Monday, October 20, 2008

Last One- No More Rhetoric

This blog somehow got into the wikio top 100 for the UK in september without me even releasing until a fellow Lib Dem alerted to me on her twitter.

The highlights of this blog are the four interviews

-Mike German
-Angela Burns

-Jenny Randerson
-Kirsty Wiliams

Also Mike German gave his exclusive views on leadership to this blog.

There is also interesting press releases.

I have also done the first blog in the blogosphere on the Psychology of a Blogger. Which took me a few hours to do rather than the usual 15 minutes.

Writing in the evening is a bit of fun. Blogging does give people the opportunity to express themselves.

I've put a couple of my poems on here. So blogging is a versatile form of communication.

I am behind with another project I am doing (which does not need the use of a computer) so I have to get on with that. I have enjoyed doing this blog but not the amount of time I spend reading blogs. A paradox?

All in all this blog has engaged elected politicians and has been a short lived
Lib Dem voice from West Wales. Only two and a half months really. But it has been a small success in that it achieved what it wanted to do.

A Living Carmarthen Hero

Rhetoric is really mixing it with the Welsh Hall of Fame recently!

Interviews with Jenny Randerson and Kirsty Williams and an exclusive article on Leadership by Mike German.

This evening he did three rounds with Carmarthen Colossus and reigning Commonwealth games Silver medallist Kevin Evans (photo) The Super-Heavyweight amateur champ ( 4 British, 10 Welsh titles) and Rhetoric went toe to toe. Yes I have been in there before so we know what we are doing. Light hearted bruises...if that makes any sense. In fact I have one amateur medal but absolutely nothing compared to Big Kev.

My fitness is a problem but I hope to improve this more than I have done already in the next couple of weeks. He went easy on me . There was a time I thought I was a gonner with kev's left hook but I managed to survive. Maybe a little Crafty Cockney from Rhetoric or some mercy from the champ. I cant make up my mind which! Maybe a bit of both! I got kev a few nice body punches and the lost art of body punching will always be revived when Rhetoric is in there. But it was Kev's right hand that is a real menace. With his stiff left jab as the ouverture.

Anyway...Kev's Gym is a fantastic place on three levels. A really safe environment. There was women hitting the punchbag and some children. Its a great asset for Carmarthen and its people. The Sports Council of Wales have done a good job here.

A hat tip to them and a hat tip to that right hand that just missed my jaw!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Exclusive- Kirsty Williams Leadership Interview

Kirsty Williams is one of two candidates in the contest to become the next leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats.

This is her interview she gave exclusively to me and exclusively to the Blogosphere.


KIRSTY; Anyone who knows me knows that I am driven by my passion for people and for politics. Of course it is the Liberal Democrat brand of politics that I believe can affect real change for people, their families and their communities. 
Any leader must be able to hold their own with their opponents and I have proved that I can do that both in the Assembly and out on the campaign trail. However a new generation of party leaders is on its way here in Wales and I want to be there fighting for the Welsh Lib Dems and fighting for the people of Wales.
I worry that so many people no longer trust politicians or see how what we do is relevant to their lives. They want and need a politics that works for them – not gimmicks and route maps, but real solutions. The same old people doing the things the same old way can’t give us that change.
If a leader cannot be enthusiastic about his or her politics how can we expect anyone else to be? I believe I have that energy, passion and enthusiasm and can use it to take our party forward.

KIRSTY; My leadership campaign is all about raising the aspirations of this party. I believe that the approach taken by Mike German has delivered great success, but now we need something new and fresh to take us to the next level. We are at our best as a party when we are campaigning at a local level whether it is in the cities and towns or the villages of rural Wales. When we are demonstrating to the electorate that their concerns are being listened to and acted upon. We have to work along side communities to deliver the best solutions that work for them recognising that one size does not fit all.
So many people in Wales come from that radical tradition, that Liberal tradition – but somehow our message has been lost to them. We have to re-establish in the minds of the Welsh electorate that we share those common values But to deliver this message we need to enthuse our members and our activists and a leader must do this by example.
I want to ensure that the leadership hears our members voice too. I think it can be all too easy to get caught up with what is happening in the Cardiff Bay bubble and become detached from the challenges and issues being faced by our campaigners and the people they meet and work with. I will set up new forums and mechanisms to ensure that never happens under my watch.
At the same time we must become a more inclusive party that talks, not just to its own members, for hours and hours over its own constitution, but reaches out to people. I would ensure that our AMs and MPs do more across Wales. It’s time we got out of Cardiff and Westminster and reached out beyond the comfort zone
We have prided ourselves over the years in being at the cutting edge of campaigning, but the other parties now copy many of our ideas. We must keep ahead of the game and embrace the very latest campaigning tools and communication methods to get our message across to the public.

KIRSTY; Firstly it has to be the economy, and not just because we face unprecedented turmoil in the global financial systems. For too long Wales has languished at the bottom of too many league tables that measure prosperity, economic activity and skill levels. Many of our communities are still dealing with the legacies of previous recessions let alone the one that is headed our way. I appreciate that the Assembly does not have control over many of the leavers needed to affect change in this area, but the ones it does have such as European structural funds, regeneration and education they have not used to best effect.
A decade of Labour here and in Westminster has left us with greater inequality than we had under the Tories. Child poverty levels haven’t fallen for the last two years and the greatest influence on a child’s educational attainment is not their innate ability but their family income.  This cannot be right. It is the job of Government to address these issues of poverty and social inclusion.
Of course the Assembly’s ability to address any issue is hampered by the grotesque complexity of the devolution settlement we are currently working under. The requests for extra powers that the WAG take cap in hand to London, are held by an unholy alliance of devo-sceptic Tory and Labour M.P.’s Labour have failed Wales on devolution and until we have a parliament along the same lines as Scotland we will continue to have an Assembly which is straight jacketed in its ability to affect real change. We must fight for a yes campaign and we must win it.


KIRSTY; The Welsh Liberal Democrats are already a party of government in our cities and councils across Wales, but by 2015 I see us as a party putting our radical policies and ideas into action at all levels of government and transforming our country. This is not going to be an overnight task – that’s why I am in this for the long haul.
We see lifelong Labour voters in despair looking for an alternative. When they hear our message in Swansea west and Newport East – they like it. We have to seize these opportunities at the next General Election.
` At the Assembly level we cannot accept that six is our glass ceiling.  We must change how we campaign under the Assembly’s voting system and not only have capitalised on our Westminster gains but ensure our numbers increase, by retaining our list seats as well. For the Assembly elections of 2015 we must have the opportunity to campaign on our record in Government over the previous four years.
By that time we will once again be gearing up to Local Government elections, (of course our Assembly group will have introduced PR for these elections by then!) and I am confident we will be able to campaign on a successful record of delivery. There will be no "no go" areas for us and that we will be defending wards in every local authority in Wales.
We will still be a campaigning party in 2015 and one that is viewed by the people of Wales as a party people can trust. A party that has reached out beyond its traditional support and demonstrated to the people that there is an alternative. I want us to a vibrant party with a an even greater stake in running local councils, a presence in Europe and an Assembly group invigorated with new members implementing Lib Dem policy from within Government. Our membership will be larger and more diverse, our communications and public presentation will be more professional and we will have relit the torch of Liberalism in this Country


KIRSTY; The Welsh Liberal Democrats have traditionally been at the forefront of campaigning on environmental issues and we must continue to be so. The challenge of combating climate change is central to building a green sustainable economy in Wales I will work within our party at all levels to lead the debate and the policies to reduce carbon emissions. My children deserve politicians who are willing to tackle sometimes controversial decisions and are serious about combating climate change. For their sake and for the most vulnerable and poorest who often pay the highest price for environmental degradation I am determined to build a better quality environment

Exclusive- Jenny Randerson Leadership Interview

Jenny Randerson A.M. is one of two candidates in the contest to become the next leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats.

This is her interview she gave exclusively to me and exclusively to the Blogosphere.


JENNY ;I am tired of the way that politics is failing Wales. I want to make Wales a place where people are empowered and communities are given the tools to make their own decisions. But to be able to do this, our party needs to change. I want to change our ambition and lead us back into Government. I believe that this country will be better off with us in power. It will be fairer, more prosperous and greener , with local communities empowered along with the people who live in them.

I've done many things in my career. From being the only female Liberal or Liberal Democrat Minister in British history , to delivering an awful lot of leaflets. But now, I want the chance to use my vision and experience to turn our party into a winning machine. Winning more seats at all levels, but above all, winning for Wales.


JENNY; Over the last ten years, we have progressed very strongly in every level of Welsh politics except one. We have come close to increasing our seats in every Assembly Election, but never quite done it. If I'm elected, I will set a very clear target of doubling our Assembly Group in two elections. Targets themselves are not enough though. I will review the party's processes and make them fit for the job of achieving this. We have professionalised large parts of the party, but not all parts and we'll need to do this if we are to achieve such an ambitious target. We need to look at how we get more members, more campaigners and how we can best take the fight to the other parties. My review of how we do things will be far reaching, because we cannot risk being left behind. A liberal force for Wales is too important.

In terms of our policy, I'm a liberal so I can't change what we say or believe, but I can change how we say it. I want to make us a party with a very clear message of empowerment, localism and environmentalism. At the moment, our voice is sometimes lost in the crowd and that has to change. I believe that we need to take on the cosy consensus and provide a Welsh voice that isn't obsessed with independence, staying in power at all costs or trying to make amends for Thatcherism. Politics in Wales is bankrupt and we need to offer an alternative and gain people's trust. If we can begin to gain that trust, we'll move forward very quickly.


JENNY; First of all, making sure that Wales gets through the next few years of financial turmoil in as painless a way as possible. Whatever the Labour party say to people about it all being international, they are responsible for large parts of it. Vince Cable was warning years ago that the economy was in a bubble that would burst, but Labour and the Tories mocked him.

By ensuring that Wales gets through the next few years with as few job losses as possible and that as many people as possible can pay their bills, we can lessen the long term problems for Welsh society. As we come out of the recession, I believe we have to build a new, more sustainable Welsh economy. There is a great opportunity to build a green economy here by making use of new technology and creating green jobs.

There is also the very important issue of fighting for a final devolution settlement that will make the assembly a place that can really change people's lives for the better.


JENNY; I want us to have achieved what I have always worked for, making this country a better place for all. At some point before 2015, this country has to have a debate on a final settlement for devolution. I hope by 2015 I will have had the chance to play a leading role in winning support for the Welsh Liberal Democrat model of devolution, a Senedd with proper powers to make Wales a better place. A Senedd in a country which is comfortable with its place in the UK, Europe and the wider world. Only once we have the powers to change people ' s lives properly and forever can we make the difference.

By 2015, I want to achieve my lifetime dream. I want the Welsh Lib Dems to be changing Wales forever. Changing Wales into a country that is a fairer, greener place to live. A party that is strong, both electorally, but also in terms of our influence. I've said before that we have to change our ambition and work towards getting into Government. You can never guarantee that we'll be in government in 2 years or in 6 but if we meet my aim of doubling our number of AMs, we'll be in a strong bargaining position to get there


JENNY; It 's very tempting in tough economic times to abandon your environmental commitments. We are sadly already seeing some European countries doing this and I want to make sure that this doesn't happen in Wales. I've already mentioned the need to build a green economy and jobs in Wales. We have a proud record as a party on environmental issues, dating back to long before it was cool to be green. We have a strong commitment through existing policies like energy independence and renewables, but I want to take that further. I want to see if we can draw down our commitment as a UK party to make it pay for people to go green. Obviously we don't have powers over tax yet, but I'm really keen that we look at business rates and our plans for Local Income Tax to see if there is a way to do the same through the Assembly.

I am confident that Wales can lead the world towards a cleaner, greener future for our planet. But we need a political force that are not fair-weather environmentalists but will put the planet at the heart of everything we do, whatever the economic, social or political circumstances. That can be the new Welsh Lib Dems.

The Big Interviews

I shall be posting my interviews I conducted with Jenny Randerson and Kirsty Williams in the next couple of hours.

This is the big story in Welsh Politics at the moment. Who will be the first female leader of a Welsh political party? Will it be Kirsty or Jenny? The Welsh Liberal Democrat members will decide this.

There is some very interesting and well thought answers by both Ladies.

The interviews echo real political decisions. Both candidates are revealed much more than by pressured T.V. interviews or newspapers skimming over the top In my opinion.

Both ladies were asked the same questions for this interview.


NOTE; for these interviews no negative comments will be published. So if you want to comment do this positively.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Well Done Peter!

Heres Peter Black A.M. . The Swansea A.M. is wearing Pink for a special day!

Its 31 October and its Breast Cancers Pink day. Peter is urging all residents, young or old to wear Pink and donate £2 to this worthy campaign.

Peter says
"Every year over 2,400 women in Wales are diagnosed with breast cancer. Like many others, I know people who have lost friends and family members to breast cancer. I would like to encourage everyone in Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend and throughout the country to support wear it pink on October 31, to raise valuable funds for breast cancer research."

Call freephone 0800 107 3104 or visit and register to receive your free fundraising pack now.

Lib dem Severn Barrage Inquiry

Following today’s meeting of the Severn Power Inquiry co-chairs Steve Webb MP and Mike German AM issued the following statement:

“We have had a very successful first meeting, bringing together elected Liberal Democrats from both sides of the Severn Estuary.

“We’ve already received a body of written evidence, with more to come. Over the next few meetings we will hear from experts across four distinct areas:

1. the environmental impact;
2. the economic impact;
3. the effect on flooding and flood prevention;
4. and the rival technologies and schemes.

“We are looking forward to hearing evidence from all sides of the argument. Nothing is pre-judgedThe barrage concept has been kicking around since 1859, but the debate is becoming urgent.

“We will be meeting through the winter and in to Spring and intend to come to conclusion that we can lay as policy before the Federal Party in September 09.

We intend to reach a firm recommendation on how to harness the tidal power of the Severn by then.”

The Severn Power Inquiry is made up of elected Liberal Democrats at all levels of government from both sides of the River Severn, and is co-chaired by Mike German AM and Steve Webb MP. Today’s meeting (Friday) took place at the National Assembly for Wales.

The next meeting will be on 28 November in Portishead.