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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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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