Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Clegg Reshuffle.

I take an interest in Lib Dem politics- and never more so that now. In general, I'm interested in what impact the election of Nick Clegg as leader will have on my party's chances of forming a Government at Westminster after the next election. And I'm also interested in what my own MP in Montgomeryshire is up to - not least because I'll be trying to oust him at the next election. Well, I watched tonight's BBC Wales news at 6.30 and the reshuffle wasn't covered at all! Not much impact there. So I picked it up on the web.

First challenge was what to do with Chris Huhne, who almost pipped him for the leadership. He's got the high profile role as Home Affairs spokesman - but he will have to work hard for space on what has become David Davis territory. I suppose Huhne will be pleased with this. Ed Davey has been given Foreign Affairs and 'twinkletoes' Vince Cable will carry on destroying Gordon Brown's legacy as Chancellor. Two other aspects of this reshuffle that catches my eye is the sort of roving 'European' role which has been given to Charles Kennedy - which should be a good slot from which to go for the Party Presidency when it comes up (He'll be a shoe-in if he wants it). Secondly, the sheer size of the team - up from 23 to 30. A plumed hat for everyone! I was pleased to see that the 'countryside' spokesman, Tim Farrow has been included as a sort of add on to the team.

My MP in Montgomeryshire, Lembit Opik has been moved to 'Housing'. I could be wrong but this looks something of a demotion to me. He was doing 'Business' (which he described as 'a huge promotion and what he really wanted' when Ming last reshuffled) plus 'Northern Ireland'. So he's lost Business, Wales and Northern Ireland - and he's got Housing. I've no doubt that a press release has already gone out describing this as 'a huge promotion and what he really wanted' !! Still, housing is an important subject in Montgomeryshire - even if its been devolved to the Assembly and is not much to do with Westminster. Which it is why it seems such a strange appointment. The Lib Dem's 'Housing' Spokesman represents a constituency where he has little or no say in housing matters. Its a job to know what to make of this.


Peter Black said...

In fact he can only speak on housing in England. I speak on the subject in Wales.

Glyn Davies said...

Peter - and probably with a lot more knowledge and understanding about the issue in Wales

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

Peter – yes, as a member of the team that’s “just isn’t good enough” and “prepared to operate in a peculiarly selfish, and damaging manner” in Wales (quotes from Mark Hooper’s letter published in the Western Mail, Dec. 18, 2007).

Anonymous said...

Without doubt, he's been demoted. But as you rightly point out, Glyn, he'll talk it up, like everything else in his sad life. The most important thing to remember here is the fact our excuse for an MP doesn't care about Wales in any case. He never has done. He'll be delighted to be confined to speaking on the subject in England - he doesn't distinguish between the two countries in any case. This is where you will pick up so many votes - you're from the area and care about the area. The Idiot also yearns to become President of the Lib Dems. That would take him away from Mont even more so. He's here little enough as it is. Not enough celebrity parties for him in Mid Wales. It's the beginning of the end for him...and not before time

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

Has anyone read Mark Hooper’s letter published today (21 Dec, ’07) in the Cardiff Echo newspaper?

I am putting this PS near the top of this post for a very good reason, Peter Black AM is a darn good politician and though we might differ on some things he will always have my support. I don't count and don't believe Peter Black is such an activist (see below), I respect and admire Peter Black’s stance in listening to and doing what he can on behalf of his constituents, I believe Peter Black is the best of the best. But Peter Black, while a diamond in a “just isn't good enough” team, can't do much while this team are “prepared to operate in a peculiarly selfish, and damaging manner” in Wales (quotations from Mark Hooper's letter published in the Western Mail on 18 Dec, ’07; Former Lib-Dem Assembly and Parliamentary Candidate and former Treasurer of the Welsh Lib Party).

Anonymous> I am inclined to agree. It has been commented by at least one find Lib-Dem AM that the Welsh-Lib-Dems have problems connecting with the Welsh electorate. I would hazard a guess that this lack of 'connect' has something to do with the fact that some senior Welsh Lib-Dem activists just don't relate to Wales, have a very low opinion of Welsh people and think they can be bullied and bamboozled like what is happening around the Eastern Leisure Centre in Rumney, Cardiff, where a particularly senior Lib-Dem activist just doesn’t connect with the Welsh community in Rumney and Llanrumney. This senior Lib-Dem activist has no feeling for that Welsh community.

It drives me utterly mad to see my fellow Welsh people so utterly disrespected and treated like they don’t deserve being listened to, that their views don’t count. Some senior Lib-Dem activists just don’t get how infuriating it is to Welsh folks to be treated like they don’t deserve to be listened to and that is how the current leader of the Lib-Dems in Cardiff is treating the beloved people of Llanrumney who are desperate to save their green-lung, the green fields around Eastern Leisure Centre. In my humble opinion, the leader of the Lib-Dems in Cardiff regards Llanrumney and Rumney in Cardiff as a suburb of Glasgow. Glasgow's a great city, but Cardiff is not part of Glasgow.

For example, another senior Lib-Dem activist in Cardiff has no real feeling for Cardiff aged and old as evidenced by the inhuman treatment at Lib-Dem hands of the very old and vulnerable second world war era heroes at Iorwerth Jones Residential Home in Llanishen, Cardiff (my home town), these deserving and wonderful individuals have been treated in such an inhuman way (they told me so in a heart-gut-wrenching letter); they have also written several letters which have been published in the Cardiff Echo newspaper – these desperate Welsh people, treated with such contempt and disrespect. I am ashamed that this has been allowed to happen to such decent Welsh folk who have sacrificed so much for King/Queen and country. It is shameful what is happened to them c/o a senior Lib-Dem activist. I will never forget what he has done to these poor vulnerable Welsh folk at the hands of that particular Lib-Dem activist. There are things that can’t be forgiven easily, and showing such disrespect and hardness to such old vulnerable people is one of them.

I have actually witnessed first hand Lib-Dem activists disgraceful behaviour in accusing Welsh people forced to move from Wales in search of work as not being Welsh. These Lib-Dem activists don’t understand how infuriating that is to Welsh people who have a history of being forced to leave Wales for work.

My Welsh father did that; my Welsh grandparents did the same thing. My mother’s father left his beloved Llandbradach in search of work, he was given a train ticket and an address to lodge at and off he went to Streatham, London. There he met my Welsh grandmother who was in service working in a big house off Streatham Common, my Welsh grandfather’s digs were hot and not clean so in the summer (perhaps he worked early mornings), he would stretch out on Streatham Common where he heard a beautiful Welsh voice, a voice that belonged to my beloved Welsh grandmother who was keeping her charges in check (my beloved Nan was a Welsh dogs-body, given all in-sundry jobs by her ‘owner’ including walking the house owner’s children on Streatham Common.

Now, were these Welsh folk somehow no longer “Welsh” because they were working outside Wales? Yes, according to some Lib-Dem activists, and they wonder why they don’t connect with Welsh people.

Glyn Davies said...

anon - all a bit strong, but not actionable so I won't delete. I think it is fair to describe my approach to politics as very different from the current MP's. We will have to wait and see which approach appeals to the voters more.

Christopher - not much I can add.