A snap General Election on the 8th of May

At 11am today Theresa May announced that there will be a snap General Election held on the 8th of June 2017. This is an obvious step for the Conservative leader, because recent polls have given their worst numbers since Michael Foot was the leader.

However, since the passing of the Fixed term parliaments Acc which was passed in 2011, all Parliaments should sit for 5 years. This provision can be circumvented either by repeal of the act, which won’t be happening, or by a 2/3 majority vote in the House of Commons.

The 2/3 option is going to be an interesting one. Currently the Tories don’t have 2/3 majority of the Commons, Theresa May will need to gain the support of 104 MPs from other parties. A fair amount of horse-trading will be happening as we speak to gain support. It would however be interesting to see how many ‘New Labourites’ will support this election as a way to finally rid the party of Corbyn?

It does seem like Theresa May has no strategy here. Could she not have waited to trigger Article 50 if she was planning on a snap election? Or is this a decision she has made on the hop following recent polling data?

I will speak further about the possible outcome of this election in future posts, however, it is fair to say that it will have a big impact on the two main parties.

What happened in 1973?

Recently the Department for Exiting the EU released a graph on their Twitter feed with the statement “We have a long and successful history as a trading nation. We’ve seen steady growth in trade as a percentage of GDP in the post-war period”. However, as many of the people’s replies to the tweet asked, what happened in 1973 to speed up the growth?

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Dafydd Êl is independent 

Ok, there have been many times when this seemed possible. But why now? The fact that this has happened a week before the annual conference seems suspicious. 

I suspect more will come out in the coming days.

Plaid have issued a statement, in it the party is calling for a by-election:

“Plaid Cymru will begin the process of selecting a new candidate in Dwyfor Meirionnydd following Dafydd Elis-Thomas’s decision to leave the Plaid Cymru Assembly Group.

“Constituents, who Dafydd Elis-Thomas misled in the recent Assembly election, will expect a by-election to be held at the earliest convenience.”

What a bargain!

For one vote, Labour have sold themselves cheap, one might even go as far as to describe them as a “cheap date“. 

Plaid have played the situation brilliantly. For one vote today they have secured quite a list of concessions. Here they are:

  • Thirty hours of free childcare with a commitment to increase the number of Welsh medium places
  • National Infrastructure Commission to deliver investment across the nation
  • Establish fund to end postcode lottery and improve access to new drugs and treatments
  • Welsh Development Bank
  • Recruitment and training of GPs
  • At least 100,000 new apprentices
  • Securing a successful future for the steel industry
  • Campaign vociferously for a ‘Remain’ vote
  • New Public Health Bill without the controversial e-cigarettes element
  • Additional Learning Needs Bill which will include a new Autism Act
  • Strengthen Welsh Language Measure
  • Legislate to remove the defence of reasonable chastisement (the smacking of children)
  • Parliamentary Review into Health & Social Care

Has there ever been an opposition that has succeeded to get so much in so little time.

An agreement to move Wales forward

Today, Leanne Wood and Carwyn Jones will make a joint statement regarding the agreement reached to overcome the deadlock in nominating and appointing a First Minister. 

It is clear what this won’t be. 

It will not be an announcement of a formal (nor in formal) coalition. Plaid have made clear that they intend to be an effective opposition, unlike that of the Conservatives in the last assembly.

It won’t be an announcement of a ‘supply and confidence’ agreement where Plaid props up a Labour minority government for the next 5 years.

What will the announcement be?

This agreement is for one vote- that of appointing a First Minister. The will be a minority Labour government.

For this Plaid has won many concessions from Labour. These include:

  • Re-structure the committee process, which will strengthen the process of scrutinising the government.
  • Establish bilateral committees to examine legislation, budget and constitutional matter. This will put Plaid in an unique position to hold the government to account and have a hand in important developments.

Plaid has also successfully won concessions on 5 of their 9 election pledges. Although details of these will be announced later today, they range from commitments on childcare to working on a New Treatment Fund for the NHS.

In the first week of the Fifth Assembly, Plaid have shown that they are an effective opposition which will ensure that the people of Wales get the best possible deal. 

Just imagine what they could achieve on government in 5 years time!

What just happened?

What’s going on. More excitement has arguably happened in the Welsh Assembly in the last two days than in the previous 5 years.

Yesterday, a coup happened in the UKIP group. However, today we saw the coronation a blocking of Carwyn Jones as the confirmed First Miinister of Wales. Rhun ap Iorwerth nominated his party leader, Leanne Wood for First Minster. Surprisingly, bith the Tories and Kippers voted for Leanne, giving her the backing of 29 AMs. The exact samr as Carwyn.

What’s it all about?

Of course Plaid don’t aim to govern with 12 AMs. There is no agreement for a rainbow coalition either. This is a nessage to an arrogant Labour party, who wouldnt talk and compromise for support. a minority government that acts like one that has a cleate mandate. with 30% of the vote, they will have to learn to listen. The events of today might remind Labour that its good to talk.


Constitutional crisis?

The Chancellor said he and the Prime Minister were “clear” the actions of the unelected second chamber had constitutional implications which would “need to be dealt with”.

                                          Sky News 27/10/15

I’m not the most avid fan of the House of Lords, however the actions of the second chamber is fully in line with its purpose! It did not block a manifesto promise of the elected government, rather it blocked a measure that the Prime Minister categorically ruled out during the election campaign. 

Here is a summary of events so far:

The Prime Minister said there would be no tax credit cut – he won the election – prime minister tries to cut tax credits – House of Lords blocks it.

Some might argue that the Lords are bound by the Salisbury convention and by blocking the changes they are causing a constitutional crisis. However, Salisbury convention only applies to you pledges made in the winning party’s manifesto, and as we know this was not in the Tories’ manifesto.

A new blog

I don’t usually promote blogs here unless they are directly relevant to a post I’m writing, however I would like to suggest one just this once. My wife has taken to blogging and has set one up. It mainly discusses parenting issues, with bits about fashion, (baby) product reviews, and various other things.

If you think you’d be interested, or know someone who might be, please click on the link, and share the URL.

www.mamaandbabybear.com

Does Miliband know what his party is doing?

Finally, Labour will stand up against Zero Hour contracts and fight for hard working people.  It’s a bit rich for Miliband to tackle an “epidemic” of zero hour contracts today.  It is funny how Labour UK are saying one thing and Welsh Labour do another.  How can the people of Wales, and the people of the UK, for that matter vote for a party that says one thing and does another?

What in particular has Welsh Labour done that contradicts Miliband?  Well the details can be found here.  To summarise, during the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Bill progression through the Assembly (which is at the 4th stage of the legislative process now), Plaid AM Jocylyn Davies, attempted to introduced an amendment which would have ensured that social care provided by Local Authorities would not be done so by using zero hour contracts.

 

Here is the wording of the amendment:

To insert a new section—

Meeting needs: use of zero hours contracts

(1)A local authority that provides or makes arrangements of the type referred to in section 30(2)(b) must ensure as far as practicable that such provision or arrangements do not provide for the delivery of care and support by use of zero hours contracts.

(2)  A zero hours contract is a contract or arrangement for the provision of labour which fails to specify guaranteed working hours and has one or more of the following features—

  1. (a)  it requires the worker to be available for work when there is no guarantee the worker will be needed;
  2. (b)  it requires the worker to work exclusively for one employer.

(3)  For the purposes of this section—

  1. (a)  a worker is a person who is employed;
  2. (b)  a person is employed for the purposes of this section if he or she is engaged by another person to provide labour and is not genuinely operating a business on his or her own account;
  3. (c)  in any legal proceedings it is for the respondent to show that the applicant is not employed.

(4)  The Welsh Ministers may by regulations amend the definition of “zero hours contracts” in subsection (2).’.

 

If Miliband and his Labour party are truly against zero hour contracts, even if this is in principal only then why not support this amendment?

Here are the AMs who supported the motion:

  1. Rhun ap Iorwerth
  2. Peter Black
  3. Jocelyn Davies
  4. Yr Arglwydd / Lord Elis-Thomas
  5. Llyr Gruffydd
  6. Bethan Jenkins
  7. Alun Ffred Jones
  8. Elin Jones
  9. Eluned Parrott
  10. William Powell
  11. Aled Roberts
  12. Rhodri Glyn Thomas
  13. Simon Thomas
  14. Lindsay Whittle
  15. Kirsty Williams
  16. Leanne Wood

A list of how all AMs voted can be seen here.

 

Once again we are seeing a Labour Party which is either at war with itself or totally ignorant to what other parts of it are doing!

How will Wales Vote?

Yesterday the Elections in Wales blog published the latest poll on voting intentions in Wales for the next three elections: Europe (2014) Westminster (2015) and National Assembly (2016). It confirms a narrative which has been making the rounds in the media of a rise in support to UKIP, and the continuing troubles for the Lib Dems.

What is interesting is the fact that as it stands UKIP could be the third largest party in the National Assembly in 2016. This will certainly change the dynamics in the Senedd. It shows that according to this UKIP will have 5 (regional) seats and the lib Dems will be reduced to 2 seats (one regional and one constituency).