Thursday, 31 January 2008

Three Sheep for every Person in Wales

But how many sheep are there for every sheep?
Too many people in Wales follow the party political dogma, and dutifully but unthinkingly behave like sheep, and we all have heard the story of the one who went to Westminster sporting a red ribbon. Presumably he became a sleeping member until eventually pensioned off.
But that was long ago and times have changed. Who would dream today of electing sheep to the parliament at Westminster, or more significantly, to the County Councils in May?
No, the time has come for change, and no longer will people in the hills and valleys of Wales, or in the cities of the South, automatically and mindlessly vote for these vegetative herbivores. They will, one expects, look around and find a radical and dynamic alternative, in the form of dedicated and enthusiastic young Welsh politicians, sporting a ribbon of a different hue, who see their future tied to the future of their nation.

Sain Tathan and the British War Gamers

Blow for £15bn St Athan academy

Jan 31 2008 Tomos Livingstone, Western Mail

PART of a huge £15bn defence training academy ear-marked for St. Athan in the Vale of Glamorgan is being ditched

The two-part project would have seen all UK defence training centralised in south Wales.

But the second part of the scheme, dealing with logistics, photography, administration, policing and language training, is not now going ahead.
It was worth up to £5bn and would have seen 4,500 personnel trained on site.

The rest of the scheme is going ahead as planned, and will see the army, navy and air force trained at a new site in St Athan, due to be opened in 2013. 5,000 jobs will be created as a result.

Defence Minister Bob Ainsworth said the St Athan team was unable to provide an “affordable” way of delivering the second package.

Sain Tathan Military Academy is for the training of military personnel in war games and in more sophisticated forms of warfare. When will they ever learn? - Iraq, Vietnam, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Algeria, Crimea ......the list goes on.....? Better to ditch the establishment completely and turn it into an Academy of Peace (on how to cope with aggression and deflect antagonism through understanding and diplomatic negotiation). Regarding the employment of 5,000 personnel the majority of this jobs will not apparently be created from the pool of the local community.
Those nostalgic for the heady days of Empire will not agree with me for sure!

Alan in Dyfed

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Take a Peek at a Nice Site

A Lesson on Nationality from the Web

The British Council
English Language Teaching Material

Why is England or the UK sometimes called Britain?
What is the difference between the names? Why are they not the same country?
'When people say England, they sometimes mean Great Britain, sometimes the United Kingdom, sometimes the British Isles - but never England.'

Read : 'How to be an Alien' by George Mikes

"England" is sometimes, wrongly, used in reference to the whole United Kingdom, the entire island of Great Britain (or simply Britain), or indeed the British Isles. This is not only incorrect but can cause offence to people from other parts of the UK.
( Nationality of the British people).
The diverse history of England, Scotland and Wales has led to very different cultural traditions; the Scots and Welsh have right to feel aggrieved whenever the term 'English' is used wrongly, to mean all three.
Great Britain, the United Kingdom and the British Isles do not mean the same thing!

BritNats and Unionists naturally feel upset about these facts as they expose the invalidities of the Union and bring to light its perplexing and confusing nature.
The reason the Union still survives into the 21st century is accountable to the years of mal-education, conditioning and brainwashing which several generations have absorbed through ignorance and unawareness of true historical facts and quite deliberate attempts to quash indigenous culture and language. Thus, many who proclaim themselves to be patriotic citizens of Wales, and who consider themselves Welsh have abrogated their responsiblities towards their native country, possibly without even realising that this is so.

Alan in Dyfed


Monday, 28 January 2008

England is not Britain, and Vice-Versa!

Some people are apparently suffering from the misconception that Britain and England are synonymous. In fact, there are millions of people living overseas who have this mistaken impression. For example, the woman who asked the way to the English Consulate. She was obviously living in the future and not the present. If England were Britain there would be no such nations as Scotland and Wales. If the Queen were the Queen of England only there would be no kingdom of Scotland. The kingdom of Scotland was united with the kingdom of England and became known as the "United Kingdom". What does this mean in terms of present 21st century reality? Wales is a Principality, but it has not been ruled by a prince since 1282 AD. The present Prince of Wales, however well-meaning, is an anachronism in this present age. As is the House of Lords.

In fact the entire constitutional set-up of the British Isles is in a mess, and no appeal to Britishness can alter ths fact. Britannia is just one of the vestiges of Victorian Britain that is about to disappear and its demise is no loss. The Prince of Wales feathers will be another. Possibly the Union flag will be the last to go as it is duplicated in so many logos around the world. The advocates of British values and British supremacy are on a losing streak. Britain lost its values some years ago, and society today is in a shambles. Violence, drunkenness and anarchy rule the streets of the inner cities and the authorities are ineffective and impotent in the face of it. Britain is out of control, and that is why the nations which still retain a semblance of culture and where traditional values are given credence, namely Scotland and Wales, need to reassert their identities and strike out for freedom from the past.

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Goodbye to Britannia!

It appears that Britannia is no longer relevant in modern Britain and will soon be removed from the coinage. One by one the trappings of 'Britishness' are disappearing from the scene in the former British territories of Scotland, Wales and northern Ireland, and one of our campaigns is for the demise of the Union flag, which already is not flown in Scotland except on 18 days per year. After independence the flag will no longer be seen fluttering in the breeze as is the case in the Republic of Ireland, where the Union flag in not in evidence throughout the land, and for good reason.

The Blog that Keeps on Going


The Languages of Europe

Saturday, 26 January 2008

With acknowledgements to Blogtrotter

The Leader of the World

BBC poll: His Holiness is third most preferred leader to run world

(ICT), 4 October 2005, TibetNet: His Holiness the Dalai Lama has been voted the third most preferred individual that people would like to run the world, according to a poll conducted by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

In a press release dated 3 October 2005, BBC said 15,000 people throughout the world took part in this poll "to 'elect' a fantasy 11-member world government from a selection of the most powerful, charismatic and (in some cases) notorious people on the planet."

The people were provided with a list of 100 “contenders” -- leaders, thinkers, economists -- that included Chinese President Hu Jintao. The only conditions were that their choice must include one leader, one thinker, and one economist. The other eight were up to the voters.

South African leader Nelson Mandela was voted first with President Bill Clinton being the second. The 11 members that were “voted” are:

1. Nelson Mandela
2. Bill Clinton
3. His Holiness the Dalai Lama
4. Noam Chomsky
5. Alan Greenspan
6. Bill Gates
7. Steve Jobs
8. Archbishop Desmond Tutu
9. Richard Branson
10. George Soros
11. Kofi Annan

According to the release, this poll was “part of the BBC's global season Who Runs Your World? exploring where power lies in the 21st century.”

What is it that characterises all these contenders for leadership of the world? : INTEGRITY
Alan in Dyfed

Friday, 25 January 2008

The Guardians of the Nation

Who are the true guardians of the nation? Are they to be found in the British "New" Labour Party? Are they to be found in the British Liberal Democrat Party? Are they to be found in the British Conservative Party? Possibly a handful of lone stalwarts, let us concede. But no, the true guardians of the nation are the staunch nationalists who speak for the People of Wales, and have their interests at heart. They are the people intent upon preserving the communities and ensuring that these Welsh communities receive the local community services, hospitals, dental services, schools, police and postal services at their place of origin, within acceptable distance from the place of residence. Nationalists, not unionists, have the interests of the people at heart and they can always be guaranteed to keep faith with the people, of whatever ethnicity or creed or colour. They may belong to Plaid or they may not, but they are the true guardians of the heritage and the defenders of the nation.

Proposed Monuments at the Gateways into Wales

From John F. Wake. (Tourism Commentator - Cardiff)

The Heritage Lottery commission has turned down the application for around £13million to secure some of the most innovative and dynamic icons as Gateways to Wales. An absolute tragedy and before anyone says, ’well the money would have been spent better elsewhere!’ Well it is, if that‘s what you want, on icons or Landmark projects in other areas such as England and Scotland. So we lost out. (Keep reading) It certainly was not with the professionalism of the bid. It could not have been bettered. It was a Wales wide bid and project which brought all four corners of the country together. The skills from within the Public sector was remarkable. We need Iconography to brand our country. The whole concept was to make the entries into Wales as remarkable as the country. When Eiffel built his tower in France that was not French branding. It is now. When the small Mermaid statue was put on the rock at Copenhagen it did not brand Denmark. It does now. When the statue of Jesus Christ was erected at Rio it was not a Brazilian brand. It is now. Wouldn’t it be marvellous if Wales was at the cutting edge with iconography and branding. People around the world would be looking at us as the ‘yardstick. ’ The ‘Angel of the North’ is iconic in England but is nothing to what was planned for Wales. Ah well ‘perchance the innovation is not dead, but merely sleepeth’.

Agreed - but this blog does not approve of some of the gimmicky entries that have been submitted to stand at the major entry points into Wales. If Wales is to have major sculptures or monuments set up at these places let them be created by Welsh sculptors and craftsmen and produced in Wales, and let them be noble artistic creations which reflect the culture and national traditions of Wales.

Alan in Dyfed

D.H. Lawrence

I am in love - and, my God, it is the greatest thing that can happen to a man. I tell you, find a woman you can fall in love with. Do it. Let yourself fall in love. If you have not done so already, you are wasting your life.
- D.H. Lawrence [ 1885-1930 ]

Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow!

This nation of Cymru is on an inexorable and relentless course towards full independence. Wales will one day be a nation state within the family of the European Union. The office of Secretary of State for Wales is only a temporary measure and will make no difference to the outcome, the denouement of devolution. We are entering into the end-game when the nations which inhabit these islands will assert their mature political identities and take charge of their respective destinies. They will then make their unique and invaluable contribution to the EU and the wider world, and the flawed British constitution will be consigned to the dustbins of history.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

A Victory for the People - Breaking News......

Peter Hain, Secretary of State for Wales and Minister for Works and Pensions, has resigned. It was inevitable that he should resign as his position had become untenable. We shed no crocodile tears as the people deserve politicians who are not only competent but have integrity and are morally beyond reproach. Although the ramifications of the story have yet to be investigated and brought to light there are sufficient indications already which give rise to suspicion and unease. It now behoves Gordon Brown to select a new Secretary of State for Wales (if we are to have one) and his choice of a suitably qualified member of the government is in question. In a "government of all the talents" may we suggest Adam Price MP/AS as the successor to Mr Hain? God forbid that it should be Don Touhig MP. It is doubtful however that Mr Brown will make a decision which is controversial and open to criticism.

It's PAUL MURPHY : now we wait and see.
Time will tell.....

How Paul Murphy voted on key issues since 2001:

* Has never voted on a transparent Parliament. votes, speeches
* Voted moderately for introducing a smoking ban. votes, speeches
* Voted moderately for introducing ID cards. votes, speeches
* Voted very strongly for introducing foundation hospitals. votes, speeches
* Voted very strongly for introducing student top-up fees. votes, speeches
* Voted very strongly for Labour's anti-terrorism laws. votes, speeches
* Voted very strongly for the Iraq war. votes, speeches
* Voted strongly against investigating the Iraq war. votes, speeches
* Voted very strongly for replacing Trident. votes, speeches
* Voted moderately for the hunting ban. votes, speeches
* Voted moderately for equal gay rights. votes, speeches

Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow!


Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Forget St Valentine - It's St Dwynwen's Day!

Welsh lovers celebrate "Dydd Santes Dwynwen" this week!
Santes Dwynwen/St Dwynwen - Welsh Patron Saint of Lovers
January 25th

St. Dwynwen (460 A.D.)
Feast Day: January 25th

Saint Dwynwen,
We beseech thee, Comfort lovers whose vision is unclear. Send mending to those with love lost. Protect our companions.
In your name, we seek to do the same. In your name, we choose love first. With the love of you, of Mary, and of Jesus Christ.

O Blessed St. Dwynwen, you who knew pain and peace, division and reconciliation, you have promised to aid lovers and you watch over those whose hearts have been broken. As you received three boons from an Angel, intercede for me to receive three blessings; to obtain my heart's desire {here you may name it} or, if that is not God's Will, a speedy healing from my pain; your guidance and assistance, that I may find love with the right person, at the right time, and in the right way; and an unshakeable faith in the boundless kindness and wisdom of God. And this I ask in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

St. Dwynwen (also known as Dwyn, Donwen, Donwenna, Dunwen) lived in the 5th century. St. Dwynwen was one of 24 daughters of a 5th century Welsh Saint and king, Brychan Brycheiniog, of Brechon. The beautiful and virtuous St. Dwynwen fell in love with a Welsh prince, Maelon Dafodrill, who intended to wed her, but their marriage was not to be. Various reasons have been given for this. Some say that Brychan had already promised her to another prince. Others say that she realized she wished to live a religious life dedicated to God.

As St. Dwynwen distanced herself from Maelon, his bitterness toward her became increasingly unbearable. Upon seeing his desperation, St. Dwynwen fled to the woods and prayed fervently to God to help her end this misery. She fell asleep and dreamt that she was administered a sweet drink which immediately saved her from Maelon's attentions and released her from her heartache. The same drink, when given to Maelon, however, turned him into a statue of ice. Again she prayed to God, and was given three wishes: the first was that Maelon be unfrozen; the second was that she should never wish to marry again; and the third was that God should answer all requests made by her on behalf of lovers, so that they succeed in finding happiness through the fulfillment of their love or being cured of their passion. One of her sayings was, "Nothing wins hearts like cheerfulness."

God granted all her wishes. She committed her life to Him and founded a convent on what is now Llanddwyn island, just off the Isle of Anglesey (Yns Mon). Her holy well, a fresh-water spring called Ffynnon Dwynwen, became a place of pilgrimage. Over time she was also invoked to heal sick and distressed animals, a tradition which has survived to the present day.

The ruins of Llanddwyn chapel, a 16th century Tudor church built at the site of priory can still be seen, and there is also a Latin cross dedicated to St. Dwynwen, in Llanddwyn. Moreover, her name lives on in the town Porthddwyn and a church dedicated to her can be found in Cornwall.

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

On The Road To Independence Cymru - Climb Aboard!

Campaigning for Cymru!
The blog that keeps going when others fall by the wayside or run out of gas.....

Monday, 21 January 2008

The Welsh Dragon Has No Teeth............Witness the Welsh Assembly.

In Greek myth, dragon's teeth feature prominently in the legends of the Phoenician prince Cadmus and Jason's quest for the Golden Fleece. In each case, the dragon's teeth, once planted, would grow into fully armed warriors.

Cadmus, bringer of literacy and civilization, killed the sacred dragon that guarded the spring of Ares. The goddess Athena told him to sow the teeth, from which sprang a group of ferocious warriors called the spartoi. He threw a precious jewel into the midst of the warriors, who turned on each other in an attempt to seize the stone for themselves. The five survivors joined with Cadmus to found the city of Thebes.
Jason obtained the remaining dragon's teeth with the aid of Aeetes of Colchis. He offered the Golden Fleece to Jason if Jason would sow them into the ground. Jason did this and successfully overcame the warriors with the aid of Medea, who gave him the means to resist fire and steel.

The classical legends of Cadmus and Jason have given rise to the phrase "to sow dragon's teeth." This is used as a metaphor to refer to doing something that has the effect of fomenting disputes, rather akin to the law of unintended consequences.

The Red Dragon of Wales has no teeth to speak of, as the Welsh Assembly is hampered by the necessity to have its democratically enacted laws approved by the Secretary of State’s Welsh Office as LCO’s; then these nascent laws are passed to Westminster to be further examined and approved and then to the House of Lords for their final approbation before they are sent back to Cardiff to become enshrined in law. Thus, a lengthy, long-winded, tiresome and convoluted process is carried through before the people of Wales see their benefit manifested within Wales.

There is great indignity in this exercise, as it undermines the potency of the Welsh Assembly as a law-making institution. Why is it that Wales should be administered in a different fashion from Scotland which has its own Parliament and Justice system, and which has far greater control of its own affairs?
It is because Wales is regarded as a second-class nation, if a nation at all, and is subject to the dominating authority of the British state which has its power-base at Westminster. The time has come to gather together the scattered Dragon’s teeth and plant them in the soil of Wales, to sprout into warriors for truth and justice for a nation which has undergone too many trials and tribulations in its chequered history. The Dragon’s Teeth, when fully restored to their rightful place, will empower the nation to reclaim its true inheritance, and don the mantle of its princely forebears.

Saturday, 19 January 2008

The Secret of Health for the Cymry

Follow this advice and bring about the transformation of the nation. Remember these words: "This is all there is!"

The Big British Lottery Scandal

£77 million: What the Big Lottery Fund SPENDS each year on administration
By JONATHAN OLIVER of "The Daily Mail" - Last updated at 00:50am on 13th January 2008

Labour cronies at the Big Lottery Fund are spending £77million on fat-cat salaries and bureaucracy – while cutting to good causes. The quango, which is responsible for handing out half of all Lottery cash, spends 12 per cent of its budget on administration, six times more than some well-known charities.
New figures reveal that the Big Lottery Fund, chaired by Labour Party activist Sir Clive Booth, has 1,103 administrative staff – not far short of the number of people employed at the Treasury. But while the fund distributes £600million a year, the Treasury's budget is 50 times that sum.

The fund has been criticised for handing out hundreds of thousands of pounds to help asylum seekers fill in forms to claim benefits and housing. It has also given grants to a pressure group for prostitutes and a charity helping battered wives in Siberia. But it refused to support a memorial for British Armed Forces who had died in combat until Gordon Brown intervened personally. The Big Lottery Fund's budget for staff costs and administration rose from £73million in 2006 to £77million last year. Over the same period, its payroll increased from 956 to 1,103 employees.
Meanwhile, the total expenditure on good causes fell from £696million to £469million – a direct result of the Government's raid on Lottery cash to bail out the London Olympics.

This week Parliament will debate plans to divert a further £675million from good causes towards subsidising the over-budget 2012 games. While the Big Lottery Fund spends 12 per cent of its budget on bureaucracy, Scope, the disabled charity, spends just two per cent. At Children In Need the figure is four per cent. Shadow Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: "If charities can control their overheads, why can't the Big Lottery Fund? "The National Lottery was set up to help good causes, not to fund an army of well-paid administrators who behave increasingly like an arm of the Labour Government. "It is particularly shocking to see this waste when good causes have seen their Lottery income fall by around half under this Government."

Sir Clive Booth, who is paid £36,000 a year for working just eight days a month, is one of five Labour Party members on the Big Lottery Fund board. Others include Sanjay Dighe, the former Labour deputy leader of Harrow Council in North London, who receives £24,000 a year for a his part-time job as the fund's chairman for England. Roland Doven, a surgery clerk for Labour MP Keith Hill, is paid £208 for each day he works, as is John Gartside, a for-mer Labour lea-der of Warrington Council, and Lab-our activist Albert Tucker.

The Big Lottery Fund was formed as the replacement for the discredited Community Fund, which was wound up after giving £420,000 to a project to breed fatter guinea pigs for Peruvians to eat. A Big Lottery Fund spokesman said: "We are distributing Lottery good-cause funding on a scale not comparable to any charitable organisation. "Last year we dealt with applications for over £8billion in England alone. "The number of staff employed and annual administration costs directly reflect the unprecedented demand for funding and the amount of work required to ensure that public funds are distributed safely and effectively. "Non-executive board members are appointed by the Secretary of State in open public competition."

Support Welsh Products - Avoid Imitations!

Welsh craft tradition under threat

Jan 19 2008 by Rhodri Clark, Western Mail

WALES is missing out on millions of pounds a year in income because of a glut of “authentic” Welsh souvenirs manufactured in Asia, a trade body claimed yesterday.
The Wales Craft Council says many tourists may think they are buying a genuine piece of Welsh workmanship when they are actually paying for a mass-produced trinket made thousands of miles away.
It says even lovespoons – the epitome of the Welsh craft tradition – are now being imported, with many being brought to Wales from Indonesia.

From tomorrow to Wednesday, craftworkers will exhibit in Llandudno at the Wales Spring Fair, where hundreds of buyers will choose some of this summer’s stock for UK gift shops. But many Welsh shopkeepers will ignore the event because they can get cheaper souvenirs from foreign countries where labour costs are low. Philomena Hearn, chairman of the Wales Craft Council, said she knew of one shop in Denbighshire which appeared to sell Welsh gifts but stocked nothing that was made in Wales. “Even the lovespoons come from Borneo,” she said.
“The general public assume lovespoons are made in Wales. I don’t know whether they care or not.
“Souvenir shopping isn’t why you go on holiday. You don’t spend a lot of time browsing for that gift to take back.
“You think you’ve found the perfect gift and it’s only when you give it to your friend or relative that you, or they, realise it’s made in Thailand or China.”
She said the Wales Spring Fair attracted buyers from Lancashire, but few from Llandudno itself. “This is a trade fair for selling Welsh things on their doorstep, and they can’t be bothered to come.”

Les Williams, whose Pageant Wood Products firm makes up to 7,000 lovespoons a year in the Conwy Valley, said lovespoon imports had begun about four years ago.
“We use local suppliers as much as possible and buy our timber as locally as we can. The wax we apply to the spoons is produced in South Wales.
“The imports coming into the country are ruining local crafts.
“The customers don’t know they’re imported. Importers can bring a product in and partly finish it off in Wales and say it’s Welsh. It could be just putting the labels on. They’re not employing craftworkers.
“These imported lovespoons are probably made on a computerised machine where you get a piece of timber, press a button and out pops a lovespoon. They’re all identical.
“The wood they use is a hardwood that isn’t native to Wales.
“Our lovespoons are made with hand-held tools. They’re all individual.”
His company employs four people in the market town of Llanrwst. “That’s important employment in such a small town.”
He said the imports succeeded because shopkeepers chose to stock them.
“We’ve got a lovespoon we sell at £2.50. If they can buy an imported one that’s roughly the same size and design for £1, they’re going to buy the one that costs £1.
“When I started in 1978 there was an awful lot of home- grown producers. Around 20 years ago Welsh dolls in the national costume were very popular. I know a lady in Betws-y-Coed who used to make them. She had to stop about 15 years ago, when the importers started getting them from places like Thailand.”

Mrs Hearn, whose craft is hand-painting silk and glass, said people were more aware of “food miles” and the benefits of buying local food, but were less discerning when it came to buying souvenirs which could have travelled thousands of miles.
Wales Craft Council members use a daffodil logo to symbolise a Welsh-made gift, but even that has been abused.
“We went to see somebody who was producing things with sewing machines. We thought their sewing machines were very dusty. It turned out the products were made in Poland and Lithuania.
“If anybody finds our logo on a product that’s not made in Wales, let us know.”

Footnote : I carved a lovespoon for my cariad Lowri Evans in 1959. It was made from sycamore. She was from the manse in Tyddewi. If anyone knows her present whereabouts perhaps you might let me know! Alan in Dyfed

Friday, 18 January 2008

"Put the Cornish in their Place " - The Sorrows of the Cornish People

It has taken 82 years for Plaid Cymru to gain recognition and credibility. It is now a potent force in Welsh politics. Meanwhile, I publish the following to show what our Cornish cousins are up against.

From the Western Daily News.

08:00 - 28 November 2007

When is someone going to put the Cornish in their place? Lately, they have been moaning because there are no TV news bulletins or local programmes in the Cornish language (which sounds like someone speaking Urdu with a mouth full of nails).The reason is obvious: so few people are fluent in it that it would be cheaper for any TV company to ring them individually and read the news down the phone.
But in their latest campaign nearly 1,000 Cornish have now signed a petition to Gordon Brown asking for a Cornish bank holiday to celebrate "St Piran's Day".
You may not be aware that this falls on March 5. You may not even be aware that there ever was a St Piran, either.
But across the Tamar he is revered not merely as the patron saint of tin miners (he is said, miraculously and improbably, to have discovered the smelting process) but of all Cornwall, and his name is enshrined in places like Perranzabuloe and Perranarwortha as well a host of other ridiculously named locations.

Start inquiring into his antecedents, however, and he turns out to be as bogus as all the other third and fourth division Cornish "saints" whose holy status pertains only within the county where they lived. Even the self-styled St Piran Trust is somewhat diffident.
"No one can state for sure who St Piran was, we can only sift for clues in documents written many years after his time" says its website. "In the past many writers have stated with confidence the facts of his ancestry. The St Piran Trust will not do this as our reasoning is that you should look at the clues and decide for yourself. Surely this is the magic of St Piran."

Surely this is also the flimsiest of excuses for the Cornish to take yet another day off work. Since there's not a tin miner left in Cornwall perhaps St Piran could change roles and become the patron saint of malingerers and the work-shy. Like the dozens of other Cornish "saints", from St Agnes to St Winnolls and including St Clether, St Erme, St Gluvias, St Michael Penkivel and St Veep, Piran is believed to be one of the early "missionaries" who arrived from Wales or Ireland to try to convert the locals - nowadays they would be described as incomers and studiously ignored - though my own theory, however, is that he was a one-legged swineherd from Neath who was looking for a less smelly job with no lifting involved.

IMPOSTORS, all of 'em. But probably very good at applying fake stigmata and the marks of the scourge, while pleading poverty, rattling the begging bowl, and becoming highly adept at living on handouts, thus setting an example that is followed in Cornwall to this day.

Cornwall is the homeland of the Cornish people and is also considered one of the six "Celtic nations" by many residents and scholars. Some inhabitants question the present constitutional status of Cornwall and a self-government movement seeks greater autonomy for the county.
From Wikipaedia. Alan in Dyfed

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Breaking News!

Gordon Brown, Britain's Prime Minister, has put the Seal of Approval on Incompetency.
Incompentence is not a mortal sin and can be forgiven.
We can now expect more of the same.

Cornish Patriots Are Hardly Terrorists - (Part II)

Dear Celts.

At 9pm last night I got a call from Tony who had just been released and left stranded in Camborne some 60 Miles from where I live. I jumped into my car to take him back home to Penryn. The tale that evolves is not a happy one. It would seem that his interrogators told him that Singer Graham Hart (One of the original four arrested) had told his interrogators that Tony and Mike had tried to recruit him into this mythical Cornish Liberation Army. This is third hand hearsay and the truth will come out in court. From emails found on Tony's computer they seem to be looking at everyone he sent or received emails from.

Whilst I was parked in the car park for 4 hours waiting for them to release Tony, the police took my car number and having got my name, asked Tony who I was, he replied: a friend who gave me a lift.

It seems that they are going for the usual charge of Conspiracy which is the easy option for them. The detective in charge has I believe, convinced himself that he has uncovered some vast underground army. If it wasn't so tragic it would be a laugh. However what is clear is that they are going to try and implicate as many people as possible, and I amongst others, are in the frame. I expect they will burst in one morning and remove my computer with all my work upon it. Seemingly it is now a crime to have a love of one's land and the Celtic culture. From a drunken lark by a couple of clowns who should know better, the state is going to try and concoct a terrible plot to destroy its authority over the subjective subjects of her most gracious majesty. They also apparently questioned Tony about his contacts with the FWA. The whole thing is puerile idiocy but the servants of HM have got their teeth into what they think is a massive subversive organisation.

I am fairly certain they are reading our emails as well so be aware. If I go off line then you will know they have roped me in, an old woman who's crime is to support those who hold our land in high regard and who, as far as I am aware have committed no crime upon persons or property. Is this what our freedom loving democracy has come to, that I should live in fear of imminent arrest for supporting my friends.

Please pass this around our comrades as far as you can. It cannot be morally right that innocent people are put in fear of their own government, who's avowed aim is to combat terrorism, while terrorising their own people?

Suzy B

Cornish Patriots in the Firing Line

Report from Susan Bowen, nr Tintagel, Cornwall.

Dear Celtic Brother & Sisters.

I sit here this evening with cold fury in my heart. Today I took fellow Celtic League member Tony Leamon to answer police bail. He was placed on bail way back in Sept of last year after having his home raided by the police along with four others. (In connection with some mythical underground army calling itself, 'The Cornish Liberation Army'). All four of them answered their bail at Camborne Police station today. Three of them were released again to answer police bail on 26th March, another two months with the Damocles Sword hanging over them.

I delivered Tony to Camborne Jail (Euphemistically called "The Custody Suite") at 11am, in support was Dougy and Tony's 70 plus Mother, who is due to go into hospital tomorrow to have a second breast removed due to cancer, Myself and Ewen.

After waiting around outside the prison bars which front a courtyard with the office at the rear. for two hours, Ewen went to ask the constable on duty if there was any news of how long they were going to keep Tony. Communication was via a speaker grill set into the electronically controlled gate. The reply to this request was; to say the least unhelpful. After another two hours waiting outside in the cold, (No waiting rooms and a flat refusal to allow supporters inside), Tony's little old Mum went to the grill and told the person in charge that she was Tony's Mum. Answer: Don't know, hours yet, you'll just have to wait. Having driven sixty miles to get Tony to the station and by now three in the afternoon I was forced to return home to be in time to see to the evening farm chores, and feeding the animals. I asked Tony's mum to call me when there was any news. She rang a few minutes ago to say that by 4:30 pm she had to leave to catch the bus home to get ready for her hospital appointment. Ewen had left at 1pm to go back to work. Tony was still behind bars at this time.

By now some five and a half hours of what one presumes is interrogation. To date no charges have been made and in my opinion this is an attempt to force some sort of confession by keeping a person under stress and incommunicado from his supporters and family.

The original arrest was made in connection with some weirdly concocted and apparently mythical indolent with the Cornish Liberation Army. Friends. If by some wild imaginings of fantasy, I was a recruiting sergeant for some clandestine, underground Cornish army, the last person I would want is a man ill with Leukaemia, on medication for such, and without any form of transport beyond the pathetic public bus service. Nor yet a man who, despite his huge size, is a gentle giant that wouldn't harm a fly.

In conversation with a couple of the people released on further police bail, it looks as if well known names in Cornwall are attempting to smash any hint of Cornish culture or adherence to such. The newspaper article from the Western Daily Press, now on the internet says it all in how the rising wave of English Nationalist is trying to make us all look stupid.

I will try to keep you all updated, unless of course they come for a harmless old granny like me as well. Wonder what they will dream up as an excuse. Charged, Convicted, and sentenced for Conspiracy to Freedom.

Suzy B

Stay tuned.... there is more on this to follow, so watch this space!
Alan in Dyfed

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

The Land That Time Forgot

Long ago and far away,
In a land that time forgot,
Before the days of Dylan,
Or the dawn of Camelot.
There lived a race of innocents,
And they were you and me,
Long ago and far away
In the Land That Made Me Me.

Oh, there was truth and goodness
In that land where we were born,
Where navels were for oranges,
And Peyton Place was porn.
For Wilson was in No.10,
And Hoss was on TV,
And God was in His heaven
In the Land That Made Me Me.

We longed for love and romance,
And waited for the prince,
And Eddie Fisher married Liz,
And no one's seen him since.
We danced to "Little Darlin'",
And sang to "Stagger Lee"
And cried for Buddy Holly
In the Land That Made Me Me.

We had our share of heroes,
We never thought they'd go,
At least not Richard Burton
Or Marilyn Monroe.
For youth was still eternal,
And life was yet to be,
And Elvis was forever,
In the Land That Made Me Me.

We'd never seen the rock band
That was Grateful to be Dead,
And Airplanes weren't named Jefferson ,
And Zeppelins weren't Led.
And Beatles lived in gardens then,
And Monkees in a tree,
Madonna was a virgin
In the Land That Made Me Me.

We'd never heard of microwaves,
Or telephones in cars,
And babies might be bottle-fed,
But they weren't grown in jars.
And pumping iron got wrinkles out,
And "gay" meant fancy-free,
And dorms were never coed
In the Land That Made Me Me.

We hadn't seen enough of jets
To talk about the lag,
And microchips were what was left at
The bottom of the bag.
And hardware was a box of nails,
And bytes came from a flea,
And rocket ships were fiction
In the Land That Made Me Me.

There were no golden arches,
No Perriers to chill,
And fish were not called Wanda,
And cats were not called Bill.
And middle-aged was thirty-five
And old was forty-three,
And ancient was our parents
In the Land That Made Me Me.

So now we face a brave new world
In slightly larger jeans,
And wonder why they're using
Smaller print in magazines.
And we tell our children's children
Of the way it used to be,
Long ago, and far away
In the Land That Made Me Me.

--Author unknown

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

This is the politician who we need to emulate!

The War Song of the Dinas Fawr

A poem by Thomas Love Peacock

The mountain sheep are sweeter,
But the valley sheep are fatter;
We therefore deemed it meeter
To carry off the latter.
We made an expedition;
We met a host and quelled it;
We forced a strong position
And killed the men who held it.

On Dyfed's richest valley,
Where herds of kine were browsing
We made a sudden sally
To furnish our carousing.
Fierce warriors rushed to meet us;
We met them, and o'erthrew them:
They struggled hard to beat us;
But we conquered them, and slew them.

As we drove our prize at leisure,
The king marched forth to catch us:
His rage surpassed all measure,
But his people could not match us.
He fled to his hall-pillars;
And, ere our force we led off,
Some sacked his house and cellars,
While others cut his head off.

We there, in strife bewildering,
Spilt blood enough to swim in;
We orphaned many children,
And widowed many women.
The eagles and the ravens
We glutted with our foemen:
The heroes and the cravens,
The spearmen and the bowmen.

We brought away from battle,
And much their land bemoaned them,
Two thousand head of cattle
And the head of him who owned them:
Ednyfed, King of Dyfed,
His head was borne before us:
His wine and his beasts supplied our feasts,
And his overthrow, our chorus.

Ednyfed, King of Dyfed
(born c.AD 373)
(Latin-Demetius, English-Edmund)

King Anwn Dynod's son. Ednyfed, alias Dyfed, appears to have been the personification of is father's powerbase in South-West Wales. He was probably born there in the late 4th century and hence was named after it. The area was then still known by the Roman name of the Civitas Demetarum, named after the local Celtic tribe of the Demetae. It is not clear whether his father died before or after the final withdrawal of Roman troops from Britain around AD 410, but Ednyfed certainly appears to have upheld the family honour and soon established a local monarchy.

Ednyfed married and had at least two sons, Gloitgwyn and Dyfnwal. The Dyfed dynasty continued with the former, down to his son, King Clotri. Dyfnwal may have inherited a sub-region of the kingdom, but his apparent son, Ynyr Gwent, moved eastward upon acquiring the kingdom of Gwent through an advantageous marriage.

Move On, or Be Left Behind!

Cymru is on the move....
After centuries of neglect, abuse and decline (the culture...the language....) Cymru (or Wales as the Saeson likes to call this land) is once again on the move. The dragon is breathing fire and is twirling its tail. It is restive, pawing the ground and looking around for the next mountain to conquer. As we look around us we see the degeneration of society under the present British Nulabour administration, or should that be maladministration? We see a gaggle of Welsh MPs struggling to raise a Union flag but the wind is blowing hard from the West and the struggle is in vain. No more will Britain (and Britain under Labour) rule the Valleys. The donkey which trots to Westminster will sport a green, not red, rosette. The sheep will return to the green pastures in their flocks and the cattle in their herds. The dragon will stand guard over the Marcher borders ready to repel the incursions and the onslaughts from the opponents of change and the quislings among the ranks, some of whom reside in our midst. Let all who hold their country dear embrace the winds of change, as they sweep away the vestiges of past ages and fossilised thinking.

Look across the water, to Ireland, and see what has been achieved and what is possible for Wales, a land that is clean and green (in its 40 shades), where new infrastructure is being put in place, with modern trains and new motorways criss-crossing the land, where a single authority, government controlled, is in charge of operations, where the standard of living and the quality of life are high and the economy thriving. It is a country of 4 million and 10% are new immigrants and returning migrants, with enterprise and expertise to contribute to society. Ireland has achieved high profile throughout the world and so will Wales. An Irish pub can be shipped out in its entirety to any country in the world and they are being shipped out in their dozens. Visit Paddy Whelan's in Riga or the Ha'penny Bridge in Benalmadena, or practically any city in the world - the pint of Guinness will be there on hand, with the strains of the fiddle and the uillean pipes playing in the corner. Let there be craic!

Now is the time to change the old order forever. This land will never be the same again. No more the closures (including - breaking news!- closures of public toilets in Gwynedd...), the cut-backs, the withdrawal of essential services -
yes it may continue for a time while the present administration in Westminster continues in its present form - but those who once dominated the political scene are already history. There will be a revival and a sense of purpose which will enthuse all those who are ready to answer the call, from economists to farmers and technicians to tradesman, those who have a vision will see their dreams come true.

Monday, 14 January 2008

A Formidable Candidate for the Lords

Eurfyl ap Gwilym is first Plaid candidate for peerage

Jan 7 2008 by Martin Shipton, Western Mail

AN ECONOMICS expert who is a longstanding adviser to Plaid Cymru has become the first candidate from the party to formally announce his candidacy for a peerage.
Plaid recently dropped its opposition to sending members to the House of Lords in response to constitutional changes that give the second chamber the power to veto law-making proposals put forward by the National Assembly.
Businessman Eurfyl ap Gwilym, who costed last year’s Plaid election manifesto and is a former national chairman of the party, will be a candidate for a seat in the Lords.
Dr ap Gwilym, who lives in Cardiff and is deputy chairman of the Principality, Wales’ biggest mutual society, has been a member of Plaid since 1963.
For many years he has advocated a revision of the Barnett formula, which determines how much money Wales receives from the Treasury.
He argues that if a new formula based on need was introduced, Wales would be entitled to hundreds of millions of pounds extra a year.

Former MP and AM Cynog Dafis, who said he has no interest in standing for a seat in the Lords, said, “Eurfyl is extremely able and could make a very useful contribution in the second chamber.”

Plaid Cymru in the Heart of the British Establishment

Wigley in race for Lords seat

Jan 14 2008 by Martin Shipton, Western Mail

FORMER Plaid Cymru president Dafydd Wigley has confirmed he will stand as a candidate for a seat in the House of Lords, the Western Mail can reveal today.
In November Plaid overturned its longstanding objection to its members accepting peerages in response to new constitutional arrangements under which the Lords can veto Assembly Government proposals for new Welsh laws.
Mr Wigley yesterday confirmed he will be a candidate in an internal party election for the new roles just days before nominations close this week.
Last October, Mr Wigley stipulated three pre-conditions before he would consider going to the Lords.
The first was that Plaid’s policy should permit members to take seats there: this was satisfied by the November vote of the party’s national council.
His second condition was that Plaid’s group of three MPs should agree with the move and that there should be a co-ordination mechanism between the MPs and the party’s peers. Plaid’s parliamentary leader Elfyn Llwyd has confirmed there is no difficulty on this account and that he welcomes the establishment of a Plaid presence in the second chamber.
The third issue involved creating a linkage between the Plaid team in the Lords and the National Assembly.

Mr Wigley, who represented Caernarfon at Westminster and in Cardiff Bay for 29 years in total until stepping down in 2003, and had two stints as party president, told the Western Mail, “I have been given an assurance by Ieuan Wyn Jones, as Plaid’s leader in the Assembly, that there will be no problem in establishing for members of the second chamber, a specific and appropriate role in relation to the Assembly and a formal link to Plaid’s Assembly group.
“I attach great importance to this, as the only reason I am willing to return to London in such a role is to support the programme of the One Wales coalition government, and to press the issues which are uppermost on the agenda of Plaid’s group in the Assembly.
“Amongst these will be securing the agreement of the second chamber to the legislative orders sought by the Assembly; campaigning for a better financial settlement for Wales than that currently afforded by the Barnett formula; and pressing the case for economic policies from the Westminster government which are helpful for the regeneration of the economy of Wales. I also hope to renew my parliamentary work for disabled people.”
Mr Wigley added, “I am certainly not taking it for granted that I will be elected. A number of other strong candidates are putting their names forward and are mounting vigorous campaigns.”

Nominations close on Wednesday, and the election will take place in Plaid’s national council on January 26 to decide on the slate of nominees which the party will put forward for membership of the Lords.
It is thought likely that Plaid will be allowed to select three new peers, one of whom will be a woman.
As well as Mr Wigley, candidates for seats in the Lords will include the party’s economics adviser Eurfyl ap Gwilym, former chief executive Dafydd Williams, former AM Janet Davies, Gwynedd Council chair Meinir Owen and Rhian Medi Roberts, who works for the Plaid group in the House of Commons.
Some prominent party members have decided not to stand, including the well-respected former AM Cynog Dafis.
Yesterday Pauline Jarman, a former AM who led Rhondda Cynon Taf council until 2004 and remains the council’s opposition leader, said she would not be a candidate for the House of Lords.
Mrs Jarman said, “I’ve listened to the advice of some people whose opinions I respect, and have decided not to put my name forward. There’s a lot of work to be done locally.”

Whatever we think about the pros and cons of Plaid members sitting in the House of Lords it will provide these digitaries with a platform to advance the cause of Wales. Alan in Dyfed

Sunday, 13 January 2008

The Virtues of Traditional Celtic Cultural Values

Arrogance, if that word ever exists in Welsh, has never been a virtue in the context of Welsh culture. It has been imported into the country from the East and certainly from abroad. The soft-spoken people of Ireland too have a gentle disposition which eschews such traits as arrogance or vanity and haughtiness. When confronted by arrogance the Celtic inclination is to turn away, mortified that such a shameful expression of human behaviour could be openly displayed. The traditional mode of greeting another human being has always been with an attitude of respect, kindness and hospitality and with a frank, open and honest demeanour, and a recognition of the divinity that resides within each and every person. Why has this subject been raised in this blog at this particular time, and to whom do we attribute these negative character traits, in our midst? I leave it to our perceptive readers to fathom this mystery.

Saturday, 12 January 2008

Cymru Expects Every Man To Do His Duty

Plaid Cymru MP Elfyn Llwyd has called for Peter Hain's resignation. In the opinion of Independence Cymru he should resign, despite the voices which declare that he might be replaced by someone who is "100 times worse". We expect to be represented by honest politicians with integrity and competence, and not by dissembling and dishonest bumblers who have no concience or respect for the electorate.

Hain: I am getting on with my job

Jan 12 2008 icWales

PETER HAIN indicated today he had no intention of resigning over the funding of his campaign for Labour’s deputy leadership as he insisted he would get on with his Cabinet jobs.
The Work and Pensions Secretary blamed the controversy on “poor administration”, dismissing any suggestion that he had tried to cover up donations to his Labour deputy leadership campaign as “absurd”.
He added that his Permanent Secretary had told him there was no conflict of interest between the donations and his ministerial jobs, which also include Secretary of State for Wales.
“I am more than happy for the inquiries by the Electoral Commission and the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards to take their course and meanwhile I will get on with my Cabinet jobs,” he said in a statement.
Maintaining that all of the donations to his campaign were legitimate, Mr Hain said: ``The notion that there was some attempt by me to hide anything is absurd. As with all candidates, money was raised by my campaign team.
“All those who contributed are people and organisations who are eligible and legally entitled to do so.”
His statement came as questions mounted over a mysterious think-tank through which six donations to his deputy leadership bid were channelled.
The Progressive Policies Forum (PPF) employs no staff and has apparently not published any work since its inception in December 2006.

Mr Hain said today that the PPF, which provided £26,000 in donations and an interest-free £25,000 loan, had stepped in to cover overspending in the aftermath of his failed bid.
“After the campaign had finished, the extent of outstanding debt became apparent to me,” he said.
“I was not involved in establishing the Progressive Policies Forum but it was prepared and able to assist in making donations to the Campaign and did so.
“Of course, when I reported these late to the Electoral Commission, I provided full details.
“I am now making immediate arrangements to repay £25,000 of the monies raised by or through the PPF as it came in the form of an interest free loan.”

Friday, 11 January 2008

Gems from Bethan's Blog

The following is comment from Iago ap Steffan on Bethan Jenkin's blogging on "Our Kingdom".

Devolution in Wales has brought a more nationalist feel in Wales and in Scotland. I think that England (the English) need to demand devolution for themselves so that they too can feel pride and feel English rather than British. It seems that unfortunately the English is the only people holding on to the British identity; which is probably why people around the world see the Union flag and say it’s England’s flag. They need to promote their country more to show people that they themselves are a separate nation and that they are proud of who they are. In regards to them gaining a Parliament for themselves I see this as a great way forward and our relationships will be stronger as at the moment some people feel resentment toward the Celtic nations for what they have. I strongly agree that Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish MPs should not have a say in English matters, the same way that I believe that English politicians should not have a say on our matters; even if that does mean issues such as tax and defence.
An independent Wales within the EU doesn’t sound like independence, but we will have a lot more control over ourselves than we do now and it may be a good idea that once we gain self-control that we have a referendum on the EU and it’s powers, just as Ireland did and still does. We are not forced to stay within the EU so it will be our choice in the future what would best suit Wales; but if you do look over the water, Ireland has grown considerably as a nation and it is a rich nation at that within the EU. It is also one of the best places to live for health, wealth, etc. You can also look at the Scandinavian states and you will see the same results, if not better. Ireland only has a population 1 million more than us; Iceland has the population the size of Cardiff (around 300,00); Luxembourg nearly 500,000 and Norway just under 2million more people than Wales and that is only a few countries that I have chosen; there is alot more out there of similar size or less that are doing alot better than Wales after they have gained their independence. Are we really wanting to keep Wales as the poorest nation on these isles and one of the poorest nations in Western and even some countries in Eastern Europe? I think not, it’s time for a change, but we can’t rush into it. It needs to be thought out and we need to be able to do it in steps; as much as I’d love to leave the Union now. Wales needs to have a party like the SNP and work out the pros and cons of being in the Union, show people that we can become this successful independent state. I believe Plaid can show us the way as long as people give them a chance. We have all suffered under the Conservatives and we are suffering under Labour. It’s time for a change and that time is getting closer; use your votes wisely…wow that sounds like an advert for Plaid, but honestly look at what the other parties have done for us. Those other parties are not even based in Wales, they have never been a party for the people of Wales; and please don’t believe what the scare-mongerers are saying. Plaid is not just for the Welsh and the people that speak Welsh; there are so many members of Plaid that do not speak Welsh and the language is not thrust down our throats. They are also not a racist party either, lets leave that to the BNP; they support all the people that make Wales their home. Let’s do it, let’s move our great little nation forward…

and an extract from Bethan's contribution..........

I have never defined myself as ‘British.’ This isn’t a form of protest, of finding a way to be different from others, it just never represented what I was, and am, as a person. Every time I went on holiday abroad as a child, I always told the locals firmly that I was ‘Welsh not British,’ even though many thought that Wales was in Switzerland, or a part of Germany. The British flag does not fill me with pride like the Welsh Dragon. It means nothing to me emotionally.

I am not British because it represents a political establishment which has undermined my country for centuries. I am not British because it represents an artificial creation of a ‘Union’ that Wales did not agree to. I am not British because I am Welsh- I was born in Wales, I grew up in Wales, I feel hiraeth for Wales every time I leave and return. I am Welsh, and even though the place where I live is not recognised as a formal nation- state, Wales is a place I will someday call an Independent Wales- a country free from all the negatives that I associate with ‘Britishness.’

....A nation to me would mean independence within the EU, and for that to be viewed as a positive step, not one that undermines other elements of the once British state. It would be about cooperation and the development of inter-relationships. So many people see nationalism in these isles as a negative force, in large part to justify the continuation of ‘ Britain’. Gwyn Alf Williams, a radical Welsh Historian once said “Wales has always been now…it is an artefact which the Welsh produce…It requires an act of choice.” I hope that our choice will be to make Wales a Nation, and that Welsh identity will change and vary in accordance with our new found and developing Nationhood.

Can anyone who has made a dispassionate study of British history over the past 700 years have any arguments with this view on national identity?
Alan in Dyfed

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

The Dragon and the Leprechaun - Restoring the Rail Links

Campaign aims to restore coastal railway

Jan 9 2008 by Rhodri Clark, Western Mail
Campaign aims to restore Wales’ coastal railway

THEY may be in adjoining counties, but the train ride from Carmarthen to Aberystwythis a marathon that takes more than six hours.
And if you’re crazy enough to take the train from Barmouth to Bangor – 60 miles apart in the same county – you’ll need five hours for the journey via England’s Shrewsbury and Chester. And Wales is not alone.

Residents of western Ireland can sympathise because their rail network focuses on east-west journeys from and to Dublin.
But Ireland has now started rebuilding its “western corridor” railway.
Towns near its western seaboard such as Limerick and Galway will be reconnected in a £50m, 52-mile scheme. Campaigners say reopening another 46 miles would link Sligo to Westport, Galway and Limerick at a total £250m cost for the entire route.

Yesterday there were calls for Wales to examine this Irish solution and to consider restoring two missing railways, from Carmarthen to Aberystwyth and Porthmadog to Bangor. The Irish tracks were retained after the last trains in 1976, but the Welsh tracks were torn up after the last train from Caernarfon to Bangor in 1972. Bridges have also vanished and roads or buildings cover the route in places.
A Welsh reconnection would therefore cost more than the Irish scheme but Gareth Butler, a long-term campaigner for the western link, said costs could be cut with new tram-train technology.

“Rebuilding the old system would perhaps be too complicated and not suit today’s purposes,” said Mr Butler, a road-safety education adviser in Aberystwyth.
“There are trams that can go on railways and roads. They could go around the obstacles where development has occurred on the old rail route.”
He said a railway connecting main western towns could reduce traffic and accidents on rural roads, statistically the most dangerous.

Kirsty Williams, Liberal Democrat transport spokeswoman at the Assembly, said, “Undoubtedly it would be worthwhile the Welsh Assembly Government looking at what Ireland is proposing to do and seeing if there are any lessons for economic development here.
“We need the economy to thrive in all parts of Wales. We’ve restored the Ebbw Vale line and developed links to the Vale of Glamorgan. There’s always the opportunity to undo the damage that was done by Beeching.”
Richard Beeching’s report on reshaping British Railways resulted in many line closures in the 1960s.
Mrs Williams said people without cars on Wales’ western side could suffer isolation.
“It can be difficult to access hospital services and educational opportunities because of lack of transport. We should be looking at ways we can improve communications in that part of Wales.”

Prof Stuart Cole, of the University of Glamorgan, said restoring the tracks to normal rail standards could cost £500m and the service would need operating subsidy because of the low population.
“I don’t see the WAG or the Department for Transport paying for it. The European Commission might pay part of the cost.
“There’s a whole string of potential grants for redevelopment of peripheral areas.” Prof Cole said Ireland’s growth imbalance was mirrored here.
“The economic development is really in the south-east and around Swansea and Wrexham. There’s not much further west, apart from pockets like Newtown and Aberystwyth.”

Restoring the Bangor to Caernarfon railway could be an obvious starting point. Only a few miles of track were needed to link two major towns, and more of the old route was intact than further south. He said improving TrawsCambria bus services was the most realistic solution for the Carmarthen-Bangor corridor.
Even with both missing railways restored the rail journey from Swansea to Bangor could be slower than the service via Shrewsbury, especially if the latter was accelerated after track improvements, he added.

Riding the Dragon Wind

On Friday I plan to leave Latvia and ride the dragon wind back to Cymru and hopefully days of sunshine. I have noted the number of days when the sun has appeared during the last month and they amount to the grand total of four, which equals one sunny day per week. Winter consists of endless cloudy days, ice-covered streets and rivers, snowfalls and cold days and nights though I have not been subjected to temperatures of -25 degC as can happen, but no more than those of -8 degC. It seems that the Baltic peoples endure winter darkness for much of the season and take it all for granted.

I was surprised to be offered a position for next September at one of the private universities in Riga, as Professor of European History and English Language Studies, but will probably forgo the opportunity as this would divert me from working for Wales and as we know "home is where the heart is".

While marking time in Latvia I have managed to keep in close touch with the blogosphere and have posted regularly and commented on my favourite blogs. As we enter the new year of 2008 and gird ourselves for the next offensive against the bastions of the status quo it is pertinent to recall the campaigns which remain as a focus for our energies. Ymlaen!

The Campaign for an independent Cymru
- the primary campaign

Campaign - to fly the flag of Wales and not the Union flag
Campaign - to celebrate Welsh national holidays
Campaign - to give recognition to Welsh battle sites
Campaign - to rectify the wrongs in the constitution
Campaign - to bring in a new Welsh Language Act
Campaign - to demand a Parliament for Wales
Campaign - to review funding issues for Wales - Barnett
Campaign - to revert to the true place-names of Wales
Campaign - to reject "Britishness" and all its forms and guises
Campaign - to spread the word and inspire Welsh people to support their homeland
Campaign - to work towards the May council elections and ensure victory for Plaid

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Lend Your Support to the Bretons

At the beginning of May (May 1st to May 3rd), a relay race is being organized around Brittany to raise money to support Diwan, the Breton medium school system. Breton speaking schools are not supported by the French government, but they are essential to the future of the Breton language. Every runner carrying the baton has to be sponsored at a rate of 100 ? or more per kilometre.

Riwana and Talwyn Trevenen Baudu (Ann's grandchildren) would like you to sponsor them to run for Diwan in the name of Cornwall or Wales. All Cornish and Welsh supporters would be welcome to run alongside or just wave the flag.

Any donations either in euros or in pounds sterling, can be sent via Ann Trevenen Jenkin, An Gernyk, Fordh an Chapel, Leedstown, Hayle TR27 6BA, Kernow/Cornwall, UK . (For cheques in English make payable to Noonvares Press and they will be transferred to Brittany). For further details email Ann Jenkin (telephone 01736-850332) or Morwenna Jenkin in Brittany

Monday, 7 January 2008

I Used To Be Different But Now I'm The Same ;-(

A question has come up on the blogsphere which relates to the fact the Wales is going its own way with regard to establishing laws which are different from those of England. Those who would like to promote the Union with all its mediocre uniformity and are secretly opposed to further devolution are rather aghast at this growing trend. Wales has a Children's Commissioner - soon it will have a Commissioner for Old People. Wales has free prescriptions for all and free bus travel for the over 60's. In short Wales is being innovative under the guidance of the administration and is leading the way in social and economic benefits for its people.

More and more, the people of Wales will realise that Wales is in fact a separate nation from England and is an attractive place in which to reside and live one's life. The case for further self-determination in its affairs will become more and more apparent to its inhabitants, and it will be seen that Wales does not have to conform to a ubiquitous British mould. The sense of nationhood will be heightened and Wales promoted as a model for other European nations, as the new laws take effect and the benefits are appreciated. This is the way that a progressive Labour/Plaid-led government will lead the nation in the run-up to a referendum and a certain vision of independence will be revealed in all its splendour and promise. Nothing compares with the feeling of freedom and the ability to express one's unique individuality within one's fair and liberated country. Ask the Latvians!

These are the predictions of this blog : "may we again live in interesting times!"

Saturday, 5 January 2008

A New Year Message to the Troops from Independence Cymru

The forthcoming year of Ein Arglywdd 2008 is a year which promises new advances, not just on the road to devolution, but along the path to independence for the Celtic nations of Britain. In the minds of those politicians who foresaw the benefits of devolution is the concept of regionalism and not the ideal of independence for the nations of Britain. British nationalists and Unionists see Britain as a nation with a number of devolved regions, and this view is out of sync with reality. The truth is that Britain is a state, not a nation-state let it be said, and is composed of a number of nations in a state of resurgence.

Unionists seek to impose a uniformity within Britain while at the same time creating a multi-ethnic society within these islands. Nationalists seek to free their respective nations from the suffocating influences which conspire to undermine the culture and traditions, and even the language, of these proud nations of the periphery, and to right the constitutional anomalies which abound and which are symbolised by the Union flag and Prince of Wales feathers and the "national" institutions which are in fact state apparel and state apparatus.

Councillor Dick Cole of Mebyon Kernow calls for 2008 to be a year of political activism. Let it be so in all the nations which seek to shake loose the yoke of British state intervention in the politics and society of the freedom-seeking nations which remain part of the colonialist umbrella designated the "British nation".
These nations are basically Wales, Scotland, and Cornwall, with northern Ireland a detached area (the six counties) of the nation of Ireland. The Isle of Man has more nation status than Wales does, and the Channel Islands are outside the sovereignty of the British state. Brittany is a Celtic nation under French domination and which seeks its own place as a nation in its own right.

So the message for the New Year is to make 2008 a momentous year in the history of our nations, by winning the hearts and minds of the peoples and communities, whatever their ethnic backgrounds, which aspire to greater democracy leading to self-rule and self-determination. It is by calling out the foot-soldiers to persistently reiterate the message and deliver the newsletters and pamphlets in the run up to the local and county elections, to spread the word and refute the scaremongering myths with which the oppositionists, those men and women of yesterday, attempt to pervert the minds of the unsuspecting electorate.

The people of Scotland are forging ahead and are leading the way by throwing their weight behind those inspiring politicians committed to the cause. Our own politicians will hopefully be similarly inspired to join them in making 2008 the year in which the veils of ignorance are torn aside and the real issues exposed with truly democratic power and self-confidence returned to the people.

Friday, 4 January 2008

An International Ballad Conference in Cardiff

Baledi/Ballads 2008

The International Ballad Conference is being hosted by the School of Welsh, Cardiff University, 28 July-2 August 2008.
Amgaewn wybodaeth am y Gynhadledd Faledi Ryngwladol, sydd i'w chynnal dan nawdd Ysgol y Gymraeg,Prifysgol Caerdydd, 28 Gorffennaf-2 Awst 2008.
Closing date: 30 January 2008
38th International Ballad Conference
School of Welsh, Cardiff University,
Cardiff, Wales, UK
Monday, 28 July – Saturday, 2 August 2008
The 38th International Ballad Conference of the Kommission für Volksdichtung is to be held in Cardiff, from Monday evening, 28 July, to Saturday afternoon, 2 August 2008. The conference is being hosted by the School of Welsh at Cardiff University, the premier university in Wales and one of Britain’s major research universities. Established in 1883, Cardiff University celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2008.
Call for Papers
While papers need not be restricted to any particular subjects but may address any issue of concern to scholars of ballads and traditional song, we particularly encourage presentations that treat one or more of the following themes:
language and identity; ecology and the natural world (plants, animals, birds, etc.); gender; ballads and the industrial revolution; performance and orality; broadsides and print culture.
Papers will be limited to 20 minutes. Abstracts of up to 300 words, together with requests for technical equipment, should be submitted by 30 JANUARY 2008 to the Conference Organiser, Dr E. Wyn James ( The author’s address, affiliation and contact details should be clearly stated, together with a brief account of the author’s career and research interests.
For further information, contact the Conference Organiser:
Dr E. Wyn James, School of Welsh, Cardiff University, Humanities Building,
Colum Drive, CARDIFF, CF10 3EU, Wales, UK.
Tel. +44 (0) 29-2087-4843; Fax: +44 (0) 29-2087-4604;
Email:; Website:

British P.M.'s Response to Cornish Petitions

The Government issued an Invitation to Councils in October 2006 to come forward with proposals for a single-tier of local government in their areas. Following a process of careful assessment, which included a twelve week consultation on shortlisted proposals, the Government announced on 5 December 2007 that Cornwall County Council's proposal for a single unitary council for Cornwall will be implemented.
It was judged to have met all of the five criteria as specified in the original Invitation to Councils. The order creating the unitary authority will be debated in Parliament in the New Year. It is intended that the new unitary council will be up and running on 1 April 2009.

The Government's view on the idea of a separate assembly for Cornwall is well known and remains unchanged. It is not easy to see advantage in an 'assembly' that would duplicate an existing unit of local government over a coterminous area.
The Government's approach on devolving powers from central Government to the sub-region was set out in the Local Government White Paper published on 26 October 2006 and in the Review of sub-national economic development and regeneration published on 17 July 2007. The Review builds on the White Paper by proposing increased powers and stronger incentives for all local authorities, including those in Cornwall, to improve the prosperity of their communities.
On 17 July 2007, the Government also announced that 'Regional Assemblies in their current form and function will not continue'. Regional Assembly planning and housing responsibilities will transfer to the existing Regional Development Agencies (RDAs).

I have a problem with this word "regional". There appears to be a confusion in government thinking between what is regional and what is national. Are Wales and Cornwall nations or aren't they? If Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Cornwall are nations what then is this so-called "British nation"?

Comments from Cllr Dick Cole, Mebyon Kernow

“2007 was a landmark year for democratic renewal in both Scotland and Wales. The Scottish National Party has formed an administration in the Scottish Parliament, with all parties now actively debating the devolution of extra powers.
“In Wales, Plaid Cymru is in coalition with the Labour Party, with both parties committed to law-making powers for the Welsh Assembly.
“But here in Cornwall, we have had to suffer the undemocratic disgrace of Liberal Democrat county councillors and MPs retreating from their commitment to a Cornish Assembly and forcing an unpopular unitary authority onto Cornwall.
“Whereas the people of Scotland and Wales are progressing further along the path to greater political powers, here in Cornwall we are preparing for the backward step that will be the centralisation of our local government structures and the growing influence of unelected, undemocratic bodies and agencies.
“At the same time, we continue to suffer under-investment from central government, threats to our public services, the growth in inequality in Cornish Society as well as the ever-worsening housing crisis
“We must make 2008 a year of real political activism and fight back against those who have so failed Cornwall over the last 12 months.”

The State of the Nations

From blog Tartan Hero.....

SNP ahead of Labour in poll of polls for Westminster

The Guardian has published a fascinating ICM poll of polls since the non-general election in October. Apart from the Tories getting ahead of Labour in the English regions, even in nominally Labour heartlands of the Midlands and the North.

"By combining data from all ICM polls carried out since Gordon Brown called off plans for a general election in October, a larger sample makes it possible to assess the state of public opinion in different parts of the country. Only in Scotland and Wales has the Tory revival faltered: the party is up just three points since the summer. But Labour is also in trouble in Scotland, trailing the SNP by three points, 39% to 36%."

More importantly it is the Lib Dems who have more to fear from the SNP lead in Scotland. Seats like Argyll & Bute, Inverness etc and even Gordon are threatened. Seats like Ochil & South Perthshire, Dundee West and Aberdeen North, even Stirling, look under threat from the SNP.

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

How Green Will Be My Valley? asks Leanne

Valleys ‘need help to emerge from the past’

Jan 2 2008 by Jackie Bow, South Wales Echo

CALLS have been made for a new strategy to help Valleys areas still struggling to cope with the legacy of the industrial past. It comes as new research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found former mining regions in England and Scotland have made a stronger recovery since the demise of the coal industry and people there have benefited more by commuting to cities or finding new jobs locally.
The study compared three areas – the Valleys and Cardiff, South Yorkshire coalfield and Sheffield, and Lothian Coalfield and Edinburgh. Cardiff had shown bigger employment growth but the report questioned the benefit for the Valleys.
From 1998 to 2003, jobs growth was zero for men in the Valleys and four per cent for women. In 2001, just 8.5 per cent of working Valleys residents commuted to Cardiff – the figure for Lothian to Edinburgh was 39.5 per cent.
Critics say there has been too much emphasis on temporary inward investment by foreign companies and too little on home-grown businesses.

Rhondda AM Leanne Wood said low skills in the Valleys meant people could only apply for low-paid jobs and could not afford the transport and childcare. This meant they were reluctant or unable to work more than a few miles from home or their children’s school.
“One of the things that will encourage more women into work is having employment on their doorstep and the flexibility to get around informal childcare arrangements,” she said. She said the report showed how grants for inward investment in the 1980s and ’90s had ultimately failed the Valleys.
“As soon as the benefits ran out a lot of companies packed up and left. I don’t know if that was worse than them not coming at all.
“It raised people’s standards of living and expectation and took them away again.”
Tony Chaplin, spokesman for the Merthyr Initiative Group, said: “They talked about the ripple effect for years where what is good for Cardiff can be good for the Valleys but that hasn’t happened.
“I believe probably it has reached Caerphilly and lower areas of Taff Ely but there is little evidence of it having benefited the upper Valleys area.Cardiff and Swansea, the M4 belt, will still be the major attractors of investment, whether it’s indigenous or otherwise, because of their locations and until the Heads of the Valleys road is dualled completely we are not going to have even cross-valley benefits.”

I have a kind of vested interest in the regeneration of the valleys as my tadcu (Caleb J, born 1855) came from Pontypool and left there in search of work in the steel industry.

No Progress Without Independence

Valleys fail as English and Scottish coal towns thrive

Jan 2 2008 by Rhodri Clark, Western Mail

THE Welsh Valleys are standing still, while equivalent areas in England and Scotland flourish, according to a damning report. Large areas of South Wales are still struggling to cope with the legacy of the country’s industrial past, resulting in large scale unemployment and a shortage of skills. But parts of England and Scotland with similar backgrounds have showed strong signs of recovery since the decline of the British coal industry in the 1980s, says social welfare group the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
The findings last night led to calls for new economic strategies to ensure that Cardiff’s prosperity finds its way into the Valleys. Research by the JRF shows that people have fared better in other former colliery regions in Britain than in the central Valleys – either by commuting to the nearest cities or finding new jobs locally. Critics said yesterday the Valleys had seen too much emphasis on temporary inward investment by foreign companies, and too little on indigenous businesses.
Childcare and transport were criticised for stopping Valleys residents taking jobs in the M4 corridor. The issues will be debated at a conference next month on the challenges facing the Heads of the Valleys.
The JRF compared three areas: central Valleys and Cardiff; South Yorkshire coalfield and Sheffield; and Lothian coalfield and Edinburgh. It found that from 1998 to 2003 there was zero growth in employment for men in the Valleys, and just 4% growth for women. Overall growth of 2% compares with 9.5% in the South Yorkshire coalfield and 7.8% in the Lothian coalfield. Cardiff had seen bigger employment growth than Sheffield or Edinburgh, but the report questions the benefits for Valleys residents.
In 2001 just 8.5% of working- age residents in the central Valleys commuted to Cardiff – compared with 39.5% from Lothian working in Edinburgh. Increased traffic on the A470 and passengers on the Valley Lines imply that many more people now commute to Cardiff from the Valleys, but Rhondda AM Leanne Wood said many of her constituents were reluctant or unable to work more than a few miles from their home or children’s school.
“We’ve got low skills in the Valleys. It means that people can only apply for low-paid jobs,” she said. “That could mean they can’t afford the transport and childcare.
“One of the things that will encourage more women into work is having employment on their doorstep and the flexibility to get around informal childcare arrangements.
“A lot of people I know rely on grandparents, friends or neighbours. You can’t do that if you spend an hour each side of your working day travelling to Cardiff. A job in Cardiff isn’t practical.”
She said the JRF report showed how grants for inward investment in the 1980s and ’90s had ultimately failed the Valleys.
“As soon as the benefits ran out, a lot of the companies packed up and left. I don’t know if that was worse than them not coming at all – it raised people’s standards of living and expectations and took them away again.
“In some valleys the call centres have come in and then upped sticks to set up in India. We’ve got to play long-term. The short-term fix isn’t going to work.”
David Rosser, director of CBI Wales, said new technology could enable the service-sector economy to be less city-based, but many Valleys residents could lack the skills to capitalise on home-based working.
He added, “It takes quite a lot of convincing to persuade employers to put large numbers of service- sector jobs in the Valleys, which don’t have a tradition of service- sector employment.”
The JRF research, by academics from three universities, including Professor Kevin Morgan from Cardiff University, included surveys of job seekers. Most respondents in Lothian sought jobs in Edinburgh, because they regarded the city as part of their local area.
“Far fewer respondents in the central Valleys include Cardiff in their job search than recent commuting data might suggest.”
The report also adds that people’s social networks influenced their attitudes to types and locations of work.
In Lothian and South Yorkshire, job seekers had friends or relatives in employment who provided knowledge and experience.
“Respondents in the Valleys area [were] more likely to have unemployed or inactive people in their social network,” it says.

On February 7, Ieuan Wyn Jones, Minister for Economic Development, will address a Heads of the Valleys conference in Tredegar. Organised by the Institute of Welsh Affairs, the event will explore new ideas for the area and be followed by a research report. IWA director John Osmond said, “The Heads of the Valleys aren’t so integrated as other parts of the UK with more prosperous areas. We’ve got to get to grips with more sophisticated transport. In other parts of the world, light- rail systems operate fairly well.
“Also, the Heads of the Valleys are close to the Brecon Beacons national park. We need to do more in terms of the tourism potential and the attractiveness of the area to develop new settlements.”
He claimed that Wales tended to spread regeneration funding, such as the Communities First programme for the most deprived wards, too thinly.
“Every community in Wales has to have a slice of the action so nobody feels left out. We ought to be more mature and focus our limited resources more effectively.”
Rhondda MP Chris Bryant said, “I think we need to move towards much more full-time, free childcare. There’s just not enough childcare available.”
He called for stronger efforts to promote small businesses, instead of the grandiose schemes of the past. “My experience of the Welsh Development Agency was that they didn’t understand how the Valleys worked.”

Tuesday, 1 January 2008


Wishing everybody who has the interests of the nation at heart a

May CYMRU achieve its rightful place among the community of nations!