Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Crazy News day in Montgomeryshire.

Just time to blog haphazardly on an unusually active day in Welsh politics. Yet again the main issue of the day/week/month is the direction (or should I say directions) being taken by S4C, the Welsh Language TV channel. Frankly, its difficult to know exactly what's happening. I can but imagine what sort of a post I could write if I was not mindful of the 'Ministerial Code' to which I'm subject. But I can say that these shenanigans have the potential to do harm to the Welsh Language. Whatever, there is nothing that I can safely commit to print - but it does not stop visitors commenting. So please do.

Then there are the orders which we approved today, which will allow the referendum on granting law making powers to the National Assembly for Wales to go ahead next March 3rd. All went smoothly - as anticipated. Cheryl Gillan, the Secretary of State for Wales has shown a strong determination to deliver this referendum, and she deserves real congratulation for what she's achieved. But I was surprised by one issue that cropped up at the end of the session - concerning something that I'd been aware of for weeks, but which seemed to be news to Owen Smith (Labour) and Elfyn Llwyd (Plaid Cymru). If no credible No campaign emerges, which is deemed by the Electoral Commission to be a suitable recipient of public money, there can be no public money for a Yes campaign. We could well reach the utterly bizarre position where a publicly-funded Yes campaign is dependent on True Wales putting together a credible No campaign. What an odd situation. Surely it will not work out like this.

And then we have some big issues in Mid Wales as well today. The announcement by Siemens Energy Service that its pulling out of Newtown is a real shock. It must be a huge worry to the 40 employees who, it seems, will have to relocate to Newcastle or Scotland if they are to retain employment with the company. Ever since one of ours was made redundant, I've reliased what a massive worry it is to people. Its also a blow to the economy of Newtown, which is suffering so much as a result of the appalling cock-up that's been visited upon the town by the installation of the traffic light's associated with the new Tesco development. But the national aspect (which the Cardiff based media does not seem to have grasped) is what it says about the National Assembly's TAN 8 renewable energy policy. Siemens moved in because the Assembly Government decided that the uplands of Mid Wales were to be covered with wind turbines - despite me and others warning them of the difficulties involved in transporting the power out to the National Grid. Well Siemens look to have waited for as long as they are going to - and they're off. I'm told that WAG have not been returning the media's calls on this. Surely this cannot be true either.

And then there's the demise of Radio Maldwyn - or at least its liquidation. I'm a shareholder (shares cost me £2 I think) so I must declare an interest. Its another blow for Newtown.. I daresay some arrangement will rise from the ashes. I just hope that it has a presence in the town and provides local content. That's enough for one day in the life of a Montgomeryshire MP, who loves the Welsh Language, and wants devolution to be a success..


dewi said...

c'mon Glyn forget the ministerial code just for a second on this!.
No but it's a complete disaster what's happened and really have 'pressed the self destruct button' of the channel- all members of the authority and senior management should hang their heads in shame. Although they do need a head during this very difficult time (shame on you're Gov Glyn) I still believe it'd be better to have a complete new authority and chief exec and just getting a temporary body in who know how the industry works, to fight against the cuts.
Really I'm shocked at whats happened, each member should be joined together to stop the channel being destroyed.

As for Cheryl, I'm sorry but I can't stand the person, and do find her to be quite weak on distinct Welsh issues (railway, prison, money for Welsh ports, s4c and so on). However on this particular issue she has been very good, very efficient and better than Peter (though that's not really an achievement). She needs to do a bit more PR work for the Welsh to like her, and start getting good policies at London level to Wales. Rather than having an article in the W.M saying "I'm Welsh, I'm sticking up for Wales" yet with no substance. I understand she has collective responsibility but that didn't seem to stop her on the train thing in her own constituency.

As for Siemens, they have offices up here in N.Wales. And their an amazing, flexible company. So for them to leave your neck of the woods, something must have irritated.

Somebody once told me that I could talk about any topic.... seems that's true today!.....

Cheryl- usually dreadful, but excellent here
Siemens- excellent company, WAG needs explaining
S4C- *throws laptop on the floor*

xWCHL said...

The Welsh media should be focusing on the predictable down-shifts in living standards of Welsh people. All avoidable of course, it's about 'mind sets' in our leadership.

Jon E. said...

Don`t forget Glyn another 180 people losing their jobs at shop direct at the end of January. These are worrying times for the people of mid wales. We need more investment in the area or it will become a retirement home. It`s time the welsh assembly took note. Newtown is in meltdown!!

Glyn Davies said...

Dewi - Don't think I can forget the Ministerial cope. If any MP is not prepared to accept the code, they should always remain on the back benches - freedom to speak as you want, but not to have any influence. I chose to give it a go, and to see how it works out over the next few months. You have every right to like and dislike individuals as you wish, but I must record my opinion that our Secretary of State is very committed to Wales.
At present, there seems to be chaos at S4C, but there is no reason whatsoever why it should be destroyed. Its forward budget is around £100 million per year plus what can be generated by commercial activity. Most people in the sector that I talk to reckon thats ok (even if they would have preferred no cuts at all). There remain issues to be sorted out over the next few months, and that will be done if there is positive goodwill to do it.

Jon - I agree that Newtown is facing problems - mostly arising from the appalling shambles that has been made of the transport system. But there are good news stories as well. Conversion of St David's Church into a playbarn will bring thousands of people into the town, and the redevelopment of the Elephant will also provide a real boost. The best thing the Assembly Government could do is build the bypass.

Anonymous said...

Glyn I hardly think that shop direct are moving because of the road layout!!!

While the playbarn will be a good thing, do you really think that the stupid single file road system in town will cope with all this "extra traffic"?

If you recall Glyn, there were traffic problems even with a roundabout in place. Newtown needs a bypass but more importantly, the current single file roads are not able to cope with the in town traffic, let alone traffic from out of town.

Step up and stop telling us what we want to hear and start telling us what we need to know.