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National Assembly of Wales elections – West Wales results

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Week-to-go-to-register-to-vote-Electoral-Commission-warningTHE CONSTITUENCY RESULTS are in and the election could not have gone much better for Labour, at least in the number of seats held.

As the Labour vote tumbled across Wales by around 7%, none of the opposition parties were able to make the step from being promising contenders to winners. Even where Labour shed a massive number of votes, such as in Blaenau Gwent, Labour hung on.

The big tests for Plaid Cymru, winning Llanelli and snatching Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire – the second and third most marginal seats in Wales – proved beyond them.

Llanelli

Lee Waters 10,267; Helen Mary Jones 9,885; Kenneth Rees 4,132; Stefan Ryszewski 1,937; Sian Caiach 1,113; Greg Smith 427; Gemma Bowker 355.

Helen Mary Jones was regarded as a hot favourite for victory in pre-election opinion polls, but where it counted – in the ballot box – the popular former AM came up short. Labour’s Lee Waters increased his predecessor’s slim majority to 382 after a hard fought ground war. One key local issue – the future of Trostre – strongly favoured the former journalist and Director of the IWA. In addition, resentment of the Plaid-led County Council combined with UKIP’s capacity to take non-Labour votes in parts of Llanelli town, were additional contributory factors to a widely unexpected victory.

Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire

Angela Burns 10,355; Marc Tierney 6,982; Simon Thomas 5,459; Allan Brookes 3,300; Chris Overton 1,638; Valerie Bradley 804

In Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, confident noises, encouraged by opinion polls, were silenced as Plaid’s Education spokesperson in the last Assembly, Simon Thomas, failed to make headway against the incumbent Angela Burns.

In a smashing victory for the Conservative health spokesperson, Ms Burns nailed down a 3,373 vote majority over her nearest challenger, Labour’s Mark Tierney, with Simon Thomas 1,500 votes further back.

Chris Overton trailed in fourth with 1,638 votes, while former Pembroke Dock publican Allan Brookes received over twice as many votes for UKIP.

On a more positive note for Plaid Cymru, their candidates in Ceredigion and Carmarthen East and Dinefwr fared particularly well

Ceredigion

Elin Jones 12,014; Elizabeth Evans 9,606; Gethin James 2,665; Felix Aubel 2,075; Iwan Wyn Jones 1,902; Brian Dafydd Williams 1,223

In the constituency she has represented for seventeen years, Elin Jones increased her majority, establishing a 2,400 vote lead over her closest challenger, the Liberal Democrats’ Liz Evans. Plaid’s health spokesperson had fought a tough campaign against her tenacious opponent, the County Councillor from Aberaeron.

Carmarthen East & Dinefwr

Adam Price 14,427; Steve Jeacock 5,727; Matthew Paul 4,489; Neil Hamilton 3,474; William Powell 837; Freya Amsbury 797

In Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, the towering figure of Adam Price gained a towering majority of 8,700 votes. Labour’s Steve Jeacock trailed in a very distant second. While Adam Price was a nailed on certainty to win from the outset, the scale of his victory, in which he seems to have hoovered-up core Labour votes.

Preseli Pembrokeshire

Paul Davies 11,123; Dan Lodge 7,193; John Osmond 3,857; Howard Lillyman 3,286; Bob Kilmister 1,677; Frances Bryant 1,161

Preseli Pembrokeshire was, as widely predicted, a solid victory for incumbent AM, Paul Davies with a majority of 3,930 over Labour’s Dan Lodge. Both parties lost votes to UKIP candidate Howard Lillyman: Paul Davies shedding 3% and Labour 9% as Mr Lillyman polled 12%.

The impact of the changes to healthcare provision at Withybush Hospital and the unpopularity of those changes, has cemented Preseli Pembrokeshire as – for time being – a Conservative banker. There was no sign of Plaid Cymru’s John Osmond reaping any benefit either from his long-standing and consistent personal involvement in the battle to first preserve and then return services to Withybush, or from the decision of Chris Overton to stand in Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire.

The National picture after the constituency results

With only one constituency seat changing hands, it appears likely that Labour will not need a coalition partner to form a government. The fractured nature of its opposition and ability to cling on to key Labour/Conservative marginal constituencies mean that projections of significant seat losses by Carwyn Jones’s party were never likely to be met. In key marginal seats in North Wales, where the Conservatives had devoted considerable resources, UKIP stripped away votes from the Conservatives.

UKIP polled exceptionally strongly against Labour in the former industrial heartlands of the South Wales Valleys, regularly hitting 20% plus of the vote in those constituencies.

On an unremittingly grim night for the Liberal Democrats, the one highlight was Kirsty Williams’s performance in her Brecon and Radnor seat. Polling over half the vote and getting an 8,170 majority in the process. It seems very likely that UKIP’s likely success on the regional lists will see Ms Williams as the sole Liberal Democrat AM in the next Assembly.

During what must have been a disappointing night for her party, Leanne Wood, cashed in on her personal popularity to win RCT. The Plaid leader gained a majority of over 2,200 votes and 51% of the total number of votes cast. Her victory cost one of Labour’s senior figures, Leighton Andrews his seat. Mr Andrews, who had served as both Education and Public Services Minister in the Fourth Assembly, congratulated Ms Wood on her very personal victory.

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Lecture considers the future of war

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INTERNATIONALLY renowned war scholar and military conflict expert, Professor Christopher Coker delivered this year’s Kenneth N. Waltz Annual Lecture on Thursday (Nov 16).

Christopher Coker, Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science, is a prolific author on all aspects of war. He is a former NATO Fellow, a former twice serving member of the Council of the Royal United Services Institute, and a regular lecturer at Defence Colleges in the UK, US, Rome, Singapore, and Tokyo.

In his lecture entitled ‘Still ‘The Human Thing’? Thucydides, Waltz & the Future of War”, Professor Coker discussed war as a feature of what we call ‘human nature’ or ‘humanity’ in general, while focusing on urgent contemporary issues such as possible changes in the nature of war by the blurring of the distinction between humans and machines.

He also considered how, as Artificial Intelligence becomes ever more a fact of life, the traditional functions and forms of war could change, discussing such questions as: will we still need war and will war still need us?

Talking ahead of the the event, Professor Ken Booth of Aberystwyth University said: “Chris Coker is a very imaginative, interesting, and controversial thinker. Intellectually ambitious, he always addresses the biggest questions. The titles of some of his most recent books attest to this: Future War, Can War be Eliminated?, Warrior Geeks: how 21st Century Technology is Changing the Way We Fight and Think about War, The Improbable War: China, the US, and the Logic of Great Power Conflict and Men at War: what Fiction tells us about Conflict. We can be sure of a fascinating and challenging lecture about a supremely important area of human behaviour.”

The Kenneth N. Waltz Annual Lecture brings distinguished scholars to Aberystwyth to talk about issues that were central to the concerns of the late Ken Waltz, the leading theorist of international relations over many decades.
Hosted by the David Davies Memorial Institute and the Department of International Politics, this year’s lecture was held in the Main Hall in the International Politics Building on the Penglais Campus.

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Youth Service invited to international training event

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TWO Youth Workers from Ceredigion Youth Service have been selected to represent the UK on a week’s training opportunity in Horažd’ovice in the Czech Republic.

‘The danger of a Single Story’ is a training course funded by Erasmus+, that combines stories, media, global education and active citizenship to empower trainers, educators and youth workers with the tools to educate young people on issues such as cyberbullying, hate speech, and online harassment.

Elen James, Head of Youth Engagement and Continuing Education​,​ said​:​ “We are extremely proud of both Rebeca Davies and Guto Crompton, 270 people had applied, for 24 places, 2 were allocated for the UK and both places have been assigned to Ceredigion Youth Service staff.

“This is an excellent training opportunity for them, which will inform them and encourage them to reflect on the evolution of media and the consequences that it has on the formation of stereotypes and prejudices. We wish them all the best in Prague!​”​

Rebeca Davies and Guto Crompton will join 22 other Youth Workers from Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain and Turkey. The week will be hosted at the PROUD Environmental Centre approximately 120km from Prague, from ​Sunday (Nov 19) for a week.

Rebeca Davies, School Based Youth Worker said​:​ “I’m really looking forward to visiting Prague, and meeting other Youth Workers from across the World. It will be a fantastic opportunity to learn new tools and techniques to encourage and empower young people back here in Ceredigion.”

Guto Crompton, School Based Youth Worker ​added​:​ “I’m looking forward to learning more about different Youth Work methods and approaches. I’m also eager to develop a greater awareness around education, active citizenship and democracy.”

Cabinet member for Learning Services, Children and Young People’s Partnership, Councillor Catrin Miles, ​commented: “As a Council, we are very proud of the hard work of our Youth Service to the young people of the county. This will be a very important and worthwhile opportunity for Rebeca and Guto to represent Ceredigion and Wales and we wish them all the best at the event.”

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Pot Noodles bought with theft proceeds

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ON WEDNESDAY (Nov 15), Aberystwyth Magistrates’ Court heard that a 23-year-old man stole an HDMI cable from a store and sold it for a tenner to buy ten Pot Noodles.

Joel Alexander Owens, of Portland Street in Aberystwyth, pleaded guilty to stealing alcohol to the value of £24.96 belonging to his hometown’s B&M Bargains on June 29. He also admitted stealing an HDMI cable to the value of £14 belonging to Tesco in Aberystwyth on September 24.

Prosecuting, Helen Tench said a staff member at B&M was notified by a member of the public about a male who left the store without paying for items.

CCTV footage was checked, which showed Owens select a number of alcoholic items and leaving the store without making any payments.

Police officers later viewed the footage and identified the defendant.

On October 14, a member of staff at Tesco was informed of the incident at B&M. The Tesco CCTV footage was viewed as a result and the defendant was seen removing an HDMI cable from its box on September 24 and leaving without paying.

Ms Tench said Owens was interviewed on October 19, where he admitted committing the offences in his personal statement.

The defendant also admitted he sold the HDMI cable for £10 in order to buy ten Pot Noodles.

Defending, Katy Hanson said Owens pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and admitted to stealing beer and cider from B&M.

Probation officer Julian Davies stated that the defendant was currently serving a 12-month community order for two previous offences of theft and a breach of a conditional discharge.

Aberystwyth magistrates revoked Owens community order and imposed a 12-month community order with 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days and a four-week curfew.

Owens was told to pay prosecution costs of £85, compensation of £14 to Tesco and compensation of £24.96 to B&M Bargains.

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