Plaid candidate ‘victim’ of misunderstanding

Plaid Cymru’s candidate for the Police and Crime Commissioner has fallen the wrong side of press ignorance, an Internet trolling and cyberstalking expert has said.

Arfon Jones is Plaid Cymru’s candidate in the election for Police and Crime Commissioner in North Wales. Newspaper reports suggested he encouraged people via Twitter to send bomb threats and said that ISIS were a creation of the UK Government.

Plaid Cymru's Arfon Jones was "misrepresented" Internet trolling and cyberstalking expert Jonathan Bishop has said.
MISREPRESENTED: Plaid Cymru’s Arfon Jones was “misrepresented” Internet trolling and cyberstalking expert Jonathan Bishop has said. Courtesy: Plaid Cymru.

But Internet trolling and cyberstalking expert Councillor Jonathan Bishop, who is an Independent candidate for South Wales Central region for the Welsh Assembly and a member of the Chartered Institute of Journalists, says Arfon Jones has been misrepresented. “Twitter as a platform is legally speaking no different to a public house or the streets outside of them,” he said. “People will say things on Twitter which if legal action was taken that a ‘fantasy defence’ could be used to quash any claim of impropriety.
Arfon Jones is unlikely to have grown up with the Internet like myself, as I have multiple accounts on Twitter, including one for my professional life, one for my political life, and one for joking about with.
Had Arfon Jones done the same then he would have a case to take the newspapers concerned to the press standards body, IPSO.
Under the law Arfon Jones has done nothing wrong, because his messages were clearly not intended to be taken seriously and if one looks at the Crown Prosecution Service guidance made following the Twitter joke trial then any request for action by the Crown Prosecution would not result in a prosecution.
Arfon Jones is a victim of press exploitation, trying to portray him in a manner that has no reflection of reality.

Plaid Cymer leader, Leanne Wood, gave her full support to Arfon Jones, saying his Twitter feed would “perhaps be more sort of in line with the role in which he is seeking to be elected to.”

Both Arfon Jones and Jonathan Bishop, and indeed Leanne Wood, are all standing for election to their respective elected bodies on 5 May 2016.

UKIP ‘not fascist’

The United Kingdom Independence Party, a coalition of eurosceptic Britons, had a landslide victory in the United Kingdom in the elections to the European Parliament, topping the polls in terms of number of seats. Amid claims of fascism by the traditional left-right cartel of parties, Twitter users sprung to the defence of the emerging anti-EU force.

UKIP IF YOU WANT TO: Media-savvy Nigel Farage's eurosceptic party has a landslide victory in the European Parliament elections in 2014. Courtesy: Wikipedia.
UKIP IF YOU WANT TO: Media-savvy Nigel Farage’s eurosceptic party has a landslide victory in the European Parliament elections in 2014. Courtesy: Wikipedia.

The overwhelming opinion of Twitter users was that the claims by the socialist and capitalist political party establishment was unfounded. “I don’t really agree with much UKIP bang on about, but someone clear up to me how they’re racist and fascist exactly?,” asked University of Birmingham student, Carl Raynsford (@CarlR_). “Proud to be from the North West. Labour topped the poll despite the UKIP surge, and the fascist lost his seat. Not so grim up north today,” said Cambridge student, George Morris ‏(@George_B_Morris), referring conversely to the failure of the leader of the British National Party leader Nick Griffin to gain re-election. Writer an actor, Gary Dobbs (@garymartindobbs) added, “Now can people stop calling UKIP fascist and realize it is the E U that is fascist #UKIP“.

UKIP’s first place saw it take 27 per cent of the popular vote, the right-wing cartel party, the Conservatives Party, on 24 per cent, the left-wing cartel party Labour got about 25 per cent, seeing the Green Party beating the UK Government coalition partners, the Liberal Democratic Party, by 7.87 per cent of the vote compared to 6.87 per cent. In Wales the distribution of parities elected stayed the same with Kay Swinburne for the Conservative Party, Derek Vaughan for the Labour Party and Jill Evans for Plaid Cymru, all being re-elected. UKIP retained its seat in Wales, with newly elected Nathan Gill, increasing its share of the vote by 14.76 per cent to 201,983, which is only 4,350 votes short of beating the Wales Labour Party into first position.

Election candidates announced in Rhondda Ward By-Election

The by-election for Pontypridd Town Council is well underway. Following the death of Pam Harper, a by-election was called for the Rhondda Ward and the candidates have been confirmed. The Rhondda ward includes Hopkinstown, Maesycoed, Pantygraigwen, Pwllgwaun and parts of Trehafod.

MINING: Dzôn's grandfather served in the Ty Mawr colliery in the Rhondda Ward. He is pictured here at the underpass in Treforest where he gave young people the opportunity to mark the historic significance of the mining heritage of the Pontypridd area.
MINING: Dzôn’s grandfather served in the Ty Mawr colliery in the Rhondda Ward. He is pictured here at the underpass in Treforest where he gave young people the opportunity to mark the historic significance of the mining heritage of the Pontypridd area.

Heading the ballot paper is Jonathan Bishop, commonly known as Dzôn, a Welsh name pronounced ‘Jon.’ Dzôn has a lot of links with the Rhondda Ward. He went to school  there, and his grandfather Ted Bishop worked at the local Ty Mawr Colliery. Dzôn is highly experienced, having served on two local councils, including for Treforest. He is a company director of three limited companies, including Crocels CMG CYF, where he helped restore an underpass in Treforest with public art, including artistically represented aspects of Pontypridd’s mining past.

Second on the ballot paper is Stuart Fisher, who is standing for Plaid Cymru. Stuart has a background in environmentalism, and is a director of the Plaid Cymru Credit Union. Stuart is one of the most experienced candidates in the election after Dzôn. He represented the Hawthorn ward on Pontypridd Town Council until 2012 and is eager to help those in the Rhondda Ward make best use of his experience in public office.

Third on the ballot paper is Robert Fox. Bob is one of the few of the candidates to have served on both the town council and the borough council. In 2001 he joined with RCT council’s two Liberal Democratic Party councillors, Mike Powell and Steve Belzak in addition Talbot Green Councillor Paul Bacarra, to form the Democratic Alliance. Bob’s nomination is supported by Graeme Beard, who along with Jim Davies and now Liberal Democrats Katrina Jones and Karen Roberts joined Bob in the Democratic Alliance Group in 2001. At the time Karen Roberts was the Chairman of the Group. “Hopefully it will result in a greater level of democracy and open government,” she said at the time. “The one thing we all have in common is a desire to improve services and facilities. That’s why we were elected, not to indulge in petty party political arguments.” Since this time Karen Roberts and Katrina Jones have joined with Mike Powell to take over the Liberal Democratic Party’s local branch. In 2009 Karen Roberts accused former Democratic Alliance partner Paul Baccara of Internet trolling. Known as ‘cry trolling,’ she complained when her former coalition partner Baccara said her job with the Liberal Democrats was “a waste of taxpayers money.” Many people agreed with Baccara, who added: “Now go and get a life, which must be difficult as an aged divorcee, but there must be something out there for you.”

Fourth on the list is Amanda Jones for the Liberal Democrats, of which Karen Roberts is still to this day an active member. Amanda Jones is new to public life, only recently joining the Liberal Democrats after being headhunted by them following her involvement in the local paddling pool campaign. Amanda Jones said about her Liberal Democrat membership. “The Welsh Liberal Democrats are the only ones who have stood up and fought alongside residents to keep the paddling pool,” she said. “They are not afraid to speak up for what they believe in, and not afraid to talk to people and take their views on board. It is why I joined the Party in February and why I am pleased to be standing under a Welsh Liberal Democrat banner.”

Fifth on the list is Brian Watts for the Labour Party. The sixth and final candidate is Andrew Williams Jones for the Conservative Party. Commenting on Jones’s nomination, Bob Fox’s nominator, Graeme Beard, said: “A Tory from Pwllgwaun? A definite winner there then!”

Bungling Council in ballot paper feud

A local authority has come under fire following a botched data entry of a candidate’s details in a local by-election in Pontypridd.

Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council recorded the details of former Pontypridd Town Councillor Jonathan Bishop as him wanting to appear on the ballot paper as “Dzon Bishop.” Bishop has never used this name, expecting to appear on the ballot paper as: “BISHOP, JONATHAN EDWARD (commonly known as ‘Dzôn’).

GRAPHIC: Rhondda Cynon Taf confirmed receipt of Jonathan Bishop's nomination under the name of "Jonathan Edward Bishop." Courtesy: Obtained from Jonathan Bishop.
GRAPHIC: Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council confirmed receipt of Jonathan Bishop’s nomination under the name of “Jonathan Edward Bishop.” Courtesy: Jonathan Bishop Limited.

The notice of candidates standing for election was due to be published today, and Bishop notified the local authority of their mistake yesterday. Huw Davies of the local authority’s electoral services department defending the council’s actions. “When nominations close there is nothing that can be changed,” he said. The Council’s Returning Officer, Keith Griffiths, confirmed this adding: “There is no facility within legislation to amend the ballot paper and thus it will show Dzon.” Laura Ward of the Electoral Commission supported Keith Griffiths: “Part 2. Rule 8(7) [of the The Local Elections (Principal Areas) (England and Wales) Rules 2006] specifically says that the RO [Returning Officer] decision is final.

GRAPHIC: Rhondda Cynon Taf confirmed the validity of Jonathan Bishop's nomination as 'Dzon Bishop' instead of the name of "Jonathan Edward Bishop," as Jonathan Bishop expected. Courtesy: Obtained from Jonathan Bishop.
GRAPHIC: Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council confirmed the validity of Jonathan Bishop’s nomination as ‘Dzon Bishop’ instead of the name of “Jonathan Edward Bishop,” as Jonathan Bishop expected. Courtesy: Obtained from Jonathan Bishop.

Bishop, who has been due to stand for the Pluralist Party for a second time is adamant that the council are being unreasonable. “No one knows me as Dzon Bishop,'” he said. “My full legal name for legal documents and elections has always been ‘Jonathan Edward Bishop,’
I use the name Dzon, which sounds like ‘Jon’ in informal contexts, including as a pseudonym on the Internet. In Wales I use it with a bridge above the o as in ‘Siôn’
The nomination officer of my party [Mark Beech] has put< himself down on a ballot paper as ‘BEECH, MARK WILLIAM (commonly known as ‘The Good Knight, Sir Nos Da’)” and I expected the same treatment.
The fact is because of this inaccuracy if I lose I will have the right to contest the result of the election, and if I were to win, my competitors would have the right to contest the result.
It is not in the public interest for the council the act this way, and they should correct it as a matter of urgency.
If legal action was brought against the local authority by any of my competitions, as I as true democrat would support them.

So far most of the major parties have confirmed their candidate’s nominations. Plaid Cymru have selected former Pontypridd Town Councillor, Stuart Fisher. The Liberal Democrats have selected Amanda Jones, a local activist to contest the election under their banner. The Rhondda ward comprises of Hopkinstown, Maesycoed, Pantygraigwen, Pwllgwaun and parts of Trehafod. The by-election was called following the death of Labour’s Pam Harper.

Karen Roberts is the Campaign Manager for RCT Welsh Lib Dems and a former Plaid Cymru County Borough Councillor. “When the forms are taken in to the office then the officer sits down with the candidate and goes through everything,” she said. “There is a computer screen on which you can see everything that is being entered. You have the chance to correct any mistakes then.
I know this as I was there with Amanda (Jones) when she took her forms in.
The elections staff in RCT are, in my experience, very professional and competent.

Treforest’s Plaid Councillor out of touch with students

Plaid Cymru’s Geraint Day, who represents Treforest on Rhondda Cynon Taff Council doesn’t know the realities of the majority of people living in Treforest.

He says that he couldn’t make a meal for 86p, but doesn’t seem to realise that some people in Treforest are forced to make a meal for 49p. With most students in Treforest on a very low income, Geraint Day should realise the hardship of some of the people in Treforest that he is supposed to be representing.

Councillors fight over legal deal

Two Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council members have come to blows over a legal deal worth nearly $500,000 (£360,000).

Councilor John David, of Tonteg, was allegedly attacked by Councillor Islwyn Wilkins, of Llantrisant, in the members area of the council.

Councilor John David said he would not be taking any further action. “I won’t be complaining to the council or the police,” he said. “Islwyn and I have been good friends for far too long – even playing football together 40 years ago – to let this come between us.
It was just a push after a bit of banter and teasing.
“I fell over two chairs but wasn’t really hurt

Councilor Islwyn Wilkins played down the affair. “It was a storm in a tea cup, less than horseplay,” he said. “The day after, John and I had a laugh about the episode and decided it’s not even worth talking about.

Clayton Willis is the councilor for Tynant. “It was just banter but as John went to sit down, Islwyn dived at him, pushing him over the chair and into the radiator hurting his shoulder,” he said. “Islwyn had gone wild and other members dragged him off before he apologized.

Labour back in control at Rhondda Cynon Taf Council

This June saw an end to the five years of Plaid Cymru failing to deliver for the people of Talbot Green as Labour swept to power after being overwhelmingly endorsed by many wards in Rhondda Cynon Taff.

Labour’s Candidate for Talbot Green, Jonathan Bishop managed to push Plaid Cymru’s Jools Jones into third place, securing 12.8 percent of the vote.

While Plaid Cymru were in power, they received an extra £82 million from the National Assembly, but increased the cost of meals on wheels, put up the charges for our leisure centres, closed day centres and introduced parking charges for disabled drivers. Labour has begun to reverse this trend by announcing that we will make parking in council car parks free of charge to the disabled.

Getting value for money?

Since Labour lost control of RCT Council in 1999, the present Nationalist-led council has received an extra £82 million from the Labour-led Assembly Government. That is the message of Talbot Green Youth Officer Jonathan Bishop.

The Nationalists have brought in charges for home care, increased the cost of meals on wheels, put up leisure centre charges with a decrease of opening hours, increased rental charges of sports grounds and closed day centres for our ageing population,” he said. “Ask yourself, ‘What do you get for your payment of council tax in the Talbot Green area?‘”

Keeping Promises on tax

Labour is maintaining economic stability and keeping our promises on tax, argues Talbot Green Youth Officer Jonathan Bishop.

We won’t raise the basic or top rate of income tax and we’ve extended the 10p starting band,” he said. “We have cut VAT on fuel to 5 per cent and we’ve renewed our pledge not to extend VAT to food, children’s clothes, books, newspapers and public transport fares.

In contrast, Plaid Cymru-led councils, including Rhondda Cynon Taff have shown their willingness to raise taxes. Since Labour lost control of RCT Council in 1999 the Nationalists have increased Band D council tax from £685.34 to £970.91 – an increase of 41.6%!

Petition to change valleys ‘killer’ road

COUNCILOR: Clayton Willis is the Labour Councillor for Ty Nant. Courtesy: Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council
MISSION CRITICAL: Ty Nant Councilor Clayton Willis criticizes Plaid Cymru for not taking action over ‘killer’ road: Courtesy: Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council.

Residents of Ty Nant, near Beddau, have called on the Plaid Cymru run administration at Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council to take action over what is being called a “killer road.”

Residents Megan Dawes, 59, and Vie Scot, 61, have organised a petition with nearly 1000 signatures to be served on the council, asking them to take action against the small stretch of road through the village of Ty Nant, which has already claimed the lives of two people.

Megan Dawes said action must be taken. “The Common Approach is a very dangerous road because cars travel along it very fast and the visibility is poor,” she said. “I was nearly hit by a car when I was crossing the road with my granddaughter.
I had seen car lights in the distance, but before I knew it the car was on top of me.
It screeched to a halt and although no one was hurt my granddaughter was screaming because she thought I was going to be killed.

Vie Scott, says a pedestrian crossing across the road between Beddau and Gwaunmiskin Road is needed. “A lot of people feel very strongly about this. There are a lot of elderly people living in the village who cross the road,” she said.

Labour Councillor Clayton Willis, whose party was in power between 1996 and 1999, criticised the Plaid Cymru administration that took office in 1999. “Do more people have to be killed before something is done?,” he asked.

Plaid Cymru’s cabinet member for community safety and transportation, Councillor John Daniel said the Council were not aware of the problem. “We will investigate the traffic situation and I will be happy to meet the local people who have organised this petition,” he said. “We have not been aware of their latest concerns about pedestrians crossing at Common Approach, although we have had discussions about traffic with the community council.”