Welcome to the April edition of our Monthly Bulletin that provides you with the news of what is going on in the Caerphilly Constituency Labour Party.
Message from the CLP Secretary, Bryn Hollywell
Our next GC Meeting is on Friday, 12 April starting at 6:30pm in the Rhymney Room at the Ty Penallta offices of Caerphilly County Borough Council, Ystrad Mynach.
Our guest speaker is Tony Beddow, Secretary of the Welsh Region of the Socialist Health Association, who will speak on the Welsh Government's plans to reconfigure the National Health Service in Wales.
We have decided that the various petitions that i receive from a multitude of sources on almost a daily basis will, in future, be forwarded to Party members via a link that our IT officer, John Pettit, will provide on my personal PC. I will also vet each one and restrict the subject to strictly “political” subjects. Naturally, it is the right of each Party member to decide whether to sign the petition or not.
We also have plans for a number of guest speakers for all the remaining GC Meetings during 2013, including Judith Paggett, the Deputy CEO of the Aneurin Bevan Health Board, who will address us on the services that are and are not provided at the new Ystrad Mynach Hospital. In June we have invited Christine Rees to speak to us about the forthcoming ballot of all Labour Party members in the summer on our Labour Candidates for the European Parliamentary Elections in 2014. For the remaining months of the year we plan to invite the Wales Regional Officers of all the trade unions who are affiliated to our Constituency to speak about how we can co-operate together with their union members residing within the Caerphilly constituency to promote our aim of securing the defeat of this terrible Con Dem Government.
In addition to this programme our very own, MP, Wayne David, will address a future GC Meeting on his role as the Shadow Minister for Political and Constitutional Reform; believe me this subject includes many very important and potentially far reaching changes to how we are currently governed within the UK!!.
Finally, please read the joke below kindly sent to me by a colleague in the Aber Valley Ward, Paul Mitchell, it should make you smile!!
The Parking Ticket
Working people frequently ask retired people what they do to make their days interesting. Well, for example, the other day, my wife and I went into town and visited a shop. When we came out there was a policeman writing out a parking ticket.
We went up to him and I said”Come on, how about giving senior citizens a break?. He ignored us and continued writing his ticket. I called him an a...hole. He glared at me and started writing another ticket for having worn-out tyres.
So Bev called him a s...head. He finished the second ticket and put it on to the windshield with the first. Then he started writing more tickets. This went on for about 20 minutes. The more we abused him, the more tickets he wrote.
Just then our bus arrived; we got on it and went home. We weren’t too concerned about the vehicle’s owner because of the sticker on the back window;'I support the Conservative Party'
We try to have a little fun each day now that we’re retired. It’s important at our age.
Risca East By-Election
Finally, don’t forget we have a council by-election in the neighbouring Islwyn constituency in the Risca East Ward. I sent you the details of the canvassing timetable a few days ago. If you require transport to get there please do not hesitate to contact me. We plan to be there in force for the next 3 Saturdays, 13, 20, 27 April, and canvassing begins at 10:30am.
Jeff Cuthbert AM
When I was first elected in 2003 I remember my annoyance when I found that the defeated Tory candidate (she came a poor third) was nevertheless elected to the National Assembly on the Regional List for South Wales East. She was “elected” on the strength of the total Tory votes across South East Wales and particularly in Monmouth.
That Tory AM had as much legal and constitutional status as I did; even though she had not won an election in the normal sense. She was able to negate my vote and was even able, at that time, to describe herself as an AM for the Caerphilly Constituency.
At the 2005 General Election, Labour pledged to change that unfair situation and received the endorsement of the people to do just that. So the law was changed to make sure that candidates for the Assembly stood for either a constituency or the regional list, but not both! This could have worked against the interests of some Labour candidates but we believe that the electorate must have absolute clarity about who represents them!
Why do I mention this now? Well, it’s because the Tory/Lib Dem UK Government intend to re-introduce that discredited system, even though they have never sought permission from the people through an election. Neither have they even asked the Assembly. They claim that they respect the authority of the Assembly in matters relating to Wales, but on the rather important issue of how its Members should be elected, they’ve decided not to bother to ask.
So why do they want to do this? Quite simple really. They believe it to be to their parties' advantage to revert to the former system.
Plaid Cymru’s stance on this will be interesting. Their Leader (Leanne Wood) made much play of her decision to stand for a constituency in 2016 (she’s always been a Regional List AM). So will she stand by her word if the Tories/Lib Dems change the rules? Or will she stand for the Regional List also as the back door entry method? If she (or indeed any Plaid candidate) does the latter, then we have to ask what discussions did Plaid have with the Tories/Lib Dems about this change?
Clarity in elections is crucial. Defeated candidates should not be able to still emerge as a “winner”!
Wayne David MP
1 April was a black day for many people in the area. This was when the calm before the storm came to an end and the Con-Dem cuts really began to bite. This was the day which saw the introduction of the Bedroom Tax. Thousands of less well-off people, particularly the disabled, in social housing are now having to pay extra rent because of cuts in Housing Benefit.
The three Labour MPs from the Caerphilly Borough, Dai Havard MP, Chris Evans MP and myself presented an 8,000 signature petition to No. 10 Downing Street and I managed to raise the issue with Cameron on the Floor of the House of Commons. The Government made a couple of small concessions but nevertheless was determined to implement this unfair ‘tax’. Our work has been worthwhile, however, because recent opinion polls show that most people in the country are against it.
There are also cuts on the way through the reductions in Disability Living Allowance (DLA). Now, everyone on DLA will be reassessed with a view to substantially reducing the level of support that many people receive. The Labour Party is not against people’s needs being assessed regularly, but what we fear is that the Government will again use the need for ‘change’ as an excuse to make callous cuts.
A little further down the line is the introduction of Universal Credit with confusion and complexity adding to the cuts agenda. When Universal Credit is introduced, people will be expected to make all applications for benefits online. With thousands upon thousands of people in the Caerphilly Borough not having access to a computer, this by itself is likely to mean that many people will lose out.
The Labour Party is not against change and making our benefits system fairer; but what we are against is the Government making unfair cuts which will hit the disabled and less well-off.