Y Barcud Oren #5

And now on ITV 17, “Welsh Labour Politicians Say The Stupidest Things”…

Excuse Me While I Hate Myself

Our first clip comes courtesy of Rhys Williams, the Labour PPC for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr. A strongly Welsh-speaking area, Carmarthen East and Dinefwr is fairly iconic for Plaid; it’s the successor to Gwynfor Evans’ old seat and is now represented by The Next Leader Of Plaid Cymru™ and The Minister For Smoking In The Eli Jenkins. Equally, having been held by Labour so recently, it’s also often identified as vital for Llafur in re-establishing its Welshness.

Nevertheless, Mr Williams went in all guns blazing in a magazine article, chastising the Welsh-speaking community for using the language as a weapon of exclusion. Not that he has any problem with individual Welsh speakers; that would after all be quite difficult as he is one himself…

In a competitive seat, it would indeed have been electoral suicide, but Plaid were already going to open a big can of electoral whupass on Mr Williams anyway, so for him the greatest consequence will likely be a reminder of his idiocy on BBC Wales’ election night coverage. In any case, no-hoper Llafur candidates saying stupid things quickly took a back seat as the professionals got into the game…

L’Etat, C’est Morgan

A little context to kick us off. Wales has been struggling with falling school rolls and surplus school places for many years, but Cardiff faces a unique challenge in this respect. The city’s unprecedented growth in demand for Welsh-medium education, combined with years of neglect of the issue by previous administrations, has left the city with some 8,000 surplus places on the English-medium side but with Welsh-medium schools chronically oversubscribed. The council has been advancing proposals for a comprehensive reorganisation of provision across the city, but every case is understandably an emotive one.

One of the main battlegrounds is Canton, one of the wards that borders my own in the west of the city. Canton is served by two English-medium primaries, Radnor Road covering the north of the ward and Lansdowne covering the south and west. Radnor Road shares its site with Treganna, a Welsh-medium primary that is almost literally bursting at the seams.

After various iterations, the council is currently proposing to move Lansdowne to a new, smaller facility on the site of the local secondary school. Treganna would then move to the current Lansdowne site, while Radnor Road would expand into the current Treganna site. On the English-medium side, the result would be a smaller Lansdowne covering the south of the ward while Radnor Road covers the north and west.
Those proposals continue to be the subject of consultation, with campaign groups fighting hard on all sides. But during a recent meeting of the Lansdowne campaign, Councillor Ramesh Patel raised the stakes ever so slightly by introducing a new description of the current plans.

Ethnic cleansing.

Cue row in the press, police investigation and a classic non-apology apology from Cllr Patel. Still, you might be reflecting that councillors say stupid things all the time and wondering why this is a matter for Y Barcud Oren and not my own bit of electronic real estate. The answer comes courtesy of Cllr Patel’s employer.

One R. Morgan Esq., mucker of this parish.

Asked about Cllr Patel’s comments at First Minister’s Questions the following week, Rhodri endorsed the non-apology apology, saying the proposals would “lead to an undesirable degree of ethnic polarisation”. Which is all very fine and splendid, except that once agreed by the council, the final proposals will go forward for final approval to…

One R. Morgan Esq., mucker of this parish.

Or at least, to his Welsh Assembly Government. Formal complaints were immediately lodged that, by commenting, Rhodri had prejudiced WAG’s quasi-judicial role in the process, but that didn’t stop Rhodri fanning the flames further. His next press release trumpeted the First Minister for requesting the Equality Commission get involved, and the correction saying that he was actually acting in his capacity as an Assembly Member lost most of its bite by getting his constituency wrong

Meanwhile, those complaints were quickly brushed back not once, but twice. On the first occasion we were told that the complaints did not identify where the Ministerial Code had been broken. On the second, it was claimed that referring to specific paragraphs of the Code in the second complaint but not the first was inappropriate (because heaven forbid that, when asked for a clarification, we should do anything so gauche as provide one). Then again, we shouldn’t be surprised that the person investigating the complaint against Rhodri would respond so childishly. Care to hazard a guess who he is? Yup…

One R. Morgan Esq., mucker of this parish.

And now, from a stupid comment by a councillor, we have ourselves a constitutional ball game. Things can only get stranger…

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This entry was posted in News and Wales.
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