Sunday, 24 June 2018

In Which, Thanks Partly To Mr Ed (Sheeran), I Watch Three World Cup Matches In Peace

Hello there. Hope you're feeling well today.

So this was the last day where you could watch three matches in that period in this World Cup. Only been able to do that one other day during this entire term. Something always stopped me otherwise. Whether it was work or even picking up my daughter from school.

Today (Sunday) was different for two reasons. One I could watch the games and two I could watch the games in relative quiet given that daughter was doing her thing and so was the wife having gone with "the girls" to watch Mr Ed (Sheeran) do his stuff in his Cardiff concert in the (shouldn't be this name) Principality stadium.

A quick aside. I'm of an age where I know who Mr Ed is but I couldn't tell you any of his songs if you paid me. What I didn't realise was that it was probably a male thing. But no matter. I am a caring and compassionate husband so there were no arguments from me....given I could watch three World Cup matches in peace.

The first, of course was England Panama which as the whole of the English media will tell you was a 6-1 victory for England. It was a very weird England game where given the first half was 5-0 you felt comfortable at the break or in the second half where with thirty minutes to go Harry Kane and Jesse Lindgard (whose goal was stunning) were substituted and you thought "Oh Ok then".

Of course Belgium is the real test. And you know full well that the Sieg Heil sections of the media will turn it into a "Brussels vs Brexit" thing which of course is the way the country is being informed now. Domestically (and I mean as in the wife) the crunch game will follow that one. England/Belgium having already qualified from their group the only issue being in what order. The teams they would face from Group H were unclear and still unclear after the next game Japan Senegal.

The Senegalese scored first. A team Phil Neville described as organised unlike other African teams (I wonder whether as England Women's manager he reminisces out loud about Benny Hill). The Japanese equalised. I wish I could discuss their goal but, well.....I fell asleep.

I'm of an age now....don't judge me.

Still I saw the full second half where both sides scored a goal a piece. 2-2 then. Entertaining game....the bits I saw anyway.

As the final match. Poland Columbia which really only got moving when Columbia scored late in the first half. Two more emphatic goals followed. The only certain thing in the group was that Poland were out. Columbia played some bright football. Though not as bright as the pink and white shirt summariser Ian Wright was wearing. If Putin instigated a fashion police squad Wright would have been locked up for wearing it. The good news was that it was the shirt that caused the problems on screen and not the TV on the blink.

Senegal then could qualify from Group H. The wife, a Cardiff girl, has Senegal on her workplace sweepstake. Senegal could face England in the start of the knockout rounds.

And the Domestics will begin.

Anyway thankyou Mr Ed. And if you want to visit Cardiff again please make it for June time for the Euros.

Until the next time.

Where Wales Is Forgotten Next Instalment : This Time Scotland

Hello there. Hope you're feeling well today.

Odd things running a blog. I actually had some posts in mind today. Like how I can actually watch three World Cup matches in peace because wife is off with other girlfriends to see Ed Sheeran in concert in Cardiff (Thankyou Mr Ed).  Or how I intend like my stopping of fast food to gradually reduce my consumption of my true drug crisps thus hopefully finally dealing with my wide waistline once and for all.

And yes I'll be writing about both of them eventually (I know you can't wait). But this morning as it occasionally does Twitter derails me. One of my followers included an article by Fidelma Cook from the Scottish Herald Newspaper which was entitled "Brexit Will Mean England Will Stand Alone. Ireland Will Be United and Scotland will be a nation again"

(The link is here:

Let me be clear here. The article is worth reading. It's vision of the future you really cannot argue with the way things seem to be going. But in it's vision of how the United Kingdom will pan out post Brexit there is one part that's absent....Wales.

Now I don't think this is deliberate on Ms Cook's part. If I'm right I reckon she subconsciously put Wales within England in a post-Brexit scenario. And why not? Wales as a whole voted for Brexit, the Welsh Labour devolved administration meekly surrendered some of it's powers for seven years (and let's remind ourselves here that they meekly surrendered to the weakest of Conservative administrations) and the UK government seem to wish Wales to be part of a Greater England.

Still, as I've written in the past, I believe that Irish reunification and/or Scottish independence can be catalysts to lead Wales to independence as well (though obviously on a longer timescale). And indeed if Brexit is not the Land of milk and honey it's proponents would have us believe then more people in Wales will ask what are the benefits of staying within the Union with England?

But the warning for those of us who believe in Welsh independence is clear. Following England could mean a gradual withering of the collective memory of Wales other than sport (and even then I would refer you to my post on cricket). Wales will consequently be forgotten as an entity by those around it.

Consciously or not. this article might be a shape of things to come.

Until the next time.

Friday, 22 June 2018

The Brexit Cliff Edge Is Fast Approaching For Wales...And Welsh Labour Need To Take Their Share Of The Blame

Hello there. Hope you're feeling well today.

Today has brought the news that Airbus has threatened pulling out of the UK, and essentially Wales should Brexit turn out to be the hardman option it's fanatics support. Consequently causing thousands of redundancies. Mainly in it's factory in Broughton North Wales.

Trust me when Wales makes the UK headline news it's rarely for anything pleasant. We have the all too common sight now of a Labour politico standing outside the factory bemoaning the actions of the Conservative govt. Ditto tweets sent by Welsh Labour officials blaming the Conservatives/Brexiteers for this situation.

Now of course if Brexit turns out to be as disastrous as those of us who voted Remain feared or (as I suspect) it won't be as bad as feared but worse than before then the Conservative government/Brexiteers are the first in the queue with regard to blame. However in terms of Wales Welsh Labour cannot wash it's hands from position the country finds itself in.

Wales voted for Brexit as I've chatted about before. But I believe people didn't vote to throw themselves off a cliff. That Labour MP I spoke about? He voted against the UK going into the single market earlier in the week. Following the edict of his colonial master Corbyn. Bet he's not going to remind people of that now is he? Blame the Tories, Blame the Brexiteers but don't blame me as I go back into my relatively secure job.

And the Welsh Labour government in the Assembly has been noticeably quiet unless goaded into action by such headlines. What has the Welsh government done since Brexit apart from meekly allow powers that should go straight to Cardiff from Brussels to stay in Westminster for seven years/ Nothing really. Do you see them battle in the way the SNP are doing for Scotland?  You do that comparison and you realise how pathetic they truly are.

Carwyn Jones was described to me on Twitter today as "demob happy". Thing is his "legacy" will partly depend the result of the Carl Sargeant enquiry but also on the state of Wales when he leaves. He knows that should Wales become an industrial wasteland part of the attack will stick with him and Welsh Labour. No amount of blame shifting could hide this.

So as the cliff edge approaches Welsh Labour have left control with a driver blindfolded from the consequences of the route taken. They will not be thanked for the consequences.

Until the next time.

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Why Plaid Cymru Should Go On The Attack To Defend Jobs In Wales

Hello there. Hope you're feeling well today.

What does Tesco, Virgin Media and now Barclays Bank have in common? All three have made or are to make major job losses within Wales. 180 jobs are to be gone from their Mortgage centre in Llanishen in Cardiff. So instead of mortgages being dealt with in Wales they will be dealt with in Leeds and Liverpool instead.

Now Barclays have said that their aim is to redeploy the people affected to other parts of the bank. What Plaid Cymru should do is monitor this and keep them to their word. Because when these situations have occurred recently there seems to be a tenplate as to what occurs.

1) [Insert company here] decides Wales is an easy touch and makes redundancies.

2) [Insert Labour Politician] complains about the decision outside the firm involved. Then proceeds to do hardly anything and returns to their relatively secure job unlike the people involved.

3) Redundancies occur.

What Plaid should do is protest from day one. As I suggested with regard to Virgin Media in a previous post (and it's not too late yet) Plaid should actively campaign for people to cancel their contracts once expired and new customers not to choose them for their custom. In the case of Barclays Plaid should encourage people living in Wales to avoid them when picking mortgages if redundancies do occur.

What Plaid will gain from such direct action is that the people living in Wales will know that they,and not Welsh Labour are on their side. People may be apathetic to politics but they are not apathetic to job losses. They will see the Party of Wales battling for Wales It will show companies that Wales is not a soft touch. It will also make companies think again about inflicting Wales with job losses disproportionately (It's always the bottom line folks).

Campaigning for Wales Fighting for Wales like this will galvanise the party and I would hope the people living here.

Until the next time.

On Books: Including Letting Off Steam And Indulging In Archery

Hello there. Hope you're feeling well today.

I haven't it must be said been reading much in the past few weeks. Life, Work the Universe and of course the World Cup have conspired to hamper me. Well that's my excuse anyway.

But I've read a couple of books recently so it's time to chat about them. This was the first from the library.

Watt's Perfect Engine - Ben Marsden

What did I know of James Watt? Well that he saw steam coming out of a kettle and thought "aha! A steam engine!" Well obviously more to it than that and that's what Mr Marsden's book explains. There are two sides to this book. One is the business side and the various types of steam engines. The business side is the interesting side of this book. It made me realise that the steam power was the IT technology of it's day.

The scientific stuff bored me. But, then again, that could be my ignorance.

The other book was this.

Ross MacDonald - The Moving Target
When I was much younger in the nineteen seventies and eighties the Lew Archer private eye books had developed a reputation as being the sort of private eye stories for those who wanted to be different from the likes of Chandler or Hammett but not too different. What I vaguely remember are critics from the time praising the style of the writing.

I also remember that Paul Newman starred in a film of one of his books (which I haven't seen). So it added to the sort of super cool aura of the series.

I bought this book in 1983 (first published in 1949) and only now have gone round to reading it. So let me start with the style. At no stage did I read it and thought "well the style is different". Which doesn't really matter.

What matters is the plot. Something I would argue is fundamental in a crime novel. Where this book disappointed was the simple fact that I had worked out what the big reveal was many chapters beforehand. Practically waving to me as the book drew to a close.

It was not an awful book. Far from it. It was however not special either. But given the reputation it had before I started reading I've got to say that it's probably the most disappointing book I've read this year.

Until the next time.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

The Latest Bridgend Town Wandering

Hello there. Hope you're feeling well today.

Well yesterday I was able to spend sometime in Bridgend Town. Which regular readers will know I like to visit from time to time even though I don't live there anymore (though I still work in the area).

Let's start with some well, not bad news. As far as I could see it there were no new shop closures (leaving aside the indoor market, which I'll chat about in a moment) though I couldn't see any new shops either. That survey of course being as unscientific as can be.

There are four regular spots I use to chat about Bridgend Town. Beginning with the McDonald's. That's the shop that was closed down in 2000. Left to rot for seventeen years. Demolished last December and seemingly nothing happening since well....

(Note the Apathy graffiti. I'll come back to that later).

The Nolton Street Arcade. Where aside from the two shops that lead onto the street every other retail outlet is empty. Well I'm afraid no change there.

The Bridgend Indoor Market: Well I'm not going to talk about that today as there has been a proposed plan to deal with it as explained by the blog which deals specifically with Bridgend Council issues Oggy Bloggy Ogwr (specific post and therefore more detailed than I could explain. Also I'm not the type of person who piggybacks on the work of another blogger. So I won't comment on it until September when I plan to visit again to see whether the plan has made any difference.

Mind you I do need to mention that the Christmas decorations I chatted about last week are still up there.

And finally for all you Phones4U fans out there.

Your mobile nostalgia is still there
Recently Bridgend Town was in the UK news because of a picture of young men allegedly high on the drug Spice in broad daylight. This was where they allegedly "did the deed"

The most famous benches in Bridgend

Now what I'm going to say is pure speculation. Let me stress that. But the building behind these benches is the local job centre. I wondered whether there's a link here. Whether they just allegedly felt that drugs was the only thing they had left. Or perhaps I'm just a bleeding heart Nationalist?

Another Apathy Graffiti
Whatever the reason yesterday the police were nearby in case there was a repeat.

On Duty

So unless anything unexpected occurs I'll be back in September.

Until the next time.

Monday, 18 June 2018

The Principality Building Society: Time For A Name Change?

Hello there. Hope you're feeling well today.

Sometimes in this blog a topic comes up completely at random. So random in fact that  it occurs to me a few minutes before I go to bed! That's what happened to me yesterday.

I'd watched Brazil draw 1-1 with Switzerland in the World Cup. Aside from their goal Brazil was just ordinary and their supposed star player Neymar though fouled constantly throughout the game reacted as if being attacked by an army of Ninjas.

When the match finished I just so happened to glance at Twitter and noticed a complaint that there were some people in Wales that still described it as a Principality, or like Welsh culture minister Dafydd Ellis-Thomas advocate Wales be described like this to the outside world to attract tourism.

So, to be clear, Wales  has not been a Principality (ie ruled by a Prince) since the Sixteenth century. And yet the word sticks to the nation like a leech.

This led my brain (Yes that's how my brain works) to the Principality Building Society.

The Principality Building Society, founded in 1860 is the largest Welsh building society and the eighth largest in the the UK. It's also a very dull institution,and long may that continue. It has the air of old fashioned reliability that used to be the trademark of British financial institutions. A rule of thumb is that the sexier the  financial organisation the more  cautious you should approach it. So let me say it now.

I have a savings account there, as does my daughter. Long before I had any idea of the connotations of the word. So let me suggest it here.

The Principality Building Society should change it's name.

The society currently has the naming rights to the Millennium Stadium where Wales plays it's rugby internationals. It is therefore a showcase to the world for Wales. So what's the name of the stadium? The Principality stadium. A nation playing on the stadium that suggests it was mainly the plaything of the heir to the British monarchy. Not even you would note worth the attention of the monarch.

It would not be a quick and cheap process. It would of course need the approval of it's members (it's a mutual society) But you know what sometimes principles should come first for the Principality rather than cost

And the other issue would be the new name. Obviously it couldn't be the Prince Of Wales Building Society (defeating the whole object of a name change). So perhaps I could suggest something out of the box....or perhaps well and truly in it....

....Wales Building Society. Says everything you need to know.

Until the next time.