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!

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

The Lord Doth Speak

TEAM GB will have a football team for the 2012 Games, Seb Coe has confirmed, whatever opposition is put up by the Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish.

The creation of the team has been opposed by the Football Associations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland who are concerned it may compromise their individual status within Fifa.

But he said the BOA, which selects teams for the Games, has decided to press ahead with a football squad despite the opposition.

When asked last night about the opposition from the Welsh and Scots, Coe replied bluntly: “F*** em!”

The feeling's mutual mate. Prat.
Hat Tip: Gareth Young

Update: Interesting update to this story, the above story was printed in The London Paper, it is no longer available online. The Metro then wrote a story headed "
Seb Coe denies 'f*** 'em' Olympic row" and now that story has also been taken down!

Monday, 29 September 2008

What Did I Just Say?

Cheryl Gillian, Tory Shadow Minister for Wales

“People deserve honesty from Plaid Cymru. They deserve to know where the party stands. They should trust the people of Wales by making it crystal clear where they stand on the question of Welsh independence."

Tory policy on further devolution


Tories "dossier" on Rhodri Morgan

“unique dress sense and hairstyle...erratic and unusual behaviour...undermined the role of First Minister and embarrassed the National Assembly and Wales”

Tory Mayor of London

Tory Chair of Assembly’s Finance Committee, 25th September

I would have a strong and equal relationship with Westminster and the other devolved governments and I would demand our fair share, I would lobby for more powers to keep money in Wales for Wales. I would like to levy a small charge on some of the companies that use us as a gateway and I would re-invest that money in developing business"

Tory Chair of Assembly’s Finance Committee, 27th September

Misquoted, never asked for tax powers - "What I am suggesting is that we need to think smarter and work harder to make money being invested in Wales work better for Wales"

The Welsh Conservative Party - so consistently inconsistent!

Friday, 26 September 2008

Media Mess

So ITV Wales is, for all extent and purposes, no longer. The industry regulator, Ofcom, has announced that Welsh news coverage on the third channel will be reduced from 320 minutes a week to 240. Even worse is that non-news will fall from 240 minutes to just 90.

What this means in practical terms is that the evening Wales Today will be the only Welsh news on the channel, with the mid morning and weekend lunchtime programmes dropped. As for non-news ITV Wales' current flagship programmes like Wales This Week, Sharp End, Soccer Sunday, Fishlock's Wild Tracks and The Ferret will find themselves fighting for scraps.

ITV Wales' head of Drama was scathing in judging the proposals:
“This is the kind of vested interests and cultural arrogance we have seen over the years where they have deliberately undermined our attempts to represent Wales on the UK network."
It's already clear that coverage of devolved politics in Wales is abysmal. With the UK written media practically ignoring the Assembly all together and the Western Mail's circulation flatlining under 40,000 and seemingly concerned only in copying and pasting Adam Price's blog posts the only place the Welsh public learn about devolved politics is through their TV set. With the BBC being attacked for ignoring devolved politics and ITV now cutting their coverage to the bones things look quite bleak.

The barrenness of the media coverage was reflected by the recent poll which showed that over 30% of Welsh people interested in politics got their fix from the internet. Credit where it's due, the BBC Wales news website churn out plenty of stories, but, being the BBC, they are lifeless and simply contain quotes from government and opposition politics. The same pattern is employed by the Western Mail and her sister paper. What this means is that there is no-one left to actually investigate Welsh politics, to dig deep into her secrets and complexities. If Peter Hain had just been the Welsh Secretary and not the Secretary for Works and Pensions, would he have escaped disgrace? Because I can guarantee you that neither BBC Wales, ITV Wales nor the Western Mail would have any ability or interest to expose him.

With the possible end of Wales this Week and the Sharp End, and a further cut in Welsh news, what we are left with in this country are a few reporters. What we need is investigative reporters, but don't hold your breath.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

True To Their Word

Apparently we now have a wannabe official No campaign. (Such campaigns are not official until the Electoral Commission specifies them as "the chosen one", that won't happen until we actually have a referendum called).

It seems that someone had a quiet word in David Davies' ear about his suggestion of going with the slogan "Wales for the Union" so the name is now "True Wales". While the idea behind the name is that:
"members felt that those who support Wales' presence in the United Kingdom have been for too long unfairly categorised as "anti-Welsh". True Wales aims to represent the true feelings of the huge majority of people in Wales who wish to remain in the United Kingdom"
Hmm....representing the huge majority of people in Wales who wish to remain in the UK? Funny, I thought that we were talking about a referendum on further powers, something that apparently more of "people in Wales" (not "Welsh people" note) support than oppose.

As a flashback to 1997 True Wales is led by a Tory and an unknown Labour Councillor (what happened, was even Llew Smith refusing to work with you David?). Apparently the group consists of Labour, Tories and Independents, although no names yet apart from those two - I wonder if there will be anyone else we've heard of (apart from the other Welsh Tory MP's, who we can safely assume will follow David anywhere).

So what kind of debate can we expect from True Wales? The fact that they're already talking of representing those who wish to stay in UK gives you a hint of what their tactic will be. The same theme can be seen in these two recent statements from True Wales' leading men:
"...the devastating impact separation from Britain would have on Wales."
"Granting full lawmaking powers to the Assembly would be a huge step along the rocky road to full independence for Wales, which is what many people in the Yes camp actually want. Make no mistake – independence would drag Wales down to Soviet-style poverty"
So expect True Wales to try and turn the referendum into one on independence instead of debating what the referendum actually is for, a devolved Parliament, weaker than that of Scotland. It also seems that they'll colour this theme with sweeping statements like above, telling us that there is no way on God's earth Wales could survive a Yes vote and independence without becoing a third world ghetto.

Will the formation of True Wales mean a Yes campaign is set up soon? There will be lot of pressure on Labour and Plaid to form one but don't hold your breath, I have a feeling the One Wales Government has decided to wait until after the All Wales Convention before they make any such move. While that may or may not be a good idea, those in favour of a Yes vote should better start banging their drums a little louder, even if the first signs from the No campaign seem a bit weak. After all, it's important that they remember that the 1997 No campaign that so very nearly derailed devolution was also lead by an unknown Labour Councillor from the Valleys.

Time for Fisitcuffs

Between Jenny Randerson sending out three announcements in a day and this video appearing on YouTube I guess it's fair to say that at least someone in the Welsh Lib Dem is up for a fight. Well, there's a first for everything!

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Wow, Thanks Big G!

So here's those brand spanking new promises made in Brown's big comeback speech, the things that will benefit all of us who have young kids or are old, poor or sick and make us all love Labour again...

1. Free drugs for cancer patients

2. Free universal check ups for over 40's

3. Free broadband vouchers for low-income families

4. Free nursery for 2 year olds

Anyone see the link?

Here's a hint. When Gordon said this:
"In April a Labour Britain will become the first country in the whole world to offer free universal check ups for everyone over 40."
he was very much lying.

The Times thought they'd spotted the link, but still managed to mess it up...
"Free universal check-ups for the over-40s? Extension of nursery places? No prescription charges for cancer patients? A commissioner for victims of crime? More children connected to the internet? All England and Wales only, I'm afraid."
I despair sometimes!

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Money Money Money

So Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire Tory Westminster candidate Simon Hart has received £40k from a hedge fund to beat Labour MP Nick Ainger in the next election. Apparently Mr Hart is an avid Countryside Alliance member and huntsman and the good old folk at Christofferson, Robb and Co are buddies of his.

While the hedge fund's HQ is in New York there's nothing dodgy about the gift as it comes from their London office, which is registered as an UK company. But you have to say it's an interesting gift. The ban on Fox Hunting had a majority of over 200 in the Commons - Simon Hart won't change that by any measurable extent.

While the Western Mail's article on the story, mainly a copy of a blog post by Plaid Cymru candidate John Dixon, puts great emphasis on the New York link I see that as a side issue. Both John Dixon and Nick Ainger seem to have realised that the best way to attack this gift is to emphasise that it came from a City hedge fund - the people most of us seem to blame for the current economic turmoil.

With Simon Hart already odds on to win Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire for the Tories, could his generous friends be more a bother than their worth?

So Influential We Forgot His Name

The Telegraph's list of Top 100 lefties has a new entry at 83 this year:


Leader, Plaid Cymru

It may be mere opportunism or the example of what the SNP has achieved but Plaid Cymru’s leader has turned on his coalition partners to good effect this year. His attacks on Labour for having lost its way ring true in a Wales that has benefited from devolution and Labour governments but often not as much as the Scots seem to have done. There have been as many false dawns for Welsh nationalism as there have been general elections since the Second World War, but maybe this time with Labour in meltdown and Jones in charge their time has finally come?

Ieuean? Still, I'm sure Ieuan will be happy enough to be higher than Neil Kinnock, Ken Livingstone and Martin McGuinness in a pointless list, even if he was below a Liberal-Left Blogger!

Friday, 19 September 2008

British Bull

Vaughan Roderick points us in the direction of a paper by the Minister of State Liam Byrne on Britishness. Apparently:
"Britishness is quite simply one of the most important associations that we have; it is a code, shaped by our history and reinforced by our everyday experience, which defines so much of the way we look at the world"

One of the days suggested as a potential bank Holiday to celebrate our Britishness was St George's Day! As to how we should celebrate it, Liam Byrne has his opinions again. Not too much idolising of the Union Jack (thank god for that!), by promoting posters of iconic figures like Churchill, by incorporating ex-Empire countries (oh yes, I'm sure they'd love that!), another Queen's speech (isn't one per year enough?!). Finally there is a suggestion that celebrities with the right values should take part in the national celebrations. Who are these celebrities? Liam suggests David Beckham and Kate Moss. Ah yes, a cocaine addict and a multi-multi-multi millionaire who moved to Spain and America - the perfect values for Britishness!

The document is also a masterstroke of ignoring the elephant in the room. In a 96 page document about Britishness today the word "devolution" isn't mentioned once!

Huw Lewis Leadership Tactics Part 2

After his recent decision to learn Welsh, Huw Lewis has now swung his leadership campaign into Phase 2. He is quoted as saying: “
There won’t be any turning back of the clock. The coalition government is here to stay until 2011 – nobody should be saying or doing anything that might undermine that.”
What has changed the mind of the man who lost his place in Government because of his opposition to the Labour-Plaid pact? Well he'll probably need the support of one or two of those 62% of members who voted for the One Wales and the 96% of Trade Union affiliates who also voted yes!

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Paralympic Gold

Pontypridd's Dave Roberts notched up his 11th Paralympic Gold by winning the 50m freestyle today, equalling Tanni Grey-Thompson's record haul. Another Welsh paralympian, 13 year old Eleanor Simmonds from Swansea, took 2 gold medals and a World Record in the pool to add to the Welsh haul today. Impressive stuff.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Scotish Labour's Saviour?

Scottish Labour have chosen their new leader, the Chosen One is Iain Gray. Never heard of him? Me neither! The big question of course is how will he deal with Alex Salmond and will he be able to convince Scottish voters to vote Labour in the next general Election and, more importantly, to vote No if the SNP get their referendum. In both cases he'll have to outmaneuver the SNP and out-wit the media-savy Salmond. Can he do it? Here's Gray's most high profile TV spot to date, I'll let you make your own minds up.

Reality Bites

Wales Office Minister and Labour MP Huw Iranca-Davies gets the award for most bizarre attack of the day after he said this:
"I hope that after the heady nationalistic froth of Plaid Cymru’s conference, Ieuan Wyn will get back to reality. His comments this week have laid bare the soul of Plaid Cymru, and most people in Wales will not like what they have seen, as the nationalists lick their lips over the possibility of a Conservative government in Wales"
This is what Ieuan Wyn Jones said to anger Huw so much:
"The smart money is on probably the Tories winning the next general election, which I think would be bad news for Wales"
So what part of that is devoid of reality? Does Huw believe that the Tories are not odds-on to win the next election, or is he saying that Ieuan Wyn is deluded to think that the Tories winning would be "bad news for Wales"? Answers on a postcard.

Brown Bullied

As the new political season swings into action nothing seems to have changed down at number 10. Yesterday Brown was forced to sack one of his whips, Siobhain McDonagh, after she called for a leadership election. McDonagh would usually be seen as a Brown ally and not one of the "usual suspects" of rebel MP's. Today another government loyalist, Joan Ryan MP, makes the same call.

There needs to be 70 MP's calling for a leadership contest before Labour are duty bound to hold one. The way these calls have been staggered over the two days (with probably more to come over the next few days) it's likely that the contest calling MP's know they haven;t got the numbers yet but are hoping that one-by-one they're setting the ball rolling before Labour's conference.

Will Brown be Labour leader come the next election? I just don't know. Common sense tells me that Labour MP's must know that keeping Brown is like Turkeys voting for Christmas, but something is telling me that a leadership contest just won't happen, not now anyway.

Hat tip to Glyn Davies who commented on Siobhain McDonagh's calls yesterday by saying:
To this observer, it does not look like an isolated act. She's a whip, and they know a bit about tearoom chatter. I expect another grenade to be lobbed into the Brown Bunker tomorrow from behind another unexpected bush.
Well called Glyn!

Note: An anon corrects my spelling of Joan and a third Labour MP, George Howarth, calls for a leadership election.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Bye Betty Bach

Conwy MP Betty "Bach" Williams will retire at the next General Election, which answers one question which has been hanging around for a while. Due to boundary changes some of her previous seat had moved to the new Arfon constituency with the rest in the new Aberconwy constituency. Although both these new seats are nominally Labour, Betty had a big problem in that both are vulnerable come the next election.

Aberconwy, won by Plaid in the Assembly elections, will almost certainly be lost to the Tories and Guto Bebb. Betty would be facing a big struggle to "defend" that seat. She would have a much better chance in the Arfon seat as she is from that area and would get a strong personal vote. Unfortunately for her Martin Eaglestone seems to have a lock on every election that covers Caernarfon, even though he's lost more than anyone dare count! She was therefore left to defend, and probably lose, Aberconwy or to retire. At the age of 64 it's no shock that she chose the latter.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Panic Room

Here's a video that's just appeared on YouTube. Using the same footage that every "let's dub Hitler" uses (there's another one for Shane Williams leaving the Ospreys). It's totally incorrect in so many ways (for some reason doesn't mention the school re-organisation plan which turned so many in Gwynedd against Plaid Cymru and weirdly enough calls Llais Gwynedd by their defunct name of Llais y Bobol) and libelous in so many more (repeats the totally untrue rumours spreaded by Llais Gwynedd supporters that Dafydd Iwan and friends were getting free flats and backhanders from those building the Victoria Dock complex) and is a perfect example of the gutter politics I just lambasted in the last post but it's still very well put together and gave me a giggle or two! Enjoy!

Note: I found this video through Peter Black's blog. Peter posted the video and commented "This is hysterical. Those of a nervous disposition should not watch it, especially those who maybe offended by bad language". That post has now disappeared, not really a surprise considering the string of libelous comments in the video!

Gutter Politics

I thought that petty politics was rife in Wales, but clearly it's a thousand times worse in the USA! Democratic candidate Barack Obama said in a speech yesterday that McCain's adoption of Obama's "Change" motto was just "putting lipstick on a pig, it's still a pig" when you remember that the Republicans have been running Washington for 8 years.

McCain's campaign have now launched an ad, picked up by the American media of course, accusing Obama of sexism and of calling Republican vice President candidate Palin a pig! And if that wasn't an absurd enough claim on it's own, it's made even more foolish after the Democrats responded by flagging up a YouTube clip of McCain 9 months ago calling Hillary Clinton's health plan "putting lipstick on a pig"!

With intellectual debates like this you'd think America was choosing a class clown not a President.

Top Lib

So Kirsty Williams is the first to throw her hat into the ring for the soon-to-be vacant post of Welsh Lib Dem leader. She is supported in her bid by Mick Bates AM and Peter Black AM. The fact that these two men are supporting Kirsty means that we are now seemingly certain to see the first female leader of a Welsh mainstream party. (Did I just call the Lib Dems mainstream?)

This means that the ball now lies in Jenny Randerson and Eleanor Burnham's courts. Current Lib Dem rules state that any candidate for the job must be nominated by another AM. Unless Mike German backs one of those two as his successor (unlikely, he'll probably keep out of this one) one of them has to back down and support the other to challenge Kirsty. This may change however as the leadership election rules could be changed before nominations are due.

Eleanor Burnham would garner strong support from the North and the Welsh speakers while Kirsty's support took a big blow in the will-they-won't-they mess the Lib Dems found themselves in during coalition talks but I can't look past Kirsty for the job. We all know she's been craving this chance for at least three years and I think it's fair to say that's she's the mos likely to give the Lib Dems the boost so they have needed for years. She's young, attractive and has a much higher profile than the other two women. In a party that suffers from the lack of name/face recognition she is the most likely to be remembered by the voters.

The Welsh Lib Dems do desperately need a boost - their coalition mess has been followed by 15 months of anonymity as Labour, Plaid and the Tories take the headlines. I don't know if Kirsty will be able to give them that much needed boost, but she certainly has a much better chance of doing so than the other potential candidates.

One question though, why does the BBC refer to Kirsty as "Ms Williams"? Isn't she a Mrs?

End of Days

When the Hen Ferchetan woke up this morning I was quite suprised to hear the radio telling me that the world would end at about 8.30am. Apparently one of the biggest machines in the world was about to be switched on and there was concerns that it would create a black hole and swallow the earth whole.

Codswallop of course and Dr Lyn Evans, the Welshman in charge of the Large Hadron Collider, expressed his dissapointment at the "science fiction" stories circulating. Of course the huge coverage in Today's press won't really do the Collider any harm and I'm sure that the team at CERN are quite pleased to find that their new toy is the hot topic of the day.

I'd go all technical and try and tell you what the LHC does but I don't really see any point, I'm sure you've all read Dan Brown's Angels and Demons already!

Monday, 8 September 2008

Yma o Hyd

So Dafydd Iwan has beaten Elfyn Llwyd MP to retain his position as Plaid Cymru President - no shock there. I note that Plaid's official release does not contain the actual figures, possibly to save some of Elfyn's blushes (Dafydd Iwan was expected to win by a landslide).

Apart from being one of the most unremarkable and uninteresting "leadership" election in history (Plaid's President holds no leadership power these days, Ieuan Wyn Jones has all of those) what will be the effect of this election be on both men? Does the (apparently) huge victory for Dafydd Iwan mean that Elfyn Llwyd messed up in challenging him? Is this defeat going to haunt Elfyn for a while? Don't count on it.

Thing is you see, Elfyn didn't need to win the election, in fact even the amount of his defeat probably doesn't matter much to him. And Dafydd Iwan did need a contest, being reselected automatically will have done him no good.

Let me deal with Dafydd Iwan first. Before today he must have been at a very low ebb. Chucked out of his Council seat, slagged off by those who had previously been his closest supporters and after electoral defeat in Gwynedd seeing his own party ditching the school re-organisation plan he had backed so heavily. If ever there was a politician in need of a confidence boost, it was Dafydd Iwan. While he could have trundled along as unopposed President for another year, I can't see how he could have done the job with any motivation when the thought must have been in the back of his head that the party members had turned against him. An internal election victory is exactly what Dafydd Iwan needed to regain his mojo.

So did Elfyn Llwyd unselfishly sacrifice his pride to help Dafydd Iwan get back into his swing? Of course not! But neither do I think he entered this election to win. What was important to Elfyn Llwyd, most important of all, was to show the voters of Dwyfor Meirionnydd that he, Elfyn Llwyd, their MP, is not Dafydd Iwan. It was over in Dwyfor Meirionnydd that Plaid got hit hardest by Llais Gwynedd in the Council elections. It's the people of Pen Llyn that feel most betrayed by Dafydd Iwan and the old council. While there was barely a rumble in Caernarfon and Bangor, Llyn Plaid councillors were turfed out one by one. So while Hywel Williams doesn't has to worry too much about a Llais Gwynedd challenge come the next election, Elfyn Llwyd might just. So Elfyn needed to distance himself from Gwynedd Council, and Dafydd Iwan in particular. Now how might he do that? If only he could challenge Dafydd Iwan in some internal election or something. Oh, wait a sec...!

Update: Although Plaid remain shtum on the matter, the word is that Dafydd Iwan's margin of victory was 2500-1800.

Hat Tip: Betsan

Friday, 5 September 2008

Clueless Promoters

Vaughan Roderick comments today on the mess that is the Visit Wales website. Vaughan notes that in the history of Wales page it goes straight from Norman Conquest of 1066 "They are reluctant to venture into Wales itself." to Owain Glyndwr in 1400, somehow forgetting to include the fact that Wales was conquered in between!

Visit Wales is, of course, a government body and Vaughan asks whether not government employees are the best placed to label Owain Glyndwr "tyrannical". I've got a far bigger worry though, because later on in the same page is this entry:
2000 – First Welsh Assembly is formed.

Um...don't you mean 1999?

Thursday, 4 September 2008

American Dream

Republican Mitt Romney speaking at their convention in St Paul:
"We need change all right -- change from a liberal Washington to a conservative Washington...It’s time for the party of big ideas, not the party of Big Brother
Yes we all get the clever twisting of Obama's "Change" slogan but...um... did Romney just call Bush and his friends "liberal"? And who is he calling the party of Big Brother, apparently not the Republican party and their Patriot Act!

It's bizarre stuff, it's like the Republicans have decided to pretend that they haven't been in power for eight years and hope no-one remembers!

Wales For Whom?

A few weeks ago I asked this:
The second question that has to be asked is: Who on earth will run the No campaign this time round? The Electoral Commission gets to decide which No group is to be the "official" one they will be seriously hindered this time round by the fact that there will be no major party to start the campaign. Highlights of the 1997 count gave us Michael Ancram and Nick Bourne (how times have changed!) telling us how bad devolution would be - who will be the criticiser in chief this time round? It seems that the No campaign will have to be lead by Labour Welsh MP's who desperately tried to stop the One Wales Coalition and their Tory counterparts.
Well David Davies MP has decided that he wants to be the No campaign's knight on a white horse and has declared that he will be launching the No campaign. He has already had what he describes as "tentative talks with one ex-Labour MP" (in other words - Llew Smith!) and he's open to suggestions for a name for the No campaign. His personal favorite is "Wales for the Union".

As someone who will vote, and probably do some campaigning, for the Yes campaign my reaction to this news is: BRILLIANT!

Firstly it will hopefully jolt Labour and Plaid Cymru to actually move on the issue and set up the Yes campaign. While the All Wales Convention trundles along anyone with a calendar can see that by the time they finish there won't be much times for a campaign and vote before 2011 so let's get the ball rolling on the campaigning side.

Secondly, it's David Davies, the eternal clown of Welsh politics. The very fact that he wants to call the campaign "Wales for the Union" shows how out of touch the man is. While the Yes/No split is relatively close at the moment, the way to bolster the Yes vote is certainly not to make voters think that they're voting for the Union if they vote No. The way to convince people to vote No is to say that it is a vote for Wales, to protect Wales, to improve Wales - not to tell them that they're voting for the Union. If David Davies starts printing posters with "Wales for the Union. Vote No" on them then all the Yes campaign need to do to win is print posters with "Wales for Wales. Vote Yes" and they'll have the referendum in the bag!

Finally, it's David Davies (yes I know I've already said that but bear with me!). As I explained in my previous post the Electoral Commission will have to chose a campaign group to be the official group. David Davies is clearly angling to be the man who leads the group. For a strong No campaign he will need cross party support. Clearly there is cross party support for a No campaign, at least Tory/Labour - I'm not as confident as David is that he'll have the support of many Lib Dems, but how many of those will want to be linked to David Davies? While Llew Smith may well be happy to throw his hat in, how will Chris Bryant or Ian Lucas feel about getting into bed with their Tory counterparts?

Interesting times!

One Man, One Voice

It's a very sad day, Don LaFontaine has died from pneuothermax aged 68.

Don't know who Don was? Of course you do, he was the voice of Hollywood. The guy who's deep voice and cheesy lines we all try to copy when drunk - "One Man" and "In a world without hope" and all that.

Thursday nights at the Cinema will never be the same!

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Party Poopers

The Western Mail is reporting today that Cardiff has become the first Council in Wales to employ officers who's job is to stamp out late night house parties. The two officers will have power to hand out on the spot fines to those who blare music into the night. Apparently the officers will be patrolling the capital's streets from 7pm to 3pm Wednesday to Sunday.

Here's the Hen Ferchetan's Top Tip - have your party on Monday night!

Another Award Winner

It looks like the Hen Ferchetan's favorite letter writer is back

Sign of the times

SIR – I have no wish to lower the tone of the debate occupying your letters pages, following my letter published on August 19 (which expressed my concern about the misapplication of scarce Welsh Assembly funds in the wasteful promotion of the Welsh language and the misuse of curricular time by the compulsory teaching of Welsh to a generation of teenagers who need more marketable skills to prepare them for employment) but this morning, I received through the post a computer-generated certificate stating that I had been nominated for “A**hole of the Year” for my services to Welsh.

Perhaps you will allow me, through your columns, to thank the sender for the award.

I cannot do it personally, because the sender signed X and gave no address – proof, if any were needed, that our Welsh education system is indeed failing.



Ok, who's the joker?!

NB - there's three stars after the "A" in "Arsehole" Mrs Roberts, unless you happen to be American!

Deja Vu?

So Gordon Brown has announced "free loans" to first time buyers in England to help them purchase properties. After five years the owner would pay a "fee" back to the scheme instead of repaying the loan.

I'm looking forward to hearing Welsh Labour flood the airwaves to tell Gordon that they were not convinced that such a move " would not simply cause a dangerous wholesale inflationary increase in prices"? after all, that's what they told us would happen when Plaid Cymru made a similar election pledge last year.

And this isn't the only new policy today that has "Made in Wales" stamped all over it. The Scottish Government have followed ours in announcing the scrapping of NHS Car parking Charges while Darling has also copied the Welsh Assembly's proposals to allow struggling mortgage payers to sell their house to the Council and stay there as tenants.

So three major proposals and policies of the Welsh Government and Welsh parties are being adopted in other parts of the UK. Maybe people shouldn't be so quick to deride the Assembly politicians as inferior talking heads.