Apology

Sorry, folks:  for technical reasons – lost files – my Weekend Wales Watch won’t be published for a couple oof weeks. Just when I wanted to mention that the only Lib-Dem MP in Wales was left out of the party’s “cabinet”.

Keep visiting my blog – I’ll be back.

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Saturday, 25th July, 2015

Reasons And Excuses

     No, I’m not going to launch into a tirade about the oft-uselessness of politicians in general!   What I have to say is a little closer to home.

I’ve been accused – quite often it seems – of being anti-English in this column and elsewhere.   Perhaps, for instance, when I speak out about the English looking upon Wales as another of their counties, my opinions may be misinterpreted as being critical of every aspect of Mother England and her people.

What I try to point out is that Wales is a nation, just as England, Scotland and Japan or wherever.   And that we should be treated as such.

Alas, Welsh-nationalism is often used by a tiny percentage of the People of Wales as an excuse for prejudice.   And that prejudice is usually aimed at “These English”.

To be a Welsh-nationalist is not to be anti-English – it is to be pro-Welsh.   And to be working for an independent Wales.

That tiny percentage uses the excuse of “These English” for every ill in their often-dull lives.   Difficulties which occur in their lives are usually of their own making – so, in their dull-minded way, they have to blame those things on our Eastern neighbour.

There are more and more people moving to our land from the other side of Offa’s Dyke these days.   And I would remind you that I am an immigrant to Wales.   The newcomers need to be made welcome – then it will be possible to tech them about local traditions and history.   And what it’s like to “feel” Welsh.

And that, my friends, is what I feel.   And I thank the People of Wales for welcoming me and for teaching me of their way of life.

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Saturday, 18th July, 2015.

Decisions, Decisions

     I hear that George Osborne, Wasteminster’s Chancellor, has told us that there’s a “really strong” case for electrifying railway lines in North Wales.

Look:  there’ve been such programmes going on in South Wales for a while now.   Why should Y Gogledd be seen as anything different?

Indeed, right across Mother England these programmes have been going on for many years.   Yet there has been very little interest in that by the British media.

But, I suppose, Mr. Osborne may well be seeking popularity with the people of North Wales.   Now that the Tories are our controllers, they must seek to pacify any anti-Tory feeling.

So what he should do is simply get on with starting the proposed electrification and, when it’s done, the People of Wales up there in the Gog will choose to think what they like – instead of having carrots dangled in front of them.

The People React!

     No – it’s not a glorious revolution here in Wales!   Simply a demonstration of how a few lads in Cardigan feel about having to pay for parking.

The town’s parking-meters have been “vandalised” and put out of use.   Quickly, the local Council started the work of putting them back into working order.

Meantime, since the dreadful deed was done back at the beginning of June, local shops and other traders have found that more people are visiting the town and spending their money!

Surely that must tell councillors something.   But does any politician, local or national, take much notice of what’s really happening on his or her patch?

Questions, Questions

     Several . . . well, a few . . . of my readers have asked me why I don’t include this or that news item in my weekly comments.

Well, a lot of things happen in Wales every week.   I trust the questioners realise that.   And I only have one brain to cope with what I hear as I wander around our land.

So whatever takes my fancy, I write about.   Some things stick, some don’t.   Therefore, I comment on the few things which seem to be the most important to me.

If anyone wants to add items at any time, just scroll down and enter a comment.   Then, I may – or may not – approve it and it’ll get published.

But for goodness sake don’t use this facility for commercial advertising!   (Yes, dear reader, that happens more often than you think.)

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Saturday, 11th July, 2015.

Still Under Threat?

     I pass through many parts of Wales, and each part has a special magic brought about, I reckon, by the magic of Wales.   Each area, it seems, has its own, individual community culture, and there’s a variety of countryside and local architecture.   That architecture, we must remember, often echoes the past.   It is part of our Welsh heritage and can tell us much about what happened in our land in times past.

The Welsh language – Cymraeg – is a very important part of our culture and heritage.   There has been, at least since the 1960s, a strong and active movement to protect our language.

Alas, I have to report that Cymraeg is still very much under threat of extinction!

Up in North Wales recently, I seemed to find that most shops – both in towns and in small villages – did not have a Welsh-speaker serving there.   Many of the people serving in shops did learn Welsh at school, but have never found the need to use it in their everyday lives.

And the dear old “Gog” was once a place where it would be difficult to settle in without at least trying to learn the language.

In places like Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion which were, I recall from not very long ago, strong centres of the Welsh language and culture have become very English-ised.

When I ask local folk why there’s been such a swing to English, the answer comes out the same in all places:  English is the language of commerce.

And there are many, many more English people coming here as immigrants these days.

What can be done to help the survival of the ancient Welsh language, which is a Celtic tongue?

Our schools are playing their part, of course.   But it’s no good learning something you’re not going to use once you leave.   And I hear, too, lots of English immigrants openly ridiculing the Welsh language.

I’d be interested to hear your views, dear reader – especially if you live and work in Wales.

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Saturday, 4th July, 2015

Common Knowledge

     As I travel about this special land of ours, I hear lots of The People of Wales asking why, in the Wasteminster Parliament, are English MPs allowed to vote on matters concerning only other parts of the “United” Kingdom.

I ask that, too – and I ask it of many of my friends who live in England.   The answers are usually vague.

Plaid Cymru and other sensible organisations are pushing for reform which will give Welsh MPs the right to vote on only Welsh matters, Scots MPs to vote on only Scottish matters, Northern Irish MPs to vote on only Northern Irish matters, and English MPs to vote on only English matters.

Seems logical to me.   So why the hold up?   Have a think about the answer to that question:  you won’t have to think very hard.

 Bad News

     Sir Fon – Anglesey – Council has decided to simply cut the salaries of Teaching Assistants by anything up to 27%!

Yes, it takes some believing.   And the excuse is “to ensure that all staff are paid equally”.

OK, then – why not just up the wages of those who aren’t being paid enough?

So congratulations to the four-hundred or so people who protested at the Council’s offices this week.   Let us support their action and contact our Assembly Members about the Council’s silly idea.

Hot Stuff

     Yes, I know that heading is corny.   Yet this week has been hotter than hot.   In Ceredigion and Denbighshire, they had sweltering 26C (that’s about 79F in old money).

Certainly we have had, if I may use the phrase, unseasonable weather.   No-one I know can remember heat in Wales such as we’ve had over the last few days.

But it’s given many folk the opportunity to proclaim their Welshness by saying, bilingually, “Oooh, we shall suffer for this!”.

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Sunday, 28th June, 2015.

DUE TO UNFORESEEN TECHNICAL REASONS

MY COLUMN WILL NOT BE PUBLISHED THIS WEEKEND.

BUT PLEASE STAND BY FOR NEXT WEEKEND

– I SHALL RETURN ! ! ! 

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Saturday, 20th June, 2015.

Wales-Wide Worry

     I had mobile-phone texts yesterday from various parts of Wales telling me not to send them anything online because BT’s broadband service wasn’t working in “their area”.

It seems that those who’d rung BT and complained about the breakdown weren’t told how widespread the breakdown was.   Someone in the Indian sub-continent just said that the problem was “in your area”.   It was not made clear – for the operator would not know – that the area concerned was the whole of our land.

They all seemed to think that it was confined to just their town, village or hillside.

And what of the areas of Wales where there is no mobile-phone signal?   There are certainly lots of those!

The problem lasted for best part of twenty-four hours.   And that makes me wonder how many of our businesses – especially the smaller ones – were affected adversely.

I wonder, too, if there is any way in which those businesses can claim compensation from BT.

May I publish the phone-number which should be used if BT broadband disappears again (from anywhere!)?   It’s 0800 032 7935.

Active Concern

     There are many excellent charity help-lines.   The Samaritans is one which I admire most, I think.

Not that I’ve ever phoned them.   I believe, though, that the volunteers who care enough to help people to talk to what is, after all, a complete stranger about their worries and feelings are special people.   When one is down in the depths of depression, it’s good to have a kind, non-judgemental listening ear.

The organisation has told us that the suicide rate for Welsh men has risen greatly.   The Samaritans are going to present their ideas which will reduce suicide rates to our Assembly Government.   And Mark Drakesford, our Assembly’s Health Minister, is right behind the presentation.

Mental health, like physical health, is nothing to be ashamed of.   Our communities must understand that fact.

Ask Not For Whom The Bell Tolls . . .

     . . . ‘cos it’s not for hotel guests.

At least that’s what Abdul Mahfouz says about the bells of Llangollen.  He’s the boss at the town’s Royal Hotel, and claims that the nightly chimes of those bells keep his customers awake.

And he wants the disturbing noise to be turned off overnight.

The opposition to Abdul’s idea say that the bells have tolled for upwards of a hundred years and are part of the town’s history.

Both arguments have a ring of truth.   We shall see what happens, but I for one will lose no sleep over the outcome.

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