politics

Swansea’s rebel women

February 18, 2018 5 Comments
Swansea’s rebel women

For all their strengths in the campaign to gain votes for women Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst were by nature autocratic.  In 1907 some members of their Women’s Social and Political Union took exception to their announcement that the WSPU’s annual conference would be cancelled in future and that they themselves and their inner circle would […]

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Orwell’s toads

January 20, 2018 3 Comments
Orwell’s toads

On 12 April 1946 the magazine Tribune published a short piece by George Orwell entitled Some thoughts on the common toad.  It’s not perhaps his most original essay – its central theme is the coming of spring, and how ubiquitous it is, even in the centre of a large city like London – but it […]

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A waxwork opens an embassy

January 13, 2018 0 Comments
A waxwork opens an embassy

Like many people – or at least like many non-Londoners – I was only dimly aware that the American government was building a new UK embassy in London, when Mr Donald J Trump kindly drew our attention to its imminent opening. According to a recent tweet it seems Mr Trump was planning to come and […]

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Dillad dychmygol Brexit

October 20, 2017 0 Comments
Dillad dychmygol Brexit

Yn y stori draddodiadol a addaswyd gan Hans Christian Andersen yn 1837, mae pawb yn y ddinas yn llygadrythu ar ddillad newydd yr Ymerawdwr – y gair yw eu bod  yn anweledig ond i bobl dwp – nes bod bachgen bach yn dod sy’n ddigon diniwed ac eofn i ebychu, ‘Ond does dim dillad amdano!’ […]

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Kicking our legs away

October 1, 2017 0 Comments
Kicking our legs away

‘Infrastructure’ is a Latinate word almost designed to put you to sleep.  But it stands for something that’s crucial to us all.  Spending on infrastructure – sewage systems, transport links, reservoirs, electricity generation, broadband networks and the rest – is critical to how any successful economy and society operates.  The right infrastructure provides the sturdy […]

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Is it time for a National Trust of Wales?

September 1, 2017 2 Comments
Is it time for a National Trust of Wales?

There was a time when the National Trust was invulnerable and beyond criticism.  Its aims are so obviously virtuous, and the experience of visiting its sites so rewarding that anyone bold enough to question its ethos or ways of working would have been seen as eccentric.  The Trust is still one of the most popular […]

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Mr Skates’s ring cycle

July 28, 2017 11 Comments
Mr Skates’s ring cycle

The row over the ‘Iron Ring’ proposed for Flint Castle seems to be over, so the time is right to think more calmly about what we’ve learnt. First, a quick summary of what happened (there is an ignominious prequel, which I’ll skip).  Cadw, responsible for safeguarding scheduled historic monuments in Wales, together with Visit Wales, the […]

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Broke down engine blues

May 27, 2017 0 Comments
Broke down engine blues

The story that follows isn’t unusual, or dramatic, or life-changing.  But it says something about the country we now live in, and what an historically abnormal attitude we have towards it. I needed to go to London for the day for a meeting.  The train left Swansea on time at 8:29am, and most of the […]

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Two Scilly visitors

April 2, 2017 0 Comments
Two Scilly visitors

On 22 October 1707 Admiral Sir Cloudsley Shovell was guiding his fleet of fifteen Royal Navy ships back towards the England coast after a failed attempt to defeat the French fleet near the Mediterranean port of Toulon during the War of the Spanish Succession. It was a difficult voyage.  The weather was stormy, and Shovell, […]

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A letter from Kampala

January 8, 2017 0 Comments
A letter from Kampala

A few days ago a letter came from Kampala, Uganda.  It’s still lying on the table inside the front door, with its envelope.  I haven’t put it in the bin for recycling, and nor have I thought about replying to it.  It continues to lie there.  What follows tries to explain why. The brown envelope, […]

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