Category: Candidate Comments

Candidate Comments: Elin Walker Jones – Plaid Cymru

Guest post by Elin Walker Jones

Elin Walker Jones is the Plaid Cymru constituency candidate for Cardiff North.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, My Cardiff North.

Elin Walker Jones

The city of Cardiff is a small city, compared to cities across the UK and the rest of the world. Nevertheless, the benefits of living in Cardiff, and the problems that Cardiff faces are in line with any other urban areas albeit on a smaller scale.

People love Cardiff – the amenities, the opportunities for work and leisure that our beautiful city has to offer, and on the down side, as more and more flock to live here – particularly our young people – the problems of congestion, waste, and noise increase to intolerable levels. Crime becomes a bigger problem, and the need for communities living side by side to tolerate each other’s customs becomes an increasing issue. Cardiff has always been wonderfully multicultural: this fabulous diverse rainbow of people, food, language, lifestyles and customs were some of the things that appealed to me when I was first a student in Cardiff many years ago.

We need an ambitious government to tackle the problems of urban living, taking into consideration the effects of growth on the rest of Wales, and neighbouring countries such as England.

ElinThe Urban Age programme that looks at these issues in cities across the world. It is a collaboration between politicians, professionals and academics – people who don’t normally get together. The aim is to think and plan creatively for solutions to urban issues – to reduce traffic congestion, waste, noise pollution and so on, and increase active travel, recycling, etc. If people can get together across the world to think of solutions to such issues, why not Wales?

In Wales, we have a piecemeal approach. For example, the Labour-run Cardiff City Council and the Labour-run Caerphilly Council – neighbouring councils – are building homes without thinking about the effects on each other! Cardiff’s LDP includes plans for over 40,000 houses, including building on greenfield sites north of Cardiff. OK, the green wedge has it saved for now – just until 2026. But what about after that?

Caerphilly’s LDP includes plans to build over 600 homes on Caerphilly mountain, as well as a new road. Such plans will create a complete gridlock in Cardiff North – it’s bad enough already! Petitions are not going to resolve this. We need a Welsh Government planning strategy to take an overall view of planning in Wales, to make sure that houses, roads and general transport and economic infrastructure has a Welsh plan, and not just hope that the jigsaw pieces will fit somehow.

Plaid Cymru plans to create a Welsh Planning Inspectorate, which will oversee a National Development Framework, ensuring that local development plans take account of local needs for housing, protecting greenfield sites, and planning for the necessary infrastructure such as roads etc.

Labour have had 17 years to develop a Wales- wide strategy for planning, to build homes – affordable homes for people who want to bring up their families in a safe, warm, affordable and clean place that they can call their own. Where have Labour been?

Plaid Cymru has a range of policies that can support the development of Cardiff as a successful and vibrant city.

  • Ambitious plans for infrastructure development, supporting the South East Wales Metro, and creating roads and railway transport links fit for the 21st century for the whole of Wales, in a joined up fashion.
  • Abolishing the Right to Buy scheme, so that people can access rented housing, and supporting local authorities to build council housing.
  • Progressive plans to tackle waste, by bringing the Zero Waste Wales commitment forward by twenty years, working with producers to reduce packaging, increase recycling facilities, ensure more and more items are recyclable, and make it a requirement for retailers and manufacturers to recycle, reuse, as well as reducing their food waste. Labour-run Cardiff City Council is busy closing recycling centres – making it more difficult for people to recycle their waste and increasing the likelihood of fly tipping.
  • Pushing for the devolution of police and criminal justice powers to Wales, like they are in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
  • Scrapping Police Commissioners and focus on much-needed community policing. The plan is to increase joint working between local authorities, housing associations and the police, so that together we can crack down in anti-social behaviour.

Wales needs change. Plaid Cymru is the only party that will put the needs of the people of Wales first. Plaid Cymru has an ambitious plan of government, fit for 21st century living.

Vote for Plaid Cymru on May 5th: the change Wales needs.

By Elin Walker Jones

Candidate Comments: Haydn Rushworth – UKIP

Guest post by Haydn Rushworth

Haydn Rushworth is the UKIP constituency candidate for Cardiff North.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, My Cardiff North.

Haydn Rushworth and family

One of the biggest misunderstandings about UKIP is that we hate Eastern Europeans.

I’d like to try to set the record straight. UKIP DOES NOT HATE EASTERN EUROPEANS! Let me tell you a little about myself and you’ll understand my perspective better.

My name is Haydn Rushworth (Haydn is pronounced like the composer, Franz Joseph Haydn… my father was a musician). I’m representing UKIP in the 2016 Welsh Assembly Elections in Cardiff North, and it might interest you to know that Yulia, my beautiful wife of 3 years now, is Romanian.

I’m originally from Yorkshire, and just a couple of weeks ago we gave birth to our first baby, a little Welsh girl that we’ve named Lizzie (Yulia is a big Jane Austen fan), so that makes us a fairly multinational little family.

Haydn Rushworth profile imageThere’s always more to tell, but that can come later. For now, back to those “racist UKIP” allegations that seem to stick to UKIP like treacle.

UKIP loves hard-working people who take personal responsibility seriously and contribute positively to their society regardless of where they come from. Every country has people to be proud of and people to be, well, frankly, ashamed of. That’s humanity for you.

Just like most other countries on earth, UKIP just wants Britain to be free to welcome ethical, responsible, hard working people from any country in the world (like my wonderful wife from Romania), but to also be free to protect itself from people who WE KNOW are coming here to cause trouble.

Terrorists, Drug dealers, thieves, credit card fraudsters, sex traffickers and villains of every variety.

UKIP wants Britain to be free to help rescue refugees who are genuinely fleeing for their lives regardless of which war-torn country they come from.

UKIP is NOT saying “Shut the borders, keep foreigners out”.

UKIP is saying, “welcome to our country fellow humans, please form an orderly queue so we can filter out the troublemakers and protect the peace and stability of the nation we are about to welcome you into”.

Let’s take a look at the current refugee crisis for a moment.

Let’s start, for arguments sake, by assuming that here in the UK, we have the ability to help 100,000 refugees per year with housing and financial help whilst they get themselves back in their feet.

If we had a choice between two options, which one would you choose…

Option 1) Survival of the fittest, anybody can come here. The first 100,000 people who can make it to our shores will get the housing and money, doesn’t matter if you’re coming here to cause trouble, where you come from and what your dodgy reasons are for coming here. If you’re an opportunist who’s ready to take on a tough challenge for a house and money in the UK, then buckle up, join the gold-rush and may the fittest and toughest ones win!


Option 2) We, the British people, CHOOSE who to help, and we start with the weakest and most vulnerable. We make sure we start by helping children, mothers and the elderly along with husbands and fathers. We try to keep families together and bring those people to the UK to house and help them. After all, wouldn’t it make more sense to house 100,000 entire families instead of just 100,000 fit and able, single young men.

Of course, anybody with a heart would choose option 2, but the problem is, as long as we are a part of the EU, option 2 is simply impossible. That kind of compassionate policy, backed by the British people and aimed at helping those who need it most, is simply NOT POSSIBLE whilst we are members of the EU. I know it sounds like a broken record to keep saying this, but unless we can regain control of our borders we have no control over our ability to choose to help the weakest, most vulnerable and most needy.

Fundamentally, THIS is why UKIP wants us to leave the EU. Not to keep good people out, not to refuse to help those in need, but because frankly, whilst Britain’s compassion has no limits, unfortunately our ability to house and help people in need DOES have a limit. Housing is scarce and funds are thin on the ground, and UKIP simply wants to use those scarce resources as carefully, compassionately and responsibly as possible.

By Haydn Rushworth

Candidate Comments: Chris von Ruhland – Green Party

Guest post by Chris von Ruhland

Chris von Ruhland is the Green Party’s constituency candidate for Cardiff North and regional list candidate for South Wales Central.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, My Cardiff North.

Chris 3

The NHS in Wales is at crisis point

Working conditions for many health workers are becoming intolerable. Clinicians are leaving to escape the ‘overwhelming bureaucracy, paperwork and rationing of healthcare’; numbers leaving the profession are approaching those that are newly trained. Nursing staff skip breaks, work late and feel unable to deliver the care they would like. Nearly a quarter are looking to leave healthcare altogether, and fewer than half would recommend it as a career.

Coupled with this, over 50% of adults in Wales are overweight or obese, and the number of people with diabetes is expected to reach 300,000 in less than 10 years. Within 15 years, the number of people aged 75 or over will have increased by 76 per cent, and older people are more likely to have at least one chronic condition, such as diabetes, dementia or arthritis, and have more as their age increases. Moreover, problems associated with mental ill health are increasing, and there is still a considerable stigma attached to mental illness; self harm remains a significant problem in Wales. In addition, Wales has some of the poorest areas in Europe; inequality in wealth matches inequality in health, and inequality in Wales is widening. There is an increasing gap in the incidence and survival rates for cancer between the richest and poorest areas. Here in Cardiff there is already a 10 year difference in life expectancy between those living in the Cyncoed and those people living in Butetown.

Chris von Ruhland profile graphicMore money is clearly needed to meet not only existing costs, but those that are anticipated as a consequence of increased lifespan, as well as those that arise due to improvements in technology and our understanding of disease, even though these lead to better detection and treatment. With a £1.5bn cut in Welsh Assembly funding from Westminster, the Welsh NHS will be put under even greater strain. Since Wales receives a block grant from Westminster, increasing funding for the NHS will mean less money for other areas of responsibility such as education, transport, housing and the environment.

The simple solution is for everybody to pay more taxes, since a good quality public healthcare system is a hallmark of a civilised society. I have no objection to paying more taxes, indeed I’d be happy to do so if I was assured that wealthy individuals and corporations were doing likewise, rather than hiding their money away in tax havens. But simply treating ill health is not a long term solution.

Greens in the Senedd would much place greater emphasis on promoting health and wellbeing, and the prevention of disease. We believe that Wales should adopt Health 2020, the new European health policy framework which sets out a vision:

 “to significantly improve the health and well-being of populations, reduce health inequalities, strengthen public health and ensure sustainable people- centred health systems that are universal, equitable, sustainable and of high quality.”

We need to plan our towns and cities to be healthier places to live, which encourage walking and cycling and, together with an integrated public transport system, reduce our dependence on cars and make our streets safer for children to play. We need to discourage out-of-town developments and retail parks in favour of easily accessible shops and services; these in turn support local economies, employ more people and strengthen communities. We need to provide people with the means to improve their own health. To its credit, the Welsh Assembly introduced a National Exercise Referral Scheme, but this was applied to people who already suffered from ill health. Regular health check-ups might be a better way of improving our health. We are already used to the idea of visiting our dentist once or twice a year to have our teeth checked; why not do the same for the rest of our bodies? Simple metrics like blood pressure, weight and diet would allow trends in our health to be identified early so that advice and help could be given before we end up in hospital. While the initial set-up cost might be high, it would be more than compensated by the long term benefits to people and society.

While the government in Westminster is perpetrating an ideologically driven attack on the poorest, the disabled and those most in need of help, here in Wales, we can do things differently. We can focus our attention on addressing the health and social inequalities by helping those in need, not those in greed. But first we need to shake up the Senedd.

By Chris von Ruhland

Candidate Comments: Jayne Cowan – Conservatives

Guest post by Jayne Cowan

Jayne Cowan is the Conservative Party’s constituency candidate for Cardiff North.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, My Cardiff North.

JC pic

I am delighted to have another opportunity to contribute to My Cardiff North because it covers an amazing part of the city; and one I have been proud to have lived in all my life. Residents of Cardiff North, from Gabalfa and Llandaff North in the west across to Pontprennau and Old St Mellons in the east, genuinely care about their communities and want representatives who both understand the communities and who can help to drive them forward.

This is why I am standing for election to the National Assembly for Wales. I have a track record working for residents, both in my role as a Rhiwbina Councillor since 1999 and as a community campaigner throughout the whole of Cardiff North. I led the Council Tax Fair Play for All Campaign across Cardiff in 2002 and have worked hard with residents to ensure that libraries, play centres and day centres were protected in 2015. I have pushed for a full green belt in Cardiff’s Local Development plan, despite opposition from the Labour Welsh Government, denying the public the chance to currently protect that area for life. This left many, many residents unhappy and disappointed.

In March this year I led a debate in the Council chamber which called for the Wedal Road tip, an important facility serving many Cardiff North communities, to stay open in the face of opposition from the Labour administration.

JayneAnd I have worked hard to fundraise for a number of charities because they carry out excellent and essential work throughout Cardiff North and the wider community. I was locked in a prison cell to raise money for Tenovus, organised a Fun Run for Autism Puzzles and when I had the privilege of being Cardiff’s Deputy Lord Mayor, arranged a garden party for Mayors from parts of south and mid Wales in aid of Cancer Research Wales. I was pleased to remain in close contact with Cancer Research Wales following their year as the Lord Mayor’s Charity, and I follow their pioneering work with a very close eye.

As well as championing both charities and communities in Cardiff North, I look forward to supporting the health service and our education service if I am elected to the Assembly on 5th May. I am always in admiration of the hard work carried out by our doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals. In education it is now time to let our teachers teach. As a former teacher myself, I understand the importance of excellent education which lets every child reach their full potential.

If elected, I would look forward to getting into the fine detail of what the National Assembly spends its money on. We see taxpayers money wasted when it was reported that land throughout Wales, including Churchlands in Cardiff was sold off for just a fraction of its true value. This has led to a development which will fundamentally change the character of the Lisvane community.

Leaflets are an essential way of keeping in touch with residents, and I enjoy receiving feedback. I also use social media daily as a way of sharing information quickly from local charity events, to my travels on the campaign trail, to information which I feel would be of interest to residents. You can follow my online activities here – Twitter @JayneCowan, Facebook Jayne4CardiffN.


By Jayne Cowan

Candidate Comments: Julie Morgan – Labour

Guest post by Julie Morgan

Julie Morgan is the Labour Party’s constituency candidate for Cardiff North.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, My Cardiff North.


Cycling in Cardiff – keeping two-wheeled transport on track

One of my aims, if re-elected, is to continue to promote cycling in Cardiff North as a way for people to make everyday journeys and to improve their overall fitness and sense of well-being.

As an Ambassador for the charity Sustrans, which promotes cheaper, healthier ways of travel, I was pleased to read the Bike Life report in October. It showed that the enthusiasm is there for cycling among city residents – and that there has already been a huge increase in the number of people cycling. The number of bike trips increased by 28% in Cardiff between 2013 and 2014.

If you have any doubt about how popular cycling already is in Cardiff you only have to get on your bike and ride along the Taff Trail, which runs right through Cardiff North of course, to see people of all ages and cycling abilities enjoying using it.

When I was in Tongwynlais on the weekend recently I noticed what a hub for cycling activity it is becoming – there were lots of cyclists who’d stopped off for refreshments. I think the arrival of the new cycle-friendly café Plan2Ride is excellent news and I hear the Bike Shed bike shop in Pontcanna is also opening a branch soon in Tongwynlais which just shows the increasing popularity of cycling in Cardiff North.

Let’s get young people cycling – to start good habits for life

Research published in the Bike Life report shows that people want more investment in safe cycling routes and that is something I will push for if re-elected on May 5.

My hope is that we can start with youngest members of our community to get them into good habits for life.

JulieCurrently only 4% of children cycle to school but more than a third of primary school age children and 12% of high school children say they’d like to cycle to school. Among adults and children, the top priority is safer routes (78% want more investment in this), so obviously there is more work to do. At the moment more men than women cycle but research has also shown more women would cycle if there were segregated cycle lanes, so pushing for these is key.

I’m proud of the world-leading Active Travel Act that the Welsh Government passed (it became law in 2013) which means local authorities must prioritise pedestrians and cyclists and sends a clear message to planners that two feet and two wheels should come first.

The impact of the Active Travel Act is already beginning to be felt but more safe cycle routes will open up as new schemes are built (see below). Cardiff Council’s Local Development Plan and cycling strategy will be key to this and if re-elected it’s something I want to push forward with and hold the planners to account on.

Cycling in Cardiff – did you know?

  • 11.5 million trips by bike in a year
  • 28% increase in bike trips between 2013-2014
  • 71 miles of bike routes in Cardiff already including 38 miles of traffic-free routes
  • 22% live within 125m of a designated cycle lane, track or shared-use path
  • 28% of people say they don’t currently ride a bike but would like to
  • £16m is the benefit to health in the city, from the current level of people riding bikes
  • Read the Bike Life survey.

I think we could all do with the positive benefits to our mental health and well-being that cycling even short distances can bring. So roll-on the cycling revolution and, I hope, we’ll be able to realise plans for a truly cycle-friendly city to benefit us all.

Welsh Government’s investment in sustainable transport

In March the Welsh Government announced its latest investment of £29m in transport initiatives, many of them geared towards making cycling safer and more attractive.

In Cardiff the Local Transport Fund will see the following work carried out:

  • £80,000 towards first stage of the A469 cycle route.
  • £316,203 for next phase of the Eastern Corridor Active Travel Network. Walking and cycling access to jobs and services within the communities of Rumney, Llanrumney, Trowbridge and St Mellons.
  • £554,000 for the next phase of walking and cycling access to jobs and services in the Western Corridor Active Travel Network.
  • £895,000 for the next phase of the Newport Road / Fitzalan Place / West Grove junction improvements to improve safety, cycling and pedestrian access and bus journey times.


By Julie Morgan

Candidate Comments: Fiona Burt – Independent

Guest post by Fiona Burt

Fiona Burt is an independent constituency candidate for Cardiff North.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, My Cardiff North.

Fiona Burt family photo for My Cardiff North

Every candidate standing for election will, of course, promise to work hard for you as constituents, and I am no exception. However, as your independent candidate, I would like to give you three more great reasons why you should vote for me on May 5th:

  1. I reside in the constituency

Cardiff North has been my home for the past 22 years and I know what it’s like to live, work and raise a family here. When I talk about local facilities, whether that’s our hospitals, schools or transport systems, it’s from first-hand experience. When I say that I want to boost the Welsh economy or preserve our open spaces, it’s because everyone will benefit from these decisions.

  1. I am independent

It’s vitally important we can trust our political representatives to act in our best interests. I believe the two biggest threats to this are career politicians (who act out of self-interest) and party politicians (who are bound to party politics). I’ve been serving my community as a volunteer in my local church and school for many years on projects that support education and family life. I believe politicians should be focussed on people rather than politics and elected on the basis of their policies, not their political party. This is especially true in the National Assembly for Wales, where the regional vote provides seats for party representatives, leaving you free to choose a Constituency Assembly Member who will secure the best deal for your community. Independence will not prevent me from working with any of the political parties, rather, it means that I’d be willing to work with ALL of them – providing it’s in the best interests of Cardiff North.

  1. I have sensible, well-thought-out policies

This election is not about the EU referendum or fixing potholes – these are the responsibility of Westminster MPs and Cardiff Councillors. It’s about selecting a representative who will make the best decisions for our constituency across all 21 areas currently devolved to Wales. By voting independent, you can be assured that I’m not beholden to a party whip or blinkered by single issue politics. Having said that, the recent poor performance of both health and education in Wales is concerning, and it is in these two areas that I will make the biggest difference for you.
FionaWith increasing pressures and reducing budgets, creative solutions and courageous decisions are needed to improve the quality and value for money of these and other public services. I am well equipped to do this as a scientist, trained to think analytically and strategically. I am also naturally compassionate and seek to care for others. I’ve worked in the NHS, higher education and in the business and charity sectors and I believe that my experiences in these roles will enable me to provide the necessary challenge on behalf of all the people of Cardiff North. Those who know me personally, know that I don’t shy away from tackling the difficult questions.

To find details of my policies, please check out my Facebook page fionaburt4cardiffnorth or call me on 07758863734.

On the doorsteps, I’m finding many people have become disillusioned with politics. The National Assembly profoundly affects the lives of everyone living in Cardiff North. If you are keen to play your part and see real change, think independently and vote for me on May 5th

By Fiona Burt

Candidate Comments: Elin Walker Jones – Plaid Cymru

Guest post by Elin Walker Jones

Elin Walker Jones is the Plaid Cymru constituency candidate for Cardiff North.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, My Cardiff North.


I am standing on behalf of Plaid Cymru in Cardiff North because Wales deserves a better future. For 17 years, we have suffered a Welsh Labour Government, too scared to stand up to the Tories in Westminster, too complacent to provide a vision for Wales. Time for change!

We must make sure that people have homes but not at the expense of our beautiful and precious planet. We have to protect green spaces, everywhere. In this respect, we have to protect the green belt around the north area of Cardiff, and make sure that houses are built on brownfield sites. Under the Welsh Labour Government for example, land was sold to developers for a fraction of what it was worth – scandalous! In Lisvane, land was sold at its farming value of £1.8m instead of its housing value of “at least £39m”. What a waste of public money. Money that could have been used to create jobs, homes, schools, hospitals.

ElinMany people in Cardiff North work for the NHS, and we are all, NHS service users from time to time. I’ve spent twenty five years working in the NHS so I know only too well about the challenges facing our NHS. Thanks to miraculous advances in technology and science, we can save many more lives than ever before, we can alleviate suffering and improve people’s quality of life. However the NHS needs proper funding to do this, and a commitment from a strong Welsh Government over the long term. Plaid Cymru is committed to improving services, cutting waiting times for cancer patients, recruiting 1000 doctors and 5000 nurses, and abolishing home care charges for the elderly and people with dementia. And Plaid Cymru’s policy to tax sugary drinks has now received support from Jamie Oliver and even the Chancellor, George Osbourne!

However health is not just about acute services, not just about good hospitals, and not even just about good social care. Our biggest challenge in the 21st century is how do we transform the NHS from a treatment service to a service that promotes wellness and prevents illness.

Obesity, for example, is a 21st century crisis. 58% adults in Wales are overweight or obese (Welsh Health Survey 2015). In Merthyr Tydfil 1 in 6 children are obese, whilst a mere few miles away, 1 in 12 children are obese in the Vale of Glamorgan. We know that obesity is a direct result of poor diets, linked to social deprivation, and that it leads to preventable illnesses such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases which in turn, cost the NHS thousands of pounds each year. It doesn’t have to be like this!  A Plaid Cymru government will address the inequalities in the lifestyles of the Welsh population. We have so much to do and we have the will to make change.  A responsible government has a practical and moral duty to ensure that good, sustainable food is available to its population. Practically speaking, poor diets lead to obesity which costs the government in the form of an expensive health service. Morally speaking, a strong government has a moral responsibility to ensure that the population of its country is healthy and productive (Morgan, 2015). We can ensure that our precious NHS funds are spent on preventing rather than treating disease. We must support a food industry that produces food that is local, of good quality and affordable, for the health of the population and also for the health of the planet.

We must ensure that public health is properly funded, and people have the opportunities and skills to live healthy lives so they don’t get ill. This means supporting opportunities for active lifestyles, access to healthy food and affordable homes. Public health is also about educating our youngsters about emotional health and good citizenship, ensuring that they can learn work skills and access jobs, for a sense of wellbeing and purpose in life. It means building supportive communities, so we can help each other.

Wales needs a strong government with a vision for a healthy, sustainable future. Plaid Cymru is committed to a well Wales, a well-educated Wales and a wealthier Wales.

Plaid Cymru is the change that Wales needs.

Let’s do something different on May 5th – vote for change, vote for Plaid Cymru.

By Elin Walker Jones

*Morgan, K. (2015). The Senedd Papers #3: Good Food for All.

Candidate Comments: Julie Morgan – Labour

Guest post by Julie Morgan

Julie Morgan is the Labour Party’s constituency candidate for Cardiff North.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, My Cardiff North.

Julie Morgan

I’m Julie Morgan and I’ve been working hard for constituents in Cardiff North as their Assembly Member since 2011. It’s an area that I care deeply about and I was also MP for the constituency from 1997-2010.

In my time as Assembly Member I’ve worked flat out for my constituents, running a fully-staffed office open five days a week in Whitchurch and holding surgeries twice-weekly. My office has dealt with more than 3,000 cases since I was elected in 2011 and I will always go the extra mile to help people. I’ve chaired seven Cross-Party Groups at the Assembly – including on children, cancer and nursing and midwifery – and served on three committees: Environment, Public Accounts and Finance.

I’ve attended thousands of events and supported local causes, charities and schools. Just in the last 12 months I’ve organised events myself including my 15th Macmillan Coffee Morning (more than £10,000 raised over the years), a Velindre Coffee Morning, an Older People’s Event, an Environment Event, a green belt protest, a music and movement class for older people and a food waste event.

I’m standing for re-election again in 2016 because there’s still work to be done! On health I’ve lobbied long and hard for the £200m new Cancer Centre at Velindre which is now set to become a reality but I’m still lobbying for a Maggie’s – a drop-in support centre for cancer patients – to be built in the grounds of Velindre and hoping for good news on this soon.

I’ve worked for many years with a group of patients affected by the NHS contaminated blood scandal who contracted the disease Hepatitis C as a result. Last autumn we had excellent news when the Welsh Government agreed to fund a new drug which has already cured many of Hepatitis C but I’m still lobbying both the Welsh Government and Westminster on behalf of this group over what I fear will be a watered-down system of payments for them (this is currently under review by the Conservative government in London).

JulieOn the Environment I’ve lobbied for years for a green belt for the land north of the M4 which will benefit all Cardiff North residents and would secure this precious land for their children and grandchildren. I’ve submitted two major petitions on this – the most recent in 2015 – and we have at last succeeded in persuading the planners to give the area some protection, although in the form of a green ‘wedge’ not green belt. This means it will be protected for the next 10 years but the campaign for full, lasting protection continues.

I’ve been involved with the Reservoir Action Group in Lisvane and Llanishen for the long 15-year fight to stop the redevelopment of the reservoirs – and at last there has been good news on this. Now the reservoirs will revert to the ownership of Dwr Cymru Welsh Water and it has promised to re-open them for the enjoyment of the public. There’s still work to be done on this to make sure we can get sailing, fishing, walking and nature conservation back there.

One of my new campaigns I’ll be launching will be to ensure there is enough childcare provision in Cardiff North to enable people to take up Welsh Labour’s promise of 30 free hours of childcare a week for three and four-year-olds of working parents. Two nurseries have closed in the constituency while I’ve been AM (despite organising protests) so I feel this is a very important issue.

I’ll also be continuing my campaign on the control of dangerous dogs – dog microchipping comes in this April which is a step in the right direction but there’s more to be done – and for a ban on the use of snares which can trap wild animals and domestic pets especially cats.

Lastly one of my newest campaigns is on the subject of food waste. I held a debate in the Assembly on this which sparked a lot of interest and I will be campaigning for the supermarkets to be required by law to partner with charities to give away unwanted food, as new legislation in France has recently required them to do there.

I hope you’ll support me in my fight to win the Cardiff North constituency once again this year so I can carry on serving constituents and charities as I’ve done for a large part of my working life.

By Julie Morgan

Candidate Comments: Jayne Cowan – Conservatives

Guest post by Jayne Cowan

Jayne Cowan is the Conservative Party’s constituency candidate for Cardiff North.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, My Cardiff North.

Jayne Cowan

“My Cardiff North” – that’s exactly how I see the area in which I have lived all my life. I was born in Cardiff North, grew up in Cardiff North, went to school here, worked here and remain living here with my husband and both our families. I want the people of Cardiff North – us – to enjoy the best possible quality of life and I will work hard to achieve that ambition.
I have been privileged to serve as a councillor for Rhiwbina for 17 years. Throughout that time I have stood up and spoken up for local people. I have campaigned to preserve vital local facilities which local people value. I stood up against the Labour party when it threatened to close our libraries and other services forcing them into a humiliating climb down. I struggled to ensure that Labour honoured its commitment to preserve a green belt around Cardiff as part of Cardiff’s Local Development Plan only to witness Labour’s last minute retreat when their political masters in Cardiff Bay decided our opinion didn’t matter.

I believe that my experience and dedication and my record as a fighter for the people I serve will prove invaluable should I be elected to the National Assembly in May.

But this election isn’t only about Cardiff North. And hard work alone will not be enough. What Cardiff North needs – what Wales needs – is a change of Government. We need to be rid of this worn out Labour Government in Cardiff Bay that has been in power for 17 years and which has taken Wales backwards.

In 1997, Wales was 35th in the league tables of education standards – and that was totally unacceptable. Well today, thanks to a backward looking Labour Government, Wales stands 36th in science, 41st in reading and 43rd in maths. For the sake of our children we need to vote for change on May 5th.

Under Labour, Wales has the worst rate of economic inactivity of any region in the UK.

JayneOur Welsh Health Service is blessed with an army of hard working, committed and dedicated doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals supported by magnificent support staff who literally perform miracles every day. It’s a pity the same can’t be said of the politicians in Carwyn Jones’s failing Welsh Labour Government.

Welsh Labour politicians have led our health service from one crisis to another. Unlike in England where the Coalition government protected health spending, Welsh Labour starved our health service of the funding it needed.

In Wales General Practice is in crisis. Doctors are “handing in the keys” leaving thousands of people without a GP. Health Boards are in special measures citing failing leadership as the reason for failure. All this needs to change and a Welsh Conservative Government will make the changes Welsh health workers need.

In Cardiff North we have two centres of healthcare excellence – the University Hospital of Wales and the Velindre Cancer Hospital. Both are crying out for the type of investment that the Conservative planned £100 million pound Health Transformation Fund will deliver.

The sad truth is that this Labour Government has run out of ideas, run out of steam, and has no meaningful plan to turn things around. Wales has a government that after 17 years in power presides, over the poorest part of the UK; over a failing health service; over a failing education service.

It’s a government which sells land worth £36 million for just £20 million and which pays £52 million for an airport worth £20 million. It really does beggar belief. If it was a local authority it would be in special measures.

On May 5th the people of “My Cardiff North” can help change all that by voting for me as their local Assembly Member.

By Jayne Cowan

Candidate Comments: Chris von Ruhland – Green Party

Guest post by Chris von Ruhland

Chris von Ruhland is the Green Party’s constituency candidate for Cardiff North and regional list candidate for South Wales Central.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, My Cardiff North.

Photo of Chris von Ruhland

When I first visited Cardiff, over 35 years ago, what first impressed me was Bute Park and Sophia Gardens; magnificent public green spaces right in the middle of the city and flanking its major river. This contrasted sharply with the city from which I had come, namely London. I was informed that Cardiff had a greater proportion of green spaces than any other European city.

When I moved to Cardiff a few years later to study, and finally to live and work, I had many opportunities to explore it further. What struck me, in particular, was that the edges of the city, to the north and to the west at least, were clearly visible from many parts of Cardiff. I had lived for the past 2 years in southern Plymouth and, standing on the Hoe and looking north, all that I could see was a hillside covered in houses, like a huge wave of brick and stone. This contrasted sharply with the view that I now beheld. Cardiff was clearly a very special city.

The reason that the land to the north of the M4 has remained undeveloped is, primarily, topography; there are flatter places to build. Another reason is that the M4 motorway forms a barrier, albeit an unnatural one, to Cardiff’s northern expansion. There has also been considerable reluctance on the part of the city council, over many years and political hues, to release the land for development.

Bluebells on the Wenallt

While this area has been designated a green wedge under the local development plan, it only confers protection until 2026. Residents, councillors, local MPs and AMs are unanimous in their support for a Green Belt, that would protect this area for future generations, yet Cardiff Council failed to convince the planning inspectors.

Chris von Ruhland profile graphicThe inspectors were subject to the requirements of Planning Policy Wales, which has existed since 2002 and is now in its 8th edition. It is surprising, therefore, that any objections to the green belt proposal were not predicted and adequately addressed, particularly when the two institutions are a stone’s throw apart. Don’t people talk to one another?

The problem is that there appears to be no long term vision of how Wales in general, and Cardiff in particular will look in several decades’ time. Without this, there can be no meaningful short term planning; it is purely a reaction to existing circumstances. Cities, in general, become worse places as they get bigger; people must travel further for work, leisure and shopping, traffic congestion becomes a daily grind and air pollution becomes a serious problem. Cardiff seems to be on this trajectory, having become a victim of its own success. The demand for housing has never been greater and large areas of what remains of the green spaces that surround the city have been earmarked for development, with little apparent thought given to the necessary infrastructure requirements.

Such a laissez faire attitude will not protect the remaining green spaces and Cardiff is likely to expand inexorably, merging with Caerphilly to the north and Barry to the west; indeed, westward expansion into the Vale of Glamorgan was proposed many years ago to bring Cardiff airport into the city boundary. Fortunately, this madcap scheme was shelved.

In the city, we are constantly subjected to the sharp angles of buildings and, increasingly, great swathes of bland grey concrete or cladding; little wonder that some take it upon themselves to decorate these surfaces with graffiti/ urban art, depending upon your viewpoint. The natural and rural environment provide a necessary relief from these assaults on our senses. What is important, I think, is not just having open countryside so close to the city, but being able to see it, to know it is there. It defines its boundary. To lose this would be a travesty.

If we are to protect what we value, then we need to plan long-term, and much longer term than we have become  used to. Greens do this as a matter of course, which is why their voices are so desperately needed in the Senedd. What should be a place of vibrant and diverse political debate has become rather staid, with one party permanently in power. Little wonder that less has been achieved than we might expect. We need to shake up the Senedd.

By Chris von Ruhland