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Come fly with me

Betsan Powys | 15:11 UK time, Monday, 10 March 2008

So the Welsh Rugby Team are still on course to win a Grand Slam, Cardiff City are on the way to Wembley and Councillor Derek Vaughan is on his way to Europe. (What do you mean shoehorning politics into a STUNNING weekend of sport?)

He won't be in shorts but the leader of the Welsh Local Government Assocation and Neath Port Talbot Borough Council won second place in the race to become a Labour European Candidate by what I'm told was a country mile. Eluned Morgan MEP was home and dry in first place but Derek Vaughan beat her favoured candidate Lisa Stevens into third, while Glenys Kinnock's choice, Gareth Williams, came in fourth out of four.

While Derek Vaughan celebrates, he may be in the mood to dismiss the verdict of one colleague: "So he's gone from having an awful lot of power to having ... (I'll paraphrase) ... not a lot".

And while we're at it, who else is on the way to Europe?

Step forward the Assembly's Sustainability Committee who are on their way to Germany and Austria as part of their inquiry into Carbon Reduction in Wales.

How are they going? They're ... flying.

Arrangements haven't been finalised but my carbon calculator's been out. IF they were to fly from Luton to Freiburg, then on to Linz and from Linz directly back to Stanstead, I work out their carbon emissions would be around 0.332 tonnes of CO2 per head. They're probably planning to jog to and from the airport.

And before Chairman, Mick Bates, sticks my calculator in the back of a drawer, I'm rather sure he has good connections with WWF Cymru .. which must surely mean someone has advised his committee that their flights abroad make perfect environmental sense and are all in a very good cause.

Comments   Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 05:04 PM on 10 Mar 2008,
  • John R. Walker wrote:

BBC doing the EU's dirty work again in exchange for its £141m soft loans?

It's not Europe Betsan, it's the EU! Europe still contains a few lucky countries which have escaped being part of the Evil Empire.

But you're right about MEPs having no power to speak of in the EU's toy parliament. What are they for?

  • 2.
  • At 06:31 PM on 10 Mar 2008,
  • Jonathan Evans wrote:

Let's just say Betsan that it was a good thing for Derek that Welsh Labour Gen Sec wouldn't allow a head to head of the European candidates at Welsh Conference or he wouldn't have got the nod - or then again not the member's nod anyway, I couldn't possibly comment on the Unions!

  • 3.
  • At 07:14 AM on 11 Mar 2008,
  • Kerensky wrote:

No one should be surprised that Derek vaughn was selected. He was probably the only candidate that most Labour Pary members had heard of. Im apolitical anorak and had vaguely heard of Gareth Williams but as for Lisa Stevens. Who is she? Vaughan was also the only one to send a letter to Labour Party members even if it was full of platitudes and said nothing. Labour Party members effectively selected two of Wales's 4 MEPs a year earlier than the actual election. They made this selection on the basis of as mall booklet with statements from the candidates. There were only 3 candidates for 3 places since Eluned Morgan had already been selected. My ballot paper went in the bin. I will not be voting next year in an irrelevant election which is likely to be nothing more than a referendum on the UK government. Instead of writing about Derek Vaughan who has been a pretty ineffectual leader of the WLGA you should be discussing what is a blatant affront to democracy in Wales. Effectively it is the small and dwindling number of party members in Wales not the Welsh electorate who are chosing who should represent the country in the European parliament. That cannot be good for politics.

Ah come on John, this blog's tongue was firmly in cheek yesterday. People are intrigued as to why Derek Vaughan is wanting to make a move to Europe, because they know most of what he gets up to as a council leader. As to Europe, they haven't a clue. If he makes it + when a new Conservative MEP makes it, maybe I'll persuade Wales Today and Newyddion to headline with a whole series on Europe through the new MEPs' eyes. I'll warn you first John ... you can look away.

  • 5.
  • At 11:34 AM on 11 Mar 2008,
  • Simon wrote:


This post is completely and utterly wrong on so many levels it is actually embarrassing.

1. No one voted for Eluned as her name wasn't on the ballot paper.

2. Derek Vaughn won comfortably, but not by a country mile

3. Gareth Williams came a good second, outscoring Lisa Stevens by a good three to one ratio.

God knows where you 'sourced' this, but I would recommend a clarification now, possibly followed by an apology to Gareth? You might also consider looking at the real story behind this ‘election’, like Trades Union funding certain candidates to the hilt and a conspicuous lack of hustings for Party members. Or would that be a bit too much like hard work?

Shoddy work, Betsan, really shoddy.

  • 6.
  • At 12:04 PM on 11 Mar 2008,
  • Richard Harris wrote:

"A whole series on Europe through new MEPs eyes."

WOW! "The Gravy Train Virgins" (PG)
C/W "Bad Night at the Mort Subite" (hic).

Hang on Simon:

Eluned Morgan was "home and dry" - i.e. already selected and Derek Vaughan is therefore second on the list. Clearly one man's 'comfortable' is another's "country mile". As to the - they are as they appear on my blog but that is because of Labour's own rules on MEP selection rather than the number of votes cast. Apologies therefore to the man who would have been third on the list but is, instead, fourth.

  • 8.
  • At 04:54 PM on 11 Mar 2008,
  • Michael Norton wrote:

Eluned was the sitting MEP and voted in by a trigger vote in the Labour branches before this vote.

  • 9.
  • At 09:08 AM on 12 Mar 2008,
  • Rhisiart wrote:

Richard H

There is no such thing as a 'bad night at the Mort Subite' - a bad morning after, maybe! Can't comment on the bars in Strasbourg, mind...

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