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Month: July 2017

Electoral Reform in Wales

As you may have noticed, the blog has been rather quiet over the weeks since the general election. Well, even us psephologists need to re-charge our batteries now and then – and perhaps particularly after an unexpected general election… Anyway, the next few weeks will likely continue to be fairly quiet. I’ll be having some holidays, and also working on some larger writing projects. But as the political class come back from their summer holidays and the new political year starts again, I’ll be running my annual series of essays on the Electoral State of the Parties. We’ll also be due our next Welsh Political Barometer poll in September. September will also mark the twentieth anniversary of the 1997 devolution referendum. Expect me, and my Wales Governance Centre colleague at Cardiff University, to have plenty to say about that; I’ll certainly be making some comments about the evolution of public attitudes to devolution since Wales very narrowly said Yes. In the meantime… some of you may be aware that there are some interesting possibilities regarding electoral reform opening up in Wales. The recent Wales Act devolves powers over local and devolved elections in Wales to the National Assembly. There have been at least two major responses to this. The first is that the Presiding Officer of the National Assembly, Elin Jones, has set up an Expert Panel to examine...

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Bishop supports Fairtrade tea campaign

The Bishop of Swansea and Brecon is adding his support to some of the world’s poorest tea farmers in a campaign against a supermarket giant. Bishop John Davies signed Fair Trade Wales’ petition at the Royal Welsh Show this week against Sainsbury’s decision to replace Fairtrade certification on tea with its own ‘fairly traded’ scheme. Tea-farmers and workers in Africa say the move will disempower them as they will no longer control the Fairtrade premium. All visitors to the Royal Welsh Show in Llanelwedd, Mid Wales, this week are being invited to sign the petition, as well as enjoy...

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Electrification to Swansea…or not!

On March 1st, 2011, I was interviewed live on BBC Wales Evening news from Swansea; the then Secretary of State for Wales, Cheryl Gillan, was also interviewed. The UK Government had just confirmed GWML electrification from Paddington to Cardiff. Having been part of the campaign, I was asked my view on whether the electrification should or would be extended to Swansea…. I confidently predicted that electrification would be extended to Swansea. On September 6th the same year, I presented my evidence for the Cardiff Business Partnership to the Westminster Transport Committee as part of their review of High Speed...

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Capital Law – Wales’s 100th Living Wage Employer!

Capital Law – Wales’s 100th Living Wage Employer! The Living Wage Foundation and Cynnal Cymru are delighted to announce that Capital Law has today been accredited as a Living Wage employer. This means Wales has reached 100 accredited Living Wage employers. Since November 2016, Cynnal Cymru – Sustain Wales have become the official accreditation body for the Living Wage in Wales, and the number of organisations paying the Living Wage has increased by a fifth. The Living Wage commitment will see everyone working at Capital Law, regardless of whether they are permanent employees or third-party contractors, receive a minimum hourly wage of £8.45, and £9.75 in London. Both these rates are significantly higher than the statutory minimum for over 25s of £7.50 per hour introduced in April 2017. The real Living Wage is an hourly rate set independently, updated annually and calculated according to the real cost of living. Paul Clayton, HR Director at Capital Law said: “We are thrilled to be announced as the 100th accredited Living Wage employer in Wales. We are very passionate about being a responsible employer and have been working with our contractors to ensure everyone who works for Capital Law is being paid at least the Living Wage. We look forward to working with Cynnal Cymru – Sustain Wales to increase the number of Living Wage employers in Wales.” Employers choose to pay...

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Colonial Investments

THE WOLF OF WHARF STREET Back in April I wrote English Tourism in the Colony of Wales, which focused on Gavin Lee Woodhouse and ‘Bear’ Grylls, and their plans for the Afan Valley Adventure Resort. I wondered in that post why the ‘Welsh’ Government – even given its record of doing business with numerous crooks – was involved with an obvious spiv like Woodhouse. Why is the ‘Welsh’ Government prepared to hand over a valuable piece of land in the Afan Valley to a man with a net worth of minus six million pounds? A man who starts and dissolves companies more often than some people change their socks. Over a hundred to date. And yet he seems to have been a late starter; for he’s 39 now but according to Company Check he didn’t start his first company until he was 34. What else do we know about him? From Company Check A company closely associated with Woodhouse is Properties of the World, run by Jean Ann Liggett, this company helps “property buyers make informed decisions on select UK properties, ensuring their purchases tick all the boxes”, as Liggett’s Linkedin profile tells us. Ms Liggett is an American, whose family was involved in property back in Ohio. She herself has sold property in North Africa, and has worked for some interesting companies; among them Sunsplash Homes, which lasted...

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