Parliament or Assembly?

It does surprise me that Welsh Language societies and the Welsh Assembly, does take to heart the result of a consultation to 3000 (that is 61%) people? It’s on whether the haven of democracy at Cardiff Bay should be called a ‘Parliament’ or an ‘Assembly’.

It’s a majority apparently – funny thing, a ‘majority’.

And another thing, on the news that Literature Wales is the national company for developing literature in Wales – don’t be fooled by the ‘national development company,’ its funded from the Welsh Government. The said Government has done a report (this report is true) on it and its findings are that the Board doesn’t have the skills or experience to spend public money with the rampant knowledge of entitlement that it seems to believe it has. Literature Wales has also had its bursary allowance for Welsh writers taken away – this is what I was saying back nearly five years ago. Immediate responsibilities for incompetent management, bursaries etc has passed over the Welsh Books Council as from now.

For Literature Wales, the cup no longer floweth. It’s 1.2 million pa is somewhat restrained at the moment.

In 2012 I passed my evidence over to an accounts committee of the Assembly and they gave Arts funding in Wales a right going over. 7 members of the Arts Council going to the Biennale etc and indeterminable criticism of the goings on. The whole Welsh books scandal came to light. Thousands and thousands of pounds going on books that didn’t sell a handful of copies. Welsh publishers getting money for nothing. It was a right royal scandal!

Books in Welsh or English fail miserably and Literature Wales does nothing about it. Try and see if you can find them in the English bookshops? It’s an odd thing this Welsh language set up. There’s 3 million people in Wales and very little Welsh is heard – apart from the North and parts of West Wales. They speak fluent Welsh (or the nearest thing, I can’t make head not tail of it but there we are) and good luck to them, but should this be the case where the rest of Wales is concerned?

We live in a democracy, shouldn’t the majority voice be heard? And shouldn’t the Welsh language restrain itself from being made up – I’m thinking of Poppiti – Ping (a Welsh microwave), heaven knows if I’ve got this right!

Fine if you want to speak it but should you make everyone speak the language as well? Just a thought, it’s up to you what you think, we do indeed live in a multi-cultural society.

Literature Wales

Well, I used the word ‘entitlement’ many times 5 years ago, in respect of that holier than thou Literature Wales. 

The Welsh Government has finally seen the light. After finding the Board incapable and lacking any knowledge, Literature Wales has taken a hammering. A lot of its 1.2 million pa has been taken away and handed over to Welsh Books Council.

Try ‘entitlement’ now then, one of the Welsh Government’s standard phrases in its report!

PS I passed a report on Welsh Arts funding to an Accounts Committee of the Assembly. They took note and gave the Arts Council a right grilling.    

A Judge AND Nothing But

Well, that’s the Election over. Some would say thank God for that, others would say let’s have another one. It’s all icing on the cake whichever way one wants to start haranguing the political parties. This is not withstanding the young voters, they would probably want to go again to start getting out of a lone free life and who could blame them? But it’s done and there we are. The democratic franchise has been open to all and a decision reached – exactly what decision has yet to be determined. I don’t go along with this ‘surprise’ and ‘shock’ that the media goes on about. I didn’t experience either. It may be that the London commentators need to get out of its London ‘bubble’ and experience the reality of day to day voting inclination.   

About two years ago. I wrote a novel on the political destruction of the UK, A Judge and Nothing But. Islamic terrorists, a fine Supreme Court judge with an ex-SAS husband. Kalashnikovs all over the place and knives that didn’t know what they were pointing at. All good stuff and surprisingly accurate on the future Prime Minister and Brexit – all written before the referendum! Don’t ever say that the novelist writes fiction all the time, he or she can be remarkably on the button from time to time. Praise be the novelist – well, I would say that wouldn’t I?

Talking about novels, I have another one coming out in about two to three months’ time. Nothing to do with politics, I promise. It’s about an oil rig that goes down in the 1960’s due to mechanical failure. There are those that won’t let it die, those with a criminal intent. It’s all fists and murder, so look out! I have say that it makes a change to be writing fiction, instead of all the political stage runners that I have to watch and read all the time. A political commentator to a novelist, strange indeed and probably says something about my character generally, but there we are.

I’ve noticed that the political comment seems to be that youngsters use social media instead of the press etc. This makes me go weak at the knees. Imagine all the fakes news (mind you, the national press can’t say much where this is concerned!) that is constantly clogging up the internet lines of honest debate – you can take ‘honest debate’ with a fist full of salt! But in the long run, who knows better. I don’t write anything ‘fake’ but there it is. Fake, fake and fake again as someone once said on the TV, takes Blairite opinion on education to far greater heights doesn’t it? Talking of which, Blairism is for the knackers’ yard if Corbyn gets his way – come to think of it, his little red book of memos reminds me of Mao Zedong’s blindingly red pamphlet of Communist deliberation. That’s politics for you.

I’ve gone a bit off piste in this column, probably drive the Editor nuts but no doubt I’ll get a communication telling me this. Stick to politics Julian he’ll say and never mind the book selling – well, I’m a writer and sorry but I do get a little stuck now and again.

Political columnist and the book worm scribbler, join horns now and again!!

    

 

 

More time!

I wrote not so long ago that it would be a two-party race, and this is exactly what it has turned out to be – well, at least somebody has been correct! The Election has left us with a hung Parliament, I’m still trying to work out exactly what this is, may be its Nick Clegg’s live by the sword and die by it, who knows. It’s a mish mash of Heavens knows what, and you can do what you like about it.

Theresa May is left with relying on the Democratic Unionist Party after she has won (this is probably pushing it) the Election, we’ll wait and see what she is going to do about it. All the politicos are stressing that she has be more open, take in other people’s opinions etc  She might not and all hell will break loose. Corbyn has succeeded in raising the political framework and done a good job in this, so who can blame him. Pity help the people who condemned him in the first place, but this is politics for you.

When one puts all the political hoi poloi aside, we are left with one issue. The major one. That’s Brexit. Will it be a tough line or a kid gloved gently as you go one? This remains the only question left. The answer is, as everything else in our political system, unknown.

One thing that left me thinking is the young vote. They’ve come out of hiding and given Parliament a thrashing, about time too! It’s the tuition fees that has done it and Corbyn was right to pick on this as one of his main policies. They’ll be screaming for joy, at least somebody is listening even if Corbyn can do nothing about it. It’s all about power and he hasn’t got any to speak of but the point is, his ear is bent to the student wails of ignominy and being hard done by. It’s a sorry state we live in in, isn’t it?

Corbyn hasn’t won the Election but he has tried, and you have to give him that. Where politics will go in the future is anyone’s guess. The Conservatives haven’t lost, but the present situation will have

a negative impact on their intentions, we will just have to wait and see.

As for Wales, Labour has taken back Gower, Cardiff North and Vale of Clwyd in a strong showing. Carwyn Jones has done it, without any mention of Jeremy Corbyn. So, its Welsh Labour reunited again – a leopard never changes its spots! Not in Wales anyway. You may be confused by the Carwyn Jones mention but he is the leader of Welsh Labour in the Assembly not Parliament, but they are all Labour even if there is a red rose between them.

But before you go, think about Scotland. The Conservatives have had a star spangled night where this part of the United Kingdom is concerned. Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservatives has had a formidable campaign holding the Scottish National Party to task. All thoughts of Independence are off the agenda and well done to her.

In a final analysis and in the words of Lara Kuenssberg of the BBC, the situation is “fluid” and so be it.

     

 

    

A pulling?

You’ve heard all the politicking going on, you mustn’t do this and you mustn’t do that etc etc We’ve had the blasting away of Labour/Conservative manifestos on our television screens, all confusion (well, to some anyway!), Monte Carlo or bust. Never mind.

The thing is, most people are missing the really important questions: What is Labour going to do about the Unions, where is all the money coming from? Tax rises are all very well, but what do you do when all the Companies take off to sunnier climes? Child Care for the age 2 to 4’s, Corbyn didn’t know how much this is and Diane Abbott (the Shadow Home Secretary), didn’t know much about the Police.

Incompetence? You decide.

The Tories are meekly trying to convince us all that it is in the manifesto, but where? As for the other lot you can forget about them, they are just not in the game. So, we are left with a choice. And it’s a choice of security.

Jeremy Corbyn wants a multi-national disarmament and May wants to be at the ready come what may (no pun intended). Corbyn makes friends with terrorists of all sorts and May ignores them – something in this! His disarmament policy is a risk – a palpable risk! I suggest you do some hard thinking on this, before you nip into the polling booth to scribble your tick in whatever box you choose.

As for Welsh politics, it’s all Brexit and societal upheaval. There’s Leanne Wood shouting from the Leftie rooftops, the Liberal Democrats being friends with everyone, UKIP being led by an age old Tory campaigner and Welsh Labour trying to exit itself from Corbyn’s perfect world. The Tories are yelling out, out and out again and if you don’t look out it will be Corbyn or else.

What a world we live it – it does get a little mind numbing when you find Assembly Members commenting on Parliament issues doesn’t it, but there we are. That’s politics for you. To alter any confusion you may have, it all comes down to this:

Who will lead the country in any Brexit negotiation? Who will stand up with a strong hand and an even tougher spine? Jeremy Corbyn or Theresa May? The answer to this must lie with you the voter, you’re the ones with the power, the final say. Do we go down a path that is led by mealy mouthed contrition or do we stand up and be counted? It is the British way to stand alone. It’s in our history. We stood up to Hitler and countless other threats…..alone.

We can do it again. Our backs and our will are strong enough.  

 

Corbyn

It seems that all the memos are in and the parties are hitting the headlines for all they are worth. So what are we to do about it? ‘Submarine’ May is sneaking underneath the headwater by telling us very little and Jeremy Corbyn is trying to reach back to the ‘70’s with an unbridled sense of purpose. It is really is a two horse race, with one of the two carrying a lame leg, no doubt you can guess which one? As for the others they just aren’t in it, they have received the starting bullet at the off.

“There is no Mayism” (according to Theresa May) or at least it is something that journalist like writing about (beats Corbynism, I suppose) and the road to Brexit will be a harsh call, that’s if you believe all the media spin on things. Talking about the media, I can’t help feeling that the BBC is left of centre, along with Channel 4. Well it takes all sorts to make up a democracy, so publish and be damned and quite right too!

May is trying to open up our society with a country that looks after everyone (a first for the Tories) and Corbyn is trying to follow Michael Foot, with a revival of 1980’s policy – that didn’t get Foot very far, it was Labour’s exercise in ‘suicide’, according to the late Gerald Kaufman. Labour’s intent on raising taxes, spend, spend, spend and having a budget shortfall of 53Bn, I somehow don’t think this will get us very far but who knows. Politics is all about dealing with the unknown.

The one thing that caught my eye, was the provision made for old ‘uns. I am getting on in years. The Tories are allowing us to keep £100,000 out of a property we own, rather more than the £23,000 odd allowed at the moment, but this applies to not only the care in Nursing and Residential Homes but the help we receive at home – not applicable beforehand.

Blast! The Tories are out to get us but wait, Theresa May has done a U-turn on this, it’s all subject to a cap being the subject of a ‘consultancy’.

This last comment is made with my tongue firmly embedded in my cheek, and do you know why? My wife has recently retired from managing Nursing Homes, I have some pension provision put away and who cares if we are asked to pay for more for our upkeep in order to get social services at the ready for those who are unable to pay for it – I’d think about this long and hard if the social services provided to me in the not too distant past is anything to go by, I told them ‘to go away’ with a polite edge to my voice! 

I don’t mind paying and that’s that.

And what is the triple lock all about anyway? They will take the 2.5 % away, so what. Apart from this, there is still the 7 year gift plan (give some money to your children whatever, the last 7 years and you are out of Inheritance Tax, allow a further few years and you’re out of Nursing Home liability), so what’s the worry? There’s also the Discretionary Trust plan but I won’t go into all this, its legal nonsense which I won’t bore you into a soundless sleep with.

If I had my way, I would charge people like me, for bus fares, prescriptions, TV licences etc As for Winter Fuel Payments it’s about time somebody had the audacity to face this totally unfair policy. Means test all of them, and this would ensure the have nots get a better deal than they have now. Problem solved, the well- off pay for the under privileged.

Considering all this, it might be wise to think hard about who you will vote for. Wales has been a natural Labour territory for years. It is time for change. We need a person who will lead and be strong. A person that will lead us out of the European Union with a tough hand, and one can only hope a compassionate one………and a person who is prepared to press the button on the nuclear deterrent.

In this instance, God help us all!     

Teaching Assistants

Have you heard of all the messing about and curios attachments that surround modern day living? I can’t go anywhere without being frightened of something being put into the mix. We’re all scared of this and scared of that. Makes you wonder why we bother going out of the front door!

Now, I’m only joking here but let’s face it, things are going a little crazy. There are so many things that we can do to avoid disaster it hurts. Here’s one for example. Teaching assistants. I never came across them in my day. The days when cobwebs and chalk hung from every blackboard in the country. Why does a teacher need an ‘assistant’? Can’t he just teach and leave it at that? On second thoughts, expecting a classroom to stand up and say ‘Good morning’ is just asking too much isn’t it? What’s wrong with a bit of good manners?

Now the reason I’m going on about all this, is that modern day culture has gone berserk, be in no doubt about it. The media and the press are not helping matters much (I saw one channel the other evening going on about teaching assistants) and to cap it all, we are being a party to this maelstrom of  sinister well-being.

Never mind ‘austerity’ put a stop to all this nonsense that one hears about every day!

There may be a few of you who get all irate about my attitude but think of it this way, if all the money wasted on these notions of culpability were to be put to good use, say a home for homeless donkeys, wouldn’t we all be better off? Just a thought.

I long for the certitude of old fashioned ways. The security. Who says one has to switch this or that on? Who says one has to be ‘connected’? Has the modern day come to this? I was in a meeting the other day, about 15-20 odd people and do you know what? I was the only one who didn’t have a mobile phone, to hell with social media and to being ‘connected’. And come to that, being on call for 24 hours 7 days a week can go and take a running jump too! As for the internet, well………

We have forgotten what it is like to be human. Taking a girl out for a drink has become a one sided affair. Both sit there and punch a mobile phone for a distraction from conversation. Both have forgotten why they are there. Charm and erudite conversation are for the birds.

Well, I’ll go off for a nice bit of rowing with my wife now – this certainly beats the online presence!

 

 

Jeremy Corbyn et al

Rigged economy, the socially disadvantaged losing out, raising taxes etc etc. Tell us something we don’t know? But and here’s a big ‘but’, does it play to the voting inclinations of a broad section of the electorate? And apart from this, how times have changed over the past 40 odd years. There’s more courses, more ways to set yourself up and more degrees, than anyone with even a bold imagination could have foreseen all those years ago. At least it’s an improvement. 

Jeremy Corbyn needs to take a lesson from Tony Blair (the son of Thatcher and who took on the whole electorate) if he is to be successful in his bid for Prime Ministerial power – and Marxist John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor. Personally, I don’t think that anyone in his right mind can counter this, least of all Corbyn. Politics is an unpredictable business, but on this occasion it is possible to anticipate the course of events in the pending General Election.

Jeremy Corbyn is out. Full stop.

One can predict in the most charming of ways, how decent and honourable a man he is, but he is non-electable. A Shadow Cabinet full of faceless individuals, non-starters and witless comments on what might be in the perfect world of Corbynmania. Well it all makes delightful reading at bedtime, whilst one is gurgling on a cup of hot chocolate and gradually dropping off into a deep and hazy sleep.

You watch these people from the Shadow Cabinet and wonder where in blue blazes they have come from? Where are all the Labourites of the past? The people who can argue and deliberate, the front runners? Nowhere to be seen and why is that?

You can answer this question yourself, it doesn’t need me to tell you.

The new Mayor of Greater Manchester (I have a certain respect for the gentleman), Labour’s Andy Burnham, was nowhere to be seen when Corbyn took a trip up there to wish him all the best. Labour won the seat on the individual’s personality. Strong and decisive. Two characteristics of a man who wishes to lead. Sadly, not two personality traits that is in Corbyn’s lexicon!

Labour has a few short weeks to sort itself out. It is an impossible task. It has taken a road of 70’s left of left delusion. It failed then and it will fail once again. It must elect a new leader and get rid of the Membership vote. If it doesn’t then it will enter into the history books of political failure.

I do not wish this. Get yourselves sorted out and be a responsible Opposition once and for all – who knows, this might lead to real power. Hold the Tories to account and show where they are going wrong.

Do it and be a successful political party – and give the Tories a thrashing while you are about it!