Saturday, 30th August, 2014

 

Tough At The Top

     The forthcoming NATO summit is nearly upon us.   The protesters are already upon us.

The summit will take place in Newport and, it’s said, thousands of protesters are going to stay in a specially created camp at Tredegar Park.   And it seems that the first demo will be today.

The camp has all mod cons, so the protesters will look a lot less scruffy than those on some of the demos I’ve been on!

Already, both Cardiff and Newport look like Colditz.   Security fencing has been put up round the twin cities, just in case somebody starts speaking Welsh in front of the NATO reps – sorry:  heads of state and ministers – and it starts a security alert.

The real purpose of the protest is pretty obvious:  the protesters want NATO to declare peace instead of war in various lands on which the Organisation seems to have its sites.

Perhaps the representatives should have chosen an place which is not well known to most people.   Can you imagine a terrorist trying to ask the way to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwrndrobwllllandysuliogogogoch?!

 An Alien Feature?

     No – there’s been no creatures from outer space wandering through our land!   That’s the phrase protesters up in Llanaelhaearn (another candidate for the NATO conference?) are calling the wind turbine which it’s proposed to be built there.

The anti-turbine people seem to be in a minority in the area.   And they’re claiming that they’re being “ostracised” for their stance.

It’s said that such a turbine could bring in three-million pounds profit over the next twenty years.   And a small, struggling community could really use such a boost to the locality.

As I travel round Wales, I see lots of wind-turbines decorating our hills.   And, as ever, I pose the question:  how much use are they REALLY?

It Ain’t What You Do . . .

       . . . it’s what you wear when you do it.

At least that’s what Judge David Wyn Morgan believes.   The Judge criticised a defending council because the man had long hair and wore his St. John’s Ambulance medal whilst in court.

Apparently, the Judge would have approved of barrister Alan Blacker wearing flowing robes and a wig.   I think panto-dames wear something like that, too.

My congratulations to Alan for not sticking to the rules, but just getting on with the job in hand.

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Saturday, 23rd August, 2014.

Remembering

     My mind has been full this week of the commemorations going on as we’re reminded – constantly – of the start of the slaughter which happened in Europe between 1914 and 1918.

Why, I wonder, do we need to commemorate the start of such a filthy war?   Why do we say that those who died “gave their lives” when we know full well that those lives were taken?   Conscription was used to fill the ranks as the war dragged on.   And the conscripts – ordinary lads from the slums of Britain mainly – were slaughtered in their thousands.

And yet we must remember.   We must remember that the First World War was started by politicians.   We must remember those who started it were seeking power and material gains.   We must remember that most of those who fought that war had been convinced by propaganda that they were doing it “for King and Country”.   We must remember that those ordinary lads who were convinced were used as virtual slaves by the power-seekers before that war started.

These thoughts were started by hearing of the unveiling of a memorial plaque at the Menin Gate, near Ypres, Belgium, on Sunday of this week.

It is a plaque dedicated to our Welsh soldiers who were killed in that awful fray.   They had died “in Flanders field”, and nearly every family in Wales and in Britain lost someone in that “War To End All Wars”.

Whenever I pass through a place in Wales where there’s a war-memorial, I stop – if I can – and read the names of the dead commemorated.   Yes, it was a century ago when it all began.   But the truths about what happened must be remembered.

And a final question.   The Menin Gate plaque has inscriptions in four languages.   Why is not Welsh one of them?

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Saturday, 16th August, 2014.

“ON THIS SPOT . . .

     . . . IN 1832, NOTHING HAPPENED.”

Thus reads an amusing spoof memorial plaque in a friend’s garden.   It’s probably a true statement:  he lives in the middle of rural Wales, under the shadow of the Cambrian Mountains.

However, apart from reports of people doing nasty things to each other or fiddling their expences, there has been nothing for me to comment on this week.

Usually, some politician or other does something dafter than the rest of his kind (which takes great talent).   If you don’t live in our land, you may find that hard to believe!   And, being of a political nature, I expand on such events in this column.

So, “for reasons beyond my control”, this column will be a little shorter than usual.

I cannot let you thing that there has been no real news in Wales this week, of course.   Therefore, I will tell you – and the rest of the world – that, after weeks of hot sunshine, we are now into the monsoon season with yellow-alerts of flooding all over the place.

Bet that comes as exciting news!

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Saturday, 9th August, 2014.

“Catching Up”

     That’s the official statement, anyway.   About Welsh broadband connections, that is.   Apparently, our land is way behind in having superfast broadband connections.

The average UK figure of premises covered by this connection is nearly eighty percent.

Nowhere in Wales is it much more than fifty percent.

I suppose the reason given for this difference is, as so often:  “Well, it’s only Wales . . . “

Perhaps our Assembly Government should be raising a rumpus.   Or are the bods in Bay Watch too busy with other matters?

Here’s one such matter:-

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Saturday, 2nd August, 2014

The Good News

     I make no apologies for the shortness of this article this week.   The only political news seemed – until I saw this picture – non-existent.   So I thought it fitting to show what a real political leader is saying.   If you live in Wales, remember this and the other common-sense words spoken by this lady when you next go to vote.

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Saturday, 26th July, 2014.

The Cost Of Living?

     It seems that our Assembly Government is just getting round to admitting that alcohol can lead to bad health.

Mind you, so can jumping off cliffs and standing in the way of oncoming trains.   The choice, therefore, must be left with the user (or jumper or stander!).

But it must be an informed choice.   And, clearly, we as a society do not always understand the dangers of the drug called alcohol.

So our Assembly, bless ‘em, are hoping to introduce a minimum price for alcohol in our land.   This decision is backed by a team of experts who comprise a panel of advisors.

The minimum price – 50p per unit – could be made law under the Public Health Bill.   I was going to add “soon” at the end of that sentence but, like all political acts, it will take best part of a year to implement.

Cheats Spoil A System

     It seems that people have been defrauding the system by claiming disabilities they do not have in order to get blue badges to which they’re not entitled.   That’s so they can use parking-spaces set apart for genuinely disabled folk.

A rotten practice, of course, but it’s gone on for a long time.

Now, Peter Black AM has brought the matter up in our Assembly.   Peter has helped several people, who are genuinely disabled, to hold onto their blue badges.   Well done him!

Looks, though, as if the evidence of entitlement rules are going to be much stricter in future.   It’s said that genuine cases may lose out – and that’s just because of the dishonesty of a tiny minority in our society.

I saw recently a sticker on the windscreen of a car illegally left in a parking-bay clearly marked for disabled folk only.   The sticker read:  “I you take my parking space will you also take my disability?”

When In Doubt . . .

     . . . talk about the weather!

And there’s been a lot of talk about that subject over the last few days, and even weeks.   It really is a very different Summer from what we’re used to, and I make no apologies for mentioning the subject.

Here in Wales, the holiday-trade seems to have benefited from what’s happening.   Many folk from the Midlands and Lancashire seem to have nipped over Offa’s Dyke for a quick awayday or a weekend.   And I’m told that holiday booking at resorts have risen appreciably.

Yet Welsh farmers are having difficulties.   No rain plus burning sun has reduced the grass on which to graze our livestock.   If you look at the tops of our mountains, you will notice they are very brown.

Climate-change is the cause.   But, if you’re pardon the phrase, let us make hay while the sun shines – and extend a warm Welsh welcome to our visitors!

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Saturday, 19th July, 2014

Phew!

          There have been complaints in every part of Wales about the weather.   There always are, of course, but I got fed up this week of being told by the Jonahs that “Ooooh, we shall suffer for this!”.

When I’m sitting under a friendly tree, avoiding the hot rays of the sun burning my flesh, the last thing I want to think about is something dismal which may – or may not – happen.

I wonder whether the Welsh pessimism is genetic or caused by our past history.   Either way, I wish the people who prophesy doom and gloom would keep away from me.

Because, whatever the weather, we have the privilege of living in Wales.

Sports Report

          It seems that, sometimes, sport gets too big for itself!   Yes, I know the biggest thing about most sports – Soccer especially – is the size of its players’ salaries.   But we’re talking about sport here, not the prima-donnas who are involved in it.

The Snowdon Race is a popular event:  a 10-mile foot race over ten miles of some tough Welsh country.   It’s well supported by local communities, too.

However, Stephen Edwards who, with his Committee, organises the big day is quoted as saying the event has become “too big”.   And it’ll take a lot more hard cash to keep it going.

There are six-hundred-and-fifty entrants for today’s race, by the way.   A popular event, then.

So let us hope that the cash comes in and the tradition continues.

                                        Animal Neglect

Down by Ebbw Vale is Manmoel Common.   That’s where abandoned horses live – they’re referred to as “feral”.   I suppose they are, having to look after themselves in all weathers.

Some have died but there is now hope for the others.

The RSPCA, bless ‘em, have found proper homes for the remaining horses.   They’ll soon begin their new lives in Devonshire, Norfolk and Carmarthenshire.   Great news.

But questions must be asked.

Why were they abandoned in the first place?   What is being done to find who abandoned the animals?

And what will be done to those people when they are found . . . ?

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