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And the questions are...

Betsan Powys | 10:49 UK time, Thursday, 24 June 2010


As blogged last night, the Secretary of State for Wales has submitted her draft referendum question to the Electoral Commission for their consideration, according to her responsibility under the Government of Wales Act.

Not to be outdone, the Assembly Government are to submit their own version of a question to the Commission. This is despite the fact that both the Wales Office and the Assembly Government are represented on the Project Board that Cheryl Gillan told the Commons yesterday were responsible for drawing up the question that she's submitted.

A spokesman for Assembly Government said, "We are disappointed that we could not agree a question with the Wales Office. We feel the suggestion put forward today by the Secretary of State is deficient and does not accurately reflect the issue that voters will be asked to decide. We will therefore be submitting an amended, shortened version to the Electoral Commission as an alternative proposal."

So instead of using its much vaunted ten week consultation period to assess the intelligibility of one question, it seems the Electoral Commission will instead spend its time refereeing between two competing proposals.

Which is starting to lead some quiet mutterings - does the Assembly Government really want to win this referendum - or use it as a means for conflict with Westminster? Let's see how the Assembly Government take those mutterings on.

**UPDATE**

They're not going to take the mutterings very far at all in terms of their version of the question. The Electoral Commission is only funded to carry out its statutory duty - and that is to consider the question submitted to it by the Secretary of State for Wales. The alternative proposal from the Assembly Government will not receive any consideration as part of the formal consultation process.

**UPDATE 2**

Maybe not, says an Assembly Government source but a letter from the Electoral Commission, delivered today, confirms that their voice has been heard and that the Commission "will take your concerns into account".

It's a pretty basic concern too, says the man with the letter in his hand. The phrase: "without needing the agreement of Parliament first" is factually inaccurate. The right exists already to make measures without the agreement of Parliament so that phrase just isn't right.

In fact, he says, it's plain wrong.

Comments

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  • 1. At 11:45am on 24 Jun 2010, oh-bother wrote:

    This is typical labour playing politics.
    They are damaging the fragile chances of a 'yes' vote by fafing around like this.
    Is there any wonder that the 'no' camp are claiming the Senedd to be nothing more than a glorified Council Chamber when the Labour party in Wales are behaving like this?
    I find it ironic that the Assembly are set to take control of Anglesey Council because of Councillors childish behaviour up there, when Labour AMs in the Bay are no different.
    We are in the middle of a recession the like of which only 80 year olds will have seen anything remotely similar and its set to get worse; the Conservatives are contolling the purse strings, and Wales will be absoultely slammed over the next five years.
    The Labour party needs to show that we are capable of running our own affairs properly in order for the people of Wales to have enough faith to vote for Yes, but they're playing into the hands of David Davies and his ilk.
    We need to win the referendum so that even with the limited financial resources that will be handed down to us from London (set to get even smaller and proportionally less than what we should get), at least we in Wales will be able to prioritise those resources aimed at funding needs in Wales, based on what the people of Wales say. That, at least, will help alleviate some of the worst ravages of this recession.
    I just hope that Plaid rise above it.

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  • 2. At 1:29pm on 24 Jun 2010, Len Gibbs wrote:

    oh-bother #1

    "They are damaging the fragile chances of a 'yes' vote"

    True Wales has largely accepted the Sec of State's preamble and question because they are based on the All Wales Convention Executive Report section xxiii. True Wales has informed both the Sec of State and the Electoral Commission of our opinion.

    We have made suggestions to be considered by the EC that do not substantially change the meaning either of the preamble or the question but adds to clarity and understanding.

    True Wales applauds the Sec of State for following the recommendations of Sir Emyr Jones Parry in the terms used in the Report because it avoids the gerrymandering questions suggested by the WAG.

    The WAG knows that obtaining a 'yes' vote is not only fragile but very uncertain. To improve their chances of winning they are willing to make unfair wilful statements and sentimental questions on the meaning of the referendum to sway the voter to vote for something that is notwithin the terms of GOWA 2006 Part 4.

    Whilst True Wales opposes the move to Part 4 we believe the population deserves as Sir Emyr Jones Parry says, "We therefore recommend clear and accessible language in presenting these issues and great care in the choice of terms, in order to best communicate what is at stake.”

    To put it simply, say no, vote no.


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  • 3. At 1:33pm on 24 Jun 2010, tawse57 wrote:

    Listening to AMs talk yesterday I am truly staggered.

    They are still talking about spend on this, spend on that - they appear to have no real understanding of what has happened in the UK Budget and how the UK is basically a bankrupt nation.

    The sense of entitlement is stunning and it genuinely saddens me that our leaders appear to lack understanding, vision and basic business sense.

    They are not going to do anything until the November WAG Budget - how stupid is that? How dangerous is that!?

    Just as the UK had an emergency Budget there is a real need now for the WAG to have an emergency Budget within 60 days - 30 preferably.

    Not having one only adds to uncertainty about Wales... and hences puts off real businesses from investing... but it only means that the pain in Wales will be delayed...

    ...and much worse when the cuts eventually come.

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  • 4. At 2:50pm on 24 Jun 2010, John wrote:


    oh-bother wrote at #1 ...

    ...We need to win the referendum so that ... at least we in Wales will be able to prioritise those resources aimed at funding needs in Wales, based on what the people of Wales say.

    ... if you feel the priorities of the public in Wales are not being applied correctly you might like to address your feelings to Cardiff Bay, the Labour - Plaid Cymru (the separatist party in Wales) coalition, it is not a referendum that will solve the problems, it is the need for good governance ...

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  • 5. At 5:37pm on 24 Jun 2010, Daviddwr wrote:

    2

    True Wales or True Wails?

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  • 6. At 6:00pm on 24 Jun 2010, Daviddwr wrote:

    2

    I hear from the IWC that True Whales are in danger of extinction. It's something to do with scientific whaling, which may be an allusion to opinion polls.

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  • 7. At 9:43pm on 24 Jun 2010, cleverelliejo wrote:

    Do the people in the Bay have difficulty with coping with words that means that the Country has no money. I'll put it simply,we are Skint, Broke,coffers are empty, (Dim Arians,)
    Is Wales beginning to act like a Cuckoo in the nest?

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  • 8. At 10:03pm on 24 Jun 2010, John wrote:


    ... extinction is an interesting topic when applied to politics.

    ... how long will Plaid Cymru (the separatist party in Wales) survive a prosperous United Kingdom.

    ... a rhetorical question.

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  • 9. At 10:10pm on 24 Jun 2010, FoDafydd wrote:

    Re 7

    Is that a ringing endorcement of rule ftom Westminster, then? - we are skint!!!!

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  • 10. At 10:10pm on 24 Jun 2010, Jack_Wilkinson wrote:

    What is becoming more and more apparent in this sad benighted region, is that those who hate being in the British Union are getting more antagonistic to those who regard themselves as British.

    These British Unionists, are getting more and more antagonistic towards the language enforcers of Llafur, and, the separatists of Plaid and elements of Llafur.

    These two groups will never be reconciled, how about a new approach? A once and for all poll, a simple question for all the people of Wales-

    Do you wish to remain in the British Union, with the same rights and obligations as your fellow Brits in England? Where the folk of Lincoln can celebrate their unique identity, ditto the folk of Glamorgan.

    Welsh regions who vote against being British, can then make their own way in the World, seeking alliances and pacts as they wish.

    Thankfully, leaving Brits to enjoy their Welsh or English speaking speaking lives, without let or hindrance. Ta.

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  • 11. At 10:15pm on 24 Jun 2010, tawse57 wrote:

    I always felt that 'Have I Got News For You' should not have removed the banana republic animation over Wales in their opening titles.

    The country is bankrupt and all the AMs and Welsh meeja can do is angst over a referendum - they are so out of touch with reality.

    I am not going to invest any more money in my business in Wales and am now looking to move it across to the US or to Holland/Germany or, heaven forbid, England... but then England has certainty now to do business which Wales does not and will not have until November at the earliest.

    Emegency Budget now!

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  • 12. At 11:01pm on 24 Jun 2010, FoDafydd wrote:

    Re 11

    tawse57,

    You say:

    "Emegency Budget now!"

    To have any kind of meaningful budget, any government requires the ability to raise (or lower) taxes. Does this mean, tawse57, you have now come round to the very sensible, and fundamental, idea that a Welsh government also requires these powers? Common sense at last!

    By the way, we have seen today how leaders of the business community intend to behave at this time of austerity, as Directors of Network Rail are awarding themselves obscenely large bonuses - even though they've failed to reach their targets. Yes, we're all in this together!!!!!!!!!!!



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  • 13. At 06:27am on 25 Jun 2010, John wrote:


    ... and Fo would like to raise taxes in Wales...

    ... I would trust our local authorities with local taxation; but the WAG and chums, not an inch, except possibly Peter Black and his leader, the only opposition in Wales to the odd box Cardiff coalition with Plaid Cymru (the separatist party in Wales).

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  • 14. At 06:52am on 25 Jun 2010, John wrote:


    I am sure that Betsan's readers without exception will join me when I welcome the Royal Navy to Cardiff to help celebrate Armed Forces Day, the Senior Service in the Senior Democracy that is Great Britain.

    The BBC once again gives excellent coverage of this important social and cultural event, well done Beeb.

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  • 15. At 09:50am on 25 Jun 2010, comeoffit wrote:

    #14

    Well I will most certainly join you in welcoming the occasion to Cardiff stonemason.

    However, I wonder if we are likely to see any Plaid Cymru AMs or members turning out in Cardiff Bay for armed forces day this weekend. Their presence (or lack of it) will be an interesting statement given that they wanted to declare Wales neutral during the second world war and the then leader actually made efforts to strike a deal with Hitler.

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  • 16. At 09:50am on 25 Jun 2010, tawse57 wrote:

    You do not need tax raising powers to balance the books... the Budget for Wales needs to happen now in order to simply balance the books.

    The army of paper shufflers in the WAG are very pedantic about seeing the books for 5 years of a company if that company tenders for a contract to supply anything from loo rolls to multi-million pound IT kit.

    (Incidentally, these rules were changed many years back, to allow newly formed companies to tend for Public Sector work, but the paper shufflers in the Welsh Public Sector still insist on seeing 5 years accounts.

    If Bill Gates and Steve Jobs formed a new company to supply printer ink they would be turned down for work by the pen-pushers because such is the mentality in the Welsh Public Sector - totally non business-like!

    I digress.)

    But when it comes to balancing the books of the nation there is apparently no hurry to do so even though, to paraphrase Blackadder, this is a large crisis.

    At this time we should be getting confidence and reassurance coming out of the WAG but all we appear to be getting is drift, indecision and denial of just how bad the economic picture is.

    70% of Welsh GDP dependent on the Public Sector.

    40,000 jobs in Swansea work in the Public Sector? The situation not much different in every city, town and village in Wales.

    Totally unsustainable!

    The job cuts, the pain is coming no matter what we do. Surely it is better to get started so we can try and rebalance the economy and get ourselves out of this mess?

    No, let's stick our heads in the sand and hope the problem goes away.

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  • 17. At 10:59am on 25 Jun 2010, Conwy_Lad wrote:

    @ 15 "the then leader actually made efforts to strike a deal with Hitler." Not like Neville Chamberlain, who actually did make a deal with him.

    But that is irrelevant to this blog. What I don't understand is that Labour and Plaid made a deal 4 years ago to organise this referendum, whatever people intend to vote. Hence they have had 4 years to think up a suitable question, have it checked and approved internally, and have it checked and approved by the Electoral Commission, so that once the go-ahead had been given, all that needed to be done was to finally fix a date and print the ballot forms.

    The incapability to make a decision is astounding. I am a firm proponent of devolution, I think Wales should be given the same level of powers as states within nations such as in the US, Australia and Germany (both the latter had there constitutions more or less dictated to by the UK government). However, the current setup of AMs does not instill confidence, and I would most certainly agree that most of them are not suitable to run a country, or state within a country. Which is a shame.

    There was a recent article reporting that the 10th LCO had been approved. When you actually go into detail, not one LCO is worth the paper its written on. Do our AMs not find it embarrassing to ask for permission to legislate whether seat belts in busses should be made compulsory or not? Can you imagine any other self respecting parliament doing the same?

    The next few months until the Assembly elections will be most interesting, as Labout/Plaid will be spending most of their time pointing their fingers at Westminster, and Con-Dem in Westminster will be doing the same to Cardiff. And this at the very time where decisive political strength is needed. I despair.

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  • 18. At 12:35pm on 25 Jun 2010, Daviddwr wrote:

    14 & 15

    So the wicked Plaid run Beeb gives excellent coverage of Armed Forces Day. We live in a complex world!

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  • 19. At 1:43pm on 25 Jun 2010, John wrote:


    Plaid Cymru (the separatist party in Wales) rank and file supporters will no doubt be conspicuous by their absence from the second 'Armed Forces Day' celebrations ... will they be missed ......

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  • 20. At 2:09pm on 25 Jun 2010, FoDafydd wrote:

    Reading the usual, sad moaning minnies, or being outside under a hot Welsh (devolved!) sun?........no contest!!

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  • 21. At 4:24pm on 25 Jun 2010, Daviddwr wrote:

    20...actually I am a bit underwhelmed.

    I was, er, looking forward to a rant based on the 'fact' that the question had been drafted (obviously in Welsh) by somebody seconded from the IWA who would presumably be gay as well as unimpressed by the Iraq war. There are a few more of their hang-ups out there, but that sums it up for now.

    Armed Forces in general? No problem for me. Help the heroes for they are lions, but dmn the donkeys. Stick to maintaining the Military Covenant for the front line troops and save a bomb (so to speak) by scrapping Trident.

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  • 22. At 7:37pm on 25 Jun 2010, Nospin wrote:

    Now let us all remember the electoral commission has already said the original question in 1997 would not have passed scrutiny, so best the assembly leaves this to the professionals and doesn't cause a problem again.

    Obviously WAG wants to make the question biased and emotional, not factual.

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  • 23. At 8:56pm on 25 Jun 2010, Jack_Wilkinson wrote:

    This poll for more powers is going to be biggest thing in modern Welsh history. Can 'the dream team' of Explicitly Welsh Labour and Plaid, convince the English speaking working class majority, that a 'language Commissioner' with greater powers of language enforcement is good for them?

    Will Cheryl Gillan and David TC Davies among others, allow the Llafur/Plaid dream team to use emotional trickery with words, to form a simple black and white question? No chance!!

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  • 24. At 9:28pm on 25 Jun 2010, John wrote:


    #22, fortunately, with our constitution, mistakes, after due consideration, can always be reversed.

    We are doubly fortunate in that the current Secretary of State is not intimidated by Plaid Cymru (the separatist party in Wales) rank and file supporters club or its coalition partners ...

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  • 25. At 9:52pm on 25 Jun 2010, FoDafydd wrote:

    Re 22,23,24

    Ah, it's been a lovely, lovely day out there...in the real world.

    You seem to like living in the past, wallowing in self-pity. Perhaps you'd like to have a referendum on...let's see - the dissolution of the monasteries, perhaps?

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  • 26. At 10:48pm on 25 Jun 2010, Daviddwr wrote:

    25

    I would have thought they'd be more interested in one opposing the 1832 Reform Bill. Gwynfor Evans was a member of the Reform Club, so democracy must be a bad thing.

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  • 27. At 11:12pm on 25 Jun 2010, Jack_Wilkinson wrote:

    You seem to like living in the past, wallowing in self-pity. Perhaps you'd like to have a referendum on...let's see - the dissolution of the monasteries, perhaps?


    Nn no!! We're just questioning the sense of entitlement, that an assumed Welsh speaking Llafur elite has assumed?

    Should an English, English speaking Jack Wilkinson, vote for the Llafur language enforcers of the Irish-Welsh Celts of Newport east and west?

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  • 28. At 12:44pm on 26 Jun 2010, Daviddwr wrote:

    27

    Good point. When I lived in England, I didn't demand that Welsh politics should dominate all aspects of English politics in England. I lived, talked and voted according to context. So in Wales, I live, vote and talk in context. It is called being a member of civic society.

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  • 29. At 1:27pm on 26 Jun 2010, Crossroads wrote:

    28. At 12:44pm on 26 Jun 2010, WelshKnot wrote:
    27
    QUOTE
    When I lived in England, I didn't demand that Welsh politics should dominate all aspects of English politics in England.
    END QUOTE

    May I congratulate you on your producing just about as stupid a comparison as its possible to see.

    Give up the 'spinning' and attempts at trying to be smart Knotty, it ill becomes you.

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  • 30. At 3:55pm on 26 Jun 2010, Ju5t1nD wrote:

    22 & 23 Nospin - Are you really blaming the Assembly for the question in the referendum last time round? And Jack - the bad news is that the referendum just decides whether to move to a new settlement. Even a 100% no vote wouldn't change the present arrangement, whereby Parliament have already voted to allow the setting up of a Welsh Language Commissioner.

    Now who is it who complains about the Welsh language and Political Football...

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  • 31. At 4:10pm on 26 Jun 2010, Daviddwr wrote:

    29

    Noah-Future - what you are saying is that only those who oppose any form of civic society or representational democracy in Wales should have a voice. This rather takes me back to remarks you made on this blog at the 2007 Euro Elections which revealled once and for all your political position.

    Thank God for real democracy and thank God for all the people who live in Wales, from all countries, of all outlooks and faiths, who believe in striving towards higher things, rather than simply existing to despise what they cannot comprehend.

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  • 32. At 5:11pm on 26 Jun 2010, FoDafydd wrote:

    Re 19

    Why Stonemason insults thousands of Plaid supporters and members who have been members of the Armed Services is beyond me. Or is it? No, come to think of it, his bigotry, when it comes to Plaid, far surpasses any fellowship he claims to have with fellow former service men and women. If any former service men and women who choose to support Plaid are reading this blog, the message is (by his own words) : Stonemason despises you.

    Sad.

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  • 33. At 6:35pm on 26 Jun 2010, Daviddwr wrote:

    32

    He gives you the impression he's the sort of angry expat who would shout at the locals in France or Spain (or India or Kenya in the old days) if they dare to say anything in favour of their own country and way of life.

    As you say, sad. So very sad.

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  • 34. At 7:22pm on 26 Jun 2010, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 35. At 7:48pm on 26 Jun 2010, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    Betsan

    I don’t know if my previous comments were over the mark, because they been referred for further consideration, so I have moderated them.

    Surely there must be other things to talk about and going on in Wales.

    Perhaps about the most vulnerable and poor in our country that every one seems to be pushing to one side.

    That is a very political subject a Political editor could be discussing.

    We get the same old drivel day in day out, it is all repetitive and frankly has become very boring.

    Everything on here just ends up about the Welsh Language or the Welsh Assembly Government or who are more superior in their comments.

    Perhaps if you did change the subject you might get more people feeling the need to participate instead of the very few that do.

    I think every one on here needs to take a look at themselves and look at the reality of what is actually happening to the people of Wales.

    I have tried but to no avail.

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  • 36. At 8:08pm on 26 Jun 2010, John wrote:


    Well said alf ...

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  • 37. At 9:30pm on 26 Jun 2010, FoDafydd wrote:

    Re 35

    Of course alf is right. There are some who will insist on movimg any discussion to an attack on the language, Welsh speakers and the National Assembly. And then there are some of us who will, rightly or wrongly, respond to that.

    But when Stonemason attacks thousands of ex-service men and women - the people he cares for more than anyone else, he rather disingenuously claims it now seems - for party allegiance, are we just to ignore it?

    Almost to a man, alf, the No to Wales cabal are pretty extreme right wing 'commentators', and they will have very little sympathy for the people you clearly care for, and are now so worried about their fate.

    But I also notice than Stonemason stands by his attack of these ex-serice men and women.

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  • 38. At 9:51pm on 26 Jun 2010, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    36. Stonemason

    Thank you Stonemason.

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  • 39. At 10:30pm on 26 Jun 2010, Jack_Wilkinson wrote:

    Re 28.
    WelshKnot, when you lived in England did you live in London? Which is the only part of Britain to have a more hectic influx of migratory Brits than east Wales.

    When you lived in England was there a coalition government of The English Democratic Party, and an English faction of Labour, who called themselves the Explicitly English Patriotic Party?

    No there wasn't!!! But if there had been you and your ilk would have screamed anti-Welsh discrimination!you

    Anyway folks, if you live in once English Monmouthshire, and your surname and first language is ENGLISH, you're going to be as daft as the daftest of brushes, as to vote for the Irish-Welsh Celts of Explicitly Welsh Patriotic Party!!!! Good name Rhodri, truth at last!!!

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  • 40. At 00:32am on 27 Jun 2010, FoDafydd wrote:

    Re 39

    Jac,

    I have no idea where he lived of course, but to answer you rhetorical question:

    "When you lived in England was there a coalition government of The English Democratic Party, and an English faction of Labour, who called themselves the Explicitly English Patriotic Party?"

    the answer is most certainly yes! The Tories and Labour have always been quite happy with the cosy understanding that they mis-rule us from Westminster in turn.

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  • 41. At 06:36am on 27 Jun 2010, John wrote:

    #37. Fo wrote a response that included ...

    .... But I also notice than Stonemason stands by his attack of these ex-service men and women.

    I have considered your very odd responses to my #14 and #19.

    my reply Fo ...

    It is not possibly to respect and support the women and men serving with our armed forces without respecting and supporting their mission, currently the primary mission is Afghanistan.

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  • 42. At 07:55am on 27 Jun 2010, Lyn David Thomas wrote:

    That is a wild leap of logic, makes no sense at all - and what does it have to do with the question at hand? Jack what are you on? I can only conclude you are a construct of some one who wants to make fun of an extreme Unionist view, surely no one could really believe the gibberish you spout?

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  • 43. At 09:12am on 27 Jun 2010, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    Now to get back to something that realy matters to many thousands of people in Wales, this from the BBCs own ‘Ouch website.

    Ouch! is a website from the BBC that reflects the lives and experiences of disabled people.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/ouch/messageboards/F2322273?thread=7592434

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  • 44. At 09:30am on 27 Jun 2010, John wrote:


    #43, Ouch alf, it seems the ammunition to protect the most vulnerable in society exists with the cabinet office, is the cabinet aware, to bring it to their attention I emailed the link to Eric Pickles.

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  • 45. At 10:03am on 27 Jun 2010, Diabloandco wrote:

    "It is not possibly to respect and support the women and men serving with our armed forces without respecting and supporting their mission, currently the primary mission is Afghanistan."

    Balderdash and drivel!

    The respect is there for the poor kids who joined the forces and find themselves in a land where they should not be , fighting a war they should not be fighting on behalf of the UK and US governments.

    In Afghanistans case we've been whupped there before , as have the Russians, the chances of " winning" in a country that considers us
    ( rightly!) as invaders are nil.
    We will continue to see the deaths of young soldiers , the mutilation of young soldiers and the deaths of the local innocents - none of which is acceptable to me.

    My support for the armed forces remains , my support for the belligerent,lying warmongers both here and in the USA does not.

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  • 46. At 10:19am on 27 Jun 2010, FoDafydd wrote:

    Re 41

    Stonemason,

    Now you're struggling.

    Your argument here is logically bizzare and naive - a first year philosophy student would receive very few marks for that kind of shoddy thinking.

    You're saying two thing actually. Firstly, that people should unthinkingly support any military intervention, whether that intervention is defensible or not. And secondly, that ex-service men and women have no right to a mind of their own.

    Your attack still stands then. An apology to these people would be far more apt.

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  • 47. At 11:36am on 27 Jun 2010, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    44. Stonemason

    I would have thought so, it is forwarded by IDS.

    But once again, thank you.

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  • 48. At 1:55pm on 27 Jun 2010, John wrote:


    #45, in your opinion, but the the poor kids as you describe them, I see them as soldiers, believe in what they are doing, do you think for a moment these men and women could go into combat not believing there is a value in the mission, they are volunteers, well trained, well equipped to the most part when politicians are kept out of the loop, for you to describe them as you do is to demean their service, you place a zero value on each and every casualty, you demean each and every serviceman and women ... as is your want.

    #46, it is not possible to divest the people from the mission, with service you would realise this.

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  • 49. At 2:35pm on 27 Jun 2010, Lyn David Thomas wrote:

    Really, so you can't support the troops unless you support every element of military policy? So Labour when supporting unilateral nuclear disarmament were stubbing our armed forces?

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  • 50. At 3:31pm on 27 Jun 2010, John wrote:


    LDT, not clever enough ...

    I wrote ...

    do you think for a moment these men and women could go into combat not believing there is a value in the mission...

    ... and when you cynically exchange the military mission with your politicians policy, you abuse the effort of the three services with a single stroke, you should be ashamed.

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  • 51. At 4:29pm on 27 Jun 2010, FoDafydd wrote:

    Re 50

    Stonemason,

    When it comes to the armed forces you completely lose the ability think straight; or keep calm. Were you an officer? A few weeks ago, you refused to accept the conclusions of the tribunal that investigated the Derry massacre.

    Now you're expecting us all to behave like Stalinists, to cease being democrats and support all and every military adventure whatever the circumstances or facts.

    You probably also think you've been clever in moving the debate away from your initial attack on thousands of ex-service men and women. But I'm afraid you've fooled no one. Your new defence seems to be to talk about present service men and women. That is not where you started; you went out of your way to abuse thousands of ex-service men and women because they decided to join Plaid, or support Plaid in the ballot box. There is a great deal of hypocrisy in your words.

    Your mock anger in no.50 seems to be just that. And that is explained by what you clearly, actually, believe: that all ex-service men and women are equal, but some ex-service men and women are more equal than others. And all ex-service men and women who dare become Welsh patriots can go to hell, it seems. In fact, you think they are deluded anyway, as you deny them the right of even believing that there is such a thing as a Welsh nation.

    Just apologise and move on.

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  • 52. At 5:16pm on 27 Jun 2010, Hogygog wrote:

    Stonemason, thenatswotter, Prince charles, Winston Churchill, UKIP ,Noahassembly, Lord and lady Kinnock, Alfred the Great , Edward 1st, Lord Nelson , camilla, little princes harry and wills, Fabio Capello, john Terry, Bobby Charlton, Lord Ellis-Thomas, Mark Williams, Carwyn Jones, Rhodri Morgan , Wayne Rooney, Jack Wilkinson, the 49% from '97 , can you hear me ? Your boys took one hellllll of a beating !

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  • 53. At 5:47pm on 27 Jun 2010, John wrote:

    Fo, there is no anger at this keyboard ...

    let me remind you, I wrote ...

    do you think for a moment these men and women could go into combat not believing there is a value in the mission...

    ... and when you cynically exchange the military mission with your politicians policy, you abuse the effort of the three services with a single stroke, you should be ashamed.


    You and yours hold the servicemen and women in no regard, the evidence is in your writing, very clearly.

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  • 54. At 6:07pm on 27 Jun 2010, FoDafydd wrote:

    Re 53

    Hilarious Stonemason.

    You'll not find a single word by me attacking soldiers. Westminster politicians for sending them to their deaths - yes.

    On the other hand, you used this blog to publicly insult thousands of ex-servicemen and women here in Wales, and I imagine your spite is just as pointed towards Scottish ex-servicemen and women.

    And you refuse to apologise. Enough said, I think.

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  • 55. At 6:17pm on 27 Jun 2010, Crossroads wrote:

    I'm flattered Hogygog.

    To be mentioned among all those who are quite obviously objects of hate to you is a rare honour indeed.

    After the shocking error by the referee and linesman...who are obviously in need of a Specsavers appointment... when Lampard's shot was clearly a goal. Your kindhearted comments, although plainly not all your own work,(I seem to remember one Maggie Thatcher being mentioned in an earlier version!) have cheered me up immensely.

    I must point out though, that the English football team do not figure amongst "my boys". Sorry to disappoint but I am a devout fan of the Welsh football and rugby teams, the Blues (both rugby and music!) and Cardiff City.
    It is only while they remained in the World Cup that I showed any interest at all in this downright awful English team, whose efforts were similar to those of the equally dismal Welsh assembly.(Whoops! Couldn't resist it)

    Thank you very much for your kindness though, which I'm sure will be reciprocated in the not too distant future.

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  • 56. At 6:59pm on 27 Jun 2010, Hogygog wrote:

    Margaret Thatcher ? Damnit ! I forgot her - and she was so prominent in the original version ! Would be grateful for a reminder of other oversights . Blues , eh - apt for a Cardiff City supporter 1

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  • 57. At 7:58pm on 27 Jun 2010, CA Jones wrote:

    It's quite abysmal of Stonemason to use the sacrifices of military personnel to make a political point.

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  • 58. At 8:03pm on 27 Jun 2010, Jack_Wilkinson wrote:

    Re 42.
    Non-gibberish rock solid facts.

    At the time of the 2002 World Cup, the South Wales Argus asked John Griffiths the Labour AM for Newport east, would he be supporting England?

    He replied- “ No indeed not I'm an Irish Welsh Celt.” He then went on to tell the Argus, that in his position of AM, he'd offered to mediate between Roy Keane and the FA of the Irish Republic in their little spat.

    An Argus columnist, wondered was Griffiths a bit unwise with his comments considering the large numbers of Newport folk of English descent.

    I watched a number of AMs making their maiden assembly speech, they usually started with how proud or humble they were to represent their constituents.

    Griffiths was only proud of who he was, his opening words verbatim-

    “I'm an Irish-Welsh Celt, my mother is from the south west of Ireland and my father is a real Welsh Griffiths.

    The anti-British elements will find Griffiths words perfectly acceptable, but those who don't share the pure Celtic bloodlines he's so obsessed with, will either think he's blindingly naïve, or a spouter of sectarian gob shite.



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  • 59. At 8:06pm on 27 Jun 2010, Daviddwr wrote:

    39

    London, West and South West for a few decades.

    I adapted to local circumstances. As mentioned previously, at Oxford, the more right wing the party in Conservative circles, the better the drinks.

    I respected the desired of those who lived there. Live and let live.

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  • 60. At 8:07pm on 27 Jun 2010, Daviddwr wrote:

    52

    ...and in fairness, Warren Gatland as well!

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  • 61. At 8:33pm on 27 Jun 2010, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    Wow!!!

    Now IDS wants ‘ethnic’ cleansing of the ghettos in this country.

    Unemployed people living in council homes could be offered incentives to move to areas where there are jobs, the work and pensions secretary has said.

    Iain Duncan Smith said millions were trapped in "ghettos of poverty" unable to move for fear of losing their homes.

    Where have we heard this before.

    I do believe peoples human rights are going to come into play here.

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  • 62. At 9:00pm on 27 Jun 2010, FoDafydd wrote:

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

  • 63. At 9:21pm on 27 Jun 2010, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    I wonder how much the incentives will be £2000 like a car.

    They did that in Dowlais and built the Gurnos estate and I can think of many other new ghettos they created from the old ones.

    There are schemes already in place where Councils move troublesome families from one area of the country to another and create problems for the community they move to. They then in turn move them on to another one and so on.

    What you call a vicious circle of moving a problem around, so it doesn't show up in any figures.

    Clever mind

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  • 64. At 9:45pm on 27 Jun 2010, Jack_Wilkinson wrote:

    http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/welsh-politics/welsh-politics-news/tm_headline=labour-underlines-direction&method=full&objectid=19828357&siteid=50082-name_page.html

    I rarely feel like attacking Plaid, they're genuinely in yer face HONEST, they want independence from the hated Britishers, that's alright see, I can live with that.

    But, honestly, I wonder what Labour politicians in England really think of the often anti-English Rhodri Morgan? Who wants to create an Explicitly Welsh Patriotic Party forming a ruling caste with proper Celtic names, yet, wanting to remain in the Union and be funded by Britishers?

    To repeat yet again, if you live in Wales, and your surname is non-Celtic, with English as your first language, it isn't just Plaid to avoid like plague!!!!



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  • 65. At 9:59pm on 27 Jun 2010, FoDafydd wrote:

    Re 62

    Amazing! I quote Jac, and it gets taken off!! The third bad mistake I've seen today!!! Was it you Jac who ran to the mods?

    Anyhow, there was another part to the message:

    Re 61

    I share your concerns, alf. Another potty neo-con idea - what do the Limp Dems make of this? I see that Clegg's popularity ratings have gone through the floor. Quite right too.

    This idea is an excuse for them not to try improving economic conditions in certain areas. Another way of abandoning poorer communities.

    The Tories worked hard on creating a cuddly, friendly image; well the Budget and now this idea shows that they are still very much the nasty party. You could see the joy on Osbourne's face as he announced the pain. It was ideology, pure and simple.

    I've always found IDS a very creepy man!!

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  • 66. At 10:15pm on 27 Jun 2010, John wrote:


    #54. Fo ... you wrote :

    You'll not find a single word by me attacking soldiers. Westminster politicians for sending them to their deaths - yes.

    ... the mission - the servicemen and women, they are the same. You see, they are all volunteers, they can leave the service whenever they wish, yet they remain ......... for the mission.

    You and yours are very wrong in this matter, humiliatingly so.

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  • 67. At 10:25pm on 27 Jun 2010, John wrote:


    #63 alf, I listened to IDS and heard a politician wanting to alleviate real social issues found in 21st century ghost towns, towns and villages where people are holding on in poverty with very little hope, I believe he is looking for ways to help people out of deprivation ...

    ... I wrote elsewhere where a commentator was calling for money to preserve Merthyr, I asked the question has anyone considered returning the town back to shepherds, the time might be right for another wave of internal migration from inactivity to activity. Just a thought.

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  • 68. At 10:29pm on 27 Jun 2010, Jack_Wilkinson wrote:

    Re 65,
    trust me Foo, there's nothing that you could post, that would have me scuttling off to a kindly dinner lady!! How devastating do you wish you are?...Bless!!

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  • 69. At 11:05pm on 27 Jun 2010, FoDafydd wrote:

    Re 66

    Stonemason,

    The humiliation is when someone who claims to support servicemen and women goes on a blog to insult ex-servicemen and women. That's what you did. And you still haven't said sorry.

    As for the rest of what you've said; you may believe it, or you may believe it is necessary for you to believe it, but I don't accept the point you are attempting to make. It is a democratic right for people to question and even protest against armed conflicts.

    "You and yours"?! A typical comment, Stonemason, that smacks of intolerance.

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  • 70. At 11:43pm on 27 Jun 2010, Crossroads wrote:

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

  • 71. At 07:12am on 28 Jun 2010, John wrote:

    #69, Fo ......

    A serviceman or woman, must step into a special arrangement upon enlistment, an arrangement with various International organisations and agreements (United Nations as an example) as well as with the British government in perpetuity, it is not possible to continue the democratic process of protest against political decision making against the government of the day.

    The only exception to this particular condition is where a serviceman or woman is ordered to perform a crime, he or she is expected to say "No" as a condition of service.

    The only legitimate protest against a conflict approved/ordered by government is by the civilian electorate, a civilian who has served in the forces would understand this and not encourage dissent by service personnel, it would be unjust to encourage mutiny. So with Plaid Cymru (the separatist party in Wales) making repeated accusations of unjust wars, and no contrary opinion coming from within this party, it is legitimate to assume your political party and its supporters would not support and celebrate Armed Forces Day, whether they has served or not.


    When I use the expression "You and yours" it means you coupled with people having a similar point of view, you might look towards "you and yours" for an expression of intolerance, this particular human conditions is to be found everywhere ......

    As I wrote at #66 ...

    ...You and yours are very wrong in this matter, humiliatingly so.

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  • 72. At 07:49am on 28 Jun 2010, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    Here’s another one from the BBC OUCH website that you can add to the lies, damn lies and statistics on the fallacy of Benefit figures regarding DLA.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/ouch/messageboards/F2322273?thread=7595089

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  • 73. At 08:04am on 28 Jun 2010, TellingmewhatIknowalready wrote:

    The present "government",i.e in Westminster is having to deal with an economy/society that is totally out of kilter,and parts of it i.e little wales is almost "communist" in its levels of public expenditure. The previous "government" spent money as though it was going out of fashion,and we received proportionately higher amounts because of the Barnett formula,and what does Helen Mary Jones and rest of (Plaid Cymru/Splitters but not quite yet)do,but MOAN. If you add the largesse from Europe (Mainly English/German taxpayers) received by King Rhodri where has all this money GONE. Alf I think you need to take a "cold shower",as the current social welfare system has got out of control,and people who are WORKING,particularly in low paid jobs have had a "gutsful" of the scroungers who refuse to work. It is a given that people who have worked and full ill should receive help from the state(they have contributed),and if waste can be cut then there could be more available. When Blair was in power he asked Frank Field (SOCIALIST MP) with pretty right wing views,who actually increased his majority in 2010 to think the unthinkable,however the "batty" Hariet and Brown put a stop to that as the "client state" would have had to face reality. Do you remeber Perthcelyn and the mother and father totally living on state benefits (SKY on in house)had generated 7/8 children and 25+ grandchildren and ALL living on benefits. The simple fact is that people aint going to be working for 40+years and still not getting OAP pension,whilst the "scroungers" and general underclass are watching SKY at their expense.Just walk around your local town (like Bridgend) in morning and see the current generation of workshy and worry about the future for your hardworking children,one of whom is an insulin dependant diabetic since 8 and has gone to University (proper one),played rugby aand has demanding job 60 hours per week and paying taX/ni AT 51% OF income and still raise his family.

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  • 74. At 08:34am on 28 Jun 2010, alfsplace1986 wrote:


    73. TellingmewhatIknowalready

    Thank you for that intelligent and ill-informed contribution and please go back over the last few posts and look at all I have contributed about this discussion on Welfare and see what I have actually been talking about.

    Take a look at the links I have also posted (especially the BBC Scotland programme, seeing as you like to mention BBC Wales contributing programme) on my last few blog posts instead of the rhetoric of the election and right wing newspapers or even the bigoted attitudes of those that don‘t know any better.

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  • 75. At 10:36am on 28 Jun 2010, FoDafydd wrote:

    Re 71

    Stonemason,

    You are discussing matters that I haven't raised. Probably deliberately. When have I ever mentioned protest or mutiny within the armed forces?!

    I have nothing else to say on this, really, only to note that you repeat the accusation here, and clearly differentiate between different kinds of servicemen or ex-servicemen. And that you clearly have no intention of apologizing.

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  • 76. At 1:18pm on 28 Jun 2010, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    73. TellingmewhatIknowalready

    Are you telling me/us that the Welfare system has got out of control and the country can't afford to pay for because of all those whom you call scroungers on benefits of some sort or shall we call the free hand outs.


    Let's see Humm.

    Pensioners...Free bus passes, free prescriptions, winter fuel payments, Christmas bonuses, rent rebates, council tax rebates......

    Low paid...free prescriptions, rent rebates, council tax rebates, income support. child allowance.......

    Genuine chronically ill and disabled....Incapacity benefit, DLA care and mobility because they need extra support and help.

    Middle class.... child allowance, crèche allowance...

    Royal Family. well......

    Service personnel.

    police Officers.

    Oh yes.. MPs, Lords.

    I am sure you can think of far more than I can that get benefits of some sort from the public purse.

    Oh! and I did have a shower this morning, though it was luke warm.

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  • 77. At 4:11pm on 28 Jun 2010, West-Wales wrote:

    Alf - have to agree "the Welfare system in this Country is out of control"

    That doesn't mean we should not support those who need help.
    But;
    Your list contains some who obviously should not be there;
    The State Pension has been paid for by the recipients as part of National insurance, it isn't a benefit.

    Service personnel & Police Officers not really part of the Welfare State.
    We employ them to provide a necessary service.

    Without getting into the Monarchy Vs Republic argument which is a different debate (lets not get into it) - The Royal Family is worth every penny, a massive revenue generator that provides jobs, plus all the benefits of a none elected Head of State.
    Have a look at the accounts of the Duchy of Cornwall.

    MP's and the Lords are supposed to do something useful, but criminally out of touch, over paid and for the last several years let us down badly - but what about the AM's, the costs and general botheration they create for Wales and its people.
    Lets not mention Councillors and various public service CEO's.
    We are seriously over governed - a debate on its own.

    As for:
    Free bus passes, free prescriptions, winter fuel payments, Christmas bonuses, rent rebates, council tax rebates......
    Middle class.... child allowance, creche allowance...

    Low paid...free prescriptions, rent rebates, council tax rebates, income support. child allowance.......


    Do we really need to give these to everyone?

    But define "need" and "scrounger"
    The genuine chronically ill and disabled on Incapacity benefit, DLA care and mobility have got to have the extra support and help they need.

    It is important to remember that benefits are paid for by those who produce the Wealth in this country - it isn't money magiced out of the air it has to be earned by people who go to work, often poorly paid thankless tasks.

    There is a limit to what can be afforded, the pot is only so big - so spending has to be controlled. A point set where a claim has to be refused or limited, because to pay it means someone who really needs support either doesn't get it or gets only some of what they need.

    I am on your side - but how do we control the cost but support those who need help.

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  • 78. At 5:11pm on 28 Jun 2010, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    There is a limit to what can be afforded, the pot is only so big - so spending has to be controlled. A point set where a claim has to be refused or limited, because to pay it means someone who really needs support either doesn't get it or gets only some of what they need.

    Totally agree, but lets have it done fairly, not as they are doing it now and are planning for the future.

    Where every body is tarred with the same brush the system does not differentiate

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  • 79. At 8:27pm on 28 Jun 2010, Bryn_Teilo wrote:

    #77 wrote:

    'Without getting into the Monarchy Vs Republic argument which is a different debate (lets not get into it) - The Royal Family is worth every penny, a massive revenue generator that provides jobs, plus all the benefits of a none elected Head of State.
    Have a look at the accounts of the Duchy of Cornwall.'

    You just got into it!

    Two quotes ascribed to Keir Hardie:

    'The throne is the symbol of oppression ... The throne represents
    the power of caste. Round the throne gather the unwholesome parasites.
    The toady who crawls through the mire of self-abasement to enable
    him to bask in the smile of royalty is ... the victim of a diseased
    organism'

    And regarding his opposition to the investiture of the Prince of Wales in 1911:

    'Wales is to have an Investiture as a reminder that an English king and his robber barons strove for ages to destroy the Welsh people and finally succeeded in robbing them of their lands, driving them into the mountainous fastnesses of their native land like hunted beasts, and then had the insolence to have his son invested in their midst'

    Personally, I wouldn’t want an unelected hereditary head of state, especially with the pedigree/history of the current English monarchy, at any price. They’re not good value for money, either.


    Re: UPDATE 2

    It would be absurd for the Electoral Commission to fail to take account of the views and concerns of the democratically elected National Assembly of the country where the referendum is to take place, which voted unanimously for it, and in which all the parties are supporting a Yes vote. Even more absurd to only consider the Question submitted by a person who left Wales at the age of eleven, and has never stood for election in Wales.

    Wales needs more than circumscribed legislative powers in a limited number of areas, it needs a sovereign Parliament/Senedd to address the dreadful problems besetting our country brought about by centuries of neglect and misrule.

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