Archive for January, 2010

A nation of sycophants

‘Oh, he’s a character.’ How many times have we heard this? In an individual it’s relatively easy to describe the character been discussed.

He’s a warm and open or a cold boring person. He’s shy, or an introverted or an extraverted person.

We’ve all got our own personality for good or ill. And its to this unique personality that others react. If this is true about an individual, what about nations?

According to Rhodri Morgan’s evidence to the Welsh Affairs Select Committee, Wales’s attempts to create its own policies is treated quite differently to that of Scotland.

In this context, according to our former First Minister, Scotland is treated not as a foreign country but certainly as a different country. The problem with Wales is, that it is not viewed as a country at all, its viewed as the last colony of the Empire.

There was a little of the ‘psychology’ of the Empire in Sir Jon Shortridge’s, former head of Wales’s civil servant, evidence to the same committee.

He alleged that Ministers in London kept their counterparts in Wales in the dark when launching an important policy ‘they weren’t trusted with sensitive information.’

Why is Wales treated so differently to Scotland? What aspect of our national characteristic leads others to ignore and undervalue us?

Perhaps, there is a clue in something else Rhodri Morgan said to the committee. Whilst he was a civil servant it was made clear to him that if you were ambitious and wanted promotion, the best and most effective way for a Welsh civil servant to succeed was to agree with Whitehall.

But no so in Scotland. There, the best way to be promoted was to oppose England. Interesting.

In a nutshell, if you stood up for yourself you were respected.But ‘yes’ men, were held in low esteem.

Politically is that not were Wales has been for sometime now? Not insisting on our rights as a small nation, but just making do with the constitutional crumbs offered by New Labour’s devolution project.

In all honesty, would Wales have had the small measure of devolution it has if Scotland had not insisted on its settlement.

There is plenty of evidence that Wales is settlement is simply a fig leaf to cover the major changes occurring elsewhere on these islands. Something in the shadow of what was happening in Scotland.

According to the former Secretary of State for Wales, Ron Davies, originally Tony Blair did not think a referendum was necessary for Wales. Why? Because he thought the proposals for Wales were more administrative change than a major constitutional one.

No, as a nation we need to change ourselves if we are to win the respect of others. We had better seek the psychiatrist’s couch and change our national characteristict.

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Bangor fail away to Llanelli.

Bangor City’s winning ways came to an abrupt halt at Llanelli. They squandered a half time lead of two goals to one to lose by giving away two goals in the second half. Final score Llanelli 3 Bangor City 2. Llanelli are second in the league with a game in hand on leaders TNS. Despite their defeat the Blues remain in eighth position.

They most return to their winning ways if they are to be certain of staying in the premier division.

Scorers: Llanelli Venables (48 Min) Griffiths (69, 90)

Bangor Smyth (13) Sharp (27 Pen)

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GOLWG COLUMN: The enemy within

According to Benjamin Disraeli there was no act of treachery or meanness of which a political party is not capable; for in politics there is no honour.

If that was true in the nineteenth century, Gordon Brown is likely to agree that its true today after his recent experience.

Although there has been a feeling for some time within the parliamentary Labour party that Gordon Brown did not set the pulse of the electorate. Despite this, most had come to the conclusion that now was not the time to get rid of him. Certainly not within months of a general election. And especially when there was some evidence that he was beginning to make a little inroad into Cameron’s lead in the opinion polls.

Then suddenly out of the blue comes Geoff Hoon and Patricia Hewitt calling for a secret ballot on Gordon Brown’s leadership. Their attempt failed. Why? To succeed a number of elements have to in place.

What elements? Firstly, one would need to have more support than Tony Blair’s former supporters.

The Labour Party is a broad church and to succeed you need to have the support of the left wing as well as the right wing supporters of new Labour.

As the trade union movement is to a large extent the parties pay master, it was foolish to try to orchestrate a coup without the backing of one or two union bosses.

But their biggest mistake was to try to change the leader without an alternative leader in the wings. They needed a name. One of the cabinet. In the final analysis no one was willing or had the backbone to put their name in the hat.

Much to Gordon Brown’s relief, the plotters were seen as weak, and their dubious venture failed. The Labour party in all its history has never ever got rid of a leader and clearly it is not look likely it is going to change the tradition in the near future.

But the unsuccessful attempt has wounded our Prime Minister and made him look weak and damaged, yet again.

Before this their was a shimmer of hope for Labour. Cameron was looking shaky when accused of having a black hole in the cost of his policy proposals. And in the first Prime Ministers question time of the new year he was bested by Brown. All now to know avail thanks to the intervention of Hoon and Hewitt.

At the very time that Brown and his party should be united to fight the election, their shown to be like cats fighting in a sack.

And consequently Mr Cameron gains a further advantage.

The old adage is certainly true that your opponents are in the other parties. The enemy is within your own.

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