I'm the Hen Ferchetan. This is my take on the world through the eyes of Wales. While mostly about Welsh politics (that most famous of dour topics!) I try to scatter some humour around, but I doubt anyone but me will find it funny! Have a read, and if it bores you then feel free to never come back!

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Airbursh Nationalists

Burberry's favorite politician Leighton Andrews (also known as the ex-nashie-hater who didn't have Huw Lewis' guts to oppose the red-green coalition) notes that Plaid's (absolutely cringeworthy awful) Party Political Broadcast does not contain either Jill Evans or Adam Price.

Mr Andrews believes that this is because Plaid are embarrassed of the twosome following recent "outbursts". He's talking of course about Jill Evans' opposition to St Athan project (which I've discussed enough already) and Adam Price's comments that Plaid do not rule out a coalition with the Tories.

While it would be rude to point out that the Labour party's PPB did not contain Leighton Andrews (are they embarrassed of you too?) there is one obvious gap in his logic:

Plaid's PPB was first broadcasted on April 15th.
Adam Price made his comments on April 25th.


On a similar note, while PPB's have always been extremely dull, what on earth happened this year? Labour's PPB did not mention Labour, only the Lib Dems and Plaid's PPB was, well, I struggle to find the words. If we all thought Adam Price was a crap actor in that old PPB where he chatted to a cameraman, Ieuan Wyn and Elin Jones must surely have out-crapped him this time!

Note to Plaid Cymru: Politicians cannot act - Your politicians certainly cannot act - Stick to actors will you.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Double Standards

Following on from the "To Speak or Not to Speak" post, see if you can see the teeny weeny bit of hypocrisy in Lib Dem AM Peter Black's opinions here...

Plaid MEP speaks out against Plaid supported St Athan academy because she personally opposes

Peter Black verdict = "lack of discipline and inconsistency"

Lib Dem MP's resign from front bench and vote for Lib Dem opposed-European referendum because they want one

Peter Black verdict = "a proper and principled way to proceed"

Don't you just hate petty party politics?

Monday, 28 April 2008

Robert ap Mugabe

I haven't posted much on the upcoming local elections because of the simple fact that they are so local. Something which interests me here, won't be of any interest to someone 5 miles away in a different ward, let alone someone the other side of Wales. Having said that, some of the fights are too interesting to ignore.

Already we have two incidents of alleged fraud in Swansea. The Tory candidate has been accused by opponents of fraud- something to do with the names on his nomination card, and an un-named woman has been arrested for electoral fraud. We have no name, no details of the allegation and no knowledge of what party she was working/campaigning for. Will we find out before May 1st? Hopefully yes!

Another interesting battle is in Gwynedd, where Plaid's only council is under threat from a new party, Llais Gwynedd (it used to be Llais y Bobl, until someone pointed out that The People's Voice already existed in Blaenau Gwent). The Plaid-ruled Council is in the midst of a primary school re-organisation which has many people up in arms. I don't know enough about the state of education in Gwynedd to comment on who's right and wrong, but Llais Gwynedd interests me, just as the People's Voice did. Llais Gwynedd was set up by a man called Aeron Jones, a man I have only heard speak through his keyboard (via Maes-e).

Unfortunately, after a week of posting on that site he has now deleted all his posts, probably after a rollocking from someone in his party with a little more political nous. Within a few posts the founder of Llais Gwynedd had managed to turn every reader against his own party. His posts were filled with innuendos, scandal rumours and, apparently, lies. His best comment was, to be frank, hilariously shocking.

Translated from Welsh, the comment reads...

In Zimbabwe they opened the polling boxes on the night, then count the votes the next morning. And we all know what happened there.Thank God that we live in Gwynedd where they keep the boxes closed until Friday morning without breaking the seal, or do they open the boxes on Thursday night and leave them open until the next morning - I wonder!

That's right, the founder of a political party with high expectations of success on May 1st is accusing the Plaid controlled Gwynedd Council of preparing a Zimbabwe-style electoral fraud!

I wonder what Mr Aeron Jones would make of the two alleged fraudsters down Swansea way? Probably compare them to Mussolini or Stalin I guess!

Note: Ordovicius also deals with the subject of Llais Gwynedd here

To Speak or Not to Speak?

Recent discussions have brought my old pet-peeve to the fore - the culture of parties acting like a block and not an individual. The Cynical Dragon lashes out against Plaid for being against the St Athan project stating:

Ignoring the 'school of death' rubbish, are Plaid Cymru really standing against an £11bn investment in Wales? Of course they are.
Um...no they're not. Plaid supports the St Athan project. What the Dragon is doing is mixing the personal opinion of one politician (Jill Evans) with her whole party.

Peter Black, being a politician himself, has no such confusion. He clearly understands that Jill Evans' stance is her own opinion. He also points to a similar incident over the Aerolink Wales exhibition, which was welcomed by Ieuan Wyn Jones but criticised by Plaid Councillor Gwenllian Landsdown (she is now also the Chief-Exec, but was just a Councillor when she criticised the exhibition). He finishes his post on the matter with this line:

Although the two politicians are perfectly entitled to express their point of view, this lack of discipline and inconsistency within Plaid surely militates against them becoming a serious party of government.

"Lack of discipline"? What are Plaid supposed to do, bring out the old slipper when one of their representative disagrees with the party line? It's clear that Peter Black is a believer in the "follow the leader" type politics which is so prevalent at the Assembly, where politicians vote with their party not with their own opinions.

Have you ever watched AM's voting? It is the most predictable event on earth - they will all follow the party line like sheep. While this is mostly true about all politicians, at least in London MP's will rebel if they feel strongly about something - has that ever, once, happened in Cardiff? That's a serious question and I would love to know if someone has the answer. Has an AM ever voted against his party line, apart from when they've been give a free vote (such as the badger-cull)? Is there actually any point in our AM's turning up to vote? It would be easier, and just as honest, for the four leaders plus Trish Law to meet in a side-room and declare which way their voting block will go.

I may not agree with Jill Evans' stance - but I would have been disgusted if she'd have kept silence over an issue that she feels so strongly about. The same goes for Gwenllian Landsdown. We vote for politicians not political parties.

Friday, 25 April 2008

Ironic Woe

Poor old Green Arrow - this voter is dejected to see that there is no BNP candidate standing in his ward on May 1st but, all credit to the man, he will still vote as he sees it as something important. While I think his views on politics is despicable you've got to feel for the poor man when he says...

"my vote for the BNP handed the Regional Assembly seat to a Pakistani candidate for Plaid Cymru"

Poor sod!

Teacher Tantrum

So a whole shedload of Welsh teachers went on strike yesterday, along with driving test examiners and all kinds of other public sector workers. Apparently their 2.4% rise is tantamount to a pay cut when you take into account the rise in GDP.

Fair enough. I have no idea what a teacher's average wage is so I'll trust them when they say it's not enough. But two things annoys me about this strike, one personal and one not. The latter annoyance is the timing of the strike - just before exams start. Kids who need every possible second of school time to prepare for their exams (because let's be honest - they won't be studying that much at home!) are sent home for the day because their teacher is at the picket line. The pay increase was announced in January - why couldn't they have gone on strike earlier? It's like the Metropolitan Police going on strike on May Day or the Fire Brigade going on strike on 5th November.

I hope that Year 11 teachers thought long and hard about whether to attend those classes or stay out all day - from the news reports it seems that at least some Year 11 teachers did turn up even though they supported the strike - good for them.

The other annoyance is personal - new teachers get a starting salary of £24k (more than me) and get 12 weeks holiday a year (much more than me) - when do I get to strike!

FA Relent

The English FA have announced that Cardiff City will get to play in Europe if they win the FA Cup and that Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau will be played prior to kick off in the Final.

I understand the FAW's view that it as a step backwards for the big three (or is that big two now) to qualify for Europe through the English league system as they would be able to qualify every year if allowed through the Welsh system, but I think this is the right answer. The clubs play in the English league, and allowing them to qualify through the Welsh system would be unfair and hypocritical.

As for the anthem - hooray for a bit of common sense. While you could find plenty of arguments for not singing it - this being the English Cup, tradition etc etc - there was never any real reason for not doing it. It's not going to hurt anyone and it will be respectful to Cardiff City - why bother arguing against it?

Now let's just hope Cardiff can thrash Portsmouth and not let all this go to waste eh!

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Murder She Rode

Quick follow up to the phantom horse-slasher story. A few days on and clearly the BBC, Mule and co have decided to just ignore their mess-ups. The only ones to change a thing were BBC Arlein who changed their quotation of "Sais Mas" to the correct "Cai Maes Sais" - the rest of their article makes it sound like "Cai Maes Sais" is a perfectly common anti-English sentiment!

The Western Mail has decided the best way out is not to make a correction but to print a few letters bringing up the translation points - one of which was extremely scathing of the Western Mail!(Oh and a warning to Cwlcymro at Maes-e, the guy who wrote the fourth letter here is taking credit for your investigation work!)

Many blogs have posted on the matter, with the Old Fart very helpfully giving examples of proper anti-English quotes to assist the next person who wants to pretend to be a Welsh nash!

One part of the story which did make me laugh a bit was the horse's owner giving the teary eyed story of how "Hope loved being around people but now I can’t get near her. She is terrified"

have a look at that picture up there, not only does the horse seem pretty comfortable around her, she's even got her hand on his bloody nose!

I really do hope the Police catch whoever did this, just so that we can have an answer to our riddle!

On a personal note, the last post was the most viewed and most commented post ever on this blog (by a country mile!) Just goes to show that however important the going ons of the Assembly and London are, all you need to really captivate some interest is a poor hurt animal and a healthy dose of scepticism and mystery! (oh, and yes, I do know the headline puns are getting worse!)

Monday, 7 April 2008

Inspector Horse

So the BBC, Western Mail, South Wales Echo, icWales,the Daily Mail and even the Tivyside Advertiser are incensed by the Welsh nationalist thug who "slashed" a horse's nose and wrote racist graffiti on his stable wall. The stupid idiots who, according to all these articles, wrote "English Out" on the wall didn't even realise that the couple were English-speaking Welshmen! According to the horse's owner the area is mostly Welsh-speaking and the vile thug who carried out this attack must have mistaken english-speaking for being English.

Here's a picture of the barn and the graffiti.

Now, if you are a Welsh speaker you will probably have already noticed that something doesn't quite add up here. If you are a monoglot, let me clue you in. See those words on the side of the barn? They don't say "English Out", whatever the respected media named above might tell you. I'd love to tell you what it says, but I can't. Why? Because it doesn't say anything. It is gibberish.

Now Sais clearly means "Englishman", every Welshman knows that. But "Maes"? Well that means field (or town square). "Cai" doesn't mean anything, it is not a Welsh word (it is actually a Welsh name, like Kai in English). So what is the painter trying to say? Beats me!

Could he be saying Cer Mas Sais (Get Out Englishman)? Or maybe Gai'r Maes Sais (Can I Have The Field Englishman)?. Western Mail thinks it says Cer Maes Sais (Go Field Englishman, makes no grammatical sense in Welsh either!) or Cae Mas Sais (Field Go Englishman). The answer is no. This isn't some mis-spelling or typo, most of those suggestions don't makes sense (Go Field Englishman?) and the ones that do (Cer Mas Sais) do not sound anything like Cai Maes Sais and are way too far off to be the words of a grammatically challenged Welsh-speaker or even a poor learner.

Clearly someone up in Trinity Mirror has realised something is wrong, they just havn't quite put their finger on it. The South Wales Echo would have us believe that it's common slang for "English Out" while icWales disagrees and tells us it's actually very old Welsh for "English Out". The Western Mail disagrees again, telling us that the writing doesn't say "English Out" but "English Out of This Field". Top prize for awful reporting must go to BBC Newyddion Arlein (Welsh BBC News) which actually quotes the graffiti as saying "Sais Mas" (English Out) even though the picture of the actual words used above comes from the BBC!

As a Welsh speaker I can assure you that those words certainly don't say "English Out". Not in slang, not in old Welsh, not in proper Welsh and not in misspelt Welsh. Or do they?

This is where things get interesting. I'm sure you all know of the infamous InterTran, one of those diabolical online translators. To you and me "Get out Englishman" clearly doesn't translate as "Cai Maes Sais" - but to InterTran that is exactly what it translates as.

So let us get this straight, whoever painted that slogan had to use an infamously awful online translator to work out how to translate "Get Out Englishman"? What nationalist worth his salt can't say or spell that?

Something smells here, any budding detectives among you?

(Congrats to Cwlcymro at Maes-E for making the InterTran connection - oh and I'm sorry about the god awful headline pun!)