PATRICIA DODD RACHER, a Plaid Cymru member and blogger attended the first hustings for the marginal seat of Carmarthen East & Dinefwr. She writes:
A Llandovery College sixth-former highlighted a UKIP policy fog when he probed candidate Norma Woodward’s views during the Carmarthen East and Dinefwr constituency’s first hustings of the general election campaign, held in the college yesterday.
The student, Gwion Jones, made the point that West Wales, as a relatively poor region, benefits substantially from European Union funds – and so stands to be a big loser if, as UKIP proposes, the UK exits from the EU.
Ms Woodward, the UKIP parliamentary candidate for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, could answer only in the most general terms; that the UK paid more into Europe than came back the other way. Ms Woodward hinted at ending the Barnett Formula which modestly increases public spending per head in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
There is still plenty of time in the campaign for Norma to clarify UKIP’s policy on the Barnett Formula, but for the moment I’m not at all certain (a) if it exists or (b) if it does exist, how it would impact on West Wales in general and Carmarthen East and Dinefwr in particular. Removal of the Barnett Formula would certainly disadvantage areas like West Wales, where support is needed
Five of the apparent six parliamentary candidates for the constituency were in Llandovery College to answer questions from sixth-formers – taking their politics very seriously — and the general public, in an event genially and efficiently chaired by journalist Gaina Morgan.
Jonathan Edwards, for Plaid Cymru, was joined by barrister Matthew Paul, standing for the Conservatives; Labour’s trainee barrister and county councillor Calum Higgins; Ben Rice for the Green Party, and Norma Woodward, whose status as a UKIP candidate was recently the subject of much confusion.
The Liberal Democrats were absent. Their candidate, according to their website, is Sara Lloyd Williams, a former chair of Liberal Youth Wales who is currently studying for a master’s degree in archive administration at Aberystwyth University.
As well as probing the implications of leaving the EU, questioners asked for candidates’ views on the campaign to re-open the Carmarthen to Aberystwyth railway, on how to enthuse young people about politics, and about funding for the National Health Service, repaying the national debt, cutting regulations for small businesses, and reducing expenditure on defence. Views were pretty much as expected. Virtually everyone supported re-opening the railway, in principle at least.
Everyone professed to love the NHS but differed over how they would fund it.
Calum Higgins favoured lobbing in the proceeds of a mansion tax (which would not alienate many voters in Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, where few if any homes are worth as much as £2 million, the proposed threshold for the tax).
Matthew Paul also criticised Labour for cutting funding to the NHS in Wales, omitting to say that there has been more of an effort in Wales to protect funding for social services. In England spending on social services fell 11.5% in real terms between 2010-11 and 2014-11, but in Wales the reduction was far less at 0.8%.
Matthew Paul and Calum Higgins disagreed over the time frame for eliminating the deficit
Matthew Paul, who has faith that the deficit will have been eliminated by the end of the next Parliament, favours public spending cuts over tax rises. Calum Higgins wants to eliminate the deficit but over a longer time.
Norma Woodward thought that coming out of the EU would solve the debt problem. For the Greens, Ben Rice proposed a clampdown on tax avoidance and evasion, and argued that the better-off must pay more tax.
Plaid Cymru’s Jonathan Edwards looked to investment in sustainable industries and infrastructure, which the Green Party also supports. The Plaid MP also advocated abolishing higher-rate tax relief on pension contributions and raising the upper limit for National Insurance contributions, which together could raise about £20 billion a year, a combined total of £100 billion over a five-year Parliament.
One of the most interesting questions, put by a college sixth-former, asked if the candidates had a personal policy which was not in their party’s manifesto.
Labour hopeful Calum Higgins differed sharply from the line promulgated by Carwyn Jones and the UK Labour Party. He would prefer not to renew Trident, he said.
Matthew Paul had two personal policies to offer, to allow fox hunting again and to bring ‘free schools’ into Wales.
The schools idea is not in the Westminster parliament’s gift, because education policy is devolved to the Welsh Government, but it is hard to disagree with Matthew’s point that Labour/ Independent-controlled Carmarthenshire County Council’s diktat to close the Llandovery’s state secondary school was wrong-headed and is creating major, long-term economic problems.
Norma Woodward would bring back grammar schools, something else that is not within the power of the UK government because of devolution. Ben Rice would give the Welsh Government the power to ban fracking.
Jonathan Edwards made the decisive point for me when he said he would be – continue to be — ‘Carmarthenshire’s voice in Westminster’, rather than Westminster’s voice relayed westwards.
Dyfed-Powys Police Prepares for Royal Welsh Show
DYFED-POWYS POLICE is inviting Royal Welsh Show visitors to their stand to find out more about what the force is doing to protect the public over the summer months and beyond.
The stand, located at E340 behind the main grandstand, will be bringing to life key pledges and crime prevention messages from the Chief Constable’s Police and Crime Delivery plan, which sets out how police will tackle crime and keep people safe.
The force will be showcasing their summer campaign, called #EnjoyDPP, which is about helping people who live in, work in and visit the counties of Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys respect those areas and prevent crime from occurring.
Rural-trained officers from Dyfed-Powys Police, Gwent Police and North Wales Police will be offering practical advice, at the police stand. They will also be on patrol throughout the showground listening to any concerns from the farming community. They will be accompanied by other officers, staff, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, Special Constables and Police Cadets.
Specialist officers will also be speaking to landlords about County Lines drugs, and the signs to look out for that might show a tenant is being exploited by gangs, in a practice known as ‘cuckooing’.
Superintendent of Powys, Ifan Charles, said: “The Royal Welsh Show is the biggest event of the year we police in Dyfed-Powys, and also where we concentrate huge efforts on engaging positively with visitors to the show at our police stand.
“Come and say hello, meet our experienced and knowledgeable officers and staff and find out more about our commitment to keeping all of our communities safe by giving people the advice and confidence to protect themselves effectively.”
Visitors will be able to explore police vehicles, chat to Tarian colleagues about cyber-crime, meet a police dog, dress up as a police officer or Police Community Support Officer and solve a crime using real police techniques. Venture inside, relax on a hay bale and have a chat with experts on issues including rural crime, cyber-crime, issues that affect children and so much more.
Key partners will also be based at the stand including Crimestoppers, Modern Slavery group, Tarian and GoSafe.
There will also be a special children’s corner where young people can have their fingerprints taken, colour a police-themed picture or dress-up as a police officer or PCSO.
The Police and Crime Commissioner has a host of activities planned throughout the week. In addition to engaging with our communities, he is particularly keen to hear from victims of rural crime about their experiences when contacting police.
Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn said: “The Royal Welsh Show is a great opportunity for me to engage with the public and gather their views on specific policing matters. This year, my team will be at the showground speaking to members of the public about rural crime and police contact. Please head over to speak to my team so that we can hear your views.”
The force is also offering advice for people heading to the Royal Welsh Show, including home security, personal safety and advice for people towing caravans.
Before you leave the house, take a photograph of your child. You’ll then know what they’re wearing if they become lost.
Write your contact number on a slip of paper and put it on your child’s person.
Before you head inside, double check your vehicle is locked and any valuables are safely out of sight.
. Lock your home, vehicles and outbuildings before you leave.
. Take your keys with you.
. Switch on any CCTV or alarm systems.
. Keep an eye on your neighbours’ properties while they are away.
. Check your driving licence. Do you have the correct category to tow?
. Number plates must be fitted to the rear of the caravan. They must comply with the regulations and not . be hand-written in pen on caravan OR written on a piece of paper or cardboard
. Ensure brakes and external lights are working correctly
. Check wheels, tyres, wheel bearings and suspensions are in good condition. This is particularly important if the caravan has been stationary for some time
.Tyres should be all the same type and size and have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm. Also check the pressure
For more advice visit this website: https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/advice-and-training/advice-for-beginners/
There is more information for visitors on the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show’s website: http://www.rwas.wales/royal-welsh-show/
For updates on our activity follow us on Twitter @DyfedPowys, or like our page on Facebook.
Local farmer sentenced for animal welfare offences
ON JULY 10, Dylan Williams of Neuaddlwyd Uchaf, Neuaddlwyd, Ciliau Aeron appeared before magistrates at Aberystwyth Justice Centre and was sentenced for animal by-products and animal welfare offences.
Mr Williams, 47, had previously appeared at the Aberystwyth Magistrates Court where he entered pleas of guilty to the four offences brought before the court by Ceredigion County Council.
On 11 April 2018, 47 sheep carcasses in various states of decomposition were found on Mr Williams’ land, and these were accessible to live sheep and their young lambs. This formed the basis of the offence brought under The Animal By-Products Regulations which requires carcasses to be disposed of without undue delay, due to the risk to animal and public health.
The majority of the flock inspected on the day were seen with severe wool loss and irritated skin which are signs of sheep scab. Sheep scab is a debilitating condition which can lead to weight loss and thickened skin with scabs due to the intense, uncomfortable itching caused by the condition.
There were three separate offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, two of which were for causing unnecessary suffering to two ewes. One ewe was suffering from severe weakness due to scab infestation. Another ewe was found unconscious on the land with her intestines protruding from her flank, likely due to predation as she had also suffered from scab over a prolonged period.
Another offence related to Mr Williams’ failure to ensure the welfare needs of his flock were met by his failure to properly inspect the flock and to manage and treat the sheep scab effectively.
Magistrates sentenced Mr Williams to a community order with a requirement that he carried out 250 hours of unpaid work in the community, he was also ordered to pay the investigation and legal costs of the council which amounted to £1648.
Alun Williams, Ceredigion County Council’s Corporate Lead Officer with responsibility for Policy and Performance said, “The council is deeply saddened that yet another serious animal health offence has been committed within the county. It is to the credit of our staff that they have undertaken a successful prosecution of this case.
Our animal welfare officers and our legal team had no option but to carry the prosecution due to the seriousness of the offences committed. I would urge individual farmers who are facing difficulties in caring for their stock to seek advice from the County Council and the Farming Unions.”
KT Tunstall and “ABBA” Rock the Castle
OVER 2,000 people descended on Cardigan Castle on the weekend of 12 -13 July as the live season oF events for summer 2019 kicked off in fine style with ‘Thank you for the Music: A Celebration of ABBA” on Friday 12, and a sold out KT Tunstall headlining on Saturday 13th with support from DJ Wozza Woz.
This is now the fifth year of the hugely successful partnership between Theatr Mwldan and Cardigan Castle. Past years have seen artists such as Bellowhead, 9Bach, Tinariwen, From The Jam, Talisman, Dreadzone, Gwenno and Only Men Aloud all play the site of the first Eisteddfod. KT Tunstall’s show night was the second time the venue has reached full capacity after Bellowhead played to a full house in 2015.
Cardigan Castle director Jac Davies said: “It’s a real coup for the whole town and it shows the ambition and appetite we have to make the castle central to attracting people to the area.”
Dilwyn Davies, CEO at Theatr Mwldan adds: “Every year these events are gathering momentum. They clearly provoke quite an emotional response in those who attend. The obvious economic benefits to the town are one thing, but what’s also so tangible is the sense of pride and joy that is building in Cardigan, and seeing the community coming together like this to really enjoy themselves is just amazing. We’re truly thankful and overwhelmed at how supportive people have been of these events, and we’re determined that we’ll build on this success well into the future.
“The production set-up we have is phenomenal, and we are fast developing a reputation for a quality experience for artists to play, and of course the setting and the atmosphere is so special – the castle has its own magic.
“The arts and music scene locally is more vibrant than ever before. The streets are busy, the bars are busy, we’ve seen a number of new eateries and independent shops coming in to town and there is a real vibe about the place.
“Mwldan has been developing a reputation on the international music scene for over a decade with our external music productions and our record label ‘bendigedig’, ran in partnership with ARC Music International Ltd. These are very exciting times for us, and for Cardigan as a town, and we will have another major announcement coming in the coming weeks. Cardigan is definitely on a roll!”
The next castle events include Billy Bragg on Wednesday July 24, The Magic of Motown on Friday July 26, and BBC Radio 1 and BBC 6 Music’s Huw Stephens presents Charlotte Church’s Pop Dungeon with support from Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard and Adwaith on Saturday July 27.
Tickets are available from Theatr Mwldan’s box office on 01239 621 200 or online at www.mwldan.co.uk
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