Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Unrhyw un arall?

Wel, bellach mae yna bedwar person wedi datgan eu bwriad i fynd am arweinyddiaeth Plaid Cymru. Mae'n anodd gwybod be ddigwyddith. Mae gan bob un eu cryfderau, ac mae'n siwr o fod yn gystadleuaeth ddifyr. Ond, fydd yna unrhyw un arall yn mynd amdani cyn y mae enwebiadau'n cau gan ei gwneud hi'n ras 5 neu fwy ceffyl? Amser a ddengys! Efallai bydd penderfyniadau yn cael eu gwneud gan rai pobl dros y Nadolig!

Mae'n beth iach cael cystadleuaeth mor agored, a dwi'n gobeithio bydd y ffaith bod cynifer o ymgeisyddion yn ysgogi aelodau i fynychu hystings a clywed beth sydd gan yr ymgeisyddion i'w ddweud. Bydd angen i'r ymgeisyddion i gyd ein argyhoeddi o'u gweledigaeth ar gyfer y Blaid ac ar gyfer Cymru. Mae yna dasg fawr yn gwynebu pwy bynnag gaiff eu hethol, a bydd angen i bwy bynnag sy'n ennill gael cefnogaeth y sawl sydd yn eu herio ar y funud.

Mae etholiadau mewnol yn bethau anodd iawn. Mwy anodd na unrhyw etholiad arall, lle mae rhywun yn herio Plaid arall gyda daliadau gwahanol. Yn aml, mae'r person yr yda chi'n ei herio yn ffrind, neu'n rhywun yr yda chi'n eu hedmygu. Rhywun y bysa chi'n hoffi cydweithio hefo yn hytrach na cystadlu yn eu herbyn. Ond dyna ydi gwleidyddiaeth. Ac mae'n rhaid i rywun fynd ati'n aeddfed wedi unrhyw etholiad mewnol i dderbyn y canlyniad a cefnogi pwy bynnag yw'r ennillydd.

Yn bersonol, o'r rhai sydd wedi datgan hyd yma, Elin Jones sydd wedi creu'r argraff fwyaf arnaf. Fel yr wyf wedi dweud droeon ar y blog yma yn y gorffennol, mae gen i barch aruthrol iddi hi fel gwleidydd a dwi'n meddwl bod ganddi'r weledigaeth a'r ddawn i arwain y Blaid i Lywodraeth yn y dyfodol. Edrychaf ymlaen i glywed mwy ganddi dros y misoedd nesaf. Dwi'n falch iawn o weld Leanne yn mynd amdani hefyd. Mae gennym ferched cryf iawn yn y Blaid a da gweld mwy ohonynt yn mynd am y prif swyddi! Mae'n hen bryd i ni gael merch fel Prif Weinidog Cymru. Dim byd yn erbyn y dynion, ond mae'n beth da cael ymagwedd wahanol o dro i dro!

Dyddiau difyr o'n blaenau yn 2012. Arweinydd newydd ar gyfer cyfnod newydd... Pwy a wyr be ddigwyddith rhwn rwan a hynny!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Taw piau hi

Ar ol bron i dair blynedd o ymgyrchu, rhwng yr Etholiad Cyffredinol Prydeining yn 2010 a'r un Cymreig yn gynharach eleni, mae hi wedi bod yn anodd setlo i fywyd go-iawn dros y misoedd diwethaf.Ond setlo sydd rhaid, ac mae'n rhaid i rywun ddysgu mai taw piau hi am gyfnod o leiaf. Yn amlwg, dwi ddim wedi stopio ymddiddori mewn gwleidyddiaeth, ond o ran bywyd proffesiynnol, mae angen canolbwyntio ar hynny am gyfnod ac o'r herwydd, mae'n well imi beidio ysgrifennu am bethau sydd yn mynd ymlaen yn y Cynulliad tan gobeithio y caf y cyfle i fod yn ymgeisydd eto rhyw ddiwrnod.

Nid ei bod hi'n hawdd o weld yr hyn sydd wedi bod yn digwydd ers mis Mai! Yn sicr, dwi yn meddwl bod Emyr Jones Parry wedi bod yn llygad ei le i gwestiynnu sut mae'r Aelodau Cynulliad yn defnyddio'r grym newydd sydd ganddyn nhw. Mae yna le i fod yn fwy creadigol ac uchelgeisiol, a dwi'n gobeithio y bydd hynny yn amlygu ei hun dros y blynyddoedd nesaf. Does dim diben ymladd am rym os nad yda chi yn fodlon wedyn ei ddefnyddio er gwell! A cyn i neb ddechrau cwyno - dwi'n credu bod hyn yn wir am aelodau o bob Plaid nid dim ond y Blaid sydd mewn grym. Y gwir ydi, os na wnawn ni rywbeth ar fyrder am yr economi, gwaethygu wnaiff pethau. Mae angen i ni herio'n gryfach yr hyn sydd yn cael ei orfodi arnom gan Lywodraeth Llundain. Mi yda ni angen ac mi yda ni'n haeddu gwell.

O ran y Blaid, dwi'n falch ein bod yn cynnal adolygiad trylwyr ac yn cwestiynnu sut yda ni'n datblygu fel Plaid. Oes, mae yna gwestiynnau anodd yn cael eu holi'n fewnol, ond mae nhw'n rai angenrheidiol os yda ni am barhau i fod yn effeithiol fel Plaid. Ac yn arbennig felly, os yda ni eisiau dod yn brif Blaid yn y Cynulliad yn y dyfodol agos! Mi fydd hi'n ddifyr gweld pwy aiff am yr Arweinyddiaeth yn y diwedd hefyd. Yn bersonol, dwi'n falch iawn o weld bod Elin Jones wedi rhoi ei henw ymlaen. Dwi'n ffan mawr ohoni hi, a dwi'n meddwl y bysa hi'n Brif Weinidog penigamp i Gymru. Cawn weld be ddaw dros y misoedd nesaf, ond yn sicr, mae yna le i fod yn bositif bod pethau da ar y gweill o ran dyfodol y Blaid.

Er bod hi'n od peidio bod mor amlwg wleidyddol, rhaid cyfaddef ei bod hi'n braf cael mwy o amser i ddal fyny gyda ffrindiau a theulu a hefyd dechrau diddordebau newydd. Dwi bellach yn mynd i wersi Tsieiniaidd (siarad nid bwyta) a hefyd ioga poeth ac yn mwynhau'n arw. O ran y cam nesaf yn wleidyddol, dwi ddim yn sefyll am y Cyngor flwyddyn nesaf ond mi fyddai yn ceisio cael fy newis fel ymgeisydd yn etholiadau'r Cynulliad tro nesaf bydd etholiad. Ac yn lle? Wel, byddai yn well gen i fynd am etholaeth yn y Gogledd yn hytrach na'r rhestr tro nesaf ond mae hi'n dibynnu pa etholaethau fydd yn bodoli erbyn hynny. Ac os bydd rhai o'n aelodau presennol yn sefyll eto! Ond pwy a wyr be ddigwyddith rhwng rwan a hynny.

Felly, ymddiheuriadau bod y blog yma ddim yn mynd i fod mor wleidyddol a hynny am dipyn. Ond mi wna'i drio sgwennu o dro i dro i'r rhai hynny sydd wedi bod yn driw o ran darllen y blog. Wythnos nesaf, dwi'n cael mynd i China am y tro cyntaf yn fy mywyd felly dwi'n siwr bydd digon i'w ddweud ar ol hynny!

Hwyl am y tro, a gobeithio bod pawb yn cadw'n iawn.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Lighten up?

On a whim yesterday, I bought the Independent on Sunday rather than the Sunday Times and came across this article on page 3. One positive thing about the story - a Plaid Cymru MP makes page three of a non tabloid UK paper. The negative - it is a completely ridiculous and ignorant piece of journalism.

First of all Mr Matthew Bell, who wrote the article, could you please interview some actual Welsh people if you want to find out what we're thinking? The way you've gone about it is a bit like asking white people after a white person has made a racial slur against a black person if they think he or she was being racist!

Lembit Opik MP is not Welsh. He may have represented Montgomeryshire at one point, but he is most definitely not Welsh and not a natural spokesperson for us.

Chris Bryant the MP for Rhondda was brought up in Cardiff, Spain and Cheltenham. I would not say that his identity is one of a Welshman.

The reporter then goes on to say that Stephen Fry and Gyles Brandreth also support the criticisms. Both NOT Welsh.

However, he did find one genuinely Welsh person to support his view that we are being ridiculous to take race slurs so seriously: Carol Voderman. Her words of wisdom: "Shrug your shoulders and have a glass of something fizzy to celebrate that life is never dull". Oh dear...

And so it seems that the UK press, even the Independent, believe that racism towards the Welsh is one of the last acceptable forms of racism. Jonathan Edwards was completely right to complain about the article. It was sick and racist, and to be honest, the article that appeared yesterday was racist as well. Why should we allow people to slur us in this way? I hate the way that if we complain about our treatment by the UK press, we are always accused of being oversensitive, thin skinned and paranoid. If that's the case, then surely that's the advice that should be given to everyone who feels discriminated against? Luckily, that's not the case, and the police do take forms of discrimination seriously.

That's not to say that we shouldn't ever be able to laugh at ourselves. Everyone needs to have a sense of humour and accept that people will make fun of different attributes and characteristics of a nation. But there is a line, and when it is crossed, some attacks are racist rather than funny. And we are right to stand up for ourselves when such a line is crossed.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

In 5 years time...

For about two hours on Friday, I thought there was a real possibility that I was going to be elected. And for about fifteen minutes, I thought I was definitely in. As I was driving to the regional count in Denbigh, I heard on the radio that Plaid Cymru were going to get two regional seats in North Wales and as I arrived, a few people that I know from other political parties congratulated me. Then I spoke to my fellow Plaid Cymru people, and heard the truth. We'd just missed out by a few hundred votes and that was the end of that. But at least Llyr was in, and I'm delighted for him as I know he'll be an excellent Assembly member.

It was a strange experience, driving back from Denbigh to Caernarfon. My phone was going mad, and people were still speculating on the radio that I was about to be elected. There was nothing for it but to stop the car, and put up on twitter that I definitely wasn't it. Within five minutes, that was being reported and the phone calls stopped. I plugged my ipod in, and the first song to play on shuffle was the following. I had to laugh at the irony!



It was always going to be a long shot for me to get in, so I'm not devestated but I am upset that other Plaid Cymru candidates didn't make it. The Assembly will be a poorer place without Nerys Evans, Helen Mary Jones, Chris Franks and Dai Lloyd. I truly hope we'll see them return in 2016. Wales needs them!

As for what went wrong for Plaid Cymru, I'm going to ponder for a few days before posting something a bit more subtantial here. Lessons need to be learnt without a doubt, and something dramatic needs to happen so that we transform our fortunes in time for the 2016 election.

By then, I hope to be standing as a candidate in a seat rather than a region. It's not an experience I'd like to go through again, because you're competing against your own team in order to have a chance of being elected. Even though I desperately wanted us to keep Aberconwy and I worked hard there alongside Iwan Huws, a small part of me knew that we had to lose the seat in order for me to possibly be elected. And that's wrong. Also, it's impossible to set definite goals as a list candidates. You end up doing a bit here and there in every constituency, and have no real control over the votes as your name doesn't appear on the ballot paper. Those you do convert to voting for you then struggle to understand how to cast that vote. At least in Montgomeryshire I could set a goal of coming third and be proud when we did achieve it.

I have to say that I was seriously impressed with our candidates across North Wales, who all worked incredibly hard and deserved better results. Mabon ap Gwynfor, Marc Jones, Carrie Harper and Shane Brennan are all names to watch out for in the future, and I very much hope to see Eifion Lloyd Jones and Iwan Huws run again as well. Seeing worse candidates being elected in some seats is depressing, but that's democracy unfortunately. We'll just have to keep up the good fight and hope for a breakthrough in the end, as happened for the SNP this time.

Thank you to all our activists - we couldn't have achieved anything without them! They're a fantastic group of people, and I've very much enjoyed campaigning with them and making new friends. Also, the Plaid Cymru staff who gave it their all - they are amazing. Mawr fydd eich gwobr yn y nefoedd!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Boring?!

Any other candidates/ activists fed up of hearing the press moan that this has been a boring campaign? Well, I certainly am especially as I've been out campaigning every single day with various campaign teams across the whole of North Wales and know that is not the case on the ground! We've had large teams out in every constituency trying to raise awareness and promote our ideas for a better Wales, and have also been updating websites with blogs, videos and pictures to convey all that hard work. We've had our first ever cinema advertisement, a manifesto brimming with ideas and countless press opportunities. And still they moan!

Most of the moaning comes from journalists who have remained largely based in Cardiff for the duration of the campaign, perhaps because of tight budgets. No surprise that things seem quiet where they are as all the politicians hoping to eventually make it to the Senedd are in other parts of the country! Also, to be fair, coverage has been hampered by the Royal Wedding, the AV referendum and also this week, Osama Bin Laden's death. How are we as political parties supposed to get our messages across if the world is focused on other issues?

We knew that the royal wedding and the AV referendum would pose challenges in terms of coverage, which is why we've focused on meeting as many people as possible and running effective local campaigns. Because of this approach, I believe there will be a few shock results tomorrow, that will take journalists by surprise. Or at least, that's what I'm hoping!

Could the parties have done more? Well, yes, I think some parties could have done more in some constituencies. For example, I've been shocked to see the lack of opposition to Alun Ffred in Arfon (great for us though) and the low profile nature of the Conservative campaign in Aberconwy in the crucial last two weeks. But ultimately, although there are a few excellent journalists in Wales, I think it is clear to all that ultimately, unless the press cover our new ideas and approaches then how are the political parties supposed to excite the masses about the campaign? I have to say the past two days in Aberconwy has been anything other than boring, with placards destroyed, the office being vandalised and a Labour pamphlet containing a number of untruths being forced to be withdrawn! There are some stresses one could do without!

Anyway, all will be revealed before long. I still have faith that Plaid will do better than predicted in today's polls as I honestly think that we have the best vision for Wales as well as the best team of candidates. Fingers crossed that the electorate will agree!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Llai na wythnos i fynd!

Wel, erbyn wythnos i heddiw, mi ddyla ni fod yn gwybod yr holl ganlyniadau. Ac ella wir y byddai yn Aelod Cynulliad!

Mae hon wedi bod yn ymgyrch hir, ond mae pob diwrnod yn hedfan heibio ar y funud. Da ni wedi bod yn eithriadol o lwcus o ran y tywydd ac o'r herwydd wedi medru gwneud llwyth o ganfasio ar draws y Gogledd a cyfarfod gymaint o etholwyr a phosib. Mae wedi bod yn ddifyr fel ymgeisydd rhestr treulio amser gyda timau mewn gwahanol etholaethau, a chael ymateb da ym mhob man deud gwir. Dim ond llond dwrn o bobl sydd wedi deud bo nhw'n casau pob un gwleidydd tro yma, yn wahanol i ymgyrch 2010 lle 'roedd pobl yn flin ofnadwy gyda pawb o bob Plaid ar ol y sgandal treuliau. Ac mae pawb yn fodlon trafod a chael sgwrs ym mron i bob un ty. Dydi'r mwyafrif ddim i'w gweld yn deall y refferendwm AV o gwbwl, yn wir, mae nhw'n meddwl bod rhaid iddyn nhw bleidleisio tro yma gyda rhifau yn hytrach na chroes. Dydi o ddim yn deg cynnal y ddau ar yr un diwrnod ond dyna ni, rhy hwyr rwan a rhaid i ni fyw hefo hynny.

Mae'n anodd deud be ddigwyddith o ran y canlyniadau yn y Gogledd, ond dwi'n teimlo'n galonogol iawn ar ol yr holl ymateb cadarnhaol yr yda ni'n ei dderbyn gan bobl. Dwi yn meddwl fod hi'n edrych yn obeithiol o ran cadw Aberconwy, Arfon a Mon ynghyd ag un sedd rhestr, a chynyddu ein pleidlais mewn nifer o seddi eraill. Mae Gorllewin Clwyd wedi bod yn ddifyr dros ben o ran yr ymateb er enghraifft, ynghyd a Wrecsam a Delyn. Ond pwy a wyr sut fydd hi'n y diwedd - gwleidyddiaeth yn gem od yn dydi!

Beth bynnag, gyda dim ond ychydig o ddyddiau i fynd, os hoffech helpu, yna plis dewch i gysylltiad. Da ni hefyd angen pobl i helpu ar y diwrnod i atgoffa pobl i fynd allan i fwrw dwy groes i'r Blaid felly os oes gennych awr neu ddwy i sbario ar Fai'r 5ed, mi fysa ni'n hynod ddiolchgar o unrhyw gymorth. Cofiwch - gyda'ch cymorth chi, mi fedra ni greu Cymru well. Mae pob pleidlais yn cyfrif!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Dros hanner ffordd

Sori am y distawrwydd ers dydd Gwener. Amser wedi hedfan, a gan bod hi wedi bod yn braf, wedi bod allan gymaint a phosib yn ymgyrchu. Wedi cofio rhoi digon o eli haul eleni felly ddim wedi gwneud yr un cangymeriad a llynedd gan felly osgoi llosgi fy nhrwyn hyd yma!

Mi aeth hi'n wych yn Aberconwy dydd Sadwrn, gyda dros hanner cant o bobl yn dod i helpu. Mi oedd fy nhraed yn brifo'n y diwedd ar ol oriau o daflennu, ond roedd o werth o heb os. Ymateb da iawn gan bobl - mae'r ffaith bod Iwan yn arfer gweithio i'r ymddiriedolaeth genedlaethol yn creu argraff ar nifer o bobl fyddai ddim yn gefnogwyr naturiol i'r Blaid.

Dydd Llun, mi o'n i lawr yng Nghaerdydd yn gwneud cynhadledd i'r wasg yn dangos y gwendidau yn maniffesto'r Blaid Lafur. Fy nghynhadledd i'r wasg gyntaf erioed, ac roedd yn brofiad cael gwneud un gyda dwy brofiadol iawn - Elin Jones a Jocelyn Davies. Peth prin hefyd cael tair merch!

Dydd Mawrth, nol i'r Gogledd ac ymgyrchu. A wedyn heddiw yma, mi oedd gen i hystings Cymorth Cymru yn Wrecsam cyn wedyn aros yno i ymgyrchu. Mi oedd hi'n hynod o boeth heddiw, a prin neb adra ond o'r rhai hynny oedd o gwmpas, ymateb gret. Mae'n hymgeisydd yno, Marc Jones, yn amlwg yn uchel iawn ei barch yn lleol ac fe fyddai yn gwneud Aelod Cynulliad gwych.

O ran yr hystings, roedd yn ddifyr ond hefyd yn drist clywed gan gymaint o bobl ifanc ynglyn a'r problemau mae nhw'n ei wynebu a pam fod nifer ohonynt gyda dim dewis ond byw mewn hostel. Yn bendant, mae angen gwneud mwy i helpu'r grwp yma, a hynny ar fyrder. Hoffwn weithio yn agos iawn gyda'r criw ifanc yma os caf fy ethol, i geisio eu helpu i ddatrys nifer o'r problemau mae nhw'n ei wynebu. Mae nhw eisiau'r cyfle i wella eu bywydau, ond mae'r holl doriadau gan y ConDems yn bygwth hynny. Er bod y Cynulliad wedi gwneud nifer o bethau pwysig ac effeithiol yn y maes yma dan arweiniad Jocelyn, mae'r hyn mae San Steffan yn gyfrifol amdano yn tanseilio'r gwaith hwnnw ar adegau. Rhaid i ni sefyll yn gadarn yn erbyn eu toriadau llym ac anghyfrifol, neu pobl ifanc fel hyn fydd yn dioddef fwyaf.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Stop talking the talk and start supporting Carers

This afternoon, I took part at a Carers Question Time at the Conwy Business Centre. It was obvious from the start that the carers present were fed up of politicians talking the talk but nothing changing, and they wanted some straight answers from the members of the panel. And I don't blame them.

Despite everyone agreeing that more should be done to support carers, in reality very little has happened. In fact, the situation is getting worse because of the implications of the ConDem cuts on benefits and local services. Though the Assembly is being proactive, more needs to be done from a UK perspective as well but that seems more and more unlikely in this financial climate.

But this is an important group, that deserves to be prioritised. It might shock you to know that according to the 2001 census, there are 350,000 carers in Wales (I'd expect the figure to be higher by today). By taking care of their loved ones, they save the Welsh economy an estimated £5.69 billion each year and provide over 70% of community care in Wales.

This means that 11% of voters in Wales are carers. When I've been out canvassing, you often meet carers as they are typically at home caring for a loved one and you can always sense their frustrations at the systems. They are the most humble people I've met, and they don't want politicians to praise them but rather listen to them and support them. They care out of love, and often put their own mental well being and health at risk, as well as their own careers, because of that love. Should they be punished for being so selfless? Not at all, and yet, that is what exactly is happening at the moment.

The message I took away from today was that Carers are desperate for a common sense and cross party approach to the way they are supported - benefits that they're entitled to, cheaper respite care especially when they themselves may have to go into hopsital and therefore cannot care for someone else whilst they recover, support payments for every person they care for, help in finding part time work (no references if you've been home caring for someone making it difficult for them to get work), benefits stopping once you reach 60 - and those are only a few issues. There were many, many more, highlighting how complex the support system for carers is at the moment.

It is my own personal belief that we should do far more to support these selfless people, and stop taking what they do for granted. The current injustice must come to an end, and I very much hope that next time I'm addressing this group that I'll be an AM who's actually being proactive in righting this wrong.

I'm also even more convinced that we need to see benefits relating to health devolved to the Welsh Assembly, so that we can start adequatelly supporting them financially without all the silly bureaucracy operated by Westminster.

Today wasn't the place for party politics, though some did creep in from the other parties. I refrained and was well received because of that. Many of the carers present didn't want their precious free time wasted by politicians, and simply wanted the opportunity to put their views across so that if we're elected, we'll know what they expect of us. I very much appreciated the number of people who came up to chat to me at the end, and said that they would be supporting Plaid based on what I'd said. I very much hope that come May 6th, I'll be able to start repaying that faith by being an effective voice and advocate for them in the Assembly. It would be a huge honour and responsibility, and one that I would take very seriously.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Setting the record straight

Over the past few days, I've heard a number of Conservatives and Lib Dems refer to the gap between the average spend per pupil in Wales compared to England. Their accusations are emotive, and are being used to mask the fact that they themselves have little vision for transforming education in Wales and to deflect from the immoral ConDem government policy regarding tuition fees which will make higher education the domain of the privileged and wealthy once again. In this blog post, I want to set the record straight and hope to persuade you that our vision for education is the right one for Wales. It's a far too important area to play party politics with which is why what we're proposing to do is well thought out and expressed clearly so that everyone knows where we're coming from on this important issue.

Let's start with some facts. Actual expenditure on schools in 2009-10 left a funding gap of £604 per pupil compared to England. However, the following is not an excuse but a genuine reason why those figures aren't entirely true as they don't compare like for like.

Some of the funding gap can be accounted for by costs that are not included in the Welsh education system, such as private finance initiative and other privately financed schemes that exist in England.

Also, in Wales, 75% of the total gross schools budgeted expenditure is delegated to schools, with local authorities holding the rest centrally. In England, that figure is 90%. But here's the problem: some local authorities have exacerbated the gap by being reluctant to ensure money reached the classroom.

The Welsh Assembly Government have already secured commitments to ensure that this unacceptable practice is addressed, and as a result, local authorities have now agreed to increase the amount of money spent by schools themselves to 80% within two years, and 85% within four years. Also, education expenditure in Wales is budgeted to increase by 3.2% in 2010-11.

Ok, so that was a lot of facts, but I hope you see that it's not as black and white as the Conservatives and Lib Dems would have you believe and WAG have been doing something positive to address this issue.

However, what we must remember is that there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that funding is the reason for low achievement. In fact, in Wales, in the areas where the gap is largest, we get the best results whereas the worse results come from areas where there is less of a gap!

The truth is that whilst we do need to continue to address the gap, we also now need to come up with ideas to raise the standard of education in Wales and give our children the best possible start in life.

I don't want to sound like a manifesto, but one of our key pledges in this election is that a Plaid government will give our children the best start in life. It is a scandal that 1 in 4 adults in Wales have a reading and writing age of 11 or below. Our aim therefore is to halve illiteracy and innumeracy rates for children leaving primary school in Wales by 2016 and virtually eliminate the problem by 2020.

In contrast to the ConDem government in London, we will continue to oppose the marketisation of education. Instead, we will bear down on poor education standards and address the underfunding of schools by redirecting resources from management and bureaucracy to the classroom and producing guidelines for local authority support services.

Importantly, we will also be providing investment in classroom-based training and mentoring, and give teachers more freedom to innovate and inspire. We will reconfigure support services and administration across local authorities to ensure more money reaches classrooms.

And we won't just stop there. We'd also review school hours and term times to examine whether the current arrangements are best placed to meet the needs of a 21st century education system as well as reviewing the National Curriculum.

Those aren't our only promises, but at least they give you a flavour of all we have to offer. There aren't populist policies just to try and win your votes, but well-though out policies that will truly transform the education system so that it works for our children and delivers the best possible results. I know I'm biased, but the truth is, no other party offers as many innovative and exciting policies in this election.

The pupil premium being proposed by the Lib Dems may sound good, but the truth is that funding for it will mean cuts in other parts of the education budget. And as for the Conservatives, well I can't believe that they're daring to try and make an issue out of this when their plans will cut the education budget even further. In fact, each school will lose out on over £41,000. They have no ideas of any worth that will help tackle the problems within the education system. In fact, I dread to think how much worse our children's education would be under a Conservative Government in Wales.

Labour have to take some responsibility as well, as they have held the Education portfolio for 12 years. Though they have done some good things whilst in coalition with Plaid, such an introducing the Foundation phase, they could have done so much more in terms of tackling illiteracy and raising standards. In fact, I'm disappointed by how few ideas they have in their manifesto that will address the issues discussed above.

So there you have it. My in-depth response to these accusations. Let the other parties play their games if that's all they have to offer. I don't need to try and trick the electorate, but rather simply stick to the facts and take our vision to the electorate in this election. I'm proud of what we're offering, and know it could make a real difference in Wales. If you have any questions about our manifesto and our ideas, I'd be more than happy to answer them so feel free to get in touch.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Unpleasant and unnecessary

Gadael ein pobl ifanc i lawr

Wel, dwi newydd gyrraedd adref o hystings yn Ysgol Maes Garmon yr yr Wyddgrug. Roedd o'n un o'r hystings mwyaf annifyr dwi erioed wedi cymeryd rhan ynddyn nhw, a dwi'n teimlo'n flin iawn am hynny ar ran y myfyrwyr chweched dosbarth. Yno oedda ni fel ymgeisyddion i gyflwyno ein hunain a dweud pam ein bod ni yn wleidyddol, pam ein bod ni'n aelodau o'n pleidiau gwahanol, egluro ychydig am ein pleidiau a hefyd cyflwyno polisiau ein pleidiau ar gyfer yr etholiad. Dwi fel arfer wrth fy modd hefo sesiynau o'r fath, gan ei fod yn gyfle i ysgogi pobl ifanc i ymddiddori mewn gwleidyddiaeth a clywed eu barn nhw ynglyn a'r hyn sy'n eu poeni. Ond nid felly y buo hi heddiw yn anffodus...

Am y tro cyntaf erioed, fyny yn erbyn tair dynes oeddwn i - Sandy Mewies ar ran Llafur, Antoinette Sandbach ar ran y Ceidwadwyr a Michele Jones ar ran y Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol. Fe ddechreuais fy araith drwy ddweud pa mor falch o'n i bod pedair dynes yn cael cyfle, a bod hynny'n braf i'w weld. Ond ew, roeddwn yn dyfaru dweud hynny erbyn y diwedd! Roedd pawb ddigon clen i ddechrau, ond yn raddol aeth pethau yn fwy a fwy cas, yn arbennig gan Sanbach a Jones. Yn wir, erbyn y diwedd roedd y dair arall yn gwaeddi ar eu gilydd ac ar draws y lle. Siwr fysa neb sydd wedi fy ngweld yn dadlau o'r blaen yn coelio hyn, ond wir rwan, erbyn y diwedd roeddwn yn eistedd nol yn ysgwyd fy mhen, wedi fy siomi yn fawr yn eu hymddygiad. Roedd yn gyflwyniad echrydus i wleidyddiaeth i'r myfyrwyr hyn, ac yn gyfangwbwl ddi-angen. Ar un pwynt, fe ddechreuodd Sandbach ddefnyddio google ar ei i-phone i drio fy herio ar bwynt a wnes i. Ddim yn rhywbeth y bysa chi'n gweld ar Question Time yn nac ydi!

Mi ofynnodd y myfyrwyr gwesitynnau da ynglyn a ffioedd myfyrwyr a spin y pleidiau, ond yn anffodus oherwydd y gwaeddi, doedd dim mwy o amser ar gyfer cwestiynnau sydd yn drueni. Fe wnaetho nhw ymateb yn dda iawn i'r hyn yr oeddwn yn dweud am ffioedd, ac a dweud y gwir, fe wnaeth Sandy Mewies siarad yn dda ac onest gyda nhw hefyd tan cael ei llusgo mewn i'r dadlau.

Erbyn y diwedd, roedd y myfyrwyr yn chwerthin ar ben y dair yn ffraeo ac yn sbio arna i gan rowlio eu llygaid, yn amlwg yn synhwyro mod i'n cyweilyddio wrth ymddygiad yr ymgeisyddion eraill, yn arbennig dwy ohonyn nhw.

Dwi wir yn gobeithio cael fy ethol, a cael y cyfle i fynd nol i gael sgwrs gall gyda'r myfyrwyr. Mi fyswn i wedi hoffi clywed llawer mwy ynglyn a'r hyn oedd ganddyn nhw i'w ddweud, a chael sgwrs gall ac onest hefo nhw. Er mod i wir isho medru argyhoeddi cyn gymaint o bobl a phosib i bleidleisio i'r blaid, y peth pwysicaf imi ydi cael pobl ifanc i gymeryd diddordeb ac i bleidleisio. A nid drwy waeddi ar ein gilydd mewn sesiynau o'r fath mae gwneud hynny...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Maen i'r Wal

Heddiw, fe lawnsiwyd maniffesto'r Blaid ar gyfer yr etholiad ar Fai'r 5ed. Mae yna lwyth o syniadau cyffrous ynddo, a dwi'n edrych ymlaen i'w trafod gydag etholwyr dros yr wythnosau nesaf. Mae'n ddogfen gynhwysfawr ond eto'n darllen yn hawdd. Yn sicr, does ganddo ni ddim prinder o syniadau ynglyn a sut mae creu Cymru well!

Yn bersonol, dwi'n falch o'r hyn yr yda ni'n ei ddweud ynglyn ag addysg a'r economi. Heb wella addysg, fedrwn ni byth dyfu'n heconomi ac mae'n rhaid i ni gael pethau sylfaenol yn gywir a hynny ar fyrder. Ro'n i'n arbennig o falch hefyd o weld y syniadau ar gyfer creu swyddi, ynghyd a gwella trafnidiaeth, cysylltiadau ffon symudol a band eang, a hefyd yr hyn sydd yn cael ei addo o ran hybu twristiaeth. Deud gwir, mae yna ormod o bethau cadarnhaol dwi'n hapus amdanyn nhw i'w rhestru! Gan obeithio felly bydd pobl Cymru yn rhoi cyfle i ni roi y cynllun uchelgeisiol a hyderus hwn ar waith ar ol Mai'r 5ed!

Neithiwr, cymerais ran ar ddadl deledu o Wrecsam. Dyna'r ail waith imi wneud rhaglen o'r fath, ac roedd yn dipyn fwy o sialens tro yma. Y llynedd, roeddwn eisoes wedi cael wyth hystings yn erbyn yr ymgeisyddion ond tro yma, doeddwn i erioed wedi dadlau gyda nhw o'r blaen. Od meddwl mai dim ond yn Saesneg dwi wedi gwneud rhagleni o'r fath - fysa rhywun fel arfer yn disgwyl gwneud Pawb a'i Farn cyn dadl Saesneg fel Cymraeg! Mae'n anodd weithiau ymateb yn sydyn pan mae rhywun yn meddwl yn Gymraeg! Ond dyna ni, mae'r cyfan yn brofiad ac mi lwyddais i roi swaden go lew i'r panelwyr eraill ar dipyn o bynciau. Dal methu coelio fod yna Dori yn y cefn wedi dechrau trio cyfiawnhau ffioedd myfyrwyr a gwaeddi drosta'i. Deud y cyfan dydi. Mae addysg yn hawl sylfaenol y dylai pawb gael y cyfle i fynd amdano - mae'n fy ngwylltio a fy nhristau bod y Toriaid yn ei weld fel rhywbeth ar gyfer y breintiedig yn unig. Mi fyswn i wedi hoffi cael y cyfle i ymateb ynglyn a'r ymosodiadau anheg ar Ieuan. Mae o wedi gwneud llwyth i wella trafnidiaeth yng Nghymru, gan gynnwys rhoi dros 18 miliwn ar gyfer lon newydd yn Wrecsam. Heb son am ddim byd arall!

O siarad gyda'r gynulleidfa wedyn, roedd yn amlwg fod nifer ddim wedi deall bod Sandy Mewies a Darren Millar yn Aelodau Cynulliad yn barod. O diar. Yn enwedig i feddwl bod eu hetholaethau yn agos i Wrecsam! Gesh i ymateb cadarnhaol, wel heblaw gan yr holl rai Llafur oedd yn amlwg wedi cael mwy o docynnau nag y dylsa nhw fod wedi. Ond dyna ni, dyna ydi gwleidyddiaeth!

Mae gweddill yr wythnos yn mynd i fod yn wallgof o brysur, ond dwi'n edrych ymlaen. Mae pobl yn ymateb yn wych i'n syniadau ac yn falch o weld rhywun yn cynnig rhywbeth gwell i Gymru. Dwi'm yn gweld y pleidiau eraill yn cynnig lot - sydd yn biti. A hithau yn amser anodd yn ariannol, rydym angen gweledigaeth a syniadau ar gyfer trawsnewid Cymru ar well. A dim ond Plaid Cymru sy'n cynnig hynny hyd yma... Ydi'r pleidiau eraill yn dal nol ta ydyn nhw wir hefo dim i'w gynnig i Gymru fel sy'n ymddangos rwan?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Diwrnod da!

Fush i ddim pellach na etholaeth Arfon heddiw, oedd yn newid bach. Fel fysa rhywun yn disgwyl, roedd yna ymateb gwych i Alun Ffred ac i'r Blaid. Fo ydi'r unig ymgeisydd sy'n byw yn yr etholaeth sydd yn ymladd y sedd - a dydi'r pleidiau eraill ddim i'w gweld hyd yma'n gweithio'n galed ar yr ymgyrch. Fedra'i wir ddim deall be ydi'r pwynt bod yn ymgeisydd os nad yda chi'n mynd i roi 100% mewn i'r frwydr. Mae pob cynnydd yn bwysig ar gyfer y dyfodol. Wrth gwrs, mae'n gret i ni yn Arfon bo nhw yn ymddangos fel petae nhw wedi derbyn y bydda nhw'n colli'n barod. Ond dwi'n siwr bod hynny'n siomedig i gefnogwyr y pleidiau hynny.

Braf oedd canfasio Caernarfon heno yma, a pawb oedd yn dod i'r drws yn siarad Cymraeg, dim ots pa oed oedda nhw. Fush i'n helpu un ddynes mewn oed i lenwi ffurflen ar gyfer pleidlais bost, a pam nesh i ofyn iddi hi am y dyddiad geni, mi oedd hi'n pendroni am oes cyn ateb - "wch chi be, dwi'm yn cofio os mai dydd Mawrth ta dydd Mercher oedd o". Da de,a hithau yn ei nawdegau.

Corwen bore fory hefo Mabon ap Gwynfor, Benllech yn y prynhawn hefo Ieuan Wyn Jones a Bangor gyda'r nos. Tair etholaeth felly! Gan obeithio bydd hi'n sych!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

And so it begins!

From tomorrow morning onwards, I will be campaigning full time for the Welsh General Election. I can't wait! It's a very different experience running as a regional rather than a constituency candidate. I thought Montgomeryshire was big last year, but now I have a whole region to try and canvass!

It's impossible to predict with the list seats what will happen, so my focus will be on supporting the candidates in each of the constituencies and getting the best possible result for Plaid Cymru and hopefully the largest number of Plaid AMs ever! I'm looking forward to meeting new activists and visiting new places across North Wales. Hoepfully it will stay dry - canvassing and leafletting really doesn't go well with rain!

I had the privilege of speaking at Ieuan Wyn Jones's campaign lauch in Anglesey last Thursday night. There was a large crowd present, and everyone seems ready for the fight. I'll be back in Anglesey tomorrow morning at Rhosneigr, and then over to Aberconwy in the afternoon. Let the fun begin!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Teyrnged i Brynle

Un gair y clywch pawb yn ei ddefnyddio wrth dalu teyrnged i'r Aelod Cynulliad Toriaidd, Brynle Williams, ydi cymeriad. A dyna oedd o. Coblyn o gymeriad, oedd wastad gyda gwen fawr ar ei wyneb pan oedda chi'n ei gyfarfod. A gwr bonheddig. Roedd o wastad yn trin pawb run fath - gyda parch.

Doedd o ddim wastad y dyn mwyaf PC (Politically Correct nid Plaid Cymru!), ond doedd dim ots am hynny achos mi oedd pawb yn gwybod fod ei galon yn y lle iawn. Doedd na'm byd cas amdano fo. Yn sgil fy swydd o ddydd i ddydd, dwi'n aml yn gorfod cyfarfod gwleidyddion o bob plaid i drafod gwahanol brosiectau ac ati. Yn ddi-ffael, os fysa Brynle yn fy ngweld yn cael sgwrs gyda Aelod arall, mi fysa fo'n dod draw a deud rhyw joc, gan unai dynnu arna i neu'r person arall cyn gadael dan chwerthin. A mi fysa ninnau hefyd yn chwerthin.

Mi fydd y Cynulliad yn le dipyn mwy diflas heb Brynle. Dwi'n cymdeimlo'n fawr gyda'i deulu.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ail-afael ynddi

Dwi ddim wedi bod yn dda iawn am ddiweddaru'r blog dros y misoedd diwethaf. Dwn i ddim pam, ond ar ol gwneud cyn gymaint yn ystod yr etholiad y llynedd, dwi wedi ei chael hi'n anodd ail-afael ynddi ers hynny. Ond rwan, a ninnau ar drothwy Etholiad Cyffredinol Cymru, dwi'n nol. A dwi'n siwr y cewch chi lond bol ohona'i rhwng rwan a Mai'r 5ed!

Dwi'n edrych ymlaen i fod wrthi'n ymgyrchu, er y bydd yn brofiad tra gwahanol ymgyrchu ar draws rhanbarth cyfan yn hytrach na fel ymgeisydd mewn un etholaeth. Mae'n anodd iawn gwybod dweud gwir sut orau i fynd o'i chwmpas hi, yn enwedig gan na fydd fy enw ar unrhyw bapur pleidleisio. O'r herwydd, mynd ati fydda'i dros yr wythnosau nesaf i helpu a chefnogi ymgyrchoedd lleol ar draws y Gogledd. Mi ddyla'i fod yn hwyl. Mae yna nifer o ymgeisyddion cryf, a dwi'n edrych ymlaen i ddarganfod pentrefi newydd yn y Gogledd tra'n ymgyrchu hefo nhw.

Rhaid mi gyfaddef fod y gynhadledd penwythnos diwethaf wedi fy ysgogi. Cefais am y tro cyntaf gyfle i wneud araith fer o'r llwyfan tra hefyd yn gwneud yr apel ariannol. Roedd o'n brofiad gwych a dwi'n gobeithio'n fawr nad dyna fydd fy araith olaf o flaen cynhadledd Plaid Cymru! Ro'n i'n meddwl bod yr areithiau i gyd yn ysbrydoledig tu hwnt. Ro'n i'n falch iawn clywed nifer o syniadau beiddgar a gwahanol, oedd yn ein gosod arwahan i'r pleidiau eraill. Roedd Ieuan yn wych - y gorau imi ei glywed erioed dwi'n meddwl - ac i weld yn gyfangwbwl gyffyrddus a pharod at yr ymgyrch. Syniadau ar gyfer trawsnewid Cymru er gwell y byddwn ni fel Plaid yn ei gynnig yn yr etholiad yma. Dim gimmicks. Dim ond syniadau cryf, pendant, a fydd yn creu Cymru well os caiff Plaid y cyfle i'w gwireddu mewn llywodraeth.

Nid spin mo hyn. Ond y gwir. Ychydig flynyddoedd yn ol, roeddwn yn dechrau ofni nad oedd gan y Blaid weledigaeth ddigon cryf i Gymru a fod rhai o'n aelodau wedi dechrau mynd i siarad mewn sound bites. Ond nid dyna'r Blaid dyddiau yma. Dros y blynyddoedd diwethaf, rydym wedi gweithio'n galed ar gryfhau ein polisiau a'n syniadau, ac annog ein aelodau i fod yn rhan o ddatblygu polisi. Mae hyn wedi gweithio. Dwi wedi cael cip ar y maniffesto, a dwi'n meddwl ei fod yn ddogfen gynhwysfawr a hynod gyffrous. Dwi'n edrych ymlaen yn fawr i gyflwyno'r holl syniadau hyn wrth ganfasio, a'u trafod ar y stepen drws. Dwi'n sicr y bydd pobl Cymru yn hoffi'r hyn sydd gennym i'w gynnig, ac yn cael sioc fod yna gymaint o syniadau gwreiddiol a gwahanol ynddo.

Ymgyrch gadarnhaol fydd hon i'r Blaid, yn canolbwyntio ar syniadau cyffrous yn hytrach na lladd ar y pleidiau eraill. Mae gennym hyder yn ein syniadau, ac mae gennym hyder ym mhobl Cymru. A chyn hir, byddwn yn cael cyfle i drafod y cyfan yn gyhoeddus ac argyhoeddi pobl i bleidleisio i ni. Dwi'n ysu i gael dechrau...

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Pleidleisiwch Ie!

Wel, mae’r diwrnod mawr wedi cyrraedd a mi gawn gyfle i bleidleisio yn y refferndwm. Beth bynnag arall y gwnewch chi heddiw, heblaw eich bod chi eisoes wedi postio pleidlais bost, os oes gennych bleidlais, cerwch i bleidleisio Ie neu’n hytrach Ydw! Hawdd!

Dyma’r tro cyntaf yr wyf wedi bod yn ddigon hen i bleidleisio mewn refferendwm ynglyn a mwy o bwerau i Gymru. Doeddwn i ddim wedi fy ngeni ym 1979, ac er imi ymgyrchu’n galed am bleidlais Ie yn 1997, ar y diwrnod roeddwn ddau ddiwrnod yn brin o fod yn ddwy ar bymtheg. Drwy gydol fy mywyd fel oedolyn, mae datganoli wedi bod yn reality ac os ydw i byth ddigon lwcus i gael plant, fe fydd o’n hollol naturiol iddyn nhw. Teimlaf yn lwcus a balch fy mod yn rhan o’r genhedlaeth sydd yn medru datgan hynny.

Rhaid cyfaddef nad yw refferendwm heddiw yr un mor allweddol ag oedd un 1997. Er bod pleidlais ie yn allweddol bwysig, mae’n anodd iawn teimlo’n gyffrous ynglyn a’r peth. Fodd bynnag, er mai newidiadau techegol ydyn nhw’n bennaf, mae pleidlais ie yn angenrheidiol. Os y pleidleisiwn ie heddiw, yna ni fydd yn rhaid i ni ofyn i San Steffan am ganiatad i wneud ein cyfreithiau ein hunain mewn meysydd sydd eisoes wedi eu datganoli. Imi, mae hynny yn bendant werth pleidleisio o’i blaid, ac yn achos dathlu os y llwyddwn i sicrhau pleidlais Ie.

Mae wedi bod yn anodd cael dadl gall gyda’r rhai sydd yn pleidleisio na heddiw, o’i gymharu a’r rhai hynny oedd yn gwrthwynebu ym 1997. Adeg hynny, er fy mod yn anghytuno’n ffyrnig, gallwn ddeall eu dadleuon. Ond mae’r tro yma’n wahanol. Rhaid cydnabod bod datganoli yn bodoli, ac o’r herwydd, bod angen system sydd yn gweithio. Mae’r system LCO yn un hurt, ac mae’n amlwg nad ydi hi’n system effeithiol. Mae’n arafu’r broses ddemocrataidd yn ddi-angen, gan ychwanegu haenen o fiwrocratiaeth. Hefyd, mae’n rhoi llais i Loegr ar ddeddfau sydd dim ond yn effeithio ar Gymru. Sut mae hynny yn ddemocrataidd neu’n deg?

Mae wedi bod yn amlwg iawn fod y gwrthwynebwyr, heblaw am Rachel Banner, wedi bod yn ddynion o oedran arbennig, o gefndiroedd arbennig a lleoliad daearyddol arbennig. Mae nhw wedi bod yn siarad rwtsh llwyr yn y cyfryngau, i’r graddau mod i wedi gorfod gwneud yn siwr nad o’n i’n edrych ar awr gomedi yn hytrach na’r newyddion wrth eu clywed yn siarad. Drwy ddewis peidio bod yn ymgyrch swyddogol, roeddynt yn gwybod y byddent yn medru dweud yr hyn a fynnent heb boeni am wirionedd. Nid yw hon wedi bod yn ddadl deg, ond yn hytrach cyfle i’r rhai sydd yn casau cenedlaetholdeb a datganoli i gael cwyno.

Wrth lwc, mae’r genhedlaeth iau yn deall nad yw’r negatifrwydd yma’n helpu Cymru i ffynnu. Byddai pleidlais Na heddiw yn drychineb. Er na wnaiff pleidlais Ie weddnewidd Cymru dros nos, fe fyddai pleidlais na yn newid pethau’n arw. Byddai yn dangos diffyg hyder yng Nghymru a’i phobl. Rydym wedi cyflawni gymaint mewn amser byr iawn oherwydd datganoli. Os nad ydych yn cytuno gyda rhai o’r polisiau sydd wedi eu gwneud, neu os nad ydych yn hoffi rhai o’r gwleidydidon, yna dewisiwch rai gwahanol ym mis Mai a newidiwch pethau fel yna. Ond peidiwch a chosbi eich cenedl. Pleidleisiwch Ie heddiw am ffordd fwy democrataidd o wneud cyfreithiau yma yng Nghymru, lle y bydd eich llais yn cael ei glywed.

Vote Yes!

Well, the day is finally here when we get to cast our vote in the referendum. Whatever else you do today, unless you've already posted a postal vote, get to the polling station if you're eligible to vote and vote yes! Simple!

This is the first time I’ve been old enough to cast my vote in a referendum relating to powers for Wales. I wasn’t born in 1979, and although I campaigned hard for a yes vote in 1997 and stayed up all-night watching nervously as the results came in, I was two days short of my seventeenth birthday when the votes were cast. Throughout my adult life, devolution has been a reality here in Wales, and if I’m ever fortunate enough to have children, it will be a norm. I’m proud to be a part of a generation that is able to say that.

Admittedly, today’s referendum isn’t as big a deal as the one in 1997. Though a yes vote is completely necessary and essential, it is difficult to get over excited about what is essentially a technical change. However, though the changes are small, that is not to say that they are not significant. If we vote yes today, then we won’t have to ask Westminster permission for passing laws in devolved areas. And that to me is well worth turning out to vote in favour of, and celebrating if we get a yes vote.

It has been difficult to engage in proper debate with those who are voting no in this referendum compared to those who opposed the Assembly in 1997. Back then, though I didn’t agree with those who opposed the Assembly, I understood their arguments and was able to respect them. Yes, I thought they were wrong but I also accepted that if they believed we were stronger as we were, then that was that. But, this time is different. If you accept that devolution is a reality, why then oppose this referendum which is simply making the system more efficient? Legislative Competence Orders are the most stupid things ever invented, and it is clear that the current system of having to go cap in hand to Westminster with these orders aren’t helping Wales progress. They slow down the democratic process unnecessarily, adding an extra layer of bureaucracy. Also, they give England a say in how laws that only affect Wales. How is that fair and democratic?

It has also been notable that the majority of those who have been vocal against the referendum, bar Rachel Banner, have been of a certain age, a certain background and a certain geographical area. They have been spouting so much rubbish in the media, to the extent that I’ve had to check if I’ve been watching the comedy hour rather than the news during some television and radio coverage. By choosing not to become an official campaign, they knew that they’d be able to say what they wanted and could pander to people’s paranoia’s with their lies. This hasn’t been a proper debate, but rather just a chance for those who hate nationalism and devolution to rant.

Luckily, the younger generation seems to understand that this negativity won’t help Wales prosper. Voting no today would be devastating. A yes vote won’t dramatically change our lives overnight, but a vote no would. It would show a lack of confidence and belief in Wales and its people. We’ve achieved so much with devolution in a short time. If you disagree with some policies that have been made, or don’t like some of the politicians, then elect different Assembly Member in May and change things like that. But don’t punish your nation today. Vote yes for a more democratic way of making laws in Wales, where your voice will actually be heard.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Campaigning

With only a few weeks to go until the first referendum of the year, it will come as no surprise to readers of this blog that most of my spare time is filled up with campaigning for a yes vote. In a sense, it's a frustrating task as this referendum shouldn't be taking place. The LCO system should never have been established in the first place and this referendum basically involves getting rid of ineffective system and giving our Assembly Members the necessary tools to do the job of legislating on devolved issues more effectively. Simple.

Which is why I find the arguments of the No campaign infuriating. Their arguments make no sense whatsoever, and I cannot understand how anyone can think that the LCO system is working. Why carry on with a system that is unnecessarily bureaucratic and slows down the legislative process? In 1997, the questions people were voting on was clear but this time there shouldn't be any divisions. We have an Assembly. So basically, what we're being asked is - do you want it to be just a talking shop or do you want it to be able to take necessary decisions promptly and effectively? Even if you disagree with devolution, surely you can't be in favour of wasting money on the LCO system? Why fight to protect it?

Personally, I've enjoyed working with other parties on the yes campaign and its been refreshing to work side by side with politicians from other parties. There is a political maturity surrounding this referendum, something which I find refreshing. Personally, I think it's a shame that politicians aren't really being used to promote the referendum. Whilst we definitely need the core support to come from the grassroots level, we also need strong political leadership. Ok, so they've been speaking at different meetings and campaigning on the streets, but they're virtually absent in our media. Hopefully that will change in the coming weeks.

People need to understand that this referendum isn't about politicians, but simply about having an effective legislative system. If you're not happy with your current Assembly Member, then vote for a different one on the fifth of May. A yes vote is the only logical choice. So get on board, and get out on the streets to make sure the people of Wales turn out and vote yes this March!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sky News and Devolution

There is no doubt that the BBC on a UK level have become a million times better at noting when news items only refer to devolved or non devolved issues. Though I'd argue that there could be a bit more coverage of Welsh news, all in all, they certainly have to be congratulated on the improvement. Especially when you contrast the England centric nature of Sky News...

Now, I must admit. I do tend to watch Sky News more than News 24 if I'm trying to catch up with events outside of the Welsh bulletins. When a major event has taken place, the sensationalist nature of Sky News can be far more entertaining plus they usually cover breaking news slightly quicker. But, that doesn't stop me from getting frustrated during their normal bulletins.

In contrast to the BBC, Sky do not seem to take devolution into account. They announce and discuss government measures as though they apply to the UK as a whole, when in fact, many things relate to England only. This is extremely irresponsible, considering that a high percentage of people in Wales do subscribe to Sky. Don't Sky have a responsibility to deliver news that is accurate and reflective of the political reality?

I remember seeing the Assembly Member, Brynle Williams, being interviews last year on Sky as it was ten years since he came to prominence during the fuel protests. He was asked to comment on how the Tories were dealing with fuel prices, and what he thought of their handling of the situation. Not once was it mentioned that he is a Tory AM - in fact, I honestly don't think the interviewer knew this as he seemed perplexed that Brynle wasn't being critical.

that's just one examply. I think there is a real issue here, and one that needs to be addressed. Sky can't simply wipe out the political reality of devolution and present a distorted picture of the UK today. But what can we do to influence them? One thing we can all do is correct any inaccuracies, and email in to correct and complain when necessary. The voices of the people of Wales and our Senedd deserves to be heard. The BBC have woken up to this reality. Let's hope that it won't be too long until Sky News follows suite..