Saturday, 16th July, 2011.

Some Hopes

     That nice Mr. Cameron from London popped in to see our Senedd at work this week.   He promised that we in Wales were to get a little more responsibility in running our own affairs.   Gosh, aren’t we growing up?

We were told that we would be getting a process “similar to” the Calman Commission which our friends in Scotland have had for a while.   Please note the words in quotes . . .

Scotland’s Calman Commission recommends any changes to the Scottish constitution which would help their Parliament to better serve the people of that land.

“Recommends” is another important part of the deal.   To whom does the Commission recommend changes?   Why – the jolly old Wasteminster government, of course!   Can’t have any part of these Isles getting too much independence, can we?

I was taught when young that the only way any group of people could obtain any sort of freedom was for them to take it.   Power will not be handed over willy-nilly by those who hold that power, whether it be financial or political.

Ponder upon that last paragraph.

Freedom Of The Airwaves

     Elin Jones is AM for Ceredigion.   She used to be, in our last coalition Assembly government, our Minister for Rural Affairs.   She did a good job in that post.

Now, she believes, she is being banned from speaking on her local radio station, Radio Ceredigion.   That station has undergone many, many changes since its birth as a local community station.

Back then, it had lots of local people presenting programmes, and its news was mainly about the community it served.

It is now owned by Town & Country Broadcasting, which controls several radio stations in Wales.   Logic would dictate that those stations all sound pretty much the same.   Whoever controls the broadcasting media controls what people are told.

And any business which owns a radio station must, to protect its own interests, maintain the status quo.

Perhaps some local Cardis should re-start a proper community radio and give access to all sorts of differing views, political or otherwise, which are held by Ceredigion folk.   Perhaps every other are should, too.

And, if ever I’m asked to be a presenter on Ceredigion On Air, I’d be happy to be part of it – CV on request!

Idle Hands

     I understand that the Forestry Commission has highlighted the fact that dozens – hundreds, or even thousands, perhaps – grass and forest fires are being started deliberately by “bored youngsters”.

We live in times when clipping our kids round the ear – a short, sharp shock – is politically incorrect.   Parental discipline is in decline.   Family closeness is being eroded.

It is easy to put forward reasons for this – some folk blame television, some the Internet.   But there is no doubt in my mind that the strong communities in our land are becoming weaker and weaker.

Year ago, the kids didn’t have time to be bored (“I’m bored” is a phrase so often heard in tatty telly soaps and imported rhubarb from across the Atlantic.

Where there is forestry and lots of grassland, there are so many things to enjoy:  ornithology, historical research, good long-distance walking with a camera to hand.   But could it be that Mam and Dad are too busy watching telly or telling the world that they’ve just made themselves a cuppa on Facebook that they have no time to share with their children?

Perhaps we in Wales should start to rebuild the family-values and neighbourliness for which we were once famed afar.

Archie Lowe

archie.lowe@googlemail.com

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About Archie Lowe

Though not born in Wales, I have lived and worked here for many years now. I love the place and love that mercurial thing "Welshness". I have been accused of being "a Taffophile" - which is pretty near the truth. The question I ask whenever some idea comes up for the whole of the UK is: "What's in it for Wales". I believe in an independent Wales and am so pleased that our Assembly is a big step on that road.
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