Monthly Archives: Tachwedd 2012

How did Penarth a’r Byd Do?

After a bit of a break, it’s back to the analysis. So how did Penarth a’r Byd do?

Candidate Party Votes Percentage Percentage
Actual Estimation
Stephen Doughty Labour 9,193 47.3 48
Craig Williams Conservative 3,859 19.9 24
Bablin Molik Lib Dem 2,103 10.8 9
Luke Nicholas Plaid 1,854 9.5 12
Simon Zeigler UKIP 1,179 6.1 4
Anthony Slaughter Green 800 4.1 1
Andrew Jordan Socialist Labour 235 1.2 1
Robert Griffiths Communist 213 1.1 1


Let’s start with the ones I got right: more or less spot-on with Labour, Socialist Labour and Communist (although I actually said less than 1% for the latter two).

The Conservatives fared worse than envisaged by 4%. We can combine this with the surprisingly good performance of UKIP (2% better than foreseen) to suggest that UKIP captured more disaffected Conservative voters than I’d thought likely.

The Lib Dems managed 2% more than I’d given them credit for, and Plaid a shade over 2% less, which accounts for them trading places in the final run-in.

And the Greens got rather close to retaining their deposit, with their highest ever result in this constituency, 3% more than I’d thought likely.

So overall I’m fairly pleased with the predictions. I’ll be looking at what the results mean for the different parties in the coming months.

The other thing I’m moderately pleased about is my attempt to get candidates to send their electoral material, using  the carrot of an electoral address. Only two candidates declined the invitation to take part, while the tardiness of two others in complying with the terms and conditions meant they received a much shorter publication window.

But for the four quickest off the mark – Plaid, Greens, Labour and Socialist Labour – it’s hats off for your commitment to democracy.

The plus side of this type of deal is that instead of relying on you, dear readers and contributors, the pamphlets come straight from the aspiring politicians.

The downside is that once their electoral address is published, the candidates’ commitment to complying with the terms became ropy or even non-existent. I’m looking at you, Mr MP.

But I think it’s a good, workable model for the future – here’s to the next election!

Finally, it’s worth confessing that Penarth a’r Byd became overwhelmed by electoral literature and in the end although we published a critique of most of them, we couldn’t do them all.

2 o Sylwadau

Filed under Democracy, Elections, Westminster

I agree with Alun

Regular readers of this blog will know that I’ve been critical of Alun Michael in the past.

But today he said something rather sensible:

People don’t want people on the beat just for the sake of seeing them,” he argued.

“The public are more sophisticated than just asking for bobbies on the beat.

“What they want is to know that the police are there when they need them, that they are tackling their priorities and that they respond quickly when they need to ask the police to deal with an incident or events.

I couldn’t agree more. I think the public is more sophisticated than just asking for bobbies on the beat in an impotent show of publicity.

So perhaps Alun should have a few quiet words with this guy, who has said recently:

Local people are really feeling the effects of cuts to services and numbers of local police on the street…

My pledge to you: Keep police on the beat

Clearly he doesn’t think the public in Penarth and Cardiff South is very sophisticated.


2 o Sylwadau

Filed under Labour, Police

The Count

No, not this one.

Penarth and Cardiff South

  • Stephen Doughty – Labour –         9,193 – 47.3%
  • Craig Williams – Conservative –    3,859 – 19.9%
  • Bablin Molik – Lib Dem –                  2,103 – 10.8%
  • Luke Nicholas – Plaid –                      1,854 –   9.5%
  • Simon Zeigler – UKIP –                      1,179 –   6.1%
  • Anthony Slaughter – Green –              800 –   4.1%
  • Andrew Jordan – Socialist Labour – 235 –   1.2%
  • Robert Griffiths – Communist –          213 –   1.1%

Turnout was 25.35%.

Really, they could have done without the expense and hassle! But I’ll be chewing over what this means for the various party in the months to come.

Oh, and before I forget, there was another election yesterday. Here are the results:

Round One

  • Michael Baker – Independent –    42,264 – 32.5%
  • Caroline Jones – Conservative –   20,913 – 14.7%
  • Alun Michael – Labour –                  66,879 – 47.0%
  • Tony Verderame – Independent – 8,378 –    5.9%

No candidate polled more than 50% of the votes, so the count moved to:

Round Two (totals now including second preference votes)

  • Michael Baker – Independent – 60,784 – 45.6%
  • Alun Michael – Labour –               72,751 – 54.4%

9 o Sylwadau

Filed under Communist Party, Conservatives, Democracy, Elections, Greens, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, Socialist Labour Party, Welsh Government, Westminster

At the Brink of Bankruptcy

And so to the last leaflet that I have time to review, from the Conservatives (courtesy of AW). And perhaps they’ve finally learned that exporting jobs to rich Tory constituencies at the same time as claiming to be fighting for local businesses doesn’t go down terribly well, because this one comes from the printing presses down Swansea way.

This leaflet is reasonably well designed with a good mix of images and text. I like the Q&A section – it gives an opportunity for the candidate to come across in an informal, conversational style. However he does the classic politician trick of not answering the questions – which is a bit of a surprise, because presumably he also asked them. So he doesn’t tell us what his first priority would be if elected MP, only saying that “one of the most important issues… is crime and community safety”. Or is that two issues?

I like the idea of weekly street surgeries. It would make a nice change because Alun Michael is practically invisible in the constituency – except for the ‘vote Labour’ signs outside his expensive house (largely paid for by you and me) come election time.

The factfile is a good way of presenting personal information, although on the same page I still consider “problem parking in Penarth” to be something way down the list of priorities.

Unsurprisingly for the party placed second in 2010 we have the two-horse race thesis, this time with a graph that was so curiously missing from the Lib Dem pamphlet. It’s worth quoting what I said back here about these ‘two-horse race’ arguments:

the ‘two horse race’ raises its tired nag’s head once more. I dislike these for the following reasons:

  • The graphs universally use misleading axes in order to distort the statistical reality
  • They lie (look no further than one recent by-election)
  • Worst of all, they attempt to stifle democracy by telling people not to vote for any other than two parties

I’ve taken Craig to task before for not coming clean on the tax breaks for millionaires, although the increase in the personal tax allowance is to be welcomed. Meanwhile, he’s banging the same drum on police spending “more time on the beat” even though this is ineffective in reducing crime. It’s a peculiar approach for someone whose apparent priority is “crime and community safety”. And his claim that ‘inflation is down’ needs to be put into historical context where it looks as though the Conservatives have spent the last few years focusing on nothing other than pushing inflation up.

Finally, not a word of Welsh. Not that you’d expect it from the Conservatives, who will try to con you into thinking they’re a Welsh party through affixing ‘Welsh’ in front of their name.

3 o Sylwadau

Filed under Conservatives, Democracy, Elections, Westminster

Election Address from the Communists

The Communists and Liberal Democrats sent their election address late. However, in the interests of democracy I have decided to publish them – but with the penalty of getting just one day’s publicity.

“Britain is ruled by an arrogant, rich and corrupt elite. Only one candidate will oppose them without fear or favour”  – ROB GRIFFITHS, the Welsh Communist Party candidate

Only ONE candidate in this by-election stands for ALL of these policies:

  • TAX the rich, big business and financial speculation – CUT VAT
  • Defend jobs, industry and public services
  • INCREASE pensions, benefits and student grants
  • Invest in public sector HOUSING
  • Close British-run tax havens around the world
  • CUT gas and electricity prices
  • Take gas, electricity, the railways and the City of London into PUBLIC OWNERSHIP
  • Use nationalised banks to provide loans to home-buyers, small businesses and productive industry
  • Oppose the big business policies of the European Union
  • BRING THE TROOPS HOME from Afghanistan immediately
  • Scrap the next generation of British nuclear weapons

If you AGREE –why vote for candidates who support big business, privatisation and war?

A PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM ROB GRIFFITHS (not written by a spin doctor from Head Office)

Dear Elector,

Most people are sick of professional politicians –and so am I.

You don’t need another careerist, a party hack or some new arrival from London.

I hope you want an MP who has lived in this community for more than a few months, who knows its problems and who will campaign with local people to make things better.

As your MP, I would take only the average wage for the area. I will vote against everything that makes ordinary people poorer and rich people richer.

I won’t be grovelling for a junior post in Parliament, or taking money from lobbyists or business.

I’m a socialist, brought up and still living in the constituency. Please don’t vote for me if you want a Blue, Yellow or Pink Tory who’s looking for a cushy career.

Yours sincerely,

Rob Griffiths


ROB GRIFFITHS was brought up in Llanrumney and went to Bryn Hafod primary school. He has lived in Splott for the past ten years.

His mother was an NHS typist. His father was a printer with the Empire News and the Western Mail.

Rob went to Cardiff High School, where he was in the football and rugby teams. He was also a member of Splott YMCA boxing club.

He has been a construction worker, a civil servant, a parliamentary research officer, a lecturer and a trade union tutor. A trade unionist all his working life, he is a past Welsh president of AUEW-TASS and now a member of UNITE.

He has three daughters and five grand-children.

Rob is now the General Secretary of the Communist Party.

He has contested numerous local, Welsh Assembly, General and European elections.

He has campaigned locally against the housing leasehold system, racism and fuel price rises, and in favour of a Parliament for Wales, public services and free Welsh-medium nursery education.

Rob is currently the Chair of Cardiff Against the Incinerator.

For a socialist MP on November 15


For more information about Welsh Communist Party   


Gadael sylw

Filed under Communist Party, Democracy, Elections, Westminster

Election Address from the Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats and Communists sent their election address late. However, in the interests of democracy I have decided to publish them – but with the penalty of getting just one day’s publicity.

I’ve lived locally for most of my life, from primary to PhD my education has been in Cardiff. My husband and I are bringing up our children here. I’m passionate about our community and that’s why I’ve been campaigning alongside local people against Cardiff Council’s congestion charge plans and to protect the green belt around Penarth.

As our local MP, my priority is bringing jobs and investment into our community. Our Deputy Prime Minister has recently travelled to Turkey and attracted £7 million investment for pipe manufacturing in Cardiff South. This will create jobs and also help boost our economy. I want to build on this achievement and attract more jobs here.

Labour left a legacy after 13 years of government with the highest percentage of youth not in education, employment or training. We need more help to get young people into work like the Lib Dem apprenticeship scheme that’s already making a difference for our young. I want to reinstall hope and aspiration in our youth, building a brighter future for Britain.  

I think Penarth deserves an MP that puts people first, not politics. An MP that focuses on delivering results rather than political point scoring. For too long Penarth hasn’t got its fair share of investment – and I will fight to put that right. Above all else, I will put local people and our community first. We deserve nothing less from our MP.

The Liberal Democrat record of delivering more jobs, more money for education, more investment in our transport system and fairer tax system is one that I am proud of and one that I hope to continue delivering if elected as your MP.

I want to give Cardiff South & Penarth a well deserved strong voice in Westminster, fighting with my colleagues in Government to get:

  • More Jobs and Apprenteships
  • A fair start for the next generation
  • A Fairer Tax System
  • Supporting our local economy
  • Spreading the Green Deal

An MP that listens, cares, understands and speaks is what I offer; an MP that will bring change for better; an MP worth voting for.

Gadael sylw

Filed under Democracy, Elections, Liberal Democrats, Westminster

Ruled by an Arrogant, Rich and Corrupt Elite

That’s more like it! We’re treated to the policy content we’ve been waiting for from the Communists this time (with thanks to DJ for sending the leaflet).

Rob Griffiths starts us off with a personal message that reveals that as MP he would take only the average wage of the constituency, and that he would vote “against everything that makes poor people poorer and rich people richer”. He also helpfully tells us not to vote for him if “you want a blue, yellow or pink Tory who’s looking for a cushy career”. Can anyone guess who he might be talking about?!

Here are his policies:

  • Tax the rich, big business and financial speculation
  • Cut VAT
  • Defend jobs, industry and public services
  • Increase pensions, benefits and student grants
  • Invest in public sector housing
  • Close British-run tax havens around the world
  • Cut gas and electricity prices
  • Take gas, electricity, the railways and the City of London into public ownership
  • Use nationalised banks to provide loans to home-buyers, small businesses and productive industry
  • Oppose the big business policies of the EU
  • Bring troops home from Afghanistan immediately
  • Scrap the next generation of British nuclear weapons

There’s a range of desirable aims there, although some would clearly be more difficult to achieve than others. For example, the idea of closing tax havens has a strong moral ring to it. Why should the uber-rich benefit from tax loopholes that the rest of us subsidise through higher income tax, VAT and the rest? And ending the UK’s military occupation of Afghanistan seems sensible on almost any level. On the other hand, “Cut gas and electricity prices” seems rather populist and, frankly, unachievable. But we’ve certainly been given much more food for thought than by the City of London Crooks.

The pamphlet is reasonably laid out, although the bullet points are too big and the spacing between these items too wide. And Rob is clearly a local candidate. However, somewhat surprisingly given that he is apparently the only bilingual candidate, there is not a smic of Welsh on the leaflet. Even the Socialist Labour Party managed to translate its name. Or perhaps for the Communists, as in Russia and China, it’s the Empire’s language that must rule over all dominions?

Gadael sylw

Filed under Communist Party, Democracy, Elections, Westminster

The Star Hustings

This is a guest post description of the election hustings in the Star Leisure Centre, with grateful thanks to D. For an alternative view of the hustings, you might like to try this site.

The main headlines (at least in my view) are that Plaid Cymru’s Luke Nicholas and the Lib Dems’ Bablin Molik have both seen their election
prospects go up in smoke.

They were forced to admit that their respective parties had initiated and supported the controversial Splott Viridor incinerator project.
Both claimed that personally they were totally against it – but eventually had to admit, under questioning from the audience, that
their respective parties had supported the project.

The second issue was that Stephen Doughty (Labour) and Craig Williams (Conservative) were both “no-shows” . Substituting for Doughty (but
leaving the meeting early after barely an hour) was Vaughan Gething AM. The excuse he gave for  Doughty’s absence is that he was attending
a “prearranged event in Grangetown with Owen Smith the Shadow Secretary of State for Wales”. (The Communist candidate Robert
Griffiths said if it had been him he would have cancelled Owen Smith and given the hustings meeting priority.)

Questioned on whether an incoming Labour government would scrap plans to replace the Trident system, Gething floundered and said he had
“genuinely had no idea what Stephen’s position is on  nuclear weapons”. As he left Gething got into an altercation with a member of
the Splott anti-incinerator campaign who has asked him to make a donation. He refused – and left, but was.clearly so riled by the
encounter he returned to the meeting to remonstrate with the woman – accusing her of showing “lack of respect”.to him. It was great fun.

Meanwhile David Melding AM substituted for Craig Williams whose excuse was that he and his wife had had to take their baby to
hospital. Frankly I don’t think either excuse was acceptable – particularly Doughty’s – whom people at the hustings meeting accused of displaying
“discourtesy” and behaving as if the election was “already in the bag”.

The Green candidate Anthony Slaughter actually acquitted himself quite well. Slaughter criticised the incinerator project pointing out
that all the main parties in the election had been complicit in letting this scheme go ahead – including the Lib Dems and Plaid Cymru.
He said the combustion by-products from the incinerator would affect Penarth as well as Splott and Cardiff Bay .

Mr Slaughter also drew special attention to the poor air quality in Cogan which he said was “One class of people being submitted to the
emissions of another class of people” and pointed out that if the entire world behaved like America we would need 9 planets to live on
(six, apparently, everyone on earth lived at the UK’s standard of living).

The Socialist Labour Party’s candidate Andrew Jordan was the third “no-show” of the night – so a stand in represented him (badly)

The UKIP candidate, Simon Zeigler, who is reported in the Penarth Times to have once been a butler to the Earl of Faversham said he had
been a left-winger all his life and a committed trade unionist who had once been a local Labour party chairman and worked in transport house
and the House of Commons (as a waiter). He admitted that whilst there, he had actually tried out the green leather seats (on both sides of
the House).

Somewhat to the astonishment of the audience – which contained quite a few trades unionists – Zeigler said that if elected he would press for
the immediate abolition of the Thatcher anti-trade-union legislation. Asked by a bemused audience if this was UKIP policy – he said it was
HIS policy – and that UKIP itself didn’t have a policy on trade unions.

2 o Sylwadau

Filed under Communist Party, Conservatives, Democracy, Elections, Greens, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, UKIP, Westminster

Work to Destroy Our Communities

Well the Labour team has been busy recently, with a veritable flood of leaflets. I’m starting to think that there won’t be time to review them all. But it’s thanks to GC for sending this particular one through.

Labour have jumped onto the “send a message” bandwagon by now, demonstrating tremendous ingenuity and originality of thought. Having said that, it’s a technique that apparently worked for Labour in May, so it’s no surprise to see all the non-UK Government parties using it.

The design is pretty good on the one side – clear text with enough ‘white space’. And the paper is proudly FSC certified, which is a plus. But turn over and – good grief – have we teleported back to the 80’s?! A crappy ‘cork-board’ style background with cheesy pin effect drags design to a new low even for Labour.

I guess we can forgive this document for being light on policy – with less than a week to go, it’s clearly a ‘get out the vote’ leaflet. But Stephen Doughty’s very presumptuous in assuming that the issues that matter to us are cuts to policing, regional pay and expensive energy. And as I’ve highlighted elsewhere, on policing and regional pay Labour is being hypocritical, and on energy I don’t see what Stephen is proposing, nor has the Labour Party come up with firm plans as yet. Basically, this is guff.

Where I agree with Stephen is that cuts to benefits and services are hitting the most vulnerable in our society hardest. But Labour is committed to wasting £83bn on renewing a nuclear deterrent that could never be used, and given the current financial climate I’d like to see where Stephen would find the money to reverse the cuts. I’m getting the uneasy feeling that Stephen isn’t competent to be dealing with complex trade-offs (or even some of the most obvious and simple ones such as Trident), and as our shoe-in MP from Friday, that’s a concern.

Stephen’s talent for hyperbole is shown to great effect in the next paragraph:

I won’t stand idly by and watch the Tories and Lib Dems work to destroy our communities and wreck our economy.

I find it difficult to conceive that even the most evil caricatures of Tory MPs could be eagerly plotting to “destroy our communities and wreck our economy”. If those are happening then it’s a side-effect of policies followed by the UK Government, not part of their work programme. To suggest otherwise is disingenuous at best.

Finally, as we’ve come to expect, the only place on a Labour election document you’ll see any Welsh is on the ballot paper, where Stephen will try to persuade those people who are positively inclined towards the language that he gives a fig.

1 Sylw

Filed under Democracy, Elections, Labour, Westminster

They Need to Start Listening

Thanks to Luke Nicholas for sending through the next instalment of literature coming through the letterboxes of Penarth.

And it’s a pleasant surprise this time, because this is the stand-out best designed leaflet of the campaign. It has a nice font, good use of colours, a very pleasing mix of images, text and white space, and links to the campaign on social media. And of course, it’s bilingual. If I must register a complaint with the images, he should have picked a better background for the head and shoulders shot. But overall well done team Plaid!

So how about the content?

We have a repeat of the plea to “send a real message” to the UK Government that “they need to start listening” – this is standard fayre for all parties that aren’t represented in the UK Government, naturally. And we get some background about Luke, although the fact that he specifies his “sound knowledge of transport and economy issues” leads one to ask which policy fields he doesn’t have a sound knowledge of. Perhaps “excellent knowledge” would have been better? But Luke is at least accustomed to failure, given that he’s a keen follower of the Wales football team. That will stand him in good stead on the evening of the 15th November.

We’re then treated to three policy suggestions:

  • A Welsh Procurement Bill to make it easier for businesses in Wales to win contracts in Wales
  • Winning jobs and apprenticeships for Wales
  • A rail service “run for the good of people, not for shareholders” – nationalisation, or the Glas Cymru model?

Ok, so the second of these is more of a statement of mission, rather than a policy. But the other two have real merit. Given that we need local businesses to be buoyant in order to improve the lot of people in Wales, any means by which Welsh businesses can more effectively compete for a slice of the procurement cake has to be good news. In fact Luke’s understating the case, because public sector procurement is worth £4.5bn in Wales. And unlike some of Luke’s opponents in this election, he’s made sure that the leaflet is printed in Wales (Swansea – not within the constituency, but a good deal better than Barnsley, Horncastle, London Industrial Park or Stockport).

And on railways, it’s universally accepted – even by the Conservatives, who brought in the policy – that privatisation of the railways has been an unmitigated disaster. In fact, we’ve ended up with nationalised railways elsewhere in Europe running railways in Wales and elsewhere in the UK, pocketing the profits presumably to reinvest in services in the Netherlands and Germany. So let’s bring them back into some sort of public ownership model that will see the money we pay in fares and taxes (the Wales and Borders franchise is the most heavily subsidised franchise in the UK by us, taxpayers, via the Welsh Government) reinvested in Wales instead of continental Europe. And if that means kicking out a government that has refused to allow Scotland to do just that, we’ll need to see how that can be done in 2015.

Gadael sylw

Filed under Democracy, Elections, Plaid Cymru, Westminster