Heed The Warnings
There were warnings earlier on this year
that there would be a massive Swine Flu pandemic. It seems to have been less massive that the
warnings told us it would be.
However, four people in Wales have died from the disease
now. So we should still remain on the
alert for the symptoms.
The heartening news is that supplies of
vaccine are ever-growing, and that vulnerable groups of people will be
receiving their jabs. We in Wales have always had a stoical attitude
to adversity – let’s keep it that way.
There’s a new book out. It covers the history of the 1984 Miners
Strike, when those working in the industry fought hard to keep the pits open.
Their fight, it was said at the time, was
against increasing fascism in the British Isles.
You will recall that it took place when Margaret Thatcher was Prime
The miners were not striking for more
money, just for the ongoing welfare of this country, and of the other countries
comprising the United Kingdom.
Their leader, Arthur Scargill, had masses of scorn poured down on his
head by the British Establishment. “The
Media” did not give him a good name.
And yet, the Strike held, almost
completely, for many months. The
families of the miners suffered hardship.
Such is the nature of fighting for one’s principles. Many of us sent food and cash to help those
Now that we have no coal-industry to speak
of in Wales, and now that Britain imports masses of coal from abroad,
we come to realise that the miners were not the baddies of the piece.
There was, it has to be said, violence on
the picket-lines. The police have never
apologised for that violence, nor provoking miners into retaliation.
The new book, by Hywel Francis, is called
“History On Our Side”. It makes
Forty-Four Years On
Wales has had its fair share of
sorrows. It is said that, in the nature
of native born people, there is a melancholic streak which leads them to expect
an impending disaster.
I remember well the broadcasting of live
television pictures from the site of the Aberfan disaster. I remember the shock and anger I felt that
such a thing had happened. I remember
seeing a BBC interviewer stopping a man who was digging with his bare hands to
find a young relative and asking him how he felt.
For a developer to even consider building
houses near the place where those little bodies were laid shocks and angers me
now, as it does the residents of Aberfan.
The reason for the development is that “the area is short of housing”; that reason does not include the fact that
there is financial profit to be made from the project.
Let us, the people of Wales, continue to remember our nation’s
stories, and pass them on, not only to our children, but also to those who come
to live in our midst.
A Fond Farewell
The passing of Patrick Hannan will leave a gap in Welsh
culture. He was a man of great good
humour, and a superb broadcaster.
You knew, from almost every broadcast he
made, that here was a true Welshman – a man who felt deeply about our land and
the happening in it. He could interview
the most stubborn politician and get the answers. And he did all this with a smile in his
We will be reminded at this time of the
massive pool of talent which we have in Wales.
Cheers, Patrick – you were a one-off.