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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Saturday, 4th April, 2015.

“Everyone Shall Have Prizes”

          Thursday’s “Seven Leader Debate” on television was viewed in a great wave of disinterest.

We all got fed up of electioneering rhetoric long before last Christmas, didn’t we?   And many folk in Wales are being turned off going to vote by all the kerfuffle.   That’s understandable.   But, if we fail to use our vote, we lose our right to complain about whatever government takes over Wasteminster.

I’m told that Wales’ own Leanne Wood was shouted down several times by the male politicians.   Par for the course, I suppose – sexist attitudes still prevail.

Perhaps Leanne should dress in an expensive suit and speak with a public-school accent.   The leaders of the “three main parties” may listen to what she says then.

Not to worry.   But please, People of Wales, use your vote.   And let your choice be someone who’s been brought up in – or has lived in – your constituency for a long time.

And don’t be put off by all the rhubarb most politicians are spouting.

But It’s Still Wales

          As I write, the build up of traffic bringing visitors – holidaymakers – into our land has started.   Easter is the first Bank Holiday of the year for folk to come here and explore Wales.

Many of them will refer to things happening in Mother England as happening “in this country”.

Gently correct them.   Let them know that Wales is not a part of England, a mere English county.   And give ‘em our usual warm welcome.

Music To My Ears

          Purely by chance, I heard a programme on Radio 4 UK called “Profile” a few days ago.   And, again by chance, it told the life-story of our own Leanne Wood.

A fascinating documentary – and how nice to hear a politician with a Welsh accent, a Valleys accent.

Have a listen online for yourselves:-

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05nk3gm

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Saturday, 28th March, 2015.

Does Wales Exist?

       That’s a rhetorical question, of course.   Wales as a nation has existed for hundreds of years.   And, as a nation, it will have its independence one day.

          To that end – independence – the People of Wales must start thinking of themselves as part of this magical land.   Far too often I hear newcomers to our nation using the phrase “in this country” when what they really mean is “in the UK”.

For, if you live in Wales, you must know that “this country” is Wales.

And that would be a way to make the London-based BBC mention us separately when it comes to, for instance, weather forecasts.

I often hear as I move around our land weather forecasts from London which mention the English West Country and Midlands and North.   I hear, too, Scotland and Northern Ireland mentioned.

But, far too often, Wales is missed out entirely.   It’s as if it’s a tiny English county and lumped in with either the English West Country or the Midlands.

And it doesn’t stop there.   Even major programmes from London seem to have the same attitude far too often.   Yes, I know we have Radio Cymru and Radio Wales supplying us with our own news, weather forecasts and traffic conditions.

But if the BBC can mention Birmingham and Edinburgh, etcetera, in its broadcasts, it should also mention Wales – shouldn’t it?

Sad News

I was upset to have been told that horses in our land are becoming more and more abused.   I use the word “abused” because the RSPCA say that more and more of the animals are being classed as “unwanted” or “neglected”.

Taking on the responsibility of any animal means one has to work and do one’s best to look after – and train – that animal.   And I’m sure that the very size of a horse would be enough to ensure that idiots did not take it on as some sort of domestic pet!

Yet those idiots walk among us, even in our special land.

The RSPCA is running out of space to keep these poor horses, too.   That’s the size of the problem.

My friends, I urge you never to take on the responsibility of an animal – from tiny tame mice to carthorses – without carefully considering your responsibility to that animal before letting your heart rule your head.

A Question Of Loyalty

Yes, we’re all getting tired of hearing the rhetoric being spouted by the “major” political parties to try to get us to send their candidates to London, England, to be MPs.

But what if someone who represents a Welsh constituency in our own Assembly Government decides to quit in the hope to represent an English constituency in the “United” Kingdom’s government?

Tory Antoinette Sandbach is going to stand for election in a place called Eddisbuty, over the border in Cheshire.  It appears to be a safe Tory seat.

I reckon it would be a great idea for us to ask – publicly – where the loyalties of the candidates for our Assembly lie.   Surely someone wanting to be part of our National Government should have her (or his) feet firmly placed in our land – rather than being a turncoat who thinks we are a colony of Mother England.

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Saturday, 21st March, 2015.

A Non-Event For Some

          I was in the wrong place at the wrong time yesterday, I think.   I kept hearing on my car-radio that people in Wales would have a good view of the eclipse.   And it was a sunshiny morning.

Driving round the Cambrian Mountains, right there in the middle of our land, though, I hardly saw anything.

Yes, the sky was clear.   But, remembering the last eclipse, I was expecting the countryside to go peculiarly dark – not quite night-like – all the birds to go quiet and to see (through proper darkened glasses) the shadow of the Moon pass across the glare of the Sun.

All I saw was a slight shadow in the top right-hand corner of the Sun.   So much for “people in Wales having a good view”!

However, had I been down in Cardiff, I could have joined lots of other folk to enjoy what some would call “the spectacle of a lifetime”.   In fact, it would have been the second one I have seen in my lifetime.   I was in Wales in 1999 and went, with a bunch of other hippy-type people, to Gors Fawr stone-circle in the Preseli Mountains of Pembrokeshire.

There, then, I saw a proper eclipse.   And I doubt if I’ll be around for the next one!

Reaching For The Sky?

          Seems that Wales will soon have a seaplane zooming around connecting remote places like Cardiff to teeming metropolises such as Bala.   It is, apparently, a commercial venture set for success.   The very fact that it will give quick and simple connections between all sorts of places in our land should make us happy.   For will that not bring financial success all round?

Especially if our seas and lakes remain calm enough for the thing to take off and land safely . . .

See you up there in the often-thick Welsh clouds sometime!

Education Matters

          My spies tell me that there are rumblings among workers at Aberystwyth University.   Staff feel that the management are not quite up to running the place.

This news – if news it be – comes from what the press is calling “a whistleblower”.   That’s someone who works at Aber Uni and is aware of the situation.

Certainly, student numbers are falling.   That would seem to indicate that something is amiss.

Yet – and one would expect this – the management denies that there are rumblings.   I suppose that, as in most cases of this nature, time alone will tell.

But what a loss to dear old Aber if the Uni starts to dwindle:  the whole economy of the town seems to be based on its student-population.  That is if all the trendy clothing-shops are any indication . . .

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Oo – and a Happy Solstice, everyone!

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Saturday, 14th March, 2015.

Saved!

          As I wander through Wales, I notice how much our land has changed over – say – the last 20 years.

Places I once seemed to know well have started to look so much different.   That’s due to older buildings – the ones which once gave each town and village its individual look – having been demolished.   New ones have, of course, been put up in their stead.   It’s called “development” and is so often done with a profit-motive in the “developers” minds.

Which is why I was pleased to hear this week the good news about a pub in Llangynwyd, Maesteg.

Pubs were a centre of communities for years.   Then along came telly.   Places where members of each local community could meet and discuss all sorts of topics (not all of them to do with politics!) have been decimated in more recent times.

The Old House Inn was – and still is – one such place.   It has a thatched roof which gives it a splendid character-look.   And there was an almost-serious fire there this week.

My thanks to the fire-crews who acted swiftly and saved the building.   I shall pop in to enjoy the pub’s atmosphere next time I’m in the area.   I suggest you should do the same.   And visit your local pub more often, too.

Just When We Thought It Was Over!

          Those of us who were trying to pass through the Llanidloes and Llangurig area in Powys on Friday morning were surprised to find the roads round there blocked – with thick snow!

And here we all were, most of us having enjoyed some lovely Spring sunshine in the last week or so, thinking Winter had gone away.

At the time of posting this, the tops of the Cambrian Mountains over that way are still white.   So we must never count our Spring chickens until they’re hatched – say in June or July!

Actions Speaking.

          Fifty-million quid seems an awful lot of cash to me – and to you, I bet.   But, when you look at it, perhaps it’s a sprat to catch a mackerel.

Vaughan Gethin, our Deputy Health Minister, has told us that the money will be spent wisely.   Used, he says, to combat alcohol and drug misuse over the next year.

I was astounded to hear that such abuse costs our land nearly TWO BILLION PUNDS every year!

So, yes, let’s spend that cash and save Wales’s money – whilst helping the poor beggars who are hooked on drugs and booze.

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