This blog is now a former blog.

Because of lifestyle changes I can't comment on hot off the press topics anymore. By the time I have thought of a response to current Welsh affairs others have said it better.

The blog wont be closed down, it is going into hibernation. Like Arthur and Glyndwr it may be awakened when Wales needs it!

Come the General Election and the Referendum, I might be persuaded to post again. But for the foreseeable future posts on this blog will be few and far between.

O let us see another day!
Bless us all this night, I pray,
And to the Sun we all will bow
And say, good-bye - but just for now!


Sir Em Reports

Here is the long awaited Sir Em report.

£1.3 million wasted on an exercise in stating the bleeding obvious i.e. that the current system of obtaining competence for the Assembly is a dog's breakfast and sometimes referendums are won or lost on issues outwith the scope of the question being voted upon.

Will the next million pound Assembly commissioned report be on the defecatory habits of forest dwelling bears?


New Welsh Poll on Friday?

YouGov has sent out invitations to panel members to take part in the second of its series of Welsh political opinion polls.

The last poll invitation was sent out on the 22nd October and the results published five days latter. If the current poll follows the same pattern then this result should be out on Friday. It will be interesting to see what, if any, changes there have been over the past month.

Any body wishing to join YouGov and possibly be selected for the next Welsh panel can do so by clicking THIS LINK


The Cost of Remembrance

There is much debate on the Scottish blogosphere about the decision by the Scottish Parliament that poppy wreaths laid by MSPs today can be claimed for out of parliamentary expenses. Most think that claiming for wreaths is insensitive and a shame on those who do so.

Others make the counter argument that an MSP isn't laying the wreath in his own right but in an official capacity as a representative of the people, and therefore the people should pay.

I could accept the public service on behalf of the constituents argument if only one wreath was laid on my behalf by one of my public representatives. But it appears that the chair of the parish council, my county councillor, the mayor of the county council, my constituency Assembly Member, 4 regional AMs, my MP, four euro MEPs, the First Minister, the Secretary of State for Wales, the Prime minister and the Queen (and possibly others) can all lay wreaths on my behalf out of the public purse. This is over representation.

The parish council should lay one wreath on my behalf as a parishioner. Any other public representative who thinks that laying a wreath is the right thing to do should do so in his or her own name and out of his or her own pocket*.

* NB I should point out, in fairness, that despite the fact that all of these people CAN claim the cost of wreaths, because they are laying them as representatives of the people few actually do so.


Is being a child a criminal offence?

A long, long time ago, before most of my readers were born, I use to play ball in the street with my mates. I couldn't understand adults who complained about our play. What harm were we doing? What was wrong with having a bit of fun? Those adults who, when asked can I have my ball back? said NO and ranted about the damage caused to their Prize Dahlias appeared to be unreasonable, miserable and sad.

Occasionally accidents happened, a broken window, an adult hurt by a wild ball, a newly cleaned car dirtied, and there might be consequences if dad was told. Sent to bed, pocket money stopped or, in the most extreme circumstances, a smacked bottom. All such sanctions appeared unjust because we were just having fun.

My father, my grandfather, my great grandfather and all my ancestors back to Adam's lads probably went through the same experience of not understanding why adults complained about boys having a bit of fun.

Now that I am a Miserable Old Fart, I understand and sympathise with those long dead miserable old farts who complained about my ball playing on the streets and I can emmpathise with the residents of Penmaenmawr who complain about kids playing football by the Spar shop in the village.

However, what I can't understand is the attitude of the Police towards the kids playing ball on the street in Penmaenmawr:
YOUNGSTERS caught playing football on the streets of Penmaenmawr risk being arrested and could face a criminal record. .... "There is a specific offence for playing games in the highway causing annoyance to road users." ..... "This is an arrestable offence and from this moment on, this is the approach we will be using. ..."This behaviour can land them with a criminal record. It’s only fair to give them all a warning first that they will face arrest if caught again".
So a child will face arrest, a criminal record and prohibition for life from any job that needs full disclosure for playing ball on the street twice? What is the world coming to?

Playing ball inappropriately is not criminal, it is naughty. Naughty children should be dealt with at home or in school, not by the police and the courts.

When naughty children are treated as criminals, childhood is made into a criminal offence. And if just being a child is seen to be a criminal offence then there is no hope for naughty boys to grow up to be law abiding adults.


Democracy Live and the Welsh Language

The new BBC Service Democracy Live is great and one that I am sure to use often. It offers live and recorded debates from eight UK parliamentary chambers, including the Assembly's Senedd.

It is also possible to embed proceedings from the chamber into blog posts. As the service is available it must be used!

Here is the discussion on the Welsh language eLCO held yesterday:

(NB the embedded video audio comes from translators for most of the debate)

Apparently it is posssible to take individual contributions out of full debates for the sake of partisan or personal embedding, but I haven't worked out how to do that yet. However, this is a debate worth following from beginning to end.

What I find heartening about this debate is the fact that its liveliness, the fire in the belly, the party political point scoring and the passion is based on an argument about which party is the greatest supporter and promoter of the language.

Listening to Tory and Liberal Democrat and Labour members criticising a Plaid Cymru minister for compromising on the language and not doing enough to defend it bought a tear to the eye; not because the criticisms might, or might not, be justified - but just because they were made.

A quarter of a century, or less, ago this sort of debate would have involved a powerless member of Plaid stuck in a corner supporting the language whilst the other three parties ravaged him or her for the stupidity of advancing the cause of a half dead language. The fact that today, a nationalist minister had to fight off attacks from members of the other parties who were falling over themselves to prove that they are the most ardent supporters and truest defenders of the language is evidence of how far the Welsh language cause has moved in so short a time.

Plaid's next big challenge is to get to a situation where all the other parties are criticising it for not doing enough to advance the cause of national self determination :-)