plaid in the South Wales Valleys, and would show Wales that Plaid has sold their soul and done a deal with the Tory Party, that's legacy is still felt across Wales by many people.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A quickie

I saw this test being taken on other blogs and thought that I would take it during a break from revision for my final university exams.

How Blair are you?

I will make a proper post come Saturday, after my last exam (got one Friday too).

Friday, May 11, 2007

New Layout, New Start?

Been such a long time since my last post (been extremely busy with my dissertation and revising for the exams) that I feel that prehapes now is the time to treat this as a re-start, so to speak, and attempt to get back into the swing of blogging.

Of course Blamerbell's post claiming that young people as "embarassed" to be Labour, well I am not, I am proud to be Labour and I am proud of everything Labour has done for Britain since 1997, never mind 1945. Even under Tony Blair, Britain has become a more progressive and socially just nation, Rhodri Morgan has done an even better job of leading Wales from the decadence of the Tory years.

In Britain, thanks to Tony Blair, we have the minimum wage, devolution, 4 weeks paid holidays, child benifit has increased, pensioners are better off (despite some of them complaining otherwise, although I will hold my tongue on them, for now...), cut crime and unemployment, ban on the cruel....activity of Fox Hunting, 26 weeks paid maternity and 2 weeks paid parently leave, free entry to muesums and art galleries, since 1997 Labour has lifted over 2.1 million children out of absolute poverty, we have repealed homophobic laws brought in by the Tories and have legalised homosexual civil partnerships, lead the way to tackling third world poverty and not forgetting peace in Northern Ireland, which could well be the greatest achieve of this Labour government.

In Wales, Welsh Labour has introduced Free Prescriptions, Free school breakfasts, free entry to swimming pools during school holidays for school children, free bus passes for pensioners, smoking ban in public places, more people are now in work then in 1999, Welsh Labour in the 2007 Assembly elections were the only party to say that all of their policies will be measured by now they tackle Child Poverty.

Britain is in a far better shape then it was in 1997, it is more fairer and more socially just then it has was during the 18 years of Tory misery, Labour supporters have a lot to be proud of, the achieves of the Labour government since 1997 have been good, no-where near bold enough and no where near radical enough, but never the less it is still a lot better then what we would have if the Tories were still in power, we now have schools which have new and decide equiptment, new buildings and buildings in that were in dire need of repair during the Tory years are now repaired, we have more people from poorer backgrounds going to university, or less discrimination against homosexuals in the law and education, these are things which not only Labour members, supports and voters should be proud of, but every decent person in Britain should be.

I for one am proud to be Labour and proud of the progress made by Labour since 1997, maybe it could have been more socialist, but it has still be progressive and has still made millions of lives in Britain, and in the third world, much better off then they would have been since Labour has been in power, we have made Britain into a stronger nation, a nation that now has more social justice and equality then it had since 1979. If some jumped up middle class students can't see past their own pockets and Iraq, then that is there own problem, as a working class student, a socialist and a proud card carrying member of Labour, I am no-where near embarassed to be Labour and, to paraphrase Tony Blair, be it Old Labour or New Labour, it is better then a Tory Government.