Wednesday, 31 August 2011

When the Rebeccas destroyed the Bolgoed ...

... toll-gate on the outskirts of Pontarddulais, 6 July 1843, I wonder if they realised their descendants would become the toll-gate builders of the 21st century.

Not built of stone and lime mortar with the perspiration of the mason as was the 17th century toll-gate, but paper and ink and a certain prejudice against anything East of the River Loughor where Pontardulais is located, by those with a certain agenda to keep out the steady march of time.

And this new toll-booth is the "Action Plan" published by members of the Assembly Government who consider a particular Identity to be preferable to prosperity, the identity of Welshness as demonstrated though the use of the Welsh language, as opposed to Welshness being expressed in the English language.  Is there a difference I wonder?
Background information can be found at "New homes seen as threat to Welsh language in Carmarthen".
It seems this action plan is deemed preferable to prosperity, the prosperity that might be brought by people whose only crime is to chase success as measured by the return on capital.  This action plan makes it markedly more difficult for inward investment, not because of the language, but because the Assembly Government has created another hurdle to be jumped, an unnecessary hurdle.  Try convincing the manufacturer intent on expanding into Carmarthenshire that it is not enough to be neutral towards language, to be indifferent, the business will have to add to the local definition of Wales through positive linguistic action, otherwise approval for the manufacturing plant could be disallowed.

On the wall of our 21st century toll-booth there is a very small sign under the price list, under the tariff that determines whether a proposition might gain entry, the very, very small sign tells the travellers ...
"survival of the language ultimately depends on individuals taking ownership of the language."
... but it doesn't add that there is always a place in Wales for success, there is a place for the entrepreneur, there is a place for difference, it is a sad piece of government ...

Monday, 29 August 2011

The truth, the whole truth, £500 million will ...

... create about 3000 permanent jobs.

Can we remember the grand plan, the vision of socialism in motion, the seemingly magical projections created by Plaid, the £ half a billion to create 50,000 jobs creating a new infrastructure for Wales.

On the 25th March 2011 I wrote ..... 
"It's not pie in the sky, it is ... Mad House economic nonsense, Plaid nonsense, a nationalist sound-bite designed to capture the headlines before an election ........... at best naïve, in reality dishonest."
The proof of the pudding can be seen in the BBC report of the 12th August when Tetsuo Iwamura, chief operating officer for Honda's North America region announced "the new Mexican plant will cost $800 million (£500m) to build, and will employ around 3,200 workers producing up to 200,000 cars a year".

I predicted the number of jobs £ half a billion would create was an approximate 5000, it seems if it is reality you prefer then our separatist friends are not best placed to provide it, so keen are they to convince the public that independence is best, I wonder how much of Adam Price's recent "book of temptations" will prove to be little more than chaff, fit only for livestock fodder.

Tetsuo Iwamura or Plaid Cymru, Plaid Cymru or Tetsuo Iwamura ...

... I guess it must be the reality that Tetsuo Iwamura brings to the table ........... you don't have to take my word for it, it is written in black and white for the whole world to see ........... and judge.

Plaid Cymru's Adam Price is currently attempting to disabuse the German economic model, he writes ...
"Listening to German politicians, in particular, is to be served up an economics lecture written by the Brothers Grimm in which over-spending governments are devoured by evil speculators.  The problem with this account of “the PIGS and the Wolves” is that it is a fairy story, with little real basis in fact."
... no doubt this economics "expert" will have his good advice accepted by our very successful neighbours ....... but with a little luck no German worth his or her salt will ever have to share a platform with Plaid's heir apparent and certainly place his recent offering into "Room 101" without hesitation.

He doesn't get it does he, Andrew R T Davies ...

... that is, ARTY to his chums, PARTY to the hunting set and just plain CUCKOO to the rest of us ....

Sunday, 28 August 2011

The madness of King Plaid, or can Llyr Huws ...

... Gruffydd be serious ?

In a world where 41% more people are chasing 11% fewer properties how does he square his views that seriously ambitious proposals for the future of Bodelwyddan are fundamentally flawed.  Walking arm in arm with the Bodelwyddan action group, the North Wales Plaid Cymru Assembly Member agrees that ...

  • The residents believe the plan is fundamentally flawed and unsustainable because it bases its housing need on a population projection that are over inflated by Welsh Government in Cardiff Forecasting. The future population increases on the basis of unsustainable increases in the past is unsound. 
  • The continuing over- development of our countryside when there is no local demand. This concerns the residents as it will exists to encourage in migration to fill the houses. 
  • Not taking seriously account of local people’s views regarding taking over the country side to build extremely large housing developments which will dilute the culture and further threaten the Welsh Language and the heritage of the countryside . 
  • The Council is guilty of adopting a disparaging attitude towards the voice of the village and riding roughshod over local opinion by failing to carry out proper and meaningful consultation with the residents of a small village on whom the impact of a very large developing would have a devastating effect and loss of its unique identity.
Having read through the list several times, it reads ...

  • The action group thinks the planning experts are wrong, but are not going to say exactly how.
  • There is no demand for the development as there are no waiting lists for homes, and businesses can locate elsewhere.
  • The local authority didn't take any notice of the action group, if they had the plans would have been set aside.
  • Much the same as point 3, but with accompanied foot stamping of feet, and much weeping and wailing.
Well with Westminster moving ahead with their "Enterprise Zones", the Bodelwyddan plans seem to be "just what the doctor ordered", and what is the unemployment rate in the area, and how many jobs may be created, and will the village become a town, and might the town need new schools and the etc. etc. is Plaid going to remain in the past forever ................

.......... and for the sensible of Bodelwyddan why not try Crabbie's Ginger Ale, I guarantee it's good on a warm summer afternoon, better than politic.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Who would expect the poor to remain ...

... poor, and then to live apart in squalor, in order the wealthy may live that life in a rural or semi-rural idyll.

The concept is nauseating at the very least, but it's the hot chestnut of planning being considered, in an Adam Smith contribution that itself refers to a Pileus blog, as a philosophy of any government (the state) "conspiring" against the poor, and in the context of the Pileus essay it means those unable to buy or rent a home because of cost in their preferred location ...

... and in the context of Wales, somewhere there has been a call to restrict the building of homes and places for industry, for reason of protecting the countryside, a mechanism to keep supply down which in turn raises prices.

In Wales there is a call to restrict housing in the countryside by Mid Wales MP Glyn Davies, he begins by writing  ...  
Protecting Our Countryside ... I do not like the ongoing undignified row between Government and organisations concerned with protecting the countryside - suffering 'split loyalties'.
... and finishes by laying the blame on immigration 
... this is the "Daily Mail" in mufti, and who is to benefit from this protection of the countryside, not the poor of Anglesey that's for certain, or Powys, or Gwent ....

... so is Glyn Davies part of this conspiracy of the state, well it suits him to keep prices high, it suits others like him to restrict planning, the conspiracy of the state, I don't think so, it is nothing less than bullying by the wealthy, it's always a minority that bully, for their own benefit.

Friday, 26 August 2011

What is the point of meaningless ...

... questions, dreamed up by BBC staff searching for bad news ?

... to wit ...
... and the bad news ...

BBC Wales health correspondent Arwyn Jones concludes that because there has been a notional rise in the time it takes ambulance staff to hand over patients to hospital staff there is a burdensome cost to the NHS in Wales, his research is published here, check the table, the average handover time from ambulance is ....

.... less than 20 minutes, I believe there should be an applause at this point for the ambulance service staff, but not from the buffoons at BBC Wales, the reporter has written ...
... the total number of hours lost in Wales due to hospital turnarounds above 20 minutes has increased from 37,712 hours in 2008-2009, to 54,476 hours in 2010-2011.
What is he implying, a level of incompetence possibly, or are the staff on a go-slow, it's a bullshit story from a bullshit organisation, the NHS in Wales hasn't an additional cost of  £10 million, what it has in reality is ...

... additional effort by the ambulance and A&E hospital staff to meet the demands of the public, and I say this with a certain confidence, because everyone gets treatment.

Maybe the reporters at BBC Wales should get out more, sit alongside people who actually work for a living rather than looking for a story where a story doesn't exist, paid for by the very same people they look to criticise.

They might also consider reading Robert Pirsig's MOQ, and pass it around the political reporters, they are in dire need ...

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Why the call for ...

...  investment in infrastructure and wealth transfer during difficult economic times, when there are real solutions for very real problems available with the aid of good analysis.

Could it be because the alternatives are just a little too problematic to politics of all flavours, politicians would be required to do things that would be under the counter transactions, transactions that go by unnoticed by the general population;  an alternative to the spend, spend, spend regimes advocated by the Left, and the Left leaning politicians and economists unable to quantify the value of a pleasant place to do business.

It  requires a deal more thought, than the regurgitated "Political philosophy" so many politicians study  maybe a more fundamental philosophy, possibly on the lines of "Zen and the art of Governance".  Some might remember Robert Pirsig and his book "Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance", a 1970's philosophical examination of what I would term "Quality", I don't think the term I use is particularly important, it is his realisation that the world was developing into a multi faceted science that could offer a multitude of explanations   when in fact there exists a single hypothesis... 
Pirsig was greatly troubled by the theory that there is always more than one workable hypothesis to explain a given phenomenon, and that the number of hypotheses appeared unlimited. He could not find any way around this, and to him it seemed that the whole scientific endeavour was essentially problematic.  (from a Guardian report)
I remember quite early in the book (Zen .... ) where Pirsig related the tale of the "motorbike that kept cutting out", after repeated visits the a workshop without a successful remedy, the motorbike was taken home where he stripped down the engine to discover the cause of the problem, a simple few pence pin in the oil delivery system.  The moral of the tale is, I think, to determine the actual problem before attempting a fix; how often are political remedies created for problems that exist only in the minds of politicians.

So how does "Zen" and "Governance" sit with "Political Wales" circa 2011/12/13/14/15 ?

Firstly, the opposition in Wales is desperate to create problems to fix, there are the Nationalists that are asking for Policing and Broadcasting to be devolved to Wales, the Liberal Democrats have suggested that children aged 16 are competent to become members of the electorate, and the Conservative leader is advocating a return to the slaughter of animals as recreational sport.  The common thread is each of the political groups are seeking advantage, Nationalist see further divergence from the UK, Liberal Democrats see the promised land ahead with teenager support, and Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies seems to be favouring political self destruction, the odd one out maybe.

So what about Carwyn Jones in government today, or soon to be back from holiday, we have today two calls, the "redistribution of wealth" and "Keynesian investment" in Wales, both could be the business of government, but should they be the business of our Assembly Government and how might Carwyn consider the issues.

John Dixon, former National Chair of Plaid Cymru, makes a call to redistribute the wealth within Wales, the essence of his paper is in a single paragraph where he writes ...
What Wales needs is an economic policy which doesn’t simply concentrate economic success in the most populous part of the country, but spreads it around.  From a private sector perspective, that would require a more interventionist approach than simply allowing and encouraging businesses to set up where they wish (as long as it’s in Wales), which has effectively been the approach of successive Welsh Governments since 1999.
... the only questions that Carwyn's government needs to answer is the starter for ten "why do businesses prefer to establish themselves in the South East of Wales", and the bonus question "can these conditions be replicated throughout Wales". 
 Adam Higgitt asks a supplementary question in his last paragraph where he replies to John Dixon, "can the government create a policy that the whole population is able to support", an essential question with our "me culture".  
For the answers to the three questions Carwyn needs to find a few honest men and women, and the certainty that doing what is good for Wales outweighs what is good for his politics, personally I think someone like Carwyn Jones could make political mileage from doing the "right thing for Wales" so shouldn't be shy in coming forward with the good news.

The second call on Carwyn is for "Keynesian investment", I hope there is someone in government who will remind him that without a link to the first question such government activity is indulgence when such indulgence is not affordable, indulgence by government should probably never be affordable.  Going back to John Dixon, it's not intervention to coerce business into preferred areas, it is providing a level playing field, the rest is up the business ... and of course geography.

Going back to "So how does "Zen" and "Governance" sit with "Political Wales" circa 2011/12/13/14/15 ?"  There is plenty of time Carwyn, get it right and you will be forgiven a multitude of sins, and looking at the time line, there's plenty of time thanks to Westminster.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Peter Black had an interesting post ...

... when he listed 6 questions asked of Michael Ellis, the MP for Northampton North.

I felt the answers to questions 2 through to 6 were predictable, how else would a politician answer other than to let the world know his constituency and its electorate were as important as family.  But question 1 was different ...

... it enquired of the politician who was his Biggest inspiration.  ......... the answer he gave, "Winston Churchill" tells us a little of the MPs character, or does it, Churchill has been described variously as an exceptional statesman and orator, an officer in the British Army, a historian, a writer, and an artist, the only British prime minister to have received the Nobel Prize in Literature, and he was the first person to be made an honorary citizen of the United States, he was also considered to be a fair bricklayer.  So exactly what inspired the politician.

I wonder how our Assembly politicians might have answered, I would have modified the question slightly too ...
...  who was your biggest inspiration, and why ?
How might the part leaders have answered, how might the members of the government have replied, and how might the remaining Assembly members answered the very simple but searching question.

I did leave a comment with Peter Black asking how he might have replied to the question, having spoke to some of his constituency there is no doubt the man is held in high esteem, certainly he is not afraid to hold the Assembly Government to account, but I wonder who inspired him and why ........

Monday, 22 August 2011

Nice video ...

... in the BBC report.

... I watched the film clip, read the report, and felt ......... well and truly mugged.

5 years jail as a minimum for Annunziatina Attanasio, thief of Cardiff.

How mugged do you feel ?

Our very own Wacky Races, with our very own ...

...  Dastardly and Muttley, one from Westminster the other from Cardiff's Bay of Plenty, both are agitating for something that already exists, something that is funded to the gunnel's by the poor taxpayer, but unlike Pobol y Cwm there isn't an audience big enough to suit their political egos, ...
Ego is a Latin word meaning "I", cognate with the Greek "Εγώ (Ego)" meaning "I", often used in English to mean the "self"
... not satisfied with the current Radio Cymru, not satisfied with the £80+ million annual budget of S4C, what exactly does the first of this dynamic Plaid duo want, to quote Bethan Jenkins ...
WELSH language current affairs programmes should be as important to the BBC as output in Hindi and Arabic, Plaid Cymru AM Bethan Jenkins has urged.
... I'll let others decide whether she is "Dastardly" or "Muttley", myself I would suggest the minorities she uses as examples would be very pleased to have a dedicated channel with the funding S4C currently receives, indeed the £billion spend on S4C during the last decade should have produced a world class welsh language service, it didn't.

What the desperate duo want is a soap box for free, but there's no such thing as a free lunch, someone might let them know.  Who is the other half of our very own wacky race duo .............

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Plums and feta on toast, not my ...

... idea of a comfort food as feta is not a cheese made in my particular heaven, but I like a mature cheese, and not quite on our doorstep we have a wonderful Caerphilly cheese as a substitute, ...

for the feta devotee ...

Plums and feta on toast serving 4

Ciabatta or other rustic bread
Extra-virgin olive oil
200g feta, broken into chunks
2-4 ripe plums, stoned and quartered
A handful or two of rocket
A few mint leaves
Sea-salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper


Toast the bread (if you’re using ciabatta, you will need either a horizontal half, cut into 4, or 2 ciabatta rolls, each sliced horizontally). Splash each bit of toast with extra-virgin olive oil while it’s still warm. Arrange the feta, plums, rocket and mint on top. Season with salt and pepper and splash with a bit more oil before serving.
The Ciabatta bread is definitely the right choice, wonderful, we made rolls using our favourite Wrights bread mix,   though as I hinted at the beginning, adjusted the cheese using a mature Gorwydd Caerphilly made by Trethowan's Dairy, but for us bought from Caesar's Arms Farm Shop Cardiff, amazingly the cheese is exported around the world such is its reputation.
Use the best olive oil available, as always the better the oil, the better the gastronomic experience ...

... I can still taste the olive oil dip at Bravo Indianapolis, I think it was Castleton, but a decade is long time ago,just goes to show what good experiences can leave in the memory, and the Prawn Pennette Rigate with a hot pepper sauce was to die for.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

When Jonathan Edwards, Plaid MP and Westminster rabble-rouser ...

... calls for greater investment in existing Welsh TV services, he is calling to the nationalist faithful.  He is saying ...
"That means stopping the cuts being made to S4C and BBC Wales and giving ITV Wales the scope for improvements.  Wales must have a national television service worthy of the name, with quality programming that represents us as a nation."

He continues the rhetoric ...
"Welsh is an everyday language amongst audiences across Wales, and this must be reflected in the television services which they receive.  Our priority here in Wales, though, must be improving and developing the level of Welsh news and current affairs rather than furthering the ill considered agenda of a Westminster minister."
This ill considered agenda is no agenda at all, Westminster believes the UK would benefit from local TV coverage, and the envisaged TV has to be self financing ... and that could be a problem, who wants to sponsor current affairs on "TV Swansea" when there is an opportunity to sponsor "Four Weddings and a Funeral" ... on ITV.

The bottom line for the separatist at work at Westminster is he wants three terrestrial channels ported to a Welsh platform working at the behest of and directed by the politics of Welsh Nationalism. Not once does the man offer a financial model to pay for his proposed extravaganza, he would like his scheme paid for by the taxpayers of Britain ....

.... in a world of shrinking budgets, the nationalists would expect a larger share, in the world of television they would like a louder voice, but only if it in Wales ...

Perfect peppers, in an imperfect world, ...

... roast with a vinaigrette dressing, served with just about anything, though a newly baked crusty loaf would do very nicely, try a Garlic and Rosemary Focaccia made with Wrights bread mix.

Ingredients for 6 ... maybe 2 if the peppers are on the small side, and you are having lunch and the bread has just left the oven.
Extra virgin olive oil
6 red pepper, tip, as the peppers are for cooking you can use less than perfect examples.
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp red wine vinegar

Method ...
1 Rub a little olive oil over the peppers, put them in an oven dish, then slide under a hot grill, turning regularly until they blister and blacken on all sides.
2 Put the peppers in a plastic bag (I used a large roasting bag left over from Christmas) tied at the end. Leave for 20 minutes to steam, then remove them from the bag, peel off the skins, slit them open and remove the seeds, reserving the cooking juices.
3 Spread the peppers out on a large serving dish and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix the cooking juices with an equal quantity of extra virgin olive oil and the vinegar and pour over the peppers

Thanks to Rowley Leigh of The Times, it is taken from a recipe that included eggs and anchovies.

Eggs and anchovies are not my ideal combination ....

Friday, 19 August 2011

Andrews, Bareham, Davies and Jenkins ...

Andrews is right yet wrong, he is right to applaud the efforts of students, but wrong to hold up the Welsh Baccalaureate as an excuse for poor comparative results with the rest of Britain, he is also wrong to ignore the need for top A* grades as the entry level for the best universities, our university potential students need top grades for top universities, there is little point aspiring to the 2nd division.

Unfortunately Andrews needs to look at our 5 year old, do you remember the 7 P's, Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance, it can be equally applied to education because children need good preparation to succeed, this is the last chance saloon for the next generation of graduates in Wales.  Time to start work as the hourglass sand is inexorable trickling away.

Lindsey Bareham, familiar to readers of The Times, 
might be saying "let them eat rice", but what rice ...

Vodka Plums with rice pudding ...
Serves 6  prep: 20 min, cook: 2½ hours plus cooling

50g butter; 75g caster sugar; 100g pudding rice; 1 litre full-fat milk; 1 vanilla pod; 150ml double cream; Pinch of salt; Nutmeg; 2 bay leaves; ½ vanilla pod; 300ml water; 3 strips orange zest; 3 tbsp vodka; 3 tbsp demerara sugar; 6 large, ripe plums
Heat the oven to 140C/gas 1.
Melt the butter in a 1½ litre pan that can take direct heat and go in the oven, or begin cooking, in a sauté pan and have a deep gratin dish to transfer the pudding into.
Add the sugar, stirring gently over a medium-low heat until straw-coloured and gooey.
Add the rice and continue stirring, until the rice looks puffy, pale golden and syrup-sticky.
Add the milk, stirring as it heats to disperse any clumps of rice.
Add the vanilla pod (split lengthways) and squash it around a bit so that it releases its seeds.
Add cream and salt and bring to the boil.
Season generously with freshly grated nutmeg, stir then place in the oven for 2 ½-3 hours, until just starting to set but still slightly liquid looking in the centre.
Leave to cool.
As it cools, it will firm slightly more. Serve lukewarm or cold as milk puddings have very little flavour eaten piping hot.
Place bay leaves, half a vanilla pod, 300ml water, zest and vodka in a pan that can accommodate the halved plums in a single layer.
Simmer for 10 minutes.
Stir in the sugar to dissolve.
Halve the plums round their middles.
Twist apart and pull out the stone.
Place, cut side uppermost, in the pan.
Cover and simmer gently for 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat, turn the plums, leave for 5 minutes then transfer to a serving bowl and leave to go cold.

Davies is holding today's poisoned chalice ...

The director of Wales' Community Health Councils (CHCs) said The Welsh Language Board requirements under the Welsh Language Act were "unrealistic" unless there were additional funding, it seems the organisation is between a rock and a hard place, a no win situation for the public if Davies has to make a decision between "translation" and "NHS monitoring", I wonder what the financial implications across the board will be, how much extra money will the various organisation in Wales need, exactly how will the First Minister handle the situation.  ?It begs the question "what services will need trimming to fund the requirements".

Could this be exactly why we need tax raising powers in Wales, so that the public can be made aware of the effect of legislation on their pockets, so that the public can say yea or nay and politicians stay focused.

... and coming up in the rear is ...

Jenkins ...I have it good authority she is sulking.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Bethan Jenkins has announced ...

... that she will be developing her thoughts on the future of Plaid Cymru in the weeks to come.

Well, lets get down to the nitty gritty,  the heart of the matter,  the basic essentials,  the harsh realities of life in the United Kingdom for the separatist agenda, a single most basic fact of political life, Wales has lost its radical past to the hedonistic materialistic future.

The peoples of Wales, we are multicultural, along with the peoples of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland came to realise quite a while ago that we are only on this planet just once, so we best make the most of it, be happy is the clarion call even when things seem a tad negative.

Our nationalist combatants (they are not particularly friendly towards any other political parties in Britain, other than other separatist parties) on the other hand have tried to wrap up their jingoistic objectives in a cultural pastry;  much like salmon en croute, though the cultural pastry used by our separatist neighbours in Wales comes with a large dose of bile mixed with a suitably large quantity of insulting abuse to those who would oppose independence.

That's the nice part, the Welsh Nationalists have over the last 20 years or more tried to become everything to everyone, if you wished for pink tomatoes then the nationalists would campaign for your pink tomatoes, more than anything the separatist movement needed to increase its membership, and although the membership increased, its direction had become octopus like ...
... Plaid had looked into the abyss of Nietzsche unaware that the abyss had looked right back at them, the abyss is of course "British Politics", Plaid Cymru by looking into the abyss had adopted many of the attributes of British Politics, become just another political party that would bribe the electorate with their own taxes.  But during the last 10 years devolution in Wales had created a new playing field, a field that would allow politics in Wales to become divorced to a degree from the politics of Great Britain, and could be moulded through cultural nonsense into a new arena that Plaid might play a larger role in public life.  It worked for them, however it created far greater challenges for the "well to the left separatist agenda", gradually the "we were here first" political brigade became as Welsh as Welsh could become, and began to challenge the need for a party such as Plaid Cymru, whose intention is to separate from the United Kingdom.
Inside Plaid Cymru those that held the puppet strings had decided a decade or more before to take the softly-softly approach to gaining power, no longer using the "independence" word, they became even more mainstream, much to the chagrin of the "young turks", and the young turks bring me back to the beginning, how will this woman of politics, she knows little else than politics, develop her thoughts ...

... let me predict, the likes of Jenkins and her activist chums have a single objective, to bring their politics to the front row of her party, and what are her politics, what are those feelings deep within her chest, what is it that is about to be birthed ...

... I don't think on reflection that it is the urgency of independence, although it will be a rhetorical priority, I do believe it will be gender specific; she dropped a very large hint at Wales Home today, the 4th paragraph, she is backing a movement within the party for a female leader, Jill Evans MEP who will also bring independence to the forefront of Wales politics.

And the proof of the pudding is in the very next paragraph when she writes ...
This kind of obsession with the individual echoes down the years in Plaid Cymru, that we can rely upon a single person to save the party – and save us from losing elections.

And the person in question is always a man.

Spicy pinto bean soup or Plaids Bethan Jenkins, ...

... that's a question indeed, a delicious deep bowl of soup or shallow plate of politics from the "separatist agenda", make up your own mind ...

For the soup you need ...

Ingredients, for 4 ...
100g dried pinto beans,  2 tbsp butter,  1 tbsp olive oil,  1 red onion, chopped,  2 garlic cloves, chopped,  1 red pepper, de-seeded and diced,  2 carrots, chopped,  2 tsp chilli powder,  2 tsp ground cumin,  2 bay leaves,  1.5 litres vegetable stock,  400g tin of chopped tomatoes,  Sea salt,  1 small iceberg lettuce finely shredded,  Soured cream,  Leaves from a small bunch of fresh coriander,  Lime wedges

Method ...

1 Soak the beans in cold water overnight. Drain and set aside.
2 Heat the butter and oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan, set over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, red pepper, carrots and a pinch of salt.
3 Cook for 10 minutes, until softened. Stir in the chilli powder, cumin and bay leaves. Cook for 1 minute, until aromatic.
4 Increase the heat to high. Add the stock, tomatoes and beans and bring to the boil. Reduce to a medium simmer and cook, uncovered, for about 45 minutes, until the beans are tender.
5 Serve topped with shredded lettuce, a dollop of soured cream and a few coriander leaves. Offer lime wedges on the side. 

Recipe by Ross Dobson of The Times, what a fine newspaper.

Having enjoyed the bowl of soup what has Jenkins got to offer, either the electorate or Plaid "the separatist agenda" Cymru ?

Her history is school and Plaid Cymru, so we can expect an introspective view of the world coupled with a vision of an independent left wing utopia, was it learned at the hearth of her father the long-term co–editor of Red Poets.I wonder ?

Today she opens a discussion regarding the Plaid leadership contest, a faction within Plaid would like to change the rules so that non-elected members might race for the coveted leaders badge, a little like the blue-peter badge without the excitement, and in a democracy it should be possible to elect anyone to the position of party leader, though why any party would want a leader that doesn't have a platform is puzzling.

Interesting though, some elected members of the Assembly see the next leader as a caretaker-in-waiting for the return of the native Adam Price, Plaid AM Lindsay Whittle is on record as writing "Whoever will be our new leader must now recognise it’s an interim post in my opinion."

So the contest hereabouts between the soup or Jenkins, do I see the beginnings of a double chin in her image, is won hands down by ....

... the "Spicy Pinto Bean Soup", considered to be interesting and flavoursome with a hint of things yet to come ...
... the runner up is same-old, same-old Plaid politics delivered by 2nd division politics ...

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Whilst the "no vision" pundits bump their ...

... gums over at Wales Home regarding the Daily Mail, why would anyone read it, or when blinded by the vision of the China entrepreneurs revert to type and consider Wales of the 1890's, the BBC have published some really bad news for Wales ...
... the "get up and go" leadership of Westminster has announced 21 enterprise zones, some very close to home at Bristol, Birmingham and The Wirral near Liverpool, these close to home zones will compete for businesses and, just as important, people with skills that could be based in Wales.

How then might our WAG, and what a wag they tend to be at times, compete with the mighty Westminster, well our administration in Cardiff responded by saying ...
... it was looking at options and had received correspondence from a number of people regarding their potential structure and location ... furthermore ... It said Business Minister Edwina Hart would outline her policy when the assembly returns in September.
There we have it, our very own Edwina will work it out by September, ...

... a favourite of business men and women in Wales, not really, she is more like the grim reaper of commerce than saviour, having her well to the left socialist feet firmly on the Soviet side of the defunct Berlin Wall, precludes much dialogue with the men and women of ideas that can save the Welsh bacon.

I might have been better to have collaborated with Westminster, we might at least have moved from the "thinking about it" stage so favoured by our local administration and membership.

Was it written in Welsh, because for certain, something was ...

... lost in translation.

The auditor general for Wales said there had been varying degrees of success with projects provided under the assembly's Merlin contract with Siemens, which started in 2004.
... the budget for the 10-year contract was a minimum of £220m, but the auditor general found the Welsh Government had spent £270m over the first seven years.
That's £50 million over budget with 3 years to go, the report card might read "should try harder".

Darren Millar AM Public Accounts Committee chair is reported to have said ...
I am concerned... that the Welsh Government is unable to demonstrate that the contract as a whole represents value for money.  The Welsh Government also had "not monitored effectively the costs and value for money of services delivered under the contract".
Darren Millar should write on the report card "are we trying".

A Welsh Government spokesman said ...
"We welcome the report by the auditor general for Wales which states that the Merlin contract is delivering core ICT services effectively, but added "It would be inappropriate to make any further comments at this stage as the report is likely to be considered at a future Public Accounts Committee evidence session and we will comment more fully after that meeting".
... this is translated as ...
We prefer not to comment, with a little time most people will forget how inept we have been.
... and the report card reads "obviously the government isn't raising the money itself, tax-raising powers might sharpen the political minds in Cardiff Bay and save the poor taxpaying public a bucket full of cash".

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

In India, Mr Anna Hazare was arrested before ...

... he could begin a hunger strike in a protest against anti-corruption legislation, in protest that the new legislation would not be applied to every citizen of India equally ...
... the prime minister and senior judiciary will not come under the remit of a new anti-corruption ombudsman.
... the government says the ombudsman should investigate only senior officials for corruption, and not all four million federal government officials. The campaigners believe both high and low ranking officials should be investigated.
... a separate ombudsman is wanted in every state. The government says states are already empowered to create their own ombudsmen
... the ombudsman to have powers to investigate MPs accused of taking bribes to vote or ask questions in the parliament. The government says such investigations can only be done by parliamentarians themselves.
So what options are open to the anti-corruption movement ...

In the spirit of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi ...
... two supporters of Mr Hazare should volunteer as surrogate leaders and begin a fast in the morning in exactly the same spot chosen by Mr Hazare,
... and when those protesters are arrested, 
... four volunteers should replace them the next morning but possibly move the site of protest, and so on, doubling the volunteers until either thousands begin the fast or the government agree that no-one is above the law.

There is no place for corruption campaigners argue, it threatens the present and future of India.

I don't pay enough taxes he said ...

... in today's "Times".
The world’s third-richest man is unhappy about the amount of tax he has to pay: he says it is not nearly enough.
That’s not all. Warren Buffett says that his wealthy friends do not pay enough either. Indeed, he says that his tax rate is barely half that of his secretary. Mr Buffett calculates that his effective rate last year was 17.4 per cent compared with 33 to 41 per cent for colleagues in his office. 
Well that will make us very happy Mr Buffett, unfortunately yours is a lone voice, and when he says ...

... that his own tax rate comes about because most of his income comes in the form “earned interest” — probably from capital gains and share dividends — which is taxed at a rate of 15 per cent, instead of the top marginal rate of federal income tax of 35 per cent that applies to Americans who earn $373,650 or more.
... he skips past the problem, the complexity of taxation, the complexity brought about by the powerful influences who have negotiated unfair advantages, lower tax rates and allowable expenses.  Unfortunately the retired local authority worker of Anglesey has not been able to negotiate such advantages whilst supporting the more affluent members of society in his or her daily toil..

There should only be a single rate of tax coupled with a single tax allowance, and a business should be compelled, at inception, to be created as a Limited Company or later morph into a Public Limited Company, that way our businesses become "people", the company will pay tax on its income at the rate that each member of the taxpaying public will.

It's true that income from business to the individual will have been paid twice, once by the company and then recipients of dividends, but that's not a problem as I consider a single tax rate of 20% across the board would work, and when you consider a tax rate of 40% has been the norm for the wealthier members of society there is little to shout about.

What about company investments, that's an expense if the investment is made in our country, whatever country you reside in, if it is an investment elsewhere, raise the money elsewhere and let the local population enjoy the benefits.

What about tax-havens, pointless as income is taxed at source, if you want a foreign bank account, then move on to that country.

What about those that cheat the system, we have prisons.

What about the businesses and financiers who play hard-ball with government, you know the tack ...
... if you don't do it our way, if you don't give us an advantage we will leave.

... there is always someone else to take up the strain, that's "Capitalism".

Why am I so convinced that taxation is so unfair, it is because an industry has grown up to gain advantages for the few, and to minimise a persons contribution to the tax pot, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.  It's very difficult to cheat when the game is simple ...

Monday, 15 August 2011

It was published, Plaid are ...

... in need of a constitutional change to move forward in their preferred direction, the separatist agenda, I wrote during June of the dream team, and during July of the abyss, both were very early predictions.

Now we have the musing of John Osmond, Director of the IWA, who writes at Click on Wales, that ...

... speculation within Plaid’s ranks that the Commission under Eurfyl ap Gwilym, Plaids economics advisor, established to examine the party’s future direction and strategy, may be tempted to recommend that the constitution be changed to allow someone outside the Assembly to become leader.
... and he quickly followed up with the justification ...
... the present system disenfranchises talented party members outside the Assembly. Those thinking in these terms usually point to the former Carmarthen East and Dinefwr MP Adam Price who, although presently undertaking a research fellowship at Harvard University, is widely regarded as an heir apparent for the leadership.
So my prediction for the Plaid Dream team of Price and Wood stands firm favourite ...

... and why not, Plaid are no different to the other political parties, theirs is a quest for power that Eurfyl ap Gwilym, a master pragmatist from the world of banking, will steer his party along a route that will appeal to the majority in his party,  a route preferred by the rank and file ...

... a route demanded by the next generation of the separatist agenda in Wales.  No rank and file, no party, simple.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

What a life, it's no life, not without reponsibilities, ...

... real responsibilities; responsibilities towards your family, friends, neighbours and those people you have never met.

It came as a surprise that the recent riots came about not because of social unrest, but because a scum-bag known as "Smegz" (Kelvin Easton), 23, was stabbed to death outside La Boheme nightclub in Mile End.  Mark Duggan, who was shot by the police in error (the miscreant was only armed with a blank firing BBM "Bruni" pistol), what has not been reported by much of the press is ...

... for several days Duggan had been the target of special surveillance from Operation Trident,the police unit dealing with "black on black" crime.  The catalyst for the riots was not some innocent bystander, he was the "god brother", whatever that can mean, to Easton, and his immediate task in life, to avenge the murder of Easton.
Duggan, a member of the "Star Gang" is reported by other sources as being under peer pressure to seek retribution on those that murdered Easton.  Gang warfare that the innocent bystander from outwith the immediate area would find difficult to understand.
For the liberals of the Westminster "wet brigade" who see no evil anywhere, the poor fools, the "Star Gang" culture is based on drug dealing, simple as, so is it about time that we switched our attention to the drug users that support the gang culture found throughout Britain, prison of the most basic kind for drug use, a way to shrink the fortunes of the drug gangs, it needn't be expensive, a chain gang approach to cleaning the streets so that the public are able to see those that help perpetuate the gang culture.  Summary justice with no excuse, no special circumstances, and no appeal, but it would be hypocritical if those of us who enjoy an alcoholic drink denied others their preferred poison, recreational drugs.
What followed the death of Duggan was a non-violent demonstration by Duggan's family outside Tottenham police station, this was quickly followed by an escalation of demonstration into violence, and the subsequent copy-cat events in the larger cities of Britain.

Forget the social reasons that might explain why people joined the riots, remember that the vast majority of people didn't, if they were local they became victims, if they were not local they feared the violence might spread to their towns and villages and they would become victims, and if they were political in nature they looked for an angle that might support their corner ....
... it should be one strike and out for those antisocial crimes that intimidate society at large (serious crime is dealt with elsewhere), outlawed, denied those freedoms that come with responsibility, summary justice via the chain ...
... as applied to these female convicts of Dar es Salaam ....

... or these from the USA ...

... I couldn't find images with men, but the principle remains the same ...

... the miscreant rioters, thieves and looters might thank themselves lucky the "Bloody Assizes" were a thing of the past, with hard backbreaking work they might also think twice about repeating their violence, and stop their abuse of the law abiding citizens, those that do not riot, send a powerful message to others that the inocent majority have had quite enough.

And when you tell the judge "its not your fault", we believe "it is your fault", because nobody forced you to throw the rock or start the fire or assault the storekeeper or steal the goods, you did it all by yourself, now the retribution ....

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Y Teifi, is the wo/man deranged or what ...

... when he writes at Wales Home at August 13, 2011 at 8:16 pm, although, those of us who look forward to Christmas should feel sorry for this creature of dark corners that is certainly a reincarnation from the 19th century.

Do people actually believe this garbage spewed from the separatist  agenda, poor fools if they do !

From Santa Monica, a treat, from Y Teifi of the separatist ...

... agenda a cup of vinegar for all those who might cheer for Britain and the British, but first the treat ...

Huckleberry's whole-wheat apple butter cake,  total time: 2 hours, 20 minutes, servings: 16 to 20
Adapted from Huckleberry Bakery & Café

Ingredients ...

Cooked apples
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 pounds apples (about 3 large), peeled and cut into large chunks (about 4 cups)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt 
In a large sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the apples, then the sugar and salt, tossing to coat completely. Cook, stirring often, until the apples are just softened, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat and spread out the apples on a rimmed baking sheet to stop the cooking process. Set aside to cool.
Cake assembly
2 lightly packed cups (7 ounces) almond meal
1 cup (4.5 ounces) whole-wheat flour
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon (3.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (2.5 ounces) cornmeal
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 pound butter
2 1/4 cups (1 pound) sugar, plus 3 tablespoons, divided
8 eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
Cooked apples
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10-by-3-inch round cake pan and line bottom with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, sift together the almond meal, whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat the butter until softened. With the mixer going, beat in 1 pound sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until combined, then beat in the vanilla.
4. Beat in the dry ingredients, a spoonful at a time, just until incorporated. Be careful not to over-mix.
5. Fold in the cooked apples by hand. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake pan and sprinkle over the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar.
6. Bake the cake in the center of the oven until the cake is risen and a rich golden brown on top, springs back when touched, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 11/2 hours. Check the cake after 1 hour; if it browns too quickly, loosely tent the top with a piece of foil.
7. Remove the cake to a rack. Cool for 15 minutes before removing the cake.

... and then we have the cup of vinegar, the vitriolic Y Teifi writing at Wales Home, read it a different day to eating the apple cake lest you lose your appetite.

In response ...... Y Teifi, let’s be clear about this, my "Britishness" is not a disguise for Englishness, it sits comfortably with my Welshness, neither is it a condition for debate as it is a very personal attribute that I hold dear, it belongs to me.  My wife on the other hand finds her "Britishness" sits well with her "Englishness" and her adopted "Welshness".

Friday, 12 August 2011

Rough justice for Richard Bowes, would zero tolerance have ...

...given him a longer life.

Should the rights of the majority who are law abiding citizens be curtailed because of the actions of the few, the very tiny minority who turn their back on society.

The word-smiths of Britain offer as an explanation for the recent mindless violence ...
  • Welfare dependence
  • Social exclusion
  • Lack of fathers
  • Spending cuts
  • Weak policing
  • Racism
  • Gangsta rap and culture
  • Consumerism
  • Opportunism
  • Technology and social networking
... the BBC link is here, it generated 1700 comments from the public.  It's psycho babble from those with more time on their hands than the majority who will recognise Richard Bowes by his constant willingness to stand up for that community against antisocial behaviour.
If the rioters represent one group at the margin of society, Mr Bowes belonged to another — solitary, private, but fiercely resistant to social disorder.

He lived in a flat above shops on Haven Green in central Ealing, and neighbours said he regularly remonstrated with youths who would urinate in the street after a night out drinking.

Detective Chief Inspector John McFarlane, who is leading the inquiry, said local officers had witnessed the attack but were powerless to help as rioters bombarded them with bricks. “There was some suggestion he was attacked because he was stamping out fires that had been started,” he said.
The Times 12 Aug 2011
... and the statement by the police officer who admits the police failed to protect Richard Bowes, probably holds the key to why this man was murdered by the rioters, they had allowed the criminal activity to the point that they were suppressed by the rioters.  The police had become subordinate to the lawlessness.

The death of Richard Bowes is a testament to those that would look for excuses for lawlessness, it would be a better testament if a permanent solution were put in place throughout the UK ...
"Zero Tollerance"
Why should you or I be forced to tolerate any ant-social or criminal activity, the fact that a perpetrator didn't have access to the latest must have gadget is irrelevant, many millions of people unable to afford a BlackBerry or latest gaming machine do not go out onto the streets of Britain and make a nuisance of themselves to others.

The turgid word-smiths of the regions call the riots the "English disease", to the pathetic of Scotland and Wales I would ask them to look around their streets for symptoms of this particular disease, if you look you will find it, it is everywhere.  The riots were a manifestation of a culture so long ignored, a culture of "ME", a culture where people are expected to look the other way, a culture that emasculated the police, the courts and prisons.

Is there a place in Britain for the lawlessness that burnt neighbourhoods to the ground, the rioting and indiscriminate violence, I don't think so, and believe a certain answer lies with ...

"Zero Tolerance"

... why should anybody have to put up with people making their life a misery, and if you look under the carpet we call society there are not that many who should be excluded from society permanently and kept under the miserable conditions they expect us to tolerate.

It's time to take stock of what the public should be able to expect from society Mr Cameron and chums, chums of all political persuasions.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Daube à la niçoise, nationalism and economics, ...

... a competition for a wet August day.



Serves 4, Prep: 35 min Cook: 2 hr

900g skirt/flank steak
2 tbsp olive oil
75g smoked streaky bacon, cut into lardons
1 bay leaf, few sprigs thyme, parsley and basil
2 large glasses red wine
2 red onions
2 large carrots
4 large vine tomatoes
2 oranges
6 garlic cloves
1 tbsp flour
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley
Following the lines of the meat, slice into big pieces, approx 10x4cm. Heat the oil in a spacious, lidded stew-pan, such as one from Le Creuset. Brown the meat with the bacon, turning the pieces as they form a seal.
While that’s happening, bundle the herbs and tie with string. Place in a pan with the wine and simmer for 5 minutes. Halve and slice the onions. Scrape the carrots and cut into chunky pieces. Pour boiling water over the tomatoes, count to 30, drain and remove the skin. Cut into quarters, scrape out the seeds and chop the flesh. Remove the zest from one orange in small scraps. Crack the garlic with your fist, flake away the skin.
Stir the flour into the pan until it disappears. Add the onion, the wine and the herb bundle, zest and juice from the oranges, chopped tomatoes and 4 of the garlic cloves. Season lavishly with salt and pepper, stir and add sufficient water to just cover. Return to simmer. Turn off the heat, drape with parchment paper so it touches the stew, cover and cook in the oven at 180C/gas mark 6, for 2 hours.
Serve immediately, or reheat the next day. Garnish with the last two garlic cloves and the parsley, all finely chopped.
... many thanks to Lindsey Bareham and The Times.

Now over at Wales Home, the "separatist agenda" arch villain Adam Price has his day in court, it makes a very mundane read, apparently he is right and Higgitt is wrong, his familiar spirits will come out in force eventually, they work on the presumption that those who shout loudest win the contest.


Unfortunately for the world at large, Price and his familiars are unable to explain how the "separatist agenda" intends to creat its "shangri-la". Who was it that said "the first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics."

In a straight contest between Price and the Daube à la niçoise, the summer stew from the South of France wins hands down.

Update, apparently I am an extremist, according to Daran Hill, my wife said "that's from the man that talks the talk rather than walking the walk", then started laughing ... she's still laughing.