Friday, 30 November 2012

Holyhead Marine and Sydney Pilot Boats.

Sharp the second Sydney Pilot Boat - © Vessels at Holyhead. 

Here's a good quiz question - what is the connection between Holyhead and Sydney?

The answer, hat tip to the blog Vessels at Holyhead, is pilot boats as explained in the Sydney Ports Newsletter April 2012:

New Pilot Boat on Track for September
It has yet to be launched and is yet to be named but, if all goes to plan, Sydney Ports will have its first new pilot boat in 23 years in September this year.

The first of two new boats on order, construction of the 16 metre vessel is well underway and is expected to begin sea trials in late June. [2012]

It is being built by North Wales based Holyhead Marine which has more than 40 years experience designing and building work boats, tugs and pilot boats for clients around the world.

Our second boat is also being built there and will be ready for trials towards the end of the year.

Harbour Master Philip Holliday says our old boats have earned their pending retirement having served us well for up to 31 years.

“Our crews have developed strong bonds with our old boats and it won’t be easy for them to say goodbye but our new vessels have a proven track record in numerous ports around the world and I’m confident they’ll become respected work horses on the Sydney Ports fleet.

“They have double chine hulls that handle big seas very well and each will have two 600-horsepower Scania engines capable of driving these 24-tonne boats at better than 25 knots.

Philip said the first boat is expected to be shipped to Australia in September and ready for use later that month.

See also: Sydney Ports October 2012 Newsletter - The First of Three New Pilot Vessels Arrives.

It's good to see that not only do we import ships from down under, we also export some there too, and is further confirmation of the growing success story that is Holyhead Marine

For more pictures of  'Sharp' the second pilot boat see the blog Vessels at Holyhead.

The Netherlands, flood plains and being prepared.

There was an interesting letter in the Daily Post on Friday, from John Lloyd, Chairman of the Flood Prevention Society.

Most of it repeats their claim that all flooding is the fault of the Environment Agency - whom allegedly don't employ any civil engineers.....and civil engineers as we all know are next to GOD and must be obeyed on all occasions...."If they'd done what the civil engineers wanted there would be no flooding and no mistake".

His final paragraph is thus "Holland is 60% below sea level but not declared a flood plain - it's water courses are maintained by river civil engineers, not bird watchers!"

In the first place I assume he means Netherlands, of which Holland is only a region. And then when he says they have no declared flood plains (not really sure what he means) he must have not read the following from Flood maps in the Netherlands (a pdf file):

...Because of this, Dutch flood protection policy concentrates on prevention against floods, i.e. minimizing the probability of flooding. However, absolute protection is impossible, there will always remain a small chance that strong and impressive protection works fail. The flooding of New Orleans (September 2005) has illustrated the damage and disruption that may occur when large metropolitan areas are flooded. Therefore, in addition to flood prevention, it is crucial to be prepared for flooding as well. This policy is needed to minimize damage, casualties and disruption when the rare disaster becomes reality.

And this from Spiegel Online - Dutch Answer to Flooding: Build Houses that Swim.

Climate patterns today suggest that torrential rainfall is something we can expect plenty more of in the future. This year's floods in the Alps or those along the River Elbe three years ago could well be warning signs of what awaits us. Climatologists predict that precipitation in The Netherlands could increase as much as 25 percent. At the same time, because of the small kingdom's dense population, there is increasing pressure to build in areas prone to flooding. Already, though, the country defies the laws of physics simply by existing: More than a quarter of its land lies below sea level. And, year by year, the land is sinking a little bit lower. The Dutch protect themselves from going under through a network of canals and pumps. It is not only the sea which threatens the mighty barrage on the coast. On the other side lies the Rhine River, which branches out and forms a wide-reaching delta with the Maas. To prevent such huge swaths of land from flooding in summer and winter storms, the Dutch are designating more and more land along their rivers as flood zones. Within the next few decades, the area will compose close to 500,000 hectares -- or about twice the size of the German state of Saarland.

And this from University of Twente ... Last year [2005] in the Netherlands 15 locations were allocated along the Rhine branches where – under strong restrictions - it was allowed to build in floodplains.

So in summary they do have flood plains and protected flood zones in Netherlands, and they recognise that even the best designed and built flood defences may fail, and as such they prepare for such eventualities.

The message should be clear, if your property is within an area prone to flooding, even with flood defences in place, you should always ask yourself what would you do in the worst case scenario, and the property is flooded. Crossing your fingers and hoping for the best ain't an option anymore. There is plenty of advise and guidance on the internet.

Just in case you are thinking of moving to Netherlands you can find out about potential risks by visiting the following website:,  which  "allows you to discover the risks in your area by entering your post code or place of residence. You can see whether there is an increased risk in your area of, for instance, an aviation accident, natural fires or floods and you receive advice about what you must do in such a case."

Or if your not sure if your property is at risk of flooding here in the UK you can visit the Environment Agency website: Am I at risk of flooding?

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Roger Lewis of the Daily Mail is a twat.

Warning this post contains some rude words.

Us here in North Wales have a saying 'part time englishmen' as a derogatory remark about men from South Wales, which these days on the whole is unfair.

However, if someone asked me for an example of such a person, I would refer them to Roger Lewis, the so called journalist whom writes for the Daily Mail.

This nutter and 'part time englishman' recently said this bullshit - "a mob that could teach the Taliban a thing or two - went round vandalising the English road signs." See: Save Wales from the Welsh: Children told they can't go to the loo if they ask in English. Architects shunned if their plans aren't in Welsh. ROGER LEWIS on the nutty Welsh Language Society.

What utter utter crap, of course this twat has form, last year he said - Not many people in full possession of their faculties would find it appealing or necessary to try to turn themselves into a ‘real Welshman’.

Nevertheless, in his quest to call himself a Celt, our author does the maddest thing of all — he actually learns Welsh, by attending evening classes (in London/Llundain) and going on courses. I abhor the appalling and moribund monkey language myself, which hasn’t had a new noun since the Middle Ages — hence pwdin is pudding, snwcer is snooker, tacsi is taxi and bocsio is boxing.
see How I tried to be one of the boyos.

You might say... if you were minded to be kind....that what he is attempting to say; in a cack handed way, is that to be 'Welsh' you don't really need to be able to speak welsh, and there is nothing wrong with that.

I suppose you could also apply the same to the English, and ask whether you to be 'English' you also need to be able to speak english, after all that is the logical conclusion of his argument.

Anyhows as we know with a free press we should expect robust debate, even allowing controversial views....and as such we should also be allowed a reply.....

Roger Lewis of the Daily Mail - you are the weakest fuck off.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Flooding and lessons from USA

I know it's sad for those whom recently have lost possessions in the floods, but then again it's a simple fact - if you own a property near to a river or on a flood plain, even an old flood plain, then you have to expect that sometime in your lifetime your property may be flooded.

Not unsurprisingly every time a flooding incident occurs the politicians are out in force, talking of "shocking scenes of flooding"(copyright David Cameron). And demanding that more defenses be built to protect properties.

But is building more flood defenses the long term answer?

In the USA they have long realised that this is not the answer.

"Flooding remains the most common and one of the most costly categories of natural hazards in the United States. Historically, the United States has relied on structural mitigation, insurance, and disaster relief to mitigate the harm done by floods. However, experience has shown that structural mitigation and related policies can fail to protect lives and property while also contributing to the degradation of the riverine environment."

The above from River Ecology and Flood Hazard Mitigation.

As it seems likely due to 'global warming' we will see extreme weather more often, we need to get a grip of development within flood plains. First of all because of the environmental damage that is does, and secondly because of the high cost in the long term of doing so.

What we really need is a Environment Agency with real teeth, that can have the powers to stop damaging development in flood plains, or developments that would be likely to contribute to damage in flood plains.

But realistically that's not going to happen is it? - can you see any of the main stream parties with enough backbone to legislate for that?

As for existing properties, the answer is seems is to work with nature, and i.e. allow for controlled flooding, which is after all a natural occurrence, and allow low lying farm land to be flooded, with compensation to the farmer, in order to reduce the flow of the river. As the above paper says:

Given these features of flooding and the policy responses to floods, we recommend that federal agencies address flood hazards by using one or a combination of the following techniques, listed in descending order of desirability:

1. Avoid the risk.
2. Minimize impacts of risk.
3. Mitigate risks.
4. Indemnify or insure against loss; compensate.

Risk avoidance is at the heart of Executive Order 11988’s mandate; if this executive order were more effectively implemented, our recommendation would be implicitly adopted, with risk avoidance becoming the preferred tool. Currently, however, federal agencies seek primarily to mitigate and indemnify, not to avoid risks whenever possible.

Which is more or less the situation also in the UK.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Wylfa B - a cash bonanza?

If in the long term Wylfa B gets built, quite rightly there should be some planning gain for the benefit of the community as a whole. But what can we expect in this regard. Well, a good pointer would be the S106 agreement between the developers of Hinkley C and Somerset councils.

Below is an extract from Somerset County Council website:

Somerset councils and EDF Energy have signed a landmark agreement which will deliver nearly £100 million for local communities to mitigate the impact of the proposed new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point C.....

[...which will] pay for a range of measures for communities most affected by the development, including:
  • Up to £8.5 million for a housing fund to mitigate potential impacts on the local housing market, including the refurbishment of local properties
  • £12.8 million as the balance of a £20 million community fund for measures to enhance the quality of life in local communities. The £12.8 million will be independently administered by the Somerset Community Foundation, with council, community and EDF Energy representation on the awarding panel
  • Nearly £16 million on a variety of highway improvement schemes, particularly in and around Bridgwater, to ease traffic and enhance road safety
  • Over £7.1 million to improve local skills and training, including a final £2 million instalment for the Energy Skills Centre at Bridgwater College
  • Up to £4.6 million towards community safety measures
  • Almost £5.5 million to support economic development and tourism initiatives
  • More than £3 million to support local education provision and provide extra school places, if necessary
  • Almost £1 million to support local health services
  • £300,000 to be spent on local heritage
  • £350,000 to pay for landscape and visual improvements
  • More than £440,000 to support improvements to public rights of way
  • Over £865,000 on environmental measures, including contributions towards flood defence measures in Cannington (£500,000), Bridgwater (£220,000) and Stolford (£80,000)
  • More than £3.6 million to provide additional resources to the local authorities so that they can monitor and ensure the successful implementation of the development and continue to work closely with local communities

Of course for both Hinkley C and Wylfa B to be built there will have to be some form of public subsidy. An article in the Telegraph says "Subsidies for new nuclear power could add £70 to annual household energy bills, Ian Marchant, the chief executive of SSE warns.

If we carry out a very simple exercise you would say that on Anglesey in 2011 there was 30,600 households, which would need to find £70 more to pay for their electricity annually, that's a total of £2,142,000 - over £2 million. And if we apply that over the likely lifetime of Wylfa B, 20 years that's a grand total of £42,840,000 or nearly £43 million. Or on the same basis for the number of households in Wales a grand total of £1,823,780,000 nearly £2 billion.

As I said a simple exercise, but it rather puts the £20 million community fund at Hinkley C into some sort of context at least, and makes you ask whether this current UK government energy policy is the best way foward to secure a safe and affordable energy supply for the future. 

Supreme Court gives green light to historic bill.

The good people of Wales voted in a referendum to give the Welsh Assembly more law making powers. It made sense to simplify the way bills became law, removing the need to first seek permission from the Westminster Parliament and associated red tape.

It was fitting therefore that the first bill passed by the Welsh Assembly following this referendum was the Local Government Byelaws (Wales) Bill, which made it easier for Councils and others to make byelaws, without the need to seek confirmation from any Welsh Minister. Again a sensible proposition....the removal of more red tape.

However, the then Welsh Secretary 'Sad' Cheryl Gillian decided that the bill exceeded the Welsh Assembly powers and refereed the bill to the Supreme Court. I posted about it at the time see: Sad Gillian wants to play byelaws.

On Wednesday the Supreme Court ruled that the Welsh Assembly had the legislative competence to enact the Bill. You can download the full transcript from the Supreme Court's website.
Hat tip: Betsan Powys, BBC Wales.

The following are extracts from the judgement, highlighting the key issues:

LORD NEUBERGER (with whom Lord Clarke, Lord Reed and Lord Carnwath agree)....

48. In my view, this point highlights the way in which the Bill is structured, and, more importantly for present purposes, it tends to support the argument advanced by the Counsel General, namely that the removal by the Bill of the Secretary of State’s power to confirm byelaws under section 236(11) is indeed “incidental to, or consequential on” one of the principal purposes of section 6 of the Bill, which is, as section 1 states, to remove the requirement for confirmation by the Welsh Ministers, as part of the overall streamlining and modernising of the way in which byelaws are made in Wales.

49. The answer to the question whether a particular provision in an enactment is “incidental to, or consequential on” another provision, obviously turns on the facts of the particular case. The answer may to some extent be a question of fact and degree, and it should turn on substance rather than form, although, of course, in any well drafted Bill, the substance will be reflected in the form, at least in relation to that sort of question......

52. Section 6 of the Bill plainly is intended to have the effect of removing the need for confirmation by the Welsh Ministers of any byelaw made under the scheduled enactments. That is a primary purpose of the Bill, as is clear from reading the provisions quoted above, both in itself and for the purpose of streamlining and modernising the making of byelaws.......

61. The Attorney General’s argument is that section 9 would “confer power” on the Welsh Ministers “by subordinate legislation to remove or modify … pre-commencement function[s] of a Minister of the Crown”. Accordingly, he argues, by virtue of section 108(6)(a) of, and paragraph 1(1) of Part 2 of Schedule 7 to, the 2006 Act, the section is outside the legislative competence of the Assembly.....

63. Although it is perfectly true that there are no express words in section 9 which limit its scope in this way, I am satisfied that it does have such a limited effect. That is because of the simple legal principle, identified by Lord Reed, embodied in the Latin maxim nemo dat quod non habet. Given that the jurisdiction of the Assembly is limited to removing, or delegating the power to remove, functions of Ministers of the Crown when the removal satisfies the requirements of paragraph 6(1)(b) of Part 3 of Schedule 7 to the 2006 Act, the Assembly cannot confer a wider power on Welsh Ministers. Accordingly, the wide words of section 9 must be read as being circumscribed in their scope so as to render the section valid.

I suppose to be fair to 'Sad' Gillian MP the judgement does not say she was wrong in one sense, but confirmed 'the terms on which she was prepared to give her consent to Section 6 of the Bill' - to long as the bill did not confer onto Welsh Government Ministers additional powers outside the scope of the Welsh Assembly. Lord Neuberger says:

67. It should be added that, although this is a successful outcome for the Assembly and the Counsel General, it cannot be regarded as a setback in practical terms for the Secretary of State. Somewhat curiously, the conclusion I have reached as to the effect of section 9 is one which reflects the terms on which she was prepared to give her consent to Section 6 of the Bill.

Having said that, and in light of the Supreme Court judgement, you really do need to ask whether it was absolutely necessary to refer the matter to them in the first place. How much did this cost for starters, and the fact as David Jones, Welsh Secretary points out that..."it was entirely proper for the Attorney General to refer the Bill to the Supreme Court at that stage" does not make the decision to do so right or proper.

I find it ironic that the above judgement came out in the same week that David Cameron, Prime Minister promised a crackdown on judicial reviews of government decisions.

And finally we really need to question the purpose and function of the Welsh Secretary and associated expense -  is it a bureaucracy we can do without?

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Education in Wales - time for change?

We in Wales have a good education system, with many dedicated and hardworking teachers, the question though is it good enough?

In a speech this week Leighton Andrews, Education Minister has ordered a wide raging review of education in Wales, and one possibility might be removing education from the control of local councils. Not unsurprisingly the Local Government Association is against such move, but then again the phrase turkeys voting for Christmas comes to mind.

I'm not convinced that education standards will be improved if left up to local councils. Neither am I convinced that best decisions; which in the main should be evidence based and logical, will be made by a bunch of self preening headline grabbing politicians. We on Anglesey have been moribund for decades due to petty infighting amongst our infantile councillors.

The below is a re-post of what I said last September:

Education in Wales - some suggestions

The education system in Wales needs to be reformed, as Leighton Andrews has said we have far too many Education Authorities.

So here are some ideas:

There should be a maximum of 6 Education and Training Boards

All children would be guaranteed a standard education until the age of 18.

A national body would set minimum education standards, but teachers would be allowed to decide how this is achieved.

Each child would have a guaranteed personal education budget for life set by the Welsh Assembly.

There would be a mixture of private and public early learning centres for children between the ages of 5 to 7, with an emphasises on learning by play and participation. Parents would have a choice of where to send there children, however for any establishment charging more than the standard cost parents would need to fund the additional costs.

As these early years are crucial there would be no means testing of the guaranteed element of public funding.

Between the ages of 7 and 16, children would attend area schools. This is where they would learn their 'foundation' education. Parents would have a choice between private and public schools, but parents would need to fund the cost of any private schooling themselves - other than for private or charity 'not for profit' schools.

After 16 they would have a choice of either a vocational course or academic courses, with emphasises for the majority on vocational training.

Vocational courses would in partnership with a private company or public authority or a charity. Public funding would be provided for part of the training, and for small and medium size companies additional tax concessions to encourage participation.

So after 16 (should they decide not to follow an academic route) they could either become an apprentice or stay on at a vocational college till the age of 18. I suppose they could leave school when 16, and there could be many valid reasons why. But say later they change their mind they could still call upon the balance left in their personal education budget to learn again.

The above are mere suggestions, no costing exercise has been carried out, make of them what you may, for I am no education expert, nor do I claim to be one. As I often say my poor grammar alone is proof of that.

See also Time to support and invest in good teachers.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Employment - a look behind the headlines

Yesterday brought some good news on the employment front, as reported by BBC News "The number of people out of work in the UK has fallen to its lowest total for more than a year."

But if you look behind the figures things don't seem that good - take the change in employment over one year in percentage terms:  In employment an increase of 1.8% (513) - of which number of employees rose by 1.3% (319); number of self employed rose by 2.7% (112); number of unpaid family members rose by 4.6% (5) and number in government supported training & employment programmes rose by 86.6% (77). (figures in brackets are in thousands)

And of those, over a year, there was an increase 0.9% (197) in full time employment and an increase of 4% (316) in part time employment. Which can be split further down as follows:

EFT Employed full time - EPT Employed part time, SFT self employed full time - SPT self employed part time. 

Another worrying trend is the increase in number unemployed for more than 12 months:

Finally, regional change in employment since July to September 2011:

and changes in unemployed:

Data from ONS Labour Market Statistics, November 2012

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Growth in Wales tops league

The key findings of the latest Lloyds TSB Wales PMI® complied by Markit says:
  • Business activity grows at fastest rate since February 2011
  • Improvement backed by stronger gain in new business and backlog clearance
  • Input price inflation at five-month high

The Markit press release says: "The latest PMI survey signalled that the recovery in the Welsh private sector economy gained momentum at the start of the fourth quarter. Wales posted a faster increase in private sector output than all other UK regions, and new business growth was the fastest in 20 months. On a less positive note, employment fell slightly and input prices rose at the strongest rate in five months.

Though this may be only a small silver lining on the dark clouds fast approaching.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Let's get real - we need to know who abused the kids.

It's a simple truth, there has for a long time been rumors of a circle of paedophiles that abused already damaged kids at Bryn Estyn, but whom because of their standing in society were afforded a high level of protection.

As I've said before, as someone who was indirectly involved in subsequent Bryn Estyn inquires the notion that there was a circle of paedophiles consisting of senior members of the establishment does not surprise me in the least.  I heard names mentioned and allegation made, but knew that due to their standing; they being rich and 'upstanding members of society' against young and vulnerable kids, the chance of prosecution was slim.

It though does not excuse the fact that out there; still free, is a Senior Conservative who allegedly is a paedophile who abused young children from Bryn Estyn, together with others in a sick circle of paedophiles at the time.

Someone who is powerful and in charge of the establishment can find it very easy to abuse their position, be that a boss groping his secretary or a TV star abusing young children....because there are plenty; who in fear will not allow themselves to see the truth, and bow to the majesty of the abusers deceit.

The Conservative Party need to get real, they need to cut out this cancer once and for all, they know who the paedophiles are, get it done, get it sorted......they without doubt have the evidence....locked away in some lawyers safe... circling the wagons and attempting to blame everyone else wont wash this time.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

The politicians answer - hold a review and make it comprehensive.

As we know the Welsh Ambulance service has failed to meet it target of reaching 65% of emergency calls within 8 minutes. As I said yesterday, as a measure of the quality of the service, this arbitrary target is rather pointless, as it easier to meet in large cities and towns than in rural areas. Then there are the factors outside the control of the Ambulance Service that affect these times.......poor weather or busy A&E meaning Ambulances having longer waits, to name but two.

Ideally what you should to do is combine the fire service and the ambulance service into an all Wales Emergency Response Service, and separating the transfer of patients back in to the local heath boards responsibility. Well that what happens in most other countries.

But that not going to happen is it, and if you want to increase response times, which after all is really just an exercise in logistics, making sure you have enough ambulances in the right place at the right time, I suspect what you need is more ambulances, more staff and more money. Especially in the future, with fewer hospitals and greater travel distances,  tying Ambulances and Paramedics up longer.

But of course we ain't got the money, they struggled to agree the Ambulance budget this year, no doubt the health boards wanted to pay less, but demanded a better service.

As reported by  BBC Wales - Lesley Griffiths [the Health Minister] has announced plans to improve response times as well as holding a "comprehensive review" into the service......

It failed to meet the target of responding to 65% of the most urgent calls within eight minutes for the fourth successive month.

But the minister announced she wants to increase the Category A target to 70% of calls whereas in England it stands at 75%.

A final decision will be made after the review is completed, the Welsh government said.

Ah the politicians default position, when they cant make a decision ...which in this case should either be give  more monies to the Ambulance Service to improve their response times, or be honest and say in these days of austerity this is the best we can hope to achieve as things stand.

But no kick it into the long grass by announcing a comprehensive review. Although to be fair to Lesley Griffiths I suspect that in her in tray, there are far more important and controversial issues she needs to deal being the proposed closure of many community hospitals. 

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Obama and the UK media

Oh for fuck sake, I used to like John Snow...he of Channel 4, but his apparent shock that Obama won is a bit sad and mad...and also rather pathetic....

Apparently and allegedly Obama won 'cause of immigrants, sorry but putting aside the native Americans...all Americans will be descended from immigrants.

The narrative it seems is 'how could Obama win with the USA in a recession' although technically speaking the USA is not in a recession.

If the USA is in recession or about to fall into recession with growth of 1.3 and 2 for the last two quarters...then we here in the UK must be really really fucked.

And whilst the rest of the world were looking towards the USA and the presidential elections, where was our PM David Cameron....yes selling fucking arms to the couldn't bloody make it up.

999 responce times and pointless statistics.

Am always surprised by the fascination the media and politicians have with arbitrary statistics, see Tom Bodden in today's Daily Post.  Take the response times for welsh ambulances and a target that 65% arrive within 8 minutes. Why 8 minutes..why not 10...why 65% - do they actually mean anything? - other than putting pressure on already hard working paramedics. For this statistic measures nothing really, it doesn't show us the 'outcomes'- the quality of care received during the golden hour, and neither can you really use it compare regions.

I've a feeling this statistic was made up by some civil servant living in a large city such as Cardiff. Whereas things are different in rural areas such as Anglesey, and our poor roads, many narrow and winding. It's also a statistic better suited to the olden days, when you had ambulance drivers, whose main job was to chuck you as quick as possible int' back of ambulance and rush you off to hospital, so Doctor could make you all better.

These days we have dedicated and hard working paramedics, whose priority on arriving is to asses the patient and stablise his or hers condition, and if things are really really bad there is always the Wales Air Ambulance to call in, to whisk them away to the nearest Accident and Emergency.

I suppose the clock stops when they reach the location, again easy in a big city, but what about in rural villages and post codes that cover large areas, and houses with no names, and then there's the weather especially over winter, far better that the ambulance arrives in one piece, than not at all.

After all life is about risk, and if you decide to live in a rural area far far away from the madding crowd, well you have to accept things like ambulances may take a bit longer to arrive, and if you judge that risk too high...maybe better you move back to the town or city then.  

Monday, 5 November 2012

Web sites saving our local High Streets.

In a recent post I asked can we save our hight streets? - following which I received an email from

Have a look at It's a new project puting indie retailers online working from one portal. Collective marketing and collective effort.

Not having heard of the website, decided to check them out...and this is what the Guardian had to say in report by Joanne O'Connell:

"No one wants to see their high street crumble. But with household budgets at breaking point, what's the incentive to go local? Supermarkets and online retail giants offer discount prices, 24/7 shopping and deliveries. According to a recent report, some products, such as toys, are as much as 60% cheaper online.

However, two schemes aim to breathe life back into our beleaguered high streets and both allow customers to shop locally on their mobile, PC or tablet.  Customers can either click and collect, or have purchases delivered to their door.

A good endorsement as ever...and trust you'll take a look ...

Friday, 2 November 2012

Welsh Assembly and the Welsh language.

A few days ago David Jones MP and Welsh Secretary said "..This is also very important for the Welsh Language..." when talking about Wylfa B. (see below)

You would think therefore that a Welsh Government bill; intended to put Welsh and English on an equal footing in the Welsh Assembly, would be welcomed as another important step for the welsh language.

Um....well in the first place not sure why this wasn't one of the founding principles of the Welsh Assembly - that the languages of welsh and english had an equal footing - surely the first legal officer for the assembly none other than Winston Roddick QC has some questions to answer?

So a bit confused why "The Wales Office had questioned whether the assembly had law-making powers over the English language." as reported by  BBC Wales News

Or in other words 'how dare they challenge the supremacy of the english language.'

The Attorney General Dominic Grieve though has decided not to take the Official Languages Bill to the Supreme Court.

As Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith said [to the BBC]: "David Jones now has questions to answer as to why he persisted in seeking this wasteful review of the assembly's legislative competence - established after last year's referendum - and what has been the full cost associated with his referral."

Not sure I'll believe a word David Jones MP ever says again.......enough said.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Wylfa B and the welsh language

Listening to BBC Wales news last night about  the visit by Hitachi to Wylfa, was struck by a closing disclaimer made by hobnobbing politicians and directors from Hitachi...that there was no guarantees that the 'new' jobs would be local.

Which I think most of us knew anyway, especially during the construction phase. Building a nuclear power station requires a skilled workforce and they tend to travel round the world from job to job. And with fewer countries now building new nuclear plants there's not likely to be a shortage.

Of course there will be some jobs for locals, well someone has to make the tea, and clean the construction offices etc..etc..

Then there are the permanent jobs, which somehow will dissuade the youngsters of the island from crossing the bridge in search of further education and a well paid career.

This assuming that they want to work in the nuclear industry in the first place, want to be engineers and technicians....and not forgetting the skilled workforce that already works at Wylfa, and those who worked at Trawsfynydd.

Whilst reading the Daily Post this morning and showing my age I had a 'I can't believe it' moment or as I said it 'what the fuck'.....

Apparently David Jones MP, Welsh Secretary said and I quote "This is also very important for the Welsh Language, I remember the saying "Heb waith dim gwaith" and am delighted that the young people from the island will not have to leave if they want to live here, work here and raise a family"

Which on one level is true, without jobs you won't have a community no matter what the native language is.....but really as we know during the construction phase the majority of the workers will be from elsewhere, some traveling daily, some renting accommodation during the week not sure how such an influx of migrant workers will help the welsh language.

Especially as rental cost are likely to go up, as to house prices, most probably pricing many young local families out of the market completely, forcing them to move off the island to find a home.

As Tatsuro Issizuka, Vice-president of Hitachi said he expected the majority of the workers to be from the no guarantees about local jobs and only an expectation that the majority of the jobs will be from the UK.

To try to link Wylfa B and the welsh language, in some rather pathetic attempt I think to discredit Leanne Wood and Plaid Cymru and their anti nuclear policy is in my opinion rather stupid. Simple message for David Jones MP 'shut the fuck up' and stop treating us like morons.