Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Ghettos of poverty

By Luke James

“I grew up in the '30s with an unemployed father.

He didn't riot. He got on his bike and looked for work, and he kept looking 'til he found it.”

Those are the infamous words of former Conservative Secretary for Employment (presumably someone was being ironic when they gave him that title) Norman Tebbit.

They are the words that inspire the latest generation of Conservatives who say they want to help people trapped in “ghettos of poverty” to move to find work.

The ghettos of poverty Iain Duncan Smith talks about are our communities, which now lack opportunities. The Tories solution to the poverty they are massively responsible for creating is now to try and destroy families and community, the glue that helps us through these tough times.

By ‘moving to work’ the Tories mean they want to see the same depopulation that helped destroy the Welsh language when people were lured, or forced, to move to work in Liverpool or London or even in Wales’ industrial cities.

What the Conservatives are engineering is a state where community is a commodity which can only be afforded by the well off and for the rest of us to be a transient population moving around the UK, with total disrespect for culture and language, in search of work.

The message the Conservatives want young people to hear loud and clear is that we have no right to expect to live near our family and friends, no right to continue living in the place we have been brought up and no right to expect to be able to find an affordable home there.

For many people that’s not a problem, it’s great to be able to ‘fly the nest’, perhaps for those of us who are lucky enough to go to university and then to some metropolis. But that dream becomes far less appealing when it is because of the hopelessness of your home not because of your ambitions.

It amazes me that the Conservatives can still claim to be the party of the family, purely based on their out dated views that the family is still mother, father and two point four children all under the same roof.

The Conservatives objection to the Welsh governments housing LCO earlier this year is also part of their agenda to smash community and create a roving population to serve to support the needs of the free market.

None of this is the ‘new politics’ David Cameron boasts of – to be fair at least Cameron hasn’t betrayed his party’s philosophy and purpose unlike Blair and New Labour.

In many ways I’m a conservative, I want to conserve my community, our nation, our culture and language and I won’t sit back and let it be destroyed so the shareholders of Capitalism PLC can reap the rewards.

So my suggestion, for now, how about we start making bikes for the Tories to get on or say cars, in Wales, and provide people with opportunities where they live. This isn’t a new idea, it is called sustainability, but the British parties are happy enough to just pay lip service to it.

As Dylan Thomas said ambition is critical, and it is but lets have ambition for ourselves, our communities and nation rather than allow a greedy few to tell us what’s good for the market is good for the people.

“Llifed dagrau'r gwangalon a llyfed y taeog y llawr
Er dued y fagddu o'n cwmpas, ry'n ni'n barod am doriad y wawr!”

“Let the faint-hearted keep wailing, let the serfs grovel and fawn
In spite of the darkness around us, we're ready to greet a new dawn.”

I for one am nobody's serf - bring on the referendum!

Monday, 28 June 2010

Ysgol Haf

Eto eleni mi fydd CymruX yn cymryd rhan blaenllaw yn Ysgol Haf Plaid Cymru ar y 9fed i’r 11eg o Orffennaf. Mae cyfleodd i ehangu ar addysg wleidyddol ac hyfforddiant ymgyrchu yn brin iawn yng Nghymru, felly mae’r penwythnos yn gyfle na ddylid ei golli.

Cost y penwythnos i aelodau o CymruX yw £25. Mi fydd CymruX hefyd yn rhoi bws yn rhad ac am ddim i deithio i Aberystwyth ac yn ôl. Ond cyntaf i’r Felin fydd hi felly brysiwch i archebu eich lle wrth ebostio post@plaidcymru.org.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

CymruX Letter in the Western Mail

CymruX once again has a presence in the Western Mail; Cerith Rhys Jones, non-portfolio officer on CymruX's NEC today writes about Trident:

"SIR – I was heartened to see a letter from the Chair of CymruX Young Plaid Cymru, of which I am a non-portfolio officer, in the Western Mail (June 7) regarding fairness, and to that, I would like to add my full support.

Also in that edition was an article about Trident. It was said that my party’s parliamentary leader Elfyn Llwyd MP had commented that Trident should come into the Strategic Defence Review (“Plaid joins the call for ‘outdated’ Trident’s future to be scrutinised”).

While I agree with that, I find myself agreeing with Parliament’s only Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, who more or less called for the abandonment of the nuclear defence system.

We live in the modern world, and although terrorist threats are aplenty, is it not right to say that the world would be a safer place if we all said “actually, we don’t need these weapons, Let’s find a solution to our differences by diplomatic means”? There is no use in threatening other nations with our nukes, while all the while condemning countries like Iran for theirs.

I find the Liberal Democrats’ comments most interesting. The newly created lord, Mike German, former Deputy First Minister, noted that we should first take stock, before rushing into any decisions. How bizarre, considering the new Deputy Prime Minister was keen for us all to know that his party was anti-Trident in the election run-up.

The Lib Dem Welsh spokesperson, however, seemed to think that his party didn’t support a like-for-like replacement of Trident. Was it not the Lib Dem manifesto that said exactly that? I think so.

It seems to be, once again, that Plaid, the SNP and the Greens are the only truly progressive parties. I had hoped that Labour and the Lib Dems would join us three in some sort of an agreement to form a government after the election, but now I see that we’re better off out of it.

While Labour were happy to support it while in office and the ConDem government are happy to support it now, we progressives need to stand up for what is right, what is needed, what is moral: scrapping Trident.

We have bigger problems – the economy and climate change to name but two – other than shaking our ill-thought-of fists at the rest of the world.

Non-portfolio Officer, CymruX Young Plaid"

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

List Members

By Daniel Pryce Lawrence

A while ago, well about a year ago, after looking on the 100 Welsh Heroes website I decided to write a list of who I thought were the greatest 10 Welshmen and women of all time. It ended up being the 15 greatest (it was tough to narrow down), and unfortunately no women are featured in it, that is mainly due to fact that there is hardly any women on the list of the top 100, which I based my list on. I was going to do a new list in which the names Kate Roberts, Margaret Haig Thomas and Tanni Gery Thompson may have featured, but I thought for now I would stick with my earlier list and would ask for your opinions on that.

The reason I did the list was because I wanted to pick those great Welsh men and women who I thought had made the biggest contribution to Wales and the World. Personally, although I much admire the work of our sports stars, actors, musicians and singers I have missed them out of my list. The Tom Jones', Catherine Zeta Jones' and many other singers and actors for which Wales is famous are well known, and some of them do a great job representing Wales around the World. But in my list I wanted the scientists, thinkers and nation builders to be recognised, as I have always thought they do not receive the acclaim they deserve.

They were all born in Wales except David Lloyd George (born in Manchester), and King Arthur (no-one knows where he was born). But both have strong connections to Wales and I think can be considered Welsh for the purposes of my list. You could argue that Alfred Russell Wallace and Bertrand Russell were not Welsh, but as they were both born here (Bertrand Russell also died here), spent many years in the country and were aware of their questionable nationality I think they could be considered Welsh. There are many more people often claimed as Welsh who have far more tenuous links to the country.

Another list that I think would make interesting reading would be a list of those people of Welsh decent who have gone on to have a major impact on the World. The list would feature some of the greatest American presidents, such as Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Abraham Lincoln, not to mention those with less illustrious careers such as Murray Humphrey's and Jesse James. But that list would prove even more tricky and is for another day.

I've always been a fan of these sort of lists, and I realise people will all have their own ideas about who our greatest heroes are. They are a bit of fun, but I also think they may (especially when voted on by the public) tell us something about what the people of Wales think is most important to them. After all, it is the standards set by our greatest heroes by which we all measure ourselves, and by which the world measures us.

So here they are, what do you think?

My Welsh Heroes:

1. Owain Glyndwr

2. David Lloyd George

3. Aneurin Bevan

4. Robert Owen

5. Gwynfor Evans

6. Bertrand Russell

7. Bishop William Morgan

8. Alfred Russell Wallace

9. Hwyel Dda

10. Llywelyn ab Iorwerth

11. Dr Richard Price

12. King Arthur

13. Gerald of Wales

14. Raymond Williams

15. Iolo Morganwg

Daniel Pryce Lawrence
South Wales East Representative