Saturday, March 29, 2008

Paul Murphy - More Labour hypocrisy over Post Office closures

Welsh Secretary, Paul Murphy, has again been criticised for being part of a Government which is closing Post Offices – while campaigning to save branches in his own constituency. Here is Ian Parri's (Daily Post writer) take on it...

Talking of post offices, it didn't suprise me to see hypocritical MPs who've been been campaigning to save brances in their own constituencies trooping sheepishly into the government lobbies to give the wholesale closure plans their seal of approval.

Welsh Secretary Paul Murphy, who was sufficiently perturbed by this week's stem cells row to threaten his resignation, was among them.

He's actually been along to Pontnewynydd post office in his Torfaen consistuency to lend his support to postmaster Chirav Dalal's attempts to keep the service open.

Mr Murphy urged locals to write to the Post Office to express their views. I assume he understood it was highly unlikely anybody would be doing so to support the branch's closure.

Mr Murphy said: "I understand how important it is for the Post Office to survive as a business. However, when they propose to close local post offices, they really have to take into account important local issues."
See also: 'Nimby' Murphy under fire in PO row

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Labour hypocrisy over Post Office closures!

With thanks to the Daily Post, here's a full list of the Labour MPs in North Wales who approved the Government's wholesale Post Office closure plans - despite some of them publicly declaring their opposition and simultaneously campaigning to keep them open in their own consistencies. Welsh Secretary, Paul Murphy, was among them.

A reader of the Daily Post (Mar 25, 2008, see below) summed it very well: "These Labours MPs have obviously been threatened with a slap on the wrists if they defied the party whip - none of them had the guts to stand up for their communities. I hope people will remember this at election time."

Martyn Jones
(above) - Labour, Clwyd South. Approved Post Office closure plans. Publicly stated he opposed the closures.

Albert Owen
(above) - Labour, Ynys Môn. Abstained from voting(!). Publicly stated he opposed the closures.

Betty Williams
(above) - Labour, Conwy. Approved Post Office closure plans.

Chris Ruane
(above) - Labour, Vale of Clwyd. Approved Post Office closure plans.

David Hanson
(above) - Labour, Vale of Clwyd. Approved Post Office closure plans.

All the other MPs in North Wales voted against the closure plans. These were:

Elfyn Llwyd, Plaid Cymru Meirionnydd Nant Conwy
Hywel Williams, Plaid Cymru, Caernarfon
David Jones, Conservative Clwyd West
Mark Williams, Lib Dem Ceredigion

Letters from the Daily Post

Double Standards on PO closures

I refer to the recent article entitled "Cash Threat to Ex-Postmasters". (Daily Post, March 18). Included within the article were pictures of two North Wales Labour MPs who have publicly stated that they are opposed to the Government's Post Office closure programme, namely Martyn Jones for Clwyd South and Albert Owen for Ynys Môn.

The following day a motion to suspend the closure programme was put before the House of Commons.

If successful, the motion would have provided much needed time to examine further options of sustaining our vital post office network.

Sadly the motion was defeated. And which way did our two so-called Labour champions vote? Martyn Jones voted with the Government to support the closure programme whilst Albert Owen sat on the fence and abstained!

How on earth can we expect the public to trust politicians when we witness such blatant double standards?

Dylan Rees, Plaid Cymru, Parliamentary Candidate, Ynys Môn

Vital Service

How disgraceful that North Wales Labour MPs refused to support a motion calling for a halt to proposed Post Office closures in North Wales.

Despite petitions, campaigns, and public outcry the voice of the people has once again been ignored. So much for Labour being the party of the people!

This government can find billions of pounds of public money for illegal foreign wars and to bail out private companies like Northern Rock, yet cannot properly fund these vital community services which form an essential part of rural life in Wales, together with local schools and libraries.

This government has raised taxes (and their own pay!) more than any other government and should be helping local communities and the needs of our pensioners before wasting our money on illegal wars thousands of miles away.

These Labours MPs have obviously been threatened with a slap on the wrists if they defied the party whip - none of them had the guts to stand up for their communities.

I hope people will remember this at election time.

G Shepherd, Llanfairfechan

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Monday, July 09, 2007

Anti-Welsh Claptrap

As I mentioned in a previous post, there's a lot of English-only speakers in Wales who are happy to support the Welsh language. Here's an excellent letter from David Rodway in Cardiff which perfectly demonstrates this (Daily Post, July 9).

An an English-speaking Welshman visiting beautiful North Wales during the fall-out from the Thomas Cook Welsh ban, I am amazed to see how much sheer, nasty anti-Welsh claptrap is still bandied about.

Various people have written in to tell us how they see nothing wrong with a language being banned, or accusing protesters of being "paranoid", "extreme", etc.

This whole affair has had the merit of showing us just how far some are prepared to go in their attempt to smear and eradicate a language.

Welsh is an historic language of Wales, despite all that has been done to destroy it, and the majority language of Gwynedd.

It deserves respect and equal status.

It is, to me, far more "bigoted" or "racist" to refuse to learn your neighbour's language, than for your neighbour to ask you to do so.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Welsh-flag spotting outside Wales

I don't know about you but whenever I'm outside Wales I seem to have an in-built and somewhat distracting tendency to go Welsh flag spotting. (Come to think of it, it happens when I'm in Wales too... I really ought to have better things to do with my time.) It always seems to surprise me that other countries fly the Welsh flag. It shouldn't, of course, because Wales has many present and historic connections with countries as far apart as Australia, Argentina, India, the US, Canada, etc.

But it was still a delight to find so many Welsh flags adorning the beautiful city of Dublin during a recent day visit. I must have easily spotted about 7 or 8 within a few hours. In a strange way it makes you feel welcome.

Interestingly - and this may be a figment of my imagination - I didn't spot any St. George flags and very few St. Andrew flags. Something else I noticed - there seemed to be a disproportionate amount of buildings displaying the Irish, Italian and Welsh flags all together, such as the one below. Anyone know why this is?

PS. If you're a Welsh flag spotter yourself, you may be interested in my new blog:

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Friday, June 15, 2007

English-only speakers who support Welsh

English-only or part-Welsh speakers in Wales who support the Welsh language - and there are many of them - and who also support the idea of strengthening the Welsh economy should take a look at this fantastic and bold idea on If enough people in Wales got behind this idea then companies like Thomas Cook would need to seriously and quickly wake-up to the fact that Welsh is very important to the people of Wales, even to English-only and part-Welsh speakers.

We hear a lot these days about buying 'ethically', buying 'locally', buying 'green', etc. And quite right too. But here's another one:
buy from companies who support the Welsh language and ditch those who refuse to use it!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Why I will vote for Plaid

At the risk of stating-the-bloody-obvious I'm going to announce where my support with be going in next week's Assembly elections - Plaid Cymru, of course. Why? Not because I think Plaid are perfect and the answer to all of Wales's many problems. Indeed, no government can really solve or eradicate problems such as poverty, crime, and unemployment, despite their promises. (Interestingly though, they can create them).

No, the reason I will vote for Plaid is because they are the only party who are fighting only and solely for the interests of Wales - its people, its language, its ecomony. That's all I am interested in, and so are Plaid.

A vote for the British Nationalist parties is a vote to keep Wales in it's place - a poor loser in the so-called United Kingdom.

Monday, April 16, 2007

North Wales's chief constable: We should ALL be learning Welsh

North Wales’s chief constable Richard Brunstrom addressed a campaign group’s conference and called on everyone living in Wales or moving here to learn Welsh.

In a speech which won him a standing ovation, the controversial chief made no apologies for sticking his neck out at Cymuned’s annual conference in Penrhyndeudraeth.

Speaking confidently in Welsh, which he’s learned as a second language, Mr Brunstrom said how much the language had enabled him to learn about Wales, its people, culture and history.

Referring to himself as a “converted immigrant” Mr Brunstrom said it should be “acceptable” for everybody to learn Welsh and for Wales to become a confident and bilingual country.

Since moving to live in Wales, Mr Brunstrom said he understood Welsh people’s fears for the language’s future.

He urged politicians to update the present Welsh Language Act and for the Assembly to bring about measures to safeguard and promote Welsh.

He said the Government of Wales Act 2006 gave Welsh people the powers to carry out more than just creating a strategy to ensure the language’s survival.

Mr Brunstrom suggested that the newly-empowered Assembly should pass measures to promote and safeguard the language allowing speakers full powers to use it with public and private organisations.

He said: “I believe I have a legal duty as a senior public servant to promote the use of Welsh.”

He also called for Welsh to become a more “normalised” language used both in everyday life and business in Wales.

“Wales is a country of its own and doesn’t correspond to a region of England. The huge majority of English people including politicians can’t accept this.”

He referred to “imperialist” attitudes of his fellow countrymen who “place Wales on some far horizon.”

His speech, included references to the Welsh Not, the drowning of Tryweryn, and his admiration of poet T H Parry-Williams’ poem Hon about Wales which he found “thrillingly relevant” as well as the long struggle by Welsh communities to survive, got a standing ovation and endeared him to the 50 delegates present.

Labour MP for Alyn and Deeside Mark Tami had previously suggested it was “inappropriate” for Mr Brunstrom to have attended Cymuned’s conference while he said it was important for him to “interact” with all sections of the community in North Wales.

Afterwards, Mr Brunstrom made no apologies for making recommendations and suggestions to elected politicians about policies which would lead to “more cohesion and less tension within communities.”

Also speaking at the conference was director of the Race Equality Council Chris Myant.

Cymuned chief Aran Jones, himself a Welsh-learner, urged politicians to hold talks at the Assembly on the need for a housing market where houses are only built if there is a local need.

Source: Daily Post, April 16, 2007

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Exposing a simple myth

Something in the Daily Post of great national importance caught my eye yesterday which I feel compelled to tell you about.

Was it Mark Currie's article about Craig Bellamy's generous
donation to Wrexham FC? No, although I read it with much interest. Was it Tom Bodden's article about the introduction of free prescriptions in Wales? No, although I found that interesting too. So was it the story about the arrival of a rare Welsh Mountain goat at Colwyn Bay's zoo? No, although, again, I found that quite interesting.

No, it was none of these - it was something of much greater significance.

Secreted away in the Weekend Post supplement was a simple but little-known fact which exposes a centuries-held myth that continues to corrupt the minds of countless millions of unwitting victims. The fact was this, that:

Snowdon ISN'T the highest mountain in England and Wales: it is, in fact, the highest mountain in Wales and higher than any mountain in England.

Yep, really. It's true. You see, there are no mountains in England and Wales. In fact, there's no such thing as "England and Wales" at all! It doesn't exist! I keep checking the map and I just cannot find a country called "England and Wales" anywhere. The only thing I can find is a place called "England" and another place called "Wales".

So the next time you hear someone describe Snowdon as "the highest mountain in England and Wales" you'll be able to point out the obvious fact that Snowdon is actually located in Wales, not in "England and Wales".

Well done John Tanner for correctly describing the location of Snowdon!

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