Thursday, 7 November 2019

Gambling with political integrity




The Four Forsaken – the constituencies who Plaid sold out.

 Plaid's European Parliament Group
Plaid's Cymru's policy is to stay in the European Union. Plaid Cymru has one member of the European Parliament and is in a group which includes a number of parties seeking autonomy or Independence including the Scottish Nationalist Party. The Greens  also in this group .The Liberal Democrats are in the Renew Europe Group, a centrist group for Liberals and Conservative Liberals.

The plan to remain  - the Constituencies where Plaid stands down for Liberal Democrats and Greens

Plaid have decided to stand down as part of the Unite to Remain Alliance in 4 Welsh seats. The idea came from the Brecon and Radnorshire By-Election which Plaid also dropped out of, However, it was the Brexit Party standing which split the Tory vote and probably let the Liberal Democrats win

Vale of Glamorgan

2016 voted Remain
2017 General Election
Candidate

Party
Votes
Vote (%)
Change (%)
Alun Cairns
Con
25,501
47.5
1.4
Camilla Beaven
Lab
23,311
43.4
10.8
Ian Johnson *
PC
2,295
4.3
-1.3
Jennifer Geroni *
LD
1,020
1.9
-0.7
Melanie Hunter-Clarke *
UKIP
868
1.6
-9.1
Stephen Davis-Barker *
Green
419
0.8
-1.3
Sharon Lovell *
WEP
177
0.3
0.3
David Elston *
Pirate
127
0.2
0.2
* Candidate lost their deposit

This is a narrow Conservative/Labour marginal where in 2017 Plaid came 3rd with only 4.3% of the vote. Adding together the Green LD and Plaid votes they total only 7% of that vote on the day, all 3 candidates lost their deposit.Little chance of Greens winning, you might think. Are they just there to give them credibility in the Welsh Remain Alliance??

Cardiff Central

2016 voted Remain.
2017 general election results

Candidate
Party
Votes
Vote (%)
Change (%)
Jo Stevens
Lab
25,193
62.4
22.4
Gregory Stafford
Con
7,997
19.8
5.1
Eluned Parrott
LD
5,415
13.4
-13.7
Mark Hooper *
PC
999
2.5
-2.5
Benjamin Smith *
Green
420
1.0
-5.3
Mohammed Sarul-Islam *
UKIP
343
0.8
-5.6
* Candidate lost their deposit

In my day, when I stood there for Plaid in 1987, this was a 3 way marginal but now looks a “safe” Labour seat. Again, Pro leave alliance  total take between them  21.5 % ,  hardly a shoo-in. But these are weird times and anything can happen;.

Brecon and Radnorshire

2016 Voted Leave
General election Results 2017

Candidate
Party
Votes
Vote (%)
Change (%)
Chris Davies
Con
20,081
48.6
7.5
James Gibson-Watt
LD
12,043
29.1
0.8
Dan Lodge
Lab
7,335
17.7
3.0
Kate Heneghan *
PC
1,299
3.1
-1.3
Peter Gilbert *
UKIP
576
1.4
-6.9
* Candidate lost their deposit


This was the last general election.The 2019 by-election, below, is more interesting ,as it clearly the Brexit Party, not the withdrawal of Plaid who gifted the seat to the LD’s. As the Brexit Party is polling around the same level as in the by-election at the moment (11%) the LD's may not need any other help if they stand. 
 2019 By Election Results Brecon and Radnorshire
Chris Davies (Conservative): 12,401 (39%)
Tom Davies  (Labour): 1,680 (5.3%)
Jane Dodds (Liberal Democrat): 13,826 (43.5%)
Des Parkinson (Brexit Party): 3,331 (10.5%)
Liz Phillips (Ukip): 242 (0.8%) 
Lily the Pink (Monster Raving Loony Party): 334 (1%) 
Turnout: 59%.
Montgomeryshire 
 2016 voted Leave
2017 General Election Results

Glyn Davies (con)     18,075              51.8%

Jane Dodds  (LibDem) 8,790              25.2%

Iwan Jones (Labour)   5,542               15,9%

Aled Hughes, (Plaid} 1,960                5,6%

Richard Chaloner (Green)   524          1,5%


This is the only one of the seats where Plaid saved their deposit. Even with Plaid and Green votes going to LD’s, again they have not got enough to make a difference to the end result. However, Glyn Davies is retiring and standing down and Jane Dodds, having won Brecon and Radnorshire, is not available as she is defending that seat. Again, the Brexit Party might save the day for the Alliance. 
Why did Plaid join the Alliance?
Presumably Plan A was to send a larger group of Plaid MP's to Westminster and to help reverse Brexit by one means or another. Although 63% of Plaid members and supporters voted remain, the result in Wales was the highest Leave percentage in the UK per head . Plaid has clearly decided to go with what its supporters believe rather than the population as a whole. Its a strategy but it could backfire.
 But what if it the Remain Alliance after the election is not influential enough and even frozen out? There could be another hung parliament or a pro Brexit majority. In any case the number of Alliance MPs is unlikely to make Jo Swinson Prime Minister, and the Remain Alliance could end up as the junior partner of a Corbin led coalition, or the 3rd or 4th largest political group in Parliament with Boris Johnsom still in number 10. Worse still, could the LD's back Boris if the price is right? They have form.
Can Plaid increase their number of MP's and also boost Welsh Liberal democrat numbers?
The whole Welsh Unite to Remain project success relies on many variables. Plaid may have decided that their vote in the sacrificed seats is so low that their voters are temporarily expendable, Even if Plaid voters vote for non remain alliance parties they may well make little difference and Lord Ashcroft's polls show well over a third of Plaid voters voted Leave, so some may vote for Leave parties, and others may abstain The whole success of the scheme may rely on the Conservative vote split by the Brexit Party and the Labour Party not collecting pro Remain/Revoke votes in preference to the Liberal Democrats, despite their policy changes.
Success for Plaid will be a couple more seats in the UK parliament, no power except in a hung parliament and even then bit part players. Failure can be blamed on many outside factors such as those above. The extra Plaid professional politicians, office staff etc are useful for publicity and patronage, but is Westminster actually worth it?

What could change the outlook?
The ultimate success may rely on whether or not a Conservative/Brexit Party informal or formal non-aggression pact emerges. The seats where the Liberal Democrats and Greens are standing aside for Plaid  are not those where the LD's were likely to be successful, and where will their votes go?
These are interesting times and no-one can predict the election result. Whether or not you can "sell" the votes of your supporters to another party in Wales, and the favour be reciprocated is another matter. This a Brexit Election, a one off gamble for the Liberal Democrats. and I doubt their sincerity. The actual results, both  in votes and  party credibility, have yet to be seen.

Long term projections?

If all goes well will Plaid consider a longer friendship and electoral arrangements? Who knows?

Will they focus entirely on Wales or continue longing for the big time with influential mates in the UK and EU?

Will the Liberal Democrats be the king makers in the next Parliament or crash and burn? 
The Brexit issue may seem all consuming now, but it is essentially. a temporary issue, probably settled one way or another within a few years and the simmering anger within UK society may chose a different target.or a different path.  Wales is suffering neglect and exploitation .and will continue to do so under any regime which is not independence
The world's social, economic,and political unrest topped off with a climate emergency is going nowhere. I expect a rocky road and lots more surprises. Plaid need to do more than grab the coat tails of Unionists .


All to play for on December 12th 2019


Siân Caiach

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Wales of the Future - how do you feel about Universal Citizen's Income?

Wales is not a poor country, but we do have an "official" deficit which is always quoted as reason for Wales not be independent. A more prosperous Wales is probably nearer the truth. Creative accountancy by the UK does help the "deficit" - did you know that we are being charged for London's multi billion Cross Rail project, per head, on the grounds that some of us may use it in the future? We will also be billed for HS2, if it goes ahead, on the same reasoning. All western countries are in some debt  but it is how we share our wealth that is important.

HOW TO SOLVE "CHILD" POVERTY

It is chilling to see that many communities in Wales with high incidences of child poverty, including some here in Llanelli where I live. These recent figures are based on household income. Other indicators such as free school meal uptake also indicate many local families struggling to support their offspring. Many people on low incomes struggle not only with poverty but with debt as well. This not fair. We need a system where all citizens have a permanent source of income to cover basis needs.

My own political party, Gwlad Gwlad has a radical policy to reduce poverty across Wales. Poverty in Children is a sign of families having inadequate income. Many people are trapped in welfare dependency, as they are often financially “punished” by taking on a low wage job , which may actually cause them to lose so much in benefits that they are worse off. Poverty has many consequences including constant stress trying to make ends meet , substandard housing, poor diet and children brought up in a struggling household who often cannot avoid sharing the despair and insecurity of their adult carers.

A BASIC CITIZEN’S INCOME FOR ALL IS NEEDED

As the Senedd increases its powers, including tax powers, we can have real power to address poverty in Wales for the first time. Here is one idea which could work.

Our flagship social policy is to introduce a modest Universal Citizens’ Income for all adults over 18, This would be irrespective of whether they work or not and paid for by general taxation. It would replace most benefits including unemployment benefits and basic state pension. It would mean that no one needs to be destitute. Neither would any adult have to wait for their benefits after losing a job. it would be there already.We would retain a form of child benefit and special benefits for cases of major disability., etc.

No-one would need to fear sanctions or have their benefits reduced on getting a job. Everyone would be assured a basic income for life .Parents would have more choice on whether to stay home with young children or spend their Citizen’s Income on childcare and go back to work. Stress levels would reduce and all our children would grow up with a degree of financial security.

Working taxpayers would also receive Citizen’s income, but this would be balanced by removing personal tax allowances and adjusting tax rates to make the combination broadly tax neutral. Naturally, a welsh citizen would have to qualify by birth, or long term residence etc or we would have a huge influx of people claiming to be Welsh just to get our benefits! 


INCREASING THE TAX TAKE FROM THE RICH

We also plan to eliminate tax loop holes in high income workers and expect from that to increase net tax collection, i.e stop the tax evasion at the richer end of the scale.

The citizen’s income for tax payers could be regarded in practice as a tax refund. All adults, rich or poor, would get the benefit.

Our children all need a good standard of living, a good education and a future as useful citizens.

ENCOURAGING PRIDE AND CONFIDENCE IN OUR CHILDREN

Our children all need a good standard of living, a good education and a future as useful citizens. Pride and confidence in your nation and your national identity are positive features found in every successful country. Wales needs to teach pride in our nation, not that we are some lesser people deserving second class treatment.


Part of our education policy is to overhaul our National Curriculum to prioritise learning of our history, traditions and culture and encourage confidence and pride in our children.

We value all of the employment spectrum and will give technical and vocational qualifications equal status to University based education. We totally reject any distinction in status between the two. We need people with practical hands on skills as much and sometimes more than those with academic qualifications. At the moment youngsters, many from poorer backgrounds, are often made to feel second rate and less useful to society and often paid minimum wage. Even a degree is no guarantee of career success, but a family who can support you today financially, means you are more likely to graduate. and with less debt and more opportunity. For the poorest, a degree may mean huge debts and personal sacrifices. A universal Citizen's income means no need for loans to cover subsistence and rent, everyone over 18 will get the same financial boost.


Graduation Day at  university.  


All of our children are important. We need everyone to contribute, in reality, all are vital to our productive economy. not just those with academic career paths.Many graduates end up in the pubic sector.in wales These jobs are very necessary for quality of life in society. but a country’s income is from making, growing and selling things. Wales needs to produce goods of all sorts and we should not waste the massive talent of our people. 

SURE START PROGRAMMES, ARE THEY THE ANSWER?




Children in poverty is an emergency. We are wasting future human resources by not supporting young families in need. Partial temporary interventions, such as Sure Start programmes to give extra support to the poorest children and teach parenting skills to their mothers, often help greatly when they are very young , but they may well need educational support  given throughout school, to maintain this benefit. Few providers can afford this and not all children in severe poverty access the programme .

Data published does show that there may be health benefit in the UK of these programmes, which usually include providing food and a warm, dry classroom area. There may be less child hospital admissions in these communities. Poorer children tend to have more serious illness requiring hospital care, especially pre-school children, where serious chest and urine infections predominate. This is all largely preventable.
Other reports show benefits to parenting and , and better family relationships as well as health. However , where families have already become dysfunctional, especially those with severe poverty and poor and insecure accommodation, improvement is less. Many local Authorities have cut down on Sure Start programmes purely for cost reasons. Surely we should aim to prevent the problem occurring by supporting poorer families financially in a way where they are not singled out and stigmatised?

Giving all families enough money to support themselves will make a big difference. Not only taking the stress off individual adults but improving family life and removing the current stigma and uncertainties of benefits.

Rather than just treat the symptoms of child poverty, we plan to address the major cause, the POVERTY itself,, and give all Welsh families financial security and economic choices through a BASIC WELSH CITIZENS INCOME.


What do you think? Is this a good idea or have you a better one? Please comment.  

 Siân Caiach 




For more information on Gwlad Gwlad, the political wing of the Ein Gwlad movement, see https://eingwlad.wales

Saturday, 24 August 2019

Where are Llanelli's reparations? We need compensation for the mismanagement of Carmarthenshire County Council

For the last 2 decades Carmarthenshire County Council has been led by senior officers and complicit county councillors who have imposed ridiculous schemes on the area, some of which continue to cause harm to the residents. The last scheme, the Wellness Development at Delta Lakes, is, at the time of writing, still under police investigation as there appears to be evidence of some fraud and bribery related to the project which failed to attract the millions in City Deal funding required to deliver the scheme.

 However, senior council officer Llinos Quelch has just approved planning for the whole scheme under "delegated powers", bypassing any open discussion by County Councillors on the future of the project. No doubt senior councillors and the new chief executive, Wendy Walters, will have been consulted.

This decision to go ahead with the project happened on the 6th August 2019 .Unusually, no triumphant press release was evident from the Carmarthenshire Council that the multi million pound super project was apparently "back on track" and that new money has been found.

Carmarthenshire's chief executive officer has retired and taken with him the "unlawful" pay increase and legal fees that the Wales Audit Office declared should never have been given to him. The Wellness project is currently under police investigation, which may also involve a former Council Leader as well as the former chief executive.

But what happens to the Residents of Carmarthenshire?. County Hall has been said to have a number of spectacularly lumpy carpets where the embarrassing failures have been swept underneath. But shouldn't they now be exposed, explained and. as much as possible, put right?

Plenty of empty shops in Llanelli 
LLANELLI HAS BEEN NEGLECTED

Carmarthenshire's largest town, Llanelli , has been relatively neglected in recent years. The funding of the Scarlets Rugby Club and their new stadium has taken priority. A new Eastgate town centre leisure /entertainment development was not as successful as hoped, and the Wellness Development has been promising "up to 2000 new jobs" for some time but the public have never even seen the business case, so have no idea of how viable the scheme is or what these jobs are? The Council's Executive board decided not to release these details and the business plan itself may be under investigation.

A place to walk through rather than shop?

Llanelli town Centre has been “in trouble” for some time and like many other similar towns has become dominated by banks, food outlets and charity shops while local small businesses have struggled. More recently established larger businesses such as Wilkinsons and Holland and Barrett are leaving. There have been various local initiatives which have brought flats above shops back into use and tried to support local businesses and give temporary free parking. This has helped in several areas but not enough to turn around the decline.

OUT OF TOWN RETAIL USED TO FUND RUGBY STADIUM

The problems of the town centre are exacerbated by the existence of the large out of town retail sites at Parc Trostre and Parc Pemberton, both sites having extensive free parking and easy road access. Also, comparatively rents have been generally cheaper, with the offer of attractive deals and rates for the big companies. Many major retail businesses have relocated from Llanelli Town centre to the out of town retail parks over the years. However, in recent years even some of these large companies have failed to make a success of their units outside town and some totally failed commercially and closed.

It was clearly a tactical mistake to expand the out of town sites but the development of some of this area. Parc Pemberton, in the form of the sale of land to Morrison's, was also part of the plan to help finance and build a new stadium for the Scarlets and so arguments that there was not enough  retail capacity in the area to support it without harm elsewhere fell on deaf ears. Carmarthenshire County Councillors and their former chief executive, Mark James, were so committed to the future success of the Scarlets’ Rugby Club that little else mattered. Their scheme, along with the building of Parc Y Strade Housing Estate on a floodplain, was supposed to pay for the new Stadium and clear the Rugby Club’s debts but failed to do so  The Scarlets have been unable to make a profit ever since the move, and remain in debt years later, despite the original optimistic predictions. Full marks to Elli Councillor John Jenkins who pointed out the futility of excess retail outlets, to deaf ears in County Hall at the time. After all, Rugby Club Sponsorship was surely more important to councillors than anything else?

NEW EASTGATE DEVELOPMENT COST US MILLIONS THEN GIVEN AWAY TO DEVELOPER

The business case for the new Eastgate new town centre development was that the new theatre , hotel, cinema, restaurants and pubs would attract shoppers from the out of town shopping areas some 2 miles, away,into the town itself. They would enjoy themselves so much that they would stay and patronise the older town centre every time they shopped out of town, despite the lack of parking. Personally, after shopping out of town, I would probably go home before the ice cream melted rather than go a further 2 miles out of my way and spend an evening of culture and dining in a town , which most people can't afford anyway. The Eastgate itself was gifted by the council to the developers? why? This means we don't even own the buildings and the Council pay £250,000 per year in rent for the council offices there. The area has since been sold on to a FTSE company for £12million. 

One big obstacle to revitalising the town centre is the lack of money in Llanelli. It is not a prosperous enough town to support enough spending in the shops in and out of town, for all of the outlets to survive. Many people would love all of the County Council town parking to be free all the time. The Council could also help by reducing Business Rates and Rents of their properties. It is only right that those who caused the problem should put it right.? Millions spent on the Scarlets failed to wipe out the club debts, and impoverished the County Council, which itself is impressively in debt.

IN WHOSE INTEREST HAS THE COUNCIL BEEN ACTING?  .

 County Councils are not just for building Stadiums and giving grants and loans to privately owned rugby clubs,and giving free land and assets to developers.As well as being generous to the wealthy, they are supposed to look after the people who pay, through national and local taxation, for the Council and all its services.

I certainly agree that although the Council would lose out on some income if parking was free.But as  the County Councillors voted to build these out of town sites, give away the Eastgate, and suck the blood out of the remaining town centre, surely they should make amends? Free parking every day in Llanelli Town Centre would surely give back some advantage to our town centre!

THE COUNCIL SHOULD STOP AND REFLECT BEFORE MORE SCHEMES FAIL 

And rather than continue spending on a scheme at Delta Lakes without even a business case, why not wait before they spend more millions there?  .Council money is our money, from our taxes, and such a shame that our elected councillors have been encouraged to throw it away on dubious schemes. Much of it is borrowed and we residents are paying interest on it every day.

Hollnd and Barrett store now closed in Llanelli

 Siân Caiach,

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

STOPPING THE ROT : PLAIDS ELECTORAL PACT Siân Caiach, writing as the elections co-ordinator for Gwlad.

We now know that Plaid Cymru has decided not to field a candidate in  the Brecon and Radnor, Westminster By Election, being held on August 1st, urging their supporters to vote instead for the Liberal Democrats. 

This state of affairs, with Plaid withdrawing and advising its members to vote for a Unionist Party, is not acceptable - either to ourselves or to the many ordinary Welsh voters for which the health and independence of our nation is their prime political desire. Plaid's Leader, Adam Price, has already stated that he is a Socialist First and Nationalist second, Now his deal with the the Liberal Democrats, His pact with a Unionist Party supposedly to stop Brexit, suggests that Nationalism is now firmly in 3rd place. I'm sure that Plaid,,s Leader has weighed the pros and cons of  stopping Brexit in a Country where most people voted to Leave, including 37% of his own supporters. In Adams constituency of Carmarthen East, Leave won by a good margin 53.7% vs 46.3%.

 The number of Plaid voters in the Brecon and Radnorshire Constituency is small, only  1,299, 3,7% of the vote in 2017.  Whether the Plaid  constituency party were consulted is unclear.  Plaid's local following seem to have been expendable.

                                      Adam Price, Plaid's leader. A Remainer, a socialist and Nationalist 

Whether the E.U. or the Lib Dems have promised any goodies to Plaid is unknown.

Our current Gwlad Gwlad policy is to not stand in Westminster elections, but had we known that this was about to happen in Brecon and Radnorshire then we would have gladly put our hat in the ring to represent the Welsh patriots in that area, in Plaid Cymru’s absence. We will not allow, in future. Plaid to unilaterally withdraw from seats in this way, leaving no Nationalist candidate to vote for.

Nevertheless, their decision was announced last minute and therefore even if we had wished to stand, it would have been impossible to do so with no time for formal candidate selection and submission of the application.

In order that this never happens again we will look again at our policy to not stand for Westminster seats, and may well decide to stand in every parliamentary by-election in Wales in the near future to prevent similar events. We are determined that voters who wish to express their support for a pro-independence party shall not be denied the opportunity to do so. I doubt that Plaid will wish to gift  Gwlad the votes of their members who cannot stomach voting Liberal Democrat.

Our steering committee, which holds executive power over policy will meet in Llanelli on August 3rd to make a formal decision on the matter. It is expected the policy of not standing for Westminster seats will be revised, We will not allow the people of Wales to be denied their democratic right to vote for a Welsh Nationalist Party.

The Monster Raving Loony Party is standing in  Brecon and Radnorshire in the guise of Lady Lilly the Pink.  The Party of Wales is not.


 GWLAD, GWLAD was officially registered as a new political party for
 Wales with the Electoral Commission earlier this year.
It is an umbrella group for all Welsh Nationalists favouring Independence.

 Although the party has not adopted a Brexit policy as such,  they believe that 'the Welsh vote in 2016 should be respected.

Gwlad policies include a Basic Welsh Citizens Income, Fairer and simpler taxation, Expansion of Welsh Language Education,  the preservation of our traditional landscapes, favouring offshore rather than onshore wind power, and the creation of transport infrastructure to make North-South  Links in Wales'a reality.

Siân Caiach, .

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Is it still necessary to feed NHS doctors a Private diet of Gold?

Aneurin Bevan   Pic. Wikipedia
The NHS was set up largely from a solely private health service, and needed to recruit many private doctors and did so. The NHS still encourages private medicine and private provision.today  Some private services used by the NHS today such as contract cleaners and groundsmen may not worry us, but others should. Greed is great incentive, especially when a system feeds you "easy money".

Aneurin Bevan set up the NHS in 1948 after demands for reform and contributions from other politicians. It was to be a single tier system, providing adequate health care for all, and free at the point of delivery.

When the NHS was set up doctors were allowed and encouraged to see patients privately as well as being given generous NHS salaries. This was to get them all on side and persuade them they would not lose out financially.

The “stuff their mouths with gold” strategy as it was known is, I believe, now destroying parts of the NHS as there is a perverse incentive to encourage private practice, theoretically leaving private practitioners free to engineer longer waiting lists to encourage business and also to use the NHS to "fish for patients" eg. by advising them that they may only get timely treatment if they pay extra for it. 
.
 When I was a young doctor in the 1980s Consultants who worked privately were paid 1/11 th less than full time consultants, often abandoning their private work for the 2 years before they retired to get a full final salary pension, many then continuing  private work in retirement.

Nowadays newer staff contracts give private senior doctors working in the NHS a full NHS salary and no deductions for working privately.

 I lost my own career some years ago for objecting to my private colleagues using NHS time and facilities for free to treat private patients at Prince Philip Hospital, Llanelli, all approved by the management. I thought it was appalling, especially when my own urgent patients were discharged home before getting their operations, to make way for those paying privately who mostly had waited a very short time and had less serious conditions.

 Ironically their private treatment was then subsidised further by the NHS management who provided the consultants with free use of hospital facilities and equipment for their private patients. I suspect the private patients did not get this discount and paid the market price for their operations, further packing the wallets of my colleagues. Of course not all doctors work privately but in some branches of medicine such as Orthopaedics, Ophthalmology, General Surgery and Anaesthetics, participation in the private sector is very common. 

I fear sometimes that little has changed since I was forced out of my job following my whistle blowing and I wonder about the supposed core promise of the NHS “free at the point of delivery”. I think that is much more important  than the "stuff their mouths with gold" principle, necessary to bribe the medical profession in 1948 but really? Do we still need to bribe very well paid public sector workers ?

A while back a friend asked me to “take a look” at her elderly dad who had had a knee replacement some years before and now was in terrible pain. I did not have his medical records but could see that the knee replacement he had was not functioning properly at all. I advised him to seek help from the local orthopaedic department who did the operation, but he has been continually “fobbed off” and nothing was done to actually solve the problem of his malfunctioning and painful knee joint.




Recently he turned to the private sector in desperation. He saw a new consultant surgeon, who he tells me, looked at his knee and medical records and declared that the “wrong type” of knee replacement was put in originally and he needed this worn out joint removed and a complete new artificial joint put in . It would cost him £20,000.

I don’t have £20,000” said the man. “Well, you can borrow it”, said the surgeon. The gentleman indicated the pile of notes he had put on the table for the consultation, £180.

 “I had to borrow all of that to see you today.” he said The surgeon took £40 off the pile and handed it back to him. A small discount, but no resolution to his problems of pain and mobility.

The NHS has failed this man by not treating him for his serious and life changing problem . For him there was no “delivery” of the proper treatment the NHS should be giving him and as he can’t afford private surgery. His only options currently are to put up with his pain and discomfort for good or go back yet again to the hospital doctors who have so far failed to offer him curative treatment. in the hope they will eventually offer him the operation he needs on the NHS.




Now that is surely not what Aneurin Bevan had in mind?  The NHS is a mature and much loved organisation. Its time to change the diet of private practitioners from public funding support to healthy independence. Surely all private practice can be housed in private hospitals and clinics and doctors paid by the NHS only for NHS sessions actually worked? 

Dr Siân Caiach. 



Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Strategies For Welsh Independence. How Do We Get There?

It is difficult to follow the path when our Nation's Party and its supposedly Pro Independence stance seem to regularly U turn and lose sight of the destination,

No Clear Strategy

Political strategies for Welsh Independence have varied over time. Our country was conquered by its neighbour, England, in medieval times and although it has kept a fair amount of its culture and identity, no recent clear strategy for getting back national freedom has emerged other than trying to follow the Scottish example, yet to be fulfilled.

Muddied Waters & the Dreaded ‘I’ Word



The choice on Leaving the EU has muddied the water. How should Independence supporting Nationalists play the UK/ EU Referendum? What , if any was the plan?
Plaid Cymru had dropped the policy of independence in 1999, ostensibly to boost its numbers to the new National Assembly. Dafydd Wigley, the party leader had simply announced that the party was not for independence and the party had never been so. Whether this had any influence on the vote for Plaid is unclear but they did have their best Assembly result ever to date on that first election.
Over the years independence had crept back, but was pretty aspirational, without a clear pathway or deadlines Plaid Cymru supported Remain, ostensibly for the Grant monies administered by the EU for Wales which following Brexit they did not trust the UK to continue paying. and were concerned about any impacts on business. . Fair points, but nothing likely to explain abandoning Independence. Other welsh nationalists could see the possibilities of Brexit opening up a road to Independence.
In Scotland, former SNP depute Leader, Jim Sillars has eloquently set out the reason for his “out and out” policy.
In surely a regressive policy move against independence, the “I” word has again disappeared from Plaid’s literature in the leaflets for the European Elections. Presumably in a move to capture the Labour Remain vote. The narrative is just the nice generous EU with whom we will be far better off. No mention of the real issues of Wales, which is not primarily the money “from Europe” but the more pressing economic, structural, environmental and health service problems which threaten us all. These more due to the chronic problems of governmental neglect,  maladministration and the horrific waste of public money we see so often.

Leaving the EU Itself Is Not a New Idea


The original Treaty of Rome 1957, was signed in Perpetuity, but events have since forced the EU to allow countries to Leave.
First was Algeria after the declaration of Independence of the former French Algeria. Greenland became independent in 1979 after winning an independence referendum but as their only sizeable industry was fisheries they were severely economically disadvantaged by membership of the Common Fisheries policy. After winning a referendum to exit the EU in 1985 they were allowed to leave. As these areas were – in theory – territories of member countries (when the EU was formed) that had gained independence, a blind eye could be turned to the treaty of Rome as the legal issues were blurred.
In 2004 the EU expanded and the accession countries demanded a change in the constitution to allow whole states to leave. Obviously a treaty in perpetuity is a big ask, as there could come a time for any members when leaving was desirable.

Article 50

This was drawn up at the request of those new members by UK Peer Lord Kerr of Kinlochlard. It was difficult to get the original EU members to agree to it and Article 50 was incorporated into EU law only after the clause was inserted into the Treaty of Lisbon, which came into force in 2009.
Since then Saint Barthelemy, a French Caribbean Island which seceded by poplar vote from the community of Guadeloupe and France, has also left the EU in 2012. greatly improving its tourism economy
However Greenland and St Barts have accepted the position of becoming “Overseas Countries and Territories” of the EU. This means they have a far looser situation, a soft Brexit type position. They have the Euro, follow basic EU regulations, have EU citizenship and even have limited access to development grants, but also have a have strong degree of National Autonomy. They are not in the single market so do not have freedom of movement of workers, but do accept the EU workers rights and other directives.

UK - The First Big Fish To Try And Escape?

As the only countries who have left the EU so far, have been those who succeeded from existing member states,the UK is the first “complete” state to try to get out of the EU. The precedent is set for stateless nations and autonomous territories of larger states who democratically decided to claim their independence,.but not for big fish.
Suddenly the EU pulls out all the stops to keep the UK. Of course it’s the money. With the UK and Germany as the main countries bankrolling the whole of EU subsidies for Farming, development grants etc., many of the smaller countries and weaker economies are seriously concerned at the loss of a huge portion of their “aid money” on which they rely. Little problem getting out of the EU if you are Greenland or St. Barts and have practically no impact on the economy of the EU. But richer nations No Way! Of course it has to be hard and preferably blocked for as long as possible while the UK £millions are still donated to the EU coffers.

Frankfurt's Financial District
Are We Too Valuable To Lose?
And unfortunately even Scotland and Wales are probably too valuable to the EU to let go of easily. The loss of 10.000 former French citizens in St, Barts were not worth arguing over, but the EU seems less keen to encourage Independence in richer, populous provinces such as Cataluña.,
The evidence of that in 2014 during the Scottish Referendum were the huge efforts made by EU leaders to tell the Scottish people that leaving the UK meant economic disaster, a hard border with England, catastrophic loss of trade and a decade to get back in. The current policy in Scotland is now to demand a second referendum on the EU decision and whether they get it or not, go for Indyref2, preferably in 2020 .
This will honour the landmark historic Declaration of Arbroath., the emphatic last statement of the Flower of Scotland. and a timely reminder that there was a time when large English armies were driven by force from the soil of Scotland, not by force of numbers but by superior strategy and unwavering determination to be free, as the Declaration of Arbroath makes clear.

What About Wales?

Plaid's MEP Jill Evans at SNP National Conference 2017

Are Plaid just copying Scotland, waiting for step one, to win a majority in the Senedd? Then they persuade a UK Government to hold a referendum and then we fight for it and win it – probably in the face of a great deal of opposition from all of the powerful interests who benefit so much from the status quo? 
If Scotland win Independence would the rump UK to be nice to Wales? If they don’t win, its a great excuse to refuse even starting the Indy ref. process in Wales. The UK is unlikely to play the game. There may be lots of sweets for Scotland’s Ugly Little Sister (as Blair’s Cabinet allegedly called us) to persuade her to stay, as the last colony. It may work. If economic comfort is the first priority, we may never be free to build our own future .
But what are we doing now to keep the desire for Independence alive and the people of Wales properly educated about the advantages of leaving the UK? Independence of any country is always likely to lead to transient economic problems and various realignments and new alliances. If it is Plaid's view that the EU cannot be exited because of this possibility, are Plaid Cymru confirming that Dafydd Wigley was in fact correct in 1999? and despite the pro Independence Credentials voiced by Adam Price in his campaign for Plaid's Leadership, his actions are equally suspect. 
Personally, as a radical nationalist, I’ve never thought that staying in the EU will advance Independence for Wales. I was a leaver – like most Welsh voters.


But I do accept that for many welsh people, a promise of more certain economic security in the near future currently trumps a longer term project for Independence, even in Plaid Cymru.

The advantage the Scots have is that they won their national freedom in the past, and are only a part of the UK due to a king of Scotland inheriting the English throne. They have more confidence and other advantages such as a separate legal code.Our history does not make us lesser people, we can still chose our own course and not accept the status quo.If we are second rate it is because we allow ourselves to be treated as such . 

I believe personally that every day we fail to promote our own Welsh Independence we shall lose more of our people, more of our culture, and more of our National Heritage. Its a choice that should not be made by Welsh Politicians secretly and quietly in small rooms as now, but publicly and openly.discussed by all. What are we so afraid of ?

The question is “If not now, when?”. Supporting Remain for short term political gain may have a heavy price, if abandoning Independence long term is the practical result.

 Siân Caiach

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Historical note: The Declaration of Arbroath - a letter to the Pope
Back in 1320, the king of England  asked the pope to find out his chances of persuading the nobles of Scotland to submit to English Rule. the Scottish King had been excommunicated from the church for some years and there was both a campaign from Scotland to have Robert reinstated as well  as the English argument that he was not a legitimate king . The written reply, in Latin is long and rambling and contains some historical total nonsense. It is signed or had a seal attached by a representative of every noble house in Scotland.  Many of the Flower had been lost, but some are still alive and listed there and their leader, Robert 1st was also present in Arbroath to see it witnessed. After seeing the letter, The Pope advised Edward III  not to have a go at invading Scotland
Robert was no saint and had almost destroyed the Independence cause by getting himself excommunicated after accidentally murdering another claimant to the throne, John Cymyn, in a Church in Dumfries. He invited him in for a cosy chat in a sacred sanctuary. but lost his temper and stabbed him.
After this he had to be crowned in haste, before the Pope, found out and his mate the Bishop of Glasgow got him to Scone and crowned soon as possible before he was excommunicated in Avignon, his wife, daughter and some of his family were captured, the women imprisoned and the men executed, and he spent a lot of time as a fugitive, hiding from the English until the final victory  in the mud of  Bannnockburn  in 1314.

The T Shirts usually quote the stirring patriotism:
"As long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours, that we are fighting, but for freedom - for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself"
but the document is important politically for the assertion of the rights of all men ,and the first open rejection of the divine right of anointed kings: 
Immediately before the usual T shirt quote is this description of the king: 
 To him, as to the man by whom salvation has been wrought unto our people, we are bound both by law and by his merits that our freedom may be still maintained, and by him, come what may, we mean to stand. Yet if he should give up what he has begun, and agree to make us or our kingdom subject to the King of England or the English, we should exert ourselves at once to drive him out as our enemy and a subverter of his own rights and ours, and make some other man who was well able to defend us, our King;