Thursday, 24 June 2010
Sunday, 20 June 2010
Midsummer is here again and today marks the start of Penzance's Golowan festival - Many of the traditions of the Cornish Midsummer can be seen during the festival especially on the 23rd of June in Penzance's Chapel street for more details visit http://www.facebook.com/l/b1fbakpoTMxks6rAzbwJyFS6xPQ;www.golowan.org
Celebrate Kernow Penzance are holding their own Midsummer fire on the 21st on Long Rock Beach Penzance from 9pm - Turn left at the main level crossing and walk 2 mins toward Marazion you will find us.
The Old Cornwall Societies are holding there own fires on the 23rd of June and details can be found by visiting there website here http://www.facebook.com/l/b1fbajd5Zt4LclUYgjVw1CdvWzg;www.oldcornwall.org/midsummer_bonfire.htm
Trereife folk festival continues today as part of the build up to Golowan - excellent Cornish acts included please visit http://www.facebook.com/l/b1fbaKpaPxJfsOV23v-5p3k8jcA;www.trereifefolkfestival.co.uk/ for full line up
Wednesday, 16 June 2010
Adams comments on Saville Report
WESTMINSTER - ICELANDERS ARE NOT TERRORISTS
Iceland is now bankrupt because of reckless banking practices. Why then did the Labour Government suggest that UK Local Councils invest vast sums of public money "offshore" in Icelandic banks. Now Labour have inflicted the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act of 2001 law against the Icelanders.
Monday, 14 June 2010
Sunday, 13 June 2010
Saturday, 12 June 2010
COMMEMORATING NATIONALLY OUR 'DYDD Y SENEDD 21 MEHEFIN 1404' - 2010 National Events & Activities both at CEFN CAER, Pennal and at GŴYL DATHLU CORONI OWAIN GLYNDŴR' in Machynlleth & elsewhere in Wales over 18 - 19 - 20 - 21 June 2010.
Friday, 11 June 2010
Saturday, 5 June 2010
The Argument for Independence
Independence and national identity are emotive issues, but the arguments in favour of a greater level of autonomy for Brittany are very strong and rest upon historical, geographic, cultural, and economic considerations.
The myth that has been taught to schoolchildren for the past one hundred years is that Brittany is an intrinsically poor country, hampered by poor soil and bad weather. The real truth, however, is that for most of its history Brittany has been extremely prosperous, and that it only started to go into economic decline once it became united with France.
During the Middle Ages Brittany was one of the wealthiest areas of Europe: the interior was home to a thriving textile industry, and the coastal areas maintained a merchant fleet that was one of the most successful of the age, trading salt, textiles, fish and agricultural products across Northern Europe and down to Spain and Portugal.
The wealth accumulated by these activities attracted the jealousy of neighbouring countries, which is the reason why the King of France forced Anne of Brittany to marry him in 1491, a marriage which eventually led to a union of the two states. Brittany remained semi-autonomous and reasonably prosperous until the Revolution, when it was finally amalgamated into the rest of France. The next hundred years of its history were marked by famines and widespread destitution – giving rise to the short-sighted idea that Brittany has always been impoverished.
Although outwardly prosperous, the modern Breton economy is now dependent on agricultural subsidies and funding from central government – which, in economic terms, is disastrous.
A clear argument can be made that Brittany would be more successful in diversifying its economy and creating wealth, if its people had a greater level of control over their own affairs.
The Breton language has survived to the present time; there is still a tradition of Breton music; and there is a wealth of stories and traditions which are specific to this part of the world. These are the sorts of cultural ingredients which are required to support the sense of identity and common purpose required for a successful unit of government. The idea of an autonomous Brittany makes a lot more sense than many other administrative regions that have been created in Europe and around the world in recent times.
People disagree as to where the eastern border of Brittany ought to lie – for most of the past thousand years Nantes and the ‘Loire Atlantique’ have been part of Brittany – but even a cursory glance of a map of Europe marks the Breton peninsular out as a distinctive geographical area, easily distinguished from the rest of France. Many aspects of life in Brittany are dictated by the weather and the sea, which makes it have more in common with places such as Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Cornwall than with mainland Europe.
It is, perhaps, history that provides the strongest reasons in favour of a change in the way that Brittany governs itself.
Over the years the people of this region have had many different relationships with the rest of Europe, and there is no reason to suppose that the present arrangement should be regarded as permanent.
In ‘pre-historical’ times, Brittany was inhabited by people about whom we know very little except that they erected the menhirs, dolmens, and covered alleyways that are so common in the Breton countryside. These monuments are quite distinct from remains found in other parts of mainland Europe, but do bear a resemblance to sites in the UK, in India, and in China. This would suggest that, in those days, Brittany was an outward-looking country, more closely allied to countries across the ocean than to its neighbours on the mainland.
Immediately prior to the Roman occupation, Brittany was inhabited by Gallic tribes, each of which was autonomous but loosely linked to other Gallic people by Druids who travelled freely throughout France, Britain, Belgium, Switzerland and northern Italy. The Druids did not constitute a form of government, (or a religion in today’s sense of the word) but do seem to have provided training and spiritual guidance which knitted the Gauls together into a unified nation: it seems unlikely that a tribal chief could have maintained power without the support of the Druids.
Julius Caesar ruthlessly suppressed this civilisation – in modern parlance his ‘campaigns’ would be termed genocide – and Brittany, along with the rest of Gaul, was incorporated into the Roman Empire.
All sense of self-determination was lost over the course of the next four centuries, and, when the Western Empire finally collapsed, the people living in this area had no more idea of how to govern themselves than anyone else in Rome’s former dominions.
But, whereas most of the continent was overrun by tribes from the east (Visigoths, Ostragoths, Huns, Franks, etc.) something unusual happened in Brittany. The Romans had left Britain a few years previously, and it had been settled by people from Saxony: the Saxons. For a time, harmony was established between the native Celts and the newcomers and, consequently, Britain could enjoy a time of peace and prosperity just as chaos was engulfing the rest of Europe. (It is to this period that the legends of King Arthur and Merlin are often dated.)
‘Saints’, or wise men, crossed over from Britain to Brittany and set up sanctuaries in which they taught and helped the local people. The names of some of these men have become legendary and include the ‘Seven Founding Saints’ of Brittany – Malo, Samson, Brieuc, Tugdual, Pol Aurélien, Corentin and Patern.
Towns built up around where they settled (St Brieuc, St Pol de Leon, St Malo, etc.), composed of local people, plus Britons who came to join them. It is only since this time that this region has been known as Brittany and that its people have spoken Breton. It would seem that it is to these founding saints that Brittany owes its traditional love of freedom and independence: Brittany was the only part of modern France which did not fall under the control of Charlemagne and the Holy Roman Empire, and subsequently Brittany succeeded in resisting a Norman invasion of the type that overwhelmed Britain.
For several centuries Brittany had the status of an independent Duchy, recognised by the Pope in Rome but not allied to any particular kingdom. This independence was lost when Brittany was united with France in 1532. Some modern historians blame this union on the greed of Breton nobles who preferred to accept gifts from the French court than to defending their independence; others have maintained that some form of union was inevitable given the state of European politics at the time. Whatever the case, the young heiress to the Duchy, Anne of Brittany, found herself helpless and besieged by a French army in Rennes and was forced to agree to marry the French king, which signalled the end of Breton independence.
Brittany retained separate institutions (in much the same way as Scotland retained its own legal system after it was united with England), but these were swept away in the French Revolution. Since then Brittany has, administratively, simply been part of France.
The late 1800s and early 1900s were a difficult time for Brittany because the government in Paris had little understanding of the region and no empathy with its history and culture: a legacy with which people are still trying to come to terms today.
The arguments in favour of Breton devolution are so overwhelming that it is almost inevitable that the region will acquire a greater level of control over it own affairs at some point in the future. The question is when and in what form? Many people are fearful of the phrase ‘Breton independence’ because it conjures up an image of militancy, but, if it is true that Brittany does need a greater degree of autonomy before it can move forward, then it would be those people who defend the status quo that posed the greatest threat to its future.
Friday, 4 June 2010
Israeli Commando: 'We Had No Choice'
JERUSALEM - When St.-Sgt. S. fast-roped down from an air force Black Hawk helicopter onto the Mavi Marmara Turkish passenger ship on Monday morning, he did not expect to be landing in what he called “a battlefield” and facing off against a group of “murderous mercenaries.”
The 15th and last naval commando from Flotilla 13 (the Shayetet) to rappel down onto the ship from the helicopter, S. said on Thursday that he was immediately attacked by what the IDF has called “the mob of mercenaries” aboard the vessel, just like the soldiers who had boarded just before him.
Looking to his side, he saw three of his commanders lying wounded – one with a gunshot wound to the stomach and another with a gunshot wound to the knee. A third was lying unconscious; his skull was fractured by a devastating blow with a metal bar.
As the next in the chain of command, S., who has been in the Shayetet for three and a half years, immediately took charge.
He pushed the wounded soldiers up against the wall of the upper deck and created a perimeter of soldiers around them to begin treating their wounds, he said. He then arranged his men to form a second perimeter, and pulled out his 9 mm. Glock pistol to stave off the charging attackers and to protect his wounded comrades.
The attackers had already seized two pistols from the commandos, and fired repeatedly at them. Facing more than a dozen of the mercenaries, and convinced their lives were in danger, he and his colleagues opened fire, he said. S. singlehandedly killed six men. His colleagues killed another three.
On Thursday, S. sat down with The Jerusalem Post at the Shayetet’s base in northern Israel for an exclusive interview, during which he described the dramatic events aboard the Mavi Marmara on Monday; he is being considered for a medal of valor.
“When I hit the deck, I was immediately attacked by people with bats, metal pipes and axes,” S. told the Post. “These were without a doubt terrorists. I could see the murderous rage in their eyes and that they were coming to kill us.”
S. does not look like a hero. Well-built, like all commandos in the Shayetet, he is also soft-spoken and stingy with words, but his commander Lt.-Col. T. fills in the blanks.
“S. did a remarkable job,” T. said. “He stabilized the situation and succeeded in hitting six of the terrorists.”
Based on preliminary results of its investigation into the navy’s takeover of the Mavi Marmara, which ended with nine dead passengers and more than 30 wounded, the IDF said on Thursday that the commandos were attacked by a well-trained group of mercenaries, most of whom were found without IDs but with thousands of dollars in their pockets.
The group was well trained and was split into a number of squads of about 20 mercenaries each distributed throughout the upper deck, the IDF said. All of the mercenaries wore gas masks and ceramic bulletproof vests and were armed with either bats, slingshots, metal bars, knives or stun grenades.
The IDF’s understanding is that the mercenaries mainly chose dual-purpose items of this sort rather than guns, since opening fire would have made it blatantly clear that they were terrorists and not so-called peace activists.
Nevertheless, the IDF suspects that the group did have some guns of its own. Israeli forensic experts who examined the ship found casings belonging to a weapon that was not used by the commandos, and the Turkish captain of the ship later told the IDF that the “mercenaries” threw their weapons overboard after the commandos took control of the vessel.
T. said he realized the group they were facing was well-trained and likely ex-military after the commandos threw a number of stun grenades and fired warning shots before rappelling down onto the deck. “They didn’t even flinch,” he said. “Regular people would move.”
Each squad of the “mercenaries” was equipped with a Motorola communication device, the IDF said, so they could pass information to one another. Assessments in the defense establishment are that members of the group were affiliated with international global jihad elements and had undergone training in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan. S. on Thursday downplayed his involvement in the operation. “I did what I was trained to do and now I move on,” he said.
In contrast to earlier reports, the commandos said that they began using their weapons within a minute and a half after boarding the ship, due to the extreme violence they faced. One of the reasons S. pulled out his gun right after landing on the ship was because one of the mercenaries was pointing a pistol, snatched from one of the commandos, at another commando’s head.
© 2010 The Jerusalem Post. All Rights Reserved
Thursday, 3 June 2010
From the SNP
“The NHS will pay more to banks in repayments over the next five years for three hospitals than those hospitals are actually worth. That is an example of the profligacy and incompetence that characterised Labour’s financial management and that Scotland’s public services are now paying for.
“After taking out repayment policies like this Labour has no credibility left on public spending and must answer to NHS staff and patients who are left facing up to Labour’s outrageous debts."
This painful price for 13 years of profligacy
By PETER OBORNE
Last updated at 7:51 AM on 26th May 2010
Last updated at 7:51 AM on 26th May 2010
The response to yesterday’s announcement from Treasury chief secretary David Laws that he planned some £6billion in spending cuts couldn’t have been more predictable – or more pathetic.
Liam Byrne, Labour’s discredited Treasury spokesman, claimed that the cuts package would plunge Britain back into what he called a ‘double dip’ recession.
Meanwhile, a phalanx of trade unionists came forward to warn of economic devastation and a massive loss of public sector jobs.
But it is obvious that Mr Byrne does not know what he is talking about.
Britain’s total economic product adds up to well over £1trillion.
The idea that the loss of £6billion (scarcely 0.5 per cent of the whole economy) could make the slightest difference is economic illiteracy of a very high order.
The horrific truth is that unless this country starts to make cuts now, international markets will lose confidence in our economy and plunge us into the same kind of financial crisis that Greece is enduring.
Moreover, the main problem with the economic package from George Osborne and David Laws is not – as the Labour Party claims – that their cuts have come too soon. It is that – as a result of Labour’s delay and defeat – they have come much too late.
The facts are simply terrifying.
This year the Government is set to spend approximately £170billion more than it will generate from taxation – that’s a phenomenal £500million a day.
Our indebtedness is far, far higher than it has ever been before in peacetime – the direct result of Gordon Brown’s crass management of the economy.
Indeed, the wretched Mr Byrne admitted as much when he left a cynical note behind to his successor after the election noting that ‘there’s no money left’.
However, that infamous letter actually understates the scale of the problem.
We actually ran out of our own money, thanks to Labour’s profligacy several years ago. Now we have run out of other people’s money as well.
Thirteen years ago, when Labour took over from the Tories, the national debt stood at a comparatively modest £350billion.
Over the past decade that has doubled to just over £700billion.
Tragically, under Treasury projections, that sum is set to double again over the next five years to around £1.4trillion.
Even these unimaginable sums of money hugely underestimate the scale of the problem.
It is now dawning on financial experts that Mr Brown hid much of our public debt (such as the giant liabilities incurred by our public sector pension funds) off the national balance sheet. Only urgent, hideous and painful surgery can tackle a problem like this.
The £6billion which Mr Laws and Mr Osborne are planning to wipe from the national spending ledger this year represents only a fraction of the work that needs to be done.
Indeed, the scale of what lies ahead can hardly be exaggerated.
The cuts that await us over the next few years are far greater than the so-called ‘savage’ cuts imposed by Margaret Thatcher and her Chancellor Geoffrey Howe in the 1980s.
In all, at least £80billion – and very likely far more, depending on economic circumstances in the years ahead – need to be slashed from annual national expenditure. Therefore, there is huge pain in the pipeline.
Yesterday’s axe was merely for starters. The true scale of cuts will only partly be apparent by the time of Mr Osborne’s emergency budget on June 22.
And the complete picture will be clear only much later in the year, when he announces the results of his comprehensive spending review of all future departmental expenditure.
Bear in mind that, thanks to the prolifically prudent but cowardly decision to protect spending on the NHS, some departments face cuts on a scale that calls their very existence into question.
Let’s take the Ministry of Defence.
Currently, Britain is fighting a bloody and terrible war in Afghanistan and has military commitments all over the globe. Yet no less than £7billion – roughly one quarter of all defence expenditure – looks set for the chop.
Major programmes, such as the Eurofighter, may have to go. So will plans to build new aircraft carriers. The idea of Britain as a nation with a defence capacity to police the globe will vanish.
In order to understand the monstrous amounts involved in this whole process, it is helpful to contemplate the measures already taken by near bankrupt European countries such as Spain, Greece and Ireland.
Most public programmes have been stopped. Civil service pay has been cut by as much as 20 per cent while the age at which state workers can receive pensions has risen sharply. Unemployment benefits have been slashed, while taxation has risen sharply.
Here, it can now be taken for granted that VAT will rise from the present 17.5 per cent to 20 per cent and quite possibly more.
Punitively, the budget changes that are now inevitable over the next five years will change us forever as a nation.
The truth is that Britain resembles a profligate and irresponsible family which has long been living way beyond its means.
We have enjoyed an exaggerated idea of our international standing, and a standard of living to which we are not entitled. Finally, the bank manager is now calling in his loans – and giving us the unpleasant choice between bankruptcy or a very painful drop in living standards.
By the luxurious standards of the New Labour years, yesterday’s cuts – the slashing of several quangos, the loss of tens of thousands of student places and the ending of certain civil service perks – may have sounded very severe.
But in comparison to what is to come, they were nothing.
Sailors sometimes talk of seeing a ‘cloud no bigger than a man’s hands’ on the distant horizon. Now we lie in wait for the hurricane.