A FREEDOM of Information Act (FOI) request made by Plaid Cymru has revealed that only 712 people across Wales attended 9 ‘Carwyn Connects’ events at a cost of over £13,000.
When the tour was announced in July 2015, the Welsh Conservatives claimed: “It’s a scandal that the public is being asked to fund Labour’s re-election campaign.
“It doesn’t take a cynical disposition to question Carwyn Jones’ decision to wait until the last year of this term to ‘connect’ with voters.”
The tour visited Carmarthen in November, an event attended by only 32 people, including our reporter Alan Evans. Following the event the First Minister conceded that it was not a great turn out, but said that he had enjoyed the variety of questions and that it was all about going around Wales and listening to Welsh people.
The detailed response to the FOI showed the numbers attending the individual meeting were as follows
Merthyr Tydfil – 80 Rhyl – 190 Bangor – 60 Newport – 50 Aberystwyth – 90 Swansea – 60 Mold – 105 Holyhead – 45 Carmarthen – 32
Individual costs were broken down as Venue hire – £2072 Refreshments – £961.80 AV and staging – £7583.10 Simultaneous Translation – £2450
One further event is planned for Neath in this month.
The Welsh Government has not incorporated staffing costs into its response to the FOI, claiming that the works form “part of the day to day work for staff within the Communications Division of the Welsh Government and there is no dedicated staff allocated to work on these events”.
However, the publication of the response to Plaid Cymru’s FOI has resulted in the exercise being branded a ‘vanity exercise’ by Welsh Tories: “We wholeheartedly support efforts to burst the Cardiff Bay bubble and ensure the voices of all are heard – no matter where they are in Wales – but communities will rightly question this overblown Labour vanity project.
“Public engagement and consultation should have been at the top of the agenda for years.
“Instead, Labour’s First Minister launched this expensive tour just months away from an Assembly election.”
The Welsh Government responded to criticism of the events: “All good governments listen to the people they serve. These events give people the chance to meet the First Minister, face to face, to talk through the matters which affect their daily lives – that should be welcomed, not derided.”
Conservative Candidate for Ceredigion, welcomed Lord Nick Bourne back to Aberystwyth
THIS week, Lord Nick Bourne of Aberystwyth, visited the University town to meet with Amanda Jenner, the Conservative Candidate for Ceredigion in the forthcoming General Election. Lord Bourne joined with members of the Aberystwyth University Conservative Society to support Amanda with her General Election campaign to be the next MP for Ceredigion.
Coincidently, Amanda Jenner and Lord Bourne have taken similar paths – both Aberystwyth University Law Graduates who have gone on to work in the Education sector before turning to politics.
Lord Bourne, until recently, was the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Wales Office and was heavily involved with the Mid Wales Growth Deal.
Commenting on the Growth Deal, Lord Bourne said,
“One very important thing that we have been spending a lot of time on as a Government, is to ensure we get money into Mid and West Wales, including Ceredigion, particularly to motivate businesses here.”
“I personally hope that this extends to projects involving Aberystwyth University – who are already doing tremendous work, led by Elizabeth Treasure the Vice-chancellor, to ensure we have prosperity and sustainability.”
Amanda Jenner added,
“From speaking with businesses in Ceredigion, I can see that there are some fantastic opportunities here, including in the tourism and education sectors. If elected as your MP, I would be a strong voice in Westminster, fighting to ensure that the Growth Deal stays on track and that we get the levels of funding needed for the proposals put forward by the partners of the Growth Deal.”
Cadno’s Carmarthenshire election special #1
It’s been a while since you’ve heard from this old fox.
What with things being the way they are, Cadno might have been silenced for good. But this is election time. It’s the season to be jolly with holly and —- golly gosh! What larks the election is!
Let’s start with Carmarthenshire East and Dinefwr.
Jonathan Edwards is the incumbent and Plaid’s treasury spokesperson is likely to take some beating. He has had substantial media exposure for his virtually lone hand pummelling the various Conservative Brexit ministers and pushing the interests of his constituents, whether on miners’ pensions; WASPI; or rural regeneration. Jonathan Edwards has also had the Liberal Democrats and Greens step aside to give him a clear run as an unequivocally ‘remain’ supporting candidate. That is a largely symbolic step, given both parties’ performance last time out.
If God loves a trier, he must have a special place in his heart for the Conservatives’ Havard Hughes. If ever a candidate’s social media profile suggested that he was a wing nut short of a complete cuckoo clock, Havard’s is the one. It’s a tough sell for Havard Hughes. The policies that the Conservatives have delivered for the constituency in the past decade can be counted on the fingers of one thumb.
Last time saw a revival in the Labour vote as David Darkin, who moved from his home in Llanelli to former county councillor Anthony Jones’ spare room to get local credibility, rode the coattails of a successful Labour national campaign. This time, the red rose has put forward Maria Carroll as their candidate. Maria Carroll, Cadno is happy to clarify following recent media reports, is not an anti-Semite. She simply is unlucky enough to know one hell of a lot of them online and welcome them when they joined the Facebook group she administered which advised Party members accused of anti-Semitism. Some of those concerned turned out to be anti-Semites. It’s just bad luck.
The Brexit Party Limited’s candidate is Pete Prosser. What we do know about Pete Prosser is that he paid a fee to be selected as the BPL’s candidate. If his experience is like that of the 317 Limited Company candidates dropped in the cack by Nigel Farage when he pulled the plug on them, he must have deep pockets. 14 people like his Facebook page as the company’s candidate. Cadno thinks it’s best to leave it there.
While the Brexit Party Limited’s General Election website (you have to see it believe it) claims it can win in Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, Cadno thinks it safe to say such an outcome is highly unlikely. In spite of improving their parties votes in 2017, both Havard Hughes and David Darkin were well adrift of Jonathan Edwards at that election.
By definition, all Plaid Cymru seats are marginal; however, Jonathan Edwards’ is less marginal than others. It depends on whether enough leave voters are brassed off with Labour’s interesting Brexit proposals (renegotiate a deal and then – potentially – campaign against it) to take one look at Havard Hughes and think ‘as swivel-eyed loons go, we could do worse’. Or whether enough Conservatives think Maria Carroll MP is a price worth paying to get rid of one of their party’s most significant parliamentary goads.
It should be fun finding out.
Greens announce candidate in Ceredigion
CEREDIGION Green Party has selected local community councillor Chris Simpson as their candidate in the upcoming General Election on 12th December. Chris, who moved to Aberystwyth in 1982 and who recently retired from his post as Consultant Pathologist said,
“Politics has been a major part of my life for the last 40 years, working in the Green Party locally and nationally. Finally the Climate Crisis is beginning to get the attention it deserves. We need to act now to rapidly decarbonise our economy and adapt society accordingly. We can’t put this off any longer if we want to leave a habitable planet for our children and grandchildren. I am very proud to represent the Green Party at this crucial time in politics.”
Popular This Week
News5 days ago
Teenage passenger dies in A487 crash – police appealing for help
News4 days ago
18-year-old girl arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving
featured1 week ago
It’s not too late: Ceredigion residents still have time to register to vote
Uncategorized1 week ago
Conservative Candidate highlights concerns over large-scale wind farms
News3 days ago
Police confirm Ellie Bryan, 18, died in collision
News3 days ago
Spate of overnight burglaries in Clarach, Bow Street and Ponterwyd
Politics4 days ago
Cadno’s Carmarthenshire election special #1
News1 week ago
Free parking in Ceredigion