Thursday, March 22, 2007

Now I know why they are whinging.....

The Tories seem to be very upset that Plaid have registered a series of "save our hospital" names with the electoral commission. When people go to vote in the Vale of Clwyd they will have the chance to vote for "Mark David Jones Plaid Cymru-Save our Hospitals" if they so choose. In Aberconwy they can vote for "Gareth Jones Save Llandudno Hospital".

I am struggling to understand why the Tories are so upset. Both the Tories and their buddies in the Labour party have claimed that the hospital campaigns "were cross party". This of course is not really true.

In llandudno there is an action group that is non-party political. However they came into being after Plaid launched our campaign across North wales to save local hospitals. They have done a fantastic job and it is crucial that they try to engage with people from other parties.

In the case of both Abergele and St Asaph hospitals there is no such cross party campaign group. It is Plaid who have led the campaign to save these hospitals from closure and to ease the pressure on Ysbtty Glan Clwyd that will follow.

When Plaid members were out delivering thousands of leaflets across the communities affected and submitting evidence to the various Health bodies where were the Tories?

Well they were campaigning against the "bed tax". Whats that? you may ask. Well last year the Tories tried to terrify us with the prospect of a tax on tourist beds. The idea had been submitted to the Lyons review of local government funding in England.

This review is not law just a set of ideas that may or may not be adopted by a government at some distant point in the future. Whilst we would enthusiastically fight any such proposal none actually exists for Wales and never has. The Tory campaign was not the product of local people responding to a serious threat to the local economy but an identikit campaign handed down from Conservative central office in London. The Lyons review has been published and if the proposal exists in its conclusions I have not seen it reported anywhere.

Health and the future of local hospital services are the number one issues for people in Aberconwy, Clwyd West and Vale of Clwyd. The Tories are now desperately trying to play catch up in Aberconwy and Clwyd West claiming that they too oppose the closures. Their position is rather undermined by the fact the seven Tory AM's failed to vote in a crucial Assembly vote that could have halted the proposed closures and downgrading.

In the Vale of Clwyd the Tory candidate has enough sense to leave the issue alone. He has little choice given that Conservative Councillors voted to close Prestatyn Hospital in the face of massive public opposition.

The reality is that in Central North Wales the Tories missed the biggest issue to confront local people and have tried desperately to jump on the bandwagon. Their recent whinging is just the start. I suspect they will be complaining a great deal over the next few weeks as they realise the public are not impressed with their "me to" tactics.

Tory spin doctors raised the stakes in this campaign with their claims that they will become the second party in Wales (lets leave the paucity of their ambitions aside for the moment) to do this they need to be winning seats in North Wales. Their lack of local knowledge and their inability to operate without instruction from London threatens this limited ambition. No doubt the knives will be out for their Welsh leadership if their failure embarrasses Dave the Toff.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Police cuts to save 6p a week?

The news that Labour Assembly members in North Wales are campaigning for further cuts in Police services, to save the public six pence per week, is astonishing. For these AM’s to suddenly decide they are against high council tax bills is just bizarre.

Since their best buddy Tony Blair came to power Council Tax bills in England have risen by 90%. A direct comparison in Wales is impossible due to re-banding which resulted in thousands of people facing massive hikes in council tax. Not a squeak was heard from Labours Assembly Members on re-banding.

The Council tax is an awful tax hitting pensioners and low wage families hard. If Labour really cared about anything other than their own survival they would have replaced this wicked tax at some point in the last ten years.

The reality is that the saving of 6p a week will make little difference to households in North Wales further reductions in the police presence would hurt us all. If Labour wish to contest the Assembly elections on a “more police cuts now” programme so be it. If the public are faced with a choice of further Police cuts or paying 6p per week I can guess what their choice will be.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Homes for local letter to Town and community councils

Over the next few months you will be discussing the Local Development Plan which will set out proposals for housing development in every part of Denbighshire.

I am sure you are as disturbed as I am by reports of proposals for mass developments of housing which have almost no relationship to local need.

I am writing to request that in your response to the statutory consultation by Denbighshire County Council you propose the proportion of affordable housing to be developed be 100% and that all housing developments should be targeted to meet clearly identified local need.

If this proposal were to be adopted it would not mean the end of general development however any proposal that was not for 100% affordable housing could only be adopted “on exception”.

I believe this approach would achieve a number of very desirable outcomes. First it would stop our communities losing their sense of identity and ease the pressure to develop on green field sites. Secondly it would ensure that people already living here would actually be able to afford a home of their own. Thirdly it would help prevent irresponsible landlords purposely developing sites that attract people from afar with significant social problems. Finally it would halt proposals to develop “dormitory” sites for people commuting to North West England thus easing pressure on transport systems and the environment.

I would be happy to meet with you to discuss these proposals and would be interested to hear your response.

the things they say 2

Attended a hustings organised by the RCN in Llandudno. Gareth Jones is in fine form the Tory and Liberal competent enough.

Asked would she support nurse led walk in centres Denise Idris Jones asked to stunned astonishment "can you get nurses to work at 7:00am" "what do you think we do now " came the response.

A little later came this gem from Denise:

"Why do parents take their children to the doctors in school hours?"

"because the children are ill" came the response.

They things they say...1

As I was leaving the flat yesterday I bumped into a Labour activist delivering letters for the block. I said to him "dont give me stuff from Denise Idris Jones" he said no problem these are for Labour voters only. Low and behold he had a letter for me I said "I was called from Newcastle and told them I was Plaid. Why am I on your list?" good question he replied. "I keep telling them the list is wrong people are moving away from Labour not towards us!!!!" he told me . I pointed out I was a Plaid candidate he just laughed and told me he thought Gareth Jones was to old. I refrained from saying I thought his candidate was to stupid to be an assembly member.