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Badger and the little Red Book

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badger84imageBEFORE Badger begins, he would like to correct an impression that could have been given by his column last week that Cllr Keith Lewis had not repented of any sins. Keith repenteth plenty. Or at least he will soon. It was a case of too many Lewises spoiling the joke. Saint Simon of Neyland will forgive Badger. Saint Simon knows that one word, “Plus” (or minus), can make or ruin a joke however bad. It is Rob Lewis who repenteth not, Saint Simon. Pray for his immortal soul, pray. And after that, on with the motley and back to the fray. A long time ago, when the world was green, adherents to extremist ideology clustered around one or two publications like moths drawn to a flame.

Badger remembers the strident cries of “Socialist Worker!” delivered in a mockney dahn serf accent by Repton old boys whose daddies were something big in the FO; Badger remembers Militant, a newspaper printed and circulated by those who thought everyone had sold out Marxist-Leninism, including —rather surprisingly — the pre-Glasnost Soviet Union. Badger remembers when jokes like this were rather more common: Q: How many Marxists does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: None: The light bulb contains the seeds of its own revolution! But the touchstone of many a member of the lunatic fringe of British left wing politics was a selection of extracts from speeches and aphorisms delivered by the biggest dingbat in the Comtnunist belfry.

Badger refers of course to “Quotations of Chairman Mao Tse-Tung”; otherwise, universally known in the West as “The Little Red Book”. Now, the glorious dawn of a new Cultural Revolution is upon us with the ascent to the giddy heights, Chair of Pembrokeshire County Council, of Chairman Tom Richards. Tom, often to be seen sashaying around Quay Street in a quite fetching scarf, hat and coat combination of a style befitting a gentleman farmer, has ascended to this seat of power not because of his keen insight, still less in recognition of his administrative skill or prowess with a well-timed gavel. No: readers Chairman Tom has been promoted to glory because of the old rule of “Buggin’s ibm”. This is not so much a job for the boys, as a job for one of the “good old boys”. But here is his chance to make a mark. To exchange notoriety for fame. Perhaps, readers, Chairman Tom’s thoughts might give us an insight into the future.

His investigative instincts piqued, Badger tunnelled to the Chairman Welsh Hook fastness to try and get a peep at what makes Tom tick and to discover how the Chairman’s thought processes work. After taking a wrong turn in Cockshoot Wood, Badger espied the tower of St Lawrence’s Church and regained his bearings: guided by the clink of glass on glass to the window of Chairman Torn’s parlour. There, wearing naught but his hat, chain of office, and an enigmatic smile was Chairman Tom. Perched on a stool and illuminated by a flickering oil lamp, Tom sat ploughing through Das Kapital and nodding eagerly.

Strewn around him on the floor were copies of “The Communist Manifesto” and Lenin’s “What is to be Done?” Through his spyglass, Badger spotted one phrase of Lenin’s, heavily underlined “The fear of criticism displayed by the advocates of freedom of criticism cannot be attributed solely to craftiness. No, the majority look with sincere resentment upon all theoretical controversies, factional disagreements, broad political questions.” Chuckling softly to himself, Chairman Tom continued to peruse selections of the literature of the left, scribbling the occasional note in its margins with a quill charged with green ink. Badger had not expected this: the complete works of Jancis Robinson, possibly; The Farmer’s Guardian, probably; The Beano, certainly. But not Chairman Tom showing every researching his own Little Red Book.

Badger had formerly always subscribed to the cock up theory of history and discounted conspiracy theorists as crackpots, like Oliver Stone or Gordon Brown. Now, however, recent events in Pembrokeshire suddenly became clear. Badger’s head swam in a way usually attributable only to over-imbibing on fermented fox. The collapse of the Communist Party after the 1996 Russian election: the re-establishment of Pembrokeshire County Council, the same year. Frustrated in their eastern European homeland, the pinkos had found a new crucible in which to carry out their unholy social experiments: County Hall, Haverfordwest.

The revolution having failed in the former Soviet Union, did the reds go from Moscow to Martletwy? Is it really so far-fetched to suspect that they might have? And if they did that would make the lPPG a Communist front. Not so much a sleeper cell, but a sleep-walking one. Let’s look at the facts, readers. Cadres formed; covert recruitment practices; literature produced secretively; slavish devotion to the party line: a bureaucracy that is only too eager to help rewrite history; the systematic harassment and bullying of refuseniks. CCCP = County Council Communist Party! Badger’s beguiling theory explains so much about the Kremlin on the Cleddau!

The mind-set is the same. The methods are identical. And Chairman Tom’s disdain for democracy and determination to stamp it out at all costs remarkably familiar. The glorious day has finally arrived for the !PPG fellow-travellers. The hammer and sickle replaced with the proud banner of the golden trough triumphant. Readers! Never mind the age old question of whether Bryn is a shape-shifting lizard who needs to travel by private lift twice a day to regenerate into (approximately) human form. The evidence suggests that the commies are already running Pembrokeshire. Altogether, comrades, before the secret police arrive! `Parry Jones’ flag’s a golden trough. Gouge the poor, enrich the toffs”.

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Community owned shop and café celebrated in national charity campaign

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THE story of a rural community owned café and shop in Ceredigion which ensured vital supplies of food and other essential items reached people in need during the lockdowns of 2020 is being celebrated in a campaign by a national charity.

Cletwr shop and café in Tre’r-ddol received urgent calls and emails from families worried about elderly relatives who were shielding. Volunteers and staff at the shop ensured deliveries could be made to people across the remote rural area and also hosted events to keep the community connected.

Over many years the village lost its shop, post office, café, petrol station, school and church. The community owned business opened to meet local need in 2013 and the essential role it plays was further confirmed throughout the extraordinary events of 2020.

Now the inspiring story of Cletwr and its team of volunteers working to meet local need and provide essential social connections at a time of crisis is forming part of a national campaign to promote rural community businesses led by the Plunkett Foundation.

Karen Evans, manager of Cletwr, has been recorded telling the story, which will be one of five Lockdown Stories being shared by the charity in promotion of its Vision for a Covid-19 Rural Recovery. The businesses are all community owned and have each been innovative and committed to supporting their local community during the 2020 pandemic.

Karen said: “People have now realised how important Cletwr is, how important shopping local is, and I think they see a bigger picture of how that supports everyone in the community. It is definitely bringing the community together.”

Cletwr’s Lockdown Story is sponsored by The Retail Mutual which is a UK provider of business, home and landlord cover for independent retailers and service providers.

Plunkett helps rural communities tackle challenges such as social isolation, employment and poverty by supporting enterprises – including shops, pubs, bakeries, farms and woodlands – that are owned and run democratically by members of the community.

The Lockdown Stories were premiered at Plunkett’s virtual Community Business Fete on 24 November together with its Rural Vision Film, which are aimed at bringing the charity’s Vision for a Covid-19 Rural Recovery to life.

James Alcock, Plunkett’s chief executive, said: “The story of Cletwr is a truly inspiring one, and I am delighted that we are sharing it as part of our virtual Community Business Fete. This has been a year of touch challenges, but also one of great community spirit – and nowhere is that more evident than in the village of Tre’r-ddol.”

Kirsty Hampton, The Retail Mutual’s Mutual Manager, said: “Cletwr is a great example of the power of community, and is exactly why we are so proud to be members of Plunkett and to support the community business sector. The way they have pulled together in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic is hugely inspiring”.

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Welsh Conservatives Select Candidate for Ceredigion

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THE Welsh Conservatives have selected Amanda Jenner as their candidate for Ceredigion in next year’s Senedd elections.

 Amanda, who is a Powys County Councillor, stood for the seat in the 2019 General Election and managed to increase the Conservative vote share by more than the national average.

 Amanda is a past student of Aberystwyth University, where she met her husband, David. After University, she moved to Cardiff, completed a Masters in Law at Cardiff University and went on to become a Solicitor, working for Eversheds Sutherland.  Amanda and David later moved to Mid Wales and Amanda retrained as a Secondary School Teacher, teaching English and Law.

 Commenting on her selection, Amanda said

 “I’m so pleased to be standing once again as a candidate in Ceredigion. It’s a place close to my heart, having studied here and with our family connections to Tregaron.”

 The former solicitor lists business, farming and localism as her priorities.

 On farming, Amanda says that farmers need clarity on what financial support will be available post 2021. She says the Welsh Government must listen to their views and new schemes must be adequately piloted before being rolled out.

 She said: “I believe that our renowned quality food production is key to a sustainable Wales. Farmers are already part of the green solution and I will work to ensure their needs are not overlooked.”

 Welsh Labour’s out of touch approach to business has discouraged new start-ups, and Amanda believes the whole system needs to be overhauled. She has also pledged to work hard to ensure Ceredigion businesses benefit from a share of the Mid Wales Growth Deal package for the area.

 Turning to Localism, a campaign for major planning decisions to be made at local authority level – as opposed to by ministers in Cardiff – is also high on Amanda’s agenda. She said: “Local people know their area best. They know how large-scale developments will impact their communities. I will continue to fight to ensure local people are meaningfully consulted and listened to on all decisions that impact them.”

 As well as her council role, Amanda also works in the office of Montgomeryshire MS, Russell George. She is a governor at two schools and a co-founder of CymruFuture– a networking group for young and junior professionals.

 In her spare time, Amanda loves reading and being outdoors with her family. She is also learning Welsh and attends weekly lessons.

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Comisiynydd yn canmol addewidion i fyfyrwyr

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BYDD myfyrwyr Prifysgol Aberystwyth yn elwa ar ymroddiad newydd i gynnig cyfleoedd a chyfleusterau trwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg, wedi i’r Brifysgol lansio cyfres o addewidion newydd ar 20 Gorffennaf.
Mae ‘Addewidion Aber’ yn nodi wyth ymrwymiad gan y Brifysgol i fyfyrwyr Cymraeg yn ystod eu cwrs. Yn eu plith mae darparu:
– Cyrsiau cyfrwng Cymraeg o bob math ar draws y Brifysgol;
– Llety Cymraeg i fyfyrwyr, gan gynnwys yn Neuadd Pantycelyn ar ei newydd wedd;
– Tiwtor sgiliau academaidd i gynorthwyo myfyrwyr gyda’u hastudiaethau cyfrwng Cymraeg.
Dywedodd Dr Anwen Jones, Dirprwy Is-Ganghellor sydd yn gyfrifol am ddarpariaeth cyfrwng Cymraeg Prifysgol Aberystwyth: “Mae ymestyn cyfleoedd a darpariaeth drwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg yn fater o flaenoriaeth i mi’n bersonol, ac i Brifysgol Aberystwyth fel sefydliad. Rydyn ni am i fyfyrwyr gael y profiad gorau a llawnaf oll drwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg, ac mae’r addewidion hyn yn gam arall ar y ffordd i gyflawni’r uchelgais honno.
“Mae gan y myfyrwyr hawliau cyfreithiol pendant sy’n ymwneud â’r Gymraeg, wrth gwrs, ond rydyn ni am fynd gam ymhellach a chynnig rhagor o wasanaethau a chyfleoedd i ddefnyddio’r Gymraeg yn naturiol, ac fel rhan o’u bywydau academaidd a chymdeithasol.
“Mae dyfnder ein darpariaeth academaidd cyfrwng Cymraeg yn galluogi myfyrwyr i ddilyn cynlluniau gradd cyfan drwy gyfrwng yr iaith. Yn ogystal, rydym yn cynnig profiad cymdeithasol Cymraeg heb ei ail yma.
“Mae hi’n adeg gyffrous iawn yn Aberystwyth wrth i ni baratoi ail-agor drysau Neuadd Pantycelyn i fyfyrwyr unwaith eto. Heb os, dyma gyfle unwaith-mewn-bywyd i’r genhedlaeth nesaf.”
Ychwanegodd Llywydd Undeb Myfyrwyr Cymraeg Aberystwyth (UMCA), Morgan Lewis: “Rydym ni fel Undeb Myfyrwyr Cymraeg Aberystwyth (UMCA) yn ymfalchïo fod y Brifysgol yn mynd gam ymhellach gyda’i hymrwymiadau i fyfyrwyr Cymraeg er mwyn sicrhau y cânt y profiad gorau posibl.
“Mae’n bleser i weld a bod yn rhan o’r addewidion a fydd yn hwyluso a helpu llunio bywydau’r myfyrwyr yn ystod eu cyfnod yma yn Aberystwyth.”
Mae Addewidion Aber yn mynd tu hwnt i ofynion statudol Safonau’r Gymraeg.
Mae Aled Roberts, Comisiynydd y Gymraeg, yn croesawu ac yn canmol y cyhoeddiad, gan ddweud: “Mae gan fyfyrwyr yr hawl i ddefnyddio’r Gymraeg yng ngholegau a phrifysgolion Cymru ers Ebrill 2018, ac mae’n wych fod Prifysgol Aberystwyth wedi mynd gam ymhellach trwy gynnig yr addewidion hyn.
“Felly, fyfyrwyr, mae gennych chi’r hawl ac addewidion pellach gan eich Prifysgol i ddefnyddio’r Gymraeg o ddydd i ddydd. Manteisiwch ar y cyfle, a gadael i’r Gymraeg dreiddio i bob rhan o’ch bywyd yn y brifysgol.”

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