Twas the Election Before Christmas…

“What? Another one?”

This was the Brenda-like response by Naomi Williams in the Positif office as we braced ourselves for yet another snap General Election campaign when Boris Johnson finally succeeded in getting motion through to dissolve Parliament.

“I’ve been here less than four years and we’ve had as many public votes as Christmas parties,” was the view of the newest old member of Positif staff, Dafydd Huw.

“I think it’ll be more like 1892 than 1885,” was the considered opinion of seasoned pundit Rhodri ab Owen.

“You’re obsessed with nineteenth century Ceredigion,” grumbled Daran Hill miserably. “The only thing that’s similar about elections is that they are all bastards.”

“We’re not having a party again,” was Susan Bowen’s frosty view. “The stains are still in the carpet since 2016.”

Everyone’s eyes turned to Beryl Wichard. She was already opening a bottle of red and getting the lid off the Christmas chutney. “It’s going to be a cold one… I’m bringing in my electric blanket.”

It was the Election we had all seen on the horizon but always suspected would be incredibly difficult to call. As we enter the last days of the campaign, Positif is proud we pulled our General Election package more quickly than ever before and sold a record number of subscriptions. If you want our predictions, you should have bought a package, but what we will say is that it has been a hard fought campaign. Every election has winners and losers, and no doubt some excellent people will fail to be elected this week, but that’s the cut and thrust of democracy. But hey – a Christmas appeal – let’s not have another election in 2020!

Sign up today for our full results only service on Friday 13 December 2019 for just £50 including VAT.

“Just like the two old men from the Muppets,” was the view of Welsh Counsel General Jeremy Miles when he heard Positif’s Managing Director Daran Hill was due to be fronting a new twice weekly podcast with one of the Assembly’s most forthright contributors, Alun Davies.

Pot of tea and a podcast. Alun Davies AM, Eluned Parrott, David Melding AM and Llyr Gruffydd AM

Well, they haven’t been quite as miserable as many had forecast – as you can see from the photos of a couple of the recordings – but Daran and Alun have kept up an array of recordings throughout the election period with guests including Assembly Members Suzy Davies, Vikki Howells, Nick Ramsay, Ann Jones, Bethan Sayed and Kirsty Williams; along with eminent pundits like Jess Blair, Siobhan Corria, David Taylor, Kate Evans and former Assembly Members Jocelyn Davies, Jonathan Morgan and Eluned Parrott.

Commenting on the podcasts, Daran Hill said: “Doing a virtually live podcast like This is Not a Hustings twice a week has been the real highlight of my election and Alun and I are grateful to so many colleagues for joining us and being grilled, teased and showcased. Politics is always at its best when it produces something fresh and newsworthy and we always knew we could rely on Darren Millar to get us some BBC coverage on only our second episode!”

Alun Davies AM, John Pocket, Jonathan Morgan, Daran Hill, Siobhan Corria

As the election draws to a close, so will this year’s episodes of This is Not a Hustings, but following positive feedback and good listening numbers Daran and Alun and are pondering what comes next. You can listen back to all the episodes here:

Events, dear boy, events!

Positif Thinking: Affordable Housing Supply Review Panel Discussion

Positif Thinking Event

Back in September, Positif teamed up with Hugh James and Community Housing Cymru to host a panel discussion on the Affordable Housing Review, as part of our Positif Thinking series. The event brought representatives from across the housing sector in Wales together to discuss the review of affordable housing supply and how the recommendations will work in practice.

The panel, chaired by our very own Naomi Williams, included James Burgess, Head of Housing Supply, Welsh Government; Dr Roisin Willmott, OBE FRTPI, Royal Town Planning Institute; Richard Macphail, Partner, Head of Social Housing, Hugh James and Stuart Ropke, Chief Executive, Community Housing Cymru. A video of the event can be found here

Living with Persistent Pain

On the evening of 3rd December, Positif were delighted to work with the Chronic Pain Policy Coalition on a reception in the Oriel Gallery which looked at the Welsh Government guidance on Living with Persistent Pain in Wales.

Russell George AM sponsors the Living with Persistent Pain event

The aim of the guidance is to move towards a greater focus on helping people to develop skills to enable them to manage persistent pain for themselves in their daily life, and so increase their ability to stay in work and maximise their physical, mental and economic well-being. The event brought together many of Wales’ leading pain experts, people living with pain, and other key stakeholders to discuss this serious matter further.

Learner of the Year Awards 2019

Suzy Davies AM with Caitlin Furnell who won the Traineeship Engagement Award

Last week we worked with People Plus on their Learner of the Year Awards and it was fantastic opportunity for AMs to spend some time meeting with so many hardworking apprentices, providers and employers and to celebrate the work they do. The awards were held in the Pierhead and saw over 100 people attend from a range of companies who were up for awards in 7 categories.

Read all about it…

In December we joined Daran at the launch of his long-awaited book “The Public Affairs Guide to Wales:  The Handbook of Effective and Ethical Lobbying”.

Daran Hill at the book launch

The Public Affairs Guide to Wales is the essential handbook for organisations seeking to effectively and ethically lobby the Welsh Government and the National Assembly (Senedd), and is packed with invaluable advice on devising public affairs strategies and campaigns that achieve success on a limited budget. 

Daran Hill’s step-by-step guide – for private, public and third sector organisations – expertly strips away the mysteries and misconceptions of engaging with the Welsh  Government, Opposition parties, as well as with individual AMs, committees and the civil service, and will empower campaigners to maximise their influence and to ensure their voice is heard

Grab your copy from Amazon or Gwales – the perfect Christmas stocking filler!

Get to know….

In every newsletter, we call on either a member of staff or one of our clients to reveal a bit about themselves in our ‘Get to know’ series. This time, we’re getting to know Kieron Rees, Head of External Affairs and Policy at Universities Wales.

Kieron Rees from Universities Wales

If you could go back to one place in the world, where would that be?  

Probably Sziget Festival in Budapest, I used to go every year but haven’t been since 2014. Although going back there would probably just make me feel old at this point.

Who would play you in a film about your life?

I have consulted widely and the consensus is ‘Steve from Sex in the City’.

Favorite album?

It would have to be either Elliott Smith’s XO or The Mountain Goats’ The Sunset Tree.

What are you reading at the moment?

 I’ve a few things on the go at the moment: Haruki Murakami’s Men Without Women, a David Sedaris collection, and the Watchmen graphic novel because the TV series has been brilliant.

What would be your last meal?

 Yorkshire puddings. Just Yorkshire puddings.