Category Archives: Wales

Welsh Tory claims that ‘voter ID’ Bill is ‘nothing to fear’ are nonsense

Voting: if the Tories get their way, don’t bank on being allowed to put your ‘X’ in any boxes unless you are prepared to go through a new layer of pointless bureaucracy.

The Welsh Conservatives: what a ridiculous, small-minded clutch of creeps!

Their current wheeze is trying to pretend that the new Elections Bill in Westminster – that will cheat 3.5 million people out of being able to vote – is “nothing to fear”.

Well, it might be nothing for them to fear, but for Welsh voters it is very serious! This Site calls it the Voter Restriction Bill.

The Welsh Government is rightly opposing the Bill, for reasons we’ll discuss shortly.

Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Constitution, Darren Millar (who?) said: “This is nothing more than mischief making from the Welsh Government and its allies.

“Voters in Wales have nothing to fear from these proposals. The only people who should be concerned are those who intend to commit election fraud.

“People are required to present ID to vote in many vibrant democracies around the world including Canada, Norway, the Netherlands, France, Iceland and Italy so I see no reason why this shouldn’t be the norm here in Wales.”

Fortunately there are adults in Welsh politics who are able to explain to these Tory might-as-well-be children what their own party’s legislation means.

Jess Blair, Director of Electoral Reform Society Cymru (Wales), said: “This Elections Bill could lead to a ‘two tier franchise’ in Wales, with some elections banning those without ID, and others remaining open and free.”

It means that, if any UK and Welsh elections took place on the same day, two sets of rules about how people take part would apply. Some people would be certain to become confused and fail to take ID – if they had it – meaning they would be excluded from voting in the Westminster election.

“This bill would ban anyone without ID from voting, while forcing over-stretched council workers to become bouncers at the ballot box, turning away potentially thousands of would-be voters each election. There is simply no need for this costly barrier to democracy. At a cost of up to £180m per decade, forcing this through is a strange priority for UK ministers right now.

“Moreover, the changes to the Electoral Commission represent a UK government power grab, with ministers given new controls over our elections watchdog. This is a dangerous and unprecedented move that the Welsh Government is right to oppose.”

Other plans would remove the 15-year limit on overseas electors in UK general elections – to allow Tory donors to continue participating in elections; ban party campaigners from handling postal votes, and stop people from collecting postal votes from people who are unable to get to post boxes and handing them in.

In a paper published on the Senedd website Counsel General Mick Antoniw wrote: “The Welsh government does not support the introduction of voter ID, the placing of unnecessary constraints on postal and proxy voting, or the extension of the overseas franchise.”

Do not be confused: the BBC may claim the move toward voter ID is a bid to prevent possible fraud from people pretending to be someone they are not at a voting station – but how can it be, when such crime is practically nonexistent in the UK and this legislation will cost £180 million per decade?

No – this is a bid to make it harder for working class, older and black, Asian and minority ethnic people to vote.

And the reason is clear: these are all people who are unlikely to vote for Boris Johnson’s Conservatives.

Source: Welsh Tories claim there’s ‘nothing to fear’ from bill that bans those without ID from voting

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Mark Drakeford attacked for speaking at ‘Trot jamboree’ – to bring UBI into disrepute?

Mark Drakeford: Wales’ First Minister is far more successful at elections than Keir Starmer. Is this the reason he is under attack?

Right-wing headbangers have been laying into the UK’s most successful Labour politician – because he is to attend a discussion of a favourite project at a Labour Conference fringe event.

He will be speaking at Where next for Universal Basic Income? Turning a Transformative Policy into Action: UBI pilot in Wales alongside Welsh Labour MP Beth Winter and co-president of the Basic Income Earth Network, Guy Standing – neither of whom have attracted any criticism at all.

Yet again, the weapon being used is guilt by association; the event is to be attended by people who have been falsely smeared as anti-Semites so the loony right is using this as an excuse to smear Drakeford.

Perhaps they’re just jealous because Drakeford actually wins elections while Keir Starmer’s record in that area is singularly lacking.

So we see Eluned Anderson, a regional ambassador of the Holocaust Educational Trust, saying, “The First Minister of Wales should not be sharing a platform with members who have been expelled from the party. The damn state of this.”

Yes indeed – look at the “damn state” of her comment. A man goes to an event to raise the profile of an idea that will improve the lives of millions and she’s bleating because somebody else will be somewhere nearby. Pathetic.

Then there’s swivel-eyed John Haywood, a Labour councillor for Ringwood North in Hampshire, which is nowhere near Wales so we may conclude that he doesn’t know Drakeford or have any qualification to comment on him.

He’s the origin of the catchphrase “Trot jamboree” that has been taken up by the press: “Very very disappointed that Mark Drakeford is on the bill at Twit Festival, which is basically a Trot jamboree taking place in Brighton at the same time as UK Labour party conference.“

For the record, not a single Trotskyist person or organisation has been invited to the event.

Next up: Wales Against Antisemitism: “Why does Mark Drakeford, as First Minister of Wales, think it appropriate to speak at this event, given antisemitism controversies involving many of his fellow speakers?”

I wonder whether this straightforward guilt-by-association smear would provide enough grounds for Ms Winter and Mr Standing to sue for libel.

These attacks are repellant and so are the people making them. They are indicative of the worst kind of political opportunism – accusing people, not because of something they have done, but because of unsubstantiated accusations against completely different people who won’t even be at the event.

(Or at least, we have no reason to believe that Jeremy Corbyn or Ken Loach will be at the talk. It would be nice if they were, though.)

Of course there has been an online backlash from people who seem to be more mentally-balanced.

Here’s a very pertinent comment:

How do the creepy extremists listed above feel about Starmer and Nandy attending a “Trots convention” alongside people who may have been excluded from the party since they were there.

That’s enough reason for Starmer and Nandy to be excluded, isn’t it? According to current Labour disciplinary practices, that is.

Ah, but here’s a possible explanation of why that is unlikely to happen:

Well we certainly can’t accuse Starmer or Nandy of socialism!

There has also been a lot of straightforward support for Drakeford, from people who want to hear what he has to say:

Yes indeed.

Ultimately, this could be interpreted, not as an attack on people who have been accused of holding controversial views – but an attempt to silence a progressive idea.

In attacking Drakeford, these swivel-eyed loons are dragging the idea of Universal Basic Income into disrepute – again, by “guilt through association”. Is that the real agenda?

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Northern Ireland and Scotland want a referendum on leaving the UK. And Wales?

The ballot box: come on, Wales – let’s have a chance to tell Boris Johnson to get stuffed!

Welsh people are showing surprising loyalty to the United Kingdom after being progressively abused by Tory governments since 2010.

They are lagging behind Northern Ireland and Scotland, where polls show a majority of people in both countries want referenda on whether to quit the union.

In Northern Ireland, 68 per cent of people are demanding the right to choose whether to stay in the UK or join the Republic of Ireland.

Scotland will get its referendum if Nicola Sturgeon has her way.

Only Wales is dragging its feet over the chance to show national displeasure with Boris Johnson’s travesty of leadership – widely believed to be the worst government in UK history.

The latest poll in Wales shows just 28 per cent of people wanting independence.

It makes you wonder where people here get their news.

Source: 68% in Northern Ireland want referendum on leaving the UK

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Could Welsh Labour split from the national party because of Starmer?

Starmer: this is just one of his offences while acting as Labour leader. Read down the article for more.

It seems Keir Starmer’s stance on Northern Ireland could be the final straw that forces Welsh Labour to secede from the national party.

Take a look at Dewi Eirig Jones’s response to Starmer’s unwarranted policy announcement below:

It would be easy to understand why anybody in a Labour Party organisation that still represented actual Labour values would want to split from Starmer’s Blairite, neoliberal, pro-Tory, anti-union, racist, little-Englander party but if you’d like examples, let’s see if I can provide some for you:

Support for NHS privatisation.

Support for Northern Ireland unionism in a referendum – when the Good Friday Agreement demands that he would have to be impartial.

Racism.

Homophobia.

Siding with the rich against the poor.

Blaming others for his own failures.

These:

  • The campaign to punish Labour left-wingers.
  • The campaign to silence criticism.
  • The erosion of Labour’s share of the electorate.
  • Starmer’s support for the loss of our right to protest.
  • Starmer’s attempt to gaslight us into thinking Jeremy Corbyn is responsible for Labour’s loss of support.
  • Starmer’s sustained support of Conservative policies and legislation.
  • Starmer’s support of the so-called Spycops Bill in particular.
  • Starmer’s adoption of fascist symbolism, in line with the Tories – flags, haircuts and suits preferred over socialist policies.
  • Efforts by right-wing Labour Party officers and representatives – many of them unelected – to disenfranchise party members and deny them representation.
  • And an attitude of entitlement that tries to tell us that we must accept Starmer sneering at us because he thinks he knows better.

And his ditching of the 10 pledges on which he was elected Labour leader in the first place.

I have many more examples but will those do for the time being? And would Scottish Labour consider doing the same?

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Welsh Secretary is whining because he read about UBI experiment online. But is that it, really?

Why so sad, Simon? The Tory Secretary of State for Wales is upset that Universal Basic Income might be tried out in Wales. What if – God forbid – it’s a success?

Simon Hart has made a big mistake, shouting about the Welsh Government’s Universal Basic Income experiment too soon.

He’s all upset because Wales’s First Minister, Mark Drakeford, has announced that the Welsh Government will run a pilot scheme.

He reckons Drakeford jumped the gun by announcing it in a story he read online (this one?*) before talking to the Treasury and the Department for Work and Pensions, which runs state benefits.

In fact, it seems to This Writer, Hart is the one who’s jumping the gun.

Drakeford, a long-term supporter of UBI, realised before this year’s local elections that he could end up leading an Assembly in which a significant number of members also support it.

In the event, counting himself, 26 of the 60-strong Welsh Assembly want UBI trials.

So he has begun research into that possibility. It clearly hasn’t gone very far because when I ran the story he was seeking expressions of interest from unitary authorities and now he’s talking about giving it to people leaving care.

It is far too early to be talking with the Treasury, DWP or any other official organisations about this because it might not come to anything, despite the good intentions of all concerned.

But being premature isn’t the big mistake I think Simon Hart has made.

His big mistake was showing how much he hates the idea of UBI:

Mr Hart said he agreed with previous comments made by the Welsh economy minister Vaughan Gething in 2018 – when he was health minister – that the idea was “out of touch”.

The UK government, which controls benefits, has said it did not think it would be an incentive to work.

The problem, for Tories, is that in many cases the only incentive to work at the moment is the avoidance of extreme poverty and the threat of death due to benefit deprivation according to – guess what? – Tory rules.

Universal Basic Income scheme would take away that threat, but would still leave people living at subsistence level.

The difference is that, rather than forcing the worst possible pay and conditions on possible employees and saying, “take it or leave it,” employers would have to start offering genuine incentives for people to take their jobs.

That is anathema to Tories. It means they and their business-oriented friends would end up taking a smaller cut of their firms’ profits, because employees would be able to demand what they’re actually worth.

That’s what Simon Hart revealed to us: he isn’t opposed to UBI because it’s “out of touch” or because of any inter-governmental lack of manners; he hates it because it offers dignity to working people.

And to those without jobs, come to think of it.

*I doubt it, although the tweet that I used came from a source that was new to me. Why can’t the BBC credit social/online media sources that published stories first? Is it some weird neurosis – worry that someone else is doing better news reporting?

Source: Universal basic income: UK government ‘not told’ about Welsh plans – BBC News

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Universal Basic Income pilot scheme to be launched in Wales. May I suggest Powys?

Money: a Universal Basic Income scheme guarantees that people receive enough money to support them, at all times. Some claim that this discourages them from working, but this is nonsense. Everyone wants more than the bare minimum, right? Or is the problem that employers only offer the bare minimum?

This is great news.

The Labour-run Welsh government was softly suggesting that it might support a Universal Basic Income (UBI) pilot scheme before the local elections.

But the election result has put 25 AMs in Cardiff Bay who signed a pledge promising to put pressure on governments and councils to launch trials.

That seems to have been enough to encourage Mark Drakeford to green-light projects in Wales, to be organised by new Social Justice minister Jane Hutt:

This Writer has had contact with Jane Hutt. I asked her for advice on a matter involving an acquaintance of mine and she took the time to provide a very full and helpful response. I think she is an effective and responsible public servant and that this project is in good hands with her.

The Guardian‘s article suggests that Rhondda Cynon Taff is among several Welsh councils that have expressed an interest in running a UBI pilot. I hope that my own home county – Powys – has also done so.

Powys is the biggest and most rural county in Wales, with many employment problems associated with having a sparse population. UBI could hugely help people here by removing the threat of sanction associated with the current benefit system and allowing people to concentrate on tackling local issues in a creative and adaptive way.

And it would be a real feather in Mr Drakeford’s cap to be able to say he’d managed to make UBI work across an entire quarter of Wales.

Source: Wales to launch pilot universal basic income scheme | Universal basic income | The Guardian

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Labour wins historic SIXTH term in succession in Welsh government – and may consider independence vote

Mark Drakeford: Wales’ First Minister has described the Tory government in Westminster as “utterly shambolic”.

Has any UK-based government won six successive terms? That’s what Labour just achieved in Wales.

It shows the advantage that sitting governments can use, when they actually deliver on their promises and do their best to help the population.

The mainstream media have been unforgivably quiet about it. Perhaps the London-based hacks think Wales doesn’t matter. They certainly pay more attention to Scotland, where the SNP has won only its fourth successive term.

That could all change very soon, with both devolved governments likely to support independence referenda if proposals are put before them.

I know Nicola Sturgeon has vowed to make it happen. The surprise here is that Mark Drakeford has said he will support an independence referendum in Wales, if there is a majority in the Senedd for holding one.

The contrast with Labour’s performance in England could not be more extreme – as social media commenters have merrily pointed out:

The lesson was very clearly put by Simon de Jever: “Drakeford is a left wing Corbyn supporting leader. Starmer is a Corbyn bashing centrist. Drakeford has had a spectacular win even in Brexit areas and Starmer has reduced the Labour vote to 29%.”

And Andrew Feinstein added: “Makes you think Starmer’s purge of the left and massive shift to the right might have been a mistake!”

 

 

Ya think?

The victory creates huge problems for Keir Starmer because his failure will be measured against Drakeford’s success. Some are already laying bets that Drakeford’s suspension from the Labour Party is already in the mail.

But if Drakeford is serious about permitting an independence referendum, it could create a monumental problem for Boris Johnson.

He can’t refuse permission for such a poll on the basis that we’ve had one recently (as in Scotland) because we haven’t.

He can’t rely on Wales rejecting independence because he knows his government has been so appallingly useless that many Welsh people may consider going it alone to be preferable – even if it means a few lean years in the immediate future. We’ll have hardship under the Tories indefinitely.

And it means he could be in line for a double dose of shame as the prime minister who presided over the end of the United Kingdom.

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Local services in Wales will suffer if the Conservatives take over the Senedd

Think before voting: the Conservatives are promising to freeze council taxes in Wales if they take control of the Assembly – but this will benefit the rich far more than working-class people.

The Welsh Conservatives have said they will freeze council tax for at least two years if they take control of the Welsh Assembly after the local elections in May – but this is a threat, not a promise.

The party has said it will fund a council tax freeze, but there is no guarantee that it will follow through on any such pledge. Even if it does, this only means that it will maintain services as they are.

So what happens when events demand spending beyond that level?

Answer: we won’t see it – they’ll say there isn’t enough money (which is a lie).

Also: who benefits most from a council tax freeze? The rich.

Taxation is a way of redistributing wealth, ensuring that poorer people are able to enjoy publicly-funded services for all, rather than those services being restricted only to those who can afford to pay for them out of their own pocket.

It also ensures that funding is available for projects that would not otherwise receive support from private individuals.

By freezing council taxes, then, the Conservatives are pledging to let rich people keep more of their money while depriving the poor of the services they need to get by.

But the Tories don’t tell you that.

Source: Tories pledge to freeze council tax in Wales for at least two years

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‘No ceiling’ promise for Welsh NHS pay rise – but how much will nurses actually get?

It will be interesting to see what pay rise Welsh NHS staff get, in the end.

The Welsh Government might not have said there is a ceiling on the amount it will pay NHS workers here, but that doesn’t mean Vaughan Gething doesn’t have one in mind.

There is no magic money tree for the Welsh Government; no Bank of Wales to create cash out of nowhere to pay for policy objectives.

The Welsh Government has to rely on the grant doled out to it by the Tories in Westminster, who very obviously restricted that cash a few years ago in order to prevent Wales from looking more generous to its health workers than England.

There are limited powers of taxation, too.

It’s clear that the Welsh Government – the Labour-run Welsh Government – can smell a propaganda victory over the Tories here, whose meagre one per cent offer is in fact a pay cut, as inflation is currently 1.5-1.8 per cent.

But I doubt they will be willing to sacrifice any hard-won fiscal credibility.

Also, of course, any decision will take into account the recommendation of the independent NHS Pay Review Body.

I would be astonished if it supported the full 12.5 per cent rise demanded by the Royal College of Nurses.

But a significant rise could lead to an influx of staff and a surge in procedures, leading in turn to increased productivity in the Welsh workforce.

Remember, healthcare has a “multiplier” effect on the economy that the Tories ignore. A decent pay deal for Welsh NHS staff could make the consequences of that ideological difference embarrassingly clear.

So Gething has it all to play for.

Let’s hope he doesn’t fumble the ball.

Source: Welsh NHS: ‘No ceiling’ for possible pay rise, says minister – BBC News

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Who are the troublemakers pretending that Welsh shops will be banned from selling alcohol?

It isn’t true – and that’s official.

Rumours have started circulating that the Welsh Government is to ban the sale of alcohol anywhere in the country from December 17.

But the Welsh Government itself has stated categorically that the claim is a lie.

Clearly somebody thought they could capitalise on the ban on pubs selling alcohol by spreading a scare story. Who are these troublemakers? Name and shame them where you can.

Obviously Christmas is a time when more people like to sit back and enjoy a taste of their favourite tipple (but drink responsibly, folks!) and an alcohol ban would be an extremely unpopular move.

It would also be completely pointless. The ban on alcohol in pubs was to curb the spread of Covid-19 through the hospitality industry and there is no perceived need to stop alcohol entering socially-distanced homes.

So the rumour can only be an attempt to discredit the Welsh Government and score political points.

Let’s find out who started it so we can discredit them instead.

Source: Rumour of imminent ban on buying alcohol in shops in Wales ‘simply not true’ – Nation.Cymru

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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