Peter Watt talks exclusively to CARDIFF EAST, in the second of a four part series, about life behind closed doors in Downing Street during the Labour Government.

Peter Watt was the General Secretary of the Labour Party from January 2006 until November 2007 when he resigned in a blaze of publicity following ‘Donorgate’.

As one of the most senior Labour Party figures Watt was an eye-witness to history as he presided over the transition from Prime Minister Tony Blair to Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Now in his stunning memoirs entitled Inside Out Watt provides the ultimate insider expose’: a no holds-barred account of the spectacular decline of the most effective party political machine of modern times.

Tony Blair and Hazel Blears admire Peter Watt's haircut, July 2006

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Peter Black AM: From Wales to the West Wing

As politicans enjoy the summer recess Liberal Democrat Assembly Member Peter Black, writing EXCLUSIVELY for CARDIFF EAST, examines the appeal of the American tv show The West Wing which ran for seven seasons between 1999 and 2006 winning three Golden Globe Awards and 27 Emmy Awards.

The West Wing: President Josiah Bartlet surrounded by his closest staff.

As the summer recess got underway I eyed up a long ignored present, the DVD set of the complete seven series of the West Wing and decided it was time to renew the experience. There have been some late nights but it has been worth it.

Politics is addictive. If you let it, it will dominate your life. Like most addicts I cannot explain it. As a profession, whether one is full-time and paid, or just a volunteer, it dominates your life.

The West Wing is not like any kind of politics I have experienced. You never see the candidate delivering his own leaflets in the rain or having doors closed in his face for example. Continue reading

Vaughan Gething: “Berman’s verdict on Liberal-Democrat rule in Cardiff is complacent and inaccurate”

Rodney Berman - Liberal-Democrat Council leader. "Out of touch with the public he is supposed to serve."

Vaughan Gething, Labour Assembly Candidate for Cardiff South and Penarth, argues in a guest post for CARDIFF EAST that the Liberal-Democrat run Cardiff Council’s decision to site the new Eastern Cardiff High School on the Rumney Recreation Ground belies Rodney Berman’s verdict that after six years of Liberal Democrat rule “We’re doing just fine” in Cardiff.

Rodney Berman‘s verdict on six years of Liberal-Democrat rule in Cardiff in an interview with the South Wales Echo, “Berman: ‘We’re Doing Just Fine'”, (Read that interview here ) was as complacent as it was inaccurate.

Rumney Recreation Ground is a true symbol of Liberal-Democrat rule in Cardiff. A much loved piece of open space in the east of the city that has been used by the communities of Llanrumney, Rumney, St. Mellons and Trowbridge for close on a century is to be destroyed in an act of civic vandalism. Hundreds of people use it each day and will lose it if Cllr Berman gets his way.” Continue reading

Peter Watt talks exclusively to CARDIFF EAST, in the first of a four part series, about life behind closed doors in Downing Street during the Labour Government.

Peter Watt was the General Secretary of the Labour Party from January 2006 until November 2007 when he resigned in a blaze of publicity following ‘Donorgate’.

As one of the most senior Labour Party figures Watt was an eye-witness to history as he presided over the transition from Prime Minister Tony Blair to Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Now in his stunning memoirs entitled Inside Out Watt provides the ultimate insider expose’: a no holds-barred account of the spectacular decline of the most effective party political machine of modern times.

“By the time I had become General Secretary of the Labour Party we were two parties in terms of personality, character and even polling.”

Peter Watt served two Labour Prime Ministers as General Secretary of the Labour Party.

Peter Watt, whilst his wife Vilma is busily organising their children in the background, is remarkably candid about the two Labour Prime Ministers he served as he discusses over the telephone life at the heart of New Labour. Watt would be a daily visitor to Number 10 Downing Street where he would give party political advice to this country’s leadership. In his tenure as General Secretary Watt presided over the much anticipated transition between Blair and Brown and he organised the infamous 2007 ‘election that never was’. Watt was also the man who helped saved the Labour Party from financial oblivion as it was just moments away from being declared bankrupt. Watt reflects that,

“The relationship between Tony and Gordon was difficult and dysfunctional but it was also immensely beneficial for this country.” Continue reading

Political Groundings: Peter D. Cox reflects on the socialist influences that shaped his life

In another EXCLUSIVE for CARDIFF EAST Peter Cox writes about the influences that shaped his life. He moved his management consultancy business to Cardiff after emigrating here 15 years ago: it became a Wales Fast Growth 50 Company. He was a board member and trustee of Cardiff’s Chapter Arts Centre for seven years and its chair for two, putting in place its recent, £3.5M, RIBA award winning, refurbishment. He is now chair of Cardiff Civic Society which has recently prepared a response to the Cardiff Council plans for a new Local Development Plan. He writes here in a personal capacity.

Peter D. Cox

I had no idea when I was in my middle teens that there were people who didn’t know about politics. At school, after a quick brush with kings and queens, even then coming to the conclusion that they were of little use, we moved on to British Social and Economic History. By 15 I knew about the Chartists on Kennington Common (which I walked on every day to school), the difference between a Luddite and a Leveller, and the importance of the antislavery movement and the suffragettes. If my post war, run down, Victorian housed, but inspirationally teachered school wasn’t designed as a socialist nursery, it certainly managed the task well.

What gave us all such a practical grounding, and even more importantly, a desire to be involved in, politics? I was recently asked to reflect on the impact of my school and began to think that it was something to do with the extraordinary mix of teachers – all men of course – in that period just ten years after the Second World War.”

There were a few, almost past retirement, who’d kept the school going during the war, still wearing black gowns, and bemoaning that, even in Brixton, we didn’t learn Latin, and insisted on good handwriting. (Thank you for that!). There was another group who had taken the fast track teacher training course after serving in the war among whom were two Battle of Britain fighter pilots, one with facial surgery scars that constantly reminded everyone of his contribution to a civic society. And then there was the new blood, unsullied by tradition or war service, and fired with egalitarian ideas and ideals. Continue reading

CARDIFF EAST EXCLUSIVE: Jonathan Morgan AM – Let the people elect Cardiff’s Mayor

In an EXCLUSIVE post for CARDIFF EAST Conservative Assembly Member Jonathan Morgan says it’s time the Welsh capital had a directly elected mayor. Jonathan Morgan, Assembly Member for Cardiff North, was elected to the Assembly at its inception in 1999. Morgan is regarded as one of the most articulate Assembly Members currently in the Senedd.

Anyone that knows me, know that I’m passionate about the city of Cardiff. I have lived here all my life; I was born here, schooled here, I went to university here, I have worked here and I now have the great honour of representing part of the city and its residents in the National Assembly.

Jonathan Morgan AM: "A directly elected mayor would give Cardiffians a direct say..."

The city has carried with it some of the greatest historical, social and cultural achievements that Britain has ever generated; a city which celebrates its considerable past and its confidence in the future.”

We have some of the most impressive architecture of any UK city – proud castles, highlighting our Norman and Victorian era; a civic centre to remind us of past great city leadership; sporting and leisure opportunities to match the very best in the UK.

Cardiff’s description as a modern, young European capital needs continuous support. Cities don’t achieve greatness just by acquiring a description; they require leadership and dedication by individuals who have vision. Continue reading

PACT – Rumney

Rumney residents concern over fires

*Residents in Rumney are concerned over the number of arson attacks taking place in the area in the summer months
*Speeding offences tackled on Newport Road

Read a full report here of the PACT meeting covered by Guardian Cardiff.