Thursday, 6 April 2017

Election to Holyhead Town Council (London Road Ward)


I’m delighted to announce that I’ve been elected Town Councillor for the London Road Ward in Holyhead.

It is a challenge I am very much looking forward to accepting. My only promise is that I will listen to the people of the Ward and represent them to the very best of my ability at all times.

I dedicate myself to representing each and every individual in the Ward regardless of any categories that are often used to divide us. The strength of our communities in Holyhead is when people come together. Petty divisions have held us back for too long and it is now time for a new politics in which the people are put first on each and every occasion. The demand for change in Holyhead and across the rest of Ynys Mon is palpable.


I very much look forward to working with all members of the Town Council regardless of political affiliation or no affiliation at all. Together let’s move Holyhead forward.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Remembrance Sunday - 2016



I was honoured this year to attend the Remembrance Sunday commemoration in Holyhead.
My role, apart from showing respect for those who'd paid the ultimate sacrifice was also to lay a reef at the foot of the Cenotaph on behalf of Rhun ap Iorwerth, Plaid Cymru.

Before the commemoration itself there was the service at St Cybi's Church.

Needless to say top in my mind was Owen John Williams or Taid who passed away aged 92 recently. He fought in the Far East. Burma and the Dutch Indies after the war finished.

He never once declared any malice or hatred towards the Japanese. Hirohito on the other hand he loathed.
He hated war. And the 2003 war in Iraq for him was the final straw. He would exclaim that if you hadn't served in a war you had no right to send others to war.

Chief in my mind also was a very close school friend of mine. Stephen Monkhouse. Originally from Scotland he attended County School (he lived in Newlands Park, Valley before returning to his beloved native Scotland). His life was tragically ended in Afghanistan in 2010.

Thanks to the organisers. Thanks also to Rev Kevin Ellis who presided over a thoughtful service full of respect.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Poverty and Trident Renewal



Trident and poverty.

Those of you who know me either personally or on Twitter etc will know that I'm a keen anti-poverty campaigner. My mantra is and has always been that POVERTY ISN'T INEVITABLE and to paraphrase Nelson Mandela "it like racism is man-made and can be/must be eradicated."

The idea of totally eradicating poverty may seem like pie in the sky to many. My arguement would be that setting a target on getting poverty down to 15% or 10% or 5% or even 1% would still be failing those people. They've been failed enough aleady.

Below is the opening paragraph from the Oxfam Wales page
http://www.oxfam.org.uk/cymru/poverty-in-wales

Poverty in Wales

Poverty in Wales isn't about drought, war or starvation - as it can be in developing countries - but it's every bit as real. 

Almost one in four people in Wales lives in poverty which means they get less than 60% of the average wage. That is about 700,000 of our fellow citizens. That level of relative poverty has remained unchanged for decade.

Below the opening paragraph from Save the Children
http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/where-we-work/united-kingdom/wales

Wales

Almost one child in three lives in poverty in Wales. This is a higher proportion than in any other nation in the UK and equates to almost 200,000 children.

Both are obviously correct and equally alarming. Poverty is a stain upon our nation that we should all be ashamed of.

Below is information from the Estyn inspection to Ysgol Uwchradd Caergybi in Holyhead.

The school’s catchment area includes four wards to which the Welsh Government
has granted Communities First status because of the high levels of economic and
social disadvantage. Nearly 40% of pupils live in the 20% most deprived areas in
Wales.
The proportion of pupils entitled to free school meals is 24%, which is higher
than the national average of 17.4%.


So what am I driving at? What can be done?

Everything! Recently MP's including the Labour MP for Ynys Mon voted FOR Trident reneweal. 472 - 117 voted in favour of wasting billions of poinds. Estimates vary but Greenpeace puts the cost of renewal at £34bn, while the government says it is closer to £20bn, and there are further costs involved in maintaining it. So there we are!

The biggest MYTH peddled about Trident is that it will keep us safe! WRONG.

In fact – across the armed forces – there are grave concerns that Britain’s nuclear weapons system neither addresses the real security threats facing Britain, nor represents value for money.
In a serious political intervention, Major General Patrick Cordingley, who led British forces in the first Gulf War, said:

‘Strategic nuclear weapons have no military use. It would seem the government wishes to replace Trident simply to remain a nuclear power alongside the other four permanent members of the UN Security Council. This is misguided and flies in the face of public opinion; we have more to offer than nuclear bombs.’

Read more here http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2015/06/tridents-outdated-waste-even-military-say-so

So there we have it. Rather than working to eradicate poverty. Rather than spending on helping to get people out of poverty. Rather than giving people the leg up they neeed. Rather than ensuring children don't come to school hungry. Rather than ensuring parents don't skip meals to feed their children. Rather than making sure people this winter don't have to chose between heating and eating. Rather than ALL that - MP's Labour and Tory would rather WASTE billions on weapons of death that won't be used.

C'mon people we can do better than this. to quote a true gent and politician - Tony Benn

'We have the best defended homeless people in the world' 


Imagine the difference spending 1% or even 10% of the money destined for Trident would make! Imagine what 100% would do!


I'm very proud and thankful that Plaid Cymru MP's along with other progressives opposed Trident renewal and supported the people.








Thursday, 14 July 2016

Exit stage right – David Cameron, a big gay thanks.

Exit stage right – David Cameron, a big gay thanks.

The curtain has now fallen on David Cameron’s premiership. It’s over. Historians and academics will give us their views during the coming decades.

Those who know me (or know about my politics) will know that politically I can’t be any further from David Cameron and his policies. We’re opposite ends of a vast political system. On numerous occasions I’ve committed my political life to working to eradicate poverty which is the greatest stain on society today.

Whether it be his ideologically driven austerity drive (enthusiastically supported by Labour too https://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-2a08-Labour-MPs-backing-for-austerity-Bill-a-disservice#.V4Y2btIrIdU) or his urge to drop bombs on countries in the Middle East – we couldn’t disagree more. 

Austerity has been used by both Tory and Labour politicians as a smoke-screen to wage a shameless brutal war on the poorest people across our nation – that is, and always will be – unforgiveable. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/jan/11/david-cameron-no-conflict-improving-lives-cutting-benefits-poverty.

On social issues however… credit where credit is due (certainly on one issue). David Cameron against much of his own party (and mother’s advice) pushed for and introduced equality for gay marriage – finishing off a half-baked attempt by Labour a decade or so earlier http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2015/01/10/david-cameron-same-sex-marriage-was-one-of-my-proudest-achievements-in-2014/

Friday, 6 May 2016

Ynys Mon - 2016

Ynys Môn

Well, what a night! The Mother of Wales (Môn Mam Cymru) has spoken with one strong voice.

I had the honour of working for Rhun during this campaign and enjoyed every minute of it. It was a pleasure. Seeing his family celebrating with him last night was a great moment. It is worth noting that Rhun was only elected in 2013 during the heavy, hot summer of August where Ynys Môn resembled the Costa del Sol. 

Rhun clearly has a strong personal vote, of that there can be no doubt whatsoever. The success of the campaign on Môn has been to link our communities together and to offer practical solutions and a better way forward.

Here's the FULL RESULT

 Party
 Votes
 %
 Change %
Plaid Cymru
 13,778
 54.8
 +13.4
Labour Party
 4,278
 17
 -9.2
UKIP
 3,212
 12.8
 +12.8
Conservative Party
 2,904
 11.5
 -17.7
Green Party
 389
 1.5
 +1.5
Liberal Democrats
 334
 1.3
 -1.8
Independent
 262
 1.0
 +1.0

Huge congratulations to Rhun on this result. Great effort from the team! Lets walk forward together with confidence, demanding a brighter future for our nation and all her communities.

CYMRU AM BYTH!






Sunday, 6 March 2016

Unleash the Dragon!

Plaid Cymru's final conference before May's Election has now ended. Regrettably I've been somewhat forced to watch event from afar... sod's law of course, buy a house, financially exhausted as a consequence and the car goes BOOM in Caernarfon on a cold Saturday morning, anyway - I digress, sorry.

Having spoken to friends, colleagues and watched the coverage the mood is very upbeat, and righly so.


Party leader Leanne Wood gave a tremdous speech on Friday afternoon.

"Wales isn't on its knees. Its a nation being held back by an under performing government." she said.

The reality is of course that in England the Conservatives are the establishment but in Wales, Labour are and have been for decades the established party. Believing that the voters belong to them, that they somehow own them. Labour is clearly in panic mode too - the usual tried and tested line of (prepare your shocked face!) "its between us and the Tories" was shouted from the rooftops again by AM's and potential AM's alike. Strangely enough during the Plaid Cymru conference in Llanelli, surely a coincidence and not intnetional, surely. Labour is in meltdown.

Labour have spun this tired, tried and tested line for decades, and normally it seems to work. This time the game up. The political landscape of the Welsh Nation is changing fast, very fast (it doesn't need a relief road even) and Labour is at the wrong end of that change, and they know it.

We need a new Wales and I say to those Labour voters (my family were all Labour at one time) - don't vote Labour for your father or grandfather, vote Plaid Cymru for your children and their children.

Plaid Cymru politicans took to the stage with confidcence and passion. The shadow cabinet and others talked Wales up, not down. Talked about what we can do as opposed to what we can't. Talked about positive change and not more of the same. 

On the NHS...

“The average wait for a hip operation is now 197 days. We have some GP practices turning all but emergency cases away, and people lying on the floors of A&E departments waiting for hours to be seen.

“The conditions hardworking front-line NHS staff have to endure because so many of their colleagues quit in despair are shocking.”

On education...

“Funding for part-time further education college courses under the current Labour government has been slashed by 50%, and there are 90,000 fewer adults in part-time learning than there were 10 years ago in Wales.

“We have fewer engineers per head than any other nation in the UK – you know, the people who make things. Too many schools are in a state of disrepair."

On the economy

"This nation – the leading light of the last industrial revolution, now lags behind in terms of wages, GVA [Gross Value Added – a variant on GDP], business start-ups – in fact, by almost every measure our economic performance is either stagnant or in decline.”


So friends UNLEASH THE DRAGON! UNLOCK OUR POTENTIAL!

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Review of 2015!

Review of 2015!

What a year! I mean it, what a year! It’s flown by. 2016 is upon us already, and what a year that promises to be too...

Where to start? The election in Llanelli, new job in County School Holyhead, losing Taid not just my granddad but a great man and friend aged 93, Wales beating England at Twickers (HQ) to effectively knock them out ‘their’ World Cup, Wales qualifying for Euro 2016 or Holyhead Hotspur beating Bangor City 2-1 in the Welsh Cup...?

Llanelli – what a campaign! It was amazing. Pride, passion and commitment totally faultless. The result was obviously disappointing, to lose any votes is upsetting – as Helen Mary Jones said at the Plaid Conference in Aberystwyth – the result didn’t reflect the hard work and effort put in. There is however, reason to be hopeful. Llanelli now has the largest Plaid Ifanc movement in the whole of Wales – who would have imagined that the night I was selected. Although we lost votes we did welcome first time voters to our ranks too and brand new members to our party. To everyone I met during the campaign in whatever capacity - DIOLCH! I have made friends for life and know when I decide to run again I'll be able to count on their help and kindness.
 
Shortly after the election and while reflecting on what had happened I decided to look at eteach (website full of teching jobs), just a peek to see if any jobs had become available in north Wales, even Ynys Môn, even Holyhead! I almost fell off my chair when I saw a post for a teacher of Welsh being advertised at Ysgol Uwchradd Caergybi. During the election itself I was aware of the failing health of my Taid. It was difficult to put on a smile (whatever you think  of politicians you’re on public show 24/7, and that’s demanding). I often wondered how he was so when I saw the job in Holyhead I went for it, and go it!

Life though can be a BITCH (caps lock intended!). Shortly after getting the job Taid passed away, ironically I could have travelled to see him daily while back at home in Holyhead but it wasn’t to be – this was a crushing blow, no doubt whatsoever and I still struggle to accept he’s gone now – life eh!

In September I took up my position as full time teacher of Welsh – at my former secondary school. Teaching in the very same room where 20 years prior I sat as a pupil. I shall and indeed do miss my friends in Aberystwyth but it was time to come home.

Being back at home means more family time, and that’s worth the world to me! It also means I can watch Holyhead Hostspur on a very regualar basis!

Wishing everyone a very happy new year, many plans for 2016 – watch this space, I’ve got a few tricks up me sleeve, all will become clear...