Apr 082017
 

A few days ago I got an anonymous message telling me about someone, or a group, seeking to raise money to ‘Save English Language Education in Wales’. Here’s the link to the relevant CrowdJustice site. I doubt if those behind this are susceptible to embarrassment, but just in case, and it’s been taken down, here’s what it said (click to enlarge):

click to enlarge

There are so many misleading statements and downright lies in that ‘appeal’ that it’s difficult to know where to start. The opening sentence sets the tone with the ludicrous claim that what’s happening in Llangennech is the prelude to removing English medium schools “across Wales”.

At first reading, the fourth paragraph seems to elaborate on the first, but with the qualification of “potentially”, which serves to undermine it altogether. Potentially means ‘possibly’, or ‘maybe’, or ‘who the fuck knows’. For example, potentially I’m the lost heir of the Hapsburgs. The Monster Raving Loony Party is potentially the next government of the UK. Elvis Presley is potentially alive and running a nice little B&B in Penmaenmawr.

Paragraph five: where’s the evidence that, “The majority from within Llangennech village wish to keep their Dual Stream system school, offering both Welsh and English streams . . .” Has there been a vote on it?

Paragraph six: there are a number of English medium schools within reasonable travelling distance. As for the alleged ‘move to England’ remark, it might have been said, by an individual, but this issue is about a decision taken by Carmarthenshire County Council, what individuals have said, on either side, is of less relevance.

Summary: What “apparent flaws, breaches”? And, again, where is the evidence for “overwhelming opposition”?

“Learning through the Medium of Welsh must be through choice and encouragement not by compulsion.” At last! I’ve found something I agree with, so why not remind those Labour-controlled local authorities that do their damnedest to avoid meeting the demand for Welsh language education?

The people behind this campaign claim to be defenders of democracy; yet they are opposing a decision taken by the democratic representatives of the county and they have no grounds whatever for arguing that they represent the will of the majority in Llangennech . . . apart from a biased on-line poll that attracted most of its support from outside the area.

There is a sick yet dangerous mind behind this fund-raising escapade that is premised on a palpable lie, namely, that there is a plan to “eradicate all English Medium schools”. Whoever is saying this is lying, and they know they’re lying. Consequently, this is a case of money being raised under false pretences. Which is of course a criminal offence.

Inevitably, this campaign is being promoted on social media, particularly the Families website, of which I was blissfully ignorant before this cropped up. From what I can make out this is an open website, with local pages, where people post news about their area, or ‘Ah!’ photos of their kids. Riveting stuff.

Save English Medium Education in Wales is being pushed on various local pages, both in Wales and England. Here’s the Carmarthenshire page. As you work down, you’ll read “Watkins and Gunn partner Michael Imperato”. Watkins and Gunn are the solicitors handling this fund-raiser.

It appears that Watkins and Gunn’s headquarters are in Pontypool with branches in Newport and Cardiff. Although Imperato is described as a partner he is not listed as a director on the Companies House website entry for Watkins and Gunn. The company specialises in personal injury and medical negligence; in other words – they’re ambulance chasers.

Though we do find John Michael Imperato listed as a director of the Bevan Foundation, the Labour ‘think tank’. Imperato has also stood as a Labour candidate; in the Llanishen ward of Cardiff in 2008, the Pentwyn ward in 2012, and more recently, he considered going for the Aberavon Westminster nomination, but was talked out of it, allowing Stephen Kinnock to sneak home.

In fact, the word I’m getting from the now smoke-free rooms is that Imperato was ‘persuaded’ not to throw his hat into the ring by a trade union that may have had ‘dirt’ on him. This same trade union is also said to be ill-disposed towards Lee Waters, Imperato’s mate and AM for Llanelli.

John Michael Imperato

Now, I don’t want anyone to think I’m taking a cheap shot here because of his Italian name, but there is something to be said for comparing ‘Welsh’ Labour to the Mafia. Both have contempt for ‘outsiders’, backstabbing is the norm, both are in business for themselves and their members, with the Mob having its rackets and ‘Welsh’ Labour its Third Sector.

You may recall that in News Round-up 24.03.2017 I wrote of a Labour councillor in Plaid Cymru-controlled Gwynedd, Siôn Wyn Jones, and reported that a project of his had been favoured by the local funding agency, Mantell Gwynedd, which is – in the words of my informant – a “Labour closed shop”. I was told the same applies to the Citizens Advice Bureau in Bangor. So it’s no surprise to see that Imperato was once a director of the – now defunct – Cardiff Citizens Advice Bureau.

Which makes me wonder what chance I – someone who has over the years been mildly critical of the Labour Party – would have of getting fair treatment from what appears to be an offshoot of the Labour Party?

UPDATE 10:10pm: Since finishing this piece I have learnt that Mr Imperato has represented parents on the ‘other side’ of the language debate. Ceredigion in 2004, and Newport in 2014. I am happy to put the record straight.

Though in both those cases he was on firmer legal ground, which meant that he, or whoever instructed him, didn’t need to resort to hyperbole, exaggeration and downright lies, as in the Llangennech case.

The Llangennech dispute has inevitably attracted the bigots and oddballs, and they don’t come more bigoted or oddbally than Jacques Protic, a man who blames the Welsh language for his beer going flat. To judge by this Twitter reply he might even have been in the area recently. This obsessive’s blog is one sad but revealing anti-Welsh tirade after another. It paints the picture of a troubled soul.

Inevitably, Protic supports the Save English Medium Education in Wales fund-raiser, here’s a tweet (below) from a few days ago that suggests what’s happening in Llangennech is the fault of the ‘Welsh’ Government and is but a staging-post on the road to a “Welsh Speaking Republic”.

Protic has elsewhere claimed to be a Labour Party member, but believes that both Rhodri Morgan and Carwyn Jones are ‘closet nationalists’, for no better reason than both speak Welsh! As I say, this man is troubled.

Support of a slightly more credible nature came from the Trinity Mirror Group’s Welsh mouthpiece WalesOnline, where someone called Christie Bannon gave an uncritical plug to the flagging campaign and even provided a link to the CrowdJustice page. Though somebody slipped up by using the photo of the bigots lined up with Neil – “do the honourable thing” – Hamilton and his wife-minder.

those with strong stomachs may click to enlarge

Why do ugly people always manage to find each other? Is there magnetism at work?

P.S. The WalesOnline story has finally been updated, at four minutes past three on April 11th. Instead of wondering who pulled the plug on this exercise in misrepresentation, or why, the reporter, Christie Bannon, does no more than say that it’s been taken down before repeating almost verbatim what it said and what is now no longer available on the CrowdJustice website.

click to enlarge

The bias we’ve seen in Trinity Mirror’s coverage of the Llangennech dispute has been blatant from the start. Why anyone still buys this company’s Welsh rags is a mystery. Maybe we should be thankful that sales are falling, though I’m a little sad to see the Evening Post – not so long ago the largest circulation Welsh daily – heading for the knackers’ yard as people in the Swansea area realise that ‘their’ ‘paper is now written in Cardiff.

Anyone who’s been following this story will know that there are disturbing connections between the anti-Welsh campaigners and the extreme right, the BritNats so intolerant of all other identities. To these people we Welsh, and our language, are ‘alien’, even in Wales, and must be stamped out. Everything must be English.

This attitude is not restricted to the Welsh language, it extends to anything that differentiates Wales from England, other than sporting events and other trivia. It’s what I’ve referred to more than once as ‘the package’. Those who are hostile to the Welsh language will usually be opposed to devolution and so on. Essentially, these people are English nationalists. Of course it’s dressed up as Britishness and, amusingly, opposition to ‘narrow nationalism’. But ‘British’ means little today, and once Scotland is independent and Ireland reunited it will mean nothing but Englandandwales.

Few have stirred more assiduously than Gary Robert Jones, who tweets as @poumista, a name taken from POUM, a Trotskyite party during the Spanish Civil War period. Jones is a community councillor and hopes for promotion to county hall next month, for he seeks election in the Llangennech ward.

An odd fish, Jones; sometimes he seems to be one of the more rational inmates of the asylum and then he puts out a tweet like this (below). Gifted to the world on the day – March 18 – when Wales played France at rugby in Paris. He appears to be wearing a poilu helmet from WWII, and the caption would suggest he’s supporting France!

Get your head around that. Here’s a Labour candidate in a Llanelli ward, two months away from an election, who appears to be supporting Wales’ opponents in a rugby international! In the Llanelli I know, that’s a lynching offence. But then, as I keep saying, we are dealing here with very strange people.

Moving up a level we come to the local Assembly Member, Lee Waters. Although Waters is the AM for Llanelli he and his family live 55 miles away on Barry Island. Yet for last year”s Assembly elections he gave a Llanelli address – possibly his mother’s – on his nomination paper and sneaked in by less than 400 votes. Would he have been elected if the Turks had known he didn’t live among them? I doubt it.

And now we have John Michael Imperato, failed Labour candidate; Jacques Protic, who dismisses Welsh as a “tribal language”; and a cast of similar individuals who have serious problems with the truth. In a word: they’re unable to recognise it or produce it.

Finally, with the campaign looking unlikely to meet its fund-raising target the Labour-supporting Trinity Mirror Group, using its Welsh titles and WalesOnline gives a priceless plug and a link to the site for potential donors. Curiously, although the piece asks for comments, it’s not publishing any. I know because I submitted a comment yesterday, and I can’t believe that no one has commented.

This affair has ‘Welsh’ Labour running through it like ‘Pwllheli’ through a stick of rock. The party locally has been behind the anti-Welsh campaign in Llangennech from the outset, conveniently forgetting that the county council was run by a Labour-Independent coalition when the decision on Llangennech school was taken in 2015.

No matter what pious statements Carwyn Jones or Alun Davies might make about wanting to help the Welsh language, lower down the food chain unscrupulous individuals see political capital – against Plaid Cymru – in being hysterically anti-Welsh.

And as these people make up the bulk of ‘Welsh’ Labour we can now label the party anti-Welsh. So stop-pussy-footing around with these bastards, dreaming of coalitions and talking of a ‘progressive consensus’, and fight them with their own weapons. They may be cunning and devious, but they ain’t too smart. They must be destroyed as the SNP has destroyed their corrupt, lying cousins.

I suspect this case will rumble on, so I may return to it at some point. For the full background of the squalid Llangennech saga, and its dramatis personae, I can recommend no better source than the excellent Cneifiwr.

As I finish this post I note that the CrowdJustice site has raised £1,400 of the £7,500 target with 26 days to go. Though what this deception has to do with justice I do not know.

UPDATE, 8pm: The link to the CrowdJustice site Save English Language Medium Education in Wales now comes up with this (below). Which is odd, seeing as the appeal had already been launched and was collecting money. It looks as if it has either been withdrawn by those behind it or else taken down by CrowdJustice. Or have they raised all the £6,000+ they needed this afternoon? If so, then it didn’t come in £10 and £20 donations.

In case you’re wondering, yes, I did write to CrowdJustice, using tradition Latin legal terms like ‘bollocks’ and ‘lying bastards’. But surely it was nothing to do with me!

UPDATE, Midnight: I have now been directed to a very strange tale on the Families website. In case this also disappears, I have saved it for you (below, click to enlarge). Quite what all this means I’m not yet sure, so I’m open to suggestions from my erudite readers.

Oh, yes, now I come to think of it, I may have written to Families as well.

UPDATE 10.04.2017: The CrowdJustice page now reads as shown (click to enlarge). It would appear that the appeal was closed down yesterday. But by whom?

UPDATE 2:45pm 10.04.2017: The CrowdJustice page now reads ‘Page not found’.

♦ end ♦

  75 Responses to “‘Welsh’ Labour In All Its Ugliness”

  1.  

    Unfair to the Cosa Nostra to be compared with ‘Welsh’ Labour.

  2.  

    […] post ‘Welsh’ Labour In All Its Ugliness appeared first on Jac o’ the […]

  3.  

    Great article, Jac. Whenever I see a case involving an ambulance chasing lawyer I wonder who made the first move. Did Imperato follow the case and think, hang on there’s a buck or two to be made here, or did some mother have the idea of crowdfunding a legal challenge to the Llangennech decision? Having seen the utter shambles the opposition group made of their campaign I can’t help feeling that more sinister forces are at work here. But if so I am sure they have built an impenetrable curtain around themselves so that when the shit really hits the fan they are left smelling of Red roses.

    When I first spotted the sum to be raised (£7500) I thought it wasn’t a particularly high sum and that Neil Hamilton might have chipped in a few quid. However, at the time I write, the promised donations stand at £1410 from 34 donors, only £180 more than when WalesOnline should have given the campaign a sizeable boost with its article yesterday. That’s just under £42 average. Keep this average up and they will have to find close to another 150 donors to reach their target, almost 5X those found to date. Clearly, unless some big backers come forward, this is dead in the water. Well here’s the chance for the likes of Protic and Hamilton to put their money where their mouths have been. Or perhaps they can talk the talk but not walk the walk.

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      I avoided trying to pin down who might be behind it because at the moment there are a few suspects. No doubt, as more information emerges – and it will! – we’ll have a better idea. The one thing we can be sure of is that this is Labour from top to bottom.

  4.  

    Jac – with regard to your interest in the Citizens Advice Bureaux. I do not have any information about the political affiliations of those at senior levels, but I do know that some very unsuitable people have been involved, at least in north Wales. Lucille Hughes, the former Director of Gwynedd Social Services, who was named in the Waterhouse Report as knowing that a paedophile ring was operating in the social services but ‘failed to respond’, was involved with the Citizen’s Advice Bureaux for twenty years. I think that she was involved at a senior level as well, she certainly wasn’t one of the volunteers behind the desk. Lucille also sits on the Board of Trustees of CAIS, a Third Sector organisation that has been milking the Welsh Govt for years. No-one can understand how – CAIS styles itself as an organisation tacking substance abuse. Well if the chaos that hard drugs are now causing in towns like Wrexham and Rhyl is anything to go by, CAIS is not doing a very good job. CAIS are not just receiving a few pennies – the last figure admitted by Jane Hutt was 4.9 million to CAIS for ‘substance misuse’ services in north Wales. CAIS have now also been awarded the ‘contract’ for ‘service user involvement’ in north Wales – for which they trousered in excess of 1.4 million. Yet CAIS boasts that it is an organisation manned almost exclusively by volunteers and ‘peer mentors’. So where is the dosh going? Furthermore I accessed the documents pertaining to the way in which CAIS were awarded the contract for ‘service user involvement’, the whole procedure was scandalous, completely non-transparent and very obviously a fix. I’ve blogged about it in full. There are also some very dodgy people working as volunteers for the CAB as well. I know a very genuine young man working there in Cardiff, but a few years ago I encountered a man who was a student on the law degree of all things at Bangor University. He was certainly very bright and entertaining but he was unfortunately a conman. He lied, swindled and cheated his way around the student population of Bangor University, but he was also involved in false representation and fraud. He was playing the classic conmans trick of living it up in hotels then when it was time to pay the bill – whoops, he’d ‘lost’ his credit card. Or he’d complain about the ‘service’ and refuse to pay – if he was challenged he would claim to be a barrister and would just simply intimidate the plebs. Before he enrolled on the law degree he had been a volunteer at the CAB in Dolgellau. God alone knows who gave him a reference for that – a magistrate that I know also suspected that this man had served a prison sentence at some point, because he had knowledge of some obscure points of law that usually would only be known to someone with knowledge of the prison system. And he certainly wasn’t a former member of staff. So who’s appointing people to positions in the CAB in north Wales?

    •  

      To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever used the CAB, so I was unaware of how it’s structured or run, making these revelations startling.

  5.  

    What a comprehensive read. Unbelievable. Everyone knows that Trinity Mirror is Labour leaning, we experience it with the Llanelli ‘Labour’ Star.
    EVERY week they have many photos of Lee ‘I like photo shoots’ Waters.

    •  

      At least the local Herald isn’t afraid of publishing something other than Labour’s press releases. Their coverage of Llangennech has been a model of accuracy and fairness

  6.  

    Most certainly, the way to dismantle ‘Anti Welsh‘ Labour is to expose them individually for what they are. Instead of attacking the ‘whole‘ the ‘individual‘ members need to be picked out and eliminated one by one through public exposure. Use the divide and conquer tactic that was invented and perfected by the colonialists.

    You’ve done a good job of this in the past Jac – the heat needs to be kept up – from the likes of the Kinnocks, right down to local government member levels. Eventually the beast will get weakened to the point of dying by loping off it’s tentacles. There is a tipping point. Do it often enough and the public will eventually see it for what it is. There is absolutely no reason why this cannot be accomplished here in Cymru, as it has been in Scotland by the SNP & the way Sinn Féin has done it to the Unionists in the Six Counties. The missing jig-saw piece here is that we haven’t got a proper Nationalist party to take over the reins after the collapse.

    As supporters of this blog, every one of us who cares, should be the eyes and ears of the blog and report everything back to Jac, who can in his own inimitable way, get on with the job on here, of the exposure of the vile ones. I must say, I’m very impressed to date by the way information is being gathered – especially amongst some of the more prominent followers of the blog. It seems to have evolved an unique way of functioning, and is becoming a potent weapon for exposing the truth. We need to keep it up with ferver!

    YOU WILL KNOW THE TRUTH AND THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE!“.

    •  

      Sage advice, Big Gee. The other thing I’m noticing is that as the Beast weakens it turns its malevolence on its own, no doubt a kind of Darwinian survival of the meanest. Those that have dared to question its authority are cast into the wilderness, many fighting this next election for example as Independents (Bridgend and NPT typical examples). Think you are bang on about there being a tipping point. Don’t think we are there yet but sometimes it’s only looking back in time that we can spot exactly when this occurs. I hope I live to see it.

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        Thank you for your kind words Stan. Reciprocally, I and others tip our hats to you. It is evident that you are one of the main pillars in this fact finding work. Your continual ‘ferreting’ contributions have been a key aspect in this important work.

  7.  

    On the death of the funding page, Families smells a rat!

    https://www.familiesonline.co.uk/local/carmarthenshire/in-the-know/parents-asked-to-donate-to-save-education-in-wales

    I assume this page works like all the others, and only collects when the target is reached, but still not a good advert for the campaign…

    •  

      The question is, who or what is Families? And who supplied the information? (I have been given a name.) And I’m still not clear who exactly pulled it. It’s late now, I’m on my second glass of Argie red and so I shall give this matter more thought tomorrow. Diolch, Iestyn.

  8.  

    I was pretty incredulous when I read this post. As you say, whoever is behind the fundraising campaign certainly has an imaginative take on what constitutes truth. I doubt that anyone ‘official’ from Welsh Labour are behind it, as even though many of them might secretly be in favour of anything that undermines initiatives to strengthen the position of the Welsh language, most of them have sufficient nous to realise that they couldn’t be seen touching this kind of thing with a ten foot barge pole – it would the smoking gun, just to mix a couple of metaphors.

    What I can never fathom is why Brits who move to other countries try to impose their conceptions on the locals. I remember watching some daytime TV some years ago, a programme about the Brit ex-pat colonies in Spain. It seemed to me that whilst they were located in Spain, they had created an English enclave, complete with their own schools and pubs, and seemed, at best, to tolerate the Spanish locals. I’ve also heard, (it may be apocyphal) that some Brit ex-pat communities in France have attempted to impose bilingualism on the community councils where they live – good luck with that one! I was brought up to respect the community and society I found myself in, and when living in France as a child in the late 50s/early 60s I was pretty much immersed in a French speaking environment, apart from my parents. Both my sister and myself became bilingual, French and English speakers. Sadly my skills in French have atrophied. Since I returned to Wales as an adult I have consolidated the smattering of Welsh with the Welsh language course I took at college to achieve fluency, which I maintain, though that is quite tough going in Cardiff when you’re not part of the Welsh language ‘scene’ (It doesn’t help that I consider Caradog Evans a great Welsh hero! It tends not to go down too well with y capelwyr and other pobl parchus).

    Of course, the situation of the Welsh language isn’t helped when the attitudes of Welsh people themselves are extremely ambiguous towards their own language. I can remember being quite staggered when I was learning Welsh in the mid 80s, to discover that in the area and villages around Rhydaman something like 80% of the population were Welsh speaking. I’m sure that’s changed quite dramatically for the worse. Later, when I was working in the field of Welsh for Adults I remember the Welsh Language Board launching a specific campaign targeted at that area, which is not far from Llangennech, where parents were being encouraged to pass on Welsh to their children, in an attempt to counter the locally held notion that the Welsh language was some kind of archaic hangover that was more of a hindrance than help. It reminded me of my experience as a Welsh learner in the village where my parents lived, Cynwyl Elfed, where Welsh speaking locals, who had to endure my insistence in speaking Welsh to them, would question the value of doing so, of the opinion that it wasn’t useful, and that you couldn’t get a job with it etc. This attitude saddened me, as I realised, once I’d finally attained fluency that the majority felt very deeply and intensely about their language, and their apparent ambiguity was merely skin deep. Many expressed happiness at my having attained fluency. Those who wish to strangle our language should be made to realise what exactly they are doing. It’s nothing more than a form of ethnic cleansing, and far from being on the defensive, Welsh people should be somewhat on the offensive, instead of trying to justify the existence of the Welsh language, rather asking why it should be otherwise that local schools are anything but Welsh medium? English language skills aren’t going to suffer, after all, many Norwegians seem to be very fluent in English, and I think they have most of their education through the medium of Norwegian.

    Now for a bit of nitpicking. You referred to POUM, the Spanish Civil War period Trotskyist organisation as ‘Trotskyite’ – a Stalinist term. Normally, (as an anarchist) I wouldn’t want to say much in support, (apart from a grudging acknowledgement that it was POUM that supported the anarchists, (sort of) when every other faction on the Republican side was doing their best to stab the anarchists in the back), but even I could never bring myself to call them Trotskyite, as I loath anything associated with that murderous brute Stalin. (However, Trotsky doesn’t get off scott free. It was he, after all, who was behind the suppression of the anarchists at Kronstadt – but that is another story. Now as much as you probably regard anarchists with some suspicion, I doubt you’d want to sully your good self with associations, (albeit unknowingly so, I suspect) with Stalinism! I’ve recenlty re-read Orwell’s ‘Homage to Catalonia’ where he helpfully explains the terms.

    The helmet that Poumista is wearing is indeed a French poilu helmet, but WW2 era – the badge style was in use from 1937 onwards. It’s the badge of the Engineers, just to be even more anorak about it.

    •  

      “What I can never fathom is why Brits who move to other countries try to impose their conceptions on the locals.”

      It’s not difficult to work out at all, sb. It’s what comes of never having come to terms with the loss of (most) of their Empire, and of having been exposed to decades of national self-mythologising and propaganda. This includes the fantasy that World War II was won single-handedly (as it were) by dear Johnny Mills and darling Dickie Attenborough on the back lot at Pinewood (accompanied for light relief, of course, by the occasional dour Scotsman, chirpy cockney or excitable Welshman – the last of whom tends to get bumped off in the first reel, in a precursor of what I believe Star Trek aficionados call the ‘red sweater syndrome’).

      If you’ve been brought up on films, TV and the rest of the infernal rah-rah to believe that you saw off The Hun without any assistance whatsoever from even the Free French, the Free Poles or the Czech RAF squadrons let alone the Soviets and the Americans, then that will colour your outlook on the rest of the world.

      Yes, the Yanks have fed themselves the same bullcrap for the same length of time, but they seem to be a little more circumspect in this regard. This is possibly due to the fact that they never had – at least formally – an empire to feel bitter about losing.

      •  

        I agree entirely, couldn’t have put it better myself. I suspect the ‘Pinewood outlook’ for want of a better name is especially prominent amongst the ‘peace babies’, now of course retirees, who received their entire knowledge of WWII from a triumphalist post-war media, as both documentary and fiction. I suspect that the previous generation who actually fought and endured the war, would have had a more realistic outlook.

  9.  

    Down the bottom of that statement on families UK it says that it was written by Families Carmarthenshire rather than Families UK (Something about the tone made me check), which you probably noticed already, of course.
    So it would have been written, presumably, by TheWomanWhoSetItUp, saying she had nothing to do with it besides the setting up of multiple accounts on FamiliesUK and Facebook. Funnily enough, the link hasn’t been withdrawn from the Facebook page For Families Swansea as yet, where any questioning comments have been deleted and room only given to comments from two otherwise apparently empty accounts backing up the thing.
    But the statement above certainly seems to want to put all the “blame” on the solicitors involved.

  10.  

    In my experience when someone has a weak argument they often resort to making unsubstantiated claims, play the victim card or even tell downright lies. This campaign seems to have ticked all those boxes, wonder how much Jacques Protic intends to donate ?

    •  

      Yes, these buggers have ticked all the boxes and added a few more for good measure. But I’m still not sure where to lay the blame for this latest bit of lunacy. Obviously Watkins and Gunn were involved, but who took the case to them? And who put it out on social media?

      •  

        Jac mun you are totally right – all these anti welshers are fat fuckers, ugly as sin- and thick ad shit- noticed that on the s4c prog

  11.  

    Is Karen Deacon of Families Carmarthenshire, the same Karen Deacon as appeared prominently as an objector to the Welsh Medium proposal for Llangennech?

  12.  

    There have been a few of these cases over the years and the only real winners are the solicitors. Remember Education First v Dyfed County Council back in teh 80s/90s? That went all the way up the court chain, many appeals, to House of Lords, maybe even EC! DCC won every time, of course. As already seen, the ‘Save english medium education’ crew won’t get far. That said, it is so disappointing and worrying that people, and certain political parties, still hold these views.

  13.  

    Only obliquely linked to this topic, it was interesting to see the much tweeted “stand off ” between a young lady and an EDL protestor at Birmingham over the weekend. EDL like so many other “BritNat”/ “AngloNat” groupings are very hot on their ( English only ) rights and perceived grievances, while the Asian Lady sees all sorts of things wrong with the world in England but has probably never uttered a boo when it comes to the conduct of powerful people in Bosnia and Pakistan where her family roots are to be found.

    So that our Anglo centric imbecile visitors can understand it – here we had a soft leftie selectively virtue signalling for all she’s worth, while dumb Anglo Brit supremacist does the one thing he’s capable of doing – threatening to rearrange her features after the event ! This is the full spectrum of Anglo politics, an all round blend of thickos and poseurs, and Welsh Labour and UKIP continue to import this sewage into Wales and call US, the dissenting natives, racists for suggesting that it’s not what we want. Time for Hamilton and Jones, and their entourages, to just go and fuck themselves.

  14.  

    I hope that some of the anti-Welsh language brigade have read the very interesting article in today’s i newspaper.

    ‘Bilingual children ‘are superior students’ it says. This was based on research in the UK by the University of Sydney.

    ‘Bilingual children showed a general superiority… in a range of cognative outcomes such as … reading, pattern construction and maths tests.’ Interestingly, it also shows that children who speak more than one language ‘have a greater control over certain functions of the brain which enable children to learn more efficiently.’

    This, of course, merely the latest piece of research to show this phenomenon.

    •  

      Jacques Protic and his ilk are not influenced by facts or reason – they are driven by atavistic impulses that manifest themselves in hysterical and irrational bigotry.

      •  

        As Anon rightly points out this is just another in a series of research findings that make a point about “capacity” for a) learning and b) rational understanding, hence the learning bit is not just absorbed parrot fashion but with a healthy dose of ability to apply learned knowledge.

        I had occasion a few months ago to clash in a relatively low key with an Anglo Welsh living in Gwent who went on about kids forced to learn Welsh etc etc when they could be learning another useful foreign language. Imagine his horror when I produced extracts from a British Council report on teaching of foreign languages in Wales and the U.K which highlighted a general downward trend in participation. The pattern of pupils electing to avoid any kind of 2nd language had him acknowledging a real problem which could not be attributed to Welsh and its teaching but rather to a commonplace blinkered attitude to communicating outside the pupil’s primary language. Often pupils opted out of foreign languages at the earliest possible decision point. And that decision is often driven by influences in the home – like “oh you don’t need to bother with that, they all understand English if you shout loud enough”.

        Symptoms of the good old Anglo Brit supremacist mindset yet again.

        •  

          Looking at it from another angle, this probably explains why kids from homes where an Asian or other language is spoken tend to out-perform their monolingual English class-mates. Kids in Scandinavia and other parts of the continent learn a language other than the home language at a very early age, and invariably go on to become at least trilingual. The evidence is there wherever you look.

          •  

            Unpalatable truth for a lot of Anglos – their monolingual kids are often the thickest, not just least intelligent, so they have to find all sorts of opaque excuses for their little morons not coming up to scratch.

            Tut, does that sound a touch racist ? Well there is plenty of visible and anecdotal evidence out there. Every day you approach a knuckle dragger of either gender in South Wales and the chances are that they can only respond to any approach through the medium of ( seriously bad ) English. Speak to them in Welsh and you will get a mouthful of English abuse. I rest my case.

      •  

        Yes, but that bigotry is based on ignorance, and Jaques Protic is an exemplar. There is an historical reason why the education system in England is monolingual.

        The concept dates back to Henry Viii. At that time England was a tri-lingual nation. It started off with one language, Latinised Brythonic, then when the Anglo Saxons arrived, a new language was introduced, then with the invasion of the Norman-French, a third language was introduced. English aristocracy spoke a form of Northern French, the peasantry spoke Anglo-Saxon (or forms of Brythonic) and the clergy (by definition learned communities) spoke Latin.

        England was tri-lingual. The first academic institutions in England taught through the medium of Latin, as that was the language of the church.

        It was only when the English crown holders (who spoke Norman French) wanted to consolidate their power in England the English language as we know it today was invented and enforced. The royal edict was firstly to remove power from the Roman church and secondly to remove a threat from the aristocracy who at various points in history owed their allegiance (what’s the English word for this?) to Normandy rather than the English crown.

        English is not just an invented language, it is and always has been a political tool used by the state to exert influence and power, both upon it’s own citizens and those of other nations.

  15.  

    Hi Jac.

    I thought I might offer the following facts for your consideration. I apologise for the length – not of my making!

    Cwmtawe Community School has 11/12 primary schools within its Catchment Area- as defined by the County Borough Council. Half Welsh Medium(WM), half English Medium (EM)
    Feb 2014, parents – approximately 80 families- in four of the WM Primary Schools received a letter from the Director of Ed., Mr Aled Evans. There’s a total of 11 WM in the County
    He informed them that their children would qualify for free home to school transport
    only if they transferred to the WM Secondary at YGG Ystalyfera.

    A child switching to EM Secondary at their Catchment Area School would have to pay £260 annual fee for a bus pass fell. Complaints from Parents fell on stoney ground.

    Letters of explanation from the Director and the CEX informed that the authority for Charging was contained in the New Home to School Transport Policy of March 27th 2013.
    Parents complained that they had not been informed of this when their children applied for a place at Cwmtawe the previous autumn.

    Enquiries from the MP, AMs, Councillors and Parents through the Autumn of 2014 received the same answers:- “it was contained in the New Home to School Transport Policy of March 27th 2013”.
    These people, having reviewed all the literature including all the consultation responses, were unanimous in the conclusions. There was nothing, absolutely nothing, in the documentation that could in anyway be seen to support the Officers’ assertions.
    The public were being mislead/they were not being told the truth!

    In October 2014, a formal challenge to the Cabinet Member for Education was launched at full Council. He was asked to identify simply, but precisely, where in the March 2013 Policy the authority for the Director’s actions was located.
    The Cabinet Member, Cllr Peter Rees, read a two to three page response. Not once did he mention directly anything to do with the locating the claimed authority.
    His answers, as per the recorded minutes, are complete gobbledegook. (Council 15th October 2014)

    During the following debate questions were raised by members which were put to the Director to clarify. The Director’s written answers circulated some weeks after the meeting.
    They too are a masterclass in evasive answers/being economical with the truth.

    Following the meeting two letters were circulated to members and to the Chief Executive as the Head of Service.
    The letters contained detailed responses to the point raised by the Director and the Cabinet Member. The carefully reasoned responses were extremely critical of the evasive answers
    provide by the Director and Cabinet Member.

    Most disturbing of all was the clear defence, by implication, of the blatant discrimination in the “policy” being enforced by the Director and supported by the Labour Cabinet Member and Cabinet.
    Neither the Leader, the Cabinet Member for Education nor the Labour Members replied to either of the letters.
    Neither did I get a reply from the Director of Education, Mr Aled Evans.
    The CEX, in a carefully worded response, dated 17th Dec 2014, advised that he was not going to provide a point by point rebuttal. I was suitably admonished by him for not offering the Director the right of reply. Surely, he as the Head of Service had passed on the letters?
    Similarly, didn’t the Cabinet Member for Education raise the important issues contained in the letters?
    However, earlier in the Autumn – 22nd September 2014 the Children,Young People and Education Scrutiny Committee had considered a report on the WG, Welsh in Education Strategic Plan (WESP). The shorter, second part of the report dealt with “Access Arrangements to Welsh Medium Education”.
    Bearing in mind that at this time elected members were having to deal with angry parents who were having to pay the £260 for their child’s bus pass.
    No where in the report was there a mention/hint of the penalty clause of switching from WM to EM education.
    Members then questioned the officers as to whether this now meant the ‘penalty clause’ had been dropped ? The answer was a clear NO! – “that matter was covered under the Council’s 2013 Home to School Transport Policy – this policy was specifically about transport to WM schools”.
    Members angrily rejected the recommendation as worded and demanded that this discriminatory ruling be removed. The Cabinet Board Members noted the comments and supported the “no support for the Travel arrangements” recommendation of the Scrutiny Members.
    In a classic smoke and mirrors move in formulating their recommendation, their minutes make no reference to the “penalty clause matters”. Covered by the three day call-in rule. the minute was never challenged.
    Angered by the obvious attempt to mislead the committee, members then turned their concerns to the Equalities Impact Assessment in the report. That concluded that the assessment revealed that “no particular group had been disadvantaged”.
    The removal /hiding of the WM/EM switch penalty clause was a blatant breach of the Equalities Protocols and therefore illegal. Had it been include for assessment those who switched to EM and had to pay the £260 would have obviously figured as a disadvantaged group!
    The final sickening irony of this matter is that the whole event was witnessed in complete silence, during and subsequently, by Councillor Arwyn Woodcock – the Cabinet Member with the title of the “Equalities Champion”. What a Joke!

    However, there was worse to come! In my view, this phase demonstrated more clearly the pursuit of a Welsh Language ‘At Any Cost’ Agenda by the Directorate’s Senior Officers. There are those who see the dominant hand of the Welsh Language Champion, Mr Aled Evans, but it is the name of his Junior Officers that front the reports!

    So, by 22nd September 2014 members had made it clear to officers and Cabinet Members that the Discriminatory ruling of the Director’s letter of the 4th February 2014 had to go.
    For the record, the actual wording of the Access Arrangements component of the report could have been supported unanimously at the time – it contained not a single word implying the application of the WM/EM switching penalty.
    Members expected a non discriminatory form of words by next CYPE Meeting.
    Through October and November – nothing!.
    Enquiries to the Directorate concerning the delay, some via the Chairman of CYPE – one Alan Lockyer – provided responses that suggested that there were “complex legal issues”!!
    Bull……t!
    It was becoming more and more obvious that the Directorate were struggling to find a form of words that ensured WM primary Children would all progress to WM Secondary at YGG Ystalyfera.
    Bizarrely, it was clear that this blatantly discriminatory policy had the support of the Labour Leadership.
    The updating report eventually reached the CYPE Committee on 28th May 2015 – eight months after the instruction to resolve matters. While evasion was obvious, a more disturbing strategy was emerging. One of delay!!!!!!

    However, here it was – the solution! In 35 years of reading Council reports I have never come across four pages of irrelevant twaddle to match this one.
    Remarkably, there is no direct mention of the WM/EM switch issue.
    The first two pages, provide a rambling background to Home to school transport issues.
    The second two pages are something different.
    For the greater part, arguments are put forward referencing the Council’s duties under various forms of legislation to promote access to WM education. Buried in the rhetoric is the following :- “having due regard to the legal requirement upon the Council to promote access to Welsh medium education, there is an argument for designating Ysgol Gyfun Ystalyfera as the nearest suitable provision for pupils who have received most of their primary education through the medium of Welsh”.
    This is classic Directorate smoke and mirrors usingthe phrase – “there is an argument for designating …..”
    Logically, as it is the only WM Secondary school in NPT, it’s obvious that Primary school children wishing to continue with WM Secondary will move to YGG Ystalyfera.
    However, by the Council “designating” the school they shift it’s status to the “you must go to school”. So choosing to send a child to an EM Secondary School (having been to a WM Primary) brings in a NPT Special – the “default position” . One Totally unsupported by legislation.
    Without actually saying it in this sentence – it had been used previously by Cllr Peter Rees – the implied conclusion is that the Child who does not follow through to Ystalyfera had relinquished his/her Statutory rights to free home to school transport. That’s Bonkers !

    However, they are not finished. They then go onto the report’s Recommendation.
    Again, not a single direct reference to the WM/EM switch – you know the matter that they had been charged to correct 8 months previously. Instead, they proposed having a consultation exercise amongst Welsh Medium parents.
    In the Scrutiny process which followed the officer’s introduction, members were once again, openly critical, even hostile, to what was seen as a blatant con trick! All claims of complexity across many departments etc. were dismissed as a construct of the Directorate
    Members ridiculed the delaying tactic of approving a consultation exercise without first being appraised of the terms of reference for such an exercise!
    The recommendation was rejected out of hand.
    In spite of this rejection, the Directorate had achieved one of its objectives – grounds for further delay.
    Again, Months went by with nothing!
    Then an eagle eyed member noted that the CYPE Board (not the scrutiny committee) had considered a report in its 4th September 2015 meeting with the simple title of “Access Arrangements”. Buried deep in the agenda was report titled “Access Arrangements to Welsh Medium Education”……..
    It was a very ‘simple’ short report. Following further work from May 2015 officers were asking for permission to approach Welsh Government to seek clarification over claimed contradictions in two items of WG legislation covering School Transport matters. This was hilarious from a number of points of view.
    Firstly, why hadn’t they picked up the phone months earlier and got that advice?
    They didn’t need Member permission!
    Then there’s the matter of what then followed. Having received committee permission on the 4th September 2015 the letter arrived with Welsh Gov. in Early December 2015.

    However, there’s a more important point. Bearing in mind that a committee had in September 2014 directed them to resolve the simple matter of WM/EM switching – not the promotion of the Welsh Language – we were now fifteen months further down the line with no resolution of the matter – this was a public disgrace.
    Yes, it was driven by officers, but approved/supported by The Labour administration.
    Throughout the fifteen months, every time the contradictory advice in the legislation was raised, officers were told that whatever the contradiction between the two it was the 2008 Measures which takes precedence. Advice they chose to ignore!
    I quote from the introduction to the 2014 Operational Guidance document :-
    “1.4 The Guidance has no special authority in regards to matters of legal interpretation. Where there appear to be differences between the Measure and the Guidance, the Measure always takes precedence.”
    Senior Officers driving the “WM Promotion Agenda” chose to ignore this directive (and member advice) in the legislation. Because, – the 2014 guidance was better suited to manipulation in favour of their agenda!

    Jacko — I think that that’s enough for you to consider at this point.

    I will provide the concluding matters over the next few days – if you wish.

    Regards

    Councillor David Lewis, Alltwen.

    •  

      There is a more general problem here. It relates to the issue of ‘mega-schools’, and it’s being exasperated by the ‘Future Schools Programme’. There are two flawed concepts (a) that there are loads of ‘old unsuitable buildings’ that have reached the end of serviceable life’ and that a new building is required. (b) A big centralised school is better than a number of smaller schools locally.

      For secondary schools the issue has been manifest in Bala, Gwynedd (merging Bro Tegid and Beuno Sant into a CoE provision) in Treochy, RCT (where they now blame the Arriva trains up the valley for not having enough carriages causing overcrowding), at SixBells, Blaenau Gwent (where a mining disaster memorial park is being bulldozed for a new mega-school) and as evident with the issue of Ystalyfera explained by Cllr David Lewis of Alltwen.

      I’m sure there are examples elsewhere.

      The reality is that ‘old school buildings’ are well sited. They are cash cows to sell off for housing. A refurbishment or rebuild is not considered, and the cash from selling off prime sites is used to cross-subsidise the building of a new mega-structure, expanding the catchment area to an unsustainable footprint.

      There is also the manta that small is bad and big is better. Yet academic results and educational experts find the opposite is the case. Poor performing pupils need more intimate attention, all bigger schools do is ‘dilute’ the problem pupils.

      The Welsh Government policy is fragmented. If you centralise into mega-schools you also have to provide a bigger footprint and resources for ‘free school transport’. This is not being done. We’ve seen the closure of hundreds of village schools at primary level and now at secondary level we now have huge catchment issues with ‘transport’ issues. This relates to both WM and EM provision.

      The real problem is nothing to do with language, but the failure to provide schools WITHIN the communities being served.

  16.  

    David,

    As a resident of Alltwen I was not aware of any issues and I’m trying to understand why it would be an issue, for who and for how many. No-one, I know has been ranting about this in Alltwen, but then again Alltwen is easy walking distance to the school and it wouldn’t effect anyone here.

    It wouldn’t be an issue for residents of Alltwen, Rhos, Ynysmeudwy, Rhyd-y-fro and Trebannos either – all within 3 miles of Cwmtawe and not eligible for free transport anyway.

    Are we talking about children in the North of the county who could I suppose could elect Maesydderwen as the EM school – I know some pupils from NPT who do go there even though it is in Powys technically. Most of the feeder schools for Cwmtawe to the north are EM schools – Godre’r graig etc is EM, etc and I imagine those closer to Neath would choose to go to Dwr-Y-Felin or Cadoxton.

    What I’m wondering is how many pupils are we talking about here, because I can’t imagine this is a large number, unless parents in Rhos and Trebannos thought they would be getting a free bus, because they would if they had to travel the 5-6 miles to Ystalyera.

    I’m confused and surprised – I was about to vote labour as well, because I always have, but I sense an overeagerness to find a problem here, which I can’t believe really exists and have never myself heard about it, that’s for sure.

    I know a couple of parents who have transferred from Ponty Welsh to Cwmtawe, but they all walk and wouldn’t have expected a bus anyway.

    •  

      Hello and thanks for responding.

      While I will offer answers to some of your points might I ask you to read the whole article again -you have missed out some important points!

      As the Labour Councillor for Alltwen for the last thirty eight years I am aware and agree totally with your analysis of the local scene – it doesn’t affect us!

      My involvement stems from being a Governor at Cwmtawe School when in the summer of 2014 angry parents for the villages along the north of the Catchment area wrote to the school complaining about the unfairness of the policy. The matter was referred to me to make enquiries as I had been the ‘Chairman of Education in the previous year.

      In your last paragraph you mention “an overeagerness to find a problem which I cant believe really exists and have never heard about it”

      Again, starting at the end. I’m not surprised you haven’t heard about it the press have shown very little interest at all.
      Then you mention an overeagerness to find a problem. You must be joking!
      This matter has been on the agendas of NPTCBC Council, it’s Education Committees and the agenda Cwmtawe Governors since July 2014.
      Then finally – “I can’t believe it really exists”. It exists alright and has affected families every year since 2014, when preparing to move from Primary To Secondary Education. The communities affected generally lie along the northern rim of the County Borough where there’s a mix of EM and WM Primary Schools serving the communities.
      If you would go back to the beginning of my letter you will see that about 80 parents with children in the 4 WM schools received a letter from the Director of Education informing them that if they switched from WM to EM at Cwmtawe (the most popular EM Secondary School in the County) then they would not be entitled to a free bus pass on the school bus.
      In September 2014 children from the same street catching the school bus at the top of the road consisted of EM Primary Children with free bus passes and their friend from WM Primary with a bus pass costing £260.

      If I might prevail upon your local knowledge? There were 6 WM schools in the Cwmtawe Catchment Area. Parents in only four of them received the Director’s letter in February 2014. There were children who attended the other two schools who lived more than 3 miles for Cwmtawe and therefore they qualified for Statutory free Home to School Transport. They did not receive the letter!
      When they presented themselves at the school they were told they had to pay as they had attended a WM Primary school! Children from the same estate who had attended EM Primary Schools had free passes.
      One friend from the same Estate who had attended the RC School in Clydach was given a free bus pass.
      As with all the other Governors at Cwmtawe I saw that as blatant discrimination and totally against all principles of equality etc.
      In fact, I couldn’t believe that it was happening. The letter from the Director told me otherwise.
      Incidentally, in January 2016 The Local Government Ombudsman found in favour of a particular family for unfair treatment by the Education Directorate. NPTCBC was find £300 and directed to apply Government Policy appropriately.

      If I might return to the main message of my letter.
      All the evidence that we now have points to the Director acting on his own initiative without the necessary Council Authority.

      Oh, and for completeness, none of the other 5/6 WM schools were ever informed of the policy.
      Accordingly, the other 6 EM Secondary schools were ever informed of the policy.
      Cwmtawe was the only school affected by the Director’s disgraceful initiative.

      However, ever since 2014 the Directorate has still sought to develop policies which deny families the choice at Primary/Secondary transition.
      I understand he is a prominent Welsh Language activist/supporter.

      Between September 2014 and February 2016 all correspondence and verbal reports were clearly designed to protect him in his position. Then in Feb 2016 a report to the Education Committee finally recognised that a letter had been sent to four schools. The truth at last! That and a non discriminatory policy is all we have been chasing for close to 18 months.

      Then there are the politics of the matter. Throughout the period, I and other Labour supporters have squirmed at the Cabinet Member for Education, Cllr Peter Rees defending this discriminatory policy in writing and verbal reports to committees. He has done this for close to there years!
      You make your own mind up on the integrity of this Administration

      The Labour Leadership have operated to keep a lid on this for three years.
      I’m ashamed to think that they were prepared to bury such a fundamental wrong doing.

      For Political balance, most of the Local Labour Councillors fought alongside me in the pursuit of fairness. The Leader of Plaid Cymru also shared the early approaches. However, the silence from the rest of was deafening.

      Apologies for any typo’s and bad grammar.

      •  

        I think I’ve pretty much guessed the areas and can see where you are coming from, even though it is news to me. I was with you for a bit on this one with regards to I’m guessing pupils from Gwaun Cae Gurwen and Cwmllynfell, maybe Y Wern (althoughI think they should go to Maesydderwen, which is struggling for numbers and an excellent school as well and YGG Blaendulais should opt for Cadoxton). When parents or pupils choose to switch, then I see no merit in pursuing anything punitive, although I wouldn’t discourage positive encouragement. I feel a few historic favours are owed for people like one of my neighbours who used to travel well over an hour to Rhydyfelin, before Ystalyfera was even a remote possibility.

        You really threw me with the “I understand he is a prominent Welsh Language activist/supporter”. I think this and your original post of coming out all guns firing, claiming discrimination etc, that got to me – basically I don’t see that position in itself as a negative, but I would expect fair play.

        I’d like fair play, because I think there was something seriously lacking in previous times in NPT, which I feel has contributed significantly to the shift in the linguistic balance of the area. When you live in Alltwen, it’s clear to see how Anglicisation has been engineered to a large extent, both here and in Rhos going back to the 60s and 70s – through, housing and education policies and a part of me would like to see Labour showing more genuine support for the language now to make up for the past and not using it as a stick to play politics with.

        I understand the points that you are making as well and it would be shame if this got blown up out of proportion. I hope going forward it is dealt with in the right way.

        •  

          Hello -Again!

          When I decided to write this piece I did so with the clear expectation that it would raise old Welsh Language issues along the lines you have developed.

          I am well aware of those old battles, which I deplore as much as you. Without being disrespectful it is obvious that you are not aware of the huge changes which NPT have committed to with regard to Welsh Medium Education over the last 20 years and into the future.

          I was a prominent member of the pressure group that resulted in the development of YGG Pontardawe. Similarly, when for a short time, I was the Cabinet Member for Education I worked with Mr Mathew Evans, the Ystalyfera Headmaster, laying the groundwork for the exciting new plans in the development of the School.
          Your reference to Y Wern tells me that you are behind the times with the current exciting development affecting that school.
          The redevelopment of the school is part of the Council’s plans for an ‘all-through’ school providing Welsh medium education for over 1,100 pupils aged 3-18 in the north of the County Borough.
          It will bring together Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Y Wern, a Welsh medium primary school, and Ysgol Gyfun Ystalyfera, a Welsh medium secondary school on one site. That scheme is well advanced with the first phase already completed at a cost of many millions. A super new facility!
          The Council has committed many more millions to building a new 11 – 16 Secondary school in the south of the borough on the site of the old Sandfields School..
          Recently, Council committed to spending £35 Million on these projects.
          So please let’s not dwell in the past, these are exciting times for Welsh Medium Education in the County Borough!
          ,
          However, I will take issue with one of your quotes, but it illustrates perfectly the narrowness when engaging with Welsh Language experts.
          I refer to :- “your original post of coming out all guns firing, claiming discrimination etc, that got to me – basically I don’t see that position in itself as a negative, but I would expect fair play.”

          However, let’s step back first. The point of my original post was two fold.
          Firstly, there was my hope that people would recognise the Director’s letter showed a blatant disregard for a family’s right to chose the education path for their child.
          There was uproar amongst the parents at that time. They were unanimous in their condemnation of the Director and it was they who accused of him and the Council of “racial discrimination”.
          Two children from the same street one travelling free and the other paying £260 per year for the same privilege because they switched from WM to EM Education, you don’t “see as a negative”. Unbelievable!
          Secondly, the Authority doesn’t have the right to force one form of education over another. We still live in a democracy
          And finally, the policy being enforced was targeted on four out of 11 Welsh Medium Primary schools.
          That whole package is sickenly and blatantly discriminatory. I’m ashamed to be part of a Council that pursuing such a policy.
          That you “don’t see that position in itself as negative” is unbelievable.
          But I think you make my point for me!
          I witnessed a similar mindset at an education committee last month. The Committee were asked to support a new “Welsh in Education Strategic Plan” for the Council which included the £35 million commitment for new build.
          The two Plaid Cymru members of the Committee voted against the proposals – “its not enough”!

          With regard to my comment about the Director, it is something that didn’t sit easy with me. However, since September 2014, in meeting after meeting and regular correspondence from the CEX, through the Education Directorate to the Cabinet Member for Education, they have collectively worked to justify the ruling in the Director’s Feb 2014 directed at the four schools.
          In each successive report new reasons emerged justifying the ruling!

          In September 2014 a Committee directed the department to remove the offending ruling! That finally reached a conclusion -well sort of- on 2nd March 2017.
          The Director of Education, Mr Aled Evans was the person that managed this process over this time. I can say no more.

          PS. The department is still trying to manipulate Admissions processes to achieve something approaching those original offensive rulings. You know fanatical.!

          Again, apologies for any typo etc.

          •  

            Clr Lewis, you say -“Two children from the same street one travelling free and the other paying £260 per year for the same privilege because they switched from WM to EM at secondary school.” I realise you cannot name the individuals on a public forum such as this, but please name the street and the schools concerned, and the age/year of entry. It is vital to the case.

            I am aware of a similar decision in RCT, but in that instance the real story is that the pupils were of a different age and that the new intake for the EM secondary school was to a new school footprint, closer to the street concerned. Subsidised transport was not being provided to new pupils to a more distant old school when a closer new EM school was being provided. The council was continuing to provide an existing transport subsidy to an existing EM pupil at the old school on the basis it being undesirable to wrench an existing pupil from the old to the new. Existing settlement was the reason for continued transport allowance. That does not apply to new intake.

            The same can happen to WM footprints, and also ‘special school’ footprint (sorry if this isn’t the new politically correct terminology. Then you’d have “Two children from the same street one travelling free and the other paying £260 per year for the same privilege because they switched from EM to WM at secondary school.”

          •  

            David,

            Thanks for the reply. I just wanted to come back and correct something that maybe I should have worded a bit more clearly – I wasn’t supporting the stance of not paying school transport to pupils who choose to switch, when I said fair play, I was meaning that those parents also deserve fair treatment and doing anything else would ultimately prove to be counter-productive in terms of alienating some people towards WM education.

            I have heard of intransigence from the authority on other issues that negatively effect SEN pupils who want WM education and perhaps viewed the authority as still having a negative mindset to WM education – I am happy to be corrected and can see that not paying transport fees in this case is a politically and morally daft position to take, but school admissions seems to be an area that has the potential to throw up lots of daft scenarios like these, if rules are stuck to religiously.

            I can see from the rule-book, that since these WM schools are not officially designated feeder schools then by interpreting the rules strictly there is no leeway – am I right in thinking that only the officially designated feeder schools are eligible and someone from an EM school that was not a designated feeder school would face similar issues?

            I get the general feeling when it comes to things to do with education, that allowing discretion in interpretation of rules is seen as a weakness that could become an open-door to be exploited. I don’t agree with that and can’t comment on the Director of Education, because obviously I do not know him – if there is an agenda then I will have to take your word for it and admit that it comes as a bit of a surprise, mainly because it seems to run counter to past form.

            Perhaps I reacted to your initial post, because I just sensed, perhaps incorrectly that you were picking a fight – perhaps driven in part because your post was linked to the Llangennech school, where in my mind there is nothing really to compare to that situation in NPT. I would hate to see overly fanatical extremists, such as the so-called keep the English stream campaigners in that area, who are playing the victim for reasons beyond education, having an impact on things that happen in NPT.

            I guess that while I have a generally positive impression of overall education in NPT and I have never been involved in debates about these things before. I have developed a less than positive view of how it has been shaped and never got the impression that the authority was supportive of WM education, but was only doing positive things in that area reluctantly, due to the reality on the ground that there were a lot of people who wouldn’t roll over and were prepared to dig their heels in for WM education.

            I would be very happy not to dwell on the past – (you obviously know the in’s and out’s better than myself and have the T-shirt). I have been surprised by the developments at Ystalyfera and in Sandfields (I was aware of the 3-18 change that affects Y Wern etc, it is great to see, but it has taken a very long time to come to pass and after that much time it does come across as more like an appeasement or acceptance than a general inherent will to do something positive in that area).

            The past is still with us in the sense of people have got used to the idea of having to fight their corner, because it seems from the outside that nothing happens without a long struggle – maybe we have turned a corner or perhaps not, but I hope that those parents do get their transport fees paid.

            I don’t think that this was probably the best forum to bring this up though and the unfortunate linkage to Llangennech was part of the reason that I chose to take the bait and respond.

            P.S I have never voted Plaid and have no affiliations to any party or grouping – in case you might be wondering whether I was one of those so-called people that you referred to as the language fanatics, but I do clearly have a view.

          •  

            David,

            Maybe we got off on the wrong foot here. I just wanted to come back and correct something that maybe I should have worded a bit more clearly – I wasn’t supporting the stance of not paying school transport to pupils who choose to switch, when I said fair play, I was meaning that those parents also deserve fair treatment and doing anything else would ultimately prove to be counter-productive in terms of alienating some people towards WM education.

            I have heard of intransigence from the authority on other issues that negatively effect SEN pupils who want WM education and perhaps viewed the authority as still having a negative mindset to WM education – I am happy to be corrected and can see that not paying transport fees in this case is a politically and morally daft position to take, but school admissions seems to be an area that has the potential to throw up lots of daft scenarios like these, if rules are stuck to religiously.

            I can see from the rule-book, that since these WM schools are not officially designated feeder schools then by interpreting the rules strictly there is no leeway – am I right in thinking that only the officially designated feeder schools are eligible and someone from an EM school that was not a designated feeder school would face similar issues?
            I get the general feeling when it comes to things to do with education, that allowing discretion in interpretation of rules is seen as a weakness that could become an open-door to be exploited. I don’t agree with that and can’t comment on the Director of Education, because obviously I do not know him – if there is an agenda then I will have to take your word for it and admit that it comes as a bit of a surprise, mainly because it seems to run counter to past form.

            Perhaps I reacted to your initial post, because I just sensed, perhaps incorrectly that you were picking a fight – perhaps driven in part because your post was linked to the Llangennech school, where in my mind there is nothing really to compare to that situation. I would hate to see overly fanatical extremists, such as the so-called campaigners in that area, who are playing the victim for reasons beyond education, having an impact on things that happen in NPT.

            I guess that while I have a generally positive impression of overall education in NPT and I have never been involved in debates about these things before. I have developed a less than positive view of how it has been shaped and never got the impression that the authority was supportive of WM education, but was only doing positive things in that area reluctantly, due to the reality on the ground that there were a lot of people who wouldn’t roll over and were prepared to dig their heels in for WM education.

            I would be very happy not to dwell on the past – (you obviously know the in’s and out’s better than myself). I have been surprised by the developments at Ystalyfera and in Sandfields (I was aware of the 3-18 change that affects Y Wern etc, it is great to see, but it has taken a very long time to come to pass and after that much time it does come across as more like an appeasement or acceptance than a general inherent will to do something positive in that area). The past is still with us in the sense of people have got used to the idea of having to fight their corner, because it seems from the outside that nothing happens without a long struggle – maybe we have turned a corner or perhaps not, but I hope that those parents do get their transport fees paid.

            I don’t think that this was probably the best forum to bring this up though and the unfortunate linkage to Llangennech was part of the reason that I chose to take the bait and respond.

            P.S. You probably think I am one of those people you refer to as language fanatics, but I generally tend to keep my views to myself and only responded to this because of the Alltwen link. I have no political affiliations and don’t beong to any particular groups etc.

  17.  

    Hello Jac, just to clarify some of what you have written regarding Lee Waters AM. Lee grew up in the next street to me in Ammanford. Ammanford then was within the constituency he now represents. Unfortunately ‘Gerrymandering’ boundary changes meant that Ammanford came under Carmarthen rather than Llanelli and we’ve had twenty years of uneventful or ineffective nationalist representation. Even when the rest of the country was reaping the benefits of a booming economy for us in Carmarthen and East Dinefwr time stood still. Anyway I’m straying off the point , the point is Lee grew up in the constituency he represents so please don’t try to mislead people . Thank you.

    •  

      I’ve never discussed where he was brought up. The issue is where he lives, which is Barry, and the constituency he represents, which is Llanelli. I’m not sure why you bothered writing, because even you confirm that he never lived in Llanelli.

      •  

        No you are quite right you didn’t discuss where he was brought up, however, he did live and was brought up in the constituency which he now represents. Before the gerrymandering took Ammanford out of Llanelli.

        •  

          Look, lovely boy, with the best will in the world, Ammanford is not part of Llanelli. If there was any “gerrymandering” it was to take Ammanford into Llanelli.

          But the issue remains – and you continue to avoid it – where does Lee Waters live NOW, Lee Waters the AM for Llanelli?

    •  

      So how come PLaid’s majority increases every election if that ineffectual, you could do a lot worse mate, be thankful that you have somebody of the claibre of Adam Price and especially Jonathon Edwards representing you – if you don’t realise that you are quite ignorant of life in your constituency , BTW Caramrthesnhire has fared better in the last 20 yrs compared to many other western counties in Wales, – you should check your facts and the records

  18.  

    The continuing development of highly centralised, large catchment education particularly in the 11-16 and 16-18 age bands is clear evidence of an “industrialisation” process being applied to delivery of service. The focus shifts away from communities and onto meeting the needs of the provider, ultimately leading to the situation where Joe and Jane Public can get stuffed and fall in line.

    It has already showed its ugly face in health where the commisars running our assorted Health Trusts/Boards use the efficiency argument to justify centralisation of a range of services yet fail miserably to apply “efficiency” to their own management and administrative functions. The antics of various units within a single authority failing to match up their I.T to enable seamless transmission of patient documents is mindnumbing. How dense are these people ? No one has seriously addressed the service needs of a dispersed area like West Wales, and poor old Powys is utterly buggered by depending to a huge extent on the responsiveness of neighbouring authorities. Fine and dandy for some twit based in a major centre, like Cardiff, to hypothesise that delivery is “so much more cost efficient” and so it may be in Cardiff and the Vale, but try explaining that to some farmer way out beyond a 20 mile radius why they have to travel even further to attend their specialist service. Much of Dyfed’s service provision is now on the periphery – Aber in the north and Hwlffordd, Carmarthen and Llanelli across the south and each of those is under attack by bureaucrats.

    Makes you suspect that there is an underlying clearance policy in place.

  19.  

    The irony is completely lost on these arseheads.
    http://caredig.blogspot.com/2017/04/speciesism-immigrants-and-natives.html

    •  

      Complete nobheads.

      The statement that “Red squirrels are primarily at risk of extinction from human activity.” Is utter nonsense. Red squirrels are being decimated by the squirrel pox virus, which is fatal to reds, to which grey squirrels are immune, being the main vector of transmission. Human activity in Ceredigion is mainly Welsh farmers who actually are propagating more habitat.

      As for re-wilding. I’m all for it. I suggest re-introduction of Canis Lupus Lupus (Wolf) back into West Wales. The best place to start is let them loose inside the chicken and goat pens at Lammas eco-village. After they’ve eaten their livestock, they can prey on the invasive species, a settlement of Homo Sapiens Anglosaxonus resident there.

      The best bit is the vegan who argues in favour of reducing the carbon footprint in Aberystwyth and then suggests a recipe using Jalapeno peppers. Note – these are flown in from Mexico!

  20.  

    To Alltwen Resident.

    Hello…..again.

    Just let me say that what I have posted so far is the tip of the most ‘corrupt iceberg’ I have witnessed in all my political career.

    I’ve got a house to build so I will (try to) be brief.

    A simple point at first. With regard to Welsh in Primary schools, probably throughout Wales, but certainly in NPT, it’s is now heard as routine between teacher and children in the classroom throughout the day! Greeting and simple generic instructions are routinely in Welsh.

    On visits to schools, on meeting a child in the corridor, for example, I will routinely be greeted in Welsh.

    I’m impressed that you have looked at the Rule Book. But, be careful there are two and while they should say the same, they don’t.
    Your line of logic on “designated feeder schools” cant be faulted.

    But, you have left out the equally critical term of a Catchment Area.

    You might be aware that the creation of NPTCBC corresponded with the opening of the New Cwmtawe campus in Parc Ynysderw. Previously there were three campuses, two Lower Schools – one in Clydach and one in GCG – and the Upper School in Pontardawe.

    From day one, a geographically defined catchment area was created around the New Cwmtawe campus. At that time, and even today in the rest of Wales, there is a fundamental, legal relationship between a Catchment Area Secondary school and its feeder schools.
    A Council’s Admissions Policy must make a clear link between each secondary school and it’s Feeder Schools.
    Before, and certainly since the opening of the New Cwmtawe Council the Council’s documentation followed the WG definition of a feeder school.
    A feeder school is defined as being within, or a child who lives within the Council defined catchment Area.

    If you look up the Catchment Area Map for Cwmtawe, and there’s an updated one available now, you will find that all the villages and their community Primary Schools (WM and EM ) are included within the Cwmtawe Catchment Boundary.
    Two further points – until December 2015 into January 16 the Council rule book would have named all the WM and EM primary schools allocated to Cwmtawe.
    Then there is the simple Custom and Practice of Joe Public for the past twenty years. Families from throughout the Catchment Area have had complete freedom in choosing whether to send their child to Cwmtawe or to Ystalyfera at transition from Primary .
    Where they lived more than 3 miles from the school they then qualified for Statutory free Home to School Transport, irrespective of which Medium of instruction they had received previously.

    In the autumn of 2013,when families were going through the ‘applying for a place process’, they would have been aware of the previous C and P, but also the Rule Book table would have shown all the WM schools included in the Cwmtawe catchment. Logically, they qualified for Free transport according to the Government School Transport Rules.

    Consequently, when in February 2014 parents in 4 of the 6 Catchment feeder schools were informed if they switched from WM to EM they would not qualify for Free transport they rightly cried foul.
    Further, as an aside, at the time there were those of us who were baffled by letters being sent to parents in only four out of the 11 WM Primary Schools in the COUNTY Borough.?????.
    In September 2014 when I approached a friend who was a headmaster at another of the Council’s secondary school and ran the scenario past him, his reaction – apart from the fact that he knew nothing about it – was “thats bloody daft, its blatantly discriminatory”. Further,at his school that term two children had started who had transferred from WM schools. Without exception they had been given free bus passes.

    It appeared the Director was acting without the support of an approved Council Policy.

    Just one more point……..In January 2016, while the Admissions Policy was going through a Statutory Consultation process, the Director removed the table of Catchment/Feeder schools from the Web Site. When it appeared again days later the term Feeder School had been replaced with the term Partner School and all WM Primary schools had been removed from the
    Cwmtawe Catchment area.
    Nice One Mr Evans. A move given approval by the Labour Administration.

    I will say that there much much more jiggery pokery during the three years its taken to overcome this disgraceful abuse of peoples rights.

  21.  

    Brychan

    The information about the specific example formed part of the 18 month Ombudsman enquiry into a case in Tairgawith . He found in favour of the family who cited the example.
    However, for decades, school buses from the villages along the northern rim of the County Borough have carried a mix of EM and WM primary School. The mix might be from the same street, adjacent streets, the same estate etc.
    Whatever, every morning at the bus stop there would be a complete social mix of children from those local streets.
    Currently, for the September intake to Cwmtawe there are projected around 50 children from WM Feeder schools. There are around 15 children from WM GCG alone. They will be meeting EM children at their respective bus stops.

     Apologies for any typos etc

    •  


      Party: Unaffiliated, Independent
      Ward: Allt-wen
      =================================================

      A few simple questions Cllr. Lewis.

      1. Are you a native Welsh speaker?
      2. Do you have children? If so do they speak Welsh?
      3. I understand that you are a so-called ‘Independent’ councillor, but for who do you personally vote for in the ballot box?
      and finally,
      4. Do you believe that any nation who has it’s own unique culture, language and traditions, should protect those unique features that identify it as a nation?

      I ask simply to try and see exactly where you are coming from.

    •  

      Thanks for your reply, Mr Lewis.
      May I ask you to vote for Plaid Cymru in May?

      For the following –
      (a) to build on the work you played a part in over the years,
      (b) to ensure that access to YGG Ystalyfera WM continues,
      (c) standards continue to improve at Cwmtawe EM, and
      (d) that dismissive council executives realise that the MUST reply and be held accountable.

      There will always be a ‘wrong bus’ or ‘Dewi doesn’t get on well at the new school’ or “Bethan down the street gets a bus pass to the new school but my Blodwen missed out last year” issues.

      But there is one thing that I find Plaid Cymru does do in Rhondda (and I here some excellent work bring done in Cardiff West though a mountain to climb in Carmarthenshire, is holding executive pay grades to account. It’s not just a question of legislation, policy, or where the bus stop is, but ensuring the administration of the authority is orientated to serving the residents of the ward.

      Don’t know Sionned Williams.
      Worth a punt?

      •  

        To endorse Brychan’s point, particularly about quality of representation – all candidates aspiring to be councillors MUST hold the interests of their communities paramount. Councils do not legislate in any grand way, they do produce regulations at local level which have to operate within the framework of broader law. Primarily they administer that which is handed down from above and that is where, in some cases, they take excessive licence to meander and interpret. The major offenders in taking such liberties are the senior executives especially where they are given carte blanche ( or something pretty close ) by councillors failing in their duty. Communities then suffer as the machinations of scheming executives pursuing their own perverse agendas play out at local level.

        Not an easy role to play as Neil McEvoy found recently, but a councillor soon attracts positive reviews from us great unwashed when we see vigorous performance in tackling the fudge and downright lies often churned out by the bureaucrats.

        People say that I’ve got a bit of a downer on the grey men in suits ( and their female equivalents ). I guess that is true and will remain so until these people start performing a SERVICE which their communities expect of them. Councillors will help greatly in ensuring that executive performance is reorientated and improved.

  22.  

    Dear BG

    I thought long and hard before deciding to go public with this issue. Ever sensitive that the moment one raises matters linked to the Welsh language that people like yourself would jump out of the wood work trying to establish “what side I’m on” ! And Bingo there you are!

    Over the last few days I have spent hours setting out a series of facts associated with NPTCBC Education Department and it’s Labour Administration that go back over a three/four years period.
    In my writings I did include aspects of my proactive role in a range of Welsh Language issues in the broader Swansea Valley Community over a long period of time.
    Alltwen is very Welsh Community which has elected me to represent them for nearly forty years. That should be enough for you in your pursuit of “where I am coming from”.
    What is depressing is that your questions completely ignore the substance of the matters I raised. Your questions trivialise the seriousness and complexity of the issue and its impact on the people living in the “Welsh Speaking Heartland” of the County Borough.
    You totally avoid the substance of my writings and home in on matters which are my private business.

    This is the last time the I’m going to respond to questions from individuals who, having read my exhaustive even exhausting description of events, then need help in understanding where I am coming from.

    •  

      Cllr Lewis, I found your posts excellent, it doesn’t matter to me where you’re coming from or going to, the substance showed a depth of knowledge of the workings of the local authority. I look forward to hearing more from you.

      •  

        You mean an in depth knowledge of Council procedures? And a diary of accrued tit bits in order to ‘Police’ the activities of others? Bigots come in various flavours. Some come straight out with it (they are more likely to be respected – even by their enemies). Then there are others who slink and sneak around slyly collecting tittle bits of tittle-tattle that they can use to promote their own bigotry, by disguising it as something else. Those types usually have a skeleton or two hidden in a cupboard somewhere.

        I’m getting a distinct picture coming through that Councillor Lewis may fall into that second category, ducking and weaving direct questions, and deflecting anything that might expose their true agenda.

    •  

      Cllr David Lewis as you say you have given an exhaustive description of events. I’m in no position to question to what degree they represent your description of events or not so I’ll just comment on what appears to be an opinion of yours on the overall situation. You said in your first comment –
      “However, there was worse to come! In my view, this phase demonstrated more clearly the pursuit of a Welsh Language ‘At Any Cost’ Agenda by the Directorate’s Senior Officers.”

      Surely if the intention to pursue a Welsh language agenda was paramount then the more children going to WM secondary schools the better. Every parent with children moving up from a WM primary school would have been informed of the travel costs if they switched their children to an EM secondary school. Effectively the travel costs would have acted as a deterrent to switching to EM.

      If parents were not told of the costs then there are two outcomes –
      1. less children than might be expected stay with WM education through to secondary schools.
      2. the council raises 260 pounds a year for each child that switches to an EM secondary school.

      Are you sure that your attention and energy are not being diverted by this “discrimination” issue and the real issue is that this has happened because the council cannot or maybe don’t want to provide enough WM secondary school places for children leaving WM primary schools and in addition they’ve identified a way to make some extra cash.

    •  

      Cllr Lewis – ‘di-enw’ has been more direct and forthright in his response than me, but it seems that he has picked up on the same points. I framed my comment as a series of questions in order to get a clearer picture in a wider context. I note that you have not answered any of them, choosing instead to skirt around what I asked by dragging the focus away from what could potentially expose your real reasons for your so called “going public” exercise.

      How ‘Welsh’ the community in Alltwen is, can be dismissed as an irrelevance. Llangennech is also labelled a very ‘Welsh’ community, but we all know how the anti-Welsh brigade has (to use your phraseology) also appeared out of the woodwork.

      The fact that you have for forty years been selected by the electorate of Alltwen to represent them is also an irrelevance. I doubt if they voted for you on any known stance to protect the native culture and language in the area. I’m sure you are a very competent councillor, and greatly appreciated, but I doubt if it’s on the grounds of your support for the diminishing Welsh identity in our country. Conversely, forty years ago, I would be very surprised to learn that you could have been elected on ‘Welsh’ cultural/ language/educational issues, because from my memory of the period everyone involved in the struggle for identity were viewed as “mad Welsh Nashies”. Although there has been an awakening, and a bolder effort to tell it as it is, many of those old bigoted views still sadly persist in your neck of the woods – judging by the numbers of Labour representatives that have been elected to your council. We all know where traditional Labour councillors stand on issues like this.

      My suspicions regarding your TRUE reasons for your pursuit of what you portray as an injustice towards those wishing to use the English Medium schools, do indeed seem to be borne out from your quote that di-enw reproduced, namely:
      However, there was worse to come! In my view, this phase demonstrated more clearly the pursuit of a Welsh Language ‘At Any Cost’ Agenda by the Directorate’s Senior Officers.
      I see that as anger towards supporters of the language in Welsh Medium education, rather than a genuine response to any injustices based on bus fares. People’s real motives are often cloaked in issues that can be used to denigrate those of us with real concern about the future of our identity. The Llangennech issue with it’s false campaign against ‘English haters’ again springs to mind.

      When you say:
      Your questions trivialise the seriousness and complexity of the issue and its impact on the people living in the ‘Welsh Speaking Heartland’ of the County Borough“.
      Are you trying to convey here that subsidising bus costs for pupils going to a Welsh Medium school is in some ways detrimental to the ‘Welsh Speaking Heartland’? Or to those who oppose Welsh Medium education and try to stifle it by picking up on any excuse to hamper it?

      Finally, you say:
      You totally avoid the substance of my writings and home in on matters which are my private business“.
      Are those ‘private business’ matters in any way involved in finding out where your true political allegiance lies? I agree that anyone’s voting habits are their own business, but if you choose to enter into a public office in a political career role, then you forfeit that luxury in my opinion. Having fought hammer and tongs over the years with the Dai Lloyd Evans’ of this world, along with his cronies in the ‘Independents’ group on Ceredigion County Council, I recognise that being an ‘Independent’ is often a shield to hide behind. Had you said you don’t vote for any party in any election, then that would be more acceptable, and you could then rightly call yourself an ‘Independent’. That doesn’t seem to be the case though does it? As for myself (a past vice president within Plaid Cymru) I openly confess that these days I do not vote for anyone, and I’m sure you’ll note that my criticisms of Plaid on this blog are proof of the fact that I will criticise anyone that I feel are not doing their part in preserving our identity as a nation who deserves it’s freedom. Perhaps your ‘Directorate’s Senior Officers’ feel the same way about our disappearing presence in our own country?

      Now if you’re prepared to answer those questions I posed for you in a truthful and open way, perhaps I would be more inclined to give you a more sympathetic hearing. However, I for one will not be lulled into semantics involving an argument that is proposed in order to undermine Welsh Medium education, because at this point that is what it increasingly is illuminated as. If I’m wrong, then I stand to be corrected.

  23.  

    Dear di-enw.

    When I chose to to use this web site there were two principal reasons. The first was to demonstrate that not all Labour controlled authorities were anti the development of the welsh language – NPT certainly isn’t. Secondly, I felt there was a need to reveal the gerrymandering that was going on, driven by senior officers (with no “official Council approval”), to force WM Primary children transfer to WM Secondary.

    People who have posted have in the main ignored the element of the “political collusion”
    by the Labour Executive…..so be it!
    The majority have to varying degrees plumped for the Welsh Language agenda. To be fair it’s what I expected.
    Your response falls just into the latter field and makes some interesting observations. Might I ask you to think them through again?

    Might I start with a quote from your piece:-
    “Every parent with children moving up from a WM primary school would have been informed of the travel costs if they switched their children to an EM secondary school.”

    A couple of points:- They weren’t told.
    Parents who had processed their child’s options in the Autumn of 2013, according to the Council’s own time table, were not informed of the charging matter until February 2014. Anyway, there is no Council policy authorising this charging! Something which you seem to have ignored!
    If there had been, then, “by law” (Learner Travel Wales Measures 2008) the parents should have been informed by the 1st October 2013, for entry in September 2014.
    Feb 2014 was 5 months out of compliance —- you know, illegal! That matter was one of many to be swept under the carpet.
    What disturbs me about the background to this point is that you seem to accept that children can be penalised for switching. In this democracy of ours -covered by various acts of Parliament and Welsh Government, families have a fundamental right to chose the path of a child’s education!
    Equally disturbing is your ignoring of the fact that only four of the County’s 11 WM Primary Schools were targeted in this way!
    More importantly, the four WM schools and the children’s homes all lay within the EM Secondary School Catchment area. So, you know, BY LAW (and living more than three miles from the school) they were entitled to STATUTORY, FREE HOME TO SCHOOL TRANSPORT,

    Then you say :- “Effectively the travel costs would have acted as a deterrent to switching to EM.
    If parents were not told of the costs then there are two outcomes –
    1. less children than might be expected stay with WM education through to secondary schools.
    2. the council raises 260 pounds a year for each child that switches to an EM secondary school.”

    With regard to the “deterrent” outcome, your absolutely spot on. Families with younger children who were asked to pay switched their second child to the local EM Primary immediately.
    Further, YGG Gwaun Cae Gurwen the local top Primary school and the major supplier of children to the WM Secondary, will see nearly all its children switch to the EM Secondary this coming September. In total there are around 50 WM Primary Children committed to attending the EM Secondary this September

    Your comment about the £260 I find offensive – those children had a legal right to free Home to School transport.
    Parents are angry

    Then finally, you fall into the “conspiracy” pool with :- “the real issue is that this has happened because the council cannot or maybe don’t want to provide enough WM secondary school places for children leaving WM primary schools”.
    The kinder side of me suggests that you haven’t read my posts. If you had you would have seen that the Council will have spent/will be spending £35million on upgrading one WM Secondary and building a new WM Secondary school in the County borough by 2018.

    There is a legitimate thread in your reasoning, but you’ve got it the wrong way around.
    No one in Officialdom has admitted yet (or ever), but there are those who recognise that the £35 million spend ‘could’ turn out to be an embarrassing huge “White Elephant”.
    The two new schools will have a capacity ‘approaching’ 2000. There are currently a total of 1100 -ish Secondary pupils in the fabulous, newly rebuilt/extended YGG Ystalyfera.. When the new school opens in the South of the Borough in 2018 at least 300 of the 1100 will transfer there. Will the current school or both be sustainable ???
    Only time will tell.

    David Lewis

    The usual apologies for any typo’s etc……

    •  

      My first effort at a reply got sent, if it was sent, before I finished it. If it did get through it can be binned.

      Cllr David Lewis the details you present point to issues of council competence and attitude and even commitment to their WL education plan rather than a Welsh language agenda per se. In effect you’re making a good case for pointing out that the council has shot itself in its Welsh language foot.

      You say “families have a fundamental right to choose the path of a child’s education!”. We have different philosophies regarding education. I think that it’s the children that have the fundamental right. A right to an education that equips them for life’s challenges and opportunities. In Cymru this includes command of Cymraeg as well as English. Some parents want their children to grow up to be monoglot English speakers, others want their children to believe that evolution is wrong or not to question the religion they were brought up in or not to be exposed to sex and gender education, etc., etc. When you add them all up there is a long list of things that parents as a whole group would prefer their children not to learn about.
      I have to admit though that the right to choose is a better vote catcher. It’s a simple premise and it demands little thought from voters – choice is good isn’t it, duh.

      You say that you find my comment about the £260 offensive. I suggested that your council might have had its eye on the revenue raised by charging for travel. I’m surprised you find that suggestion “offensive”.

      You said “No one in Officialdom has admitted yet (or ever), but there are those who recognise that the £35 million spend [on Welsh language secondary school] ‘could’ turn out to be an embarrassing huge “White Elephant”.

      Either as a councillor –
      you want to ensure that the school doesn’t become a “white elephant” and are therefore appalled with the incompetent actions of your council regarding these travel costs which might contribute to a potential £35 million “white elephant” outcome.
      Or as a councillor
      you think that the agenda of families having “a fundamental right to choose the path of a child’s education!” is paramount and see a potential £35 000 000 waste of Welsh government and local authority resources as unfortunate but acceptable collateral damage.

  24.  

    Pasg Hapus Pawb/Happy Easter Everyone

    This radical take on the welsh economy and independence is well is worth reading and sharing, we supporters of indy need to offer alternatives and this should be one of them https://freewales.org/independent-wales-prosperous-wales/

    •  

      An absolutely excellent article by Simon Gruffydd Foster. He and I have followed similar paths. In Plaid, then left, because we both realised that the independence issue was no longer a priority for that party. Both involved with the Independent Wales Party. Both sickened by the current situation, both hopeful of an awakening. “FE Godwn Ni Eto” Glasiad!

      And finally I find after reading his brilliant article on his blog “Free Wales” (that you linked to ‘Earthshaker’) that he is writing about things that are observed by those with an open mind and an open pair of eyes when confronted with the outworking of this global agenda. I get labelled a conspiracy theorist when I highlight these things, I sincerely hope he doesn’t get the same treatment. The bottom line is that there are those of us who are awake, whilst the rest are walking around in a zombie like stupor, a hypnotic state brought about by the media who in turn are controlled by the dark suits in the shadows.

      Pasg hapus. Although that nonsense is nothing more than recycled rubbish from pagan times. But I won’t get on my soap-box on that subject here.

  25.  

    “You may recall that in News Round-up 24.03.2017 I wrote of a Labour councillor in Plaid Cymru-controlled Gwynedd, https://tinyurl.com/zp7topr, and reported that a project of his had been favoured by the local funding agency, Mantell Gwynedd”

    Siôn Wyn Jones is remarkable even by the standards of Labour Councillors.

    A Manchurian Property-Rapist called Mark Sanders (he likes to be known as “the Colonel” according to his Facebook page) wants to convert the centre of Dolgellau into a huge bunkhouse, as covered in the Cambrian News here:

    https://tinyurl.com/zp7topr

    I went to Plas Tan Y Bwlch to hear the Snowdonia National Park Planning Committee discuss the Colonel’s planning application. Councillor Siôn Wyn Jones sits on the Planning Committee.

    One of the objections to the bunkhouse (as the Cambrian News notes) is where the influx of people using the proposed bunk house would actually park.

    “Ah” said Councillor Siôn Wyn Jones. “This assumes that they will drive to Dolgellau. Many visitors to Dolgellau nowadays use the train.”

    Junior Einstein then relaxed back in his seat, smiling to himself at his cleverness.

    There was silence. Followed by the sounds of jaws dropping around the Planning Committee table at Tan Y Bwlch.

    I mean, seriously, where do Labour find these people? Where do you find people as thick as this?

  26.  

    Yes, Siôn Wyn Jones was in favour of the bunkhouse.

    He was (by some margin) the most self-satisfied member of the Planning Committee.

    He’s one to watch for the future, I doubt being Councillor for Bethel is the limit of his ambition.

  27.  

    Yet people still vote for these muppets like Sion Jones.

    •  

      Sad to say, but sometimes people get the politicians they deserve!

    •  

      He portrays himself as an outsider and populist, much like this blog would celebrate in other circumstances. In Gwynedd Plaid Cymru is the establishment (a professional, effective, patriotic establishment!) and Labour is outside the circle. Despite much of Gwynedd being Labour in the post-war years. He ‘stands up for his village’ allegedly.

  28.  

    Different tack entirely. BuzzFeed News, this week, reporting that …

    A company run by a senior UKIP politician is selling what appears to be industrial-strength bleach as a health product, with instructions for users to put a few drops of it in drinks or use it with water as mouthwash.

    Andrew Haigh, who was appointed UKIP’s national organiser for Wales in 2015, has, according to the website of his company Vitalox, been supplying “Aerobic Oxygen” since 1998. Its leaflet describes it as “good for you” and “the healthier element” – it says it “harness[es] the powerful healing properties of oxygen for use within the body”.

    However, a chemist who tested the product told BuzzFeed News it’s “reasonable to say it’s sodium chlorite or something similar”, based on the tests he carried out. Sodium chlorite is a powerful corrosive alkali used in several industrial processes, including paper-bleaching.

    Didn’t you investigate this snake oil salesman back in 2014 ? But, is it the same snake oil – or is it another product entirely ?

    •  

      I wrote about him here, in July 2014. The company I wrote about at the time was Vitaplankton.

      Someone contacted me last week about the BuzzFeed article and I put something out on Twitter. Here it is. A subsequent message told me that Vitaplankton has gone bust.

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