Taffia Don: Welsh Nationalist Commentary


Sunday, April 10, 2011
  2011 0410 – TORIES TO CUT EDUCATION TO PAY FOR HEALTH

After 12 years of a Labour government with several reports saying that the Welsh educational system is on the brink (links below.) The Conservatives had said they would cut education to prevent any cuts in the NHS.


http://taffiadon.blogspot.com/2011/03/2011-0330-after-12-years-of-labour_2422.html


http://taffiadon.blogspot.com/2011/03/2011-0329-after-12-years-of-labour.html



Why is it desirable to protect the NHS? If you protect the NHS, you protect any duplicated and wasteful manager, and every inefficient department. Protecting the NHS at the expense of education is not the direction that Wales needs to take. It need to improve its educational system and develop its economy, we can not keep throwing money at the NHS.

 
  2011 0410 – SOCIALISTS SCAREMONGERING

We all know that Labour a liking to highlight all the cuts of the coalition government, trying to make as much political capital out of responsible politicians rectifying the mistakes of their government. However, in Swansea yesterday the socialist workers party was proclaiming loudly that the Conservatives are cutting cancer nurses. They might be in England, however, the Conservatives are the only party in Wales that are guaranteeing the NHS budget.


Failing to recognise that this is a devolved issue is deliberately misleading the Welsh public, it misrepresents the fact that Labour would cut the NHS in Wales but the Conservatives would conserve it.


I would discuss the wisdom of promising to conserve the budge at current levels since it conserves every duplicated managerial post, every superfluous managerial post, and every inefficiently in the NHS, but that is off topic.

 
  2011 0410 – BNP’S TRUE COLOURS

A BNP candidate for the Assembly election will appear in Swansea magistrate court on Monday, charged with public order offences after he was videoed pouring flammable liquid over the Koran and setting light to it. (Story from the BBC)


Sion Owens who is still the South Wales West regional candidate for the BNP has demonstrated that the BNP have no interest in preserving ‘Britishness’, since religious tolerance is a British tradition, established by Elizabeth I, and reinforced by Cromwell when he allowed Jews to settle in the UK to escape persecution. The BNP are only interested in ethnically cleansing the UK, no matter how their PR / propaganda machine (which is one of the best) cares to portray themselves.

 
  2011 0410 – DUTCH BANKING BONUS BAN

The Guardian reported that the Dutch people have forced their politicians to introduce a retrospective ban on banker’s bonuses (click here.)


This is interesting for many reasons, firstly, it is often said that if we penalise banks then they would move their companies out of Britain, secondly, it is argued that we can not act independently for fear of the first, and finally, Britain’s bankers earn significantly larger bonuses.


Now I think I am right in saying that Britain has a larger banking centre than the Netherlands, with greater levels of international banks, so the position might be different, however, there is obviously the ability to build the consensus so why have they not tried?

 
Monday, April 04, 2011
  2011 0404 - LABOUR YOU CAN'T TRUST THEM

Seen on 'Syniadau blog'. An advert printed in the 'Western Mail', Detailing the reasons not to trust Labour and especially Hain.

The publishers list themselves as, "United and Welsh, an alliance of concerned citizens, (...)" However, Labour at their Machiavellian best are trying to lay the blame directly on Plaid despite the fact that the leaflet advocates voting for each of the other four parties, in five marginal seats.

 
  2011 0404 – PROMOTING LANGUAGES
There is a well-worn and slightly tired argument that the Welsh Language is being over promoted, However, I was interested to come across this piece from the BBC about the reintroduction of Hebrew as a living language only 100 years ago. I had no idea that the language (although read in the Torah) went out of use and had to be reintroduced to be the principle language of Israel today. It also details how the Hebrew language develops new words, having an institution that is the sole deliberator on words for new things, taking suggestions from the public. It is an interesting article especially considering the efforts to maintain the Welsh language.
 
Saturday, April 02, 2011
  2011 0402 – AV’S AFFECT ON PLAID

AV and FPTP are both systems that favour a two party system. AV is not a proportional representation election system. Whether or not Plaid will retain the three seats they hold under FPTP is unknowable but they hold Carmarthen East and Dinefwr with a majority of 35.6%, Dwyfor 44.3%, and Afron 36.0%. They will need to pick up second preference votes to retain all their seats. The question is would people give Plaid them? Alternatively, would they majority of people prefer a one of the three parties.


If we consider Afron alone, PC has 36% and Labour 30%, Conservative 16.9%, Liberal Democrat 14.1%, and UKIP 2.6%. (This is conjecture now) UKIP would be eliminated, and their votes would most likely go to the Conservatives, next would be Liberal Democrats their votes would probably go to Labour predominantly (it would need EVERY Liberal Democrat voter to list their second preference for Plaid to secure the seat). After that it is the Conservatives - would conservative voters put Plaid as their second choice or Labour? Since politics in this country is measured in swings from Labour to Conservative and vice versa, you would have to guess that Labour would be the major beneficiary at that stage (Also aided by the fact that the Conservatives are a unionist party by comparison to Plaid’s nationalism).


This assertion would mean Afron would have a Labour candidate - Plaid will always suffer in UK elections from lack of media coverage, and will most likely lose out.


Carmarthen East and Dinefwr: Plaid 35.6% (incumbent), Labour 26.5%, Conservatives 22.4%, Liberal Democrats 12.1%, UKIP 3.4%. A projection of potential AV result: UKIP votes going to the fellow right wing Conservative party, followed by Liberal Democrats vote most likely being divided predominantly between Labour and Conservatives. The Conservative and Unionist Party voters will decide whether the Welsh Nationalist Plaid or British Mainstream Labour will win. I would suspect the lack of media coverage or Plaid, the perception of a Plaid as the ‘language party’ and general values, Conservatives would elect a Labour representative over Plaid.


Finally, Dwyfor Meirionnydd: Plaid 44.3%, Conservative 22.3%, Labour 13.9%, Liberal Democrat 12.2%, Independent 4.5%, and UKIP 2.7%. My projection under an AV system: UKIP votes once again go to Conservatives, Independent candidate (I am going to ignore – but the per cent age is insufficient to have a Plaid victory). Liberal Democrats second preferences split between Labour and Plaid (Plaid might win at this stage), Labour, here is the tricky part, I think that since Plaid is a left wing socialist party and many Liberal democrat voters might have Plaid as a third choice Plaid would most likely win at this stage and keep this seat at an AV election.


As I said its unknowable and this example is conjecture but it is plausible. Plaid will most likely be decimated in Parliament because of AV, in favour of the dominant British party (namely Labour). This is because UK general elections focus so intently on the three London based parties. In addition, to the way that AV is structured.


If you consider that Plaid got 11.3% of the Votes in Wales to come away with only one of 40 seats or 2.5% of the seats (by my projections) that is an absolute travesty of democracy under AV. The current FPTP system is more representative with 7.5% of the seats with their 11.3% share of the vote. However, if there was a proportional system they would have four seats – accurately representing their share of the vote.


AV is as bad a system as FPTP, perhaps it is a stepping-stone to full PR but can we take the risk of strangling political plurality in the interim? Those three Plaid MPs better represent wales than the 26 Welsh Labour MPs who fall into line so quickly with their London party, and consistency fail to stand up for Wales.

 
Friday, April 01, 2011
  2011 0402 – LABOUR DOESN’T STAND UP FOR WALES

I have often said that Labour have no intrinsic desire or need to produce results for Wales. They have a natural majority at the moment based on the poor social and economic condition that we are experiencing. Carwyn Jones (First Minister) has said that the conditions exist because of the recessions in the late 1980’s. However, after 12 years of Labour government in Cardiff and 13 years of coinciding Labour Government in Westminster – Labour have failed to produce any results. Their reward for their failure is being able to make many promises at the forthcoming election.


Welsh Labour failed to address the unfair funding when they had the ability to do, now they are criticising the yearling coalition government for failing to create a fair funding system, saying Labour would have resolved the issue after the 2010 general election. Labour deliberately does nothing to help Wales knowing that the people of Wales will turn to Labour when in need.


This symbiosis, not symbiosis (since that is mutually beneficial) but rather this cycle of abuse akin to an alcoholic partner, who lurches from neglect to abuse, is as damaging to Wales as it would be for any individual.


Labour has done nothing but neglect Wales, and despite their growing voice in opposition, we must not forget that in power Labours voice is slurred with indifference.

 
  2011 0401 – NO TO AV CAMPAIGN

While looking for the conservative manifesto for the forthcoming Welsh Election, I was confronted by the headline, “AV will give greater credibility to extremist parties”. My previous posts about the AV system has detailed that the 50 per cent thresh-hold to elect a representative will mean that smaller parties, which often polarise opinion, could find it more difficult to win seat that they currently hold. However, is it ethical to select a voting system, expressly because it limits minority parties from being democratically represented?


When I studied democratic systems, and debated reasons why political parties should be banned, we concluded that only anti-systemic parties should be excluded (That is to say parties that want to end democracy). On what grounds then do the Conservatives have to penalise smaller minority parties? If a party exists in the democratic sphere then the election system should not conspire to penalise them because their views are deemed by the majority to be acceptable.


Further to this article, David Cameron’s speech in Swansea today, said that AV system will allow the BNP into Westminster. This is a contentious and alarmist statement, designed to scare people into backing the Conservatives FPTP. However, his argument is fundamentally flawed. The AV system will raise the bar for candidates to cross before begin elected, because of this consensus feature, politicians that can gain support of the community at large are more likely to succeed, therefore extremist parties are less likely to get elected under an AV system by comparison to FPTP.


The conservatives have a vested interest in keeping the FPTP voting system – namely the political plurality of left-wing politics in Britain. Nevertheless, advocating the current system because of the fallacious assertion that far-right parties might be the main beneficiary is illogical, as it suggests that people will have a greater chance of having a representative that they want. In fact, what normally happens under an AV system is it guarantees the supremacy of two major parties in a cartel fashion. What I suspect the Conservatives are worried about is, that seats they narrowly win, because Labour and the Liberal Democrats split the left-wing vote they will lose under the AV system because supporters of the two latter parties would typically* prefer a left wing representation thereby ousting the Conservatives on the second preference.


At the end of the day, parties will only ever be represented in parliament if they have been voted for by the public.


*The Liberal Democrats have elements in their philosophy that are more conservative, however, they still retain a large socially conscious element

 
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
  2011 0330 – GOVERNMENT DEBT

Labour in opposition are adamant that the banks should pay their fair share of the national debt, as it was their irresponsibility and carelessness in financial transactions that forced the government to shell out to bail them out. One wonders now that the Ian Watmore (the then head of Tony Blair's e-Government Unit in 2004) says that many of Labours IT projects were commissioned unnecessarily to make the policy “sound sexy” whether they will stick to this principle. Speaking to the public administration committee, Mr Watmore, claims to have already saved £2 billion in Whitehall efficiencies. Since Mr Watmore was tasked by the coalition to reduce waste, the message could be politically motivated, however, should Labour be forced to repaying the money they irresponsibly used to “make their policy sound sexy”, just as the banks are being forced to contribute for their carelessness?

 
  2011 0330 – THE CONSERVATIVES SHOULD STICK TO DESTROYING WALES’ ECONOMY

The Conservative party should stick to what it does best "which is destroying the economy" instead of criticising Labour, according to First Minister Carwyn Jones AM.


The economy has been declining under the Labour’s governance as these multiple BBC reports (below), However, that is all the Conservative's fault.


The report forecast growth at an average of 1.6% per year over the next decade compared to 2.2% across the UK and said as Wales "fails to keep pace" its share of the UK economy will diminish from 3.5% in 2010 to 3.2% in 2025.


Latest figures show gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 2% in 2008.


The European Union's Statistical Office said GDP in west Wales and the south Wales valleys in 2008 was 71% of the average of other European regions - 2% down on the previous year and the lowest in the UK.


[only] 15% believe assembly government renewal plan will improve the prospects of the Welsh economy.


According to the Welsh Affairs Select Committee during the late 1980s and much of the 1990s, Wales was successful in attracting inward investment, with the nation regularly gaining around 15% of the inward investment and associated jobs coming to the UK.


"However, in recent years, the environment for attracting investment has changed rapidly, and Wales has lost large portions of its foreign manufacturing employment and output," it said.


It said Wales had attracted 4.7% of all inward investment in the UK during the past 10 years.


According to HM Revenue & Customs figures, Wales had the largest decrease of the devolved countries and English regions.


The Welsh economy is the least competitive in the UK, according to new academic research.


Labour have presided over a clear and consistent decline of the Welsh economy, Wales’ position in the UK, EU and world is weaker now than it ever was under the conservatives.


Labour have done nothing for Wales – We must not reward failure with votes.

 
  2011 0330 – AFTER 12 YEARS OF LABOUR GOVERNANCE: OUR EDUCATION SYSTEM IS DEBILITATING OUR ECONOMY

Another story from the BBC showing that Labour is not producing results for Wales, In fact if you look at inward investment figures Wales was better off with the ‘bogeyman’ Conservatives rather than the ‘natural’ Labour party.


I disagree with the fact that Wales has not got the talent – myself being educated to level 7 and being stonewalled out of the jobs market by being over qualified and under experienced.


However, Labour has failed to address this weakness or the perceived/actual lack of skills, and with the previous story of an educational system on the brink. It is time to stop this blind loyalty for Labour. Vote for change.


Key points (Click here for full text)


Wales is not attracting high quality inward investment due to "appalling" skill levels and a poor education system, an academic has told MPs.


John Ball told the Welsh Affairs Select Committee a key plank of the assembly government's economic strategy was "cloud cuckoo land".


Wales once attracted up to a fifth of inward investment into the UK.


Dr Ball, an economics lecturer of Swansea University, said the skills were not there for inward investors. Something serious, he said, had to be done about education.


He accused the assembly government of prioritising industries in decline.


He said to talk of attracting financial services and research and development jobs was "cloud cuckoo land" because of poor levels of education in Wales.


He said the assembly government needed to do more to promote Welsh exports abroad rather than look for external investors.


According to the Welsh Affairs Select Committee during the late 1980s and much of the 1990s, Wales was successful in attracting inward investment, with the nation regularly gaining around 15% of the inward investment and associated jobs coming to the UK.


It said Wales had attracted 4.7% of all inward investment in the UK during the past 10 years.

 
  2011 0330 – AFTER 12 YEARS OF LABOUR GOVERNANCE: THE WELSH ECONOMY IS LIMPING

The BBC has again reported on another damning failure of the Labours competence in managing its responsibility, this time the economy. The report highlights lots of potential for the Welsh economy, potential that Labour has failed to capitalise on for 12 years.


Key points (Click for full text)


The report forecast growth at an average of 1.6% per year over the next decade compared to 2.2% across the UK and said as Wales "fails to keep pace" its share of the UK economy will diminish from 3.5% in 2010 to 3.2% in 2025.


Other challenges include lower entrepreneurism and lower business start-up rates, fewer foreign-owned businesses and fewer businesses exporting than England.


Cheryl Gillan said the research "shows the scale of the problem we inherited and also the opportunities available as we set to rebalance the Welsh economy.

 
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
  2011 0329 – AFTER 12 YEARS OF LABOUR GOVERNANCE: WE ARE STANDING ON THE BRINK OF EDUCATIONAL ABYSS.

The BBC have reported a damning report that is the result of 12 years of stewardship of the educational system in Wales. The report says that a “downward spiral” could result without urgent action, I hope that the forthcoming election will provide a damning verdict on Labour achievements and boot them into opposition.


After reading this I will concentrate more on the parties educational proposals.


Key points (Click here for full text)


Too many schools are "coasting", it says, and standards of literacy and numeracy are too low.


It says that some local authorities "lack the capacity" to improve the performance of their schools.


"If urgent steps are not taken, then we could well enter a downward spiral in terms of performance," it says.


Standards of literacy and numeracy are significantly lower than they should be in Wales, it says.


The group was hopeful that the learn-through-play foundation phase for under sevens would help raise standards in literacy and numeracy. But it said that without diagnostic testing the phase will "not be well founded". "If we are not careful standards will regress rather than improve because of the introduction of the foundation phase," it says.


A third of education spending - or £1.3bn - was swallowed by administration.

 
  2011 0329 – EGALITARIANISM OF DEMOCRACY

It is the ardent assertion of FPTP supporters that under the AV system some people have up to six votes. They cite the egalitarianism of one-person one vote simplicity, ignoring the fact that under FPTP the majority of people have no vote, the majority of people can’t make a difference, the majority of people are disenfranchised.


Where the winning majority of elections is typically 30 per cent, 70 per cent of the electorate are disenfranchised, excluded from the democratic process.


Yes to AV supporters cling to the majorative feature of AV as justification for its adoption, they can not claim though that AV reflects the votes cast, instead they change the votes to reflect the result.


Only one system gives people a vote, a vote that counts, a vote that returns a representative parliament. Proportional representation is the only egalitarianism system, and we should insist on it.

 
Monday, March 28, 2011
  2011 0328 – 2011 WELSH ASSEMBLY ELECTION MANIFESTO - UKIP

Today the United Kingdom Independence Party (aka UKIP), launched its manifesto for the Welsh Assembly, (Link to the document in title), Below is a summary with my commentary on the issue.



Commentary is my opinion only and is denoted by a “>>” before it begins


All other text is copied from the manifesto.



FACTS:



- UKIP currently have no representation in the Assembly


- UKIP are not placing candidates in constituency elections, only in regional elections.


- UKIP have one of four seats in the European Parliament.



MANIFESTO:



“ABOLISH THE ASSEMBLY AND LEAVE THE EU”



PREAMBLE:



Government in Wales is becoming more and more remote from the electorate.



>> Surely, the Welsh Assembly has brought government closer to the people of Wales. For the first time since 1537, the Welsh people have control of their laws (some of them at least).



We want Britain out of the European Union so we can govern ourselves, and we want re-empowered local authorities. And, while we respect the Welsh identity, we also believe in preserving the United Kingdom[…]



There is no place in this scheme for the Welsh Assembly



>> But you just complained that democracy was becoming more remote from the electorate and now you want to overturn the referendum of March (not even a month ago) where the Welsh people voted for their Assembly to have greater powers. This is rather contrary.



POLICIES:



POLICY 1:



Sack the 60 members of the Welsh Assembly and sell their Cardiff building.



Wales has 40 members of the British parliament, 60 Assembly members, 4 Members of the European Parliament and hundreds of Councillors. We don’t need all these politicians.



>> Under current plans, by the coalition government, the number of Welsh MPs will decrease to 30.



Only 25.3% of Welsh people voted to create the increasingly unpopular Welsh Assembly.



>> The Welsh people voted for the Assembly, They have just voted for the Assembly Powers, What evidence is there that is it is increasingly unpopular? and if they vote for you with a turn out of 20 per cent I’m sure you claim it’s a vindication for your perspective.



Our policy is to have the British parliament meet for three weeks out of four to debate law that applies to the whole of Britain. Then, in the fourth week, the 40 Welsh MPs come home to attend to Welsh business in a new Welsh National Council – with the Scots doing similarly and English MPs staying to debate law that only applies to England. The 60 Welsh Assembly members would be redundant.



>> The Welsh Assembly does not have power to do this. However, deciding to solve the West Lothian question by having a lock out, It is an interesting idea. However, some practicalities, can 30 MPs (if boundary reforms are approved) handle the months work of 60 AMs in one week? How will this effect the quality of decisions, surely we would just, end up with reactionary policies from what ever was in the headlines at the moment. Additionally, what happens to Britain during this week? Do the English ministers who rule Britain have a free hand? What happens with a Libya situation?



The Welsh National Council would meet at different venues in all parts of Wales, so North, East and West Wales are covered too.



>> Why is having the meeting in various localities desirable? Would the civil service tour with the Assembly? Is this a cost effective alternative to having a dedicated offices to meet in Cardiff – having to rent out somewhere large enough to hold the administration as well as the meetings and provide ad hoc security? Granted you will get some money from selling off the Senedd, but how long would that last?



Wales needs UKIP members of the Assembly who will campaign vigorously for its abolition


and they will be pleased to lose their Assembly jobs when this occurs.



>> Welcome political plurality, but does the Welsh Assembly have the power to instigate this policy, I assume that the Assembly would have the power to return the power to Westminster if they chose (not sure about it though). Without UKIP in power in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, we would just be returning power to an institution that 0 per cent of the British Population has voted for. (Has there ever been a popular vote saying that they people want Westminster Parliament).



POLICY 2:



Restore local democracy, with direct local votes and more local control over finances.



>> Restore local democracy, with local votes and more local control over finances – I’ve an idea, lets have an local Parliament in Wales, directly elected by locals… wait isn’t that what Policy 1 was against?



Today, local councils rely on government funding and obey government orders rather than looking after the interests of their local communities. It’s no wonder that so few people turn out to vote at local elections. UKIP believes in restoring local democracy and freeing local government from central government interference.



>> Freeing local councils to respond to the needs of their localities is a good thing.



First, we would provide for local referendums on any major local issue. Once a petitioner obtains enough signatures from local voters calling for a referendum on a subject of their choosing, a referendum must be held and its result would be binding.



>> We had a referendum on creating an Assembly and another one to remove its stabilisers, which you want to reverse, so why is this a good micro policy but bad macro policy? Should the 1979 election for devolution been an end of the issue of Welsh self-determination, if so how does this reflect a dynamic and changing nature of people beliefs?



Second, we would give local councils much greater control over their finances by letting them keep local business rates. This would enable them to assist small businesses with fairer business rates that reflect local conditions and the extra costs of operating in rural areas.



>> They make it sound like someone is trying to take away local business rates? Are they – I have no idea.



Finally, local authorities must be made more accountable to the voters by staging more open meetings and adopting more visible decision-making processes. Cabinet style local government must go.



>> Seems like a good idea.



POLICY 3:



Restore the UK’s independence by leaving the European Union



>> The Welsh Assembly does not have the ability to leave the EU



The UK pays the European Union £39 million a day. In return, the EU controls farming and fishing, it restricts our trade with the rest of the world, it showers us with thousands of regulations and it is taking over most of the functions of national governments,



There is little point of having an elected British government, let alone a Welsh Assembly, when most laws come from Brussels.



>> The Welsh Assembly does not have power to do this. However, it is Hard to justify a £39 million pound a day drain I grant you, but having pan-European regulation, means Britain can complete on an equal footing with European neighbours, it makes it easier for companies to enter the market, as they can produce one product rather than 26 different ones – I should save them money.



>> The Welsh Assembly does not have power to do this. However, most of the regulations that control us are of British origin (the Human Rights Act 1997 – being the most contentious and Health and Safety laws) originate predominantly from Britain, and those that are from Europe are usually the same as British ones they replace. The problem is that the press likes bashing the EU and politics like the EU taking the flack for the unpopular policy.



UKIP policy is to take Britain out of the EU so we can trade freely with the rest of the world as well as the EU, just as independent Norway and Switzerland do now. We [would] can also start to unwind all those thousands of EU regulations and directives that interfere with our lives and destroy our businesses,



>> How does the EU stop us from trading freely outside of the EU? We only send about 30 per cent of our goods to EU so the majority of our trade is outside the EU as it is.



Return control to our own people. Make our own decisions again instead of being ruled by Brussels bureaucrats



>> Replace the word Brussels with English, and then you have an outlandish proposition … apparently.



OTHER POLICY PRIORITIES



There is too much interference from central government in the running of our schools and universities. Teachers have to put paperwork and performance targets above the needs of pupils. Standards have collapsed and many of our children leave school unable to read and write.



- Independence for schools and colleges over teaching, examinations and discipline.


- Return to selective education and grammar schools, but with fair treatment for all schools and


- selection on merit rather than postcode.


- Introduce vouchers to help parents to choose the school they want. Keep special schools open.


- Encourage competitive school sports, playing fields and school trips.


- Bring back student grants and scrap student loans.


- Abolish the absurd target of 50% of young people attending university and leave it to the universities to select their students.



>> Independence over examinations, how can you guarantee or demonstrate a national standard of educational attainment. Each employer will have to research the educational institution. Surely it would be better to have a single standard exam to be used by all get rid of the exam boards that drive down standards by making it easier to pass, so schools can look better if they use them.



>> The 50 per cent target is there to provide ambition, if the universities are choose their own people, they will be full of foreign students – students that the are the most profitable.



>> I agree with sports, and school trips, and grants - but can Wales afford to get rid of loans? They spend millions capping fees as it is. Not sure I understand the voucher idea.



Health



Despite our health service being given more money, much of this has been wasted on management consultants and bureaucrats. We still have long waiting lists, postponed operations, poor cleanliness, and low staff morale. The reason is that the government tries to run the NHS centrally, in all its detail, using hundreds of performance targets and ever-changing initiatives.



>> Which is why the Welsh Assembly has refused to ring-fence the NHS from spending reviews so they can reduce money in proportion to waste,



Scrap the 22 expensive Local Health Boards and replace them with more representative local control.



>> You just said it was run centrally - in 22 centres?



Return to the ‘matron’ system with a single manager responsible for all care and accommodation.



>> Has been widely advocated, I have no idea as to its merits.



More freedom for doctors to select treatment based on clinical need rather than performance targets.



>> I know a lot of doctors (writing this from my hospital bed) and I don’t see them wasting money on treatments that aren’t clinically necessary, in fact that’s rather an unethical and unprofessional idea, where is the evidence that they are going to do this?



GP surgeries to re-open in the evenings and at weekends when working people can visit.



>> The Welsh Assembly does not have power over GP contracts that has been retained by the Westminster government.



Immigration:



>> I have skipped over this section since the Welsh Assembly does not have power over immigration. No vote in this election will have any impact on immigration policy in Britain.



Crime:



>> I have skipped over this section since the Welsh Assembly does not have power over crime and policing, although it is likely and logical that these responsibilities will be devolved within the next 10 years.



The economy:



Britain can only remain prosperous and competitive in the global economy by reducing the regulatory burden and taxation on our businesses. We would cut taxes all round and pay for this by cutting government waste and halting the growth of government spending. We do not accept the argument that this means a reduction in ‘front line’ public services.



>> Isn’t this what the coalition government, is doing already – why then should we vote for you?



Raise the income tax threshold to £9,000 per year, taking a further 4.5 million lower paid people out of tax altogether and making everyone else better off.



>> The Welsh Assembly does not have power to do this. However, the coalition government is already on the path to doing this.



Scrap inheritance tax altogether.



>> The Welsh Assembly does not have power to do this.


Reduce rates of company tax so our businesses can compete in the global economy.



>> The Welsh Assembly does not have power to do this.



Slash council tax by 40%, taking it back to where it was 10 years ago, in real terms.



>> This suggests that 40 per cent of council tax is wasted, do we cut back wages by 40 per cent or cut back on council services? You said you want Councils to be free of government control and yet your going to shackle them with massive budget cuts.



Agriculture and fishing



As long as Britain remains in the EU, we shall also remain bound by its Common Agricultural Policy which rewards rich landowners and helps to put our farmers out of business. UKIP believes in a strong farming industry that is a reliable source of our food whilst also looking after our rural environment.



Replace the CAP with price support systems that recognise local conditions, such as hill farming.



>> The Welsh Assembly does not have power to do this.



Provide financial support for young farmers.



>> No details though



Return to sensible health regulations so that small local abattoirs can re-open.



>> Not sure whether this is within the Assembly’s powers.



Encourage local food production and consumption.



>> Easily said, but no details.



Take back British control over our coastal waters and rebuild our fisheries protection fleet.



>> The Welsh Assembly does not have power to do this.



Transport



Public transport needs to be more attractive and responsive to local needs, and there is gridlock on the roads. Over-zealous traffic enforcement is used merely to raise funds.



Improve local control and management of public transport – rail, bus and airport links.



>> Surely the Assembly is the best forum to improve local control and management of public transport.



Rule out road pricing, oppose privatisation of parking facilities and allow free parking at hospitals.



>> Free parking is already a policy, but to save costs of buying out contracts they’re letting them, where they exist run their course.



Remove speed cameras unless they cut accidents.



>> Speed limits are the law, and your dictating options of how locally elected police chiefs, under supervision of local council should enforce the law (See crime section in manifesto – for the plans that they haven’t got the power to introduce), so your pro local control and now dictating practices.



Tax foreign lorries on the same basis as our own.



>> The Welsh Assembly does not have power to do this.



Energy:



UKIP regards Britain’s growing dependence on imported energy as unacceptable, yet we recognise that renewable sources such as wind power will never meet more than a small fraction of our needs. We believe that an increasing proportion of our energy must be nuclear and would also promote clean coal technology. We fully support the plan for a new barrage across the Severn.



>> Supporting Nuclear during the current problems in Japan is a bold move, but it is expensive, and the barrage was discarded because of the cost. Does the Assembly have powers for this?



The environment



Environmental legislation is now driven wholly by the EU – with targets for recycling that place impossible demands on our local authorities and result in large-scale shipment of our waste to China. UKIP believes strongly in protection of our environment but this must be a matter for our own government. We would vigorously defend our green belt against excessive targets for housing.



>> Well it is the same environment, so why shouldn’t we share targets with the EU? If the targets are impossible demands – why do Germany and many other European Countries exceed them?



Defence



>> The Welsh Assembly does not have power to do this.



Save our Post Offices



Rural post offices and the Royal Mail are being destroyed by EU rules that put limits on government support and allow private companies to cream off the most profitable business. UKIP would provide subsidies as necessary to keep post offices open.



>> Are post offices devolved?



The smoking ban



UKIP Wales regards the general ban on smoking (enforced from April 2007) as an unnecessary assault on people’s freedom. We would scrap the ban, leaving pubs, restaurants and other premises to choose whether they have smoking areas or not.



>> I have a respiratory condition, why should someone else’s free restrict mine? Why should I be less free to choose where I want to spend my time? What about the health implications? Its only since the smoking ban that I’ve able to go to these places.



Council housing



UKIP Wales will join the campaign to respect the results of ballots where council tenants say they want to keep council housing in public ownership.



>> And yet you reject the ballot for the Assembly!