Independence Index

Your in-depth guide to Welsh independence.

Assembly

The latest news, debates and reports from the Senedd. (Fourth Assembly stories are under 'Archive').

Bridgend

The major local political stories and developments from Bridgend county.

Laws

We gave AMs law-making powers; this is what's being done with them.

Committee Inquiries

Detailed scrutiny of how Wales is being run. (Fourth Assembly inquiries are under 'Archive').

Vice Nation: Sex

How could an independent Wales deal with issues surrounding sex?

Monday, 30 November 2015

Senedd Watch - November 2015



  • Welsh Language Commissioner, Meri Huws, backed calls by the Assembly's Communities & Local Government Committee to protect historical place names in the Historic Environment Bill, following several high-profile name changes to listed buildings from Welsh to English. Deputy Minister for Culture, Ken Skates (Lab, Clwyd South), said he “wouldn't shut the door” on statutory regulation, but it would “probably not be workable, or enforceable either”.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Porthcawl Medical Centre Plans Submitted

(Pic : West Hart Partnership via Bridgend Council)
Following a public exhibition a few weeks ago, Abertawe Bro Morgannwg Local Health Board (ABMU) and its partners have now submitted full plans to Bridgend Council for a new primary care centre in Porthcawl.

A new primary care centre has been discussed for several years in the town and was expected to form part of supermarket-led regeneration plans at Salt Lake. However, with several operators pulling out the plans slipped back – not unsurprising in Porthcawl.

A piece of land became available as a result of a new housing development next to Pwll-y-waun on the outskirts of Newton, and ABMU decided to take a punt as the land was (surprisingly) earmarked for business uses with little interest in it.

The new medical centre is intended to replace the Portway and Victoria Road surgeries located in Porthcawl town centre, though both surgeries will remain independent of each other.

The new primary care centre will include :
  • A pharmacy on the ground floor.
  • Undercroft parking with 48 spaces.
  • 27 consulting rooms on the first and second floors.
  • 6 multi-purpose treatment rooms.
  • A physiotherapy room.
  • A phlebotomy (blood test) room.
  • Minor operations facilities.

These "one-stop shop" primary care centres are the future of primary care in Wales, with ABMU having constructed, are constructing, or proposing similar facilities in Swansea, Glynneath, Briton Ferry, Port Talbot, Pencoed and something similar at Maesteg Community Hospital.

Having as many services under one roof supported by modern facilities might make general practice more attractive to doctors who want to continue things such as research. It would allow some services to be provided outside hospitals (improving things like waiting times) and would allow better co-ordination between different primary care and outpatient services.

It's presently unclear what services would be provided at the new centre other than GPs and clinics, but if you use the Port Talbot Primary Care Centre as an example, it could include podiatry, community dental services, screening, occupational health and physiotherapy. It could presumably be a base for medical and dental training too.

It's inevitable that in the longer term something similar to this would need to be built in Bridgend in order to replace the three main GP surgeries that serve the town (Riverdale, Ashfield and Newcastle – Brackla/Oak Tree could probably stand alone) as well as the clinics (Quarella Road).

I don't think there are any major issues here and the centre is almost certainly going to be welcomed, but you would've expected it to have been built at a more central location, and perhaps ABMU should've waited until a developer came forward for Salt Lake.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Returning Your Deposits

(Pic : buzzfeed.com)


Yesterday, the Conservatives held a debate on something that blights all communities, and likely to be a perennial issue on the doorstep : littering, fly-tipping, graffiti and dog shit.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Webcasts Update, City Deal & New Housing Strategy

Could webcasting Bridgend Council meetings finally be around the corner....again?
(Pic : Wales Online)

This week sees another round of Bridgend Council (BCBC) cabinet and full council meetings, so it's time to look at some of the key issues to be discussed.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

If you go down to the woods today....

You won't find teddy bears here.
(Pic : BBC Wales)

Strange goings on have been reported in woodland to the north of Brackla.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Parc Slip Restoration Proposals Revealed

Click to enlarge

It looks like the Parc Slip opencast saga could finally be inching towards a resolution.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Groundhog Day : Auditing the Welsh Media


(Pic : BBC Wales)
Last week, the Institute of Welsh Affairs (IWA) published a thorough review of the state of the media in Wales....and it makes typically grim reading.

The IWA's online organ, Click on Wales, released drafts of the report's sections throughout October, but the full and final report is now available at around 150 pages long (pdf). It's an incredibly useful analysis, but not anything we haven't heard before.

The state, and decline, of the Welsh media has been discussed on and off for the best part of a decade – such discussions being even more important this year in the context of negotiations on the BBC's Charter renewal. This site's no exception :

As you would expect me to do, I'm going to summarise what the audit found. Overall, it's an incredibly useful analysis, but not anything we haven't heard before.

Television & Public Service Broadcasting (PSB)




  • Digital terrestrial television reach in Wales (97.8%) is marginally below the UK average (98.5%). Virgin Media's cable services only reach 23% of Wales and hasn't changed since 2004, this is well below the UK average of 44%.
  • Wales has the highest proportion of HD-ready televisions and take-up of HD services of the Home Nations (Wales = 76%; UK average = 73%).
  • Made in Cardiff – currently Wales' only local TV station – has a weekly reach of 196,000 viewers.
  • Overall viewing minutes have fallen consistently across the UK – particularly amongst children and the under-35s - but Welsh viewers spend longer watching PSB than any other part of the UK.
  • Over a third of viewers in Wales used "catch-up" services in 2014. BBC iPlayer, Sky, ITV Player and 4OD are the most popular services. Netflix has grown significantly in popularity since 2012. A majority of catch-up services are viewed on television, but increasingly on tablet computers too, while there's a decline in PC/desktop views.
  • BBC Wales, ITV Wales and S4C spent a combined £215.35million on PSB services in 2014-15, a decline of £19.25million (8.2%) on 2008.
  • Since 2008, there've been 545 fewer TV hours produced (all BBC and ITV; S4C saw an increase) and 1,187 fewer hours of radio programming since 2008.
  • BBC and ITV produced 17.5 hours of English language output per week in 2015, compared to 24.5 hours in 1990 – a 48% reduction. ITV Wales now only produces 5.5 hours, compared to 15.5 in 1990.
  • 63% of BBC's English language output was current affairs, news or politics. Just 2.8% was comedy, drama and the arts.
  • S4C's funding fell from £104.4million a year in 2010 to £85.7million in 2014-15 – a reduction of 18.4%. They spend, on average, about £31,000 per hour, though drama productions can cost up to £140,000 per hour.
  • In 2014, 3.2% of PSB network production spend was in Wales, compared to a population share of 4.9%. 65.4% was spent in London and Southern England.
  • BBC Wales and independent producers provided £60.3million worth of UK network shows in 2014-15, primarily dramas.

Radio



  • Average listening hours per week in Wales fell from 24.4 hours in 2007 to 22.4 hours in 2014 – however weekly listening hours are the highest of the Home Nations. Radio also had a bigger reach at 94.5% of the adult population, compared to 89.4% across the UK.
  • Wales has the highest share of BBC Network listeners in the Home Nations at 49% of listeners.
  • Reach figures for BBC Radio Wales and Radio Cymru have shown steady declines, from 435k and 155k respectively in 2008-09 to 418k and 119k respectively in 2014-15.
  • Ownership of digital radios (DAB) is also highest in Wales amongst the Home Nations at 47% (UK = 43%). This brings Wales very close to the 50% threshold set by the UK Government whereby they would consider a digital radio switchover.
  • BBC Radio Wales and Radio Cymru spent a combined £20.6million on programming in 2014/15 and cost per hour was near enough the same for each (£1.5k-1.6k).
  • Commercial radio has the lowest listening share in Wales amongst the Home Nations at 39%, compared to the UK average of 43%. Wales also generated the lowest commercial radio revenues of the Home Nations at £14.9million.
  • Only three companies control commercial stations in Wales – Global Radio, UTV and Town & Country Broadcasting. Digital switchover may mean commercial stations are "released entirely" from their local obligations.

Internet & Broadband



  • 78% of premises in Wales have taken up broadband services, compared to 42% in 2006.
  • 79% of Welsh households have access to super fast broadband – more than Scotland (73%) and Northern Ireland (77%).
  • 3G mobile broadband outdoor services reach 97.9% of Welsh households. However, outdoor 4G services currently only reach 62.8%, compared to the UK average of 89.5%.

Press & Online Media



  • Welsh newspapers have seen massive declines in daily circulations since 2008, ranging from falls of more than 50% for the Western Mail, South Wales Argus and South Wales Echo to just a 6.3% fall for the south Wales version of Metro.
  • These numbers are, generally, in line with declines in newspaper sales elsewhere, with some UK papers suffering even steeper declines.
  • Online there's said to be a "more level playing field" between Trinity Mirror and BBC, with Wales Online and Daily Post websites being competitive with BBC Wales Online services in terms of unique browsers. Use of Wales Online has grown by 586% since 2006.
  • 59% of adults access BBC online services, and online services are significantly more popular amongst those aged 16-24.
  • 27% of people said Facebook was now their main source of local news.
  • BBC Wales spent a total of £2.541million on their online services (£399,000 was spent on Welsh language services/BBC Cymru Fyw).
  • S4C Clic viewing sessions had increased by 232% since 2013-14, with an additional 500,000 downloads of S4C mobile apps.
  • With Trinity Mirror agreeing a takeover of Local World, most of the major national, regional and local newspapers in Wales are owned by just two companies - Trinity Mirror and Newsquest.
  • The number of journalists in south Wales has fallen from over 700 in 1999 to 108 in 2013.
  • There are said to be 46 "hyperlocal" websites active in Wales, and research has suggested around half of hyperlocal site owners in the UK have had some form of journalistic training – though most were self-funded and only 13% generated more than £500 a month income.
  • £1.85million in grants were made available to Welsh language publications in 2013-14, compared to £748,000 for English language publications. 50 papurau bro receive grants of up to £1,900 a year from the Welsh Government.
  • S4C launched a £1million digital fund in 2012 to create interactive media and other apps.

Key Recommendations



  • The Welsh Government should establish an independent media panel to monitor media trends and commission studies, working with relevant academic departments.
  • Investment in BBC Wales' English language services should increase by £30million a year, ideally via an increase in the licence fee. This must include programming other than news and current affairs.
  • S4C's funding and editorial independence must be maintained to avoid slipping into a "cycle of decline". Collaboration between BBC and S4C should be maintained, however.
  • BBC 2 Wales and S4C should be broadcast in high-definition.
  • The effectiveness of DAB coverage should be assessed before any decision is taken on a digital radio switchover.
  • Radio regulation should be devolved to the Welsh Ofcom advisory commission.
  • The abandonment of local radio obligations should be reconsidered.
  • BBC Radio 1 and 2 should provide an opt-out news service for Wales.
  • The UK Government should support BBC establishing an interactive online service for Wales.
  • Responsibility for broadcasting should be shared between the UK Government and devolved administrations.
  • BBC Audience Councils should be replaced with National Broadcasting Trusts, which would help shape the delivery of a national service licence.
  • All PSB broadcasters should lay their annual reports in front of the National Assembly.
  • The Welsh Government and Ofcom should commission a joint study into the future of local media in Wales, embracing community radio, papurau bro, hyper-local news websites and local newspapers.
  • The Welsh Government should create a "challenge fund" administered by the Arts Council for Wales and Wales Books Council to help develop new local news services.


What the audit missed




Magazines - Including (ironically), the IWA's own Agenda, Planet as well as others like Cambria, Barn, Golwg and New Welsh Review. It does mention "publications", particularly with regard papurau bro, but there was little evidence provided on the impact of grant funding cuts on English language magazines or their long-term prospects.

Films & Music - The Welsh film production industry only gets passing mentions, along with music. You would've expected music to have been in there considering recent rows between Radio Cymru and Welsh language musicians. Although this certainly crosses into "the arts", it seems the definition of "media" has been set rather narrowly.

"Citizen Journalism"/The Blogosphere – It's admittedly a grey area, reportedly written off by Culture Minister Ken Skates (Lab, Clwyd South) as "opinion-driven" during the suit-and-sandwich conference because, as we all know, there's little political bias in the mainstream media.

There was a throwaway line about the number of blogs increasing but being "about lifestyle rather than news" - thanks a bunch. I can only speak for myself, and I might get 2% of the South Wales Evening Post's unique browsers on a good day; but I don't know whether being left out is an insult or compliment (sites like Carmarthenshire Planning certainly do count as hyperlocals).

It doesn't really matter because in the absence of public funding, political backing, advertising or publicity it's clear the blogosphere is (relatively) successful and performs a unique function. The Welsh blogosphere's still languishing in the shadows of Scotland's fifth estate; it would take me 20-30 years to match what Wings Over Scotland gets in site metrics in a single year. There's also a high turnover; Green Dragon being the latest political blog to leave the stage. I'm probably not going to be too far behind.

Gaming – The Welsh games industry has grown over the last few years from being practically non-existent to including some breakout companies. It's also one of the most popular mediums around, and as big as, if not bigger, than the film and television industries at present. I'm surprised the IWA and politicians haven't cottoned on to that yet. What do they think people, particularly those under the age of 35, are doing if they're not watching television, listening to the radio or reading newspapers? (See also : More than just a game).

A Warning on Funding


Time for some mathematical gymnastics to serve as a warning on how to interpret the funding figures in the report and how that fits from a "value for money" perspective. The easiest way to do that is to compare the ratio of amount of money spent versus the audience.

Based on the figures provided for BBC's English language web services, for every £1 they spend, they get 85.5 unique browsers. BBC Cymru Fyw gets 11.5 unique browsers for every £1 spent.

For every £1 I spend directly on Oggy Bloggy Ogwr - without a publicly-funded newsroom, television and radio network to back me up and whilst only posting a few times a week - I get 5,272 unique browsers.

Oggy Bloggy Ogwr is, therefore, 62 times greater value for money than BBC Wales Online and 458 times greater value for money than BBC Cymru Fyw. *Jazz hands*


Not bad for opinion-driven non-media. 

Technically speaking, if I put more money into this site its "value for money" would mathematically decrease because the audience is naturally limited and no amount of extra money would change that. Hence that's why complicated political and investigative stories tend to cost a lot of money and get poor returns for broadcasters and publishers, which leads to a downward spiral in coverage.

It also, theoretically, means the "true value" of non-current affairs, non-mainstream television (i.e children's), radio programmes as well as blogs and hyperlocals is likely to be significant in terms of what they bring to the table - perhaps more so than was reflected in the report and in general discussions on the Welsh media.

It's therefore not entirely a funding issue because it doesn't buy you viewers or readers. It's an audience issue and comes down to the quality of the product and how efficiently it's produced.

When you compare what Wales gets from our broadcasters and publishers compared to what the Republic of Ireland gets – utilising similar sums of money and with a similar set up - we're clearly doing something wrong here.


Conclusions


It's an incredibly useful analysis, but not anything we haven't heard before.

Individual AMs have made their own concerns known down the years, but it'll take the closure of one of the major Welsh newspapers – probably The Western Mail – or the subsuming of S4C into BBC Wales to actually force the Welsh Government into action. Calls for challenge funds and independent panels (yet another bloody committee) will fall on deaf ears as ministers can, justifiably, say it's not their problem as broadcasting is a non-devolved issue.

We can never, realistically, expect the UK Government to do anything constructive either; as long as UK-wide network shows continue to be watched or made in Wales, as far as they'll be concerned that's job done. A market failure – and that's essentially what this report implies very strongly – is just something that happens.

So it's worth saying again that it's an incredibly useful analysis, but not anything we haven't heard before.

Television and newspapers will remain important for the time being. However, the only rays of hope for the future, it seems, are online – even though Wales Online is close to becoming a parody of itself, and doesn't generate anything close to the same revenues as Media Wales' print productions – and community radio, which is holding up particularly well and isn't getting the attention it deserves in this debate.

I'm concerned there's too much hand-wringing over Wales being seen at the UK level in network shows when major broadcasters and newspaper publishers can't even harness a captive audience at a Welsh level. The success of Y Gwyll/Hinterland has happened by accident because melodramas about troubled detectives with names like Smegm
ä Smegmässon are in vogue at the moment (to saturation point). That won't last forever, neither will network shows like Casualty and Doctor Who.

Nobody has really explained what they want either. Do they really expect a Welsh political story affecting less than 5% of the UK's population to be given equal treatment to an English one affecting 85% on network news? News bulletins would end up three or four hours long.

There are only two reasons you'll see Wales on the front pages or in the main news bulletins: human tragedy and sport. The murders of April Jones and Tracey Woodford, as well as the Welsh national rugby and football teams, have probably got more coverage and column inches in the UK media than the Welsh Government and Assembly have in 10 years. A BBC network radio news opt-out - recommended in the report - or "Welsh Six" on TV might go some way towards addressing that.

As cynical as it sounds, maybe we just have to come to terms with the fact very little of interest happens in Wales. That's reflected in our politics, our economy and the small-c conservatism that forms the fabric of Welsh society. That's very well represented in our media – including this blog.

So to conclude, the report is an incredibly useful analysis, but not anything we haven't heard before.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Independence Minutiae : Public Holidays

(Pic : seymourinteriors.co.uk)

Another minor area of public policy which could be determined in Wales post-independence are public holidays.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Ogmore Vale By-Election Result

(Pic : © Copyright John Finch and licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Licence)


Residents in the Ogmore Vale ward went to the polls to elect a new Bridgend county councillor yesterday following the resignation of Independent Della Hughes back in September (Firefighters Sacked, By-Election Update & Pedestrianisation).

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Seeing through the Senedd

You can see through it, but how much can you see on the other side?
(Pic : tripadvisor.co.uk)

The ongoing discussion and debate over of transparency and openness within both the Welsh Government and National Assembly shows no signs of abating.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Major shake-up in store for Bridgend's schools?

As one new school opens, the prospect of a significant general shake-up
of Bridgend's schools looms on the horizon.
(Pic : Bridgend County Borough Council via Facebook)

Back in August 2014, Bridgend Council (BCBC) set up a special task group to look at the long-term future of how schools are managed and run in the county. This includes a reform of post-16 education (sixth forms) as well as how schools are organised – which could result in the closure or amalgamation of several schools and sixth forms.

An update on what the task group are working on formed a key part of a recent meeting of BCBC's Children & Young People's Scrutiny Committee - where councillors were presented with the snazzily-tiled report Strategic Review into the Development and Rationalisation of the Curriculum and Estate Provision of Primary, Secondary and Post-16 Education (pdf).

The Issues
  • Falling pupil rolls – It's a problem schools across Wales are having to deal with. Some schools are seriously under-capacity, putting their long-term future at risk. Others – particularly some Welsh-medium schools and schools on new family-friendly estates, like Maes-yr-Haul Primary in Broadlands – are overcrowded due to increased demand for a limited number of spaces.
  • Staffing Issues – An unspecified number of headteachers are nearing retirement age.
  • Finance – Another issue all schools are having to deal with as local authorities deal with budget cuts. See also : Seven Bridgend Schools in the Red.
  • 21st Century Schools Programme – A Wales-wide initiative to replace school buildings, which also provides an opportunity to rethink where and how schools are arranged. The most recent example in the county is the newly-opened Coety Primary at Parc Derwen.

The Welsh Goverment are pressing schools to consider alternative management arrangements, and have set out guidance on how to "federate" schools, as well as passing a law – the School Standards and Organisation Act 2013 – to deal with the often controversial issue of closing or merging smaller schools.

The Provisional Ideas

It's worth emphasising from the start that these are only working proposals and there's absolutely nothing final, but it does give you a good idea of what might be coming down the line as the task group continue their work.

School Organisation
  • School closures and mergers – BCBC are already considering this, notably the merger between Betws and Tynyheol Primaries in the Garw Valley.
  • All-through schools - Where 3-16/3-19 year olds are taught in the same campus.
  • Federated schools – Where schools share headteachers/leadership arrangements.

Post-16 Education

This is potentially the most explosive issue as the prospect of sixth form closures in Bridgend is raised for the first time. This has been proposed in other local authorities in Wales, and sometimes heavily resisted. It's said that, following consultation with schools and other providers, the current model can't remain due to funding cuts.

Welsh-Medium (WM) Education

There are two outline suggestions :

  • A starter class in an under-capacity English-medium school to deal with overcrowding at Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Bro Ogwr, which serves Bridgend town.
  • Collaboration with WM schools in Rhondda Cynon Taf and Bridgend College to deliver post-16 WM courses.
Feasibility work is already being undertaken on the latter.

Catchment Area Changes


The catchment areas should match the capacity of the nearest school. This could mean much bigger catchment areas, or even splits in current catchment areas – like at Maes-yr-Haul, where pupils who live in certain parts of Broadlands now have to attend Trelales Primary in Laleston even if Maes-y-Haul is geographically closer. It was also suggested that homes should be assigned a catchment area based on proximity to a safe walking/cycling route to school.

21st Century Schools Programme

The task group have come up with a formula to determine which schools are in the most need of upgrades or replacements. However, this work will need to be tied to the future management of schools (federated schools, all-through schools etc.).

As a result of all this, the report recommends that a strategic partner be found to review the plans and make a series of formal recommendations to BCBC's cabinet in the future, with Bridgend College part-funding the estimated £20,000 cost of the review.

What Next?

Could Bridgend be about to follow Neath Port Talbot's example on further education?
(Pic : Baily Partnership)
There's a potential storm brewing here - especially if sixth forms are threatened or parents object to sending their children to an "all-through school". I don't think the ideas should be dismissed out of hand and once a final review is produced, any proposals deserve to be considered on their own merits.

Some of these principles – like those relating to catchment areas – make sense when you're looking at it from a top-down view, but on the ground you could end up with next door neighbours attending different schools if any new catchment areas aren't flexible enough, as happens in Broadlands now.

My personal opinion is that, in the long-term, all post-16/pre-university education should be provided through FE colleges (or some sort of collaborative arrangement for WM-schools). This happens in Neath Port Talbot which, for a relatively deprived local authority, consistently produces good academic results and provides learners which many more choices with regard what they can study. NPT College offers at least 40 subjects at A-Level or equivalent; I'd be surprised if any of Bridgend's sixth forms offer more than 25.

However, Bridgend College simply isn't big enough to provide A-Level courses alongside vocational ones, and it would require a serious investment – possibly a completely new campus or even a merger - to see it through; plus all the additional costs like transport and hiring qualified staff.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Serious Business Party Announce Assembly Line-Up



The Serious Business Party have announced their candidates for the 2016 National Assembly election.

Like other parties seeking a foothold in Cardiff Bay, they're focusing on the regional lists, and won't stand any candidates in first past the post constituencies.

UK leader, Armitage Shanks, unveiled their hopefuls at their Autumn Piss-Up, alongside their party election broadcast (above), which they say makes a strong offer to the people of Wales.

In an impassioned alcohol-aggravated speech, he rallied party members and journalists, telling them, "We'll be out there pounding pavements, pounding doors and pounding faces.


"We're going to reinvigorate the lost skill of political rim-raiding. We're going to smash the Senedd's back doors in and keep going until the Cardiff Bay Establishment are crying in a corner...."

A flunky whispers in his ear, "....Sorry, I meant ram-raiding."

"People are sick and tired of politicians who have 'ideas' and 'long-term plans' to solve complicated problems. We're not interested in ideas. We're not really interested in power either. All we're interested in is punishing politicians by becoming politicians ourselves. So to the people of Wales, I say this :

"You think your local hospital's fine. You think your schools are turning out pupils ready for modern wage slavery, crippling living costs and disappointing life choices.

"You're secure in your mediocrity because you don't think about things too much and are willing to let others think for you. You believe tweaking a crap machine or hitting it every now and again will keep it going another twenty years instead of completely replacing it.

"Then when you do decide to replace it, you hire cowboys to do the work. Yeeeee ha!

"The next day, you're desperate for a crap," he points to a candidate, "but Mr Blobby here turns up on your doorstep wearing nothing but a Serious Business Party rosette and a scowl. He has no tools, he's had no training, and he's more than ready to twat you with a metal pipe for your idiocy.

"Keep punishing yourselves, you stupid, stupid people."

The audience applauds rapturously.

"This isn't a game," Armitage tells them straight-faced. "Every time you say you're going to vote for us, give yourself a punch in the face from me."












Asked whether he was considering standing in a Welsh seat, Armitage's face broke into his familiar baby-grin. "No, but between you and me," he retorted, "Taffs are good in the trenches and at playing rugger, but aren't officer material if you get what I mean."

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Election 2016 : Six Months To Go

The most exciting thing to happen at the Senedd since....
(Pic : Wales Online)
The thoughts of sitting and prospective AMs will start turning towards the 2016 National Assembly election with only six months remaining until polling day - as indicted by the countdown clock I've added to the top right.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Senedd debates draft Wales Bill

Following the stronger words said on the draft Wales Bill over the last
fortnight it was rightly time for more measured discussion on the issues it raises.
(Pic : BBC Wales)


Yesterday, following the suspension of standing orders, the National Assembly held an extraordinary debate on the controversial draft Wales Bill.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Pedestrianisation Petition & Heritage Hub Plans

Could regular traffic be about to return to Bridgend town centre?
(Pic : iComply)

As you might remember, a few days ago I mentioned a petition organised by Suzy Davies AM (Con, South Wales West) and 2016 Assembly Conservative candidate for Bridgend, George Jabbour, on pedestrianisation in Bridgend town centre.