Friday, 29 May 2009

Team GB own goal

by Luke James

It’s summer 2012; Wales have qualified for their first major football tournament since 1968 and thousands of proud Welsh men and women are sunning themselves in Poland and Ukraine.

Meanwhile in London England’s Under 21 team have been dressed up in union rags and will be playing in the most underwhelming football tournament since Vale of Glamorgan Schools Cup 1975, which I hear got rained off.

Decide for yourselves which of these events will capture the imagination of the Welsh nation.

What great news it is that Westminster politicians have scored an own goal for Team GB before a ball has even been kicked.

It was announced today that a Team GB football side will take part in the 2012 London Olympics and it will made up entirely of English players.

This team is the perfect representation of what Britain really is. In the words of the great Gwynfor Evans “Britishness is a political synonym for Englishness which extends English culture over the Scots, the Welsh, and the Irish.”

This Team GB saga has run for so long and been a hot news topic and long may it continue so that it hits home to the majority of Welsh citizens that Wales is severely misrepresented as part of the UK.

Our proud, vibrant and diverse nation cannot continue this way so let’s make it clear – we are Welsh and not British, we value our culture and respect our neighbours and we want our voice to be heard in Europe, by the World, in the UN and not forgetting at Eurovision.

I will leave you with some lyrics of a song by famous English singer Billy Bragg: “Britain isn't cool you know, it’s really not that great. It's not a proper country; it doesn't even have a patron saint. It’s just an economic union that’s past its sell by date."

Below: A cash point in Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan advertising Nationwide's support for the English football team, despite the fact they also sponsor Wales.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

College Cuts - A Scandal

Today, a guest author, Tim Thomas, writes:

Cymru X has always battled hard with the injustice of tuition fees and the proposal of top up fees, which will create financial hardship for many low income families and students across Wales. However, there are a number of funding issues in both higher and further education, which are causing great concern.

We are in the midst of a terrible financial meltdown, created by Gordon Brown's lack of financial control and regulation, which favoured London and the South East. As a result, Jane Hutt, the Education Minister announced funding cuts to Welsh colleges. In total there will be a £3m cut to further education, which has led to protests from lecturers and students outside the Senedd.

In my local area of Bridgend, Bridgend College will suffer a £300k reduction in finance, which will lead to inevitable cuts in jobs and courses for the 15,000 strong students on the college's books. Furthermore, in Bridgend there is a high percentage of the unemployed from young people. I am very concerned with how young people will be trained to help them find work during these difficult times. The cuts have already led to the termination of A level courses mid way through student's courses in Bridgend and further cuts to language courses may be announced.

Bridgend College is not alone in this terrible news, indeed the reduction in funding will cause hardship to colleges across the whole of Wales. In fact, Bridgend College is in a more healthy position than some other colleges. Despite an increase in the number of 16-18 year old activity in courses at Yale College, Wrexham, funding has been decreased by over 7% Furthermore, funding cuts has led to angry demonstrations from students from Coleg Sir Gar

I would urge all to lobby their local Plaid representatives with their concerns on this issue. A Facebook group has been set up where a petition can be signed to lobby WAG over the closure of A level courses in Bridgend.

Tim Thomas was last year's CymruX vice-chair and still plays a very active part in Plaid Cymru. He is standing for the party in the Bridgend local elections.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Join the Fight Against Fascism

Today, a guest author, Cerith Jones, writes:

"I am finding it hard to believe that some people, who feel disillusioned by Britain’s mainstream parties and vow to vote for the British National Party at the polls on June 4th, actually understand what the BNP stands for.

I assume that they believe that the BNP will give “British jobs to British workers” and will give something back to our economy? In actual fact, the British National Party is a party of racism, hatred and fascism – nothing more than 21st Century Nazis. It is a party which fails to recognise the difference between England and Britain, was opposed to devolution, and is wholly committed to a further democratic transfer of powers.

The BNP is “wholly opposed to any form of racial integration between British and non-European peoples. It is therefore committed to stemming and reversing the tide of non-white immigration and to restoring, by legal changes, negotiation and consent, the overwhelmingly white makeup of the British population that existed in Britain prior to 1948.” Put simply, the BNP thinks that Britain should be an all-white country and is committed to restoring that in the UK – therefore the membership of the British National Party is restricted to Caucasians (white people). Even if a person is born and bred in Britain, but is black or Asian, that person may not be a member of the British National Party because of the colour of his or her skin.

Do supporters realise that they sympathise with a denier of the Holocaust – Nick Griffin, BNP Leader? On one occasion, he said, "this nonsense about gas chambers is ... a total lie” and on another, “yes, Adolf went a bit too far. His legacy is the biggest problem that the British nationalist movement has to deal with. It just creates a bad image." Nice.

The British National Party is also anti-homosexual, though it says that its policy towards homosexuality is one of ‘tolerance’. However, their actual policy is that if they were in government, they’d provide gay people with counselling to draw them away from their “deviant lifestyles” or ask them to become celibate. Doesn’t sound very tolerant to me.

To anyone who has a friend or a family member who is a member of a different political party, or who is of a different religion, or who is gay, or has been raped, or has an STI, or who opposes war – think before you join, sympathise with or support the British National Party.

The BNP is a party of racism, fascism and hatred that is out of touch with modern Britain and has succeeded in reviling millions of people with ridiculous policies.

Vote Plaid Cymru the Party of Wales on June 4th. Plaid is the only party in Britain that always puts the people of Wales first – be they Christian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Buddhist, European, Caucasian, African, Right-wing, Left-wing, Male, Female, Young, Old, Heterosexual, Homosexual or Bisexual. We will always think of you, the people of Wales, in a way that no one else will."

If you would like to write a piece for the CymruX Blog, please get in touch with us at

Friday, 22 May 2009

Thursday night's alright for TV......

Thursday nights are not usually spent watching TV... as much as I would like them to be, life generally does not allow it. Thursday's aren't renowned for gripping TV either....

Imagine my surprise yesterday then when I discovered Question Time (usually watched via BBCi Player), followed by Dragon’s Eye (usually missed altogether – I’m rubbish at remembering about TV) and then Sharp End (again, usually missed – mainly because I only discovered it about 2 months ago on my last night off!)!

The focus of all three programmes was less surprising – MPs expenses. The public anger at what’s been happening at Westminster was palpable, most especially in the QT studio with the live audience. Both William Hague and Ben Bradshaw demonstrated how out of touch the two main UK parties are... Even Hague couldn’t help but laugh at the ridiculousness of Anthony Steen’s suggestion that criticism of his expenses was triggered by jealousy! Bradshaw seemed to think that just because he has continually campaigned for reform of expenses that that should pacify a crowd angered by the actions of Hazel Blears and Geoff Hoon, amongst others.

The overwhelming feeling amongst audience members was that Brown should call an election and let the public ‘sack’ those they have deemed to have failed them. I have to say, I share Mr Bradshaw’s concerns – yes, Brown should call an election. But before he does so, each and every claim should be investigated and the findings published so that we, the voting public, can make informed decisions about those that have represented us for the past five years or more. At the moment, every MP is being tarred with the brush of the guilty. Plaid’s Hywel Williams MP was forced on Dragon’s Eye to defend the decision of the Plaid Parliamentary Group to seek, and then to claim for the cost of legal advice on impeaching Tony Blair over the Iraq War. Regardless of what you think about the claim itself, surely no one can disagree that the job of the backbench MP is to hold the government to account? In Wales, where a larger proportion of our young men and women join the armed services, Elfyn, Hywel and Adam were representing the interests of many of their constituents who were to be sent to this illegal war.

Reform is needed desperately, and as Vince Cable advocated, not just reform of the expenses system but wholesale reform of the parliamentary system. I just hope they don’t allow Blaenau Gwent’s Dai Davies, a seat on the oversight committee. If I am not mistaken, I heard Mr Davies advocate on Sharp End that MPs salaries be linked to the average wage of their constituents. I would be seriously concerned about the huge disparity between wages this would create. As Mai Davies pointed out, the Hon. Member for Blaenau Gwent's salary would drop to around £25,000 whilst the MP for Henley, or one of the many other London constituencies, would see his soar well into the hundred thousands. How would that kind of wage gap help foster effective representation and good governance?

Ooooo... it’s just occurred to me – the Conservative Party would abandon welsh seats!!

Monday, 18 May 2009

Flippin' Mad

Chris Bryant, the deputy leader of the House of Commons, and MP for the Rhondda is the latest to be caught repeatedly 'flipping' his designated second home to maximise financial gain from lucrative allowances. Bryant changed his 'second home' twice in two years, permitting him to claim thousands for renovations and fees.

In total, Bryant split £92,000 of taxpayer-funded expenses between three properties in Wales and London in the past five years. In 2004 the Rhondda MP tried to claim £58,000 to renovate his second home in Porth, Wales.

Although the claim was three times the annual maximum, it is alleged that he pleaded with the Commons fees office to allow it because, according to a Commons official, most properties in his constituency were 'terrace or mine owners' houses'.Mr Bryant denied the claims. He told a daily newspaper: 'I have never said anything of the sort', further claiming he moved for 'security' reasons to escape homophobic biggots. He eventually managed to claim £20,900 to overhaul that property, including £13,000 in renovations and the remainder in fees.

Then a year later he decided his west London flat was actually his second home - allowing him to claim £630 a month for mortgage interest and other bills. Three months later he sold the flat for a £77,000 profit, having charged £3,600 on expenses. Mr Bryant then bought another flat in west London and immediately designated it his second home. He promptly set about billing the taxpayer for £6,400 in stamp duty and purchase fees as well as £1,000 a month in interest on the property. The MP said he had moved flat in London so he could be closer to Parliament.

No wonder why the majority of Rhondda residents feel let down by Labour when they see their representative in Westminster working so hard to ensure his own financial stability at their expense in these hard times of economic instability.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Hope Not Hate Rally on Sunday

Leanne Wood AC/AC will be attending on Sunday.

Here is a message from Searchlight Cymru:

"Searchlight Cymru has been working hard to create a co-ordinated ‘Hope not Hate’ day that is supported by all political parties, trade unions, civil society and friends in Wales.

On the morning of Sunday 17th May 2009, we will be holding at least three simultaneous events across Wales to commemorate those in our communities who fell in battle against fascism in the last century. We will never forget the dead, but we will continue to fight for those living under the continuing threat of fascism in Wales in 2009.

This threat, although commonly perceived as being just against black and minority ethnic people, is actually against us all. Mainstream political parties, trade union members and their representatives, journalists and mainstream religions including the church. Everyone is threatened by the British National Party and everyone can work together to remove that threat. That is where Searchlight Cymru comes in.

We have been able to gather together thousands of people across Wales who may have nothing in common other than to see the end of the BNP as a racist and fascist threat to Wales. Our supporters, just like you, don’t want to be lectured to on how to vote, they just want to pass on the truth about the BNP and let people make their own minds up. And 17th May 2009 will be when they join together as one in Cardiff, Swansea and Flint.

This special day will give supporters as well as Euro election campaigner’s space to come together and outline to the people of Wales that what the BNP stands for is a threat to people like me and you.

10.30am Assemble at the main Cenotaph, Seafront
10.40am Reading out of 100 names of those who fell in World War 2 against fascism
10.55am A laying of wreaths ““Remembering those who fought fascism. Their fight continues today”.
11.00am Two minutes silence
11.05am a short number of short speeches by representatives
11.30am Finish

10.30am Assemble at the main Cenotaph
10.40am Reading out of 100 names of those who fell in World War 2 against fascism
10.55am A laying of wreaths ““Remembering those who fought fascism. Their fight continues today”
11.00am Two minutes silence
11.05am a short number of short speeches by representatives
11.30am Finish

10.30am Assemble at the main Cenotaph, Cathays
10.40am Reading out of 100 names of those who fell in World War 2 against fascism
10.55am A laying of wreaths ““Remembering those who fought fascism. Their fight continues today”.
11.00am Two minutes silence
11.05am a short number of short speeches by representatives
11.30am Finish
Then, Cardiff Spanish Civil War International Brigades Memorial
11.40am Reading out of 100 names of those who fell in World War 2 against fascism
11.55am A laying of wreaths ““Remembering those who fought fascism. Their fight continues today”.
12.00am Two minutes silence
12.05am a short number of short speeches by representatives
12.30am Finish

We are asking you, friends, family, colleagues and members of any supportive organisations you are part of to spread the word and join us for a major demonstration of hope over hate.

We are not so bothered about you bringing flags and banners, but they are welcome. Just bring lots of people. Our speakers will be asked to keep their comments short and sweet. They will be truly representative of the political mix we have in Wales and will also include someone local and special. If you have a wreath you would like to lay, then please do bring one with you.

Above all, this is about hope for our futures.

Do join us on the 17th May 2009 and let’s make sure the BNP stays out of Wales on June 5th."

Friday, 15 May 2009

Pleidiol wyf i'm gwlad?

Dwi am gydnabod reit ar y dechrau, stori ydi'r blog yma yn hytrach 'na barn am newyddion wleidyddol. Ond hei ma na angan amrywiaeth mewn bywyd does.

Mi sylwch mai llinell o'n hanthem Genedlaethol yw teitl y darn. Yn fwy na thebyg bydd y mwyafrif o Gymry wedi bloeddio canu'r anthem drosodd a throsodd mewn llu o gyngherddau, llwyfannau a Stadau chwaraeon. Ond faint sydd wedi aros eiliad a chysidro ystyr yr hyn mae pawb mor barod a balch o'i ganu. Nid rhoi erthygl ar ystyr ffeithiol gywir Evan James ydwi, ond yn hytrach yr ystyr o'm safbwynt i.
Ers yn blentyn mae fy rhieni wedi gwneud yn siwr bod ysytr y geiriau 'pleidiol wyf i'm gwlad' yn gadarn goncrit yn fy is - ymwybod. Gan nad ydw i'n gallu cofio nac ailadrodd yn union beth oedd rhesymeg eglurhad y geiriau dyna pam rwy'n honni mai yn fy is- ymwybod mae'r wybodaeth wedi ei storio.

Mae pleidleisio dros dy wlad yn swydd ac anrhydedd a hanner. Efallai bod y disgrifiad ychydig bach yn emosiynnol ac dros ben llestri yn enwedig yn yr hinsawdd wleidyddol bresennol gyda treuliau Aelodau Seneddol o dan y chwydd-wydr. Ond ar y cyfan yn bersonnol credaf mai y gallu i bleidleisio yw un o hawliau pwysicaf ein cenedl. Dyma yn sicr ces i fy magu i gredu, nid yn unig y pwysigrwydd o bleidleisio, ond i bleidleisio i Blaid oedd yn cynrychioli dy wlad- ' Pleidiol wyf im gwlad'. Felly cwestiwn nesaf dybiwn i oedd, pa Blaid sy'n cynrychioli fy ngwlad? Yr ateb syml yn ôl eglurhad fy rhieni oedd- Plaid Cymru. Dwi'n ymwybodol iawn bod y canlyniad yn gawslyd tu hwnt ond dwi'n licio Brie a Camembert a does gen i ddim problem cyfaddef hynny chwaith! Ond go iawn, pa Blaid arall sy'n cynrychioli y Cymry yn unig ac yn llwyr. Ni allai Plaid Cymru wneud dim, ond cynrychioli Cymru. Nid Lloegr, yr Alban, na Gogledd Iwerddon ond Cymru. Mae cant y cant o waith a gweithgarwch y Blaid yn cael ei wneud yn llwyr i Gymry yng Nghymru. Mae pob polisi, maniffesto, pwyllgor, ymgyrch a penderfyniad yn cael ei wneud er lles Cymru. Mae'r pencadlys yng Nghymru, mae pob un aelod etholedig yn byw yng Nghymru a phob aelod o staff. Credfa bod hyn yn allweddol er mwyn deall anghenion y bobol. Sy'n wahanol iawn i Bleidiau fel Llafur, Y Ceidwadwyr neu y Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol. Sut allai etholwyr fod yn sicr mai gweithio yn llwyr ac er mwyn lles Cymru yn unig mae'r partïon yma? Yn fwy na dim yn rhoi cant y cant i Gymru? Ar sawl achlysur mae'r pleidiau hynny wedi gorfod tynnu'n groes i'r blaid yn San Steffan. Wyddwn i ddim amdanoch chi ond gyda pleidiau megis Llafur a'r Ceidwadwyr, mae'r blaid bridol yng Nghymru yn teimlo ac efalliai yn eil-radd. Pam pleidleisio i blaid wleidyddol sy'n trin Cymru yn eil-radd ac efallai is-raddol.
Wrth gwrs yn ferch ifanc gyda'r eglurhad brysiog gan Mam ar flaen fy meddwl, ni allwn i weld pam byddai unrhwyw un yn pleidleisio am unrhyw Blaid arall yn hytrach na Phlaid Cymru. Dwi wedi tyfu fyny rwan (byddai rhai yn dweud fel arall) ac yn sylweddoli nad yw pethau mor ddu a gwyn. Ond mae'r neges yn sefyll, 'pleidleisia i blaid sy'n cynrychioli dy wlad' a phwy ond Plaid Cymru sy'n gwneud hynny?
Mae'r eglurhad gan fy rhieni a gefais yn blentyn wedi aros hefo mi hyd heddiw, tydw i ddim yn honni bod dyfynnu yr anthem genedlaethol yn sail ennill unrhyw hystings neu yn destun polisi i'r maniffesto.
Dim ond stori yn adrodd hanes dechrau fy nhaith gyda Plaid Cymru.

Protest Voters need to think carefully

A welcome development in Wales with this election has been that all the parties and the trade union movement are awake to what the BNP really is. Make no mistake- it is the positive and inclusive nationalism of the Welsh kind that is gaining strength in Wales, and Plaid's multi-cultural and progressive politics will win considerably more votes than the racism and fascism of the BNP.

But at the same time, complacency isn't an option when dealing with racist parties. The reason they are different to normal parties we disagree with is the fact that when the BNP speaks, people's lives are put at risk. The mainstream British parties are in an appalling state and have set up the conditions for the BNP to win protest votes. It is very understandable to want to send a message to Gordon Brown by casting a protest vote for one of the 'other' parties, and most people on the door-step are saying this. Young people are especially disillusioned with the UK Government and if they do vote at all, might be likely to vote for what they perceive to be the most radical option.

Before you cast your protest vote on June 4th, make sure you aren't endorsing something you aren't fully aware of. If you want a Wales in which ethnic minorities, immigrant and refugees are welcome, then vote for Plaid. Our internationalism will overcome their bigotry every time, as long as our supporters turn out to vote. And nothing will shake the Labour establishment like a strong Plaid vote will.

Read this if you want to see some facts about the British National Party.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Our Friend in the West

I've got a bad feeling about next year's election. Between moats, tennis courts and £5000 for Alan Duncan's garden (what's he growing - gold leaf?!) the Tories are no longer succeeding in their quest to be portray themselves as the party of the people - more like the party that never ends. Although perhaps chucking out time is in sight?

Even the Welsh contingent are at it. There may not be many of them (three at the last count) but our Tory friend down in Preseli Pembrokeshire, Stephen Crabb MP, is in trouble for claiming £9,300 in stamp duty and "flipping" between his home in Pembrokeshire and his flat in London (which incidentally he refurbished with taxpayers' money and then sold for £8000 profit...).

What I don't understand is why every MP in trouble seriously thinks the stock answer "it was within the rules" is going to help them dig their way out of this ever deepening hole. It just displays a total lack of inability on the part of MPs to display any kind of principle or moral thinking. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. I could eat my weight in chocolate. Doesn't mean I should.

European Manifesto Launch

Several CymruX representatives were present today at the Plaid Cymru European Manifesto launch in Cardiff this morning.

As the BBC wrote today, Adam Price launched "a stinging attack" on Labour MEPs Glenys Kinnock and Eluned Morgan who have "failed to stand up for Wales." He said that Labour politicians seem almost "ashamed of their Welshness ... where they come from, where they're supposed to represent is something they're trying to hide."

It was really uplifting to hear Ieuan Wyn Jones say that Plaid was aiming to win two seats in the European Parliament on 4 June - which would mean that Eurig Wyn joins Jill Evans in Brussels.

Email if you would like a copy of the European manifesto sent to you. Let's get the vote out on June 4 for Plaid Cymru - for all of Wales.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

On Your Side - European Election 2009

Plaid youngsters sweep the board

As part of the events to mark 10 years of devolution, an education charity called CEWC held their "Model National Assembly" yesterday. School pupils were split into different parties in proportion to the amount of seats those parties hold in real life. About 50 of them took part. Each "party" then had just over an hour to come up with their own manifesto, design their own posters and prepare a presentation. After the presentation an election would take place which each student could vote in twice.

The Plaid group got to hear from Bethan Jenkins about what the party stands for. Then, Chris Heighway and Luke Nicholas helped them prepare their presentation and a set of policies to fight the election on. All of the policies had the environment and sustainability at the heart, which is a good sign. When it came to the presentation and the vote the Plaid pupils did very well and won the election. Da iawn to them. Alot of the young people came out of the meeting wearing Plaid stickers! If the Model National Assembly was anything to go by then the future is bright.

New Blog Up and Running!

You may have noticed we have a new blog address - but still the same website and email!

In other news, the CymruX committee met last night for another two hour marathon in which we discussed new merchandise ideas, Ysgol Haf and social events for the summer.

Anything you want us to raise in our next meeting - or if you want to contribute to June's edition of Newyddion! - drop us a line on All suggestions welcome!

PS - The European elections are coming up very soon. Make sure you're up to date on Plaid news from the candidates by visiting

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Newyddion Mai / May Newsletter Out Now!

May's edition of Newyddion! is out now. If you haven't received your copy, please email us at to be added to the mailing list.

There's news, information and events listed, and if you want to get involved, just give us a shout.

Look out soon for more updates on upcoming CymruX campaigns, annual conference plans and the all-important weekend of fun that is Ysgol Haf / Summer School!