Sunday, 28 June 2009

The Coming Referendum in Wales

From Betsan Powys' Blog

Time to vote. If there were a referendum tomorrow, would you vote?

87% would. 13% would not.

And if you voted, would you vote to leave things as they are, or vote to give the National Assembly law making powers all at once?

64% want law making powers; 36% don't.

The Neutrality Debate: An Armed Forces Day?

Steve Smedley said:
Sun, 2009-06-28 15:13

I know several people who are in the armed services, and I wish them all well in their various endeavours. However, as far as the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan are concerned, they do not act in my name and I do not wish to express any support for military actions in these theatres.
I have experienced at first hand the overly jingoistic and mawkish attitude of the American public to their own servicemen and women, where every public event, it seems, has to incorporate its own distasteful celebration of military imperialism and "freedom". This is not something that I want to see replicated in this country.
I refuse to have my nationality defined in terms of dubious, and possibly illegal military actions, both past and present. There are many aspects of our cultural heritage that are worth celibrating, but an Armed Forces Day isn't one of them.

Comment: Independence Cymru concurs with this view.
From Anon : Agreed. I'm afraid this is the emerging ugly face of modern British nationalism. It is a function of the Anglo-American military alliance and unrestricted capitalism. The antidotes are Welsh (and Scottish) independence within a social Europe.

Devolution Does Not Stop Here

Tories were 'wrong' on devolution

David Cameron said he would respect Scotland if he came to power
Conservative leader David Cameron has said his party was wrong in the past to oppose Scottish devolution.
Mr Cameron told a BBC TV documentary the Tories were right to point out the potential problems of such a move.
But he added they should have paid more attention to "legitimate" pressure for self-government in Scotland during their time in power at Westminster.
The Conservatives opposed devolution until 1997 when Labour's victory paved the way for the Scottish Parliament.

Comment: of course they were wrong to oppose devolution, but will they get it right next time?
Scotland, Wales and northern Ireland hold their breath....

Friday, 26 June 2009

Davy Spillane - Worship

There are places where nature takes over from the mad headlong rush towards never-never land.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

West Cork

Trundling Down to West Cork

The move is finally happening. It's time to meet up with the doughty and whimsical Fenians of the Fail (legendary name for Ireland).
No sign in this country of the Union flag which has no credence here. Here you will see the green, white and orange tricolor proudly flying in the breeze, along with the county flags displayed by die-hard supporters of the hurling teams.
Take the N71 west from Cork City and after a short drive you'll cross an invisible line that defines the boundary of West Cork. This region, at the very southern tip of the island of Ireland, has a colourful and turbulent history. Co. Cork is known as 'The Rebel County' to this day, and West Cork was always at the very heart of Ireland's long struggle for independence from British rule.
The Irish are a vehemently patriotic people 'none more so than the people of West Cork' and yet they are among the most open and welcoming people you could ever wish to meet.

National Minorities in Europe



National minorities have had their democratic rights trampled upon for too long. Here are some examples : Breton families deported to the South of France for speaking Breton; Welsh speakers denied their rights in courts and schools to speak the language of birth; Scottish landowners reduced to poverty as their lands were enclosed and clan tartans banished; Cornish nationalists scorned and the status of their Stannery Parliament denigrated; Basques prevented from asserting their cultural individuality; Irish people treated as second-class citizens in Ulster ...the list goes on. These peoples with their distinctive cultures, languages and traditions have for centuries been dominated and often subjugated by the major powers in the region, notably Britain, France, Spain and Italy. Yet they continue to survive and flourish and to resist the tide of uniformity which seeks to ethnic-cleanse their colourful character and cultural and linguistic diversity and uniqueness.

Congratulations & Llongyfarchiadau

Good to see that Jill Evans MEP has been elected President of EFA and is also a Vice President of the whole Green/EFA group led by Danny Cohn-Bendit. Plaid at the heart of Europe!

Now is the time for all nationalists across Europe to join up with the Greens.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Another Political Dinosaur

Thank you for your email which I read with interest.

As a Member of the European Parliament I am pleased to say that it is not within my power to interfere with the Constitutional arrangements of the United Kingdom. As it happens, I do not support any form of devolved assembly for Cornwall nor for the Cornish to be recognised as a national minority.

Yours sincerely
Ashley Fox

Vision for a People's Europe

http://e-f-a.org/images/content/documents/
2009EFAManifesto_ENG.pdf


http://www.gfbv.it/3dossier/eu-min/europe2004-en.html
A precursor of more to come......

Find the nations of Europe on the map:

http://www.e-f-a.org/kaartje.php

Welsh Language Under Attack

In the interests of transparency I publish the following verbatim:

To: Rhobert ap Steffan
Sent: Wednesday, June 24, 2009 11:33 AM
Subject: Re: Gwefan Llanegwad

Rhob

DISGRACEFUL! It's a guy called Andrew Taylor who lives in Meiros Hill, Felingwm, I understand, an incomer with a strong antipathy to the Welsh people. He is a computer boffin and therefore was asked to set up the Llanegwad website, possibly by the Anglican vicar/Parochial (sic!) Church Council. This is completely unacceptable. I'll ask Jonathan Edwards if we can sue him/the site on the grounds of racial discrimination. I'll also forward it to Adam.

I suggest you forward it to Sioned and Hedd Gwynfor. This cannot be allowed to continue - especially in the most pure of pure heartlands of Wallia Pura.

Hwyl H

Henry,
Please read this and inform Adam. This is serious anti-Welsh propaganda from LLANEGWAD!!
Rhob.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Owain Gruffydd"
To: "Rhobert ap Steffan"
Sent: Monday, June 22, 2009 10:18 AM
Subject: FW: Gwefan Llanegwad

Helo Rhobert

A welest ti'r isod ar wefan Llanegwad?!!

Hwyl

Owain

The Language and the People

The Welsh are on the whole a friendly nation but insular. As a visitor you should have no problems as all but the die-hards speak English if addressed in that language. If you want to try out the language for yourself, lessons on pronunciation are essential as you are unlikely to be understood otherwise. The Welsh language is spoken by fewer than a quarter of the population and the written word is understood by less. The language differs in the north and south of the country and is not the easiest to learn, or the most practical, but a minority of the population wish to impose it on the rest through a Welsh language policy that has come under much
criticism.

The use of the language outside of Wales is virtually nil, the cost of printing everything from Road Signs to Water Bills in two languages is ludicrous beyond belief. It is a classic case of Political Correctness gone mad - but that is not unusual in Wales! Whilst the necessity to preserve Welsh culture cannot be denied, the language could be kept alive for those that want it in other ways and the resultant money saved spent on far more deserving projects. The wealth of the country would be that much greater. The cost to the economy is hard to identify as official figures are rarely - if ever published. It has been said that if the true cost were made public there would be a public outcry.

Ydych chi'n ymwybodol o'r testun uchod ar wefan Llanegwad?
http://www.llanegwad-carmarthen.co.uk/welshwords.htm

Comment:I would say that the language and culture are inextricably inter-related and interdependent and that it is essential that the language be preserved and expanded by every possible means whatever the cost. alanindyfed

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

A Welsh Coronation

Click on the link

http://cenedl.blogspot.com/

Alan Watts - "The Human Game"

THE PROBLEM OF INTERFERING WITH WHAT IS


The Tao of Not-Doing


Out of being arises doing.
There is no separation -
there is no effort.

Doing - which arises naturally
out of being,
without effort -
is called "not doing".

It happens -
naturally and spontaneously,
in just the right place,
at just the right time.

Sitting quietly, doing nothing,
Spring comes,
and the grass grows by itself!

Yet ................
the cloud water sage knows not
who causes the rain to fall
upon the Jade Mountain.

(alanindyfed)

Monday, 22 June 2009

Petition for Patagonia

Please click on the link below to confirm your signature on the petition.

http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/patagonia/Cl1bllCzFLNPCmc0TOARQzp

The petition was created by Roy Davies and reads:

'We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Preserve
Welsh links with Patagonia.'

Comment: an independent Wales would naturally preserve links with Patagonia.
I sometimes wonder whether petitions like this to No.10 have any effect.....

A British Federation or Total Autonomy?

Why Calman Report could bring Salmond and Cameron together
Iain Macwhirter

From the "Sunday Herald"Click on link.

THE REPORT of the Calman Commission on Scottish Devolution will almost certainly never be implemented, yet it remains a landmark document - arguably as important as the 1988 Claim of Right and the 1997 Devolution white paper. By making the intellectual case for a degree of fiscal autonomy so cogently, it has set Scotland on a new course which should lead, at the very least, to a new federal United Kingdom within 10 years.

The original Claim of Right, produced by the Scottish Constitutional Convention in 1988, established the sovereign right of the Scottish people to have a parliament of their choice; Donald Dewar's sensational white paper Scotland's Parliament a decade later confirmed the Scottish parliament's right to legislate on all areas of government except those specifically reserved to Westminster. Now, finally, the Calman Commission's report has made the case for giving the parliament proper economic powers to reflect its political competence. Constitutional, legislative and now economic - the home rule project is nearing completion.

The most astonishing thing about the Calman Report, though, for anyone who has followed Scottish politics for the last 30 years, is that its findings were unanimous. Even the Scottish Conservatives, who bitterly opposed devolution 10 years ago, have now put their names to the most radical home rule document in a decade.

Pelagius has left a new comment on your post "A British Federation or Total Autonomy?":
Calman puts Scotland on the same financial footing as Catalunya is now.

Please, no British Federation! We'll still have to pay for their nuclear weapons, aircraft carriers, foreign wars and antagonistic international policy.

Much better to become a member state of the EU, along with Scotland, Flanders, Catalunya, Euskadi, etc. Onwards to "Europe of a Hundred Flags"

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Gurdjieff's Mission

The recent debacle in government and administration demands, not only reform of the existing institutions, but a complete radical and fundamental rethink of the kind of society we live in and the vision of a new dawn for mankind both individually and globally.

Freedom To Be Yourself is a Precious Jewel

Do you own your life or does the state own it?

Libertarian think tanks

There are a number of think tanks that are explicitly libertarian or espouse libertarian views. The Libertarian Alliance works to promote libertarianism generally, and holds no corporate view beyond that, allying together classical liberals, minarchists, anarcho-capitalists and even social anarchists. The Society for Individual Freedom, from which the Libertarian Alliance originally split, works as a broader alliance, incorporating both libertarians less radical free-market conservatives.
The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) is the oldest free-market think tank in the United Kingdom, and a progenitor of a large network of libertarian think tanks around the world, as well as greatly shaping the Thatcher government's economic policies. The Centre for Policy Studies was set up by Thatcher and Keith Joseph for the purpose of advancing classical liberalism. The Adam Smith Institute promotes the work of Adam Smith in explaining the working of the free market from a libertarian viewpoint.
There are a few libertarian student societies at British universities, including St Andrews, Cambridge, Imperial College London, London School of Economics (the Hayek Society), Oxford, University College London, and Warwick.

Prominent British libertarians have included:

Richard Branson (born 1950), businessman
Peter Thomas Bauer (1915 - 2002), Developmental economist and 2002 winner of the Cato Institute's Milton Friedman Prize.
Alan Duncan (born 1957), Conservative politician
Daniel Hannan (born 1971), Conservative politician
Friedrich Hayek (1899 – 1992), economist and author
Lembit Öpik (born 1965), Liberal Democrat politician
Herbert Spencer (1820 – 1903), philosopher
Tom Stoppard (born 1937), playwright
Chris Tame (1949 – 2006), leader of the Libertarian Alliance
Lemmy (born Ian Fraser Kilmister, 1945), an English singer and bass guitarist. Founding member of the heavy metal band Motörhead, considers himself to be a libertarian or anarchist, saying that "government causes more problems than it solves".

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Will he Won't he, Will he Won't he, Won't he be The Last?


Gordon Brown could make history and go down as the last Prime Minister of a United Britain! This would indeed be a lasting legacy for the last Prime Minister.

Another airing of an important constitutional topic raised a year ago.

The Last Prime Minister?

It is an intriguing thought, but there is a distinct possibility that the present Prime Minister of Great Britain could be the last. When Scotland declares its independence, as it surely will before too much time has elapsed, the United Kingdom will cease to be. When and how Scotland will choose to break away from the union is a difficult and delicate question to answer, but on sensing the mood of the people, we shall not have long to wait to find out.

Scotland was not won by conquest but through succession. King James I of England was King James VI of Scotland, and when James succeeded to the throne of England the countries were united. Scotland never had a Queeen Elizabeth I. To the Scots, it is the present queen who bears that title. Wales had already been absorbed, incorporated and annexed, and Britain became one state under one supreme ruler. Yet the people of Scotland continued to rebel against this fait accomplis - religion playing a part as the clans were Catholic - and their hopes were finally crushed at the Battle of Culloden in 1745, the last battle to be fought on British soil. Following this defeat, the clan system was broken up, the wearing of the tartan banned, and tribal lands sequestered and enclosed. Scotland lost its natural leaders, many of whom sought sanctuary abroad, along with their prince and last hope, Charles Edward Stuart, who could have taken London with his doughty Highlanders, but returned to humiliation and defeat.

All this happened a long time ago, we know, but the Scots have never given up their culture and their pride as a nation, their national dress and their pipe bands. Their spirit lives on, and it falls upon the MSP for Strichen, Alex Salmond, to raise and restore the hopes and aspirations of his people, those loyal Scots whose allegiance is to Scotland alone, and to raise the banner, the Saltire of St Andrew, and to sever the links which bind the country to a withering constitution in the throes of decline.

Ireland has shown that it can be done. A country can shake away the fetters and survive, after long years of suffering resulting in massive emigration, and struggle to win its independence from British rule. Ulster too, which yet remains a part of the United Kingdom, will need to reconsider its invidious position following Scotland's declaration, and either opt to join up with the Republic in the south, or possible unite with Scotland, with which it has historical ties.

So will our highly unpopular, and unpalatable Prime Minister prove to be the last prime minister of a united kingdom? Probably not, and it could take another term of government, under the Tories, before this particular scenario is fulfilled. The question is : will this prospect and the advent of a Conservative government at Westminster open the floodgates in Scotland and induce the Scots to push hard for independence, with a vengeance? I think it will!


Could Mr Brown be the last Prime Minister of Great Britain?
by Peter Osborne of the "Daily Mail"
Last updated at 11:35 PM on 25th July 2008

Two consequences, both of huge importance, flow from yesterday's historic by-election victory for the Scottish National Party in Glasgow East.

The first, and most obvious, concerns Gordon Brown. The Prime Minister has been dealt another terrible, wounding blow. The Labour defeat, which was not predicted until the very last moment within the disastrously out-of-touch British political establishment, places Brown's premiership for the first time into genuine doubt.

It guarantees that a question mark will surround Gordon Brown's leadership all summer, dominate Labour's conference in early autumn, and probably reach some kind of crisis early next year.

The likelihood remains that Gordon Brown will survive, but he is gravely weakened and in danger of becoming irrelevant, as John Major was in his final months in office.
However, the feverish discussions of Gordon Brown's political health which have dominated the airwaves over the past 24 hours have obscured a matter of much more enduring significance: whether or not the United Kingdom itself can survive beyond the next General Election.

History may come to view the Glasgow East by-election as the moment the breakup of the 300-year-old British union became inevitable.

One thing is now certain: it will not survive in its present form. This is because the most significant feature of yesterday was not defeat for Labour, important though that undoubtedly was. The really important thing was that each one of the mainstream national political parties was humiliated.

The Lib Dems lost their deposit - a third successive by-election disaster which confirmed how much their pointless new leader Nick Clegg has become a liability. But David Cameron's Conservatives also failed to take advantage of government unpopularity. The brutal truth is that in Scotland Alex Salmond and his Scottish National Party now mark the only meaningful opposition to Gordon Brown. And this undeniable fact has deadly serious consequences for the future of Britain.

It means that when David Cameron - as now seems certain - becomes Prime Minister after the coming General Election, he will immediately be plunged into a first-rate constitutional crisis that could destroy his premiership before it has even begun.

Cameron's problem is simple. As incoming Prime Minister he will be able to count on approximately 340 Conservative MPs, giving him a reasonably comfortable majority in the House of Commons. Crucially, the vast majority will be English, and - judging by Friday morning's SNP triumph - only one or at most two will come from Scotland's 59 constituencies. In other words, the new Cameron administration will carry zero legitimacy north of the border. More worrying by far, Cameron will take power at the exact moment when Alex Salmond, the First Minister of Scotland, has always promised to unleash his nuclear weapon: a referendum on independence.

The timing for Salmond, who has emerged as a politician of exceptional luck as well as talent since his election as Scottish First Minister last spring, would be perfect. On the one hand, he would be dealing with a Tory government which has lost its Scottish power base. On the other hand, he would be able to challenge a gravely weakened opposition Labour Party, which would be in the thralls of the bloody leadership contest that normally takes place after an election defeat.

Alex Salmond knows that he will never have a better chance of securing his long-standing objective and winning the Scottish war for independence. David Cameron, on the other hand, faces the miserable prospect of securing his lifetime ambition, entering 10 Downing Street - and ceasing to be Prime Minister of all of Britain within months of taking office.

Within the Conservative Party, there are two contradictory attitudes towards this rise of the Scottish National Party and the prospect of Scottish independence. On the one hand, senior Tory strategists are aware that they and the SNP share a common enemy - Gordon Brown and his moribund Scottish Labour Party. They realise that Scottish independence will not merely bring with it the end of Britain, but go a long way to destroying Labour, which has relied on Scotland as its power base for so many years, as the party of government.

David Cameron does not share this view. He is at heart a romantic Tory, which is why in his speeches over recent months he has gone out of his way to emphasise the significance of the union with Scotland. 'I do not want to be the Prime Minister of England,' he told Scottish voters in Ayr last May, 'I want to be Prime Minister of the United Kingdom - all of it, including Scotland.' But Cameron is also pragmatic: he understands that the Tories stand no chance of winning the argument in Scotland for the union, least of all against an opponent as formidable as Alex Salmond.

That is why, I can reveal, allies of Cameron have entered into informal talks with the SNP over recent months. Their objective is to save the union by working out a new kind of constitutional settlement for Scotland. Details are sketchy, but it is possible to indicate the main outlines. An incoming Tory administration would need to meet Alex Salmond's demands that the Scottish Parliament should have massive new powers over taxation and public spending.

In domestic terms, a Scottish administration would be entirely self-governing and have complete command over economic policy. And yet the union could be maintained through the retention of shared armed forces, and foreign policy, and the monarchy.

These talks are complex. Alex Salmond is demanding control over business taxation, for example. Yet such a concession would be desperately unpopular south of the border, because it would allow Scotland to attract British firms by offering lower taxation.

Salmond also wants to get rid of the Trident independent nuclear deterrent, which is based in Scotland - unthinkable for the Tories, who pride themselves as the party of defence. Yet a solution must be found. Otherwise Gordon Brown could go down in history as the last Prime Minister of Great Britain.

Thought-Provoking Libertarian Philosophy

Libertarian thought begins with the individual. It's individuals that make up our society, not our society that makes individuals, so this is the only sensible place to start.

To each and every person in our society, we say:

YOU OWN YOURSELF

Owning something means that you have the absolute right to decide what to do with it—whether to use it up, keep it, sell it or give it away. Libertarians believe that everyone has the right to ownership of their own bodies, thoughts and beliefs, and honestly acquired property, be those goods, land, or money. Owning these aspects of yourself means that you should be free to do with them what you choose.

Libertarians believe that coercive actions by individuals, or groups of individuals—for example, the State—against others can never be justified. Such actions can rightly be seen as acts of aggression, and are simply an inappropriate way of behaving towards other people. This does not mean that Libertarians are pacifists, as everyone has the right to defend the property that they own—including themselves; rather, it is the act of initiating aggression that is morally unacceptable. What this means in practice, and looking at recent international events, is that Libertarians would have supported military action in the Falklands Conflict, where UK citizens and territory were first attacked by an aggressor, but not the recent war against Iraq, where the UK (along with the US) actually initiated the aggression.

On a more personal level, the right to do with your own body as you see fit means that Libertarians have no moral problems with people using drugs in a responsible fashion. The important thing here is how your own actions impact upon the rights of others. For example, it would be wrong to drive under the influence of drink or drugs, as that would be putting the lives and property of others in danger. Yes, you have rights, but you also have the responsibility to respect the equally held rights of others.

Practical Libertarianism

There are many aspects of our lives where the choices that we have are becoming increasingly limited by the actions of others, notably the State. Examples include which school you can send your children to, and for how long, where and what medical treatments are available to you and your family, at what age you can retire and gain a state pension, and so on.

Sadly, we have recently become so used to having arbitrary limitations placed upon our lives by government that we often don't stop to think about them, other than to briefly curse when some new idiotic rule or regulation hits us for the first time. Why do our politicians think that we need treating like children, and attempt to regulate every aspect of our lives? Who benefits from this?

Libertarians believe that the role of the State should be to protect our basic rights, and nothing more. This means maintaining the rule of law, and providing us, and our country, with an effective military defence.

(from the Party manifesto) http://lpuk.org/pages/libertarian-party.php

Friday, 19 June 2009

The Neutrality Debate: Talking Point

Anonymous said...
Plaid and Jill's neutrality and obsession with pacifism is a vote loser in the Valleys. Does Plaid not see the link between pacifism and never making a true breakthrough in English-speaking working class areas?

People don't trust pacifists 'cos they know if push came to shove, the pacifists would give into the bully and would not stand up and fight for their identity and society.

Plaid is not a pacifist party. If Jill and yourself want Plaid to be a pacifist party then put it on the agenda at the annual conference and lets see it in black and white. Otherwise, grow-up and stop thinking that talking about peace brings peace. Ironic as it sounds, war sometimes brings peace and war is preferable to servitude and conquest.

19 June 2009 00:59

alanindyfed said...
I would like to point out that the Irish fought for their freedom for hundreds of years because of English attempts to bring servitude and conquest, and having won their freedom the Irish are neutral.
The choice here is between militarism (Iraq, Afghanistan,Vietnam etc) and neutrality. The obesession you speak of is with militarism and interference in the politics of other countries, and not with the position on neutrality.
Sweden and Switzerland have strong defence capabilities yet are neutral.
Plaid has its roots in pacifism and Gwynfor Evans was a pacifist, but this is a question of neutrality as a principle.
A distinction should be made here between pacifism (not fighting under any circumstances) and neutrality (non-interference and non-aggression unless attacked).

19 June 2009 02:25

Anonymous said...
Looks like Plaid needs to spell out its defence policy better so the pacifist 'charge' cannot be laid. As the UK is a rapidly failing state - going bust internally and over-stretched militarily - Welsh independence will come sooner than we think. Scotland is setting the pace, of course.

Come on, Plaid, get moving on this one!

19 June 2009 03:03

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Neutrality, the Key to Peace":

I don't think Jill Evans is a pacifist, so where does that label come from? But let's not forget that pacifists were / are some of the bravest people in the world.

Ireland has armed forces which have a proud record of working with the United Nations. Even the new EU set-up has potential for peace but only if it is de-coupled from NATO.

The bottom line is Wales must get out of militaristic UK and re-direct its national budget.

Come to think of it, though, we may soon have to defend our water resources against English-based predators.

N.B.Letter from the President (see COMMENTS)

Irish Neutrality - Something to be Proud Of

Ireland is officially “military neutral.” That is, Ireland cannot become a member of a military alliance. The tradition of Irish neutrality is longstanding, dating back to World War II. Ireland’s neutrality during World War 2 left the nation somewhat isolated, in both a political and economic sense, in world affairs. The European Economic Community (EEC) offered Ireland an opportunity to re-emerge from this isolation. The economic benefit of increased trade was the main motivation for the first application to the community. Interest in membership to the EEC was met with Irish uncertainty on whether membership in the EEC precluded a policy of neutrality. There was no precedent for a neutral joining the EC. The desirable goal of EC integration had to be weighed against the costs of appearing to oppose neutrality.

"There is no way to peace - Peace is the way"

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Neutrality, the Key to Peace

The way to make Britain neutral is for Scotland to declare its independence. Ireland insists on military neutrality and Scotland would do the same if it were to become an independent European nation. Wales would follow Scotland as the Union dissolved and England alone would remain as the only militaristic power.


Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Portrait of a European Freedom Fighter




Daniel Cohn-Bendit: Publicist and politician, the Greens, MEP; co-president of the Greens/Free European Alliance Group in the European Parliament

I was born in Monatuban, France on April 4, 1945. I visited the "Odenwald-Schule" in Oberhambach which I finished with my exam in 1965. When I returned to France immediately after school, supported by a German reparation scholarship, I started my studies in sociology at the University of Nanterre, a suburb of Paris. I became known for being spokesperson and leader of the May-Revolution in Paris during the 60ies.

I kept my contacts with my leftist friends in Germany and almost three weeks after the student Benno Ohnesorg was shot in Berlin, I declared on June 13, 1967: "After this first victim in Germany you should not think that the potential for violence is smaller in other countries." In February 1968, I met Rudi Dutschke at the Vietnam-congress in Berlin. After the attempted assassination of Rudi Dutschke, the SDS-chairman Karl Dietrich Wolff accepted my invitation to speak in Nanterre. That was the upbeat of the May- riots in Paris 1968. After the riots, the French government expelled me from France. After 1968, I was active in Frankfurt - among other things also in the "Kinderladen"-Movement. I worked in a bookshop, took part in the establishment of a group called "Revolutionärer Kampf" (revolutionary fight) and together with Joschka Fischer I was a member of the Frankfurt Sponti-scene which was exercising the social revolution by means of squatting, street fighting, ad agitation in companies such as Hoechst and Opel.
The central organ of this scene was the alternative city-magazine "Pflasterstrand". Since 1978 I work as a publicist in Frankfurt. I have been responsible editor and publisher of the magazine "Pflasterstrand". I also belonged to the leading spokespersons, when the so-called "Scene" declared itself for the parliamentary system and supported the party of the GREENS (Die GRÜNEN). After my ban on residence in France was revoked in 1978, I decided to stay in Germany.

In 1984 I became a member of the Green party and there I was one of the most determined opponents of the eco-socialist fundamentalism. As a "Realo-Green" I supported the Minister for environmental affairs of Hessen, Joschka Fischer during his term. After the change of power in Frankfurt in March 1989, the newly elected red-green coalition under the Lord Mayor Volker Hauff, was a new challenge for me. Hauff called three representatives of the Green Party into his city council and I was given the responsibility of an honorary city councillor for the newly established office for multi-cultural affairs. During the political debates about restrictions of the constitutional right to seek asylum (1992), I pleaded for a clear immigration law and liberal rights and regulations for citizenship. At the party congress of Bündnis 90/DIE GRÜNEN in November 1993, I was nominated to place 8 only on the party's list for the European elections which were held on June 12, 1994.
(Shortly before, I had advocated in favour of a military intervention to support the Bosnian Muslims. Now, this was what I got for it from the pacifist part of the party.) One of the two mandates for the Germany Greens, who achieved 10,1%, fell onto me. Also during my term as a European Parliamentarian, I remained honorary city councillor in Frankfurt.

From 1994 until 2003 I hosted the show "Literaturclub" for the Swiss TV station DRS.

In 1999 I became the leading candidate of the French Greens (LES VERTS) for the European Parliament. LES VERTS achieved 9,72% at the European elections. In 2004, I was candidate of the German Greens for the second time, and I was leading candidate of the European Green Party which was founded in Rome in February 2004.

Since January 2002 I am co-president of the Greens/Free European Alliance Group in the European Parliament. I am a Member of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and a member of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs. I am also a substitute in the Subcommittee on Security and Defence.

Publications (among others): "Linksradikalismus-Gewaltkur gegen die Alterskrankheit des Kommunismus", "Agitationsmodell für eine Revolution" (1968), "Der große Basar" (1976), "Reden über das eigene Land: Deutschland" (1987 with others), "Wir haben sie so geliebt, die Revolution" (1987, 2nd edition 1998), "1968: Die letzte Revolution, die noch nichts vom Ozonloch wusste" (1988, together with Joschka Fischer, Alexander Gauland, and Jörg Twenhöven), "Einwanderbares Deutschland oder Vertreibung aus dem Wohlstandsparadies? (1991, with others), "Heimat Babylon: das Wagnis der multikulturellen Demokratie" (1992; with Thomas Schmid), "Petit Dictionaire de l'Euro" (1998 together with Olivier Duhamel), "Euro für alle. Das Währungs-Wörterbuch" (with Olivier Duhamel), (in various languages), "Une envie de politique" (1998, with Lucas Delattre and Guy Herzlich). "Xénophobies" (1998 with Thomas Schmid). My latest work, "Quand tu seras président", written together with Bernard Kouchner, will be published in April 2004.

Films: : "C'est la vie" (1991), "Juden in Frankfurt"(1993).

Honours: Honorary degree of doctor of the Catholic University Tilburg, The Netherlands (1997), "Révélation politique" (honorary degree for soecial political achievements, awarded by Trombinoscope) (1998).
I live with my wife, her elder son and our son in Frankfurt. My hobby is football

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

EU Lisbon Treaty and Irish Conditions

EU closes on deal on Irish Lisbon demands
Yesterday, 07:27 pm
Timothy Heritage

The European Union moved closer to a deal Tuesday to offer Ireland legal guarantees on national sovereignty that would increase the chances of Irish voters backing a treaty reforming EU decision making. Skip related content

Ireland is confident a deal will be reached in time for EU leaders to approve it at a two-day summit starting Thursday. The Irish government would then be likely to hold a second referendum on the Lisbon reform treaty in September or October.
The leaders will also back Jose Manuel Barroso for a second term as president of the executive European Commission at the summit, discuss financial regulatory reforms, step up the fight against unemployment and plot strategy for U.N. climate talks.

"There is a broad consensus on the text. The only country still wavering is Britain," an EU diplomat said of negotiations in Brussels on a draft of the proposed guarantees.

After Irish voters rejected the treaty in a referendum last June, Dublin is seeking assurance on issues including taxation, abortion and military neutrality, and wants to continue to have a representative on the European Commission. Britain had said the assurances on national sovereignty in military matters should be worded to make clear it applied to all EU states, not just Ireland, a second EU diplomat said. While all accepted the final text would be legally binding, Britain also wanted more debate on which legal instrument the EU should choose to express the guarantees, the diplomat added.

Ireland's referendum is vital because reforms intended to streamline decision making in the EU and give it more weight on the world stage can go into force only if all 27 member states approve the Lisbon treaty. Opinion polls suggest the treaty now has the support of a majority of Irish voters, many of whom look to Europe as a shield in the global financial crisis.

Daniel Cohn-Bendit, President of the Green/European Free Alliance group (corrected from original text) at the European Parliament, has launched an anti-Barroso campaign, saying Barroso has promoted free markets at the expense of social concerns, but so far no one else is standing for the job.

The EU leaders will call at the summit for progress on reforming the financial regulatory system to prevent another global economic crisis, including regulation of alternative investment funds and improved capital requirements for banks. They are also set to approve the creation of two new bodies to assess potential threats to financial stability and protect small financial firms and consumers, and call for the new regulatory framework to be in place in 2010.

The action coincides with U.S. President Barack Obama's plan to outline regulatory reforms Wednesday, targeting critical weaknesses in the U.S. financial system such as thin bank capital cushions and eroded lending standards.

Comment:
Daniel Cohn-Bendit was a notable student leader in the 1968 stand-off with the French government. Slogan of the time "We are all German Jews!"

Britain can't afford another year of Labour

Changing the world, not saving it for the profligates

Saving the World for Labour

Gordon Brown now declares that he will "change the world", since his efforts at "saving the world" have received severe setbacks at home. However many of us do not wish to envisage the kind of world he would like to create and in reality his aim is not to change the world but to give more of the same. Any potential voter who is duped into voting for the governing party at the next General Election will no doubt regret it later. Meanwhile take a look at the new blog: SNP for Glasgow NorthEast.

People Power - Levelling the Playing Field

Monday, 15 June 2009

Open Europe Exposes Profiteering at Taxpayers' Expense

£10m Euro cash for Kinnocks
David Wooding Sun - 15 June 2009

FORMER Labour leader Neil Kinnock and wife Glenys have pocketed £10MILLION on the Brussels gravy train, it was revealed yesterday.

The couple have raked in £5.3million in allowances and £2.6million in wages, and will now be collecting more than £183,000 a year from a lavish pension pot.
Details of their rich pickings emerged as Mrs Kinnock becomes Gordon Brown's Europe Minister - on a £83,045 salary.
Figures show during 15 years as an MEP, she raked in £775,000 in pay plus £505,000 in daily allowances.
She also drew up to £1.2million travel expenses, £577,000 in office running costs and £2.3million in staff allowances.

In nine years as an EU Commissioner, her hubby got £1.85million in wages, £277,000 in housing allowances and £64,000 for "entertainment", plus a £336,602 "golden goodbye" when he stood down in 2004.
Anti-waste campaigners also demanded to know about their housing expenses.
The system allowed them both to claim accommodation costs, despite sharing a home in the Belgian capital.

Mats Persson, of the pressure group Open Europe, said: "The EU has made them millionaires." The Kinnocks' spokesperson was unavailable for comment.

.....and from the "Sunday Times"

Glenys and Neil Kinnock have six state pensions
Bojan Pancevski and Robert Watts Sunday Times - 14 June 2009

GLENYS KINNOCK, the new minister for Europe, has amassed six publicly funded pensions worth £185,000 per year with her husband Neil, the former leader of the Labour party.

They have already received up to £8m of taxpayers’ money in pay and allowances, he as a European commissioner and she as a member of the European parliament.

The pair are already drawing payments from three of their taxpayer-funded pensions. Glenys Kinnock, 64, soon to be elevated to the House of Lords alongside her husband, is collecting a teacher’s pension and from next month is entitled to another from Brussels with an estimated annual value of £48,000.

Lord Kinnock, 67, is receiving one pension as a former MP and a second for his service in Brussels, together worth more than £112,000.

Glenys Kinnock is simultaneously drawing a ministerial salary of £83,275. Her job entitles her to a further ministerial pension.

After she retires from her job she will be eligible to draw a further UK-based pension related to her service as an MEP, worth £19,730 a year.

Neil Kinnock, who resigned last week as unpaid chairman of the British Council to avoid “perceived conflict of interest” with his wife’s ministerial role, receives a pension of £83,089 for his service as European transport commissioner between 1995 and 1999 and vice-president of the commission from 1999 to 2004.

He receives a further £28,936 a year for his 25 years’ service as an MP, including time as leader of the opposition. He also claimed £13,700 of allowances while a member of the House of Lords during 2007-8.

During their time in Brussels both Kinnocks claimed a housing allowance on top of their incomes, even though they lived in the same home. This alone would have netted the couple almost £600,000 over 10 years.

“The Kinnocks are Brussels’s very own Lord and Lady Expenses,” said Mats Persson of Open Europe, the London-based think tank that calculated the Kinnocks’ earnings.

“One has to question whether Lady Kinnock is a suitable minister for Europe. How can she distinguish between the interests of Britain and the interests of the institutions that she and her family have relied upon for their income for so long?”

The precise amount of taxpayers’ money the Kinnocks received for their European roles has not been made public. However, Open Europe has calculated that the couple claimed £6m in staff and salary allowances and would have received a further £1.7m if they had claimed the maximum to which they were entitled. The Kinnocks did not dispute the figures when showed them by The Sunday Times.

Glenys Kinnock, a teacher who went on to become the most-travelled British MEP, clocking up almost 130,000 air miles in a five-year term, also employed her daughter Rachel as an executive assistant.

Kinnock failed to mention that she employed her daughter in declarations of financial interests covering the period since 2004. The practice of employing family members has since been banned. Rachel is now in charge of events and visits at Downing Street.

The Kinnocks’ Cambridge-educated son, Stephen, 39, director of Europe and central Asia at the World Economic Forum, spent eight years in Brussels in senior positions with the British Council. He is married to Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the leader of the Danish Social Democrats, who was an MEP between 1999 and 2004.

Glenys Kinnock has also been accused of using her influence in the Socialist group to support a “campaign against transparency”.

Marta Andreasen, the EU whistleblower, was sacked by Neil Kinnock, then an EU commissioner, when she raised concerns about possible fraud in the EU accounts.

This weekend Andreasen, now a UKIP MEP, said: “There was a clear conflict of interest as, in support of her husband the commissioner, Mrs Kinnock lobbied with the Socialist group to vote against allowing me to reveal my findings in parliament.”

Kinnock has also been identified as claiming her allowances even on days when there was no official business.

Her spokesman said: “As minister of state, Glenys Kinnock will not draw from her Westminster pension. She has a small contributory teacher’s pension and has contributed for 15 years to the European parliament’s additional voluntary pension scheme. She will be entitled to a ministerial pension.

“All payments to Glenys Kinnock were made as the salary to which she was entitled as an MEP, exactly the same as all UK MPs. Staff and office expenses were exactly the same as all other MEPs. No payments could affect \ judgment as a minister and she will properly fulfil all her duties as a UK minister.”



© Sunday Times

Riding on the Gravy Train

From: Mail on Sunday
Farce over Glenys Kinnock, the makeshift minister who can't even do her job because she's still an MEP
By KIRSTY WALKER

Glenys Kinnock: Is she a minister or isn't she?

Glenys Kinnock's appointment as Europe minister descended into farce yesterday after it emerged that she could not do the job because she was still an MEP. Under EU Parliament rules, Mrs Kinnock is not allowed to serve as a minister in a national Government until she steps down as an MEP on July 14.

Days after accepting Gordon Brown's surprise invitation to join his Government, Mrs Kinnock was forced to admit she was a mere 'acting minister'. There was speculation in Westminster last night that Mrs Kinnock was reluctant to quit her job as an MEP as she would have to forgo some of her gold-plated pension and golden-goodbye.

The absurd situation is set to cause further embarrassment for Mr Brown as he fights for his political survival. Downing Street sources last night insisted Mrs Kinnock had resigned as an MEP. But a European Parliament spokesman said he had no knowledge of her quitting the post. 'We would normally get a formal notification if that had happened,' said the spokesman. 'But we haven't had one.'

Tory Europe spokesman Mark Francois said: 'Today's confusion regarding Glenys Kinnock is symptomatic of the kind of chaos which now reigns in Downing Street, whereby even Ministers of the Crown do not appear to know whether they are Ministers or not.'
But as she has gone on to a Government job, her salary will be deducted from this transition allowance, effectively cancelling it out.

By resigning a few weeks early, Mrs Kinnock is expected to lose out slightly on some of her MEP's pension - believed to be worth around £66,000 a year. The pension is calculated on her time served as an MEP and her age. Her early 'retirement' is only set to cost her a few hundred pounds.

Mrs Kinnock is also entitled to receive a parachute payment - aimed at helping MEPs ease back into life after losing their seats - worth around £32,383. But as she has gone on to a Government job, her salary will be deducted from this transition allowance, effectively cancelling it out.

A spokesman for Open Europe said: 'The appointment of Glenys Kinnock is quickly turning into a shambles. The Government is all over the place on Europe. Yesterday's election results show it needs to get its act together sooner rather than later.'

Mrs Kinnock, 64, and her husband have earned a reputation as serial junketeers after jumping on the EU gravy train in the 1990s. During her 15 years as Labour's MEP for South Wales East, Mrs Kinnock's salary had risen from £31,686 to £63,291, plus substantial expenses.

Yet a surprise call from Number 10 means she will make the transition from £63,291-a-year euro MP to £83,275-a-year Europe Minister.

Lord Kinnock, 67, and his wife are not the only members of their family who have a taxpayer-funded living.
Their son, Stephen Kinnock, headed the St Petersburg office of the publicly funded British Council until October. Its unpaid chairman is Lord Kinnock.
The 39-year-old now works as a director of the World Economic Forum.
The Kinnocks’ daughter, 37-year-old Rachel, landed a job on Mr Brown’s political staff two years ago.
Lord Kinnock was appointed as a European Commissioner in 1995, on a salary of £105,584 a year.
By the time he stepped down in 2004, he was earning £163,453 in salary, a £24,000-a-year housekeeping allowance and a £7,000 entertainment budget.
Mr Kinnock received almost £273,000 when he left the job to help him adjust to life outside the Commission. He can also draw on a £64,000-a-year pension.


The "Socialist" Clan Kinnock have been on a Governmental and European gravy train for the last 15 years grossing them 10,000,000 in property speculation, salaries, expenses and pensions !!!!
Baron Kinnock's reaction ? - "No Comment": Dame Kinnock - unavailable.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Altan - Súil Ghorm (Ceolín www.tg4.ie)

Some light relief.....

Britain's Greatest Hope

Now an immediate general election seems unlikely and the reputation of the government (not to mention parliament) is in tatters, the greatest hope amongst the public is that the PM continues to alienate his electors and commit further faux pas so that the result when it eventually comes will be of such dimensions that the political landscape of Britain will be changed forever.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

PM - Scotland's Greatest Hope for Victory

While Gordon Brown was the SNP's biggest electoral asset, Alex Salmond deserves his share of the credit
Despite European elections rarely predicting Westminster votes accurately, the voters who flocked to Alex Salmond's SNP have the party counting the days to a general election, writes Alan Cochrane.

Alan Cochrane

In the end the SNP's European election win was predictable, but even if they did not break through the 30 per cent barrier the size of the win is still remarkable.
To have beaten Labour so handsomely - the margin was not quite 10 per cent, but close enough at 8.3 - and to have missed out on taking a Labour seat by a mere 7,000 votes out of more than one million cast is good going indeed.

Labour powerless as Alex Salmond's SNP takes a European election that has nothing to do with Europe

Alex Salmond was fully entitled to crow about his party's triumph and it will surprise no one to learn that that is precisely what he did yesterday. He claimed, on the basis of last Thursday's vote, that the Nats would win 27 seats - an extra 20 - at the next Westminster election. They won in 22 of Scotland's 32 local authority areas into the bargain.
European elections seldom give an accurate foretaste of what will happen in a general election. However, all the signs of a looming disaster are there for the party that assumed it would "rule" Scotland for ever and reckoned the Nat win in 2007 was nothing more than a blip.
There will be a new army of Labour MPs with nothing to look forward to except defeat and electoral oblivion. Whether Thursday's figures will make them more or less likely to join those who want Gordon Brown to step aside is open to question.
For what it's worth, my own view is that most Scottish Labour MPs are of the "easy life" brigade and will be content to postpone their date with destiny and defeat for as long as possible.
While he didn't take all the credit - at least not within my hearing - there is little doubt that Mr Salmond is entitled to much of it. The massive and continuing unpopularity of Mr Brown is the principal reason for Labour's nosedive, but the First Minister is fast cementing a role and position for himself in the national psyche that is proving to be a big electoral asset.
The SNP share of the popular vote has increased by 10 per cent since the last European elections. On top of his success in the Holyrood elections two years ago, it confirms the view that it is to Mr Salmond that Scottish voters increasingly turn as their first-choice alternative to Gordon Brown and Labour.
It also shows that attacks by the Labour, Tory and Liberal Democrat parties are having hardly any effect on the SNP and none whatsoever in denting Mr Salmond's popularity.
Attacking the SNP's policies on independence and their numerous broken manifesto pledges appears to have had little impact with the public, who seem to be saying that they don't really care about these issues so long as a Salmond-led SNP looks like a respectable alternative to Labour.
A change of tactics from all of Scotland's opposition parties would appear to be on the cards - with more focus, perhaps, on the personal qualities of the First Minister.
Of the other parties, the Tories can be reasonably satisfied with their numbers. Although they lost their second Euro-seat because Scotland as a whole lost one, they managed nearly 17 per cent of the vote, roughly the same as last time. But Ukip took five per cent and if that all goes back to the Tories for a general election, they will be content.
The Tory vote in key target seats suggested that they might win up to seven MPs, compared to their present singleton, but, as must be stressed repeatedly, Euro-elections are not accurate predictors of Westminster votes. Still, an advance is an advance.
The Lib Dems clung to their one seat, which is about as much as they could have hoped for.
At 20 per cent, Scottish Labour did better than in the rest of the UK. But across their heartlands, their traditional supporters are either plumping for the Nationalists or staying at home. Their prospects are dire indeed.
Jim Murphy, the Scottish Secretary, and Iain Gray, the Holyrood Labour leader, posed for pictures yesterday with David Martin and Catherine Stihler, their "successful" Euro-candidates, but in spite of their smiles, they had precious little to celebrate.
Mr Murphy is a professed Brown loyalist but will be aware that his Eastwood seat, on the basis of Thursday's figures, looks even more vulnerable. For his part, Mr Gray must find a way through Alex Salmond's formidable armour if Labour in Scotland is not to simply stand back helplessly and watch the onward march of the Nats.
As for the returned MEPs, David Martin is a tireless campaigner, even if few people are aware of his good works. By way of contrast, his colleague, Ms Stihler, is totally unknown to the voters and is extremely fortunate to be still in a job, and a well-paid job at that. She has fewer than one per cent of the voters to thank for that. Lucky lady!

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Declaration for Welsh Democracy

Declaration for Welsh Democracy

Tomorrow's Wales' Declaration for Welsh Democracy was launched today with one hundred initial signatories which included prominent Welsh writers, actors, sportsmen, poets, churchmen and politicians.

The aim of the Declaration for Welsh Democracy is to highlight the issues at stake in the debate on Wales’ constitutional future and to win public support for law-making powers for the Assembly and a referendum to bring that into effect.

It does this by drawing attention to the principles that we believe any system of governance should adhere to, and how holding a referendum on primary law-making powers for the Assembly can move us nearer to such a system in Wales. We would urge everyone who believes that Wales needs a system of governance that would allow the Assembly to get to grips with changing the lives of the people of Wales for the better, and which will be stable, accountable and democratic, to support this Declaration.

You can sign up to the Declaration by completing the form on our website.

We the undersigned believe that the creation of a system of effective democratic governance for Wales is a matter of major importance. Such a system should:
Be efficient in its use of time and resources;
Be comprehensible and transparent;
Promote wide participation by the public and civil society;
Respect the autonomy of the National Assembly as the elected body which represents the people of Wales;
Offer constitutional stability and thus a means of concentrating on the implementation of a policy programme that can get to grips with the problems and release the potential of Wales.
We believe that this would best be achieved by the granting of primary law-making powers to the National Assembly, and we call for the holding of a referendum to that end.

www.cymru-yfory.org | www.tomorrow-wales.org
Thank you for your continued interest in Tomorrow’s Wales.

cymruyfory@stratamatrix.co.uk

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

SNP/Plaid Dissolution Call Rejected by 72 Votes

Welsh Secretary Peter Hain rejected the call, warning that to dissolve Parliament would be to "walk away" from the challenge of reforming Westminster's politics and to "turn our backs on the British people" at a time of economic need.

He claimed the SNP had a hidden agenda of wanting to see a Tory Government, which would inflict "mass unemployment, education cuts and hospital closures" on Scotland "so they could try to ride a wave of revulsion into independence".

He earned a rebuke, however, from Deputy Speaker Sylvia Heal after he taunted Tory leader David Cameron for his "cowardice" for failing to put down a motion himself despite repeatedly calling for an election.

More Labour propaganda

Labour claims that it will "invest in Britain" by spending more rather than making cuts, but the fact is that the Labour government will make cuts of 7%. The Tories will make cuts of 10% but the difference is the Tories will ring fence essential services including the NHS, whereas Labour will make cuts in all departments.
Labour is in survival mode, intent on its own survival and typically manipulates the truth to its own advantage. As a result of massive government borrowing and such huge debts it is inevitable the cuts will be made whoever is in power and taxes will rise.

What To Do About Parliament



From UNLOCK DEMOCRACY

THE WESTMINSTER VILLAGE CANNOT SAVE US
This is a textbook example of how not to sort out the mess that the UK's political system has got itself into. The Westminster Village and party politics can't save us – it is the Westminster Village that got us into this situation in the first place. Does Gordon Brown seriously believe that the solution is just yet more consultation?
There is a better way. Just as the Sustainable Communities Act requires councils to establish community panels to make proposals, Parliament could set up a Citizens' Convention to look into how to make our political system more accountable and ethical and give the final say to the public. Like a jury, a Citizens' Convention would consist of ordinary members of the public. It would be independent of government. Protected by statute, the process couldn't be halted by a general election.
Fortunately a number of MPs across the political spectrum do get it. On Monday, Labour MP Martin Caton – supported by a cross-party group of MPs – tabled the Citizens' Convention (Accountability and Ethics) Bill[1]. This would set up a Citizens' Convention and would require Parliament to respond to its proposals. It would be make recommendations on, among other things:
How to bring elected representatives to book when they step out of line;
How to change the way in which Parliament is run to ensure that the government is properly held to account;
Whether to change our electoral system, and how.
The Convention – or 5% of the public – could insist on a referendum if any of its proposals were rejected. The public would have the final say.
The Citizens' Convention Bill could become law in a matter of weeks if the party leaders agreed to give it parliamentary time. We just need to convince them.
TAKE ACTION TODAY!
It is crucial we make this happen. Following the expenses scandal, the UK's political system has never been more discredited. More people are disengaged with politics than ever. All the party leaders now say they accept that we need to open up our political system. These are fine words, but what we need now is action.
That's why I'm asking you to write to your MP right away and ask them to:
Support the “Citizens Convention (Accountability and Ethics) Bill” by signing Early Day Motion 1573;
Urge their Party Leader to take steps to enable it to become law in this session of Parliament; and
In the interests of transparency and clarity, to let you know whether they will support this Bill.
(An “Early Day Motion” is a sort of petition which MPs can sign to publicly express their opinion. They rarely get debated but they play a crucial role in demonstrating how strongly MPs feel about a certain issue).

To make it easy for you, our friends at 38 Degrees have created this handy tool to help you write to your MP in a matter of minutes. Simply type in your post code, personalise the standard letter (including your own words will make it much more effective) and off it goes.

By spending just five minutes doing this today, you will make a big difference. With the Sustainable Communities Act you have already proven that people power can make a big difference. The political class know they are on the ropes at the moment. We have never had a better chance to get real reform.

Best wishes,
Steve Shaw

Local Works

PS Please send any responses you get from your MP to alex.runswick@unlockdemocracy.org.uk or (if they write by post): Alex Runswick, 6 Cynthia Street, London N1 9JF

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

The Westminster Dissolution c/o Plaid & SNP

Tomorrow is the fateful day when Plaid Cymru MPs - Elfyn Llwyd and Adam Price along with the SNP MPs call for the dissolution of parliament and the holding of a General Election. Where Tories and Lib Dems and have so far failed let the nationalists succeed in fulfilling the wish of the people, 83% of them.
This Labour government has ridden roughshod over British democracy.
They have a great deal to answer for.

Enya - We are free now

Nationalists in Europe



Scotland, Wales and northern Ireland have done well in electing nationalists to the European parliament. However, national independence strategy should be more assertive and specific, identifying problem areas and public concerns - proposing radical solutions, taking the initiative from weakened unionist partners, even breaking away from coalitions if need be. All aspiring Celtic nations within the remaining British (English) Empire should do more to promote themselves as strong and viable states and future independent nations and to provide a platform and a rallying point for those who oppose unionism and regional status, so that they appear to their public supporters as resolute and determined in contrast to the declining authority of the central government. Thus democracy will be returned to the people where it truly resides and legislature will not be solely the province of elected and unelected oligarchical decisions.

"Put up or Shut up"

As a result of all the defections and in characteristic magisterial mode the Prime Minister has demanded that the members of his new cabinet team swear an oath of loyalty. One minister has declined to do so and has resigned.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Shedding Light on English Britishness

From "Britology Watch"....it's worth a read.


Britishness / Englishness: What Brown says about ‘Britishness’ could just as easily be called Englishness. And that’s because he IS essentially talking about Englishness, as the Britishness he outlines is what he needs the English to think of as their true, underlying ’national identity’ – whereas, in reality, it’s Englishness that is the underlying national identity of Britishness: “We have shown over three centuries that a common ground of Britishness, of British identity, can be found in the stories of the various communities and nationalities that inhabit these islands. . . . On one side, our nurturing Scottish, Welsh, Irish and English identities and sensibilities – now, of course, added to by many others . . . . On the other, carefully balanced and held in tension, the organisations and operations of a British state that, shorn of nationalistic baggage, are the patriotic aspect of the nation state”.

Eugh? Decoded: ‘British patriotism (patriotism, you understand, not nationalism) is the acceptable face of the English nationalism (and national identity) that originally subjugated the other British nations and the colonies, who are now (after three centuries) England’s equals within a common Britishness’.

An Historic Win for the SNP

The SNP has won the largest share of the European election vote in Scotland for the first time, beating Labour into second place. The SNP took 29.1% of the vote - a 10 point increase from the 2004 election - ahead of Labour's 20.8%. The Tories took 16.8% and the Lib Dems, 11.5%. The result means the SNP and Labour have returned two MEPs each, with one each for the Tories and Lib Dems.
Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond hailed the result as "historic".

The Popularity of Sinn Fein

Sinn Fein's Bairbre de Brun has topped the poll in the European Parliamentary election in Northern Ireland.
She has broken a record the DUP has held since 1979. Ms de Brun got 126,184 votes and was the only candidate to reach the quota on the first count.

Labour "Banging on the Doorsteps"

According to both Harriet Harman and Peter Hain, interviewed today by the BBC, Labour candidates have been "banging on the doorsteps" (sic) in their efforts to obtain votes.
Possibly that's one of the reasons for losing so dramatically? ;-)
Have they lost their sense of direction?

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Meltdown in Europe

RESULTS (EXCLUDING NORTHERN IRELAND)
SEATS: 72*TURNOUT: 14,032,420ELECTORATE: 40,300,527
Votes MEPs
Party Total % Total +/-
Conservative 4,012,600 28.6
(+1.2) 24 +1
UK Independence Party 2,440,438 17.4
(+0.5) 13 +1
Labour 2,151,907 15.3
(-7.0) 11 -5
Liberal Democrats 1,953,575 13.9
(-1.1) 10 +1
Green Party 1,223,303 8.7
(+2.5) 2 0
British National Party 916,424 6.5
(+1.4) 2 +2
Plaid Cymru 126,702 0.9
(-0.1) 1 0
English Democrat 279,801 2.0
(+1.1) 0 0
Christian Party-Christian Peoples Alliance 232,755 1.7
(+1.7) 0 0
Socialist Labour Party 150,980 1.1
(+1.1) 0 0
No2EU 143,543 1.0
(+1.0) 0 0
United Kingdom First 74,007 0.5
(+0.5) 0 0
Libertas 73,544 0.5
(+0.5) 0 0
Jury Team 72,312 0.5
(+0.5) 0 0
Independent - Jan Jananayagam 50,014 0.4
(+0.4) 0 0
Pensioners Party 37,785 0.3
(+0.1) 0 0
Mebyon Kernow 14,922 0.1
(+0.1) 0 0
Animals Count 13,201 0.1
(+0.1) 0 0
Independent - Peter Rigby 9,916 0.1
(+0.1) 0 0
The Peace Party 9,534 0.1
(+0.0) 0 0
Independent - Katie Hopkins 8,971 0.1
(+0.1) 0 0
Fair Play Fair Trade Party 7,151 0.1
(+0.1) 0 0
The Roman Party 5,450 0.0
(+0.0) 0 0
Independent - Steven Cheung 4,918 0.0
(+0.0) 0 0
Socialist Party of Great Britain 4,050 0.0
(+0.0) 0 0
Independent - Francis Apaloo 3,621 0.0
(+0.0) 0 0
Yes 2 Europe 3,384 0.0
(+0.0) 0 0
Independent - Sohale Rahman 3,248 0.0
(+0.0) 0 0
Independent - Gene Alcantara 1,972 0.0
(+0.0) 0 0
Independent - Haroon Saad 1,603 0.0
(+0.0) 0 0
Wai D 789 0.0
(+0.0) 0 0
Independent - Duncan Robertson 0 0
0 0
Scottish National Party 2 0
0 0
Scottish Socialist Party 0 0
0 063 of 69 seats declared.
Seat change is adjusted to allow a direct comparison with the results from the 2004 election
*Includes Northern Ireland.


Press association

The (Labour) party was beaten into third place by the UK Independence Party (Ukip) in the popular vote while the far right British National Party achieved a major breakthrough gaining their first Euro seats.

The scale of the defeat could be the catalyst for rebel Labour backbenchers manoeuvring to oust Mr Brown to come out into the open and launch a direct leadership challenge.

With the all the results in for England and Wales, Labour were on course to gain just 16% of the vote - a point behind Ukip on 17% and 11 points behind the Tories on 27%, according to a BBC projection.

Labour lost five seats to leave them with just 11, two fewer than Ukip with 13 and 13 behind the Conservative tally of 24.

Comment:
The BNP gained two seats. In Wales, Plaid Cymru's Jill Evans regained her seat.
The SNP won two seats. Sinn Fein won a seat and topped the poll in the north of Ireland.
Plaid Cymru's vote also fell from the 2004 result and this reflected the fact that it is still in coalition with Labour in the Assembly.

Click and Play
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/8088589.stm

The Question of Cornish Nationality

The Cornish Question

By Philip R Hosking

Nationality exists in the minds of people, its only conceivable habitat. Outside peoples minds there can be no nationality, because nationality is a way of looking at oneself not an entity an sich. Common sense is able to detect it, and the only human discipline that can describe and analyse it is psychology. This awareness, this sense of nationality, this national sentiment, is more than a characteristic of a nation. It is nationhood itself.

The creation of the European Union, along with other pan-European bodies such as the Council of Europe, has produced a need for greater regionalisation, decentralisation and subsidiarity in the organisation of a European politic. In tandem with this new regionalism both the European Union and Council of Europe have developed human rights legislation specifically aimed at the protection of minority groups, their languages and their cultures. Taken together the above developments seem to promise a much brighter future for the national minorities and historic nations which abound on the European continent. For more on the national minorities of Europe please visit the website eurominority: http://www.eurominority.org/version/eng/

The Cornish are an ethnic group and historic nation of the southwest of Great Britain. They have their own lesser used Celtic language, related to Breton and Welsh, more distantly to Scottish, Manx and Irish Gaelic. Alongside the Cornish language can be found specific sports and sporting tradition; Cornish music, dance and cuisine and a distinct political culture. These phenomena are all bound up together with a popular self perception as being other than English, as being Cornish Britons.

The ethnic data from the 2009 Cornish schools survey showed that 34% of children consider themselves to be Cornish rather than British or English. The results from the 2001 UK population census show over 37,000 people hold a Cornish identity instead of English or British. On this census, to claim to be Cornish, you had to deny being British, by crossing out the British option and then write 'Cornish' in the "other" box. This does not represent a mere clerical error or poorly thought through wording. This represents a denial of the right of the Cornish to describe themselves in terms of their identity. It might seem trite to complain about something that happened years ago, but the 2001 census will remain relevant until the next one (in 2011). How many more people would have described themselves as Cornish if they did not have to deny being British or if there had been a specific Cornish tick box? How many people knew that writing 'Cornish' in the "other" box was an option? This was extremely poorly publicised. How many ticked British but feel Cornish British would have been closer to the truth.

Over the last few years various Cornish groups and individuals have been campaigning for the Cornish to be recognised for protection under the Council of Europe's (CoE) Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM). Such recognition would be a powerful tool to ensure correct treatment and protection of the Cornish national minority and its culture. The UK's Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) in its shadow report on the FCNM produced on the 30th of March 2007 advised the government that the treaty could be extended to protect Cornish culture and also raised concerns about the lack of legal equality for minorities in the UK. Recently the Council of Europe has also suggested that the FCNM could be extended to include the Cornish.

This officially sanctioned silence on the existence of a Cornish identity must stop. Why will the government not ask the Office of National Statistics to include a Cornish tick box on the 2011 census? The 'Life in the United Kingdom' handbook, required reading for all who wish to immigrate to the UK, quotes the census heavily when describing the regions and ethnic diversity of the UK. Why are the Cornish not mentioned once? Why has UK government so far blocked all attempts at ensuring the Cornish are recognised under the FCNM and ignored the advice of the CRE and CoE?

In 2008 some decided that enough was enough and started to collect funds for a court action to challenge the governments' decision to exclude the Cornish from the FCNM. The purpose of the fund was to pay much of the costs involved in pursuing a legal action against the UK Government. The action was deemed necessary after government's constant, dogmatic and wholly irrational, refusal to include the Cornish within an international treaty designed to, among other things, introduce educational pluralism in their traditional homeland and thus bring to an end the forced assimilation of the Cornish people. Sadly not enough pledges of money where forthcoming. Even if £40,000 in pledges were collected this was deemed insufficient. For the latest news on the Cornish Fighting Fund visit their website at: http://www.cornishfightingfund.org/index.php

With the arrival of the New Labour government in the United Kingdom in the mid 90's a process was engaged that resulted in devolved governmental bodies being given to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. At this time the government also made the offer of devolution to any 'English region' that could prove an interest. Following a popular campaign for a Cornish assembly supported by a petition of 50,000 signatures the government reneged on its promise adding that only what it considered to be a 'region' could be offered an assembly. For them Cornwall was but a subdivision of a larger and somewhat artificial Southwest region. For many Cornish residents however Cornwall is one of the six Celtic nations of the European Atlantic arc and a constitutional royal duchy.

Over the last 3 centuries Cornwall has gone from being on the leading edge of the industrial revolution to being one of the poorest regions of Europe. In recent history Kernow has qualified for Objective One Funding from the EU as have many regions of the former communist block. Today little has changed with Cornwall still qualifying for European funding. Low wages, unskilled 'Mc Jobs', poverty, social problems, drugs, and rocketing housing prices are the often hidden face of the optimistically named "English" Rivera. Coupled with this Cornwall have seen the 'centralisation' of services, institutions and government bodies, followed by the skilled jobs they entail, out of the Duchy. This process has been much to the benefit of various undemocratic and faceless 'South West of England' unelected governmental bodies and quangos.

To begin to address the above problems many in Cornwall, including Cornish nationalists Mebyon Kernow, have called for decision making powers to be devolved to a Cornish body of governance. Cornwall Council's Feb 2003 MORI Poll showed 55% in favour of a democratically-elected, fully-devolved regional assembly for Cornwall, (this was an increase from 46% in favour in a 2002 poll). In 2000 The Cornish Constitutional Convention launched a campaign that resulted in a petition signed by 50,000 people calling for a fully devolved Cornish assembly. The campaign generated support from across the political spectrum in Cornwall. To date it has been the largest expression of popular support for devolution in the whole of the United Kingdom. The UK government has ignored all requests for greater Cornish home rule. For information and updates on the campaign for a Cornish assembly you can visit their website at: http://www.cornishassembly.org/

So it must be asked why the government is being so stubborn when it comes to giving the Cornish any form of devolution or recognition? Perhaps the answer rests in out constitutional subsoil.

Even if the UK government, Duchy authority, or history curriculum are loathed to touch the subject, Cornwall does in fact have a distinct constitutional history as a Duchy with an autonomous parliamentary legal system called the Stannaries. If you ask about the constitutional nature of the Duchy, if you are not ignored, then you will be told that the Duchy is a "well-managed private estate which funds the public, charitable and private activities of The Prince of Wales and his family. The Duchy consists of around 54,648 hectares of land in 23 counties, mostly in the South West of England". However this seems to fly in the face of the 19th century the legal arguments of Duchy officials, which defeated the UK Crown's aspirations of sovereignty over the Cornish foreshore. The Duchy of Cornwall at that time argued that the Duke had sovereignty of Cornwall and not the Crown. On behalf of the Duchy in its successful action against the Crown, which resulted in the Cornwall Submarine Mines Act of 1858, Sir George Harrison (Attorney General for Cornwall) made this submission:

That Cornwall, like Wales, was at the time of the Conquest, and was subsequently treated in many respects as distinct from England.

That it was held by the Earls of Cornwall with the rights and prerogative of a County Palatine, as far as regarded the Seignory or territorial dominion.

That the Dukes of Cornwall have from the creation of the Duchy enjoyed the rights and prerogatives of a County Palatine, as far as regarded seignory or territorial dominion, and that to a great extent by Earls.

That when the Earldom was augmented into a Duchy, the circumstances attending to it's creation, as well as the language of the Duchy Charter, not only support and confirm natural presumption, that the new and higher title was to be accompanied with at least as great dignity, power, and prerogative as the Earls enjoyed, but also afforded evidence that the Duchy was to be invested with still more extensive rights and privileges.

The Duchy Charters have always been construed and treated, not merely by the Courts of Judicature, but also by the Legislature of the Country, as having vested in the Dukes of Cornwall the whole territorial interest and dominion of the Crown in and over the entire County of Cornwall.

In the book "The Cornish Question" by Mark Sandford that was published by the Constitutional Unit, School of Public Policy, University College London in 2002 it states that - "The existence of the Duchy of Cornwall was once of constitutional significance, but is now essentially a commercial organisation". Considering that this commercial organisation is the largest landowner in Cornwall and claims to be nothing but a private estate and company, you would think it reasonable to expect there to be an official date of change-over from an official body of constitutional significance into a purely private commercial organisation.

The charters that created the Duchy, the first of 1337 being published in 1978 as Statutes in Force Constitutional law, give the Duke the powers of: "The King's Writ and Summons of Exchequer" throughout Cornwall. These powers of the Duke of Cornwall represent the powers of government and they are certainly not what you would expect from a simple private landed estate something. Research reveals that the public spirited Crown Estate provides cultural support and housing for the public everywhere in the UK except Cornwall. It is also subject to the Freedom of Information Act. The Duchy of Cornwall is the analogous body in Cornwall but, in a departure from its historical role, it now claims to be a private estate with exemption from the Freedom of Information Act 2000. A stratagem designed to deter investigation into Duchy constitution and Cornish history perhaps?

In the Cornwall Submarine Mines Act 1858 it states that the Duchy of Cornwall is a 'territorial possession' of Britain. So, sometime between 1858 and the present day, a territory of Britain transformed into a private commercial organisation, when, if at all, did this happen? When Cornish MP Andrew George raised questions on the 16th June 1997 about the affairs of the Duchy he was told that there is an injunction in the House of Commons that prevents such questions being raised.

In my opinion these are questions that should be deemed important enough to be answered by someone in authority, whether that authority is a Government office or the Duchy of Cornwall. Claiming a national territory and making it your own private business whilst denying the indigenous population its history and identity is no small affair. An attempt has been made to separate the Duchy of Cornwall, which is not subject to English tax legislation, from the territory of Cornwall, the argument being that the Duchy has a separate existence to the geographical area of Cornwall and holds property outside the area. The argument is spurious and flies in the face of the Duchy case of 1856. It seems no coherent description of the Duchy is available and all attempts to obtain a clear picture of this strange Janus faced body have been ignored.

In present day Cornwall the playing field is tilted against the indigenous Cornish identity. The impression promoted is that the Cornish nation has only ever been an insignificant sub-division of some awe-inspiring, all-powerful, fully homogeneous, fixed and eternal England. With the English education system encouraging English nationalism in Cornwall at the expense of the indigenous Cornish identity, the exploitation of Cornwall has been acceptable to the state while the absence from English law of the international right to an enforceable equality before the law has protected the Duchy authority from an effective legal challenge. The result is that the Duke of Cornwall's fortune from Cornish assets continues to relieve England from paying tax to support the heir to the throne whilst all moves that would empower the Cornish, hence threatening the Duchy, have been stifled. The Duchy of Cornwall Human Rights Association website explores these Cornish constitutional issues in much greater detail: http://duchyofcornwall.eu/

When the UK government and Duchy authority finally decide to be honest about the autonomous position of the Duchy of Cornwall within the UK perhaps then an open debate about Cornish devolution and our future governance can begin.


--
Oll an gwella

Philip Hosking

Saturday, 6 June 2009

More Window Dressing in the Closing Down Store

No good can come to Wales from the recent appointments of Peter Hain and Glenys Kinnock. They are both pro-Unionist advocates of the status quo and do not represent the future but the past. They are not likely to advance the cause of the Welsh language or the Welsh culture and the local communities. Their appointments have no consequence whatsoever for present needs and future aspirations with regard to community affairs or the progress of devolution. They may thus be regarded as sinecures and mere "window-dressing". It is time for the government to shut up shop.

D-Day for Gordon Brown

A YouGov poll of 800 Labour Party members for Channel 4 News found opinion almost equally split - with 46% saying he should carry on and 47% urging him to go before the election.

One-in-five - 21% - said he should quit immediately. Forty five percent thought victory was unlikely under his leadership while 32% said that the party had no chance at all if he remained in place.

Mendacious and Dishonest Politicians

When the head of the government stands up in front of an audience of media reporters and journalists and utters remarks which are palpably untrue after those same people have been assured of the contrary it begs the question: how are these politicians to be trusted with the running of the country and should they not be removed forthwith and cast into political oblivion?

How is it possible that a Labour government which is so obviously thoroughly corrupt and unworthy to govern can be allowed to continue, despite all the PM's protestations that those who have sinned will be brought to justice and that parliament will be cleaned up and sanitized and constitutional reforms will be enacted? It is like inviting a burglar who has robbed your home to return the stolen goods and receive a knighthood for his services. We have a government that can get away with murder.

For the good of the people of the British Isles it is essential that this inept and useless government must go and not be permitted to struggle on for another year of mendacity, dishonesty and deception. All the talk of openness and transparency and putting things to rights is about placating, mollifying and subduing public opposition to this corrupt and pathetic regime. The public demands to be represented by elected politicians of the highest integrity, no less, and it appears that these people are thin on the ground in government and those who are beyond reproach have refused the offer to serve. An example is the former Liberal leader Paddy Ashdowne. Another might be Vince Cable. The public can only take so much: CALL A GENERAL ELECTION NOW......

Friday, 5 June 2009

I Shall Not Be Moved by Bird Youmans (read G. Brown the Last)

Blue Grass for Red Politics

Clannad - Seachrán Charn tSiail

Lie back and listen

For the Good of the Country?

" What is my country?" Many reading this would say "My country is Wales/Scotland/England/Ireland", and not "Britain is my country". Certainly Scots would look upon their country as Scotland, the Irish Ireland, apart from northern Orangemen and women. It's all a matter of allegiance. In the past a Welsh zealot would be convicted of treason for declaring Wales to be his country. At least today nobody is hanged, or hung, drawn and quartered. The leader of Mebyon Kernow has been elected to Cornwall County Council, for example. Is he guilty of treason for conspiring against the British state?
What is good for my country? Is the return of Peter Hain good for Wales or a retrograde step, Glenys Kinnock for Europe? Baroness Royall of the fiery hair?
Who can save us from these people?
There has to be an election asap.
That, or a revolution....

Learning by Repetition

"If you repeat the same statements time after time people will eventually believe you," so we are told. If anybody watched the P.M's embarrassing press conference on Sky TV today these are the messages which came over, and over, and over again:
"I shall not be moved....we have work to do....we will continue to do what has to be done, for the economy, for people's jobs, for the nation......." (blah, blah.......)

Calls for dissolution of parliament and a general election fell on deaf ears. Meanwhile, in the middle of the press conference came the breaking news of the resignation of another member of the government (or the outer circle of the Cabinet) Caroline Flint, Minister for Europe, and right in the middle of the EU elections. Zut, flut, alors! Mama mia!

Thursday, 4 June 2009

I Shall Not Be Moved - Song Nos. 10 & 11

Song No.10 in the parliamentary hit parade.

I'm on my way to heaven,
I shall not be moved.
I'm on my way to heaven,
I shall not be moved.
Just like the tree that's standing by the water
I shall not be moved.

The captain clings on desperately to the wreckage but the flood sweeps all away.
Caution. It does not favour one to cross the great water.

After "I Ching" - the Book of Changes.

Song No 11 in the parliamentary hit parade

Let Gordon be my leader,
We shall not be moved.
Let Gordon be my leader,
We shall not be moved.
Just like the tree that's standing by the water
We shall not be moved.

His foes rise up against him but he rallies his loyal supporters to his side.
Caution. Danger lurks in the massed ranks of the populus.

Taken from the "I Ching".