Thursday 25 February 2016

Oh dear! dear! Andrew What have you done?

You have let down the people of Wales – frankly not suitable to be a First Minister!

Gone against your Prime Minister and the majority of your party’s Welsh MPs and AMs

Now in  the same camp as Farage and Galloway!!

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Like it or not Andrew Davies has thrown his party in Wales into a whirlpool and it could be a disaster for the Welsh Tories Assembly elections campaign. True that the In – Out EU Referendum is some six weeks after the Welsh Senedd elections but many issues will inevitably overlap. Here’s a few – prospects for growth and jobs, infrastructure projects and restructuring the former industrial communities, training and investment, agriculture, tourism, rural services and the environment.
David Cameron says that
‘’EU funds had made a big difference" in many parts of Wales.

Then his Secretary of State Stephen Crabb says that:

‘on a balance of costs and benefits, risks and opportunities, Britain and Wales are actually better off staying part of a reforming European Union."
I completely agree with Kirsty Williams when she says that Andrew Davies’s decision is:
"an affront to the hard-working farmers, small business owners and other people whose jobs depend on EU trade," 

Too often the people of Wales don’t always realise how the EU plays a significant part in our everyday lives - it makes a significant contribution to the nation’s well-being.

The Single Market is the largest market for Welsh exports – in 2014 alone exports of goods from Wales to other EU Member States were worth nearly £5.8bn. In fact, recent research shows 200,000 jobs in Wales depend on access to the Single Market.

It is also a major driver of inward investment. As of 2015, there are over 500 enterprises from other EU countries with operations in Wales, employing over 55,000 people.

Wales has benefited from billions of pounds of EU funds over the years. In this year alone, we have invested £425 million of EU Structural Funds to support our economy and labour market.

Between 2007 and 2013 Wales has benefited from the investment of over £1.9bn of EU Structural Funds in 290 projects, representing £3.7bn of total project investment (including match funding by the Welsh Government).

This investment has helped EU projects to deliver important benefits for people, businesses, the environment, and communities during 2014, supporting some 190,800 people to gain qualifications and over 62,800 into work, and creating some 30,600 jobs and over 10,400 enterprises

Already it is known that over the next 6 years a further £2 billion from the Structural Funds programmes have been approved by the European Commission.

Another area where Wales benefits from the EU is in scientific research, innovation and technology development which is essential for economic growth and creating high quality jobs.

Then there is agriculture, tourism and the rural economy. Leaving the EU will undoubtedly have a devastating effect on the nation’s farmers and hence the rural economy. At present on average farmers rely on the EU programme of support for some 35-50% of their gross incomes. The sum involved is over £200m a year. So without question it would be a bleak future indeed outside the EU and it is estimated for instance that only some 10-15% of farmers could survive without the current levels of support.

Some 58,000 people are engaged and employed directly in the farming and agricultural industry. When the food processing and agri-food sector are taken into account as well the number of people involved reaches around 230,000 ( 18% of the workforce). It is estimated all this is worth around £6billion annually to the Welsh economy.     

Other rural development policies and initiatives being promoted by the European Union does contribute effectively to supporting the rural economy, communities, heritage and landscape and the Rural Development Plans programme also makes an invaluable contribution.   This funding not only supports the agricultural industry but also services such as tourism and other rural services.

Of course should Andrew Davies and UKIP have their way and Britain did leave the European Union there is little question that rural businesses would find it more difficult to survive. Currently some £4.0bn is received in subsidy payments and the best guess that has been made is that a British Government operating on its own outside the EU would only be able to replace some £1.0bn of that. So leaving the EU would have serious consequences for farming.

As I said Andrew Davies has made a massive miss-judgement and without question has put his own personal prejudices first and ignoring the consequences for the Wales and its people. 

Tuesday 23 February 2016

Video recordings of Lectures on the EEC Referendum 1975 and the growth of Eurosceptism

Two historical accounts  -  the 1975 EEC Referendum and then the growth of Euro-sceptisism

Lectures by Professor Victor Bogdanor

The story behind the greatest triumph that pro-Europeans in Britain have ever enjoyed; a two-to-one majority for staying in Europe: 

Labour in opposition rejected entry on the terms negotiated by the Conservatives, but promised a renegotiation and referendum (plus a change!). This lecture analyses the reasons for Labour's stance and why it was that the referendum led to a two-to-one majority for staying in Europe, the greatest triumph that pro-Europeans in Britain have ever enjoyed.

This lecture analyses the growth of euroscepticism, first in the Labour Party after 1979, and then in the Conservative Party: 

This lecture analyses the growth of euroscepticism, first in the Labour Party after 1979, and then in the Conservative Party culminating in Margaret Thatcher's Bruges speech (1988) and opposition to the Maastricht Treaty of 1992. The relationship remains controversial, leading to the pressures which have led to David Cameron's commitment to further renegotiation and referendum.

Monday 22 February 2016

I was going to post a serious article about Brexit - but I was taught 40 years ago that a photo is worth a 1000 words! So here are 3000! ...

This is Boris 14 days ago and what he says is 100% correct

Two trustworthy characters you can really depend on !!

Hang on a minute Boris has changed his mind! – Tory leadership ambitions have intervened!! 

Wednesday 17 February 2016

Time to mobilise to save the Lloyd George Museum in perpetuity

Lloyd George the first Prime Minister from a working class background, an International Statesman and the only Welsh speaking PM ever.

'In his prime, his power, his influence, his initiative was unequalled in the land. He was the champion of the weak and the poor'.

‘He was the greatest Welshman which that unconquerable race has produced since the age of the Tudors’.

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So Gwynedd County Council has arrived at a sensible and correct decision. This gives all concerned time to mobilise - including the Welsh Government, Cadw, National Trust, Lloyd George Society and many others.   

Lloyd George Museum was established in 1947 and run by Trustees until it was transferred to the Council in 1987. The Council now runs the museum and Highgate, the childhood home of David Lloyd George, which has been restored to show people what it was like when it was a cobbler’s workshop in the 1860s.
The museum is one of just two museums throughout Britain dedicated to a former prime minister and attracts between 6,000 and 7,000 visitors a year.

Closing the museum would mean: • less opportunities to promote the history and influence of David Lloyd George on Britain and the world during a key period of remembrance to mark the centenary of the First World War and his time as prime minister • implications for the collections and Highgate itself, which have been donated to the Council and the Frances Lloyd George Fund charity • an impact on the area’s economy in terms of tourism as it is a high-profile attraction • depriving schools, colleges and societies of education and research opportunities.

Already his family has launched The Lloyd George Premiership Centenary Appeal aimed at raising £250,000 to help develop the museum by to enable people to contribute towards the running of the Museum.