Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Not all bad...

MP’s have been having a hard time of it recently over their expenses. Yes, the rules do need to be tightened up and we do need complete transparency, but this witch hunt is getting ridiculous. Most MP’s are honest, and simply claim what they have spent doing their job and they should be entitled to that money. Indeed, I’d be worried if an MP didn’t have any expenses to claim – it would mean that he or she wasn’t doing their job properly.

Travelling backwards and forwards to London is expensive. It’s also extremely tedious and tiring, and to be honest, I see nothing wrong in MP’s travelling first class, as usually they do tend to work whilst travelling. The MP’s I worked for certainly did. They needed adequate table space to be able to do so, and it’s only in first class you can guarantee that. Travelling around a rural constituency can also be extremely expensive, but if an MP didn’t travel around, then he or she would be doing their electorate a disservice. It’s not like they all have personal helicopters at their beck and call! Or even drivers. A good MP will try to attend as many local events and meetings as possible, and they shouldn’t be penalised for that.

It must also be remembered that the expenses also include staff travel costs. Why is that a bad thing? Surely it’s good for staff to travel to constituencies or London when necessary to support an MP in his or her role. It certainly helped me to perform my role better when I worked for Plaid Cymru, and also allowed me to form good working relationships with constituency staff. Had I simply stayed in my London office, that would not have happened.

Of course, there are dodgy elements such as MP’s who represent London based constituencies claiming for second homes, or even porn! It’s right that the media should be questioning those claims and pushing for change. It is needed. But that doesn’t mean that all MP’s should be vilified, just simply for doing their jobs.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Commenting on the Comments

I sometimes find that comments found on blogs can be more amusing than the actual posts. I particularly like the ones left on Glyn Davies’ blog at the moment, especially those from people who are encouraging him to challenge me about some of Plaid’s positions on certain issues, such as top up fees and nuclear power. Up to now, Glyn, being the gentleman that he is, hasn’t asked me any of those tough questions but I’m really looking forward to when he does. I love a challenge…

Though, maybe Glyn is wise enough to know that every political party has splits on certain issues (Devolution being a major one for the Conservative and Unionist Party!). Indeed, I’d be worried if every member of every party agreed with all policies. How boring would life be if that was the case? The leadership would never be challenged, issues could never be debated, journalists would be made redundant… And worse of all, nothing would ever change. A politician always has to put his or her constituency and principles first, and if that means occasionally disagreeing with the party line, then so be it.

I’ve always been clear that I don’t believe in everything that Plaid Cymru believes in. But I believe in the main principles and ethos, and I’m happy to compromise on the rest as I know, deep down, that this is the right party for me to be a member of. Will I challenge the leadership when I disagree? Certainly. Will I sulk if I don’t get my own way and be a force of disruption? Certainly not. The leadership will always have my full support as they have to do what’s best for the party as a whole, and not pander to every individual’s viewpoint. I understand that, and respect how difficult their role is.

You can’t win every argument in a democratic party, and you have to accept defeat gracefully should others disagree with you and put them to one side. Sure, we could pretend to agree on everything but no one would believe us. And I’d be an extremely dull candidate if all I said was what I’d been told to say, rather than saying what I actually thought. No political party is perfect. But Plaid is close enough to perfection as far as I’m concerned, hence why I’m a member. I’m sure Glyn would say the same about the Conservative party, and Lembit about the Lib Dems!

Wind Farms

Quick post as I'm running to a meeting. BBC are reporting about a report published by Powys Council about the impact the building of wind farms will have on the infrastructure of mid wales. This is a hugely important issue in Mid Wales, and I can understand the concern.

I am not against the idea of wind farms as long as they do not cause undue disruption and as long as the whole community benefits from them being built. However, I am against them when the transportation and local infrastrutcure hasn't been put in place to support them.

The roads which will be used to transport these monster machines are completely unsuitable for their transportation, and therefore, huge disruption could be caused. This is something that needs to be considered carefully, and I'm looking forward to discussing this with the electorate in Montgomeryshire. If any of you are reading this blog, please feel free to leave a comment.

Aneurin Glyndwr

So I was only away for a few hours yesterday, and missed what everyone has been talking about - Aneurin Glyndwr. Oh my god. If this is trying to challenge Walescan or GallCymru then it fails miserably. It looks cheap. The content is ill thought out, and most of all, extremely bitchy. Whilst I welcome the fact that Labour are FINALLY joining the debate, I wish they would have taken their to come up with something just as professional as Walescan. And I'm not sure I should even mention Eluned Morgan's singing turn...

Check it out, if only for a laugh. It's cringeworthy. It's so obvious that they're angry with Plaid for coming up with the idea of Walescan and feel threatened by it. Everything about it is wrong, except for the idea. My advice to Labour? Calm down, go back to the drawing board and come up with something better. Then we can start engaging in some proper debate, which the people of Wales deserve. Bitching about Plaid is not the way to go - it just makes them look childish and petty.

And don't even get me started on the name...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Setlo

Dyma fy nhrydedd wythnos yng Nghaerdydd, a dwi go iawn yn teimlo mod i wedi dechrau setlo erbyn hyn. Mae'r swydd newydd yn ffantastig - hollol wahanol, ond eto'n ddifyr - a pawb yn hynod o glen yn y swyddfa. Dwi'n colli gweithio hefo criw San Steffan yn sicr, yn arbennig Elfyn. Hefo fo ro'n i'n rhannu swyddfa, a gesh i gyfle i ddysgu gymaint ganddo. Ond eto, fel y gwyddoch chi gyd sydd yn darllen fy mlog, doeddwn i ddim yn hoffi bywyd Llundain ac oherwydd hynny, dwi'n gwybod mod i wedi gwneud y penderfyniad iawn.

Mae'n hyfryd cael yr amser i wneud pethau eraill heblaw am weithio hefyd. Dwi'n medru cerdded i gwaith ambell i fore, cerdded adre, gweld ffrindiau, gwneud ymarfer corff, 'sgwennu, darllen ac, wrth gwrs, ymgyrchu ym Maldwyn! Mae wedi bod yn eitha sioc i'r system cael gymaint o amser sbar. Dwi'n teimlo gymaint iachach yn barod - dwi'n bwyta'n well, symud mwy ac yfed llai (wel, ers i'r rygbi orffen!).

Mae hefyd yn wych bod nol yng Nghymru. Ar ol gymaint o flynyddoedd yn byw yn unai Dulyn neu Llundain, dwi wir yn gwerthfawrogi bod nol yn fy ngwlad fy hun. Deud gwir, gesh i'n eitha emosiynol am y peth echnos. Roedd hi'n noson heulog, hyfryd ac fe esh i am dro i'r bae. Roedd y Senedd yn edrych mor drawiadol a dramatig oherwydd y ffordd yr oedd yr haul yn tarro'r adeilad. Fush i'n sefyll yn syllu am rhyw ddeg munud mae'n siwr, gan bendroni ynglyn a'r gwahaniaeth mae datganoli wedi ei wneud i Gymru. Ro'n i'n teimlo mor falch mod i'n Gymraes. Mewn deg mlynedd, mae'r Cynulliad wedi codi hyder y Cymry a sicrhau bod yna swyddi da ar gael i bobl yn eu gwlad eu hunain. A tyfu wnaiff hynny, wrth i'r Cynulliad gael mwy o rym yn y dyfodol. Fe gollais i ddeigryn neu ddau, cyn sylweddoli bod criw ffilmio'r BBC yno ac ar fin mynd yn fyw ar y teledu. Doeddwn i ddim yn meddwl y bysa fo'n syniad da cael fy nal ar S4C yn edrych ar y Cynulliad gyda dagrau yn fy llygaid! Dwi'n siwr bysa pobl wedi ofni mod i'n dechrau gwallgofi! Dwi'n fawr obeithio mod i wedi cael hynny allan o fy system... Mae gwneud hynny unwaith yn dderbyniol. Dwy waith, a fyddai yn gwybod bod fy nghenedlaetholdeb yn eithafol dros ben!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Googling...

Since starting my new job, I’ve been frightened by the number of colleagues who’ve freely admitted to ‘googling’ me. Before ever meeting me, they know what my favourite books are, my hobbies (everyone seems to remember kick boxing and karaoke for some reason), everything really. Some have even asked me about my baby, solely because an image of me and a baby comes up in Google Images if you enter my name into the search engine. Just to clarify this fact – I do not have any children. That picture was taken at an orphanage in Belarus during a visit there in 2003. So at least that’s one thing I’ve clarified. Even though ‘googling’ is the norm, I thought it was something you never admitted to doing in case you sounded like a stalker. Obviously not…

Many have also, inevitably, read my blog. Now that is a scary thought! I try to write quite openly about myself, and my views, but it does then mean that people are able to form opinions about me before even meeting me. It’s a tricky balance. Anyone who writes a blog obviously hopes that someone will read it. And yet, you’re fully aware that anything you write could, at some point, be used against you. I’m still trying to figure out how best to handle that… It’s boring to play it safe all the time – far too many people do that these days – but then again, how do you push the agenda or raise interesting discussion points without being penalised? Answers on a postcard please… Or at the very least a comment on this blog!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Craic...

This story made me giggle this morning. Not that anyone would want to see the Irish Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, naked... But as a prank, it is a good one. Can't believe the Garda have been called in though. Seriously, have people completely lost their sense of humour? I thought the Irish were less PC than the UK and more up for the craic! (Excuse the terrible, terrible pun...). I think they should go back up on display. One way to attract more visitors to both galleries... And not bad publicity for them either!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Damia nhw...

Wel, fe wnaeth y Gwyddelod ein curo ni dros y penwythnos ta. O'n i wir wedi ofni y bysa nhw. Nid bod o'n ddiwedd y byd. Nhw ydi fy ail hoffi dim i. Ond dal... A finna wedi byw draw yn yr Iwerddon am flynyddoedd, dwi'n siwr y medrwch ddychmygu faint o negeseuon gesh i gan Wyddelod hapus a meddw iawn nos Sadwrn a ddoe yn tynnu arna'i. Damia nhw!

And a note to my Irish friends: Congratulations! Yes, you did win this year, but just you wait... Wales will be back with a bang next year and you'll have no chance! Well, here's hoping anyway. I dread to think how high my phone bill will be for this month, replying to all the messages I received. Don't remember receiving that many messages when Wales won last year from all of you! Funny that....

Friday, March 20, 2009

Not so 'OK'

As an avid magazine reader, I love it when they have exclusives. Break ups, babies, scandal – I love it all. It’s such a perfect contrast to the other things I read, such as medieval history and political books, as you don’t have to think about anything when you read them. It’s even acceptable to just look at the pictures. And when you’re lying in the bath at the end of a long day or week, sometimes that’s just the kind of mundane and brainless trash you need to read so you can switch off from life for a little while.

However, I’ve been appalled this week by OK magazine's tribute issue to Jade Goody and think it’s just dreadful what they’ve done. In case you haven’t heard, then here’s a quick synopsis. Jade Goody, who as well all know is terminally ill with cancer, has been clinging on to life for the past week, despite doctors saying at the weekend that she had only hours to live. OK magazine decided to take a gamble that she would die as predicted, and decided to publish this week an exclusive tribute issue to the reality tv star. One problem though: she’s still alive. I honestly thought the first time I saw it advertised that she must have died and went immediately onto Sky News, as I knew it would be a huge story for them if that was the case. But no, Jade wasn’t dead and neither is she now as far as I know.

Now, I can understand a magazine wanting to get an exclusive, but surely, this must be taking things too far? Jade’s family say they don’t mind, but still… It makes me feel uneasy. This is a young woman, with two young sons, fighting for her life. She’s weak, terribly ill and I don’t think it’s right for a magazine to proclaim her dead when she’s still alive. I truly hope that people refrain from buying the issue, so that magazines don’t think it’s acceptable for them to do things like this in the future. And no, I haven’t bought a copy in case you were wondering.

Personally, I have a lot of respect for her for speaking out about her cancer and raising awareness about the importance of smear tests. Yes, the coverage has been OTT and did for a while descend into a media circus, but still, she has done a lot of good. Even within my own group of friends, far too many of them felt too embarrassed to go for one before this, and certainly wouldn’t talk about it to anyone. Now, it’s a topic of conversation and they’ve either been or booked in for one. This is something I’ve always felt very strongly about, mainly for personal reasons. Someone close to me died from this type of cancer a few years ago, just because she was too embarrassed to go to the doctor. Caught early enough, the treatment you need to receive is minimal and abnormal cells can be easily treated. No, it’s not the most pleasant test in the world, but if it saves your life, then it’s worth it. Often, by the time you have symptoms, it’s too late to save you. Why risk that chance?

The same goes for the vaccine that’s now being offered to young girls to protect them against the HPV virus, which can lead to Cervical Cancer. I can’t understand what all the fuss is about. Surely, if parents are being offered something that could save their daughters life one day, then why refuse? It won’t make anyone more promiscuous and it won’t encourage young girls to have sex at an even earlier age. Indeed, I find that argument ridiculous as it doesn’t protect you from falling pregnant or from a multitude of other sexually transmitted diseases. Safe sex is just as necessary, but if we can save 1000 women from dying every year in the UK from one type of cancer, then it should be welcomed with open arms.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Heledd Fychan confirmed as Plaid Cymru candidate


My first press release, confirming it's all official:

Heledd Fychan has been confirmed as the Plaid Cymru candidate in Montgomeryshire for the next General Election. Speaking after the news was made official, she expressed her delight at receiving the nomination and vowed to work and campaign hard to prove to the people of Montgomeryshire that she would be a worthy and hard working elected representative.

Miss Fychan said: "Montgomeryshire is a magical county, and it would be an honour to be its representative at Westminster. I am looking forward to the campaign, and will work hard to show the electorate that I would be a hardworking, dedicated and effective Member of Parliament who would listen to them and ensure that their voices are heard."

"I believe that the people of Montgomeryshire deserve a better representative than the MP currently in place. He has become a figure of ridicule in the press, and seems far more interested in promoting himself rather than the interests of Montgomeryshire. This is completely unacceptable, especially at a time when so many people are experiencing hardships."

"The Liberal Democrats, Conservatives and Labour in Wales are all slaves to their London bosses. Plaid Cymru can offer a real alternative, as it is the only party which has Wales and the interests of the people living in Wales at its very heart."
"I would work with Plaid Cymru Ministers at the Welsh Assembly, such as Elin Jones and Ieuan Wyn Jones, to lobby for greater investment in Montgomeryshire, for example, better transport links whilst also ensuring that we retain and promote the natural beauty of the area."


Plaid Cymru's Parliamentary leader Elfyn Llwyd MP gave his support to her selection: "During the time that Heledd worked as our Press and Political Officer in Westminster she proved herself to be a conscientious and highly capable and motivated person."

"I have no doubt that she would make an excellent member of parliament for Montgomery and it would be a privilege to welcome her as a member of Plaid’s parliamentary team and as a parliamentary neighbour."

End / Diwedd

Notes:
Heledd Fychan is 28 years old and lives in Cardiff.

Heledd was brought up in Anglesey, then went on to Trinity College Dublin to study History and Political Science before returning to Wales. She is very proud of her Montgomeryshire roots (her Mother hails from the County and many family members still live there, including her Grandmother who lives in Newtown) and feels it is her spiritual home.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

You must buy this for Comic Relief - brilliant!

Pennod newydd

Wel, ymddiheuriadau am fod mor dawel yn ddiweddar ma. Dwi wedi bod heb gysylltiad gwe sydd wedi bod yn fy nghyrru yn boncyrs! Dwi'n hollol gaeth i fy nghyfrifiadur fel arfer a mae wedi bod yn brofiad od bod hebddo. Dwi'n gobeithio sortio rhywbeth allan yn fuan - benthyg cyfrifiadur fy ffrind heno - neu fyddai ddim yn Heledd hapus!

Dipyn o bethau wedi newid ers tro dwytha mi sgwennu. Dwi'n byw yng Nghaerdydd! Mor braf bod mewn ty iawn yn hytrach na fflat, ac am hanner yr hyn o'n i'n ei dalu yn Llundain. A dwi'n cychwyn fy swydd newydd fory! Fydd hi'n swydd hollol wahanol i'r un o'n i'n ei wneud i Plaid ond siwr y gwna'i fwynhau. Wastad yn bwysig rhoi sialens newydd i chi'ch hunan dwi'n meddwl! Er mi wna'i golli 'buzz' San Steffan...

Dwi hefyd yn medru cadarnhau erbyn hyn mai fi fydd yn rhedeg ar ran Plaid Cymru yn etholiadau San Steffan yn Sir Drefaldwyn. Mwy am hynny yn fuan, ond dwi wir yn edrych mlaen ar gyfer yr ymgyrch. Sialens arall dybiwn i!

Hwyl am y tro, ond fydd hi ddim yn hir tan y byddai yn dechrau sgwennu'n iawn ar y blog yma.