Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cynllunio...

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

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

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Oh no, not again...

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Shouldn't have done it...

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

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

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

My dream home!


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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Boost for young farmers

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

According to the official press release:

The assistance package includes the following key elements:

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

access to a dedicated Young Entrants Business Enabler service;

access to funded mentoring services from established farmers.

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


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

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

Vote!

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

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

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

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

This much he knows...

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

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

Reflections..

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

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


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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Standing up for nationalism and the left!

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

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

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Ysgol Haf

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Diolch o galon/ A huge thank you!

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

It gets interesting...

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

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

Monday, July 6, 2009

Seriously?!

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

I'm back

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

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