Mr Dales Diarrhea

Apparently this blog is mentioned in dispatches seven times in Iain Dales new book about British Blogs.

Sorry, I'm not impressed. I won't buy the book, I wont push the book, basically I couldn't give a sh**t.

This isn't the 2nd best Welsh Nationalist blog in Britain or the 26th non aligned British blog and it doesn't fit in to any other rubbish British category that Iain tries to force it into.

This is an independent Welsh Blog that doesn't give a sh*t about being categorised into Mr Dale's Best of British categories, because this blog isn't British it's Welsh, Mr Dale, totally Welsh and has F..k all to do with your UKainian imperialism.


Renting to reduce unemployment?

There is little doubt that two of the major problems facing Wales today are the ability of local people to afford housing and the large number of people who are economically inactive.

The way that the Assembly Government intends to deal with the housing problem is mainly through building more of what are called affordable houses; houses that lower paid workers are able to buy. But a member of the Bank of England's monetary policy committee suggested last night that this sort of policy might actually be counterproductive to tackling unemployment.

In a speech in London yesterday Professor Danny Blanchflower said that there is a correlation between high levels of home ownership and long dole queues and that the answer to both unemployment and housing problems might be encouraging more of us to rent rather than buy. Of the major industrial nations Spain has the highest unemployment and the highest rates of home ownership and Switzerland the lowest unemployment and the lowest rate of home ownership

Professor Blanchflower suggests that a possible reason why higher own ownership raises unemployment is because it reduces labour market mobility. Because it is too difficult and too costly to move to where jobs are because of the ties of an owned home, fewer of us are willing to try for jobs that might necessitate moving home.

Not being an economist like Prof Blanchflower our own Prof Dylan J-E, I can't comment on the validity of these arguments, but they sound interesting and I would suggest that looking at significantly increasing the number of decent homes built for the rental market might be something that the Assembly should seriously consider as an alternative to adding to the number of homes to buy.

Welsh not Walian

One of the mores of the British Empire was divide and conquer. The anti Welsh have used this with a vengeance since the advent of devolution.

In as much as my passport, my driving licence my birth / marriage and (if things don't change) my death certificate force me to have a British Identity, whether I like it or not, the existence of the National Assembly forces a Welsh identity on those who who live in Wales but abhor all things Welsh.

What is interesting is that this new Welsh Identity is not Welsh according to the British nationalist imperialists it is now Walian.

Walians come in many different shapes and forms. There are north Walians, south Walians, east Walians, Welsh speaking Walians, English Walians, British Walians, west Walians, gay Walians, straight Walians, bi Walians, Muslim Walians, Christian Walians, rich Walians, poor Walians, drunk Walians, sobber Walians any sort of Walian that you can imagine that divides one Walian from another and ensures that the multi faceted community that exists in Wales can never be considered as united in a single all encompassing national identity called WELSH.

Brit=Good / Welsh=Bad

Don Touhig MP is worried that Wales is too immersed in identity politics, a strange thing for a Labour MP to say in light of British Prime Minister, Gordon British Brown's British speech to the British Labour Party of Britain.

Even stranger when one remembers that the Labour in the Labour party is itself a badge of identity, which (albeit a long long time ago) use to identified the sort of person (a Labourer, a worker) who should support the Labour party.

In its purest non-partisan form elective politics is all about identity politics. Given a choice of three or four, totally independent candidates, the choice that an elector has to make is with which one do I, as an elector, identify, which one represents my identity!

By slaging off identity politics what Mr Touhig, is actually saying is that my Welsh Identity is less worthy than his British Identity, that the politics of his British Identity is good and that the politics of my Welsh identity is bad.


Earliest Political Memories Meme

I have been asked by Ordovicius to join in one of those blogging chain letter things, this time on earliest political memories.

In my case it is the 1859 eviction, when the vicious Tory landlords evicted Liberal voters from their farms and houses leaving large families starving and without a roof over their heads, because they had exercised their freedom to vote for an MP who would represent their interests rather than that of the landlords.

I'm not quite as old as Sanddef and others think I am. I will be 48 on Monday so I was born 100 years after the evictions of 1859, but noting the evictions as an early political memory is not being facetious.

In the 60's and 70's part of all political campaigns was the sticky badge. Kids loved them and went from party office to party office to collect as many as they could. I can remember being told in pre-school years (the 1964 election, probably) that wearing the Tory sticky badge was an act of betrayal and shame because of the turning out. It happened again in 1966 and 1970. Even when, as a 15 year old and secretary of the Merionethshire young Liberals, when I went canvassing I heard supporters saying that of course they would vote Liberal because of the turning out. The turning out was such a big political memory in Merionethshire that I thought, as a child, that it happened yesterday.

Thatcher's legacy in rural parts of Wales is that she created an even bigger myth of the Tory monster than that which was created in 1859.

When I was a kid, that period up to 10 where you remember things but not properly and not in any chronological order politics was all around me. Tryweryn and Cymdeithas yr Iaith (I was once paid 6d by an avid anti nationalist to sing God save the Queen when Dafydd Iwan was speaking in a rally in Dolgellau), the FWA, the preparations for the Investiture (I threw my Investiture mug in the river to please an anti friend and then beat up a younger kid in order to pinch his mug so I didn't get a row when I got home without a mug) and, of course Gwynfor's election. But these are all a mish-mash of half remembered events, things that I knew were important but weren’t really interesting to me.

On the world stage the two events that stick out are Kennedy's Assassination (I don't remember where I was, but I do remember being confused by the fact that a dead man was talking on the wireless) and Churchill's funeral. Churchill's funeral was particularly memorable. The lower middle classes and upper working class had bought their first TVs to watch the coronation, the lower working class (like my lot) bought their first TV to watch Churchill's funeral. We were amongst the last to have a telly in the house but some neighbours who were unemployed or pensioners came to the house to join us for the event. All in suits, white shirts and black ties, like a proper funeral.

My first real political memory is of the 1970 election, and has to do with sticky badges again. I went into the Plaid office with some friends who were much more supportive of the nationalist cause than I was and asked for a single badge in order to show genuine support. The candidate, Dafydd Wigley, told the office worker off for wasting resources on silly children, and he sent us away with a flea in our ears. Never liked the man ever since that occasion. I went straight to the Liberal Party Office and paid a shilling or 2/6 (can't remember but a LOT of pocket money) to join the Liberal Party, despite the fact that they would have given me a sticky badge for free!

To whom do I pass the buck? Glyn Davies, Alan in Dyfed and Vaughan Roderick are all slightly older than I am, it will be interesting to see if they have clearer memories of my hazy ones.


Usmanov, Murray, Freedom and Responsibility

Until earlier this week I had never heard of either Craig Murray or Alisher Usmanov.

Like most bloggers I now know that Mr Murray is the former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan and that Mr Usmanov is an Uzbek millionaire, with an interest in Arsenal Football Club, who has forced a blog host to shut down because of comments made on Mr Murray's blog claiming that Usmanov is a Vicious Thug, Criminal, Racketeer, Heroin Trafficker and Accused Rapist.

Mr Usmanov, on the other hand, whilst accepting that he was imprisoned for various "crimes" in the former USSR, claims that the charges were false and that his imprisonment was politically motivated.

As I had never heard of either man earlier than this week, I can't comment on the validity of either the accusation or the defence. However, the issue does raise a number of important points about blogging and libel.

As a blogger I have sympathy with other bloggers who have been censored, especially those, such as Boris Johnson, who have been caught in the crossfire. If, on the other hand, Mr Usmanov is innocent of the accusations made against him by Murray then I can fully understand his anger and the reason for his actions.

Most bloggers have taken the side of Mr Murray, for understandable reasons. The fact that a billionaire can use his wealth and power to hammer a blog and a blog host is, without doubt, a blow against freedom of speech. But, Craig Murray has also abused the blogosphere. Murray has made no secret of the fact that he wants Usmanov to sue him, and has used his blog to goad Usmanov into doing so. Because a blog host, as the publisher of libellous material, can be implicated in any libel case Mr Murray was wrong to drag his host into his personal campaign against Usmanov and the Uzbek government and was wrong to put other bloggers sites at risk by doing so.

The easy answer to the problem might be to make web hosts immune from prosecution in such cases and let the likes of Craig Murray and Alisher Usmanov fight their own battles without being able to drag an "innocent" third party into their fight.

That might be the answer where those involved are two very influential people, but what happens when the parties involved live lower down the food chain?

What happens if I post a blog making an unfounded accusations that a neighbour is a paedophile, but that neighbour couldn't afford to sue me and / or I'm not worth suing? My host has to be responsible for making sure that I can't get away with it. My neighbour must have a means of redress that doesn't involve the time, costs and hassle of civil legal action.

On the other hand how can a line be drawn between being allowed to say that a prime minister or president is an useless tosser who isn't fit to hold his / her position and saying something similar about the holder of any other post, a headmaster or a shop assistant for example? And if an influential billionaire really is a Vicious Thug, Criminal, Racketeer, Heroin Trafficker and Accused Rapist how do we protect the right of an individual to expose him for what he is?


Devoloution MAX

The Institute of Welsh Affairs poll on attitudes to Devolution gives lots of food for thought.

One of the most interesting things about it is that it isn't a Welsh opinion poll of the usual (crap) type that we know and love in Wales. The institute has been tracking Welsh opinion on a regular basis since 1997. Even if the IWA poll has the same huge margin of error that other Welsh polls have shown, the trends that it measures should still be reliable.

Only the 1997 and 2007 results were released in the press, the intervening results were made known on the Datganoli programme on S4C this evening. I didn't make a note of them so I hope that they will be published in full in tomorrow's papers.

I have made no secret of the fact that my preferred option is independence. I was pleased to see that support for independence has remained fairly constant over the last 10 years, hovering around the 11 to 15% mark. Given that (a few blogs apart) there has been no real campaign for independence (even Plaid hasn't really campaigned on the issue, Plaid has taken the evolution of devolution route), it is pleasing to see that devolution hasn't killed off independence as a legitimate view, as some hoped / feared that it might do.

Dr Richard Wyn Jones claimed in tonight's programme that the poll tracking has shown a seismic shift in attitudes towards devolution. I disagree. I agree with Penddu, that the polls don't show that much change of opinion. If you split the 1997 result between those who wanted the status quo and those who wanted devolution and compare them with those who want the new status quo (or reversion) now and those who want more than the present settlement the figures have remained the same thorough the last 10 years.

The term used for enhanced powers for the National Assembly, that the majority now appears to support, is a Scottish Type Parliament. The Scots have had a very Scottish Type Parliament for the last 10 years, and have found it deficient. About the same number of Scots who supported devolution 10 years ago now support enhanced devolution for Scotland. Either Independence or what is called Devolution Max.

If Scottish type powers for the very Scottish type people of Scotland have proved, after 10 years, to be deficient then a Scottish type parliament is hardly going to be good enough for the Welsh type people of Wales!

Its almost a foregone conclusion that in a few years time, having gained Scottish type powers, Wales will be in the same situation that Scotland is now. So why shouldn't Wales skip that step, and go for Devolution Max, with Scotland in 2011?


Plaid's Laptops (again)

One of the most unusual policies to be put before the electorate last May was Plaid's policy of giving all school students a laptop computer. A pilot project for this policy is part of the One Wales Agreement but no announcement about when the pilot is to begin has been made yet.

A school on a Hebridean island has beaten Plaid to it by giving every pupil in Bowmor High School on Islay a laptop. So far the scheme appears to be successful and has proved to be popular with parent, the students and their teachers.

One of the complaints leveled against Plaid's policy (of course) was that it would cost too much. The Scottish scheme is much more expensive per head than the one proposed by Plaid. Bowmor school has chosen to spend £750 per pupil in order to purchase the best computers and the best software. But despite the cost the school's headmaster suggested that the scheme would save the school money in the long term. In fact he told Politics Scotland this afternoon that the school would be able to purchase computers for new pupils starting in the school next year out of just half of the savings that the school would make on its photocopying bill alone.

This Scottish scheme is one that Plaid should keep an eye on as proof that some of its more unusual policies are not quite as daft or unaffordable as the other parties like to portray them.

A Barber's Condom blogs

Nice to see that the Right Honourable Christopher Glamorgan has re joined the Welsh blogosphere, even if it is just as something for the weekend sir!

The Best Dreams

A Labour MP writes:

I was there twice before in the wonderful, terrible, hopeful and terrifying days of 1990 and 1991. The three Baltic States were teetering on the threshold of new independence. No one knew the outcome. ..... Now the the best dreams have been realised. They are three self confident nations

If Labour believes that independence is the realisation of the best dreams for Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania three, now independent, countries of similar size to Wales; why is Labour so opposed to Wales realising the same best dream of independence?


Other Party Conferences

Plaid Cymru is not the only party to hold a conference this week which has been ignored by the media.

The Co-operative party has been meeting in London to celebrate the party's 90th birthday. The Co-op party doesn't stand in elections as an independent political party, it sponsors some Labour candidates. We use to have a number of Co-op MPs in Wales at one time most notably former Attorney General John Morris in Aberafon, I'm not sure if we have any now. I can find absolutely no news from the conference in Google's news search, but Political Penguin has posted a couple of blogs from the event.

The Green party's get together is being held in Liverpool. With an item on the BBC and another in the Guardian, the Greens haven't been totally ignored, but given the importance of environmental issues in the current political debate I would have thought that they deserved better. The Green conference has blog coverage in Another Green World.

Is it Just me?

I have noticed that my blogspot instructions have become German (I think) recently!

For example, what use to say View Blog (in new window), now appears as:

Blog anzeigen (in einem neuen Fenster),

I have reviewed my language settings and my option is still English (Welsh not being available) so why the German posting messages?

Is anybody else experiencing the same difficulty, or is it just me?

Moving from the Bay to the Junction

Gareth Jones AM is furious because of the announcement that the proposed National Assembly Office relocation project for Llandudno Junction has been put out to tender again, which will result in at least a two year delay in the starting date for the commencement of construction work on the project.

I agree with much of what Mr Jones says. There is a feeling in the North (and in the Valleys, in west Wales and central Wales) that the Assembly is Cardiff centric, that it has little to offer our part of the country. If the Assembly is to be a truly Welsh Assembly rather than a Cardiff Assembly it must offer, and be seen to offer benefits to the whole country.

Many local people in the Conwy area, however, have reservations about the scheme to re-locate the education, transport, health and social service departments to Llandudno Junction. The problem is that that it is seen to be a scheme to move 600 jobs from Cardiff, rather than one that will create jobs in the county. The only jobs that will be created for locals will be of the menial and low paid variety - cleaners, car park attendants etc. The big bucks jobs will be jobs for Cardiff Colonists moving up from the city into Conwy County.

So there may be a small silver lining in the delay, it will give those of us who live in Conwy the chance to evaluate the other re-location projects - to Merthyr and Aberystwyth, to see if these fears are justified, or to be re-assured by the other projects that Assembly relocation will have a real benefit for local people rather than being just an exercise in moving bodies north from Cardiff.


Environmental Tories

Keir Hardly points out the hypocrisy of the Tories claim to be an environmentally friendly party by drawing attention to research from Friends of the Earth that shows that the British Conservatives and UKIP have the worst record on supporting environmental issues of all parties throughout the European Union. Our own Welsh Conservative MEP Jonathan Evans was ranked 585 out of 685 MEPs, voting for only 14 per cent of positive environmental measures passed.

I'm sure that it was an unintentional oversight by Keir, but he failed to mention that two Welsh MEPs appear at the very top of the table with the best possible record.

At the very top of the list, soaring way ahead of all Lib Dem, Labour and Tory MEPs are Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans and former Plaid MEP Eurig Wyn both of whom have a 100% record. (The Green Party, of course, and the DUP also scored 100%)

I was very unimpressed with David Cameron's environmental policy announcements today, they may sound good but I can't see them having much affect. The idea that fewer people will use domestic flight if VAT is added to the cost, in particular, will have hardly any impact.

Habit changing taxes have been tried and tried again by governments but they have little impact. Take the tax on fags as an example - most smokers can find the extra 50p or so that goes on a packet every year - so they don't give up smoking. To make a real difference the government would have to add, say, £5 extra on a packet each year, but that would prove to be just too unpopular. The same is true on VAT on domestic flights, an extra £30 or so isn't enough to discourage people from flying but Cameron daren't suggest a punitive tax level that would effectively discourage domestic flying.

Lords Revisited

Plaid's Conference has decided to re-open the debate on whether the party should or shouldn't have members in the House of Lords. The Conference hasn't made a decision one way or another, but has asked the national Council to look at the issue.

I have made my opinion on this issue known in a previous post, so I shan't reiterate it here.

During the limited coverage of the Conference on BBC2 this afternoon Gareth Jones AM for Aberconwy told Rhun ap Iorwerth that he disliked the idea of Plaid Members in the Lords, because Plaid has always opposed the idea of having unelected politicians. This may always have been Plaid's theoretical view but it certainly hasn't been Plaids practical view in the past.

Former Plaid president Dafydd Elis Thomas is already a Lord, of course, albeit as a cross bencher rather than a party representative.

Before the 1974 Local Government reorganisation councillors could co-opt Aldermen to serve as councillors, not elected by the general population. Plaid had a number of these including non other than party icon Gwynfor Evans.

So with at least two former party presidents having served as unelected politicians there is quite a strong precedent for such representatives and no historic grounds, as Gareth claimed, for the party to oppose the idea of unelected people having political influence.

Plaid Cymru Conference not on TV

The party conference season starts today with Plaid's annual shindig in Llandudno.

As usual, the London Parties conferences will be given wall to wall coverage on TV, but this year there will be even less coverage of the Plaid Conference than usual.

On BBC 2W and BBC Parliament (Sky 504) there is live coverage today between 1:45 and 2:45, and the same two hour slot tomorrow. There is a conference special edition of Waterfront on ITV1 Wales at 11:30 pm tonight.

There is no coverage at all of Saturday or Sunday's proceedings at the Conference (Saturday is usually the most important conference day), and for the first time that I recall since the channels inception there doesn't appear to be any coverage at all on S4C.


Somewhere over a Rainbow,

OK the "One Wales" cabinet is yet to meet, we still don't know how this Plaid Labour coalition is going to pan out in government, but it seems that we already know how Labour intends to show its hand. Every single press releases during the recess has referred to the Labour WAG or the Labour lead WAG. Plaid doesn't come into the picture.

Plaid in this government isn't like the Lib Dems, the fourth party getting a bit of a shoo for making the numbers up. Plaid has made a huge sacrifice in order to support Rhodri Morgan's Government.

At best Plaid has given up the chance to be the lead party in a Rainbow coalition, with its Party leader taking up the mantel of First Minister, at worst Plaid has given up the leadership of the opposition!

Plaid needs to be treated with a lot more respect as a government partner than it has been treated so far.

Plaid's support for Red-Green was just touch and go to start with - it wont take much pressure for those of us who knew that the Labour Party would take advantage to tip the balance that ends the coalition!

Labour, and to a certain extent the current Plaid leadership, have between next week's Plaid Conference and next years Plaid Conference to show what Wales and Plaid can get out of this unequal marriage, otherwise the party membership will ensure that a coalition that hasn't given full respect to the Plaid side of the partnership will come to an abrupt end.

Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high
There's a land that I heard of
Once in a lullaby

That land may yet be Wales!

Nationalist View

Another new kid on the block is Nationalist View, a very nice new blog that aims to highlight quotes from the best of Cornish, English, Scottish and Welsh Nationalist blogs, it has a blogroll that links to just one nationalist from each nation, at the moment, but it kindly links to me twice!!!!


New opinion poll on the way

S4C are advertising a programme on the History of Devolution fronted by Dr Richard Wyn Jones and to be shown on the channel next Monday. Apparently the programme will include an opinion poll showing what the people of Wales think of Devolution so far and where we want to go next.


The Economy and Independence

The economic argument pertaining to nationalism is an interesting one. Not the most sensible one, just one of the most interesting.

It is interesting on a number of levels. It is an argument with few definitive facts to support it or to argue against it. The figures are part of a great unknown, and in the void supporters of both sides make their own facts up.

Take tax, for example. Some say that more tax is spent in Wales than is raised in Wales

However if you spend £100 on a new suite in a major store on Rhyl High Street, you pay about £14 in tax on it. That tax is not raised in Wales; it is raised in whatever part of England that the shop's accounting department happens to be located in. The assistant who serves you in the shop earns her income in Wales, with out any doubt, but her income tax is also paid in the English town that is home to her employer's accounting department - its all English tax. And when Wales gets that money, spent in Wales - earned in Wales, back; its English tax subsidising Wales!

Tax raising moves the other way too, some English money is taxed in Wales in a swings and roundabouts movement. But the figures to prove a tax and spend balance for Wales (or England) do not exist. So arguments for or against independence based on tax and spend are all just whistles for my side and not based on fact. The true figures aren't available. I know that I'm a miserable old cynic, but I suspect that if the true figures proved, beyond doubt, that Wales was a leach on the rest of the UK, that those figures would, somehow, be in the public domain!

The economic argument is also interesting because of the absolute tosh spouted by both sides of the economic argument. If Wales became independent tomorrow it wouldn't become an impoverished third world country, overnight, as some Unionists claim; but neither would it suddenly become the new Celtic Tiger economy that some nationalists claim.

The truth is that an Independent Wales' economy would remain at about the same level as it was on Independence Day for some time. If the economy improved or declined over time after independence would depend on how well the Welsh Government managed the economy. It would depend on the sort of Government that the People of Wales decide to elect.

However, whatever sort of government we elect, it would be a government that would be committed to try, at least, to govern the economy in a way that was beneficial to the Welsh economic interest, something that an Unionist British Government can never guarantee to do.

The most interesting thing about the economic argument however, is the way in which A Poor Welsh Economy is the main plank of the Unionists argument. Take away that plank and the Unionists have little else left to stand on, so Keeping Wales Poor is in the Unionists' best interest.

And if Keeping Wales Poor is in the Unionists best interest, opposing the Union, MUST be in Wales' best economic interest!


I Want a Referendum

I'm not sure that I do, actually. I have a general problem with referendums, in that I feel that before any other referendum is called there should be a Referendums Act, that automatically triggers referendums in particular circumstances. That referendums should be called or not be called for political expedience, to me, appears abhorrent.

The referendum bit of the Government of Wales Act 2006 is a case in point. If the creation of the National Assembly was a sufficient constitutional change to merit a referendum, then the Government of Wales Act 2006 that gave the Assembly law-making powers for the first time should also have been the subject of a referendum, but it wasn't.

Under the present Act, Wales could become virtually independent by judicious use of LCO's without ever needing to call upon the referendum clause of the Act!

The Government of Wales Act 2006 says that we must have a referendum, not to give the Assembly extra powers, but merely to change the administrative way in which the extra powers it was given, without plebiscite, are exercised - which seems a bit silly to me.

This exemplifies the problem of referendums. Constitutional institutions change gradually. The EU that Britain is a member of today is not the EEC that we voted to join in 1976, there is no doubt that huge changes have happened in the last 30 years. If we didn't vote on other occasions when things changed there is no moral, historical or traditional reason for saying we must vote on the current proposed changes.

It appears to me that we have two choices, either we trust our elected representatives to legislate as they see fit without the need for further referendums - on any subject - ever, or we have a law that says that these changes must be decided by referendum whether it is convenient to our elected representatives to hold a referendum or not. The idea that referendums should be held on an ad-hoc basis for political convenience is just illogical.

Sorry, what was meant to be a link posting has turned into a sermon :-(

I want a referendum can be found here. Enjoy!

Can I borrow your pen please Mr Dale?

Are there really people in the world who write with biros that cost nearly three hundred quid?

The thought of it is enough to turn one into a raging commie!


Brunstrom Tasered

If you are one of those who would like to see the Chief Constable of North Wales shot you may enjoy this video

One Hospital in the North!

A few years ago my wife use to attend an out patients clinic in Morriston Hospital Swansea. The trip from Conwy use to take about six hours each way. Because of the distance we would have to go down the day before the appointment and come back they day after. Our children would have to come with us, causing them to miss three days school. The cost was extortionate, the inconvenience was worse.

The outpatients visits were sort of pre-operative, one had to attend the clinic in order for the doctor to juggle where one was on the op-list. The inconvenience of the trip was just too much for my wife, the kids and me. My wife elected to come off the list and to die with the condition that she was being seen for.

A triumph for the Labour Party - another one off the waiting list - hooray! A long drawn out tragedy for my family and me.

My wife is off the waiting list but she is still seriously ill and still severely disabled by her health problem, she just isn't one of the statistics any more!

The idea that people can travel from the north Wales coast to the south Wales coast for treatments, of any sort, is ridiculous. But treatment in Liverpool isn't the answer either. It may be convenient for David Jones' MP's constituents to go to Liverpool from Prestatyn, but Liverpool is as difficult to get to from Aberdyfi as is Swansea!

The problem that the Health Service in north Wales has is too many small coastal hospitals, none of which can give a decent provision in the modern world. Bangor, Bodelwyddan, Aberystwyth and Wrexham are tiddler hospitals. What the north needs is one major league hospital in a central location, Bala, Dolgellau, Denbigh, Blaenau or Llanrwst, that is the equal too, if not better than, Cardiff's University Hospital.

Unfortunately no AM or MP would agree to support the closure of their local tiddler hospital in order to create one major league hospital in central north Wales. Any movement towards creating a Super Hospital in central north Wales would be opposed by the selfish brigade who want to keep their hospitals in their community.

But unless we give up our parochial attitudes and accept the need for one centre of excellence hospital in central north Wales, the trips to Swansea, Cardiff, Liverpool, Birmingham and even London are going to continue.


And whose army?

Mention independence for Wales and some wag is sure to come up with the old chestnut about Wales not being able to have an army.

So the flag of which country's army was splashed across the pages of most of the London papers yesterday?


Guinevere's Court

The Welsh political blogging community has now been graced by a member of royalty in the form of Queen Guinevere, her royal presence can be found here.

Peoples Voice to challenge Plaid?

A few weeks ago Plaid MP Adam Price was canvassing support for an electoral agreement between Plaid Cymru and People's Voice. However Martin Eaglestone draws attention to this story in the Caernarfon and Denbigh Herald last month, which suggests that PV may be about to challenge Plaid Cymru councillors in each of the seats the party holds on Gwynedd County Council.

Although the Herald doesn't link what they call a "new party" with Trish Law & Dai Davies' party, all political parties have to register their names and can't use a name that is the same or similar to one which is already on the register. If Aeron Jones' so called new party is part of the Law's older party then I don't think that they pose much of a threat to Plaid in its stronghold. If it isn't linked then Mr Jones' is braking electoral law - not an auspicious beginning for an ambitious new party.

Alfred the OK

Blog surfing UK political blogs I happened upon this one:

Alfred the OK

Long running blog, but new to me. Sensibly right wing, sensibly English Nationalist -a blog with posts worth reading, whether you agree with them or not!

The best thing about Alf, however, is his tag line:

Alfred the OK!

Not as good as Alfred the Great

........ but not as bad as Alfred the Crap

Love it!

Offensive Unionists

The kids go back to school today, to most this signals the end of the summer period!

Peter Hain announced, some time back, that he was going to co-ordinate a Summer Offensive in support of the Union!

What happened?

Did Peter Hain come to understand that Wales isn't part of the famous Union?

Or did he discover that there is nothing in the Union worth defending?


Adam in Golwg

The p*** taking column in Golwg (which depends heavily on the Welsh blogosphere but never acknowledges any blog as it's source) says that the Western Mail has had so many scoops from the magazine's Adam Price column, that they are now asking for pre release copy!

However the WM doesn't seem very interested in Adam's latest rant, which in my humble opinion is his best. So here is an attempt at a translation:

Welsh athletes need a chance

An independent Wales would be insular and lose its place on the international stage, says the prospective parliamentary candidate Glyn Davies

Watch the international games in Osaka this week and you will see this argument smashed under the shadow of the Union Jack.

Just four Welsh athletes were allowed to travel with the British team to the International Athletics Tournament

Just two of them, Tim Benjamin in the 400m hurdles and Tracy Morris in the marathon are able to compete as individuals. The former junior world champion Christian Malcolm from Cardiff, and David Green from Llanelli, who won the U 23 European championship last month are only part of a relay team, a disappointment for them as individuals and the supporters of Welsh athletics.

There is no room at all for Steven Davies in the 1500 meter or Tim Abeyie in the 200 meters.

The biggest shock was the decision to leave Phillipa Ross, the discus thrower from Neath, out of the team - despite the fact that she is the best thrower in the nations of Britain and despite the fact that she threw the discus a meter further than was needed to secure a place in Osaka

Compare our experience and that of the Republic of Ireland, a nation with more-or-less the same population. Ireland has 17 athletes in Japan this week!

The United Kingdom doesn't give us the opportunity to shine on the world stage, it stifles us.

And this lack of ambition as a nation leads to a lack of ambition for individuals. The success of our national heroes, as we saw last week with our national football team in Bulgaria, breeds the desire to copy them amongst our youth.

Without role models with a Welsh focus there is no way that athletics can compete with football and rugby. There is no wonder, therefore that Welsh Athletics is in a bit of a crisis, with Cardiff Athletic team being relegated to the second division recently.

For athletics - and Wales - to succeed, we need to represent ourselves on the World stage in championships such as those being held in Osaka.

For once we don't have to await Independence to achieve this goal! The IAAF's constitution allows "territories" that rule themselves, without being totally independent, to compete.

The Minister for Sport in our self ruling "territory" is himself a runner - and "One Wales" promises "more support for the development of National Teams in wales"

I wonder who put that clause into the agreement? In forming a government - as in sport - who comes first is not always the be all and end all - just as important is who is taking part!