September 15, 2009

Cable: "We need to debate when, how and where the cuts will come."

Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor Vince Cable has today launched proposals for tackling the fiscal crisis, which involves cutting public spending, and urged politcians to be "upfront" with people about where the cuts will fall.

In a pamphlet launched in collaboration with the independent think tank Reform, he argues that no areas of spending should be "ring fenced", and that every penny spent by the government should be justified.

The pamphlet identifies nine specific areas where potential savings could be made, which he argues should be part of a radical system of reform. His proposals include:
  • An end to bonuses for the civil service, which would save a £200m a year
  • A radical review of public sector pensions, which would lead to higher employee contributions
  • Scrapping many of the government's white elephant IT schemes, including ID cards, the NHS IT scheme, Contactpoint, and a proposed 'super database' which altogether equates to £11.45bn of savings over 10 years
Cable's proposed cuts would slash public spending by at least £14bn a year.

Commenting, Vince Cable said, “The time for generalities is over. Instead, we need serious proposals for cutting public spending and tackling the UK’s budget deficit.

“The priority is to move the economy out of recession but there is also a need to restore fiscal credibility and to allow Government to focus its resources where are they are most needed.

“We need to debate when, how and where the cuts will come.

“Undoubtedly more are required to meet the exacting fiscal disciplines but asking the British public for their vote at the next election means being upfront from the outset about what Government should and should not be spending its money on."

September 14, 2009

An Alternative Vision for Wales and Britain

With a looming British General Election, voters will, once again,need to consider which political party best represents their aspirations and hopes for the future.
The Liberal Democrats have long campaigned for greater transparency and accountability from our elected representatives, have long been committed champions for locally driven solutions and ideas to tackle pressing needs in our local communities and have long espoused the dangers of foreign misadventures and unscrupulous bankers.
The choice for voters in the forthcoming British General Election should not be curtailed to that of the Labour and Conservative parties. Many voters are tired of the old and quite frankly out dated visions of both these parties.
It is my belief that only the Liberal Democrat party can offer voters in North Wales the representation that they deserve, from offering high caliber locally based candidates to a vision of the type of community we all wish to live in, here in North Wales and beyond.

Rhodri Jones,
Chair, Vale of Clwyd Liberal Democrats

September 13, 2009

Liberal Democrat Education Forum for Denbighshire

Liberal Democrat Education Forum for Denbighshire

A new education forum for Denbighshire by the Welsh Liberal Democrats has been formed to campaign on all matters educational, pertaining to Denbighshire. The group will meet bi-monthly in Denbighshire and all Liberal Democrat members from the Vale of Clwyd, Clwyd South and Clwyd West constituencies are most welcome to attend and share their thoughts about education in Denbighshire today. Petula Field from Rhyl is the group's spokesperson. If you would like to attend the next meeting of the group or get involved in future campaigns, please e-mail the group's Convenor, Penny Maudsley for more information.

Rhodri Jones,
Chair, Vale of Clwyd Liberal Democrats

Forwm Addysg Y Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol ar gyfer Sir Ddinbych

Y mae forwm addysg newydd ar gyfer Sir Ddinbych wedi ei ffurfio gan y Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol Cymru ar gyfer ymyrchu drost holl materion addysgol yn Sir Ddinbych. Mi fydd y forwm yn cyfarfod bob yn ail mis yn Sir Ddinbych ac y mae croeso mawr i aelodau y blaid o ardaloedd De Clwyd, Gorllewin Clwyd a Dyffryn Clwyd mynychu ac i rannu syniadau am addysg yn Sir Ddinbych. Petula Field fydd llefarydd y grwp newydd. Os hoffwch fynychu y cyfarfod nesaf y forwm ac i ymgyrchu gyda'r grwp, mae'n bosibl ichi e-bostio Cynllunydd y grwp, Penny Maudsley am fwy o wybodaeth.

Rhodri Jones,
Cadeirydd, Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol Dyffryn Clwyd

June 23, 2009

Nick Clegg: Lib Dems can overtake Labour at next election

Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats, has confidently stated in an interview with the Financial Times that our party could overtake Labour to become the official opposition at the next general election.

Building on similar statements he has recently made in the House of Commons and in an interview with the New Statesman, in which he explicity set out his ambition to be Prime Minister, Clegg said he believed "big things can happen" when a government loses touch with the public and is defeated in the battle of ideas.

Clearly comfortable in his own skin as leader now, Nick Clegg has set out ambitious plans for the Liberal Democrats, and has proved in recent months that he has the confidence, skill, courage and conviction to see them through.

From his laudable defense of the rights of the Gurkhas, to his courage in calling for the Speaker of the House of Commons Michael Martin to resign, and for speaking out against the renewal of Trident, Nick Clegg has proved time and time again that he has his finger on the pulse and will speak up for what is right, no matter which conventions he has to break in order to do so.

We have a leader we can be genuinely proud of and a bright future to look forward to as a party.

Chris Ruane's Expenses In Full (Well, Almost)

If you haven't had a sneaky look already, Vale of Clwyd MP Chris Ruane's expenses files are now open to public scrutiny online on the website, with redactions. The events of the expenses scandal have been so fast-moving that heads must surely be spinning by now, but following further outrage at the blacking out of certain details on the published expenses files, the Telegraph has now lifted the lid again and today started publishing the expenses in all their uncensored glory.

We are publishing this on our blog because, well, somebody has to. At the time of writing, you will not find a link to Chris Ruane's expenses on his own website. In fact, he hasn't published anything on his website. We are currently sifting through his expense files to see if we can spot anything which would require further clarification, and we'll let you know if we find anything.

Thus far, we've managed to uncover that Chris used his expenses to pay for a self-promotional advertising board at Rhyl F.C. in July 2007 (see picture below), and an advert in their season programme. We've even found a picture of the advertising board online here. Was he right or wrong to claim for that? Is it wrong to use Parliamentary expenses, rather than Labour party funds, to pay for an advertising board? You let us know in the Comments section.

Commenting on the publication of MPs' expenses claims online with blackouts, Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg told the BBC that the way the receipts were published "damages public faith in what MPs do even more..."

He added, "we now need complete change, not just in the expenses regime but in the culture of secrecy that still prevails at the heart of Whitehall and Westminster."

If you've uncovered any interesting claims amongst Chris Ruane's expense files, please e-mail us at and we will publish them on the blog. The Guardian are also asking for volunteers to investigate MPs' expenses claims, and you can help by following this link.

June 16, 2009

Resignation of Mark Young as Liberal Democrat PPC for the Vale of Clwyd

After much thought, Mark Young has recently decided to stand down as our Parliamentary Candidate in the Vale of Clwyd. Mark has decided that he wishes to devote more time with his family and with his business.

Mark without doubt, has been a stalwart of the local association for a number of years and has worked tirelessly and with success for the party in the Vale of Clwyd. I am sure that I speak on behalf of all our members in the Vale and wish Mark every success and best wishes for the future. Bob hwyl Mark!

Rhodri Jones
Chair, Vale of Clwyd Liberal Democrats

June 07, 2009

EU Election Results - Vale of Clwyd

Well, I've just returned from the count in Denbigh, which took far longer than it should have to declare! The results are as follows:

Conservatives - 4,959
Labour - 2,798
Plaid Cymru - 2,314
UKIP - 2,292
Liberal Democrats - 1,070
BNP - 815
Green - 628
Socialist Labour Party - 251
Christian Party - 207
No2EU - 161
Jury Team - 59

There were 67 spoilt ballot papers, and overall turnout was 28.45%.

June 02, 2009

AGM 2009 Announcement

The date of our next AGM has been set for June 25th, from 7-9pm. This will take place at Prestatyn Community Centre, which is located next to the Cross Foxes pub at the end of the High Street.

The meeting is open to all party members and the public, however if you are planning to attend, we would appreciate an e-mail confirming your planned attendance just so we will have an idea of how many people to expect. If you need any special arrangements, or need help getting to the venue, please state your requirements in your e-mail.

Karen Roberts from our Cardiff HQ and our Parliamentary Candidate Mark Young will be on hand to answer any questions you may have.

European Elections 2009: Fighting Your Corner in Brussels

The European elections are fast approaching with polling day on Thursday, June 4th. The Welsh Liberal Democrat have chosen an excellent lead candidate for the forthcoming elections. Alan Butt Philip is a lecturer in European politics and has previously been a special adviser for both the UK and European Parliaments on such matters as the European Single Market and European Regional Funding. Alan's wealth of knowledge and experience on European matters is without question.

The European Union should matter to us all. The European Parliament bears its influence on such diverse matters as the environment, the workplace and cross border organized crime. The European Parliament has proven itself over the years to be a progressive legislature that is profoundly concerned with the rights of the ordinary citizen. In short, these elections matter a great deal.

The endless drip of scandalous revelations relating to MP's expenses has been, to say the least, disappointing. We should clearly expect much better from some of our honourable representatives at Westminster. However, resorting to voting for smaller, fringe parties would not be the answer. A number of these fringe parties, I fear, would sow divisiveness and discord in all matters European. Let us not forget the horrid and destructive European wars of recent past. Let us not take for granted the stability and peace the institutions of the European Union have given each and every one of us. These achievements have not come by chance but rather through concerted efforts over many years in working productively together, where appropriate, in order to achieve peace and common sense political and economic co-operation.

I know that Alan cares deeply for Wales and would fight vigorously for Welsh interests in Brussels. By voting Welsh Liberal Democrat on June 4th, you can be assured of electing an enthusiastic and hard working lead candidate who would be a real voice for us all in Brussels.

Those views expressed above are solely those of Rhodri Jones.