I have often asked myself this question – if all payments were stopped for being a local councillor, how many would come forward to stand? Please, don’t answer that, I already know the answer. It is a terrible shame that we have become a money orientated society. With those who have the power enriching themselves beyond avarice! Just thinking of bankers makes me retch uncontrollably. I read in a Dutch newspaper column that cities like Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam are now vying to prise away those London based investment bankers. Remember these are the guys and guyettes who bet billions on commodity and share prices, so-called futures. I say they are welcome to them and their million pound bonuses. Let’s get back to a bit more sensible outlook and standards. Then let’s talk about local councillors. I live in Wales, basically the poorer part of the UK. Councillors ‘earn’ some £15,000 including expenses but Committee officials can claim and almost all do, another £8,000 for Special Responsibilities. Well, that is a well paid, very incredibly well paid weekly meeting in the Council chambers. This weekly meeting probably highly necessary to discuss how to ‘fleece’ more money out of the mugs called ‘general population’. These are the ‘wise’ who set salaries for council employees, only the higher employees, of up to £170,000 per annum. Under the standard outcry of ' we have to pay to get the best'. If this is the 'best' I wonder what the 'worst' would be. This in the second poorest backward council in Wales! It just seems there is no ending to this greed. Those in power are just like leeches sucking the population dry. It is really high time this stops.
Thursday, 20 April 2017
As I am still able to speak and understand the Dutch language I noticed quite a few interesting things during my Easter-time visit to family. Reading the ‘Telegraaf’ newspaper quickly disbanded any notice that everything was peace and tranquility insofar the European Union was concerned. Questions about money, the power of Brussels, the inability to form a government in Holland, due to the PVV - Geert Wilders’ party being the second largest in the last election but not wanted to be part of the government (stupid, what does democracy mean again?). Just as an aside the Dutch Labour party was seventh! Frankly there are loads of problems, demonstrations amongst other happenings. The Dutch press highlighted the recent Turkish referendum in which ‘Nedturks’ (Turks working and living in Holland) voted overwhelmingly to allow the Turkish president to acquire more powers. You might ask if these ‘Nedturks’ feel so strongly why did they leave in the first place? An argument that concerns every single immigrant to a different country from their birth. As a British subject born in a different country I had to make that choice as well. If you are in the UK, you speak English (or as well as Welsh if in Wales), you abide by its rules, policies and regulations. So, I abandoned my clogs (still wear ‘m in the garden, very useful), I started to dream in English and learned some interesting but socially inept words. I came to like the food although I still am searching for ‘maatjes’ (salted raw herrings), pickled ‘leverworst’ (liver sausage) and proper ‘patat met mayonaise’ (chips with mayo).
Although I have to say I am not sure the preponderance of ‘patat’ made from extruded potato porridge is such a good idea. The facts are still the same, when moving to another country you are leaving behind your old life. It is a simple as that. This is not about religion or faith. In western countries you can have any faith or religion you want, there is plenty of choice. But get this understanding through that others have different views. As you will expect that they will understand yours. One more interesting observation made in Holland – they apparently have a new political party – the National Herring Party. (De Nationale Haring Partij), now why didn’t I think of this before? We could have the Welsh National Laverbread Party, in Scotland the National Whiskey Drinkers Party or even the Admirers of Redheads Party (Yep, Nicola looks good enough to eat!). Not sure what we could do in England – perhaps the National Porkpie Party? I’ll get my coat...
Thursday, 6 April 2017
Despite the lamentable record of the RCT Labour party as has been reported many times it just seems that people just do not care. How much more money will be wasted? Even the national Labour party in Wales simply has lost touch with its base. The Communities First project, it had many weaknesses but at least it changed quite a number of lives for the better, is to be cut completely by early 2018. A very deprived area like Gilfach Goch (of the How Green was my Valley fame) will be one of the biggest losers. And what will the local council (RCT) do? Make a lot of people, poor people by any accounts, lose their job and also lose the facilities to teach people about employment, lose a sports facility and lose a few small businesses as well. Certainly not a political record to cherish I’d say? When the local male Labour prospective candidate (there are two candidates) came round to make me a Labour voter – citing how he was his own man and not tied to Labour party rules blah-di-blah blah I should have asked him about the deplorable financial situation in RCT, and why Labour had lost the will to fight for the common man. But there is no point, these people are only interested in what they can get out of it, there is little if any real interest in the well-being of the local citizens. I say that because you only have to look at the surroundings, the local fabric, the lack of proper good services. The local population should look at the level of RCT officers salaries, the salaries and expenses of the Labour Cabinet (!) to see where the money goes. Labour in this area has been in power for some half a century bar a minor hiccup when nationalists won but made an even bigger mess, so one would have thought things to improve considerably. Well, I think I’d better leave it at that for now. All eligible voters should take a hard look at the record and above all to burn these despicable boards sprouting on the fronts of houses making sure we know that there is an election. But it impedes my enjoyment of looking at the world with dreamy eyes hoping that for once people be courageous enough to change! So, despite your views, vote, it is important. Get up and leave the house for once!
Sunday, 2 April 2017
Coming from a continental background and having experienced the different mental attitudes prevalent, I sometimes despair at the shallowness of British society. Especially the Welsh attitude to life. It seems rooted in the dirt and disease ridden Victorian era which allowed an extreme difference between rich and poor. I was watching a programme about gardens (Monty Don) where he visited many European and North African gardens. But it also allowed some glimpses of normal society. The train stations, the neatness, the modernity of it all. Compared to the grime stations in the UK, the aged rolling stock, the high prices, we are still far removed from being a modern, 21st century nation. Something within me thinks, why don’t we break everything down and start again?
Looking around my own locality here in the lower reaches of the Rhondda Valleys, the hills once green now festooned with ugly and useless power generators turning when not broken down in the daily wind, its terraced crumbling houses on streets carpeted by dogs*it and cast-off chewing gum remains. By endless double yellow lines forbidding parking and completely ignored. The valley towns with a plethora of fish and chip shops, insurance brokers and hairdressers, you might begin to think - What the he**! It might be there are two different strains of humans and we have not yet figured that out . Well, I think I might have been wrong to vote for Brexit, it might turn this nation inward rather than install a type of Renaissance. Yes, we voted Brexit, out and the reasons were easy to follow. Immigration and not just immigration but the failure to integrate. This can be fairly and squarely be laid down at the foot of the politicians. And it is just there that the root of the poor standards, the whole outward look of this nation can be found. The abominable leadership, the graft, the incompetence, where are the leaders who will lead this nation? Who will instigate the badly needed renewal? Don’t look here in Wales, we are still in the latter stages of the Victorian era, the leaders here only look out for themselves. Even the Labour party having been in power since the Emperor Hadrian built his wall to keep the Scots out has abysmally failed to keep to their promises of standing up for we know not what. So, let’s hope that in one way Brexit might invigorate this nation, to make people sit up and take more care for themselves instead of sitting down bemoaning their fate, guzzling ale and eat fat laden porkpies watching the BBC ‘impartial’ news items. Let’s to it friends, do something if only clear your rubbish from outside the houses. Cheers and here’s to a brighter future. Now, where is that porkpie I bought yesterday.