Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Carwyn Blowing with the Wind.

I have to keep on reminding myself. Never get on the wrong side of Alun Cairns. He reminds me of Dave Timmis, who played scrum half with me at Shrewsbury in the 1970s. Always harrying , sniping, probing and as soon as my opposite number at open side got a bit 'cocky', Dave was through the gap like a ferret up a drainpipe. Well, yesterday, Alun's ferret shot up Carwyn's drainpipe and bit him in his soft spot.

The ocassion was the Conservative Party's Minority Debate which was worded thus

"To propose that the Nation Assembly for Wales recognises that mitigating the impact of climate change is the most important challenge facing the National Assembly and believes that this must become the first priority of the Assembly Government"

We intended it to be an opportunity for all parties (including mine , of course) to make a powerful statement about a committment to mitigating climate change. But, largely as a result of some ill-considered comments by Rhodri Morgan about climate change the day before, the debate degenerated into 'knockabout'. Carwyn was trying to embarrass my party because of our scepticism about the capacity of on-shore wind is deliver the answer, when Alun struck. Something along the lines of

"Minister, you are extolling the virtues of wind power. Yet, in a public meeting in Bridgend before the last election you told hundreds of people that you were against wind power. Don't you think you should apologise"

With Carwyn, you can always tell if you have landed a direct hit. He comes out fighting, and lashing out in all directions - creating as much dust as he can to obscure his discomfort. But we weren't fooled. Alun had nailed him. Carwyn was reduced to a riposte that Alun was not at the public meeting, which Alun tells me is completely untrue. And the gist of Carwyn's response was that time has moved on - always a weak defence. He's lucky that Labour's gerrymandering of the electoral system has prevented Alun from standing against him in May's election. Carwyn's political career could well have floated away on the breeze.


Anonymous said...

One nil to Mr.Cairns. The meeting concerned the proposed off shore wind farm at Porthcawl and Carwyn did say that he was opposed to wind power. You will have even more fun with him if he ever became First minister. He flatters to deceive.

Glyn Davies AM said...

I think that amongst the 'huff and puff' when Alun nailed him, Carwyn admitted that he had changed his position. Something to do with 'time moving on' and that now he is more aware of the impact of climate change!! Well, he had to say something I suppose. It was a big one-nil to Alun

Anonymous said...

where are you on the wind farm issue Glyn. I seem to remember seeing you on the bbc news talking about a wind farm on your own farm. are you and bourneo singing th esame tune

Che Grav-ara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Che Grav-ara said...

I don’t understand how you can say that Alun Cairns can't stand against Carwyn because of the way Labour have changed the system? Please don't get me wrong. I am in agreement that Labour has done anything they can to gain a political advantage through the electoral system. However, Alun has every right to stand against Carwyn but he has chosen to opt for the safer option of going for a list seat. Surely this implies Alun feels as if he couldn’t beat Carwyn and as such decided to not challenge.

An example of this would be Helen Mary Jones' decision to stand in a marginal Labour seat in Llanelli to tackle Labour head on rather than assure herself a seat on the list. There is no greater commitment to her constituency than being bold enough to risk her political position to fight for her constituents.

Don't misunderstand me I am not attacking Alun Cairns at all just stating that if he wished to stand against Carwyn he very well could have, only he would not be safe in the knowledge of a seat at the next Assembly

Glyn Davies AM said...

Che, of course you are right. Alun could have stood against Carwyn - just as I could have stood against Mick Bates in Montgomeryshire in very similar circumstances. Labour's fiddling of the system meant that we had to make a choice - and in both cases the odds would have been on us losing. The option you point to was more theoretical than actual.
As the election approaches, mistakes by Carwyn or Mick change the position - but decisions had to be made a year ago. Where the majorities are very small, Helen Mary and Jonathon Morgan have opted for the constituency - and I wish them both well.

I do not think this is a sensible approach to choosing candidates - and neither does Labour in Scotland where dual candidacy suits them. Labour's behaviour is beneath contempt.

And have you noticed how the media is giving prominence to the Electoral Commission's concern about Ron Davies' tactics to deal with Labour's gerrymandering. The Electoral Commission condemned the ban on dual candidacy as well.

Glyn Davies AM said...

I forgot anon's wind farm question. Gamesa, a Spannish company with a base in Newport, S. Wales were looking at land owned by my family about two years ago - and I began declaring an interest whenever wind farms were discussed. I have heard nothing about the proposal for about a year, so have assumed it is a dead duck, and have stopped declaring an interest. There was a measuring mast in place for several months, which some individuals spread rumours about being on my family's land. That was a deliberate lie. It was on land which had been sold to another many years before.

I am not against wind farms where the local community are supportive. My main objection to the Government's policy is that it has, in reality, taken away the power of Local Planning Authorities to say no.

Emma Greenow said...

Thanks Glyn for again raising this issue.

I have worked very closely in the issue of the windfarm in Porthcawl and have experienced first hand the anger that local people feel about this.

The other main point is that the Environment Minister is proposing that this windfarm is built in a habitat for a protected species!

You will see from my blog I am all for alternative energy and am worried about climate change but the Labour approach in Wales is not balanced.

Simply popping wind farms all over Wales is not a sensible cure to the problem.

I will continue to fight for the residents in Bridgend and for real solutions to the climate change issue.

Anonymous said...

The Tory candidate in Bridgend is a bit late with the Porthcawl off shore wind farm . It has been approved by the assembly planning committee against the recommendations of the inspector after a lengthy public inquiry. I think that the blessed Brynle Williams was one of those who voted against the professional advice. Of course Carwyn is now for wind farms because he knows that none of the areas designated by the assembly are in his constituency and it isn't an issue which will cost him any votes. The only areas where wind farms willbe built is in the north of the area which is in the Ogmore constituency.

Emma Greenow said...

Dear anonymous

It is not too late for Porthcawl, monitoring work is still being undertaken before the final license to build can be granted because of the fact that protect animals are living on the site!

Many people I have spoken to in Bridgend feel deceived over the wind farm and I am a candidate with strong ideas about climate change and the environment, I feel we need to speak out for all of Wales on these issues.

Glyn Davies AM said...

Well done Emma. The only addition I need to make is that you may well do what Alun may have done. Carwyn has got to win Bridgend before he can challenge for the Labour leadership - and it's far from in the bag.

Anonymous said...

Emma Gronow still hasn't explained why a Tory AM voted for the Porthcawl scheme and against the professional advice of the planning inspector. The then Labour controlled council opposed the scheme and even sent its Leader to the inquiry. The simple fact is that once the economics are right Scarweather sands will be built.

Anonymous said...

It was nice to see the Tories on Bridgend council this week supporting a wacking 4.8% increase in council tax and cuts in essential services such as education and social services. Of course these were the same Tories who in the 2004 council elections promised never to vote for council tax increases above inflation. Perhaps Emma Gronow could explain this apparent contradiction?

Che Grav-ara said...

Thanks for answering my point Glyn.

What you're saying that your initial decision to stand on the list, as is the case with Alun, was based on the fact you didn’t think winning was likely. Due to Labour's tampering with the system you were forced to decide on taking a list seat.

As things have developed you would now say there was a better chance of winning, and would perhaps have opted for the constituency but the decision has already been made because of the way Labour made the choice an ultimatum?