Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Nooo....

I am so disappointed. John Sargeant has quite Strictly Come Dancing! I think that's so unecessary. After all, its an entertainment show. There shouldn't have been an outcry that he was staying in whilst better and far blander dancers were eliminated. So what? Its hardly scadulous is it!

At least he will give us one final dance this Saturday night. I'll definitely be cheering him on, but I am sad to see him go. His dancing definitely brought a smile to my face! I always think its far more entertaining when you have a few bad dancers in it. Julian Clarey was hilarious a few years ago and there's wasn't such a fuss made then. People have to stop taking life and television so seriously and need to lighten up. Why get so het up over something like this? Pathetic is the word that springs to mind... Though some might call me pathetic for watching the show in the first place!

Lle mae Cymru?


Dwi ddim yn disgwyl bod nifer o ddarllenwyr fy mlog yn prynnu'r Telegraph yn ddyddiol, felly meddwl y byddwn yn tynnu eich sylw at stori sydd gan Elfyn Llwyd ynddo heddiw. Cyn clicio arni, edrychwch ar y logo ar y dudalen yma. Fedrwch chi weld beth sydd i fod i gynrychioli Cymru? Da chi dipyn fwy praff na fi os fedrwch chi! Neu da chi wedi twyllo a wedi clywed am y stori eisioes...

Mae'r Telegraph bach yn OTT, yn dweud bo ni fel cenedlaetholwyr yn outraged. Siomedig fyddai'r gair priodol. Ond dio'm fel bod o'n sioc. Da ni 'di hen arfer do'n anffodus gweld Cymru'n cael ei hepgor gan sefydliadau Prydeinig.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ouch: Kirsty Williams - "worse than dentistry without an anasthetic"

Reading through the introduction to the book published yesterday by the Institute of Welsh Affairs, Politics in 21st Century Wales, I felt a sense of relief that I don't work for the Liberal Democrats, and in particular Kirsty Williams. Whilst the author of the introduction, Anthony Barnett, praised the contributions made by the other contributors - Rhodri Morgan, Nick Bourne and Plaid Cymru's very own Adam Price - he didn't hold back on his analysis of Williams' chapter. Indeed, it's painful to read what he says about her and if I was Kirsty, I'd be feeling mortified. After all, Barnett admits that he's close to Liberal Democrat politics. You'd expect him, therefore, to at least be a little bit kind towards her. But he's not. Read and cringe for yourselves:

"Williams' account of what has happened over the past year and how she wants to see the Lib Dems proceed is a muddle of personal statements and rhetorical cliches. "I came into politics to change things", she tells us, and yes it is a cliche; and worse, in this context it is uninteresting. "The inalienable stakes we have in each other must become a tool to drive forward our individual, community and national potential", she explains, only what does it mean apart from sounding worse than dentistry without an anaesthetic? There is tough talk about "deal breakers" and unpleasant references to opponents. "I want some people to be quaking in their boots at the prospect of Welsh Liberal Democrats in government". Those "some" people presumably know who they are!"

He goes on:

"For Kirsty Williams, "Successful parties are made up of successful people... These are the alpha people... strong leaders are crucial as the party gets bigger". Imagine if such phrases had been uttered by a Tory such as Mrs Thatcher. The fact that such appeals to power through strength are written by a Liberal does not make them well meaning, even if she herself means well. She explains that "...we will need to enthuse people. But passion is irresistible." Sincerity and authenticity are important qualities of contemporary democracy. But surely not "irresistible"! This is liberalism laced with authoritarianism."

Ouch. Contrast this with what is said about Adam:

"...the essay by Adam Price a star MP at Westminster for Plaid Cymru, whose essay fizzes with ideas and addresses some of the key strategic issues about the future of politics in Wales".

It certainly makes me feel relieved not to be a Lib Dem. If I were, (and what a frightening thought), then I'd be praying that Williams won't be elected in the forthcoming Welsh Lib Dem Leadership Race.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Strcitly Mandelson?

So Peter Mandelson would go on Strictly Come Dancing if he was offered the chance? What has John Sergeant started? Whilst I find it quite amusing to see the portly Sergeant dance, especially during the Latin weeks, I hardly think we need to see Mandelson in sequins shaking his booty. Damn. Now I'm going to have that disturbing image in my head everytime I see him on television.

It was also reported that Gordon Brown had written to all of the X factor contestants to thank them for their work on the single 'Heroes', but that he'd personalised one of them - to Daniel of all people. The worst contender this year by far. Hmm, Brown really doesn't know how to back a winner does he? At least he's not tempted to dress up in lycra and dance in front of the nation. That's another image I really don't want in my head...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Baby P

For the past few days, I've read with horror as details about the Baby P case have emerged in the press. It was made all the more real when pictures of him taken a few days before his death were published. Don't you just wish that you could have taken him in your arms, and just cuddled and cared for him so that he'd still be alive today? It's heartbreaking to think how much that poor child suffered. I just can't believe someone could treat him so appallingly. It really is beyond comprehension

Whilst I can understand why the press have responded so strongly to this story, it does worry me that they're targeting the individual social workers involved in the case to the point that some of them are feeling suicidal. Surely we shouldn't be conducting such a public witch-hunt. Its the parents that are ultimately at fault. They were obviously very good at covering their tracks, even smearing chocolate over his face.

Yes, lessons needs to be learnt and people should be disciplined if they led to his death, but what we should be focusing on is learning lessons from this. Unfortunately, its too late to help baby P but there are children out there today who are suffering terrible abuse. We can help and protect them, and I wish this outrage could be turned into something worthwhile and positive so that those children are saved. That's the only positive thing that could come out of this terrible tragedy.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Winter Campaign

Plaid Cymru launched its winter campaign today, in order to raise awareness about fuel poverty. It's worrying to think that 25% of households in Wales are in fuel poverty - which is classified as spending 10 per cent or more of your annual income on heating your home - and many other are at the very least fuel poor. Many are struggling and dreading seeing the bills arrive through the letterbox. I'm personally shocked at how expensive my gas and electricity bills are. Indeed, to compensate I'm taking the bus rather than the tube to work. It only adds ten minutes to my journey in the morning, and yet I save two pounds a day. So at least I can afford to keep warm this winter!

Other people aren't as lucky, and there are many families facing tough decisions this winter - either to heat their homes or put food on the table. People will have to go into debt just to cover basic expenses or suffer from the effects of inadequate heating.

Whilst researching this issue, it angered me to realise that prepaid meter customers pay higher rates than direct debit customers. Surely, this is unfair, especially as its usually the poorest within our society who have to pay with prepaid credit. Why should they therefore be faced with paying more than those who can afford to pay by direct debit? I'd definitely like to see this outlawed.

Similarly, it seems unjust that energy companies to continue to raise their prices whilst at the same time recording major profits. Surely a windfall tax on their profits would be a common sense approach? The money collected could go towards helping our most vulnerable - the elderly, the disabled, cancer patients, people with long term illnesses, and families with disabled and young children.

Gordon Brown needs to take action so that people don't suffer this winter. Please show your support for our campaign by signing the petition. It doesn't matter which political party you support. Our approach is a common sense one, that could make a real difference to people's lives.

Age Concern estimates that 1500 or more people could die in Wales this winter because of inadequate heating. That's a sobering thought, and yet another reason why action is needed now. This campaign isn't about scoring political points. Rather, its about helping our most vulnerable.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

So much to say!

Sorry I haven't written in ages. I've just been too busy, and then too ill. Still in the midst of a nasty chest infection, so will keep this brief and elaborate once I'm better but what a week and a half its been! Here's a quick re-cap and a brief reaction:

1) Obama - wow! What a historic victory. And what a relief. He really does have his work cut out now, but at least he acknowledges that. Can't wait for Bush to leave office now so that Obama can just get on with the job. It will be such a relief to have an intelligent President after eight years of stupidity!

2) Tories report on devolution - what a joke. Firstly, the timing of it - published the day after the American election. What an insult to the people of Wales. And worst of all, what about its content? They'll decide their policy on devolution with another review AFTER the next general election. So they expect people in Wales to vote for them without telling them the truth about their views about devolution. What cowards. I'd be very disappointed with this report if I thought of myself as a pro-devolution Tory like Guto Bebb or Glyn Davies. Indeed, I'd be giving my party a hard time and pressing them to re-think this issue before the next election if I were them and if the party refused to do so, I'd be considering breaking away from them. After all, the more Tory MPs that are elected in the next election, the more devestating it could be for democracy in Wales.

The Tories have to be up-front with the electorate. The report suggests the Tories may even do-away with devolution. Surely, we need clarification on this and pronto.

3) SNP managed to increase their vote in Glenrothes but failed to capture the seat from Labour. Such a shame, but they still did brilliantly.

4) Mum's birthday party. We had a great night on Friday, except for one thing. Me being ill and I couldn't join in when everyone was singing karaoke. Nothing would come out - not even a squeak. It was the most frustrating hour of my life, sitting there in silence (something which is pretty rare for me) whilst everyone else had fun singing. I was not happy... But at least Mum was having the time of her life. And she loved her birthday cake luckily, so all was good. Think the vodca and tonic jelly helped as well...

5) Lembit lost his Presidential bid. And by a huge majority. Even his own party think he's an idiot. Having followed his campaign, and the fact he thought his 'celebrity status' was a plus rather than an obvious minus, I think I'm totally justified in thinking he's a total lembo/ prat. He really is totally dillusional. Let's hope voters in Montgomeryshire show the same sense as his party at the next General Election.

6) Calzaghe winning yet another fight! The Welsh wonder keeps on delivering... Wonder if it really was his last fight? I doubt it...

Anyway, this is all I can muster for now. I really do want to elaborate on so many things but my bed beckons. Don't worry, I'll be back and fighting fit within the next few days, giving my opinions about everything as usual. It would be interesting to hear your comments on the above though if you feel like sharing them...