Thursday, December 31, 2009

Looking ahead...

I cannot wait for the 2010 General Election, and will be fighting hard for every single possible vote. And fighting both Glyn Davies and Lembit Opik for those votes. I don't secretely support either of their campaigns and personally, just wish I had the resources to run the campaign exactly as I'd like to. I truly believe Plaid Cymru is the only party that can offer something different to the good people of Montgomeryshire. That's why my campaign will be focused on how I and Plaid can offer a real alternative to those who don't want to see Lembit Opik continue to bring disgrace to the area and frankly would never dream of voting Conservative.

Yes, I am realistic about my chances. I can see on all the politial betting sites that my chances are a 100-1 and I know I'd need to raise some serious cash to be able to create as much as an impact as I'd like to. But I'm never one to let statisctics and predictions get me down. And as they say - miracles do happen!

Thank you to everyone who has supported me in 2009 - I have truly appreciated it and I promise I will continue to work hard between now and the election. So a happy new year to all of you and let's hope 2010 turns out to be a great year for all.

Blwyddyn Newydd Dda!

Fy Addunedau Blwyddyn Newydd ar gyfer 2010

1. Cynyddu pleidlais Plaid Cymru yn Sir Drefaldwyn yn sylweddol yn Etholiad Cyffredinol 2010 gan drio ennill wrth gwrs!
2. Colli pwysau a cael yn ffit - erbyn yr etholiad pryd bynnag bydd hwnnw ac erbyn fy mhenblwydd yn 30 ar yr 20fed o Fedi 2010!
3. Helpu'r ymgyrch Ie i sicrhau buddugoliaeth mewn refferendwm ynglyn a chael mwy o bwerau i'r Cynulliad.
4. Os nad ydw i'n ennill yn Sir Drefaldwyn, cael fy newis i redeg mewn sedd ar gyfer etholiadau'r Cynulliad yn 2011.
5. Cadw mewn gwell cysylltiad gyda fy ffrindiau sydd wedi cael eu hesgeluso braidd oherwydd fy ymgyrchu.
6. Dechrau a gorffen y jigso amhosib o anodd y gwnesh i brynnu flynyddoedd yn ol.

Gan obeithio y medra'i sticio i'r cyfan!

Another Lembit quote

Reading the Independent today, I was surprised to come across another gem of a quote (for all the wrong reasons) by Montgomeryshire's current MP, Lembit Opik. In case you missed it, here is the piece in its entirety:

What with this being the final Pandora of the decade, readers can rest assured we've well and truly pushed the boat out.


Having resolved to settle for nothing less than a Noughties icon today, you can imagine my delight when column favourite Lembit Opik kindly agreed to break his recent vow of media silence to share his thoughts on the years ahead.

"I suppose what I'm really hoping for is a bit more luck," declares the colourful Lib Dem backbencher and former Cheeky Girl companion, before profoundly adding: "If you put as much money into the great fruit machine of life that I have, you've got to win sometime, surely?"

When it comes to his hopes for the coming decade, the MP is more characteristically upbeat: "By this time in 2019 I would still hope to be MP for Montgomeryshire, be a husband with a perfect family and be preparing to sell the film rights of my life story to Hollywood."

Opik, who is known to have been on strained terms with his party leader Nick Clegg in the past, now assures me relations have warmed in recent months. "My improved relationship with Nick Clegg is one of the sunnier stories of 2009," he declares.

Indeed, the politician, also a trained pilot, is keen to offer his services come election time. "I would be proud to fly my leader," he enthusiastically states.

"It would be a goodwill gesture rather than a suicide pact."


Fair enough that he'd still like to be an MP and have a family - a lot of us aspire to those ambitions - but to want to sell the film rights to his life? I'm sorry, but it just proves yet again that he is totally delluded. Does the MP really think his life is that interesting and entertaining? And what escapades can we expect over the next decade if he thinks that it would all make for a good film? Though, looking at some of his antics, a Mr Bean type film could be do-able...

Lembit's new year's resolution should be to stop all this silly nonsense, and focus on being the best MP he can for a beautiful area that deserves to be represented properly. He's an utter joke of an MP and this just proves it yet again. As an MP, you shouldn't be the story - your constituency should be. Which is why my new year's resolution is to increase the Plaid Cymru vote substantially in Montgomeryshire and give Glyn a Lembit a real fight. I might not have as many resources as them, but I do have passion and determination and would not let the electorate down if elected. I'm interested in politics, not because I want to be a Z list celebrity, but because I want to make a difference to the lives of the people living in Montgomeryshire and help them get the best deal possible. The months ahead should be interesting...

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Welsh Politico – Deadline Extended

Don't forget to get your nominations in by the 5th of January - details can be found here. You can nominate yourself or others - go on, what have you got to lose?!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Nadolig Llawen

Just a quick blog post to wish all the readers of this blog a merry christmas. Hopefully, you're all too busy to read the blog today but if you do happen to peak online, I hope Father Christmas has been kind to you and that you enjoy your day.

I love this time of year. The cold crip air, christmas lights twinkling everywhere, proper fires, great films on the television and an excuse to eat cashew nuts and drink baileys! Whatever you're up to, I hope you're having a wonderful time. And to those who are maybe going through a difficult time or aren't with your loved ones for some reason, my thoughts are with you as well.

So, for today: Nadolig Llawen ichi gyd a mwynhewch yr wyl.

Until tomorrow... Iechyd da!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Two year degrees - oh come on...

Wow, I'm glad that my university years are behind me after reading about Lord Mandelson'n proposal for two year degree courses. Yes, they may be cost effective but its just another sure sign that too many people in the UK are happy to see the education system continue to be dumbed down. The whole point of univeristy is not only to allow you to study a subject in depth, but also to open your mind and challenge you. Allow you to throw yourself into all sort of activities and experiences and come out a more rounded, well read and world wisely person.

I've previously expressed my concerns on this blog about the standard of education particularly in relation to higher education. Whilst I'm all for allowing more flexbility in the system, I also think we need to go back to basics and ensure that a degree means something more than just a bit of paper as it has become. Otherwise, it makes a whole mockery of the system.

I was extremely fortunate that my degree course lasted four years. Not only did I leave University with a degree in History and Political Science but I also was able to truly enjoy college life and experience a wide range of things: I had been Editor of a magazine, chair of the radio station and heavily involved in the students union as well as a number of other societies. By the time I left, I honestly felt as though I'd devleoped and evolved as a person and felt far more mature and ready for the challenges that the real world would throw at me.

Two year degree courses might work in some subjects but in the majority, it won't. People would be forced then to do a masters, which are often hugely expensive thus meaning yet again a barrier into higher education for the majority of people.

Next year, I will be working on developing some education policies that I think could work in Wales and if anyone's interested in joining such a research project, please get in touch. Something's not working in terms of education at the moment, and there is a huge funding gap. Answers are needed so if you have any ideas, I'd love to hear them.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ahoy there!

Thank you Vaughan Roderick for once again bringing us some Lembit related news. Today's story, from the Daily Mail, is as follows:

"Passengers on board a luxurious cruise ship were shocked to find Lib Dem Lembit Opik joining them at a time when Parliament was sitting... the MP for Montgomeryshire... has just got back from a trip around the Canary Islands on board Cunard's second largest ship, the Queen Victoria... Opik, 44, was given a free six-day trip, worth around £3,000, in exchange for giving two lectures to the 2,000-odd passengers."

When will Mr Opik learn that this kind of behaviour just isn't acceptable. How did the people of Montgomeryshire benefit in any way? Fair enough if he'd done this during recess and when he was on official annual leave, but to do it at a time when parliament was sitting and he was being paid to represent his constituents is actually completely wrong and incredibly disrespectful to those who elected him. Montgomeryshire deserves better - not an MP who's willing to sun himself and bore people on cruise ships rather than sit in parliament doing his job. Though maybe its a blessing. At least if he loses the election we now know that he'll be mainly at sea and out of everybody's way - another reason to avoid Cruise ship holidays!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Is he really welcome?

So Mohammad Ashgar is now a Tory?! Whilst its disappointing to lose a Plaid AM, I hardly think he'll have a great time with the Tories. They are being incredibly two faced to accept and welcome him to their group, and to them, it's just a chance to score a few petty points rather than gain a valuable asset. In fact, I've lost count of the number of negative things I've personally heard them say about him over the past few months and the amount of times I've defended him to some Tory AM's, only to hear them ridicule and dismiss him. They've been incredibly cruel and down right nasty and times, and have made no secret of the fact that they find him laughable. He'll simply be a pawn in their political game, and whilst they may be smiling and welcoming him now, it won't be long until he's sidelined and shown no respect. They can't be trusted. It's also incredibly shabby of them, as Guerrilla Welshfare rightly points out, to do this on Rhodri Morgan's last day as First Minister and also without forcing him to pre-warn Plaid. Its childish behaviour, and one that proves that they wouldn't have been politically mature enough to handle the Rainbow Coalition.

As far as the future, I think Ashgar should do the honourable thing and stand down as an AM and then run as a Conservative. If he wins, fair enough - he will be the people's choice. But at least people will vote knowing what his values and beliefs are. His constituents were voting for a Plaid AM at the election and they should be able to decide if they still want him to represent them after changing his fundamental beliefs. That's the democratic and right thing to do.

So to summarise, whilst it is a shock and a shame, he's hardly going to be the shining light of the Conservatives in Wales and once he's served his purpose, the group will soon forget about him. Plaid Cymru accepted that Oscar was different and a bit of a character. Yes he was unpredictable and panicked us at times with some of his views, but he always had our full support and respect as an AM and we did defend him from others. Despite what they may have promised, he won't get the same from the Tories. For his sake, I hope those amongst the Conservative AM's who spoke badly and disrespectfuly of him will stop doing so as he'll need their support once the spotlight fades on this story.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Going for it

I had a day off work today (Monday) to sort out the new house and clean the old one, and therefore was able to listen to Alex Salmond's speech launching the SNP's white paper on an independence referendum. Whilst I'm delighted for Scotland, I can't help but be jealous that there are one step ahead of Wales. I thought he outlined the reasons brilliantly, and felt that all the logical arguments used apply to Wales: the need for Welsh solutions to Welsh problems, whilst of course being part of a global community.

I am confident it will happen in my lifetime in Wales but there is of course a first stage we need to get past, which is to try and match what Scotland has now. However, listeneing today, has made me even more determined to start thinking about policies an independent Wales could implement, which are impossible under the current settlement and the one being proposed. After all, its essential that we plan for the future rather than just call for extra powers. In other words, we need to know exactly what we'd do with them before demanding them!

I have to admit, I can't wait for the next referenda to take place in Wales and Scotland. Devolution has proved itself to be worthwhile, and its about time it was allowed to progress. Let's hope 2010 is the year that allows that to happen. And let's hope that by 2020, Wales will be joining Scotland as an independent nation with its own voice on the world stage.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Symud eto!

Wel dwi di symud ty eto felly sori am y distawrwydd. Dal yng Nghaerdydd ond bach yn agosach at gwaith. Mae'n hunllef symud dydi. Gen i gymaint o rwtsh a papurau o bob math. Dwn i ddim sut dwi'n casglu cyn gymaint! Gobaith rwan ydi o leia un blog bob diwrnod rhwng rwan a 'dolig. Hefyd yn ail gydio yn yr ymgyrchu wythnos yma ar ol mis reit ddistaw. Fawr o ysbrydoliaeth gen i heno, ond mi feddylia'i am rwbeth i roi fyny fory.

Un peth sydyn - llongyfarchiadau anferthol i Jonathan Edwards ar gael ei ddewis fel ymgeisydd ar gyfer yr Etholiad Cyffredinol nesaf. Gen i barch anhygoel iddo fo, a dwi'n gwybod bydd o'n Aelod Seneddol ffantastig os bydd o'n ennill yr etholiad (fel dwi'n siwr y gwneith o). Dwi'n edrych mlaen i ddilyn ei ymgyrch a'i weld yn dechrau ar ei yrfa fel gwleidydd. Mae jest y math o berson mae Cymru ei angen i fod yn San Steffan yn cwffio ar ein rhan. Gan obeithio bydd yna dim mwy nag erioed o'r blaen o Aelodau Seneddol Plaid Cymru yn llwyddianus hefyd!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What were they thinking?

So, Labour was forced to make yet another u-turn today. Its becoming something of a habit isn't it! This time it was over the timing of the referendum. When is Peter Hain going to stop his silly interferring in the affairs of the Assembly? And why did Rhodri Morgan go along with it? Yes, Hain did play an important role in 1997 but things have moved on and he's no longer top dog. When is he going to accept that? He really is losing the respect of everyone who's pro devolution, even those in his own party, and constantly seems to be trying to destabilise the colaition. Why try and damage Wales in that way?

Luckily, by this evening, everything seems to have settled down again but when is Labour going to read Hain the riot act and stop him from playing these kind of dangerous games? The One Wales agreement stated that there would be a referendum before 2011. Every report published recently supports that fact. So why isn't he listening to the people of Wales and constantly ignoring the voice of the majority by trying to stop it from happening? What is he afraid of?!

I hope he gets a hard time when he visits the Senedd tomorrow. I'll certainly be watching with interest. I'm sure twitter will keep me posted!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mongtomeryshire being battered

Montgomeryshire is under siege during this dreadful weather. There are terrbile floods, landslides and road closures - so the emergency services have their work cut out to get everything back on track. So please, those of you who are travelling about Mid Wales, please do take care and be aware that your journey could take much longer than usual. And if you can stay at home, all the better. Take care!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Today's the day!

So, finally, we'll find out in a few hours what the All Wales Convention thinks regarding a referendum on further powers for the Welsh Assembly. I can't wait, and I for one will be fully committed to a yes campaign when the time comes. BUT - I still think from listening to the media today that there is a huge job to do in explaining to the people of Wales what exactly they would be voting for. There is huge confusion at present about the powers of Westminter and the Assembly, and this needs to be tackled as soon as possible. That's the only way to truly engage and connect with the Welsh electorate, and develop a new style of politics in Wales. One that involves every citizen.

The one thing that's clear is that the current system isn't working and that things need to change. But saying that isn't enough. The yes campaign now needs to mobalize and set up a proper campaign. Who's with me?!

Bah humbug!

Now, before I go on, can I just state from the very start. I love Christmas. Mincemeat has been made, and I still have a scar on my arm from making mince pies last year. I've even done most of my Christmas shopping and decided on gifts for the rest. Plus I've organised a few Christmas get togethers. So, I am no scrooge... BUT. Is anyone else as annoyed as me that Christmas has seemed to have start even earlier than usual this year? It's honestly doing my head in!

Surely, Christmas lights and so on shouldn't go on until the 1st of December? People shouldn't be talking non stop about Christmas? Plus, I'm convinved Christmas adverts are on earlier than usual.. Its utterly ridiculous and takes the magic out of Christmas. Plus its very unfair on those who don't celebrate Christmas...

So, who's with me on a campaign so Christmas can't start before December for 2010? Ok, so its not the most important matter in the world. And its not going to achieve world peace. But, it would mean that the meaning of Christmas wouldn't be lost and that the festive period wasn't allowed to get out of hand!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Argoeli'n dda!

Fush i'n canfasio am 'chydig heddiw yng Ngheredigion gyda Penri James, ymgeisydd Plaid Cymru yno ac Aelod Seneddol nesaf Ceredigion yn ol yr ymateb! Roedd yn wych gweld gymaint o ymgyrchwyr yn ymuno ag ef er gwaethaf y gwynt a'r glaw ac roedd yn galonogol bod cyn gymaint o'r rhai y buom yn eu canfasio yn cefnogi Penri ac yn gwybod amdano cyn i ni eu cyfarch! Mae'n rhaid mi gyfaddef mod i'n teimlo bach yn genfigenus wrth weld cyn gymaint o bobl yn dod at eu gilydd i ganfasio yng Ngheredigion - fyswn i wrth fy modd cael tim mor fawr ym Maldwyn! Ond dyna ni - dyna'r sialens imi ym Maldwyn a dwi'n benderfynnol o godi'r nifer o actifyddion sydd gennym ni rhwng rwan a'r etholiad!

Penwythnos dwytha ro'n i hefyd wedi bod allan yn canfasio gyda Hywel Williams yng Nghaernarfon. Roedd yr ymateb yn wych iddo yntau a pawb wrth eu boddau i weld eu haelod seneddol lleol! Ella bod o'n beth od ichi mod i'n canfasio mewn seddi eraillo dro i dro ond mae'n rhaid mi ddweud bod rhywun yn dysgu llawer drwy wneud hynny. Wythnos dwytha a heddiw mi wnesh i bigo fyny dipyn o 'tips' ynglyn a sut i ganfasio'n effeithiol a'r dasg rwan ydi datblygu hyn yn fy sedd i. Felly watch out Maldwyn - mi fydda ni allan yn curo'r drysau cyn hir. A mi fydd ganddo system 'super douper' er mwyn gwneud hynny! Edrych mlaen!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

IWA Women

I went along to the IWA Women launch last night. It was an interesting evening, and there was an impressive turnout. There were even - shock horror - men there, which included Carwyn Jones and Nick Bourne. I was glad to see that, as equality is something both men and women need to tackle. Its not something that should be left to one sex to deal with.

Much of the focus was on the involvement of women in politics and how ensure a gender balance in the future. Now, personally, I've never been in favour of all female lists or women automatically topping the list. If I ever top a poll I want it to be on merit rather than because of my gender, and though positive discrimination seems to have worked, I think its time to move on. Even so, I have to admit I found it interesting to hear that everyone seems to believe that a male will automatically top some of the party's regional lists before anyone has declared their candiditure! I still like to think that hustings are democratic and that people keep an open mind until then! Maybe that's slightly naive, but still...

Personally, I do hope the assembly sustains its hugely important gender balance but of course, there is work to be done in maintaining that and tackling equality at council and Westminster level. It's going to be a challenge though. I often think that members who are not within commuting distances to either Westminster or the Welsh Assembly will always have to make huge sacrifices if they have young families, and will have to think hard about going into politics especially if they're based in North Wales. No parent wants to have to leave their children behind for days at a time every week and its not like you can be there full time with them when you're back in the consituency. It's bound to put a strain on any relationship and I'm not sure quite how you tackle that fundamental issue so that we encourage more young people to engage in politics and run for office. Irrespecitve of gender.

IWA Women certainly has a role to play and I look forward to seeing how the work evolves. There are no easy solutions, but at least there are people now committed to exploring some difficult issues and thinking of ways to tackle them. Politics will hugely benefit from this kind of thinking - long may it continue!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Countryworks, Montgomery

On Friday night, I was lucky enough to be invited to the Christmas preview of merchandise for sale at Countryworks in Montgomery. I'd never been to the shop before, and I must say - I was immediately impressed. Not only was the place full of character, but it also had plenty of beautiful gifts and decorations fot the festive period. It was also packed full of people, and it was lovely to meet them. They were incredibly welcoming, and I'll definitely be back there soon. I did end up spending some money, but want to go back again closer to christmas and get some gifts. Beautiful works of art of display there as well so its worth a visit. Montgomeryshire is full of little gems like this which will make it very easy to shop locally for Christmas presents this year whilst hitting the campaign trail!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Cadw'r ffydd

For the first time since starting the campaign, I was dreading the drive to Montgomeryshire and back tonight for the monthly campaign meeting. It was dark and wet by the time I reached Brecon Beacons, and I was tempted to turn the car round and head back to Cardiff. Having just returned home, I can say with confidence that I'm delighted I didn't as there was a great turn and we had an excellent meeting. In fact, I was buzzing with ideas the whole way back thinking how we're going to tackle the campaign over the next six months. Things will go up a gear once again in the new year and we're more than ready for it! But of course, planning will be crucial and that needs to be done and finalised over the next few weeks.

Also in the new year, I'll be holding a number of informal meetings in Montgomeryshire for those who are either new members or interested in finding out more about Plaid Cymru. Please get in touch - heledd@gmail.com - if you'd like to come along or if you have any queries or questions. Also, don't forget to renew your membership if you're an existing member so I ensure you're on our database. I have forms so email me if you fall into that category!

Other than the campaign, life has been a bit busy as of late. Lots to do in my day to day job - all interesting stuff but a number of tasks needs to be completed - plus a few other things such as developing my new campaign website. Fitness drive has fallen by the wayside unfortunately but resuming this week so I'm ready for the Santa run in December! Need to find somewhere to live in Cardiff by the end of this month as well so if you know of any reasonably priced flats for rent in the Pontcanna/ Canton area, please get in touch. I'd be grateful of your help.

Anyway, enough for tonight. Thanks to those who attended tonight's meeting and made me glad that I didn't turn the car round. It was definitely worth while!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Eisteddfod Powys

Fush i'n Eisteddfod Powys ddoe, a wnesh i wir fwynhau. Dwi wir wrth fy modd gyda eisteddfodau - un o'r pethau sydd yn fy ngwneud i'n falch iawn o'r ffaith mod i'n Gymraes. Do'n i'm yno ar gyfer yr orymdaith yn y bore yn anffodus gan mod i'n siopa ar gyfer Nain felly welish i mo Glyn Davies na Mick Bates, ond fe fush i'n gwrando ar y cystadlu drwy'r dydd. Roedd y safon yn ffantastig, ac awyrgylch gret yno. A pawb mor glen a chroesawgar hefyd - wir teimlo'n rhan o'r gymdeithas ym Maldwyn erbyn hyn.

Yn anffodus, gafodd fy Ewythr Hywel, brawd Nain, ddim llwyfan yn y gystadleuaeth canu emyn er iddo ganu'n wych yn y rhagbrawf. Ond dyna ni. Chwaeth y beirniad ac ati!

Wnaeth yna nifer ddod fyny ata fi yn ystod yr egwyl rhwng y sesiwn prynhawn a nos i ddweud bod nhw'n cytuno hefo'r hyn roeddwn wedi ei ddweud am y BNP yn y County Times. Mae hynny'n sicr yn codi calon rhywun a ninnau mond chydig filltiroedd o dy Nick Griffin ar y pryd. Mae pawb ym Maldwyn dwi'n ei nabod yn ei gasau o a'i ddaliadau - a dwi'n hynod falch o hynny.

Felly eisteddfod wych mewn ardal sydd ddim mor Gymregaidd a hynny tua Trallwm. Prawf bod yr iaith dal yn fyw ac yn iach ym Maldwyn, hyd yn oed mewn ambell ardal annisgwyl. Hefyd yn galanogol o ran yr ymgyrch cael nifer o bobl yn dweud unwaith eto bydda nhw'n pleidlesio i Blaid Cymru am y tro cyntaf erioed yn yr etholiad nesaf, hyd yn oed ambell i Dori a Rhyddfrydwr rhonc! Calonogol iawn!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Last night's Question Time...

Well, did you watch? And if so, what did you make of it?

I had been in two minds over whether to tune in or not, but in the end, decided to go ahead and see what the idiot had to say. I honestly don't think the producers had any choice but to invite the BNP to participate after their success in the last European Election, but still, I did feel uncomfortable about it.

Whilst Griffin did come across as the despicable racist that he is, with his anti Islam, anti homosexuals and pro KU Klux Klan comments, I do not think the BBC handled it well. By turning it into a 'BNP special' they over sensationalised his presence, and made Griffin a focal point. I felt at times like I was watching a medieval trial, and I'd hate to think that the mob mentality displayed by the audience might incite some people to feel sorry for him. I think it would have been far more effective if the programme had followed its normal format. Griffin's view would still have become apparent - in fact, I think he'd possibly have been more extreme if he wasn't constantly on the defence.

What politicians need to do now is target those people who have supported by the BNP and persuade them through reasoned debate, policies and logic why theyir loyalties should be placed elsewhere. The BNP don't deserve support and other parties need to prove why that is the case. That's the challenge we're all facing when campaigning in the run up to the next general election, and with Nick Griffin living in Montgomeryshire, I'll definitely be working hard to prove why they don't deserve any kind of support.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Launch

This is the first time I've had the chance to sit down and write about the campaign launch that took place last Friday night. The evening took place in Machynlleth Rugby Club, and luckily a large crowd turned up, with over sixty in total. Needless to say I was delighted. I was very lucky that Dafydd Iwan, Dafydd Wigley, Elfyn Llwyd, Hywel Williams and Gwenllian Lansdown all to came along to say a few words of support and the members certainly enjoyed hearing from them how Plaid Cymru can and will increase the vote in Montgomeryshire at the next General Election. No pressure on me then!

I honestly felt extremely touched by all the support and kind words. To have such giants of Welsh politics pledge their support to my campaign was such an honour, and I truly appreciate the fact that they've always been very generous with their time in terms of giving advice and so on. Also, the members in Montgomeryshire have been tremendous and have really fired me up for the campaign ahead. Some travelled for an hour or more away to attend the night, and I'm grateful to them for that.

My Mother also came along, which was brilliant even though she did embarrass me my producing a Plaid Cymru placard I'd made in 1988 when I was seven yeard old! Proof that I've been committed to the cause from a very young age. It's the first time I've ever been totally lost for words in public and I went bright red - I'll get my revenge somehow!

Gwibdaith Hen Fran played later on in the evening and they were fantastic. Unfortunately, I had to leave at half eleven as I was working the following day but I hear great fun was had by all who stayed on. I'll definitely be there to the end next time!

So, to summaries, an encouraging, positive and fun start to the campaign. Yes, we are facing an uphill struggle but I am determined that I'm running to win. I have a great team of people supporting me, and I don't want to let them down. As I said before - bring it on! The next few months should be very interesting...

Friday, October 16, 2009

Committed

I've just been reading Glyn Davies's blog, something I haven't done for a while. One comment struck me from a person questioning my commitment to the campaign in Montgomeryshire since I don't live there full time. It was nice of Glyn to stick up for me, but still, I think it's something worth addressing here as well.

No, I don't live in Montgomeryshire and I've never lied about that. I'm based in Cardiff, and work across Wales. I try to be in Montgomeryshire every weekend during which I stay with my Grandmother in Newtown, and at least one night a week for meetings. Is this ideal? Well no, obviously not. All the travelling can be quite tiring and I haven't been able to catch up with many of my friends for a few months. But am I complaining? Well obviously not as it was my choice to apply to be a candidate in the seat and I'm truly enjoying the campaign. Unfortunately, in order to be able to develop my career, and more importantly, pay my bills, I can't afford to move to Maldwyn and campaign full time. I wish I could, but the reality is that very few people can afford not to work and just focus on trying to be elected. I truly envy those who can as it definitely gives them an advantage. I did look for jobs in Mid Wales before being selected as a candidate, but couldn't find anything at the time as the recession was just starting. So I went for another job that I'm really enjoying and which brought me closer to Montgomeryshire so I could be there regularly.

I can assure everyone that the moment the election is called, I'll be campaigning full time and taking unpaid leave. Until then, I'll do as much as I possibly can and I am running to win. The relaunch will hopefully send a clear message that we're taking the seat and the election seriously. I am totally committed to Mongtomeryshire and the campaign. It means a great deal to me, and I feel honoured to have been selected by the local party to fight the seat. I'm determined not to let them down.

And the campaign continues...

Well, finally I get to go to Montgomeryshire tonight for the first time in two weeks. Unfortunately, car trouble stopped me from being able to attend quite a few events and I feel awful for missing them. The truth is, after my car broke down and had to be fixed, I just couldn't afford to get a hire car in order to get there as well as pay the costs for a new clutch. But at least everything's sorted now, and I can hit the campaign trail once again. Phew...

I'm really looking forward to the fundraiser/campaign launch/relaunch of Plaid now. Ticket sales have been going well and we should have quite a crowd! I've also received some lovely letters from some members who can't attend, and I feel truly touched. I really appreciate all their kind words, and offers of help, especially given the fact that I haven't had a chance to meet all of them yet. It's such a huge county but I will get round to all of them between now and the election! And that's a promise.

Will let you know how it goes this evening, and remember, if you do want to attend, it all kicks off at 7pm in Machynlleth Rugby Club. I'd be delighted to see you there.

Dau o'r Bae

Jest nodyn byr i ddweud byddai ar Dau o'r Bae amser cinio heddiw. Edrych mlaen yn arw! Mi fydd hi fy nhro cyntaf i ar y rhaglen - braf cael y cyfle a dwi'n ddiolchgar i'r BBC am ofyn. Dwi'n mwynhau cael gwneud mwy a mwy o bethau rwan a trio codi proffail ymgyrch y Blaid ym Maldwyn drwy Gymru. Dwi di bod yn deud ers dipyn bo ni am redeg ymgyrch gadarn tro yma, a gobeithio bod pobl yn dechrau gweld hynny!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Nos Wener/ Friday night

Wel helo pawb. Jest eisiau eich atgoffa ynglyn a noson ail-lawnsio'r Blaid a hefyd lawnsio fy ymgyrch nos Wener yma, 16eg o Hydref yng Nghlwb Rygbi Machynlleth o 7pm ymlaen. Nifer o wleidyddion Plaid - Dafydd Wigley, Elfyn Llwyd, Dafydd Iwan, Hywel Williams, Gwenllian Landsown a fi - a hefyd y band ffantastig, Gwibdaith hen Fran. Tocynnau yn £5 - cysylltwch gyda mi ar heledd@gmail.com os ydych eisiau prynnu un. Gan obeithio eich gweld nos Wener!

Well hello all. Just to remind you that the re-launch of plaid Cymru as well as my campaign launch takes place this Friday, 16th October at Machynlleth rugby Club from 7pm onwards. A number of Plaid politicians will be present - Dafydd Wigley, Elfyn Llwyd, Dafydd Iwan, Hywel Williams, Gwenllian Landsown and me - and also a fantastic band, Gwibdaith Hen Fran. Email me for a ticket - heledd@gmail.com. They're £5 each - hope to see you there!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Mewn cariad...

...hefo fy iphone newydd sbon. O waw - am declyn! Pam na nesh i brynnu un fisoedd yn ol? Mae'n ffantastig! Jest gobeithio bydd o'n gweithio yn Sir Drefaldwyn - ga'i weld penwythnos nesa!

Finally...

So Parliament starts back this week - finally. Seems to make no sense that recess lasts quite so long. It's been great to see the Senedd back to business over the past few weeks putting the UK parliament to shame!

Sorry for the light blogging - down to technical problems. My laptop is dying and since I rely on it to be able to blog, it's been a bit of a nightmare. Hope to have a new one by the end of the week, fingers crossed! Campaign still going well though. Don't forget about the campaign launch this Friday (16th October) in Machynlleth rugby club. More details to follow tomorrow but send me a message if you want to reserve a ticket.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The perils of blogging when angry...

Well, I seriously wasn't expecting my post on bikes to be picked up by the echo today. It makes me sound like I care passionately about bikes, which everyone who knows me well is finding hilarious this morning. Especially given that I was the only one at my primary school to fail the practical element of the cycling exam. Oh well. At least the paper didn't print that it was my first time on a bike since I was twelve... And there were no pictures, which is definitely a blessing.

I feel like I should up-date you about what happened on Saturday. After two and a half hours, everything was sorted and we eventually had a very enjoyable ten mile bike ride. No problems dropping them off at the end of the day either. I know every new scheme has teething problems, and I will try it again in the future in the hope everything has been sorted out but it was very frustrating at the time. It is a brilliant idea and I'm delighted to see it up and running. Yes, the company were at fault not to offer more support on the first weekend but I'm sure they'll learn from that. Cycling is certainly a great way to get round the city, and the opportunity to hire a bike has made me think of investing in one myself now. And were it not for the free bikes, then I wouldn't have known that!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

On your bike...

Now, I'm not impressed. At this precise moment I should be cycling to Castell Coch with my cousin, or at least attempting to. It's our first time cycling since we were about twelve years old so instead of investing in bikes, we thought for our first journey that we'd try out the new bikes you can hire in Cardiff. We registered online last night, and went to the bike station by ten this morning... And we're still waiting for my cousin to get her bike. I had to ring up three times before I was able to get mine, but for some reason my cousin's account still hasn't been activated. Eight phone calls and an hour and forty minutes later, still no bike. And the only adivce on how to sort this out? Email us. Now that means going home to the house then waiting around for a reply. What a ridiculous system!!!

I'm so disappointed and also angry. On the first weekend of the scheme you'd expect the company responsible to be trying to promote them and making it as smooth and easy as possible to use the bikes. I've totally been put off and wishing I hadn't bothered. I truly hope any problems will be sorted for the future. It's a brilliant idea, which Plaid Cymru pushed for in the local elections. If done properly, it would be amazing. But marks out of ten up to now is 0.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Newyddion Adam

Yn ol blog Vaughan Roderick, fydd Adam Price ddim yn sefyll am San Steffan yn yr Etholiad Cyffredinol nesaf. Yn hytrach, bydd Adam yn mynd i'r America am flwyddyn ar ol iddo ennill ysgoloriaeth i astudio yno. Newyddion gwych i Adam yn bersonol ond colled fawr i Blaid Cymru yn y tymor byr. Ond eto, o edrych ar y tymor hir, dwi'n grediniol bydd hyn yn newyddion da. Mae gan Blaid Cymru fwyafrif sylweddol yn y sedd a gyda'r ymgeisydd iawn, bydd yn bosib ei chadw. Hefyd - fe roddith hyn gyfle i Adam gael amser allan o wleidyddiaeth cyn dychwelyd a mynd am y Cynulliad (a chymeryd mai dyna'r bwriad). Adam Price ffres a llawn egni a syniadau - watch out Cymru! Hynod o gyffrous... Sgwn i os oes yna unrhyw arwyddocad mai heddiw y mae'r stori wedi dod allan, sef deuddeg mlynedd i'r diwrnod ers i Gymru bleidleisio o blaid datganoli?!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Crysau T BNP a Glyndwr

Erthygl yn y County Times wythnos yma - Cliciwch yma i'w weld.

More from #plaidconf

Well, finally, some free time to blog. Though I'm not complaining really. I think it's an incredibly healthy sign if a parliamentary candidate is too busy talking to actual human beings rather than just staring at a computer screen at conference!

What a few days it's been - I've thoroughly enjoyed it and feel energised for the general election campaign ahead. The level of support from all has been fantastic and we have high hopes of capturing more Westminster seats than ever before.

My personal highlight up to now was chairing one of the sessions on Thursday - What does the future hold for Wales after the 2010 election? I felt honoured to be in charge of such a prestigious panel - Myfanwy Davies, Eurfyl ap Gwilym, Dafydd Wigley and Ron Davies. It was a lively discussion, but more than that, extremely interesting and thought provoking. None of the speakers played it safe - they provoked the audience and spoke from the heart. There was a fantastic reception for Ron - let's hope it encourages him to join us. It would be a brilliant boost for a future referendum campaign and a definite boost for Plaid to have him as one of our Assembly members. The ideas floated by him and the other panelists were important - very much focued on nation building rather than short term gains. Definite plenty of food for thought.

Montgomeryshire's motion regarding the transportation of wind farms was discussed - will blog again on this - but I was glad to see it properly debated. I was also delighted to see Plaid have a proper discussion about mid Wales - Montgomeryshire is often ignored, simply because we usually have less members and therefore they're less vocal. We are changing that and I've been delighted to see many Sir Drefaldwyn members here at conference and taking part. I told you we were running to win there!! On that note, I was on Radio Cymru yesterday morning and was asked about the likelihood of Glyn Davies winning. I honestly don't think it's as definite as some pundits are speculating. Lembit, despite everything, still has fantastic name recognition. Plus - Glyn has lost elections in the past and isn't popular with everyone. Whilst I'm realistic about my own chances, I am increasingly hopeful that our vote will increase considerably. Could that have an influence on the result in Montgomeryshire? Don't dismiss it as a possibility..

The dashing George Monbiot was our guest speaker at the Plaid Conference Dinner last night - he was fantastic. Really interestng and thought provoking and arguing in favour of a English parliament. We're hardly going to disagree with that as Welsh Natonalists are we! I also had the pleasure of speaking to him about the issue of Tesco's in Machynlleth - a discussion which I hope to continue with him in the future as he certainly has strong and interesting views on the matter. Incidentally, I was sitting on the Tesco table at conference last night and attended the fringe meeting. So at least I'm speaking to those on both sides of the argument!

An emergency motion was passed this morning regarding the translation of speeches at the National Assembly. I had hoped to speak but had been stopped by someone outside the hall for a chat so missed it which was unfortunate. Whilst I certainly support it, I also wanted to appeal to our Assembly Members to use Welsh more often whilst making speeches so that it was naturally registered anyway. I do get fed up of seeing people who are completely fluent in Welsh speaking English rather than Welsh, and yet complain about the lack of translation facilities. My message therefore - USE YOUR WELSH!!! (This is a message to politicians from every party by the way - it's not just Plaid ones who are guilty! In fact, Plaid politicians are far more pro-active about using their Welsh than politicians from other parties).

Final very girly point. One lesson I've learnt for next year is to remember to bring flat shoes. My feet are killing me by now from wearing high heels for three days! Having spent most of the summer in Mid Wales at Agricultural shows and visiting farms etc my feet are far more accustomed with wellingtons. Think I'd have got some strange looks though if I'd worn them at conference!!!

Right - enough hiding from the world from me. Back to participating.

Think Different. Think Plaid.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Yr ail ddiwrnod

Wel, maen ddrwg gen i nad ydw i wedi bod yn blogio gymaint a hynny o'r gynhadledd ag o'n i wedi bwriadu. Arwydd da mewn ffordd - dwi di bod rhy brysur yn cymeryd rhan ag yn sgwrsio hefo bobl go iawn! Mae hi'n mynd yn wych yma - awyrgylch ffantastig. Wnesh i wir mwynhau cadeirio sesiwn ddoe - mi wna'i flogio eto amdano - ac roedd fy nhim yn fuddugol yn Have I Got News For Plaid!

Gobeithio ga'i bum munud fory i sgwennu'n iawn. Mwy o bethau i fynd iddyn nhw rwan a cinio heno. Hwyl am y tro!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Cynhadledd - o'r diwedd!

Wel, mae'r gynhadledd wedi dechrau. Nifer o bobl yma'n barod a teimlad hyfryd - llawn cyffro a pawb yn barod am dridiau o drafod, dal fyny, ysgogi a mwynhau. Mae yna gymaint o sesiynau difyr ymlaen - anodd penderfynnu beth i fynd iddo sy'n broblem braf iawn. Mi fyddai yn siwr o flogio pan fydd amser, felly cadwch lygad ar y blog. Dwi'n cadeirio sesiwn prynhawn yma - Pa ddyfodol i Gymru ar ol etholiad 2010 - gyda big hitters go iawn - Wigley, Ron Davies, Eurfyl ap Gwilym a Myfanwy Davies. Edrych mlaen i gadw trefn arnyn nhw i gyd! Hefyd yn siarad yng nghyfarfod ymylol comisiwn newid etholiadol Cymru a wedyn ar y panel ar gyfer Have I got News for Plaid heno felly diwrnod digon prysur. Tan wedyn...

Monday, September 7, 2009

Interesting...

Just read Lembit Opik's responses to some questions posed by the public in today's Independent. The following answer caught my attention, as to be honest, out of all that he does, it's the column in the Daily Sport that angers me the most as I find the paper so disrespectful and degrading to women. Here's his defence.

Does it worry you that you write a column for a publication which encourages the objectification of women as sexual objects, or do the pay cheques make it worth it? ALISON PONSONBY, BY EMAIL

I write for the Daily Sport because they give me the space to make a serious, unedited contribution in a way which might make politics interesting to people who may not otherwise find it all that attractive. I feel it's a valid outlet and I'm pleased to have the opportunity to cover real politics in an accessible way.


Any comments? If you want to read the rest of the interview, click on this link.

Wigley's decision

Peter Black's blog post today blames Plaid's Parliamentary leadership for the failure to get Plaid members into the House of Lords. This is a perfect example of why I don't usually read his blog, as it is always so bitter as he seems to twist every single story just to be negative about Plaid. Life's too short. The truth is as follows. It was strongly suggested to Elfyn Llwyd that Plaid should nominate people to go the House of Lords and that they would be accepted. Plaid decided to hold democratic elections within the party, and duly selected three people. Since then, there has been an u-turn in the Government and for some reason, Gordon Brown refuses to sanction the nominations. Elfyn Llwyd has tried his best to resolve the situation. He couldn't have done anymore and I have the uttermost respect for him. I should know, as I worked closely with him on this issue during my time at Westminster. There's cross party support (shock horror Peter - even Liberal Democrats) for Plaid on this issue, and yet Gordon Brown refuses to budge. What more can Plaid do? Nothing. Which shows how undemocratic and flawed the system is. The statement from the Cabinet Office does not reflect the reality of what happened and there are even people within the Labour party who are disgusted at what's happened.

I don't blame Wigley for withdrawing. It's the right thing to do. He has still has a huge role to play in Welsh politics and is being wasted on the side lines, waiting for a peerage that may never come. Wonder what the next step will be? I look forward to finding out.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Welsh Food Festival


Just back from the fantastic Welsh Food Festival at Glansevern Hall. What a wonderful event and such a stunning setting. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and spent a fortune on some treats to take home to my Grandmother. The biggest difficulty was trying to stop myself from buying one of everything -such a tempting array of all kinds of local produce. I'll definitely be back again next year!


Saw Glyn Davies again - we'll be like old friends by the end of the campaign at this rate - and also, for the first time since being selected as a candidate - Lembit Opik. Well it had to happen at some stage and better to get it over and done with. Chatted to him and Glyn for a while - shame no one was on hand to take a picture as I think it would have been quite amusing. It was all very polite and pleasant - it will be interesting to see how the dynamics change between all of us in the run up to the election. At least we all bonded over one thing - the Labour candidate. He's nowhere to be seen. Glyn's met him once, but other than that, we haven't seen him. Guess Labour aren't putting up much of a fight here then which is surprising given how interesting the seat will be in the next election. They usually come third so it seems a bit silly not to run a strong campaign. Not that I'm complaining. I'll happily go after all the Labour votes! Well, as well as some Liberal Democrat and Conservative ones of course...

Llanfair Caereinion Show


Well another Saturday, and another agricultural show in Mid Wales. And what a show! The Llanfair Caereinion show was fantastic and I throughly enjoyed myself.There was a huge variety of activities going on, and it was great fun.There was even a fair and a bucking broncho! Met the UKIP candidate again (they had a stand), saw Mick Bates, and from a distance Nick Griffin from the BNP. Saw Lembit as well - or rather, a few sketches of him in the arts and crafts tent as you'll see from the picture! Just read on Glyn's blog that he was also about but unfortunately missed him. Proves that there were a lot of people there if we didn't see each other!

This is the show's last year on this particular field, but not the show's last year as the organisers were keen to emphasise. It will simply be moving to a different location but other than that, it will be business as usual.

Once again, there were some interesting competitions held - the one that caught my eye was the scarecrow making one. What do you think of the winner? I was impressed!

Bumped into many Plaid supporters which was encouraging - and once again, had people pledging to vote Plaid for the first time in their lives. I only need a few more thousands to say the same if I want to win the election! Right - better hit the campaign trail properly again tomorrow then!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Framed

I've been meaning to post all week about this one off BBC Drama. Well, did anyone else watch it, and if so, what do you think?

Personally, I was totally confused by the accents. Wasn't it supposed to be set in North Wales? If so, why the huge variety of Welsh accents even amongst though who were supposed to have been born and brought up in the area? Most of the actors had valleys accents which was bizarre given the setting. It seems to me that those who were casting decided to cast anyone who was Welsh, not bothering to take into account any notion of dialect. A bit like casting people with strong Liverpool accents to act as proper Londoners in Eastenders.

The north Wales or Mid Wales accents are rarely heard in any English language tv programmes, and I think this programme was a missed opportunity to showcase the different dialects. Personally, I had to switch off half way through - not because of the story line but because the accents were all over the place and hence getting on my nerves. Don't get me wrong, I do love every Welsh accent - that's not my complaint. But there's no way people would be speaking as though they were from the Rhondda in Blaenau Ffestiniog if they'd lived there all their lives!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Prysur!

Wel, tri diwrnod arall o ymgyrchu ym Maldwyn o fory ymlaen ac yn edrych mlaen. Sioe Llanfaircaereinion fory, ffair fwyd dydd Sul a llwyth o gyfarfodydd dydd Llun. Nain yn edrych mlaen i'n nghael i yno am ddwy noson eto - mae ganddi restri o dasgau yn aros amdana'i, gan gynnwys sortio ei theledu allan cyn i bethau droi'n ddigidol. Fydd hi ddim yn dda arna'i os na fydd hi'n cael gweld Dechrau Canu Dechrau Canmol a Who Wants to be a Millionaire!

Wedyn wrth gwrs mi fydd hi'n gynhadledd Plaid Cymru o ddydd Iau ymlaen. Wir yn edrych mlaen erbyn hyn. Mae gen i ddiwrnod prysur iawn ar y dydd Iau yn cadeirio un sesiwn, siarad mewn un arall, trefnu cyfarfod ymylol ar ran fy ngwaith o ddydd i ddydd a cymeryd rhan yn Have I got News for Plaid gyda'r nos. Wedyn, cynnig Maldwyn ar fore Gwener a mwynhau ar ol hynny. Dal angen penderfynnu pa gynigion eraill fyswn i'n hoffi siarad ynglyn a nhw. Tasg at nos fory.

Beth bynnag, amser gwely rwan er mwyn cychwyn am Faldwyn yn gynnar yn y bore. Sgwn i pryd fydd yr A470 yn Dinas Mawddwy wedi ei glirio? Erbyn y gynhadledd gobeithio!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Latest Article

Here's the link to my latest article on Waleshome. Feel free to leave a comment!

Llanbrynmair Show

I visited the Llanbrynmair Show for a few hours yesterday, and really enjoyed myself. Many of my family members were there, and my second cousin even won with his sheep! There was a fantastic atmosphere, and I think Llanbrynmair was one of the few places in Wales yesterday where the sun shone. I even caught the sun and have tan lines! My Father came to help me, and I was amazed by the positive response to the campaign. Many came up to me, and told me they'd be voting Plaid for the first time in their lives in this next election, which is always heartening to hear. And no, these people weren't related to me before you ask and many weren't Welsh speakers either. I know I have an uphill struggle to increase the vote in Montgomeryshire, but anything can happen between now and then and I'm determined to stay positive and run in the hope of capturing the seat. It's certainly going to be an interesting race... Llanfaircaereinion show next Saturday and the Welsh Food Fair. Can't wait! If you hear of anything else interesting coming up in Montgomeryshire that you think I should be attending, please be sure to let me know - heledd@gmail.com. I like to keep myself busy!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Jewellery Performance in Berriew!


Well, it wasn't a fashion show that I was at tonight but rather a jewellery performance. And what a show! I loved every second.

If you haven't been to Andrew Logan's Museum of Sculpture in Berriew, then I'd urge you to check it out. It's not what you'd expect to find in Mid Wales, and yet it completely suits the beauty of the area to have something so spectacular, over the top and stunning within such a natural setting. I'll definitely be back there for a proper look soon. Tonight, they were re-opening the museum with a stunning jewellery performance. The show takes place annually, and the models are mainly local men and women who love the opportunity to display his jewellery. I'd love to own a piece - I could have spent an absolute fortune if I had it to spend! Must check that lottery ticket in case I've been lucky... Then I can be covered from head to toe in his beautiful jewellery!

Definitely taking family and friends there in the future. Another must see place in Montgomeryshire for sure!

Glum Councillors

Well, my friend sent me this link today to a website dedicated to pictures of councillors looking glum. How many of these type of pictures do you see in local newspapers every week?! Made me laugh anyway! Some handy hints on how not to pose during the election campaign.!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Berriew Show

Well, I had a great afternoon at Berriew show today. Bumped into many Plaid Cymru activists and supporters which was lovely, and just generally enjoyed myself. There was one brilliant cooking competition which I haven't seen at a show before - cooking disaster, where everyone who'd meant to enter in any of the cookery competitions could submit their disaster if everything had gone wrong. There was even a first prize! Fantastic... The entries in general were impressive - I've never seen such a big beetroot or leek in my life!

The show itself was extremely lively, and full of people and activities. Even some acrobatics which I could never possibly even attempt. Impressive to watch though! I also enjoyed the dog jumping which is always good fun. No surprise, but I also bumped into Glyn Davies and Mick Bates. Berriew Show was obviously the place to be today!

Off to fashion show in Berriew tomorrow night, then Llanbrynmair show on Monday. A lot of my family will be at Monday's show so will be great to catch up with them. And organise who'll be willing to have a Plaid Cymru sign in their fields closer to the election!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Update on Welshpool Town Council

As I stated in an earlier post, I got the opportunity to address Welshpool town council on Wednesday night. I have a motion coming up at the Plaid Cymru conference regarding the transportation of wind farms, and I'm going to use Welshpool as an example. I wanted, therefore, to make sure that the town council agreed with the motion and also that my arguments reflected their views. They certainly gave me enough arguments to support my motion, and agreed with my motion. So I'm delighted. Knowing that I have the backing of the town council will help me make my case better at conference, and if successful will commit Plaid to having a definite stance on this important local issue.

I enjoyed meeting the council, they were a great group of people. They obviously get a lot done and were incredibly organised. I promised to update them on how the motion is voted on at conference - hopefully, I won't let them down!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A happy Nain...

Well, my Nain Gwen (my grandmother) is delighted to be mentioned in this week's County Times. For the first time, they printed an extract from my blog in this week's paper and it happened to contain a reference to the fact that I was taking my grandmother out for Sunday lunch to Welshpool. My grandmother isn't into this new technology business, so obviously would never see my blog online but she does read the County Times from cover to cover (minus the sports pages) every week. And usually gives out to me if there's no reference to my campaign in it. Nice not to disappoint her this week! I'll have to try my best to keep it up now... And try to find another way to get a nice reference about her in the paper!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Welshpool Town Council

I'm lucky enough to have the opportunity next Wednesday night, 26th August, to address Welshpool Town Council on my upcoming motion to the Plaid Cymru conference relating to the transportation of wind farms. Though I've discussed the issue with a lot of people locally and have read what the town council has said on the matter, it will be interesting to meet with them face to face and ensure that my argument at conference reflects their views fairly and coherently. It's an open meeting, so all Welshpool residents are welcome to attend. Remember to let me know your views on the matter before conference, which starts on the 10th of September, and I'll certainly read them and take them into account when formulating my proposing speech. Either leave a comment on this blog, or email me directly: heledd@gmail.com

The Bill

This blog post is nothing to do with politics. Just wondering if there are any other fans of the television series, The Bill, reading this blog? If so, what do you make of the new style/ format? I caught up with two episodes on sky plus earlier and I hated them. I know it's now supposed to be 'edgier' but to me, it just comes across as being a bit over the top. All those moody looks, terrible music... Bring back the old tried and tested format! This is far too slow paced and boring. The producers are trying too hard to turn it into a drama series rather than the former soap opera style. It may look slightly classier, but its not as good. Well, in my humble opinion anyway!

Cau Chwarel Dinorwig

Mae'n 40ain mlynedd fory ers i Chwarel Dinorwig gau. Mae yna lwyth o weithgareddau mlaen yn yr Amgueddfa Lechi yn Llanberis i nodi'r achlysur, ynghyd ac arddangosfa hynod o bwysig - Cofio'r Cau. Un o'r pethau 'mwya trawiadol yn yr arddangosfa ydi'r straeon digidol sydd i'w gweld, lle mae yna nifer o bobl leol yn adrodd eu hatgofion nhw am y chwarel a'r cau. Mae nhw'n hynod o effeithiol o ran cyfleu'r hanes, ac yn agoriad llygad ynglyn a sut oedd bywyd yn yr ardal yng nghyfnod y chwareli. Mi fyswn i'n argymell ichi fynd am drip a gweld yr arddangosfa drosta chi'ch hun. Er mai un fach ydi hi, chewch chi mo'ch siomi.

Un o'r pethau mae'r arddangosfa yn cyfeirio atyn nhw ydi mai ar lechen o chwarel Dinorwig yn arwisgwyd Charles, chydig ddyddiau cyn i'r cyhoeddiad ynglyn a'r cau gael ei wneud. Creulon o eironig yn de. Cyd-ddgwyddiad bod y cyhoeddiad ddim wedi dod tan ar ol y diwrnod mawr, ta jest un o'r pethau anffodus yna? Mi gewch chi wneud eich meddwl eich hun i fyny am y peth!

Tesco in Machynlleth

I have been talking to many people in Machynlleth about the proposed new Tesco's store there, and will hold a meeting of Plaid members in the next few weeks. I have my own views on the matter, but before making them public, I would like to hear more from the good people of Montgomeryshire. Please feel free to comment either on this blog or to email me directly - heledd@gmail.com. I will take every viewpoint into account. Apart from two people, everyone I spoke to in Machynlleth were in favour. Even those running some of the shops.

I would like to state, however, how concerned I am that some people are trying to give the impression that there is split between people who've moved into the area and locals on this issue. That is extremely harmful to the community, and isn't even true. It's also ridiculous to state that a Tesco's store will be harmful to the language. Tesco's has a fantastic bi-lingual policy, and employs local people. Certainly, the store hasn't had a negative impact on the langugae in Caernarfon. The majority of check out women or men I've come across there have been Welsh speakers. The same isn't true for every supermarket so credit where credit's due to Tesco's.

Personally, when its practical, I always try and shop in small local businesses. I prefer choosing an exact cut of meat and knowing which farm its from, or selecting seasonal fruit or vegetable from a small shop where I can chat to the owners and so on. But I do also shop in supermarkets, especially when money has been tight or if I can't get to a local shop during the day. Whatever view I do take on the Machynlleth store- and I will take a decisive one - will be based on evidence and from what the people of Machynlleth tell me. I look forward to hearing further from you!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Newyddion Adam

Felly mae'r sibrydion wedi bod yn wir. Yn anffodus. Mae Adam Price yn sefyll lawr fel Cyfarwyddwr Etholiadau Plaid Cymru. Mae'n ddrwg iawn gen i glywed hynny. Mae Adam wedi cyflawni gymaint yn y rol honno, ac wedi gwneud cyfraniad aruthrol i ddatblygiad y blaid dros y blynyddoedd diwethaf. Ei weledigaeth o sydd yn bennaf gyfrifol am ein holl lwyddianau, ac mae ei weledigaeth ar gyfer etholiadau 2011 wedi bod yn hynod o bwysig o ran ysgogi ac arwain gwaith y blaid. Mae yna eraill wedi gwneud cyfraniadau yr un mor bwysig, yn amlwg, ond mae'n bwysig ar ol newydd heddiw talu teyrnged i waith Adam a cydnabod yr holl waith mae wedi ei wneud yn y rol ers 2005.

Fedra'i ddeall ei resymau am roi'r gorau iddi, a dwi'n gwybod bydd Adam yn sicr yn parhau i wneud cyfraniad hyd yn oed heb deitl o'r fath. Mae gan bob cenhedlaeth ambell i berson arbennig sydd yn arweinwyr naturiol, ac mae Adam yn un o'r bobl yna. Dio'm ofn cymeryd penderfyniadau anodd a bod yn styfnig amdanyn nhw, cynnig syniadau radical,na chwaith corddi'r dyfroedd pan mae angen. Mi fydd hi'n ddifyr gweld be wneith o gyda mwy o amser ar ei blat.

Sgwn i rwan pwy ddaw yn ei le o i wneud y swydd? Yn sicr, mi fydd ganddyn nhw dasg gyffrous o'u blaenau gyda etholiadau San Steffan, refferendwm posib a wedyn etholiadau'r cynulliad yn 2011! Mae Adam wedi gosod seiliau cadarn. Mae'n ddyletswydd rwan ar y gweddill ohona ni i adeiladu arnyn nhw, a sicrhau mai Plaid fydd yn arwain llywodraeth y Cynulliad ar ol etholiadau 2011.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Total Politics - Top 60 Welsh Blogs

Just a quick blog to say a huge thank you - diolch o galon - to everyone who voted for this blog for the total politics listing. Genuinely pleasantly surprised to see that I polled at number 12! Also delighted to see how many Plaid Cymru blogs made an appearance, with 7 out of the top 10 being Plaid ones including the top spot. Llongyfarchiadau pawb!Hen Rech Flin makes an interesting observation about the number of blogs which regularly write in Welsh that are listed. Hollol haeddianol a falch o weld bod pobl yn pleidleisio drostynt. Cau ceg pawb sy'n meddwl bod sgwennu'n y Gymraeg yn gul!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

All go!

Had a great day campaigning in Montgomeryshire today. Managed to visit the Llanfyllin. Carno and District and Montgomery Shows and also the El Sueno Existe Festival in Machynlleth. Hence why it was all go! All three shows were brilliant fun, yet unique in character. Made me determined to start competing again with my chutneys, jams and cakes though. Forgot how much fun it can be! My days helping to show sheep always comes in handy at shows as well - people expect a youngish girl interested in politics to know nothing about farming, so it's always nice to be able to give them a bit of a shock! As always, badger culling came up along with a lot of other important rural concerns - all of which I made a note of and will be following up.

El Sueno Existe was totally different but equally interesting. It's a festival to celebrate the life and work of Victor Jara. There was so many different activities going on, from talks to music to dancing. Plaid Cymru's Bro Ddyfi branch had a stall at hopefully we've recruited some new members. They really are a fantastic group of people, who are committed to their area. They've been extremely welcoming since I've become a candidate, and it makes life as a candidate a million times easier. One of the main issues people in Machynlleth wanted to discuss was the new Tescos. Opinions are divided, and I'll have to consider for myself the arguments before coming out in favour or against. Feel free to let me know your views!

I managed to spend a fortune today on various things. Bought some beautiful brooches at the Llanfyllin Show along with some tasty Berriew Cider, and then some cakes to bring home for my Grandmother at the Montgomery show. God knows how many raffles I've entered but they were all for good causes!

I did meet the UKIP candidate for the first time at Llanfyllin but didn't bump into any of the other candidates. Maybe we were on a different loop of the county. Still haven't come across the Labour man - hopefully soon. We'll all be seeing quite a bit of one another once the election starts so it would be good to get the introductions out of the way!

Some campaigning in Newtown tomorrow, then lunch in Welshpool with my grandmother. She hasn't been to Revells yet and I've promised her a gorgeous beef dinner. She won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Transportation of wind farms

I have a motion relating to this coming up at the Plaid Cymru conference and would appreciate hearing your views on the matter. The process is under way in Carmarthenshire, and I will be keeping a close eye on the impact the disruption might have. I know the people of Welshpool and the surrounding area are hugely concerned about this and I'm keen to help the campaign best I can. Please email me your concerns and comments and I will make sure to include them in my conference motion argument.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Social Mobility Essay

Whilst I was away, my essay was published on Waleshome.org. If you have any comments, feel free to get in touch. I'd welcome them!

Un arall drosodd...

Teimlo bach yn fflat heddiw ar ddiwedd eisteddfod arall. Doedd hi'n wythnos wych! Do cafwyd chydig o fwd, ond o ddydd mercher ymlaen, fe gafo ni haul. Gwyrth! Ond nid jest y tywydd oedd yn gyfrifol am ei gwneud hi'n wythnos wych, Roedd hi bendant yn un o'r eisteddfodau gorau dwi'n ei gofio gyda llwyth o ddigwyddiadau difyr a bwrlwm heintus. Mae'n gwneud gwahaniaeth pan mae'r eisteddfod yng nghanol tref hefyd yn hytrach na mewn cae ar y cyrion, ac yn sicr, mae Bala'n leoliad delfrydol. Roedd y croeso gan bobl Sir Feirionnydd yn anhygoel hefyd a pawb yn gwenu a mwynhau drwy'r wythnos. Edrych mlaen ar gyfer eisteddfod 2010 yn barod ond mi fyswn i'n erfyn ar y trefnwyr i drefnu wi-fi am ddim i bawb ar y maes. Fethish i gael cyfrifiadur ddigon hir er mwyn medru blogio ac roedd o'n rhwystredig ar y diawl! Ond dyna ni. O leia gesh i wythnos o ryddid oddi wrth y cyfrifiadur.

Roedd hi'n hyfryd dal fyny gyda pawb a gwneud ffrinidau newydd hefyd. Lle da di'r steddfod am sgyrsiau difyr! Roedd yna lwyth o bobl Maldwyn yno a gret oedd cael clywed ganddyn nhw a trafod syniadau. Synnu bod llais ar ol gen i deud gwir. Edrych mlaen rwan i fynd ati i ddarllen yr holl lyfrau brynnish i. Digon i'n nghadw i'n ddistaw am dipyn! Er mae bloggio'n mynd i fod llawer mwy cyson o hyn ymlaen. Gaddo!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cynllunio...

Wel, o'r diwedd, dwi wedi cael amser i drefnu fy nyddiadur ymgyrchu am y misoedd nesaf ac mi fydd Nain yn falch o glywed - heblaw am ddau benwythnos, dwi'n mynd i fod yn ymgyrchu ym Maldwyn bob penwythnos rhwng rwan a Dolig unwaith mae'r steddfod drosodd. Mae 'na gymaint o waith i'w wneud, a dwi'n edrych ymlaen at y sialens dros y miseodd nesaf yma. Dwi'n gwybod nad ydi o'n ddelfrydol nad ydw i'n byw ym Maldwyn er mwyn medru ymgyrchu drwy'r adeg, ond mi fyddai yn mynychu pethau angenrheidiol pan fydd angen yn ystod yr wythnos hefyd. Ac unwaith mae'r etholiad yn cael ei alw, mi fyddai ym Maldwyn ar gyfer yr ymgyrch i gyd. Os yda chi'n gwybod am bethau sy'n mynd i fod yn digwydd ym Maldwyn fysa werth imi fynychu, mi fyswn i'n ddiolchgar tasa chi'n rhoi gwybod imi. Dwi yn cadw llygad ar y papurau lleol a'r papurau bro hefyd, fel mae fy nhim ymgyrchu, ond mi fyswn i'n gwerthfawrogi eich cymorth chithau os yda chi'n trefnu rhywbeth neu'n gwybod am rywbeth sy'n dod fyny yn yr etholaeth.

Hefyd, dwi wedi trefnu noson i ail lawnsio Plaid Cymru ym Maldwyn a fy ymgyrch yng Nghlwb Rygbi Machynlleth ar nos Wener, 16eg o Hydref. Ebostiwch fi os oes gennych ddiddordeb archebu tocyn (£5 ydi'r pris). Hyd yma, mae Elfyn Llwyd, Dafydd Wigley, Dafydd Iwan, Hywel Williams, Nerys Evans a Gwenllian Lansdown wedi cadarnhau eu bod nhw'n mynychu. Gobeithio cael hyd yn oed mwy o wleidyddion hefyd i gyfarfod ein aelodau ym Maldwyn, gwrando ar yr hyn sydd ganddyn nhw i'w ddweud, ateb eu cwestiynnau a gyrru neges glir bod Plaid Cymru yn cymeryd yr etholiad cyffredinol o ddifrif. Mi fydd yna luniaeth ysgafn a band hefyd - mwy o fanylion ar y blog yma unwaith mae popeth wedi cadarnhau ond cadwch y dyddiad yn glir! Edrych ymlaen yn barod...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Oh no, not again...

So Montgomeryshire is once again hitting the tabloid headlines. Any guesses why this time?

Problems with transport in rural areas? Transportation of windfarms? Lack of employment for young people?

No, it's another 'worthwhile' story as always... Lembit Opik and his love life. Even the BBC website is carrying the story, though oddly in the politics rather than the entertainment section.

I honestly don't care who he dates, but I do care when it's only his love life or purchase of wigs that seems to hit the headlines. Lembit recently complained that the media was far too focused on his love life, but to be honest, it's his own fault. He poses for the most ridiculous photographs, pimps himself on every tv show going, gives interviews to celeb gossip magazines and has even in the past let a tv film crew film him proposing to a cheeky girl. Hardly the acts of a man who's desperate for the media to leave him alone so he can be taken seriously in politics.

Lembit Opik needs to decide once and for all if he wants to be a celebrity or a politician. His constituency deserves better. There are real issues affecting real people which are currently being ignored. All the media he generates is linked to his personal life, and it's become a circus by now. Yet again - bring on the election I say. It's about time the people of Montgomeryshire got to make their feelings clear on the matter. They deserve better than this.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Shouldn't have done it...

Sometimes, it's better not to react when someone shows up your lack of knowledge. Or you'll just end up looking foolish. I'm afraid that's something David James didn't think of before writing his column in the Wales on Sunday today responding to a blog post Adam Price made about his article in last week's paper. Still following? Basically, James made fun of Adam and his calls for reforming the way Wales is funded. This, despite the fact that there is widespread agreement by now backing Adam's argument - take the Holthan Commission report, the House of Lords' Select Committee report and comments made by the man who formulated the Barnett formula himself. What more evidence does he need? Ok, so the CEBR report suggests differently but it's in a minority. Surely a journalist should examine all sources, weigh up all arguments and come up with a considered argument and not just read the one which happens to support your own gut opinion?

The response today was just childish. Adam's argument wasn't nationalist rhetoric as James would have his readers believe. It's based on evidence and he's done his research. We should be grateful at least that James, the man who's 'at the heart of Welsh politics' nearly got Adam's constituency title right this week. Last week he was Plaid MP for Ceredigion in the article! This week he's the Carmarthen MP. Well, Carmarthen East and Dinefwr to be exact. Hopefully, third time lucky eh?

Picking a fight or rather 'war' with someone who knows far more than you is never advisable. I know James has only just taken over the column, so I hope it will get better. He's probably just trying to create an impact. He's not all bad anyway. Although I didn't agree with his interpretation of the social mobility report at least he had a deserved pop at Lembit... Long may that continue at least!

My dream home!


Well, it would be if it was built in Wales! Just read this story on the BBC website. In case you're feeling too lazy to click on the link, the story is that Top Gear presenter James May is looking for volunteers to help him build a new house in Surrey - made entirely out of Lego bricks. Ok, so it's for a tv programme but still... What a brilliant idea!

Lego was my favourite toy when I was little, and I had a whole village built out of it. Even a multi story car park, hospital, school. My lego was my pride and joy until one day, a little boy who'd come round to our house with his parents decided to knock them all to the floor and destroy them. Fifteen years later, and I still can't bring myself to talk to him properly...

I know a lego house wouldn't be practical but I'd be fascinated to see it. And if the eisteddfod wasn't on next weekend, I'd be very tempted to volunteer to help build it. How much fun would that be?!

So any other Lego fans out there or did you have another kind of toy that kept you occupied before the age of computers?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Boost for young farmers

I didn’t get a chance to blog about this yesterday and I know others have already done so, but I would like to wholeheartedly welcome the scheme announced by Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones yesterday to encourage and support new entrants to farming. The Young Entrants Support Scheme (YESS) is an extremely welcome and encouraging step and a real boost for our rural areas at this difficult time. It’s also something Plaid Cymru has been campaigning in favour of for years, and therefore, it’s a massive achievement that the scheme has finally come into existence.

According to the official press release:

The assistance package includes the following key elements:

a one off direct aid grant up to a maximum of £15,000;

access to a dedicated Young Entrants Business Enabler service;

access to funded mentoring services from established farmers.

In addition to providing information and advice, the Young Entrants Business Enabler will actively promote and broker joint ventures between young entrants and established farmers. A database will match up potential partners with a view to them entering into business together. This will hopefully encourage innovative business solutions that ensure the long-term survival of viable farming businesses, and potentially identify appropriate succession options.


I know Elin Jones is a Plaid Cymru Minister and therefore you’d expect me to sing her praises, but you must admire her for all the things she’s achieved in this brief, whatever party you’re from. I cannot think of anyone better suited to the role – she’s just brilliant and understands exactly what policies to implement to make a real difference to our rural societies, such as Montgomeryshire. She’s not afraid to take tough decisions and stand by them either, something which I hugely admire. All the farmers I’ve met when campaigning are great fans of hers, and this announcement will only confirm in their minds that she’s the right person for the job.

• Those interested in obtaining further information should check out the following website: www.wales.gov.uk/farming

Vote!

Just copying this message and encouraging you to vote for your favourite blogs. Let's get some Welsh ones up there!

Email your ten favourite blogs (ranked from 1-10) to toptenblogs@totalpolitics.com

It's that time of year again, when Total Politics asks you to vote for your Top 10 favourite blogs. The votes will be compiled and included in the forthcoming book, the Total Politics Guide to Blogging 2009-10, which will be published in September. This year the poll is being promoted/sponsored by LabourList and LibDemVoice as well as this blog.

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

This much he knows...

If he knows all this, then what doesn't he know?!

Words of wisdom from Mr Opik in today's Observer. Poor Adam though.. I'm sure he never expected the Montgomeryshire MP to refer to him in such a manner!

Reflections..

I promised an up-date on how the British-German forum went, so here goes.

I should probably start with some background in order to explain how I, a Welsh nationalist who defines myself as Welsh and European but not British, ended up attending a British-German forum. Plaid Cymru were offered the opportunity to nominate someone, and very kindly, they nominated me. The purpose of the week was to bring together 25 people from Britain and 25 people from Germany all between the ages of 25 and 35, and who'd be considered future opinion formers and leaders in business, economics or politics to discuss the very topical subject: 'Can we shape Capitalism to suit our future?'. The forum is held annually at Wilton Park, a beautiful setting in West Sussex. It was a fantastic opportunity, and one I'm grateful for.


Given that its twenty years this coming November since the Berlin Wall came down, there was a real sense of occasion to the week with many speakers reflecting on the events that occurred two decades ago. Some of the speakers had been attending the British-German forum in Wilton Park on the day the wall came down and it was interesting to hear their reflections. They said that just before the news broke, someone had said in the session that the wall could well come down in the next decade. They definitely didn't expect to hear that it had come down ten minutes later!

However, the economy of both Britain and Germany was the main focus of the week. We had an impressive array of speakers addressing us, and we were really forced to think through our ideas, arguments and thoughts. Chatham House rules applied to all discussions which meant that people spoke frankly and honestly - something which is rare these days and therefore was extremely welcome. Even so, I did feel quite frustrated. The vast majority of those addressing us and the vast majority of those attending were Centre-right without a doubt. Though we did talk of responsible capitalism and so on, we didn't really delve into the public sector and government responsibility in terms of public services. As I mentioned before, there was very little understanding of devolution either which surprised me in some of the speakers given how knowledgeable they were in other areas, particularly 'British' i.e English politics. In that sense, I felt closer in a lot of ways to the Germans who understood the idea of devolution better because of their own federal system. They were also on the whole very pro Europe compared to many of the other delegates, so we were bound to get on better!

On the last day, we did have a very interesting discussion about entrepreneurs and what it takes to be one. It was quite telling that most delegates when speaking about their particular favourite entrepreneur on the whole selected one whose also given back in some way to society, through charitable donations or setting up charities or community programmes themselves. It was good to at least leave with the impression that the other delegates thought that maybe capitalism isn't just about making money after all!

I did learn a lot, and I know I will be reflecting on the discussions had and reading the articles and books referred to over the coming weeks. Some of my arguments regarding the public sector definitely sounded a bit weak, and it made me realise that I really need to think them through and strengthen them rather than rely on rhetoric and a few facrs. It's always good to realise your weaknesses and address them rather than continue to make weak arguments, and I'm glad that this conference took me out of my usual comfort zone and forced me to reflect. If I read anything interesting, I'll be sure to let you know on this blog.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Standing up for nationalism and the left!

This week, I'm in West Sussex representing Plaid Cymru at a British-German forum. Yes, before you say it, I do get that it's ironic that I'm here, given that I wouldn't classify myself as being either British nor German! But, I am glad I'm here though, if only to speak up for Wales and Scotland who would otherwise be totally off the agenda. Well, that's the way it seems up to now anyway. Devolution seems to have slipped from the minds of all the British speakers up to now, and they're very much talking about England when putting forward any 'British' viewpoints or argument.

I've always considered myself to be rather pragmatic and realistic in my politics, but here, I am undoubtedly the most left wing person present. I actually find it quite amusing that I'm the only way harping on about socialist principles within a captialist society as everyone else is very much centre-right. Whilst there is talk of 'responsible capitalism' no one is really offering any ideas on how that can become more of a reality in the future, and I find that disappointing. Indeed, there's a general acceptance that true reform is too difficult. Yes, every one seems very on message and obsessed with sustainability and the environment, but other than that, there's no other real desire to see things changing. Indeed, I find it a huge cause of concern that the main focus up to now has been on the private sector with very little thought being given into the public sector and its contribution to the economy and society on the whole. To be fair, we do have two full days ahead so all these issues might well be addressed. I just thought it would be interesting to share some initial thoughts whilst half way through discussions. It's going to be funny tomorrow actually as we're spending the morning in the Houses of Parliament. We're even having a tour, which I'm quite excited about as I never went on one in the whole time I was working there. One of the speakers addressing us tomorrow is an SNP MP so that should help even things out a bit, well hopefully anyway. Will up-date you next time I have the chance.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Ysgol Haf

Wedi dychwelyd nol i Gaerdydd chydig o oriau yn ol ar ol penwythnos gwych yng Nglan Llyn ar gyfer ysgol haf Plaid Cymru. Wedi blino ond roedd o bendant werth mynd - nesh i ddysgu llwyth a gwneud lot o ffrindiau/ cysylltiadau newydd. Roedd o'n hwyl hefyd! Yn arbennig gan na fuo rhaid ni fynd ar y llyn o gwbwl - dydw i a canws ddim yn gyfuniad sy'n gweithio'n dda iawn gyda'u gilydd.

Roedd yna griw mawr ohona ni, a chwarae teg i staff Ty Gwynfor am eu holl waith yn rhoi'r cyfan at eu gilydd. Gafo ni hyd yn oed etholiad ffug - er mai gem oedd o ro'n i'n teimlo'n hynod o nerfus. Duw a wyr sut fyddai yn y cyfrif iawn!

Mynd i gynhadledd arall fory - British-German forum yn Sussex. Mae yna wi-fi i fod yno felly gobeithio ga'i gyfle i wneud dipyn o flogio.

O un peth bach arall - dwi wedi sgwennu erthygl ar gyfer waleshome.org. Siwr fydd y pwnc - addysg - ddim yn eich synnu! Dwi'n gobeithio adeiladu ar yr ethygl hon dros yr wythnosau nesaf, drwy gynnig syniadau ar gyfer gwella'r system addysg. Byddai clywed eich syniadau yn fuddiol dros ben.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Diolch o galon/ A huge thank you!

Wel, dwi wedi wneud o - wedi cwbwlhau'r Race for Life. 5k mewn 36 munud, sydd ddim yn ddrwg i rywun sydd methu rhedeg o gwbwl fel arfer! Diolch anferthol ichi wnaeth fy noddi a fy nghefnogi - dwi mor ddiolchgar. Mae cansr yn anffodus wedi effeithio bywydau mwy neu lai pawb ohona ni mewn rhyw ffordd, ac mae'n bwysig bo ni'n cefnogi'r gwaith ymchwil mae Cancer research yn ei wneud.

Well I did it - I completed the Race for Life. 5k in 36 minutes, which I'm happy with considering I can't usually run! A huge thank you to all of you who sponsored and supported me - it really is appreciated. Cancer unfortunately affects all of our lives in some way, and its important that we continue to support the crucial work that Cancer Research does.

At least now you won't have to put up with my moaning about having to get up at 6:30am to train!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

It gets interesting...

Just read Glyn Davies' latest blog post about there being a new candidate in the race for Montgomeryshire - UKIP's D W L (dwl? really?!) Rowlands. Should be interesting. I'm surprised Glyn refers to him as a good friend though - would have thought a UKIP candidate would be more damaging to the conservative vote than anyone else's! Will certainly make this unpredictable race even more interesting and unpredictable!

Although I fully realise that Glyn was using horseracing imagery in this recent blog post about Montgomeryshire’s declared runners, I'm not impressed with being called a filly. Slightly sexist and condescending - if Glyn thinks just because I'm female I'm foolish then he certainly will get a shock when the race starts!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Seriously?!

Just read Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary's latest suggestion on how to offer something new to air passengers - the opportunity to travel for free. One catch though - you'd have to stand up for the flight. If this was the first of April I'd be sure it was an April fool's day prank, but since its July, I presume he must seriously be considering it. I can't really see it being allowed though. Surely, you have to have a seat in case of air turbulence? I doubt Health and Safety officials would ever approve of such a plan. Got the airline some free publicity though...

I'm back

Apologies for the silence over the past few weeks, I've been swamped with work, trying to train for this race and haven't been a hundred per cent. Expect a lot more blogging this week. I've also started contributing to the newly re-launched Bevan foundation blog - http://www.thisismytruth.org/ - so regular readers, check it out. It will be interesting to see how it takes off, but it won't in any way replace my personal blog either. It will, however and hopefully lead to some interesting discussion and dialogue between people from different parties. That's the hope anyway!

Right, more from me later but for now, that's me done. I'm off to a one day conference organised by Positif Politics and the Bevan Foundation which will analyse the One Wales Agreement two years on, as well as looking ahead at the challenges facing the Labour-Plaid coalition for the two years ahead. Should be fun! And no, I'm not being ironic.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Breaking News...

Was anyone else surprised that Question Time was interrupted tonight to bring us the news about Michael Jackson? I certainly was, and I'm disappointed with the BBC if I'm honest. I don't think it was justified. After all, I certainly knew before Question Time started that he'd most likely died and made a conscious decision to switch off Sky News and watch Leanne Wood on Question Time instead. After all, in the world of 24 hour news I knew I'd catch up with events the minute the programme was over.

Yes, he was an icon. And yes, there will be a crazy amount of media attention to the story of the next few days, weeks and years even. However, even though its a huge story its still a celebrity story in the end. Surely, there are far more important stories that would warrant such an interruption? Before you accuse me of being snobbish, I am currently tuned into Sky News and soaking up the reactions so its not the case that I'm not interested in the story. Its just that I didn't need to hear all the gory details until after QT. Rant over. Bed time I think!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Through thick and thin...

On the radio this morning, people were debating if the NHS should pay the extra £23,000 a young girl needs in order to be able to stay at a fat camp in America until she reaches her target weight. To those of you who’ve missed the story in the press, sixteen year old Georgia Davies from Aberdare, who was once dubbed Britain’s Fattest Teen, has been attending the camp and has managed to go from weighing 33 stone to 18 stone. Though she still has another 6 stone to lose before she reaches her goal weight, she’s already a completely different person. She looks great, her confidence has soared and her outlook on life seems brighter. Her scholarship at the camps runs out in December, and experts there say it will take a further six months after that for her to reach her target. Hence why she’s asking the NHS to foot the bill for that period.

It’s a dilemma. As she rightly points out, by losing weight she’ll be costing the NHS less in the long term than if she were to stay obese as she’ll face less medical complications and so on. But should the NHS really be funding costly treatment abroad? I’m not convinced. Obesity is rising in Britain. If they pay for Georgia, then would they then have to send every morbidly obese person on such a programme in the states? It wouldn’t be sustainable – plus there’s no guarantee that people would keep the weight off for good.

As regular readers of my blog know, I do empathise with overweight people and I understand that the solution isn’t as simple as “they should just eat less”. Overeating can be an addiction, and is an eating disorder in its own right. People wouldn’t dream of suggesting that a simple solution for Anorexia or Bulimia would be to eat more, and yet they have no qualms about saying that fat people are just lazy and selfish and that it’s their own fault for being fat. I hate the double standards. To this day, I can’t tell you how I got to be as obese as I used to be. I had no control over it at all, and it took a hell of a lot of discipline and support to lose the weight. Even today it’s a daily struggle to try and maintain some kind of normal weight. I’m constantly starting one diet or another, going up and down in weight and worrying about it. If there was a simple solution then I’m sure I would have found it by now!

Yes, something needs to be done to tackle obesity but simply funding trips to fat camps in the US isn’t a solution. Though I have a great deal of sympathy for Georgia, I’d be outraged if the NHS did pay up. A far more practical and worthwhile solution would be for the NHS to invest in establishing fat camps here instead if they think that they will work. Or do more to acknowledge that eating disorders of all types need to be tackled with counselling, exercise programmes and so on. £23,000 could help a lot of individuals turn their lives around and I don’t think spending it on this particular individual can be justified unless the same amount of money is available to help every single obese person. For her sake, I do hope some wealthy donor comes forward as I'd hate for her to miss out on the opportunity but its not the NHS that could be coming up with the cash.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Cymru fach...

Newydd ddarllen y stori yma ynglyn a chor Glanaethwy yn cael eu heclo yn ystod eu perfformiad yn Venue Cymru yn Llandudno noson o'r blaen, yn bennaf am or-ddefnydd o'r Gymraeg yn ystod cyflwyniadau i ganeuon. Fel cyn aelod o'r cor, fedra'i ddim coelio bod y fath beth wedi digwydd a mae'n fy nhristau i feddwl bod nhw wedi dioddef hynny wrth berfformio'n Nghymru. Pan o'n i'n aelod o'r ysgol, fe wnaetho ni berfformio mewn Cymraeg yn unig ar bob math o lwyfannau megis yr Albert Hall, Festival Hall a'r Queen Elizabeth Hall yn Llundain, draw yn Werddon (perfformio drama oedd yn hanner Cymraeg/ hanner Saesneg)a hefyd ym Mhrague. Wnaetho ni hyd yn oed ymddangos ar Blue Peter ddwywaith a canu jest yn y Gymraeg (oes mae gen i 2 fathodyn). Gawso ni erioed ein gwawdio am ein defnydd o'r Gymraeg, yn wir, 'roedd pobl yn falch o glywed yr iaith er nad oedda nhw'n ei dallt hi.

Degau o weithiau pan dwi wedi bod dramor neu'n gwylio opera neu fand on dramor yn perfformio yma dwi wedi eistedd mewn cynulleidfaoedd a heb fod hefo syniad beth oedd yn cael ei ddweud. Ond doedd dim ots. Ro'n i dal yn medru gwerthfawrogi'r gerddoriaeth. Fyswn i byth wedi dechrau heclo neu creu ffys. Y peth trist yn yr achos hwn ydi bod Cymraeg yn un o ieuthoedd swyddogol Cymru - dio'm fel bod cor o Gymru yn perfformio yng Nghymru wedi penderfynnu gwneud y cyfan mewn Gwyddeleg. A ninnau wedi cymeryd cymaint o gamau positif yng Nghymru gyda'r Gymraeg, mae rhywun yn dueddol o fod bach yn llai pryderus am yr iaith dyddiau yma. Mae dwy-ieuthrwydd i weld yn hollol naturiol. Gresyn felly gweld y math yma o ymateb. Efallai mai'r unig beth sydd angen ei wneud yn y dyfodol ydi sicrhau cyfieuthu ar y pryd ar gyfer y rhai hynny sydd yn dymuno. Ond eto, i ymateb fel yna i griw o bobl ifanc - am beth gwarthus. Mae wir yn fy ngwneud i deimlo'n ddigalon iawn.