Sunday, October 15, 2006

An audience with our elected representatives

Martyn and Karen as pictured on their list of surgery dates

Apologies for the length of this post, but it was a very long and arduous meeting.

Towards the end of our discussion with Inspector Firth (see below), Martyn Jones MP and Karen Sinclair AM joined us and we talked about their involvement in the campaign. Both Martyn and Karen were very indignant that people felt they hadn't been supportive of the anti-landfill campaign. They said that nothing could be further from the truth. They also said they were very hurt by the nasty and unfair things which had been written about them in this blog.

Karen explained that she didn't write anything on her web site about landfill at Hafod Quarry (between August 25th and October 13th) because she and/or her office staff were on holiday and people are entitled to their holidays. What she didn't explain was how so many other topics managed to appear on her web site during this time. Karen invited people to come to her office and read the landfill file. She said that scarcely a week/week and a half go by without her contacting the Environment Agency about Hafod. The protesters pointed out that they are on the phone to the EA every day. Some of their disappointment in Karen relates to her extravagant claims in a press release posted on her web site about how she will ensure that the MWH licence is followed to the letter. It was suggested that Karen should not make promises she can't keep.

There appears to have been some breakdown in communication, as Karen says she is regularly on the phone to some of the campaigners, but there is clearly a need to get this information disseminated more widely, so people understand what Karen is doing on their behalf. Karen asked people to let her know of any infringements in future, and she will follow all of them up. Karen can be contacted at karen.sinclair@wales.gov.uk or by phone on 02920 898724. Karen was shown the film of the potato starch incident and said she would contact the EA about this incident.

Karen was asked why it was Janet Ryder and not her who tabled the statement of opinion at the Assembly. Karen said "That's nonsense! Statements of opinion are just bits of paper."

Someone mentioned the quarry issue as a potential vote-loser for Karen and Martyn. Karen said that anyone was welcome to stand against her and try to do a better job. "To be honest, Karen," someone said, "if there was an election tomorrow, they could stand a pig against you, and the pig would win." There was also condemnation by the protesters of the councillors who voted against revocation, and a pledge to campaign on the landfill issue coming up to the next elections, making sure everyone is informed about how their councillor voted.

Martyn felt aggrieved that he had been accused of not attending the demonstrations at the quarry, when he had been there one morning and stood with the protesters. Some of the protesters said they hadn't seen him there. Martyn said that he was sorry that he'd gone on a day when they weren't there. Someone asked what date it was but Martyn didn't have that information. It was suggested that he could find this out and let the group know, but he took exception to this idea. However, to move things along, a printed invitation to visit the quarry was issued by the group to both Karen and Martyn. Martyn said he would be able to attend in a couple of weeks from now as he has other commitments before then. I'm sorry but I can't remember when Karen said she'd go along.

Martyn got himself embroiled in a nasty exchange with one campaigner, whose attitude he said he found "very annoying", a comment she took exception to. He went on: "I'm doing everything I can. The attitude that I'm doing nothing annoys me. I've just said that I'll send copies of all the letters I've written." (Later in the meeting he did apologise for this outburst). Martyn was asked what he had done in Parliament. He said that he did a lot in 1991, and at some time got himself into trouble with the Transport and General Workers Union for opposing landfill. He recently met the Environment Minister. When pressed for more information about what he'd been doing on the quarry issue, Martyn asked what else people wanted him to do. Someone felt that he should have been taking every opportunity to promote the anti-landfill cause and that he should be offering ideas rather than asking the protesters for a lead on what he should be doing.

There was a discussion about the likelihood of Carwyn Jones revoking the permission. Karen said Carwyn has to decide if revocation is the right thing to do, according to the regulations. There was some feeling amongst the campaigners that revocation could be the only right course of action, and that it would depend on Carwyn being brave enough to make the decision to revoke. Karen and Martyn were asked whether they would resign from the Labour Party if Carwyn didn't stop the landfill. They were very scathing of this suggestion, calling it "childish" (Karen) and "pathetic" (Martyn).

Karen was asked if she would help vote the Assembly budget down if this could make sure Carwyn revokes the permission and places money in a contingency fund in case of a successful claim by MWH (which the campaigners would strongly oppose for reasons outlined elsewhere). Karen said "if this is still going on after the budget has been set, then I will still be saying that the Welsh Assembly Government should do everything in its power to ameliorate the financial burden - that's what I said in my amendment to Janet Ryder's statement of opinion. In law, Carwyn is right - the responsibility is on the local authority - but I say that we have a moral responsibility. However, voting a budget down is a different thing. The budget includes money for hospitals, education etc. I won't vote against my Party's budget." Karen went on to describe John Marek's move as "pop politics".

Karen was asked if she would support the protesters taking direct action at the quarry if Carwyn doesn't stop the landfill. She said that she would never support direct action. Karen was asked what action she would recommend the protesters take to protect their health and the health of their children if Carwyn doesn't stop the landfill, given that any action via Europe could take years, during which time everyone will be exposed to nuisance and detrimental effects on their health, and some babies likely to be born with deformities such as cleft palates. Karen skirted round the issue and didn't answer the question. Later she was asked again - what action would you recommend? She ummed and aahed and offered the non-answer: "go to Europe, I suppose."

At the point where the discussion seemed to be going round in circles, Inspector Firth helpfully intervened and suggested that the campaigners could request some definite actions from Martyn and Karen.

It was suggested that Karen and Martyn need to let people know about their actions in relation to the quarry. They will consider producing a regular newsletter with updates. It was agreed that their contact details should be publicised - these are being sent round the Hafod group, Karen's details are above, and Martyn can be contacted at jonesm@parliament.uk and tel: 0207 219 3417, fax: 0207 219 6090. Karen stressed, however, that they did not want any hate mail.

Karen was asked to ask Carwyn to make an unannounced visit to the quarry. Karen said he had already promised that neither protesters nor MWH would have warning. Karen was asked to suggest that Carwyn should attend when landfill operations are likely to be in full swing, and that he should be guided around the outside of the quarry, so he can grasp the scale, and around Johnstown, so he can see how close the houses are to the site.

There may have been more action points but I'm afraid I can't remember what these were - I was losing concentration after two hours. Feel free to put your additions, corrections and opinions under "comments" below.

28 Comments:

At Monday, October 16, 2006 10:18:00 AM, Anonymous Merv Edwards said...

Hi,
I dont know why protestors even bothered seeking an audience with these two.Sinclair is just trying to hang on to her career and Martyn Jones is out for Martyn Jones and nobody else.
I don't think it's a secret anymore that somebody from the Hafod protest group is going to stand for the assembly in May if the vote goes against us in favour of continuation.
They will certainly get my vote and the votes of the people of Rhos,Johnstown and Ruabon.

Merv

 
At Monday, October 16, 2006 10:46:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Merv
Challenging Sinclair is one thing, but standing for the Assembly won't work for a single-issue group. Firstly, some campaigners will be fighting for their own parties (some of whom have been 100% behind the Hafod campaign from the outset).
Secondly, it will take votes from those parties and perhaps ensure that Sinclair gets in again.
Thirdly, beyond the immediate area, will the people of Clwyd South vote on this single issue?
Fourthly, if you get someone elected, how will the Hafod AM vote on the NHS, education, transport, energy or the Welsh language? Do you have policies beyond stopping Hafod?
A protest vote is just that - I'd far rather have a positive vote for a candidate that can represent me on all the issues facing this area. Hafod is important but so is the standard of teaching in my kids' school and the quality of care in the Maelor.
This Assembly election in 7 months' time is a perfect opportunity to tell the current incumbent what we think of her and her party's handling on the Hafod. An independent candidate would muddy the waters.

Steven Roberts

PS It costs a minimum of £6,000 to stand (deposit, leaflets, posters, etc)

 
At Monday, October 16, 2006 10:52:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, other people have successfully stood on single issues before now. Besides, an independent candidate, who believes in justice at Hafod and who cares passionately about the health of our children, may well have more to offer across a whole range of issues than a career politician who puts their Party before their principles.

 
At Monday, October 16, 2006 11:05:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Examples?
The most recent I can think of was the doctor who won in Wyre Forest defending a hospital from closure. Everyone was affected by the closure. That was a massive campaign that saw the action group win council seats as well as the General Election seat.
Hafod, for all its symbolic importance throughout Wales, only directly affects a couple of villages rather than a whole constituency. I've heard of people at the top end of Bangor Road who say "Hafod doesn't affect me".
This is a distraction from the main issue - stopping Hafod.
I wonder who benefits from having such a distraction and splitting the anti-Sinclair vote? Mmm, makes you wonder...

 
At Monday, October 16, 2006 11:30:00 AM, Anonymous merv edwards said...

Hi Steve,
I think you have grossly underestimated the public concern about the landfil site and the way it has got people thinking about local as well as national democracy.
If somebody did stand as AM for the landfill site there is no worry of them splitting the vote and giving it to Sinclair,because they would win it hands down!!!.
Remember the ticket would be the environment and not just Hafod landfill.The are more landfills per square mile in the wrexham area than there is any where else in the country.
We have seen disgusting displays by indifferent local and national politicians and if the environment group put up a candidate it would not be a single issue stand,it would be a stand for our fresh air and an unpolluted envoronment and personally I think there can be no greater cause.
I am only one person living in Ruabon,but I know at leat 60 people who would vote for a Hafod candidate.
This is a serious issue,and it has been handled pathetically by the likes of Sinclair and Jones.
I have already said it and I will say it again,the Hafod candidate will win hands down.

Merv

 
At Monday, October 16, 2006 12:30:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If any of the other parties are worried about the anti-Sinclair vote being split, they only have to club together behind a single opposition candidate, don't they? Not something they're ever terribly keen to do, (egos and what have you seem to get in the way) but that's the way to get Labour out... or have a candidate who promises to stand down and cause a by-election as soon as Hafod's shut.

 
At Monday, October 16, 2006 12:59:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cloud cuckoo land - as people have said before, there's a lot more to Clwyd South than Hafod. I wouldn't vote for a single-issue candidate who might turn round and support privatising hospitals or supporting the war in Iraq. What guarantee have I got with a Hafod candidate?

 
At Monday, October 16, 2006 1:02:00 PM, Anonymous A. Candidate said...

Vote for me! Vote for me!

 
At Monday, October 16, 2006 5:29:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sorry, but i live in Rhos, and i won't be voting for any one who just stands to get rid of the hafod land fill, so please do not speak for me, and that is not to say i agree with the land fill i don't, i live with a acid tar pit next door to me, and i have not heard any body screaming about that.

 
At Monday, October 16, 2006 9:31:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"To be honest, Karen," someone said, "if there was an election tomorrow, they could stand a pig against you, and the pig would win."

I vote pig!

 
At Monday, October 16, 2006 9:58:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear anonymous of Rhos:

You said - "I live with an acid tar pit next door to me, and I have not heard any body screaming about that."

It's no use listening for someone else to scream first. Scream about it yourself - build a campaign - get people involved.

The pit is a disaster and it needs a lot of screaming about.

 
At Monday, October 16, 2006 10:04:00 PM, Anonymous merv edwards said...

Hi Anon from Rhos,

You vote for Labour its a vote for privatisation,war,corruption and total disregard for civil liberties.Oh and the laying of the foundation for a police state and an end to the fragile democracy we have at present.
You vote for conservatives...DITTO
Lib Dems DITTO.Plaid..up the arse of the welsh middle classes...wasted vote.
Who you gonna vote for!!! THE PIG :)

Regards
Merv.

 
At Tuesday, October 17, 2006 12:50:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Plaid are NOT up the arse of the Welsh middle classes!
Plaid have been 100% behind the Hafod campaign from day 1, in fact our members were among the people who started the campaign in 1995. We've always been against the war, foundations hospitals, PFI's, selling off council houses, nuclear power, care home closures...the list goes on.
When the Assembly election comes we'll have a well planned manifesto that will've been drafted in consultation with the Welsh people, to deliver a better life for everyone not just a few middle class farmers.
Maurice Jones

 
At Tuesday, October 17, 2006 12:58:00 PM, Anonymous alf jones said...

I've voted Labour all my life - never again. There are a lot of reasons as the gentleman mentions but the lies told on Iraq stand out for me. Now the way their behaving over the Hafod says it all. we need to get rid of them all. theyve let us down and in May we can have our say. I trust the likes of Pauline and Barrie on more than just the Hafod so Plaid will get my vote next time.

 
At Tuesday, October 17, 2006 2:06:00 PM, Blogger Blodwen Fleer said...

If we Welsh want to control our own water, waste , energy , education policies etc, we have to be independant from England.I know England may not be able to afford losing Wales in terms of needing our resourses but I feel we've been plundered for far too long!
I agree voting Plaid is the quickest (legal) way to achieve this!

 
At Tuesday, October 17, 2006 4:31:00 PM, Anonymous Grunter said...

Unless Plaid can field a porcine candidate, they won't have my vote.
Oink!

 
At Tuesday, October 17, 2006 10:15:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well i think your all squawking budgies who have had their wings cut off and can't get off the ground...why?...>
a) why the hell is the iraq war, privitisation and all these other issues being splashed across this blog when the issue is hafod. get your heads out of the clouds and talk about the focused agenda. ALF JONES, the welsh assembly didnt have a say on invading iraq, so what are you on about not voting labour again for?
b) 'she said that scarcely a week/week and a half goes by with out her contacting the EA about Hafod. The protesters pointed out that they are on the phone the EA every day' well, karen does have a job that extends beyond the remit of a single issue. she is part of a govt. that deals with health, education, culture etc. but protestors can sit by the phone whilst watching murder, she wrote and press re-dial...how amusing to make the AM seem out of touch with the hafod issue!
c) i like it how 'Bren' posts pictures intended to make the AM and MP look silly, when she has the cheek to not even put one of herself on here! come on love, show us all your rosy cheeks, but dont take forever with the hairbrush and make up, your fighting rubbish not Hollywood! oh and give us your phone number so we can tell you how badly you are handling your campaign!
d) the little sentance on putting up a pig to stand was cute, but isn't that insulting to some of our residents be they jewish or muslim? merv, are you smoking something illegal, there is no 'pig candidate' yet mate, so stop saying your going to vote for it and wake up and smell the used bong!
e) its also pathetic that plaid are pushing their whole anti-english dogma on the back of this issue.
BUT DONT GET ME WRONG, I HATE LANDFILL AND WANT RECYCLING, AND OTHER FORMS OF WASTE DISPOSAL, BUT YOU HAVE TO USE THE CONSTITUTIONAL MEANS!!!!

 
At Wednesday, October 18, 2006 12:50:00 AM, Blogger dafad ddu said...

Thanks for your comments, Karen ;0)

 
At Wednesday, October 18, 2006 7:16:00 AM, Blogger Bren said...

Hey!

This is a blog, and its comments are the comments of its readers. Nothing exists in isolation and if they want to talk about Iraq or any other Labour misdemeanour, that's their right. I haven't commented on Iraq here before, but here's my two penn'orth now. No, the Assembly didn't vote on invading Iraq but every Labour AM and every Labour MP has blood on their hands for not standing up to their party over the issue imho. However, please feel free to set the record straight with stories of Labour successes which haven't involved killing half a million people.

Re. how much Karen has done over Hafod, the point is that she made a promise on her web site that she clearly wasn't going to keep. That is not the mark of an honest, hardworking politician. If she issues promises to her constituents, then she should be prepared to be kept to them. Let's hope she makes up for it now.

Photos of me? You haven't looked properly, mate.

The mention of standing a pig against Karen was part of a report about a meeting with her on Saturday. That's what was said at the meeting and it was reported here.

You'll have to speak to Plaid about their agenda. There are issues about the distance the waste is being brought, and I guess there is a raw nerve where Merseyside is concerned because of Tryweryn, but I'm not aware of anyone in the campaign who wants Wrexham waste landfilled at Hafod.

You say "You have to use the constitutional means." Ideally, yes. But when constitutional means fail to protect the health and welfare of real people then alternatives have to be considered. There is a long tradition of civil disobedience in this country. Sometimes it's the only way. But let's hope Carwyn Jones has the courage to stop the landfill.

Have a nice day :o)

 
At Wednesday, October 18, 2006 9:43:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you really think that getting a candidate onto the Assembly is going to do any good,because i am right in thinking that all things like revoking goes to a vote, and at the end of the day whoever we elect is just one vote, and as for labour, oh my god if torys get in i dread to think how i will live, remember we will lose our pension credits and heating allowances, if thats what you all want, funny old world we live in, and as for Plaid most of us will be kicked out of Wales cos we can't speak Welsh. and before anybody thinks , I am not Karen Sinclaire just somebody with a bit of sense. and i have in the past aired my views about the tar pit, but also know there is not much we can do,i just hope you can get the Hafod Quarry land fill stopped but do you really have to be so damd silly and insulting to people while you are doing it.

 
At Wednesday, October 18, 2006 9:59:00 AM, Blogger dafad ddu said...

The last anonymous poster thinks it makes no difference how we vote, because they have no power, but at the same time we mustn't vote for the Tories or Plaid!
I've heard some poor arguments for voting Labour but that just about takes the biscuit.
This blog is about stopping landfill at Hafod quarry, not scoring political points. But politicians must take responsibilities for their actions and their ability to change policy. If certain politicians believe they can't do anything, then it's time they were replaced by people who can.

PS Has anyone told Janet Ryder, the local Plaid AM, she's about to be kicked out of Wales when Plaid come to power? I think she comes from Sunderland.

 
At Wednesday, October 18, 2006 11:33:00 AM, Blogger Bren said...

Anonymous said: "'Bren' posts pictures intended to make the AM and MP look silly". That wasn't my intention, Anon, - it was the only one I had of them both together - but I have replaced the picture in this post with images taken from Martyn and Karen's own publication. Hope that helps.

 
At Wednesday, October 18, 2006 11:39:00 AM, Anonymous Maurice Jones said...

I feel I must respond to the last anonymous posting.
Threats about letting the Tories in if you don't vote Labour in Wales are laughable.Plaid is the second party in Wales and the second party in South Clwyd.
Plaid embraces all cultures as our list of AM's shows.
What Hafod shows us is that Wales needs the power to decide these issues for itself. The reason we're in this mess is because of a decision made in the 'colonial' Welsh office by John Redwood who was totally unaccountable to the people of Wales.
The war in Iraq is proof that Labour doesn't listen. Time will tell if Carwyn Jones has learnt that lesson.
Maurice Jones. (not anonymous)

 
At Wednesday, October 18, 2006 12:02:00 PM, Blogger Blodwen Fleer said...

I don't think the fear of the Tories getting in is enough to claw back your Labour votes, 'love'.We're fed up with that old chestnut.

We all benefit from direct action, else women still wouldn't have the vote. I bet you think 'it's only one vote, so why did they bother?'

Without direct action we'd all be eating GM, paying poll tax, swamped with unnecessary roads. Workers rights around the world have ONLY been implemented because of direct action, solidarity, Black rights, Vietnam etc.

If you had your way anon', we'd still be putting our children up chimneys and opening the workhouse.
The few rights of protest we still have left after this appalling Labour government has stripped as many from us as possible, means we CAN and WILL fight when faced with wet, lazy councillors who do as little as possible in order to retain a majority.

 
At Wednesday, October 18, 2006 5:14:00 PM, Anonymous Idris Gwyn Jones said...

Hello everybody,

This is a very interesting debate but I would like to answer the person who said they will vote for labour so they won't let the tories in.
I have voted labour all of my life and I am now 81.
In Labours second term of office I became increasingly concerned about the way labour were allowing privatisation to creep in,but I was also very concerned about the absolute power Blair seemed to have.
When Labour got in for a second time they did so without the benefit of my vote.In factin that election I didn't vote at all.
By the time the 3rd election came along I was profoundly and utterly ashamed of the party I had supported all of my life.And after the Iraqi war I was disgusted that Martyn Jones didn't rip up his Labour party membership.
So to the person who is saying vote Labour because it wont let the tories in all I can say is that we already have a party in power that has everything in common with the tories apart from their name.
I and many many other people in Rhos are also bitterly dissapointed with Martyn Jones.He is of working class origins but he has adpoted the dress of an upper class dandy,dicki bow and all.
I think he has little more than contempt for the people of rhos and he has been "poisoned" by the London Life.He has been a dismal MP and he wants to take us back to the days when we have to pay to see a doctor,and let people with all the money have access to the best education.His party call this choice,but we all know only too well that he is supporting a big drive by new labour to create a two tier welfare system.He has never opposed any of this and the man should be driven out of office.You see Mr Jones I am a lot older than you and I have been there before and I don't want my children or great grandchildren to have to pay for their health or education.
And now I would like to answer that person who wishes to remain nameless when he/she askes us to get focussed and concentrate on the hafod dump and not privatisation.It may have escaped this dim persons mind but Hafod is privatisation in action.
The protestors are doing the only thing they can do when the elected representatives fail them,but the problem is that the assembly and local authorities are firmly favouring the private sector over and above the rights of the local people.
This is a very good site and I wish things like this had been around when I was a lad.I might be old in years but I love all of this new internet stuff.I might have to get my great grandaughter to show me how it works but once mastered it is easy.But the big thing about the internet is that it gives us ordinary people a voice independent of the TV and newspapers that all more or less are controlled by this nasty and deceitful government.

Yours kindly
Idris Gwyn Jones

 
At Wednesday, October 18, 2006 7:35:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, c'mon! This is some sort of joke. I don't believe those photos of Martyn Jones and Karen Sinclair are really from their own literature. They're even worse than the other picture. Someones sat on Martyn and squashed him flat, Karen too and that picture must have been taken years ago.

 
At Wednesday, October 18, 2006 9:50:00 PM, Anonymous merv edwards said...

Hi Idris,

You wrote about Martyn Jones

He is of working class origins but he has adpoted the dress of an upper class dandy,dicki bow and all.

SUPERB.I haven't laughed so much in years...well done on an acute observation
Merv

 
At Thursday, October 11, 2007 12:19:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The people who run this site are bigots. They delete posts that disagree with their point of view.

 

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