Saturday, 23rd May, 2015.

How National?

          The NHS is under fire.   Looks like the newly-elected Wasteminster government is going to “privatize” the Service.   In simple terms, that means it’ll be sold off to profit-making businesses whose only aim is to make money out of it.

Even here in Wales, we must be wary.   Indeed, we must work towards making the Welsh NHS – which belongs to the People of Wales – even better than it already is in our land.

Fair play, those who work at the sharp-end of the Service and deal with the patients at first-hand do an excellent job.   Even so, there is room for improvement.

My comments are brought about by hearing tales of how patients have to travel many miles to hospitals simply because the facilities they need are not available to them locally.

And instance is about to happen in the next few days.   A lady living in rural Ceredigion, slap-dab in the heart of Wales and not far from Aberystwyth, is about to have to travel over a hundred miles to Newport, Gwent for outpatient treatment.   Her treatment will be in two parts:  one at 8:30 a.m., the other at 4:30 pm.

I trust our NHS will provide something other than thumb-twiddling to help her pass the waiting time between those short sessions.

That is not the only case of such long-distance travelling for treatment.   To solve the problem, we should be nudging our Welsh Government to expand our NHS services so that every area can have local treatment centres.

The Politeness Of Welsh Speakers

          A friend has complained – again – about finding it difficult to learn to speak “street-Welsh” properly.   He arrived here from England a few years back and, wanting to integrate into his local community, he chose to learn Cymraeg.

People in his neighbourhood know that he is a learner and, when he’s away from home, those Welsh-speakers who hear him can detect his English-accent even when he uses Welsh.

So his neighbours and almost every Welsh-speaker he meets switch to English so that he won’t feel marginalised or something.   That’s due, in the main, to politeness.

But he always greets those he meets in Welsh.   So folk must know that he’s a learner – or, as he calls it, a tryer.

So, my Welsh-speaking friends, as a learner myself I would ask you to help me and others to become fluent by simply (and slowly) speaking to us in The Language of Heaven.


How COULD This Happen?!

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Saturday, 16th May, 2015.

Give It A Rest!

     Yes, we had a General Election.

Yes, the result has confused us all.

Yes, Plaid Cymru should have more seats.

Yes, the pundits and politicians have been spouting their rhetoric ever since.

And that’s all I have to say this week.

(Nice to have a rest from my usual political rantings, eh?)

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The Only Topic Of Conversation (Sat., 9th May, ’15)

     I refer, of course, to the outcome – and lead up to – the General Election.

     There was, as usual, a lot of bilge talked by various politicians of all parties.   And, here in Wales, their rhetoric seems to have fallen on a lot of deaf ears.

We managed to re-elect our three candidates representing The Party of Wales, and I know they will speak up about all matters concerning our land.   But I reckon we should have got more support in other constituencies for Plaid Cymru.

Indeed, more support from the electorate in general!   It was, by my standards, anyway, a rotten turnout.   Only 65.7% of The People of Wales used their votes!

Than means that three out of ten eligible voters either couldn’t be bothered, found excuses or really had proper reasons for their abstention.

I’ve heard several explanations give for the less-than-good turnout.   “People are fed up of these politicians” seems to be a major one.   And, especially in rural areas, it’s being blamed on the high immigrant population from our Eastern neighbour.   It seems that most of them are considered as knowing nothing about Wales, its history or its culture.   Even when they’ve lived here a while, they do not seem to integrate into their communities.

That’s what’s being said, anyway.

So I suppose the only thing to be done is to educate those incomers – and educate those born and bred here – in the manner of using one’s vote.   How that can be done will differ from place to place, but I believe personal contact is a great tool.

The methods of doing that will vary from place to place, of course.

And the main point which must be put over is that Wales should have the same amount of responsibility for its own decisions as Scotland.

That, my friends, is the extent of this column for this week.   But I believe I have written about a very important issue.

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Saturday, 2nd May, 2015.

An Independent Wales!

     This week, a friend was visiting a part of our land where he has holidayed before.   In his digs – er, holiday home! – he had all mod-cons.   So, each evening, he and his wife relaxed from their holiday excursionings and watched telly.

There was a programme on one of the Freeserve channels which they wanted to enjoy, so he tried to switch over to that channel.   He tried several times but couldn’t do so.

Then he found out that the particular Freeview channel is “not available in Wales”.

He asked me to find out if similar things will happen as Wales becomes a self-governing independent country – your suggestions, please, dear reader.

The English Are Coming!

     In their droves, it seems.

Yes, Wales is a popular retirement place for all sorts of English people:  OAPs, work-shy folk, etc.   Where better to live than in our lovely, classless land?   (I’m an immigrant myself, of course.)

But a genuine complaint I keep hearing is that the vast majority of incomers do not do any homework at all before they come to dwell among us.   Not that I would expect most of ‘em to know what happened 600 years or so in the Hyddgen Valley, or details of all the mining disasters our land has endured, or even that Prince Madoc discovered the Americas.

However, would it be too much to expect them to know that in many places, the Welsh language is the main tongue used?   Or that there is a strong movement throughout Wales to become self-governing rather than be controlled by Mother England?

Let us, as communities and through the neighbourliness which exists everywhere (yes, even in our big cities), gently teach newcomers about the sort of community to which they have moved.

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Saturday, 25th April, 2015

The Rewards Of Hard Work . . .

          . . . are not always obvious at the time of that work.

I have noticed that, everywhere I go in Wales, it seems to be Plaid Cymru who are working the hardest to explain to local folk just what they stand for, what they represent.

Door-to-door canvassing doesn’t seem to be popular with other parties.   And I wonder how many voters actually sit and read the junk-mail which they get about this or that party?

The only way to win is to put one’s face around.   And that winning may not come at this election.   But those of us who use our hard-won right to vote will remember when other elections – national or local – come along.

We will remember, too, the faces and attitudes of those candidates who knock on our doors.

So success will come – albeit not right away.

The Human Face Of Politics

          I have noticed that there seem to be a lot of “comedians”, on telly and on radio, who are making fun of Leanne Wood’s Welsh Valleys voice.

That’s fine – for it will show to the electorate that she is from the same sort of background as them and, therefore, understands what it’s like in their situations.

It also shows up the poshness of the leaders of the “three main parties”.   Each of them looks like and speaks like a public-schoolboy.   The fact that one of ‘em claims to lead a party which stands up for “ordinary people” does not exclude him from that remark.

Remember that when Election Day is upon us.

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Saturday, 18th April, 2015.

Cameron Tells Wales

     The current Wasteminster Prime Minister spoke in Builth Wells this week.   I don’t know who he spoke to, but I know a little of drivel he talked.

He told “us” that we know better than most the damage Labour can do to our nation.

Did he mean the support the Labour Party gave to our people when they were struggling for decent pay and conditions?   Or was it the fact that Nye Bevan, a man as Welsh as they come, was instrumental in setting up the Welfare State with special reference to the National Health Service?

Or was his speech aimed to make us forget those things . . . so that we may not notice his party selling off our people-owned National Health Service?

Beware of weasel words – and use your vote wisely.

Who Did It?

          Suddenly, it seems – for nobody saw it happening – cosmopolitan Cardiff was flyered and posters were put up telling Muslims that voting is wrong because it “violates the will of Allah”.

Those flyers and posters will cause a lot of anti-Muslim prejudice.

Yet my Muslim friends are decent, caring, non-fanatics.   And they are embarrassed by what has happened.   They regard the perpetrators as cranks, just like non-Muslims do.

But there are cranks in most religions.   Christianity is not without them.

Funny thing, religion.

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Saturday, 11th April, 2015.

“Gather Ye Rosebuds . . .

     . . . while ye may.  Strong winds do shake . . .” – well, yes, it is only April, but a quote is a quote!

The most talked about thing in Wales – I have learned from reading the results of surveys and from personal experience – is the weather.   And, over the past week or so, that really has been chewed over.

Here, in wonderful Wales, if we find ourselves in the midst of a spell of sunny, warm weather, we seem to trot out the usual phrase:  “Ooooh, we shall suffer for this!”.

I’ve heard that and similar quite a lot recently.   It’s as if Welsh folk have an impending-doom gene.

Yes, the earthquake season may start at any moment but, People of Wales, let’s enjoy such a lovely respite from cold winds and heavy rain while we may.   And smile while we do so.

Temporary Closure Only!

     If you hear any Right Wing claptrap about Jobs Growth Wales being scrapped, ignore it.

It is a programme started by our Assembly Government to create jobs for young people.   And the Tories and their cohorts will do anything which might improve our land and not the whole of the “United” Kingdom.

Indeed, Ed Miliband wants the programme to be used right across the “United” Kingdom.

What has happened is that our Government in Cardiff has had to reduce funding for the excellent programme so that more cash can go to keeping our NHS in good order.   It’s a question of priorities.   And, alas, Wales is still waiting for approval by the EU to restart Jobs Growth Wales again.

More Smear Tactics

    Leanne Wood is rapidly becoming one of my political heroes – oo, sorry, Leanne:  heroines!

Another Tory smear-campaign has been aimed at a chap called Mike Parker, Plaid’s candidate in the May General Election.   He must be doing something right to have the Tories worried.

Mike, a professional writer by trade, wrote many years ago that some areas in Wales were inhabited by immigrant English “gun-toting final solution crackpots”.   He wrote that a little tongue-in-cheek, of course, as you and I would have spotted immediately.

Those who worry about his popularity in the constituency he hopes to represent – Ceredigion – have accused him on that little bit of flimsy “evidence” of being a Nazi!

Leanne, bless her, has straightway stood up for Mike, and has condemned “a deliberate attempt to smear him”.

For the information of all Tories and their cronies, Mike Parker is an immigrant from England himself.   He loves Wales as much as I myself do, and appreciates Welsh culture and community-spirit.

And he is a fluent Welsh-speaker.   Which is more than can be said for the current Ceredigion MP.

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