Brexit

As you sow, so shall you reap…

You can’t say the left-media didn’t try to warn you, but no, you had to listen to the right-wing mainstream media and elect a buffoon to get Brexit done. I hope you can own the chaos you have created by voting in response to simplistic soundbites, with no real meaning.

As Jim Bowen used to say, ” have a look at what you could have won”.

 

Taking Wales to the World

I have received the following email concerning the future of Wales beyond Brexit, from First Minister Mark Drakeford. It is really encouraging to know that we have a Welsh Labour Government working for those of us in Wales to make the most of the opportunities that we have to take to protect the future of our proud nation.

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Last week, the UK left the European Union but this doesn’t mean that we have left Europe. Wales remains a European nation, open for business and eager to trade internationally.

As we move beyond Brexit – as international relationships are reshaped and trade deals are negotiated – it will become even more important that Wales remains open and outward facing.

Our future success will be rooted in our engagement with both Europe and the wider world. We are strengthening international relationships and economic partnerships – attracting inward investment, and helping Welsh businesses stand out across the globe.

This is why the Welsh Government has – for the first time – appointed a Minister with portfolio responsibility for International Relations, Eluned Morgan, and why we’ve published our first International Strategy, setting out how we’ll be promoting Wales around the world, strengthening existing relationships with international partners and making new ones and supporting businesses in Wales to grow their businesses overseas.

We have a series of high-profile trade and overseas visits arranged for the coming weeks ahead, which are an important part of this work and will build on the success of our trade mission to Japan last autumn during the Rugby World Cup.

We’ll be in Ireland to promote Wales and in a number of other European countries, with an event in Berlin at the beginning of March. Our first mission of 2020 to Arab Health recently returned from Dubai. Wales Week in London will be part of our St David’s Day celebrations and Eluned will be visiting Canada and the west coast of the United States.

We do all this while continuing with the work of making a real difference to the lives of people in Wales – investing in our town centres and local communities; building more affordable homes; improving health services; speeding up access to new medicines and bringing new job opportunities to Wales.

We are embarking on a new phase of our history, which doesn’t include EU membership. As the world changes, Wales will change with it, but Welsh Labour and your Welsh Labour Government will always stand up for Wales.

Yours in solidarity,
Mark Drakeford AM
Welsh Labour Leader and First Minister

Hang Your Heads

According to Wikipedia, Tanka (短歌, “short poem”) is a genre of classical Japanese poetry and one of the major genres of Japanese literature.

A Tanka consists of 5 lines and 31 syllables. Each line has a set number of syllables see below:

Line 1 – 5 syllables
Line 2 – 7 syllables
Line 3 – 5 syllables
Line 4 – 7 syllables
Line 5 – 7 syllables

Regular readers of this blog will know that I have put together a collection of poems to reflect the struggles of disabled people in 21st century Britain. These poems were published in a collection titled Dancing on Thin Ice in November 2019.

I recently wrote another Tanka following the General Election, which stirred up a range of emotions for most people. Mine are reflected in the poem below:

Fucking idiots

Swallowed lies, rejected hope

To get Brexit done

Condemning those that suffer

To five more years of struggle

 

You get what you vote for, use your vote wisely… #GE2019


[Video and text credit,
Christopher John Ball]

There is more at stake in this 2019 UK General Election than Brexit. Please use your vote responsibly and with compassion for others. For how you vote impacts others. Disabled people have been hit very hard indeed by the Conservative policies of this government. The UN researched the impact of said policies upon disabled people and found that they had created a ‘human catastrophe’. Disabled people have died as a result of these pernicious policies. The film includes several examples of the monochrome photographs I have made whilst campaigning as a member of ‘Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC).

Vote Welsh Labour on December 12th

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There are so many reasons why we all need to pull together to ensure that we elect a Labour Government next week.

Welsh Labour is Standing Up for Wales:

  • £3.4bn extra, each year to invest in schools, the NHS and local government.

  • A green industrial revolution, creating thousands of new green jobs.

  • A £10 living wage, for all workers aged 16 and over.

  • A final say on Brexit, where Welsh Labour will campaign unequivocally to remain.

  • A ban on zero hours contracts, giving people the security they need at work.

  • Fairer taxation, with the top 5% of earners and corporations paying their fair share, whilst cracking down on tax avoidance and tax evasion.

  • Extend free social care, supporting more people when it really matters.

  • Strengthened parental rights, by extending statutory maternity leave to 12 months and doubling paternity leave.

  • Scrap tuition fees, building on the best student support package in the UK.

  • An end to the Tories’ disastrous Universal Credit, no ifs, no buts.

  • Four new bank holidays, including a public holiday for St. David’s Day.

The Welsh Labour manifesto can be viewed by clicking here. 

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Below, I have included a tweet from Welsh Labour as I believe the video shows that the First Minister Mark Drakeford has the passion that Wales needs to build a brighter tomorrow.

 

ENIL Press Release: Actions Over Words in the Next Five Years

Yesterday, I received the following email from the European Network on Independent Living (ENIL), which I feel is essential reading for anyone interested in Independent Living for Disabled people.

It is really heartening to read that many Disabled activists across Europe are laying out plans to protect and enhance independent living for Disabled people with high support needs. On the flip side, it is disappointing that I may not be able to join this fight for justice due to the fact that Britain is leaving Europe. I have not had confirmation that ENIL will be closed to those of us trapped in the UK once Brexit finally happens, but I assume that this is the case. I need to find out the exact situation…

Whether I can play a part in this campaign or not, I would like to pass on my best wishes and solidarity to all those involved with ENIL.

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In Brussels, 3 December 2019 – Today, disabled people all over the world celebrate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Just one day after the new European Commission, led by Ursula von der Leyen, takes office, the European Network on Independent Living (ENIL) highlights five key demands of Europe’s Independent Living movement for the new Commission. Rather than the usual words and promises about inclusion, we wish to see action in the next five years and new Commissioners that measure success by the positive impact that EU laws and policies have had on the lives of disabled people in Europe. 

ENIL, which marked its 30th Anniversary this year, suggests these five areas which  require  urgent action in the next 5 years:

[1] Ensuring that no private or public funds go towards institutional care services for children and adults with disabilities, such as group homes. Having launched the first case at the General Court in Luxembourg against the European Commission, for the use of European Structural and Investment Funds in Bulgaria, ENIL expects to see an end to investments that perpetuate the segregation and social exclusion of disabled people. Human rights abuses, such as those uncovered by Disability Rights International in group homes for children, have no place in 21st century Europe.

[2] Freedom of movement for disabled people within the European Union, but also in their own countries. Very little progress has been made in this area, and disabled people continue to be severely restricted in their choices of where to live. ENIL published a research paper with suggestions on how to move forward and give disabled people access to their right of free movement. One of the suggestions is to set up European information points about how to access the available support services and entitlements for disabled people in different Member States.

[3] The adoption of the new European Disability Strategy from 2020 onward, with concrete targets, timeline and budget, as well as an improved accountability framework, to ensure that Member States and EU institutions address the gaps in the CRPD implementation. Definitions of key terms, in line with the General Comment 5, on article 19, are crucial to avoid perpetuating social exclusion under the guise of community living. Independent living, and access to personal assistance, must remain at the heart of any future strategy.

[4] In line with the General Comment 7, on articles 4.3 and 33.3 of the CRPD, recognition of user-led disabled people’s organisations as key to ensuring that the newly adopted laws and policies address the barriers faced by disabled people. Whereas many stakeholders should have a say in decisions that affect disabled people, the lived experience of disabled people and their organisations must be prioritised over those of other interest groups and adequately funded.

[5] The Agenda 2030, with the Sustainable Development Goals, should be used by the EU institutions and Member States to mainstream disability within all EU policy areas, internal and external. Investing into inclusive education, employment, housing, health care and transport that is accessible to all must replace continued reliance on special service and facilities that keep disabled people on the margins of society.

[Photo: Participants in ENIL’s Freedom Drive protest in Brussels in October 2019. Taken by Enrica Laneri, Destination Everywhere.]

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The European Network on Independent Living (ENIL) is a Europe-wide network of disabled people, with members throughout Europe. ENIL’s vision is of Europe where all disabled people are able to exercise choice and control over their lives, on an equal level with others; where they are valued members of the community and can enjoy all of their human rights, as set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). ENIL’s mission is to advocate and lobby for Independent Living values, principles and practices, namely for a barrier-free environment, provision of personal assistance support and adequate technical aids, together making full citizenship of disabled people possible. For more information, please see: www.enil.eu

#GE2019: Standing Up for Wales

The following email is from Mark Drakeford to Welsh Labour members.  I wanted to share it here to show why I believe in this Party and have faith in them to deliver a brighter tomorrow for everyone in Wales.  They will also be in a stronger position to do this if they are able to work with a Labour Party in Westminster.

#VoteLabour2019 #JC4PM2019 #ChangeIsComing

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On Monday I unveiled our Welsh Labour manifesto. It is a bold plan for how the Welsh Labour Government will work side-by-side with a UK Labour Government, led by Jeremy Corbyn. It’s a plan that will deliver for each and every community across Wales. But we need your help on the doorstep to make sure we can deliver it.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve shown what our people-powered campaign can do. Thousands of Welsh Labour members have been pounding the streets of towns, villages and cities spreading our positive vision for Wales’ prosperous future under a UK Labour Government.

Unlike the Tories who rely on their big donors, our campaign is funded by the generosity of hundreds of thousands of individual people who want to bring about real change.

Our Welsh Labour manifesto works hand in hand with the UK Manifesto in helping us deliver for Wales like never before, including:

  • £3.4bn extra, each year to invest in schools, the NHS and local government.
  • A green industrial revolution, creating thousands of new green jobs.
  • A £10 living wage, for all workers aged 16 and over.
  • A final say on Brexit, where Welsh Labour will campaign unequivocally to remain.
  • A ban on zero hours contracts, giving people the security they need at work.
  • Extend free social care, supporting more people when it really matters.
  • Strengthened parental rights, by extending statutory maternity leave to 12 months and doubling paternity leave.
  • Scrap tuition fees, building on the best student support package in the UK.
  • An end to the Tories’ disastrous Universal Credit, no ifs, no buts.
  • Four new bank holidays, including a public holiday for St. David’s Day.

    I hope you’ll agree that this plan is a blueprint for the Wales that we all want to see.

    And with your help over these crucial final few weeks of the campaign, that’s the future we can have.

    Welsh Labour is the only party that is standing up for Wales.

    Let’s get out there and spread the word – see you on the Labour Doorstep!

    I look forward to seeing you on the campaign trail!

    Best wishes,
    Mark Drakeford AM
    Welsh Labour Leader & First Minister of Wales