Showing posts from June, 2009

Dai bananas?

Posted on Bevan Blog on 27 June 2009 The de-contamination strategy continues. David Cameron says the Conservatives were 'wrong' on Scottish devolution. Mr Cameron says that the Major Government: should have spent more time in government thinking, how do we give legitimate help to those people within our United Kingdom who want to have a greater expression of self-government? It is worth noting that he doesn't necessarily think that a democratic answer was the correct one. Finding "a greater expression of self-government" could easily have meant a symbolic solution. Looking ahead, the man who is on course to be our Prime Minister said he would respect the right of the Scottish Parliament to rule on domestic matters in Scotland if he became Prime Minister. Why then do David Jones and Cheryl Gillian (the Welsh Tory frontbench) want to veto a request from the National Assembly for a referendum on further powers? We don't yet know Mr Cameron's view on that.

Is the Welsh language prolonging the recession?

Posted on Bevan blog on 18th June That seems to be the suggestion made by two leading Welsh economists. Writing in the latest Bevan Foundation review Professor David Blackaby and Professor Philip Murphy of Swansea University assess what actions the Assembly Government could take to deal with the recession. Not many, seems to be the conclusion. Education is one area where they suggest WAG could do more to up-skill the Welsh workforce. So what’s stopping them? That damned obsession with the language… Does the schooling system provide sufficient business and economic skills to its pupils? Evidence suggests these skills are highly rewarded in the labour market but they are not a mainstay of the curriculum. Similarly other features of the current curriculum may need to be reviewed. For example is the amount of time given to learning Welsh in schools an efficient use of resources? If it should remain compulsory should it be compulsory up to the age of 16? Having planted that idea t

Thinking new thoughts?

Posted on Bevan blog on 13 June After marching his troops half way up the hill, he marched them down again. On reflection Jonthan Morgan realised he didn't have the firepower to follow through with his assault on Nick Bourne, so in this week's speech to Cardiff University he pledged loyalty to his 'culturally English' Leader. There were plenty of coded digs, but nothing quite as overt as his last speech. There were though some interesting ideas. A more independent Welsh Conservative Party, directly elected Mayors for the big urban authorities and positive discrimination - reserving vacant list seats for women. Nothing particularly original, but bold for a Tory. The truly radical idea though was to hold a 'US style open primary' to chose the next leader of the Welsh Conservative Party. Clearly Mr Morgan thinks he has greater mass appeal than Darren Miller or Andrew RT Davies. But though there are difficulties with the idea, and the parallel with the US is less

What's he up to?

Posted on Bevan Foundation blog on June 7th Huw Lewis is a cleverer politician that most of the cabinet give him credit for. On Friday night he urged Rhodri Morgan to stay on until the expenses row blows over "for the sake of the party and the country" - and of course to help those caught up in it. By association he allied himself with his popular outgoing leader, while also distancing himself from him. In a cleverly crafted section of his speech, Huw Lewis followed up his priase for the First Minister by drawing a contrast with the man who sacked him twice: " We come from different generations, with very different backgrounds - it would be completely bizarre to think that we could agree on every issue under the sun. Indeed on some issues we are on a different page altogether ". While supposedly praising his leader he portrayed himself as loyal, young, rooted in the Labour movement and with a new agenda. Clever, eh? Huw Lewis has demonstrated how politics is an art

Michael Moore

Posted on Bevan blog on June 2 Twenty years after his documentary Roger & Me, about the destruction of car manufacturing in his home Town of Flint, Michigan. Filmmaker Michael Moore says the bankruptcy of General Motors should provoke a re-think about the future of car production: Just as President Roosevelt did after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the President must tell the nation that we are at war and we must immediately convert our auto factories to factories that build mass transit vehicles and alternative energy devices. Within months in Flint in 1942, GM halted all car production and immediately used the assembly lines to build planes, tanks and machine guns. The conversion took no time at all. Everyone pitched in. The fascists were defeated. We are now in a different kind of war -- a war that we have conducted against the ecosystem and has been conducted by our very own corporate leaders. This current war has two fronts. One is headquartered in Detroit. The products built in