Happy Birthday To You!

Peter Black celebrates his birthday today!

He is now officially a Silver Surfer

Congratulations Peter!

Trouble in Aberconwy's Tory Camp

Aberconwy is a constituency where the Tories have high hopes of gaining an MP in Wales, indeed it is their number five target seat through the UK. If the party can't make gains in places like Aberconwy, then it hasn't got a hope of winning an overall majority in the General Election.

However, Aberconwy will not be a shoo-in for the Tories. Plaid Cymru won the seat in the Assembly elections and in its pre-boundary change equivalent in the Euro-Elections, and Plaid is working hard to gain a similar upset again this year.

Given the nature of the seat one would expect the local Conservative Association to run a tight ship and maintain internal party cohesion. Not so. The local Association is in a mess and riven by internal strife and wrangling.

Last year one of the Tory group on Conwy County Borough Council was suspended from the group after refusing to support a Conservative candidate's co-option onto a local town council. Today another Conservative Councillor, Cllr Dennis Tew announced that he was leaving the Conservative group. Cllr Tew is a member for the Deganwy ward, one of the party's strongholds in the constituency and is President of Aberconwy Conservative Association.

Cllr Tew's defection must be a bitter blow for Aberconwy Tory candidate Guto Bebb. If rumours that Cllr Tew is going to transfer his support to Plaid Cymru's Phil Edwards are true, then the blow will be even harder.


Lessons for Wales from Caledonia Online?

From SNP Tactical Voting:

Scotland's first online newspaper is now live...
Caledonian Mercury, billing itself as Scotland's first online newspaper, is now available to be viewed and presumably off and running.

The Politics section seems to be manned chiefly by Hamish MacDonnell and contains some excellent articles already.

Stewart Kirkpatrick, editor of the online publication, is clearly enthusiastic and passionate about this business adventure and I can only hope it sees a baptism of fire as people click in and stay tuned for the long term

A quick glance at the "paper" suggests that it has the potential to be a valuable new site for acquiring Scottish news and that it has a potential to fill a void left by the two main Scottish papers.

The void left by the two main Welsh Newspapers, both owned by the same stable; both more reliant on press releases and wire stories than on local journalism is immense. Could that void be filled by a similar Welsh venture?


It's not Posh it's the Old School Tie!

I have just listened to yesterday's edition of The One Programme on Sky Plus, which rehashed the whole posh argument about Labour's attack on policy being made on the playing fields of Eton.

I feel that the media has got it wrong (dare I say biased wrong!) It has got sod all to do with being posh; it is all to do with nepotism and jobs for the boys.

The school I attended, Ysgol y Gader Dolgellau, formally Dolgelly Grammar School; established in 1666 has only produced one MP and has never produced a PM. Most of Cameron's prospective cabinet have gone to the same half dozen schools!

If half the cabinet had attended Byker Grove Comprehensive School, my eyebrows would be raised; I would think that there was something funny going on!

It has got sod all to do with posh, it has to do with an Eton education making you fit for Premiership and cabinet membership but an Ysgol y Creuddyn, or Sandfeilds Comprehensive, education making you unsuitable and cutting you out!

Having said that, one of the candidates in my constituency attended the same school as me! So Phil Edwards, Plaid Cymru has my Old School Tie vote :-)


You know your old if:

You know your old if: 

Your vote has ever counted to vote Labour out of office in a Westminster election!

 If it has you must be at least 49 years old!


Professor Hywel Teifi Edwards

I was shocked to hear that Hywel Teifi Edward has died.

In academic circles Hywel was best known as an historian of the Victorian period in Wales, especially the history of the Eisteddfodic movement during the Victorian period. A description that makes Hywel sound like a dry, boring old anorak, something that he was not!

Hywel had the ability to take the hi out of History and leave just the story behind. 

He lectured like a stand up comic, but as much as one laughed, one knew that every single fact was backed up with meticulous academic research.

In his death Wales has lost an expert historian, a raconteur, a friend of our culture and our language and a patriot of the first degree.

His family, of course, has a bigger loss - the loss of a husband, father and grandfather. Huw Edwards, the BBC News anchor is Hywel's son.  My deepest sympathy is extended to all of the family connections in their bereavement.


Sharing DNA with a Criminal Cousin

Former Policeman, Plaid Gwersyllt, on the Plaid Wrecsam blog  notes that North Wales Police is rather slow in implementing the European Court ruling that the DNA of innocents should be removed from the police databases.

The campaign to remove "innocent" DNA is one that confuses me.  My understanding, which is limited, is that my fingerprints are absolutely unique. You can't look at my fingerprints and say Ah! That proves that he is his father's son or his son's father! But that this isn't true of DNA.

Although my DNA is unique I share some of it with my family, and it is possible to do a paternity test to prove that my sprogs are mine and not the milkman's by using DNA.

As far as I know North Wales police don't have any of my DNA. A genealogical service does hold it; I paid them to take a sample so they could see how I am related to others who have paid them to compare samples. They regularly e-mail me to say that "Jo Blogs probably shares a paternal ancestor with you" etc.

Jeffrey Gafoor was convicted of the murder of Lynette White, because the police had the DNA of his cousin's convicted son, and that was sufficient to narrow the suspect range to members of the Gafoor family.

Even if all innocent people's absolute personal DNA is removed from the database, won't the DNA that the innocent share with the guilty still be on the database?

Even if I am as pure as the driven snow, but I have a criminal father, grandfather, uncle, son, grandson, nephew, second cousin twice removed etc, then won't my shared DNA still be on file, despite my personal innocence?

If this is the case isn't the argument about innocents' DNA a bit futile?