Gwefan Ymgyrch / Campaign Website

Ydych chi wedi ymweld รข gwefan yr ymgyrch eto?

Have you visited the campaign website yet?

Monday, 29 March 2010

Gan y bydd yn wybodaeth fwy cynhwysfawr byddaf yn trosglwyddo fy natganiadau i safle dros gyfnod yr etholiad.

As the information will be more comprehensive I will be transferring my statements to for the duration of the election campaign.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Taxing 'churnalism'

I was drawn by this article in the Guardian on the Report by the Commission of Inquiry into the Future of Civil Society on taxing 'churnalism' . Local newspapers with primary news gathering operations do have some rights when the stories they acquire are syndicated or distributed worldwide and there is a case for some financial payback. A tax or levy on Google would redistribute revenues but since four publishers contol 70% of local and regional press, what guarantees are there that it would be used to finance the regional newspaper as opposed to central overheads. It will be interesting to see how the arguments on 'philanthropic journalism' used to finance the Huffington Post will develop and elicit a change in Charity Law to allow public benefit news gathering in the UK. There is no reason why this model might not help ailing local papers in the UK.

Missing the target - Lib Dem style

I have a few anecdotes this time.
The grapevine said a few weeks ago the Lib Dems were busy doing a spot of phone canvassing, actually they had phoned a member of my campaign team who surrepticiously told them many of the things they wanted to hear.
Now last week they phoned a bit closer to home, literally! My mother got a call and was rather blunt on the phone. If you know that I am the Plaid Cymru candidate, Penri James, Taigwynion, Llandre it doesn't take much deduction to conclude that other James' with a similar address and postcode might be related. Obviously no local knowledge available and any research absent. One of the Lib Dem staffers lives in Llandre and should know, however in traditional Lib Dem style he is renowned for being reclusive.
On the same night my wife got a call, I had mentioned that this was happening and she had the foresight to note down the content of the call. It was a female Lib Dem campaign worker on the phone and the conversation went something like this:-

[LibDem] Hello I am phoning on behalf of Mark Williams your local MP. Phoning to see whether he can get your support in the election

[My Wife] Possibly - Could you give me a reason why I should vote for Mark Williams

[LibDem] Mark Williams is local and is working hard on your behalf and has not been caught up in the expenses scandal. He is very productive.

[My Wife] I am glad to hear - Can you give me one example of something he has done or achieved since becoming an MP?


[LibDem] ......well I am sorry I am afraid I can't.......... but I can send you some literature if you want

[My Wife] Yes I have received some literature but if you want to send some more you can do so. You said Mark Williams was local are you local yourself?


[LibDem] .....I am very sorry but I am not local. I am from Cardiff. I am phoning from Lib Dem Central Office in Cardiff. We have a 3 pronged system and we are phone canvassing from here to get a feel of where we are. Mark Williams is always in the local newspaper

[My Wife] Yes he certainly is

[LibDem] and he is good with people in home care and also people with cancer. Can we hope for your support?

[My Wife] Well I would like to know more because I want to vote for the best candidate

[LibDem] I am very sorry I can't answer your questions but I will make sure we send you something...

Just in case you are worried, my wife is not doing a Sam Cam impersonation, she will be voting for me! If you are describing on the phone how productive an MP is, it opens the conversation for a question on an example. Its a disaster when an example cannot be found.
In addition my eldest son, who is at University, received a letter from the Lib Dems outlining their pensions policy. It is important to consider pensions from an early age but its not high on a 19yr old's list of priorities. Since my son and I share a name, surname and address its not rocket science to work out that he might be related.
This week it was Mark Williams' turn for free publicity in the Cambrian News with his regular political column, it didn't appear. Its not the first time in recent months he has missed the deadline and lost his turn. With such an opportunity for unanswered propoganda it seems strange for it to happen.
What does this tell us all? It seems the Lib Dems are doing a lot of distance canvassing but their local information is not particularly good, the blunderbuss has come out of the gunstore rather than a more precise weapon and targetting is a bit slap dash. Despite having at least 3 staff on the taxpayer's payroll things are not being done, are they regretting having 2 of the staff as County Councillors and Town Mayors at the same time? Both now appear to be pyhrric victories especially if Mark Williams loses his seat in Parliament. I for one cannot believe how disorganised they seem to be! Mind you they could be running a cunning plan to deceive.....

Saturday, 13 March 2010

New politics in Tregaron

Perhaps it could only happen in Tregaron but I was out there today canvassing with Elin Jones AM, Minister for Rural Affairs. A Zetor tractor passes with 6 big bags of sheep concentrate on the towed trailer; farmer parks the tractor, still running on the side of the street, and enters a lucid, well informed discussion with Elin on Glastir. How many other Ministers could be engaged in such an ad hoc discussion? Says a lot about the accessibility of Welsh Assembly Government Ministers, Elin and politics in Ceredigion. Absolutely wonderful and really how it should be. Made my day!

Where do we stand?

I often ask myself how elected members can say one thing one month, then assuming we have forgotten, say something totally different later on. In September 09 Nick Clegg said that 'savage cuts' were required then today said he will not 'will not back early cuts'. Savage means brutal or painful cuts done more or less immediately yet now Nick Clegg has changed his mind. We don't know where we stand with Lib Dem populism!

Wednesday, 3 March 2010


The BBC has many critics including myself; in its London centric guise it portrays a one nation view of Britain with which I have great difficulty. We are not a collection of Britons (defn-ones who live on the British Isles) with one language, one view of life, one view of politics and an unswerving loyalty to all British institutions. Thankfully that Reithian viewpoint has largely disappeared although it does manifest itself on occasion, I will not give obvious examples but it doesn't take much thinking to find a few.
However with BBC News, web reporting, radio, current affairs, documentaries and drama it does provide a standard quality that is precious. Attacks on the BBC by Tories and News International hide a deeper end game, break up the BBC on the grounds that is is adversely affecting commercial activity, sell it off and allow News International to start charging for access to news. Do we really want to have the viperous news reporting synonymous with the Fox News Channel? I think not. Progressive politicians at Westminster post General Election will have a fight on their hands to defend the public right to unbiased reporting and broadcasting quality in the face of a reactionary right wing Conservative Party in debt to Murdoch for delivering an election victory.

Monday, 1 March 2010

One way traffic from Labour

I spent the day canvassing in Cardigan and came across some Labour quarry to test whether Peter Hain's plea to the progressives works in the other direction. I asked a long standing Labour candidate/agent and also a sister of a sitting Labour AM whether they would in a seat like Ceredigion - where Labour will be lucky to keep their deposit - vote for the only progressive Party (Plaid Cymru). Surprise, surprise the answer was no! Tactical voting is only good when it benefits Labour, so say the Labour rank and file. It was good fun asking them!

Aberystwyth to London direct rail route rejected

The proposal by Arriva to offer a direct rail link from Aberystwyth to London has been rejected by the Office of Rail Regulation and a copy of the decision letter is here. Ian Lucas MP for Wrexham has consistently opposed the scheme on the grounds that it would adversely affect the service run from Wrexham. From comments reported by the BBC here he is overjoyed by the decision which must go down as a feather in his cap and an example of successful lobbying. In the same report its a bit of a disaster for Liberal Democrat MPs in Ceredigion and Montgomeryshire who have patently been ignored, had no influence and are increasingly irrelevant to the needs of Wales. This kind of representation will not progress the Mid Wales economy one bit. There remains a strong case for a direct rail link from Aberystwyth to London and Mr 'Appalled' had better think what he is going to do about it, I know what advice I shall be giving the electors in Ceredigion.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Right hand....Left hand Liberal Democrats

The story started when 6 English Liberal Democrat MPs signed an amendment laid by before Parliament by Tory MP Graham Stuart that removed the power of the Assembly to make laws on home education. Plaid MP Hywel Williams pointed out that this was another example of Lib Dems making policy in London without consulting, or bothering to consult their politicians in Wales. I don't know what the Welsh Liberal Democrat MPs were doing but obviously had their eyes away from this ball. Perhaps they were not even at Westminster?! After the StAthan investment cuts debacle and the plan to cut Welsh MPs to 28, all introduced without informing their Welsh representatives, we should not be surprised at shambolic activity from this shambolic party. David Cornock has a good report here and the BBC here. This episode rather emphasises again the point made in the Independent about the relative effectiveness of the Liberal Democrats. Election soon please Mr Brown to remove this rabble.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Winning the referendum.

Now that the Assembly has set and pulled the trigger for the referendum we need to start the campaign, General Election or not. Mrs Jones in Penparcau or Penparc will not care about the difference between Part 3 or 4, what will be of concern is the quality and reliability of public services. True Wales have been allowed to frame the debate as one where the poor quality of public services is the fault of the Assembly and further powers will only make things worse. Negative rubbish! The agrument that Wales needs the additional powers to deliver better public services has not been properly deployed and it must not be left too late. Cymry Yfory Tommorrow's Wales is organising event to focus the debate, if you can attend - do.

An Independent view on Plaid Cymru MP's

According to the Independent newspaper the three Plaid Cymru Members of Parliament are “a great parliamentary asset”. In his parliamentary sketch, journalist Simon Carr, hailed “Plaid Cymru’s fearsome threesome” as having had “more effect on Parliament than the entire Liberal Democrats”. O dear! This can't have gone down well in Lib Dem circles having spent most of Conference time last week trying to paint Plaid Cymru MPs as irrelevant at Westminster. This recent article in the Independent proves that it could not be further from the truth!

Quite an event!

We managed to fill Llwyncelyn Hall last Friday (05 February 2010) for the official launch of the campaign, I was joined by Plaid Cymru members and supporters and special guests Angharad Mair and Dai Jones, Llanilar, as well as Ceredigion AM Elin Jones. In the current climate filling a hall for a political meeting is a huge success, I can only thank all who attended and thank Angharad Mair and Dai Jones Llanilar for their kind words of support. It was a huge boost for all and reminded many of the fervour leading up to the successful campaign to elect Cynog Dafis in 1992.
There are more pictures here.

12 per cent of Bronglais alcohol-related treatment involve under 18s.

We should be concerned at the number of under 18s admitted to Bronglais General Hospital with alcohol related problems. Figures obtained by Plaid Cymru show that since 2002, an average of 12.2 per cent of individuals needing treatment for alcohol-related problems at Bronglais Hospital. This compares to an average of 8.8 per cent for all hospitals in the Hywel Dda LHB area and a Welsh average of 7.1 per cent during the same period. Dyfed-Powys Police Force recently received new powers to tackle underage drinking in the Policing and Crime Act. The new law gives the police to confiscate alcohol from under 18s, tackle persistent underage drinkers and charge businesses supplying alcohol to minors. The Police need to be using these powers and we need to raise alcohol awareness with added education in schools.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

When Parliament is sitting I expect my MP to be in London

I am a taxpayer and one of the Ceredigion electorate, I elect my AM to go to Cardiff and represent my interest, I elect my MEP to go to Europe and represent my interests and I elect my MP to go to London and represent my interests. Apparently he doesn't think so. David Cornock has caught the Lib Dems representing their own interests once again, 'Lib Dems don't like Mondays' . This doesn't come as a surprise, former MP Cynog Dafis was out delivering 'Meals on Wheels' a few weeks ago and told me he had seen Mark Williams canvassing in Penrhyncoch on a Monday. Mark - you should have been at work, you should have been in London.
What did he miss? For a full list see here.
Of particular interest to Ceredigion would be -

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Put the 'trigger' motion in place.

Now that WAG has decided to put the 'trigger' motion forward on February 9th, now is the time to call a few bluffs. The Tories can be relied on to approach devolution with open arms and conspire behind closed doors to delay and frustrate. The Lib Dems can be relied on for changing tack with the gusting wind but if they are serious about devolution lets put them to the test. Put the motion forward, put no deals in place and state clearly 'Lib Dems you have the opportunity to vote for efficient devolution and the opportunity might not come again. For once show some commitment and leadership'. Betray Wales and you should not be forgiven.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

‘Steps to a Green Economy for Ceredigion’.

On Saturday I launched an innovative policy document Steps to a Green Economy for Ceredigion. The document was produced in collaboration with Professor Peter Midmore and highlights seven realistic steps to make the Ceredigion economy greener and more sustainable. At the launch I was joined by Peter and former Plaid and Green MP for Ceredigion, Cynog Dafis. It’s important to put forward new ideas for discussion – particularly in the run up to an election – and this policy documents highlights a range of practical ideas which will contribute in a small way towards tackling global environmental problems. Climate change is of course a challenge for us all, and it’s important that we in Ceredigion start thinking about what minor changes we can make to our lifestyles to address the problem. In a rural county where car use is often a day-to-day necessity, the transition will be difficult. It’s therefore important that local authorities, the Assembly and Westminster governments think about how changes in behaviour can be brought about with the minimum of disruption. Ultimately, it’s not a matter of if we have to address climate change – it’s a question of when. That 'when' is now!
For for copies of the document please email me on with name, email and postal address.

Plaid Cymru kick-off campaign for Welsh milk.

Plaid Cymru’s Elin Jones AM and Penri James have called on Ceredigion’s supermarkets to improve the availability of Welsh milk on their shelves.

Over the past fortnight, Plaid Cymru has been surveying the advertised origin of both organic and non-organic milk on sale at supermarkets and large convenience stores throughout Ceredigion.

Of the 16 locations visited, six stores (37 per cent) did not sell any Welsh milk. These included discount supermarkets Lidl and Aldi, and the Iceland chain.

Only three supermarkets – Tesco in Cardigan, Sainsbury’s in Lampeter and CK’s in Aberystwyth – came out top and offered shoppers the opportunity to purchase both organic and non-organic milk from Welsh farms.

Organic milk from Wales was available at 50 per cent of the stores visited while non-organic Welsh milk was available at only 31 per cent of the shops.

The Co-operative – which has stores in Aberystwyth and Lampeter as well as owning the Somerfield supermarket in Cardigan – only stocked Welsh milk in its Lampeter store.

Commenting on these findings, Plaid Cymru’s Penri James said:

“I’m extremely disappointed that such a large proportion of Ceredigion’s supermarkets and convenience stores don’t offer Welsh milk to customers. It’s essential that we support our local agriculture industry as much as possible and I believe that supermarkets have a role to play to help consumers proactively purchase Welsh milk.

“Over recent years, supermarkets have been supportive in the campaign to provide beef and lamb originating from Wales on their shelves. I believe that it’s about time that they make more of an effort to do the same for Welsh milk”.

Penri James and Ceredigion AM Elin Jones have now written to the Chief Executives of the supermarkets and convenience store chains to highlight the need to stock Welsh milk. Letters have also been sent in instances where stores only sold Welsh organic milk.

Plaid Cymru’s AM for Ceredigion, Elin Jones, added:

“Penri and I have now written to each retailer highlighted in our survey, congratulating those who are already stocking Welsh milk while urging the others to do the same. We were particularly concerned that the Co-operative is only stocking Welsh milk at its Lampeter store, and have asked the chain’s Chief Executive why the same cannot be done at its Aberystwyth and Cardigan stores.

“There is clearly a demand for Welsh milk among consumers and, at present, this demand isn’t being met in all instances. I’d therefore urge Ceredigion residents to ask their local supermarket to start supplying Welsh milk if they don’t already do so. Consumer power is hugely influential on the activities of supermarkets”.

Plaid provides reassurances to Cardigan small businesses

Plaid Cymru has been visiting local businesses in Cardigan to discuss their concerns about the impending increase in business rates.

Plaid Cymru’s Elin Jones AM and Penri James joined Cardigan County Councillors John Adams-Lewis and Catrin Miles to visit local traders and highlight what steps have already been taken by the Assembly Government to provide assistance.

The Local Government Minister in Cardiff Bay recently announced that thresholds to qualify for small business rate relief in Wales will increase by at least 20 per cent. The multiplier used to calculate the amount of business rates payable will also be reduced in Wales from 0.489 to 0.409.

However, the revaluation of business premises in England and Wales which is being organised by the Valuation Office Agency – an executive department of the non-devolved HMRC – will go ahead.

Following the tour of Cardigan’s small traders, Plaid Cymru’s Penri James said:

“I was very pleased to visit local businesses in Cardigan to hear first-hand their concerns about the impending business rates increases.

“In the current economic climate, I’m disappointed that the Westminster government isn’t providing more support to businesses and are instead conducting this revaluation of properties and increasing the employer national insurance contributions, which is little more than a tax on jobs.

“Unfortunately, the ability of the Assembly to respond is limited by the settlement that it receives through the Barnett Formula and this emphasises the need for a comprehensive review of how Wales is funded, as advocated by the Holtham Commission and the House of Lords”.

Ceredigion AM Elin Jones added:

“I’m glad that the Assembly Government has been able to provide some assistance to small traders who will see their business rates increase as a result of the Westminster-initiated revaluation of properties. The businesses we visited in Cardigan were pleased to know that steps are being taken in Cardiff Bay on this issue in recognition of the difficulties they face”.

LibDem plans to abolish Ceredigion MP are ridiculous.

The Liberal Democrats are proposing to cut the number of MPs from Wales by 30 per cent and abolish the role of Ceredigion’s Member of Parliament (MP). The Ceredigion Westminster seat would be incorporated into a larger Dyfed-based constituency with four elected Westminster representatives. The point is this - the Parliamentary and Assembly seats as well as local government give Ceredigion an unique and clear identity which serves it well. Creating the brand for tourism is already a challenge and losing one of the few identity banners would be a disaster. It seems the Lib Dems have forgotten about Wales, all the amendments laid before Parliament were by England based MP's ignorant of the nature of devolution. Reducing the number of MPs would have a knock-on effect on representation at the National Assembly because both operate with the same constituency boundaries. The Assembly is currently working with the bare minimum of AMs and would certainly not be able to operate should their numbers be reduced. It just shows that Lib Dems in Ceredigion have no influence on their London-based leaders who in turn have no understanding of devolution or the importance of various parts of Wales. People like Lord Geraint Howells of Ponterwyd fought hard to create an identity for Ceredigion and it’s a disgrace that the current Lib Dem MP for Ceredigion is willing to throw this identity away.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Bovine TB

There is among Plaid, Labour and Conservatives a degree of consensus on bTB which in the run up to the General Election is unusual, granted of course that this is a devolved matter and not technically relevant to Westminster. However it is a major issue in rural Wales. The behaviour of the Liberal Democrats again highlights the inconsistency for which they are famous, who do we listen to their Leader or their internal opposition? Peter Black has comprehensively dismissed and disassociated himself from his Leader's press release, the blog headline should read 'My Leader is wrong on this matter'.
What is lost in this and is appreciated by the other parties is the 3 pronged attack on bTB, there is the comprehensive testing regime, greater control on bovine movements and lastly the badger cull. Choosing to emphasise one at the expense of the others is misleading.
Our MP in Ceredigion is VERY quiet on the matter, does he support Peter Black? does he support the 'do nothing' attitude of DEFRA? does he support his leader? or as is typical of the Liberal Democrats there is another line operating in Ceredigion?

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Plaid Cymru welcome success of allotment campaign

Plaid Cymru's Penri James has joined gardeners in Aberystwyth to warmly welcome Ceredigion Council's decision to lease additional land for allotments in Penparcau.

There has long been a waiting list for allotments locally, and both local county councillor Rob Gorman and Aberystwyth Town Council have been active in campaigning for additional land.

The new land adjoins the existing allotment site near Min-y-Ddol, and will provide eight new allotments.

Plaid Cymru’s Councillor for Penparcau, Rob Gorman said:

“I welcome this decision by the county council. Many of us have been calling for this for some time. There's a five-year waiting list in the Aberystwyth area, and this will go some way towards meeting the rising demand from people of all ages who are keen to grow their own food”.

Plaid’s Penri James added:

“I visited the allotments with Rob Gorman last autumn, when the County Council were considering whether to lease this land and I also wrote to Cllr Ray Quant the Cabinet Member responsible for allotments. I am very pleased that they have listened and that the land will now be made available.

“Finding land for people who want to grow food is a key part of the ‘7 Steps to a Green Economy’ document which Plaid in Ceredigion will soon be launching. Allotments can save people money, as well as benefiting health and being a very environmentally sustainable use of land”.

Call for Mobile Roaming

Plaid Cymru Westminster candidate for Ceredigion, Penri James, has called on mobile phone operators to enable roaming between networks in order improve reception in rural areas.

Penri James believes that moves should be made to require networks to introduce automatic roaming where mobile users can use the signals of competing operators when their company’s own signal isn’t available.
Commenting on this idea, Plaid Cymru’s Penri James said:

“As a society, we have become increasingly dependent on our mobile phones and, as the recent snowy weather has shown, we they can be invaluable in emergency situations. However, there remain many areas of Ceredigion which cannot receive a mobile phone signal, and many more which don’t receive a service from all network operators.

“Over recent months, we have also seen many of our rural phone boxes disappear due to insufficient use – the reasoning being that everyone now owns a mobile phone. Unfortunately, it is often difficult to use a mobile phone in these rural areas.

“I therefore believe that it’s important to look at the need to require networks to introduce automatic roaming in rural areas, as is already the case in some other countries. This move would certainly improve mobile reception in many areas and allow customers to make greater use of their phones, which would be good news for both the users and mobile networks”.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Hywel Teifi Edwards

Colled i'r teulu ond hefyd colled aruthrol i'r genedl gyfan, bydd yn gadael etifeddiaeth academaidd sylweddol ar ei ol a thrysor o storiau am ei bresenoldeb mewn dosbarth, darlith neu wrth fwrdd mewn tafarn.
Hywel Teifi oedd gwraidd anuniongyrchol y cyngor gorau all rhywun gael am areithio mewn siambr llywodraeth leol. Tra'n aelod o Gyngor Dyfed fe godais ar fy nhraed a siarad yn aneffeithiol am rhyw 5 munud, pwt yn fy nghefn wedyn gan Myrddin bach (Cynghorydd Llafur o Rydaman) ac yn nodi "...odd Hywel Teifi yn gweud iti siarad am 3 munud yn unig, y funud gyntaf i baratoi'r cynghorwyr i wrando, yr ail funud i ddweud beth sy'n bwysig a'r funud olaf i gadw'r diawled ar ddihun. Cer 'mlan fwy a fe fydd y diawled wedi mynd i gysgu...". Fe gaeodd y sylwadau gyda'i chwerthiniad fach ddrigionus. Cyngor oedd hwn i fod yn gryno a chic hefyd i natur hynafol y cynghorydd traddodiadol.
Ni fydd tebyg eto.

Monday, 4 January 2010

More on Alun Davies AM

Remember the post on Alun Davies AM not representing West Wales well apparently the Leader of Ceredigion County Council is also not best pleased with the AM and was very critical in last week's Cambrian News. No smoke without fire.

Pure vandalism

As a local resident I was totally dismayed by the wanton destruction of the hedge along Lon Glanfread on Saturday 19th December. Vandalism and nothing more, I see no particular reason for this action other than to wrong foot residents and Council alike. This was an old hedge that provided a natural boundary and shelter for road users and residents along the lane. Of course the land had been purchased by a developer a few years ago for housing but planning permission was refused on several occasions.

Hedges are protected under Statutory Instrument 1997 No. 1160 The Hedgerows Regulations 1997 (see and under those regulations any activity for a length in excess of 20m requires notification and consultation with the local authority. I undertook a desktop exercise and estimated the length removed to be in the region of 280m. It is the duty of the local authority to enforce the legislation in this matter. I understand that no consultation took place with the local authority before the removal of the hedge and its unclear whether the hedge qualifies for any of the exemptions cited in the Hedgerows Regulations 1997. As a layman I think not but would defer to someone who has knowledge on the application of this piece of legislation. I also wonder whether permission is required from the Royal Mail before work can be undertaken in the proximity of a mailbox.

Assuming the face value evidence that no exemptions exist or consultations have taken place then by removing the hedge, the contractor and the landowner have committed an offence and its now a matter of credibility for the Local Authority to do something about it. Local Authorities are often seen as an easy pushover for arrogant developers who will make a substantial amount of money should this land be included in the LDP for future development. I would urge the Council to put some effort into bringing proceedings against the instigators of this act and seek the restoration of the hedge at the earliest possible opportunity.