First Minister


It wasn’t planned or anything. Promise.

Last night I attended An Evening with Mark Drakeford – a Clwyd South CLP event in Llangollen.

About this Event

An opportunity to meet Welsh Labour leader Mark Drakeford in Llangollen.

There will be an introduction from local AM Ken Skates and your £10 ticket includes a light buffet. There will also be a bar and a raffle with a range of prizes to be won.


The First Minister spoke brilliantly at this event about the forthcoming EU elections, the rise of the far right and the achievements of Welsh Labour.   One of the four Welsh Labour candidates in the forthcoming EU elections – Mary Wimbury – also roused the audience and explained why she needed their support. It was also good to catch up with Ken Skates AM, who I used to work with at North Wales Newspapers, and Susan Elan Jones MP who supported me throughout the campaign.

The personal highlight of the evening though came with the drawing of the raffle. I had bought two strips of tickets and was fortunate enough to have one of my numbers plucked from the hat by the First Minister himself at the start of the draw. I therefore had my choice of all the prizes on offer and chose a bottle of whiskey from the House of Commons which can be seen below.

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This is something I will enjoy once I have finished my WILG reassessment and all former ILF recipients in Wales are happy with the support they are receiving…

This will certainly be a good reason to raise a glass to the efforts of this proudly socialist Welsh Government.

Tweet #SaveWILG

Wales’ new first minister Mark Drakeford appoints his team #SaveWILG

BREAKING: Huw Irranca-Davies has left the Cabinet. I am not sure but I am hoping that Julie Morgan will now have responsibility for WILG recipients in her position as Deputy Health Minister. #SaveWILG campaigners look forward to working with members of the new Cabinet in their quest to protect disabled people with high support needs across Wales. For the full story, click here.

Brexit is Not the Only Game in Town #SaveWILG

I am playing a waiting game at the moment. While the world and its Mother seems to be obsessed with Brexit and the future of Theresa May, I am continuing my fight to save the Welsh Independent Living Grant.

It is a difficult environment in which to get heard, but I have every confidence in the new First Minister Mark Drakeford. The #SaveWILG campaign team are waiting on tenterhooks to see if the Cabinet reshuffle will effect the politicians dealing with the WILG transition process. If it does, we will be hoping that the next Minister working on WILG will be more communicative than his/her predecessors.

It is a really exciting time in politics, but for those of us at the mercy of the decisions of Ministers it is a very stressful and often dehumanising position to be in. Last night, I went to bed earlier than usual due to the shortage of hours of support at my disposal. I wanted to make sure I could Tweet, #SaveWILG messages throughout Wales Live. In preparation for this, I spent the afternoon writing Tweets with my PA. Unfortunately, Windows 10 decided to update whilst I was eating tea and therefore I lost all 20 Tweets. I didn’t discover this until Wales Live was underway, but I still chose to try to send some Tweets by writing them myself. I managed 3 Tweets in the 45 minutes that Wales Live was broadcast.

I can’t explain how frustrating it is when your body will not do as instructed. These feelings are made worse because I am one of 1300 people whose lives are being undervalued and disrespected by the Welsh Government and Local Authorities. My evening was spoiled because of this and several other issues that would not have been a problem if I had the necessary support in place. I am talking about issues such as having to stop drinking at 20:00, not being able to adjust my heating or open a window, lying in agony without being able to straighten my legs, struggling to use a urinal due to poor dexterity and generally feeling abandoned.

The Minister for Children, Older People and Social Care has stated that this is just a problem confined to one or two local authorities. He is mistaken. The evidence we have collected through our Freedom of Information requests and the emails that we receive clearly show that this is a nationwide problem. I am hoping to receive permission soon to share another story from a WILG recipient who lives in South Wales, this will appear on the WILG Voices page of this blog.

This is a crucial time for the future of Independent Living and Disability Rights in Wales and the UK. I just hope that Mark Drakeford and his Cabinet do not lose sight of this amidst the chaos of Brexit.



A Day of Mixed Emotions

Gained a First Minister, but lost a hero. Congratulations Mark. RIP Pete.


The following Blog is taken from Skwawkbox. To view the original article, please click here. 

Left-wing candidate Mark Drakeford has just been elected as leader of the Welsh Labour Party – and therefore as First Minister – with a 53.9% share of the vote.

Wales at last has a leader from the left – and the UK-wide party benefits as well, a Drakeford will be eligible either to sit on the National Executive Committee in place of Carwyn Jones, or to appoint a trusted representative.

As the SKWAWKBOX showed in an exclusive two-part interview, Drakeford is a long-standing supporter of party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

The SKWAWKBOX congratulates him on a resounding victory – and Welsh Labour left on an excellent result.


The following article originally appeared on the BBC online. To view the original article, please click here.

Buzzcocks lead singer Pete Shelley has died at 63 of a suspected heart attack.

The punk band are best known for their hit, Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve).

Their management told the BBC that Shelley died on Thursday in Estonia where he was living.

BBC music correspondent Lizo Mzimba said Buzzcocks, who formed in Bolton in the 1970s, were regarded as more polished, but musically no less influential, than the Sex Pistols.

The band have tweeted saying Shelley was “one of the UK’s most influential and prolific songwriters and co-founder of the seminal original punk band Buzzcocks”.

His music inspired generations of musicians over a five-decade career with his band and as a solo artist, they said.

The Charlatans’ singer Tim Burgess said Shelley’s “perfect three-minute pop songs” were “the soundtrack to being a teenager”.

Music critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine said Buzzcocks were one of the most influential bands to emerge in the initial wave of punk rock, with echoes of their music in everyone from Hüsker Dü to Nirvana.

“The Buzzcocks were inspired by the Sex Pistols’ energy, yet they didn’t copy the Pistols’ angry political stance,” he wrote in AllMusic.

“Instead, they brought that intense, brilliant energy to the three-minute pop song. Shelley’s alternately funny and anguished lyrics about adolescence and love were some of the best and smartest of his era.”