Wednesday, June 28, 2017


The agreement between the Conservative Party and the DUP includes a commitment to invest an additional £1 billion in Northern Ireland over two years. It is worth noting that funding for devolved nations and regions, including northern Ireland, is usually done through the UK Government’s Barnett Formula based on relative population.

Under the Barnett formula, spending in one-nation triggers an increase in funding for other nations, based on relative population. A £1 billion investment in Northern Ireland would equate to a £1.7 billion increase in the Welsh Government’s funding.

It is only fair that Wales is given its “rightful share” of the money used to “bribe” Northern Ireland. The £1.7 billion figure based on relative population under the Barnett formula using 65.5 million, 1.8 million and 3.1 million as the population of the UK, northern Ireland and Wales respectively.

Plaid Cymru’s leader in Westminster, Liz Saville Roberts, has accused Westminster of neglecting the people of Wales and treating its citizens as “third-class citizens”. Commenting after the UK Government’s statement in the House of Commons chamber, Plaid Cymru’s Westminster group leader, Liz Saville Roberts, said: 

“The Tories and the DUP pride themselves on being champions of this supposedly precious Union but this agreement makes a mockery of the claim that the Union is a family of equals.

“While the Prime Minister is busy bribing the DUP to stitch up the seams of this threadbare administration, she continues to neglect the people of Wales and treat us like third-class citizens.

“Plaid Cymru has always been at pains to prove that the formula used to determine funding levels for the UK’s countries is not fit for purpose and the UK Government’s disregard for the funding formula today seems to indicate that they now agree with us.

“The agreement makes clear that the additional investment in northern Ireland will not be subject to the usual checks and balances of the Union. It will instead be an investment through the back door to avoid having to make commitments for the other UK countries.

“That the Tories are attempting to justify their grubby deal by pointing to investments in City Deals – which are jointly funded by the Welsh Government – is insulting.

“Wales’ rightful share of this investment would be around £1.7 billion. A boost to the Welsh Government’s finances of that magnitude would be potentially transformative for the NHS, for people’s wages and for our citizens’ standard of living. 

“This Tory-DUP deal not only deliberately evades the checks and balances that are there to ensure Wales gets its fair share of investment, but also neglects the fact that it is Wales that needs this investment most.

“Wales did not vote for this government. Once again we find ourselves being governed by parties that our citizens overwhelmingly rejected. Plaid Cymru MPs will vehemently oppose this government and demand that our voice be heard and our national interest served.”

Friday, June 23, 2017

Monday, June 19, 2017


From the perspective of the periphery, something that largely depends on where you stand and how you look at the map, a change of economic focus is long overdue, perhaps ironically Brexit may provide a new opportunity. Our country is littered with the tombstone like remnants of failed models of economic development, most of them having failed to deliver long-term economic benefits and more than a few long-term jobs to our people and our communities.

What is badly needed is the courage to step away from the centralised state dependent model of economic development as applied by successive Westminster and Welsh governments who have consistently failed to deliver beyond the short-term for Wales. With the crutch of EU regional funding about to be kicked away, despite some weak and wobbly promises from Westminster to the contrary, we desperately need some fresh economic thinking.

We need to find other economic models that can deliver long-term jobs and lasting material benefits to our communities and to our country. Our over-dependence on Westminster or Cardiff Bay waving their magic wand to solve our economic problems is understandable considering the nature of our economic and political history, but it is simply compounds the error and won’t solve our economic problems or create sustainable jobs.

The days of bringing in significant amounts of ‘inward investment’ are probably over, Westminster has better things to spend its money on. Westminster and ‘The Union’ has largely failed to deliver for Wales, certainly as far as it is concerned the current Welsh Labour government is fresh out of ideas. 

We need indigenous home grown businesses which will put down roots and stick around when economic times are tough rather than pulling up sticks and bugging out when the grant money runs out. We need to develop small to medium sized enterprises or local co-operative industries that could provide medium to long-term sustainable job opportunities.

The co-operative model which works well in both Ireland and in the Basque country, there is no reason why it should not work well here. The Basque cooperative model, as personified by Mondragon co-operative suggests what can be accomplished. If we are to grow local businesses and local jobs we are going to have to create a real Bank of Wales, perhaps using the German Sparkasse and Landesbanken model. For too long far too many small and medium sized businesses in our country have been denied credit by banks and this has prevented the growth of our private sector.

The over centralised dividend driven pretty much rootless London based banking model that has been followed in the UK is incapable, indifferent or simply unwilling to deliver or support economic development in our country. The German Sparkasse and Landesbanken operate on a geographical basis, and have developed special expertise in the local industries so that they are better equipped to make investment decisions and should offer a real alternative.

Adam Price (AM/AC) has previously noted, “there are some great contemporary examples of Welsh co-operation at work.  Time-banking was a great idea developed by American Edgar Cahn, but it’s in the south Wales Valleys that it’s taken deepest root. Antur Aelhaiarn, the UK’s first community co-operative, is still going strong after thirty years.  Glas Cymru is such a unique example of utility-based mutualism that Harvard has made it a case study.   But these wonderful examples are so often beacons without bridges, lone successes that have never scaled into a full-flung Mondragon-like movement”.

Mondragon is a collective of around 261 companies and organisations based in the Basque Country has proved to be one of the more resilient economic success stories in recession-hit Spain. The Basque co-operative may well be the world's largest worker co-operative, it has certainly assisted the Basque economy to try and resist the worst ravages of the recession in Spain. The company was established in 1956, in the province of Gipuzkoa; with a business philosophy built around co-operation, participation, social responsibility and innovation. It began small, with a group of workers in a disused factory, literally using hand tools and sheet metal to make oil-fired heating and cooking stoves.

The Cooperative competes on international markets using democratic methods within its business organisation, helps to create jobs, and is committed to the human and professional development of its workers and pledges to development with its social environment. Some parts of the co-operative are wholly owned, others are run as joint venture operations. 

Over 11,000 people work abroad in 9 delegations and 128 production subsidiaries. The group’s innovative drive is channelled into 15 technology centres and into the cooperatives themselves, participating in research and technology development projects at the national and international level. The Mondragon group’s credit union (Caja Laboral) practically became one of Spain’s largest banks and recovered from an initial 75% reduction in its profitability, unlike the other Spanish banks, which are still struggling.

Co-operative members as equal co-owners of their own workplaces enjoy job security and individual capital holdings, with an equal sharing of profits on a proportionate basis and an equal ‘one-member one vote’ say in the way their enterprises are run. Pay within the cooperatives is strictly egalitarian, withthe highest rates payable other than in exceptional circumstances being refreshingly no more than six and a half times the lowest rate. 

We in Wales can learn much from the example Mondragon and its methods when it comes generating and retaining sustainable jobs. There is no reason why the co-operative approach combined with a rich mix of small to medium sized enterprises cannot be used to bring in a community focused upward economic slow burn approach to economic development, something that will not just provide local jobs but real community beneficial sustainable developments which can transform our communities and fundamentally boost our country’s economic potential.

Saturday, June 10, 2017


Wednesday, June 7, 2017


Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood said:
“Wales does not decide UK election results.
“Voting Labour, time and time again, cannot stop Tory governments from being formed.
“That is why I'm calling on people to reject the arrogance.
“Don't let people tell you that voting for Plaid Cymru is a “wasted vote”.
“We've had MPs for fifty years. 
“Not once have we put the Tories into government or voted to keep them in power. Not once.
“For Wales to win, there is another choice we need to make.
“We need to make a positive choice.
“To put Wales onto the political landscape.“And the only way we can do this is by voting for the Party of Wales.”


It has long been recognised that the Labour Party much like the Conservative Party are “no friends of Wales”. Recently highlighting the party’s voting record in Westminster, Plaid Cymru’s incumbent in Carmarthen East & Dinefwr, Jonathan Edwards, accused the Labour Party of “double dealing” with politicians willing to deceive voters in order to win their votes.

The Labour Party of turning a blind eye to its record in the Welsh Government – voting against scrapping zero hour contracts, charging students £9,000 a year for their education and failing to keep public services in the public’s hands.

Voting for the Labour Party would be voting by tombola, says Mr Edwards, who says Labour MPs spend more time attacking their own leader than they do standing up to Theresa May.

  • The Labour Party says it is opposed to the spending cuts imposed by the Tories in Westminster but they voted with the Tories to implement £30 billion of spending cuts, focussed mainly on welfare benefits;

  • The Labour Party manifesto includes a commitment to scrap zero hour contracts but they opposed Plaid Cymru’s efforts to scrap compulsory zero hour contracts in Wales on seven separate occasions;

  • The Labour Party voted to double the income of the royal family despite austerity measures for the rest of the country;

  • The Labour Party voted with the Tories to reduce tax credit payments for the lowest paid workers;

  • The Labour Party manifesto includes a commitment to devolve policing to Wales, but their MPs have repeatedly opposed Plaid Cymru efforts to do so;

  • The Labour Party voted with the Tories to cut benefits for disabled people and those with long-term illnesses;

  • The Labour Party didn’t show up to vote to ensure the Prime Minister had to take into account the objectives of Wales when conducting negotiations with the EU;

  • The Labour Party voted against requiring future trade deals to have the approval of each of the four countries in the UK and instead voted for London to dictate terms;

Jonathan Edwards said:

“Every election the Labour Party says the same thing – that they are the party that can stop the Tories and that they will stand up for Wales but it is deeds not words that matter. Voting Labour doesn't stop the Tories - it gives us the status quo.

“Actions speak louder than words and the Labour Party's record speaks for itself. 

"Labour is no friend of Wales’. When they do bother to turn up to vote, more often than not they vote against Wales’ interests, not with them.

“In Scotland they are working alongside the Tories in councils and are working together to win Westminster seats between them. Jeremy Corbyn himself has consistently voted against devolution – keeping Welsh natural resources in the hands of Westminster politicians; keeping Wales as dependent as possible on Westminster. It was a Labour Shadow Secretary of State for Wales that ensured the cross-party consensus on strengthening Welsh democracy was torpedoed through the so-called St David’s Day Process.

“Whether Jeremy Corbyn likes it or not, his MPs vote with the Tories when it comes to helping the poorest. Labour voted for the £30 billion package of spending cuts that was primarily focussed on capping welfare payments to those who need it. They voted to reduce tax credit payments for the lowest paid despite supporting a vote to double the income of the royal family.

“Their manifesto says they want free tuition fees but they could do this today in Wales where they govern. Instead, Welsh students are charged £9,000 a year to go to university, thanks to Labour. They say they want to scrap zero hour contracts but they have had seven separate opportunities to do so in Wales and on each occasion, they either abstained or voted against Plaid Cymru.

“Their manifesto says they are in favour of devolving policing but they have consistently opposed this when it has come to voting on it. In fact the incumbent Labour candidate in the Rhondda said this week that he opposes it, despite it being in his manifesto.

“Putting a cross next to Labour in this election would be voting by tombola. Will you get a Corbynista, a Blairite or a Brownite? The only thing that’s certain with the Labour Party is that they will always have to answer to their head office in London, and never to the people who elect them.

“Even if Jeremy Corbyn were to be Prime Minister, the only way to force him to take notice of Wales - to remember that we exist and to deliver on crucial projects that have been ignored by successive Tory and Labour governments, is to make sure there’s a strong, loud and united block of Plaid Cymru MPs in the House of Commons, standing up for Wales at all times.

“Scotland has its block in Westminster. Wales needs its own Welsh block.

“The only way to ensure our railways are electrified, that the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon is delivered and that a road network fit for the 21st century is built across Wales is to vote for Plaid Cymru, the party of Wales.”  

Labour's voting record can be found at the following links:

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Siân Damon at Abergavenny Hustings

Siân Damon for Monmouth

Siân Damon for Monmouth     
We know that Wales faces big challenges because the UK is heading for momentous change. Successive governments over the past 15 or so years, Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrats in coalition, have created a society where everything is about the individual – about personal finance and self. That Policy has divided society; listening to each other, community values and working together have been replaced by fear and austerity.

Plaid Cymru is the only party that works in and for Wales and its people and is not bossed from Westminster. Without your voice, Wales is being treated like a neglected county of England. We must have strong representation in the Westminster parliament to defend our people and our country. Plaid is the only party that will fight for fair incomes for Welsh farmers, more money for the health service in Wales and support new industries. For the people of Wales today and for future generations, vote for a community party based on fairness and equal opportunity.

Monday, June 5, 2017


The old legal concept that silence implies consent, which had existed since ancient times, was weakened when the Conservative government's moved to undermine the 'right to silence' in the late 1980's and 1990's. Yet more locally it has survived amongst local Labour politicians in Newport, especially in relation to the destruction of Newport's University.

Seeking votes prior to successive polling days local Labour politicians this year have endeavoured to make much of the potential of Newport's knowledge quarter, in and around the riverside campus of the University of South Wales. The city should take strides to develop its reputation of excellence when it comes to cyber security. Yet the case put by Labour is undermined by what happened to our city's University and their tacit consent in its destruction.

The demise of the former University of Newport, absorbed and asset stripped by the former University of Glamorgan, as a result of a combination of greed, stupidity, bad decisions and perhaps a failure on the part of the former management to understand how politics in Wales works, has done many of the former employees and the City of Newport few favours.

Despite the spin this was no merger, simply the removal of an educational rival and an asset stripping exercise, driven by a desperately ambitious Vice Chancellor (although admittedly sitting in the House of Lords as a Peer would not necessarily be the height of most people's ambitions).

In fairness to the former Management of the former University of Glamorgan, it can be said that they played a blinder, maximising the benefits of a close working relationship with Leighton Andrews, silencing the former board of governors, etc. All of those photo opportunities, dinners, freebies, etc for LA clearly paid off in the end. No wonder he needed to use the government limousine so much, prior to his eventual and much deserved electoral demise.

The same cannot be said for the former University of Newport, which regularly expended significant sums, to feed a rag tag bunch of Labour cronies (from various levels within the Labour machine) to little avail. When in trouble and seeking help the best they got was silence from a wide range of local Labour members at various levels - from Newport City Council, the National Assembly and Westminster.

So much for cultivating 'political influence' when it came to the crunch loyalty to the Labour machine counted more than any desire the save a significant local employer (600+ jobs) in Newport (and across the former county if Gwent) and a financial contributor to the local / regional economy (to the tune of £120 million a year).

The failure of local Labour elected' to speak out and to help our former University survive in its hour of need speaks volumes for the reality of the Party formerly know as New Labour in Wales. When it comes to the crunch party interests will always cone before community interests - something that should be remembered before casting our votes on June 8th.

Saturday, June 3, 2017


The US President, Donald J Trump’s decision with withdraw the USA out of the Paris climate agreement is disappointing to put it mildly. Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans has said that this move should not lessen the resolve of other countries to continue to fight climate change. 

Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans, said:

“The science of global warming is not up for debate. If President Trump decides to stand with countries such as Syria and Nicaragua and against 99.9% of the world’s scientists it should not stop the rest of the world from supporting the Paris Agreement and its aims. 

Investing in renewable energy and green technology is an economic no-brainer, particularly for Wales. Thanks to our geographical location and natural resources we could lead the world in developing the technologies of the future and ensuring that we create high paying high skilled jobs in our local communities. If President Trump does not want to take advantage of such a business opportunity then I have no doubt that Wales and the rest of the world will.”

Thursday, June 1, 2017


Plaid Cymru says Wales has potential to become cyber security centre of excellence, and has called for an independent audit of Welsh security resilience in the wake of a string of cyber security attacks on the public sector and the terrorist attack in Manchester last week.

The party’s candidate in Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, Jonathan Edwards, says that the decade of cut-backs on public spending has left our public sector at risk of cyber-attacks and that our security services’ ability to prevent terrorist atrocities like the Manchester attack should be independently audited, rather than investigated internally.

The NHS in England was crippled by a global cyber-attack last month in which hackers demanded a ransom after infiltrating the health service’s antiquated computer service. The NHS in Wales was not affected but in an earlier incident in March, thousands of Welsh NHS staff’s details were stolen in a hack on a private contractor.

Plaid Cymru warned in 2015 that almost 20,000 NHS computers in Wales were at risk of being hacked as Microsoft ended support for the operating system ‘Windows XP’ being used by the NHS.

It is suggested by terrorism experts that there are 500 potential terrorist plots against the UK thought to be current at any one time with 3000 people under investigation by the security services. There are a further 20,000 people identified as having sympathies with so-called Islamic State. Full surveillance on one person requires 24 officers in two 12 hour shifts. If all 3000 people under investigation were subject to full surveillance it would require 72,000 officers which is an impossible task. An independent audit would look at what resources would be needed in order to keep Wales safe.

Wales has expertise in cyber-security and is home to a National Cyber Security Academy in south east Wales. Mr Edwards believes Wales should build on its expertise and ensure Wales becomes a centre of excellence for cyber-security, not only strengthening our defences but also creating high-value, well-paid jobs.

Jonathan Edwards said:

“Keeping Wales safe and secure must be our top priority as politicians and making sure our country is adequately resourced to be able to resist the modern-day threats we now face is crucial.

“Plaid Cymru warned two years ago that our public sector is at risk of cyber-attacks and although the Welsh NHS evaded the crosshairs of those who attacked the English Health Service this time, there is no doubt that our NHS and other public organisations must reinforce their defences.  

“How we ensure our country and its people are safe is a matter of constant evolution and modernisation. The threats we face today are of a different nature to the threats we faced three years ago, let alone a decade ago. There are clear questions to be asked about how well-equipped our security services are in dealing with the threat of terrorism and I question whether the best way to answer those questions is for the security services to investigate themselves. We must carry out an independent audit of how well-equipped, well-prepared and how resilient our country is.  

“Experts suggest that the number of people across the British State who are under investigation at any one time is around 3000 and on top of that there are some 20,000 people who sympathise with organisations such as so-called Islamic State. To keep just one person under full surveillance requires 24 officers in two 12-hour shifts. It is clearly not feasible to expect that every potential person of interest to be under surveillance.

“The Tories are also intent on scaling back our police forces at a time when they should be being bolstered. If the Tories have their way after this election, the Welsh police forces will be £32 million a year worse off. We have to defend our police forces from this cut and the best way to do that is to devolve the police forces to Wales which would not only protect them from the Tory cut but also automatically lead to a £25 million boost to their finances every year. A difference of £57 million a year.

“We must also audit our public sector’s resilience to cyber-attacks. We are lucky to have the skills in Wales already through the National Cyber Security Academy and we should build on that. We could make Wales a cluster of expertise in digital security – not only bolstering our defences against cyber-attacks but also creating high-value, well-paid jobs in Wales. The Cyber Security Summit should be being held in Wales where the expertise is, not in London. The London parties will never think to make use of Wales’ expertise – they will always just focus on London and the south east of England. That’s why we need Plaid Cymru in Westminster, standing up for Wales and making sure Whitehall remembers that it is there to serve four countries, not just one. 

“What we cannot do is carry on as we are – hoping that we’ll cope when we are attacked again. An independent audit is a necessary step in determining what measures need to be put in place to keep Wales safe and secure.”