Monday, 2 August 2010

Albert Owen MP responds to the People's Manifesto

As previously noted Albert Owen MP promised via email to reply in full to the People's Manifesto for Ynys Môn jointly created by commenters to this site. After a long wait Albert's reply finally arrived at the end of last week by snail-mail and you can see it below:Albert Owen's reply to people's Manifesto

Firstly, all praise to Albert for taking the time to engage. I can tell you that Albert was the first person to reply via email regarding the Manifesto, and, judging by the timestamps on his emails, obviously works late into the night.

Ignoring paragraph four which refers to a completely unrelated matter, Albert basically recommends that in order to build momentum behind the manifesto it is necessary to (a) open it out so that it can be seen as "representative of the people of Anglesey" and (b) for the authors "to engage openly in the process" and "meet with council group leaders and others".

I agree with his comments up to a point. However, I feel there is little point in holding meetings with either Albert or Council Group Leaders without a clear purpose or a desired outcome. To my mind the reason behind the making of the People's Manifesto was to provide a template which could be used as a reference by the groupings of Independents in the council when putting together their own "Documents of Aims and Values" (as they are now required to do by the Recovery Board). So far only Clive McGregor's Llais i Fôn group have subsequently made their Manifesto public -- none of the other Independent groups (Original Independents, Menai Group, Anglesey Forward) have yet done so. Until we are able to see all of the Independent's manifestos and compare them it seems to me that there is little point in seeking any face-to-face meetings. However as always I welcome your comments below.


The Great Councillini said...

Thank you Albert Owen for responding!

I agree that the document needs to be seen to be genuinely representative of the people of Anglesey. But, sensible though this sounds, it's not as clear-cut as people might want it to be. When the Auditor General asked people to input their views on the governance of Anglesey Council last year, only 70 people - roughly 1 in 1000 of the island's population - bothered to respond. So we could say on that evidence of so few people contributing that there was nothing wrong at the Council. Except, we already knew then - and certainly do now - that this would have been a very wrong conclusion.

So, I think that it is the content, rather than the number of contributors, that is the important aspect to consider. But yes, Albert is right to say that the document does, somehow, need to show itself to be democratic in some sense.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure this can regarded as a response - more of an attempt to flush you out of hiding, Druid. He isn't really taking it seriously becuase it's done by faceless people unwilling to stand up and be counted.

He is being very gracious, though, considering how many times you've attacked him from behind your anonymous cloak.

Prometheuswrites said...

I was one of the 70 who contacted the Auditor General and I'm still waiting for a response or even an acknowledgement.

I agree with the Great Councillini.
The remaining political groupings need to publish their mandated manifesto's before any further engagement takes place - otherwise what are we to discuss?

If they can not get their act together on an matter they have been instructed by Carl Sergeant to complete (some time ago) then what practical difference would it make talking to them, unless as the second poster suggests it's an attempt to find out the identities of the creators of the Druid's Manifesto.

Anonymous said...

me thinks this is actually a ploy to kill this by dragging it into a never-ending series of meetings and memorandums of understanding etc.

And that's just to set the agenda!!

The Great Councillini said...

I have always struggled with the democracy vs. behind curtains aspect of this blog. But there is a place to think differently. Democracy is all very well, but once people are in power, it's a four-year (or similar) autocracy; when did your councillor ever ask you your opinion on anything, other than when he/she wants a vote? It's just silly to say that elected members represent the people just because they've been voted-in; this is the fatal flaw in the democratic system.

Thinking-up an alternative is difficult, I will grant you, but I think the place for this blog is to remain firmly in cyberspace, free of undue interference and censorship that would undoubtedly fall upon it - as has already befallen certain Anglesey forums.

Remember that, as I understand it, the Council has banned this blog from being accessed at Llangefni, so that's hardly democratic in itself.

Our place is to remain critics, and critics that can't be threatened and/or intimidated. Believe me, the elected members and some officers are more than happy to engage in both activities.

Anonymous said...

I agree in part, TGC. The problem with this blog is that so many comments are just repeating the same old rants with so little substance - and all of them anon - just like the Druid him/herself. The sad truth is - nothing's really changed since the Druid came on the scene. Having a place where people can rant unsubstantiated is no real threat to the status quo. It may be interesting - but it isn't making the difference it claims to.

The Great Councillini said...

"and all of them anon - just like the Druid him/herself"

...and yourself! I think that the Druid has achieved a lot, and I don't agree things have not changed. The people have a means to make themselves heard without fear of recrimination; it's clear from the various ways of expression that there are quite a few people out there, not just one or two posters.

Ultimately, this is Druid's blog, where we get the privilege of contributing. It could just be a 'this is what the Druid thinks' blog, and we would just get to read it without comment.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy the freedom of this blog, it's the only place to be heard, well at least one or two of you may read and laugh, one or two of you may feel like punching my lights out, the rest I hope just understand, that after years of frustration, it's the only place to offload tension and anger due to indifference by the people we elected and the people I thought were there to help us.

At least Albert answered, I didn't expect a lot from him, his mental state after reading the opinions of the bloggers may have pushed him into delivering the response we read, when in reality he knows we still don't TRUST or believe him.

Thank you Druid, for being here, for us, for the people of Anglesey.

The Druid of Anglesey said...

GC - No, no the privilege of having such erudite and engaged commenters is mine!

Anonymous said...

Anglesey County Council and Albert Owen isn't the answer; Anglesey County Council and Albert Owen isn't the question. Anglesey County Council and Albert Owen isn't the begining, the middle and the end.

The people of Anglesey are the answer, the people of Anglesey are the question. The people of Anglesey are the begining, the middle and the end, from now until eternity.

We will defend the Human Rights of the people of Anglesey.

Huw Terry

Anonymous said...

Another reason why we should remain critics. A 2007 complaint, but the report will only be about a year or so ago as it takes so long for these investigations to take place:

Note the criticsim of 'no thought' being applied by the elected members. No attempt to comply with the law and regulations. Just do what they want. Anglesey councillors all over.

Anonymous said...

Typical,it's the standard we expect from those in public office, the don't give a shit brigade, taking advantage over the people, again!

You elected them, they represent you, no-one listens no-one cares, no wonder we remain critics, of an obsecene mess, created to bully and harass the people.

Anonymous said...

Go od afternoon Druid, It is good to see the comments from Albert Owen, I agree with The Great Councillini that for the Peoples Manifesto to be be debated by all in an open forum, it would be necessary for you to be identified. Identified because when I discuss your pages with others who have ceased to open your site, they say it is their belief you have far too much (seeming) connection with the councillor whose name is never off these pages, indeed some are of the opinion that the site is run by that person. This is not my belief but, there must be others who are also 'put off' for the same reason.

It would seem some distance would be encouraging.

What a surprise to see the 'suspensions' is that the end of the story I wonder?

Keep up the good work.

Anglesey Islander

;-) said...

So what happened to the Daily Post's requst for readers contributions to 'a Manifesto'?

Did they not get any or where they of such a purile nature that the Post would not print them?

The Druid blog got a well considered and well thought out response.

Having raised the issue in such mocking tones the Daily Post is in danger of showing us just how irrelevent it has become as a barometer of local opinion or as an organ of influence.

(Though I do like the North Wales news pages they put on-line)

Prometheuswrites said...

Regarding Manifesto's:

I believe that the political groupings on Anglesey were tasked with producing Manifesto's/political statement's of intent, (by WAG was it?)

I saw the one that Lais Y Fon sent to you, that you posted; (presumably an early draft given the dearth of detail and the usual generalised jargon).

Are you or any other readers aware of any offerings from the other groups?

If the political groupings can't get this relatively simple task together after all this time (wasn't the deadline for the end of June) then can we ask what they ARE doing? (After all presumably you know what you stand for when you run for council and join up with other people in a political grouping. Otherwise it begs the question of what is the basis for the groupings - where does the locus of their interests lie?

I would have thought that it would be a simple enough job for the Labour and Plaid groupings as they presumably have their WAG election Manifesto's to draw on.

However, it does occur to me that both Labour and Plaid at the national level oppose nuclear power generation - something likely to be supported at our local level. Which raises the further question of whether they are still really 'Labour' or 'Plaid' if they are out of step with the committments and electoral pledges of their National Parties.

Maybe it is in the nature of political groupings to band together in the collective interest of achieving electoral power. Once power has been achieved then the different interest groups within the party(s) start to emerge (like the differences between the Tories and the Libs in the Coalition and the differences between the 'Old School Tories'
and the new 'Brokeback' tendency).

All of which, makes me appreciate the skillful management of Peter Mandelson and Tony Blair for the first 10 years of 'New' Labour, though I certainly haven't appreciated their abandonment of core socio-political principles in the pursuit of political power.