My target: To win back Ceredigion and return a group of Lib Dems to the Assembly

Jane Dodds, new Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats

Wales needs the Welsh Liberal Democrats back in the Assembly and back in Westminster.

If we can transform Welsh education and the life chances of our children and young people with just one Cabinet member – just imagine what more we could do with a large group holding the balance of power in the Assembly.

I just wanted to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Mark Williams who led our party during an incredibly difficult time for our party.

Not only did Ceredigion lose a fantastic representative and champion, but Westminster lost an incredibly talented, passionate, and authentic liberal voice.

I have set the Welsh Liberal Democrats a challenge; that we return a group of Welsh Liberal Democrats to the Assembly in 2021, and that we elect parliamentarians from Wales in 2022, including Mark Williams in Ceredigion.

Our challenges are to get across the reason for the Liberal Democrats in Wales; we need to train our members and candidates, grown our membership, win council elections and shape a distinctive liberal agenda for Wales and our party.

Different

It will be an agenda that will be outward looking, tolerant, fair and green, not the narrow-minded, defensive and divisive agendas which are doing such harm in our communities.

Working with our staff and party officers in responding to feedback from members we will create a whole-Wales party which equips members to campaign in their communities, to get involved, to shape and share our message, and to grow their local membership.

Repeating what we’ve always done won’t be enough. We need to think differently and do differently if we want to change the outlook for our party.

I will work hard as the Leader to re-establish the Welsh Liberal Democrats as the radical, progressive force of Welsh politics.

And also to bring like-minded people together to build a movement and to create a liberal Wales.

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Dafydd Thomas
Guest
Dafydd Thomas

The GCSE A* to C pass rate in Wales has fallen to its lowest level since 2006. Yes the Lib Dem has certainly transformed Welsh education.

Gareth
Guest
Gareth

And that’s the Lib Dems fault – just fifteen months in is it?

Dafydd Thomas
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Dafydd Thomas

Gareth for goodness sake read the article, she is saying that the lib Dems have Transformed education in Wales with one minister!!

Gareth
Guest
Gareth

I make no claim to know how the Lib Dem claim have transformed education in Wales.

But I think it’ll be a little bit unfair to blame this summer’s GCSE results on them, given the fact the exams were sat at the end of a two year qualification, barley 12 Months after Kirsty Williams joined the cabinet.

Anything like this takes time, I remember Plaid members being very frustrated about the lack of economic improvement when they’re leader was in the Welsh Government, but I’m not going to say anymore as we could go majorly off topic here.

Dafydd Thomas
Guest
Dafydd Thomas

I realise that your an apologist for the lib Dems, but they are claiming credit here for what objectively is a disaster, and it can’t be glossed over. Anyone with children will be concerned at this downturn in the educational attainments. Of course as Chris Franks says below there is a huge financial pressure. They are spending education money on health with unfunded sick and elderly immigrants from England. As Professor Holtham says they are bleeding education to spend on health when they should be doing the exact opposite.

Gareth
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Gareth

“immigrants from England”

I’m not even going to bother debating with you.

Dafydd Thomas
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Dafydd Thomas

Yes unfunded elderly and sick immigrants from England. As the Nuffield trust says underfunded by a minimum of £500,000,000.

Richard Church
Guest

The ugly face of nationalism. So if you think it’s OK not to treat ‘sick and elderly immigrants from England’. You’ll be happy if the NHS in England treat Welsh people living there the same way.

Dafydd Thomas
Guest
Dafydd Thomas

Richard the money the Welsh government gets for health and education does not include for the ftreatment of the colonialist influx of elderly from England nor the influx of social cleansing to Wales of disabled and sick from English cities. The Welsh population is not older than the English population but the English population in Wales is much older than the Welsh population. We do not receive funding for these so we have to deprive the education budget to pay for the health of these. We do not send elderly to England nor socially cleanse our people to England. The… Read more »

CambroUiDunlainge
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CambroUiDunlainge

Yes. The ugly face of nationalism… putting our own people first. Shame on us!

Dafydd Thomas
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Dafydd Thomas

Indeed just as the English Labour Party and the English conservatives have said they want to control immigration for the benefit of the people of England. Nothing less for us, so we can have a good standard functioning health system and an education system which is not so much less funded than in England with a Welsh immigration policy for the needs of Wales rather than England.

Royston Jones
Guest

Comparing the exchange of people between a country of three million people and a country of some fifty-five million is absurd. Even if the numbers moving were equal the impacts would be vastly different. But that’s not the case because there are far more English people retiring to Wales than there are Welsh people retiring to England. The 2011 Census told us that 35.8% of the over 65s in Wales had been born in England. In a number of areas a majority of pensioners were born in England. To then suggest that this does not impact adversely on the Welsh… Read more »

Wrexhamian
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Wrexhamian

Dim cymhariaeth. Wales’s settler problem is not of its own making, unlike England’s immigration/overpopulation problem. It’s also a question of comparative numbers and the relative wealth of the two countries. Then there’s the language issue…

Rhys Taylor
Guest

The Lib Dems transformed educational outcomes for the poorest children in Wales by investing £200m in the last Assembly through direct financial investment in schools, which has massively narrowed the attainment gap in Wales every year since the introduction of the Pupil Development Grant.

Smaller class sizes? Government funding for part-time and postgraduate students, and an incredibly generous grant funding system for students?

T
Guest
T

Sorry I still don’t get the point of the Dim Lebs. Talking of divisive policies are you going to drop your policy of lying and smearing in your election campaigns?

Jac O'Rose
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Jac O'Rose

Your party has received its just rewards! Compliant and complicit with the most damned government in history !

Gareth
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Gareth

Glad to hear it.
Here’s hopping it can come true.
I won’t make any comment about any AMs/MPs I’d like to see defeted but I would like to see a sizable Lib Dem group back in the Assembly.

Thomas Moseley
Guest

The Lib Dems have become irrelevant in Welsh politics and any attempt to resurrect the party is likely to fail. The party has for years been a right wing rump deriving their support from voters who anywhere else would be voting Tory. Mark Williams was a good constituency MP but to describe him as ‘incredibly talented’ is a gross exaggeration which reflects poorly on the judgment of the new leader of the party. In Ben Lake the new member for Ceredigion we have just as good a constituency MP but he has the added attraction of youth and vigour and… Read more »

hans
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hans

Dafydd Thomas – half the kids did their gcses a year early and will end up taking them again. Hence the passrate figure. Do you can comprehend this?

With regards to the Lib Dems, any progressive should hope they make a comeback. Their 5 AMs did a decent job at hold the government to account (or as decent a job as tories and plaid anyway). Certainly better than the UKIP AMs to have replaced them!

Considering how low the lib dems are, I was surprised at the high quality candidates they managed to put together

Richard Church
Guest

With all the problems we face, from the environmental crisis to the economic dislocation of brexit, to the rise of politics of division and hate, nationalism is at best a diversion and at worst a divisive contributor. Good luck to Jane Dodds and the the return of progressive open minded tolerant liberalism in Wales.

Royston Jones
Guest

There was a genuine Welsh Liberal tradition, represented most recently in Ceredigion by Geraint Howells. That Welsh Liberal tradition is dead. The modern, opportunistic Liberal Democrats are not the inheritors of that tradition,and so I’d welcome their demise.

Red Dragon Jim
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Red Dragon Jim

Ben Lake MP is closer to traditional Welsh Liberalism than the modern Lib Dems.

Rhys
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Rhys

It’s great to see the Welsh Lib Dems back and ready for the fight ahead. Wales is poorer without a strong Lib Dem voice in the Assembly and Westminster. I’d be surprised to see anyone argue that the UKIP group elected last May are more effective at representing their communities or Wales in the Assembly. The ‘right wing rump’ others have referred to lifted the poorest out of income tax, invested more than £200m in the education of our most disadvantaged children, are taking forward an overhaul of student funding in Wales, and delivered safe staffing levels on our hospital… Read more »

Chris Franks
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Chris Franks

Education spending levels under Kirsty Williams is putting schools under huge financial pressure.

Ianto
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Ianto

Talking of Mark Williams and the Lib Dems, interesting piece form “Liberal Democrat Voice” here talking about Mark Williams’ victory in Ceredigion here, showing the attitude of a student at Aberystwyth University to the Liberal Democrats at the time – https://www.libdemvoice.org/ceredigion-mark-william-17763.html “As a 1st year student in Aberystwyth, I was quickly recruited to making sure we make [the Liberal Democrat] majority bigger”. Considering he believes that “most people” “couldn’t find Cardiff on a map”, and that his *other* piece in the “Liberal Democrat Voice” https://www.libdemvoice.org/opinion-thinking-too-hard-about-plaid-19299.html is a masterclass in ‘failing to understand a country foreign to you, but being patronising… Read more »

Angharad
Guest

It’s no secret that I’m a Plaid supporter and member. But given that, allow me to give you some genuine advice: Clean up your campaign. No lies, no misleading leaflets through the doors. One only needed to ask on the streets of Aberystwyth why people were turning from Lib Dems to Plaid in the last election, to realise that it was the dirty tactics that lost Ceredigion for Mark. It’s time politics in general cleaned up its act, but it is very disappointing to see such tactics from the Lib Dems. Unfortunately, it was not the first time. We still… Read more »

Gareth
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Gareth

Because there were never any smears against Mark Williams were there: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plYSd6zrWCM

Angharad
Guest

Fideo diddorol, diolch. Gwerth ei wylio.
A neges cywir wrth gwrs.
A nid rhan o unrhyw ymgyrch swyddogol oedd hynny,

Gareth Tuen
Guest
Gareth Tuen

Oen i ‘ar y ffens’ am Mark… ond un peth wnaeth fy’ng nghynhyrfu oedd ei diffyg Cymraeg, yma ers prifysgol! Dim esgus i neb, yn enwedig ein haelod yn Sansteffan!

Robert Williams
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Robert Williams

Gareth, I’m not sure what your definition of a ‘smear’ is, but this little clip demonstrating that Mark didn’t seem to have done much about ‘dysgu Cymraeg’ doesn’t look like one to me.

Rhys
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Rhys

There’s plenty more examples of underhand tactics from opponents in Ceredigion. Nobody is whiter than white.

Morgan
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Morgan

Good stuff – definitely want to see it come true. The Lib Dem’s demise in the Assembly has just let UKIP get in, like everyone said it would. I’d much rather have the Lib Dems as a party that cares about making Wales a better place to live. Kirsty is doing a lot of work to support rural schools, and hopefully will really get the chance to improve our education system – it’s only been a year!

Benjiman L. Angwin
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Benjiman L. Angwin

I was a Lib Dem. I admire them for putting non-conformity, civil liberties, compromise and localism as a political nucleus rather than the populist group-think of socialists and right-wingers. I admire their tolerance, their judging policies issue by issue rather than all fits one economic ideologies, their bridge-building and unparalleled ability to empathise with individuals against conformity. They do not divide society along class lines, as both Labour and the Tories do, and they stand with poor people and rich people to find a balance between rather than declaring the rich or the poor to be evil along cultish sectarian… Read more »

ERNEST
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ERNEST

I agree with you, that has been my experience. Ceredigion is best with Plaid Cymru. I do not think the Libdems could do any better there or in Carmarthenshire; However the LibDems belief that the union of Britain can actually be reformed? Britain can never be reformed and decentralised like most Libdems want it to be until the British centralisers i.e:- Tories and UKIP ideologies have been defeated in Wales/Cymru elections and elsewhere in England and Scotland. I suggest the best thing the LibDems can do is to concentrate your campaigns and target seats currently held by UKIP and the… Read more »

Benjiman L. Angwin
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Benjiman L. Angwin

Yn union/exactly. I was with the Lib Dems in England for a time. They are great in England, and could be greater if they used one of their core principles, non-conformity, to fight against British conformity for an independent, liberal England.

Ac yn wir, what I admire most about the Lib Dems is what they could be if they ditched British conformity and supported independence as an inalienable right of nations.

I suggest reading, The Liberal Future (1952), by Jo Grimond.

Benjiman L. Angwin
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Benjiman L. Angwin

* (1959)

Trailorboy
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Trailorboy

What relevance has the party got to Wales? Indeed what is the party about at all? I’ve never understood it. The lib dem box on the ballot paper to me seems like the catch-all option, for those who don’t have strong ideas or opinions – it makes it easy for someone to moan later on about whoever actually wins outright, knowing that they didn’t actually vote for them, while still being able to claim to have a remote interest in things. The coalition messed that thinking up a bit, because for the first time in living memory they actually did… Read more »

Richard Carr
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Richard Carr

The Lib Dems are actually the only party that wants to keep Wales in both the UK AND the EU. I suspect that’s the wish of quite a sizeable percantage of the people of Wales. So quite “relevant” I would say.

Math Wiliam
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Math Wiliam

Cerdigion may indeed have lost one “talented, passionate, and authentic liberal voice” – but it gained another. Ben Lake has been doing tremendous work since being elected MP, both in Westminster and more importantly perhaps in the constituency itself. Furthermore he succeeded in getting elected without resorting to any malicious campaign tactics, so it can be argued that his voice is in fact more “authentic”. He did indeed have big boots to fill, as Mark Williams was well respected as a good constituency representative, but Ben has very big feet and filled those shoes twice over. By concentrating their efforts… Read more »

Matthew Dixon
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Matthew Dixon

If there is one thing that differentiates the Lib Dems from other parties it is that “outward looking, tolerant” attitude that Jane speaks of. In an incredibly divided society we need more of that. Plus for those who want the Tories out, the Lib Dems are the only party that can boot them out of Powys. Here’s to more Lib Dems in the assembly instead of the divisive UKIP group who have taken their place.

hans
Guest
hans

Math Wiliam – you make an odd case. By your own argument, plaid shouldn’t have tried to win Ceredigion in 2017 due to a progressive already holding the seat? Or maybe mark Williams shouldnt have tried to win in 2005?!

Come on, it’s perfectly natural for parties to try and win seats that they think they have the best chance in winning.

Math Wiliam
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Math Wiliam

Greetings Hans. You raise a fair point, but I can answer it! As well as sharing the Lib Dems’ commitment to progressive principles, Plaid Cymru does the added and all-important job of putting Wales on top of the agenda in Westminster. Plaid is the ONLY party that does this. For example, here’s what Plaid MPs have been saying today: http://www.partyof.wales/budget_must_deliver_devolution. That’s why it’s always imperative for the only nationalist party in Wales to win as many seats as possible. Since liberal progressiveness is the Lib Dems’ raison d’etre, they should concentrate their resources on getting rid of an unprogressive Tory… Read more »

sianiflewog
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sianiflewog

The lib dems committed suicide under one Nic Leggue. He and his tori lickspittles supported welfare reform bill which yet further impoverished the underclass; when i don’t get work i have to pay bedroom tax. When i work , the crossover from wages to when i sign on again has left me short by hundreds of pound (under appeal). The oh so liberal democrats froze out the ppoor from education in order to support cammeroon and george ü spawn – basically monsters from hell that feed on the flesh of lower class children (i gather this sight does not like… Read more »

Benjiman L. Angwin
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Benjiman L. Angwin

Y fath negyddoldeb cas, chwerw á blas hen hél arno yn eich neges ydy’r pam bod pleidiau cardarnhaol fel Dem Rhydd a Phlaid Cymru yn hollol berthnasol heddiw.

John Davies
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John Davies

Who is Jane Dodds kidding ?.Kirsty Williams has very little to offer as the Education Secretary. I very much doubt if she would be a member of the Assembly Cabinet if the Labour Party had an overall majority. Also, forget Ceredigion. Future elections will be a contest between Plaid and Labour..Finally I consider Mark Williams to be very overrated – a member that contributed very little to constructive parliamentary debate.

Adam York
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Adam York

Mike Parker’s book on previous G.Election in Ceredigion well worth reading,not least as Lib Dems were the rivals.More significant still were votes cast while coalition was in power.A succession of votes in favour of austerity and transfering resources away from poorer people to richer ones looks indefensible(Mark William’s votes easy to review,however reasonable a local MP he was).The taxation change mentioned in Panaroma this week allowed Apple+co to basically divert profit declaration anywhere ie UK dodgy no tax islands.Fundamental and was voted through.Next time you use Cardigan new downsized library or can’t get social care you know why,responsibility not so… Read more »

Daiboy
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Daiboy

Will check the article later…good to see some cross party input here, which what the site needs, and will hopefully increase traffic and therefore improve the viability of the site! 🙂

John Jones
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John Jones

I’m fascinated by some earlier postings where it was stated that English immigrants are a net drain on the Welsh state. How could anyone think that that was true? Only blind Anglophobia leads people to make that claim.

Dafydd Thomas
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Dafydd Thomas

It is regrettable that John Jones is not aware of funding, health, and demography, problems in Wales, but the following might assist. In Wales, devolved health and education are financed from the Welsh government, and the cash for the Welsh government is based on the Barnett formula. the Holtham Commission on reviewing Barnett found that “the funding devolved activities in Wales fall below what Wales would receive were its budget determined by the various formulae the the London government uses to allocate resources to comparable functions in England”. Moreover for the lifetime of the devolved administration in Cardiff (indeed for… Read more »

Edeyrn
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Edeyrn

Most people moving in are retired. Retired people do take more than put in…..its not xenophobia….it just is sadly

On the positive…retired people could be used for expertise on many specialised subjects and life experience.

Retired people can look after grandchildren which helps economy as always…see Im trying to be balanced….but overall – it can easily be a net drain

John Jones
Guest
John Jones

Firstly the extra cost of people over 65 in Wales as a result of in-migration from England is derived from the DIFFERENCE between the number of pensioners living in Wales who were born in England MINUS the number of people who were born in Wales and are living in England. Wales had 149,133 English born pensioners at the 2011 census. England had 143,518 Welsh born pensioners according to the 2011 census and so, according to Dafydd Thomas’s preferred way of calculating, we in Wales have the NHS burden of 5,615 pensioners who aren’t “our responsibility”. Leaving aside the fact that… Read more »

Edeyrn
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Edeyrn

“embrace your fellow British countrymen” – buts the a very nationalist comment in itself….why not all humans

Dafydd Thomas
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Dafydd Thomas

The English immigrants to Wales are 24% over 65 (2011 census). The immigration into England was 11.5% over 65 (2011 census) which the English parties do not wish to embrace but stop or limit. The immigration to England was younger than that to Wales because of the elderly immigration from England. This is why we have an ageing population. Younger immigrants = less ageing population. Studies show that the socially cleansed, an English phenomenon, who arrive in Wales have 48% with a health condition requiring special housing needs and 89% with psychological problems. So the working age group of these… Read more »

ERNEST
Guest
ERNEST

Free movement of people is a good thing. English people, as Welsh and Scottish have paid into UK taxation and National Insurance schemes throughout their working lives, if they want to retire in another country then their pension contributions should follow them. This can be done either by their scheme (state or private) following them, or particularly when Wales/Scotland gets its independence by an equivalent transfer value of the pension/health fund. The problem is arising because the UL/English parliament is not living up obligations to Wales to transfer UK taxation/NI contributions for people now living in Wales. By the way… Read more »

Angharad
Guest

It’s ironic that my mother is one of the 143K, and when I get to retirement (assuming I stay in Wales) I will be one of the 149K. It’s really not a good measure.

Red Dragon Jim
Guest
Red Dragon Jim

This is why I think Dafydd and others’ argument about pensioner incomers does not or cannot work. England is also taking ours.

Yet we must recognise that an ageing popualtion causes difficulties. We need greater population growth, more immigration of younger people, and to keep more of our own would-be emigrants. Brexit will make this worse I’m afraid. We will still lose young people to London, but not be able to compensate with Europeans.

Welsh nationalists should support immigration of younger people into Wales. It’s a bit late, I admit.

Cilmeri
Guest
Cilmeri

Mark Williams’ biggest contribution during his time as MP was visiting coffee mornings. Represented a bilingual constituency but made no effort to learn the language. Good riddance.

John Jones
Guest
John Jones

There’s no doubt that the lower average age of the England population is because of immigration. It is Wales’ misfortune that immigration is low into Wales. As for this repugnant bit of racist drivel:- “Studies show that the socially cleansed, an English phenomenon….” Where is this study that you quote? The 2011 census is clear cut English immigration is a net benefit to Wales; overall more working of age, fewer long term sick, fewer unemployed and more people economically active than the Welsh born population. Objectionable people like yourself Dafydd spend so much time trying to justify your all consuming… Read more »

Royston Jones
Guest

You’re making this up as you go along, ‘John Jones’ (what’s your real name?). Immigration into Wales is not low; the 2011 Census told us that 27.3% of the population of Wales was born outside of Wales, and a disproportionate percentage of those were past working age.

Dafydd Thomas
Guest
Dafydd Thomas

John, I find that people who continually use the words racist and hate as often as you do, seem to be describing themselves.

The study referred to was carried out by the University of Leeds and university of Sheffield, looking at London Boroughs.

I notice that the figure you give for the English born people in Wales was in fact the working age percentage of people in England.

Incidentally, wherever did you get the figure of 143,518 Welsh born pensioners in England.

Davydh Trethewey (@MawKernewek)
Guest

As far as Ceredigion’s MP at Westminster goes, a Plaid Cymru MP such as the now incumbent Ben Lake would, if reelected at the next election, form part of a Plaid Cymru group such that in the event of coalition negotiations, Plaid Cymru would be able to decide whether they thought going into a coalition or not was good for Wales. A LibDem MP would be dependent on the wider LibDem party at a UK level, and Welsh LibDem MPs would be a minority or even a lone voice in that decision. Migration: In the article (yn Cymraeg) on BBC… Read more »

Jack O'Rose
Guest
Jack O'Rose

John Jones…you obviously don’t read the Welsh press much…I doubt you even live in Wales, —if you did you would get off your high horse and into the real world.The social re-housing of Social Service dependents from England (expensive) to Wales (cheap) has been going on for over 25 years to my certain knowledge ! – It saved English Councils money…simple !

John Jones
Guest
John Jones

Firstly Royston “Immigration” refers to people coming into the country from other countries and Wales share of immigrants is low in comparison to the rest of the UK. Immigrants have a lower average age than the native UK population and serve to lower the age profile of England in particular. Dafydd started the conversation by saying that English people coming into Wales were a considerable burden to the country because they had a high percentage of pensioners demanding services from the NHS. There are two ends to the age spectrum of course and he, and you, conveniently forget that English… Read more »

Dafydd Thomas
Guest
Dafydd Thomas

You didn’t answer my question. You are confused as to which stats relate to Wales. At the risk of painfully overstating the obvious the London Boroughs are dumping socially cleansed people to Wales. Although in in working age group they have major health problems. I.e not able to be employed. What is protic some other sort of red herring?