Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Wales is turning Blue

No people in Wales arent re-enacting the old celtic warrior practice of covering their bodies with a blue dye before battle and there hasn't been a sudden surge in sales of porn movies in Wales either (well not so far as i'm aware of anyway).The title of this post in fact refers to a yougov opinion poll published yesterday which showed the Conservatives gaining ten seats in Wales in the forthcoming UK general election and winning over half Wales constituencies on June 8th http://www.itv.com/news/wales/2017-04-24/shock-poll-suggests-tories-ahead-in-wales/. To put this into perspective the conservatives havent won the most seats in Wales since the rotten borough days of the mid 19th century. Indeed as recently as 1997 they didnt have a single MP in Wales. Now if this poll proves accurate the Conservatives will have more MPs in Wales than all the other parties put together. 

Some commentators - notably the welsh political pundit Daran Hill - have previously pointed out how in recent times Wales has politicaly speaking become more like England than Scotland. So in the 2015 UK general election while the tories were wiped out in Scotland in Wales they won 11 seats and in last year's EU referendum while Scotland voted emphatically to remain people in Wales voted to leave by a similar proportion to those in England. And this recent political trajectory seems to have gathered even greater speed with yesterday's shock poll. Amazingly the part of the UK which has most to lose from a hard brexit - two thirds of welsh exports are to the EU single market - is seeing the greatest swing anywhere in the UK to a Tory party and Tory leader now seemingly committed to the hardest of brexits.

For people like myself immersed in Wales radical and left leaning political traditions this poll makes particularly disappointing reading. Clearly too many people in Wales seem to have forgotten what a British tory government at Westminster did to the welsh economy in the 1980s. Furthermore this poll raises serious doubts that Wales will follow Scotland and begin to plot its own independent course any time soon. Indeed polls like this give rise to very real fears that Wales is more likely to morph into 'WalesShire' than become the independent socialist republic people like myself hope to see it become.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Blame the Welsh air

Well i've lived in Wales all my life and there are a number of things about this little country i've always felt a sense of pride about - among them our beautiful scenery, our tradition of radical progressive politics and our air! As there's no question that as air goes the welsh air is probably up there with the best you'll find anywhere in the world. And up until yesterday i would have had no hesitation in urging anyone to visit Wales and inhale as much of it as their lungs can hold. However after yesterday's shock news i'm no longer so sure of this, as it was apparently while 'walking in wales' in the splendid environs of Cader Idris in Snowdonia and enjoying the welsh mountain air that Theresa May made up her mind to call a snap general election for June 8th  http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/theresa-may-snowdonia-election-general--12910552

Now as things stand and if all the current polling evidence is to be believed the tories are on course to win a majority on June 8th that will make the 1997 british general election result look like a cliffhanger. Thanks to a combination of blairite sabotage and Jezza's incompetence Labour are in complete disarray and at the same time the tories have managed to hoover up most of ukip's support by adopting a hardest possible stance on brexit. And the early indicators are the fact that Theresa May has repeatedly misled people about not going for an early general election hasnt dented May's 'popularity' by one iota  http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/theresa-may-calls-election-times-she-said-there-would-be-no-snap-election-a7688471.html

But what will a tory majority of 150 - 200 on June 8th mean? It will mean a hard right tory government with a massive majority at Westminster being able to pursue a neo thatcherite agenda unencumberd by any progressive laws approved by the EU parliament, eu laws which have given workers rights and which have protected the environment. As the likes of Nigel Lawson gleefully stated soon after the vote to leave on June 23rd 'brexit means being able to finish what Thatcher started' http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-36717050

On the upside a tory majority at Westminster of 150 + will hopefully concentrate a few waivering minds in Scotland ahead of a second independence referendum and result in Scotland departing the 'union' and escaping the awful clutches of the right wing 'John Bull' madhouse that post brexit blighty looks set to become. Alas the prospects for Wales are not so positive. As unless there's a sudden sea change in welsh public opinion Wales faces that grim future 'naked under an acid rain' the socialist historian Gwyn Alf Williams warned us about back in 1983.

My immediate reaction folowing the vote in Wales to leave the EU on June 23rd was that Turkeys do indeed vote for Christmas, and nothing that has happened since then has changed that view.

Friday, 7 April 2017

Countdown to World War 3?

In the early hours of this morning (UK time) the US military on the instruction of Donald Trump launched dozens of tommahawk missiles from one of its navy destroyers at an airfield in Syria.The Trump administration stated the missile attack on Syria was in response to the recent events in Idlib province which saw dozens of people die in a attack where it appears chemical weapons were used. And while its not clear yet who was behind the alleged use of chemical weapons in Idlib the Trump administration (along with it's puppet.... er i mean ally in Westminster) has already unilaterally decided it was the work of the Syrian government of Bashar Assad.

There are some very important things which need to be said here. First off the US actions have no basis in international.law (but then when has the US ever worried about violating international law when it suits it?).Trump didn't even consult or seek the approval of the US congress, as US law compels a US president to do under the War Powers act. Secondly when looking for responsibility for the terrible events in Idlib its worth remembering investigations of a similarly awful attack involving chemical weapons in Syria in 2013 were inconclusive - it could have been the Syrian military or it could have been one of the multitude of 'rebel' groups using chemical weapons supplied by their backers in Saudi Arabia. Inspectors for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons reported in January 2015 that it had destroyed all of Syria's stockpiles of chemical weapons  https://sputniknews.com/world/201601041032664594-opcw-syria-chemical-weapons/. In contrast it's known that ISIS affiliates in Syria have stockpiles of chemical weapons, and they used these on occasions - most recently in Aleppo last September.

Even the UN has confirmed there were no Syrian military aircraft in the skies over Idlib at the time these events happened. While claims by so called 'rebel' groups of Syrian government involvement should be treated with some caution - some of the rebel groups fighting the Syrian government have links to ISIS and they have also been heavily infiltrated by jihadist groups like the al nusrah front and al qaeda. So the fact of the matter is without a proper investigation by UN investigators we still cant be certain who was behind the attack in Idlib. But it's an irony that the Syrian airbase destroyed in this morning's US missile strikes has been serving as a key airfield in the Syrian government's ongoing battle against the medieval homicides of ISIS.

Finally only a couple of weeks ago US airstrikes were responsible for the deaths of over 200 civilian in airstrikes in Mosul - a war crime which should also be investigated surely? https://thinkprogress.org/trump-military-involvement-middle-east-400c985fbf1c

Throughout his presidential campaign Trump said if elected the US wouldn't be getting involved in conflicts in the middle east - this morning's actions clearly fly in the face of these campaign promises. But then such a turnabout is entirely in keeping with Trump and his history. Completely contradicting his previous statements is an inherent part of Trump's highly unstable character - that and the fact he's a compulsive liar of course.

Those misguided and ill informed folk cheering on Trump's illegal actions today might want to reflect on the fact this is a someone who has in the recent past repeatedly stated he couldn't see anything wrong with using nuclear weapons http://www.vox.com/world/2017/1/18/14310168/trump-nuclear-policy-inauguration-explained. So as part of his suddenly created policy of removing the Syrian government will he now nuke Syria - and along with it the many Russian personnel there - with all the horrific consequences that would bring not just for the region but the rest of the world too? Certainly nothing can be ruled out with a pathological megalomaniac like Trump that's for sure. Hey maybe those religious minded people who were ridiculed during the US presidential campaign for warning that Trump is the anti Christ and that he will find a way to initiate a nuclear holocaust will be proved right after all?

Update : Russia has announced that as a consequence of Trump's actions it has withdrawn from the 2015 Memorandum of understanding it established with the US in 2015 http://www.newsweek.com/russia-pulls-out-syria-air-safety-deal-us-after-strike-580401. The Memorandum includes general safety protocols for US and Russian aircrews to follow in the middle east to minimise the chances of the two nations accidentaly coming into conflict with each other, such as maintaining professional airmanship, as well as specific provisions to avoid collision and unwanted conflict such as the use of specific communication frequencies and the establishment of a communication line on the ground.

So the possibilities of direct conflict between Russian and US forces in Syria have now moved an ominous step nearer. While it has been pointed out to me that Donald Trump owns a building at 666 Fifth Avenue ....nuff said http://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/563055/Donald-Trump-antichrist-satan-666-pattern-president-elect-Hillary-Clinton-occult-devil