Tuesday, 16 October 2012

The further up the flagpole you climb ...

... the more of your ass is exposed, words of General later President Eisenhower, so my guess he knew all about leadership, its ups and its downs.

So for the errant Plaid AM, consideration might be given to a valuable Eisenhower quotation ...
A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both

Back down to earth and there is ...

Gerry Hassan (15 October 2012) wrote an open letter to Alex Salmond the Scots pretender to its political throne, the title ...
'Independence is about cultural and societal transformation'
... might generate a soupçon of interest from the political pundits scattered around the various halls of government, but to the little people the closure of Hall's of Broxburn meat factory in West Lothian has real interest, particularly the fact that the Scottish SNP led administration were unable to influence the decision making process of the Dutch owners Vion.  Impotent in the face of international business interests.

Unable to demonstrate real time leadership in 2012, what chance these very same politicians will be able transform Scotland's culture and society ...
.. absolutely zero !
Scottish independence is political in the narrowest sense, it has no benefit for the little people whose life will continue as before, in a 21st century serfdom with much the same masters !


Sunday, 14 October 2012

Plaids Edwards on Tory Jones ...

... is the denial of political and economic reality !

Edwards is on record as saying the Silk Commission may be "wasting their time".

The Plaid reasoning is at wide odds with reality, the original intentions of the commission were always intended to make it accountable to the electorate, a democracy in an almost Wales Aristocracy.  Established by Cheryl Gillan, its brief was in two well defined parts :
Part I: financial accountability
To review the case for the devolution of fiscal powers to the National Assembly for Wales and to recommend a package of powers that would improve the financial accountability of the Assembly, which are consistent with the United Kingdom’s fiscal objectives and are likely to have a wide degree of support.
Part II: powers of the National Assembly for Wales
To review the powers of the National Assembly for Wales in the light of experience and to recommend modifications to the present constitutional arrangements that would enable the United Kingdom Parliament and the National Assembly for Wales to better serve the people of Wales.
If the two parts are explored for the real Westminster intentions we can conclude that it is to strengthen the relationship between Cardiff and Westminster ...
Part I:
... financial accountability of the Assembly, which are consistent with the United Kingdom’s fiscal objectives
Part II:
... United Kingdom Parliament and the National Assembly for Wales to better serve the people of Wales.
The first part subordinates the Assembly to the UK's fiscal objectives and part two establishes Parliament as the superior body in the service of the electorate.

So why the pointless babbling and chattering of the "Separatist Agenda of Wales" ?

Edwards said at the recent Conservative conference :

I think what we have to stress is we are talking about modifications. We are not talking about a wholesale rewriting of the Government of Wales Act.  What we are talking about, if you like, is tweaks to the devolution settlement to see if there are ways in which it can be made to work better.
The message is clear, Government (Westminster) has learned a lesson and intends to bind Wales to the Union not give succor to the nationalists ...

... and if you consider the messages coming from all the UK political parties, there is little difference, this leads me to believe the bluster of Carwyn Jones towards the activities of Westminster is just ...

... an illusion of dissent, in fact we are working very well together ...

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Simon Thomas, Plaid Cymru, its ...

... education spokesman wrote in today's Western Mail :

Time for delivery 
SIR – The Party of Wales wants to ensure better outcomes when it comes to literacy and numeracy (“Minister demands 15% rise in GSCE grades”, Oct 11 ). 
However, it is clear from the draft Welsh Government budget that there is to be no increase in the resources dedicated to literacy and numeracy.
In addition, the much vaunted regional consortia, which were supposed to support poorly performing schools in Bands 4 and 5, are not yet fully operational. How will the Welsh Government deliver on their plans for literacy and numeracy on a standstill budget and with no progress on the ground?
This is yet another ambitious target with no resources or plan of how to get there. The Welsh Government has been wringing its hands about poor attainment by Welsh pupils for too long; it’s time for delivery and measurable improvements. 

It's unfortunate for the people of Wales that Plaid Cymru 9 (it seems to be dropping "Plaid Cymru" and is rebadging itself as the "Party of Wales" when it corresponds with the wider world) has no solution to the problem.

Whereas Gareth Williams (studying History and Politics at Oxford University) has this to say about the Welsh Baccalaureate, a qualification supported by Plaid Cymru.

It could be that politics in Wales should speak to students before meddling further in the education of Wales.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Welsh language might just ...

... be at the point where it creates divisions, not for lack of cultural support, but because E·ON the electric utility service provider based in Düsseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany doesn't believe it can deliver competitive priced energy to the peoples of Wales, it has made public the fears that many people have, the fear that nation building by Cardiff Bay politics will be that "bridge too far", it will cost the little people far too much to the point where goodwill is lost at the checkout.

New Welsh language legislation obliges [under the law] private sector firms providing energy, telecommunications and transport to provide a bilingual service.

The E·ON warning is to be found in a leaked letter from E.ON.  The letter was part of its role in the recently-ended consultation on the exact standards the companies will have to meet to comply with the legislation, the firm says it is likely that the higher costs of providing the new Welsh language services will be mirrored in price rises for all customers in Wales.

E·ON ...
"We understand and support the overall aim of the consultation to increase the opportunity for Welsh people to use their language in their own country. 
"We are also fully aware and accepting of the fact that we would have to change how we operate in Wales in order to promote the Welsh language. 
"Our concern lies in both the cost and complexity of the proposals set out in the consultation. 
"We believe that the lack of flexibility in the proposed standards means that the cost of compliance will be high."
It continued ...
"In addition, we are concerned that the standards could make the acquisition of new customers in Wales less financially attractive to energy suppliers and therefore reduce customer choice.

I believe this means E·ON is threatening to withdraw from the market delineated by the reach of the legislation, would other energy suppliers follow E·ON and withdraw from our marketplace ?

E·ON expands ...
"These increased costs could be reduced if energy suppliers were able to match the activities provided in Welsh to demand from their customers. 
"We feel an incremental approach to providing Welsh language services would be more efficient and offer greater incentive to develop Welsh language provision further."

This is a reflection on the fact that demand for Welsh language services is very low except in very specific geographical areas of Wales, is there a business opportunity for a Welsh language service that could be used [shared] by all the private sector firms affected by  the legislation ...

... or could it be this new legislation is not so concerned with providing a good service to Welsh speakers but an attempt to restructure society in Wales, might the Welsh Language Commissioner take a leaf from the exploits of Cnut the Great who demonstrated the futility of standing in the path of waves [social progression]. 

Monday, 8 October 2012

It's OK being a Janitor ...

... said the doctor, lawyer, politician, the economic patricians of this world, anywhere in the world for there is little difference, the reality is the janitor, the janitors wife, the janitors children, they all share the janitors lot in life.  The janitor is of course the metaphor for anyone who might be regarded as one of the little people, described as proletariat by some British politicians.

But far worse than the label is this concept by our new aristocracy that the little people of Britain, or anywhere in this world, need to "know their place in the social order", and although a little more subtle in the USA, in the land of the free this same social order exists today.

So the search for justice is to no avail for our janitor, his wife, his children, they will never become stakeholders in today's society, the new aristocratic families of politics will assure that societies order is maintained, by David Cameron, by Edd Miliband, by President Obama, by Mitt Romney ...

In Birmingham this week Iain Duncan Smith, Work and Pensions Secretary who has never been a janitor, says...

"We will have to take more money out of welfare
We will have to squeeze the Janitor !

For the janitors of Britain it is time to brush down the cloth cap, and practice the doff in deference to the new aristocracy......

Iain Duncan Smith is of course FoS, and decorated with the FoS award for services to Janitors, wherever they might live and work, and of course their families ...

I would prefer the Janitor to become a stakeholder in this brave new world ....

Sunday, 7 October 2012

When Scotland's former Auditor General Robert

... Black asks the question " ... is providing the current range of free public services sustainable", the Scottish National Party administration in Scotland said ...
The Scottish government said it remained committed to the council tax freeze, free prescriptions, free bus travel and its public service reforms.
... neatly sidestepping the question with a predictable sound-bite, but ignoring issues surrounding the big ticket items on societies agenda, items such as ...
Free personal nursing care.
When those schemes were set up in Scotland there was no hint given that the costs of those would be rising as quickly as they are now.

... projections relating to the seemingly minor concessionary travel scheme show costs could reach half a billion pounds by 2020s.
The Auditor asks the question ...
"... were the Members of the Scottish Parliament aware of that when they launched the policy?"
... and provides a frightening answer ...
"I suspect the frank answer is not. So to that extent I think I am on safe ground by saying the affordability of some this has to be questioned, we do need to revisit it. Every pound that goes on bus passes for well off older people is a pound that is not available for other things."

... he continues ...
"MSPs have become too cut off from the way services are delivered in local communities. He argued they should spend less time on passing unnecessary laws, to free up more time for budget scrutiny."
Robert Black believes that ...

"... political and media focus on the independence issue is leaving little space or opportunity to address the great challenges which we are facing. 
There is clear leadership on the independence debate, but on many of the other big issues, it can feel as if the politics of Scotland hasn't fully come to terms with the challenges we are now facing. 
No one party or leader is prepared to take the risk of being the first mover in re-thinking policies, whether it be penal reform (or) reshaping the health service.Consider the growth in police numbers from 6,900 in 1949 to more than 17,000 now, despite the use of technology for policing, and without any politician asking why the higher numbers are necessary. 
He said scrutiny of public services is "episodic and patchy" and mostly conducted at Holyrood, remote from the localities where the services are delivered".

Why would I write about devolved Scotland ?

Its because the conditions that exist in Scottish politics are mirrored in the politics of devolved Wales, I would say every word used by Robert Black is equally applicable to the machinations in Cardiff Bay.

It is time our politicians took time out and considered what it is to be like the little people who rely on the services delivered by government ...

... and to ask the little people very specifically whether propositions are acceptable  and to act in accordance with the wishes of the people.  

Monday, 1 October 2012

Go Directly to Jail. Do Not ...

... Pass Go. Do Not Collect £200 ($200 on the USA monopoly game).

Unlike the Banker in the game of Monopoly, our real world UK Bankers are never given the "Go To Jail" card, they are allowed to operated cartels (Libor scandal), payment-protection insurance, interest-rates swaps, just three banking obscenities where the little people were screwed ....

... and the new UK financial policeman says :
repent or go to jail
... this is extreme bullshit, the word should have been :
I'll see each and every scumbag in jail !
... he did mouth a few words of truth :
"... truth is that if our supermarkets in this country, if John Lewis, operated in a way that banks do, they wouldn't have any customers," he said. 
Martin Wheatley, head of the new Financial Conduct Authority, has the right pedigree to clean up the dogs mess called the City of London, but how many politicians will stand with him, how many will cave into pressure from bankers and others who need to be able to cheat the little people of the UK and those other countries that rely on our financial institutions, and  will he have sufficient staff to police the labyrinth of our financial and dealing services.

... myself, I believe the financial services are too close to politics, an unnatural relationship ... remember an earlier post ...
"the dominant economic interests in capitalist society can normally count on the active good will and support of those in whose hands state power lies."
... and that from a politician !