Monday, 26 September 2016

By Election in Cilycwm

The Carmarthenshire County Council By Election in Cil y Cwm ward was not a bed of roses for People First and our candidate Jacqui Thompson, deserves praise for her fortitude. Rural North Carmarthenshire is a neglected and remote area but it became quite a busy political area as all major political parties, ourselves and 2 independents all competed for votes. We were threatened with a very negative campaign against us and I think it was delivered. By elections are difficult as there is little time to prepare and effectively no time to rebut false allegations or unrealistic promises. I hope the ward benefits from the interest engendered by the election,


 We did well in getting 2 leaflets out and talking to as many people as possible. We could not match the numbers of activists from all over Carmarthenshire and beyond fielded by Plaid, Labour and the Lib Dems but that's not going to be such a problem in the next County Council Elections when the major parties will be fully stretched.

However, one unpleasant lesson learned was that although Bell's Principles adopted by People First instruct us to treat our political opponents with courtesy and respect, it is now clear that it is unwise to allow certain  political opponents to visit you at home. One party at least is happy to send in a leading party activist to aggressively press you to stand down as a candidate or face a negative campaign against you and even then decline to leave when asked! A new edition to our candidate training programme is certainly in order!

Results:   Plaid Cymru                                            201               22nd September 2016
               Independent                                              151
               Labour  [pro Corbyn]                               123
               Independent  Conservative [pro Remain] 105
               People First                                                64
               Liberal Democrats                                     62
               Official Conservative                                 15                Turnout 61%

Just thelist of candidate parties shows quite a lot going on. Although the more successful Independent allegedly denied he was likely to join the Affiliated Independents the group leader popped up at the count just in case.

 I have no idea exactly what is going on with the local Conservatives.The Liberal Democrats threw everything into the campaign. I met more leading Labour members from Llanelli in this campaign than I ever come across socially in Llanelli in a similar period, I just hope that this area gets a bit more notice now the election is over.

One persistent rumour was that the son of the former County Councillor' Tom Thheophilus, is definitely standing next May. He's said to be a Plaid member and several people in Cil y Cwm village [where Plaid got by far the majority of their vote] seemed to think the current successful Plaid Candidate, Dafydd Thomos, was just a temporary stand in. It will be interesting to see how that one pans out.

A great deal has certainly been learned and the dirty tricks become less of a problem when they have been used against you once!

Many thanks to Jacqui whose bravery and tenacity is inspiring to us all.

 Siân Caiach,

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Jacqui Thompson stands for People First in Cil y Cwm By Election

In Carmarthenshire we have a county council By Election on September 22nd.Veteran octogenarian Councillor Tom Theophilus has passed away. Tom stood as a Plaid endorsed Independent and held the Cilycwm seat since the council was formed. The word was that before every election he made promises of future loyalty and support to the County Plaid Cymru Group.  After every election he joined the right wing Affilliated Independents, voting with them against the Plaid Cymru group. He therefore captured the nationalist vote to add to his own personal vote without acting as a Nationalist at all in County Hall. Plaid never had the guts to put a loyal party member up against him.

The ward is extremely rural and its area covers 50 square miles. The County Council has recently stripped it of all of its schools, It is lacking in bus transport, decent broadband,well maintained roads and general facilities.

Local resident, Community Councillor and political blogger Jacqui Thompson has joined People First and we  thoroughly support her as our candidate. She will certainly change the council for the good.

 Last election in 2012 the results were:

Tom Theophilus           INDEPENDENT/PLAID ENDORSED   307     majority 43
Jacqui Thompson         INDEPENDENT                                      264
Mathew Paul               CONSERVATIVE                                     136     turnout 59.8%

This time there are 7 candidates, Plaid Cymru, People First, Conservative, 2 Independents, Labour and a Liberal Democrat.

Here is the text of Jacqui's candidate press release:

 Councillor Sian Caiach,    Convenor, People First/ Gwerin Gyntaf said;

"Carmarthenshire County Council desperately needs new Councillors like Jacqui Thompson who represent the people rather than themselves or party interests. This Council has been shamed by Jacqui, as she has exposed waste,secrecy, paranoia and wrong doing in this body. Her efforts have been rewarded by the respect of many outside the Council but hostility and persecution by all of the 3 party political groups within Carmarthenshire council, Plaid, Labour and the Affiliated Independents.

They have all condemned her for her criticism as they have all been involved at one time or another in the unpopular and questionable decisions and service cuts which hurt the public but leave the local wealthy and political elites without inconvenience and sometimes personally enriched.

We need people like Jacqui, fearless champions  of ordinary folk, willing to speak out and not allow local issues to be dictated by the wealthy and powerful. The People must take back control from these nodding donkey Councillors who seem to care far too little for the people who elect them and far too much for the rich and powerful.

People First/Gwerin Gyntaf was formed  in Carmarthenshire in response to the lack of accountability, openness, integrity and honesty in the County Council. We believe in true representative democracy where the people are consulted and control their representatives, rather than Councillors making important decisions without a thought to the people affected. Jacqui will certainly put in the time and effort to help change this Council for the better. We are very proud to support her."

County Council Candidate  Jacqui Thompson

Jacqui Thompson said:

"I am delighted to be a candidate and to have the chance to represent all the communities within the Cilycwm ward. There is no doubt that this ward has had a raw deal from the County Council, from closing the last primary schools this year, to closing the local secondary school last year. If elected I would ensure that we have our fair share of money and resources, I won't sit back and watch it being funneled into white elephants and vanity projects at the expense of our essential local amenities and those most in need.

I'd be a wake up call to the county council, my reputation proves that I will not be silenced, and will make sure that all the interests and concerns of this entire community, are heard, with passion, very loud and clear!"


Jacqui has been impoverished by the libel case taken against her by County Council chief Executive Mark James and the insistence of the Plaid Council Leader Emlyn Dole and his administration that all court costs should be recovered. She has offered installment payments but these have been declined so far and  interest is being added to her debt. 

However, relying on the generosity of her friends and sympathisers, we are funding her campaign through People First.

Until September 22nd all donations to this blog will go to her election campaign unless specified otherwise..If anything is left over she has agreed with our offer to reserve that extra money for her campaign in May next year when all County Councillors in Wales stand for re-election. Jacqui will contest the ward again whatever the result on the 22nd.

Canvassing so far shows essentially a contest between Plaid and Jacqui, and she has a very good chance. She was only 43 votes short last time. Please help her get to be first past the winning  post this time!.  

If you support Jacqui's cause please donate. 

. Siân Caiach

Update: Anyone wishing to see Jacqui in action together with the other candidates can do so at the election Hustings at Llanwrda Community Hall on Wednesday September 14th starting 6.00 pm 

Monday, 29 August 2016

John Willock - A Farewell to a great community activist and friend to many.

John Willock died on 30th May aged 67 in Prince Philip Hospital, He was born on the 11th of May 1949. All his adult life he strove to improve the lot of ordinary people. Cheerful, enthusiastic and resilient, John would help anyone and was fearless in support of a good cause.

 A son of the village of Llangennech, close to Llanelli, he served as a Community Councillor there for 20 years and was Chair of his council twice. His passions were politics, community service, and  his family, including his dogs and racing pigeons.

He was a lifelong socialist, a former trade union member and shop steward. A tireless campaigner, one of the first members of People First Wales/ Gwerin Gyntaf Cymru, for whom he was a County Council candidate in 2012 and a stalwart supporter.

 John spent his life fighting injustice and improving facilities for local people. In Llangennech he started an angling club, youth club, dramatic society and the historic society. In the wider Llanelli area he was a long time secretary of the Llanelli Trades Council, he ran a Llanelli based Socialist Discussion Group,  he successfully campaigned against the closure of Llanelli Care homes, saving Caemaen Care Home from closure.  He was himself recently a resident of Ty Mair Nursing Home when illness left him unable to cope at home.
John was instrumental in setting up the Annual Commemoration of the 1911 Llanelii Railway Strike which takes place in Llanelli every August. He was always greatly impressed by the courage of the Strikers, the brutality of the shootings and the anger of community shown afterwards.. Usually when troops start shooting people dead , the locals disperse. In Llanelli hundreds of unarmed, angry townspeople chased the soldiers back to the station and they had to lock themselves in for their own safety  as stones broke every window. No wonder the history of the incident was suppressed.

This year the 1911 committee, of which John was secretary, dedicated the events of this commemoration week to the man whose energy and dynamism promoted this important event.
John was a loving father and is survived by his sons, James and Julian. Tragically his lovely daughter Samantha suddenly and unexpectedly died earlier this year. John was heartbroken, and perhaps, in his grief never fully recovered from the shock.    

John’s Funeral is at Llanelli Crematorium 9.00 am Friday 2nd September 2016 

 Siân Caiach

Saturday, 6 August 2016

A different nuclear solution by Robin Burn I Eng FIMMM

Small modular nuclear reactors for secure continuity of energy supply.

The UK energy generating and supply industry, has had a program of diversification into renewable sources of supply for many years, enabling the UK to be less reliant on finite gaseous and liquid form hydrocarbons, as well as coal. 

Coal fired power generation, which has been the staple source of electricity, has been gradually replaced by gas fired power stations, thus reducing carbon dioxide emissions, as well as increasing the efficiency of energy conversion.

Increasingly, over the last few decades, the adoption of renewable forms of energy, the general mix of extractable sources, and solar wind and water power, has tilted toward the latter sources.

Since the 1950’s, the utilisation of nuclear energy to provide the nations power requirements, has never really fulfilled its promise to become the primary source of the nation’s energy needs.
The siting of the station, overruns in terms of construction times, and costs, has restricted its position in the energy market.

The use of nuclear has once again become a topic of debate with the proposed construction of a third reactor on the Hinkley Point site, the use of a new design of the reactor which has its roots outside of the UK. Add to this the source of the funding has led to its delay on a political level.

Energy sustainability as well as affordability is the crux to the UK economy and political stability. The need for long term reliability as well as fulfilling the need for carbon dioxide emissions requires the use of a nuclear solution.

This poses the overriding question of how this can be delivered in an acceptable manner at affordable costs

Fortunately a solution is available widely used safely and efficiently delivering electrical power where it is needed at an affordable level.

Small modular nuclear reactors (SMNR’s) have been used as a generator of electrical power for marine propulsion on surface and subsea platforms for more than 50 years.

The defence of our  nation was underpinned by the use of our nuclear weapons program delivered from a nuclear powered fleet of submarines for more than 50 years. The United States has nuclear powered aircraft carriers, and along with other NATO and non NATO countries, as well as commercial ships a total of more than 150 small modular nuclear reactors are powering the worlds sea going traffic.

The good news for the UK is that a major engineering group is building these SMNR units constructed in the UK.

The Engineering conglomerate Rolls Royce long associated with the manufacture and supply of engineered products to the defense and aerospace requirements of the UK are the UK leader of this technology. Rolls Royce gas powered engines drive electric generating turbines in gas powered power plants.

A SMNR as a nuclear submarine power source is rated at around 250MW, with a projected build cost as a power station at around £1.25bn the proposed Hinkley point nuclear power station is rated at  3200 megawatt with a build cost of £18bn..

The advantages of building SMNR’s as an alternative are as follows

The SMNR has 50 years of usage in its current form
The existing design is UK based in terms of manufacture using uk sourced components.

The units can be factory built and assembled, reducing unit costs with guaranteed build quantities.

The smaller power station footprint increases site potential availability.

A smaller reactor size requires much less coolant eliminating the requirement of coastal sites.

Build times are significantly reduced.

SMNR’s require fuel of less than 5% enrichment.

If we are obliged to use Nuclear Power to reduce carbon emissions and save the planet, do we really need to build expensive untested big plants when home-grown technology would do? Is this more about producing weapons grade nuclear material than actually cutting carbon?

Robin Burn

Further Reading:

Daily Telegraph Business Section 19th March 2016
Industry Editor Alan Tovey

UPDATE 15.09.2016

" Whilst the announcement today, of the go ahead of Hinkly Point C, on the basis of securing the future needs of UK energy supply, is recognized, an opportunity for  the engineering industry in the UK to be allowed to utilise existing proven technology, has been ignored, at least for the near future. This is a disappointing decision, as hundreds of millions of pounds sterling has been allocated, by the Treasury over the last 2 years, for developing existing technology, used in marine propulsion, to be adapted as a land based energy resource.
Utilisation would secure the UK's special steel production, safeguarding existing plant, and jobs,as well as security, and cost to the UK taxpayer.
It is hoped that the Government consider for future nuclear power stations, not to waste the development funding already allocated, and to apply the developed units for future power generating plants."  

Robin Burn

Friday, 5 August 2016

The Swirling Dust Chokes Common Sense

Since the EU referendum result there have been big political movements but the dust still blows around relentlessly with seemingly endless and random political turmoil.
From the relatively civilized and managed dethronement of David Cameron and George Osbourne to the chaotic "Anyone but Corbin" coup attempt in Labour party, the tumbleweed continues to blow past the Last Chance Saloon. UKIP are the next to struggle with a leadership contest, following the Assembly Group leadership contest with a far more bitter UK Party battle. As an outsider I don't know enough about any major party to offer any explanations but will wait for the kiss and tell stories, or in the case of the Conservatives something around page 327 of a weighty political biography.

Even here in Carmarthenshire tremors are disrupting normal political life, Sitting Labour Councillors de-selected by the local party, some then reinstated on appeal. Our Llanelli MP now said to fear deselection too, allegedly from the large number of new Labour members, suspected supporters of JC, who may take her resignation from the shadow cabinet as an unforgivable  show of disloyalty to Jeremy Corbyn.

Even Plaid has a hint of dangerous eccentricity, having decided, as part of their policy to increase the number of welsh speakers, on the "cost neutral" policy of converting all streamed primary schools, those with 2 groups of children taught in the same building through either the medium of welsh or English, to Welsh medium only schools. Quite acceptable to most communities where there are easily accessible alternative English Language Schools, not so welcome in the village of Llangennech where there is no guarantee of an English language school place anywhere nearby and no hope of any help from the County Council in the transition period for transportation etc. In contrast to the council's policy of giving free school transport to children who opt for Welsh medium education where there is no local Welsh Medium provision, the privilege is not to be shared  with those who wish their children to be educated in the medium of English..

 Bad news of course for some English Medium primary school teachers in the area, but many actually  are native Welsh speakers. Years  ago I moved my own children from an English medium school to a streamed school when I discovered the poor quality of Welsh language teaching my younger  children had been  getting. The head teacher was outraged. "How can you say we don't teach Welsh well?" he said "We teachers speak Welsh to each other in front of the pupils all the time".

 I've never regretted the move and neither have my daughters. However, both my older children had learning difficulties and both did well in English medium primary education. I really doubt they would have done as well in a second language.  However, both now are extremely sympathetic to the Welsh language, one aims to become fluent in Welsh and the other, with all the enthusiasm of youth, is fully behind converting all schools in Wales to  Welsh medium only at all levels, even though it would mean that his own ambitions to become a Physics teacher might have to be fulfilled in another country.

Gareth Jones, the Plaid Executive Councillor for Education, is adamant that no quarter will be given in Llangennech and that not being bilingual is such a disadvantage that refusal to allow your children to attend a Welsh Medium Primary School is practically child neglect. All  research quoted seems to be the old Canadian standard stuff but the French/English language position in Canada is considerably different than the position of English and Welsh here.

Now in Carmarthenshire, Welsh Medium education is already the majority choice in primary school and very well favoured by native Welsh speakers and middle class English Speaking families. If the school in Llangennech is left to develop in the Community as a streamed school the English stream, already smaller than the Welsh one, could naturally become redundant over time. However, to impose Welsh medium education on families who have not chosen it is a dangerous game. The accusation that the Welsh Nationalist Party will force everybody in Wales to speak Welsh is one charge which is hurled at them in English speaking areas by their political opponents. Ridiculous, but given credibility by this attempt seeking to force parents in a majority English speaking community to put their children into immersive Welsh tuition whether they want it or not..

Saving the Welsh Language is a big job, and unnecessarily making enemies never a great idea. Even if every child leaves primary school fluent in Welsh, continues their education in Welsh in Secondary School and are all fluent Welsh speakers at 18, they then ,practically, have any formal degree level education and most other adult training through the medium of English  only and many, perhaps most, may well leave the area to study or for work. Ironically, the better their educational achievement, the lower the likelihood may be of them being socially able to remain in or near a Welsh speaking community. Immersion learning may accelerate competence in another language but if  you rarely use it you risk losing that competence and confidence.We need to set up sizable Welsh communities to actually preserve Welsh as a language of the future, a language of local development, industry, innovation and commerce. We need to do more than just teach children fluent welsh in isolation.

In Scotland, the free tuition fees only apply to Scottish Universities and only those who can prove that the course they need is worthwhile and not found in Scotland can apply for grant support outside Scotland. This is much better scheme than trying to tempt graduates back with fee refunds for living in Wales after graduation. By then they will have lived away for some years and may well find it easier to get their first jobs in the area they have been studying in. This is especially important in medicine where the newly graduated doctors are very likely to be offered their first jobs within the area they trained in,and the longer they stay away the less likelihood of returning permanently.

Converting streamed schools may be low cost but may well  also be low impact. We needs more resolve, more money and more courage to save the language and Plaid Cymru members know that.
Adam Price AM

What can we do to keep welsh speaking youngsters in a community and boost the local economy. at the same time?

Adam Price's short paper Arfor written in 2013 has been the most inspirational document I have read in the last few years on the practical preservation of Welsh. Although  personally I   do have a few doubts about the local authority leadership plan [mainly due to my own Local Government experience in Carmarthenshire where the comparison with the Sicilian Mafia is very flattering - the mafia traditionally actually have objectives, albeit criminal, a code of honour  and a degree of competence.]

 The general Arfor plan is surely deliverable and would stimulate the economy of Carmarthenshire much more than the many new private housing estates, mainly for retirees, currently promoted locally. It would provide exclusively social housing for the settlement, attract residents who would be enthusiastic and inspired by the project, as well as freeing up other local social housing for general use. It would need careful legal protections but if set up as a stand alone project it should work. Funding could be partly from  Welsh Government and it may inspire many private individuals to donate generously, and perhaps the wealthy diaspora could finally feel that something worthwhile deserved their support. Its time that the Plaid Cymru Group that allegedly lead  Carmarthenshire found their building site to deliver the Arfor Project,, rather than fret about whether or not anther supermarket is built at Cross Hands.

When it is clear that the welsh language is practical, dynamic and economically positive locally, language choice is really boosted towards Welsh.  English speaking parents are not fooled by  lectures on the advantages of bilingualism in Canada which they can see are not replicated here

How about putting the changes at Llangennech school on the back burner for a few years and start actually planning and building a future in the Welsh Language that is attractive , prosperous and exciting?

plenty of brownfield sites in Carmarthenshire .
 Siân Caiach

PS The Arfor document used to be accessible on the Plaid Cymru website but they have changed the access choices and I can't find it today. If anyone wants the English text I have a copy and will send to on request::

Friday, 1 July 2016

Brexit - 23rd June 2016 -a night to remember

As we don't have a whip or binding collective decisions People First did not have a "position" on Brexit. Myself, I personally always favoured getting out, basically because of the lack of democracy, poor enforcement of their much praised environmental directives locally and the disasters financially in many mameber states, especially Greece. We therefore were involved in the referendum as individuals although of those of my members who expressed a preference did overall show a preference for Leave. some also supported Remain. Its probably the demographic, In our membership we are lacking in young, well educated, wealthy metropolitan types.
At the Carmarthenshire EU Referendum Count in the Selwyn Samuel Centre in Llanelli the most surprising thing to me was perhaps the people at the count clearly surprised at the local result. Personally, having canvassed on people's views on the referendum during the Welsh Assembly Election, I had been impressed by the support for Brexit in my own town of Llanelli. I was also aware that national opinion polls suggested that  Wales might well vote for Brexit. Over the 3 months few people seemed to change their minds so the die was cast a long time before the count.

Counting the votes is in a large hall  with dozens of tables where votes are first checked and counted to check they are  correct with the number of votes cast, correctly marked , and then they are counted for each side.It is difficult to get an accurate picture at the start but as the evening progressed the result became clear. I am always impressed as to how voting trends are so often widespread, with similarity over large areas. No-one is allowed to touch votes or interfere with the process of counting but counting agents are appointed for each side or party to check the process. I was the lead polling agent for Vote Leave Cymru so also collecting data to send back to our HQ.

UKIP, always with a flair for drama, muddied the water at the start of the count by Nigel  Farage's apparent concession of a narrow defeat, My earliest assessment in Carmarthenshire was that the postal votes were approximately 50/50 but leave was around 10 % or so ahead on the first few ballot boxes. I'd seen. It was therefore looking like a reasonable win locally.

What I've learnt from the Scottish Referendum  is that once someone has made a decision on the questestion, they are unlikely to change their minds. Undecideds may go to either side but many may just not vote. In the last stages of the referendum the tactics should be to influence the undecideds and find the voters and areas supporting your side to get out the vote so your supporters actually get to the polls. You can never tell exactly but the promised last minute undecideds reverting to the status quo hadn't seemed to happen.

In Llanelli my impression was that the two  Llanelli major parties, Plaid and Labour, did not seem to have a fully realistic idea as to the way the locals were likely to vote. Perhaps they had not asked about people's views at the time of the Assembly Election and/or simply assumed all their traditional supporters would follow their party policies on the referendum. In the last days of the campaign Labour were out making an effort although probably too late. For Plaid the whole referendum campaign was quite low key. At 5.00 am on Thursday it was a novel experience to be out early in my ward with "Bore Da" leaflets reminding people to vote without any sign of Plaid cymru who usually do the same thing for their supporters.

In reality many people are deeply concerned about the deteriorating standard of living here, most clearly seen with problems in the health service and reduction in social services, benefits and deteriorating local infrastructure. Many Out supporters were fed up with being told that we "beneft" from the huge EU administered funds here in Carmarthenshire where we do  have several new buildings built with EU funds as well as the famous EU sponsored walls on roundabouts which no-one appreciates. The truth is they not obviously producing local jobs, better roads or new business start ups. Immigration was not a big issue except that people felt that wages were kept low by some eastern Europeans who naturally are attracted here to earn many times what they could back home and single people often send much of it back to their families.There is little animosity to EU citizens who have settled here with their families.

I admit that our health service is bad here , but because of chronic under-funding and terrible management both locally and from the Assembly. The lack of social housing is in part due to Local Authority financial problems and lack of both foresight and oversight, I was quite impressed at the number of farmers who had voted Out who I had presumed would have been influenced more by farming subsidies - something I did not appreciate until talking to them after the result although one of the local farmers in my ward did put up a lot of Leave posters.The restrictive and unfocused nature of the EU funding here and despair at the general outlook was a major factor. The leave vote was a significant wake up call to the political establishment.

The remain camp was complacent, at least  until close to the voting day and generally more happy about the status quo. My mother voted remain as she likes David Cameron and thought he had done his best to get EU concessions.Two of my children also voted remain, one to support LGTBI rights in the EU and one is a student who could see better educational opportunities as part of the EU. All are still talking to me although my mother still holds me personally responsible for both David Cameron's resignation and the current drop in the pound.

My moment of the night?

The tweet from Councillor John Jenkins at 02.18 confirming that Leave was now odds on with all bookies.

                                        Llanelli [viewed from the North Dock] - desperate for change.

 Siân Caiach,

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Referendum hots up -Pensions, Bus Passes and Remain's last throw of the dice.

After weeks of quite genteel bickering on details, the last days of the campaign are different. The Remain side have suddenly realised that this may not be a walk over for them, and have sent for Gordon Brown to tell Labour Voters to vote Remain. Legend has it that  it was Gordon who won the Scottish referendum for Stronger Together by his intervention, promising home rule if you voted NO. Almost total independence with less risk, control over everything bar foriegn policy and defense, otherwise known as Devo Max. Scotland voted No but didn't get home rule as promised by Gordo.

If this continues to follow the Scottish Referendum model, the next move is a "Vow" by the leaders of the 3 main Westminster Parties. Due to the sharp decline in the number of Liberal Democrats we may expect a trio consisting of David Cameron, Jeremy Corbin and Nicola Sturgeon promising that the EU will be reformed, immigration halted and  the economy magically turned round by a Remain vote.

Just like in the Scotland Referendum Case, the 3 leaders won't actually get together physically, too embarrassing, but will instead be photo shopped suitably for the front of the tabloids after their staff have cobbled together a vague, upbeat statement to save the day. We will be promised some European Union future so British that we will hardly realise we are part of the EU.,Promises of major EU reform and a nod to reducing immigration, followed by a guarantee of a massive turn around of the UK economy and jobs for all. Maybe Nicola will duck out of the fantasy offer and someone will dig up Tim Farron to make up the trio. A welsh edition would have Carwyn, Leanne, and ?someone else from any other Welsh party supporting Remain, or just anyone Welsh and famous.

I doubt a  "Vow" will make much difference. Most people have made up their minds and many have voted by post already. It has to be a real stunner to win it now, and if Remain do win it may well be thanks to the votes in Scotland and Northern Ireland, a bizarre irony.

However, as someone who was in Scotland during the referendum campaign I feel it was the  pensions argument which made the biggest difference there. If Scotland left the UK they were told, Scots  might have to leave the UK pension system and there were warnings that the state pensions may not be paid at all after a Yes vote. Of course it probably was an empty threat, but if the state pension is a large part of your income you can't take that chance. However, .Project Fear has a lot less traction now in the UK than in Scotland 2014, as trust in politicians declines, the economic outlook is poor and the threats get so ridiculous that its hard to credit that those who "advise" us actually believe what they are saying  .

Now what could a Welsh "Vow"contain for  Wales?. Will they promise decent roads, new rail links, plans to save our Steel Industry, and jobs for our young people? Probably not.

 David Cameron, may rely on his recent threat of a possible Brexit induced economic dip which will apparently force him to cut the state retirement pension and abolish free bus passes for the elderly. However, as our bus passes are devolved to Welsh Government, and are one of the most popular policies of our devolved parliament, will Carwyn Jones back him up?

In Politics trust is hard won but easily lost. We have an interesting week ahead.

Sian Caiach,