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Month: December 2016

Vicar honoured for community work

A vicar who is transforming the lives of inner city children through a ground-breaking orchestral music project has been recognised in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list. The Revd Jan Gould receives a British Empire Medal for services to the community in Ely, Cardiff, in the Honours published today (DEC 31). Jan has served the community as priest-in-charge of the Church of the Resurrection in the benefice of Glan Ely, Cardiff, for the past 10 years. She set up the Making Music Changing Lives project seven years ago to give children on the city estate hope and ambition for the future...

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I don’t blame you, 2016…

What will we do in 2017 to build a better future? What will that look like in Wales, and how can we build the foundations of an independent Nation that starts with better building blocks than the ones we have now? What should we include, and what should we leave behind? What can we learn from recent history so that we do not make the same mistakes? All told, 2016 hasn’t been great. If you strung together end-to-end all the words written, blogged, vlogged and tweeted this week about the reasons why 2016 stank, that chain of words would probably stretch...

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Trump and Climate Change

Its been a long time since it was deemed respectable in the world of climate change science to question the ‘orthodoxy’ that climate change is the biggest threat the human race faces, and that it’s all a result of man polluting the atmosphere with carbon emissions. Anyone not joining in the Armageddon competition of disastrous consequences for our world has been thought anti-science. Even called a “denier”, a truly offensive insult bearing in mind the connotations associated with the word. While I’ve never doubted that our climate is changing, as it always has, and over last few decades has been warming, I do think the anticipation of impending disaster has been overdone. And the vilification of anyone, including scientists who challenge the orthodoxy is …. well unscientific. To win an argument by silencing the other side is no victory at all. I took some stick for simply daring to go to a lecture given my Matt Ridley a few weeks ago. Donald Trump’s arrival in the White House is going to blow this ‘orthodoxy’ out of the window. Those who think fear of an impending climate change doom has been overdone will be back at the scientific discussion table. Personally, while I’ve never been impressed by the warnings of “X number of days to save the world” or the calls to wreck our UK economy while other states pay...

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Bovine TB payouts up 33% in one year

The amount of Bovine TB compensation paid to Welsh farmers has risen by an alarming 33% in just 12 months, according to new figures uncovered by the Welsh Conservatives.  According to a Written Assembly Question (WAQ) by the leader of the Welsh Conservatives – Andrew RT Davies – £14.5m was paid in compensation to farmers in 2015/16 as a result of incidences of Bovine TB.  The alarming hike in payouts came in a year where the Welsh Labour Government was forced to suspend its vaccination programme due to supply chain issues. In 2014/15, £10.9m was paid out to Welsh...

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In Defence of a Free Press.

A few weeks ago I informed the Whip’s Office that I am totally opposed to Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act. At the time, the Secretary of State was considering whether to give effect to deeply worrying attempt to fetter our free press. Still considering it. And today I read an article on centre page of the Telegraph, where Jacob Rees-Maggie puts the case against far better than I ever could. There will be many more Conservative MPs of like mind. I certainly hope this iniquitous bit of legislation lies for ever in that huge pile of bad ideas that Governments have thought about before discarded after considered thought. Perhaps I’m an unlikely champion of a free press, bearing in mind the things I’ve been accused of over the last 30 yrs. But I am. Determinedly so. To begin with, the personal criticism was hurtful. As a young man I was a sensitive flower. But I toughened up. Truth is that only those who think ill of us believe the negative stuff they read about us. But the Daily Mirror did hurt me. When ‘Storm Leveson’ was blowing its most fierce, the Mirror asked me to write 500 words in defence of our free press. I wrote the article and was rather pleased with it. And then the Mirror dumped me for Paddy Ashdown. I wouldn’t have...

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