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On the buses

Betsan Powys | 10:17 UK time, Friday, 13 November 2009

Apologies for a quiet day on the blogging front yesterday.

The day started with opinions - the view in the Bay on who'd come out best and worst of the hustings, recorded the previous night. Had Carwyn Jones been almost too polished and at home? Had Huw Lewis pitched his message right? Edwina Hart's style of engagement came over - would people love it or loathe it?

No knock-out blows but surprising views from some senior corners on who'd made the most of their moment and won on points.

An enterprising comparison from one of those who was there.

It's not fair to condemn Carwyn Jones for years for being lazy, then condemn him equally for being too assured, he said. Not fair. He's stand-out in this sort of public forum and a First Minister needs to give assured performances. Condemning him on both counts makes him the Danyl Johnson of the Labour leadership race. If you've just said WHO very loudly, then apologies. In fact apologies to anyone who doesn't spend their Saturday nights watching the X Factor and for whom Edwina Hart as Miss Frank as Huw Lewis as Jo McElderry means nothing at all. Yes, I know Miss Frank's out already but so is just about every other girl in the competition apparently so his choice was rather limited.

Don't worry. Bad comparison, getting worse, ends there.

If you have a view on the hustings, ring the Radio Wales lunchtime phone-in. The number is 03700 100 110. I'll be there.

The day ended, by the way, with more opinions. I did the school run on the 606 bus with a bunch of kind and lively pupils from Fitzalan who helped illustrate what sort of powers the Assembly currently has and would have if a referendum were held and won. They were intrigued by the whole process of recording, rather less so by the debate around powers.

I doubt whether Dave the driver cared very much either way by the end of the journey.


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  • 1. At 12:31pm on 13 Nov 2009, Neocromwellian wrote:

    As some of us have found out the hard way what politicians say in these situations and what they end up doing are two very different things.

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  • 2. At 12:31pm on 13 Nov 2009, dontblameme wrote:

    How many children on the 606 bus showed an interest in politics?
    You say they appeared not too interested in the Assembly powers, were they showing any interest in politics in general or at all?

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  • 3. At 3:15pm on 13 Nov 2009, Betsan wrote:


    They were showing most interest in going home ..!

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  • 4. At 3:46pm on 13 Nov 2009, thegnatswatter wrote:

    Betsan.A nice blend of south walian questions and some were a little over the top but as I awaited in trepidation to be summoned it became apparent that the views from north/mid and west wales were not required on the Radio Roadshow. Interesting that the great Cardiff political commentator Mario Bassini recognised Huw Lewis as best of the bunch though. Pity he didn't have a vote.
    With reference to those rather biased comments don't the BBC researches
    ask for that information before selection? They did in my case. So were
    the BBC mischief making again.

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  • 5. At 05:33am on 14 Nov 2009, HerbertDavies wrote:


    Yet again on Friday morning the BBC reported the hustings placing Huw Lewis as the candidate of the Left and portraying Carwyn Jones as some sort of centrist choice.

    Anybody in active Labour Party politics knows that this is a complete misrepresentation and you are misinforming the public as a result. Huw is on the Unionist right of the party and everyone within the party knows that. It is an honourable position to hold but he cannot remotely be described as of the left.

    With regard to Carwyn, he is on record for taking the following position on public services - no markets, no privatistion, no PFI. He is on record as supporting greater equality of outcome as well as opportunity. He has always been a passionate advocate for a full Welsh Parliament. This all places Carwyn firmly on the left of Welsh Labour and well to the left of Huw who for example talks about the 'third way' for the provision of public services.

    The fact that Carwyn is a polished performer who communicates well across the spectrum should not mislead you to think that this in some way makes him centrist. By any Labour Party definition he is not.

    I do not write this to promote the interests of one candidate over another but in interests of accurate journalism. Please do the homework and you will see that your representations of these candidates to date simply isn't borne out by the evidence.

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  • 6. At 2:54pm on 14 Nov 2009, thegnatswatter wrote:

    5.It sounds like promoting the interests of one candidate to me so why not admit it. I'm a huge fan of Huw Lewis not because he's to the left
    or right,old or new but because he wants to return to the policies that
    I remember were the cornerstone of Labours manifesto before coalition 'poverty'.Why have those manifesto promises changed? Because of a coalition with Plaid and those socialist policies have been superceded by an agenda of constitution and referenda.
    I think many in the party sees that as a 'betrayal' by the Labour Party
    and look to Huw the so called rebel as the only credible option to return to the pre Plaid agenda.

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  • 7. At 5:43pm on 15 Nov 2009, SEDWOT wrote:

    It would have been a huge tactical triumph if Labour had refused to form a government with Plaid at the last Assembly elections. Admitedly they may have been forced out of office but if Plaid continued with its declared intention of forming a coalition which included the Torys then Plaid would have been finished in south wales and the valleys and would have been reduced to a rump of seats in the heartlands.

    The Bro cymraeg of course is not socialist. They would continue to vote Plaid if they formed a coalition with the BNP. (With whom they share a number of policies; "Homes for locals" "Jobs for Welsh speakers."(they are all White).

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  • 8. At 7:11pm on 15 Nov 2009, FoDafydd wrote:

    Re 7

    You know when people have lost the argument, they just resort to outrageous slurs. Perhaps Stonemason would like to tell you off here, being a big supporter of Llais Gwynedd. Did you really intend to insult all Welsh speaking people in certain localities? I should report your comment to the moderators, but it's sometimes good for people to see what some people really think. We recently had the gnat, and now you.

    Are you saying SEDWOT that there is no room for local housing? If you had children wishing to stay in their community to live, work and bring up their own families, but couldn't afford to, would you be appalled if local authorities were able and willing to help?

    If your answer is yes, then you need to complain about the same practises happening in England - in the Lake District. So, are you saying that they are racist also?

    And of course, only someone with the outlook of an ostrich could come out with the gem that all Welsh speakers are white!!

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  • 9. At 8:52pm on 15 Nov 2009, John wrote:

    I support local democracy FoDafydd, Llais Gwynedd is a great example to us all.

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  • 10. At 9:04pm on 15 Nov 2009, FoDafydd wrote:

    Re 9

    Therefore, I assume - as you didn't actually say so - that you found what SEDWOT said quite appalling. Am I right?

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  • 11. At 12:24pm on 16 Nov 2009, FoDafydd wrote:

    Another example where the antis just fail to respond.

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  • 12. At 1:53pm on 16 Nov 2009, SEDWOT wrote:

    FoDafydd 8

    Firstly the last sentence,
    "The gem that all Welsh speakers are white"

    I did actually have this argument a long time ago with the Charities commisssion, the Portmeirion housing trust and the CRE.

    The situation then was that a housing trust advertised houses for rent (and at subsidised rent) in Llanfrothen for Welsh speakers only.

    In this case they preferred local Welsh speakers, followed by Welsh speakers from anywhere but with a local link, followed by Welsh speakers from where ever. Local English speakers, presumably, need not apply.

    I pointed out that the "Welsh speakers" qualification effectively disbarred or disadvantaged all other nationalities and was therefore racial discrimination.

    The Charities commission decided that the charity had gone outside its remit (deed of trust) and could not interpret a requirement to maintain the "environment" as allowing them to dictate the language spoken in their rented accomodation.

    The CRE would not act since, even though the charity had abused its document of trust, Charities are able to discriminate.

    A member of the board of trustees was Mr Dafydd Iwan, Plaid president.

    As for the "Outrageous slur" he is technically correct that not all Welsh speakers are White. And of course not necessarily White.

    This (Slight) exageration was to make you think about social engineering around the language.

    The Welsh Use survey 2004-2006 found that:-

    "99% of the Welsh speakers were of white ethnic background"

    When jobs in the Public sector are allocated on a "Welsh speaker essential" basis and housing through the local council (and housing charities) are "vetted" to make sure the tenant is "suitable" in the eyes of the local (Plaid) councillor, then I believe I am right to say that we have in place everything that the BNP could wish for in their wildest dreams to make racial discrimination a legal reality.

    I refer you to a judgement made by the Government Ombudsman against Gwynedd County Council on council housing allocation. The waiting lists were manipulated so that emergency housing was withheld unlawfully from priority cases. There was a "Waiting list to get on to the Waiting List" for non local applicants (Mostly English)and final allocation of housing was subject to approval by the local councillor. Housing allocation was therefore arbitrary and open to manipulation for racial and political motives. All highly illegal. Gwynedd were unrepentent and several councillors wrote to the papers protesting their right to protect their constituents from "Drug addicts and Gaol birds".

    If you wish I can tell you who applies for priority housing. Most frequently it is women with children following marital breakup. Then comes Women at risk of physical abuse from a spouse. Then comes Vulnerable adults with mental health problems and people with learning disabilities. After this comes members of the armed forces recently leaving service. Somewhere down the list (and a negligible number in the Bro Cymraeg) comes people released from Gaol and registered drug addicts.

    From 2001 onwards a number of Welsh councils floated the idea that the "Language" was at risk because "English incomers" were buying up all the houses. Locals were forced to flee to England to find cheap accomodation. Gwynedd council, in the shape of Dafydd Iwan, wrote to the papers to release figures showing the high number of purchases made in the housing market by people from outside Gwynedd.

    This sort of survey is necessarily flawed. The majority of house purchases involve short distance moves and any survey, particularly in a county with a long boundary, that suggests that all purchases from out of county are by people who don't speak Welsh is a nonsense.

    The Council kept quiet about their follow up surveys which showed that as house prices rose so did local purchases of houses. The reason was a rapidly improving economy. But it was a finding which did not suit their efforts at social engineering.

    They kept quiet too about research carried out for Gwynedd and Ynys Mon Councils by Bangor University. This research found a widespread belief that there was considerable outward migration of young people to England to find cheaper housing. The researchers followed up cases of outward migration and found not a single case of migration because of a lack of affordable housing. The study found that, contrary to popular belief, it was non Welsh speakers who were the young people who left for England. A study by the Welsh Language Board found exactly the same thing.

    Everyone, FoDafydd, will be familiar with bilingual political communications in the run up to a general election. Most people will assume that there is very little difference between the English version and the Welsh version.

    At the last General election Eurig Wyn stood as Plaid candidate in Ynys Mon. It was the second election in succession that Plaid expected to take the constituency they believed was rightfully theirs.
    In the long run up to the election Cymuned plastered every available wall and sign post, not with the slogan "Colonists out" but with the less contentious "Tai i Pobl Leol".
    Unsurprisingly Plaid echoed this demand in their literature; sure enough there it was in Eurig Wyn's Newsletter "Tai i Pobl Leol".

    Unfortunately Ynys Mon is a very contradictory demographic mix. 30% are born in England. A further 15% have one or other parent who was born in England (a legacy of the construction boom in the late 60's and early seventies).

    So how, FoDafydd, do you think "Housing for LOCAL PEOPLE" was translated?

    "More affordable housing"

    Plaid are well aware of the game they are playing on migration and housing and I reassert that it is a game worthy of the BNP.

    Also at the last General Election Dafydd Wigley (a man I have always respected) campaigned in the North East of Wales. I was struck by part of one of his speeches where he sympathised with the lack of affordable rented accomodation for local people in Wrexham because the influx of Eastern Europeans into the area had reduced the availability of properties and pushed up rental costs.

    The BNP have made exactly the same play.

    "These foreigners, they take our jobs, they take our houses they jump the housing waiting lists, they take our benefits and clog up the NHS and are responsible for the crime in YOUR area"

    The English are the "Drug addicts and Gaol birds" "Misfits and rejects from across the border" which the Nationalists campaign against normally but if "Eastern Europeans" do the trick in North East Wales then they are fair game to Plaid.

    Somewhere in your rant, Fo Dafydd, you accuse me of being against local housing. Where did you magic that from? Quite the opposite, the more the merrier but remember that in Wales TAN 20 has been used successfully and for very dubious reasons to restrict the building of low cost housing in the Bro Cymraeg. The most dubious was when TAN 20 was invoked to prevent the extension of a marina in Pwllheli on the grounds that it would alter the balance of Welsh use in the area. I do, however, register that you distort what I said to try and show that I am unreasonable. It's a common ploy. I may always be wrong in your eyes but not unreasonable.

    As for the groundless accusation that I have no sympathy for people who wish that their children can remain in the Bro Cymraeg I refer you to previous arguments.

    The People who are FORCED to migrate from the Welsh areas are forced out because they are not fluent Welsh speakers and therefore cannot access employment in well paid public service jobs. The people who stay and buy properties are educated first language Welsh Speakers (Typically a husband and wife teaching in local schools or one or other a council officer.)

    In Gwynedd 35% of employment is directly in the public sector and the jobs are largely "Welsh Essential". On top of this "next step" agencies and charities funded by Government are subject to exactly the same restrictions on employing Non Welsh speakers. It doesn't end there of course I was recently at a service provider which is used by a lot of Schools in the area. Unsurprisingly a teacher who attended the pupils tried to dictate to the private business that only Welsh speakers should be used to instruct the (15 year old) students "To avoid communication difficulties".

    What I'm saying to you, FoDafydd, is this; migration of young people from the Bro Cymraeg is driven by Language Discrimination and Black anti-English propaganda by the Nationalists, not housing pressure.

    You may not LIKE me pointing out that British Nationalism and Welsh Nationalism has the same unsavoury tactics and the same unsavoury outlook but to stop me saying it you will have to do better than to threaten me with the Moderator (Is their a prohibition on telling the truth about Language Facism? I couldn't find it.)

    I recommend that you look at "The Dynamics of Demographic Change and Migration in North West Wales" but I'll Copy out a couple of pieces for you on "Social adjustment" of inward Migrants:-

    10." A medical Secretary had spent two years in Ynys Mon, moving from the Manchester area to enjoy a better environment and lifestyle for the family. They claimed to know the area well, having visited often on holiday. She and her husband worked in a hotel, people were friendly on the whole, odd "Nasty remark" about not speaking Welsh. Couldn't get an interview for medical sectretarial job because had no Welsh. She hadn't anticipated this difficulty. Primary School was "Terrible" all lessons in Welsh-Hadn't anticipated this either.Local Children unfriendly (including English ones, most of whom had moved when younger and could speak Welsh) and the daughter became depressed.

    These people returned to England. The "Churn" of migration and return to England is huge.

    11. This is a couple who moved to llanllechid. Five year old went to school and became fluent in Welsh. Wife took a degree in Bangor, husband set up a small business and employed two people. Wife attended Welsh language course in college. "We realised things were not going to plan. I could not get a well paid job due to my lack of language. My husband's business was being hammered by restrictions on planning permission and extremely high business rates. I decided to look back towards Chester for employment. I applied for two jobs and was offered them both-bearing in mind I had applied for numerous jobs in Wales and received only a couple of replies for interview."

    Her husband closed his business and moved with his wife to Wrexham.

    "We are very passionate about Wales...... Until they bring themselves into line with regards to work people like me cannot survive"

    12. A man who moved from Cumbria to take up a job as NHS manager in Gwynedd-A move he "bitterly regretted". For him, the key issue is Welsh Language. Despite being very highly Qualified his wife could not find a job and was told jobs would go to Welsh -speakers, "irrespective of their qualifications." Moved to Telford and "Doesn't want to set foot in Wales again, even for a day trip."

    Do you begin to get the picture FoDafydd? What we have here is institutionalised racism hiding behind the mask of "protecting the Welsh Language". And very fine protection that fig leaf has proved to be. Do you also see why Plaid politicians buried their own research?

    Gwynedd has a restrictive locals only housing policy. For rural villages which are "culturally and linguistically sensitive" the definition of local as a requirement for housing is "people who have lived or worked for a continual period of TEN YEARS OR MORE within four miles "as the crow flies" from the heart of the rural village" (Gwynedd Council Affordable housing Project.)

    Thats what I call local! And none of those namby pamby provisions for people working in essential services like you get in the Peak District and the------Gaeltacht. We do it proper here!

    My advice to you is to complain about this post to the Moderator. We can't have too much honesty in the blogosphere!

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  • 13. At 2:04pm on 16 Nov 2009, John wrote:

    Fee-fi-fo-fum, I keep telling you, it is only Plaid that I find noxious, I am at "What if ..?" for an hour or two, so busy at the moment I have had to decline my reserved place for Wednesday, very disappointed.

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  • 14. At 3:33pm on 16 Nov 2009, FoDafydd wrote:

    Re 12

    Thank you for your answer. I wish I had so much time on my hands.

    If I decided to move to a different country, then I hope I would know if I had children of school age, for instance, what the language of local schooling would be before moving! That people only realise this afterwards is extraordinary.

    If I decided to move to another country then I hope I would realize what differences existed in the requirements of the local work-market before arriving.

    If I decided to move to another country but only then found that it wasn't quite what I'd imagined, I hope I wouldn't just sulk, throw a wobbly, say a few nasty things about the locals before going back to wherever I came from in the first place.

    (By the way, have you heard the racist opinions of a number of these incomers towards us Welsh? I'm sorry that I'm only going by hearsay or anecdote here, but then SEDWOT, I'm not the only one, am I?)

    You seem to know about everything that is (your opinion) wrong with the people of Gwynedd, is there anything in your opinion that they do well, or that is right? Or are they just beyond the pale?

    I take it then, that as far as the language is concerned, it's dog eats dog? No positive action is required, no special measures put in place. There's no crisis, there are no problems. The language is perfectly safe.

    It's funny that I find it very difficult to find all these extremely wealthy young Welsh speakers who are more than able to buy expensive properties in Llŷn - but of course you have figures set in stone that disproves what everyone else SEES happening.

    Aren't election leaflets meant for people already living in the constituency??!!

    As for Stonemason, well he's consistent in his inconsistency, in his failure to see anything wrong in what SEDWOT had said (and therefore not defending his new friends in Llais Gwynedd). He is also consistent in two other ways: his unwillingness to respond to a proper debate with anything more than transparent pseudo-piety, and in his self-confessed hatred of people like me who are silly enough simply to love our country (a phrase commonly used by Tories, strangely enough).

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  • 15. At 5:04pm on 16 Nov 2009, SEDWOT wrote:

    14. FoDafydd.

    Disappointing. "I love my country" is not a rational reply.

    "Extremely Wealthy" not said by me. An exageration ad absurdam for the purpose of belittling a valid argument. Second time FoDafydd.

    You can compare earnings for Public service and private sector workers in wales in the Welsh Local Labour force survey. You aren't suggesting that in the Bro Cymraeg there are as many Monoglot English speakers in teaching and local Government are you? There have been a number of studies into relative earnings Wales wide between Welsh speakers and non Welsh speakers. Welsh speakers are significantly better off.

    What else? Complete contempt for people forced out by Language discrimination in employment and education. Where's the caring FoDafydd tearing his shirt over the plight of the Welsh deprived of affordable housing?

    Oh, I forgot; Welsh noble, worthwhile. English who gives a S--t. What's the name for that again?

    Affirmative action based on the Welsh language acts? (I think that's what you are saying justifies discrimination) This was challenged in the USA remember (not about the Welsh language) Black people applying for any particular public service job were to be given preferential treatment on the basis that Afro Americans were historically disadvantaged. It went to the high court because whilst it was recognised that a state had a right to discriminate in favour of a class of people they did not have a right to harm an individual because of that discrimination. Get it? Two people go for the same job, the African American gets it because of his racial origins not his qualifications. The State has harmed a citizen without adequate justification.

    So for the good of the Language Native Welsh speakers must be given preferential employment. Non Welsh speakers in the same country must be disadvantaged.

    As for having a lot of time on my hands I gave you the courtesy of a reasoned reply. I used published documents for examples. You can't have it both ways, ask for a reasoned debate but throw your toys out of the pram when the debate doen't suit you.

    As for People in Gwynedd I take people as I find them (I hope I don't live near you). I've lived here all my life except for four years in Aberystwyth university. Is everything rosey in my back yard?

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  • 16. At 5:30pm on 16 Nov 2009, FoDafydd wrote:

    Re 15

    The Brit nats have one thing in common, they're always extremely angry!

    It's probably my inferior Welsh language brain, but I don't get:

    "Oh, I forgot; Welsh noble, worthwhile. English who gives a S--t. What's the name for that again?"

    Just one question. Would you personally move to another country without knowing those things I mentioned?

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  • 17. At 6:28pm on 16 Nov 2009, SEDWOT wrote:

    Fo. Fo baby! Did I come across as ANGRY. Not at all. Ive listened to you and people just like you for a lifetime, I'm not angry. Are you saying,like, that I'm a BritNat like that's BNP?

    No chance. I can see the BNP attitude in you though. Where's your humanity? A young family move to Gwynedd for the fresh air expecting to find friendliness and work opportunities. They find hostility and discrimination in Education and jobs.

    Fo. They made a mistake. There were others I quoted. What do you do? you just seek to justify the discrimination and hostility on the grounds that there is a "crisis" for the language.

    Did Welsh Colonists from the Mimosa care about the language of the Northern Tehuelche indians of Chubut in patagonia? Did the Tehuelche say to them "you forgot to bring any farmers? tough, you're going to starve."

    Of course not the Tehuelche saved the lives of the Welsh settlers. Their reward? Their culture and language disappeared from their homeland to be replaced by Welsh!

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  • 18. At 10:04pm on 16 Nov 2009, FoDafydd wrote:

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

  • 19. At 11:07pm on 16 Nov 2009, FoDafydd wrote:

    Re 18

    Looks like someone has run to the moderators once again! I honestly cannot see that there was anything in there that was problematic - the latest in a long line of strange decisions from the mods. Even stranger considering the obscenities of some entries over tha past few days.

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