Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Comedian yn y Cynulliad?

Gyda Dydd Gwyl Dewi yfory, mae'n hynod o ddiddorol cael gweld y ffordd mae gwledydd eraill yn edrych ar beth sydd yn mynd ymlaen yng Nghymru, yn arbennig yn wleidyddol.

Felly, fydd yn siom mawr i bawb o'n gwlad fach fod y Prif Weinidog, Rhodri Morgan, wedi cael ei farnu yn hallt iawn yn yr Iwerddon am ei joc gwael, yn gynhadledd y Blaid Lafur yn Llandudno, am grefydd Ian Paisley o'r DUP.

Dywedodd Rhodri Morgan yn y Western Mail fod yn oedd yn rhy hwyr i newid ei gymeriad - piti mawr, oherwydd dim dyma'r ffordd i Brif Weinidog Cymru ymddwyn, yn arbennig gyda llai na bythefnos nes etholaeth Gogledd Iwerddon.

Sut fuasa'r Blaid Lafur wedi ymateb i joc tebyg gan Nick Bourne neu David Cameron?

Os ydi Rhodri ddim am newid, wyrach mae'n amser i'r etholwyr newid ei Prif Weinidog

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Apathy could be the winner on May 3rd

It is interesting that the First Minister, in Llandudno last week, expressed his desire to fight the election on Welsh issues only.

Given this, perhaps he can explain to the citizens of Aberconwy why the Assembly Government has supported a highly flawed NHS consultation process that has led to the downgrading of their local hospital. Perhaps he should have dropped into one of the hundreds of small businesses and shops in the region who will be paying a massive 50% more in rates this April.

These are just two Welsh issues that the Welsh Conservatives have specific policies to address but it would seem that the message is - don't read the policies, just hate the Tories.

As someone new to politics, I had hoped, probably naively, that we would be able to discuss specific policies in a mature and adult fashion. Indeed, both of the hustings I have attended - with the farmers from the FUW and the nurses from the RCN - showed that these two groups certainly wanted to discuss specific issues of importance to their members, although my Labour opponent wanted to discuss whether John Redwood could sing the national anthem or not!

Rhodri Morgan and his team should take note of the message that I am getting on the streets of Llanrwst and Llandudno, namely that many people are simply disillusioned with a Labour Government both in Cardiff Bay and Westminster that simply just does not want to listen.

Rather than making the effort to engage with voters, the simple fallback position is to attack the Conservatives for, well, just being the Conservatives. It may play well with Labour activists but for the rest of the country, it just adds to the general malaise and disillusionment regarding the quality of debate in Welsh politics about issues that affect the everyday lives of voters everywhere.

I had hoped that this third Welsh Assembly election campaign could show that Wales has matured politically and that the politicians we have would stop treating the electorate like children, listen to their concerns and fight the election on which party has the best policies to deal with the challenges of a modern Wales.

Again, I am probably being naive - blame the fact that I have been in politics for just over fourteen months - but if the outdated approach we have seen to date continues, then the biggest victim in Wales will be democracy as many voters are simply turned off by the name-calling and end up simply not bothering on May 3rd.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

A busy week!

Have had a very busy few days with regard to canvassing and pre-election appearances. On Wednesday, we had the Aberconwy Conservative AGM where the election team for May was confirmed and we had a very high turnout (we can only hope for a similar turnout for the actual election!).

I then zoomed down to the Eagles Hotel in Llanrwst for a meeting organised by the FUW where all four candidates in the Aberconwy election were panellists. It was a lively affair, especially where Tir Mynydd was in question, and it gave a very interesting insight into the tactics of at least one of my opponents for the forthcoming election. I am sure to be regular visitor to the Eagles over the next few weeks!

Thursday morning was spent preparing election material and was followed by lunch with the Aberconwy Conservative Ladies. Any candidate will tell you that these events form the backbone of any campaign and I was very pleased to receive a cheque for £500.00 for our election fighting fund. Came back to see that our 'Fair Play for Small Business' was featured on the 'Waterfront' political programme on HTV.

Friday was spent canvassing in the rain around Llandudno, where the reaction was very positive and then, yet again, we had a meeting of the four candidates, this time in the Imperial Hotel, as organised by the Royal College of Nursing. It seems clear that Labour wish to focus on the past and not on any policy discussion, which is a great shame as I think the public has been turned off politics by such pointless arguments. Anyway, it was good to discuss some key issues such as peripatetic care and safety issues at hospitals, although we did not discuss the downgrading of Llandudno Hospital nor the wider policies in the NHS.

However, the best quote on the night was not from any of the panellists, but from a newspaper article I had read last week, namely:

“Funding for the health service has more than doubled since Labour came to power, so how is it that in 2007 after that ten-year investment, hospitals are having to take out lightbulbs and ask people to work for nothing in order to save money? The only explanation is that so much of the funding has been misdirected and wasted through poor policies and a lack of good management.”

I wish that it had been David Cameron, Jonathan Morgan or even myself who had come up with a quote that hit the nail on the head regarding the state of the NHS, but it instead it was Dr Peter Carter, the new general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Downgrading of Llandudno hospital to be stopped

I am glad to say that Welsh Conservatives have pledged to halt Labour's plans for hospital reconfiguration across Wales, including any plans for the downgrading of services at Llandudno Hospital.

Instead, the party has promised to hold 'proper dialogue' with clinicians, health bodies, and local people about the shape of medical services across the country. Only after those discussions, and only with a proper consensus from local people, will a decision be taken on how best to deliver local health services within Conwy.

To date, it has become clear that Labour's plans for hospital reconfiguration have been ill thought-out and inadequate and that their programme of closures and hospital downgrading has undermined public confidence in the NHS. Politicians should be taken out of the day-to-day running of the health service, insisting that decisions over how the NHS is run are best taken at as local a level as possible.

The Welsh Conservatives have made the NHS their number one priority in the election campaign and it clear that the people of Aberconwy want more funding to go directly to frontline services and not backroom burueaucracy. Thanks to a system where there is one administrator for every three doctors or nurses within the NHS in North Wales, we now have one of the most bureaucratic and convoluted health systems in Europe.

There has been an overwhelming positive public response from the people of Aberconwy to the Welsh Conservatives' policy document NH yeS, which has highlighted plans to give doctors greater powers to prescribe modern medicines, pilot nurse-led NHS walk-in centres, and to putting doctors and nurses at the forefront of the day-to-day management of the health service.
However, it is vitally important that the position on Llandudno Hospital is reiterated again before the Assembly election so that everyone knows exactly where the Conservative Party stands on this important issue.

Like many others during the last twelve months, I have made it absolutelty clear that the whole process of consultation over Llandudno Hospital has been ill-thought out and inadequate, with no proper local involvement on decisions affecting patient care .

Let me make therefore make it absolutely clear that we will halt Labour's plans for any reconfiguration of the NHS in North Wales, including the downgrading of services at Llandudno Hospital.

Most importantly, we will establish a proper dialogue on the future shape of medical services in Llandudno involving clinicians, the CHC and local people in a thorough and genuine debate on the provision of medical services in our community.

It is the very least that the people of Llandudno deserve after having their concerns completely ignored by the consulotation process".

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Cyfarfod Menter Iaith Conwy

Cyfarfod gwych gyda Meirion Davies a criw Menter Iaith Conwy, lle cafwyd trafodaeth diddorol am ddyfodol y iaith ac, yn bwysicach, rol MIC mewn hyfforddiant, yn arbennig i'r sector gwirfoddol a busnesion bach yr ardal.

Mae'n glir fod yn rhaid i Lywodraeth nesaf y Cynulliad edrych yn ddyfnach i sut mae'r iaith a diwylliant yn gallu dod a mantais cystadleuol i Gymru ac i sicrhau fod 'icons' fel yr Eisteddfod Genedlaethol yn cael arian i gefnogi gweithgareddau pwysig.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Visit to Sweden

Thought I would come over to Sweden for a couple of days' break from politics only to find that our leader has followed me over.

Who says Aberconwy Conservatives don't set the pace!

Certainly, Assembly economic officials could learn from the work being undertaken in Linkoping on the commercialisation of technology, especially through the work of Mjardevi Science Park, which makes the technium programme look like a collection of beach huts. The park currently over employs 5000 high tech staff across a range of businesses and it is about time that we had a similar development in Wales.

How about using that long redundant LG semiconductor plant as the catalyst for such a development?

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Lansio maniffesto diwylliant, y Gymraeg a Chwaraeon

Wedi bod yn fflat ar fy nghefn gyda anwyd trwm ers Dydd Llun (man flu iawn!) ond yn ol yn blogio o'r diwedd!

Wedi cael wythnos llwyddianus iawn yn canfasio dros 3,000 o dai yn ardal Llandudno. Mae'r eira yn edrych yn drwm iawn heddiw a tydi damweiniau ddim am helpu'r yrfa o gwbwl!

Yn lansio maniffesto Diwylliant, y Gymraeg a Chwaraeon yng Nghaergybi heddiw ac y mae hwn un o'r pethau pwysicaf i ddod allan o strategaeth etholiadol 2007.

Y mae un plaid - Plaid Cymru - wedi gweld ei hunan fel y blaid naturiol i siaradwyr Cymraeg. Wel, mae hyn am orffen yn sydyn iawn gyda'r maniffesto yma a mae yn dangos faint mor bell mae'r Ceidwadwyr wedi symyd ac hefyd bod mae yna ddyletswydd ar pob Plaid i amddifyn ein diwylliant.

Back on the blog after being in bed with the flu for the last couple of days!

This was followed a very successful canvassing campaign at the end of last week where nearly 3,000 households were covered. The snow looks like disrupting the work for today and tomorrow but we will be back on the road over the weekend!

Today sees the launch of our mini-manifesto for Culture, Media and Sport at Holyhead. This breaks new ground, in my opinion, over the position of the Welsh Conservatives regarding the Welsh language.
Too often in the past, one party - Plaid Cymru - has seen Welsh speakers as their natural supporters. Well, no more and it is time that every party in Wales saw itself as the defender of our heritage and culture.