Tag Archives: Plaid Cymru

Plaid Cymru caught lying about Labour’s planned investment in Wales

Plaid lies: the claim is only out by £68 billion, using the same methodology as Scottish Labour used.

The so-called ‘party of Wales’ has reduced itself to lying about the election, it has been revealed.

The claim that Labour is planning to invest no extra money in Wales is clearly nonsense, as the country will obviously gain more as part of national funding increases.

But here’s Dinah Mulholland, Labour’s candidate in Ceredigion, to explain why Plaid’s representatives are lying [boldings mine]:

“Plaid and some media outlets are claiming that Wales will not get any uplift in funding from Labour, and are making negative comparisons with Labour’s apparent uplift of funding in Scotland.

“However, Labour has committed to an additional £3.4bn of annual funding for Wales. This figure is the Barnett consequential of the devolved areas of the UK manifesto and would have an annual uplift.”

(For those who don’t know, the Barnett formula is the method by which the amount of funding applied to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland changes to reflect changes in spending levels allocated to public services in England, England and Wales, or Great Britain, as appropriate.)

“In Scotland the equivalent is £5bn, in Northern Ireland it is £1.9bn.

“Scottish Labour are talking about £100bn over ten years. To get to this figure, they have taken the £5bn Barnett consequential, estimated the additional infrastructure investment through the Transformational Fund and National Investment Bank at another £5bn. They have then added the two and multiplied by 10 (ten years of a UK Labour Govt) to get £100bn. We would expect to receive substantial investment in Wales through the £400bn Transformation Fund and the £250bn National Investment Bank,

“I have been advised to not commit to a 10 year headline figure in Wales. But if we were to take the same formula as Scottish Labour WALES WOULD GET £68BN.

“Plaid’s mendacity never fails to astound me.”

The person who shared this with This Writer added:

Tip for Plaid Cymru – if you want to quote figures with any credibility, you have to measure like with like.

Tip for anyone with their own brain (Plaid must assume you don’t), look it up for yourself: https://labour.org.uk/manifesto/

Fair point. I think Plaid can kiss its credibility goodbye. But then, here in Brecon and Radnorshire, Plaid did that by throwing in its lot with the Liberal Democrats.

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Why have Plaid and the Greens given way to right-wing, pro-austerity Lib Dems in by-election?

As a resident of Brecon and Radnorshire, I find it strange that apparently left-wing parties like Plaid Cymru and the Greens are not fielding candidates in the by-election – because they are supporting the right-wing, pro-austerity, pro-privatisation Liberal Democrats.

Does that make any sense to anyone at all?

Sure, Plaid and the Greens want the UK to remain in the EU, which is the Lib Dems’ current vote-grubbing pose, but the leaders of those parties must know that giving the yellow peril another MP will only make it more likely to propose another coalition with the blue meanies (that’s the Tory Party to the uninitiated).

Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price said his party’s decision was intended to “coalesce support for the remain side in Wales”. But this reasoning doesn’t work.

A win in Brecon and Radnorshire would give the Liberal Democrats just 14 MPs – not enough to exert any effective influence over whether the UK stays in the EU or leaves it.

Did you hear any reports of the Liberal Democrats swaying any of the Brexit votes that Parliament has already held?

No. Neither did I.

These party representatives – and their voters – are either living in a unicorn-chasing fantasy land or they are deliberately misleading the public.

And in the meantime, nothing is said about the policies that directly affect the well-being of people in one of the UK’s most deprived rural constituencies.

What will a Liberal Democrat MP do to ease the burden caused by cuts to public services? Nothing – Liberal Democrats supported Tory austerity for five long years.

What will a Liberal Democrat MP do to help people struggling to make ends meet because they are on Universal Credit? Nothing – Liberal Democrats helped the Tories introduce the failed scheme that takes money away from claimants more often than giving it out.

How will a Liberal Democrat calm uncertainty facing businesses because of Brexit? She won’t – and this is crucial. Jane Dodds will not be able to influence business reactions to Brexit in any way at all.

It’s time voters in Brecon and Radnorshire woke up to the fact that they are being fed a line of propaganda.

A choice between two right-wing, austerity-loving, privatising neoliberal organisations is no choice at all – and the Brexit Party is a bad joke, as Ann Widdecombe proved this week.

If only there was a party standing in this election whose policies actually stood up for ordinary people, bolstered the fabric of our society, and made sense of the confusion over Brexit.

Oh, but of course there is!

It’s the party nobody in the mass media wants to talk about.

In Brecon and Radnorshire, Labour is the party for you.

Source: Pro-remain parties strike byelection pact to fight Conservatives | Politics | The Guardian

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Merseyside MP renews pressure to reveal death toll after “fit for work” tests

Marie Rimmer is This Writer’s favourite of the new intake of MPs since the general election.

She has only been in Parliament for two months and already she is working hard, from the Opposition benches, to help make life a little more tolerable and create a real difference for the sick and disabled people who are at the mercy of our grotesque government.

At the time of writing, the Early Day Motion has attracted 63 signatures from the five parties and one independent named below.

As for the final point… that’s at the end.

The Merseyside MP’s early day motion may prove an embarrassment for the government as 47 Labour, SNP, SDLP, Plaid Cymru, DUP and independent MPs have now signed it.

This level of cross-party backbench support for the motion is unusually high, with only around 1 in 10 early day motions normally gathering 50 signatures or more.

Marie Rimmer, who only joined the Commons in May 2015, said: “Almost three weeks ago, the Prime Minister assured me that the Government would release the data regarding the deaths of those found fit for work by face-to-face assessments.

“Despite these assurances and my letter to him on the 26th June, there is still no indication of when these statistics will be released.

“The Information Commissioner ruled in April that these statistics must be released. It is disgraceful that the Government continues to fail to follow those instructions.

“I will continue to press for the public’s right to have an answer and disclosure on this important matter.”

A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said: “The government intends to publish the statistics, but before doing so they need to meet the high standards expected by the UK Statistics Authority.”

The DWP comment means the government does not intend to publish the statistics – at least, not as requested in my Freedom of Information request (which is what started this ball rolling).

This, of course, means that the DWP’s excuse for not publishing the actual number of deaths immediately – that it is going to publish them later – is wrong. It isn’t, and any such claim can only be a lie.

The attempt to hide behind the UK Statistics Authority is irrelevant. This claim about “high standards” is motivated by another claim, that the actual number of deaths could be “misinterpreted” if it comes into the public domain. But the Freedom of Information Act is motive-blind. Without being able to hide behind any specific exemption, such as the plan to publish the number of deaths later (allowed by section 22 of the Act), the law says only two requirements must be satisfied: Does the DWP have the information? Yes it does. And can the DWP publish it within the legal expenditure limits? Yes it can.

There will be a tribunal hearing later this year, at which these facts will be spelled out to this errant department.

Sooner or later, the real number of deaths will have to be revealed.

The DWP will save itself a great deal of embarrassment if it publishes that figure now.

Source: Merseyside MP renews pressure to reveal death toll after “fit for work” tests – Liverpool Echo#ICID=sharebar_twitter#ICID=sharebar_twitter

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Leader debate leaves public divided

The leader debate in a nutshell [Image: Lizzie Harvey on Twitter.]

The leader debate in a nutshell [Image: Lizzie Harvey on Twitter.]

What did people want from the televised political leaders’ debate?

It’s a question that has troubled this writer ever since it ended and the reactions started coming in.

The spin doctors and the hacks in the right-wing press claimed victory for the parties they support – of course. That’s why the front pages of The Sun and the Daily Torygraph proclaimed victory for David Cameron. They had been prepared before the debate had even finished because those rags were always going to make that claim.

150403suntelegraph

A significant number came out in support of Nigel Farage – the UKIP party faithful and those who believed his anti-immigration, anti-Europe spiel. Of course, they might have felt differently, had they known he only plans to reduce immigration by around 28,000 a year, but it’s easy to deceive someone who doesn’t want to know the facts.

Extreme: The signed version of the debate provided this interpretation of a Nigel Farage comment.

Extreme: The signed version of the debate provided this interpretation of a Nigel Farage comment.

There seemed to be a swell of support for the three female leaders. A knee-jerk reaction might be to suggest that this was simply because they weren’t men; this writer does not subscribe to that view. It is far more likely that people warmed to Natalie Bennett, Leanne Wood and especially Nicola Sturgeon because this was their first mass exposure to the British viewing (and voting) public. They head the so-called ‘minority’ parties and are often excluded from the national conversation by reason of their size.

Not only that, but they had a message that people wanted to hear: No More Austerity. It was pleasantly surprising to see all three pounding the message home against a defensive David Cameron – and it is in this context that we should measure the public’s reaction to them. This blog has stated previously that the larger parties cannot hope to gain popular support if they are offering only what they want, rather than what the people want. Now the people have found organisations that are offering what they want. This Writer feared that they would take votes from Labour, rather than the Conservatives; now that outcome seems less likely.

Nicola Sturgeon, in particular, is to be congratulated for her performance which has eased, somewhat, This Writer’s concerns about her party gaining influence in Westminster. She came across very well and seemed to be offering an olive branch to Ed Miliband in her opening statement, which included support for at least three Labour policies. However, there remains the question of how far she may be trusted; she repeated the lie that Labour had voted to support £30 billion of Tory austerity cuts when Labour did nothing of the sort (Miliband put her straight but the accusation always receives more attention than the rebuttal). And what of the rumour that the SNP is planning a Unilateral Declaration of Independence for Scotland – whether the majority of its people want it or not – after the election?

That leaves the three ‘main’ parties. Nick Clegg was a joke. Nobody agreed with Nick this time.

David Cameron also lost traction. He did manage to crowbar into the debate the messages this blog reported yesterday but nobody seemed impressed by them; Ed Miliband debunked the claims about Labour pretty sharpish and the public wanted to believe the ladies when it came to the economy. He scraped the bottom of the barrel several times – yet again quoting Liam Byrne’s ill-advised note about there being no money in 2010 as the reason austerity cuts had to happen (in fact, the UK was never in danger of bankruptcy but Cameron likes to make that claim, even though he knows better); and once more using his late son Ivan as his ‘human shield’ against attacks about the state of the NHS. The audience didn’t groan, but the country did. Asked where the £12 billion of ‘welfare’ cuts would be made, he again refused to answer, meaning the Tories are planning something extremely unpleasant for you, if they win. And – amazingly – he thinks ‘Free’ (in fact they are exorbitantly expensive) schools are a good idea!

150403millibandnolectures

That leaves Ed Miliband. whose confident, fact-filled performance ensured he won the ‘snap’ poll conducted online immediately after the debate – if only by a whisker. He had plans; he described them. He apologised for the mistakes Labour has previously acknowledged; he didn’t apologise for the party’s current plans. He stared down Cameron when the Tory leader tried to accuse him of financial irresponsibility, and he had the country on his side when he did so, because Cameron’s party has doubled the national debt and failed to balance the books while inflicting a huge human cost on their fellow citizens. His narrow victory this week followed a narrow defeat last week, meaning his stature amongst the public is growing. People are starting to like this man. The more he mentions what he would do “if I am Prime Minister”, the easier it is for them to see him in that role.

So we return to the question at the top of this piece: What did people want from this debate?

Judging from the reactions as they developed, it seems people wanted something fresh and new-looking, that corresponded with their own desire – not just for an end to the oppression of the last five years, but for a reversal of it.

That’s all very well, but those aren’t the qualities that are needed to run a country successfully. A national leader needs a cool head and the stamina to see long-term matters to their conclusion, for the sake of the whole nation.

The evidence on display yesterday suggests that Ed Miliband has what it takes. Slow and steady may win the race after all.

But will the public be too dazzled by the others to realise this?

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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Will the smaller parties use the TV leader debate to chase phantoms?

Will the leaders of the smaller parties (Plaid, Green, SNP) open the back door for the Conservatives to be re-elected - by eroding Labour's vote with lies?

Will the leaders of the smaller parties (Plaid, Green, SNP) open the back door for the Conservatives to be re-elected – by eroding Labour’s vote with lies?

This writer has spent a lot of time, over the last couple of days, debunking myths about the Labour Party.

People reading the Vox Political Facebook page will have seen a lot of verbiage showing that Labour did in fact vote against the Bedroom Tax, that claims about Johann Lamont being told to keep her opposition to it quiet until Ed Miliband had decided to do the same were based on nothing more than gossip put out by “a source” in a newspaper story… even that Labour has never advocated the slaughter of innocent people in the Middle East (as one commenter claimed – no, really, they did! They reckoned Labour actually said innocent people in the Middle East should be killed).

There have been other smears – and it is possible that even more will be broadcast on ITV this evening, starting at 8pm, when the leaders of the smaller ‘left-wing’ parties take part in a televised election debate.

Judging from their past record, it seems entirely likely that the SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party leaders (Nicola Sturgeon, Leanne Wood and Natalie Bennett, respectively) will fling falsehoods about Labour – because they think they can steal left-wing votes from the bigger party.

They will be doing David Cameron’s job for him.

If you can’t see why, here’s the explanation: In constituencies where Labour and the Conservatives are both contesting a seat, with candidates from the Green Party and either Plaid or the SNP, any vote taken from Labour to boost the non-Tory parties will mean that the Conservatives have a better chance of winning* – none of them are trying to take votes from the Tories, remember. Conservative voters regularly turn out in large numbers to support their candidates, even though this means lower living standards for everybody.

It seems clear that the SNP, Plaid and the Greens are too timid to tackle the Tory wolf at the door.

Instead, they’ll carry on chipping away at Labour with stories about imagined crimes.

Like the proverbial blind person in the story, they are happy to stay in a darkened room, looking for a black cat – that isn’t there.

*Some might say this does not count in Scotland, where the SNP is polling more strongly than Labour. While this is correct (at the time of writing), this blog has shown that much of the SNP’s support is based on exactly the kind of lies about Labour that This Writer has been having to debunk. Any political organisation that deliberately lies to the electorate in order to gain votes does not deserve even to participate in the process.

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TV debates: New format proposed but will Cameron come back?

150119leaderdebates

David Cameron is facing one of the biggest challenges of his political career – now that the TV companies have offered to include the Green Party (and others) in the televised election debates, is he man enough to take part?

Cameron scampered off like a startled rabbit when he realised he could use the Green Party’s exclusion as a reason not to participate, but now broadcasters have put forward new proposals which include the Greens, the SNP and Plaid Cymru.

The BBC and ITV would stage debates involving the Conservatives, Labour, Lib Dems, Greens, UKIP, SNP and Plaid, while Sky and Channel 4 will go ahead with their plan to host a head-to-head between Cameron and Ed Miliband – if Cameron has the guts for it.

However, he still has two possible escape routes – the Democrat Unionist Party will be writing to the BBC and other broadcasters to ask why it is not being included when it has more seats than the three parties that have now been included. Will he demand its inclusion as well?

And Cameron has said he is not happy with the dates being offered for the debates – April 2, 16 and 30 – saying they should take place before the official, ‘short’, campaign begins.

Who thinks he’ll chicken out again?

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Cameron’s cowardice should not cancel leader debates

150119leaderdebates

What’s the current situation on the political parties’ ‘leader debates’? Is Cameron still playing chicken and using the Green Party as a human shield?

The last this writer heard was that he was saying he wouldn’t turn up if Ofcom didn’t let the Greens take part, as the Green Party is now the fourth largest in terms of membership (behind Labour, the Conservatives – who could be lying about theirs, and the SNP, having overtaken UKIP and the Liberal Democrats).

Ofcom seems to be saying the Greens don’t qualify because they don’t have enough MPs (which seems strange, as it seems perfectly willing to let UKIP take part and it only has one more MP than the Greens).

Is that about right?

It’s rumoured that Cameron has cold feet about the debates because of what happened in 2010, when ‘Cleggmania’ (briefly) swept the nation and everybody including himself seemed to be saying “I agree with Nick”. His advisors are allegedly telling him that Clegg’s performance in the debates seriously damaged his standing and prevented him from gaining an outright victory in the election.

(This may seem odd, as the Liberal Democrats in fact lost five seats at the election, but we need to remember that – in the First Past The Post system – it seems likely that LD candidates took votes from Conservatives, allowing others to take marginal seats).

It seems likely Cameron is also in fear of Nigel Farage, who is generally accepted to have beaten Clegg in televised debates about the European Union.

The other three leaders who were set to take part in the debates have called for them to go ahead, with Cameron ’empty-chaired’ – a podium should be put out for him but left vacant to show he has opted not to participate.

This would still leave the other parties without a voice in the debates and – considering their popularity – that’s clearly wrong.

Perhaps these debates should go ahead, with only the Labour, LD and UKIP leaders if Ofcom won’t bend.

If so, then the other party leaders should consider alternative strategies.

Is there any reason they should not record their own responses to the questions asked in these debates – and the issues raised by them – and make those responses available to the public, via the media broadcasters, newspaper websites, YouTube and the social media?

This would give a certain unfair advantage to the Greens, SNP, Plaid Cymru, the National Health Action Party, FUKP and whoever else, because they would have advance warning of the questions before starting, and would know what the other leaders had said – but it does seem fairer thanaltogether  denying them a chance to put their cases forward.

In this scenario the only loser would be David Cameron who, fittingly, would have denied himself the chance to speak while allowing it to everyone else – poetic justice for a man who has tried to gag political debate in the run-up to the election.

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Who voted to put fatcat energy bosses before their constituents? Here’s the list

130925energy

The Coalition Government has vetoed a proposal by the Labour Party to put people before profit and give the energy regulator for Great Britain a statutory duty to ensure that energy suppliers pass on price cuts to consumers when wholesale costs fall – if those suppliers fail to act.

The proposal was put to the House of Commons by Shadow Energy Secretary Caroline Flint, and was dismissed with 305 votes against and 228 for – a difference of 77.

Of course, that wasn’t the point of the exercise.

The point was to show which of our MPs actually wants to help struggling households cope with the ever-increasing cost of living by helping them cope with their energy bills… and which of them would rather siphon your money into a Big Six shareholder’s pocket as profit (possibly with an eye on a possible seat on the board during their retirement).

Vox Political has the names of all those who voted. They are presented below in alphabetical order. If your MP appears in the ‘Ayes’ column, then they did right by you.

If your MP appears in the ‘Noes’ column, then they betrayed you. You may wish to consider voting for somebody else on May 7.

Here’s the list:

AYES
Abbott, Ms Diane (Labour)
Abrahams, Debbie (Labour)
Ainsworth, rh Mr Bob (Labour)
Alexander, rh Mr Douglas (Labour)
Alexander, Heidi (Labour)
Ali, Rushanara (Labour)
Allen, Mr Graham (Labour)
Anderson, Mr David (Labour)
Ashworth, Jonathan (Labour)
Austin, Ian (Labour)
Bailey, Mr Adrian (Labour/Co-op)
Bain, Mr William (Labour)
Banks, Gordon (Labour)
Barron, rh Kevin (Labour)
Bayley, Sir Hugh (Labour)
Beckett, rh Margaret (Labour)
Begg, Dame Anne (Labour)
Benn, rh Hilary (Labour)
Berger, Luciana (Labour/Co-op)
Betts, Mr Clive (Labour)
Blackman-Woods, Roberta (Labour)
Blears, rh Hazel (Labour)
Blenkinsop, Tom (Labour)
Bradshaw, rh Mr Ben (Labour)
Brennan, Kevin (Labour)
Brown, Lyn (Labour)
Brown, rh Mr Nicholas (Labour)
Brown, Mr Russell (Labour)
Bryant, Chris (Labour)
Burden, Richard (Labour)
Burnham, rh Andy (Labour)
Byrne, rh Mr Liam (Labour)
Campbell, rh Mr Alan (Labour)
Campbell, Mr Ronnie (Labour)
Caton, Martin (Labour)
Champion, Sarah (Labour)
Chapman, Jenny (Labour)
Clark, Katy (Labour)
Clwyd, rh Ann (Labour)
Coaker, Vernon (Labour)
Connarty, Michael (Labour)
Cooper, rh Yvette (Labour)
Corbyn, Jeremy (Labour)
Crausby, Mr David (Labour)
Creagh, Mary (Labour)
Creasy, Stella (Labour/Co-op)
Cryer, John (Labour)
Cunningham, Alex (Labour)
Cunningham, Mr Jim (Labour)
Cunningham, Sir Tony (Labour)
Curran, Margaret (Labour)
Danczuk, Simon (Labour)
David, Wayne (Labour)
Davidson, Mr Ian (Labour/Co-op)
Davies, Geraint (Labour/Co-op)
De Piero, Gloria (Labour)
Denham, rh Mr John (Labour)
Dobson, rh Frank (Labour)
Doran, Mr Frank (Labour)
Doughty, Stephen (Labour/Co-op)
Dowd, Jim (Labour)
Doyle, Gemma (Labour/Co-op)
Dromey, Jack (Labour)
Dugher, Michael (Labour)
Durkan, Mark (Social Democratic & Labour Party)
Eagle, Ms Angela (Labour)
Eagle, Maria (Labour)
Edwards, Jonathan (Plaid Cymru)
Efford, Clive (Labour)
Ellman, Mrs Louise (Labour/Co-op)
Engel, Natascha (Labour)
Esterson, Bill (Labour)
Evans, Chris (Labour/Co-op)
Farrelly, Paul (Labour)
Field, rh Mr Frank (Labour)
Fitzpatrick, Jim (Labour)
Flello, Robert (Labour)
Flint, rh Caroline (Labour)
Flynn, Paul (Labour)
Fovargue, Yvonne (Labour)
Francis, Dr Hywel (Labour)
Gardiner, Barry (Labour)
Gilmore, Sheila (Labour)
Glass, Pat (Labour)
Glindon, Mrs Mary (Labour)
Godsiff, Mr Roger (Labour)
Goodman, Helen (Labour)
Greatrex, Tom (Labour/Co-op)
Green, Kate (Labour)
Greenwood, Lilian (Labour)
Griffith, Nia (Labour)
Gwynne, Andrew (Labour)
Hain, rh Mr Peter (Labour)
Hamilton, Mr David (Labour)
Hamilton, Fabian (Labour)
Hanson, rh Mr David (Labour)
Harman, rh Ms Harriet (Labour)
Harris, Mr Tom (Labour)
Havard, Mr Dai (Labour)
Healey, rh John (Labour)
Hepburn, Mr Stephen (Labour)
Heyes, David (Labour)
Hillier, Meg (Labour/Co-op)
Hilling, Julie (Labour)
Hodge, rh Margaret (Labour)
Hodgson, Mrs Sharon (Labour)
Hood, Mr Jim (Labour)
Hopkins, Kelvin (Labour)
Howarth, rh Mr George (Labour)
Irranca-Davies, Huw (Labour)
Jackson, Glenda (Labour)
James, Mrs Siân C. (Labour)
Jamieson, Cathy (Labour/Co-op)
Jarvis, Dan (Labour)
Johnson, Diana (Labour)
Jones, Graham (Labour)
Jones, Susan Elan (Labour)
Jowell, rh Dame Tessa (Labour)
Kane, Mike (Labour)
Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald (Labour)
Keeley, Barbara (Labour)
Kendall, Liz (Labour)
Khan, rh Sadiq (Labour)
Lammy, rh Mr David (Labour)
Lavery, Ian (Labour)
Lazarowicz, Mark (Labour/Co-op)
Leslie, Chris (Labour/Co-op)
Lewell-Buck, Mrs Emma (Labour)
Lewis, Mr Ivan (Labour)
Llwyd, rh Mr Elfyn (Plaid Cymru)
Love, Mr Andrew (Labour/Co-op)
Lucas, Caroline (Green)
Lucas, Ian (Labour)
MacNeil, Mr Angus Brendan (SNP)
Mactaggart, Fiona (Labour)
Mahmood, Mr Khalid (Labour)
Mahmood, Shabana (Labour)
Malhotra, Seema (Labour/Co-op)
Mann, John (Labour)
Marsden, Mr Gordon (Labour)
McCabe, Steve (Labour)
McCann, Mr Michael (Labour)
McCarthy, Kerry (Labour)
McClymont, Gregg (Labour)
McDonagh, Siobhain (Labour)
McDonald, Andy (Labour)
McDonnell, John (Labour)
McFadden, rh Mr Pat (Labour)
McGuire, rh Dame Anne (Labour)
McInnes, Liz (Labour)
McKechin, Ann (Labour)
McKenzie, Mr Iain (Labour)
Meale, Sir Alan (Labour)
Mearns, Ian (Labour)
Miliband, rh Edward (Labour)
Miller, Andrew (Labour)
Mitchell, Austin (Labour)
Moon, Mrs Madeleine (Labour)
Morden, Jessica (Labour)
Morrice, Graeme (Livingston) (Labour)
Morris, Grahame M. (Easington) (Labour)
Munn, Meg (Labour/Co-op)
Murphy, rh Mr Jim (Labour)
Murphy, rh Paul (Labour)
Murray, Ian (Labour)
Nandy, Lisa (Labour)
Nash, Pamela (Labour)
O’Donnell, Fiona (Labour)
Onwurah, Chi (Labour)
Osborne, Sandra (Labour)
Owen, Albert (Labour)
Pearce, Teresa (Labour)
Perkins, Toby (Labour)
Pound, Stephen (Labour)
Powell, Lucy (Labour)
Qureshi, Yasmin (Labour)
Raynsford, rh Mr Nick (Labour)
Reed, Mr Jamie (Labour)
Reeves, Rachel (Labour)
Reynolds, Emma (Labour)
Riordan, Mrs Linda (Labour/Co-op)
Ritchie, Ms Margaret (Social Democratic & Labour Party)
Robertson, John (Labour)
Robinson, Mr Geoffrey (Labour)
Rotheram, Steve (Labour)
Roy, Mr Frank (Labour)
Ruane, Chris (Labour)
Ruddock, rh Dame Joan (Labour)
Sarwar, Anas (Labour)
Sawford, Andy (Labour/Co-op)
Seabeck, Alison  (Labour)
Sharma, Mr Virendra (Labour)
Sheerman, Mr Barry (Labour/Co-op)
Sheridan, Jim (Labour)
Shuker, Gavin (Labour/Co-op)
Skinner, Mr Dennis (Labour)
Slaughter, Mr Andy (Labour)
Smith, Angela (Labour)
Smith, Nick (Labour)
Smith, Owen (Labour)
Spellar, rh Mr John (Labour)
Straw, rh Mr Jack (Labour)
Stringer, Graham (Labour)
Stuart, Ms Gisela (Labour)
Sutcliffe, Mr Gerry (Labour)
Tami, Mark (Labour)
Thornberry, Emily (Labour)
Timms, rh Stephen (Labour)
Trickett, Jon (Labour)
Turner, Karl (Labour)
Twigg, Derek (Labour)
Twigg, Stephen (Labour/Co-op)
Umunna, Mr Chuka (Labour)
Vaz, rh Keith (Labour)
Vaz, Valerie (Labour)
Walley, Joan (Labour)
Watson, Mr Tom (Labour)
Weir, Mr Mike (SNP)
Whitehead, Dr Alan (Labour)
Williams, Hywel (Plaid Cymru)
Williamson, Chris (Labour)
Wilson, Sammy (Democratic Unionist)
Winnick, Mr David (Labour)
Winterton, rh Ms Rosie (Labour)
Wishart, Pete (SNP)
Woodcock, John (Labour/Co-op)
Wright, David (Labour)
Wright, Mr Iain (Labour)

Tellers for the Ayes:
Bridget Phillipson (Labour)
and
Nic Dakin (Labour)

NOES
Adams, Nigel (Con)
Afriyie, Adam (Con)
Aldous, Peter (Con)
Amess, Sir David (Con)
Andrew, Stuart (Con)
Arbuthnot, rh Mr James (Con)
Bacon, Mr Richard (Con)
Baker, Steve (Con)
Baldry, rh Sir Tony (Con)
Barclay, Stephen (Con)
Barker, rh Gregory (Con)
Baron, Mr John (Con)
Barwell, Gavin (Con)
Bebb, Guto (Con)
Beith, rh Sir Alan (LD)
Bellingham, Mr Henry (Con)
Benyon, Richard (Con)
Beresford, Sir Paul (Con)
Berry, Jake (Con)
Bingham, Andrew (Con)
Binley, Mr Brian (Con)
Birtwistle, Gordon (LD)
Blackman, Bob (Con)
Blackwood, Nicola (Con)
Blunt, Crispin (Con)
Boles, Nick (Con)
Bone, Mr Peter (Con)
Bottomley, Sir Peter (Con)
Brady, Mr Graham (Con)
Brake, rh Tom (LD)
Bray, Angie (Con)
Brazier, Mr Julian (Con)
Brine, Steve (Con)
Brokenshire, James (Con)
Brooke, rh Annette (LD)
Browne, Mr Jeremy (LD)
Bruce, Fiona (Con)
Bruce, rh Sir Malcolm (LD)
Burley, Mr Aidan (Con)
Burns, Conor (Con)
Burns, rh Mr Simon (Con)
Burstow, rh Paul (LD)
Burt, rh Alistair (Con)
Burt, Lorely (LD)
Byles, Dan (Con)
Cable, rh Vince (LD)
Cairns, Alun (Con)
Carmichael, Neil (LD)
Carswell, Douglas (UKIP)
Cash, Sir William (Con)
Chapman, Jenny (Labour)
Chishti, Rehman (Con)
Clappison, Mr James (Con)
Clark, rh Greg (Con)
Clarke, rh Mr Kenneth (Con)
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey (Con)
Collins, Damian (Con)
Colvile, Oliver (Con)
Cox, Mr Geoffrey (Con)
Crabb, rh Stephen (Con)
Crockart, Mike (LD)
Crouch, Tracey (Con)
Davey, rh Mr Edward (LD)
Davies, David T. C. (Monmouth) (Con)
Davies, Glyn (Con)
Davies, Philip (Con)
de Bois, Nick (Con)
Dinenage, Caroline (Con)
Dorrell, rh Mr Stephen (Con)
Doyle-Price, Jackie (Con)
Drax, Richard (Con)
Duncan, rh Sir Alan (Con)
Duncan Smith, rh Mr Iain (Con)
Dunne, Mr Philip (Con)
Ellis, Michael (Con)
Ellison, Jane (Con)
Elphicke, Charlie (Con)
Eustice, George (Con)
Evans, Graham (Con)
Evans, Jonathan (Con)
Evans, Mr Nigel (Con)
Evennett, Mr David (Con)
Fabricant, Michael (Con)
Fallon, rh Michael (Con)
Farron, Tim (LD)
Field, Mark (Con)
Foster, rh Mr Don (LD)
Fox, rh Dr Liam (Con)
Francois, rh Mr Mark (Con)
Freer, Mike (Con)
Fullbrook, Lorraine (Con)
Fuller, Richard (Con)
Gale, Sir Roger (Con)
Garnier, Sir Edward (Con)
Garnier, Mark (Con)
Gauke, Mr David (Con)
George, Andrew (LD)
Gibb, Mr Nick (Con)
Gilbert, Stephen (LD)
Gillan, rh Mrs Cheryl (Con)
Glen, John (Con)
Goldsmith, Zac (Con)
Goodwill, Mr Robert (Con)
Graham, Richard (Con)
Grant, Mrs Helen (Con)
Gray, Mr James (Con)
Green, rh Damian (Con)
Greening, rh Justine (Con)
Grieve, rh Mr Dominic (Con)
Griffiths, Andrew (Con)
Gummer, Ben (Con)
Gyimah, Mr Sam (Con)
Hague, rh Mr William (Con)
Halfon, Robert (Con)
Hames, Duncan (LD)
Hammond, Stephen (Con)
Hands, rh Greg (Con)
Harper, Mr Mark (Con)
Harrington, Richard (Con)
Harris, Rebecca (Con)
Hart, Simon (Con)
Haselhurst, rh Sir Alan (Con)
Hayes, rh Mr John (Con)
Heald, Sir Oliver (Con)
Heaton-Harris, Chris (Con)
Hemming, John (LD)
Henderson, Gordon (Con)
Hendry, Charles (Con)
Herbert, rh Nick (Con)
Hinds, Damian (Con)
Hoban, Mr Mark (Con)
Hollingbery, George (Con)
Hollobone, Mr Philip (Con)
Holloway, Mr Adam (Con)
Hopkins, Kris (Con)
Horwood, Martin (LD)
Howarth, Sir Gerald (Con)
Howell, John (Con)
Hughes, rh Simon (LD)
Hunt, rh Mr Jeremy (Con)
Huppert, Dr Julian (LD)
Hurd, Mr Nick (Con)
Jackson, Mr Stewart (Con)
James, Margot (Con)
Jenkin, Mr Bernard (Con)
Jenrick, Robert (Con)
Johnson, Gareth (Con)
Johnson, Joseph (Con)
Jones, Andrew (Con)
Jones, rh Mr David (Con)
Jones, Mr Marcus (Con)
Kawczynski, Daniel (Con)
Kelly, Chris (Con)
Kennedy, rh Mr Charles (LD)
Kirby, Simon (Con)
Kwarteng, Kwasi (Con)
Lamb, rh Norman (LD)
Latham, Pauline (Con)
Leadsom, Andrea (Con)
Lee, Dr Phillip (Con)
Leech, Mr John (LD)
Leigh, Sir Edward (Con)
Lewis, Brandon (Con)
Lewis, Dr Julian (Con)
Liddell-Grainger, Mr Ian (Con)
Lidington, rh Mr David (Con)
Lilley, rh Mr Peter (Con)
Lloyd, Stephen (LD)
Lopresti, Jack (Con)
Loughton, Tim (Con)
Luff, Sir Peter (Con)
Lumley, Karen (Con)
Macleod, Mary (Con)
Main, Mrs Anne (Con)
Maude, rh Mr Francis (Con)
Maynard, Paul (Con)
McCartney, Jason (Con)
McCartney, Karl (Con)
McIntosh, Miss Anne (Con)
McLoughlin, rh Mr Patrick (Con)
McPartland, Stephen (Con)
McVey, rh Esther (Con)
Menzies, Mark (Con)
Metcalfe, Stephen (Con)
Miller, rh Maria (Con)
Mills, Nigel (Con)
Milton, Anne (Con)
Mitchell, rh Mr Andrew (Con)
Moore, rh Michael (LD)
Mordaunt, Penny (Con)
Morgan, rh Nicky (Con)
Morris, Anne Marie (Con)
Morris, David (Con)
Morris, James (Con)
Mosley, Stephen (Con)
Mowat, David (Con)
Mulholland, Greg (LD)
Mundell, rh David (Con)
Murray, Sheryll (Con)
Murrison, Dr Andrew (Con)
Newmark, Mr Brooks (Con)
Newton, Sarah (Con)
Nokes, Caroline (Con)
Norman, Jesse (Con)
Nuttall, Mr David (Con)
Offord, Dr Matthew (Con)
Ollerenshaw, Eric (Con)
Opperman, Guy (Con)
Ottaway, rh Sir Richard (Con)
Paice, rh Sir James (Con)
Parish, Neil (Con)
Patel, Priti (Con)
Paterson, rh Mr Owen (Con)
Pawsey, Mark (Con)
Penning, rh Mike (Con)
Penrose, John (Con)
Percy, Andrew (Con)
Perry, Claire (Con)
Phillips, Stephen (Con)
Pickles, rh Mr Eric (Con)
Pincher, Christopher (Con)
Poulter, Dr Daniel (Con)
Pugh, John (LD)
Raab, Mr Dominic (Con)
Randall, rh Sir John (Con)
Reckless, Mark (UKIP)
Redwood, rh Mr John (Con)
Rees-Mogg, Jacob (Con)
Reevell, Simon (Con)
Reid, Mr Alan (LD)
Rifkind, rh Sir Malcolm (Con)
Robathan, rh Mr Andrew (Con)
Robertson, rh Sir Hugh (Con)
Robertson, Mr Laurence (Con)
Rogerson, Dan (LD)
Rosindell, Andrew (Con)
Rudd, Amber (Con)
Russell, Sir Bob (LD)
Rutley, David (Con)
Sanders, Mr Adrian (LD)
Scott, Mr Lee (Con)
Selous, Andrew (Con)
Shelbrooke, Alec (Con)
Shepherd, Sir Richard (Con)
Simmonds, rh Mark (Con)
Simpson, Mr Keith (Con)
Skidmore, Chris (Con)
Smith, Chloe (Con)
Smith, Henry (Con)
Smith, Julian (Con)
Smith, Sir Robert (LD)
Soames, rh Sir Nicholas (Con)
Soubry, Anna (Con)
Spelman, rh Mrs Caroline (Con)
Stanley, rh Sir John (Con)
Stephenson, Andrew (Con)
Stevenson, John (Con)
Stewart, Bob (Con)
Stewart, Iain (Con)
Stewart, Rory (Con)
Streeter, Mr Gary (Con)
Stride, Mel (Con)
Stuart, Mr Graham (Con)
Stunell, rh Sir Andrew (LD)
Sturdy, Julian (Con)
Swales, Ian (LD)
Swayne, rh Mr Desmond (Con)
Swire, rh Mr Hugo (Con)
Syms, Mr Robert (Con)
Thornton, Mike (LD)
Thurso, rh John (LD)
Tomlinson, Justin (Con)
Tredinnick, David (Con)
Turner, Mr Andrew (Con)
Tyrie, Mr Andrew (Con)
Uppal, Paul (Con)
Vaizey, Mr Edward (Con)
Vara, Mr Shailesh (Con)
Vickers, Martin (Con)
Villiers, rh Mrs Theresa (Con)
Walker, Mr Charles (Con)
Walker, Mr Robin (Con)
Wallace, Mr Ben (Con)
Walter, Mr Robert (Con)
Ward, Mr David (LD)
Watkinson, Dame Angela (Con)
Webb, rh Steve (LD)
Wheeler, Heather (Con)
White, Chris (Con)
Whittaker, Craig (Con)
Whittingdale, Mr John (Con)
Wiggin, Bill (Con)
Willetts, rh Mr David (Con)
Williams, Mr Mark (LD)
Williams, Roger (LD)
Williams, Stephen (LD)
Williamson, Gavin (Con)
Willott, rh Jenny (LD)
Wilson, Mr Rob (Con)
Wollaston, Dr Sarah (Con)
Wright, rh Jeremy (Con)
Wright, Simon (LD)
Yeo, Mr Tim (Con)
Young, rh Sir George (Con)
Zahawi, Nadhim (Con)

Tellers for the Noes:
Harriett Baldwin (Con)
and
Dr Thérèse Coffey (Con)

Basically, if your MP is a Conservative or a Liberal Democrat, they don’t represent you; they represent corporate bosses.

Also, how interesting to see the two UKIP turncoats, Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless, voting with their former Tory colleagues again. “The People’s Army” – what a joke.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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Tory Democrats on Europe: Confused and negative campaigning

Negative campaigning at its worst: It's what the Liberal - or is it Tory? - Democrats do best.

Negative campaigning at its worst: It’s what the Liberal – or is it Tory? – Democrats do best.

If you thought the Tory manifesto was a deceitful joke, or the row over UKIP’s policies was damaging, have you seen what the Liberal (?) Democrats have been sending around?

Here’s a letter sent to houses here in Brecon and Radnorshire. It starts with the famous Lib Dem block graph, which is a mainstay of all their election communications in places where they have won seats. Presumably they keep using it because it is effective but one has to doubt this example, as it does not feature a European election result, but that of the last UK general election in 2010.

They cannot use a block graph to show a favourable result in the last European election because they don’t have any Welsh MEPs, and the result in the last Welsh Assembly election (in 2011) showed support was already eroding away as a result of their toxic alliance with the Conservative Party in Westminster, along with some spectacularly effective campaigning by the local Labour Party.

The result is a misleading graphic that shows a massive Liberal Democrat majority, coupled with the slogan, “Only the Lib Dems can beat the Tories here”, where in fact we have two Labour MEPs, one Tory and one representing Plaid Cymru.

It hardly encourages confidence when a political letter – from one of the ruling parties in Westminster – begins with a filthy lie.

The text of the letter, by the constituency’s Liberal Democrat MP Roger Williams, asks where the reader wants to be working in five or 10 years, and suggests we will be looking for more pay, promotions and a better quality of life. He states that it is important to protect the economic recovery, but “all that hard work could be undone” if Britain pulls out of the EU “as UKIP and many Conservatives want to do”.

Thanks to the UK’s Coalition government, ordinary hard-working people are receiving far less pay than before the 2010 election, with a corresponding drop in quality of life. Child poverty, for example, is rising fast. The economic recovery has helped nobody but the very top earners (like those in the Sunday Times ‘rich list’, published last weekend) – and besides, the Tory Democrats are not the only party keen to protect Britain’s place in Europe. For that, your best bet is still Labour or (in Wales) Plaid Cymru.

The letter continues: “Across rural Wales the EU has invested £5.8 million into local businesses struggling to find funding to grow and create more jobs, this is on top of the £26 million invested in promoting tourism to Wales which is vital to our local economy.” Yes indeed – but that money was negotiated by either a Labour government in Westminster or a Labour government in Cardiff Bay. It has little to do with the Tory Democrats!

The letter ends with an exhortation to vote for the Yellow Party’s nonentity candidate, whose name is instantly forgettable.

Alongside this came a double-sided flier offering more of what the Tory Democrats do best – negative campaigning. “Don’t gamble with Welsh jobs…” it states, “Stop UKIP and the Tories from risking Wales jobs”. A box-out with a red background says, “Labour stay silent” – which is a blatant falsehood.

Flip the page and you’ve got the pro-Tory Democrat bit – but they can only say they have “helped deliver” funding for superfast broadband, funding for small-to-medium-sized enterprises, and cash to support tourism. And who did they help?

Labour!

It’s a sad little screed from an organisation in its twilight days.

The saddest part is that someone will believe it.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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The ‘Daily Mail’ Wales – about as real as Brigadoon

Daily Fail Logo

A tweet from a local (Conservative) Assembly member and county councillor has set me off to read a Daily Mail hack-job on the Welsh government and its policies. It makes for bleak reading but I have yet to find any resemblance to the Wales I know.

Has the author, Robert Hardman, ventured any further than the M4 corridor in his researches? It seems doubtful.

The first section attacks the Welsh Government’s purchase of Cardiff Airport for more than the expected value, plus extra millions for investment, saying Bristol Airport attracts six times the custom and the subsidised bus service from Cardiff is going empty.

Perhaps we should not be surprised by this attack. The Mail is a Tory-supporting rag and Tories no longer believe in investment (look at the way George Osborne cut capital projects to shreds, after he became Chancellor) – except when they do (HS2 is costing increasing millions every day, Who benefits, I wonder).

If Cardiff Airport was making losses, then it seems perfectly sensible for the administration to take it over and turn it around. But that won’t happen in a day, or even in a year (nationalisation happened at the end of March 2013) and it is unrealistic of Mr Hardman to pretend that it should.

I live in Mid Wales, where the only airport is fictional (Llandegley International) and the buses are full. We could do with a few more, in fact. Perhaps Mr Hardman could exert some influence on the Westminster government to provide a little more Aggregate External Grant (AEG – the way central government funds local government and regional assemblies) funding to help with that?

Next, Mr Hardman wheels out a few hard-done-by Welsh people, starting with an NHS nurse from Pembrokeshire who has had to pay for a hip operation because of an 18-month waiting list.

It is hard to combat that kind of criticism without knowing all the details. However, my own experience of the Welsh NHS is of being seen promptly for the pre-op and being able to choose the date and time of the operation. Perhaps Mr Hardman is cherry-picking special cases in order to make his point?

Next up: A group of West Wales parents who want their children taught in English as opposed to Welsh. They live in Cardigan, where education is run by Ceredigion County Council, whose main political groups are Plaid Cymru, the Independents, and the Liberal Democrats. Why is Mr Hardman blaming Labour, then?

He wants us to believe the problems are nothing to do with funding: “Wales gets the same subsidies as other parts of the UK which are worse off but receive a better service,” writes Mr Hardman.

He’s wrong, of course.

Take the NHS. Wales has had billions clawed back from its health service by greedy Tories in Westminster, in a transparent attempt to force standards down and direct blame at innocent parties. Mr Hardman’s article buys into that deceit.

When I discussed this with a Welsh NHS surgeon less than two weeks ago, he said there was a huge difference between the service being delivered and the way it is described by politicians, who he described as “snakes”. I cannot help but sympathise with the people who provide the service; their work is what I see.

That is not to say that there are no problems in the Welsh NHS! If I suggested that, I would be guilty of exactly the same kind of blanket behaviour as Mr Hardman. Of course there are problems.

But his use of the Mid-Staffs scandal to bolster his argument gives him away. Mid Staffs did not have a hugely inflated mortality rate; the statistics were manipulated to provide the Tory Health Secretary with the headline he wanted.

Moving on again, we come to a person with what seems to be a genuine grievance about mistreatment of his mother by Welsh hospital staff. Again, I cannot comment on the individual case because I don’t have the details.

All I can do is reiterate that it is wrong to claim that a service covering an entire country of the UK must be entirely abominable, on the basis of one case.

… and I see that Mr Hardman concedes this point, admitting that most NHS professionals are dedicated and conscientious. He blames the Labour-run Assembly Government.

But I have to come back to my main problem with this article: Mr Hardman has not described the Wales in which I live. Why, then, should I believe his criticism of the Labour administration?

The article concludes with a bizarre story about Year Six school pupils being indoctrinated with anti-English propaganda using two dolls. “What, I wonder, is the Welsh word for ‘Orwellian’?” carps Mr Hardman.

It’s the same as the English word, but Mr Hardman needs to revise his definitions. If he wants ‘Orwellian’, he need look no further than the English Tory Party’s ‘bingo and beer’ budget advert.

“The people of Wales deserve better,” Mr Hardman concludes. Yes they do.

Better than his article.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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