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.