Thursday, 29 September 2011

Brutal and moronic Iran, ...

... that's how Tristan Jakob-Hoff described the current regime that intends to execute a man because of his beliefs.

Youcef Nadarkhani a Christian pastor has refused to renounce his faith to escape a death sentence pronounced by an Iranian court.  When the court gave Youcef Nadarkhani, 34, a third and final chance to avoid hanging, but he replied: "I am resolute in my faith and Christianity and have no wish to recant".

As an atheist I find the events incredulous, the mystical past of the middle east holds as much credence as do the tales of Arthur and the Round Table, although as a human being I defend the rights to have a belief system, just don't even think of bringing your evangelism to my home ..., am I so different to the Iranian Islamic priesthood, well the Jehovah's Witness or Mormon missionary who knocks on my door won't find me at all interested, but they will not be asked to recant, neither will there be the alternative option of being assisted with the last great leap of faith.

So the only difference between a Caerphilly door and the Iranian courtroom is the level of violence offered to the missionary. There has to be more, we are after all civilized in our secular world;  but how civilized is it to refuse the offer of an explanation of another persons belief, albeit in mystical terms.

By turning our back on the other view, we often use an expression such as "lets agree to disagree" or "... but I defend your right ...", and slot the event into the tolerance bag, and this is where we become less than honest, we should always challenge opposing views or the unproven hypothesis, along the way we can maintain the dignity of those who sit opposite.

The dishonesty practised by the Iranian State is founded on its fear of debate and fomenting internal opposition from the people of Iran, here lies the real reason Youcef Nadarkhani is going to be executed ...
In 2009, he challenged the regime’s insistence that all schools should teach Islam. He was arrested in October that year and has been imprisoned in Rasht ever since. He was sentenced to death for apostasy by a court in Rasht last year.
Well at least we are able to voice our disent in Britain, or are we ...

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

... don't listen to them Carwyn, they have little ...

... to offer Wales, I refer to the Liberal Democrats and Plaid, both parties are more interested in popular opinion rather than what Wales needs, you on the other hand have allies amongst the more conservative voters with a social conscience from all sections of society.

So why might you listen to any advice I might have, simple, my advice is no advice, just keep your eye on the ball and deliver your promises, although your department that deals with businesses is a more than a little weak, at times it seems very odd to the electorate, certain experiences seems to be missing ... and there is more to Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies, he has said some aspects of the programme (that's your current programme under discussion) were of concern, as was the track record of some ministers.  I read that as support.

Now no advice doesn't mean I have nothing to say, I might suggest you look at Felixstowe for vision, it opens a new deepwater terminal today that will increase trade through the port by 50%, could you find a little time to understand how flexible Standard Chartered runs its business so that it is able to add 1000 people to its payroll during this last year, and let us not forget individuals such as Major-General John Page who had an abiding concern for those less fortunate or less forceful than himself, he died this month age 88.

It's all to be found on-line with The Times.

Oh, and lets not forget, you have enough time to fix things before the next election .....

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Writing in the Irish Times ...

... Professor Philip Walton, (Emeritus Professor of Applied Physics, NUI, Galway, Moycullen, Co Galway) offered an alternative view to the "Windy Lobby", he would be classed as "heretic" by those with a vested interest in the "wind turbine".

Sir, – Your leader “Nuclear Sunset?” (September 23rd) begs a response.
With global warming and depleting fossil fuels, it is extremely unlikely that the world is about to turn its back on a safe, low-carbon, virtually sustainable source of base load electricity – nuclear power.
There are currently 440 nuclear reactors generating 15 per cent of the world’s electricity and currently 496 are planned or proposed. Pre-Fukushima this number was 478, showing no evidence of any retrenchment. A total of 29 countries have nuclear power and now 17 more have plans to join the club. These include Belarus, Jordan, Israel, Egypt, Poland, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, an oil-rich country which sees the writing on the wall.
It is very unlikely that in Ireland, and elsewhere, renewables (primarily wind) will meet more than a small fraction of energy needs. Our plan is to get 40 per cent of our electricity from wind by 2020 but this presents major difficulties due to its intermittency; we get 12 per cent now. Denmark, world leaders in wind power for more than 30 years, only manages 9.7 per cent and it can get power from Norway, Sweden and Germany when the wind fails.
Even if we succeed in getting the 40 per cent, one must ask where does the remaining 60 per cent would come from?
Germany’s plans to withdraw from nuclear power by 2022 are seen by many to be political expediency by Angela Merkel. As a consequence it plans to open more coal plants and will import more electricity from France (primarily nuclear) and the Czech Republic (26 per cent nuclear). It is also estimated that Germany will generate about 40 million tonnes more carbon dioxide per year as a result.
We must have a proper and informed debate on the nuclear option for Ireland. – Yours, etc.,
... where Ireland insert GB, the separatists might insert Wales, how might Plaid respond to the voice of reason.

Plaid Cymru has long campaigned ...

... for the devolution of powers over energy to Wales.  A latest announcement reads ...

"It is only with these powers here in Wales that we will be able to harness the full potential of energy generation for the good of our communities, our economy and our environment."  So sayeth Plaid member Llyr Huws Gruffydd, read Plaids' take here.
(brief observation .......... completing his education at Aberystwyth University, Plaid Cymru Assembly Member and advocate for devolution of powers over energy has few relevant experiences.  His credentials seem a little skewed to this particular advocacy, as youth worker - Wales Youth Agency - Council for Wales of Voluntary Youth Services and National Trust in Wales, there is nothing linked to "energy".)
... hence the question, "explain how having powers over energy will be good for communities, economy and environment", presumably in Wales.

What differences would the electorate see, in our green and pleasant land .......

Monday, 26 September 2011

... you can forget nationalism in Wales, if ...

... the other political parties use the same techniques Plaid has used to manipulate the political conversations over recent years.

The methodology is quite simple, create a "modern day heresy", does anyone remember the term "unionist" used in a political context much before the beginnings of devolution, "anti-welsh" is another creation to beat the heretics of welsh politics, of welsh nationalism.

The "separatist agenda" of Wales uses "identity politics" as its primary means of leverage in its relentless pursuit of independence, as J.S.Mill wrote in his "On Liberty", "a tyranny of public opinion" may flourish even in the "absence of legal constraint or coercion" (in the 21st century Wales this public opinion is very noisy yet very small in numbers).  In Wales the three other political players have unwittingly provided Plaid Cymru with the tools to further their stated aim of independence from Great Britain, and the singular most powerful of these tools in the armoury of separation is that of "difference", all of a sudden the peoples of Wales became part of an illusion of an oppressed people under the heel of Westminster, as if different to the people of any other region of Britain.

Until recently it was difficult to extract from Plaid its intention of separation, its outpourings spoke of the far distant future and couched in terms such as "full national status for Wales", today however there can be no doubt of the intentions of this troublesome political party, read here.

So what can we expect from the politicians at our Assembly, we might expect the full weight of government and opposition resources brought to bear to create a new "politics" to counter Plaids "identity politics", it might be "politics of equality", rid Wales of its crachach and its disproportionate influence, or it could extend out into the communities as "inclusive politics", it might be the "peoples of Britain" reject the politics of separation.

There is a place for Westminster in this very serious game of "political rounders", there is a need to encourage enterprise and the entrepreneur, the only way to counter nationalism of the real world is to create a better alternative, it might be the "British Enterprise" zone, an inclusive concept to promote the projects and businesses that will create a better world for ordinary people.  What place is there for Plaid and the SNP when the pay packet is thicker and young people have jobs ?

I wrote recently of the intolerance of Jack, I was wrong to suggest there is no place for the Jacks' of this world, we need the Jacks' of this world as a demonstration of the sick world such people would have us inhabit, a world of exclusions.

The separatist agenda are reaching out for the next set of enabling tools ...
  • devolution of police and the justice system
  • devolution of broadcasting
  • control over our natural resources
  • control over energy
  • powers to set taxes
... this list is consistent with nationalist politics, it seeks to constrain the "independence of the individual", it is consistent with the "I know best" politics of subservience.

Just before I sign off, a word to the able-bodied citizens who maintain our streets and car parks, if you use a walking stick you cannot hop over a large stretches of standing water, the only option is to walk through the damned water, I know because my torn cartilage of the knee gives me a temporary disability, I have stopped hopping over water.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Politics and John Swinney, quite illogical at times ...

... as demonstrated by the nationalist government North of the border.

John Swinney, Scotland’s Finance Secretary, delivered a major shock for supermarket giants selling tobacco and alcohol in Scotland by announcing that he would be imposing a business rates supplement on them from next April, he said ...
... (it is) necessary to combat the impact on the NHS and law and order north of the Border of cheap drink and cigarettes.
... his logic doesn't quite reach the rational that the tax will not effect drinking and smoking one little bit, it might alter the habit of consumer choice, switching to a cheaper brand or less than enjoyable wine (it tastes the same after the first glass).

The reality is the Scottish government needs the money raised to fund its largess by means other that the Westminster funding.

The Scottish Retail Consortium director Ian Shearer said "This new tax is a blatant fund-raising exercise ... it will make it harder for food retailers to keep prices down for customers, and makes Scotland a less attractive place to do business, invest and create jobs."

It is predicted the business rates levy would result in major food retailers paying an extra half-a-billion pounds in tax over the next four years.
Naturally John (the mouth) Swinney ...

... will lay the blame for his poor logic on Westminster.

Oops, he did it without taking a breath through that enormous mouth ...
... he described the budget cuts facing the SNP government as "the most swingeing the country has seen since the Second World War" and laid the blame firmly at the door of the coalition Government at Westminster. Scots, he said, were "being held to ransom by a UK Government they did not vote for".
I'm sure Plaid could take note of the strategy, create a crisis and place the blame anywhere but at your own feet, preferably in the precincts of Westminster, pathetic in fact .....

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Australia might give Wales a snapshot ...

... of the future where politics controls the media, to wit ...

An Australian political satire has been condemned by monarchists and MPs after depicting the Prime Minister having sex on the floor of her office while draped in the national flag. 

Commentators and members of the public expressing their opinion on newspaper websites were also upset with the show with some saying its depiction of the home life of the country’s first female leader was offensive and sexist

“Rude, negative, abusive, disrespectful and now grubby,” a viewer named Andrea Moore wrote on The Australian national newspaper’s website.
A Liberal MP said the program degrades the office of the prime minister, and called for a rethink of funding of the national broadcaster, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

I cannot imagine a scene where Carwyn was similarly displayed, nor in fact the other political leaders of the Wales Assembly, all draped under the "Red Dragon", not necessarily together, what I can imagine are similar attempts to push political fingers in the media pie were it devolved;  there is sufficient evidence this type of activity has occurred between WAG and S4C in the recent past.

ABC responded with ...
“If it’s okay for others to drape themselves in our flag for all manner of occasions, I really don’t see why it can’t be draped over our prime minister as a symbol of love,” the spokesman said.
I wonder how a devolved "BBC Wales" would show the First Minister if a political sword hung over its head, not a pretty vision to contemplate.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

... a story from the Far East made me think ...

... of the responsibility we might have for the effect our consumption has on the environment and its peoples on the other side of the world, to wit lead pollution on the young people of Zhejiang province.

The assumption I make is that the Health & Safety of people working in industry in the UK is more rigorous than found elsewhere in the world.  In other words, we should pollute ourselves because our pollution will be less than those less protected.  In the case linked above in paragraph 1, we should only use the batteries we produce.

A major player in the battery market is the US company Johnson Controls Inc ...

Due to increasing global demand for high-quality automotive batteries for environmentally friendly Start-Stop technology, Johnson Controls is investing $100 million to build a Start-Stop vehicle battery plant in China........ the company also announced ......... "We project that China will continue to be the fastest growing market for automobiles through the end of this decade".

Nothing wrong there, the business has forecast its best future rests on mainland China so there it invests its capital, but, there is often a "but", there is sufficient anecdotal evidence to suggest the people of  Zhejiang province and elsewhere are not sufficiently protected against a process based on the lead industry, a metal that has catastrophic effects on people.

The moral dilemma is, should we use products in the knowledge that people elsewhere are being hurt by our consumption, made in China might be problematic .........

Salmon(d) and Chocolate French toast, add ...

... school children and we have a minor crisis for another perfectly manufactured storm in that caledonian teacup we call Scotland.

First the vision of "jowls Salmond" and the French toast followed by the antipodean recipe, I wonder, could the toast be a precursor to Salmond's double chin ?

... by Bill Grange of the Times, his kick-start the day for 4 at breakfast.

3 eggs
185ml milk
1 tbsp caster sugar
Pinch of sea salt
20g unsalted butter
8 slices white bread
100g chocolate, milk or dark as prefered, chopped
Icing sugar, to serve

Whisk together the eggs, milk, caster sugar and salt in a large, shallow dish. Heat the butter in a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat.

Dip two slices of the bread into the egg mixture, turning them over until they are completely coated. Put them in the frying pan and sprinkle each one with a quarter of the chopped chocolate. Soak another two slices of bread in the egg mixture and put on top of the chocolate bread in the pan to make sandwiches. Press lightly with a spatula to seal the edges.

Cook for 3 minutes each side or until golden brown. Remove from the pan and serve immediately, or keep warm while you make the other two sandwiches. Serve dusted with icing sugar.
The recipe is not to my taste, and neither is Salmond as he tries to pick the threadbare pockets of the British taxpayers ...

... his latest attempt is through public sector pensions, he raises the cost of pension schemes of NHS workers, police, teachers and fire-fighters in Scotland by refusing to increase employee contributions by 3.2 per cent starting in April 2012, this would be an additional cost to the Treasury of  £8.4 million a month.
Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, had warned the Scottish government that he would reduce its (Scottish) budget by £8.4 million a month if it (Salmond and chums) did not increase members’ contributions to public sector pension schemes from next April, in line with the rest of the UK.

The second ingredient in Salmond's storm is his proposal to extend the franchise for referendum in Scotland to children age 16 years and over as reported in yesterdays press:
A bold SNP initiative to extend voting rights to 16- and 17-year-olds in a bid to gather support for independence is to be included in the Scottish government’s Referendum Bill.

The Times understands that UK ministers have effectively conceded defeat on the issue and have admitted they are powerless to stop the Scottish government lowering the franchise below the 18 age limit currently in place for UK and Scottish elections.

Alex Salmond is keen to lower the voting age for the independence referendum, aware that young Scots are generally much more enthusiastic about independence than their older counterparts. The First Minister wants a clause written into the Referendum Bill which would extend the franchise to those aged 16 and 17 on the electoral register, rather than just those aged 18 and over, as is the case with normal elections.
So there you have it, Salmond takes the initiative and creates another brick for his separatist wall, and in three years he will have up to 125,000 new voters added to the Scottish electorate, adding three per cent to the voters’ roll, all he needs to complete this particular strategy is an Xbox game entitled "William Wallace and The Bruce - the wars of Independence" to ensure the kids do it his way.

For the rest of Britain ...

... you can get your bunting from the Hampshire Flag Company in time for the ...

... farewell street party.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg, in need of a ...

... reality check, the Public Bodies Bill currently going through Parliament lists those organisations that require public funding in its scope, including S4C.  An amendment tabled to exclude S4C from the Bill was defeated in committee, following the defeat Bethan Williams, Chair of Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg, was led out of the committee room shouting (in Welsh) "This vote is an insult to the people of Wales", how many in the room would have understood her.

Elsewhere the House of Commons passed an amendment which says that the secretary of state shall secure that S4C is provided with sufficient funds to cover the cost of delivering its television services, seemingly a contradiction.

As a public body S4C is not in any way exceptional, nor can it be made an exception where public funding is used, the public should expect scrutiny of the organisation and its funding by our members of parliament, for a decade or more S4C has benefited from a £ Billion without effective scrutiny, the current state of this organisation tells a story of ineptitude of almost biblical proportions.

If the language activists wish to have total control over S4C they must ask for it as a gift from government to do as they wish, becoming a private organisation much as Sky TV, I'm sure such a request would be met with a positive response.  The funding then could be arranged through the Welsh Assembly Government, on an annual basis, in public, competing with all the other demands for public funds.  An organisation such as Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg might consider buying the TV channel and making it a pay-per-view option of the airways, then they would be able to do as they wished.

The bottom line is scrutiny, if you want taxpayers pennies expect it, scrutiny is the only way in a democracy.

Notable that Leanne Wood A.M. has refused to pay her license fee in protest against good governance, she also wants to have control over all broadcasting in Wales, what would the audience do if politicians screwed up in the same way our Wales education and our young peoples futures have been effectively destroyed, switch to Sky is my prediction.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

... for tolerance, I couldn't advise Jack's view of ...

... the world, in particular the relationship between Wales and the rest of humanity.

For the latest diatribe you might hop across to his blog, though I would warn it is not for the faint-hearted.

He writes in one paragraph ....

... hate filled and intolerant, and he is not alone. intolerance

Just the other day I was sent an email with a single embedded image ...

... obviously he lives in a different reality, possibly the Discworld of Terry Pratchett, there is a downside, he works for an assembly member who must by definition approve of his particular intolerance, will the A.M. approve of "kickings" in the wider world I wonder.  Is it hate filled or intolerant, I'm not sure, when comparing his words with those of Jack I see a certain similarity ......

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Scotland and the Union, a reply to Alwyn ap Huw …

Alwyn wrote:
I am not sure that I understand the point that you are making John. The name of what is left if Scotland leaves the UK is irrelevant, what concerns me is what sort of political entity it will be.
I agree in part, when Scotland leaves what remains might be called “peppermint blue”, it will be a similar geographical area as it was before the union, plus a small area of Ireland. Great Britain is not a remainder, it is the “whole number”, the remainder is in fact Scotland following the division by the “Scottish separatist agenda”, mathematically the remainder is the indivisible part following division, some scots might disagree as whether Scotland might be further divided but that is a particularly Scottish debate.

The name is important because it underpins the politics that remains post Scottish independence, so whereas “peppermint blue” is a sufficient label, it fails to carry over the social glue that is so essential to the remaining body of politics. And after 800 years of togetherness (some less than generous might refer to a certain colonial nature of the relationship) there will be a sufficiency of social glue shared by the peoples of the reborn Great Britain that the political entity will remain by and large as it was on “SI – 1” (Scottish Independence minus 1 day).

In summation, whilst a name might be irrelevant, in the case of “Great Britain” it is the pot that holds the history which is of course a large part of the shared social glue.

Alwyn wrote:
At the moment all of the political parties seem to be ignoring this issue. Even if, as you seem to suggest, the remainder just carries on as if nothing has changed, political movements need to work out how to insure that happens – it's not going to happen automatically.
With both Labour and Conservatives becoming Scottish Labour and Scottish Conservatives the preparations are well underway, I believe Alex Salmond has influenced these changes, and there is little doubt that Scotland will become Independent Scotland amongst the great and good of Edinburgh and its political classes.

Myself, I agree with the political sentiments.

Alwyn wrote:
I would agree that there is a body of opinion in England that believes that Scotland should bugger off and close the door behind them (this is not the official policy of any political party as far as I know); what confuses me is your support for them; because most of those who express such an opinion also want Wales to bugger of too – but you are opposed to Welsh independence.
There are two parts to the question:

I support the body of opinion which believes Scotland should be encouraged in its quest for independence, probably for a different reason. Much as a gangrenous limb is amputated because of the profound effect it will have on life itself, Alex Salmond has created a gangrenous political conundrum, a brilliant strategy that forces the other political parties to follow his yellow brick road. It’s too late to do anything other than set them on their way, so as a pragmatist I will help set the tables for a farewell street party to welcome a new British future.

With regard to the independence movement in Wales, it’s a very different animal; its feet are stuck in that social glue I wrote about earlier. If somehow you were able to raise the game plan to a similar level that exists in Scotland then the democratic process would kick in, but in my opinion the shock of the Scottish separation will galvanise the body politic minus Plaid in Wales into action that counters Plaid and benefits the peoples of Wales, and the primary players will be supported by their Westminster partners in crime.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Welsh poltroon or pudding, ...

... the crème catalana gets our vote, another superb recipe of Bill Granger, one of Australia’s top chefs.

To serve 6

625ml cream
170ml milk
2 tsp natural vanilla extract
2 cinnamon sticks
Peel from 1 orange
Peel from 1 lemon
6 egg yolks
4 tbsp caster sugar
2½ tbsp soft brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 140C/Gas 1. Put the cream, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, orange and lemon peel in a saucepan over a medium heat and bring just to boiling point, then remove from the heat. 

Whisk together the egg yolks and caster sugar in a large bowl. Strain the cream and pour slowly over the yolk and sugar mixture, whisking constantly. Skim off any foam that rises to the top. 

Put six 125ml ramekins or dariole moulds in a large roasting tin and spoon the mixture into the ramekins. Pour hot water into the tin to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins and cover the whole tin with foil. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until just set. Lift the ramekins out of the roasting tin and leave to cool before chilling in the fridge for 2 hours. 

Preheat the grill to its hottest temperature. Put the ramekins on a baking tray, sprinkle brown sugar over the chilled creams and then place under the grill for a couple of minutes until the sugar is melted and dark golden (if you have a chef’s blowtorch, this is the time to use it). Leave for a few minutes for the sugar to cool and harden before serving.
Why poltroon you might wonder, Plaid MEP Evans is calling for a mass refusal to pay the TV licence fee (backed by the Plaid machine).  Plaid politicians are encouraging people to replace the £145.50 licence fee with a fine of £1000.  Now I'm sure that an MEP earning close to a hundred thousand pounds can afford such a gesture, it is unlikely she will share a cell with a drug-addict, but the rest ...... 

... this Plaid largess, largess with the earnings of those on minimum wage, might extend to words of encouragement thrown over the jail walls ... it remains for many a choice ...

A choice between a cynical protest advocated by politicians or the antipodean pudding, Australia wins the day, it's no contest .......

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Independence ... now Plaid looks out of the abyss ...

... into the eyes of the electorate, an electorate which will demand answers for so long shrouded in blue smoke as activists waved a mirror,   "Independence Day".

... as leanne dreams of being carried across the Rubicon to independence in Adams arms ......

No longer will misleading, duplicitous or frail justifications be accepted when outrageous claims are made, and now the Plaid eyes of the left will need to sharpen their pens and prepare their vision ...

... but lets ask the brigade of political poltroons to add a profit and loss column, because the truth is out there and the electorate deserve nothing less, what will independence cost the peoples of Wales.

On another matter raised at conference, we can now expect Plaid MPs to support Westminster in its quest to replace the building of a replacement for the nuclear power station at Wylfa on Anglesey, and when these MPs support Wylfa we can expect them to support the Nuclear programme with enthusiasm and vigour, in fact to support the notion that light is preferred to darkness.

... or will MPs follow in the footsteps of Jill Evans MEP and turn their backs on conference, as Evans has on the law!

The historian Suetonius, wrote that Caesar uttered the famous phrase ālea iacta est ("the die has been cast"), when he crossed the Rubicon with his armies, Caesars' treason was not punished for 5 years, how long before Plaid will receive a verdict by the electorate, about the same, 5 years.

... happy days !

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Plaid or a little lemon ...

... pudding with yoghurt and blackberries, a gift from Bill Granger of The Times.

Ingredients for 4 servings:

50g unsalted butter
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
115g caster sugar
2 eggs, separated
40g plain flour, sifted
300ml milk
2 tbsp lemon juice
Ingredients to serve:
Plain yoghurt
250g blackberries
Icing sugar, for dusting 

1 Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4. Place the butter, lemon zest and sugar in a bowl and beat until pale and creamy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Fold through the flour, then gradually add the milk in a steady stream, whisking lightly to combine. Add the lemon juice and mix to combine. The mixture will look slightly curdled.

2 Place the egg whites in a clean, dry stainless-steel bowl and whisk until stiff peaks form. Using a large metal spoon, fold lightly through the pudding batter. Pour the batter into four 250ml oven-proof ramekins or dariole moulds and place on a baking tray. Bake for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Place a dollop of yoghurt and the blackberries on top, then dust with icing sugar.

So what is it to be, the Plaid Cymru conference or pudding ...

... the little lemon pudding wins hands down, on a rainy afternoon.

It was a big mistake when Margaret Thatcher ...

... caved in to Gwynfor Evans, it's always a mistake to capitulate to a bully, and today there is a similar set of circumstances in Wales concerning the TV channel created in the wake of Evans threat to starve himself to death.

Today Plaid Cymru has voted in its annual Autumn conference to support those people who choose not to pay their TV license fee, in protest at the reorganisation of S4C and its funding.  In perspective, the basket case that is S4C has wasted 10 years and a £ Billion of taxpayer funds producing a second rate service that few people are attracted too, it is in desperate need of reform.

But this is not the big issue, S4C is a side-show, for Ms Evans (Wales’ Plaid MEP) it is alternative government brought about by demonstration and protest, and it is a precursor for the real Jewel in the Crown, the BBC, in particular, BBC Wales.  Listen to the "separatist agenda" shouting the odds, calling for the management of BBC Wales and broadcasting in general to be brought under the wings of politicians in Wales, a parasitical relationship between politics and media as found during the life of S4C (where politics include pressure groups).

And the $ million question, "why is it so important to Plaid Cymru to gain control over broadcasting in Wales ?"

... it's the only way the separatist agenda can peddle their wares at minimal cost, that is subsidised by the taxpayer, and the pot of gold they see at the end of their particular rainbow, the TV licence fees paid by households west of Offa's Dyke.

So when the protest begins in earnest, fine the protesters the maximum, then send them to jail when the fine is not paid, and the BBC, the peoples of Wales do not want the broadcasting vision of the separatists, we are quite happy with that modernity, liberalism, and democracy that the BBC brings into our homes each day.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Like chocolate, then Pemberton's might be up your street ...

... as a business opportunity, and the chocolate is very, very good, I have visited enjoyed it and bought for friends and family.

... the business has a product that works, it needs an investor, it could probably do better with a light touch.

For sure the employees want to work .....

myself, I'm too old .........

Jill Evans has decided she is above the law ...

... and refused to pay her TV licence, pay as the rest of us do !

Info ...
It’s against the law to watch or record TV programmes as they're being shown on TV without a valid licence. This includes the use of devices such as a TV, computer, mobile phone, games console, digital box or DVD/VHS recorder.

Watching TV without a valid licence is a criminal offence. This can lead to prosecution, a court appearance and a fine of up to £1,000 (not including legal costs). The exceptions are in Guernsey where the maximum fine is £2,000 and Jersey it is £500.
It costs £145.50 for a colour and £49.00 for a black and white TV Licence.
So for European Union representative Jill Evans, I expect the penalty to be applied with a certain vigour, the maximum as she is in effect, with the support of Plaid Cymru I heard on today's news, advocating mass evasion of the licence fee.

Can this political poltroon continue to serve as an MEP if she has her deserved criminal record ?

... at the Plaid Cymru conference ...

... old friends meet up !

... the big question is whether Adam Price prefers "incognito" to coming out on stage as a (not so) surprise guest, as the politics of Plaid takes a lurch from the "left" to the "far left" to complement its "separatist agenda"

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Peace and freedom: the blessings of capitalism ...

... the headline of a profound article written by Daniel Finkelstein in today's Times.  The piece could be deemed an obituary, as he begins by telling us ...
The great ideologies dispossessed my father. It was democracy that let him live and die in safety and contentment ... a little more than a week ago my father lifted his arms and did something that he had done countless times before, blessed his children as he ushered in the Sabbath. But he was doing it for the last time. When he had finished, his hands fell to his side. He died the next day, with the blessing as his final act.
... although I enjoyed the prose, for those with an on-line subscription it can be found here, it is the final paragraph that explains a great deal of my own politics, he wrote of his father ...
Unlike those of us born here, my father became British on purpose, as a conscious act, one that he had thought about deeply. He never thought Britain’s leaders corrupt, or that the country was going to the dogs, or that our society was collapsing, undermined by its moral decay. He lived here proud of a nation that let him live, let him learn, let him teach, let him practise his religion. And ultimately let him die in bed, loved by his family.
... and so when I reply to the shallow question of nationalist politics "... and what nation do you belong to ? ", I am quietly confident that being "British" is more than sufficient, but when you reply "British-Welsh" there is a certainty that nationality is a matter of choice, just as Daniel Finkelstein's father chose to be British, those of us who choose to be "British-Welsh" can be certain that when the "separatist agenda" attempt to attach the label "anti-Welsh", to somehow make you less than a patriot, less than Welsh, be thankful because they have lost the argument completely.

 Saying I am "British-Welsh", it's a little like saying "I do" when we marry .....

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Tim Worstall writing at the Adam Smith Institute blog might be ...

... considered a little shallow in his conclusion, that we should accept state subsidies by the China government as a bonus, a bonus for whom I wonder, not the British public nor the China public, the blog may be read here.

So, are we the recipient of subsidies by the China government, or might it be "smoke and mirrors" of a dishonest kind, consider for yourself ...
... any subsidy must be paid from the general population of the subsidising country, the factory workers of China.
... the cost of unemployment in the recipient market is paid by the population as a whole, including borrowings, not the industry in the market that imports from China, or any other subsidising country or group of countries (the EU and farming is an example closer to home).
... the price at the till will not relate to the subsidy, but be exactly what the market will bear, not its intrinsic value, therefore any benefits of subsidy will not reach the consumer except during poor trading periods.
So, what should be our response to any subsidies .......

Saturday, 3 September 2011

How do you trust someone you ...

... do not really know ?

You must trust in what you know about them  !

Just a couple of throw away lines I heard in a play, not a particularly memorable play, except for the couple of lines that put on the line "personal judgement".

And if you don't know anything about them  ..... don't trust a word they utter !
Plaid Cymru spokesman for local government, Rhodri Glyn Thomas, has called on the Welsh Government to look at Plaid Cymru’s Build4Wales proposal as opposed to PFI arrangements.
... two issues, do you know the "man" or the "men and women" who devised the proposal ...... myself, the answer to both questions is "No", therefore I trust the proposal not at all.

But I hear the accusation "... but you know few of the people who you have read over the years, yet you trust their work!"

True, though I distrust much that doesn't have evidence to examine, this particular proposal has little other than smoke and mirrors.

And what about Caerphilly, its administration said PFIs were the only solution to deliver its major projects such as two new schools.  A spokeswoman for the council said...
"The council has entered into PFI arrangements over the last decade to fund key schemes, including the construction of two state-of-the-art secondary schools as well as a much-needed road scheme in Blackwood.  The PFI option was considered to be the most practical way forward at the time in order to deliver these major projects, while producing value for money for the council taxpayer."
The Caerphilly administration are the very same Political Party that is denouncing PFI, so what do the Assembly Government have to say about the issue ...
A Welsh Government spokesman said: “Local authorities are, unlike the Welsh Government, able to borrow directly. So PFI contracts are certainly not the only way in which authorities can raise finance for investment.  In the current year, for example, local authorities in Wales intend to borrow more than £250m to fund investment. This means that councils in Wales have been able to maintain capital investment in 2011-12 (£1.06bn) at around the same level as in 2010-11 (£1.08bn).
So, how do you trust someone you do not really know to do the right thing ....... toss a coin is as safe an option as any, except if one party sits diametrically opposed to your politics.

The original article is here.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Cobbler(s), Peach and blueberry (blackberry) ....

.... a late summer early autumn treat.

... thanks to Edd Kimber (of The Times) ...... Serves 4-6 

850g ripe peaches
80g blueberries .............. alternative why not use blackberry
2 tsp lemon juice
100g caster sugar
30g plain flour
Single cream or vanilla ice cream, to serve

For the cobbler:
150g self-raising flour
55g butter
100g caster sugar
120ml buttermilk


Preheat oven to 180C (160C fan oven), gas 4. Put peaches into a bowl of boiling water for one minute (very ripe peaches will take less time).

Remove and cool under cold water.

Use tip of a knife to loosen skin, then peel off. Cut peaches in half to remove the stone, then cut into slices.

In a bowl, mix together the peaches, blueberries, lemon juice, sugar and flour.

Tip into a 1-litre ovenproof dish and bake for 20 minutes while you make the cobbler topping.

In a food processor, pulse the flour, butter and sugar together until the mixture resembles very fine breadcrumbs.
Pulse in buttermilk just until you have a soft dough. (Alternatively, put flour into a medium bowl and rub in butter until it resembles fine breadcrumbs, then stir in sugar. Pour in the buttermilk and mix gently together until you have a soft dough.)

Remove dish of fruit from oven and add topping in large spoonfuls.

Bake for a further 40-50 minutes or until cobbler topping has browned and fruit is bubbling.

Serve with cream or a large scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Marketing froth, or is there something more ...

... afoot, well it doesn't seem democratic, and considering "Labour gave a cast-iron guarantee at the last Assembly election that they would retain the current structure of 22 for their entire term of office ( - source Betsan Powys)", it smacks of a dictatorship, or does it.

Out go 22 democratically elected councils and in come 22 democratically elected tiddlers + 6 super imposed quangos with bully boy Local Government Minister Carl Sargeant sitting on a strategic shoulder, much like a pirates parrot but with political cudgel, it does come across as "dictator in motion", it might have been different if only he had asked first ....

.... or could it be simple gerrymandering of outcomes, in a little less than 5 years the Labour Party will be going to the polls and unlike the remainder will be able to gainsay every success found in the reorganised government enterprises (police, education etc.), the not so successful outcomes will be discarded as so much flotsam.

A win-win situation for Labour as the left leaning electorate jump the Plaid ship, and Liberal Democrats haemorrhage its faithful to the call of Carwyn, this is all about winning the next election, not about serving the public. If it was about serving the public Sargeant might have suggested a single police force, after-all there's only 3 million of us, but he doesn't suggest, he dictates, tricky old world our 21st century Wales.