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Sunday, July 01, 2012

An occasional round-up of Welsh blogposts Part Two

This is the second selection of stuff that has caught my eye over the last few weeks, starting with Inside Swansea, who are at times have appeared obsessed with my blog but who nevertheless, provide a useful scrutiny of politics in Swansea, Wales and the occasionally the UK.

In this post they highlight an uncomfortable alliance over the proposed Severn barrage, when Nick Clegg praised Peter Hain for his efforts in championing this cause:

Clegg’s aides later described the endorsement as “an example of cross-party vision”. Everyone else present in the chamber regarded it as the kiss of death.

Hain was uncharacteristically quiet after the debate. It is thought that he had overheard a fellow Welsh backbencher complain to a colleague how the former secretary of state was already a tidal bore in his own right.

Elsewhere, the Welsh blogsphere has become lighter following the decision by Welsh Ramblings to move on. In a last post he tell his readers that he has closed the blog because he has limited time and has "gradually lost enthusiasm for writing blogs, so its time to take a step back."

Frank Little continues his discussion of Lords Reform over on his Ffranc Sais blog. He says that the restriction to 92 hereditary peers in 1999 by the first Blair government has not removed the inbuilt Conservative majority completely:

So why didn't Labour follow through on the 1999 measure and, more importantly, why are they resisting reform now? Of course, they dare not say that they are against elections to the Lords. This was in their 2010 general election manifesto after all, albeit subject to a referendum. A non-elected chamber of parliament was anathema to the Labour tradition. Therefore, today's Labour management falls back on the specious excuse that the state of the economy should take priority. As many have pointed out, it is possible for parliament to do several things at the same time and, in any case, there is little scope for fresh debate on the financial situation before next year's budget. Moreover, this parliament may be the best chance for a generation of achieving genuine change.

The obvious attraction of an appointed House is the opportunity it gives to party managers to bribe with ermine awkward or embarrassing old members to leave their seats in favour of the current favourite son or daughter (literally so, in some cases). The Labour people seem to have taken to the place, and to enjoy the little earner and fringe benefits. Labour has also proved as ready as the Conservatives as rewarding donors with a barony.

Ian Titherington takes a break from his blogging holiday to express his outrage at the First Minister's off-the-cuff remark in the Assembly chamber complete with the Dr. Strangelove picture that I have borrowed to illustrate this post:

It's taken something truly annoying to break me out of my blogging holiday, but the Labour leader in Wales standing up as a blinkered British imperialist has ticked all the boxes. So the next time that our First Minister tries to sound all 'nashie' to placate the more progressive element of his Assembly group, just remember his WMD moment. It will stick to him like a proverbial bad smell for the rest of his political career. Plaid will make sure that it does, trust me on that one.

Jac o' the North takes issue with the Welsh media's obsession with Cardiff, focussing particularly on the BBC's Week in Week out programme on Swansea City Centre last week:

Why is the Cardiff media so negative about Swansea? What or whose agenda can the Cardiff media possibly be serving by constantly running down our second city? Because the message from the Cardiff media seems to be, "Forget Dylan Thomas; Swansea isn't 'an ugly lovely town' - it's a complete shit-hole". (And this just two years before the centenary celebrations of Dylan's birth. Thank you BBC 'Wales'.)

This Cardiff-centricity should be a matter for our politicians to address, but after thirteen years of devolutiion it is obvious that they suffer the same problem. All the figures prove it. Cardiff has got richer and the rest of Wales has got poorer (especially those 'Welsh' areas that voted 'Yes' in 1997). Welcome to the Cardiff City State.

He concludes with a footnote: Because this is one hell of a price to pay for the Swans being in the Premier League . . . all that free publicity . . . around the world . . . 'Swanselona' . . . with Cardiff Malaysian Blue Dragons still owing millions to Sam Hammam . . . and the tax man . . . then the articulate and likeable Brendan Rodgers . . . followed by the great Michael Laudrup . . . without even trying, Swansea's getting good, positive publicity around the world. Something must be done!

Finally, there is Glyn Davies MP on whether the Government should hold an in-out referendum on Europe. Writing as a Euro-sceptic Glyn's position amounts to 'be careful what you wish for', a referendum could backfire:

Much discussion about an EU referendum flying around at present. In my opinion, this is all going to end in Eurosceptic tears. I recall the last such referendum in 1975. Biggest losers were those antis who made most noise demanding it. I was one of them. In general, I have a policy of learning the lessons of history. Be warned Eurosceptics. An EU referendum will lead to a green light for greater integration.

It sounds very tempting indeed.
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