Thursday, 30 September 2010

Let's All Go to France!

Let's all go to France! British quality of life can't compare to the continent

Last updated at 7:50 AM on 22nd September 2010
If you climbed out of bed this morning feeling a little gloomy, you can draw comfort from the fact you're not alone. 
A study suggests the quality of life in Britain is among the worst in Europe.
The research into living costs, income, lifespan, health, retirement age, holidays and sunshine hours makes depressing reading for the people of Britain. 
French Cafe
house of crepes cafe
Cafe culture: French people are said to enjoy the best quality of life in Europe, with it scoring highly in several categories. The British languish in ninth place

The situation is so bad that one in three thinks that now would be a good time to emigrate. And France, it seems, is the ideal destination. 
The French enjoy the best quality of life in Europe, according to the survey of ten leading European nations, which bases its verdict on France being top for longevity, early retirement and health spending, and near the top in other categories. 
The study found that the price of a sample basket of food was £137.13 in this country compared with £121.81 in Spain and just £119.57 in France. On diesel costs, British drivers pay an average of £1.179 a litre, against just 98.2p in France. 
The cost of unleaded petrol, electricity, alcohol and cigarettes in this country is above the European average. 
The average UK retirement age is now the fourth highest in Europe at 63.1 years and is set to go higher. Only the Irish, the Dutch and Swedish work until later in life. 
France, Spain, Germany, Holland, Sweden and Italy all enjoy a longer life expectancy than the UK, where the average stands at 79.16. Workers in the UK have one of the lowest holiday entitlements in Europe at an average of 28 days.

Eiffel Tower with cityscape of Paris, France.
Blackpool tower GV's.
Sunnier climes: More people than ever want to emigrate, with France seen as the ideal destination. It has 1,937 hours of sun per year, compared to 1,476 in the UK

France, which has topped the index for the second year running, enjoys the earliest retirement age of 59.3 years, spends the most on healthcare and has the longest life expectancy at 81.09 years.
Its workers also benefit from 36 days holiday a year, while it is only beaten by Spain and Italy in terms of the number of hours of sunshine a year. The sunshine hours for the UK is 1,476 against 1,967 in France and 2,665 in Spain. 
Historically, Britons could cling to the fact they had the highest net income in Europe to make up for the other negative comparisons.
But this is no longer the case. Net household income in this country is put at £37,172 after tax, compared with £39,997 in Denmark, £41,130 in Holland and £44,955 in Ireland. 
In terms of spending on education and health, Britain lags behind other nations. The UK figure is below the European average, while spending on education in this country is only on a par with Poland.

The Poles rank fourth overall in the European Quality of Life Index, compiled by the price comparison service UK is placed at nine with Ireland bottom in tenth. 
Director of consumer policy at uSwitch, Ann Robinson, said: 'Last year compared to our European neighbours we were miserable but rich.
'This year we're miserable and poor. With salaries failing to keep up with inflation, it's likely that we're a long way from achieving the quality of life that people in other countries enjoy.'

Mail online
Read more:

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Suspicions have now been Confirmed

Great Britain is 'worst place to live in Europe'

Research by uSwitch has revealed that high living costs, below average government spending on health and education, lack of holidays and late retirement have contributed to a bleak picture for Brits.Skip related content
To make matters worse, the UK no longer enjoys the highest net household income in the continent. Last year it was £10,000 above the European average, whereas now it is just £2,314 ahead, slipping below Ireland, the Netherlands and Denmark.
Britons in search of quality of life might want to move to France, as it held on to the top spot in the index for the second year in succession.
Spain came second, while Denmark, Poland and Germany helped to make up the top five spots, with all these countries offering more days of holiday and a lower retirement age than the UK and Ireland.
Recently, a study by Aviva and accountants Deloitte found that the UK has the biggest pension gap in Europe, with Britons needing to increase the amount they save each year to have a good retirement income.

Labour Emulates the Coalition

Ed Miliband in his first Conference speech did not say anything new or exactly set the heather on fire, as neither does Iain Gray in the Scottish parliament, in contrast to the fiery and stimulating speeches of Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon, who put Scotland first in everything they say and do. Reading between the lines it was the Labour Party which mattered most, its survival, its regeneration and its attainment to power once again.

Red Ed has just finished his speech, it was a pep-talk for a "new generation". What was new? "Sorry about the war, it wasn't anything to do with me folks", was about it. To Guido it still sounded like left-lurching, deficit raising, money wasting, demotivating, buzz wording, fool talking, high taxing, fast spending, ever wasting, vote losing, Labour.

Scots becoming healthier, survey

The survey results show:
* A decrease in the number of people classed as overweight - for the first time since 1995, when the survey began.
* A drop in the number of children with an unhealthy BMI. The number of boys who have a BMI outwith the healthy range has dropped to 31.0 per cent from 38.2 per cent in 2008. 28.3 per cent of girls have a BMI outwith the healthy range - compared to 28.7 per cent in 2008.
* Children are eating healthier foods such as high fibre bread and oily fish and less chips, crisps, sweets and non-diet soft drinks.
Minister for Public Health and Sport Shona Robison said:
"The survey results for 2009 are encouraging, although we still have a lot of work to do to.
"Although it is too soon to predict a downward trend, I am pleased to see that the number of people who have an unhealthy BMI has reduced for the first time since the survey began.
"Obesity is a huge health challenge to Scotland so it is fantastic to see a reduction in the number of children who have a BMI outwith the healthy range.
"A healthy diet is incredibly important for children's long term health so it is good to see that they are eating less junk food and enjoying more healthier options like oily fish. 
"This report will inform the way that we continue to address these issues."

Monday, 27 September 2010

Devolution without a Route Map

A thoughtful article on Labour's embarkation without destination....


Demonstration Effects: Reclaiming Scotland Part 2

By Donald Adamson
In February 1998, William Hague, at the time the new leader of the Conservative party, made a speech at the Centre for Policy Studies in London which captured the collective instincts of his party’s response to New Labour’s constitutional reforms in its first term. In his speech, Hague memorably told his audience that:

“Labour has embarked on a journey of constitutional upheaval without a route map”.
Long after Hague’s speech, the bills kept filing through the corridors of Whitehall. By the end of 2000, New Labour had steered through the Westminster Parliament no less than 20 bills on constitutional reform. If nothing else, Hague’s observation about Labour’s constitutional hyperactivity in this period casts an unflattering light on the weary refrain from Scottish Labour that it is the SNP that is ‘obsessed’ with the issue of constitutional reform.
But, of course, there is so much else to Hague’s observation, for Hague was expressing the worst fears of his party, fears that are now materialising. The lengthy (and painful) gestation period after the ‘failed’ devolution referendum vote in 1979, has created a momentum of change in Scotland which no-one could have anticipated. Within the space of a decade, we not only have a Scottish parliament but, after the long eight years of a quiescent, if not supplicatory, Lib-Lab coalition (no “picking fights with Westminster” for them, though Scottish Labour has gone a bit quiet with that line in recent months), we now have an SNP government and await the imminent arrival of the Calman reforms. But even before the limited and hastily-conceived Calman reforms have been implemented, far less bedded down, many unionists themselves are already debating the post-Calman settlement, including fiscal autonomy, as the next line of defence against independence. This is not the ‘British’ way but, crucially, it is now the Scottish way. And what the Calman reforms demonstrate is that it isn’t just Labour that doesn’t have a route map, the Tories don’t have one either.
What counts now is whether the SNP and the independence-supporting left can capture this momentum of change before the forces of conservatism in Scotland, led by Scottish Labour, attempt to neutralise it. Fortunately, in spite of all the bells and whistles that will accompany the election of Ed Miliband as the new leader of Labour – or should that be the new leader of new New Labour? – Scottish Labour’s capacity to do this will be inhibited by the present conjuncture. More importantly, this conjuncture itself creates possibilities for Scotland that, even a decade ago, were unimaginable. Even if we put the internal dynamic of devolution to one side, the effects of this conjuncture, once they feed through into mainstream Scottish politics (although they’ll need to be argued for), can only intensify this momentum of change on three broad fronts.
First, the present crisis has stopped in its tracks the claim of the more enthusiastic advocates of the globalization thesis that the nation-state has a limited role to play in the ‘global’ world. As Alex Callinicos argues, “One of the chief ‘follies of globalization’, as Justin Rosenberg admirably put it, was the idea that greater global economic integration has fatally weakened the nation-state”. (Callinicos, Bonfire of Illusions, Polity 2010). Just as both small and large nation-states across the world all used their economic, (de-) regulatory and other powers to unwittingly navigate their way into this crisis, so they are using these same powers to navigate their way out of it. The exposure of this particular myth of globalization, as well as the national-specific responses to the crisis, demonstrates that a new space is opening up for independent nation-states, not only to map out the co-ordinates of their distinctive responses to the crisis but to explore the pathways of their own possible futures in a spirit of what we might call, ‘aye we can’. It is this spirit that the SNP and the independence-supporting left in Scotland must continue to encourage the Scottish people to claim.
Second, the present crisis of capitalism has halted the momentum of neo-liberalism. In terms of the British response to this, if the Tories’ big society rhetoric is seen for what it largely is – an attempt to kick start second-wave neo-liberalism in the context of crisis management – surely this, too, is destined to fail. In his Models of Capitalism, Polity 2000, David Coates convincingly argues that all post-war models of capitalism have ultimately failed. Coates identifies three (stylised) models: market-led capitalisms practised and advocated by Britain and the US; state-led capitalisms, most evident in post-war Asia; and negotiated or consensual capitalisms in, for example, post-war Germany and Scandinavia. What the failure of all these models of capitalism, as well as the recent rupture in neo-liberalism demonstrates, is that capitalism and capitalist states are running out of reformist options.
Moreover, if as The Economist recently argued in its leader (‘Radical Britain’, August 14th, 2010), the British Tories’ crisis management model of ‘downsizing’ the state, fiscal austerity, welfare retrenchment (with the burden of adjustment falling on taxpayers), is indeed followed by capitalist states across the rest of the world, doesn’t this invite the obvious question: who will save capitalism in its next crisis? In Scotland, the centre-left consensus and anti-Tory reflex of the majority of voters suggests not only a healthy scepticism about the inflated claims of the apologists of neo-liberalism, a scepticism that preceded the present crisis, it also surely provides fertile electoral territory for Scotland to “chart a different course from Westminster”, as Alex Salmond recently put it, and to press home the possible futures offered by independence.
Third, the British state is in crisis. Not simply because of the effects of New Labour’s boom and bust, or the crisis management of the Tories, though of course these are the most obvious manifestations of crisis. But the British state is also in crisis because the British are losing control of Scotland. The absence of a constitutional route map and the crisis itself has created an open-endedness, a defining characteristic of all crises, that, when added to the pre-existing momentum of change in Scotland will make it increasingly difficult for Scottish Labour to re-direct this momentum back towards the agenda of Britishness. An agenda which, in the case of Scottish Labour, has historically served to reproduce the subordination of the Scottish working class to British state capitalism.
Part of the defiant logic of Britishness is that, like capitalism, it starts from where we are now. It is in situ and it speaks to us with all the authority of the incumbent. Through its institutions, its media, its governance etc it reproduces an embedded ‘common sense’ that makes it difficult for many Scots to imagine a future where we can unlearn its routinised practices and learn a new ‘common sense’. Britishness then, isn’t encumbered with the ‘nationalist’ appeal to a great leap, a great leap that Scottish Labour can present as a threat to these routinised practices and British ‘common sense’.
But why on earth would anyone in Scotland fearfully imagine any disasters that might be visited upon an independent Scotland when the British have repeatedly demonstrated the real disasters that a succession of Labour and Tory governments have visited upon Scotland over the last fifty years? In this respect, the last Labour government and the present Tory government are maintaining a long-standing British tradition. Over the last fifty years, the Tories have condemned Labour governments for their economic mismanagement and for the terrible legacy they have left to an incoming Tory government. Labour, on the other hand, have condemned Tory governments for their economic mismanagement and for the terrible legacy that they have left to incoming Labour governments. From a Scottish perspective, they are both right of course, a succession of both Labour and Tory British governments have mismanaged Scotland’s economy and bequeathed a terrible legacy to Scotland.
Starting in the mid-1950s when a Tory government began the notorious ‘stop-go’ cycle, a succession of British governments have demonstrated their unerring capacity to make a bad situation worse. The costly prevarication of the Wilson government over the 1967 devaluation; the disastrous policies of the Heath and Callaghan governments in the ‘decade of crisis’ in the 1970s; the Thatcher years of record unemployment, homelessness, with huge numbers of firms and workers leaving Scotland altogether; the effects of ‘Black Wednesday’ under Major and a Tory government that tore itself apart over Europe and, in the process, isolated Scotland even further from its already tenuous connections with Europe; New Labour’s decade of boom and bust; and up to the present crisis management of the Tories.
It was two former Labour ministers who captured an important part of the substance of the developing crisis of Britishness in the post-war period, and it’s worth recalling their words. In his diary on June 30th 1952, Labour’s first post-war chancelleor, Hugh Dalton, comparing the prospects of the post-war reconstruction efforts of Britain and Europe, wrote:
“I see Europe going by default: Free market Germany will be forging ahead; with all their gifts of efficiency displayed to the full. And we [the British], in our mismanaged, mixed-economy, overpopulated little island, shall become a second-rate power, with no influence and continuing ‘crises’”.
Another former Labour minister, Michael Stewart, in his aptly titled, The Jekyll and Hyde Years: Politics and Economic Policy since 1964, Dent, 1977, characterised one important cause of the ‘Jekyll and Hyde Years’ of successive British governments’ economic policy, when he wrote:
“Both Labour and Conservative parties, while in opposition, have succumbed to the temptation to condemn a large proportion of the government’s policies and have promised to reverse many of these policies when they themselves took office. The result has been a fatal lack of continuity. Incoming governments have spent their first year or two abolishing or drastically modifying the measures – often quite reasonable – of their predecessors, and pressing ahead with the measures – often unrealistic or irrelevant – which they have formulated in opposition. After a year or two they have come to closer terms with reality, and changed course, but by that time much harm has been done, and the benefits that would have accrued from continuing the policies they inherited have been lost”.
Both these former Labour ministers showed a remarkable degree of prescience. In Stewart’s case in particular, it’s surely the case that the ‘Jekyll and Hyde years’ continued after 1977 and that, as the decades from the 1980s up to the present demonstrate, eerily following the denouement of Stevenson’s classic, Dr Jekyll has now morphed permanently into Mr Hyde.
On three core policy issues though, there has been a consensus between the British elites in the Labour and Tory parties that has acted, and continues to act, against Scotland’s national interests: market-led capitalism; promoting the City of London as a ‘global’ financial centre; and defence and foreign policy. These are all looking somewhat sordid now, but then they always were, and it is surely the most auspicious sign for the prospects of Scottish independence that this is now so much more transparent than previously.
We will never know how many voters in Scotland would have supported Scottish Labour over the last decade if, instead of viewing on their television screens the stream of sombre images of the union flag-draped coffins of British soldiers, they had seen instead the images of the thousands of burnt-out corpses of Iraqi and Afghan children. Indeed, so numerous are the Iraqi and Afghan casualties in these wars, that there is no reliable estimate of their total number.
We congratulate ourselves on the ‘peace’ that we have secured in Europe in this ‘post-war’ period, and conveniently displace the reality that so many wars in the last 60 years have been conducted in our name. Although Scotland has been dragged into many of these wars by default, the reality is that in the last 60 years, Scotland has been one of the most belligerent nations on earth, more belligerent than Israel, for example, but even the heinous Israeli regime can cite the fact that it is surrounded by enemies. What is Scotland’s excuse?
In his Web of Deceit: Britain’s Real Role in the World, Vintage 2003, Mark Curtis recounts many of the atrocities, and duplicitous bullying of the peoples of other nations, committed in the name of ‘British’ defence and foreign policy throughout the last 60 years. Not surprisingly Curtis reserves much of his wrath for the shameful policies of New Labour supported by a “liberal intelligentsia” which is itself, as Curtis states:
“…guilty of helping to weave a collective web of deceit. Under New Labour, many commentators have openly taken part in Labour’s onslaught on the world, often showering praise on Tony Blair and his ministers for speaking the language of rights, development and global security as they proceed to demolish such noble virtues in their actual policy”.
And, of course, Scottish Labour has done its bit to put the ‘Great’ back into Great Britain since 1945. How many in Scottish Labour applauded Tony Blair when, announcing his decision to stand down as leader, he told Labour Party members at the Trimdon Labour club in his Sedgefield constituency on May 10th 2007:
“This country is a blessed country. The British are special. The world knows it, we know it, this is the greatest country on earth”.
Given the pernicious influence of such triumphalist British nationalism, it is little wonder that we have recently witnessed the unedifying spectacle of the candidates for the Labour leadership shamelessly falling over each other in their attempts to distance themselves from many of their own government’s policies. A party that is so publicly in need of a clean slate is surely a party that is destined for a period of lengthy opposition. Whether this is the case is not the issue however, the consequences for Scotland will be little different whether it is Labour or the Tories who bequeath their terrible legacies to a Scotland that for so long has been unable to arrest its decline into a backwater of the British economy.
The SNP government, for all its imperfections, and working with all the limitations of a minority government and the devolution settlement, has demonstrated its competence to govern. This may not have exorcised Scottish Labour’s caricature of the folk-devil of ‘nationalism’, but it must surely cause more people in Scotland to ask themselves the question: if this is what the SNP can achieve working with all these constraints, what could they achieve if these constraints were removed as they would be after independence?
Next month, the STUC are organising demonstrations against the “Tory cuts”. This will see a re-run of the 1980s, only this time the Tories, having decimated private sector trade union membership in the 1980s and 1990s, have much unfinished business with public sector trade unions. After these demonstrations are over, Scotland needs to have other, more important demonstrations. These demonstrations must carry a message to every worker and every household in Scotland. Now more than ever, it is time to stop demonstrating against the Tories and to start demonstrating support for Scottish independence, not least because this time, there really is no alternative.

Comment: There really is no alternative to Scottish and Welsh independence.

Comment 2: Ed is right - they got it wrong. They always put the interests of the Party before the interests of the People.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Cornish Education for Cornwall - Movyans Skolyow Meythrin

MSM offer various exciting volunteering opportunities such as:
• organising activities and excursions with the children and/or their families
• translating promotional and administrative material into Cornish (e.g. website, policies, administrative documents)
• organising fundraising events
• helping with e.g. grants application, marketing, accountancy.

Why volunteer with MSM?

MSM offers a great opportunity to learn and speak Cornish with other Cornish speakers in a friendly atmosphere. It is also the opportunity to share your love and knowledge about Cornwall with young children and their families. And for Early Years practitioners or students it is a unique opportunity to approach preschool education from a bilingual and innovative point of view.

Who can volunteer with MSM?
• You are 16 +
• You have creative skills (e.g. dancing, singing, cooking, knitting, writing poetry) and want to share them with young children between 2 and 5 and/or their families
• You speak fluent Cornish and you want to help us translate our website and official documents
• You want to organise a fundraising event, help us promote the school or help us with the school’s daily administration.
• You are an Early Years professional or student and want to help us with organising activities for the children

Equal opportunities

Movyans Skolyow Meythrin is committed in principle to the development of policies to promote equal opportunities in volunteering regardless of gender, marital status, race, colour, nationality (including citizenship), ethnic or national origins, disabilities, age, sexual orientation, responsibility for dependants, religious or political affiliation and trade union activities. The Karenza building where Skol Veythrin Karenza is held has the facility to welcome people with disabilities or special needs. We are also really flexible and offer to come to meet up with you to the venue that suit you best (including at home) if it is difficult for you to travel to meet up with us or vice versa. You can also volunteer from your home if that is more convenient for you.
Volunteering with MSM is more than a volunteering opportunity; it is the chance to take part in setting up the first bilingual Cornish-English preschool in Cornwall.

If you want more information about our volunteering opportunities, please call us on 07 563 775 678 or email us at ebost@movayns-;

Read about Cornish here:

The Cornish Language: Facts and Learning Resources

A review of Cornish, its history, and current status. Along with Welsh and Breton, the Cornish language is one of the Brythonic group of Celtic languages. Other Celtic languages include Scottish Gaelic, Irish and Manx which are part of the Goidelic Celtic group of languages. The Cornish language shares approximately 75% or more of its basic vocabulary with Breton and with Welsh. It shares a considerably less degree of vocabulary with Irish and with Scottish Gaelic (approximately 35%).

Cornish Never Died 

The language still exists. It is just that no fluent native speakers of the language from birth exist. The way to revive the language in its spoken form is for native Welsh-speaking volunteers to learn Cornish and teach it to the Cornish in the schools. This will ensure that the pronunciation is brought back and fluency is promoted.


Thursday, 23 September 2010

Quick Trip to San Francisco? Robert Emmet

Robert Emmet

Robert Emmet 1778-1803, Irish nationalist and revolutionary. He studied at Trinity College, Dublin, but left in 1798 because of his nationalist sympathies. In 1800 he went to France, where with exiled United Irishmen he planned a French-aided uprising in Ireland. Returning (1802) to Ireland, he scheduled the uprising for the summer of 1803. The insurrection, which took place in July, 1803, ended in utter confusion. Emmet himself, who had attempted a march on Dublin Castle with about 100 men, fled. However, he returned to Dublin soon after, partly to be near Sarah Curran, daughter of John Philpot Curran. He was captured, tried, and hanged. Leonard MacNally , his attorney, was in the pay of the crown, and many of Emmet's associates were informers for the British government. Emmet became a hero of Irish nationalists, largely on the basis of his stirring speech from the scaffold. 

Please join the
United Irish Societies
Celebrating Ireland's Patriot Son
Robert Emmet
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Golden Gate Park Band Concourse

San Francisco, CA
Speech from the Dock
Parade of Flags, Irish Pipers,
Pearse & Connolly Fife and Drum Band,
Irish Dancers
For more info call Kathleen at 664-0828
  Campaign for a United Ireland

And in more recent times........

Default Diarmuid O’Neill – murdered 14 years ago!!

The young Irishman, O’Neill, was born and raised in West London. Police suspected he was a member of the IRA and six weeks prior to his killing put him under intensive surveillance, which included searching the hotel room that he and two companions were staying in and installing secret video recording equipment. On 23 September 1996 they decided to arrest him.
But far from carrying out his detention, they callously shot him dead in such an appalling manner that Amnesty International and other civil rights groups demanded a judicial public inquiry. At the inquest, coroner John Burton also called for an inquiry but the Home Secretary, Jack Straw, refused, and none has ever been set up.
The young man was shot six times by two officers from Scotland Yard’s tactical firearms group, SO10. O’Neill was semi-clothed, unarmed, and attempting to open the door to the police when he was assassinated. His two companions in the hotel, Brian McHugh and Patrick Kelly shouted, ‘We give up – we are unarmed’ when the police attacked. They recall hearing the police shouting, ‘Shoot the’ as they opened fire on O’Neill, who had his hands raised.
A police officer was seen standing with his foot on O’Neill’s head as he lay dying before being dragged bleeding and mortally wounded down six concrete steps to the street. He was denied immediate medical treatment for 25 minutes although an ambulance was at hand. O’Neill subsequently died in hospital. The raid was a total disaster and had a chilling resonance last year when London police pumped eight bullets into Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes whom they mistook for a suicide bomber at Southwell Tube Station.
In preparation for the capture of Diarmuid O’Neill and his companions, police were shown video footage of the aftermath of the Canary Wharf bombing and told that the men in the hotel room had hand grenades, explosives and weapons, even though the video bugging made clear this was not the case. The police were provided with the most potent form of CS gas, ‘Rip’, which had never been tested properly and they were unaware of the consequences of using the gas. Indeed, not only were O’Neill and his friends affected, all but two of the police raiding party were overcome by fumes seeping into the corridor.
The raid was marked by a litany of errors. The special key the police brought to open the door would not fit so they used an electronic battering ram which, instead of knocking down the door, merely put a hole in it. The officer in charge, overcome by the CS gas, stayed outside with a fit of vomiting. The recording device, installed in the suspects’ room, gave a clear idea of what then happened.
Two policemen ordered Diarmuid O’Neill to open the door, after they made sure Brian McHugh and Patrick Kelly were down on the floor. O’Neill complied, telling the officers several times that he was unarmed. When he managed to prise the door open, he was shot three times in the abdomen and lower spine. He received another three bullets as he was falling. A post-mortem showed a bruise on his scalp that the pathologist said ‘probably resulted from an individual treading on his head’. In the wake of the shooting, one of the officers commented that Diarmuid O’Neill was ‘dead as a rat’.
The British and Irish media reported that during the arrest an exchange of gunfire took place and that explosives had been found. At the inquest two years later, such details were revealed as lies.
After two years of investigation, the Metropolitan Police produced a report, never made available to the public, which exonerated the police officers of any responsibility for the killing. It concluded that the officer who shot O’Neill acted in self-defence, describing him as a ‘capable and good chap’.
Amnesty International sought an impartial inquiry on the basis that an unarmed man had been shot dead while reportedly complying with police orders to surrender. The organisation was also concerned at the use of a very potent CS gas, which made nearly everyone at the scene sick. They also denounced the denial of vital medical aid to a severely injured man and were concerned at the misinformation fed by the authorities to the media. They warned that the shooting of the young man would result in further unlawful killings and that this made the need for an inquiry all the more important. The execution of the innocent Brazilian  shows how right they were.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Cofiwch Dryweryn

Maelgwn Ap CadwallonSeptember 22, 2010 at 4:39pm
Subject: 45th anniversary of the opening of the Tryweryn reservoir,
This October marks the 45th anniversary of the opening of the Tryweryn reservoir, a scheme which saw the destruction of Capel Celyn, a wholly Welsh speaking area.

To mark the occasion, there will be a parade in Bala, followed by a short event at the memorial chapel at the side of Llyn Celyn.

The following group has more details:

and you can also list yourself as attending on the same page.

Please make every effort to attend, and also pass on news of the event to anyone you feel may be interested.

Death of a community

Capel Celyn was a small village in the quiet Tryweryn valley in the hill country between Bala and Ffestiniog in North Wales. In and around it lived about seventy people and the community was steeped in the Welsh tradition. The people earned their merely modest living through farming, and their social life, with its strong cultural stream and chapel base, followed an old and rich pattern. The village was in the Penllyn district, the home of penillion, which is the singing of verses to the accompaniment of the harp, and there were many harps in the village. People met for hour upon hour of singing, poetry, reading and the special verse-arts of the Welsh language. Indeed, Capel Celyn, although an obscure settlement, was a precious and largely unspoiled nugget of Welsh values.
Today, however, the name of the valley, Tryweryn, is, for many people in Wales, a shorthand expression for a whole chapter of emotions, and the word is painted on walls and bridges up and down Wales. So is the slogan Cofia Dryweryn - Remember Tryweryn. For the corporation of Liverpool, with measured arrogance, and without consulting anyone involved, announced that it would have the valley as a reservoir and proceeded to do just that. The harps have vanished, for Capel Celyn no longer exists; farms, school, chapel, store, cottages, are at the bottom of a silent lake.
The episode of Tryweryn was a traumatic one and it is one of the keys to what has been happening in Wales in recent years. From it sprang a great anger and a hardening of resolve; for many men and women it was an awakening, the first indication that the values of Wales were in danger and were meaningless to the authorities in England; it started people thinking and, for a small group of men, it was the last straw that made them channel rage into a cold determination to strike blows for Wales with stolen gelignite and time switches. The bomb attacks on water pipelines and government offices went on for more than four years, but the reverberations of Tryweryn are being felt still. (Fishlock, Wales and the Welsh)


  • (Meic Stevens / Heather Jones)

  • The poppies on the hill are still
    The red rose in its bed lies dead
    And flowers grow no more no more
    In the land below the tall grey hills
    The water is sleeping in Tryweryn
    The water is sleeping in Tryweryn

  • The meadow where we'd played is grey
    The valley and the field won't yield
    And flowers grow no more no more
    In the land below the tall grey hills
    The water is sleeping in Tryweryn
    The water is sleeping in Tryweryn

  • Darkness gathers now
    Leaves fall from the bough
    The people have all gone
    Nothing can live on
    The water is sleeping in Tryweryn
    The water is sleeping in Tryweryn
    The water is sleeping in Tryweryn

  • (as sung by Heather Jones)