Select Page

Author: Click on Wales

Poems for enthusiasts, other poets, or the adventurous.

From the get-go of Masculine Happiness, you’re pressed up close to a vibrant poetic voice, complicated subject matter which you have to prise apart and study with a magnified eye, a dazzling and interchangeable tone and an intriguing use of content which both warns and welcomes. It’s hard to believe that this is David Foster-Morgan’s first collection of poetry. Although he has been published in respected publications here and there –  Envoi, Magma, Poetry Wales to name a few – Foster-Morgan shows a confident, assured voice and style which belies the fact that Masculine Happiness is his debut. The opening poem, F O’H sets the mood instantly with the first stanza: There are better reasons to readFrank O’Hara than a drinker in a barlost in reading a beat-up old collection. The essence of noir streams through this poem like salmon swimming upstream and this spirit continues throughout the collection in such poems as Corset, The City Said No and November Level. Foster-Morgan has embodied a sense of place in all of the poems, whether this place be the natural environment such as Land in Water: Sunrise is the settlement: hedges, shoals of seaand beach lip: the parishes of Criccieth. Or physical being such as Hound Dogs: Unfazed, she swims up close, stands nakedand looks straight at him. You are an arty-miss.She smiles, wry, and fingers her gold name pendant....

Read More

What every small business wants for Christmas: the tax cut Labour promised…

For several years the Welsh Conservatives have been calling on the Welsh Government to cut rates for small businesses, publishing our vision for the Welsh High Street in October 2012. 99% of all Welsh firms are SMEs, and if each one were able to take on just one extra employee, unemployment would be wiped out at a stroke. They are the lifeblood of our economy, the backbone of our High Streets – and yet, for many years they have been let down by the Welsh Labour Government. With the power to alter rates having been devolved since 2015, it’s inexplicable that small Welsh firms are still waiting in limbo for a permanent scheme. And yet, many small businesses would have been heartened by Labour’s promise (during the Assembly elections) to cut their rates… Sadly, that pledge has not been kept. The thresholds for rate relief have not changed, and even the normally measured FSB Wales called Labour’s recent announcement: “spin doctoring of the worst kind”. To be frank, many businesses face a bleak future. My colleague Nick Ramsay recently highlighted a letter he’d received from a Monmouth business inviting him to attend their ‘closing down party’. Indeed, the recent revaluation debacle has highlighted the plight faced by many small firms as a result of Labour’s business rate betrayal. But also as a result of their failure to plan properly for...

Read More

PISA results disappointing again…

…So what? Bottom of the UK and middle of the OECD PISA ranking. Are our children of Wales less happy than other parts of the UK? Are they less creative. Yes, they should be higher up the English, mathematics and science PISA leagues. In the affluent areas the results, are without doubt, better than those in the poor areas of Wales. If potential could be more reliably measured, I suspect, the Wales profile would reveal more about the socio-economic conditions bearing down on pupils achievements than the pupils innate abilities. Though aspirations and the expectations in the home and those of friends are amongst the critical influences on post school realistic choices. It is worth remembering that the usefulness of PISA is its assessment of a country’s education system, albeit based on the achievement of pupils in participating schools. It is not a measurement of a pupil’s future achievement per se. Though, of course, it is reasonable to draw certain tentative conclusions of a pupil’s school attainment apropos future career prospects, whatever they may be. Though PISA results suggest a link between ranking and the needs of a modern economy in world wide competitive markets. The recent Assembly ‘hwb’ initiative designed to prepare high achieving children across Wales with a more realistic chance of being successful in the entrance process of Oxford and Cambridge, provides one model for overcoming or compensating for a...

Read More

The principles & practicalities of delivering Diamond

Bore da, good morning everyone. It’s good to be here with you today. I’d like to thank Wonkhe and the Open University in Wales for the invitation. I very much see this event as an unofficial, but important, contribution to the consultation process that I launched a fortnight ago. As many of you will know, that consultation closes on February the 14th. Now, based on the mostly positive reaction to the government’s proposals I’m not expecting a Valentine’s Day massacre on that last day of the consultation! In fact, I’m very much hoping that we’re on the road to a beautiful relationship as Humphrey Bogart might have said. One in which we get the balance right in supporting students when they most need it, and enables our universities to compete internationally. As Gavan Conlon from London Economics has put it “doing more, with less, but better”! You have a packed agenda today where I’m sure you’ll get into the details of the Diamond package. Therefore, in the short time available to me before questions, I thought it useful to focus on three elements: the how, the who and the why. First, I’ll discuss our approach to these reforms; Second, I’ll set out what I think it means to innovate in this area; And Third, I’ll try and place our reforms within a wider context. Of course, with only ten...

Read More