Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Un o fy hoff ganeuon



Wedi bod yn mynd drwy fy nghasgliad o gerddoriaeth heno, ac ail-ddarganfod y gan yma felly meddwl y byddwn yn ei rhannu. Can gwirioneddol hyfryd a llawn teimlad, er yn drist iawn... Aml yn medru dod a dagrau i fy llygaid a siwr byddwch yn gweld pam ar ol gwrando.

Gangster Davies



Hat tip to Ordovicius... this is just too good not to share.

PMQs

When you’re part of the Westminster bubble, PMQs tend to be the highlight of your week. It’s essential viewing and I used to get cross if someone dared ring me between 12 and 12:30 on a Wednesday. ‘PMQs is on. I’ll ring you back’, I’d snap before putting the phone down. Well, unless they were somebody really important (who should really have known better). That did happen once and I was glad I’d asked who was speaking before launching into a Peter Capaldi esque rant or I would have been left feeling very embarrassed.

Now that I’m out working in the real world and don’t have a television or a radio in my office, nor speakers on my computer, I find it very strange that the world no longer comes to a standstill during that precious half hour. Indeed, I even forgot until about 2pm today that it was PMQs and then had a quick glance on the BBC website to see what had gone on (not much from the sounds of it). I’ve come to realise how irrelevant that half hour is to the majority of people who work outside of politics. To be honest, I think it’s a turn off for many – grown men shouting and insulting one another, point scoring, jeering… It’s so childish and petty, and borders on the farcical at times. How is that engaging with the public, or holding the PM truly accountable?

Whilst it is important for debate to take place, and its only right that MPs should be able to challenge and question the Prime Minister, I wonder if there is a better way to do this by now? And surely, with communications being so different these days, can’t we get members of the public to submit some questions to the PM which could be selected at random for him to answer? It would be a far more democratic way of operating, and could put a welcome stop to the ones that Labour so obviously plant so the PM can breathe easy for a while. Politicians would therefore have to tackle the real issues that worry the electorate, rather than deciding on behalf of the electorate what they should be worried about. Plus, people would feel a sense of engagement and involvement in parliamentary affairs. It’s certainly something that could be considered.

After all, new media developments offer a wealth of different opportunities in terms of democracy and communications, and its time for politics to adapt to accommodate such changes. And no, Gordon Brown’s youtube moment isn’t a great example of this but I do appreciate what he was trying to do. Why shouldn’t we be encouraging the involvement of non-politicians in parliament if we are serious about transparency and accountability? Most people have internet access these days, and I think we’re genuinely missing out on some golden opportunities to involve them in the running of our democratic institutions such as parliament and the Welsh assembly. Modifying PMQs or First Ministers Questions by allowing the electorate to submit questions or ideas for debate is do-able by now.

What's clear is that our political system needs to be revised to reflect the modern world. I'm not saying that we should do away with all of our traditions, but they could do with some up-dating. After all, unless something is done politics is just going to become less and less relevant to the lives of the majority of people. That might suit some people who like the idea of dictator states, but for those of us who genuinely believe in democracy then it is our duty to think of ways to increase engagement and involvement in politics. Not an easy task, but it is necessary in my opinion.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Thatcher

Dwi bach yn siomedig (ond ddim wedi fy synnu) a deud gwir gydag un o flogwyr Llafur ynglyn a'r ffordd y mae wedi dyfynnu o'r hyn y gwnes i ysgrifennu ynglyn ag araith Rhodi Morgan dros y penwythnos. Dyma beth a ddywedais:

"The focus of Brown and Morgan's speeches seemed to be very much on the past. The latter in particular focused on reminding the audience how awful it had been under Thatcher. How is that appealing to the younger generation, who barely remember her by now? And how also is it showing that Labour has something fresh and dynamic to offer the Wales we live in today. The messages conveyed indicated that the party was living in the past. The world has changed and Labour needs to show that they have a vision for the future, rather than focusing on showing how they're better than how the Tories were twenty years ago."

Mae'r blogiwr arbennig yma yn defnyddio'r uchod i awgrymu mod i'n dweud na ddylai neb grybwyll Thatcher erbyn hyn. I fod yn glir, nid dyna o'n i'n ei ddweud. Mae'r effaith andwynol y cafodd hi a'i llywodraeth ar Gymru i'w gweld hyd heddiw, a dwi'n meddwl ei bod hi'n bwysig sicrhau bod pobl yn cofio am hyn. Fedrwn ni ddim anghofio amdani hi, na'i pholisiau ac mae'n sicr yn bwysig atgoffa'r etholwyr o'r hyn ddigwyddodd i Gymru dan y Toriaid a ninnau ar drothwy buddugoliaeth debygol Doriaidd yr yr etholiad cyffredinol nesaf. Dwi byth eisiau gweld Cymru yn dioddef fel yna eto.

Y pwynt yr oeddwn i'n ei wneud oedd mai dim ond mynd mlaen ynglyn a'r gorffennol wnaeth Rhodri Morgan yn ei araith. Yn hytrach na dim ond canolbwyntio ar yr hyn y gwnaeth Thatcher i Gymru, dylai fod wedi hefyd son ynglyn a sut y newidiodd pethe dan lywodraeth Lafur. Ac fe ddylai fod wedi cynnig gweledigaeth ar gyfer y dyfodol. Dydi dweud yn syml fod Llafur yn well i Gymru nag oedd Thatcher ddim digon da. Ac i bobl sydd prin yn ei chofio hi, wel pa mor effeithiol yda chi'n meddwl ydi neges o'r fath?

Fel hanesydd, dwi wrth gwrs yn credu ei bod hi'n bwysig bod gwleidyddion yn cofio'r hyn ddigwyddodd yn y gorffennol ac yn dysgu o hynny. Ond rhaid i wleidydd hefyd ysgogi, ysbrydoli a meddwl tua'r dyfodol. Wnaeth araith Rhodri Morgan ddim llwyddo yn hynny o beth a dyna oedd fy meirniadaeth. Law yn llaw gyda son am Thatcher, fe ddylai hefyd fod wedi cynnwys enghreifftiau o bethau y byddai fy nghenhedlaeth i ac iau wedi medru uniaethu gyda nhw. A dyna oedd fy nadl.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Cyfarfod neithiwr

Gesh i wahoddiad i siarad yn ail-lawnsiad cangen Bro Ddyfi neithiwr ym Machynlleth. Ac am noson! Wnesh i wir fwynhau, a dwi wedi fy nghalanogi a fy ysgogi ynglyn a'r ymgyrch. Roedd yna griw ifanc sylweddol a brwdfrydig yno, yn eiddgar i helpu ac ymgyrchu a sydd run mor benderfynol a mi bod Plaid Cymru yn rhedeg i ennill ym Maldwyn y tro yma. Roedda nhw hefyd yn griw hwyliog, a dwi'n gwybod mod i'n mynd i fwynhau gweithio hefo nhw.

Y gwestai arall oedd Elin Jones. Ro'n i mor ddiolchgar bod hi wedi cytuno i ddod, gan bod hi mor uchel ei pharch yn yr ardal. A nid jest ymysg y ffermwyr. Roedd hi'n ddifyr tu hwnt ei chlywed yn siarad ynglyn a chael ei gwneud yn Weinidog ynghyd a'r gwahanol sialensau y mae hi wedi eu gwynebu yn sgil y rol. Pwysleisiodd hefyd y ffaith na all Plaid Cymru mwyach addo pethe heb feddwl am yr oblygiadau rwan bo ni'n blaid sydd yn llywodraethu. Yn bersonol, roeddwn hefyd yn hynod o falch o dderbyn ei chyngor a'i chefnogaeth. Hi awgrymodd droi'r noson yn fwy anffurfiol, fwy ar ffurf sesiwn holi ac ateb yn lle cael y ddwy ohona ni'n areithio, ac fe weithiodd yn wych. Teimlo mod i wir wedi cael cyfle i drafod a sgwrsio gyda pawb oedd yn bresenol.

Mae yna goblyn o sialens o'n blaenau ni ym Maldwyn o ran codi nifer ein haelodau, cefnogwyr ac ymgyrchwyr ond mae yna gnewyllyn eitha sylweddol ohona ni erbyn hyn sydd yn benderfynol o lwyddo. A cofiwch, fe wnaeth Cynog Dafis godi'r Blaid o bedwerydd i gyntaf yng Ngheredigion. Prawf bod gwyrthiau yn medru digwydd weithiau!

Welsh Labour Conference - reactions

I'm glad for Welsh Labour that Brown made an appearance at their Spring conference yesterday. It was necessary, but never the less it's good that he made the effort to come. At least it shows that Labour are aware of how precarious their situation is at the moment, even in the traditional Labour heart lands. And it did send a positive message to the old party faithful that the Prime Minister was willing to come to Wales to rally the troops. But was it enough?

Being as objective as I can, I don't think so, and neither did the correspondents in the BBC studio when it was discussed today. Neither Vaughan Roderick nor Richard Wyn Jones seemed overly impressed with Rhodri Morgan's speech either, and even criticized the staging of the conference. (The fact that the word winning is spelt incorrectly in the Welsh version of the main stage background says it all to be honest!). Everything and everyone just look so tired. In contrast to the Plaid Cymru conference which was slick, professional and buzzing, there was hardly any atmosphere there. Indeed, there were barely any young faces to be seen which must be a real worry for Labour.

The focus of Brown and Morgan's speeches seemed to be very much on the past. The latter in particular focused on reminding the audience how awful it had been under Thatcher. How is that appealing to the younger generation, who barely remember her by now? And how also is it showing that Labour has something fresh and dynamic to offer the Wales we live in today. The messages conveyed indicated that the party was living in the past. The world has changed and Labour needs to show that they have a vision for the future, rather than focusing on showing how they're better than how the Tories were twenty years ago.

The attack on Plaid was interesting, and targeted very much on Adam Price. Its obviously annoyed them that Adam has been getting so much coverage in the Western Mail! Surely, they weren't complaining when they were the ones years ago getting all the coverage when they actually did have something of worth to say. And to be fair, they have been getting a hell of a lot of coverage lately, from the budget to the email fiasco. Oh, and not forgetting Aneurin Glyndwr! It's not Plaid's fault that Labour aren't generating worthwhile positive messages that are worthy of coverage in our national newspaper.

The rest of the attack was as expected, focused on plaid's independence initiative. I did find it hard to swallow when Morgan was going on about Labour's commitment to devolution, whilst at the same time seeing Neil Kinnock grinning in the audience.. Hmm...

It will be interesting to see how the rest of the conference goes and what the reaction to it will be. But I'm guessing it won't be overwhelmingly positive... Still hoping the closing song will be Delilah though!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Balch

Fush i'n Abertawe ddoe am y tro cyntaf ers oes. Ac am wahaniaeth - waw. Mae'r holl ddatblygiadau wrth y Marina yn anhygoel. Roedd yna lwyth o bobl o gwmpas yn mwynhau'r haul ac roedd yna awyrgylch hyfryd. Gesh i buzz go iawn o fod yno, yn union fel sydd i'w gael o gwmpas bae Caerdydd erbyn hyn.

Nesh i wedyn yrru neithiwr o Abertawe i Gaernarfon. Syndod sawl un o'r siroedd ar hyd y ffordd sydd yn seddi Plaid Cymru! Roedd hi'n noson anhygoel o braf, a Cymru'n edrych ar ei gorau yn arbennig yr arfordir oedd yn ddramatig tu hwnt wrth iddi nosi. Mae rhywun weithiau yn medru cymeryd prydferthwch eu gwlad yn ganiataol a dwi'n sicir wedi bod yn euog o hynny. Dwi'n falch bod neithiwr wedi fy ail atgoffa o'r holl gyfoeth sydd ganddo ni.

Dwi mor falch mod i nol yng Nghymru erbyn hyn. Fan yma mae nghalon i wastad wedi bod ond do'n i ddim tan yn ddiweddar iawn yma wedi gwerthfawrogi gymaint o'n i'n colli allan arno drwy beidio byw yma. Mae byw yng Nghaerdydd yn wych a dwi'n mwynhau y cyfleon sydd yna i ymwneud a sefydliadau amrywiol a cymysgu gyda pobl difyr tu hwnt. Ac mae yna ddosbarthiadau cic focsio gwych! Wedyn mae ganddo chi Faldwyn sydd yn hudolus o dlws, a gyda'r bobl mwya laid back yn y byd. Mae'r gymuned yn bwysig tu hwnt yno a dwi wir yn teimlo bod hi'n fraint bod yn ymgeisydd yno. Arfon a Mon ydi'r ddwy sir arall dwi'n ymweld a nhw'n gyson sef adra. Mae Mon hefyd yn dlws, ac mae Caernarfon gyda'r cymeriadau gorau y dewch chi ar eu traws. Dwi wrth fy modd helpu o dro i dro tu ol i'r bar yn nhafarndai Mam. Da chi'n cael cyfle i sgwrsio ac arsylwi. Mae Cofis yn bobl ffantastig a mor driw i'r rhai mae nhw'n hoffi. Er fyswn i byth yn meiddio eu croesi!

Nol i Fachynlleth heno ar gyfer cyfarfod cangen Bro Ddyfi. Elin Jones a finna'n siarad. Wedyn at Nain am benwythnos yn y Drenewydd. Ydw, dwi bendant yn falch o fod adra. Gewch chi nunlle gwell na Cymru.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

welsh labour conference rumours

Well, have you heard any? Well my sources have told me some things and not sure what to make of them. Can't tell you if they're definitely true but can tell you what I've been told.

Only one labour minister has a definite slot to speak out of all of them. No prizes for guessing who. First Minister Rhodri Morgan. Seems strange to try and gag the rest. Maybe they're pulling straws tonight and whoever has the shortest will be forced to speak!

Oh, and the keynote speaker? Which big hitter do you think they'll get to inspire the troops during this difficult time. Gordon Brown? Oh no.. Allegedly its going to be John Prescott. Yes, seriously.

If this is true, then Labour are definitely in even more trouble than I speculated this morning. Will watch with interest to see if the gossip turns out to be true!

Silly comment

Was sent this link this morning and it made me laugh! So its not just Lembit Opik that uses them then! And they do make far more sense when seen being used in a city rather than in rural Montgomeryshire. At least I've found a perfect job for the Montgomeryshire MP if he does lose his seat - I'm sure he'd feel right at home with them! He'd no longer have to be a lone ranger... A lone segway ranger I should add!

Welsh Labour Conference

Bet Welsh Labour wish they'd had their conference before the budget! I cannot imagine how low morale must be at the moment. Labour supporters must have thought they were invincible back in 1997. And who can blame them? A landslide victory, everybody full of hope after all those Tory years... You would be on a high!

But how things have changed. I'd hate to be a speech writer tasked with writing the key speeches for Welsh Labour this weekend. There's nothing you can say is there really? Well, unless you really distance yourself from Labour in London and be super critical of the budget and the cuts. That's the only way faith can be restored in them by the Welsh electorate. The worse thing Welsh Labour can do is try to defend Downing Street at this time... I'm wondering therefore how they'll handle all the negative headlines. Should be interesting! Oh, to be a fly on the wall...

What Labour need now is ideas, and ideas for the future. Being super defensive won't work and neither will slamming the other political parties or being defiant. And its not just the budget that's problematic. The email fiasco, twitter, sleaze... Oh and THAT video. Wonder if Welsh Labour are having a karaoke night like we did at Plaid Spring conference? And if they are, will anyone dare sing Delilah? Matt Withers would have a field day writing Spin Doctor this week if they did! Especially if that person ended up being David Taylor!

Many have said of yesterday's budget that it signalled the end of Labour. Welsh Labour therefore have a huge challenge ahead of them this weekend. It will be interesting to see how they handle it...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Budget

Plenty of other bloggers and analysts have written about today's horribly depressing budget so I won't go on about it. All I can think of is how apparent it is that Wales now urgently needs greater legislative and tax raising powers. Now, I'm not saying that everything would have been perfect in an independent Wales. Obviously, we would have been hit by the global financial crisis. But at least we would have been able to decide our own destiny and our own recovery. 416 million pounds worth of cuts to the Welsh budget will undoubtedly have a negative impact on key services, and hit the already over stretched public sector.

I'm also disappointed that the plans to privatise the royal mint now seem to be gathering momentum. Adam Price was the first to spot this in the PBR back in November and Labour were very quiet about it at the time. Wonder why... The Royal Mint at Llantrisant provides some of the safest and best paid jobs in the area, and these plans will put them in danger. Just what we need at a time of recession!

This budget has done nothing to ease the fears felt by everyone at the moment. By tomorrow, we'll have a fuller picture of all the implications for Wales but I think we can all safely say its not going to be good news. Hmmm... No wonder people have been declaring that today is the final nail in the coffin for Labour.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

MPs expenses... again

I nearly emailed Sky News this morning whilst I was eating my cereal. (Yes, that is how sad my life is these days.) Eamon Holmes was there reading out emails about MPs expenses and holidays, and I was getting more and more irate. Now, as I have made clear before - there has to be transparency in the system. All expenses should be published, and there should be sensible limits on what can be claimed for and so on (and no Jaqui Smith, I'm not including bath plugs or porn in that category). Also, details of any second incomes should be declared and MPs within commuting distance to parliament shouldn't have a second home allowance. That's all common sense, and I'm surprised its not already in place.

However, what has to be remembered is that the vast majority of MPs haven't fiddled the system. I don't think the Plaid Cymru MPs were even aware that such a thing as a John Lewis list even existed! They've simply claimed what they've needed to claim in order to be able to serve their electorate. And if an MP lives somewhere like Meirionnydd or the Hebrides, then they have to have a base in London. From listening to the comments on Sky this morning you'd think that being an MP is an easy job, with loads of holidays and a huge pay. If an MP is doing his or her job properly then that is most certainly not the case. Whilst it can be incredibly rewarding, it is also a huge challenge.

When I worked at Parliament, I used to have to urge the MPs I worked for to take time off. They worked ridiculously long hours, travelled huge distances and often worked all through the weekend. They were always on duty, and barely saw their families. You have to sacrifice a hell of a lot if its your chosen career, and if you have a partner, then they must be incredibly understanding and supportive or your personal life will be non existent. Working long hours in London away from your family is draining and even lonely. Then when you're back in the constituency you need to meet with your electorate, deal with issues and problems and attend what seems to be a never ending stream of events and meetings. Recess isn't a holiday. It's a time to catch up with local and party work. You're still on duty and working. Obviously, an MP will sometimes go away on holiday during the recess but it will never typically be for all of it. Indeed, I doubt a good MP would take even the national average number of days off in a year.

So my message to Sky News viewers? Don't tarnish all MPs with the same brush. Most I came across are genuine and hard working. You should focus your anger and frustrations towards that small core who do take advantage and make a mockery of the system. Tighter rules and regulations are undoubtedly needed, but don't think that all of them are like that. And if you don't think your MP is up to scratch, well there is a solution to that. Don't vote for them again, and encourage others not to! Or better still, consider running yourself… Now, that would teach them a valuable lesson!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Why would anyone want to be a politician?

Given the new revelations about the Red Rag website over the weekend, and various other scandals over the past few weeks and months regarding MPs expenses and so on, it's no wonder people are disillusioned with politics. I think this is what prompted my friend Paddy to ask me during a conversation over the weekend - why would anyone want to be a politician? And in light of how things are at the moment, I must admit that unless you're Barack Obama and the whole world seems to love you, it's a good question...

Now, Paddy himself isn't a stranger to politics. He was elected as a Student Union officer for four years. He'd be a fantastic politician if he decided to go into politics - a genuine guy who just gets things done. By asking the killer question, he has really made me think why it's something I want to get into. After all, how much can you actually hope to achieve as a politician? Political parties on the whole can be more obsessed with petty point scoring and winning election after election rather than focusing on the bigger picture or promoting long term change. You are under constant scrutiny, every opposing party will try to destroy you and your family life is totally disrupted. Hardly a case of 'living the dream' when you think about it in those terms!

Perhaps this will sound idealistic, but my main reason for wanting to be involved is that I'm genuinely passionate and enthusiastic about issues and would like to be part of changing and developing Wales for the better. If someone from another political party has a good idea, then I don't see the point of opposing it just for the hell of it. And I won't agree with Plaid Cymru if they come up with something I totallly disagree with either. Surely, it would make sense for politicians to all work together on coming up with implementable and even quite radical long term solutions rather than be obsessed with bashing each other all the time. Indeed, I'm amazed by how petty things have gotten recently. Political strategists and journalists are over-analyzing every twitter and facebook post, opponents are googling each other and trying to create a scandal over a nothing story. How is that productive and of any benefit to the people living in Wales?

Yes, it is right that politicians are questioned, challenged and have to operate in a transparent manner. And they should be slammed if they do something damaging, misleading or corrupt. That is a given. But why be so focused on trying to bring about their downfall if they are actually doing a good job? Surely it would be better to let them get on with it, rather than wasting their time forcing them to fight lies and smears. The same goes for young politicians. Why do people seem set on destroying careers before they even start rather than being delighted that someone actually wants to get involved? It doesn't make sense to me.

Maybe that's why so many good people decide that there are better ways to make a difference than by becoming a politician. Why subject yourself to that when you can be far more influential behind the scenes? But, how will politics ever change for the better if people like Paddy decide there's no point in running for office. We're lucky in Plaid Cymru that there are so many young people involved in the party at the moment, and experienced politicians are helping and encouraging us. Our fantastic spring conference was testament to that (yes, I'm still buzzing from it!) and I hope from the bottom of my heart that for the sake of Wales many of those present will be elected in the future. I also read reports that there were a number of young people at the Lib Dems conference at the weekend. That's also encouraging, and gives hope to the future of politics in Wales.

I don't want to give the impression that I'm totally naive either, and I know that there are some things you have to do if you are ever to get elected. Readers of this blog will know that I have, on more than one occasion, questioned some of Lembit Opik's actions, as I don't think he's been serving the best interests of his electorate. I've also questioned why Glyn Davies (a supporter of devolution) hasn't been more outspoken about David Cameron and the Conservative party when they've been dithering over devolution. These I'd regard as fair questions or comments, and I'd expect the same level of questioning myself. I won't, however, criticize my opponents unless I think it's justified. And I think that's a rule all politicians, their staff and political parties on the whole should adhere to. To be fair, many do but there is a small core that don't and they're the ones doing the damage to politics.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Edge of Love

Ar ol misoedd o edrych mlaen i weld y ffilm, The Edge of Love, nesh i rentu hi wythnos yma a'i gwylio. Rhag ofn nad yda chi'n gwybod, ffilm ynglyn a Dylan Thomas ydi hi ac mae'r actor hynod o dalentog (a rhywiol) Matthew Rhys yn actio'r bardd. Dwi mor siomedig. 'Roedd y ffilm yn anobeithiol. Roedd Matthew Rhys yn wych, ond roedd y sgript a'r ffordd roedd hi wedi ei saethu jest ddim yn gweithio. Roedda nhw'n trio bod yn greadigol ond doedd o ddim yn effeithiol. A well mi beidio son am yr acenion Cymraeg gan Keira Knightley a hefyd Sienna Miller (er, Gwyddeles oedd hi fod)... Felly os da chi heb ei gweld hi, peidiwch. Wir ddim werth y drafferth.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Plus One...

Os yda chi'n chwylio am gyfres deledu ddigri i'w gwylio ar DVD, dwi'n eich annog i rentu copi o'r gyfres 'Plus One'. Mae'n dilyn hanes y dyn eitha geeky yma sy'n cael ei ddympio gan ei ddyweddi. Mae hi wedyn yn dechrau mynd allan gyda'r 'canwr' Duncan o'r band Blue, ac yn penderfynnu ei briodi. Mae'r prif cymeriad, sef y dyn gafodd ei ddympio ganddi, yn derbyn gwahoddiad i'r briodas felly sail y gyfres ydi trio ffeindio rhywun i fynd fel ei 'plus one'. Rhaglen ysgafn a gwirion ydi hi, ond ew, mi wnesh i a fy nghyfneither chwerthin tan oedda ni'n crio. Mae fy ochrau dal i frio heddiw deud gwir..

Just recommending the series 'Plus Oce' as a dvd rental if you want to watch something funny and silly, that will make you laugh. Hilarious, and my sides are still aching today from laughing until I was crying whilst watching it last night.

Finally...

So Brown has finally said sorry. Good. Can we all now move on? I've had my say on this, and yes, I think it's ridiculous it took so long for him to say those two simple words - 'I'm sorry' - but at least he's now done the right thing. Time for a new debate I think. Hopefully, politicians will start thinking of more progressive ways to campaign, maybe based on decent, realistic and implemental ideas and policies? Now that would be novel!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Lonely Planet

According to an article in today's Western Mail, the latest edition of the travel guide to Great Britain by Lonely Planet gives high praise to Mid Wales, whilst also criticizing the decision by Powys council to close down some of the tourist offices in the county. Finally, mid wales gets the recognition it deserves. I've long said that mid wales is under utilized as a tourist attraction. It is such a stunningly beautiful place, magical even, and not just a place to drive through on the way from north wales to cardiff. As this guide says - "ignore mid wales at your peril".

The guide is right to be critical of the closure of many tourist centres in powys. Without a doubt, more can be done to attract visitors to the area without ruining it. This is true about other places in Wales. We should be shouting loud and proud about all the wonderful things we can offer, and part of that is having plenty of information available locally for those who do visit. Even information available online about tourist spots in Wales is limited and this needs to change. I don't know why Wales seems so scared of embracing tourism especially during a time of recession, when more and more people are looking for holidays closer to home. Hopefully this guide might make Powys reconsider its strategy.. I know budgets are tight, but surely financing tourism properly should lead to economic gains. Something to consider anyway..

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Alcoholiaeth

Dwi newydd fod yn darllen ynglyn a’r cyhoeddiad a wnaethwyd gan y Gweinidog James Purnell heddiw yn dweud ei fod o wedi comisiynu adolygiad i edrych mewn i roi llai o fudd dal i bobl sydd yn dioddef o alcoholiaeth os nad ydynt yn fodlon derbyn triniaeth.

Mae hwn yn syniad hurt, sy’n dangos diffyg dealltwriaeth ynglyn ag alcoholiaeth. Mae’n afiechyd, a dydi gorfodi pobl i roi’r gorau iddi neu eu gwthio i gornel ddim yn mynd i ddatrys y broblem. Does gan alcoholig ddim rheolaeth dros eu hyfed, ac mae rhaid iddyn nhw fod eisiau help cyn y gall unrhyw un eu helpu. Mae’r ateb hwn yn un llawer rhy simplistig a hefyd anymarferol sydd ddim mewn unrhyw ffordd yn mynd at wraidd y broblem. Deud gwir, gwaethygu’r sefyllfa wnaiff rhywbeth fel hyn nid ei wella ac mae’n rhaid i’r llywodraeth sylweddoli hynny cyn cyflwyno’r fath fesurau. Angen gwell cefogaeth sydd yna i bobl sy’n dioddef, a hefyd eu teuluoedd, ynghyd ag addysgu pobl ynglyn a pheryglon alcohol o oed cynnar iawn. Mae cynllun o’r fath yn awgrymu bod alcoholig yn medru dewis peidio ac yfed. Tasa hi mor syml a hynny, wel fysa yna neb yn gaeth i ddim byd. Oes, rhaid taclo’r broblem mewn rhyw ffordd ond rhaid hefyd deall y broblem yn iawn cyn medru cynnig atebion.

Roedd cyn gariad imi yn alcoholig a dwi’n gwybod o brofiad nad oedd dim y gallwn ei ddweud na’i wneud i’w annog i roi’r gorau iddi. Doedd cynnig cymorth, trio dal pen rheswm, gwaeddi na bygwth ei adael ddim yn ddigon, a doedd dim ots ganddo chwaith pan gollodd ei swydd na ffrinidiau oherwydd ei yfed. Alcohol oedd y peth pwysicaf yn ei fywyd er ei fod yn ei ddinistrio fo a’n perthynas ni. Mi wnesh i bopeth y gallwn i, tan doedd gen i ddim dewis ond gorffen y berthynas er fy lles fy hun. Er iddo fy nhrin yn warthus, fe gesh i hi’n anodd iawn i’w gasau gan mod i’n sylweddoli mai salwch oedd arno, a hwnnw’n un tor calonus. Doedd hi ddim yn bosib ei orfodi i wella, a dyna pam dwi’n gwybod na wnaiff y cynnig yma ddim gwneud unrhyw wahaniaeth o ran datrys y broblem.

Dyma ddangos unwaith eto bod yn rhaid ail-edrych yn llwyr ar y system budd-daliadau ynghyd a’r system lles. Dydyn nhw ddim yn helpu’r bobl mwyaf bregus yn ein cymdeithas ar y foment, ac hefyd mae yna oromod o lawer o bobl yn manteisio o’r system na ddylai fod yn manteisio. Rhaid cael gwell cydbwysedd. Does yna ddim atebion hawdd, ond yn sicr dydi camau fel hyn ddim yn mynd i fod yn helpu neb.

Sorry seems to be the hardest word...

So why hasn’t Gordon Brown still not apologised publicly for the email fiasco? I know he’s written letters – probably deeply heartfelt and moving – to every wronged Tory, but still… Can he not just put an end to all of this and say sorry whilst looking into a television lens? Then we can all move on and focus on some interesting news.

I believe Brown when he says he wasn’t involved in the scandal, and that he wasn’t aware of their existence. But surely he is at fault in some way having surrounded himself with such idiotic strategists who thought this might have been a good idea? Politics already has a bad press at the moment, and the public are totally disillusioned. Spreading malicious lies is not going to help rectify that, and I think the fact that a senior party strategist was seriously contemplating this as a way forward speaks volumes about the disarray and panic within Labour. They will never recover if they focus on negative campaigning, and the sooner they realise that, the better.

Of course, all politicians and wannabe politicians challenge, tease and provoke the opposition. I’ve certainly drawn attention on my blog and in the media to some of the antics of a certain Mr Opik! But to knowingly spread lies? That is completely unacceptable and below the belt… Being too vicious or unfair is just off putting to the electorate and politicians and their staff should keep this in mind. I’m certain that the leadership of Plaid Cymru would not condone such behaviour.

Hating someone just because they work for or support Labour, the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats or even Plaid Cymru is just plain pathetic in my opinion and I’m glad that I have friends across the political spectrum. Whilst I have banter and debates with them, I respect the fact that they think differently on certain issues and vote differently to me. It doesn’t stop me trying to change their minds occasionally, but still… Life is too short to bear stupid grudges. Politicians across every party should be trying to work together to change the perception people have about politics by showing a certain level of respect, unless of course someone seriously transgresses. Petty point scoring is pathetic, and those strategists who sit at home either googling the opposition or trying to come up with some nasty lies need to get a life. It’s not big, and it’s not clever…

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Email fiasco

Like all other political and blog nerds, I've been following with interest the email fiasco which has embarrassed Gordon Brown this weekend. Yet again, it shows how behind the times Labour are in their campaigning strategy. The public are disillusioned with politics and politicians and a nasty smear campaign would be counter productive in my opinion. Labour should be looking, not at destroying other parties with bitchy, snide and cruel lies, but at inspiring, exciting and engaging people about their own ideals. Dirty politics is childish and petty, and most of all, off putting. If you truly believe in your politics, then surely the way to win over voters is by talking about your politics and vision rather than just focusing on smearing others? Yes, you should challenge and even tease the opposition but there's no need to lie or get overly personal.

Then again, maybe what this latest fiasco shows is that Labour don't really have anything positive to offer these days. They're burnt out and tired, and have decided that going down the bitchy route is far easier than focusing on strengthening and repairing the party. What they need to do is take stock of what has gone wrong and think to the future. What they achieved in 1997 was incredible but they must remember that their campaign was based on hope and positive messages - "things can only get better.."

During this recession, people want to be heard and political parties should be focusing on listening, motivating and re energizing people. Negative campaigning is not helping anyone. Gordon Brown needs to take responsibily, apologize and make clear to staff that this kind of campaigning will not be tolerated. Only then can the party hope to recover.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Being Human..

Dwi chydig ar ei hol hi yn sgwennu hyn, ond dim ond heddiw diolch i iplayer nesh i weld y bennod olaf yn y gyfres Being Human. Ac ew, nesh i fwynhau a dwi'n edrych mlaen yn barod at yr ail gyfres. Ma'n un o'r rhaglenni gorau sydd wedi bod ar y bocs ers tro.

Os na welso chi hi, y plot yn fras ydi hanes tri person sy'n byw gyda'u gilydd. Ond dyma'r peth anghyffredin - mae na un yn ysbryd, un yn vampire a'r llall yn wearwolf! Fysa chi ddim yn disgwyl i gyfres o'r fath fod cystal ond roedd y sgwennu yn anhygoel o dda - digri, teimladwy a dramatig. Ac roedd yr actor oedd yn chwarae rhan y vampire yn anhygoel o olygus, hyd yn oed pan oedd o'n lladd pobl!

Ma'n braf gwylio rwbath ysgafn weithia er mwyn ymlacio. DVD amdani heno -Edge of Love - tra'n bwyta wy pasg. Nefoedd!

Reminiscing

I spent hours today looking through old photographs, reminiscing, laughing, shedding a few tears.. They were all over the house in various boxes, files, cupboards and albums and I was trying to put some order on them. I honestly think that of all my possessions, they're the most valuable. Indeed,they're priceless. You cannot put a price on all those memories...

It made me appreciate how lucky i've been in my life to have known such wonderful people. Family members and old family friends who've passed away featured prominently in many of my childhood pictures, and I realised how grateful I am to have known them. Some died far too young, and I miss them dearly.

I do hate looking at photographs from my teenage years though. I was so horribly obese for years and whilst all my friends looked skinny, happy, healthy and trendy I look positively frumpy and fat in all of them. Nobody who's met me since then really believe how big I was. I just can't believe I let myself get to such a size. Yes, I'm smiling or pulling a silly face in most photographs, but my confidence was at rock bottom. I hated how I looked and was constantly disgusted and repulsed by my reflection. Even though I've lost a considerable amount of weight since then, that feeling hasn't left if I'm honest and I doubt it ever will..

My project for tomorrow is to start scanning all these photographs into my computer to ensure that a back up exists and also so some of my friends can laugh at them when I put them up onto my facebook. My primary school friends should be very worried - there are some classics!

Ireland and the recession

Regular readers of this blog will know that I lived in Dublin from 1999 to 2007. Deciding to go to Trinity College was undoubtedly one the best decisions I have ever made, and it was a truly magical time. I had the most amazing experiences, and made the best group of friends on earth. I still miss Dublin daily, but must say that I'm relieved by now that I was never earning enough to even contemplate buying a flat or a house. I always wanted to, but they were crazily expensive. The only hope I had of being able to buy one was to win euromillions!

Throughout the time I was living there, Ireland kept booming. Apartment blocks kept going up in every corner of the city, fancy gyms were built, more and more expensive shops, bars and restaurants kept opening... The country seemed invincible. All you heard were good things about the Celtic tiger. It was like a dream and I think most of us thought that whilst the economy would of course slow down, it would remain strong. Ireland would remain a shining light and a glowing example of how a small country could succeed financially. Friends of mine weren't worried about getting jobs after university - they were available in abundance - and the starting salaries were often lucrative, and the type of wage I still aspire to earn even now! But it didn't last... Now, more and more of them are fearing for the future and, for the first time ever, contemplating moving abroad to continue with their careers. This is not how things were supposed to turn out for this generation, and many feel badly let down by the government for not being prepared for the crash.

And boy, how they've crashed. I cannot believe that the reports I'm reading from Ireland are talking about the same Ireland that I used to live in. We have it bad in Wales and the UK at the moment, but the situation in Ireland seems to be a million times worse. Of course, they had a far bigger boom in the first place and therefore had much more to lose than we did. But still...

It's a few months since I was last over in Dublin, but I've booked to go over in May and whilst I'm of course looking forward to catching up with friends, I'm also interested to see how things are in Dublin. If you follow events online or listen to the Irish radio stations, all they talk about is the economy. I know it's the same here as well, but honestly, the Irish seem to be even more obsessive about it. I can understand why, but still, it is frightening how quickly things seem to have spiralled downwards in a country that was blossoming for so long.

It will be interesting to see what will happen in Ireland in June at the European and local elections. I think many of my Fine Gael friends will be very happy, whilst my Fine Fail ones will be severely depressed... I certainly wouldn't like to be in the Taoiseach's shoes at the moment! If you think Gordon Brown has it bad, well you should take a look at Brian Cowen... Bet Bertie is glad he left just before the shit hit the fan!

If FG truly want to succeed in the next general election though they do seriously need to think about changing their leader, Enda Kenny. Whilst the party is doing well, his credibility seems to be as shaky as ever. Ireland needs a new, energetic and forward thinking leader. He isn't any of those and even though FF are performing badly, he doesn't seem to be coming out of it all terribly well...

Time will tell how Ireland will come out of it all. I'm still on behalf of my friends hoping for a miracle. Things had to come to an end at some point - the boom was getting out of control - but I hope Ireland will recover quickly. It remains an inspiring country, and I'd hate to see its new found confidence destroyed by this crash. We used to look to Ireland for inspiration in terms of economic growth. We should also look to Ireland now and learn some valuable lessons.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Feature in today's WM

Only had an opportunity to read today’s Western Mail now on a break from driving up to North Wales, and must say, I’m really moved by the feature based on an interview with Gerwyn Jenkins who was a setter operator at Hoover factory in Merthyr Tydfil. In the article, he tells of his struggle to re-adjust and find new employment after the closure of the plant. He had been working there for almost twenty years, and at only 41 years of age, is desperate to find a new challenge. This is a man who wants to work, and wants to re-skill and despite having the experience, it seems worthless because he doesn’t have the right certificates. Surely, when you have that much experience you don’t need a certificate proving that you can do the job – a reference letter and a CV showing you’ve actually done it should be just as important. Wasn't that the point of having a national framework for education?!

It angers me to see people like Gerwyn struggle, without the right support packages being in place. It just shows how right we’ve been in Plaid Cymru to push for a reform of the benefits system, so that it offers the right support and training for people when they become unexpectedly unemployed. The way he describes his treatment at the job centre really hits the message home – being told that everyone has GCSEs now not CSEs and O-levels like he has and also being laughed at when he told an adviser that he’d like a job like his. This is no way to treat people. The unemployed are often the most vulnerable within our society – surely empathy is needed to ensure that they get back on track as soon as possible. 41 is young, and there is no way you should be seen as past it by that age. Unfortunately, Gerwyn is not unique in being in this situation. More and more people are losing their jobs every week in Wales, despite the assembly’s best efforts. Indeed, without the work that Rhodri Morgan and Ieuan Wyn Jones have been doing the situation would be even worse, which doesn’t bear thinking about... Westminster needs to take notice and act decisively in terms of social reform. There are no easy solutions to solve the weaknesses that exist in the system overnight, but surely the time has come to act. We cannot ignore the problem any longer, as Gerwyn's sad tale emphasises.

Nepotistiaeth

Dydi o ddim yn beth braf cael eich cyhuddo o nepotistiaeth, er a bod yn onest, dwi wedi hen arfer. Dyna pam esh i draw i 'Werddon am flynyddoedd yn hytrach na derbyn ysgoloriaeth i fynd i Brifysgol Aberystwyth, a dyna pam hefyd y gwnesh i benderfynnu byth bod yn newyddiadurwraig na gweithio yn y cyfryngau er y byswn i wedi mwynhau gyrfa o’r fath. 'Roedd fy rhieni yn rhedeg cwmni teledu am flynyddoedd, ac mae Dad yn newyddiadurwr. Ac ia, fel mae Jac Codi Baw yn ei ddweud yn Golwg heddiw, mae o'n olygydd materion cyfoes Barn ar y funud - y cylchgrawn y gwnes i sgwennu ynddo ynglyn a ffioedd dysgu.

Dwi di cael llond bol o ymddiheuro, cuddio a cael y math yma o gyhuddiadau wedi eu taflu yn fy erbyn. Ro'n i'n sgwennu i Barn pan oedd Dyfrig Jones yn Olygydd – a na, dyda ni ddim yn perthyn - a dwi'n gwybod na fysa Dad byth yn cyhoeddi rhywbeth gen i jest gan mod i'n ferch iddo. Ddylwn i felly byth sgwennu i Barn eto gan bod yna newid wedi bod o ran personel y cylchgrawn? Dio'm fel bod o wedi rhoi colofn fisol imi! Ro’n i’n Swyddog Addysg Undeb Myfyrwyr Iwerddon, ro’n i’n cynrychioli Iwerddon ar bwyllgorau Ewropeaidd yn ymwneud ac addysg a ffioedd dysgu, ac ro’n i’n Bologna Promoter ar un adeg. Dwi’n deall y pwnc, mae gen i farn bendant a gweledigaeth ar gyfer Addysg Uwch, a byddwn wrth fy modd bod yn Weinidog Addysg yn y Cynulliad rhyw ddiwrnod. O, ac mi ydw i’n ymgeisydd Plaid Cymru ar gyfer yr Etholiad Cyffredinol nesaf. Byddai’n hurt pe na fyddwn i wedi mynegi barn ar y pwnc, ac a bod yn onest, dwi’m yn siwr os oes yna gylchgrawn arall yng Nghymru fyddai wedi bod yn addas ar gyfer y math yna o erthygl.

Pobl Maldwyn ddewisiodd fi fel ymgeisydd Plaid Cymru a dwi’n gwbwl hyderus bod nepotistiaeth ddim yn ffactor o gwbwl o ran y rol yna (er bod gen i deulu ym Maldwyn), na chwaith y swydd dwi’n ei gwneud o ddydd i ddydd. Dwi’n falch o fod nol yng Nghymru a dwi eisiau cyfrannu tuag at ddatblygu’r wlad drwy fod yn aelod etholedig rhyw ddiwrnod. Wrth gwrs, os ydi hynny am ddigwydd, bydd rhaid mi gael fy ethol a coeliwch chi fi, mi fydd yn rhaid i bobl sydd ddim yn perthyn imi bleidleisio drosta’i os ydi hynny am ddigwydd. Ella bod Nain yn un o 14 o blant, ond dal, dydi nheulu i ddim mor anferthol a hynny!

Dwi’n gwybod mai colofn tafod yn y boch ydi Jac Codi Baw, a dwi’m eisiau gor ymateb. Dim ots gen i bobl fod yn tynnu arna'i o gwbwl. Ond, ar ol bron i ddeg mlynedd yn profi fy hun tu allan i Gymru, ro’n i’n meddwl y bydde pobl o’r diwedd yn rhoi gorau i ddweud pethe o’r fath. A wel… O ‘leia ‘roedd gweddill Golwg yn gadarnhaol iawn! Ella na ddylwn i gwyno yn ormodol…

The Apprentice

I’m an avid fan of the television programme, the Apprentice, since the first programme of the first series. I was instantly hooked, and I do get quite obsessive about not missing any of the episodes. I know that if I don’t watch it live that someone is sure to tell me who has been fired, and that just takes the fun out of it then. I also enjoy the post being fired interview – that can almost be better than the main programme. Almost…

I did try out for the second series of the Apprentice and went through four or five rounds. It was a surreal experience, and the only reason I applied was because of a dare (college drinking game so the dare could have been much much worse). It was fun though, and I did meet most of the contestants that went on to star in the show which made watching the series a bit more exciting. However, I do count my blessings that I wasn’t selected. Nobody ever comes out of the series well, and the media scrutiny is just as intense as it is for the Big Brother contestants. It wasn’t as bad back then, and the people selected were proper business people. Now, they purposefully chose idiots to go on the show – ones that will aggravate, provoke, cry, shout, scream. Anything really that successful business people wouldn’t do, at least until they were multi-millionaires. This new lot really are a bunch of amateurs, and if I’m honest, it can sometimes make for better tv viewing… Doubt Sir Alan is happy at the prospect of having to employ any of them though!

Last night’s programme was interesting, especially when the issue of ethnicity/ racism raised its ugly head. Basically, in case you didn’t see it, both teams had to design a piece of exercise equipment, get it build and then market it to potential buyers. One team, led by possibly the most annoying female currently on television (who’s white by the way), had chosen one man and one woman from the team to pose for marketing material. Both happened to be ethnic minorities, and they thought it would be good to swap one of them for a white member of the team so as to have a balance. An Iranian team member suggested this to the white team leader, and she went nuts, accusing them of racism and so on. It just made her look stupid. Every ethnic minority person could see the logic of striking a balance – she was the only one to come out of it badly, and appear racist herself because she had such a huge over reaction. Idiot. I hope she gets fired next week…

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Diolch i Vaughan Roderick

Pan yda chi'n ymgeisydd seneddol, mae disgwyl ichi ddarllen popeth mae'r ymgeisyddion sydd yn rhedeg yn eich erbyn chi'n ei sgwennu. Dyna ydi natur gwleidyddiaeth - chwilio am bethau defnyddiol i ddefnyddio yn eu herbyn. Dyna pam dwi'n gwybod, o ran ymchwil, y dylwn i fod yn darllen colofn Lembit Opik yn y Daily Star. Ond da chi'n gwybod 'be? Fedra'i ddim. Dwi wedi trio unwaith neu ddwy, ond pam trafferthu? Mae o'n deud rwbath gwirion yn bob un a dwi'n cael llond bol o ddeud petha drwg am y dyn. Deud gwir, dwi'n trio fy nghorau i beidio bod yn lladd arno - ddim yn fy natur i redeg ymgyrch negyddol - ond mae hi mor anodd peidio. Rhyd anodd deud gwir.

Diolch i Dduw felly am Vaughan Roderick, sydd yn mynd i'r drafferth i ddarllen y golofn a'n hysbysu i gyd o'r cynnwys, heb i ni orfod darllen y papur ein hunain. Fel y gwelwch o golofn wythnos yma, mae yna berlau eraill i'w cael gan Aelod Seneddol Sir Drefaldwyn. Os ofynnith unrhyw un imi pam dwi'n rhedeg ym Maldwyn eto, dwi mond angen dangos copiau o'r erthyglau iddyn nhw a fydda nhw'n dallt yn iawn. Ddyla AS ddim fod yn gysylltiedig gyda'r fath rwtsh.

Fel y gwyr darllenwyr fy mlog, dydw i ddim yn snob o ran yr hyn dwi'n ddarllen. Dwi'n prynnu llwyth o gylchgronnau trashy gyda gossip selebs, a dwi'n darllen News of the World bob dydd Sul ac yn cadw golwg ar y Sun ar-lein. Dwi hefyd wrth gwrs yn darllen pethe dipyn mwy difrifol fel prospect, y papurau trymion, economist... Mae eisiau cymysgedd yn does neu mi fysa fy ngwybodaeth yn un gul a diflas ar y diawl. Ond mae'r Daily Sport yn wahanol. Sothach o'r rath flaenaf. Carier Vaughan felly ymlaen i'n diddanu gyda geiriau Opik - mae'n wasanaeth cenedlaethol o'r rath flaenaf!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Post conference

Every political party applauds itself at the end of a conference, and tries its best to make sure positive messages are plastered across blogs and if possible, the media. It's what you expect and even if the conference hadn't have been that great, the truth is that I would have been spinning it in a positive way. So please, don't be cynical when I say the following: I really am saying it from the heart.

Plaid's spring conference was the best conference I've ever been to, and I'm not just comparing it to other plaid conferences, I mean in general. I feel truly inspired today, and invigorated as a party member. The Friday was fantastic - a genuine opportunity to interact with elected members and party members, as well as various lobbyists. I learnt a great deal, and also had the opportunity to speak which was fun. Saturday was different but equally good. I thought the speeches were all of such a high standard. I was particularly impressed with Steffan Lewis. He managed to bring tears to my eyes twice! I was truly moved. He's definitely one to watch. Also enjoyed the fringe meetings as they were all very informative and thought provoking.

Much has been made of the interactive nature of the conference. I was on twitter and blogging away for the whole two days, and really enjoyed it. I was amazed by the amount of feedback I got from people following events online. It was great to be able to interact with them, and show the world that plaid isn't scared to conduct its business in an open and transparent manner. Morgan Lloyd was the brains behind our new media initiatives and he definitely deserves a medal. Plaid without doubt has the best online presence and initiatives in comparison to all other parties in Wales. We know plaidlive.com had some difficulties, but it was the first time it had been tried and it definitely created an impact. The hope is to build on this so we have it perfected for future events so please send in your comments, criticisms and suggestions and I assure you they will be taken on board.

I'm no longer a plaid staff member as you know so it was strange for me to be back in the middle of things. Really enjoyed it though and it was nice to catch up with everyone at the conference dinner last night. Everyone looked so glamorous! All in all a fantastic weekend: informative, engaging, inspiring and most of all, genuinely enjoyable.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

IWJ

Araith Ieuan Wyn Jones yn wych heddiw - a na, dwi ddim jest yn dweud hynny oherwydd mod i wedi bod yn sgwennu ynglyn a ffioedd dysgu cyn i neb feddwl! Dyna'r gorau dwi erioed wedi ei glywed yn siarad - cadarn, cadarnhaol, hyderus, hiwmor - cymysgedd perffaith. Dangosodd i'r aelodau bod Plaid ddim ofn sefyll fyny i Lafur er gwaetha bod mewn clymblaid. Dangos hefyd bod ganddo ni weledigaeth bendant ar gyfer Cymru a hefyd pobl Cymru. Gwych. Araith Arweniydd Plaid yn hytrach na Dirprwy Brif Weinidog Cymru mewn clymblaid. A dyna oedd ei angen... Wedi gosod platfform cryf ar gyfer etholiadau ewrop, etholiadau San Steffan a hefyd y refferendwm.

Happy Campers yma yn Plaid heddiw. Llinell orau yn ymateb i safle gwe trychinebus Aneurin Glyndwr: "It's a home video Jaqui Smith won't be letting her husband watch!". Brilliant.

#plaidconf

He did it again...

Well, another brilliant and truly inspirational speech by Adam Price at conference. He oozes charisma, but the content is always interesting as well. You can't learn the kind of public speaking skills he has - it seems so effortless. Perfect mixture of seriousness and humour in the speech. Talked about independence all over the world - setting Welsh nationalism within an internationalist context. And also setting the tone for the European election and also a referendum. Big question he posed - what kind of Wales do we want to see? It's a question all of us should consider...

Closing line: "We have a Wales to win". Brilliant.

#plaidconf

O'r gynhadledd eto...

Diwrnod dau yn mynd yn gret hyd yma - difyr dros ben. Areithiau difyr gan Neil McEvoy, Elfyn Llwyd a Dafydd Iwan a rwan mae'r sesiwn Dwbl neu Drwbwl, sef lawnsio cystadleuaeth ar gyfer creu 'viral ad'. Dangos bod plaid o ddifri ynglyn a defnyddio technoleg newydd yn greadigol! A hefyd, cael cyfraniadau gan bawb yn Plaid a nid jest cynhyrchu popeth yn ganolog.

O safbwynt personol, dwi wedi gwneud cyfweliad gyda Golwg hedddiw ynglyn a bloggio, technoleg newydd, sut mae plaid cymru yn cysylltu gyda pobl ifanc a hefyd, ffioedd dysgu. Gesh i gyfle i egluro fy safbwynt ynglyn a ffioedd dysgu ar S4C hefyd. Falch o gael y cyfle, er roedd yn help nad oedd y newyddiadurwraig wedi darllen yr erthygl dwi'n amau! Dim fel Betsan Powys... Eitha hoffi beth mae hi wedi ei sgwennu ar ei blog am yr erthygl a deud y gwir. Gobeithio wneith y sylw yma annog yr holl bleidiau i ddechrau meddwl yn fwy creadigol ynglyn a'u polisiau addysg. Dwi eisiau gweld newidiadau hollol radical - edrych ymlaen at yr amser pan mae Plaid Cymru'n brif blaid yn y Cynulliad, ac yn gyfrifol am y portffolio addysg! Dyna swydd y byswn i wrth ei bodd ei chael rhyw ddiwrnod. Un problem - rhaid cael fy ethol yn gyntaf!

Diwrnod dau/ Day two!

Conference about to start - so excited! We've a number of key speeches today. I have a fun role - introducing everyone. Called the voice of God for the day, which isn't bad. I'll also be sneaking out to do an interview on S4C at 11am - my views on higher education tuition fees.

Will try and keep you posted during the day. Policy speed dating was so much fun and also useful last night. No potential dates but plenty of new contacts!

Until later... Mwynewch. Keep an eye on plaidlive.com, S4C this morning and BBC this afternoon. Blog, tweet - join the debate.

#plaidconf

Friday, April 3, 2009

Barn

Dipyn o sylw'n cael ei roi i'r hyn dwi wedi sgwennu i Barn heddiw, sydd wedi fy synnu i braidd. Dwi'm yn meddwl bod hi fawr o stori mod i'n dweud bod gan run plaid wleidyddol unrhyw fath o weledigaeth ar gyfer addysg uwch yng Nghymru! Nid dim ond Plaid Cymru dwi'n feirniadol ohonyn nhw, ond pawb! A dwi wedi ei ddweud droeon. Ydw, dwi'n flin ynglyn a'r ffrae ddiweddar ond ydw i'n flin hefo'r arweinyddiaeth? Wel nac ydw. Mae nhw mewn sefyllfa amhosibl - bai Llafur ydi'r penderfyniad yma, a mae'n bwysig cofio hynny. Os ydi pobl eisiau creu ffrae, wel does na run yn bodoli. Dwi'n hollol gefnogol o'r arweinyddiaeth. Ydw, dwi'n anghytuno gyda'r penerfyniad ond mae wedi ei wneud, a rhaid symud mlaen...

Neges fwya'r dydd ydi pa mor llwyddianus ydi'r diwrnod wedi bod. Dwi wir wedi mwynhau, a wedi dysgu gymaint. Lot gwell na cynhadledd llyneddd, a llawer mwy interactif. Dyma'r ffordd ymlaen dwi'n meddwl!

Rathbone Fringe Meeting

At the Rathbone meeting, and its really informative. Good to see teenage girls talk about what they've gained through Rathbone - much better to hear about the problems they've faced, rather than the usual of listening to politicians talk about young people. Even at 28 I'm too old to feel that I can properly speak up for young people and represent them adequately. Breath of fresh air as a discussion..

Definitely shows the weaknesses in the present educational system. Radical reform definitely needed!

Blogging debate part 2

I really enjoyed taking part in the Blogging panel this afternoon along with Iain Dale, Dyfrig Jones, Huw Thomas and John Dixon. Bethan Jenkins was chairing. I thought it was really interesting, and the room was full. Some interesting questions were thrown at us, and it was interesting to see journalists attend and engage in the debate.

Here are some of the key points I made:

- Blogs have become increasingly important in terms of politics in Wales. Why? 1 - Wales is a small country, easier for your blog to reach target audience. 2 - weaknesses in the Welsh press, and lack of daily Welsh newspapers.

- In the past, if BBC or HTV chose not to run the story, then majority of people would never hear of the story. Blogs have changed that. Now, you can put a story online for everyone to read. If enough people react to it, then this sometimes forces journalists to take the story seriously. Rhodri Glyn and the cigar scandal, and also the Aneurin Glyndwr website are two obvious examples of this.

- Blogs therefore fill a gap that exists within the media in Wales.

- Political parties have to be realistic and not over-emphasise importance of blogs. Must be remembered that most of the electorate will never read a blog. Most of my female friends never bother to read them - think its something only geeks and nerds do! Difficult to disagree sometimes.

- Why bother then? Three reasons why I keep a blog:

1 - enjoy writing, exchanging ideas and debating

2 - When I was a press officer, it was a way to give publicity to a story that the press weren't interested in

3 - Raise my profile as a candidate. I hadn't lived in Wales since 1999, and knew that if I wanted to run, then I needed to make sure that people within my own party, other parties and journalists got to know me better. Certain this has been worth while. People now know my views on a number of topics, such as higher education, lembit opik, baking and karaoke!

- of course, there is a risky element to blogs. Can make or break you. Worth keeping your scandals to a personal diary, which can then be kept for a future autobiography! To that end, I keep the following in mind when blogging:

Two people are likely to read everything I put on my blog:

1 - Glyn Davies, parliamentary candidate for the Conservatives in Montgomeryshire and esteemed blogger

2 - my father! I don't think I need to explain that....

#plaidconf

Blogging debate...

Here's a taster of what I'll be saying around this time at the blogging debate (Beauty of being able to schedule posts!). Obviously, won't stick to it exactly but you should get the main points. I'll translate the main points later, promise, and give you some highlights from the debate itself. Should be fun!

Mae yna ddywediad yn tarddu o’r 1920au: “It’s the good girls that keep diaries: the bad girls don’t have the time.”

Efallai yng nghyd destun y drafodaeth hon bod angen fersiwn mwy modern o’r dyfyniad:

“It’s only the good girls that keep diaries – the bad girls keep blogs”.

Oce, falle nad ‘drwg’ ydi’r gair iawn. Mae ‘direidus’ yn fwy priodol o bosib. Ac heb os, mae yna elfen ddireidus i flogs. Mae nhw’r fforwm perffaith i fod yn ddadleuol, dychanol a deifiol. I unrhyw un sy’n mwynhau corddi, mae nhw’n medru bod yn goblyn o hwyl. Dwi wrth fy modd yn fy mlog ceisio pryfocio pobl i ymateb… Efallai bod hynny’n swnio chydig bach yn sadistaidd, ond mi fysa bywyd yn ddiflas iawn tasa rhywun ddim yn mynd ati i styrio weithiau.

O ran gwleidyddiaeth Cymru, mae blogs yn sicr wedi dod yn gynyddol bwysig, yn arbennig felly yn ystod y ddwy flynedd ddiwethaf. Dwi’n meddwl bod yna ddau reswm am hyn:

1) Mae Cymru’n wlad fach, felly mae’n haws cyrraedd cynulleidfa ehangach a sicrhau bod eich blog yn cael sylw, yn fwy felly na fydde’n bosibl yn Lloegr
2) Diffygion y wasg Gymreig, yn arbennig felly papurau newydd dyddiol o safon ar gyfer Cymru gyfan

Heb os, dwi’n meddwl bod blogs yn llenwi’r bwlch sydd ganddo ni yn y wasg yng Nghymru, ac o’r herwydd, dyna pam y mae nhw mor ddylanwadol. Cyn eu dyfodiad, os nad oedd y BBC neu HTV fel yr oedd ITV Cymru yn cael ei alw’r dyddiau hynny yn meddwl bod stori neu pwnc yn bwysig, doedda nhw ddim yn rhoi sylw iddo. Felly doedd y mwyafrif helaeth o bobl ddim yn cael glywed dim amdano. Mae blogs wedi newid hynny. Rwan, mae’n bosibl torri stori neu sgandal ar flog gan felly ei gwneud yn gyhoeddus yn syth bin, heb orfod dibynnu ar y wasg. Yn wir, mae blogs yn medru gorfodi’r wasg i roi sylw teilwng i stori os oes yna ddigon o bobl yn ei thrafod ar lein. Mae yna ddau enghraifft amlwg yn neidio i feddwl rhywun.

1 – Rhodri Glyn Thomas a’r sigar

2 – Safle gwe trychinebus y Blaid Lafur – Aneurin Glyndwr. Ymateb y blogs oedd y wasg yn canolbwyntio arno yn eu hadroddiadau ynglyn a’r safle. Hyn yn hynod o nodweddiadol.

Ond, rhaid ini hefyd fel pleidiau gwleidyddol fod yn realistig a cofio nad ydi’r mwyafrif helaeth o bobl yn darllen blogs. Ac os yda chi’n wleidydd, rhaid felly derbyn na fydd y rhan fwya o’ch etholwyr byth yn edrych arno. Fedrw chi ddim bod yn or ddibynol arno a ffocysu’n ormodol arnynt. Criw dethol a bychan iawn sydd yn ymwneud o ddydd i ddydd, a mae o’n fyd macho iawn ar y cyfan. Yn sicr, ma gan y rhan fwya o fy ffrindia i well petha i’w gwneud na edrych ar flogs. Dydyn nhw’n sicir ddim yn dilyn run ohonyn nhw’n gyson. Yn wir, does gan rai ohonyn nhw ddim syniad be dwi’n siarad amdano pan dwi’n son am flogs. Rwbath mae geeks yn ymwneud a fo ydi blogs yn eu barn nhw. Dwi’n cael hi’n anodd anghytuno hefo hynny weithia!!!

Os ydi hynny’n wir, pam felly ddyla unrhyw un drafferthu i gadw blog? Tri reswm pam ydw i

1) Mwynhau sgwennu, trafod a cyfnewid syniadau. Blog yn fforwm perffaith i gael ymateb sydyn gan ystod eang o bobl.
2) Pan o’n i’n swyddog y wasg, ffordd dda o roddi sylw i stori doedd y wasg ddim yn fodlon trafferthu hefo hi.
3) Codi fy mhroffail fel ymgeisydd seneddol, sydd yn swnio’n hynod o egotistaidd ond os da ni’n onest, dwi’n meddwl bod gan bawb sydd yn cadw blog rywfaint o ego neu fysa nhw ddim yn trafferthu cadw un yn y lle cyntaf!

Pam ddechreuish i gadw blog, ro’n i’n gwybod y byddwn i’n hoffi bod yn ymgeisydd seneddol yn y dyfodol. Ro’n i hefyd yn ymwybodol, a finna ddim wedi byw yng Nghymru ers 1999, nad oedd gen i unrhyw fath o broffail yng Nghymru. Er mwyn i bobl gael dod i fy adnabod yn well, mi wnesh i benderfynnu cadw blog oedd yn adlewyrchu fy safbwyntiau a fy niddordebau. Dwi’n sicr bod hyn wedi bod o werth. Rwan mae pawb sydd wedi ei ddarllen, yn gwybod lot mwy amdana fi. Mae nhw’n gwbod fod gen i deimladau cryf iawn ynglyn a pholisiau addysg uwch; ma nhw’n gwbod fy marn i ynglyn a Lembit Opik a hefyd petha gwirion, fel y ffaith mod i’n hoffi coginio cacennau a canu carioci.

Cofiwch, dwi hefyd yn ymwybodol iawn fod o’n beth eitha ‘risky’ i’w wneud gan fod hi’n bosibl i bopeth sydd fyny yno gael ei ddefnyddio yn eich erbyn rhyw dro, unai gan bobl o fewn eich plaid eich hun, pleidiau eraill neu newyddiadurwyr. Ella bod o’n arf gwleidyddol gwych, ond eto, gallai un blog anoeth arwain at ddiwedd gyrfa wleidyddol rhywun. Dyna pam mae angen bod yn gall ynglyn a’r hyn yr ydych yn ei roi i fyny ynddo, a cadw’r petha personol a unrhyw sgandals ar gyfer dyddiadur personol. Wel pam lai? Ella byddwch chi eisiau sgwennu hunangofiant rhyw ddiwrnod, a fydd isho deunydd newydd ar gyfer hwnnw!

Un cyngor i gloi felly. Os yda chi’n cadw blog, meddyliwch yn ofalus ynglyn a’r hyn sy’n mynd fyny arno. Dyma sy’n fy helpu i – cofio bod yna ddau berson yn darllen popeth dwi’n sgwennu arno. Un – Glyn Davies, blogiwr o fri a ymgeisydd y Ceidwadwyr yn Sir Drefaldwyn a sydd felly’n rhedeg yn fy erbyn. A’r ail? Dad. Dwi’m yn meddwl bod angen egluro hynny!

British Waterways


At the British Waterways fringe meeting at Plaid conference. Glad to see a good turnout, as our waterways are undoubtedly important in Wales. Ok, so I have a vested interest having presented the television series 'Waterworld' about the history of canals in Wales and the Midlands (yes, I know - why me? Still not sure about the answer to that one!). It's also important I'm here of course because of my role as a parliamentary candidate in Montgomeryshire because of the Montgomery canal. People are working hard locally to restore the canal, and they should be applauded and recognised for this. During my time filming the programme, I went along to witness some restoration work across Wales and I can tell you it's not easy - as you can see from the picture! Also, most of the work is carried out by volunteers as funding is difficult to obtain.

Our canals are beautiful, and it saddens me to see them left to ruin. Without the work of volunteers and local people, a huge piece of our history would be lost forever. It's good that Plaid Cymru members are being reminded of this at conference. Who knows, a canal holiday in Wales could be a real alternative to a summer holiday abroad in this current economic climate? I'm certainly considering it - as long as someone comes with me! Don't trust myself to take full responsibility of a canal boat!

#plaidconf

O'r gynhadledd

Eistedd yn y sesiwn ynglyn a'r economi yng nghynhadledd Wanwyn Plaid - 'Dod drwy'r storm economaidd yng Nghymru'. Cael ei gadeirio gan Dr Eurfyl ap Gwilym a panel gwych - Ieuan Wyn Jones, Elin Jones, Jocelyn Davies a Fran Targett o CAB. Trafodaeth dda iawn, ac yn codi cwestiynnau pwysig iawn.

Cyfraniad CAB yn arbennig o ddifyr o ran rhoddi'r drafodaeth mewn cyd-destun - nhw sydd yn delio o ddydd i ddydd gyda pobl sy'n dioddef ar y funud, ac felly'n medru deall yn well y math o gymorth sydd ei angen i wneud gwahaniaeth gwirioneddol.

Nesh i hefyd fwynhau clywed yr hyn oedd gan Elin Jones i'w ddweud ynglyn a economi cefn gwlad. Mae mor braf clywed Gweinidog sydd yn deall ei phwnc cystal yn dadansoddi pethe, o bersbectif chydig bach yn wahanol i'r arfer. Run peth yn wir am Jocelyn, yn trafod y Mortgage Rescue Scheme.

Ieuan Wyn Jones yn siarad yn onest ynglyn a pa mor anodd ydi'r sefyllfa bresenol i'r llywodraeth. Egluro sut mae nhw'n mynd ati i ymateb ac ati. Cyfaddef nad oedd y llywodraeth wedi meddwl bydde Cymru'n dioddef cymaint mor sydyn. Egluro hefyd pa mor anodd ydi hi i'r Cynulliad ymateb fel mae nhw eisiau, oherwydd diffyg pwerau/grym. Blaenoriaeth y llywodraeth felly ydi cadw sgiliau, a hefyd sicrhau bod cwmniau adeiladu o Gymru'n medru bidio'n well ar gyfer contractau.

Anodd iawn i Eurfyl ddod a'r drafodaeth i ben dweud gwir - pawb yn awyddus iawn i gyfrannu. Dangos pa mor bwysig ydi'r pwnc yma ar y funud.

Braf hefyd gweld trafodaeth go iawn yn digwydd yn y gynhadledd yn hytrach na jest areithiau. Dwi'n mynd i fwynhau heddiw heb os!


#plaid conf

http://www.plaidlive.com

Plaid conference has started!

And we're off... Fantastic to see the room full of people for IWJ's opening speech at Plaid Conference. I said it was going to be a good one and it seems I was right. There's a real buzz here, and everyone seem keen for the debating to start. There's also a mixture of ages, and people from every corner of Wales.

Personally, I love the fact that I'm able to blog from the hall and keep people posted about what's going on. If you want to follow events, go to http://www.plaidlive.com

Much better than the Aneurin Glyndwr site I promise!

Until later....

#plaidconf

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Two days to go...

I can’t wait for the Plaid Cymru Spring conference which takes place at the end of this week. For the first time ever, I’m taking part plus I’ll also be blogging and twittering live for the whole two days. It should be fun! Plaid centrally have been working super hard and have really put a lot of effort into using new media to maximum effect. I know I’m biased, but I honestly think it’s going to be amazing. I’m really excited about it all. So if you want to keep up with what’s going on at the conference all day Friday and Saturday, keep an eye on this blog, twitter and facebook, and I promise to keep you posted! There will also be a number of other people doing the same, and there should be live streaming from the conference online. So total transparency from Plaid and an opportunity for everyone to hear what’s going on and get involved. You can’t get more democratic than that!