Friday, February 09, 2007

Keep on Blogging, Bethan

I hope to get to know Bethan Jenkins next May. She seems certain to be elected to the National Assembly. I will either meet her in the Senedd, or when I'm clearing out my office! I rather like her style.

I didn't see Dragon's Eye last night. I'm told it picked on future Plaid AM, Bethan with gratuitous cruelty. I have four reasons for objecting to what happened, the first of which will infuriate her and the likes of Leanne Wood, Helen Mary etc. But I am a safe distance and the snow is too deep for anyone to get to me!

Firstly, what I'm told the programme did smacks of a big powerful media 'wolf' picking on an inexperienced, enthusiastic young lady politician - still on the first rung of politics. Why don't they pick on someone their own size. Its only Brynle and I who still think like this. We would expect to open doors for her as well! Anyway, I'm sure she can look after herself.

Secondly, she is a fellow blogger. I feel a bit of 'esprit de corps' coursing through my veins. As the political blogosphere expands, so does the 'blogtrawloshere' expand as it searches for 'gaffes'. This can lead to early blogger retirement or extreme 'tediumitis'. I hope it doesn't put Bethan off.

Thirdly, Bethan should be praised for having an opinion - even if its daft. We all have some of those. Apparently she is in favour of something called 'Independence', a word which is deemed unspeakable within Plaid Cymru circles at present. 'Independence' is a really interesting subject because in today's world I don't think it exists in a pure form - not even in North Korea. Like 'Sovereignty' it is a divisable concept. Clearly Bethan thinks there should be more 'Independence' for Wales. Well, I agree with that in the sense that I support the Scottish model of devolved government applying in Wales as well. Its just a question of degree. At present, most Plaid members, most Lib Dem members and an increasing number of Tories are calling for the same thing - a referendum on the Scottish model in 2011. We just have different ways of saying the same thing. I just hope Bethan doesn't resort to churning out anodyne 'spindoctorspeak' stripped bare of any real opinion for fear of offending her Party's thought police'.

And finally, I sympathise if party bosses banned Bethan from appearing on Dragon's Eye herself, which has been implied. This is becoming standard practice - and I don't like it at all. It nearly always backfires because there is usually someone less appropriate who appears anyway. And it looks as if there is something to hide. Labour are the worst. I appeared on a Welsh Language panel programme last night and a subject of discussion was how Labour are just refusing to appear on the media at all, except for 'soft' interviews.

So keep on blogging Bethan. Keep on saying what you believe and please don't become a boring human party press release.


pedr said...

She made a complete fool out of herself. Stupid bitch deserves all she gets. This is the second time they've had her too.

It will be hilarious come May, she is so out of her depth.

Glyn Davies AM said...

pedr, I didn't see it so I don't know. You could be right. But she is almost certainly going to be elected - and I hope she remains opinionated. I like politicians who are not party mouthpieces. There are too many AMs who just say what they are told to.

Ted Jones said...

Pedr, your such a big man with big words, why don't we meet up sometime so that I can teach you some manners?

Glyn your a gentleman. I can guarantee you Bethan will be an asset to the National Assembly.

pedr said...


was that threat?

hafod said...

Pedr - the only person making a fool of themselves is you. What cave have you crawled out with your insults?

Is it the one in Bridgend?

anita said...

I watched the programme and I was disgusted by the spin doctor's attempt to silence a candidate. They should be ashamed of themselves. Bethan Jenkins is someone who I've met during her campaigning and she is like a breath of fersh air compared to those baldy middle aged politicians with bad breth who only turn up at election times. Whatch youre back when you get there luv, or Glyn will be pinching your arse!

seren said...

It's interesting that you support a Parliament for Wales Glyn, alng with Plaid and the Liberals. I'm sure there are Labour AMs too, if they could drag themselves out of the closet.

Could this be an issue that creates the most unlikely coalition in Welsh politics after May?

Anonymous said...

I think it’s absolutely ludicrous that someone of such poor calibre is almost certainly guaranteed a seat in the Assembly this coming May. It’s farcical, quite frankly.

She’s been parachuted into South Wales West by the party hierarchy. She isn’t from this area (she’s from Rhondda, as far as I remember) and is totally out of step in terms of policy with what the people of Wales want.

The recent BBC poll demonstrates the people of Wales want a strong and vibrant Wales within a strong United Kingdom. And the nationalists know this too – or they would have allowed Ms. Jenkins the opportunity to explain herself on Dragon’s Eye last night. Though saying that, thinking back to her last embarrassing appearance on Dragon’s Eye – when David Williams roasted her on whether or not an Independent Wales should have an aircraft carrier – I don’t blame them!

Glyn Davies AM said...

B****y H**l, I only went for a sandwich and I almost finished up with a fight on my blog site. She is obviously a woman who stirs people up.

All I know is that I wouldn't have been capable of reaching the level of making a mess of a Dragon's Eye interview when I was in my early 20s.

I do love Ted's old fashioned chivalry. Perhaps Brynle and I have some similarities with the younger generation after all.

Anonymous said...

There won't be a Union left to leave if, as appears increasingly likely, this party becomes dominant after May 4th.

By the way here's the link Glyn -

Blamerbell said...

You didn't miss much Glyn. That's because there wasn't much to see except for Bethan talking on her mobile.

If you were flicking channels you might have mistaken it for a Carphone Warehouse ad.

If Dragon's Eye doorstepped someone and then broadcast it every time they were turned down for an interview, there'd be nothing else on TV.

By the way, Pawb a'i Farn was by far the best political programme on television last night and I thought Carwyn Jones, Adam Price and yourself spoke very well.

Glyn Davies AM said...

And I thought Non Gwilym was great too - particularly when she got the better of Carwyn and Adam on the free prescriptions question.

Blamerbell said...

Yes, she was good - pulled no punches.

Don't think I'd fancy coming up against her in Welsh.

I'm with you on opening doors by the way, if only to confuse the feminists:)

hedd said...

I agree with most of your comments Glyn - except for the bit where you claim that supporting Welsh Independence is 'daft' ;-)

If you visit this blog - - you will see many arguments supporting the call for an independent Wales.

I understand what you are saying, i.e. that no country is truly independent anymore, but what we want is what Ireland has. Call it independence, A full parliament, whatever...

How much 'independence' do you support? Would you support going even further than the Scottish model?

Anonymous said...

The issue with Bethan jenkins isn't her views on independence. After all Plaid is supposed to be a nationalist and nationalist parties throughout the world are normally for independence. The problem is that she will become a member of the assembly after May not because she has been voted in by the public but because she attracted the support of just 14 Plaid members and Plaid decide to plce afemale top of their list. She was frankly pathetic in her first appearance on Dragon's Eye and an embarrassment to all politicians. Her performance on Thursday spoke volumes. Asd Spencer davies would have put it'Keep on running.,keep on hiding' She should realise that every single word she says will be scrutinised after May. The sad fact is that no matter how she performs she will always owe her place in the assembly not to the voters but to the small band of Plaid activists. No democracy should ever tolerate a system such as the one we now have.

Anonymous said...

I thought Dragon's Eye was excellent. It was nice to see that Swansea Uni's first super star Spencer Davis was still alive. Next week I understand that Gerry Marsden and Billy J, Kramer will be discussing climate change.

Glyn Davies AM said...

Sorry Hedd. Perhaps I shouldn't have described 'Independence' as 'daft'. Its just that I think its a concept more suited to debating societies than to practical politics. I believe that the 'Scottish' model is a 'real' acheivable objective for Wales. Banging on about some long-term vision makes the 'real' objective harder to reach. And when Wales is governed by a National Assembly with its own law-making powers, there will be discussion on what is then the way forward. I know the Deputy Tory Leader in Scotland, Murdo Macleod and he favours a much stronger Scottish Parliament. So who knows!

mike said...

The best analysis of Thursday night TV is here:

Glyn Davies AM said...

And I agree about the undemocratic-ness of bias in electoral systems - even if I understand the aims. My party had to do something to improve gender-balance ourselves. I thought Cameron's A-list was just about acceptable. But I am glad its gone now.

But the worst example of fiddling the voting system I have ever seen in Britain is the disgracefully partisan decision by Labour to force through a ban on 'dual candidacy' for the Assembly election - while supporting it in Scotland where it suits Labour better. This, on its own, should be enough for any democrat to want to dump Labour out of office. Peter Hain and Rhodri Morgan should be utterly ashamed of themselves. Their behaviour on this issue will pollute their reputations for ever.

hedd said...

Interesting comments regarding self-government Glyn.

If the Electorate in South Wales West do not want Bethan Jenkins as an Assembly Member, they will simply not give the regional vote to Plaid. They know who tops the Plaid list...

I expect that Bethan & Dai Lloyd will be elected.

Regarding Bethan's quality, how can one make a judgement on 2 TV appearances on Dragon's Eye, 1 of which was not arranged before hand (from what I understand the interview was to be with Spencer Davies), and the only appearance made was Bethan's back!

I know Bethan from my time in Aber University, and she did excellent work campaigning on behalf of the students as the President of the Guild of Students there, and I'm sure she will also work effectively on behalf of the people of South Wales West after May's election.

Anonymous said...

Hedd, just because she’s been an effective president of a student union – does not mean she will be an effective AM for South Wales West. As a student, she would have known her constituency (the students) very well. Being that she’s not actually from South West Wales, what does she know about this region? Being a student myself, I’d love to see more young people stand for election for councils, the Assembly and Westminster. But the way that Bethan Jenkins has been virtually guaranteed a seat in our National Assembly, by the virtue of 14 Plaid members, makes a total mockery of the democratic process.

Policy wise, Let me take tuition fees as an example. It’s Plaid policy to scrap them. In a world where Wales is an independent sovereign state, which would not receive anything from the UK Treasury, how would Plaid fund Wales’ universities? You’d take away a vital funding stream from the universities – to be replaced with what?

The NHS, a service which is free at the point of need. Free prescriptions, removing the health inequalities from our society. Would you be able to run a free at the point of need NHS in an independent Wales? Would you keep free prescriptions? Where would the money come from?

The Welfare state – pensions, tax credits, etc – how would you fund this?

How would we defend ourselves? How would we fund the police?

Foreign affairs – how would we offer consular assistant to our people abroad? How would we promote Wales aborad? Would we have an embassy in every country? How much would this cost? WHERE WOULD THE MONEY COME FROM?

Simply, Plaid fails time after time to set out a clear, coherent and costed set of policies. The sooner the people of Wales realise Plaid Cymru is a party incapable of forming deliverable policies the better!

Anonymous said...

So that's it then . The only qualification required to be an assembly member is to become President of the Students union at Aber. Not that difficult when you consider that most normal students wouldn't touch the infantile world of student politics with a barge pole. If the assembly was a real debating chamber instead of adopting an 'after you claude' approach to politics more suited to a church parochial council poor Bethan would be toast. I've just looked at her blog which is full of the sort of infantile rubbish you expect from a primary school kid. What was her subject in Aber and what class degree did she get?

Anonymous said...

Strikes me Glyn that little Bethan is a bit of a hypocrite. On her blog she criticises the Labour party in Scotland for gagging its members on the Iraq war. I suppose we will now have another blog critising her minders in Plaid for gagging Plaid members on the i...... word!

Glyn Davies AM said...

I didn't know much about Bethan Jenkins two days ago. I feel that I know her rather well now - and I don't think we have ever met!

hedd said...

So many posts by 'anonymous', why doesn't anybody use their own identity?

Glyn, I would seriously consider accepting comments only from registered bloggers. All of the comments by 'anonymous' could be from the same person, with a particular axe to grind.

Where did I say that the only qualification required to be an assembly member is to become President of the Students union at Aber? I only noted that she was good at that job.

What I'm saying is don't make a judgement on 2 editions of Dragon's Eye. If she is voted in (and she still needs to be voted in by the people as I explained earlier - it's the same system for all parties) give her a few weeks as an AM and then make your judgement!

By the way, the last 2 comments by 'anonymous' were made during the Wales v Scotland game, which means he/she/they are almost certainly not from Wales or live in the region as they claim... ;-)

Regarding the questions on independence. The usual put-down by British Nationalists (i.e. they who prefer a British state) is that the Welsh are to poor, to thick etc... Have a read here:

The economic case for Welsh independence is made here:

Anonymous said...

Glyn, I think u've met bethan while she was at the Assembly protesting against fees. Lots of students at the time went against Labour NUS Wales to show support for the vote against top-up fees just before the Rees Review. I was a fellow student at the time.

I'm sure she'll be pleased to know that there's so much interest in her on this blog though, Glyn.

Cyfiawnder said...

What's going on at the Welsh Language Board Glyn? I have heard that there is some victimisation and bullying by the Chief Exec. (MPJ) towards a female member of his marketing staff

Daran said...

As an occasional political pen portrait writer, the task of gathering data on Assembly candidates has been a very up and down affair. The quest for opinion on Bethan Jenkins has, however, been short and fruitful. Any anyonymous attack I discount immediately, and I also feel some of the language being used about her oversteps the mark. Anonymous she certainly is not though, even if some of her critics choose to hide behind anonymity. Guaranteed to get elected, I reckon she'll not melt into the furniture once in the Assembly Chamber. Like Glyn, I warm to politicians with opinions (though not always to opinionated ones) from all parties

Trev said...

Hi Glyn, i think you should watch the programme before making your comment.

Mabon ap Gwynfor said...

Bethan Jenkins will certainly be thick skinned after this election, with so many disparaging comments by cowardly anonymous people.

Firstly has she no right to an opinion of her own? And has she no right to express those opinions? Blogging allows everyone to express an opinion, and whether Anonymous and others agree with that opinion surely they should welcome the fact that a would-be politician is not afraid to clearly set out her political opinions.

Secondly there is no point criticising Bethan Jenkins for the way that she might be elected. It is Labour that has engineered the political structure. Surely it is Labour who you should be directing your vitriol at rather than an individual who is working within the rules of the game.

Thirdly, on that faulty system, the one thing that can be said for it is that, as far as the list is concerned, people vote for the party and not the individual, and can therefore expect the elected politician from the list to propagate the party’s policies and manifesto. ‘Independence’ is a Plaid Cymru policy. Bethan Jenkins is therefore simply voicing party policy. Regardless of whether it was only one party member or a million members that selected her, that is beside the point, as the elected representative will represent the Party. The people vote for the party rather than the individual. But as Hedd rightly noted above, with Bethan Jenkins having so much exposure voters in south Wales west can make their own minds up on Bethan’s suitability as an individual and vote for another party on the list.

Personally I know that Bethan will be an excellent AM for the area. There is no point in Anonymous banging on about the fact that she is not from the ‘area’. The ‘area’ is a false creation for political purposes in any case. The people of Bridgend, which is within the boundaries of south Wales west probably have more in common with the people of Pontypridd than they do with the people of Swansea, so lets not use the silly argument about people’s place of birth. And in any case there are so many Labour, Conservative, and Fib Dem politicians originally from constituencies other than the one’s they represent which renders the argument useless, unless you intend to criticise each and everyone of them – otherwise its just hypocrisy.

Che Grav-ara said...

That’s a very well thought out and delivered argument Mabon. I totally agree with the points you've made. Frankly I think anyone who takes a step back and looks at the whole thing with a bit of perspective will see that its been totally blown out of proportion and is simply vilifying a young ambitious Assembly Candidate for the sake of causing a bit of political excitement.

Blogging is an exercise of expression. I think Glyn's blog possibly demonstrates that better than any other. Bethan gave her opinion in a blog. Should we really be so outraged? I think it’s a sad reflection on the political world when the BBC feels the need to attack an Assembly Candidate for having the decency to voice a view on a subject. There are so many Labour AM's refusing to say anything to anyone that political integrity is fast becoming an oxymoron.