Friday, July 27, 2007

Hols !

We all need a break and I'm not a blogging aholic (my family think otherwise)

So off for a week, but I am still surprised and thankful that some 25 or so of you a day call by to take a peep. I just find the blog a little theraputic.....

Not very Liberal ?

It seems the Lib Dems can take Opik's antics but some things go too far.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


Welcome to a new defender as it seems we face the loss of most of last year's defence as the new season approaches. I assume more transfer action to follow as Premiership standard players seek Premiership clubs, and the Baggies sign up people with potential and experienced pros (or Ex Hibs players!).

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Which party should I crash ?

I don't always agree with Huw Lewis - part of the joy of being part of a broad based socialist party - but his closing remarks are interesting

"At the moment our political culture in Wales is comparable to a teenager battling mam and dad for an extended curfew without a party to go to".

I think for the non-nationalist majority this poses some interesting questions that should not be overlooked or belittled.

Reflect and learn

I posted about a language issue in the villlage and see Cymuned protested on the issue. Maes -e is discussing variious tactics of protest and inconvenience.

My advice is for the manager/owner to reflect on their attitude,invite the former waitress and her famil down for some reconciliation. but I do not yet rush to the legislative conclusion that others may propose.

Don't abuse me (!) but this is where my views currently stand, but they are not static.

Miserable old fart

Hen Rech Felin makes an interesting post to highlight concerns over Plaid possibly backing off a referendum now bums have hit ministerial seats.

I don'tt hink the post was bilingual as it does not appear on miserable old fart - not a criticism, just an observation.

Valuable education

I think the opportunities provided by outdoor education centres are invaluable. They should be protected. Yet I also know that within my own working career, which included time at the Snowdonia National Park, there were feelings about too many of these centres in North West Wales.

I think we now see the nonsense of such thinking and can we provide many better understandings of rural life than time spent at such centres ?

See here

Tories love of devolution ?

Perhaps the failure to acheive the Rainbow will affect opposition power in the Assembly. Its at points like this that I have a twinge of sympathy for people like Guto Bebb and Dylan Jones Evans who I think would focus on the Assembly and not other places.

"What a cheek!

Carpet bagging Tory's been an AM for less than three months and already he's looking elsewhere…

LABOUR today slammed a Tory AM for seeking election to Parliament in a totally different constituency than the one he represents in the Assembly. Alun Cairns was elected to the Assembly for the south Wales west region less than three months ago. But today it was announced that he will stand for Parliament in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Labour AM for Swansea East Val Lloyd called for him to give up his Assembly seat. She said he should show more respect to the people of south Wales west who elected him as a Tory representative in May. VAL LLOYD said: "Alun Cairns' move shows a blatant disrespect to the people in the south west of Wales. It is less than three months after the election and he is already looking about for his next opportunity. It's a disgrace. "How can Alun Cairns properly represent the concerns of people in the south west of Wales when he is campaigning for election in a completely different region? "Just like his leader David Cameron, he is cutting and running from his constituency at the first opportunity. "I call on Carpet Bagger Cairns to resign his seat in the Assembly at once so that people in the south west of Wales get the full-time representation they deserve."

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Planners reflections

I wonder how many times I have discussed the merits of flood risk issues, flood risk assessments etc over recent years. That while working for a council in which flood risk has not been as big an issue as other areas. (perhaps a dangerous statement in itself!)

I reflect on this given the events of the last 6 weeks around the UK including the vital messages about the vulnerability of vital infrastucture.

Reflect and learn and lots of issues for Sustainability Minister Jane Davidson while inspecting the mud of Buil;th Wells.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Iraq - the hair restorer link !

It may be that I was till half asleep, and a fuzzy brain didn't tune in to the discussion clearly, but I am sure David Owen (former leader SDP, youngest Foreign Secretary many years ago) started to discuss on Sunday News 24 whether the use of hair restorer by Tony Blair had affected his health and decision making about Iraq. This somehow linked to his new book on a medical condition he described as hubris (the title of the book I think).

If the use of hair restorer is to blame the the world needs to be alerted.

A bizzare start to a Sunday morning.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Summer Festivals !!!!!

Good luck to Sesiwn Fawr in Dolgellau as it seems the weather has lead to the cancellation of the musical part of Wakestock in Pwllheli.

Knowing the importance of tourism to the local economy then the town could well have done without this. It will be interesting to see whether the loss of the music leads to people spending more time in and around the town, or will they simply head home.

However judging by the BBC report it seems public safety must sensibly take precedence.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

A Scrabble name for the new shirt

Should I get this guy's name om my Baggies shirt. Quite a few Scrabble points - but why only refer to a good season (singular), it doesn't feel long term, alhtough long term is 3 years it seems in modern contracts.

IWJ, the business community and Welsh language legislation

With the announcement of new Ministers I foresee another fascinating tension as the Deputy First Minister "listens" to the business sector regarding their views on the need for Welsh language legislation in the private sector, while also managing his own Party's aspirations for more and stronger powers. As Minister for the Economy does he feel Thomas Cook, Stenna, Anglesey Aluminium or small shop keepers in Pwllheli should be forced in to such legisation ?

(for the record I have mixed views and am yet to be convinced- but may be persuadable given the evidence. I do not take the same view of language legislation that for example the Tories took of the minimum wage i.e dire warnings about the end of our economy).

However these are the examples where Plaid will find being in government very different to opposition aspirations. It will be a fascinating process and who can guess what critical motions may appear on Plaid conference agendas if insufficent progress is made. Will slow incremental change be enough ?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Happy birthday

Happy birthday to a genuine hero - role model -political giant. My daily coffee mug at work marks the 80th birthday. How great to see the 89th.

Racing the train

A nice event tonight as three generations of Eaglestones raced the train from Dinas to Caernarfon. Photos may follow. Well done to Eaglestone Senior who finished the 5k/3mile course in the over 70's category.

I suppose another event that I had time for, and which I would have missed had May 3rd gone the other way.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Potter - so what ?

Am I alone in not having read a Harry Potter book ? It seems that people will go to extraordinary lengths to obtain copies or spoil young people's anticipation. I recall some coverage of the fact that Potter may have boosted literacy levels amongst young people - I hope so. The closest I got was to join the kids to see one of the films, the last one I think.

Of coure I couldn't resist buying Campbell's diaries and it will be my main read when the holiday week arrives soon (but not soon enough ..) However it seems Campbell is also falling foul of our technolgy and I wonder how long before we get to on line literature replacing paper, like on line music.

Then again perhaps I already read as much on line (blogs etc) as I do in hard back version.

Monday, July 16, 2007

No Welsh here ?

News of the latest we "don't speak Welsh here" workplace controversy is sweeping my home village of Y Felinheli. We`await to see what evolves - but if true, and I have no reason to think it should not be, why do people do these stupid things ???

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Bums on seats - now the rethink ?

Well Plaid's bums are almost on the seats, and who exactly it will be will be unveiled in the coming period. However the fact that Red-Green have found common ground already sees Lord DET playing for a longer game. His comments to the BBC seem to reflect concerns amongst some nationalists that a long march to freedom might be diverted by the attractions and comforts of power.

Indeed his comments seem to strike much common ground with observations from Peter Hain that ruling coalitions should not call referendums that they could well loose.

Anyone for a referendum by 2015 ?

Is the piggy bank ready ??

Excitement mounts as polls are studied !

I hope we didn't spend all our money during the Assembly campaign and how will our campaigns shape up post Red-Green deal ????

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Evaluating life

This afternoon I witnessed the Veterans Day Parade in Caernarfon and, as always, sharing time in such company makes one evaluate one's own good fortune and reflect on the experiences of others.

I was also struck by Rhodri Morgan's words in the Western Mail, which give the impression of someone re evaluating life and priorities. How deeply, and how far, we wait to see but perspectives on politics have changed I suspect.

The same but different

The "row" over the BBC and the Queen had some echoes for me of elements of the Campbell diairies and the more serious spat with the BBC. The BBC mixes fact and fiction but the outcome is disputed.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Expert takes up the reins...

Who ?

Apparently he is now our shadow secretary of state. Well done DC we look forward to more inspired appointments to motivate the Welsh Tories.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Don't be mean - it is a significant political event

Rumblings continue amongst some Labour people but I think the significance of today's event should not belittled. As is stated here and here Plaid Cymru have taken a significant step and entered government.

I think this has its own consequences to which Plaid will need time to adjust. Now tied to an agreement about a programme of government, and required to defend the hard politics of priorities, and no doubt facing many examples of having their own words quoted back to them in debates.

It will mean they can't go the local papers complaining every week and "good" news is a matter for the coalition - not just Plaid.

What will Gwynedd Council tell the Herald each week - I detect that there will be a different tone in their comments on the Assembly !

(or will tensions between Gwynedd and Ieuan bubble up ???)

Monday, July 09, 2007

Comparing notes on dramatic day

It was nice to catch up with Sue Essex tonight who was looking a little refreshed given that she stepped down in May. Clearly concerned about the news on Rhodri with whom she goes back a long way in Cardiff and Welsh politics. Our best wishes to Rhodri.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Top tip from Peter Black

Political co-operation survives the Red-Green deal and Peter Black's advice has worked - I simply had to hover slightly above the title bar.- so simple really.

Oh well back to saving the earth. It seems several bands who were saving the planet yesterday are burning up the electric at T in the Park today.
(while is the title bar locking me out ?)

Yesterday we could all save the world by singing along to the Red Hot Chillis.

Today lots of people gathered to watch some men burn lots of petrol racing fast cars around a track.

Strange world sometimes.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

All parties have problems as they select candidates for local elections. We all have members who feel they deserve better, and sometimes then stand as independents if they feel bigger than the party. It seems that our new friends in Plaid have one such row brewing in Caernarfon where a stalwart member feels the party have "shit on his head" (if my translation is even roughly correct).

I hope Moi is on board with the Red-Green deal or these little acorns can sometimes grow big trees.

Y Felinheli celebrates - not Red-Green - but carnival day. After a wet week the sun is smiling and all is looking good

Friday, July 06, 2007

I just wish this quote was mine :

Mr Morgan insisted that the contentious question of a referendum would be enacted in ‘good faith’, while ‘testing the waters of Welsh opinion’.

Over to you

Tom Bodden posts like this on the Red-Green vote. Now it's Plaid's turn.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Labour- a reflection of Wales ?

As Friday's vote approaches then in both mainstream, and blogging world, the stresses of the potential Red-Green vote are showing all round. Some see fundamental rifts in the debate while others reflect the tension in the nationalist camp.

I have always felt that as Labour is a broad church, not formed for nationalist purposes, then it is no surprise that we find the current vote difficult. I am not a delegate at the special conference but shared my view with colleagues by e-mail as follows :

"I write as an individual member, who happens to have been a candidate. I see there are a number of e-mails flying around as we consider our judgement on the efforts to create a stable government for Wales. For anyone who is interested I set out below my own thoughts.

I have not met anyone yet who feels we should let the Tories back in to power, and that is the principal driving force for my opinions. At the moment the Lib Dems seem to have gone missing and it is ironic that the one party which promotes PR, and claims progressive views, has acted so strangely after May 3rd.

So I do feel Red-Green is a viable option, and we must now back Rhodri Morgan and support the vote on July 6th. As someone who largely entered democratic politics to contest this patch (Caernaron/Arfon) against Plaid Cymru I feel we must have confidence in our own role as the major partner, and trust the people of Wales to amend their constitutional status at a pace they will choose - not when the political class try and impose a timetable.

Party politics is at its most challenging when we face hard decisions and at this moment I beleive Rhodri deserves our support.

Best wishes to you all
Martin Eaglestone"

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Gwyl Y Felin - blogging intermitent

The joys of living in Y Felinheli include ready access to the joys of Gwyl Y Felinheli and, I must admit blogging is a little intermitent given the chance to enjoy the great range of entertainment we are offered.

I even missed the North Wales cluster meeting about Red-Green to take part in the Faenol 10k (completed with some effort!).

If you are anywhere near Y Felinheli come and join us. The commitee deserve our support as the weather has not been kind.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

BBC's take on Brown and New Statesman

The BBC gave a view on Brown's first statement that take sseveral angles.

Meanwhile David Murquand ran some interesting (if not wholy accurate) lines in the New Statesman (page 34) including :

"Devolution has fostered a remarkable and fundamentally healthy growth in the self confidence and sense of nationhood of the Scots and Welsh. Scotland and Wales are now distinct political communities, with real capital cities and real parliamentary assemblies, in a sense that has not been true for 300 years and has never ben true of Wales.

The revival of England's sense of nationhood is a natural respinse to these transformations. Though the metropolitan liberal intellientsia has never been comfortable with the idea, the English are a people, too. If the people of Scotland,Wales and Northern Ireland are entitled to autonomy over a wide rnage of policy areas, how ca it be right to deny it to the English?"

Therein also lies any potential danger to the Barnett review that was a formula based in a single Parliamentary context.

Monday, July 02, 2007

In the City

So there we were in the City of Liverpool enjoying a wedding celebration when, just prior to midnight, the disco came to a sudden halt, the alarms are ringing and we are all asked to leave via a side door. Blue lights, tape etc etc. Party over- back to house in taxi. Half an hour later the bride (in her splendid dress) and groom, best man and various other people arrive at the house as the hotel area remains closed. The news says someone was arrested 100 yards away.

One little story from the weekend's events.

But the party and wedding were splendid. Perhaps it was the threat of me singing in the kariokee that closed it down !

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Crossroads for nationalism ?

In reading around maes-e, blogs and other places there is a clear head of steam amongst some for smacking down Adam Price, and stopping the Red-Green option. Some push it as far as floating the possibility of new nationalist party.

There is an inevitable post devolution tension, Plaid are not alone in feeling it, but they perhaps have some of the most acute tensions to resolve.

We await another week's political drama but I suspect the strong potential for Red-Green by the end of the week has unleashed a force for longer term division in nationalism (I wait to see what happens with Labour).