Saturday, 18th October, 2014.

Media Mistake

     Or is it?   For some reason, the media have leapt upon the news of the Scottish National Party’s new Leader.   The journalists and broadcasters have all been calling the lady “the first female leader of a major political party” (or something similar).

And that information is not true – surprise, surprise!

We have had Leanne Wood as Leader of Plaid Cymru for quite a time now.   She is a sensible and balanced person and comes out with some very useful and practical comments.   I have passed on some of her statements and pronouncements in this column.

But, in Wales, that fact that she is a woman seems to be ignored – and so it should be.   It is qualities of leadership and the way a leader conducts her- or himself which counts.

Not that I am ignoring the fact that both of these ladies have shown that there is now an attitude of gender-equality when it comes to electing a party leader.

Confusion In Wasteminster

     I’m sure those two ladies will agree with me on this one.

The whole of the Wasteminster government down there in far-away London seems to be in upheaval on who should vote of which issues.   This applies mainly to MPs who represent English constituencies.

Should those MPs, the question goes, be the only ones who are allowed to vote on matters which pertain only to England?

Seems a logical question to me.   And I have an answer.

Why is Mother England the only nation in the “United” Kingdom to remain without its own Parliament?   Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and even the Isle of Man and the Channel Isles have their own Assemblies or Parliaments.

Why not, therefore, allow Mother England to have the same?

Then, Wasteminster could ease out of such wrangling, allow each of those national governments to . . . er . . .  govern their own patches, leaving the London lot to concentrate on matters such as defence and similar programmes which concern the whole UK.

Political Laxity

     The General Election – the one where we use our democratic votes to put our representatives in Wasteminster – is closer than most of us realise.   Each of what we are taught to call “the three major parties” are splashing out on publicity and using some interesting rhetoric in public speeches (though that rhetoric seems to contain very little in the way of policy-statements!).

As I travel around in Wales, many people in our nation are fed up of getting pieces of paper stuck through their letter-boxes telling them how wonderful one or other political party is.

Often, the voters have never before heard of the candidates.

A friend of mine who lives in a small town in Mid-Wales summed up the situation.   “I’ve not had a single candidate knock on my door so that I could ask him questions about the things which concern me,” he said, “And I’ll vote for the first one who gets out of his or her comfort-zone and does that.”

So come on, you potential MPs – let’s get to know you personally without us having to attend one of your political rallies!

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Saturday, 11th October, 2014.

Economical Facts

     She is a retired school-teacher who worked hard to educate youngsters here in Wales for many years.   Having built up a reasonable personal pension during here working life, she decided to take slightly early retirement.   Then, when she reached the age of sixty, she could augment the steady income from her school-teacher’s pension with the State Retirement Pension and enjoy a financially sound retirement.

     Firstly, she was surprised that her income from that private personal pension was taxable!   Her income from which she had paid in had been taxed at source, of course.

Then, as she reached her late fifties, she was told that she would have to wait till she is sixty-seven before she would be eligible for State Pension.

She needed extra cash to do the things she had planned for her retirement at sixty – things like holidays abroad.   She had worked hard all her life and thought she had earned such “luxuries”.

So she has started a small, reasonably profitable business for herself, and the reasonable success of that has helped her achieve a few of her retirement goals.   I shall continue to support that little business, for I believe she deserves my support.

Now I see that our current Wasteminster government has veiled plans to cut OAPs’ Winter Fuel Allowance among other things.   Something needs to be done to help the People of Wales!

Something IS . . .

     . . . Plaid Cymru is already making a list of things which would strengthen and enlarge the decision making of our Welsh Assembly Government.   The plan seems to be to know just what Wales needs and wants by way of self-determination.

Some may argue that it’s a step towards independence.   Some may not want independence.   But the result of the Clacton (England) election result, perhaps we need to distance ourselves from severe Right Wing politics.   Remember:  Hitler looked like a moderate before he gained power.

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Saturday, 4th October, 2014.

Cuts, Cuts And More Cuts

     Our Welsh Assembly Government has made it be known that there’s less money coming the way of local assets.

That means the upkeep of such things as leisure facilities and libraries will be affected.   Indeed, I have heard that some of those facilities may well have to be closed completely.

That is, of course, unless local folk start raising funds to keep them going!

With the Wasteminster government already spending money – much of it paid in by Welsh tax-payers – on what some are already calling “Armageddon” there in the Middle East, one wonders why that illustrious body can’t slip a bit Wales’ way.   It could, for instance, keep libraries open.

Alas, though, it seems that libraries are dangerous places.   Did I hear you ask “Why?”?

They are dangerous because they contain ideas.   And some of those ideas may not coincide with the aims and ideals of those who control us Proles.

Mustn’t have us demanding change, must they?

So, People of Wales, let us unite in saving our local facilities, whatever they may be.   And keep our land as fit – and as educated – as it always has tried to be.

And, until I get round to reading a missive sent to me by Plaid Cymru which has Dafydd Wigley’s picture beaming out from it, that is all I have to say at the moment.

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Saturday, 27th September, 2014.

A Message From Wales To Westminster

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Social Comment

     I was in the heart of Wild Wales recently.   It’s a place where the Welsh language is still strong, so there is a real sense of community.

There I met an old pal who I hadn’t seen for a while.   We had an interesting chat – in English, because my Cymraeg is not totally fluent, and there was much catching up to do.   We drifted onto the subject of the increasing number of English immigrants who are coming to live in rural Wales presently.

“You know why more of ‘em are coming here, don’t you?” he asked me.

“It’s better than living in England!”, I joked.

But he was being serious.   “It’s a racist thing,” he told me, “And they’re trying to get away from all these coloured immigrants who keep moving into the English big cities.”

He had asked many of them, it seems, for their reasons for coming to live in rural Wales, and the majority admitted to be escaping from those immigrants.

“It’s changing our own communities,” he said a little sadly.   “We seem to be speaking more and more English these days so that the incomers can understand what we’re saying to them.   It’ll take a couple of generations before their families take on Welshness.”

If my pal is right, I feel saddened.   Surely the immigrants from ex-colonies who come to England are coming for a better life.   And that, my friends, is nothing to be ashamed of.

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Saturday, 20th September, 2014.

Cause And Effect

     The result of the Scottish Referendum surprised many of us in Wales, including me.   I was so pleased at Plaid Cymru’s stance on the whole thing.   Leanne Wood and her crew recognised that Scottish Independence would lead the way for other parts of the “United” Kingdom going for the same.

It was obvious, I suppose, to the People of Wales that Scotland’s choice would affect so much in these Isles.   Even the “No” vote will produce some lasting effects on the way each part of the UK sees itself.

Indeed, it may lead to Mother England getting her own Assembly.   Oh, no – hers would have to be a Parliament!

Any time now, Wales will be moving towards an Independence Referendum.   But, I feel, there is much work, much convincing to be done before we are permitted to make our choice.

It’s already being said that there were issues not discussed or made public by the Scottish nationalists:  things like defence or the retention of the monarchy.   And one of my friends asked me a few days ago what would happen if farmland covered both Scotland and some of England near to the Border.

David Cameron (who is greatly relieved at the outcome) and his Tory crew were very late in telling Scots that, if they stayed in the UK, they would have more powers to run their own affairs.   Obviously an electioneering ploy.

Now he’s reported to have said that he will allow Wales to “have a bigger say in its affairs”.   Wonder why he’s saying that at this time?

And that’s about it for this week.   I have dealt with what is probably the biggest story.

The only niggling worry I have is whether the Scottish news was used to overshadow news of what is happening in, say, the Middle East

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Saturday, 13th September, 2014.

Democracy?

     It seems that the Wasteminster wallahs are about to make it possible for crooked MPs to get the sack.   “About time, too!” I hear you cry.

Certainly, the idea seems just.   You and I would get the sack instantly if we fiddled our expenses or did something equally – or more – crooked.

So, it the person you sent to Wasteminster from your area breaks the rules, it’s the sack for that crooked person.   And it’s you and I who will see . . . er . . . no, I’m wrong:  it’s not the voters who’ll do the sacking.   It’s fellow MPs!   There’s a fiddle if you like!

We in Wales have our own (subservient) government.   I do not know of any AM who seems to be on the fiddle.   The ones I know personally are decent people who represent areas in which they were born and raised.

So how about Wales setting the standards and insisting that – if an AM is naughty – it is us, the People of Wales who do the sacking?   That seems democratic to me.

A Sad Closure

     It seems that the University of South Wales is about to close down its campus in Caerleon.   They’re going to spend three-million quid on expanding their campus in Newport.

I suppose, as I age, I dislike change more and more.   But I suppose this plan will have to go ahead.

What makes me sad is that the beautiful old building which held all those students may stand empty for a while.   It seemed the perfect place for a university base.   And its atmosphere is so conducive to study.

However, I wish USW well and hope their plans are successful.

Pointing The Way?

     In a few days time, our Scottish friends will be voting in their Independence Referendum.   For their nation to have come that far is an achievement.

I keep hearing “What will it do for Wales?”, and, indeed, one wonders how the result of Scotland’s bid for freedom from Wasteminster rule – whichever way it goes – will affect our land.

It’s good, of course, that the Scots have got this far without a violent revolution.   We, too, must work towards our own Independence Referendum in a peaceful manner – however much anger our frustration engenders.

The Scottish independence-movement had a big boost from The Three Stooges . . . sorry:  the three major-party leaders a few days ago.   The rhubarb all three of ‘em spouted is enough to change the minds of potential “No” voters.

Let’s get working towards the same sort of democratic vote which the Scots are getting.

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Saturday, 6th September, 2014.

Hot Stuff

     It was strange, as I drove along listening to the Beeb’s “premier” radio-station, Radio 4 UK, to hear Wales mentioned specifically in a weather forecast.

Yes, they often flit through the weather they guess will hit Wales – and they usually combine our whole forecast in the mythical area of Englandnwales.   And the way it’s done is more confusing than enlightening.

When they give out the temperatures for Wales or Scotland or Northern Ireland or England, it’s usually the capitals which they mention.   I don’t think the London-based Beeb realises that our land is a bit bigger than an English county!   The temperature forecast for Cardiff applies to very little of this country, for most of us live a goodly distance from our capital.

So when the excellent town of Pembroke was said to have had the highest temperature in the British Isles one day this week, I was so very pleased.   I wonder, though, if the man who read the weather forecast that evening knew where Pembroke was or how far it is from Cardiff.

Supporting Our Friends

     I received a mail-shot from Plaid Cymru this week inviting me to a meeting to discuss how we, the people of Wales, can show support for and help the folk in Scotland who are working towards a “Yes” vote soon.

It struck me as odd at first.   Then I realised that Scotland’s progress towards independence may well set the pattern for other parts of the “United” Kingdom to gain the same.

So what we learn from the Scots will be put into practice as we, too, head towards independence.

The only thing I would ask Plaid to do is to make a clear answer to a question I hear asked in many parts of Wales.   Our people ask:  “Independence from WHAT?”

Over to you, Plaid Cymru.

And I wish success to Scotland’s “Yes” campaign.

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