Friday, June 26, 2009

Breaking News...

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

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

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Through thick and thin...

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Cymru fach...

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

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

Pythefnos i fynd...

Wel, gen i bythefnos i fynd tan y Race for Life rwan. Dwi wedi bod yn gwneud llwyth o ymarfer corff dros y mis diwethaf yma, ond dal yn eitha nerfus. Dwi'n benderfynnol mod i'n mynd i redeg y cyfan (dim ond 5k ydi o)er bod fy ysgwydd i'n lladd bob tro dwi'n rhedeg mwy na deg munud ar y funud. Sgen rhywun sydd erioed wedi dioddef o whiplash unrhyw tips ynglyn a sut mae cryfhau'r cefn a'r gwddw fel bod fy ysgwydd ddim yn gwichian, clicio a brifo? Methu coelio bod o dal mor boenus a hyn bron i dair blynedd ar ol ei frifo yn y lle cyntaf. Wedi trio Osteopath, Chiropractor, Accupuncture, physio... dim byd yn tycio. Byddai unrhyw gyngor yn cael ei werthfawrogi!

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Stig...

Well, do you really believe it was him? Still not sure what to make of it!

Unity is strength?

I've only just gotten round to reading Jonathan Morgan's speech that he gave recently at Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre. As was pointed out at the time, he certainly makes many an interesting point, and I do like the fact that he’s forward thinking and that he is confident enough to criticize his own party where he thinks they’ve gotten it wrong in the past. I hate people who slavishly follow the party line because they’re too scared to rock the boat in case they scupper their chances of promotion. Yes, unity is strength and division is weakness but it is important that people stick to the principles that got them elected in the first place. Reading the speech, you can’t help but be struck by his passion for developing his party in Wales and enforcing real change. This is evident in the following quote:

"Soon, the question of whether to allow a referendum on further powers to the Assembly will fall to a Conservative Government. Generally, as my wife will testify, I sleep well at night. However, I do occasionally have the following nightmare…

The Welsh Assembly Government ask for a referendum in Autumn 2010 and the Assembly votes in favour to request one;
The recently appointed Conservative Secretary of State attempts to veto the request and rule out a referendum in the first term of a Conservative Government;
The people of Wales are denied their say for at least five years – how anti-Welsh would the voters think that?
Of course this wouldn’t be a nightmare for our opponents – to some of them, it would be the dream scenario.

Saying ‘NO’ to a referendum request would mean denying the people of Wales a vote on this vital issue. This would be as unjust as Labour’s refusal to allow a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

This is not localism. This would be telling the people of Wales to be silent and listen to their betters in Westminster.

How arrogant would that make us look?"


However, no matter how interesting and persuasive Morgan’s arguments may be, you can’t help but be struck by one thing when reading the speech – can the Welsh Conservatives truly become a more autonomous organization as he suggests? No matter how hard people like Morgan try, the truth is that the Welsh Conservatives will always be tied to and influenced by London. They won’t ever be able to escape from their shadows, and I believe that the Welsh Conservatives who are pro-devolution need to face up to that fact and take a bold step: set up a new party in Wales to represent the right. That’s the only way Morgan’s vision for the right in Wales can be achieved and I wish that he’d consider proposing such an idea. I would never be a member, obviously, but in terms of making devolution work, I think it would be a progressive step and would make them a far more credible opposition party. Currently, it's difficult not to judge the Conservatives in Wales who seem genuinely pro-devolution for the general unionist belief of their party. It just doesn’t ring true. A new party would be able to do the same as Plaid Cymru – put the people of Wales first without being restricted/ bullied/ supervised by a London master. Surely, it's an option worth considering?

A Senedd with greater powers will need new political parties that aren't tied to another parliament. Otherwise it ultimately won't work. Plaid Cymru will also need to rise to the challenge and decide what its main objectives and focus will be once a proper Parliament is up and running. I think we have some interesting times ahead in Welsh politics over the next decade or so! At least, I hope so...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Y Castell/ The Castle!




















Wel, mae'r Castell wedi agor ac mae pethau yn mynd yn wych. Bwyd godidog, a mae Mam wedi gwneud gwyrthiau. Dyma gip ar y fwydlen a dipyn o luniau. Ar y Maes yng Nghaernarfon mae'r Castell, ddim yn bell o'r Castell arall enwog yma!

Wel, the Castle has re-opened and things are going brilliantly. The food is sublime, and Mum has done brilliantly. Here's a preview of the menu and a few pictures. The Castle can be found on the square in Caernarfon, not far from the other famous Castle in the town!

Breakfast

The Maes breakfast-Bacon, egg, sausage,black pudding,tomato or beans,mushrooms. £5.95

Smoked Derimon Salmon with scrambled eggs. £5.50

Doubled boiled eggs with marmite soldiers. £4.50

French toast with crispy bacon,maple syrup. £4.50

Amlwch Kippers with smoked local butter. £4.95

Fresh grapefruit with vodka,grilled/natural. £4.50

Omelette .3 organic local hens eggs with your choice of filling. £3.95

Bacon/Egg or/Sausage sandwich. £2.95

Eggs Benedict. £4.50

Grenola with natural yoghurt. £2.95

Eggs on toast – poached, scrambled, boiled. £3.95

Choice of cereals. £2.50

Toast and preserves. £2.50


LUNCH STARTERS

Lobsgows with farmhouse cheese and bread. £4.95

Daily Soup. £3.95

Niçoise salad,chargrilled Tuna. £4.95

Castell Caesar salad £4.50/ with Derimon smoked chicken. £7.50

Buffalo mozzarella and vine tomato,wild rocket,balsamic dressing. £4.75

Duck liver parfait,red onion marmalade,toasted brioche. £5.95

Derimon Smoked salmon,capers,lemon,brown bread. £4.95

Goat’s Feta ,watermelon,chilli and mint salad. £4.50

LUNCH MAIN COURSE


Castell Welsh Black burger,cheese,pickle,triple cooked chips,Bloody Mary ketchup.£7.95

Local caught fish and chips,mushy peas. £8.95

Tatws pum munud - local speciality – potatoes, bacon and onions.with summer greens.£5.95

Grilled Gammon,hens egg,pineapple chutney,triple cooked chips,hp sauce. £7.50

Local sausages with mash,red onion gravy. £6.95

Castell Moules Frites.£4.95 starter/£8.95 main

Welsh Black Minute steak,shallot marmalade,triple cooked chips. £7.95

Spaghetti pesto £4.50 starter/£7.50 main.

Tagliatelle with shitake,chilli,garlic and olive oil.£4.50/£7.50main.

Castell fishcakes,wilted spinach,chive butter sauuce. £7.95

Castell Smokies.£4.50starter/£8 main.

Side Orders

Mash / chips /summer greens / green salad / mixed salad/creamed spinach £2.50


EVENING MENU

Starters (BREAD INCLUDED)

Menai Oysters, shallot and vinegar dressing. £7.95

Asparagus wrapped in parma ham,poached egg,herb dressing. £5.95

Duck terrine with pineapple chutney. £5.95

Beddgelert wild mushrooms rissoto,truffle oil. £5.95

Castell Fish soup with rouille,cheese,and croutons. £6.50

Caramelized Sea Scallops,crispy belly pork,fenel and cider apple salad. £7.50

Castell Smokies. £4.50

Wild Rocket and parmesan salad,smoked cherry tomatoes,extra virgin oil and balsamic vinegar. £4.95

MAINS

Side Orders
Mash / chips /summer greens / green salad / mixed salad/creamed spinach £2.50


Char - grilled Sirloin,Triple cooked chips,Pepper /Bearnaise sauce. £14.95

Char - grilled Ribeye,triple cooked chips,Pepper/Bearnaise sauce. £13.95

Char - grilled Fillet,triple cooked chips,Pepper/Bearnaise sauce. £17.95

Seared Salmon,crushed Anglesey potatoes,spinach,Bloody Mary noisette. £12.95

Penllyn Rump of Lamb,char-grilled vegetables,dauphinoise potatoes,basil and tomato sauce. £13.95

Menai Moules Frites Castell. £9.95

Whole grilled Local Seabass,warm new potato salad,garlic,lemon and parsley. £13.95

Tarragon roasted organic chicken with peas, broadbeans,lettuce and ham. £11.95

Char - grilled Meditaraennen vegetables, spiced pine nut and sultana cous cous,harrisa and houmous. £9.95

Herb rissoto with grilled goats cheese,warm beetroot dressing. £9.95

PUDDINGS

Lemon Tart, Halen Môn salted caramel sauce,caramel ice cream. £4.50

Chocolate Noughat, Crème Anglaise. £4.50

Local Gooseberry Fool. £4.50

Wobbly vanilla milk cream,hedge picked summer berries.£4.50

Bara Brith Crème Brule. £4.50

Angharad’s Rasberry Pudding. £4.50

Sticky toffee pudding,sticky sauce,vanilla ice cream. £4.50

Selection of ice creams and sorbets £4.50 for 3 scoops

Welsh Cheeseboard £5.95

Latest Lady Gaga song

Just seen this video for the first time - anyone else think its really strange? And quite tasteless, particularly the strange dance with crutches...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Y Cymoedd

Fush i mewn cynhadledd ddifyr tu hwnt yn Nhreorci ddoe, cyn gyrru adref i Gaernarfon ar gyfer agoriad mawr y Castell. Er mod i wedi bod yn y Cymoedd yn y gorffennol, do'n i erioed o'r blaen wedi gyrru ar hyd yr A4061 o Dreorci tuag at Bannau Brycheiniog. Waw, am siwrne! Roedd y gologfeydd yn anhygoel a mor drawiadol. Do'n i ddim go iawn wedi gwerthfawrogi prydferthwch yr ardal o'r blaen. A doeddwn i bendant ddim yn sylweddoli byswn i'n gweld gymaint o ddefaid ar hyd y ffordd! Er mod i wedi darllen hanes y Cymoedd, dwi erioed wedi treulio amser yno (heblaw pan mae yna steddfod wedi bod yno) a wrth yrru drwy'r ardaloedd ro'n i'n ymwybodol iawn cyn lleied dwi'n adnabod y rhan yna o Gymru. Mi fydd yn rhaid i mi wneud mwy o ymdrech a finne'n byw yng Nghaerdydd rwan - mae yna gymaint o bethe difyr i'w gweld a dwi'n teimlo'n euog mod i ddim wedi ymweld a nhw. Lle fysa chi'n awgrymu mod i'n dechre? Croesawu unrhyw awgrym.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Referendum Question

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about Peter Hain’s comments about the referendum this week, and have taken my time before responding. A lot of people reacted immediately, expressing their outrage and disappointment and whilst I understand why they’d do that, I don’t think it did much to help the cause. It gave him the publicity he craved, and he’s probably chuffed to have everyone talking about him this week.

Now, I am not Peter Hain’s biggest fan. His claims in the same interview that he led the ‘yes’ campaign in 1997 did nothing to endear him to me either… There’s nothing worse than when the ego of certain politicians leads them to try and re-write history. But in this instance, I don’t completely disagree with him. I think we should wait a while (months rather than years though) before holding a referendum as I don’t believe that all of the Welsh political parties are ready for it. If we are realistically going to have a referendum before 2011, and if it’s going to be successful, then a great deal of work needs to be done before then. Indeed, Mr Hain’s words might be the kick up the arse that all of the parties need if it’s going to happen sooner rather than later… If they are genuinely in favour, then they need to work out what they would do differently in Wales with extra powers rather than just hypothesising about it. They need to have a clear vision, not just clever slogans and strategies. And most of all, they need to have convincing and well thought out arguments based on actual long terms gains for Wales, rather than reactive ones based around current events. I’m not convinced that enough people outside of Plaid Cymru (who’ve led the way with the brilliant Wales Can website and campaign) are thinking along those terms at present, and it worries me. One party’s support, commitment and enthusiasm won’t be enough to ensure a ‘yes’ vote. We all need to be working together to build a stronger and better Wales, and that means putting party politics aside in order to build a proper referendum campaign.

Just to be clear, I am one hundred per cent in favour of Wales gaining more powers and eventually becoming a fully independent country within the European Union. I would like to see a referendum before 2011 as I’m frustrated by the lack of powers the Welsh Assembly has at present, and feel that its work is hindered by the current system. The LCO process is tedious, complex and ineffective. Its just that I don’t want to see a referendum fail for the wrong reasons, i.e. lack of preparation and vision, and would prefer to wait a little while until there is a proper and well thought out cross-party campaign up and running before pushing for a vote. If Hain is as pro devolution as he says he is, then he needs to stop talking about it and start acting. Wales is ready for a referendum, it’s the campaign that’s not ready! Rather than making unhelpful comments in the press, he should be getting involved and ensuring that Labour is ready for it. That's the only way we'll be able to tell how sincere his commitment to the referendum is. Will he deliver? I must admit, I have my fears…

Wig-gate

For those who've contacted me asking what Guido Fawkes is going on about regarding Lembit Opik and claiming for a wig for a charitable event, look at pages 108/109 of this link.

I'll let others comment before being accused once again of picking on Mr Opik!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Castle re-opening!

Well, finally the big re-opening of Mum's latest business venture will take place this Friday! The Castle or rather the Castell on the maes in Caernarfon will be open for business once more. And boy, are you in for a shock those of you who've ever been there. I know I'm biased, but honestly, it looks amazing. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw it for the first time at the weekend. It's stylish, modern, classy - just perfect. I'm so proud of my Mother. She's a huge inspiration to me, and I really admire how she's gone about transforming what was a completely run down pub through a clear vision and sheer determination. She's worked so hard to get everything just right, and I'm sure everyone will be just as impressed as I've been. After all, its not the best of times to be opening this type of business but I think she's pitched it just right. Caernarfon has long needed somewhere like this, and I'm delighted for her that her dream is finally coming true.

Also, I should mention that they're going to be serving food from Friday onwards as well. And not just your typical bar meals. From 8:30am in the morning there will be breakfast, then lunch, then afternoon tea then dinner. It all sounds amazing. There's so many things that I'm dying to try on the menu - the difficulty will be deciding what to go for first! I think its going to have to be Eggs Benedict for breakfast, though everything else sounds fantastic as well... Decisions, decisions.

Menu and pictures will be up on the blog at the weekend to tempt you to visit next time you're in Caernarfon!

Mr and Mrs

On the front page of the Western Mail last Saturday, there was a story relating to AM’s employing relatives. This is something that crops up time and time again, and it’s always made to sound scandalous. This time, critics are calling for a ban on AM’s being able to employ family members. I can’t say I agree with that.

Granted, some people definitely do take advantage of the system and there have been instances of AM’s and MP’s employing their spouses or children for phantom work. That is wrong, and a complete abuse of the system. No one should be paid for work that they don’t do, and there should be spot checks to ensure that they are doing what they’re being paid to do. But a complete blanket ban on any family member being employed? Well, I could never condone such a move. After all, the vast majority of those employed do work exceptionally hard for their AM or MP. Indeed, some of the most effective teams are husband and wives. Some even met that way in the first place! And it makes sense, sometimes, for a wife or husband to employ their partner. After all, politics can put an enormous strain on a relationship, forcing partners to spend a huge amount of time apart. By working as a team you can keep your relationship strong and spend more time together. Plus you know that you can trust your partner, who will often work longer hours than usual and can be far more dedicated because they want to see you succeed.

I’d therefore argue that it’s very short sighted and reactive to propose a blanket ban. What we should be looking at instead is ensuring complete transparency in the system, and thinking of ways to ensure that everyone who is employed actually does carry out the work they’re supposed to be doing. Sometimes, the best possible and most dedicated employee will be a partner or a family member. We shouldn’t always assume that it’s dodgy. If the proper checks are in place, then I can’t see a problem with it. New regulations are needed, but they need to be well thought out if they’re going to be effective. Banning certain things may win you a few favourable headlines in the short term, but it doesn’t mean it’s always the right thing to do…

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Lembit

Bit late spotting this, but just read Lembit Opik's comments when Hain answered questions on Wednesday for the first time since returning to the Cabinet. According to the BBC website:

Liberal Democrat Montgomeryshire MP Lembit Opik (Montgomeryshire) told Mr Hain: "I thought it was utterly unjust you were pushed out of office for trumped-up charges and it's good that you have now proved your innocence and returned to the front bench".

Really Mr Opik? Did he think that and make a fuss when Hain stepped down? Or is he just saying things without thinking again. Let's look at what the cheeky boy said when Hain resigned, again courtesy of the BBC website:

Welsh Liberal Democrat MP Lembit Opik believes Mr Hain had no choice but to step down after police became involved.

He joined other politicians who paid tribute to his work in Wales.

"I have said all along that if he ended up in a situation where the police were involved he would probably have been too preoccupied with that to carry on," said the Montgomeryshire MP.

He worked alongside Mr Hain when the Neath MP was Northern Ireland Secretary and Mr Opik was his party's spokesman.

"It doesn't mean he's guilty, let's stress that point.

"But I think this is really sad because in the 10 years I have worked with him , particularly in Northern Ireland and in Wales, the man showed first-class integrity and really helped to broker peace which is saving lives every day in Northern Ireland."


Ok, so he'd given a nice tribute to Hain, but still, he hardly thought it was "utterly unjust" at the time. No wonder people think politicians are insincere!

Mick Bates to retire

So Glyn had heard rightly, Mick Bates is to retire at the next election. A lot of people I've spoken to when canvassing have said how good he's been at representing Montgomeryshire, and I'm sure he will be missed by many. He's always seemed like a thoroughly decent man who did put his constituents first, in contrast to the current MP. I think its admirable though that he has now chosen to retire at 61 so he can spend more time with his wife, who's also retiring. He could have easily stayed for another term, so its nice to see that he's decided to put his personal life before his own political ambition. A lot of politicians tend to try and hang on as long as they can, refusing to retire at a time when everyone else is slowing down. Good for him I say, and having taken the decision now he leaves enough time for the Liberal Democrats to find someone credible to run in his place. Next Assembly election should be interesting in Montgomeryshire then...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Gwyl Maldwyn

Heb gael cyfle i sgwennu hyn tan rwan oherwydd dadansoddi etholiad Ewrop ac ati, ond fush i'n ngwyl Maldwyn penwythnos 'dwytha. Am hwyl! 'Roedd yna goblyn o awyrgylch braf yn y Cann Offis, a pawb yn hynod groesawgar a hapus iawn er gwaetha'r glaw. Gwibdaith Hen Fran oedd yr uchafbwynt imi'n bersonol, er yn ail agos iawn oedd yr ymryson. Rywsut fe gafodd fy ffrind Meinir oedd gyda mi yn yr wyl ei dewis i fod ar dim y Cann Offis, a hynny'r tro cyntaf erioed iddi fod yno. A hithau ddim yn arfer barddoni! Rhaid cyfaddef iddi 'sgwennu dwy hen bennill wych yn y diwedd - ro'n i'n falch iawn o fod yno i'w chymeradwyo! Er cofiwch, dwi hefyd yn falch imi ei gwneud hi'n berffaith glir nad ydw i'n medru barddoni. Fyswn i wedi colli pleidleisiau ym Maldwyn heb os taswn i wedi bod yn rhan o'r tim! Yn anffodus mi wnesh i fethu aros ar gyfer y nos Sul i weld Bryn Fon gan mod i'n y cyfrif, ond wedi clywed adroddiadau gwych am y noson honno hefyd. Dwi'n edrych mlaen at flwyddyn nesa'n barod!

Ro'n i'n aros yn y Goat yn Llanfair Caereinion - local Nick Griffin o'r BNP o'r hyn dwi'n glywed. Wrth lwc doedd o ddim ar gyfyl y lle - dyna un person fyswn i'n sicr ddim eisiau ei weld! Serch hynny, roedd o'n le hwylus a braf i aros ac fe gawso ni groeso. Rhaid i mi hefyd son am y cinio dydd Sul hyfryd gafo ni yn Revells yn y Trallwng. Roedd yr yorkshire pudding yn wych - ail agos iawn i un Nain, sef y gorau yn y byd i gyd. Fyddai bendant yn mynd nol yna tro nesa dwi'n canfasio yn y Trallwng!

Monday, June 8, 2009

My take on last night's results

European elections are strange old things at the best of times, but none more so than these latest ones which were far less about European issues than ever before. You hardly have to be a genius to work out that Brown's unpopularity, the expenses row, email smears, the recession and so on were the real issues at the forefront of people's minds when they cast their vote, not Europe.

Much analysis has been going on all day, with many people trying to predict how these results will translate in a general election. I can understand why people do it, but I wouldn't place down any bets based solely on last night's results. Ok, so it was a fantastic result for the Conservatives and a shocking/ disastrous/ devastating night for Labour so its safe to say that it seems certain that David Cameron will be leading the next UK government. But as for individual seats in Wales, there are other factors that need to be taken into account before making sweeping predictions. Turnout in a general election will be higher, plus people will be voting for individual candidates rather than a party. Yes, there will be an element of punishing the current government and Labour will lose ground and the Conservatives will gain ground, but its not an accurate reflection. As for my own party, though Plaid Cymru won in all of our target seats for the general election, we can't become complacent and if that is to become a reality, then its going to take a lot of hard work to secure such a victory. Whilst last night was certainly encouraging, its no guarantee - and the same goes for every political party. It's amazing to think though that there was less than three per cent separating the Conservatives, Labour and Plaid Cymru in this election. It just goes to show that everything is to play for, and that every political party needs to re-evaluate, especially in light of the obvious protest vote that UKIP and the BNP picked up.

I've been trying to find out all day what the actual numbers were in Montgomeryshire in the 2004 euro election. I seem to remember that the Lib Dems didn't do we as well that time either, and think the Conservatives even topped the poll then. Can anyone help me out, maybe Glyn? I think Plaid's percentage was a bit higher last time as well - possibly 17% - and yet that wasn't reflected in the General Election. Either way, the Conservatives in Montgomeryshire can't get carried away by last night's result. Yes, it was a good result but its by no way a guaranteed victory. Also, if I were Glyn I'd be worried that UKIP might be tempted to put forward a candidate having performed so well, coming second in Montgomeryshire. That would certainly be a blow to his campaign and shake things up quite a bit...

Shame neither Glyn nor Lembit were at the count though. They should have been, if only to look at the spoiled ballot papers as I did. People were very clear in those that they wanted a General Election and that they'd lost all faith in politicians. Just a shame the two leading candidates for the seat weren't there to look at the messages for themselves and that one chose to be at home blogging instead. Certainly doesn't send out the right message in terms of listening to the electorate!

From a personal perspective, I was encouraged by the Plaid Cymru vote especially given that we didn't run any sort of campaign for the European election in Montgomeryshire. As I'm just newly into a job, I couldn't take the time off to co-ordinate a local team and as a result, barely nothing was done to get out our vote or increase it. I do feel bad about that, and I vow that things will be different between now and the General Election whenever that may be. People will definitely see a huge Plaid presence in the constituency from now on, and I will be campaigning full time once the election is called. I am determined to give the other candidates a run for their money, and also determined to increase our vote significantly. There's no way on earth I'll settle for fourth place, and we are certainly on track to overtake Labour for that bronze position. Obviously I'd love to do better than that and we are running to win, but it will take time to re-build Plaid Cymru in Montgomeryshire and I am realistic about that. Time will tell anyway!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Disaster...

So Brown's big solution? Make Sir Alan Sugar a Lord with the crappy title of 'enterprise champion'. He must be getting desperate. Nothing against Sir/ Lord Alan, but this isn't a solution to the problems the Prime Minister is facing. If he thinks that bringing the Apprentice star to his team will distract from all the negative headlines, then he's clearly delusional. It also makes me angry that the Prime Minister can decide on a whim to make someone a Lord, yet still refuses to nominate the three Plaid Cymru nominees. Dafydd Wigley, Eurfyl ap Gwilym and Janet Davies would be far better than Sir Alan in the house of lords and I find it such an insult to their talents that they're still waiting in the sidelines when Brown can wake up in the morning and make someone a Lord without anyone objecting. Well, that's what it seems like anyway. No wonder people think the system is corrupt - it is, on every level - and this kind of appointment proves that.

Just heard now that Hain is back as Welsh Secretary. Seriously?! That's disastrous. How does he keep making comebacks? I was sure his front bench career was over after the last scandal. Just goes to show how desperate Brown is. He's obviously hanging on by a thread and hasn't thought this reshuffle through properly. Today's appointments aren't politically clever - they're a disaster.

I'm going to be away from a computer all weekend and given all that's going on in the political world at the moment, I am feeling slightly anxious at the prospect. I'm not sure how strong my phone signal will be even but hopefully friends will be kind enough to text any major news to me just in case (hint hint). I'll be at Gwyl Maldwyn all weekend at the Cann Offis in Llangadfan, and despite the drawbacks of having to be away from my laptop and all political developments, I can't wait. I've never been before but everyone tells me its fantastic fun and I don't doubt it for a minute. I'm staying in the area but I have no intention of doing any campaigning this time. I just want to relax, enjoy the music, have a few drinks and catch up with friends and hopefully make some new ones. And then go to the European election count on Sunday night and see Plaid Cymru come first in the polls!

As for a general election? I'm thinking by this afternoon that its likely to be September/ October more than July. What about you? Any predictions? Really am tempted to do some political betting for the first time in my life and not just on the date of the election. One thing's for certain, the next General Election will be an election like no other. I can't wait!

Letter to the Editor

I'm a bit disappointed this morning to see that the letter I sent to this week's County Times wasn't published. So I thought that I might as well share it with my blog readers instead - it relates to an article in last week's paper, which made me furious with Lembit Opik. Here goes:

Dear Sir,

If anybody asks me in the future why I'm running against Lembit Opik at the next General Election, all I'll have to do is show them a copy of the front page of last week's (29/05/2009) County Times. To those who missed it, our MP had posed inside a tent which was being pulled by a bike in order to get himself into the paper and make a point about expenses. Evidently it worked, but surely, making light of the seriousness of the situation with a cheap photo opportunity isn't the way to go about restoring the electorate's faith in politicians? Once again, Mr Opik seems to have missed the point and seems more intent on publicising himself rather than tackling issues. Further, if we are to believe that Mr Opik has long been pushing for a more transparent parliament, then how can he justify his voting record on this issue where prior to this April, he'd been absent from all votes relating to a transparent parliament, bar one? It doesn't add up.

An issue Mr Opik seems even less keen to tackle is the financial gains he's made as an MP through media apperances and engagements, including writing a column for the Daily Sport and appearing on Saturday Night Takeaway on ITV. He makes thousands and thousands of pounds annually because of this, spending time promoting himself in the media rather working for the people of Montgomeryshire. Surely, there's plenty of work for him to do in his constituency. Being an MP is an honour, and if I'm lucky enough to be elected, I won't lose sight of that and will always put Montgomeryshire first. No wonder that most of the people I've met when canvassing are eager for a General Election. Bring it on I say, so that the people of Montgomeryshire have a chance to express their view on the matter.

Yours faithfully,

Heledd Fychan, Plaid Cymru's Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Montgomeryshire

What next?!?

I can hardly find the words to describe the range of feelings I've felt since 10pm last night. Shock, amazement, excitement, fear, elation... Its been exhilarating, and yet surreal. Can you believe it - Gordon Brown could be forced to stand down as Prime Minister in the next few hours or days and there could be a General Election in a matter of weeks! All this even before the European election results are known! Its been such a rollercoaster since Purnell announced his resignation. What do you make of it all? And what do you think will happen next? One thing's for certain - I need to start finalising my plans for the Montgomeryshire campaign now. I'm determined to run a strong campaign, and send a clear message that Plaid Cymru is a real alternative and that I'm running to win.

I see the BBC are saying this morning that Darling will remain as Chancellor. What a turn around. The ball is no longer in Brown's court and he's probably desperate for those who are in post to stay now. What a weak position to be in. He can't risk alienating anyone else by risking a bold reshuffle, and there's always a chance that everyone will refuse a Cabinet position. Well, who wants to join a sinking ship if you're serious about raising up the ranks in the future?

The Plaid Cymru-SNP debate next Wednesday about the dissolution of parliament couldn't be timed better. Brown could well be defeated in the vote, and that would truly be historical. I've never seen anything like the events of the past few weeks - everything has changed so dramatically and its difficult to keep up with it all. Luckily Plaid has come out of this well, and people see clearly that we have something different to offer. We could even come first in the European election result in Wales! That would be such a turn around but it could well happen. And if we are to have a General Election in the next few weeks, then I'm certain that Plaid will have more MPs than ever before. Bring it on then! Better start finalising those campaign slogans...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Another welcome boost for Plaid Cymru on the eve of the election - George Monbiot has stated in the Guardian today that he'll be voting Plaid tomorrow. This on top of all the coverage relating to the Plaid-SNP motion is fantastic news. At times like this I really do miss working for Plaid - the buzz in HQ and the Westminster office must be immense this week. No wonder George Monibot said the following:

"Living in Wales, the choice isn't hard for me. Plaid Cymru, in its present incarnation, is a green, progressive, effective political force. I see little point in splitting the vote between parties with politics like mine, and while the Green candidates appear to be likeable people, they are always going to be playing catch-up here."

Looking good for that second seat!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

End in sight.. C'mon Plaid!


I’m not voting on Thursday. I was too late requesting a postal vote, but luckily I’ve been able to nominate my Father to vote on my behalf by proxy. I do trust him to place the ‘x’ in the right box, but even so it will be strange not to actually cast a vote myself whilst at the same time encouraging others to get out there and vote. It also takes some of the fun out of election day. As an election and politics nerd, I must confess that I love going to the polling booth. Ah well. Though it is strange to think that the next time I vote will be in the General Election, and for myself as a candidate!

I hope the turnout is higher than expected, though it is unlikely. I don’t blame people for being apathetic. The campaign has been hijacked by the issue of MPs expenses and there’s been very little discussion about European matters, which is very disappointing. I think it’s also hindered in Wales by the fact that there are almost no posters to be seen anywhere around the country to remind you of the fact that the elections are taking place. There’s no sense of excitement or build up so its difficult to imagine that the vast majority of people will feel inspired to cast their vote.

I’m hopeful that Plaid Cymru will pick up the second seat, and hope to see Eurig Wyn back as an MEP. Though I’m obviously biased, I must admit that I have been impressed by Plaid Cymru’s campaign more so than the other ones and I think all of Plaid’s candidates have come across well in the media. I’ve also thought that the Conservative’s lead candidate has been impressive, particularly when I saw her at the PAC hustings. Though I didn’t agree with all that she said (no surprises there) she did create a positive impression and she’s certainly articulate.

So here’s hoping for a surge of Plaid votes this Thursday then! I’ll be at the Montgomeryshire count on Sunday and I’m looking forward to it. Totally different experience to when you’re running yourself, so I better enjoy it whilst I still can!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Mynd amdani!

Wel, bore fory dwi'n cychwyn o ddifrif ar gael yn ffit. Am 7 o'r gloch y bore, dwi'n cyfarfod hyfforddwr ymarfer corff newydd sydd yn mynd i roi hwb angenrheidiol imi. O hyn ymlaen, mi fyddai yn ei gyfarfod ddwywaith yr wythnos, ac yn mynd i redeg, nofio neu i'r gym o leiaf teir gwaith arall ar ben hynny. Dim ond 5 wythnos sydd i fynd tan y Race for Life ac mae'n RHAID imi fedru rhedeg tair milltir erbyn hynny. Dwi hefyd yn benderfynnol o fod yn holliach ar gyfer yr etholiad cyffredinol a mi fydd angen llwyth o egni arna'i os dwi wir yn mynd i fynd ati i geisio curo Lembit a Glyn. Os dwi'n onest, dwi'm eisiau edrych yn dew yn fy lluniau etholiad chwaith! Siwr medrith pob merch ddeall hynny...

Fel dwi wedi dweud o'r blaen, mae'n mhwysau i'n rwbath dwi wastad wedi brwydro gydag o ac mae fyny a lawr fel io-io. Does yna ddim ateb hawdd felly yr unig beth amdani ydi y ffordd draddodiadol o dorri lawr ar fwyd a symud mwy. Mae lot rhy hawdd jest mynd am ddiod neu pryd gyda ffrindiau ar ol gwaith yn hytrach na gwneud ymarfer corff, a dwi'm eisiau disgyn i'r trap yna'n rhy aml. Cofiwch, well i hyn weithio tro yma. Dwi wir wedi cael llond bol o beidio teimlo'n hapus gyda fy edrychiad a hefyd dwi'm isho dechrau codi am hanner awr wedi chwech yn y bore i ddim byd! Wna'i adael ichi wybod sut eith hi bore fory. Dim ond gobeithio fyddai ddim rhy stiff yn mynd i gwaith!

BGT vs Urdd - dim cystadleuaeth!

Fush i bach o couch potato wythnos dwytha, a treulio rhan helaeth o bob gyda'r nos yn gwylio unai yr Urdd neu Britain's Got Talent. Roedd yn ddifyr cyferbynnu'r ddau, a hefyd nodi'r tebygrwydd. Wedi'r cyfan - roedd pawb ar y ddau lwyfan wedi gorfod mynd drwy ragbrawf neu glyweliad, roedda nhw ar lwyfan mawr gyda camerau yn gwylio pob symudiad ac roedda nhw'n cael eu beirniadu. Oce, ella fysa chi ddim wedi gweld ambell un o'r 'talentau' ar lwyfan yr Urdd ond ar y cyfan, roedd Britain's Got Talent yn fy atgoffa o steddfod.

Yr hyn oedd yn gysur imi oedd y ffaith bod y safon gymaint gwell yn yr Urdd! Tra roedd pawb arall yn teimlo'n sori dros y ferch fach yna, Holly, wnaeth ddechrau crio tra'n canu nos Wener a mynnu cael cyfle arall, ro'n i'n meddwl gymaint o fadam bach oedd hi! Mae yna rhai gymaint iau i'w gweld yn perfformio ar lwyfan yr Urdd ac mae nhw'n well na hi. Ella dyna pam mae gymaint o rai o Gymru wedi gwneud cystal ar y sioe? Nid jest i'r Cymry Cymraeg mae 'steddfod, a dwi'n gwybod fod yna nifer o ysgolion drwy Gymru yn cael eisteddfodau ysgol ar gyfer disgyblion yn y ddwy iaith. Mae'r Cymry felly wedi hen arfer gyda'r syniad o berfformio o flaen cynulleidfa o oed cynnar. Mae'n ran naturiol o'n magwraeth - wel, mae'n un theori beth bynnag.

Oce, mae yna elfen arall i BGT sef y wasg. Dim rhyfedd bod Susan Boyle yn y Priory erbyn heddiw, mae hi wedi bod dan bwysau aruthrol. Ond y wasg yn hytrach na'r gyfres sydd ar fai am hynny. Nhw sydd wedi mynd dros ben llestri a dilyn pob symudiad y grydures nes iddi gracio. A cofiwch hyn - wnaeth neb ei gorfodi hi i fynd ar y sioe. Dewis gwneud wnaeth hi. Sut oedd cynhyrchwyr y sioe i fod i wybod beth fysa'r ymateb?

Mae yna ormod o bobl yn barod i feirniadu rhaglenni teledu ar adegau fel hyn, ond mae rhaid i'r unigolion sy'n penderfynnu cymeryd rhan gymeryd cyfrifoldeb hefyd. Roedd yna nifer yn dweud yn y wasg dros y penwythnos na ddyla plant ifanc gael cystadlu'n gyhoeddus tan oedda nhw ddigon aeddfed i fedru ymdopi gyda'r profiad. Wel, am rwtsh llwyr. Mi fysa hynny'n golygu dim Urdd na Gylchwyl na diawl o ddim wedyn. Y dyddiau hynny pan o'n i'n cystadlu ar adrodd, canu, can actol, siarad cyhoeddus a cor oedd rhai o ddyddiau gorau fy mywyd i, ac yn sicr fe wnaetho nhw fy helpu o ran mynd mewn i wleidyddiaeth a cael yr hyder i siarad yn gyhoeddus. Dathlu yn hytrach na beirniadu llwyfanau sydd yn rhoi cyfle i bobl ddangos eu talentau y dyla ni. Mae cyfres fel Big Brother yn hollol wahanol wrth gwrs lle nad oes angen talent o fath yn y byd i fynd ar gyfres o'r fath. Dyna pam dwi bendant ddim am wylio eleni - wir wedi cael llond bol o'r 'wannabes' erbyn hyn. Er, mae'r Apprentice yn fater arall...