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More please?

Betsan Powys | 00:30 UK time, Friday, 17 July 2009

My mother in law was a pretty cunning big sister.

She'd make herself a glass of orange squash and make one for her little sister at the same time. Her own would always be that little bit fuller. Hang on, said little sis after a while, I'm really thirsty too .Why do you always get a bit more than I do? Big sis would take a big gulp of her own squash, compare the glasses again and tell little sis she'd now got the better deal - so she'd take a small sip of hers just to even things out.

It took little sis a few years before she worked out that she'd have been better off saying nothing - or perhaps making her own squash.

The moral of the story? Never trust your big sister and what you need isn't always what you get.

I used to see those two glasses of squash every time journalists asked the former Secretary of State, Paul Murphy, whether the Barnett formula - the formula that determines the size of the block grant that's paid to the devolved nations - should be revisited. His answer would always be one version or other of 'be careful what you wish for'. Watch it, he'd say. You could end up with less, worse off then you are now. After all on average Wales gets about £7,000 per head in spending compared with just over £6,000 in England. Draw attention to it and you just might find the guys - in England - who make the orange squash decide that's not fair and take a sip of yours.

Last week Gerald Holtham and his team published their take on the Barnett formula. It was, they concluded "arbitrary" and out of date. It ought to be scrapped and a formula put in its place that takes account of need. Such a formula, they said, would be a complex one and it couldn't be introduced overnight but if need was its driving principle that would mean comparatively more squash for Wales, not less.

"In the absence of reform" said chairman Gerald Holtham, "we calculate that by the end of the next decade the Barnett formula could have underfunded Wales by as much as £8.5billion - equivalent to £2,900 per Welsh resident".

Now the House of Lords Committee on the Barnett formula has added "unfair" to "arbitrary". Its time, says the Committee, is over. After over 30 years the formula should be replaced with a different system, one that recognises the per capita need, the changing needs of each of the countries in the UK. Those changes

I haven't read it all yet but one line will jump out at Ministers in Cardiff Bay. It's this one:

"When the Committee considered a range of indicators of need it became clear that Wales and Northern Ireland have greater needs per head of population than Scotland and England - the current allocations made through the Formula give Scotland more funds, per head of population, than appears to be justified when compared to Wales and Northern Ireland and their needs".

In other words give Scotland a bit less but Wales and Northern Ireland? They should get a bit more. Hear hear Ministers will say, though surely not celebrating the conclusion that England and Scotland have "markedly lower" overall needs than we do in Wales.

There's an argument too that finding a different way of delivering the block grant is possible and absolutely desirable. Shaun Woodward, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, might think it "would amount to a reinvention of the wheel" says the report. The Committee disagrees.

None of this means Mr Woodward's boss has to scrap the Barnett formula of course. Mr Brown's hand won't be forced by this report and neither would Mr Cameron's either for that matter but it does surely mean the "be careful what you wish for" argument will be considerably harder to make in Wales in future.

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  • 1. At 07:25am on 17 Jul 2009, Neocromwellian wrote:


    The Barnett formula is clearly out of date and no longer relevant therefore we need a new model based upon todays needs not those of 30 years ago.

    The issue of the orange juice like the money is really about who is in control.

    Give that power to an Assembly and they are then going to play big sister with us! When what we really need is open government and far greater control over budgets by communitites and individuals.

    Does that require major reform NO it just means repealing the repressive legislation put in place to keep the little people under control by the last Conservative government, and New Labour since we have had the double edged sword of devolution.

    The situation is made complicated by the fact that the small glass of orange juice has become a symbol of national identity that we all have to give due respect, which simply reinforces the power of those with the big glass.

    The same applies with regard to how our money is spent especially by those in public service. We have an absurd situation whereby AMs and civil servants must live the most spartan existence concerning their expenses while others being paid out of the public purse fiddle the books with impunity for fear of scandal.

    The problem is that inverted snobbery is the worse snobbery of all, people hold others back for fear of being seen to be inadaquate. Any critisism of being handed the small glass brings cries of being anti.....

    For example a few years ago there was a crises in higher education funding so we had to stump up more money at the same time as the Assembly in replicating English Law took away all means of public accountability as to how that money was spent.

    The result is that the Assembly, communities and God forbid individuals have no say in the decisions that affect them or how their money is spent. The Assembly is being treated in the same context as a Quango to take all the flak for unpopular decisions as and when it suits Westminster.

    Under the Education Reform Act 1988, the redundencies at the University of Wales Lampeter will need to be approved not by the Assembly or Westminster but by the Privy Council, as neither we the people or our elected representatives are fit to be able to decide on such matters.

    Its just the consquences for the failure that have been devolved and not the power to put it right.

    What concerns me is that this insult to our human rights seems to be reinforced in Wales and some pro-devolutionsists are the last people who are going to make any change. But then it gives them status in society and sense of being better than the rest of us.

    It should not be a situation of what we wish for but what is rightfully ours by a fair and democratic process.

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  • 2. At 09:39am on 17 Jul 2009, Igotitallwrongsorry wrote:

    Here we go the "whingeing" welsh claiming victimhood and demanding more money from other parts of UK to fund the whims of political classes down the bay. Mr. Paul Murphy MP is a very wise man who has achieved political office at Westminster(Not like our Rhodri)and his advice is good as "stirring" up about Barnett could result in a worse settlement not a better one. Even if there was a new system (very unlikely) the results would be a reduction in public sector finance coming to wales,even if increased %,but of a much lower sum of the totality of public spending at UK level. The IMF have given absolutely stark warnings that our spending is out of control and must be cut as soon as current recession,possible depression coming is out of way. The case for more money from UK would surely have to backed up by evidence that current expenditure is being well managed and that "waste" and "ridiculous" policies are kept to minimum. There is no evidence that the Assembly/WAG have made appreciable improvements to public services in wales over last 10 years,other than giving "freebies" to people who in many cases can afford to pay from pensions etc. I see people jumping on buses for zilch (paid for by others) and then travelling on expensive foreign holidays which they pay for out of income. The "nation building" policies of WAG should come to an end with NHS being managed along with english NHS rather than virtually stand alone entity to satisfy the NATS in GOVERNMENT.BBC Wales along with many other institutions in wales is living in fantasy land if they think the english middle classes are going to stump up more money to fund WAG,particularly when part of current regime wants to break up UK. Lets see where the money's going at present before begging for more!!!

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  • 3. At 10:06am on 17 Jul 2009, Neocromwellian wrote:


    This is from http://www.tomorrow-wales.co.uk/blog/?tag=barnett-formula&language=en

    "Today, the House of Lords Committee meets in Cardiff to take evidence from Welsh-based academics and civil society organisations. Among those giving evidence will be Tomorrows Wales,"

    This political pressure group is comprised mostly of academics and various churches that are all exempt from any sort of public accountability, the church also holds high office in the universities.

    The University of Wales refuses to have any complaints procedures which is one way of ensuring an unblemished record and that an expenses scandal never happens. The churches have an appalling record for the commission and/or concealment of abuse.

    While on the one hand they are coming across as be pro democracy they are the last people on earth that are going to agree to any reform that is going to make them accountable to anybody least of all a democratically elected Assembly.

    As far as bringing about more open government is concerned you must be kidding, they are an obstruction to the devolution of power to communities and the ordinary person in the street.

    While we slam MPs, AMs and civil servants by comparison they are Saints and guess whose expenses they need to look at next?

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  • 4. At 10:17am on 17 Jul 2009, lordBeddGelert wrote:

    Another great article Betsan !! Sibling rivalry ain't what it used to be, now that we have the human rights act..

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  • 5. At 10:57am on 17 Jul 2009, West-Wales wrote:

    Extract from the Telegraph today.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/5843577/Unfair-Barnett-formula-should-be-scrapped-say-Lords.html

    Unveiling the report, Lord Richard, the committee's chairman, described the mechanism as a "short-term fix" that had survived because it was easy to administer.

    He said: "After thirty years of increasing allocations year on year, and in the light of possible cuts in public spending, it is now time to scrap the formula and replace it with a clear system of determining a grant of funds for each of the devolved administrations based on their actual needs."

    The current system gives Scotland more money "than appears to be justified" when the spending needs of Wales and Northern Ireland are taken into account, he added.

    In the 2008-09 financial year, England got three per cent less per head of public spending than the UK average, Wales 12 per cent more, Scotland 16 per cent more and Northern Ireland 22 per cent more.


    We don't seem to be doing to badly compared to England.
    If the EU money is also taken into account - things are bright we have loads to spend.
    Wonder why our education, health services and roads are relatively poor. Is it incompetence or is money being diverted to other things?

    Anyone got a clear tabulated summary of where the Assembly is spending our money?

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  • 6. At 11:56am on 17 Jul 2009, Benedek wrote:

    You can have all the reports in the world stating that the Barnett formula is unfair. The real issue is whether there is a will to change it within the two parties that for the foreseeable future will form a government at a UK level. As Peter Hain rightly pointed out this morning there is no extra money. Changing the Barnett formula will mean taking money from Scotland to give to Wales or Nothern Ireland. What UK politician is going to go down this route. The advice from Treasury civil servants will always be to stick with the status quo particularly given that in the next 10 years there are far more inportant issues to deal with. They will also argue that given the failure of Wales to improve its performance over the last 10 years despite the massive increase in money from Westminster why waste more money. The Welsh wanted devolution and they should get on with it will be the attitude of some of Whitehall's finest. At the moment they are looking at the Canadian experience to see how cuts over the next 10 years can be carried out. Reform of the Barnett formula isn't even on the radar screen Anyway I would have thought from a nationalist perspective worrying about reforming the Barnett formula is a side show. Surely the name of the game is a Tory government in Westminster for the next 10 years slashing and burning and hence strengthening the argument for complete independence. Then we can have Adam ,Ieuan and Helen Mary setting out the nirvana of the new independent Wales.

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  • 7. At 11:57am on 17 Jul 2009, penddu wrote:

    I must admit, these figures confuse me - Wales gets 112% which is less than it would get if based on needs - OK seems about right. Scotland gets 116% which is a bit too much - OK here as well. Northern Ireland gets 122% which is not enough??? Can anyone explain?

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  • 8. At 12:10pm on 17 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    Message 5...


    to quote a quote....

    "....He said: "After thirty years of increasing allocations year on year, and in the light of possible cuts in public spending, it is now time to scrap the formula and replace it with a clear system of determining a grant of funds for each of the devolved administrations based on their actual needs......"


    and to comment thereon...


    Why the necessity to have this hived off, separated, system anyway?

    As I have asked before, with NO satisfactory reply, ... what is so special about this region that we have to be treated differently than other regions of the UK? In that I also include Scotland and NI.

    Why is it seen necessary to fund the various local authorities across England directly, but in these regions, a third tire must be in place.

    This surely adds to the costs of everything, by design makes it imperative for increased manning to staff this third tier and has demonstrated, ever since the idea became reality, created division and discord amongst our populations.

    Brought forth nationalist intentions and rhetoric, with the ultimate result, a break up of a perfectly rational regime, considering the cohesiveness of an island realmdom.

    We should be therefore extremely wary of that glass of juice being drained, because under the terms demanded by those with nationalist ambitions, once gone, we would be out on a limb, with no means to fund our situation, beyond begging to all and sundry, in particular the EU, who may well see us as not worth the bother, thanks to our rejection of the union between us and England/the UK.
    International business arrangements coming around to making agreements for water and electrical power being taken under the wing of Cardiff, would be hardly likely to provide enough working capital to fund our entry into the international community as a separated state, nor would it provide the overall capital to fund that which would have been lost in the removal of Barnett or whatever else we get at present.

    Our industrial base is effectively on a 'service' or supply chain basis, which again could not sustain our regional requirements, .

    Out on a limb is what we are looking at, as we are sawing through that limb, and close to the main trunk behind us.

    Clear the decks, and go to where we should be, a region of the UK, funded in the same manner as all other regions, dispense with the third tier, it is costing us dear.

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  • 9. At 12:26pm on 17 Jul 2009, Benedek wrote:

    FT headline "SNP warns against scrapping funding formula". So much for Celtic solidarity . No wonder Edward 1 used Welsh soldiers against the Scots. If any attempt is made to tinker with the Barnett formula the SNP have warned that they will want total fiscal autonomy. As Calman pointed out total fiscal autonomy equals independence and no Westminster government is going to agree to that. Holtham and the Lords reports are little more than interesting academic exercises. In terms of practical politics they haven't even got off the starting blocks.

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  • 10. At 12:27pm on 17 Jul 2009, Neocromwellian wrote:


    #5 You can find the budget figures in pdf format here

    http://wales.gov.uk/about/finance/assemblybudgets/currentbudgetindex/02122008finalbudget/?lang=en

    I would have cut and pasted them into the blog but the pdf has been set to prevent anyone from doing that!

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  • 11. At 5:00pm on 17 Jul 2009, John Henry wrote:


    There might be an alternative model to Barnett, where taxation at UK Government level was restricted to raising that money needed at national level, the financial remainder devolved to the regions in its entirety.

    So in Wales, if the regional government wishes to spend 9,000 GBP as opposed to the current 8,000 GBP (approximate), let the government do so. I think the effect might be Darwinian, in that the electorate would become proactive in political development, getting rid of the political high rollers, setting a community based level of need rather than the wants of political agenda.

    Another effect might be the migration of populations to those regions whose financial model suited their wants and aspirations.

    It would quash any notion of subsidy of the regions by any one group and focus the political minds.

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  • 12. At 6:26pm on 17 Jul 2009, Bryn_Teilo wrote:

    #11

    That's a naive and simplistic view.

    Those of us who favour self-determination contend that Wales' poverty is partly caused by its being part of the UK. Its never had the opportunity to develop its economy. Hence it has a lower gva and gdp than England, or the UK as a whole. That accounts for the difference between what Wales gets under Barnett and the wealth Wales generates. Barnett is essentially a simple formula, it is based on population ratios. Wales gets its share based on its proportion of the UK's population, whilst Wales' overall contribution to the UK's economy is proportionately less.

    Paul Murphy makes the same mistake. He assumes that a self-governing Wales would be unable to generate its economy to compensate. Yet other countries, the same size and smaller than Wales, have accomplished it. Several of them have fewer resources and natural advantages.

    To put it simply, I believe that Wales is handicapped by being part of a UK in which investment in infrastructure and government is biased towards London and the south east of England. Barnett is therefore a handicap. It assists in Wales being poor and more dependent on state assistance than most other parts of these islands.

    It has fostered a belief among the people of Wales that we are unable to do things for ourselves and that we have to depend on others. It also fosters the belief among those who do not live here, that we are in some way dependent on them. That is repugnant to anyone who has a pride in his country and its people.

    What struck me most in reading Holtham, was just how poor Wales is in nearly every respect to all the other nations and regions of the UK. A sovereign Parliament in Cardiff is required for Wales to develop a strong and vibrant economy, something its never had.

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  • 13. At 7:13pm on 17 Jul 2009, John Henry wrote:


    #12

    A predictable response.

    You might like to add sufficient meat on the bones of your .....

    A sovereign Parliament in Cardiff is required for Wales to develop a strong and vibrant economy

    ...... so that a value judgement might be made.

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  • 14. At 7:54pm on 17 Jul 2009, christiancitizen wrote:

    One thing I've never been very clear about.

    If Wales became totally independent, how would the new Welsh Government make up the shortfall in revenue caused by the loss of UK tax money?

    Can anyone who does favour total independence help me out here?

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  • 15. At 8:55pm on 17 Jul 2009, Jack_Wilkinson wrote:

    Message 12,
    shoulda started.......This is a naive and simplistic view.

    After this amended start, the rest of the wishful ramblings of M 12 make a tad more sense.

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  • 16. At 9:20pm on 17 Jul 2009, Bryn_Teilo wrote:

    #14 christiancitizen wrote:

    'If Wales became totally independent, how would the new Welsh Government make up the shortfall in revenue caused by the loss of UK tax money?'

    Firstly, no country is 'totally independent' in the world as it is today. There are political, power, defence, and economic blocks and alliances, not to mention multi-national companies. The UK is not 'independent' even though it is a sovereign nation state. Its part of the European Union, with all that entails, as well as full member of NATO, and of the UN.

    'Independence' and 'separation' are terms which unionists and British nationalists are very fond of using because the adjectives conjure up unreal bogeys. Self-determination for Wales means that Wales would be able to make the same kind of decisions the UK makes at present. Wales would be a full member of the EU, with about 12 MEPs as opposed to its current four. It would be a full member of the UN and its representatives could vote in the General Assembly. (If Scotland and/or Wales were to secede from the Union, its pretty likely that England would lose its seat on the Security Council).

    Wales is now, and has been from time immemorial, a relatively poor country. It was conquered in the late 13th century, occupied and subjugated. Attempts were made to assimilate it into England, but those were unsuccessful. Wales has never been a sovereign nation state. However, that is a relatively modern concept, as most such states came into existence in the 19th century. Likewise, democratic states are still in their relative infancy. The 'United' Kingdom dates only from 1707, and Ireland became part in 1801, but most of it left in 1922. So there is nothing particularly sacrosant, or god-given, about the UK's existence.

    Now to the meat of your question. I had inferred it in my #12. Its in two parts.

    Firstly, countries that have self-determination can direct their own economic development, having fiscal and monetary powers, for example to borrow, to invest in the development of infrastructure, in education and technical development etc, as most western states do quite well. In fact many of the most successful at doing so have been relatively small countries, around Wales' size. The UK has not been particularly good at economic development and it has led to lop-sided economic development favouring London, the home counties and the south east. With self-determination Wales would have the potential for much stronger economic development, growth and the prosperity that comes with it. The Unionists always claim that to be a pipe dream, but they have little evidence for that contention, as most other small European countries are far more prosperous than Wales.

    Secondly, Wales could cut some very expensive projects which would be no longer necessary. Some examples are:

    - a nuclear deterrent
    - the renewal of trident
    - large armed forces - a standing army, a high seas navy and an airforce with strike capacity
    - two massive aircraft carriers
    - new nuclear power stations
    - the national identity database
    - foreign wars
    - large embassies and overseas diplomatic service
    - a large and expensive parliament (half of it unelected) in London
    - a monarchy with an extended royal family (e.g. 100,000 sterling for the protection of two princesses for one year).

    Most small western democracies don't have these things. There would be some extra costs. It wouldn't be easy. Self-determination would not solve all Wales' problems, at least overnight. But we would be governed by our own elected representatives who know Wales and its people's needs best, not by other more distant people who know little or nothing about our country. Such government has allowed Wales to be a poor relative in Europe, twice designated for European Objective One funding.

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  • 17. At 9:37pm on 17 Jul 2009, nomorepowers wrote:

    No.14

    Many of us on here have been asking the NATS that same question for a long time.

    I can guarantee you you will never see a response that makes a sound business case.

    If you do get a response to your question it might look like one of the following:-

    You are Anti-Welsh

    We will join the European Union and rely on Hand outs

    Big business will come flooding in to Wales and we will be able to stand on our own two feet just like Iceland and Ireland.

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  • 18. At 9:55pm on 17 Jul 2009, John Henry wrote:

    #14

    There is an attempt at answering your problem at #16, but it is obfuscation of the first order.

    The only offerings at #16 are those elements of the United Kingdom that B_T despises and would cut today. He is unable to provide real economic solutions to the nationalist dilemma because a solution has not been devised. Nationalism is by definition inward looking, the world today, with its many faults, is largely outward looking and cooperative, Welsh Nationalism is much like a swimming against a very strong tide.


    Warning, as #17 reminds us, if you reject the "Separatist" way you will be branded "Anti-"

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  • 19. At 9:55pm on 17 Jul 2009, Bryn_Teilo wrote:

    #17

    The RoI's economy will recover before that of the UK according to the OECD, and before the recent crisis its per capita GDP was ranked seventh as opposed to the UK's fourteenth. Also, the RoI isn't exactly banging the door down to get back into the arms of the UK.

    Iceland has the same population as Cardiff, but its per capita GDP in 2008 was significantly higher than that of the UK. Iceland is not rushing back to Danish rule either. Both countries have serious problems right now, but so does the UK, which is printing money which and storing up even more inflation for the coming years, as well as the massive unprecedented peacetime borrowing that has been incurred so far. It isn't over yet. The real effects will be felt after the next election, when savage cuts in public expenditure will have to take place over at least five years, probably more. The UK is in a sad state - its economy has languished for a century. The decade 1997-2007 was prosperity built on debt, not its payback time.

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  • 20. At 9:57pm on 17 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 16...


    None of the below is funded by or from Wales.

    We are in current receipt of some 11 Billions subsidy from Westminster, whatever taxation is raised in Wales is therefore spent in and on Wales.

    I am afraid it is Bryn T who is the naive one.

    But, as for the 'embassies', would we still be able to afford our present overseas commitments in all the major cities of the world?

    Message 17...

    You must have noticed, Iceland is now sucking up to the EU for membership, couldn't be anything to do with the recent implosion of their financial situation that took much of our council probity down with it...or could it?






    a nuclear deterrent
    - the renewal of trident
    - large armed forces - a standing army, a high seas navy and an airforce with strike capacity
    - two massive aircraft carriers
    - new nuclear power stations
    - the national identity database
    - foreign wars
    - large embassies and overseas diplomatic service
    - a large and expensive parliament (half of it unelected) in London
    - a monarchy with an extended royal family (e.g. 100,000 sterling for the protection of two princesses for one year).





    Message 17...

    You must have noticed, Iceland is now sucking up to the EU for membership, couldn't be anything to do with the recent implosion of their financial situation that took much of our council probity down with it...or could it?

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  • 21. At 10:20pm on 17 Jul 2009, Bryn_Teilo wrote:

    #18

    Its Euro-sceptic Tories like yourself, and the UKIP little Englanders that are the nationalists and ditch diggers, Stonemason.

    Plaid embraces Europe, international co-operation, and peacemaking. It doesn't want to get involved in imperialistic wars, causing immense damage and countless casualties in the Middle East and beyond.

    Its the UK and the US's foreign policies that have largely created Islamic terrorism, together with their current conflicts and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention their support of Israel's appalling treatment of the Palestinians. Young Welsh men and women wouldn't be risking death and injury and causing large numbers of civilian deaths in Afghanistan but for British foreign policy. Wales would have a small defence force whose personnel would be participating in UN peacekeeping efforts instead.

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  • 22. At 08:30am on 18 Jul 2009, John Henry wrote:

    Before commenting on your #21, I would offer you the following .....

    I think that nationalists are doing more ..... than are unionists

    ..... this from National Chair of Plaid Cymru this Tuesday in his blog.

    In Wales, the Nationalists are Plaid.

    On the subject of ditch diggers we presume it is intended as an insult, though I would point out that in the real world, a ditch is needed to remove excess precipitation, a worthy occupation.


    Your final two paragraphs at #21 remind us you are of a pacifist nature with an immature view of the world. In particular, your sentence .....

    "Young Welsh men and women wouldn't be risking death and injury and causing large numbers of civilian deaths in Afghanistan but for British foreign policy."


    Would these deaths be because the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which was established by the UN Security Council, is protecting people against the excesses of the Taliban, and let me emphasise, at the behest of the UN. Have you forgotten the massacres in Afghanistan by the Taliban because the people were of a different ethnic group, or the complete subjugation of women purely because of gender.


    Your views mimic those of Gwynfor Evans, a political bully, who let others take risks for him whilst he stayed at home. There is more to life than growing tomatoes as most Unionists realise.

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  • 23. At 10:36am on 18 Jul 2009, Bryn_Teilo wrote:

    #22 Stonemason wrote:

    '...the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which was established by the UN Security Council, is protecting people against the excesses of the Taliban.. ..at the behest of the UN'

    Although ISAF forces (consisting largely of NATO members) have UN authorisation, one has to bear in mind that the UN Security Council itself is dominated by members of NATO - the US, UK and France. In the last extension of the mandate (UN Security Council Resolution 1776 (2007) Russia abstained.

    There are a myriad states in which human rights abuses take place throughout the world. The treatment of women in Saudi Arabia is appalling, yet the dictatorial regime there is one of the US and UK's closest allies in the Middle East.

    The justification for the invasion of Afghanistan was the attacks of 9/11. Hatred of the West, and particularly of the US, in the Islamic world is a reaction to US foreign policy. Unless and until that is addressed no solution to the problems of the Middle East will ever be found.

    The Afghan conflict is unwinnable. It can only be resolved politically and diplomatically. A complete change of attitude on the part of the US and the UK is required for that to happen. Occupying, bombing, and killing thousands of innocent civilians week after week in Afghanistan isn't going to solve the problem, it will only make it worse. Pakistan has already been further destabilised and only military force there is subduing the dissidents.

    Currently the UK is involved in propping up a corrupt regime in Kabul installed by the US. Conditions for the majority of Afghans is deteriorating. Little or nothing has been done by the US and UK to ameliorate living conditions there, even though the conflict has beeen going on since 2001. The production and export of opium has shot up since the Taliban regime (repugnant as it was) was overthrown. The UK does not have the economic or military resources to subdue Afghanistan, even if it increased its force and equipment there a hundredfold. Afghanistan's population is 33 million.

    I am not and never have been a pacifist, but I do know that trying to dominate and bully other countries using armed force is ultimately futile, and it is always the rich and the powerful who engage in it, so as to maintain their status, wealth and power in the world.

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  • 24. At 10:38am on 18 Jul 2009, Igotitallwrongsorry wrote:

    No.22. Now in trouble with NATS in telling the truth about the SACRED Gwynfor Evans who was tending his garden or what ever whilst the salt of earth of this country was fighting in Europe and elsewhere to hammer the Germans and Japanese between 1939-1945. Its not just the nine billion pounds we'd be missing if the NATS and fellow travellers get their ways they'd also shut all the defence establishments in wales. What I cannot in my life work out is why they dislike the UK which is made up of our own kith and kin for centuries and wish to join in with Germans/French et al in Europe who we saved from them selves 60 years ago.The idea that the French of all people would stump up their money to fund S4C out of taxes plus the billions to keep NATS happy is surely a joke. We must keep hammering the NATS as they have far too much influence,particularly now in the pushing of welsh language education in mainly english speaking areas. United we stand divided we fall and the NATS can rest assured that they aint taking us into the "graveyard" of independance without a fight. Why dont they all move to that little island off north west wales as they surely need some inward migration,whoops their all working in good jobs in Caerdydd funded by english taxpayers!!!.

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  • 25. At 12:15pm on 18 Jul 2009, Lyn David Thomas wrote:

    Back to the question in hand, the way that services in Wales are financed. The Barnett Formula was a stop gap measure to avoid squabbles in cabinet 30 years ago. It was never intended to survive longer than a year or two. It has since become a straight jacket on Wales. Because its population and not needs based it has significantly underfunded Wales for decades and looks as if it will continue to do so. It should be noted that if Wales needs more money because Wales is poor in relation to the UK then the people who have ruled us for decades have failed to lift Wales' position from the bottom of the league tables. This is an indictment of the system and shows that unless Wales becomes master of its own destiny its likely to decline further.

    One last point Stonemason, I don't know how you can describe Gwynfor Evans as a bully, even his worst enemy conceded that he was a gentleman in every sense of the word. He was highly respected right across the political divide. You seem to be determined to paint Plaid as some sort of thuggish party who are just one step removed from terrorists, if not actual terrorists. Again you don't debate, you smear.

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  • 26. At 12:37pm on 18 Jul 2009, John Henry wrote:


    #25

    You obviously cannot read.


    Gwynfor Evans, by threatening to fast to the death unless MT gave into his demands, no-matter what the rights or wrongs of the issue, was a bully.

    I'm not sure how you arrive at the terrorist theme, but when you referred to Plaid as a "thuggish party", I was impressed by your clarity of thought.


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  • 27. At 1:23pm on 18 Jul 2009, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    TheStonemason

    #22

    Who helped create the problem in Afghanistan by arming and training the people who are now killing our soldiers.

    I refer you to
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mujahideen

    The mujahideen were significantly financed and armed (and are alleged to have been trained) by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) during the Carter[5] and Reagan administrations and the governments of Saudi Arabia, the People's Republic of China, several Western European countries, Iran, and Zia-ul-Haq's military regime in Pakistan. The Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was the interagent used in the majority of these activities to disguise the sources of support for the resistance. Under Reagan, U.S. support for the mujahideen evolved into an official U.S. foreign policy, known as the Reagan Doctrine, which included U.S. support for anti-Soviet resistance movements in Afghanistan, Angola, Nicaragua, and elsewhere.[6]

    Ronald Reagan praised mujahideen as "freedom fighters", and four mainstream Western films, the 1987 James Bond film The Living Daylights, the 1988 action films Rambo III, The Beast and the 2007 biographical movie Charlie Wilson's War, portrayed them as heroic.

    This movement became known as the Taliban, meaning "students of Islam", and referring to the Saudi-backed religious schools known for producing extremism. Veteran mujahideen were confronted by this radical splinter group in 1996.

    The rest is history.

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  • 28. At 1:39pm on 18 Jul 2009, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    Even George Thomas respected and used Gwynfor, though he hated him.
    Didn't he say to his mother about when in an Eisteddfod he was afraid to go in unless Gwynfor was with him.

    Quote "Don't worry Mam I'll be safe, Gwynfor will be with me".

    As for political bullies what exactly have all Governments done in starting wars. Then hiding safely in their bunkers back home while somebody else fights and takes risks for them.

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  • 29. At 1:39pm on 18 Jul 2009, Ian wrote:

    The Barnett formula was set up as a temporary needs based formula, but even the deviser of this model (Lord Barnett) admits that Wales has lost out hugely in terms of need, over the longer term.

    The valleys in the south are the biggest reason for a fairer formula as unlike the other mining regions of the UK, their restrictive geography has denied them the opportunity to re-invent themselves after the mines close. Consequently, their ability to contribute to the Welsh economy has been far less than their ability to absorb benefits.

    Wales needs and deserves more funding but as its economy improves from this extra investment, so this additional funding would reduce. This is something that the current formula takes no account of.

    Betsan. Any chance of a blog on the transport announcement? I would really enjoy the Tories trying to claim green credentials after their comments this week.

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  • 30. At 3:56pm on 18 Jul 2009, John Henry wrote:


    #29 your .....

    The valleys in the south are the biggest reason for a fairer formula as unlike the other mining regions of the UK, their restrictive geography has denied them the opportunity to re-invent themselves after the mines close.

    The cost effective answer might have been shipping the people out to geographically kinder areas and bulldozing the valley villages.


    Green transport credentials must be an oxymoron.


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  • 31. At 4:05pm on 18 Jul 2009, Lyn David Thomas wrote:

    Stonemason your various comments on this blog have sought consistently, mainly by innuendo, though sometimes directly (which usually gets your post removed), that Plaid is somehow thuggish and a terrorist party - using extreme language and smear is your style. Gwynfor threatend no violence, he was trying to get the Tories to keep their promise and set up S4C. He managed that. As a life long pacifist the man was much admired. The party that you admire so much has more claim to the thug title, after all I don't think many parties had MPs involved in gun running in the North of Ireland.....

    Now back to the funding of Wales.... what are your thoughts. The current system has not served us well. If we recieved the money that is due to us then maybe we would have some chance of investing in the infrastructure that we need to support our economic recovery and start to rebuild our economy.

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  • 32. At 4:06pm on 18 Jul 2009, Crossroads wrote:

    I'm just glad we decided to buy our hovel in S,W France all those years ago.
    For if the Plaidophiles and rabid Welsh nationalists get their way, we'll be gone like S*** off a shovel....and so will our capital.

    I strongly recommend other fair-minded Welsh folk to purchase a place abroad. France/Spain/Italy/Portugal, all are preferable to a Plaid/nationalist ruled Wales, where the Welsh language will dominate, we will be ruled by idiots, and to pay for all this, just think of all those extra bloody taxes!!!!!!!(Plus now is an excellent time to buy..don't forget to haggle hard)

    Instead, sunshine,sea, better health facilities, laid back lifestyle,lower cost of living, and no Welsh language pressures or rule by moronic Plaido power freaks.

    In fact we're off tonight.

    Cheers.

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  • 33. At 4:57pm on 18 Jul 2009, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    Noah_sembly
    #32

    No French/Spanish/Italian or Portugese spoken in those countries then Only English is it.

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  • 34. At 5:16pm on 18 Jul 2009, nomorepowers wrote:

    How does the NAT Ianapharri have the nerve to give us a history lesson on the Barnett Formula and make the statement a fairer deal would help the people of the South Wales Valleys. Let me know if it wasn't the NATS who robbed the people of the Valleys by taking their money and building roads to nowhere.

    Everyone agrees dueling the Heads of the Valley would be a commercial lifeline for the most poorest communities in Wales. Also the most successful railway line in Wales, (Ebbw Vale line) would hugely benefit the most needy and poorest communities in Wales by extending the line to Newport, unfortunately for those people the NATS stopped this in preference to looking after their own.

    Just as another desperately needed road scheme is scrapped (M4) I would like to ask the NATS to stop working so hard for our poor communities because your interventions are having a real impact on the lives of the most needy. Look at the GDP/GVP

    Finally, can anyone tell me if the objective one / convergence money we receive from Europe is included in the Barnett calculations.


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  • 35. At 5:42pm on 18 Jul 2009, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    #32

    Noah_sembly

    Sorry I had to take a double take at first, but Plaidophiles is uncannily like Paedophiles.

    Surely that is not intentional, to place that in peoples minds eye.

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  • 36. At 6:08pm on 18 Jul 2009, John Henry wrote:


    #31

    "gun running", please expand.

    You are the only commentator that has ever mentioned "terrorists", and my total of comment removal is very low, usually because of a poor link, never using the "T" word. The battles you have with mapexx has resulted in you having many more comments removed.


    I refer you to #11, this could be a proposal for fair funding for the whole of the UK, it could be the funding formula is less of an issue than those who control the funds.


    The cancellation of the M4 relief road by a politician is an example of poor decision making with regard to economic prosperity, the CBI, Chamber Wales, and Federation of Small Businesses are horrified at the decision not to proceed with the project, it is these people who create businesses that generates employment and profits, yet their needs were ignored. Such a project would be at least 5 years in the making, 200 million a year for the project lifetime, out of 15 billion a year, a question of priorities and IWJ said no, tough on the M4 users, tough on the lost opportunities, no doubt it would have been the same for the Nuclear power stations and Severn barrage if the decision making was vested in Cardiff bay.


    #32 Are you coming back Noah...., it's not all lost, Plaid is on the wane.



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  • 37. At 6:29pm on 18 Jul 2009, FiDafydd wrote:

    Re 31

    There was a time when Stonemason, although always invariably wrong, was fairly intelligent about it. But you're right, it's almost always insult and innuendo these days. He seems to live in a parallel world where actually believes that the Welsh nation did not vote for devolution, and that there is no Welsh government down in Cardiff Bay and Cathay's Park.

    Sad.

    So, tell us Stonemason, what is your toff, thug millionaire of a leader going to do about Barnett?

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  • 38. At 6:36pm on 18 Jul 2009, FiDafydd wrote:

    Re 33

    Yes, they're going to love having another extreme British nationalist unfurling his towel on their beaches aren't they?

    There'll be no language problem - he'll just shout at them louder and louder and louder, just as he does here.

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  • 39. At 7:44pm on 18 Jul 2009, Ian wrote:

    34,
    I assume you are referring to the A465 in your comment. Actually, there has been not a single day's delay in the dualling of the this road from this week's announcement and in fact, any decision to go ahead with the M4 relef road would have completly stiffled all A465 dualling for several years, due the the funding being transferred. It's funny how Stonemason and his Tory friends missed out on this 'small' fact.

    IWJ has also agreed to the Ebbw Vale rail link being extended to Newport by 2011. Clearly 34, you missed this in your haste to slag off all things Plaid. It must be difficult for you, when reality gets in the way of your views.

    Speaking as a Civil Engineer, I would welcome people on this blog who actually knew something about transport planning, rather than the usual anti-Plaid ranters. The M4 releif road has been off the cards for at least two years due to the cost, as the tolling would have been so expensive in order to part fund through the private sector, that drivers would have just used the old road-as many do with the M6 tolled road example-a road much cheaper than the planned Newport tolled road and with far more traffic.

    The CBI have yet again ended up looking amateurs in this field and as ever, are 'remarkably' close to the Tory line. When is Mr Rosser going to come out of the political closet and stand for them in Westminster? For an organisation claiming to have its finger on costings, they had no idea how they were going to fund the M4 refief road, had no concern for its long term environmnetal impact and clearly believed that both it and the A465 could be funded in parallel.

    For what it's worth, I think that this week's transport announcement by Ieuan Wyn Jones was radical, sustainable, forward thinking and a real sign that a devolved Wales has the guts to make difficult decisions, for the benefit of future generations.

    Please feel free to discuss.

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  • 40. At 8:08pm on 18 Jul 2009, gonoph wrote:

    FiDafydd said:
    "But you're right, it's almost always insult and innuendo these days."


    ...........and then goes on to say:

    "what is your toff, thug millionaire of a leader going to do.....?".


    The largest pots, the greatest kettles and so very black.




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  • 41. At 8:37pm on 18 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    Message 23....



    quote...

    "....There are a myriad states in which human rights abuses take place throughout the world. The treatment of women in Saudi Arabia is appalling, yet the dictatorial regime there is one of the US and UK's closest allies in the Middle East....."


    And how many times have you been to the KSA?


    I can assure you, from my five years in that kingdom, that women are NOT treated appallingly.


    They are subjected to two major restrictions, one is based on the idea,s promoted strongly by the males, and supported by the religious police, that they should not be in the company of non related males, unless accompanied by a male relative.

    There are even exclusions to that, in that they can travel in taxis driven by a male, as long as they do not sit adjacent the driver, and they can deal with male shop assistants directly.

    The other restriction is they are not allowed to drive cars, at present, although there is a swelling movement to get that restriction overturned. Again it is to do with the potential they may make liaisons with non related males, in other words meet up with lovers, etc.

    Quite often considering the way this western way of life has gone over recent decades, I find myself, to a small degree, in sympathy with those restrictions.


    Although having the right to easy divorce, the males do not take such action lightly, it costs big time, and divorce rates are among the lowest in the world. Women in fact are treated with a high degree kindness and respect, far higher I would suggest than many women in the west.

    So before you rattle on, I suggest you acknowledge that your information is baseless, and your experinece non existent.

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  • 42. At 8:46pm on 18 Jul 2009, John Henry wrote:


    #37

    I rather hope something along the lines of #11, though I doubt any politician will be tough enough to share the funding cake equally according to numbers across the whole UK, letting the people decide what their priorities are. And if they want more, let them ask the taxpayers.

    #39

    Economy and Transport have 1.6 billion next year, projected 1.3 the following 4 years. The M4 relief requires a billion over its construction period, the funds are there, its a question of political priorities, they are obviously not targeted towards the road of greatest concern to businesses.

    The A465 is a much smaller project though a very important link between Neath and the A40 onward to the M50, the decisions relating to this project is again political.

    Your ..... For what it's worth, ......... , for the benefit of future generations, is your subscription to the agenda of Jones and pals, a subjective opinion, a policy document covered with green and yellow.



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  • 43. At 9:03pm on 18 Jul 2009, nomorepowers wrote:

    39

    Pork pies again !!

    The Ebbw Vale - Newport Rail Link was supposed to be completed by 2009 and if you can honestly believe a day has not been lost on the HOV A465 please tell the people of Hirwaun to Merthyr why since the Abergavenny link was completed there has not been any sight of plant or workmen on the road. Must be on an extended break and if I am not mistaken was it not the honest and open IWJ who refused to release his transport undertakings.

    Finally, I ask once again........ can anyone tell me if the objective one / convergence money we receive from Europe is included in the Barnett calculations.


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  • 44. At 9:28pm on 18 Jul 2009, John Henry wrote:


    #43

    Barnett funds would include the match funding for European programmes, the funds from EU are in addition to Barnett.

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  • 45. At 10:45pm on 18 Jul 2009, Gwyrangon wrote:

    These 'I hate eveything Welsh' loonies are so entertaining, but I feel almost guilty laughing at them.

    Take poor old mapexx - post 8 - who asks why Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland should be treated any different to other "regions of the UK". Obviously no one will convince him that Wales is different but has he been asleep for the past 40 years - doesn't he realise that there's been a war in Northern Ireland waged by those who do not wish to live in a "region of the UK"? Mightn't that make it just a teeny-weeny bit different to the West Midlands?

    Others of his ilk argue that Wales should receive no special treatment. Don't they realise that if Wales were to suffer the kind of poverty that would result from such an approach Wales would soon cease to be a "region of the UK"? For what the English government does in Wales is to cleverly guarantee just enough public spending to keep the natives from coming to their senses by making them believe it's their own fault they're poor.

    As for Scotland, it too has been exploited. Had the oil revenues gone to Scotland instead of being wasted on imperialist adventures and grandiose projects by London governments Scotland could today be on a par with Norway. As more and more Scots realise this, with a successful nationalist administration in Edinburgh, and an independence referendum in the next year or two, how much longer will Scotland remain a "region of the UK"?

    Finally, if we are all equal partners in Great Britain plc why can't the wealth be shared out equally as it would in any other business? (And most other advanced countries.) Why is it that the wealth in this State has, for centuries, gravitated to, and remained in, the south-east of England? What great natural resources are there in Surrey? What great tradition of manufacturing can we find in Buckinghamshire?

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  • 46. At 02:05am on 19 Jul 2009, Ian wrote:

    42/Stonemason,
    You correctly point out that economic development and transport fall under the same umbrella, but fail to state what you would get rid of in order to fund the M4 relief road. I am sure that the FSB would be very interested to know that all support for small businesses would be pulled for a few years to pay for a road-under the Tories. Furthermore, you clearly have no understanding of the true cost of dualling the A465; a highway that not only reaches the greatest altitude of any main road in the UK but also travels through a small gorge (Clydach) and extensive mineworkings.

    As for your final comment, of course my statement is subjective, but an opinion of subjectivity that huge numbers of Civil Engineers share. We are after all trained to engineer the environment and so are more aware than most of what global warming is likely to do to our planet, nation and community.

    43,
    No porkie pies at all. The previous administration promised the link to Ebbw Vale and this was completed under the current Plaid Minister. He has now committed to ensuring that this link extends to both Cardiff and Newport.

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  • 47. At 06:59am on 19 Jul 2009, Dewi_H wrote:

    @44 - Barnett doesn't include match funding Stoney - that's the point to be honest. One of the difficulties in taking advantage of Objective 1 was/is that the match funding element would come from a Barnett formula that didn't allow for the programme.

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  • 48. At 07:44am on 19 Jul 2009, -Drachenfyre- wrote:

    On topic and re: 14, 16, 18, 23,

    An independent Welsh principality would be able to craft an economic strategy that would attract businesses to Wales. Wales would always be economically engaged with England, and this would be healthy for both countries.

    Wales location to central England (and to France via the channel tunnel and S. Wales ports) would attract businesses to set up manufacturing and distribution centers there; especially if an English parliament maintained a corporate tax thresh-higher then would Wales. A Welsh economic minister and Welsh parliament would be able to pursue a policy wholly answerable to the needs of the Welsh people. Couple a lower corporate tax thresh-hold with energy rebates to businesses and the location of Wales to the English midlands, and corporations would be lining up to place manufacturing and distribution centers in Wales. This is how businesses would be attracted to Wales.

    The issue of language is a dead horse, as clearly companies care not what the locals speak, so long as they can manage costs they would be willing do locate anywhere.

    Wales is fortunate because it does have exploitable natural resources. If they could exploit them for their own good rather then have their natural resources siphoned off to another nation. As award wining economist Dr. D. J. Davies wrote, the Welsh economy would benefit directly with an energy and public works program similar to the Tennessee Valley Authority, (Perhaps a Welsh Energy Authority?). Energy would be generated from hydroelectric and wind stations, as well as from oil refining and from nuclear power in Anglesey. Excess energy could be sold to the international energy market generating profits which would lower energy costs for the average Welsh family. Additionally, such a public works program would employ many thousands of Welshmen and women for generations.

    With businesses saving money on corporate tax and on manufacturing by locating in Wales, as well as distribution savings located just across the border from the English midlands, costs for products made in Wales would be less and would save English consumers money too! A win-win.

    As Bryn has pointed out, independent nations with comparable populations have been able to do much more with much less. Wales would be no different.

    Currently, Welsh interests are handicapped because of the union with England. With the Welsh MPs constantly out voted, English MPs have more direct influence on economic policies in Britain, and therefore the economic policies favor companies to locate in England rather then elsewhere.

    With an independent Wales, a Welsh government and parliament would have the constitutional authority to direct fiscal policy and spending, and the need for the Barnett formula would be unnecessary.

    ___________________________________________________________

    An independent Wales would need to fund a healthy military force that would be used primarily through the United Nations, and other bilateral alliance agreements, to defend Welsh sovereignty and those of her allies.

    More then likely, Welsh interest would be compatible with England, as both would benefit from relatively world wide free trade routes, and one could see Welsh military unites on deployment in peace keeping missions.

    Though not directly targeted by al Qaeda and the Talaban, an independent Wales, allied through NATO or sanctioned through the United Nations, could deploy forces into international hot-spots such as Afghanistan, especially if such a deployment was subsidized by another nation. It should not be forgotten that al Qaeda is the enemy of every free secular democratic Western nation including Wales, not just the US and England.

    ___________________________________________________________

    Re: 26

    Gwynfor Evans was no bully, lol! Thats Nye Bevan and Margeret Thatcher for you!

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  • 49. At 07:47am on 19 Jul 2009, John Henry wrote:

    #46

    It is not a simple question of what to get rid of, but rather the political wish, for example the final budget for Economy and Transport has dropped from 1.6 billion to 1,185,511 for 2009-10 (-3,738) and to 1,194,165 for 2010-2011 (-6,581).

    Social Justice and Local Government has risen by exactly the same amounts, 4,403,494 for 2009-2010 (+3,738) and to 4,535,813 (+6,581)

    The political explanation for the movement of funds from the Economy and Transport budget is .....

    Transfer out of £3,738k in 2009-10 and £6,581k in 2010-11 from the Improving Integration & Delivery of Local Transport SPA to the Revenue Support Grant BEL in the Social Justice and Local Government MEG for implementation of the provision for extended primary school transport.


    I would refer you to your previous at #39 where you wrote ....

    For what it's worth, I think that this week's transport announcement by Ieuan Wyn Jones was radical, sustainable, forward thinking and a real sign that a devolved Wales has the guts to make difficult decisions, for the benefit of future generations.

    A retraction maybe ?

    Your .....

    Furthermore, you clearly have no understanding of the true cost of duelling the A465;

    I am well aware of civil engineering costs and how they vary due to geographical variations, it's the political variations that are the true problem, a narrow gorge and mine workings pale in comparison to the machinations at Cardiff Bay.


    A small reminder of the reason for the Economy and Transport budget .....

    For use by Welsh Ministers on Economy and Transport including promoting economic, social or environmental well-being;

    Not my words, directly from Pandemonium Bay Cardiff.

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  • 50. At 07:52am on 19 Jul 2009, John Henry wrote:


    #47

    Page 13 of the Welsh Assembly Government Final Budget 2009-2010 .....

    Match Funding 2009-2010 35 million, 2010- 2011 40 million

    ..... if it is not Barnett what is it, it is certainly funding.

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  • 51. At 08:06am on 19 Jul 2009, John Henry wrote:


    -Drachenfyre-, I read with interest your words at 48

    Interesting rhetoric, where do you propose to recruit the political leadership to steer this new ship of state, at Cardiff Bay, or from Plaid personnel I see plenty of stokers, hot air, but little in the way of navigation.


    I notice your retention of the description "principality", do you propose inviting the Prince of Wales to stay on.

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  • 52. At 08:22am on 19 Jul 2009, Dewi_H wrote:

    Match funding is found by the WAG out of its budget. The budget is calculated bt Barnett. However the formula does not recognise match funding needs. Thus match funding is provided at the expense of other stuff.

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  • 53. At 10:28am on 19 Jul 2009, -Drachenfyre- wrote:

    51. TheStonemason wrote:

    -Drachenfyre-, I read with interest your words at 48

    Interesting rhetoric, where do you propose to recruit the political leadership to steer this new ship of state, at Cardiff Bay, or from Plaid personnel I see plenty of stokers, hot air, but little in the way of navigation.


    I notice your retention of the description "principality", do you propose inviting the Prince of Wales to stay on.

    _____________________________________________________

    Re: 51

    I have faith in the Welsh people. Welsh men and women, and naturalized Welsh citizens, would step forward to lead their nation. Once independent, you may have talented Welsh men and women return home too! These talents may come from rival parties as well. As Wales most likely will continue to have four main parties in the foreseeable future, coalition governments and parliaments will become the norm. This is not a bad thing, as coalition governments would blunt the extreme element of any one party, and promoting a centrist and middle-of-the-road government style. I like that. Countries like the Netherlands, Denmark, and Belgium have all demonstrated the virtues of coalition governments, even across politically opposing philosophies.

    Furthermore, I think you would see much different behavior from all of the politicians in Wales once the issue of Unionism is removed. Once Wales is independent, and the parties loyal to their constituents in Wales, rather then to party bosses in another country (who are themselves slaves to the numerically dominate English voter); you will see them refocus their energies on policies which would benefit the people of Wales directly.

    This leads to your second point. Yes, I think a Welsh constitutional monarchy would be the best political framework for Wales; especially in the context of reoccurring coalition governments. This would allow a perspective Welsh prime minister to focus solely on the mechanics of government, and not show-boating. This would allow the technocratic to become prime minister, not necessarily the most photogenic.

    In those nations with a constitutional monarchy, the monarch maintains between 70 and 85 per cent job approval rating, consistently out-performing the approval rating of elected officials. A constitutional and politically non-partisan Prince or Princess of Wales, as head of state, would embody and personify a distinctly Welsh national identity above party politics in a way that an elected president, one who is by implication elected by only some of the people, can not.

    A Welsh Prince of Princess would, by necessity, be able to speak both Welsh and English (with a Welsh accent) reside year round in Wales, and head a distinctly Welsh Honors system. Funding for a Welsh monarchy would be modest, and indeed not cost any more then maintaining a president.

    To put it in commercial terms, a Prince or Princess of Wales is a brand, much the same as the monarchies in other nations, one that would be easily recognized over generations, and formulating formal and informal relations with leaders of other nations.

    Essayist Sion Jobbins suggested asking a junior member of the Windsor family to become Prince of Wales. This is what the people of Norway did when they invited a junior son of the Danish royal family to become their king in 1907. However, I tend to favor the suggestion made by Dr. D.J. Davies of raising a member of the Welsh gentry family to the position. One who has contributed to the interests of Welsh culture and society through the generations. From my perspective, I would invite Evan Vaughan Anwyl of Ty-Mawr, Tywyn, and Merionydd, to become Prince of Wales. According to Burkes Peerage, Evan Vaughn Anwyl, b. 1943, is the only known direct patrilineal descendent of Rhodri the Great (d. 878), Gruffydd ap Cynan (d. 1137) and Owain Gwynedd (d. 1170) and heir to the Aberffraw legacy.

    Prehaps Evan Vaughn would adopt the name of state as Owain V, or Dafydd III, or Llywelyn II, or prehaps remain as Prince Evan? (Carl of Demark adopted the name of state Haakon V.)

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  • 54. At 10:39am on 19 Jul 2009, -Drachenfyre- wrote:

    re: 53,

    err! I ment to say 'Llewellyn III'! (not second!)

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  • 55. At 11:41am on 19 Jul 2009, -Drachenfyre- wrote:

    41, mapexx wrote:
    Message 23....



    quote...

    "....There are myriad states in which human rights abuses take place throughout the world. The treatment of women in Saudi Arabia is appalling, yet the dictatorial regime there is one of the US and UK's closest allies in the Middle East....."


    And how many times have you been to the KSA?


    I can assure you, from my five years in that kingdom, that women are NOT treated appallingly.


    They are subjected to two major restrictions, one is based on the ideas promoted strongly by the males, and supported by the religious police, that they should not be in the company of non related males, unless accompanied by a male relative.

    There are even exclusions to that, in that they can travel in taxis driven by a male, as long as they do not sit adjacent the driver, and they can deal with male shop assistants directly.

    The other restriction is they are not allowed to drive cars, at present, although there is a swelling movement to get that restriction overturned. Again it is to do with the potential they may make liaisons with non related males, in other words meet up with lovers, etc.

    Quite often considering the way this western way of life has gone over recent decades, I find myself, to a small degree, in sympathy with those restrictions.


    Although having the right to easy divorce, the males do not take such action lightly, it costs big time, and divorce rates are among the lowest in the world. Women in fact are treated with a high degree kindness and respect, far higher I would suggest than many women in the west.

    _______________________________________________________


    OMG! I can not believe I have read this correctly! Are you truly defending the status of women in Saudi Arabia!?!!!? They are second class citizens! To say nothing of the honor killings committed in Saudi Arabia and aloud to go unpunished! I can not believe anyone is actually defending sexism! Its unconscionable!

    I am appalled! wow!

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  • 56. At 12:47pm on 19 Jul 2009, Ian wrote:

    49,
    Why should I retract what I have said on the radical nature of the transport announcement? Any government has to prioritise its spending and in this case, I fail to see the problem with using some funding for the Foundation phase of education-a policy I remember the Tories actually supporting. I re-iterate my point that the reason why the announcement was so different, is because the emphasis is now much more on real alternatives to car use. Whereas previously, while there have been many warm words about 'integrated transport', only pennies have been spent on it. There is now a realisation that there needs to be a marked shift in priorities from huge road spending that will ultimately create more congestion; something that the M4 relief road would have done at its end destination.

    I am not anti-road and realise the importance of constant investment in the national network. Yet, the whole argument for a new motorway has been driven largely by one or two traffic accidents on the M4 in the last few years, that have caused gridlock. Let me paint a scenario for you. What happens if we build a new motorway and starve the rest of Wales of transport investment? On a wet Monday morning, there are simultaneous accidents on the old and new roads (not unheard of) and again there is gridlock-no change!

    The argument for such a new road is more relevant where there is a missing link, such as there was for decades crossing Briton Ferry on the M4. That lack of committment strangled Swansea and West Wales, a problem by the way created by Tory Wyn Roberts when Thatcher was in power. The M4 relief road is not about filling in a missing link but doubling capacity due to peak time congestion at the Brynglas tunnels and the memories of gridlock on very few occasions. If it was a fraction of the price, its case would be far stronger. However, you still fall into the Tory/CBI trap of shouting for more roads at every opportunity, yet giving no priority to serious investment in public transport.

    Your comments on the A465 again skip over the realities. The cost and complexities of dualling through the Clydach gorge are enormous.

    As a Plaid supporter, I am well aware of the difference between the freedom of opposition and the stark realities of governing. As a Tory in opposition, I welcome your challenges to coalition policy and also the fact that you have gone beyond anti-Plaid rants in your comments. However, if it is your proposal to grab more monies from other departments for this huge road scheme, please clarify what you intend to cut?
    Monies have indeed been increased to Local Government, but much of this has been specifically ring fenced, spending on issues such as waste management and recycling. This money has enabled Wales to not only catch up with England in terms of recycling rates but to overtake them in many aspects.

    If the Welsh Tories/CBI want to continue denying the realities of the funding squeeze, global warming and an historical underspend on public transport, then so be it. Let's see if you win enough seats for power in Cadiff in two years, and then you can enact your ideas.

    I am nothing if a democrat,

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  • 57. At 3:10pm on 19 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 55....


    AS I instantly recognised, no experience at all.


    Women are NOT second class citizens in KSA, in fact many run their own business's one of the largest private drug manufacturing companies, is owned outright by a woman, making her one of the richest, non oil based, billionaires in the Gulf region.

    Many others, are college and uni graduates with degrees in medicine, engineering, IT, communications etc. and a whole host of disciplines that some here in the non Muslim countries think should be the domain of males.
    Unless and until you have the experience of those who have spent some time in KSA, those that took detailed notice of the social set up over there, I suggest you restrain from commenting on what you do not know, and restrict yourself to what you do know.

    As for your comments about 'honour killings' again you can only mention what the western press makes big issue of.

    I see little attempt here in the UK to restrict the same 'honour killings' amongst a certain sector of our society.

    Nor do I see much in the way of matching general female murder to that of Saudi Arabia.

    As I have told you, the incidence of casual murder in the kingdom is minute, usually by foreigners on foreigners, unlike in the UK, Wales especially, where murder is now treated as ,little more than shoplifting quite often.

    At least if such an event takes places today in KSA, there are severe and almost instant penalties to pay.

    Yes, they may chop off someones head in the town square, and make a public spectacle of it, but that has one certain effect, it makes people behave.
    I see little wrong in that, because invariably they get the correct killer under the sword, unlike here, where thanks to rapid and smart lawyers,a killer can get out of it, and an innocent man spend decades behind bars for crimes he did not commit.

    No pal you are like an innocent in wonderland, you don't know KSA, it's rules and laws, nor it's mores. When you have taken time to look it all up, and begin to understand it, then maybe you can comment. Until then, do as I suggest, and keep to what you know, not what the Sun tells you.

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  • 58. At 4:00pm on 19 Jul 2009, Lyn David Thomas wrote:

    Stonemason, look up the history of the Ulster Unionists, at the time of the Irish Home Rule bill, who were going to resist it by force of Arms. The conservative party was complicit in supplying these militia with arms.

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  • 59. At 4:31pm on 19 Jul 2009, John Henry wrote:


    #58

    Lyn_Thomas, I have been on tenterhooks waiting for you to spill the beans on a Conservative criminal at Westminster .....

    ..... 1886 First Irish Home Rule Bill, 1893 Second Irish Home Rule Bill, 1914 Third Irish Home Rule Act, or the 1920 Fourth Irish Home Rule Act.

    ..... which one please, and lets have names or a link, or a book, or anything that provides proof positive. Less than the truth is not good enough.


    56 ianapharri,

    The point I have been making is the decision making is political agenda, it is not possible to offer value based alternatives because of the way government operates, no matter who was responsible, what are the facts relating to the shift of funding from the A465. Will the general population have access to the unabridged report that Ieuan Wyn Jones based in actions on, or will its publication be restricted to the Assembly.

    There is no rocket science here, only political judgements.


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  • 60. At 4:37pm on 19 Jul 2009, christiancitizen wrote:

    Some interesting points in response to my earlier comment at .14 One or two things that concern me though.

    1. If we were to leave the UK then a large number of public sector jobs would leave Wales. The thousands of people employed at the large tax office in Cardiff and the DVLA in Swansea are just two examples of this. Remember, the public sector is Wales' biggest employer. This would dramatically reduce reduce tax revenue and push up unemployment.

    2. The remaining Welsh public sector will still need to be funded. NHS Cymru, our schools and colleges, a new Welsh Social Security system, Welsh defence forces etc.

    3. Social Security is already the main source of income in many parts of South Wales. Would an independent Wales be able to fund the present levels of spending?

    4. 15-20 years ago the idea of an independent economic strategy attracting more manufacturing to Wales might have worked. Since then, however we've seen a massive exodus of those jobs to Asia and to eastern europe where wage bills are lower and where (as far as asia goes) workers have few rights and health and safety is a joke. Sony's departure from Bridgend is a notable example of this trend. Sadly the problem hasn't stopped there. The digital revolution has resulted in jobs in call centres and IT support also going east.

    5. If I remember correctly, the First Minister highlighted the need for a more specialised workforce to try and attract more specialised hi-tech industries to Wales. This will need a massive investment in education and training and in our infrastructure. European grants and the paltry sum that could be raised from the remaining Welsh taxpayers would not be enough to fund this.

    6. Given the recent amounts of money that the UK government has put into the banking system, how would an independent Wales have saved it's own banking sector?

    If Wales is to have a viable future then it is going to need UK tax-payers money. We will still have a voice in Europe and at the UN. It may be the UK's voice but it carries a lot more weight than Wales' voice would.

    As for Barnett, the formula has been around for some time and could do with being reviewed. Given the inevitable spending restraints that this will mean then Wales may have to be wiser with it's money. The next 10 years may be hard, but at least we won't be on our own.

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  • 61. At 5:00pm on 19 Jul 2009, FiDafydd wrote:

    Re 57

    So mapexx, you wouldn't mind seeing public beheadings held in town squares all over Wales??!!!

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  • 62. At 5:33pm on 19 Jul 2009, -Drachenfyre- wrote:

    re: 57

    I have never read something more chauvinistic in my entire life! I am astounded by your comments Mapexx, more so then your usual anti-Welsh rants. Now I can add sexist and anti-woman too!

    Right now, there is no national parliament for women to be elected to and vote in, and the only elections ever held in 2005, women were barred from standing for public office and even voting! This and the fact that they do not have gender equality in all other aspects of the law and society makes them second class citizens.

    To see any virtue in this political and social arrangement is alarming and troubling.

    I am an internationalist, and have lived in S. E. Asia for five years and have a healthy respect for many world cultures. Respect of a foreign culture stops when human rights violations are evident, codified into law, or aloud to occur because it is traditional. One can not sacrifice basic human freedoms as gender equality, racial and ethnic equality, religious freedom, and sexuality equality.

    The 5% of women in the workplace are segrated into low waged jobs away from men, dispite the fact that 70 percent of women have attended universities!

    Women may not become judges or lawyers, or hold any position or high office which are reserved for men only!

    Women are forced into a dress code, while men are not. These women will be harassed by Religious Police if they are found out of uniform.

    In law, women may not testify in a court of law unless it is a personal matter that did not occur in the sight of a man. And in Saudi legal jurisprudence, a womans testimony is considered presumption, not fact. The reasoning?

    Women are much more emotional than men and will, as a result of their emotions, distort their testimony.
    Women do not participate in public life, so they will not be capable of understanding what they observe.
    Women are dominated completely by men, who by the grace of God are deemed superior; therefore, women will give testimony according to what the last man told them.
    Women are forgetful, and their testimony cannot be considered reliable

    You can read more on wiki, Women's rights in Saudi Arabia

    Your views on women in Saudi Arabia are abhorrent, and the fact that you sympathize with them ( "Quite often considering the way this western way of life has gone over recent decades, I find myself, to a small degree, in sympathy with those restrictionsis"), is frightening and I feel truely sorry for any women in your life.

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  • 63. At 5:47pm on 19 Jul 2009, christiancitizen wrote:

    How did we get from the Barnett formula to human rights in Saudi Arabia?

    I think we need to try and keep these discussions on track.

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  • 64. At 5:52pm on 19 Jul 2009, -Drachenfyre- wrote:

    When one speaks of admiring and respecting other cultures, they speak of course, of art, architecture, literature, the cadence and song of their language and the endearing turns of phrases, of national cuisine (prepared humanely of course), of music and dance. Each culture has a unique and rewarding expression that enriches all of humanity.

    But all of that stops when human rights are violated and entrenched in a culture.

    The fact that Islamic law wishes their women to be treated with honor and respect is admirable and commendable. Sharia law discriminates against women and segregates them in society and even in the home, and is intolerable. Its a violation of basic human rights.

    If, in a democratic society where rights are enshrined in a constitution or code of laws, a women wishes to wear the abaya, hijab, nigab, then she is most welcome to, as one can trust she has the freedom to make such a choice. But in a society where she may not vote, demonstrate, or voice her views in public and affect change, is criminal.

    I respect freedom of speech too much, but by All the Gods of Man, I am truly disgusted by your sentiments Mapexx.

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  • 65. At 6:39pm on 19 Jul 2009, nomorepowers wrote:

    No. 60

    You make some excellent points but unfortunately like I mentioned earlier don't expect the NATS to make a realistic and factual business case that will ensure Wales does not become a third World country as a result of separation.

    PS You also forgot to mention the National statistics office.

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  • 66. At 7:10pm on 19 Jul 2009, John Henry wrote:


    #60 christiancitizen .....

    ..... I would guess you must be deafened by the Plaid responses to your simple question.

    Further to nomorepowers, there is also the UK Intellectual Property Office in Newport.

    The 70 percent of employment being government funded is a remarkable problem brought about by politicians trying to help mitigate unemployment in the past. But for the last decade, little has been done that has a lasting effect.

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  • 67. At 7:11pm on 19 Jul 2009, Jack_Wilkinson wrote:

    christiancitizen.
    In Newport alone......UK regional tax office...Uk regional Passport office..Uk Office of National Statistics....Uk Patent Office...Uk headquarters of the Probation Service...UK headquarters of Prison Officers.
    Swansea, the DVLA employs over 4000. The Royal Mint, Llantrissant employs over 800. Last Friday on the HTV news, it was said that Swansea has the highest number of State employees of any UK town or city.

    Anyway, its all by the by, independence is never going to happen, the vote share for Plaid was dwarfed by the Conservative vote in the 2005 General election.

    In the first assembly election, Plaid had about 27% of the vote share, Conservatives about 15%. Every election since, Plaids vote share has gone steadily down and Conservatives going steadily up, in the last assembly election Conservatives had a greater vote share.

    As Huw Lewis is now saying, their battle is not with Plaid, it's with the Conservatives. What's more telling, is the obvious anger of Labour MPs who never wanted devolution in the first place. They've seen their party lose vote share in Wales at a faster rate than elsewhere in the UK, they know who to blame. Independence, no chance, is devolution here forever? Doubtful.

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  • 68. At 7:27pm on 19 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 64....

    It is you that should be disgusted with your personal views on other cultures.

    Why should you have the right to criticise another, even f alien to you, culture, you do not belong to it, and therefore cannot begin to suit it with your personal take on 'human rights'

    Just because Saudi Arabia, a deeply religious, and highly cultured state, conforms to a different set of mores, and follows a civil and social code you have neither concept, or experience of, does not mean that a half of their population, a very well educated and coddled female half, must be treated as you may treat your women.

    As I said, you are speaking from a position of total ignorance, I can assure you that the Saudi, if not in general terms, the Muslim Woman, is not treated like a second class person, even here in the UK. Generally they are the BOSS, in a big way, in their homes, They dictate terms that you would not even begin to tolerate your own women dictating.

    As I said before, you may feel what I say is disgusting, but that is because you are ignorant of the matter of which you speak.

    Yes, they may well be restricted in their social manoeuvres, but that is the way their system, culture, and most importantly, their religion works, you have no rights whatsoever to criticise their status, because you only know what the tabloids tell you. Page three of the Sun would dearly love to have a Muslim with her chest exposed to the world, just to prove they are 'human beings', in our terms of understanding. But just as I am sure you would not want either your wife or daughter similarly exposed, neither does the Muslim male want his females adorning western rags.

    Maybe we should take a leaf out of his book?

    I am sure, that given you trust your females not to 'wander', they probably do not, however, thanks to the more primitive, and essentially different way of life, experience has taught the Muslim he cannot trust his females when out in the external environment. Not because he cannot actually trust his females, but being a man, he knows only too well he cannot trust his fellow man. Actually, no more than you can, but your society is rather different.

    In our society, there is nothing but personal restraint operating on your behalf, and as I said before, what you see as 'freedom' is not necessarily how other cultures see the same, freedom to one can be seen as over-liberality in another.

    The Muslim sees freedom of the individual as a privilege of the male. In doing so, he see a female as not the same as you do, an individual, but as a part of his way of life. Yours can do whatever she wants, probably does so, his cannot, and as I know for a fact, does not want to.

    Ask any Muslim woman if she feels restricted.

    Some may say.. Yes!, but usually they have been contaminated by western values. The same question asked of a Saudi Arabian woman would fetch you a very sharp rebuke, unless you were on about driving cars.

    I know, because I have asked the question. And received that rebuke for my pains.

    What you see as disgusting I have to say I do find somewhat restrictive, from my western point of view, but also charming, in it's implied simplicity and innocence..

    That you cannot accept what is, after all a matter not of your concern, says far more about your attitude to women than mine.

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  • 69. At 7:31pm on 19 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    MESSAGE 61...

    Thanks for putting the idea into my mind.

    Which town square would you prefer to be 'done' in.

    Pontypridd, Cwmbran, Tredegar?


    Arrangements will not take long, so you will not have to brood on it overmuch.

    My Scimitar is nice and sharp, and I have a very strong builders arm to swing it.

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  • 70. At 7:43pm on 19 Jul 2009, Dewi_H wrote:

    @67 - just for the record Plaid's vote share went up at the last Assembly elections.

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  • 71. At 7:58pm on 19 Jul 2009, John Henry wrote:


    If you add the votes cast for constituency and regional, the last three elections have seen the Plaid vote reduce, until the last Assembly election where the Conservatives received 4005 votes more than Plaid, the vagaries of the proportional representation used gave Plaid 5 more seats than the Conservatives, democracy in action some might say though not this writer.

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  • 72. At 8:18pm on 19 Jul 2009, FiDafydd wrote:

    Re 69

    I had a feeling you might like killing people.

    It is interesting to note that over the past few days you have been telling anyone willing to listen - in anything but tolerant terms - that you will not tolerate any Christian influence on our society. It's a matter of fairy tales you say. So, I assume that you believe that Islam is also a religion of fairy tales. So, to use your logic - why should anyone in Saudi Arabia, man or woman, accept the regime?

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  • 73. At 8:18pm on 19 Jul 2009, Jack_Wilkinson wrote:

    @67 - just for the record Plaid's vote share went up at the last Assembly elections.

    Maybe so, both the Conservatives and Plaid stole votes of Rhodri's hapless Llafur, but the Conservatives gained more. Much like in the Council elections, Plaid gained 30 council seats off their parters in crime, but Conservatives gained 67.
    But your little gains off Labour and larger Conservative gains off Labour, is not good for your overall cause, Neil Kinnock, is not dead and he certainly isn't powerless, and by all accounts he's a tad peeved.

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  • 74. At 8:21pm on 19 Jul 2009, Fitzmark2 wrote:

    The Barnett Formula when it was first set up was generally perceived in England as an altruistic attempt to divide the national wealth according to need in the regions of Britain.

    Now and increasingly, since devolution (a democratic sham in Wales) and the ever widening cracks in the British constitution it is seen as an unfair burden on the English taxpayer.

    By all means if you think you can go it alone and you do so democratically (based on the referendum results of 97, I doubt it) then bon voyage and hurry along there. Your departure would be a sad, but welcome benefit to the English taxpayer; sad in the sense that the English and the Anglo-Welsh (the majority of the Welsh) share a common language, culture and legal identity.

    Thinking on it though separation is nothing more than a non attainable dream proceeding from an over heated and excitable nationalist brain.

    Welsh nationalists, their supporters and fellow separatists have always seemed to me to be a particularly, ungrateful, undemocratic and selfish combination of individuals.

    The economic, social and cohesive benefits of remaining within the British constitution far outweigh the silly dream of separation.

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  • 75. At 8:23pm on 19 Jul 2009, Dewi_H wrote:

    Correct Stony but in the last elections Plaid's share went up in both constituency and regional vote - which Jack seemed to deny.

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  • 76. At 8:29pm on 19 Jul 2009, Dewi_H wrote:

    I agree Stony that the Tories had very bad luck in how the PR system works - very close tp Plais in Sout East and South West calculations.

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  • 77. At 9:06pm on 19 Jul 2009, Jack_Wilkinson wrote:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/vote2005/html/region_10.stm

    Somethings gotta change!!! Conservatives with 21.4% of the vote, gets the same number of MPs, as Plaid with 12.6%...3 each!!

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  • 78. At 9:25pm on 19 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    Message 72....


    Pity I am not allowed the privilege. but to respond to the rest of your tripe.


    Yes Islam IS based on total nonsense, as with all religions. however I was not defending Islam in my remarks to A.N.Other.

    I was defending the rights of a exotic somewhat alien culturally rich state to live their lives as they see fit.

    That their culture is based on their religion is besides the point.

    That being with the amount of everyday killings of females in this country, by both strangers and persons known to the victim, no one in this country has the right to criticise another country for it's stance on murder, or the way their system is constructed, with regards their females, as I mentioned, who are treated a damn sight better in many cases than females are treated in this country.
    And, which females have a great deal more freedom, as seen in their own eyes, than many of ours do here in the UK.

    But unfortunately you can see no value in anything I say, that is why you are the fool you really are, and why you are taken so by virtually all who tend to agree with me, be it on the language, the Assembly or anything else you opine on.

    Once again you stick your antagonistic and unwelcome oar into someone else's discussion, adding nothing, but being, as usual, ignorantly intrusive.

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  • 79. At 9:44pm on 19 Jul 2009, Ian wrote:

    59/Stonemason,

    I agree with your comments about political judgement and am happy with the judgement that IWJ has made in this case. We will have to differ on this issue.

    In terms of releasing information, I do not know why it was not released sooner but can confirm that there was not one day's delay added to the A465 programme after a Plaid Minister took over. Any date to change the original programme was made under Andrew Davies, an issue that Huw Lewis appears to have no concerns about. I am sure that this has nothing to do with their leadership campaign.

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  • 80. At 9:45pm on 19 Jul 2009, FiDafydd wrote:

    Re 78

    Not for the first time you say:

    "Once again you stick your antagonistic and unwelcome oar into someone else's discussion"

    - now, that may wash in Saudia Arabia, but here - I believe - we live in a democracy.

    And then the most egotistic statement that I've ever read on this or any other blog!!! :

    "But unfortunately you can see no value in anything I say, that is why you are the fool you really are..."

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  • 81. At 9:58pm on 19 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 80....


    Stick with the last line old fruit, just so everyone else can see how much of a fool you are.

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  • 82. At 10:19pm on 19 Jul 2009, Lyn David Thomas wrote:

    For Stonemason

    In March 1914, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom H. H. Asquith re-introduced the Third Home Rule Bill for Ireland into the British House of Commons. This alarmed members of the Ulster Unionist Party because they knew the House of Lords could no longer save them from Home Rule because of the recent adoption of the Parliament Act 1911. By April 1914, the Unionists, led by Edward Carson and James Craig, were desperate. They approached Major Fred Crawford, a well-known smuggler, to import guns and ammunition from Imperial Germany into Ulster for their Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) to show their determination to oppose Home Rule. Crawford hatched "Operation Lion", hiring two ships, the Fanny and the Clyde Valley to transport arms from Hamburg to the North. The main operation took place on the 24 April 1914, when the two ships landed 20,000 rifles (Mannlicher and Mauser) and four million rounds of ammunition in Larne.[1] Secondary shipments were landed later at Bangor and Donaghadee. No attempts were made by the Royal Irish Constabulary or the British Army to prevent the landing or to seize the arms.

    A fleet of cars was waiting at Larne to take the arms. Those present included well-to-do Unionists, Members of Parliament, even Bonar Law, a future Prime Minister. The weapons meant that the Ulster Volunteers could fight any British Government and its forces if Home Rule were "forced" on them. This would be treason, yet those involved maintained they were simply "defending" Ulster.

    So you see Conservatives, including a future Conservative Prime Minister took part in this operation.

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  • 83. At 05:45am on 20 Jul 2009, John Henry wrote:


    #82

    It's amazing the lengths people will go to when they see injustice, as they did.

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  • 84. At 08:37am on 20 Jul 2009, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    mapexx

    #68

    Just because Saudi Arabia, a deeply religious, and highly cultured state,
    #78
    That their culture is based on their religion is besides the point.

    To me that statement seems that you have respect for their religion that is as you say based on nonsense. So why not that respect for Chritianity.
    Perhapes that explains your hatred for both as the Welsh language has a strong base in Christianity and the Chapels

    #78

    I was defending the rights of a exotic somewhat alien culturally rich state to live their lives as they see fit.

    Which is what all Welsh people who feel their lives are culturally rich here in wales want to do in their own country.

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  • 85. At 09:49am on 20 Jul 2009, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    mapexx

    #78

    Once again you stick your antagonistic and unwelcome oar into someone else's discussion, adding nothing, but being, as usual, ignorantly intrusive.

    I don't think you have any right to say that, It is an open blog, any one can take part and contribute, no matter how ignorant you think they may be. If they want to go off subject there is nothing to stop them.

    Every one in this country has a right to their oppinion and express it if they want.

    This is why so many of the young generation and women are afraid to involve themselves in politics. Because of people like you making them feel irrelevant and that they have no part in any disscusion relating to their lives.

    This is a BBC and Betsan Powys blog not yours.

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  • 86. At 10:19am on 20 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    Message 84...


    I do not disparage anyone for their belief, no matter what creed they adhere to, I do however disparage religion, no matter where it is based. Rome, Mecca, or anywhere else for that matter.

    I am very respectful of any religion when in the presence of it's earthly manifestation, church, chapel, cathedral etc, as a matter of common decency.

    Just because I do not subscribe to fairy tales, does not mean I should be personally abusive towards what is seen by those, and their religion, as their belief.

    In regards Islam, there are many aspects of the religion, which are, more or less, common sense practices that are admirable. Where I divert from the religion itself is in the political aspirations of the religion as practiced by the more fundamentalist element.

    Just because I am an atheist does not mean I should show disrespect for individuals.

    When it comes to your other misapprehension, the matter of Wales and the language, you have a bloody cheek accusing me of hatred. The language means nothing to me, what does grate on the nerves however is the constant whining by the language crazed nutters who promote it, by the way, using general taxpayers funds to so do, as they mendaciously attempt to throw a lariat around the region, in effort to claim Wales for that ever so small group who may be able to use the language.

    That it has a strong, (once upon a time, fella) attachment to chapel and Christianity, is of relatively small import, considering the dire state of both chapel and Christianity these days.

    The simple truth is, people have sussed out religion for what it is, a controlling mind warping doctrinaire, if ancient cult. No matter to where it owes alliegence. And because people have so sussed it out, so they have pretty well rejected it, and it's temples of worship.


    Your final comment is hardly worth commenting on in return, but I will do so, for the simple reason you again take it upon yourself to speak for the vast majority in Wales, when in fact your comment applies, if then even, to a very samll minority.

    The people of Wales have spoken, time after time, in the number who don't give a fig for language, or invisible culture.
    In that, they follow the general 'cultural' aspects of British life, which is common ground across the length and breadth of Britain, except for the imaginary Cymru you people are constantly whingiung about.


    If ever in the future, that ratio is reversed, so that the vast majoirty become enamoured of what you and your ilk espouse, then maybe I will reverse my attitude also.
    Until then you are in a state of minority,... accept it.

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  • 87. At 10:23am on 20 Jul 2009, Bryn_Teilo wrote:

    #82 Lyn_Thomas

    Nice one!

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  • 88. At 10:30am on 20 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    PS to m y last one...


    Taking single sentences from messages, which invariably is an attempt to make issue of my commentary, is an invalid method due to the fact you are removing the qualifying rest of the message, therefore you are following that other fool Fi Fi who delights in doing the same, I.E. deconstructing the context of my messages.


    Proves one thing only, you are, like the fool Fi Fi, only out to cause disruption.
    So, in future keep in mind, I place very constructive argument, well within the bounds of the requirements of the blog, and become very irate whenever someone calls it 'free speech' whenever they are chastised for submitting destructive comments that are unjustified, and basically not in keeping with the general tone of the discourse.

    If you cannot add anything but critcism to the blog, I suggest it is you that is creating mayehm on it.

    And yes, it is the BBC and Betsans blog, so if they wish to make issue of my comments it is up to them, not some amateur critic with nowt to add. You, that is.

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  • 89. At 10:52am on 20 Jul 2009, Cilmyn wrote:

    The issues at hand here is how the Barnett formula is arbitrary and out of date. It seems that everybody except the monkeys in the cage recognise this. It's time it was changed and made fairer for Wales, not even Lord Barnett disagrees with this.

    So how'd we get from that to personal attacks based on misunderstanding of applied Sharia Law?

    How come this blog ends up with muffins feeling confident enough to support gun-running for terrorist organisations in the UK (#83) and the incredible Borat-like mutterings of #88, 86, 81, 78, 68 which imply that public executions can be justified and with constant references to '..your women...'etc ad infinatum?

    In fact how can anybody take these posters with their abusive language and right wing sentiments seriously?

    The subject is the inability of the British Political Ruling Class to fairly share with the needy that which is theirs by right.

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  • 90. At 11:03am on 20 Jul 2009, Dewi_H wrote:

    Mappex in 88 - "I place very constructive argument"
    Map - in all these months and your thousands of words I have not read a single constructive argument.

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  • 91. At 11:03am on 20 Jul 2009, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    mapexx
    #88

    What is that old saying my Gran used to say 'Takes one to know one'

    And yes, it is the BBC and Betsans blog, so if they wish to make issue of my comments it is up to them, not some amateur critic with nowt to add. You, that is.

    My comment wasn't against you not being allowed to say anything, but against your attitude towards others commenting in opposition to you.

    Once again you stick your antagonistic and unwelcome oar into someone else's discussion, adding nothing, but being, as usual, ignorantly intrusive.


    I could say the same thing to you but I wouldn't because if I post something on here then I can only expect others to reply, which is their right.

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  • 92. At 12:30pm on 20 Jul 2009, FiDafydd wrote:

    Even Peter Hain now accepts that Barnett needs to be looked at - which is code for it's out of date and unfair to Wales. Why people can't see that, I don't know. Why people want Wales to be short-changed, again I have no idea.

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  • 93. At 12:55pm on 20 Jul 2009, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    Fidafydd
    #92

    Which could be Peter Hain double speak for exactly that, it needs to be looked at.

    Looked at and then put back into the cellar out of sight.

    Do anything about it . Nah! They will just go on short changing us.

    Have you ever known a Politician to mean exactly what they say.

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  • 94. At 1:47pm on 20 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 91...

    So you admit your failings, must say I don't really care , all I am concerned about is your support for the fool; who wrote message 72, which was not constructive comment in any way.

    Just the same old tripe he constantly spouts whenever my messages appear.

    But don't let me stop you exercising your democratic rights, just make sure you do not take my remarks out of context, which so far is all you have done. As with your bed-mate, Fi Fi.

    Inn fact I will say the matter is not a case of someone opposing, but being scurrilous instead presenting opposing argument.

    So far, across all the threads that I have sent messages to, and despite being requested to do, Fi Fi has never presented opposing argument.

    And, because he obviously cannot, uses unnecessary scathing rhetoric in attacking my messages.Not only mine, but pretty well the same treatment dished out to anyone who puts up constructive argument he has no answer to.

    Go back through the archive if you do not believe, or understand, why we give him a hard time. He is simply a nasty piece of work.

    I suggest you refrain from following in the same vein, and stick to putting up your own argument, constructive, of course.

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  • 95. At 2:06pm on 20 Jul 2009, Fitzmark2 wrote:

    Unfair to Wales Short changing us What unadulterated nonsense. If anyone is being short changed it is the English taxpayer. Wales has been doing very nicely thank you for years out of the Barnett Formula.

    Under the formula Wales gets £5052 per head compared to a UK average of £4453. What extra do you want with your £14 billion yearly block grant - a gold statue of Rhodri Morgan on every payday?

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  • 96. At 2:06pm on 20 Jul 2009, Cilmyn wrote:

    #94: Same old story. You can't stick to the point (the failings of the Barnett Formula here by the way), can't form a constructive argument and retort with personal abuse and terms which do not belong on a blog site such as this.

    All your criticisms can be levelled better at yourself than anybody who has responded to you. It is only you on this blog who calls other people 'fool' as a matter of course and other abusive terms without foundation. The reasoning you use is the ultra macho - 'if you are too sensitive then go away ' type of response, fine for the pub and the sixth form maybe, but not here surely.
    Your other excuse when people quote your own words is always that it's out of context - the excesses of the Saudi regime are out of context in regard to the subject in hand on this blog now.
    Its always the same old story.

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  • 97. At 2:23pm on 20 Jul 2009, FiDafydd wrote:

    Re 95

    It isn't WAG or Plaid who have come to these conclusions, but a report at Westminster. Now you don't have to tell me that Westminster gets things wrong far too often, but it seems that just now and again it can get it right.

    The conclusio was: according to need Wales gets short-changed. Simple.

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  • 98. At 3:12pm on 20 Jul 2009, Fitzmark2 wrote:

    The figures of the Barnett Formula speak for themselves. The Welsh get a disproportionate slice of the national cake. Before devolution it went relatively unnoticed but the unfairness of it now to the English taxpayer is being noticed in town halls throughout England.

    Every region of Britain can make a claim to be hard done by, and the Welsh have suffered no worse than any other region of Britain over the years. Yet the Welsh constantly, whinge, whinge, whinge.

    The heading of this blog appropriately sums up your collective attitude: "More please." I want more sir.

    Well you can get in the bloody queue behind Newcastle, Leeds, Redcar, Liverpool, Birmingham, to name but some areas of England that are crying out for investment.

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  • 99. At 3:56pm on 20 Jul 2009, FiDafydd wrote:

    Re 98

    I have to say it is you with your apparently pathological hatred of all things Welsh - something I'm sure you'll try to deny despite the overwhelming evidence of your blogging - that cannot get out of that tedious habit of whingeing, whingeing, whingeing ...

    Your lastt entry wass just the latest example.

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  • 100. At 4:15pm on 20 Jul 2009, Dewi_H wrote:

    It's the Olympics that get me.

    1) Lottery Grants to Welsh sports and charities slashed.
    2) Next to no competitions held in Wales (soccer at the stadium I believe)
    3) ANd then the Olympic spend, almost entirley centred in England, and the rich South East at that, is not considered as identifiable public spending and Barnettised - Jack & WilliamFitz - explain to me exactly how that's fair??

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  • 101. At 4:26pm on 20 Jul 2009, Cilmyn wrote:

    #98 - this is it in a nutshell - how the English see the Welsh.
    Its a matter of :- "be quiet in the corner there and behave, don't ask for anything and give us anything that you have of use".
    The Welsh are not a nation, not a country and not a people - just a region so queue up like the rest of the English regions while the lovely and ever-so-scrupulous MPs in Westminster divvy up the cake as they see fit.
    If you complain that you have been at the back of all the queues (apart from the one to join the armed forces) for the last few hundred years then that's your own fault and you are a whinger! All this from a Pom mind.

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  • 102. At 4:48pm on 20 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 96...


    I suggest you trawl back over all the messages to which I have responded.

    If you do not wish to be tarred with the same, then try being constructive.
    I call a certain person a fool, because that is what he is. Simple.


    So far he has NOT responded with counter argument once, over quite a few months, not only to me but to many others. All he does is throw brickbats, which I Field and return in like fashion. Now if you do not want to be included in his team, try being more reasonable and rational.

    I would also hazard a guess and state that you too have no experience of Saudi Arabia, in which case, as I told someone else, try keeping schtum until you know more than you get out of the Sun.

    I do have such experience, and know that what you get in the red top rags in Britain bears little relationship to actuality.

    Now, if you have anything constructive to add, by all means do so, but from a knowledge base, not a indoctrinated by the press/media standpoint.

    The reason why I do not stick to the point, re Barnett, as you so snottily put it, is because the point has been done to death, usually with inaccurate commentary by both sides.

    You can talk yourself to sleep on the subject, you can certainly talk for Wales in the yakking Olympics on the matter. I on the other hand am just a grateful Welsh man that sees what we get given as fair and just, whereas you lot not only want the penny, but also the bun. and to hell with the rest of the regions of Britain. Well I do not see the perpetual handouts to Wales in that light.

    The simplest way to curtail all these grumping debates, is to stop treating Wales as some sort of isolated place, it is a region, just like the north west, the south east, and elsewhere, and should be therefore treated in the same manner as those other regions. Direct funding to local authorities, none of this devolved idiocy. Put a stop to it, and watch our localities improve as the massive funds that are being squandered by the Assembly/WAG get more evenly distributed to the places that need them.


    Yes, I sometimes do say get lost, to idiots and fools, make sure you do not fall into the trap yourself.

    It also appears you do not understand the use of English as written..

    When someone writes a sentence that is qualified in it's entirely, and then someone comes along and takes a few words or a line from the sentence or paragraph, which ignores and obviates the qualifying rest of it, then that IS taking things out of context, and on these threads is done deliberately to cause dispute, so please do not come the holier than thou with me, you are in the wrong plain and simple. I suggest you try readinmg and comprehending all that I write, and refrain from supporting others just because they happen to be Cymraeg orientated.

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  • 103. At 5:01pm on 20 Jul 2009, Fitzmark2 wrote:

    #100
    Good lord man what's the matter with you? You've just staged the first Ashes match in Cardiff. And over the years while Wembley was being refurbished we allowed you to stage the F.A Cup, League Cup, the promotional play off matches for the Premier league at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

    All that on top of the £14 billion you get from the Barnett Formula. How much fairer can we be?

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  • 104. At 5:21pm on 20 Jul 2009, FiDafydd wrote:

    Re 103

    Another ridiculous and totally, totally arrogant response. All of which makes serious debate quite impossible.

    Of course, you keep very good company in the person who penned message 102 - who now seems to have claimed the status of infallibility for himself. It seems he believes that it is impossible for himself to make a mistake; certainly he is not capable of admitting to one. And he most certainly doesn't like people disagreeing with him.

    However, this thread is about Barnett!!! And some of us have tried to make the simple point that there is now evidence that Wales is being short-changed. Others choose to deny that fact.

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  • 105. At 5:26pm on 20 Jul 2009, Ian wrote:

    103,
    How about not looking down your nose at us?

    I agree that many regions of England require and deserve better funding, particularly a city like Liverpool that has 11 of the 20 poorest Council wards in the UK. This is why I would like to see a devolved England, but one based on passing powers down from London and not up from Councils-like the failed model rejected by NE England.
    It is about basing a funding model on a 'needs' formula and once Wales has had the opportunity to improve its educational, health and econopmic base, we will no longer need that help and can then work towards whatever level of self-governmnet we choose.

    It's quite straight forward really.

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  • 106. At 5:37pm on 20 Jul 2009, nomorepowers wrote:

    Let me know if this is about right

    Please Uk Government can we have more!!!

    We despise what you stand for and want to separate.

    Signed

    NATS

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  • 107. At 5:58pm on 20 Jul 2009, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    mapexx

    #88/94

    Yes I do admit to being a fool, a fool in the fact I acctualy respond to you'r imature, nasty and bullying diatribes.

    I have said before that blogging can make you something you are not. I wish I could allow myself to say what I realy think about you, but sadly I can't. Don't think of it as a weakness which makes me like that, it would be a mistake. It is through the strength of my character that prevents it.

    I will not be blogging again and I advise those who support the Welsh language, the Assembly and more powers to Wales. To do the same thing because all we are doing is giving you the oxygen to breath out your venom. If no one responds to you, you and the others will then be completely impotent and end up talking to yourselves.

    From one fool to a bigger one.

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  • 108. At 5:59pm on 20 Jul 2009, Ian wrote:

    106,
    In response to your request, I can confirm that you are wrong in your interpretation of my comments.

    The UK Government has got Wales in this mess and I firmly believe that only Wales as a nation will get us out of it. It will require pump-priming, but dare I suggest a lot less pump priming than Wales has done for the UK economy and British empire over the last few hundred years. In fact, the communities most at need of extra help are the very ones who did most to help 'old blighty' become the world power it once was.

    I don't despise anyone (ok, so I don't like Nick Griffin MEP, but who does?). It's just an issue of taking responsibility for yourself as you grow up and Wales is indeed growing up, realising that there is more to life than bowing your head to a British state, blindly accepting an underachieving economy and political agenda, often contrary to it's priorities.

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  • 109. At 6:49pm on 20 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    Messages ..37,38,61,72,80,97,99,104. with also reference to 92.


    That last one actually did mention Barnett, but in a non worthwhile fashion, the rest were scathing, either to myself, normal for the fool, or to others, with no mention of either Barbnett or in any way that the Barnett matter could be referred to.

    So in finally mentioning Barnett in 104, all his previous ones were on thread were they>?


    What a clown the person is.


    What is more, he must really think that others do not read and remember such tripe from him.


    And to all the others who stick up for him, maybe, if you bothered to go read all those messages I have numbered, you may come to the light.

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  • 110. At 7:03pm on 20 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 107,


    No pal, if you and all your idiotic 'friends' did decided to stop contributing, it is not because I have sent you packing, but because you have lost the plot.

    You come on these threads arguing for some fairyland version of Cymraeg, in the face of being outnumbered by three quarters of the population, and whenever your silly schoolyard arguments are swept aside by adult rhetoric, just like the pansy in that schoolyard, you commence crying, taking one tack after another to try to gain sympathy from your fellow travellers.

    It does not work, so by all means leave, the door is open, no one forced you in, or will force you out. You leave by your own volition, and will not be missed at all, because those who have something to discuss, will no longer be perpetually sidetracked responding to your wimpish, yet nasty, commentary.

    It is very strange that whenever some folk get into debate, who are obviously on politically opposing sides, such as myself and Stonemason, we don't start the nasty stuff that only seems to be the trademark of those with an axe to grind over the Assembly and language issues.

    So as I say, please do us all a favour and leave the adult argument and debate to the adults, it is painfully obvious you are incapable of entering such debates without that weight around your necks, the matter of our attachment to the Union, our refusal to accept that Cymraeg should be forced into our lives, and the massive cost to all who pay tax, for the running, (badly as it happens) of the menage in Cardiff Bay, and wherever else it pops up.

    As for toxic breath, take a serious look at what you have written in the message to which this is a response.

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  • 111. At 7:08pm on 20 Jul 2009, FiDafydd wrote:

    Re 109

    Appallingly, you seem to have bullied one gentle soul off this blog. You won't bully me and many others.

    I see that you still have absolutely nothing at all to say about Barnett.

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  • 112. At 7:44pm on 20 Jul 2009, Jack_Wilkinson wrote:

    Re 108.
    http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/tm_objectid=17734421&method=full&siteid=50082&headline=why-the-people-of-shrewsbury-are--more-welsh--than-cardiff-name_page.html
    Nats, read the link, it's obvious that you with your proper Welsh names will have a proper Welsh heritage, fair enough.
    But a large swathe of Wales, is populated by folk who can only be described as British, we speak English, and our customs and wonts are no different to family in England.
    Why would we wish to devolve away from our families? Rhetoric about bowing heads to our own country men is laughable tripe, we're obviously different to you, why would we vote for your types? Why would English, English speaking Jack Wilkinson, vote for the language crazed Rhodri Morgan? Or gawd forbid Cynog Dafis?

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  • 113. At 7:45pm on 20 Jul 2009, FiDafydd wrote:

    Re 110

    I can see why you're so keen on the Saudi system.

    You also say:

    "It is very strange that whenever some folk get into debate, who are obviously on politically opposing sides, such as myself and Stonemason..."

    Sorry - pal! - opposing sides??!! You are both the personification of extreme British nationalism. And you hate anyone who dares having a different opinion. Sadly, you also seem to believe that name-calling and bullying is clever. It isn't. And people accuse the young of being discourteous!



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  • 114. At 8:09pm on 20 Jul 2009, Fitzmark2 wrote:

    #103

    What on earth do you mean by looking down my nose at you? All I am doing, in between writing for myself, doing the garden in between drinking fine wines is commenting on a blog about the Barnett Formula. I am entitled to my truth no matter how much you deplore it on this blog as I, and everyone, am on other blogs.

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  • 115. At 8:19pm on 20 Jul 2009, Fitzmark2 wrote:

    #104
    And the point I am making is that the figures in the Barnett Formula nail the lie that Wales is being short changed. And when you add the funding that Wales has drawn from the EU it adds up to a tidy little sum.

    So stop demanding more of the national wealth for goodness sake. Keep it up and you'll be able to audition for the role of Oliver at the New Theatre or the theatre in which ever town you live in.

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  • 116. At 8:28pm on 20 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    messages 111 and 113...

    Once again you do my proving for me.

    No one wishes you to be shunted off the board, but someday when you are all grown up, you may find some degree of capability to a: remember where you are, as I pointed out to you recently re the Barnett matter, message 109, in case you are so remiss as to have missed it, and b: become able to construct a viable argument from your own mental resources.

    When I mentioned Stonemason and I being opposed, I refer to adult opposition not scurrilous and childish confrontation such as your own puny efforts.

    We may both be on the same side of the fence that is between the nationalists, and those who are against such trivia,us that is, but we are many miles apart on the basis of our political allegiances.

    I really do not expect you to understand that adult concept I refer to, so do us all a favour and return to wherever it is you sneak out from, to do your ineffective sniping, every now and again.


    By the way, apart from calling you, accurately as it happens, a fool with idiotic tendencies, I do not go in for name calling.... now let us see... Cameron an Eton Thug was it not?

    And you have the gall to criticise me. Even in my total opposition to the man I would be so reluctant as to use such diabolical language.

    I am afraid you are one really special case when it comes down to ground level.

    Finally,

    to quote you...


    "Sorry - pal! - opposing sides??!! You are both the personification of extreme British nationalism. And you hate anyone who dares having a different opinion. Sadly, you also seem to believe that name-calling and bullying is clever. It isn't. And people accuse the young of being discourteous!"

    ...as I say you have not the slightest concept of what is meant by political opposites, but lump all opposition to your ridiculous tripe into one basket.

    However, simply because of your inability to construct a viable counter argument, as I also said before, all you can manage, is to spout nasty comment, in the hopes it will fetch kudos amongst those who profess the same nationalistic, language based, bias towards those who refuse to be forced into a corner in the region we call home.

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  • 117. At 8:49pm on 20 Jul 2009, John Henry wrote:


    113

    Neither the Labour Party nor Conservative Party, the politically opposing sides of your comment, are extreme.

    I have pointed out very recently, the only Nationalists are Plaid and chums, description courtesy of the National Chair of Plaid Cymru on his personal blog.


    Mapexx, not able to contribute much at the moment, work related issues. Did you have a good holiday.



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  • 118. At 9:08pm on 20 Jul 2009, FiDafydd wrote:

    Re 116

    Why do you need so many words to say so little?

    "By the way, apart from calling you, accurately as it happens, a fool with idiotic tendencies, I do not go in for name calling...."

    - brilliant, eh??!! Ah, well ...

    You protest (irony of ironies!!) about what I call Cameron - but I've explained a few times, perhaps you were on your jolly to France at the time - that this is a factual description of the man, not an insult. He went to Eton, he is a toff and anyone who is an ex-member of the Bullingdon Club can only be described as a thug.

    Stonemason is a Tory and therefore right wing. You say you are the opposite. I suppose that's why you're such a fan of public beheadings, women not having the vote and other such liberal practices.

    I suppose that is also why you don't think Wales deserves better than Barnett. Oh, I forgot, you have nothing to say about that have you ...

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  • 119. At 9:56pm on 20 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    What a strange take you have on my commentary.

    As I said before about you, many times, in fact, you are incapable of reading and comprehending.

    I am not supportive of Saudi lifestyle, although for the periods I spent living inder it's regime, I found it to be relatively calm and acceptable.

    In retrospect, quite a lot more acceptable than the lifestyle over here on a lot of occasions.
    I do not advocate public, or for that matter, any form of capital punishment, nor do I say that women should be treated badly. What I have said is, those who have no experience of Saudi life have no rights to comment on it.
    Buto mention bad treatment of women, I can assure you that there are few incidents of bad treatment of women that matches ours, over in Saudi Arabia. NO matter whh you may read in the tabloids.
    I also said that in my, get that,MY, personal experience which I now know you also have no equable experience, I found that Saudi females were quite happy with their lot, except for the matter as stated of their inability to legally drive a vehicle.

    I know that the red top rags,that call themselves newspapers, make a great case for how badly Saudi women are treated, but I invite you to do as I suggested others do, get into the company of ANY average Muslim woman and ask here if she feels downput by her male relatives. You will, without doubt, be surprised by the answer you get.

    Some of the younger and British born may say yes, but as I also stated, they are quite likely to be 'contaminated' by western values. Not that it is a bad thing, I am all for individuals having personal rights. But you prefer not to understand that, you much prefer to take anything I say, and attempt to undermine it.
    That is your privilige, but you do so at your peril, because I will respond in dramatic fashion, by the way, taking as much blog space as I feel up to, whether you like it or not, I leave it to the moderators to cut anything they are not happy with.

    You can therefore sling your hook when it comes down to what, and how much, I write.

    You are petty minded, and as stated incapable of doing oher than spouting caustic rhetoric towards well constructed discourse.

    Sad really, as with a tad more concentration, consideration, and comprehension, you could well contribute other than the sound bite nonsense that is your usual effort towards debate, on this, and other threads.

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  • 120. At 10:03pm on 20 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 117...

    Yes indeed, so good we are off again first week in October.

    restcoked the brandy celler, a dozen one and a half litre flagons at about £7 each, magic. Stocked up for some time.

    The weather down sarf was HOT, 35 degrees C one evening at 8-30 pm, so we stayed in the hotel where we had air con to keep us cool.

    Give me a ring when the chance arises, and we can talk the matter over further.

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  • 121. At 00:09am on 21 Jul 2009, Dewi_H wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 122. At 00:32am on 21 Jul 2009, Ian wrote:

    112,
    I also speak Engliah as does everyone else in Wales, so I do not see your point. Of course not everyone agrees with my position, but I do insist on considering everyone who lives in Wales and respects the nation as Welsh, wherever you are from. I'm sorry if it upsets you if I consider you Welsh, but tough. Your comment on delvolving away from your family in England is interesting, if a little bizarre (no offence). My family lives in Scotland and Australia and I must assume that I am also 'devolving' away from them! I hope that they will still talk to me.

    Your mention of Cynog Dafis does I'm afraid, let your disguise slip a little. You would not know who Cynog was unless from your stance unless you were a political anorak and so can only assume you are either Mr Taylor or a similar wind up merchant. You do need to get a life, you know.

    114/115,
    Well, you have been very snotty about the Welsh and so I believe my comment was relevant. You still do not appear to be able to get to grips with a 'needs' based formula and from your rhetoric, I suspect you have no intention of doing so-which is a shame.

    There do appear to be a few anti-devolutionalists on this site who have the intelligence to have an interesting debate, but not the inclination.
    This is in marked contrast to the Scottish equivalent, who are just a little more grown up.

    Is it that you are too scared to have a sensible debate, because you find it so hard to win?

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  • 123. At 00:40am on 21 Jul 2009, Ian wrote:

    In relation to Mapexx, I do not bother responding as I genuinely do not believe that he is aware of how abusive he is. This blog means an awful lot to him but my advice is to ignore him. It's not a nice thing to do but responding to him does not lead to debate, just a venomous diatribe.

    This blog deserves better than that.

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  • 124. At 06:09am on 21 Jul 2009, John Henry wrote:


    The calls to ignore a commentator are reminiscent of the playground where the many will exclude the one, it is bullying in the playground, here it has the hallmark of censorship.

    The central theme of mapexx and the Saudi conditions is unless you are a member of a culture, you have little experience upon which to criticise.


    Cynog Glyndwr Dafis is a Plaid political failure who advocates a new Welsh language movement, shunned by Plaid he has been reduced to the fifth estate, oblivion.


    ianapharri, 2nd paragraph of your #122, you mention a person by name, you might like to elaborate as the majority are in the dark as to this person's actual persona.

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  • 125. At 06:49am on 21 Jul 2009, Neocromwellian wrote:


    The ONS has published spending figures for the constituent parts of the United Kingdom for 2007-8.

    Northern Ireland £9,577 per person
    Scotland £9,032
    Wales £8,493
    England £7,426

    England has 85% of the population and generates 90% of the wealth

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  • 126. At 07:52am on 21 Jul 2009, Ian wrote:

    134,
    Stonemason,
    It isn't censorship. It's about having a healthy debate and the problem with a minority of bloggers on this site is that whatever the topic, they soon get down to personal abuse and the individual most responsible for this is Mapexx. It has come to a point where many who I know would enjoy contributing to this blog (not all of whom agree with me), do not do so because of general nastiness of the comments.

    Cynog is a huge figure in Welsh politics and I consider him a friend. However, the created persona of the person above who mentionined him is not one I suggest, who would have much idea of Wales outside the Daily Mail editorial. He or she is clearly creating a character to comment on this blog and the point I was making was that it would be nice to have a few genuine individuals (such as yourself, without being too patronising) from all shades of opinion.

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  • 127. At 09:06am on 21 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 126....
    If you are not prepared to accept anything I write, then that is up to you, but neither am I prepared to accept the criticism placed almost immediately after any of my messages, which despite your totalally wrong assessment prior to responses from me, are well constructed debate.
    Now, you must be one of those who spend all your time looking to see what I write in response to others, but not what they have written that invokes the response they get.

    Favourites in this are those who inevitably support the nationalist point of view, and they perpetually make lying statements, just as you are doing about the matter on which I comment.

    So I suggest before you make any more unnecessary incorrect comments about my messages you look to those I respond to. In particular, now you have broke your duck, your own scurrilous nonsense.

    Just to clear up some of the matter,...

    1: I have never made ANY desparaging comments about the language.

    2: I have constantly stood on a platform of dissolyution of the Assembly.

    3: I do not make venomous commentary unless first attacked, and all have been warned of my reaction. (so maybe you should look to those as agent provocateurs, most of whom appear to do it so deliberately, they are suspected of acting in a co ordinated fashion, and apparently part of a nationalist conspiracy to obstruct any anti language based nationalism that these blogs are constantly infected with.)

    4: At the end of the day, if you are so sensitive to caustic reaction, then maybe it is time you left the schoolyard to those with thicker skins. It is obvious you are oblivious to the childishhness in your carping messages.

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  • 128. At 09:22am on 21 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    Message 126 ...


    .....further, and for examople as to the meaning of my previous message...

    I refer you to message 57, a well constructed and rather blase message in response to another's, which was an ongoing discussion where experience took precedence over inexperience.

    This was then jumped on in message 61, which invoked a reaction from me, again out of experience gained over many months, in reacting to Fidafydd.
    Further similar messages followed from FiDafydd, which were responded to in similar vein, as I will not abide his stupidity.

    He attracts similar responses from others to who he also forwards scurrilous messages in response to their perfectly rational, if argumentative, messages.

    So as I said in message 127, before you jump you should look, otherwise you too will fall foul of my wrath.

    Join his band of idiots if you wish, but do not then come back carping of how you get treated in response.

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  • 129. At 10:17am on 21 Jul 2009, Dewi_H wrote:

    Beware the wrath of Mapexx...........just who on earth do you think you are?

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  • 130. At 10:31am on 21 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 129....



    When a moderator, or someone with a respectable and polite attitude asks me that question, I shall respectfully, and politely provide an answer, but to you,.... Get lost.





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  • 131. At 10:32am on 21 Jul 2009, FiDafydd wrote:

    Re 124

    Stonemason,

    You say:

    "Cynog Glyndwr Dafis is a Plaid political failure who advocates a new Welsh language movement, shunned by Plaid he has been reduced to the fifth estate, oblivion."

    First of all, I think you need to justify your first assertion that Cynog is a failure. I only wish I was such a failure!!

    Then perhaps you could explain what this new Welsh language movement is.

    I don't know whether I should feel touched that mapexx is so annoyed by my ability to beat him in debate. The argument of taking things out of context is a poor excuse for shoddy thinking on his part in the first place. However, it's nothing to gloat about, as it is far, far too easy.

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  • 132. At 10:42am on 21 Jul 2009, FiDafydd wrote:

    Re 128

    My 61 was a perfectly justifiable response to a post that shocked more than a few it seems. However, unlike yours, that mesaage, and no other message posted by me, did not resort to playground style name-calling - which seems to be all you can do these days. For someone who is always very keen on telling us how intelligent he is, this is very strange behaviour.

    It is also very childish to equate disagreeing with you with stupidity.

    And perhaps you could explain how my messages - especially compared to your ridiculous outbursts - are scurrilous.

    And, finally, perhaps you could address the problems with the Barnett Formula

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  • 133. At 10:55am on 21 Jul 2009, Dewi_H wrote:

    130 - I was being perfectly polite Map. Wgy do you think it's OK to threaten and bully people on this blog? While we are at it do you think repeating the same viewpoint thousands of time is an effective debating technique?

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  • 134. At 11:09am on 21 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 133...


    I refer you to message 128. Once you have read, and understood that, maybe you will be so concerned as to refer to ALL messages, not mine, but the one's to which I responded. Don't stick with this thread though, cross the boundary and trawl back through all threads.

    When you have done that, maybe you will revise your antipathetic attitude.

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  • 135. At 11:14am on 21 Jul 2009, penddu wrote:

    134 Mappex - I have lived and worked throughout the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia - but what has this got to do with Barnett?

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  • 136. At 11:19am on 21 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 131...

    I am yet to see where you have actually engaged me in 'debate', caustic rhetoric has been the tenor of all your responses to my messages, whether I was in discussion with you, or not.

    Please do not be so swelled headed as to state you have 'beaten me in debate'.
    First of all, to even get near to such a status, you have to actually engage in debate. You do not, nor have you...so far. Maybe from now on you will give it a go, but I seriously doubt that you will.

    Secondly, whenever you have responded, no matter on what grounds, you have been scurrilous, abusive, way off thread, or sticking your oar into an ongoing debate between myself and others.

    You also do exactly the same with many others, all of whom have castigated you for your actions. And, I am sure they will carry on doing so in future, unless you change your modus operandii.

    Grow up, go back to the beginning and try, at least once, to be rational, reasonable and, more to the point, respectfully polite.

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  • 137. At 11:35am on 21 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    Mwesage 135...


    Absolutly nothing, but the debate moved onto that matter via comments made by someone else.

    Do try to keep up.

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  • 138. At 11:42am on 21 Jul 2009, FiDafydd wrote:

    Re 136

    Unbelievable! No answer to anything. Anything. Just more macho, threatening, bully-boy tactics.

    It's no surprise - but a great pity - that we don't appear to have more women contributing to this blog. Unless people mend their ways, things will not change, I'm afraid.

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  • 139. At 11:57am on 21 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 138....


    My My what a wonderful response.

    You have been given a perfectly rational, and polite, answer to your previous message, yet still come across as the poor hard done by little nationalist.

    But why would we need more women on the blog, you come across as one anyway, and can take up the reins on behalf of your assumed gender.

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  • 140. At 12:10pm on 21 Jul 2009, FiDafydd wrote:

    Re 139

    I only noted that you failed to react to any of my substantive points. I did not, personally, feel hard done by.

    However, far more important is confirmation of your - at the very least - ambivalent position on women. It is acceptable is seems in mapexx land that they are not given the vote, and clearly there's not very much welcome for them on here either.

    One more go - as you say that you want to debate - Barnett?

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  • 141. At 12:56pm on 21 Jul 2009, penddu wrote:

    137 I dont bother trying to keep up when certain individuals (you know who you are) drag this blog into totally irrelavant side issues to avoid the matter in hand, namely Barnett.

    To try and take these comments back to sanity, the facts are:

    1) Wales is funded by a block grant, determined by the Barnett formula.
    2) A recent report from Westminster said that Barnett was not fair to Wales, which would recieve an extra $300 Million a year if funding was determined by need (like the English regions)
    3) Irresepctive of point 2) above there are those who believe Wales should have more - and there are those who believe Wales should have less.

    Anyone want to try and stay on track?

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  • 142. At 1:18pm on 21 Jul 2009, Neocromwellian wrote:


    #141

    The English regions are funded by need then the English are going to argue they cannot do with less particularly as the grant per head is lower than Wales. So if there is no more money does that mean we take it away from other UK regions or do we all have a needs formula?

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  • 143. At 2:35pm on 21 Jul 2009, Ian wrote:

    142,
    I believe that a fair model would be a needs based formula, taking into account the relative needs of all the nations and regions of the UK. This would be a little more complicated for England as their regions have no recognised governmental structures.
    England needs de-centralised government for the sake of its citizens and I would welcome the Barnett debate once again highlighting this issue.

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  • 144. At 2:49pm on 21 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 141...


    That there is a 'formula', Barnett is it I suppose, that is supposed to regionalise funding, maybe that 11 billions Wales gets, which is over and above the funding generated here in Wales from Welsh resources, is not enough then, is it?

    If we dispense with the phony and artificial 'government' down in Cardiff bay, the cost of running it, which I am more than certain costs far more than the 300 millions you refer to, would be available instantly, scotching claims that we are being underfunded..

    Barnett or no, we would still be part of the UK. So being funded on a direct basis, as are all other regions, via their town, city and county councils, would without doubt mean a better deal on the table than is perceived by those nationalist types to be the case at present.

    I get this annoying buzzing in my ears all the time from Fi Fi, as she constantly asks me to talk Barnett, well perhaps in demanding we do away with the idea that Wales is something special, and somewhat different, (but who knows where such difference lies anyway, except in the imagination of her kind), than the rest of the UK, we may give Wales the boost that appears to be lacking under present arrangements.


    Our problems, which we never seemed to suffer from pre war, have only appeared on the map since all this separation, at first with the Welsh Office, an unnecessary addition to our lives, and latterly with the Cardiff Bay establishment, which has vastly increased, even since the old Welsh Office situation.

    Plain and simple, expunge the lot from over our heads, and return Wales to where it was before, nothing more than an area of the UK, with councils etc, all in common with what exists across the Dyke.

    The more we delve and dig into the notions expounded by the nationalist language crazies, the more we will be forever arguing about such as the Barnett formula, with all its perceived faults.

    I am quite happy to l;eave the funding at the present level, but to regain the amounts lost in squandering a major part of it on that bunch of amateurs pretending they run the region, when in fact all they do is present the taxpayer with an added burden they could well do without.

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  • 145. At 2:53pm on 21 Jul 2009, FiDafydd wrote:

    Re 143

    ianapharri is quite right. I'm willing to bet that the South East of England is subsidized to the hilt - and beyond!

    And Neocromwellian, you cannot have it every which way either. It is the British state that is coming to the conclusion that Barnett is flawed, and I would have thought they would want to get it right and make it fair. Very British! I would have thought you would approve.

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  • 146. At 3:21pm on 21 Jul 2009, penddu wrote:

    144 Wales receives a Block Grant of 11 Billion (I havent checked the number - I thought it was nearer 9, but whatever..) - But Wales also pays its share of taxes etc and the net gain to the Welsh taxpayer is nearer 2 billion not the 11 you claim. Yes - I agree that we recieve more from the UK than we pay in. But if you take a look at the overall UK economy you will find the same pattern - the UK currently pays out more than 50 Billion a year more than it recieves in taxes - and has to borrow to make up the difference.

    If Wales was independent we could make some decisions as to what unneccesary spending could be cut (the two biggest aircraft carriers outside the US for example), but until then we will be funded by a block grant of some description

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  • 147. At 4:34pm on 21 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 146....

    Your calculations are incorrect.

    Last year Wales generated approximately 19.3 billions, but received from the UK piggy bank 28.4 billions. a difference of 9.1 billions.

    Income tax/NI from salaries accounted for a very small amount overall, most was provided by business taxation.

    This year it is on course to receive the 11 billions I mentioned.

    And, as this thread is concerned with what Wales in in receipt of, via Barnett, or other sources, EU for example, I am unconcerned about English regions and what they get.

    The UK as a whole borrows inordinate sums, no doubt, but the UK economy, unlike that of Wales, is absolutely enormous, and it may well be in hock to the world at the moment, but a upturn in the economy will soon dispense with that debt. Otherwise, as I am sure you are well aware, the UK would get no loans, which are set against 'gilts', or if you like government promises.

    Wales could not offer such 'promises' as it stands at present, and unless there is a massive renewal of our base, and general, industrial might, which, considering the competition from our yellow and tanned cousins in the Asian regions, is an extremely unlikely scenario, we stand to gain little in the worlds market places.

    When Wales comes, separated, into the international fiscal playing arena, where do you think it can obtain that missing 9 or 11 billions it currently absorbs from the UK pot?

    England, on the other hand, can look after its own fiscal matters, I am sure, without our interfering input.

    I say that because whenever there is mention of what the English side gets up to, that is the type of response we get from the nationalist element, here in Wales.

    Also keep in mind, spending on the 'national' necessities, military, health, education etc etc, is not something that Wales can be absolved from. You may not like that, but I suggest that there are far more than enough to democratically set your policies to one side, here in Wales, where the nationalists have a hold on a minute number of loyal adherents, compared to the vast number who do not find themselves subjected to the nationalist way of looking at things.

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  • 148. At 5:30pm on 21 Jul 2009, John Henry wrote:


    #124

    During 2000 at Llanelli (Eisteddfod), Cynog called for a new Welsh language movement, it didn't happen, he scared Plaid so much his candidacy for Presidency of the party failed (2003). Failure I believe.

    Your "Then perhaps you could explain what this new Welsh language movement is.

    .............. perhaps you might ask him, ask him if it is overt or covert?


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  • 149. At 5:39pm on 21 Jul 2009, Neocromwellian wrote:


    #143 Thanks for picking up the debate

    There was a recent report that regional government was unwanted by the English regions so the idea of regional assemblies was dropped out ogf the peoples choice, besides its a waste of money.

    However, in answer to your point I agree a needs sbased assessment that may include English regions as there is a big north south devide may well be the answer.

    We can then allocate the money based upon a percentage plus or minus what the needs are according to how much we have to spend. So in times of hardship we can all end up with say 1 per cent short of needs across the UK irrespective of nationality, race, creed, religion, or language.

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  • 150. At 6:54pm on 21 Jul 2009, John Henry wrote:

    At #146 penddu wrote .....

    If Wales was independent we could make some decisions as to what unnecessary spending could be cut

    The word unnecessary is provocative since he suggests part of defence spending, anything else from defence I wonder; I believe defence is a very necessary expenditure akin to Health and education, to suggest otherwise is naive in the extreme.

    Barnett on the other hand should be replaced immediately with equal funds to the whole UK population, it is the only equitable way. Why should Brian of Cardiff receive any more or less than Brian of Bolton?




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  • 151. At 7:09pm on 21 Jul 2009, penddu wrote:

    147 - Your figures are incorrect and totally unsubstantiated - but I can not give you a full response right now - I will do tomorrow including links to real data - so be patient and I will respond

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  • 152. At 7:13pm on 21 Jul 2009, penddu wrote:

    150 - I agree Defence is neccesary - but how much and what are the priorities ??? Compare UK expenditure (per capita) with the most miltary country in Europe (France) or other comparable European countries, eg Germany, Italy, Spain etc or countries which are comparable to Wales, eg Ireland, Denmark etc

    Then try and tell me why we need to spend as much on defence as we do....

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  • 153. At 7:40pm on 21 Jul 2009, puredrivelagain wrote:

    Penddu,

    Agree totally. Let's look at the word by itself - "defence". Defence of what? Our island, Britain.

    Invading countries all around the world and stoking up a terrorist threat which was not present before we attacked them could possibly by called "offence". Let us remember that the otricities of 11th September 2001 were not committed against the island of Britain and it's highly unlikely that if we had stayed out of it the bombings of 7th July 2005 would not have happened.

    Defence spending should be allocated to defence, not offence.

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  • 154. At 7:45pm on 21 Jul 2009, puredrivelagain wrote:

    As long as England owns Wales we are entitled to ask for as much money as we need to support the failings of Westminster in delivering a robust economy to our "region" (used to pacify mapexx). If we are not worth it they will give us our freedom. If they don't like it, don't own us. Simple.

    I lose interest in these blogs Betsan as soon as certain parties enter into their tit for tat wars but here's a novel idea for all bloggers - instead of slamming the Assembly, why don't we slam 10 years of Labour led rule/coalition.

    We can't genuinely say how good or bad it is until there is a non-Labour Assembly in the picture. More independents are needed in my humble opinion. Party politics are quagmired in the historic Westminster-centric affair of the previous hundreds of years.

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  • 155. At 8:02pm on 21 Jul 2009, John Henry wrote:


    152

    I don't know, we are not included in the briefings, we are excluded from the threat assessments, we just get to read the sound bites coming from various interest groups. I believe we need to trust the people who either defend, medicate, and educate us, and all the other things that make our country what it is, and by and large its a good country.

    Do we need two massive aircraft carriers, the answer is probably yes if we have agreed to a particular arrangement with the USA, yes if the defence staff see the supportive role as imperative to the joint forces role in the immediate future. If the UK restricts itself to homeland defence, probably not, can you see the argument, if we do not have the facts how do we make a judgement, how do we compare the UK with Italy, apples with oranges.


    So, we need to spend as much on defence as we do, because we do.

    We expect the leadership to exercise judgement on our behalf because we have faith in our leadership. Cop out, not at all, I would love to read how the aircraft carriers became must have.

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  • 156. At 8:39pm on 21 Jul 2009, puredrivelagain wrote:

    correction to 153 - highly likely it wouldn't have happened

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  • 157. At 9:15pm on 21 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 154...


    Are you for real?, we have been slogging our selves to death for many months doing just that, slagging off the Labour/Plaid disaster that has taken hold of OUR region for the last ten years.

    What on earth are you on about.


    Also, what sort of a comment is that, England 'owns' Wales, I suggest you have an inferiority complex in that head of yours, old son.

    Until the arrangements between this region which was (as in England, a collection of local authorities) by whoever it was caused it to happen, so that Wales suddenly became a separated region, with all that ensued, Wales was doing very well, thank up very much.

    Ever since we had, at first, the Welsh Office set in place, to be followed by the Cardiff Bay menage, the WAG etc, we have had nothing but trouble, in the main from nationalists with a bias towards fitting us all up with that language, that few are interested in, or want. Not satisfied with screwing this region of the UK up as they have done so far, they now want to have us given the Big Heave Ho! from our neighbour. What a pathetic call of shots we are constantly getting these days.

    Back to the previous method, and as soon as possible. No Assembly, no quango's, nor any more of the mess that has come on the scene since about 1950.



    Message 151....

    The figures given were demonstrated by a consultancy, used by the government for assistance in it's economic assessments.

    Namely ... Oxford Economics. Their figures can be accessed and checked,on their web site, just in case you need their assistance.

    They, I trust to provide accurate and sustainable facts and figures, far more than I would those you can produce.

    But go ahead, lets us see what you can come up with. Up until now, none of your fellow travellers have managed to come up with counter figures, and they have had ample opportunity.
    Despite making claims, just like you, that they will provide such figures, seeing that these figures have been on this blog for about nine months, or so, so far, no counters have yet appeared..

    Maybe you will be more successful than your compatriots.

    We shall see.

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  • 158. At 9:20pm on 21 Jul 2009, Jack_Wilkinson wrote:

    re 154 puredrivelagain wrote.

    If we are not worth it they will give us our freedom. If they don't like it, don't own us. Simple.

    Yes, what you wrote was indeed.....Simple. What outstanding wanton naivety? Please tell us who owns this UK region? No, on second thoughts...I think it's best if someone tells you, the voters of this region own it. In heavily populated east Wales, Plaid is a joke, and don't mention the Rhodri faction within Labour, that's a busted flush.

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  • 159. At 9:58pm on 21 Jul 2009, puredrivelagain wrote:

    157 - apologies mapexx, you are quite right you have been admonishing the labour/plaid coalition, but you have also been calling for the assembly to be scrapped. Makes much more sense to hope for a non-labour involved government. I hope you don't give up so easily on your British nationalist dream.

    As far as England owns Wales...it does. Can we pass laws to charge for carrier bags? No. Why, because we don't have the authority, we have to ask the English (read UK parliament). Can we pass laws on our own language? No. Why, because we don't have the authority.

    For all intents and purposes Mapexx, England does own Wales and can do with her what she wants, as evidenced by Tryweryn, as evidenced by the decimation of the South Wales coalfields, as evidenced by imposing Poynings Law on us.


    158 - Again the people of WALES, the country, not the region are the owners of Wales in theory, the reality is that we've all done no where near enough to guarantee the continuity of OUR way of life west of Offa's Dyke. We've weakly allowed the English to force theirs onto us.

    What I take from your post Jack is that "heavily populated East Wales" is a tory dream? I think you are the one who is dreaming me ole china

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  • 160. At 10:13pm on 21 Jul 2009, puredrivelagain wrote:

    157 Mapexx,

    Al previous engagements between us aside, please explain how on earth you came to the conclusion that before devolution "Wales was doing very well, thank up very much."???????

    From the reality that I live in, being poor enough to be labelled "Objective 1" or in other words used by the EU, the poorest nation in western europe does not cut the mustard is doing very well.

    Please please please educate me as to how I could be so misguided in believing being the poorest nation in western europe is a good thing?

    Anyone educate me on the above, please for my own sanity...

    Before you start, please remember that Wales extends far beyond the affulent Monmouthshire idyll in which you reside. Also remember that Objective 1 status was granted before the opening on the National Assembly for Wales.

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  • 161. At 10:36pm on 21 Jul 2009, Jack_Wilkinson wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 162. At 10:59pm on 21 Jul 2009, FiDafydd wrote:


    Stonemason,

    Re 148

    Ah, I see that you've been indulging in in-depth research on Wikipedia! But even by that effort, it is hardly a record of failure is it? Cynog always has been and remains one of Wales's most original and effective polticians and thinkers. Your lack of knowledge of him is only too obvious.

    What he asked for in Llanelli was for people and societies in Wales to work together for the good of the language - it wasn't about setting up a new organization. But clearly he succeeded, because you and other British nationalists are always going on about them and their successful efforts...

    Re 155

    Your faith in senior defence staff is touching. I take it these are the same establishment types who share out the best jobs between them - just as is the case in the field of law and medicine and the Conservative Party's front bench it seems. So you'll have to excuse me if I don't share your faith in this small elite or in their opinions.

    As long as this small elite remain in place, you don't have to worry: the killing machine will be quite safe.

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  • 163. At 00:22am on 22 Jul 2009, nomorepowers wrote:

    160

    After Millions of pounds being pored into WAGs flagship programme communities first not one of the top 100 poorest areas in Wales has moved out of community first status. In fact there are a number of areas who have been registered as getting poorer. Please Please Puredrivel explain that one.

    Also predrivel please please tell us why, since devolution and receiving objective one money that the GDP and GVP hasn't increased in Wales.

    I can remember the time you could dial 999 and an ambulance would turn up, also do you remember prior to devolution that 55% of English and Welsh Children attained 5 A-C GCSE when leaving school. Ten years down the road of devolution 65% of English children attain 5 A-C GCSEs and still only 55% of children in Wales attain 5 A - Cs.

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  • 164. At 04:05am on 22 Jul 2009, puredrivelagain wrote:

    163 - i can't because i'm not an economic expert. I merely asked how Mapexx came to the conclusion that Wales was doing very well before devolution....

    I'd still like that answered


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  • 165. At 06:06am on 22 Jul 2009, John Henry wrote:


    #162

    When you write .....

    Cynog always has been and remains one of Wales's most original and effective politicians and thinkers.

    ..... does it surprise you the majority are horrified when Plaid are involved with governance, the electorate deserve better than his type of thinking.


    Then you describe our forces as a the killing machine, it is a disgusting label to attach to our armed forces, only Plaid Cymru is able to use such a despicable descriptions of the servicemen and women. There again it's not surprising, you coming from a party of "let others defend whilst I grow tomatoes".


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  • 166. At 07:59am on 22 Jul 2009, penddu wrote:

    155 - Alas, our defence committments seem to be determined by a group of generals and admirals who seem intent on reimposing imperial rules across the globe.

    It is about time that the UK had a grown-up debate about what its role should be in the world - at the moment UK has the second highest per capita expenditure on defence of any major nation - and WE CAN NOT AFFORD IT!

    UK should hold a debate followed by a referendum on whether its role should be:

    1) Immediate 'homeland' defence only
    2) (1) plus fair contribution to EU/UN/Nato peacekeeping missions
    3) (2) plus leading role in EU/UN/Nato missions and US-missions
    4) (3) Independent worldwide peace-keeping role

    And we need to be clear about what assets are needed for each of the roles - we do not need Trident except in 4. We do not need aircraft carriers except in 3 and 4. Each option should be costed properly and presented in a way that people can understand, ie 1) £500 per person pa, 2) 750 etc

    I am sure that an independent Wales would opt for option 1 or 2 only - while the UK would probably opt for 2 or 3. I very much doubt whether anyone out of uniform would opt for option 4 and most people ina uniform would prefer that their capped defence expenditure was spent more wisely on boots and helicopters etc than on expensive toys that will never be used.



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  • 167. At 09:56am on 22 Jul 2009, FiDafydd wrote:

    Re 165

    No real answers then, as usual.

    I can only repeat that you clearly know nothing about Cynog, his achievements or his writing. A tiny bit of reading of Wikipedia and you feel you can attack him.

    It is also pretty pathetic to always equate what I say with Plaid Cymru. That isn't a particularly grown up way of debating. But then you don't debate, you ignore everything I said in 162. What I say on here are my opinions, sometimes they are same as Plaid's, sometimes they don't.

    I detect an attack on pacifism here. Are you calling pacifists cowards? If you are, I think you should just say so.

    The disaster of young servicemen being killed at the moment is another tragedy. What we hear nothing about at the moment however, is how many ordinar Afghans have been killed in this latest onslaught - or don't their lives count in your opinion?

    And of course for the purpose of this particular thread, billions of pounds are being spent on this particular adventure.

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  • 168. At 10:39am on 22 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    Message 164....


    I answer in this way.



    Before we had these 'official' administrations added to our region, our business, in common with the rest of the UK, was taken care of by our local authorities. As I see it, and understand it, satisfactorily.

    Now I do not know why we ever needed to have any other sort of admin placed over and above those LA's, they seem to operate quite adequately in England, without a third tier over them.

    So to get back to the other aspect of the matter, finance, why do we need to have this third tier over and above our local authorities?

    The regionalisation, confirmed by devolution, adding the third tier, is a wasteful exercise, totally unnecessary, and instead of giving Wales autonomy, has created disruption to our LA's, disagreements between our established political parties, caused friction between various well established organisations that were doing well enough, and harmoniously, for decades,, and finally all at a severe cost to the regions economy, despite the massive amounts thrown into Wales from a variety of sources.

    Back to simple and easy rule by our local authorities, away with the rest, the squandering menage in the Bay, and all that has been created, usually to no sensible end, by that Bay monster.


    But of course that reversal to earlier times will not suit the power crazed language freaks, no they not only want the taxpayer to fund their escapades, but also want to bisect the UK for their own schenming purposes.

    All well and good shopuld Wales be polulated by a overwhelming majority with the same agenda, but it is not, the vast majority want nothing to do with these plans by the ultra minority, as demonstrated by their total disregard for most of what is pumped out in all the propaganda from nationalist sources. They are obviously quite at ease in their British lifestyle, and what is being forced onto the majority is not only being so done anti democratically, but also without the total population being asked for their views on it.

    Please do not tell me that 1997 was the views of the majority, as the vote was successful for the pro devolutionaries by virtue of maybe, a quarter of the voting population, totally undemocratic, no matter how it is looked at.

    Nor will I take the other comment, that we should abide by the majority, well then if that is the demand, then make damned sure ALL are required to eneter their vote, by a mandatory election process.

    Then, and only then will I, and any other supporters of democratic rights accept the result on such an important matter.
    Anything else being voted on, a new chicken house, a new road, whatever, is locally important, and the result will soon be accepted by the locals, however when it comes down to what is to happen to the whole of this region, to leave it to a simple majority, irrespcetive of turnout is phony and as stated, totally undemocratic. And I say it will never be accepted by a great number, whatever the result, either way.

    Far better to dispense with it all, which will certainly remove any bones of contention thereafter.

    A majority, resulting from a casual and very low turnout may well be the accepted end when voting which party is to rule for wheneverm, because it is well uibnderstood that the next election can overturn that result, but whatever is enacted here, in the name of the Welsh population, that is seen to be leading to independence, is a matter once enacted that cannot be overturned, and so it requires total turnout of that total population, by mandatory rules, with severe penalties for those who fail to show at the polling booth.

    Therefore, unless and until such a regime is placed before us, I suggest we do away with the Assembly for what it is, a total waste of costly and expensive space, and let the LA's be given back their operating powers as is the case across the border in England, and where it was, previous to the placement of both Welsh Office and Devolved Assemby.

    You wish to constantly talk grants, subsidies, European input whatever. I, on the other hand, am concerned with more deep matters of sovereignty, matters that affect everyone, be they taxpayers or not. In particular, the oncoming generations, who thanks to the scheming and plotting by a bunch of nationalist conspiritors, and language loonies, who don't seem to know what they are after, politically speaking, could see their futures screwed up for as long as it takes for reality to kick in, and a return to normality will be forced onto Wales.
    A position Wales has not been in for some decades, to this date.

    I hope I have made my answer clear enough. But by all means, do argue if you wish, constructively, if you do so wish.

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  • 169. At 11:00am on 22 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 166....


    I am afraid your commentary re the 'defence' matter is rather simplistic and naive.

    The war mongering that Britain gets up to is part and parcel of our economic strength.

    It runs deep into our fiscal psyche, without it, the UK would be a lot less well off than it will be, once the depression has turned back into progression.

    The amount of money the 'defence' industry brings into the UK is staggering. I would go as far as to say, that at the moment, we should be extremely glad we are engaged in such practices as armaments.

    It's like a well of cash, every time we drop the bucket it comes up full of filthy lucre, and if we did decide to cap that well, we may as well throw un our hands in surrender to world economics.

    Where do you think we could replace such vast sums of imported money from, we have little in the way of natural resources, the oil has almost gone, gas the same, our base indutrial might has declined alarmingly, and our population is aging rapidly.
    Yet you want us to cut off one of our only good limbs to satisfy your peace loving nature.

    Are you really so out of touch with reality?

    I have to relate your attitude to that of the government, in one scenario itis engaged in, and taking us all with them, the matter of 'global warming, the environment, etc', a sort of role reversal perhaps.

    You want us to give up our arms, whilst every one else is armed to the back teeth, the government want us to become ever more green whilst everyone else is spewing out all the pollution they can.

    Your yearnings, and state political aspirations gone completely bonkers, old chum.

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  • 170. At 11:11am on 22 Jul 2009, Dewi_H wrote:


    "Please do not tell me that 1997 was the views of the majority, as the vote was successful for the pro devolutionaries by virtue of maybe, a quarter of the voting population, totally undemocratic, no matter how it is looked at"

    Except the way it should be looked at. A referendum with 2 options, Yes or No, Yes got most votes so won - it's sort of like how democracy works most places. A very simple concept Map.

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  • 171. At 11:14am on 22 Jul 2009, penddu wrote:

    'The war mongering that Britain gets up to is part and parcel of our economic strength.'

    Are you on drugs??? Do you watch the news?? Have you not heard of 'Rejkavik-on-thames'??

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  • 172. At 11:27am on 22 Jul 2009, puredrivelagain wrote:

    168,

    I'm afraid you haven't answered my question.

    You refer to:

    - Power crazed language freaks - thought you didn't do name calling
    - The wasteful assembly - every bit as wasteful as every other Government
    - It was not voted in a by a majority - People should get off their backsides and vote then. It's not our fault if they don't
    - You even suggest that before devolution there was no divide between political parties in Wales. I think the Labour and Conservatives would be laughing their socks off at that.

    But for all your fanciful writings, you haven't told me how you came to the conclusion that Wales pre-devolution, an objective 1 country, was doing "very well".

    Please try again.

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  • 173. At 12:52pm on 22 Jul 2009, FiDafydd wrote:

    Re 169

    This is a serious question mapexx, as I'd like to know where exactly you stand on certain matters. You say that you and Stonemason are political opposites, yet your views on defence seem far more extreme.

    So, what part does morality play in these issues in your opinion? Does morality become obsolete when it's a matter of making a quick buck?

    I am appalled at the wreckage of wars; the deaths, mutilations and injuries. I cannot stand the idea of using - for instance - cluster bombs, that cause so much harm to ordinary men, women and children. Or am I just being a wimp. And talking of cluster bombs, I flinched when you wrote:

    "Yet you want us to cut off one of our only good limbs to satisfy your peace loving nature."

    Are you honestly saying then that you don't have a 'peace loving nature'. Are you saying it's a bad thing to have a peace loving nature? It is an extraordinary claim.

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  • 174. At 5:19pm on 22 Jul 2009, John Henry wrote:


    #173

    The important, if not the most important, words you wrote are ......

    what part does morality play in these issues

    I would ask first .....



    Is there a just war.



    ..... because if the answer is affirmative, there can be no criticism of mapexx.


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  • 175. At 5:34pm on 22 Jul 2009, John Henry wrote:


    #171

    "Reykjavik-on-Thames", this must be .....

    David Camerons

    " ........ capital of a freshly responsible nation".

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  • 176. At 6:19pm on 22 Jul 2009, Dewi_H wrote:

    Stony - you say:

    "Is there a just war?...because if the answer is affirmative, there can be no criticism of mapexx"

    Map said

    "The war mongering that Britain gets up to is part and parcel of our economic strength."

    That's a little stronger than supporting just wars - indeed it seems to encourage any war so that the UK can sell arms to participants.

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  • 177. At 6:27pm on 22 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 172...


    I have answered but you seem unable to grasp the import of that answer, here I will try again.

    As I mentioned very clearly, I am not interested in what has transpired since the advent of a third tier of governance, I want to see Wales returned to the pre 1960's state before any other over-lording became the norm.

    All I will accept, is that the local authorities are re set to the days when they dealt with and were dealt with by the central government.

    It is for you to worry about all these 'new' types of funding that have appeared on the scene in the last five decades or so.

    Before the disturbance of the administration of the Welsh political and environmental structure, we had few, if none even, of the present problems that are constantly simmering away just below the surface.

    Yes, I know quite well there were differences of opinion between the various political parties, just as there were before, and are today in English council chambers, but what I want is to return to the situation where councils can have differences, without a third party over-lording, and creating yet further discord. Which has been the case, ever since the rise of both modern Plaid,with it's perpetual and selfish demands, and the installation of the Assembly/WAG.

    As I also stated, for such fundamental changes to our political order, changes that are far deeper and more important than just issues of local interest, the whole matter should be dealt with on a mandatory basis, in a referendum that is totally inclusive, so that ALL are compelled under pain of severe penalty, to vote.

    The old lassai fair, 'vote if you want to' attitude is not a viable option when constitutional changes are contemplated.

    But the nationalists would not want that, hence your comment on it, because they know only too damn well they would be wiped out in such a referendum.

    I am well aware of the waste, by all governments, but that is a matter of historical evolvement, hard to put a stop to, because of the disruption to employment, business, environment and a multitude of other matters of concern.. It came about by mismanagement and is deeply entrenched.

    The Assembly, now only ten years old, is designed with gross waste built in, and by disposing of the Assembly you automatically dispose of the waste that is part and parcel of it being in existence.
    It can be and should be dispensed with, immediately, before that waste also becomes entrenched.


    Now to message 173....


    Unlike you, and no doubt many who have fallen for the peace luvvies clamour, I have lived through a little matter known colloquially as the 'Second World War'.


    This came about for reasons not to be mentioned on here at the moment, for it's complexity.

    But to proceed, ... as a child of about 7 or 8, when I was cowering, stiff with fright, in the cellar of my family home, as bombs rained down on us, where were you? All I wanted to do was get out from under,get a gun and go to Germany to fight the Hun.

    Until you have experienced this, you are quite entitled to be a luvvie, by all means, do so, but when I, who later in life, spent many months expecting my place of employment to be overrun by what was considered to one of the most fierce armies in the world, the Iraqi's, as they initially entered Kuwait, and along with thousands of other expat workers as well as native Saudi's as Scud missiles thumped into our areas of residence, ran for what cover we could find, then maybe you can tell me what war is.

    I have seen it, lived it. Where were you when Nazi Luftwaffe Mechersmits were roaming the sky over my home town spraying bullets into the air, one of which took the life, in the schoolyard in which we played, of one of my pals, literally tearing a bloody great hole through him. Then you can tell me all about the horrors.

    I too do not want that, anywhere on earth, but whilst there are regimes run by people to who I, and you, are but discard-able refuse, and who have proven themselves more than capable of disrupting our lives with any means at their disposal, then I am sorry to say, if our defensive methods, and that includes deploying our forces in their own territories, do not please you, then tough.

    Which is what I expect those, to who I help pay wages, to be, and as tough and as low down dirty as possible.

    Yes it is unfortunate that some casualties occur beyond the ,military arena, but that is war for you.


    As for peace loving, yes I am very peace loving, that is why I am not prepared or should I say, that through my military defenses I am prepared, to withstand and destroy any enemy that I perceive to be a danger to my peacefulness.

    To constantly carp about what went on years ago, whether we were at fault or not, is destructive to say the least, it gives the impression that just because the British did terrible things some time ago we should roll over and let those who find us to be enemy do their worst, whilst we lie back relaxed in our nirvana of peacefulness.

    It will not happen until the rest of te world takes up arms and defeats us, In the meanwhile we are entitled to defend, attack, or commit any amount of destruction, whether you like it or not, and just as I am free to make that statement, so are you free to make statements that oppose.

    But keep in mind the most important thing, it is thanks to our aggressive history, and the fact we are still aggressive, that your peace is guaranteed,. At least until that day when Johnny Foreigner decides to have a pop at you and yours, then we shall see if you are a man of your word.
    Then shall we see if you, with open arms,will welcome that terrorist who blew the leg off your son, maimed you daughter, killed your wife, or sent your house to the four corners of your street.

    Until I can be totally assured that the human race has embraced morals, and put away his threats and weapons, so that I am fully aware that we can all live a life without fear or worry, then until that day I shall support the efforts of my government to contain such people, no matter where they have to go to so contain them.

    Finally... no I do not say I am not peace loving, but peace loving comes at a price, obvioulsy a price I am prepared to pay but which you seemingly are not so prepared.

    As for your opening statement re the matter is 'all about making a buck', that, I am sorry to say, is total cynicism, and what's moper is a definite door opener to anyone who feels they have the rights of them matter.

    Don't you think the opposition also make money from their antics?

    If not money, then power, which effectively amounts to the same thing.

    Lessons learned Fi, lessons we taught others, get your retaliation in first, and go hang the consequences.

    Morals really do not come into the equation, at least not until it has all settled down, and the luvvies creep out from their hiding places of morality.

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  • 178. At 6:50pm on 22 Jul 2009, puredrivelagain wrote:

    177,

    I see you were referring to a state of governance and not to Wales economic prosperity, or lack of it.

    The only problem is that the entire world is completely different to the 60's and the entire world could benefit from a return to old values.


    Get rid of the assembly? Why not improve it and remove the inbuilt waste? Your reaction i fear is what westminster hoped for when designing such a useless devolution tool.

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  • 179. At 6:59pm on 22 Jul 2009, John Henry wrote:


    #176

    Sorry, but you avoid the question, the position that mapexx takes is linked to the question .....

    Is there a just war.


    I personally believe there is such a condition, so by definition such a war might not be a war of my making, but a war that I could/would support through the supply of arms and ammunition. Therefore by definition, the positive economic benefits can be just.


    The one thing we owe mapexx is to be thankful there is one who will tell it as it is.


    When he wrote ..... Until I can be totally assured that the human race has embraced morals, and put away his threats and weapons, so that I am fully aware that we can all live a life without fear or worry, then until that day I shall support the efforts of my government to contain such people, no matter where they have to go to so contain them. ..... he offered hope to those oppressed.


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  • 180. At 8:07pm on 22 Jul 2009, Dewi_H wrote:

    I believe there are Just Wars. The paragraph you quote is also reasonable. However Mapexx, as usual, went far beyond that.

    "The war mongering that Britain gets up to is part and parcel of our economic strength."

    Warmongering means encouraging wars - usually for purposes of territroy grabbing or commercial gain. Warmongering is not just.

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  • 181. At 8:41pm on 22 Jul 2009, FiDafydd wrote:

    Re 179

    Stonemason,

    I don't think you believe a word of it. mapexx isn't making a case for a just war, he is justifying all wars just as long as UK plc can make a profit from it. And he is saying that Blighty never need justify any involvement because it is in the British psyche. He believes that morality is a 'hiding place'.

    And he seems to believe that 'Johnny Foreigner'(!!) is fair game.

    I don't think any of that fits into any definition of a just war that has been preached over the centuries.

    Do you agree?

    Also you haven't told me straight whether or not you believe pacifists to be cowards.

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  • 182. At 8:41pm on 22 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 178...


    I partially agree with your fair comment re: improving.

    But my main concern with that aspect is as stated earlier. There is no logical reason to burden ourselves with a third tier of governance. Simple really.

    The whole concept relies on there being the language question.

    I never had problems with the language, until it became the
    reason d' etre for devolution.

    Without that matter, there would have been no demand for a separated Wales, as no perceived separate identity could have been made issue of, nor even for Wales to be lumped together, area upon area, as a region, other than what it, for some centuries has been, a fairly well bounded region, that was seen as a part of the greater Britain, with which it had become enmeshed for historical reasons.

    No one has ever, (except for a few who have problems with the language, simply because it is alien to them) made issue of the language factor, other than a rabid bunch who see themselves as some sort of national hero's, with a life ambition to take power over the region, and in attempting to do so are using the language as a weapon to drive their agenda through. In the face of an overwhelming majority, as stated before, who have little regard for language or isolation.

    Consider the feelings of that majority, which despite having been given the opportunity to vote on the matter, disregarded that opportunity by ignoring the ballot box, and remaining where they were, not concerned about the status of their homeland. Just as they showed their interest on any other matter, especially the case of S4C, which attracts little more than decimal viewing figures, once the popular soaps are off air.

    I still maintain that the devolution vote in 1997 was false, or at least the result was, in that it failed to deliver the wishes of the majority.

    Yes, a 'majority' was obtained, but nowhere near a satisfactory majority, by any meaning of the word in democratic terminology.

    This is why I demand a mandatory referendum, one that ALL are required to vote. Only by such a referendum, forced though it may be, will the true wishes of our population be known.
    Even then I am suspicious of the publicity and pressures placed before the electorate, that is why I wish to see the whole of the Bay menage put away, and if required by the majority of a full electorate, (forced to vote as I say), a new and fully empowered Assembly can be established.
    I am sure all Welsh people will accept such a new regime, but the present set up is false, and does not deserve any further acceptance.

    Certainly no further funding.

    That is all by the by, though, as my personal ambition would be to remove this Assembly completely and replace it with nothing, in other words for Wales to fall in line with the English, and have direct dealings between Westminster and local authorities.
    Nothing more is required, except in the manic minds of those with a nationalist axe to grind, as they push for ever increased capabilities to take Wales into a never never land of hopes and maybe's. In their onwards rush to gain power, for whatever reason they so demand it.

    Logically their demands are ridiculous as there is absolutely no sound or rational reason for it. All the waffle about us becoming self ruling is a total smokescreen, for what I consider to be nothing more than a blatant attempt at grabbing self serving power.

    So why so many, with not snowballs chance in hell of altering their present lifestyles will hope to gain from such a move, is hard to fathom, and unless, and until such people can readily prove they have a just and viable case, they should look to the mouthy brigade who are leading the movement, and ask just what is really going to become available to the average guy, if and when this fantasy is ever achieved.



    Message 179..


    Put exactly as I would myself.

    Aggressive wars are not always justified, but preventative ones are. They are the just wars you mention.

    Thankfully we have a military establishment that is concerned enough to follow the request of our government. Not all states are so lucky, look at Pakistan, Egypt, and many other locations, where their governments hold power only by the will of their military.
    States that would turn on a tanner, if their military ever turned against them.


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  • 183. At 8:42pm on 22 Jul 2009, John Henry wrote:


    A warmonger is a pejorative term that is used to describe someone who is eager to encourage a people or nation to go to war. Wiki. As pejorative implies disapproval, has our friend mapexx been maligned?

    I was disappointed that the concept of the just war was not debated .....

    ..... some other time.

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  • 184. At 9:01pm on 22 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 180...

    Unfortunately, you disregard the facts of life.

    This great nation, the UK, makes inordinate sums of money from warmongering, much of which goes towards your pensions, sick pay, unemployment benefit, and on a multitude of other publicly funded needs.

    Hundreds of thousands of livelihoods depend on warmongering, by which term I mean the manufacture, and ultimate deployment of such arms.

    Saudi Arabia alone spends multi billions in the UK, first for the armaments, then yet more on maintenance, and military training.

    Other regimes also spend billions here. The loss of all these would deal devastating blows to our economic health, which would be the result if our retreating from our 'warmongering'.

    It is the tax paid by the arms makers that props up the other taxation, culled from us all, business and individuals alike.

    The amounts fed into our finances by the arms industry is, as I said before, staggering, and although the turning of ploughshares into swords, to reverse the old saying, is abhorrent, if we do not do it, others will take on our markets, and research and development will cease in the UK, and we will thereby leave ourselves wide open to attack by others with far more sophisticated weaponry than we will no longer have access to.

    I really do not wish to appear offensive to you, but what you must realise is, there is a knock on effect, one that I envisage completely, but which apologists for peace rarely get beyond the simplistic, and usually, one shot subject.

    The whole subject is shot with traps for the unwary, and I suggest I can make a better, more full, and rounded argument, each and every time you post on the matter.

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  • 185. At 9:22pm on 22 Jul 2009, FiDafydd wrote:

    Re 183

    One more try then: are you seriously suggesting that mapexx correctly defined a just war in that last extraordinary entry of his? Your first sentence here seems to sum up exactly his message.

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  • 186. At 9:31pm on 22 Jul 2009, Dewi_H wrote:

    Mapexx - you need to understand the words you choose to use or you undermine yourself. Stony defines correctly:

    "A warmonger is a pejorative term that is used to describe someone who is eager to encourage a people or nation to go to war. Wiki"

    You then say:

    "This great nation, the UK, makes inordinate sums of money from warmongering"

    Now that's different from saying the UK makes money from arms sales. You are saying that the UK deliberately encorages other countries to go to war in order to sell arms. I don't know if that's true or not but your words imply that you support that. Are you being clumsy with your words or is that accurate?

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  • 187. At 10:00pm on 22 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 186,...


    If you will read my message without doing as certain others do, that is take a sentence but leave out what qualifies it, ie take words out of context, you would have read.....


    "Hundreds of thousands of livelihoods depend on warmongering, by which term I mean the manufacture, and ultimate deployment of such arms."....


    I therefore reject your last message as not worth a reply, beyond that written in this message.

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  • 188. At 10:03pm on 22 Jul 2009, John Henry wrote:


    #186

    But you omitted .....

    As pejorative implies disapproval, has our friend mapexx been maligned?

    cherry picking loses the point.

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  • 189. At 10:15pm on 22 Jul 2009, Dewi_H wrote:

    188 - cherry picking doesn't miss the point.I was rtring not to embarrases anybody. Mapexx used the word "warmonger" - are you sating he maligned himself??

    Ok Mapexx - you don't accept warmonger in its correct sense - you have your own meaning for it (selling arms, Warmonger like Fishmonger I suppose). Why use the word if you don't know what it means? Use "Selling Arms" for instance.

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  • 190. At 10:20pm on 22 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    Further to 186...

    I re read your message #186, and realised I should have responded to your last paragraph...


    The very act of manufacturing arms for exotic nations and military regimes, is an encouragement for those arms to be used. Either in just cause, or in acts of aggression, Unlike you, I do not see the matter of commerce in such simplistic terms. Arms are for two purposes, defence and attack. But the manufacture of them is for profit, pure and simple, and profit knows no moral bounds. As recent events in banking have demonstrated.

    The difference between them depends on the reasons for either.

    In supplying arms, we put moral judgements to one side, and are therefore, in part, responsible for the creation of any potential use of those arms we sell.

    There is no imperative for those arms to actually come into use, but you know people, cannot leave a scab, but must pick at it until it bleeds and weeps.

    If we were to consider moral aspects, we would be unlikely to sell those arms, even to nations whose declared worth of them would be for defensive purposes only, in fact if our industrial manufacturing of anything was based on a moral crusade, it is unlikely that we would manufacture virtually anything at all.

    Yes, by our very actions in making, and selling to third parties, these weapons, we are effectively encouraging their use. That cannot be denied, but as I say, in such sales we dispense with any morality.
    Money is involved after all, and money has a habit of blinding us to the consequences. Otherwise our jails would be empty.

    Just as a prostitute, operating beyond her very respectable front, will cast aside her morals in her chase for money, yet keep up a social pretence that she is whiter than the driven snow, so do we make a case for our social rectitude, even though our moral obligations are only there when we need to justify actions taken in the face of justifiable criticism.

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  • 191. At 11:00pm on 22 Jul 2009, Dewi_H wrote:

    191 - Right to terminate and for absolute clarity you support selling arms to anyone without a moral judgement?

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  • 192. At 11:04pm on 22 Jul 2009, FiDafydd wrote:

    So, Stonemason, you're not going to answer my questions it seems.

    Re 190

    mapexx,

    Now you're saying that the bankers did nothing wrong!! This is you contradicting yourself again. You were quite recently, I seem to remember, ripping into them for their actions. I don't know any more where you believe morality is a legitimate guide or not. And again recently, when you were attacking Christians, you insisted you had your own perfect moral system or regime. Where do today's extreme entries leave all that?

    This all seemed to start with your tacit liking of public beheadings ...!

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  • 193. At 11:34pm on 22 Jul 2009, nomorepowers wrote:

    191 & 192

    Your childish and bullying behaviour towards Mapexx is becoming tiresome.

    Please show us where Mapexx has even intimated that he supports selling arms and bankers did nothing wrong.



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  • 194. At 11:42pm on 22 Jul 2009, puredrivelagain wrote:

    Mapexx,

    I agree whole heartedly that there should only be 2 tiers of governance. A fully empowered Welsh Government being the sensible option. It worked wonders for the Scots and I whole heartedly reject and take great offence at any suggestions that us thick welsh couldn't manage it properly. Without the power squabbles of the current setup politicians would be free to pursue policy and not power grabbing antics.

    To suggest that the whole raison d'etre of the current Assembly is for the language is foolish, naive and once again, foolish. There are many many english speaking Welsh people who wish to be ruled from Cardiff end of story. Maybe not in your part of Wales but unfortunately, we can't just go back to the 60s and stop them asking for Monmouth to be re-drawn inside the welsh boundary, as much as you'd like it.

    The language, disgustingly, is being used by the media and the Welsh/Westminster Governments as a political football.


    And another thing, you are quite critical of the Nationalists economic ideas on here. I think it's just as crazy to base an economy on Arms sales. One day, God willing, peace will prevail on this planet and then there will be Arms sales to support the UK. Where will we be then Mapexx? How will we cope?

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  • 195. At 00:15am on 23 Jul 2009, Dewi_H wrote:

    193 - tiresome eh - tell me about it. Bullying? I'm just trying to understand. Mapezz said the below:

    "Yes, by our very actions in making, and selling to third parties, these weapons, we are effectively encouraging their use. That cannot be denied, but as I say, in such sales we dispense with any morality"

    Coupled with all his other words on the benign economic effect of these sales I take it that he supports them. Reasonable to you - but if Mapexx says otherwise then I've obviosly mis-understood.

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  • 196. At 01:20am on 23 Jul 2009, FiDafydd wrote:

    Re 193

    "bullying"!!!!!!!

    "Please show us where Mapexx has even intimated that he supports selling arms and bankers did nothing wrong."!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • 197. At 06:09am on 23 Jul 2009, John Henry wrote:


    181 FiDafydd wrote.....

    Also you haven't told me straight whether or not you believe pacifists to be cowards.

    Yes I do, each and every one.

    Having read mapexx carefully in this particular blog, with reference to the arms trade, it is obvious that few have actually read what was written. Mapexx has the rights of it, so much that the Map-opponents hold dear has been funded by the very industries they hold in contempt.

    So FiDafydd, those acquaintances who are pacifist are also parasitical, they feed on the efforts of the rest, the pacifist will take the comfort of security without participating, though some might grow tomatoes.


    On the issue of selling arms to other countries who fight our wars by proxy, there is a precedent for this, Edward III wrote it is better to fight your wars on foreign ground, it leaves our country without the devastation of battle and it is less expensive.

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  • 198. At 07:18am on 23 Jul 2009, Dewi_H wrote:

    I've read every MApexx word Stony believe me....I understand him to mean that there should no no moral restrriction on arm trade. Taking that to its logical end I suppose that mmeans arming the Taleban is OK.

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  • 199. At 07:52am on 23 Jul 2009, penddu wrote:

    Are their just wars? Of course there are - Mapexx lived through WW2 which was a just one. The second Gulf War is an example of an unjust war. But to suggest that wars are good because of their economic impact is just daft.

    The world has changed since WW2 and the Cold War, and todays threats are very different. I firmly believe that the UKs Generals and Admirals are living in the past (whether Cold War, WW2 or Age of Empire I am not sure) and are so obsessed with their big budget big toys, that they are leaving conventional forces underfunded and lacking in the right equipment. The solution to this is not to increase defence spending, but to cut the big budget items and spend the savings more effectively.

    I am sure that Osama Bin Laden does not feel deterred by a Trident submarine....

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  • 200. At 08:57am on 23 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    To all who have made adverse or controversial response to my recent messages.


    A few answers,.


    1: I have not disclosed my personal moral stand on the matter of armaments, war, or the consequences.

    2: I made no issue of my personal feelings re finance resulting from the manufacture, sale or consequence use, other than to make plain that morality disappears when these are taken into account by those who make sell and use. The same applies to those who cvaused the collapse of the banking system.

    3: further, if you wish to believe that there should be a moral imperative in the make, sale, and use of arms, that is up to you and YOUR conscience, I hold no brief in the matter when I am arguing about the subject, I stick to strictly neutral. Therefore it is you people who read into what I write, your own morals, be they upright and true, which is doubtful from your non ethical remarks to me, or suffering from a total level of moral turpitude.
    Which at this point, from the things written in response to mine leads me to believe many of you people are either closet warmongers yourselves or complete yellow spined wimps who would run at the sound of a noise you are unfamiliar with.

    4: I firmly state that there are no moral principles in the matters I have written about, at least not amongst those involved, for the simple reason they are in the business to...
    a: make profits,
    b: to make war, and
    c: to ensure war does not come to us.


    Those engaged on the ground, in which I include the higher ranking officials in both military and government, canot be called to book for their involvementm, because in this 'democracy' they just like everyobne else are beholden to the will of Parliament, which is thjere because we the electorate have put it in place, I am afraid that is the facts you people wish to overlook, that when you cast you vote, you either stick with the parfty of your choice, or fail to vote,. In the one you are generally unconcerned about the details of your candidate's mandate, or otherwise are not bothered enough to try to unseat him to the benefit of someone else, more to your political taste, and do not bother.

    That is why we are in the pickle we are in here in Wales, simply because a half of the electorate failed to use their vote.
    If you are not intellectually astute enough to comprehend these parameters in the matter of the arms business, then you have little right to take issue with someone who is fully aware of the implications thereof, beyond the simplicity of saying 'I am against war', and other similar type remarks.

    I wrote the message in this subject from a standpoint of pure neutral indifference to my own feelings, which have not been expressed in them, but as Fi Fi attempted to point out, what was written was contrary to other messages from me in the past. That I accept, as they may have been overt enough to give a clue to my personal feelings, but unfortunately, Fi Fi, in his usual manner, unmannerly as it happens, made his recent comments out of malice and not in the terms of decent debating policy.

    Nothing new there from a self declared potential saboteur of the great British Union. As well as a potential saboteur of these threads, with his normal style of message.
    A nationalist, that he now has revealed himself to be in, a recent message on another thread..

    Finally, I totally agree that those terrorists, would be unlikely to be fazed by a Trident submarine, or it complement arsenal of weapons. However, they in fact as proven time and again are unfazed by death in any form. Where we are consistently mindful of the loss of life, be it under a bus, from a health problem ,of a bullet, or roadside bomb, these people to whom you refer have made it a major part of their strategem to discount personal death placing it firmly into the realms of martyrdom.

    That cannot be over come by nuclear missiles for sure, but a ground action on their own territory goes a massive distance in making sure their type do not become any more, if anything far less, of a menace to our, that is YOUR, lifestyles and safety.

    Failing to accept that, is making you people appear as selfish for your own, as is the activities of those you mentioned.

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  • 201. At 09:21am on 23 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 194...




    Extract....

    "...To suggest that the whole raison d'etre of the current Assembly is for the language is foolish, naive and once again, foolish. There are many many English speaking Welsh people who wish to be ruled from Cardiff end of story. Maybe not in your part of Wales but unfortunately, we can't just go back to the 60s and stop them asking for Monmouth to be re-drawn inside the welsh boundary, as much as you'd like it....."



    Where I am sure you are correct, in that many monoglot Welsh, (English) may in deed, and thought, support the Assembly WAG, and did so at the referendum in 1997,you are incorrect in saying the first line of the extract.

    I did not say "...To suggest that the whole raison d'etre of the current Assembly is for the language..."

    What I did say was....I never had problems with the language, until it became the reason d' etre for devolution..."

    To make clear, as you obviously wished to interpret my perfectly good English in your own way, which was a misinterpretation...

    If there had not been the language, there would have not been the imperative for all the pressures to create a separated Wales.

    There would have been no 'peg' for anyone to hang their political hat on, It is ONLY because there is the language to use as a device of pressure, otherwise we would not be in the mess we are in today.

    Take the language out of the equation and there is NOTHING, absolutely nothing, that would have stirred this nationalistic fervour into becoming the bane of the lives of many Welsh people, and I reserve that title simply to cover the region, with no implied undercurrent of nationhood.

    You may still feel there would have been a demand for a regional modification to create a nation , but I seriously doubt it would have become a matter that would have raised more than few votes in any election.

    Plaid Cymru would not exist, as their whole reason for existing is based on the language and it's promotion.

    Finally, simply because the language does not 'exist' for the mass of our population, other than they see it plastered all over the place wherever they go, I still say the majority have been politically shafted by a very strident and vocal minority with an axe to grind, and who use the language as a club with which to try to beat the majority into a state of submission.

    Please do try to read and comprehend, I am very careful how I use my language, and how I construct my messages overall. I am fed up to the back teeth defending my crystal clear rhetoric, towards folk who apparently only skim over what is written, and then take umbrage where none is required to be taken, nor would be if time was taken to read with care and understanding.

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  • 202. At 10:28am on 23 Jul 2009, penddu wrote:

    Mapexx - you make two statemenst above which are totally incorrect and I am going to correct you on them:

    You say that 'language (is)...the raison d'etre of devolution'
    and then 'Plaid Cymru('s)...whole reason for existing is based on the language'

    Firstly the reason for devolution was discontentment with London rule and a desire for increased national aspirations. While this desire might be stronger amongst Welsh speakers, it is not confined to them, which is why the referendum was won in places like my home town of Bridgend, which has only around 10% Welsh speakers.

    Secondly, Plad Cymru's whole reason for existing is again based on national aspirations which include the language, but is not restricted to it.

    You clearly dont like devolution (which is a valid view to take) but as long as you keep confusing devolution with the language you will never be taken seriously.


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  • 203. At 10:52am on 23 Jul 2009, FiDafydd wrote:

    Re 200 & 201

    I'm sorry mapexx, but quite honestly these two lengthy replies are nothing more than a 'philosophical' and stylistic shambles.

    How you can claim neutrality in your original messages is beyond me - you will say, as always, that that is down to my stupidity; but that is not a reasonable way of having a debate, and is unworthy of Betsan's blog.

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  • 204. At 11:14am on 23 Jul 2009, puredrivelagain wrote:

    Well said Penddu,

    Mapexx you are a consumate politician. Whilst you think your rhetoric is crystal clear. It is often lengthy, waffly and states very little. I suggest you keep things clear and concise if you do not wish to repeat yourself.

    This is not down to a lack of intelligence on our part, merely down to your inept writings/ramblings.

    The fact that just about everyone on here can take issue with your wordy monologues proves that they are inconcise and very open to interpretation.

    In fact, I'd be so bold as to say that instead of conveying your imagined superior intelligence, it just proves what a poor writer you really are. Words saying more against you if used poorly.

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  • 205. At 12:07pm on 23 Jul 2009, puredrivelagain wrote:

    Anyway lads, good luck with muppet, I'm off to enjoy the real world until Betsan comes back...

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  • 206. At 10:14pm on 23 Jul 2009, FiDafydd wrote:

    Re 197

    Stonemason's extremism rather took over for a while.

    But no less extreme in a way are your views regarding pacifists. I take it then that individual conscience is something you would disallow. But, that rather goes against your dislike of Christian values, as you claim you have your own; and it follows - does it not - that you would therefore allow the same luxury to everyone else?

    I never said that I'm a pacifist. But I certainly wish I was strong enough to be one.

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  • 207. At 06:09am on 24 Jul 2009, John Henry wrote:


    206

    Pacifism is a luxury that can be afforded, only when the majority are prepared to stand against injustice; as the UK stood against the bullying tactics of Argentina during 1982. Further, individual conscience in the face of adversary is a luxury few can afford when the only alternative option is enslavement, as when Germany during WWII enforced a system of "forced labour".

    I don't debate or discuss the unprovable, though the ethical values I hold are almost certainly christian in origin; religion is not the sole keeper of morality.

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  • 208. At 10:05am on 24 Jul 2009, FiDafydd wrote:

    Re 207

    But that is the point. You allow yourself the luxury of your own personal morality, but do not extend it to others. That is the inconsistency. It is not a matter of not discussing the unprovable.

    The testimony of a large number who fought in the First and Second World Wars admiring the stand taken by pacifists is extremely moving, and is also far more gracious than your position here.

    What you are basically saying is that everyone should be willing to kill.

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  • 209. At 10:44am on 24 Jul 2009, FiDafydd wrote:

    Re 206

    I should have said: mapexx's extremism rather took over for a while. Sorry!

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  • 210. At 1:36pm on 24 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 202,,,

    Sorry for the delay in answering, my PC had a glitch and had to go to hospital. Thankfully it was not life threatening. However...


    You miss the point entirely.

    without the language, which IS the reason or at least the main plank in Plaid's platform, there would be NO need for a nationalist agenda.

    We do not get other regions of the UK demanding to be treated any differently than any other, it is simply because a 'partial' identity can be raised, thanks to the presence of a different language, that has been the bedrock of those who state they are Cymraeg/Welsh and acting in effect to the disadvantage of the majority, that we ever got embroiled in this matter at all.

    Now, if you cannot understand that then I am afraid you have a limited understanding of both politics and demographics.



    Message 203, I will ignore for its silliness. Nothing out of the ordinary there then.


    Message 204...


    Personally I couldn't give a toss if you fall asleep reading my output, but as I see you are one of those brought up reading the Sun, with its extreme sound bite presentation, I suppose you must be excused. Even more so when you take the amount of wordage you took simply to try reducing my message to a matter of ridicule.

    Unfortunately for you, as your message contained absolutely nothing re the subjects being discussed, only a attempted take down of myself, then it is you that is the utter clown and bore.

    As you teacher may tell you... 'Could do better'...Maybe next time perhaps.

    I wonder how quickly you would be bored trying to read anything other than the red top tabloids. Shakespeare must be a nightmare for you.

    Too much computer speak or mobile texting I suppose.



    Message 208....

    Once again you fail to comprehend... If you could manage to remove your slanted blinkers you would note I stated my messages were on a basis of neutrality, in other words, if you actually understand the term... 'devils advocate'.
    As also stated, I made no issue of my own moral stance. So do stop trying to read into my messages, which are part of a neutrally biased discussion, your own interpretation, which seeks some sort of covert import.

    You are obviously incapable of general discourse and discussion, but are a past master at snide sniping, for whatever agenda it is you follow.

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  • 211. At 1:40pm on 24 Jul 2009, Christian_Schmidt wrote:

    "In other words give Scotland a bit less but Wales and Northern Ireland?" said Betsan.

    "Had the oil revenues gone to Scotland" said Gwyrangon.

    It's these two comments which frame the real problem - any change to the Barnett formula would need to address the issue of how much Scotland gets, and that discussion will be manna from heaven to the Nats.

    I don't think Wales' wishes / needs / demands matter much when it comes to Barnett.

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  • 212. At 2:23pm on 24 Jul 2009, FiDafydd wrote:

    Re 210

    I think it may be you that is incapable of reading and comprehension, as 208 had nothing to do with you - it was addressed to Stonemason and his 207.

    You've become so paranoid, it seems, that you even see 'attacks' on you in messages meant for others ...

    But picking up on someone else's comment about your rather strange writing 'style', perhaps you could explain: "neutrally biased discussion"?!

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  • 213. At 2:34pm on 24 Jul 2009, penddu wrote:

    210 No Mapexx it is you - once again - who is missing the point and trying to twist every argument back to laguage which is obviously your pet prejudice.

    I want independence and I am not a Welsh speaker - it is my political view based on years of misrule from London and which is similar to the views of many held in the English speaking 'region' of Scotland (or do you magnaminously permit themselves to be a nation?) - NOTHING TO DO WITH LANGUAGE

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  • 214. At 3:08pm on 24 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    Message 212....


    If you do not wish, (and I wish it would be true) to have me comment then do not submit messages that contain my name (message 209), or make remarks about messages I have submitted.


    Message 213....

    Had the nationalists not raised the matter with their demands for language supremacy, and it's consequential demands that came about becuase of those demands, we would never had heard from the likes of you, or many many more who currently harp on about devolution, and all that goes with it.

    They would still be happily trailing along, in common with all other parts of the UK, just as they used to, pre this present situation.

    Bandwagons spring to mind. Just as is the case with many who stick their kids into Ysgol, when they have NO previous experiences on a family or personal basis, more to the point, see it as some sort of fad thing to do. For which I suggest many of their offspring will not thank them in years to come..

    But like, I and others have stated, many times, it's all to do with fads and whatever is seen as the current trend.

    As for Wales being treated so badly that it impels YOU to seek independence, by what right have you to demand such, against the rest of the reguions of the UK, and against the undeclared wishes of the far greater majority, who hold no such ambitions for their homeland?

    I will answer that myself, as much right as you have to demand a slice of the moon, just because you are living under a regime that tolerates such infantile demands.

    That they are unlikely to be met is one thing, as the majority rules,
    (except in Wales of course) however, when a bunch of clots gather together and use the only weapon they have to try to enforce their demands, that language you as a non speaker are so defensive about, (I wonder why,)then the time has come to put a halt to the nonsense.

    Are you as defensive about the many languages in the Amazonian regions and elsewhere around the globe, that are dying out on a monthly basis? Of course you are not, that is not the trendy thing to be involved in, is it.

    No matter how you stack it up, without the language to prop up the nationalists claim, there would be no claim.

    You personally may think it nothing to do with the language, but in that you are in a very small minority group.

    That is what kicked it off, whether you recognise the fact or not.
    Go check your modern history.

    Simple really.

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  • 215. At 3:31pm on 24 Jul 2009, FiDafydd wrote:

    Re 214

    I accept your gracious apology, mapexx ...


    penddu,

    Do you think it's really worth us wasting our time when he is clearly incapable of intelligent debate - 213 is just further proof of that? If someone disagrees with him, then that person is stupid or idiotic or a supremacist or infantile or..........take your pick!

    Then there are gems like:

    "As for Wales being treated so badly that it impels YOU to seek independence, by what right have you to demand such, against the rest of the reguions of the UK"

    I wonder why 'you' is written in capitals? It makes no sense.

    Like me, I imagine you campaign and work for an independent Wales - for my part, in a small way - but I don't think either of is 'demanding it'! Yet again, I don't know whether this is mapexx being delusional, or another example of his erratic writing 'style'.

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  • 216. At 3:33pm on 24 Jul 2009, Cardiffian2008 wrote:

    Message 214:

    Can't fault what you've said. Of course it is a home truth that will be too much for some to face up to.

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  • 217. At 3:44pm on 24 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 215...


    Once again not the slightest attempt to debate, just further scurrilous remarks aimed at me personally. Is it any wonder I call you an idiot, a clown and whatever else such a fool gets slated with?

    I think you are the most ignorant, impolite twerp on these boards.

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  • 218. At 5:04pm on 24 Jul 2009, FiDafydd wrote:

    Re 217

    Your usual charm ...

    Your rants are not part of a debate; one message is regurgitated to be the next, whatever the subject of the blog, in the most indecipherable prose.

    I have said that I want to see an independent Wales, and I do my own little bit locally to help the cause. I don't 'demand' independence - how could I? And what do you mean, 'demand'? You see, it is your lack of precision with words that gets you into so much hot water. I have made my viewpoint quite clear, it is you that chooses to ignore it.

    Yes, I pick up on your inconsistencies and inaccuracies, what's wrong with that? From Cicero to your beloved Westminster, that has always been the way of proper debate. You can only take things out of context, if the context isn't water-tight.

    Some people on here seem to enjoy wikipedia, here's an interesting one for you all:

    "A nation is a body of people who share a real or imagined common history, culture, language or ethnic origin, who typically inhabit a particular country or territory. The development and conceptualization of the nation is closely related to the development of modern industrial states and nationalist movements in Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries, although nationalists would trace nations into the past along an uninterrupted lines of historical narrative." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nation)

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  • 219. At 5:07pm on 24 Jul 2009, John Henry wrote:


    Off thread, but I thought every commentator here might like to send their best wishes to Chloe Smith following her election to the Mother of all Parliaments.


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  • 220. At 5:38pm on 24 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 218....


    I normally refrain from seeking definitions, as I am quite content with my own command of the language I was raised to use.

    Anyway, to follow your feeble attempt to once again demean my writing grammar and whatever. I decided to seek the assistance of my Copncose Oxford Dictionary. Not That I need it, but I need to qote verbatim to you so you will ub=nderstand I am always absolutkey accurate in my use of English words...

    Demand: ME from the O Fr.1
    1: to ask for wit legal right or authority.
    2:(in law) to make formal cliam to property.
    3: to ask for, peremptorily, inmperiously or urgently

    I may be not quite on the ball with meanings 1, or 2, however, in 3, I am excactly and correct.

    Therefore the extract from your message is, as usual, predictably, erroneous.

    Apart from that, the further extract from Wiki simply shows that you do not fully understand the meaning of 'nation', even when expressed in that extract.




    "....And what do you mean, 'demand'? You see, it is your lack of precision with words that gets you into so much hot water. I have made my viewpoint quite clear, it is you that chooses to ignore it...."

    Any more wrong comments to make?

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  • 221. At 5:53pm on 24 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    Apologies to all for the last message, was attending to cooking dinner at the same time and forgot to spellcheck.

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  • 222. At 6:24pm on 24 Jul 2009, FiDafydd wrote:

    Re 221

    Indeed!

    In the context you were writing, nos. i, 2 and 3 make no real sense. But if what you really meant was 'ask for' - then for what possible reason should that be not allowed in a democracy?

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  • 223. At 6:54pm on 24 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 222...

    My my, how you do prevaricate. You say anything to find a rift in my arguments. Failed as usual though.

    Has it bypassed you that, although you personally may feel you are only 'asking', how 'gentle' you have suddenly become, others, who follow the same nationalist line on these, and other boards, are doing far more than simply 'asking' they are 'damanding', indeed with almost threatening language, hence what I said is meant by # 3.

    I do not particularly write to you alone, my message are for general consumption, and there are many who do NOT mean, when they write, 'ask', they are DEMANDING. Try running back over this and other boards, where you will find such meanigs readily conveyed.

    As far as I am concernmed, that is the end of the matter. So please do not bother wasting my, and others, time by responding further on the subject.

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  • 224. At 08:36am on 25 Jul 2009, Dewi_H wrote:

    "their demands for language supremacy" from Mapexx - um who precisely has demanded supremacy? Equality would be handy.

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  • 225. At 09:07am on 25 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 224....

    in the message 223, which was a response to someone else, and for some unknown reason has been 'referred',I stated I will not be entering any further discourse on this subject,
    I will repeat that to you, so PLEASE NOTE, further response will not be made.
    The subject is now terminated as far as I am concerned.

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  • 226. At 09:11am on 25 Jul 2009, John Henry wrote:


    A person who is born in Wales and speaks Welsh, is a "Welsh person"! All others who are born in Wales ......... who do not speak Welsh are simply Welsh born.

    Written in the Western Mail letters, 8 July 2009, by a Mr Davies of Haverfordwest .....

    ..... this would imply "language supremacy", could it also be racist I wonder?


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  • 227. At 09:48am on 25 Jul 2009, Dewi_H wrote:

    Mapexx - the world revolves around you obviously. Your mass observations on this thread have probably been the most illogical, incoherent mess of your internet career. Some advice (which you'll ignore I'm sure):
    1) Write your post and then re-read and shorten before you post.
    2) Try and back up your assertions with facts.
    3) Repetition is not useful.

    Stony - thank you - I certainly don't agree with Mr Davies, strangely enough from litttle England!

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  • 228. At 10:10am on 25 Jul 2009, John Henry wrote:


    Odd, although Haverfordwest is indeed located in Pembrokeshire, your little England, he actually signed the published letter as .....

    ..... Haverfordwest, Dyfed.

    ..... possibly not wishing to be overtly linked to Little England, preferring the ancient title as being ..... more Welsh.

    He demonstrates a certain antipathy towards his English speaking neighbours, possibly.


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  • 229. At 10:36am on 25 Jul 2009, FiDafydd wrote:

    Re 226

    A 'Mr Davies of Haverfordwest', eh?

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  • 230. At 10:36am on 25 Jul 2009, Lyn David Thomas wrote:

    I have never understood why Westmister claims to be the mother of parliaments, its not the oldest or even the most democratic. The oldest are the Manx and the Icelandic. Arguably the Finish Parliament - which gave women the vote first has greater claims for being a pioneer of democracy. Its just one of those myths that seems to pervade the British state. It contains in it some flavour of superiority that it can not claim.

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  • 231. At 1:11pm on 25 Jul 2009, FiDafydd wrote:

    I am reliably informed that a Mr. Williams from Pontypridd has, this morning, categorically stated that he just doesn't like baked beans. I thought you should all hear about it...

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  • 232. At 3:20pm on 25 Jul 2009, John Henry wrote:


    #230

    I am quite certain that what you have never understood, will fill many extremely thick books, a multitude of books indeed.

    But to help you in a search for truth relating to Mother of all Parliaments, it is because it is the supreme (mother) of the various bodies of government that make up the United Kingdom. The inarticulate description or understanding you use, relates to the twisted Nationalist view of the United Kingdom, such a view that reflects a separatist psyche that needs to use myth in its support of a quest for the impossible.

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  • 233. At 5:43pm on 25 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 227....


    Just what is it you do not understand in the word 'terminated'

    Is it 'term', 'in' or 'ated' as it is apparent you DO NOT understand the whole joined up word.

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  • 234. At 6:54pm on 25 Jul 2009, Lyn David Thomas wrote:

    Thank you for the insults Stonemason, yours is the first explanation that I have heard that uses the reasoning that you do. I don't think that qualifies as the accepted understanding of the term. Can you give me some supportive evidence?

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  • 235. At 7:04pm on 25 Jul 2009, Dewi_H wrote:

    233 - I understand terminated perfectly thanks. You obviously don't because you continue to respond !

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  • 236. At 7:28pm on 25 Jul 2009, John Henry wrote:


    #234

    I would refer you to your local MP, he or she will be able to give you the definitive without prejudice.

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  • 237. At 7:48pm on 25 Jul 2009, Lyn David Thomas wrote:

    Avoiding the answer again Stonemason. I think you don't know what you are talking about.

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  • 238. At 8:17pm on 25 Jul 2009, John Henry wrote:


    ..... try wiki .....

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother_of_all_Parliaments


    But don't take wiki as perfect, ask your MP, he or she will confirm.


    An apology is appropriate for doubting without cause.


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  • 239. At 8:52pm on 25 Jul 2009, FiDafydd wrote:

    Re 238

    You certainly like wiki, Stonemason. Not so keen on answering questions though.

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  • 240. At 9:34pm on 25 Jul 2009, John Henry wrote:


    #239

    Wiki is ok, it's almost free, donations keep it going.

    If I have the time ....... it's ok to answer questions, but I have watched you and chums give commentators the run around, I'm not interested in that ..........

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  • 241. At 09:38am on 26 Jul 2009, Lyn David Thomas wrote:

    I saw that link and it does confirm what I knew that it was known as the Mother Of Parliaments as it acted as a model of a parliamentary system for many countries around the world. However it is not in that sense that it is used by many who seem to suggest it gets that tag because its the first democratic parliamentary assembly in the world, it isn't either the first democratic assembly or the first parliamentary body in the world, its a good example of how a unionist mythology grows and is used to promote the idea that somehow its superior to other parliamentary bodies. That is the impression that certain people like to give out. Actually as a model very few of its aspects have been copied other than it has two houses (outside the former empire) - and even Commonwealth countries never had House of Lords.

    The link does not support your assertion that Parliament is the Mother Of Parliaments because it spawned subordinate bodies within the UK. Again from the Wikipedia

    "The Houses of Parliament are often described as the Mother of Parliaments because of the adoption of the Westminster Model of Parliamentary Democracy by many countries of the former Empire. This usage is a misquote of John Bright (16 November 1811 - 27 March 1889), who actually said: 'England is the mother of parliaments'."

    Nothing to do with it being the font of government structures in the UK

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  • 242. At 10:43am on 26 Jul 2009, John Henry wrote:


    #241

    Why use the word spawned, other than to besmirch a great institution that has been a model for the majority, if not all, of parliamentary democracies the world over. Your Nationalist views blind you to the truth, Parliament at Westminster is a safer haven than anything the separatists might offer.

    In the context of my comment at #219, the Mother of all Parliaments, it is because it is the supreme (mother) of the various bodies of government that make up the United Kingdom. Take it or leave it, it stands.

    No good wishes from you and yours to Chloe Smith following her election to our Mother of all Parliaments.


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  • 243. At 11:10am on 26 Jul 2009, Lyn David Thomas wrote:

    Chloe Smith may do well, I don't know, but I don't see what her election has to do with a Blog about Welsh Affairs. Spawned contained no pejorative intent, if you found it so I apologise. You are still wrong in your usage of the term Mother of all Parliaments, its wrong in derivation and its wrong in application, if you wish to use it in that sense that is up to you but you can hardly expect us to understand your meaning when it is not used in that sense by anyone else. I would dispute your contention that it has been used as the model for parliaments the world over other than having two chambers, I know of only a few that have a house of lords. The bicameralism is not something that you can really claim as being a UK invention. I would suggest the model used by most is the USA model, which may have been partly borrowed from the UK in that it has two chambers but the paradigm of one chamber representing the people and the other representing the component units of the state is the model adopted by most, as opposed to one chamber representing the people (though it has to be said for the majority of its existence the Commons represented the landed gentry and municipal oligarchies) and one representing the nobility. Further more, outside the Anglosphere most parliaments elect their popular house by some form of proportional representation. Again not modeled on the UK parliament.

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  • 244. At 5:25pm on 26 Jul 2009, FiDafydd wrote:

    Re 243

    ...and of course with The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland being such a new nation state, she can hardly be called the Mother of Parliaments; more a slip of a girl. And there is nothing, absolutely nothing wrong with that.

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  • 245. At 7:51pm on 26 Jul 2009, penddu wrote:

    Just a personal observation, made apolitically and not aimed at any one individual (although some may be recognisable) - I hold a number of political views, which I accept are not shared by everyone. But I do not ram my views down every dissenting throat, aggressively claiming that my political opponenets are stupid, or ignorant or misguided, or proclaiming my intellectual superiority. On the contrary I try to understand the alternative view - put myself in the mindset of my opponents - see how or why they support a particular view - and then where appropriate challenge the root cause of their view, using facts and figure wherever possible. This approach does not work against bigotry or blind allegiance, but is succesful in opening the minds of non-aligned voters - the ones that win elections.

    I commend this approach to others..............

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  • 246. At 12:53pm on 27 Jul 2009, penddu wrote:

    I just looked up in the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of the word Bigot:

    Noun: a person who is prejudiced in their views and intolerant of the opinions of others

    Alongside the definition is a picture of a 76 year old man from Manchester, now residing in Torfaen.....

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  • 247. At 1:23pm on 27 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    Message 151...

    I think you have had enough of my patience, as I wait for the 'correct' figures you were going to provide, when was it? ...'tomorrow'... if I am not mistaken.
    Now, as 'tomorrow' was due on the 22nd July, and we are now on the 27th, don't you think the old saying 'tomorrow never comes' is about apt.

    Or is the truth, you cannot produce, as stated?

    In which case, don't you think you should be a little more circumspect in your claims?

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  • 248. At 1:43pm on 27 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 246...

    I suggest you also look up the comment by Oscar Wilde, on the definition of an opinion. If I recall correctly,as I do not have it to hand,: Opinion is the lowest common denominator of intellect. (or words to that effect)

    There are none so bigotted as those who supply an opinion, especially when that opinion is factually unsound.


    here are a couple of others...


    1: Men are never so good or bad as their opinions..Macintosh/Ethical Philosophy.

    2:When the people have no other tyrant, their own public opinion becomes one.... Bulwer Lytton,...'Ernest Maltravers', Bk VI, Ch, V

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  • 249. At 1:58pm on 27 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    Message 246.....again...


    I do not know what issue you have of the Conc Oxford, mine is the Oxford Concise English Dictionary on Historical Principles.

    From this I take the following....


    Bigot: A.D.1598,from the French..bigot, of unknown origin.

    1a:adv, a hypocrite.
    1b:adv, a superstitious person. A.D.1664
    2: a person obstinately and stubbornly wedded to a creed, opinion, or ritual.. A.D. 1661.

    Now, as I am not one in one of those categories, by which I categorically state I belong to no creed, do not do 'opinions' nor engage in rituals, I therefore suggest you have a less erudite and informative version of the Con Oxf.
    I also suggest you are once again looking to cause disruption, for your own selfish reasons.

    I refer you back to your 'opinion'.

    I do not state opinions, I first check all facts available to me, then make a statement: which can be challenged for it's veracity, such challenge will then be debated..
    So I further suggest you seek another route to take to have more pops at me.

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  • 250. At 2:29pm on 27 Jul 2009, penddu wrote:

    249 - You have an odd dictionary - sounds like an Etymology - - I dont complain about your opinions, but in the way in which you dismiss the opinions of others.

    151 - you are correct - I had forgetten to respond - I will do so later tonight.

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  • 251. At 2:39pm on 27 Jul 2009, penddu wrote:

    249 some more definitions to prove a point:

    Pocket Oxford English Dictionary
    A person with prejudiced views who does not tolerate the opinions of others

    Cambridge Dictionary of American English
    a person who has strong beliefs and refuses to consider seriously any other belief that is different, or a person who dislikes people of other races or religions

    Websters Online Dictionary
    A prejudiced person who is intolerant of any opinions differing from his own.

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  • 252. At 2:50pm on 27 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 250....

    I have a dictionary comprising 14 volumes, dated up to 2001.

    It's title as already expressed is...

    The Oxford English Dictionary, on Historical Principles. Which means, it gives the year a word was first used in written records and archives.
    It's current contents (2009)now amount to over 1 million words, and it is being added to at a rate of over a thousand words a month so I am informed.
    Now I suggest you take a look at Amazon, where I am sure you will find it for sale. It will certainly be found for sale somewhere on the web, all 14 volumes, at a price, not that I actually paid such a sum, I received it as a gift.

    A book on etymology?, are you for real pen? It is THE definitive global dictionary in English, on the English language.

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  • 253. At 3:00pm on 27 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    PS to message 252



    I forgot to respond to your comment re opinions of others.(#250)

    As I thought I had made clear in message 249, I do not deal in 'opinions' just facts, and those to who I am scathing, constantly attempt to put over their personal 'opinions' as facts, and when pulled up over the content of their messages, their usual response is to start calling names and being generally scurrilous.
    I have made this point time out of number, so if you truly wish to have me respond to you in a normal polite manner, then please do not worry about my resposes to others,

    Remain polite, as in message 250, and we shall get on famously, just as long as you do not proceed to offer 'opinion' as fact.

    Even then, as long as you also do not resort to name calling and other schoolyard rhetoric, we shal be able to discuss and debate, until our discourse is resolved to our mutual satisfaction.

    A I have stated before, go back over all the messages to see who pressed the trigger, which caused an antagonistic response from me.

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  • 254. At 3:10pm on 27 Jul 2009, penddu wrote:

    I am always polite and do not engage in name calling - and will always distinguish between opinions and facts.

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  • 255. At 4:00pm on 27 Jul 2009, penddu wrote:

    247 Map - as promised from 151 -

    Let us start by agreeing on what can be agreed :

    Firstly, Welsh identifiable expenditure in 2006/2007 was 24.1 Billion, and Wales must also pay its share of UK-wide non-identifiable expenditure covering issues such as defence, foreign trade etc, which amounts to a further 3.6 billion, making total government expenditure for Wales of 27.7 Billion.

    This is close enough to your figure of 28.4 Billion that I wont dispute it for now, but see again later.

    Regarding Income, the figure of 19.3 Billion was published as identifiable Welsh income, but this is misleading, as it does not include tax receipts which are generated in Wales but reported elsewhere. This is best illustrated by considering a bank such as HSBC based in London although its investment banking activities may be concentrated in London, its domestic banking activity is spread across the UK, and Welsh contribution to HSBC profits is included fully within the London figures, and is not included in Welsh figures.

    It is impossible to accurately determine what the true figure is unless Companies submit Wales only tax returns, but intuitively it must be higher than the figure quoted. It is possible to make an estimate of this contribution by considering the relative GVA of Wales and UK, and the best estimate I have seen suggested that the true figure for Wales was around 24 Billion.

    So yes I can agree with you that there is a funding gap, but that it is nearer 4 Billion than 9 Billion.

    So lets come back to that figure of 28 Billion. This included a contribution to UK-wide expenditure, which mainly refers to defence and foreign affairs of some 3.6 Billion. An independent Wales would have no need for nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers, and would adopt a much more modest approach to foreign policy, and I suggest that this figure could be reduced by 50%, which would close the funding gap to a more manageable 2-3 Billion.

    This may sound a lot, but you also have to remember that in the same period, UK total expenditure exceeded total income by some 20 Billion (and is much higher today), with the balance met by borrowing.

    I dont deny that an independent Wales would need to make some tough decisions on spending and taxation, but it is perfectly achievable. In fact independence would open up a series of opportunities which are currently closed to us as part of the UK which could close the funding gap altogether.

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  • 256. At 7:21pm on 27 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 255...

    I queried that point with Oxford Economics AND the Treasury, they informed me that such tax matters had been taken into account, in deriving the figures stated by the Oxford Economics.

    Therefore the figures I gave, were subjected to no manipulations, and were bottom line figures, after ALL Welsh derivatives had been calculated in.

    Others tried the same manipulations on the Welsh tax take, and were also given the facts, as stated by the Treasury and Oxford Economics.

    That is why you no longer hear anything about those manipulated figures.
    If you wish to carry the matter further, I suggest you do as I did, the last time these figures were disputed, give Oxford Economics's a ring or write to the Treasury, through your MP, as I did.

    No matter, even so, even if it resulted in only 4 billions, as you seem to, think, where under present circumstances, do you contrive to obtain that shortfall amount from?

    To arrive at a situation of a balanced budget, Wales would have to give up much, and the first things that seems the best candidates for scrapping would be all the quango's set up by the Assembly, if not, even the Assembly, a very wasteful excercise in itself.

    It is no use citing the matter of defence equipment, as there is unlikely to be any more than a handful of Welsh people, who would follow that line of attack on their defence needs.

    I could slos sayu why would Wales, a small entity need any sort of defence at all, other than a few cops and border control personnel, which brings on another scenario, would the Welsh population fall for such as the loss of unfettered freedom which would be the result of isolatin Wales from the rest of the UK?

    Even today, the proposal to set in place border control between the UK and Eire has been scrapped.

    I am sorry to say, but all of this has NOT been thoroughly thought out, in general terms it all looks positively attractive, until you start on the nitty gritty of the political and social upheavals that would ensue.

    All of which, if placed before the total population in terms of a referendum, would without the slightest doubt have the whole idea put to bed for once and for all.

    But by all means let us put it to the test, call a referendum, placing ALL, with the fullest details, before the electorate.
    I will be quite happy to accept the result, either way, will you?
    Or will we be subjected to another barrage of dissatisfaction for the next ten years, until Westminster tolerates another go, just to shut up the whinging and whining nationalists, just as happened in 1997.

    Finally on the matter of finance....Keep in mind, you have already supped at the table of Europe, and are unlikely to obtain further funding from that direction, as Europe will want to have it demonstrated that you will not squander any future funding, the way the most recent funds have been wasted.

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  • 257. At 9:21pm on 27 Jul 2009, penddu wrote:

    256 The study conducted by Oxford economists are not a matter of fact, but a series of inetrpretations which were disputed for reasons similar to the one I gave above. They did not take into account the HSBC situation I quote, but the simple fact remains that we will not know the true answer unless full accounting procedures are put in place.

    Regarding defence expenditure, Britain has the highest per capita defence expenditure of any major country apart from the US. Even highly militarised France spends 10% less, rich Germany and Italy 40% less and it is highly likley that an independent Wales would adopt an expenditure closer to that of Ireland (40% of UK levels). This is equivalent to a 1 billion a year saving>

    And I fail to understand what you mean by unfettered freedom and what this has to do with finances. There is free movement of people enshrined in EU law, together with freedom of trade. This can not be changed unilaterally by the RUK (Remaining UK ie England) if Wales were to become independent, but lets get back to finances.

    There is a spending gap which I acknowledge - it is just the size of this gap that is in question, and I do not subscribe to the EU handout option.

    There are two major opportunities that an independent Wales could exploit. The first is lowering Corporation Tax to encourage more Companies to invest in Wales (or for that matter to pass more of their profits through Welsh subsidiaries to pay their taxes here - dont get on your high horse - every Company does it)

    The second is to do with sharing out the National Debt and National Assets. The Vienna Convention on Successor States clearly lays down the rules how independent states share out their assets and debts. It is a simple fact that Wales is entitled to 5% of UK assets, including for example 5% of its Air Forces, Navy, etc. If these assets can not be pratctically transferred, then Wales could be entitled to alternative transferrable assets or a corresponding debt reduction, which is more likely. In practical terms this means that while we might only take half of the assets, we would also see a 50% reduction in debt and therefore ineterest payments. This is worth potentially 1-2 Billion a year.

    There will still need to be some hard choices made elesewhere - but it is all manageable.

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  • 258. At 12:05pm on 28 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    ....

    message 257...


    extract...

    "......And I fail to understand what you mean by unfettered freedom and what this has to do with finances. There is free movement of people enshrined in EU law, together with freedom of trade. This can not be changed unilaterally by the RUK (Remaining UK ie England) if Wales were to become independent, but lets get back to finances....."


    Unfettered freedom means that alternative regimes would be put in place that would create a rift in social and commercial stability that could easily cause friction between the very people themselves.
    So that much antipathy could be seen to arise, far worse than the petty amount of friction existing because of the 'free' prescriptions, as at the moment.

    The results of which could lead to antagonism between Wales and England, both in commercial and communal matters, with the reasonable assumption that Wales was getting far more than it would be entitled to. To also declare a reduction or dispensation of taxes, that would imply a disadvantage to business across the Dyke, it would stiffen the spine of British business, to the extent of ensuring Wales suffered from as many possible commercial barriers as could be put in place.

    One simple example being, the tolling of Welsh transportation across the English road system, in any, and all directions, to the disadvantage of competition, by raising costs.

    I can easily envisage such a scenario occurring, as England would feel disadvantaged by lower tax regimes on it's direct, and contiguous. border.

    The cost of transport could therefore be a factor that would wipe out any tax break claimed by Wales.

    That is one example, there are no doubt far more that could easily be employed by our disadvantage neighbour.

    As I stated before, your 'side' of this debate looks at the whole thing through rose tinted glasses, and you do not take into account just how deep the physical and social infrastructures of the regions are intertwined.

    Then there could easily be a social price to pay, in that our own taxes could rise significanmylty above the level to which we would be. or could be. able to pay. That would certainly endear your 'side' to the rest of the Welsh population.

    All roads across the divide could be 'tolled' which could upset the very people you opt to gain advantage for, US, the Welsh.
    Would it impact as hard on the English? I doubt it, they would simply refrain from entering Wales, unless for urgent purposes and reasons.

    Other social matters would follow in like train, reduced, or very costly health provision, considering we have one of the oldest, and getting older, and sicker, with far more of a percentage of our population claiming benefits along that line, than populations in Europe, therefore our expenditure would be rather impressive in taking care of our ageing population.

    Why on earth would the Welsh wish to commit hari-kiri, just to sate the political ambitions and aspirations of a grossly over ambitious and vocally strident minority. Language or otherwise being used as a means of warping the body politic as, at the present moment.

    Please do not come back saying that language is irrelevant, it goes to the very heart of all this call for a independent Wales

    That is the bottom line in all of this argument, when push comes to shove, I fear you will find, despite what the 'opinion' polls have to say about it, the Welsh are not suicidal, or STUPID, enough to follow such a road to their own Armageddon.



    This other extract from your message demonstrates the naivety that appears to be underpinning those hopes, and aspirations, of those wishing for a self determining Wales.


    ".....There are two major opportunities that an independent Wales could exploit. The first is lowering Corporation Tax to encourage more Companies to invest in Wales (or for that matter to pass more of their profits through Welsh subsidiaries to pay their taxes here - don't get on your high horse - every Company does it).....

    The next bit is pure fantasy land...

    "The second is to do with sharing out the National Debt and National Assets. The Vienna Convention on Successor States clearly lays down the rules how independent states share out their assets and debts. It is a simple fact that Wales is entitled to 5% of UK assets, including for example 5% of its Air Forces, Navy, etc. If these assets can not be practically transferred, then Wales could be entitled to alternative transferable assets or a corresponding debt reduction, which is more likely. In practical terms this means that while we might only take half of the assets, we would also see a 50% reduction in debt and therefore interest payments. This is worth potentially 1-2 Billion a year...."

    Vienna refers to 'true' states, which Wales is not, nor never has been, nor can be, under circumstances laid out by that treaty. It does not refer to aspirational new creations, that could NOT demonstrate just how in either fiscal or social terms why it would need to be created.

    I suggest Vienna, or Europe for that matter, would not be impressed by a declaration that Wales just wished to be a newly formed state, because a few language obessed were pushing for independence, taking a futher few, along for a 'patriotic' ride with them.

    Anyone inclined to believe that the UK could be rent along lines such as could only apply to the likes of the Balkan states, which were forced into federation, as part of the post war bloc agreements, to form Yugoslavia, etc,... is definitely living on cloud nine.

    Wales has NO claim whatsoever on the 'assets' of the UK, for the simple reason, it is no more entitled than Yorkshire, Merseyside, the south east, the midlands, or any other little slab of territory.

    What you call for is not only impractical, in it's simplicity, it is also totally unworkable to the slightest degree of practicality.

    In effect, you call for the break up, or regionalisation, of a sovereign state, just to give you some sort of 'control' that is unjustified in any way of interpreting the matter.

    Vienna could not be invoked, nor I can state with a fair degree of certainty, could Europe.

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  • 259. At 1:13pm on 28 Jul 2009, penddu wrote:

    Mapexx, you have mixed up some valid opinions with simple sabre rattling, and each issue needs to be considered separately, and I will respond to each as a separate issue.

    In general terms, - of course I am looking at options through rose-tinted spectacles - and conversely yours are tinted blue. I am offering possible solutions to acn acknowledged problem and possible opportunities - and of course these are made on an 'amateur' basis without the support of teams of lawyers and accountants to support my case.

    But everything said above is feasible and practical. The solutions are just a matter of detail - which will need to be solved - but which is not insurmountable.



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  • 260. At 1:23pm on 28 Jul 2009, penddu wrote:

    Yet again you make the claim that Wales is not a true state, and use this claim to state that therefore the Vienna Convention does not apply.

    But using your logic, none of the previous secceeding states of the USSR or Yugoslavia could be considered to be covered either - But this excatly the situation that they found themselves in and the Vienna Convention was applied.

    Hypothetically, if the North of England wanted to separate from the South of England, then this situation would also be covered by the VC.

    There are two issues to consider - first the right of Wales to separate from the UK is enshrined in the UN Charter of Human Rights - If it is the democratic view of the people (and I accept that 50.1% on a 50% turnout would not suffice) then it may happen. And if it is going to happen, then the VC will apply.

    And the VC is quite clear as to how assetts and debts are aportioned - and this does not match your opinion. If you want to see how it works in practice, there are plenty of examples with the USSR.

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  • 261. At 1:26pm on 28 Jul 2009, penddu wrote:

    With regards your proposed border controls (tolls) these are completely illegal under EU law and no sane government would suggest them - so no further comment is necccesary on this issue.

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  • 262. At 1:32pm on 28 Jul 2009, penddu wrote:

    You also seem to think that a change in tax regime between Wales and England would be problematic - why? The ROI already do this without any problem, and even today there are different regimes for business rates, prescription charges etc between Wales and England. Changes would need to be gradual and sympathetic, but there is no fundamental reason why this can not be done.

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  • 263. At 1:35pm on 28 Jul 2009, penddu wrote:

    Finally, you are getting emotive as to Wales could or should vote for independence one day. This is another discussion for another day, as I was only talking about the finances should such a situation come around.

    If you are going to respond, can you please keep responses to single topics only.

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  • 264. At 2:30pm on 28 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    general answer to the messages of recent posting...



    Extract...

    ".....But using your logic, none of the previous seceding states of the USSR or Yugoslavia could be considered to be covered either - But this exactly the situation that they found themselves in and the Vienna Convention was applied....."


    All those mentioned were sovereign states unto themselves prior to them becoming federated under the USSR after WW2, and by the Treaty of Potsdam which carved up the world into blocs of political influence..

    Wales has never been a sovereign state unto itself, it is a region of the sovereign state of the UK. It is recognised as such under both UN and EU and therefore your assessment of it is incorrect.


    I have already checked the matter of Human Rights in reference to the status of Wales under EU and UN Charters and you are totally wrong, because, just as in the above mentioned case, Wales would have to be a recognised sovereign state unto itself in historical terms, which it is not.

    The UN and the EU could not therefore be involved, should Wales attempt to separate from the UK, that is, first of all an internal matter for the UK alone, and then, should it become accepted by the UK, and only then, could Wales approach both the EU and the UN for ratification of its sought for international status..
    The same proviso would apply to any other region of the UK, first it would have to overcome the internal rules of the matter, before being tolerated in the international arena.

    That is extremely unlikely to occur.

    I do not refer to 'physical' borders when I made my earlier message, maybe you cannot understand or perceive that there are other means to obtain a desired end result, methods that would bypass European legislation, matters that can be obtained by the construction of non-physical barriers, through social and communal means. Commercially, England would be in a prime position to set rules that Wales could not surpass, even under EU regulations.

    They already do so,in many aspects of our social and commercial existence, in their ability to raise taxes at national level that the EU cannot make issue of..


    Road tolls are in place all over Europe, and it is up to the road tolling authority, in whichever state, to set the levels, nothing to do with the EU.

    The Tory party is already discussing setting road tolls, should they become the next government.


    I will finish by referring to the comments about the RoI and the matter of prescriptions.

    'scripts first.... This is seen as unfair by many in England and will seem even more so when Scotland and Ulster also have the facility added to their benefits.

    However it is of minor importance, and as at present causes few eyebrows to be raised.

    Other matters, if brought in, such as your proposed massive reduction in corporation tax, would have a major impact in England, who would deem it against their interests of commerce in England, especially on the policies of the Tory party who generally represent the commercial front of the business world, they would probably scuttle such a proposal in an instant.

    RoI, is a separated state, fully recognised as a sovereign state, with no true connection to the UK.
    Yes, it may have a land border with Ulster, but none that could be called a border with the mainland of this state. NI has special arrangements with the RoI, and therefore cannot be included for discussion purposes in this. Even so, that border has just been 'opened' by the UK, which gives credence to the notion a unification is not very far away. Secondly, Ireland is a member state of the Eurozone, which gives it distance between it and the UK, and until we become likewise members of that same currency union, we are 'different'. To call in, as an example, the RoI is again a rather dubious red herring to the debate.


    The problem with your request to 'refrain from wandering from the point' is, you seem to think none of this matter is 'connected'.. Again you are incorrect, it is all part and parcel of whatever transpires in the future of this region, and therefore, cannot be separated into little boxes, to be discussed in isolation from one another.

    The package is one off, multi-part, yes, but cannot be debated without constant reference to all aspects, no matter how you wish to construct your own part of it.

    That is why I have stated, a few times, that you are not being fair to either yourself or others who may be tempted into the discussion.
    Simply because you refuse to engage the whole matter, divulges a lack of perspicacity in the subject, therefore does not mean it has to be broken into smaller parts, that is why I also say the whole population MUST be given not only basic facts, but also a complete run down of the minutia
    so they become FULLY aware what is being proposed in their name.

    It is all or nothing I am afraid.

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  • 265. At 5:55pm on 28 Jul 2009, John Henry wrote:


    Following separation border controls would be an option until such times a successful entry to the EU was negotiated.

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  • 266. At 8:00pm on 28 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 265,


    My point exactly Stoney, but in regards the demand for a reduction in co joined taxation against the interests of English business, I believe there would be repercussions.

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  • 267. At 10:25pm on 28 Jul 2009, MH at Syniadau wrote:

    Don't be fooled by mapexx in #256.

    Strangely, contacting Oxford Economics was exactly what "nospin" on the WalesOnline forum said he did, but was only told that VAT had been taken into account. However it turned out OE's VAT figures were based on OE's OWN estimates, not hard data, and that these estimates were in turn based on spending analyses that were ten years out of date. No account was taken of where the profits that were taxed as Corporation Tax were made, only where the tax was paid. That is how OE came up with such an inflated figure. This should not be surprising, as the original work was done on behalf of the Leaders of Councils in South East England, with the express purpose of showing they were hard done by.

    As regulars on WalesOnline would know, that particular "nospin" has a track record of deliberately falsifying figures, making up "facts" and pretending to have "checked things" to suit his opinions. We can make up our own minds whether "mapexx" is yet another name used by the same person but, from what he's just said, it would be a quite a coincidence if he wasn't.

    If ever he wants the rest of us to take him seriously, I'm sure he'll provide links or other evidence to support what he says. Until then, it's just the same old same old.

    -

    Now, to take the unusual step of going back to what Betsan ACTUALLY WROTE in the post that started this thread, we were told not to stir things up by questioning the Barnett formula because, "You could end up with less, worse off then you are now."

    That proved to be completely wrong. But that's no excuse for a Secretary of State who would have had access to raw Treasury figures, even though they never got published. To put it bluntly, Paul Murphy (and no doubt Peter Hain after him, and now after him again) was trying to bluff us, if not mislead us, about Wales' true financial position. Nevertheless all this speculation would be uneccessary if the Treasury published fuller figures and required companies to produce regional accounts for taxation purposes.

    Thankfully the Holtham Commission will do the next best thing and produce a comprehensive analysis of what Wales' fiscal balance actually is in the second part of their report, due out next year.

    I won't pre-empt the conclusions Holtham will reach, but I'm prepared to bet it would be much more like 3bn than 9bn for recent years. The figures now will almost certainly be worse because of falling tax revenue and more unemployment as a result of the current economic crisis ... but that will be true of the whole UK, not just Wales.

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  • 268. At 05:46am on 29 Jul 2009, John Henry wrote:


    Whilst the jousting might have a certain satisfaction, there has been no explanation as to why the poor (I use the word poor because writers constantly refer to the people of Wales as poor) of Wales should be funded a thousand pounds per annum more than the people of Yorkshire and Humberside.

    Talk of "needs" is obfuscation as the needs of people rarely change in a measurable way between area's of the United Kingdom, the regional political "wants" on the other hand change in response to the politics of the day. From what I've read above, there is an obsession with gaining a larger share of a decreasing pot by a political minority who show very little concern for people only projects.


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  • 269. At 10:39am on 29 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 267....


    Before I respond to your commentary, I will remove any ambiguity re my on line identity.

    Extract from the message numbered above....


    "....We can make up our own minds whether "mapexx" is yet another name used by the same person but, from what he's just said, it would be a quite a coincidence if he wasn't....."

    I do NOT in any way, shape, or form, frequent this or any other blog, with any other name but my own, 'Mapexx'

    In fact I take great offence at the insinuation by the clown who wrote message 267, and require an immediate apology for the snide insinuation that I utilise multiple identities..


    To the rest of his overblown message....

    I do not know of any other attempt at gaining information from Oxford Economics, only my own.

    I was informed that the figures given included all aspects of the economic study, which took account of all tax regimes, including VAT, income tax, and corporation tax. This was confirmed my other means, through Westminster sources of information. Plus, they were based on figures for the financial year of 2006/7, not 1997, as mentioned in #267

    Someone also said the figures did not include Road taxes. Which I understood to be directly paid into the Treasury.

    It matters not one whit though, as far as I am concerned, as I take quite seriously the unnecessary squandering of taxation utilised in funding a bureaucratic establishment that is totally not needed,...
    ... the Assembly/WAG here in Wales.

    Let me display a scenario...

    Secretary of State for Greater Manchester.

    Minister for Yorkshire.

    Minister for The Midlands.

    Northumbrian Secretary.

    Secretary of State for Greater London.

    Minister of State for East Anglia.

    This is how ridiculous this Welsh situation appears, to anyone with a sense of logic.

    In other words, totally illogical.

    There is absolutely no necessity for a third tier of governance, it does not apply anywhere else in the UK, so why here, what is so special about this region that it needs different treatment to the rest of the regions of the UK, regions that have seemingly refused to accept such a regime?

    All that is being spewed out, on all the blogs, and in all the rest of the means of communication, is so much waffle, and needs culling, immediately as I see it. Taking with it that nest of squandering vipers down in Cardiff Bay, and it's outstations, along in the cull.


    As far as Barnett is concerned, I go along with the flow, and the current flow appears to suggest it needs overhauling.

    So let it be so treated, maybe in doing so, the anachronism that we are now suffering from will be rationalised by being dispensed, with once and for all.

    No more idiotic referendums, just kill it forthwith, and return Wales to the regime of being in line with the rest of the British regions, putting a stop to the 'special' treatment certain characters are constantly calling for.

    Maybe then Wales will get a better deal all round, once the local authorities are taken from under the cloak of a tier of governance they really do not need between them, and direct funding.

    The current costs involved in that tier, would be welcome extra income to our towns, cities, and counties, without doubt.

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  • 270. At 10:56am on 29 Jul 2009, FiDafydd wrote:

    Re 269

    mapexx said:

    "There is absolutely no necessity for a third tier of governance, it does not apply anywhere else in the UK, so why here"

    Umm, what about Scotland and Northern Ireland? Or are they lucky enough to have left this upstart young state already?

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  • 271. At 11:23am on 29 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 270....

    I am not the slightest interested in either of those two locations, as I have told you before. MY concern is where I live.
    Once that has been resolved, maybe Westminster will set about correcting other regions.

    What a terrible afffliction to suffer from...short term memory.

    Do try harder to remember what you have been told, innumerable times.

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  • 272. At 11:58am on 29 Jul 2009, FiDafydd wrote:

    Re 271

    What a ridiculous answer. If you don't care about anywhere else, why ask:

    "There is absolutely no necessity for a third tier of governance, it does not apply anywhere else in the UK, so why here"

    What is the point of debating with someone who doesn't even seem to understand what he himself is writing? You get into this reactionary ranting mode, and you just can't get out of it.

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  • 273. At 1:32pm on 29 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    Message 271...

    Got me there!


    However as stated, I care not one whit about elsewhere, maybe I should amend my message by saying 'any other region of England', does that suit you?

    Don't bother, it will only be another attempt to try scoring brownie points.

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  • 274. At 2:04pm on 29 Jul 2009, puredrivelagain wrote:

    271,

    If you don't care about anywhere else why mention the UK as a whole, which interestingly enough contains 4 distinct regions, 3 of which are subjugated under the control of the fourth and are actively seeking separation....

    M ap Exx as we cymro say, whether you are interested or not, Scotland is about to face an independence referendum and the Northern Irish are coming together and as posted by yourself in another topic, a unification may be on the cards in the future.

    How can you argue against yourself and then deny it? I think it's time you went into the old folks home pal...

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  • 275. At 2:25pm on 29 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    274...

    It is so strange that you people insist on talking about Wales, until that is someone else does the same, then it's talk about everywhere else, as though it matters.

    Get this, it matters not to me. All I am concerned about is the fact my region is being screwed up by a bunch of nationalist elitists, using a useless language as their weapon of choice with which to beat and berate the rest of the greater majority.

    I would not bother responding,as I will keep on repeating it, forever, if I feel like.

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  • 276. At 2:27pm on 29 Jul 2009, FiDafydd wrote:

    Re 273

    "maybe I should amend my message by saying 'any other region of England', does that suit you?"

    No it doesn't - because it would be wrong for you to say 'any other region of England', because that would more than imply that Wales is a region of England; it's that word 'other'. And I don't think that even you claim that to be the case!

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  • 277. At 2:55pm on 29 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 276...


    Another load of useless garbage from the garbage man.


    But I will re post my original paragraph, suitably amended, as stated...


    "There is absolutely no necessity for a third tier of governance, it does not apply anywhere else in the English part of the UK, so why here, what is so special about this region that it needs different treatment to the rest of the regions of the UK, regions that have seemingly refused to accept such a regime?"

    Any more of your trash to submit?

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  • 278. At 3:53pm on 29 Jul 2009, FiDafydd wrote:

    Re 277

    Well, it seems that my trash has got you to change your wording and meaning ...

    But if my pointing out to you your mistakes makes you so angry - why are you such an angry man? - then just be more careful in the way you pontificate.

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  • 279. At 4:58pm on 29 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 278...


    Not satisfied even then are you, I amend my input to suit your pedantism, and all you can do is, yet again, try for brownies.

    Sound bites by the bucket full, no reasonable attempt at sensible comment. And still trash.

    Why am I not surprised.

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  • 280. At 5:55pm on 29 Jul 2009, John Henry wrote:


    #274 you wrote:

    Scotland is about to face an independence referendum


    I think this is untruthful !

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  • 281. At 5:57pm on 29 Jul 2009, FiDafydd wrote:

    I'm fed up with not having a proper debate.

    Could I perhaps go off-subject for a minute just to ask bloggers a few questions about the nature of this sort of blogging?

    How important do you think it is for us to stick to the rules of grammar? Does using a new medium (well, fairly new) like this, mean that we can all relax a bit in relation to that, or not? I tend to think not. After all, none of us would much like to see a letter by us published in the press if it was full of errors. It's only the medium that's different.

    Does anyone disagree with me that the danger with shoddy writing is that the message itself is poorly expressed? This can create a lot of unnecessary hot air.

    And will the fact that we all become used to bad writing mean that we will not be so offended by it in other contexts, where we have always expected far better?

    I'm not talking typos here!

    Perhaps no one's interested, but if you are, I'd like to hear your views.

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  • 282. At 6:58pm on 29 Jul 2009, puredrivelagain wrote:

    280,

    Technically at this point in time yes it is untrue. If the opposition in Scotland block the bill next year then it is likely that when the next Scottish election returns an SNP majority as it is shaping up to do, there will be a referendum.

    I say this as a regular follower of Scottish politics.

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  • 283. At 7:01pm on 29 Jul 2009, puredrivelagain wrote:

    FiDafydd,

    Grammar is very important however as a 31 year old I was never taught strict grammar in all its tenses and guises.

    As for expressing opinions, I think they need to be concisely expressed at a length longer than 2 or 3 sentences but at a length substantially shorter than M Ap Exx's essays.

    Furthermore, sentences should never start with "And" (example 279)

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  • 284. At 7:07pm on 29 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    Message 281...




    Yes, you are quite right in making such a polite request.


    However, maybe you should make some attempt to commence your new ideas with that correct pattern you wish all to follow.

    I am not being critical, or frivilous, in a destructive manner,, just pointing out the obvious.



    Extract from message 281....

    "...And will the fact that we all become used to bad writing mean that we will not be so offended by it in other contexts, where we have always expected far better?...."


    If I may be allowed, I will re write that, punctuating as appropriate.

    "...And, will the fact that we all become used to bad writing, mean that we will not be so offended by it, in other contexts, where we have always expected far better?...."

    Maybe we can now all return to a semblance of politeness, and without further scurrilous responses.

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  • 285. At 7:14pm on 29 Jul 2009, John Henry wrote:


    #281

    There could be an issue of democracy, freedom of speech with your How important do you think it is for us to stick to the rules of grammar?.

    Expressed as the danger with shoddy writing, it could very well become a deterrent to debate in that people who were failed by the education system might refrain from adding to a debate.


    To deny any contribution is in my view a retrograde step.


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  • 286. At 8:54pm on 29 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 283....


    Mapex makes damned sure that as far as possible all angles are covered, for the simple reason he has been caught out often enough by pedantic responses, as stated many times,on typo's, sometimes sloppy grammar, and argument that would be properly addressed by a more full submission.

    Of course you are at liberty to do one of two things,...read through, and thereby come to understand what has been written, even if you disagree with it, or ignore, and remain ignorant.

    What often occurs is, someone will read, either only a part, perhaps scan at speed, which invariably means a complete misunderstanding, or alternatively, the whole, yet fail to comprehend, the result of which is responses that are scurrilous, and or, scathing, quite often with veiled, or open insult contained therein.

    It has been mentioned by a few on these blogs and threads that the common thread running trough these type of responses, lead one to believe that there is a co ordinated plot to undermine the most vociferous in anti Assembly contributors.

    Easy to accept that, as virtually all, respond in so similar a fashion, it is not beyond belief that such a programme is, in fact, under way.

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  • 287. At 9:40pm on 29 Jul 2009, FiDafydd wrote:

    Re 284
    Even grammar will never be an exact science, and I certainly make plenty of mistakes, especially in my second language. However, mapexx, I don't think I agree with your changes to my sentence, for the simple reason that grammar, far from being prescriptive at all times, does offer us a great deal of freedom. That, actually, is the beauty of grammar. That, also, is why I find this whole subject interesting.

    Stonemason,

    I'm not trying to lay down the law, I'm merely asking questions. Denying freedom of speech isn't on my agenda. It is certainly the case, however, that people have different abilities and strengths, but is there a danger that some may choose to 'dumb-down' - in terms of language and grammar - as a new 'house-style' slowly emerges?

    You're right to say, however, that no one should be frightened away.

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  • 288. At 10:20pm on 29 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 287...


    Agree or not, the extract from your message was correctly modified.

    In passing, I do not necessarily agree that a sentence cannot be commenced with 'And'.
    Your use was quite acceptable, although in grammatical terms, not entirely accurate, as it was not neccesary to use it in the first place..

    The sentence would have parsed just as well, without it.

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  • 289. At 10:47pm on 29 Jul 2009, FiDafydd wrote:

    Re 288

    For a long time it was believed that you should never start a sentence with 'And' - but you're right, mapexx, it isn't wrong. In fact, it makes more sense sometimes to do so, and here, I believe, is an example of that. If grammar is about anything, it is about common sense.

    But I believe that the rhythm and sense of my sentence here, means that there is no need for a comma after the 'And' - but I'm sure we'll continue to disagree on that. It isn't this that is of interest to me, it's how important we think these things are.

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  • 290. At 07:40am on 30 Jul 2009, penddu wrote:

    289 Personally I cant get too excited about incorrect grammar or spelling, as long as the message itself is clear and concise.

    My personal dislike is long rambling comments covering multiple subjects, but it is only my personal taste, and if others choose to write in this way it is their choice.

    But I do not accept personal abuse or offensive language.

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  • 291. At 10:45am on 30 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 298...

    I will not be entering into a discourse about how your message reads, other than to explain why the comma was placed after the initialising ...'And'...

    Had the 'and', separated from the previous line. been subjected to a comma before it, thus,....

    .... "This can create a lot of unnecessary hot air, 'and' will the fact that we all become used to bad writing mean that we will not be so offended by it in other contexts, where we have always expected far better?....


    Then it would have parsed far better.

    But, as you opted to commence a new sentence, following a capitalised 'And', it was imperative that the comma entered by me, after that 'And' was so placed to correct the emphasis on your continuation of the commentary. In spoken utterance, you would, of necessity, taken a momentary, and emphatic breath pause, before completing the line.

    Anyway, it is as the next contributors stated, not really important, this blog is neither in place to satisfy grammitcal exactitude, nor for the purpose of erudition to world class standards in English.

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  • 292. At 3:19pm on 30 Jul 2009, penddu wrote:

    291 - I cant wait for comment 298 to see what he said.... ;o)

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  • 293. At 6:18pm on 30 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 929...


    Cor Blimey!, caught me on another typo.

    A case of reverse figures, I must say.

    These darn number keys , ... must be Wesley, always changing things around. I'll never learn to type if he keeps on doing it.

    Now where is that blasted clutch again, eh?

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  • 294. At 7:08pm on 30 Jul 2009, lostmanofgwent wrote:

    he whole idea of independence is to give Wales the prosperity and economic security it lacks as part of the United Kingdom, because union with England (and the boom-and-bust policies of successive Liebour and Tory governments) has turned Wales into one of the poorest parts of the EU. The whole idea of independence is to attract inward investment into Wales, because it cant get it under the present arrangement. The whole idea of independence is to ensure job creation in Wales and to prevent the current drain of talent as young people are forced out of the country to find work. The whole idea of independence is to put Wales at the heart of Europe with a direct voice at Europes decision-making top table rather than seeing it represented by dodgy second-hand car salesmen from Essex. What on earth would be the point of championing it if it wasnt?

    Its precisely because those who get the point realise that small independent nations like Iceland and Ireland have the ability to control their own affairs for good or ill. Iceland may be bankrupt, but this is NOT because it is independent, but because it had bad leadership and bad fiscal management in a global financial crisis.

    Britain is bankrupt for the same reason.

    Ireland, on the other hand another example Liebourites use to warn of the dangers of independence is regularly disparaged in the British press with gleeful headlines such as Roar goes out of Celtic Tiger and Celtic Crown loses Gleam with accompanying pictures of half-drowned cats, drink-sodden leprechauns and the like, is, actually proof that small nations have a better chance than large ones. Well, better, certainly, than the poor old UK.

    In an article (Celtic Tiger sharpens its claws for recovery) in last weeks Financial Times, BP chairman and former EU commissioner Peter Sutherland describes Irelands problems as being acute rather than chronic. The article is worth quoting at length because it clearly shows the unfathomable chasm between the incisive analysis of a brilliant international economist on the one hand, and the bizarre ramblings of a puffed-up buffoon from the backbenches of Waless toothless Assembly on the other.

    The reasons for the deficit are well known, writes Sutherland, Irelands growth and tax revenues, from about 2003, became overly dependent on housing. So, when the property bubble burst, the economy slowed sharply and tax revenues plummeted. The problems of the Irish banks are related to this issue too (their exposure to US mortgage-backed securities and other non-domestic toxic assets is minimal).

    While the housing slowdown and the associated budget deficit has created a major challenge, to focus exclusively on housing-related problems provides a distorted picture of the under lying health of the Irish economy. The economy has been a phenomenon since the late 1980s. From a relatively poor country on Europes periphery, Ireland has risen to become one of the richest economies in the world in 20 years. Even after an anticipated 8 per cent fall this year, its GDP per capita, in terms of purchasing power, will remain significantly higher than that of the UK or Germany. And, while unemployment has risen, there are still 80 per cent more jobs in Ireland today than 15 years ago. Much of its infrastructure has been transformed during this period.

    Since 2007, Irelands current account position has been rising and, at the current trajectory, it should return to surplus by the year end. To the extent that Irish public sector borrowing has been rising, this is being more than offset by a rise in private sector saving.

    The cause of these favourable statistics is export-led growth, led by inward investment in industries such as information technology, pharmaceuticals and private sector services. The fact that Irelands economic success has been driven by exports in these areas has resulted in a far stronger basic Irish economy than the one that existed in the 1980s. Because of the nature of these exports the drop in exports anticipated for this year, as a result of recession, is estimated to be only 5.9 per cent. The corresponding Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development figure for Germany is 16.5 per cent, France 11.4 per cent and Great Britain 9.8 per cent. Some others are considerably worse, such as Japan, forecast at 26.4 per cent.

    Another issue on which there has been much comment is the alleged disadvantage to Ireland of being in the eurozone. In reality, Ireland may have been saved by its membership from the possibility of a run on its currency however unwarranted such a run would have been. The UK, meanwhile, has seen its currency fall by 30 per cent against the euro and this is likely to bring short-run benefits. This option is not, of course, available to Ireland; flexibility has had to come instead from an adjustment in real wages. But and this is the most important positive for Irelands long-term prospects there is clear evidence that it is dealing with the competitiveness issue in a sustainable manner and one I believe to be unprecedented in the OECD area.

    The latest data suggest there has already been an 8 per cent drop in private sector wages and salaries and, via the pension levy, there has also been in effect a 7-8 per cent fall in public sector pay. It is hard to imagine wages in other economies displaying such flexibility. If these figures are maintained or even supplemented, the Irish economy should emerge from the recession in a highly competitive position. Meanwhile, the minister of finance has given an undertaking to maintain Irelands low corporation tax rate of 12.5 per cent.

    It has to be recognised that Ireland has a very open economy.

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  • 295. At 8:03pm on 30 Jul 2009, John Henry wrote:


    #294

    The whole idea of independence is to transfer power from the established political groups in Wales to an extreme left wing body of Welsh politicians. Look to the membership lists, particularly the elected politicians with blogs.

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  • 296. At 10:02pm on 30 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 294...


    Extract....


    ....."In an article (Celtic Tiger sharpens its claws for recovery) in last weeks Financial Times, BP chairman and former EU commissioner Peter Sutherland describes Irelands problems as being acute rather than chronic. The article is worth quoting at length because it clearly shows the unfathomable chasm between the incisive analysis of a brilliant international economist on the one hand, and the bizarre ramblings of a puffed-up buffoon from the backbenches of Waless toothless Assembly on the other....."


    ....The first half of that extract may be true of Ireland, 'acute', it is then.
    The UK however, because of it's underlying wealth, which puts it's value in the thousands of billions range, is not even 'acute', just a slight blip in the running order, as I understand it.



    The second half I can toddle along with in comfort and ease. But why stop at the one buffoon, surely the whole damned lot of 'em are due culling, along with that falsity known as the WAG. and it's compadre Assembly.

    Kid yourself not, Wales has no idea where it is going, all that the Cardiff menage are interested in is self agrandisement and control, control, control.

    Soon to be dispensed with, and Wales to be returned to that massively wealthy next door neighbour's administration, from whence it should never have been taken in the first place, evn if only partially.

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  • 297. At 00:08am on 31 Jul 2009, FiDafydd wrote:

    Re 296

    mapexx,

    I thought you didn't like people taking extracts out of messages, that they should always be discussed as a whole. At least, you don't seem to like anyone doing it to you - and say so in no uncertain terms.

    But it has become a habit of yours recently.

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  • 298. At 00:35am on 31 Jul 2009, FiDafydd wrote:

    Re 295

    Stonemason,

    Another bizzare comment. I'd quite like to hear you try to explain and justify it, actually.

    "The whole idea of independence..."??!!

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  • 299. At 06:03am on 31 Jul 2009, John Henry wrote:


    #298

    Not bizarre. There is a single political organisation that proposes independence, Plaid. This organisation has been demonstrating its very left of Labour stance for many years, as part of the coalition there is a determination to be more Labour than Labour, currently this position may be observed and confirmed by browsing the utterances of Plaid MP for Carmarthen East and the regional AM from the Rhondda.


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  • 300. At 08:15am on 31 Jul 2009, penddu wrote:

    294 Funny thing democracy - the public votes for the parties they want.

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  • 301. At 08:36am on 31 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 296....


    Wrong again Fi Fi, what I do not appreciate is short extracts, obviating the rest, that validates that part of the sentence, or paragraph, which removes the context of that sentence, or paragraph. In other words the style YOU employ, and why I make issue of the fact.

    Do keep up,... when I copy and paste, I do so utilising the WHOLE sentence or paragraph, thereby maintaining context.

    I tolerate no ambiguity creeping into MY messages by such deliberate
    exclusion.

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  • 302. At 08:57am on 31 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 300....


    Not quite factual Dewi, the public, particularly the Welsh public, are easily swayed by what they read in the Sun, Western Mail and all the other right wing rags.


    If the public were to vote according to the actual study of the details of what is on offer, Plaid and such similar parties would never get a seat in any, but the most esoteric, forums.

    I have said this previously, ALL political commentary should be banned for a period of at least two weeks prior to ANY election.

    From TV, Radio and all news media.

    Coupled to compulsory voting, we would begin to see a new democracy arise, one that more truly reflected the wishes of the electorate as a whole, not as at present, sectionalised according to how much is spent on publicising the policies of party platforms and mandates.

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  • 303. At 09:25am on 31 Jul 2009, penddu wrote:

    302 Dewi??
    I agree that certain sections of the media have an undue influence on politics, but to suggest banning political commentary for two weeks would simply mean that most people would either not be aware that there is an election taking place, or that if they did they would not be aware of current issues and would just vote the way that they always do.

    I agree that we need more balanced informed debate, but dont agree that this would have a negative effect on Plaid - quite the opposite.

    If you bqn media commentary, what do you suggest as an alternative?

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  • 304. At 10:36am on 31 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 303....


    It is the practice in quite a few democratic countries to ban media political commentary, for a week or two, prior to the actual polling day. For the reasons given before.

    It does not bar the publicity up until the ban takes place, by then, All should be fully aware of party standpoints, they then have a hiatus, during which they can sum up what they have been told, without further persuasive rhetoric being forced into their thought process.

    It is for that reason other states ban political output beyond a set date before the poll. We should follow suit and embrace that method.

    There is little chance that people would not be aware, as being compelled to attend the ballot box, they would be fully aware of the consequences of failing to make their mark.

    Also, by the last week or two of the campaign, people would have to be totally stupid, and ignorant, not to have absorbed political rhetoric up to that point, and sufficient thereof, to give them a sound basis on which to make up their minds at the time of voting.

    Parties with limited attraction, or one subject mandates, would be unlikely to be very successful in an election held under those terms, that is why Plaid would be trailing all others, except those with similar one shot policies.

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  • 305. At 10:38am on 31 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    ps 304...

    Penndu...Apology for the wong dedication...

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  • 306. At 11:39am on 31 Jul 2009, penddu wrote:

    304 - I agree up to a point - I just think 2 weeks is too long - assuming a Thursday election then maybe let the media have their final day on Sunday - then it is up to the politicians to knock on doors.

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  • 307. At 12:58pm on 31 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 306...


    I see what you are saying, however, my call on 2 weeks gives a reasonable time for those, who may be away for longer than a few days, to catch up when arriving home,etc.

    I also mean that Politicians and their lackeys are also not to be out and about for the period of calm. so no knocking on doors. It's potentially yet another chance to offer lifts, which may give another opportunity for persauaion to take place.

    Infirm or disabled should be ferried to the polling station by public transport, not by cadidates or helpers of candidates.
    Or preferably, some sort of trustworthy means be devised to enable votes to be collected from homes where such people may be living.

    Postal voting should be considered for all, or at least those unable to enfranchised from home by the two methods mentioned formerly.

    I should think, in these days of number plate recognition, and other electronic means of instant identification, it would not be beyond reason to expect, in the very near future, that voting direct from your armchair should be available for all.

    The whole sorry system needs a make over. Democracy is definitely NOT being served by the present method of vote gathhering.

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  • 308. At 1:49pm on 31 Jul 2009, penddu wrote:

    307 This is an area where we are pretty much agree. Our antiquated voting system is a farce - I would suggest that the Camelot network of lottery machines could easily be adapted for voting - Issue every voter with a Lotto-like voting slip which they can complete in the privacy of their own home, which they can either return by post or take to their nearest Lotto machine (with ID to prove who they are). Once entered in the machine, the voting slips can be retained for later verification purposes.

    This would make alternative voting systems such as STV much more manageable, and with almost immediate results. There would be quite a few issues to be rsolved around security etc but nothing insurmountable.

    I would even suggest giving all voting voters entry into a lottery - say a number of guaranteed prizes per constituency, plus larger regional and national przes - That would encourage more voting and would cost a lot less than the hordes of tellers that are used for manual counting at the moment

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  • 309. At 3:27pm on 31 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 308....


    I did come up with a similar idea some time ago, but for single issues to be voted on in an 'instant' referendum.

    Say for example, speed cameras. one of my all time favourite hates.

    Put all sides of the argument, with all detailed aspects from each side, out into the media, then, after say a fortnight, giving everyone time to mull over those details, have the referendum.
    The result to be binding on not only the public, but also all others such as local authorities, the Ministry iof Transport MP's, and anyone else concerned, The RAC the AA, Green Flag, and The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents,or RoSPA as it is sometimes called.

    The same procedure for many other bones of contention that never seem to get settled, for the people, by Parliament.

    Maybe we wish for the unobtainable, but at least with modern technology, there is little excuse to be made for not doing it, as there surely was a few decades ago, when we had none of this new tech stuff.

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  • 310. At 09:49am on 01 Aug 2009, Lyn David Thomas wrote:

    No sorry home voting is too open to abuse. OK in single person households but not for families etc. Look how postal voting has been abused. I think that voting is a civic duty and for most of us a 10 minute walk maximum is the distance to a polling booth.

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  • 311. At 7:00pm on 01 Aug 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 310...



    What proof have you that postal voting has been abused, enough to influence the overall returns? Just because one or two inmcidents of that nature have occured, does not indicate that the whole system is faulty


    Also you have absolutely no proof whatsoever that 'home' voting would be
    open to abuse, any more than postal voting is. If you imply that a degree of family compulsion would be applied, I seriopusly doubt it would reflect in the outcome, as a very large number vote as their family/parent do, and did do, anyway.

    On the other hand, I can agree it is a civil duty, and just as driving on the left of the road, wearing a seat belt, having a passport to exit this state,and a whole host of other 'civic duties are compulsory, so should voting follow in the same vein.

    It is far too important a duty to be left to those who 'know their civic duty'. Whilst others simply cannot be bothered.

    Those who cannot be bothered to drive on the left, have insurance, not wear seat belts, or obtain a passport if they wish to go to Spain for their hols, should not get out of their duty, and compulsion should be applied.

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  • 312. At 11:04am on 02 Aug 2009, West-Wales wrote:

    Lyn Re 310

    home voting is too open to abuse

    Agree - as is remote electronic voting via computers.

    Any system that cannot 100% validate that a vote is cast by the individual is open to abuse or manipulation.

    This is why Labour refused the advice of the Electoral commission and went ahead with the policy of mass postal voting.

    They made sure an easy opportunity is in place for ballot rigging.

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  • 313. At 12:50pm on 02 Aug 2009, Lyn David Thomas wrote:

    There are plenty of cases of abuse of postal votes, just google a few in Birmingham. For voting to be free and fair it has to be secret, home voting by definition can not be secret, thus its flawed. More than that it has to be above any hint of possible fraud. You minimise the risks, I think the process is damaged if we have an inherently insecure system such as home voting.

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  • 314. At 1:55pm on 02 Aug 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 313....


    I already nited that a few incidents had occurred, however, stricter measures have been put in place to prevent any further attempts at perverting the results of an election.

    Your assessment of voting from home is also rather bleak, as when and if it ever becomes available, the vast number of honest voters will not be swayed to the extent you seem to think.

    There is just a likelihood of cash changing hands outside of the polling station. I think you are taking the average British voter to task for something he is very, very, unlikely to become involved in.

    I suggest you are more apprehensive than you need be.

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  • 315. At 7:53pm on 02 Aug 2009, Lyn David Thomas wrote:

    Cash may change outside a polling station but there is no way that someone can enforce the way someone actually votes in the privacy of the polling station. The secret ballot is too important to throw away.

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  • 316. At 9:26pm on 02 Aug 2009, John Henry wrote:


    I have had a postal vote since the mid 1990's, no cheating, just a guarantee that I have a vote no matter where I am travelling. It's democracy, guaranteeing my vote.

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  • 317. At 10:01pm on 02 Aug 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 316...

    Same here Stoney, but why is it that it can be guaranteed, whenever the matter of a change in the polling system comes up, those in the crap party arena always oppose a dramatic change to compulsory, and want a system that becomes extremely involved, multipath voting, in a variety of guises, all designed to give these esoteric organisations a foot in the door of our chambers of governance, if not a undeserved grip, even.

    Such as in Cardiff at the moment, thanks to a unholy alliance between what used to be a highly popular left wing party, and an extreme nationalist outfit.
    A marriage made in hell, as the last ten years have demonstrated, and for which we are all paying, one way or another.

    They don't like first past the post as it is, but whenever there is a call to beef up the turnout, it has to be done with these strange means of voting.

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  • 318. At 12:03pm on 05 Aug 2009, Lyn David Thomas wrote:

    In Ireland they send a polling official to your house with a ballot box and a policeman, they ensure the vote is cast in total secrecy. I apreaciate that postal voting has its place, but the abuses of it make me highly suspicious of it.

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  • 319. At 12:59pm on 05 Aug 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 318......

    All methods have their drawbacks.

    I recall, not so long ago, an election being declared void, as it was shown that people had been multi voting in a local council election, at a polling station,so not only is it possible for postal voting to be warped, it can happen even in the proper 'ten minute walk to' booths..

    But as I stated previously, invariably the numbers involved in false voting, hardly impact on the ultimate outcome of the election.

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  • 320. At 1:21pm on 05 Aug 2009, Lyn David Thomas wrote:

    It has in several election elsewhere in the UK. I think that the secret ballot is something worth preserving, extending voting to voting from home as the norm will result in family members votes being abused.

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  • 321. At 3:09pm on 05 Aug 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 320....


    I am not disputing what you say re secret ballots, but as I said before, on odd one out of line here and there will not overly impact on the outcome in elections.

    It may warp a local vote, but it would have to be a national, and very concerted, effort to gain any sort of ground for anyone, or party, to make any degree of difference to the overall result.

    As I said before, it is pretty well established that families tend to vote akin to one another. The danger could lie in a member wishing to vote different to the others.

    But in all honesty, just how many individual voters would it really affect?

    Now enough to sway a blade of grass in the outcome field.

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  • 322. At 4:26pm on 05 Aug 2009, Lyn David Thomas wrote:

    I think you are wrong there. It would affect many votes, and so taint the process that it would fail any test of fairness. Secrecy was important in making the process democratic here, that is not worth throwing away. Under your system just give the vote to the head of the family and be done with it. While you are at it, just give the vote to the owner of old folks homes for all their residents. The secret ballot is key to preventing abuses of the system. Given that elections at a UK level are won or lost in a handful of seats that swing, where majorities in normal times are very small I think your contention that it would not matter is just plain wrong.

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  • 323. At 7:45pm on 05 Aug 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 322...


    MY, you certainly like to twist and turn Lyn. I am not saying that voting cannot be secret, even in the family home, what I did say and am saying, is, because MOST people tend to vote the same way as their family peers, with few exceptions, should a family member decide to go against the family trend, the overall results would hardly impact on the outcome. The numbers for such must be absolutely minimal.
    Secrecy can be maintained, even in the home environment.

    Or do you believe that postal voting should be banned in case daddy forces son and daughter, wife even, to vote as he wishes?

    I never said that old folks should be deprived of their vote either. Why must an old person, with full faculties,but physically infirm, be made to travel some distance, NOT all polling stations are just ten minutes away, as you so blithely put it earlier.
    So why, other than for emotive reasons to substantiate your argument, bring such into the discussion?


    When secret voting was introduced many decades ago, it was unheard of that we would have every second person in a car, or that public transport would become abominable, or that voting could be done by post, so why not, now we have it, use the internet, for votes at home.

    You sound very much like those rigid minded church folk who could not accept weddings taking place elsewhere than in a church, or those others who cannot abide the idea of women being ordained.

    I think you remain firmly entrenched in the 1920's Lyn.

    The world has moved on.

    Your comment that elections can be lost on minute majorities is valid, except for the fact that, if a very small number such as those we are discussing caused that majority, I think you will discover that a recount would be called, and a stiff examination of the votes cast would ensue, which would alnmost certainly point to a flaw in the vote. IF one actually existed.

    The election would then be voided, and a new election called.

    If you have any evidence that such an election has passed the system checks, please let me know when and where. I keep a close watch on most election results and have never heard of it happening, except in the case I mentioned before, in which, I seem to recall, there was a lot of ethnic mis-voting in a Muslim community in the midlands somewhere. Even then it was a local vote, if I remember, not a general election.

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  • 324. At 10:50pm on 05 Aug 2009, Lyn David Thomas wrote:

    I am not calling for a total ban on postal voting, I just want it restricted to those who could not otherwise vote. Transport can be aranged to take people to polling stations, or using the Irish system the ballots can be brought to the people and supervised. How can you make home voting secret when there are no polling officials there? In the case of the results in Birmingham the average ward in Birmingham will be considerably larger than that in Wales, in Birmingham each parliamentary constituency is made up of 3 or 4 wards. More like 10 or 15 in Wales. City of Birmingham Wards are huge in our terms. For the vast majority of people living in urban areas you are not more than 10 minutes walk away from a polling station. My Ward of Butetown has 3 polling stations. As it takes no more than 15 minutes to walk from one end of the ward to the other I think in my area that my contention holds. Given, as you say, a majority of people have cars, this is even less of an issue. The internet is not secure, if you want to see how there has been problems try google, try looking at the issues with electronic voting in the USA.

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  • 325. At 09:20am on 06 Aug 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 324...



    Why not try answering some of the points I made, instead of reiterating what you have said previously?


    Millions are prepared to commit their funds to online sales, without any bother, I have an online bank account which is totally secure, so please do not refer me to a failed electronic system over the Pond, anyway, as I recall, they do not do online voting, what did fail was a mechanical method of punching holes in ballot papers.

    What you have not addressed is the simple fact as stated, that the numbers who may attempt to warp any system are so low, as to have no realistic chance of providing a flawed result in an election.
    Because, the returning officials have great experience in analysing the returns from wherever the votes are cast, any such warping would become quite evident, and quite soon.
    The size of wards are immaterial, overall they tend to be somewhat of a sameness, if not in total numbers, certainly in they way their results are interpreted.


    My wife and I entertain postal voting, and I have to say, I would resist any attempt, by anyone, to remove that facility.
    It means that our votes are cast, without us having to make spacial arrangements to appear in front of the polling booth on a specified date. We may be off on one of our continental jaunts at the time of the election, and a election is not going to restrict our movements, just to satisfy the perceptions of someone who refuses to live in 2009.

    As I also stated, in regard this matter, I am afraid you are a bit of an antediluvian.

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  • 326. At 11:31am on 06 Aug 2009, Lyn David Thomas wrote:

    And you are wrong, the numbers in postal voting have been high enought to put the result in doubt. Over the internet despite what is claimed it isn't 100% secure. Plus it can never be in secret when its unsupervised. Its the loss of secrecy that makes the different. The USA has many voting systems, some are electronic, some are electro mechanical. The electronic ones have been found to be flawed, with rogue results and opening to tampering. You need a paper audit trail to ensure that its free and fair. Electronic voting via the internet eliminates that. These are not antideluvian views but ones based on practical considerations and examination of the problems experienced elewhere. And you don't answer the key point about secrecy, you just dismiss it and seem to suggest that its not a problem as families vote the same way anyway so it doesn't matter if one person casts the votes for that family.

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  • 327. At 12:15pm on 06 Aug 2009, West-Wales wrote:

    Map - as I said above in 312

    [Any system that cannot 100% validate that a vote is cast by the individual is open to abuse or manipulation.

    The current postal system has no secure method to verify that the vote cast, is by the named individual, it is a matter of trust.
    There are many instances of proven fraud, which must only be the tip of the iceberg.
    Even the Electoral Commission is unhappy with the security of the present postal system.

    While I accept your argument regarding on line banking - it can be secure - but not specifically to the individual, my wife can access my on line banking account.

    I support Lyn's view here - Postal or alternative remote voting systems need to ensure that it is the individual who casts the vote, and they do so in complete privacy, without any possibility of coercion.

    For those unable to get to a polling station Ireland's method seems pretty good.

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  • 328. At 5:46pm on 06 Aug 2009, Lyn David Thomas wrote:

    Unfortunately there is plenty of evidence of the abuse of postal voting, as I have said both from political parties harvesting votes and from private owners of retirement homes casting votes on behalf of residents.

    With a voting booth under the control of independent electoral officials you can vote anyway you like, and there is no way of anyone coercing you to vote any way because they can't see how you have voted. Yes personation has happened in the past but given the limitations its far more difficult for it to have an influence than collecting hundreds of ballot papers as has happend under our postal voting system. Further if you turn up and find that someone has voted in your place you can still vote and have your vote counted, with the counterfit vote discounted. This can only happen if there is a proper papertrail.

    West-Wales you are right the Electoral Commission is not happy with the current arangements. Postal voting does seem to have increased turn out in some areas sometimes, but at the cost of secrecy and security.

    Lots of other ideas have been suggested, postal votes for people who will be away from home for a long period of time, longer voting periods at a secure location (ie police stations) outside the polling day - say two weeks in advance, thus giving you time to vote, the Irish system of secure home voting for those unable to get to a polling station. Remarkably distance doesn't seem to be a problem to the people of Powys who consitently have high turn outs, while certain urban areas have low turn outs despite a less than 10 minutes walk to a polling station.

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  • 329. At 7:42pm on 06 Aug 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 326....

    I suggest you read my messages again,

    I did NOT say that it does not matter if a family head votes for all.

    I DID say that I can see no problem in home voting as often the voters in that environment opt to vote the same way, I also said in the interest of secrecy, I could see no problem in one family member voting in opposing way to the rest.



    from my previous message....

    ".....I am not saying that voting cannot be secret, even in the family home, what I did say and am saying, is, because MOST people tend to vote the same way as their family peers, with few exceptions, should a family member decide to go against the family trend, the overall results would hardly impact on the outcome. The numbers for such must be absolutely minimal.
    Secrecy can be maintained, even in the home environment....."


    So will you please refrainfrom twisting my words to suit your argument.


    Message 327....


    Yes, your online account can be available to your wife, but as I stated, most family members tend to vote for the same candidate, or not at all. It is a rare family member who votes differently.
    But, IF you and your wife are potentially so far apart, surely you can ensure she and you do NOT scan your individual voting preferences.

    As I also stated, we do so much in the home, I can see little argument against home voting, the term secrecy applied to electronic voting is just as valid these days, as by any other method.

    Top finish, when 'secret' ballots were envisaged and put in place, it was not to hide from your family how you voted, but to ensure you could not be coerced by ruthless employers, landlords and such. At the time, women did not have the franchise, nor I suggest, when they were given it, did anyone really expect a wife would vote differently to her husband. I further suggest they still do not today.

    As for junior members of the family, they come to the vote, with generally, the same political outlook as parents and elders. So where is the problem?

    Mentioning multi unit dwellings, as stated previously, are a diversionary tactic to make a case.

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  • 330. At 9:06pm on 06 Aug 2009, Lyn David Thomas wrote:

    The problem is that there is no varifiable secrecy, there are no guarentees of anything. Other than its a non secret vote, and that pressure can be applied without any recorse.

    How can it be secret when you can be observed by family members, visitors or anyone while you vote?

    Sorry but you really don't have an argument here, you have come to a conclusion that it can be secret, when transparently it can't be, and that families all vote the same, which patently they don't.

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  • 331. At 9:50pm on 06 Aug 2009, mapexx wrote:

    message 330.....

    You are going under for the third time, and clutching at straws will not give you the support you need. Sorry.

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