12/06/2011 The Politics Show Wales


Jon Sopel and Aled ap Dafydd with analysis of the political scene shaping Wales.

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Later in the programme we'll be looking into the future - farming,


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newspapers and the leader of Plaid Welcome to the Politics Show in


Wales. In a few minutes we'll be looking at the future for


newspapers and the farming industry, but, first, what lies ahead for


Plaid Cymru's leader Ieuan Wyn Jones?


He has been under fire this week for being on holiday in France. He


missed the Queen opening the new session of the Senedd and the rest


of the Assembly's business including First Minister's


Questions. Earlier, I spoke to our North Wales political correspondent,


John Stevenson, in our Bangor newsroom. I asked him about the


damage this episode has caused to the party.


It is an old political truism going back to the days of medieval


warfare that every land the ticking, every Army needed general. What we


have seen since this announcement that Lyon when Jones was standing


down some time in the next two-and- a-half years, we have not seen that


in this party. It seems to be lurching from one problem to the


next. Ieuan Wyn Jones was on holidays in France, missing the


State Opening of the assembly. He missed the first important session


to First Minister's Questions. It is ironic that three months ago the


party that was part of the Government that was in charge of


Wales could get itself into such a whole. Some senior figures within


the party have asked for him to go sooner rather than later. How


widespread is that feeling? desire rollick that the party that


was in government three months ago should be in this situation. Senior


figures in the party, mostly through the press and interviews,


suggesting that the period of 2 1/2 years just is not sustainable. We


have seen those senior figures. I met with the parliamentary leader


of Plaid Cymru and asked him are we seeing the vultures circling?


vultures, as you describe them, are the people who were his greatest


cheerleaders when he took us in on that momentous day, into government


in the first time in our history. He was the man who did that. Let's


not forget that he was probably one of the best strategists that Plaid


Cymru has ever had. To start rounding on him and this way is


unseemly. We have heard what he has said, saying that he would go in


his own good time. I don't happen to believe it will be two years,


but it is a matter for him. We all have to him to let him do it in his


own time. I have no truck with these vultures. They're not doing


anybody any good tent at the end of the day they're not doing


themselves any good either. We have seen in the Telegraph during the


week about the revelations about the final days of that Blair regime


and how messy these things tend to become a. Plaid Cymru should have


learned from their end days of the Blair government and it seems that


they have not done that. John Stevenson talking to me


earlier from our Bangor newsroom. The number of local newspapers has


been in steady decline in the past few years.


Just last month another title, the Herald of Wales, bit the dust. But


as the source of local news disappears from the news stand, is


the rise in online media plugging the gap? As the latest media


barometer suggests not, we sent our reporter Charlotte Dubenskij to


investigate. We live in a digital world. No


longer are we tied waiting for the latest edition of the newspaper.


Instead a few taps on my phone and I can find a what is happening in


the world were ever I am. Yet according to the latest survey I am


not in the majority. 70 per cent of those questioned in will said there


were more likely to be a fair and newspaper to online media. Despite


that approval for the printed press, newspaper's circulation across the


country is dwindling. But the end of the last century are only


national newspaper had a circulation of 55,000. 11 years


later in 2010 the paper's circulation dipped below 30,000. So


if national newspapers are struggling, how our local paper


surviving? I think the city newspapers, they have the big


stories, the murders and the scandals, that sort of thing, which


you can get easily on the Internet. With the weekly newspaper we offer


things you can get so easily on the Internet. For example a community


newspapers - community news pages are probably our most popular pages.


We say what if - what is going on. This paper relies on its local


following and in return they expect content that is unique to the area.


High is that information reported when a local paper like this shut


up shop? For more than 80 years the Guardian served its local area, but


in 2009 the editions were scrapped. Media will says that's as part of


its review a close the loss-making week lease to streamline its


multimedia news operation. Rachel has been studying the effect that


has had on the people of Port Talbot. The people say that they


missed it and it is much harder to publicise things. They are grateful


to have things online because something is better than nothing,


but it is not doing the job used to do and it is not appealing the


people it used to attract. There is still a significant element of


people who are left out of this picture. 2009 was the worst year


for closures with the 60 titles across the UK going to the press


for the last time, five per cent of the overall number. Since then even


more have become defunct, though it says this has been balanced out by


new lunchers. Concern is being raised over the future of media in


Wilts. Local papers are vital. It is the way that local people can


hold their local council accountable and also to be able to


talk to each other about local issues. When it is put in the wider


picture of that decline of the print media generally and the


tightening budgets and restrictions around the BBC and ITV you have a


serious situation facing the media in Wales. These are difficult times


for many newspapers, so what does this solution? When newspapers were


really locally owned and not owned by one of the Big Four News


conglomerates, the profits were consistently quite high, but big


part of those problems were reinvested back into the news


product. It was a more sustainable news model. We also have to look at


other business models. We should be looking at not-for-profit models,


even looking at different ways of publicly subsidising the news.


future of local newspapers is by no means certain, but whether we like


it or not the availability of online media is there to plug the


gaps any closures leave behind. Just how important is the Welsh


farming industry? And what are the key challenges it faces? In a


moment I'll be talking to the outgoing President of the Farmers'


Union of Wales and the new Deputy Minister for Agriculture. But first,


here's our correspondent, Iolo ap Dafydd, with his take on the state


of farming in Wales. During the past few years the


farming sector has not been hit as badly as other industries. There


are concerns, the dry spring, lack of rainfall, escalating fuel prices,


securing a fair price for produce, and diseases like bovine


tuberculosis. The new Welsh government run by Labour says that


many of the rural policies from the previous government will be carried


on, but the rural affairs the pub has disappeared with no ministerial


post solely in charge of agriculture. Labour would now argue


it has to ministers overseeing farming, the Environment Minister


will be in charge of many aspects of rural Wales and animal health.


He will announce if the existing policy on bovine tuberculosis will


continue or change. He and the First Minister voted for a badger


cull in the past. According to last week's opinion poll it is unpopular


with two-thirds of the public. Responsibility for other divisive


topics in farming will sit with Alan Davies - Alun Davies. So an


industry... farmers and their two vocal unions favour food production


has been their primary duty. The tide with in that the European


Union is to pursue an increasingly environment agenda with climate


change is seen to be crucial. Alan Davies will represent Wales in


Brussels as long as he is allowed to because it is to UK not wills


that is a member state. The CAP is being discussed - discussed now.


The impact of those talks will impact many thousands of farms


across Wales. How will farms cope with having less support and more


regulation? Gareth Vaughan stands down as the


President of the Farmers' Union of Wales at their Annual General


Meeting next Friday, this morning he's in our Aberystwyth studio. As


you prepare to hand over the reins, what would you say are the main


challenges facing the farming sector? They have been outlined


very well there. The CAP reform is that the greatest concern. We are


or a little concerned about what we hear that are 1300 amendments


tabled, someone who has got to spend a lot of time sifting through


these amendments, we are concerned about comments made by the


government in Westminster. paint a worrying picture of the


payments that could come down to Welsh farmers. How could that


adversely affect her the lives of farmers in Wales? It is our income.


It is a payment made to farmers for producing food. If the payments go,


a housewife will have to make up that deficit because farmers can


produce for less. We have a very high cost base in this country and


we must meet those costs in order to produce food. Our duty is to


produce food primarily. Hand in hand with looking after the


environment, which is what we have done. I think our priority must be


to encourage to be just farmers to produce food. It is said to one of


the possibilities for the future will be payments will be more


directed toward those who care for the environment rather than produce


food. Surely that is the right thing when climate change is such a


major concern worldwide. I except that it is vitally important. My


argument would be if you look at the environment through your window


today in Wales, it is doing very well. I think farmers have cared


very well for the Environment, hand in hand with producing food. That


is the emphasis we must have going forward. You must continue to


produce food. We have an increasing population throughout the world,


large areas of the world drying out. We have got to produce food in


Wales in the wetter west and we - where we have adequate rainfall and


we can produce a very well. Let's talk about the proposed badger cull.


There is a new government now, a Labour administration. What would


your message be to them in terms of dealing with tuberculosis? We would


hope that we can deal with it wisely. We are aware that trials in


the past where badgers have been culled have had a dramatic effect


on tuberculosis in those areas. We think it is vital that the cull


goes forward, for the benefit of the cattle and the remaining badger


population. There are large areas of Wales that have no tuberculosis.


The badgers there as well as the cattle must be protected. I think a


cull of diseased badgers in infected sets is vital. We will be


talking to the deputy minister shortly. He is not a member of the


cabinets. Is that this was a disappointment? It is a


disappointment. On the other hand, having worked closely with Alan


Davies in the past he has shown to have a knowledge of agricultural


issues and the countryside. He was chairman of the Rural Committee in


the previous assembly and did a very good job and work closely with


the industry at that time. We thank him for that and look forward to


working with him closely in the future. Thank you very much indeed.


Joining me in studio is the new Deputy Minister for Agriculture,


Alun Davies. Congratulations on your appointment. Becoming a deputy


minister does not what have the same ring to it as becoming a


minister. That must be a disappointment to you. I was


pleased to be appointed. Agriculture and these matters need


to have a voice in government. There are only 11 ministers in the


Government's - governments. I'll be in London tomorrow speaking to


DEFRA, I'll be in Brussels next week representing the industry,


speaking up for the industry. I don't worry about job titles.


people in this industry to worry because we have just heard from -


heard from the Farmers' Union who has said it is a disappointment


that there is no room in the Cabinet to represent their sector.


He also set about the agenda facing farmers and the need to insure that


we have a strong voice representing Wales were ever decisions are taken.


The key issue here is having a minister with the a authority, the


ability to stand up for the industry in Wales and so take that


message to whenever it needs to be taken. Tomorrow Albion London, next


week Brussels. I will fight hard for this industry. The comments


that Gareth made about future challenges are central to what I'll


be doing in the next few years. Let's talk about CAP payments. Your


predecessor in January described the Welsh farming sector as none of


viable without CAP payments. Do you share her opinion on the importance


of these payments? Absolutely. It is important that we use CAP to


create an prosperous industry in Wales. But we used the opportunity


we have now a in these negotiations to insure that the payments that


are made to farmers helped sustain the industry, helped make the


industry profitable and enable us to produce food. I am bewildered


sometimes when we hear it this contradiction created between plant


management and then food production. I don't see any contradiction there.


Farmers have always been custodians of our environment and have done a


great job. If the emphasis went from bomb macro the key issue is


food production. We need farmers to produce food. Garrett was right


about the challenges facing the sector, and the whole world. I can


see any reason why we would not want to continue to produce the


fabulous figure we produce. They are against a switch in emphasis,


you're not? I don't see it contradiction between the two


objectives. We produce fabulous food in Wales and I want us to see


us continuing doing that. industry is what not 0.5 per cent


of GDP to the Welsh economy. It comes under the remit of the Edwina


Hart. She is not really going to think that this industry is the


make or break for the wealth of the station, is she? Myself and have we


met spent most of Friday discussing this issue. It wean there is


absolutely committed to the agenda that Gareth outlined earlier. The


food industry in Wales underpins rural communities. It underpins an


industry that is enormously important, not just simply in terms


of wealth generation but as an emblematic industry that is part of


our identity as a nation. It is hugely important to us and it won't


be let down by this government. Thank you very much indeed. And


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