Saturday, 4th February, 2012.

A Matter Of Principles

     I am old enough to remember when people of principle would work to promote things in which they believed.   The revelations over the All Wales Ethnic Minority Association seems to have dented my belief that good people work for good causes.

     AWEMA, it seems, cannot sack its chief executive, Naz Malik, for alleged financial irregularities (that’s fiddling funds to you and me) because, according to Dr. Rita Austin, Chairwoman of the Association, it would incur great costs.

     Are we to understand, then, that this Association which tries to remove racism from our communities doesn’t really grasp the fact that, when the general public sees prominent members of ethnic minorities bickering away, fuel for that racism will be found?

Promoting Our Industry

     My view is that we have only two large-scale industries left inWales.   The Tories decimated our railway network back in the 60s, smashed our mining-industry in the 80s and, as our mines closed, they made it easier for two things to happen.

     One was to make it easier for British industries to “re-locate” abroad;  the other was to cut import taxes, thus making it cheaper to bring goods in from abroad to compete with – and often destroy – surviving British production factories.

     It is obvious to anyone who wanders into the vast rural landscape of our land that farming families find the going very difficult these days.   The reasons are many.   And we, the consumers, must ensure we buy our foodstuff as locally as possible to help our farmers.

     As an aside, I have to say that you can’t beat a lump of Welsh cheese on locally produced bread liberally coated with Welsh butter.   Argue with me if you dare!

     That being said, it’s heartening to see Welsh ingenuity on the go when it comes to our tourist-industry.

     The Communities First organisation – look it up if you haven’t heard of it – is doing really good work in our rural communities.   Communities First is a very useful and supportive resource.

     Up in Gwynedd, the local Communities First group is planning to start a pedal-powered railway service from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Trawsfynydd (and back, presumably!).   A disused railway line will be opened up for the train.

     I hope the project succeeds:  it will be something more for our visitors to enjoy alongside our magnificent scenery – and great butter and chesses!

Teaching Pride

     A first-year student at a Welsh-language school in Mid-Wales told me about a project she’d been given for her homework.

     The instructions were to list ten things which, to the individual youngster, typify our land.   And, proud Welsh girl as she is, she was struggling to find more than a few of those things.   I gave her a few hints.

     So here’s a bit of homework for you, dear reader:  list the ten things you feel represent Welsh culture and Welsh pride.   But, having read my comments above, forget about listing Welsh miners coming up from the pits singing their heads off – that was an image which was drummed up by the media and killed off by the aforementioned Tories.

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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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