Saturday, 30th April, 2016

Here We Go Again!

     Looks like there’s squabbling still going on as the big-boys strive to buy Port Talbot steelworks.   Potential buyers come and potential buyers go – at least that’s how it seems to most of us.

The latest offerer says that it cannot take on Tata’s pensions liabilities.   Looks to me – a complete outsider in such deals – that the people who work at the plant may not get their expected pensions, then.

Nothing is decided – nor is anything straightforward

And it’s people’s lives the big-boys are dealing with here.

A Quiet Protest

     I hardly noticed the reporting of a strike which is going on.   I suppose the Junior Doctors have overshadowed it.

The members of the Public & Commercial Services Union – no, I’d never heard of it, either – are “taking indefinite action” because, for working at weekends in our Welsh museums, they are not going to be paid!

This dispute has been going on for a couple of years – and I don’t think even the Welsh media have mentioned it before.   The bosses – the National Museum of Wales – say they haven’t got the money to pay the Union members for all the work they do.

Next Week Is Important!

     Important because we’re about to have an election.   It will be to elect our Assembly Members.   And, though the politicians in London seem to have managed to deter many of us from voting, let us show ‘em!

Let us just get out there and vote!!!

That will show our London masters that The People Of Wales are perfectly capable of making our own decisions.

And it would be great if we elected AMs who are rooted in Wales – and whose party has its headquarters in Wales.   And there’s only one party which fits that bill.

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Saturday, 23rd April, 2016

More News From Port Talbot

     Rumours and rumours of rumours are flying about as the fate of the steelworks is still not resolved.   As I’ve said before:  it is the workforce which is suffering most under this threat of closure, not the wealthier people who own the place.

     Yet there are various who have shown an interest in taking over the plant.   That includes the Wasteminster government which seems to have said that it would chip in a bit towards helping a potential buyer.

     But the worst thing I’ve heard – and it shocked me – is that the workers at the plant may be asked to cough up TEN THOUSAND POUNDS EACH to keep it open!

     How, I ask, would ordinary shop-floor workers find such a sum if push came to shove?

     The bankers will be rubbing their hands if this idea goes ahead – they will the ones who’ll benefit when the workers are forced to borrow from them to find the cash to save the steelworks.

The New Boss Speaks

     Vanessa Young is the fairly-new Director of Wales’ National Health Service.   And she has made a major statement about the Service.

     Ms. Young says that a quite radical overhaul is needed, including recruiting more staff and improving facilities for our old people.   The number of those old people is increasing all the time.

     I’m told that it will be best for Wales to stay as part of the EU.   That seems to be because our Assembly Government will gain EU grants and, hopefully, much of that Eurocash will be spent on our NHS.

Vote, Vote, Vote!

     Looks like many – if not most – of the electorate is so fed up of politics (and so busy watching telly) that they will not be exercising their right to use a democratic vote.   And that is a sad situation.

     I trust, dear reader, that you will encourage your family and friends to use that very hard-won privilege.   However, there something about next month’s Assembly election which is confusing many of us.

     We can vote for an individual candidate to take care of local affairs.   And we can vote for a group of candidates from one party or another to become our Regional representative.

     So, if we look at the people in a group or such representatives and find one who we can’t stand, what do we do?

     In my opinion, each of the thirteen original Welsh counties should elect but one candidate.   Then, those thirteen elected members should be the total number of our Assembly – and they should meet in Owain Glyndwr’s Parliament Building in Machylleth.   That would save a lot of upkeep expense – electricity, cleaning bills, etc.

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Saturday, 16th April, 2016

Good News For Cardis!

     Some of my readers may not know that Cardis are people who come from Old Cardiganshire, now Ceredigion.   They have a certain reputation.

‘Tis said that a Cardi can buy from a Jew and sell to a Scotsman at a profit.

So the news of the 2018 national Eisteddfod must have spread like wildfire up there in Ceredigion, and warmed many a Welsh heart.   For the news is that, when the Eisteddfod is held in Cardiff Bay, admission with be free!

But hang on a minute!   Surely that news won’t increase the number of Cardis travelling to Cardiff Bay just for the Eisteddfod.   To do so would involve travelling expenses, and cash is more important than culture . . .

Port Talbot

     I find the lack of reported news about the goings-on over the steelworks in that splendid town is more disturbing than the announcement of its closure.

We – the People of Wales – need to know, on a day to day basis, just what’s happening there.   And the families who are worrying about their future need to know that even more so!

Come on, Wasteminster, let’s have some open reporting.

Faster, Faster!

     The speed limits on Welsh motorways are to be increased from 70 mph to 80 mph.

Well, that’s the Tory plan if they ever get chance to implement it.

They claim that the extra 10 mph will make Wales a more prosperous place, because we’ll be able to move goods around quicker.

They make no mention of extra accidents . . .

Did You Know . . .

     . . . that, by clicking on “Follow”, you can receive all editions of this weekly column via e-mail?

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Saturday, 9th April, 2016

Unfinished Business

     At the time of going to press, there’s nothing definite to report about what’ll happen next at the Port Talbot steelworks.

     There’s been a bit of coming and going among various parties, but nobody yet seems to have made a proper financial bid for the plant.   I imagine that the families who are going to be affected by whatever the result is are nervously waiting to know their fate.   Not a pleasant time for them.

      Looks like the current Wasteminster government is looking forward to a closure of the plant and to importing steel from China.   Wonder what sort of profit anyone will get from that.

     Let us hope to hear good news soon.

A Good Restoration Programme

     The little and lovely village of Llanfair Clydogau in Ceredigion was split down the middle by the partial collapse of its bridge which spans the Teifi.   It’s a lovely spot, and a grand place to take photos.

     Now, Ceredigion Council is about to start repair work.   A good way for any Council in Wales to help the local people who need things doing.

     Presently, the bridge – 300 years old – is OK for pedestrians, but unsafe for vehicles.  That makes it difficult for the people who live “on the wrong side of the river” to nip into nearby Lampeter for their shopping or whatever.

      Let us hope the work’s completed quickly so that you, dear reader, can visit the area this Summer and enjoy photographing the bridge – and all the pretty scenery which surrounds it.

     I am a great believer in The People of Wales getting to know their own land better – and spending their money here to help local economies.

News From Our Capital

          The Coal Exchange building in Cardiff is a fine-looking edifice.   As its name implies, it was built when Wales had a coal-mining industry.   It is a Listed Building, but has stood empty for a very long time.

     Now there a plan to make it into a luxury (you can say that again!) hotel.   That plan will be put into operation soon, and Cardiff Bay will, I think benefit from the work.   Not that I’ll ever be able to afford to stay in such a place!

     But it’ll be another place for visitors to admire and to take more photographs.

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Saturday, 2nd April, 2016

Only One Thing To Say

     I have scanned the news of Wales this week, and I find that there’s nothing more important than the closure of our Port Talbot steelworks.

     Yes, the Wasteminster government in London is bring up all sorts of reasons why they can’t save the plant.   Some of those reasons as nearly plausible, too.   But, basically, the Tories are trying to get into the good books of China for materialistic reasons.

     Also, this closure could be another step to purposely break down strong communities.   Look what happened when the miners – and their families – in The Valleys showed the strength of their communities in opposing Milk Snatcher Thatcher.

     There was strength of purpose among those miners – which was one of the hidden reasons for the Tories to close the mines.

     You see, when people work together, they discuss the issues which affect them and their families.   They and their families chat about those issues “over the garden wall” and in the pubs.   That is how the Trades Union Movement evolved:  talking together and working together for the common good.

     Lots of ordinary working-folk – as well as caring politicians – have suggested, both publicly and privately, that the way to stop the closure of Port Talbot’s major industry is to Nationalise the plant.   But d’you think a London-based Tory government will do that?   Neither do I.

     This column is read by people who do not live in our land or, indeed, in the British Isles, so I publish this link which may help those good folk to understand what is happening in and to Wales.

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Saturday, 26th March, 2016

Making A Point

     When I first saw the headline, it looked like the skies had opened and all along Swansea Bay had received showers of drawing-pins from passing clouds.

But a report on Radio Wales put me right.

It seems that someone or someones has or have been sprinkling those drawing pins all along a stretch of the path from Mumbles to Swansea.   Clearly the culprit/culprits have no sense of social-responsibility and probably “did it for laughs”.

Bicycle tyres have been punctured, joggers footwear has collected a fair bit of metallic soling and heeling, and dog-walkers have seen their pooches’ paws injured.

Did not those “out for a laugh” not have the mental capacity to see the problems they would cause?

The answer to that is clearly “No”.

Progress In A Small Place

     I never think of Tregaron, up there in Ceredigion, as being a very big town.   Indeed, on my visits there, it looks to me more like a small village.

But, even in such a place, progress into the 21st Century is being made.

A lot of money is going to be spent – and rightly so, say I – on creating a proper care and health centre there to help lots of people all over that part of the county.   It means converting the small hospital there into a place to which people can go for all sorts of health help and advice.

If Wales receives such assets, the money will be well invested.   Better by far than creating Trident missiles or any instruments of war.

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Saturday, 19th March, 2016

Good News All Round!

    Well, maybe not all round.   But there’s certainly a lot about.

The latest figures indicate that we have more people in employment here in Wales than ever before!   I suppose it’s a case of “seek and ye shall find” as much as anything else, but it’s a great statistic, anyway.

And the figures for those who have not yet found jobs is well down, too.

Carwyn Jones, our government’s First Minister, is please at all that news, and says that our economy is going from strength to strength.   Let us hope he is right.

And there are job opportunities cropping up everywhere.

For instance, Bardsey Island is looking for an Information & Volunteer Officer.   The lucky applicant will spend about five months living on Bardsey.   Just think:  no noisy neighbours – unless you count sea-birds.

More good news for the Merthyr Tydfil area, too.

EE – a company which seems to own the entire mobile-phone networks – in going to create one—hundred-and-thirty-eight jobs in its call centre there.

There’s to be a new Chief Executive Officer at Betsi Cadwaladr Hospital, a place which has been in the news a lot over recent months.   Gary Doherty, the man who got the job, looks as if he’s got the bit between his teeth and is going to sort the running of the hospital, thus putting it on a more efficient base.

So I hope all that good news satisfies the gloom-merchants who complain about all sort of things – even to the point of saying, as usual, in this lovely weather we’ve been enjoying:  “Oo-ooh, we shall suffer for this”.

Prices Are Coming Down!

     Well, they are if you need to go to Mother England.

The tolls for crossing the Severn Bridge are going to be halved, thanks to Chancellor George Osborne.   (Couldn’t miss this week’s Budget out, could I?)

The cut will take place in – oh, dear – 2018.

Hmm – why am I reminded about that little rhyme of Max Boyce’s?

“Two nations now united

Across the ocean wide.

And all the tolls collected

Upon the English side . . . “

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