Saturday, December 30, 2006

Panto time!

One of the joys of living where we are is the easy access, every Christmas, to the pantomime season at Llandudno.

This year was no exception and it was a joy to take my two sons to see Aladdin at Venue Cymru last week which we all enjoyed (especially me!)

The refurbished North Wales Theatre is superb and will hopefully help cement the reputation of Llandudno as the major leisure and retail centre in the region and, more importantly, bring in some conferences in the future.

I would like to see greater links formed between the theatre and local restaurants - one of the great things about the Millenium Centre in cardiff is that they have a complex of 28 restaurants only 100 yards away and this is normally packed with theatre goers between 6.00 and 7.00 in the evening.

Surely, we can try and get our local hotels and restaurants to offer something similar in Llandudno?

Talking of food, the panto was followed by an all too rare visit to Barnacles - one of the excellent fish and chips restaurants in Llandudno where the Cod and Chips was out of this world. Certainly amongst the best I have tasted!

Thursday, December 21, 2006


The latest polls for ICM’s monthly survey for the Guardian - by far the longest polling series in the UK - has put the Conservative Party back at the 40 per cent level that we were last at in August. The shares, with changes on the last ICM survey at the end of November are: CON 40 (+1): LAB 32 (+1): LD 18 (-2).

If translated to next year's elections, this certainly would be good news for the Party. However, we mustn't be complacent in any way at all as there are still some people in Aberconwy who think that Plaid Cymru are a viable alternative to Labour, despite the recent 'love in' between the two over the Assembly budget.

I believe the real issue at the next election is about choice on how we spend the £14 billion of Assembly funding. Certainly when it came to the budget, we didn't see any decision made about cutting uneccesary bureaucracy and putting more funding into frontline services. Many people in Llandudno have already raised this issue and questioned why both parties did not give any more funding to ensuring services were retained at Llandudno Hospital. We are in for an interesting four months of campaigning.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Saving our Post Offices

Not surprisingly, there is enormous worry over the decision by the PostOffice to close over 2,500 branches, with rural areas taking the biggest impact. Having written about this klast week, it is good to see that this is being taken seriously.

For example, the Daily Post has now begun a campaign against this ridiculous move and I hope that everyone will join in and sign their petition.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Plaid to back Labour?

Today is crunch day in the Assembly in more ways than one.

The 13th of December 2006 could be the day when Plaid Cymru finally reveal their true colours and back the Labour Administration in the Assembly over the most crucial element of the Assembly - its budget.

I hope this will finally bury the false impression that the nationalists are propagating in North Wales that "there is not much difference between Plaid Cymru and the Conservatives".

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


The truth sometimes is extremely unpalatable, which is why the Social Justice report from the Conservative Party makes difficult reading for many policymakers. Essentially, it demonstrates some of the real problems in today's society and challenges politicians to get off their backsides to do something about it.

The comment in The Times today reflects the thoughts of many people in Aberconwy on this matter and it is about time that the Assembly began to play a more active role in dealing with the real issues that affect communities across Wales.

Monday, December 11, 2006


I have been trying to find out when the Lyons Enquiry will finally report on local government finance, but to no avail.

It was originally due in December and there are rumours that Gordon Brown will receive a copy next week. However, some reports suggest that he will delay any Government response until well into the New Year to avoid any fallout for the May elections.

Don't be fooled by any delay - the parlous state of public finances means that there will be little spare cash for local authorities, who are already bleating about the fact that their council tax increases are less than their projected expenditure for next year.

Given this, Lyons will have no option but to recommend that councils are given powers to raise additional funds through some form of local taxation, including the dreaded bed tax on tourists.

I am in good company - the Times believes that Sir Michael Lyons will include a bed tax as part of his proposals, despite enormous opposition from the tourism industry. And despite denials from Welsh Labour, the devil will be wearing ice skates if Wales does not follow England in giving local councils the powers go raise new taxes.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


The decision to close of thousands of post offices, which looks set to be announced on Wednesday, will have a decimating impact on local services in Aberconwy.

According to reports yesterday, the Government looks set to propose the closure of around 3,000 post offices, with the vast majority being in rural areas such as Aberconwy. There are currently around 14,000 post offices currently open in the UK, although the Royal Mail has publicly stated that it can run a viable service with only 4,000 outlets.

If the Royal Mail’s proposals are accepted ahead, we could see up to three quarters of the twenty six post offices we have in Aberconwy close down, and hundreds more across Wales facing extinction.

Despite rhetoric from politicians, there is little understanding of the vital role that post offices play within our communities. For many people in Llandudno, as well as the Conwy valley, their local post office provides crucial services which many will not be able to access if these cuts go ahead. Indeed, with many high streets losing their local banks the post office is the only option left for many people, especially the elderly in our society”

Most of the problems that post offices have faced in the last few years have been because of government decisions to withdraw key services such as pensions, benefits, TV licences and passports. I therefore call upon all our Assembly members in North Wales to raise this matter urgently with the Labour Government in Cardiff Bay, and to set up a task force, in partnership with the National Federation of Subpostmasters, to examine how more local and national public services can be managed through the local post office network.

The whole point of having devolved government in Wales is that we can do things differently to England, and I would fully expect the Assembly to look carefully at how Wales can respond to this issue.

Friday, December 08, 2006


Like many, I was surprised by the piece on Dragon's Eye last night where Plaid Cymru finally let their guard down and made clear their position on the armed forces in Wales. This follows on from another story earlier this week when Assembly member Leanne Wood accused the Army of targeting poorer schools for recruits, although it then became clear that, as usual, Plaid were wrong and that the Armed Forces only visit when they are invited in by the headteacher and, more importantly, only as part of specific career sessions.

As if shooting themselves in one foot wasn’t bad enough, their President has now decided to shoot his Party in the other foot. Dafydd Iwan has put forward the notion that in his utopia of an ‘independent’ Wales, the British Army would be thrown out with only a few soldiers remaining to defend our nation.

Of course, what he forgot to mention is that there are over 6,000 defence jobs in Wales, including hundreds who work at RAF Valley in Anglesey. Certainly, having been involved in the early stages of the development of an airport link at Valley, I can tell you that the North South Air Link announced last week could not have been financially possible without having a fully functioning RAF base at Valley.

More importantly, it shows that Plaid Cymru are finally revealing themselves a few months before the Assembly election as a separatist, socialist party which would leave our nation defenceless in the future.


Welcome to the new blog and the new website for the Aberconwy Conservatives which will contain information on issues affecting all of the constituents of Aberconwy during the run up to the next Assembly elections in 2007.

With less than five months to go, I hope this blog and website will provide a debating point for all issues affecting this wonderful constituency, from Llanfairfechan across to Penrhyn Bay, and from the Great Orme down to Dolwyddelan.

The Assembly needs to become a relevant body that makes a real and positive difference to people’s lives in areas such as health, education and the economy, rather than being an expensive talking shop which has no relevance to the average Aberconwy citizen.

Voting Conservative in May 2007 will ensure that this will happen and you will have a say in the future of this constituency and in the government of Wales.