Buy my Taid x 33's Biography!

I don't do book reviews on this blog, mainly because I don't know how to do them.

Despite having a Twitter account I don't particularly like Twitter; - I don't see the point of saying something in 140 characters that one could stretch into a 3 hour sermon!

If I was to join both of these failings together I would probably tweet Wow what a great read or What a croc of sh**; as a response to most of the books that I have read.

I have been offered a free copy of a book to review on this blog. I won't take the offer up, if I did I would be obliged to say something more than wow/croc about it; but as the publishers were so kind as to make the offer and the subject is my many times great grandfather I'll give it a free plug!

How the murder of Wales’ Greatest king transformed the history of Britain on the eve of the Battle of Hastings

Gruffudd ap Llywelyn is one of those relatively unknown figures that deserves a lot more recognition in the annals of history. Born in northern-Wales in the early part of the eleventh century, Gruffudd would go on to seize an unprecedented amount of influence in a ruthless ascent to power. After forcibly unifying all of Wales and claiming the title of ‘king’, Gruffudd successfully attacked the English with the help of a Viking contingent. Gruffudd would get as far as Hereford before burning the city and returning home. These acts forced King Edward the Confessor to seek peace.

Harold, earl of Wessex (later King Harold I) would later take the fight to Gruffudd and in 1063 forced the King to flee his homeland. He was later betrayed and beheaded by his own men, forebears of the princes who have entered history as Wales’ national heroes. The Welsh were left in chaos on the eve of the arrival of the Normans. The death of the last king of Wales would nevertheless also lead to the downfall at Hastings of England’s last Anglo-Saxon king, Harold II.

• The first popular account of the only king to rule all of Wales as a single country and also the last king of the ancient Britons

• Provides a fresh perspective on the events that lead to the Norman Conquest

• Contains original research and little-known illustrations

Michael and Sean Davies each hold a PhD in mediaeval history, and both have published books and articles on Welsh history. Michael runs a company which gives historical tours of Wales and Sean is a writer and editor for the BBC in Cardiff. They both live in Wales.


Does Britain Mean the Same to You as Britain Means to Me?

Gareth Young aka Toque has an interesting post on the Click on Wales Blog site about Ed Milliband's rather odd speech on Defending the Union in England

There is much in Gareth's critique of Mr Milliband's speech that I agree with, read his article!

What I find interesting in Mr Milliband's speech is his odd claim that we can all be equally British

Having to say: Scottish or British, Welsh or British English or British I don’t accept any of that., he says. But he doesn't acknowledge that being "British" might mean different things to different Britons!

I am Welsh and British, but my Britishness comes from the fact that I belong to the Britons who held most of this Island before the Romans and the Anglo Saxons and Normans poked their unwelcome noses into our affairs. My claim to Britishness is one that is superior to the English claim to Britishness!

The Scots are British by virtue of what was supposed to be a marriage of equal's so since the 1700's the Scots have been as equally British as the English.

Many of the English, however, don't seem to accept that there is a difference between being English and being British. During the 1966 World Cup challenge the Union Flag was the prevalent flag. During the Euro 2012 challenge almost every supermarket in Wales has had support OUR (England) team marketing. Even Welsh Rugby Matches on S4C have been inundated by the rather unfortunately predictive Mars Bar advert!

Being English and British to many English people has no resonance – they are two sides of the same coin – two words that mean exactly the same. Mr Milliband proved this when he said in defence of his Speech Keir Hardy was born in Scotland, represented a Welsh constituency and sat in the ENGLISH parliament. - not the British Parliament, the English Parliament!

Being British in England, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall and the North of Ireland means completely different things to different people!

Even our definition of Britishness is a means to divide us rather than a label to unite us!


So I can't stand?

Like most nationalists of a certain age I have my arrested for the cause medal with bar, and because of that it appears that even if I had more money than sense, I still couldn't stand election for Police Commissioner.

Simon Weston (a person I wouldn't vote for, but for whom I have a lot of respect) may be barred from standing because of a conviction which he received in the 1970's.

I was also arrested in the 1970's, and convicted of throwing a full can of beer at Prince Charles - my conviction was a travesty of justice. The can was empty – would anybody, other than an opinionated magistrate believe that I would waste a FULL can on Carlo?

I have convictions that are less honourable than those for the national cause, such as one for assaulting a patient in my care in the mid 1980's. The circumstances were that the patient was posing a knife threat to me and my staff so I slapped her and then disarmed her. I was up in court for assault, pleaded guilty and was given an absolute discharge –the closest thing that a magistrate can say to you should have pleaded not guilty and we would have let you off! The Nursing Registration Council came to a similar conclusion, and I kept my Registered Nurse status after their investigation.
I have a conviction for throwing a brick through the window of a holiday home! If I was guilty I wouldn't have denied it, but I didn't do it! I was set up by the police for naughty things that I had done to TV masts and postal vans that they thought they knew I did, but couldn't prove - so they set me up!

Having been a customer of the bum side of the police service, I think that I could offer an understanding of the service that those who have escaped conviction can never contemplate. Isn't it wrong that those of us who have, perhaps, the most pertinent experience of the police should be barred from standing?
Of course the opposing argument is that if a conviction bar wasn't in place we could elect a mass murderer to be our Commissioner!

We could!

But isn't it an insult to the people of North Wales, South Wales, Dyfed Powys and Gwent to suggest that we would?


Should Plaid and the Lib Dems think again about Police Commissioner Elections?

From what I understand neither Plaid Cymru nor The Liberal Democrats intend to propose nominees for election to the Police Commissioners posts next November.

I had been told that Plaid might be willing to give practical support to an independent candidate who was generally favourable to the national cause, so I looked at the possibilities of standing as an independent. But the evidence proves that it would be absolutely impossible for an independent to mount a credible campaign in policing areas as huge as Dyfed Powys and the North; in terms of costs, resources and of practicality so there is no point in a candidate standing without the support of a political party or a similar organisation.

So it appears that our choice come next November will be between the Labour candidate, the Conservative candidate or a person with more money than sense!


Poems and Politics - TWAT - John Cooper Clarke

I love poetry, and I can recite a number of my favourite poems by rote. I can quote chunks of others, and if I feel the need to make a poetic quotation to support a point I have sufficient knowledge of poetry to enable me to find appropriate quotes.

Many of the poems that I know by rote were learned for the purpose of competing in Eisteddfodau. The ones that I remember best aren't the ones that were drilled, they are the ones who's meanings and structure were explained in detail before we even got onto learning them.

Poems learned in context and taught with enthusiasm can be a lifelong pleasure. Poems taught by rote because the National Curriculum says they must be taught could be counterproductive and put kids off poetry for life. So I give a half cautious welcome to Michael Gove's pronouncement that Children as young as five will be expected to learn and recite poetry by heart in a major overhaul of the national curriculum for schools in England. If it is done well English kids will have a huge benefit, if it is done badly English poetry will suffer a generation of despair.

I sincerely hope it's done well. If not, perhaps this poem by John Cooper Clarke might be the poem Mr Gove will be most associated with:


Like a Night Club in the morning, you're the bitter end
Like a recently disinfected shit-house, you're clean round the bend.
You give me the horrors
too bad to be true
All of my tomorrow's
are lousy coz of you.

You put the Shat in Shatter
Put the Pain in Spain
Your germs are splattered about
Your face is just a stain

You're certainly no raver, commonly known as a drag.
Do us all a favour, here... wear this polythene bag.

You're like a dose of scabies,
I’ve got you under my skin.
You make life a fairy tale... Grimm!
People mention murder, the moment you arrive.
I’d consider killing you if I thought you were alive.
You've got this slippery quality,
it makes me think of phlegm,
and a dual personality
I hate both of them.

Your bad breath, vamps disease, destruction, and decay.
Please, please, please, please, take yourself away.
Like a death in a birthday party,
you ruin all the fun.
Like a sucked and spat our Smartie,
you're no use to anyone.
like the shadow of the guillotine
on a dead consumptive's face.
Speaking as an outsider,
what do you think of the human race

You went to a progressive psychiatrist.
He recommended suicide...
before scratching your bad name off his list,
and pointing the way outside.

You hear laughter breaking through, it makes you want to fart.
You’re heading for a breakdown,
better pull yourself apart.
Your dirty name gets passed about when something goes amiss.
Your attitudes are platitudes,
just make me wanna piss.

What kind of creature bore you
Was is some kind of bat
They can’t find a good word for you,
but I can...