Archive for the ‘ News ’ Category

Wales: Local Elections.

It was all fairly inevitable in the end. You imagine that even if we had enjoyed a record turnout for voters in the local elections, the results would not have differed much from the final tallies revealed yesterday. Labour clawed back a percentage of their previous losses to the Conservatives, and took a good number of seats from other parties who appeared to be caught up in the wake of an anti-Cameron backlash. So how might everyone be feeling after this mini test of the current electorates mood?

For Labour it was all cheers and dancing in the shadow of Nye Bevan as the liberal democrat strongholds in Cardiff buckled and snapped. Carwyn and that visitor from London Peter Hain were there to eat up the accolades, though neither seemed to play any prominent role whatsoever in the campaigning. Ed Miliband was also congratulated for the impact of his leadership, though perhaps the applause came from those harbouring sentiments along the lines of ‘well done for not completely cocking this up for us’. As senior Tory politicians were quick to note, Labour candidates in many locations could easily have rolled up to the hustings wearing nothing but a red leather gag, spanking themselves with kippers in something remiss of XXX Morris Dancers Gone Wild Special Edition DVD (part of me hopes such a thing exists), and still comfortably win.

For Wales, in time of economic crises, voters have this consistency above all other parts of the world. If things look uncertain, vote Labour, if the economy is a bit shaky, vote Labour, if there is a chance of rain tomorrow, best vote Labour just to be safe. Often there is no rationale to be found in these patterns, it’s simply a case of that’s how it’s always been – and little will change that. So, for all the celebrations in Cardiff city centre, there will be little doubt about many newly elected Labour members, that the real work is about to begin, the challenge of getting elected for many will have been no more taxing than getting out of bed.

So what of Plaid Cymru? This was supposed to be the grand recovery no? The return from the abyss. Despite Leanne Wood leading the most positive campaign of them all, Plaid went on to lose some 40 councillors – where then was the great revival? As has previously been explore in EyeOnWales, asking a new leader to turn a party around in a month is a ludicrous challenge. An indictment on the leadership of Wood? Gibbering nonsense. Plaid was always going to suffer in light of a Labour revival, coupled with the legacy of Ieuan Wyn Jones. Had he of stood aside several months earlier, who knows how Leanne Wood might have shaped the party by now, it’s impossible to say. As much as anything can be concluded, the rotting corpse of Wyn Jones’ leadership can now be finally shovelled out the door, and the work of rebuilding Plaid can officially being.

As for the Tories and the Liberal Democrats in Wales, plenty of losses to choose from, though Rodney Berman’s exit from the Welsh political stage was both the most amusing and welcome development of the night (though how the disastrously inept and self aggrandising figure of Neil McEvoy survived will be a mystery for the ages). Again, no surprises, but really, with the party leaders in general absence, the losses should really have been much greater. Where on earth where Andrew R T Davies and Kirsty Williams? The respective Tory and Lib Dem leaders seemed to almost entirely vanish from the main stage when campaigning got underway. One can only presume that the pair had long since concluded that a series of humiliating losses across the country was inevitable, and that the only appropriate course of action would be to hide out together in one of the Senedd’s basement bathrooms, playing canasta, hoping that by the time they finished, it will all be over and that nobody will have noticed that they weren’t there. What should really worry both is that no, nobody did notice their absence, something which surely cannot bode well for a few years time.

So there we are, the big four in Wales covered, and only one of them is smiling. Yes even their smiles will only have been flown in for the day, before the forced grins would be put back in their packaging, to be saved for a day when those who won their seats might be able to say, ‘we earnt this’, as opposed to saying ‘the Tories are crap…that helped’.

 

Monarchs in Cardiff – Twitterverse Responds.

So, we understand the English monarchy were in town today. Apart from some unnecessary traffic congestion, we didn’t really notice the difference. However, there was an interesting and at times amusing set of twitterings on the subject, some welcoming them, some very much not welcoming them, and a handful of views that were somewhere in between. Frankly, we were a little disappointed by the range of comments, nothing overly incendiary at all in the end, still, the range of comments provide an interesting cross section of views on the visit.

 

Those not so happy said:

bethanjenkins@bethanjenkins

I choose to air my republicanism. I reserve my RIGHT to not go and bow before queen, born to a position of power, who has never been elected.

David Raybould@daveraybould

Going to try to be positive today. Promote the benefits of visiting German royalty.

Simon Coopey@SimonCoopey

Wales has a ‘queen’? I don’t remember voting for one. #gweriniaeth

Al Iguana@aliguana

I know, let’s take a leaf from North Korea’s book and give every child a Union Jack, then get them to line up and wave them at Liz. Oh wait.

Fartpants@halfienoakes

I notice the queen not coming to North Wales on her tour…good #stayinEngland

 

 Those who were in the middle, or just not aware said:

Elizabeth Windsor@Queen_UK

Stand by Wales. Your Queen is coming for you.

Dean Burnett@garwboy

Cardiff Bay is crawling with Police today. Apparently because the Queen is coming. I don’t get how someone this dangerous is head of state

Samantha Bull@raccoonteeth

Why is the queen in Cardiff? I keep seeing tweets about it

Kez@Goleudy

Is it bad that I’m totally unfussed about the Queen visiting Wales? I was more excited when I got a Care Bear back in 1987.

 

 And those who rolled out the red carpet suggested:

suzy davies@suzydavies

Very much looking forward to lunch with Her Majesty later!#diamondjubilee

Daran Hill@DaranHill

A very warm welcome to HM The Queen to Cardiff today. A hero we can all believe in #diamondjubilee

Alex Powell@Alex_D_Powell

Fantastic to see so much support for the monarch in Wales!! Queen starts Wales tour at Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff http://bbc.in/Ideqah

SorryI’llGetMyCoat@woweegoodstuff

Despite what Republican Leanne Wood and barmy #Plaid Cymru would like us to think we always welcome the Queen to Wales.

Poor Sales for Olympic Football…Go Figure.

It would appear that Olympic bods are a little concerned about the state of ticket sales for their under 23 knock about football tournament. The Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, better known for hosting 70,000+ fans cheering on fifteen gents in red, currently looks set to welcome around a mere 15,000 people to watch the so called ‘TeamGB’ join other youth teams from around the world in a contest for the 7th most significant tournament in world football. Why then is this leg of the Olympics, part of what is usually sold as the greatest show on earth, failing to whip up the sort of fervour that competitive sporting fixtures usually invite when hosted in Cardiff city centre?

From a Welsh perspective, attention would well be drawn to the most recent press conference regarding the forthcoming tournament. Plenty has been written over the lack of a Welsh FA endorsement for the TeamGB concept, and there is little point wading through all of that once more. But if anyone wanted an insight as to why Welsh fans are not flocking to snap up their taste of the Olympics, look no further at the figures who made up the press conference panel. At one end, we have the manager of the England Women’s team, Hope Powell, next to her, occasional England Men’s team manager and former England international Stuart Pearce, and then over to the other side could be found Clive Woodward, former England rugby international and manager of the winning English Rugby World Cup squad. So, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, these are the figures spearheading your campaign, do you feel the pride in your English, English, English, oh so very English management team, well, do you? Not even an attempt of tokenism towards the non English elements of this TeamGB farce, a sentiment not helped by manager Pearce asserting that he would have no qualms selecting an all English first XI (though he stressed the same for an all Welsh XI, though that would require having enough of said nationality to put out that many players…we will wait and see on that one).

TeamGB was a pandering to England’s love of their beautiful game, and in it the authorities in London saw a chance to soften up those noisy ‘regions’ of Britain who felt they were being shafted financially in order to give London yet another advertising boost in front of the world for a few weeks. Well London, we are not buying the trade off, and we are not buying the tickets.

Couple that with the fact that the whole concept of football being played out in the Olympics is a farce in itself – remember everyone, if it’s in the Olympics, then the Olympics has to be the pinnacle of that sport’s ambition. Well, I don’t see the football World Cup being downgraded, so Cardiff and Hamden get the pleasure of hosting a second rate tournament which should not even be in the Olympics, which barely represents them, as part of a pat on the head for not making too much noise about being sold out so that the English capital can enjoy another day in the sun. Thanks London Olympic Committee, but no thanks.

TeamGB football has been a misguided concept from day 1, while dropping some events outside of London (hello London Olympic Committee, you do realise that you are shipping off parts of the Olympics to a different country yes? Was that in the French plan, to give Belgium some long distance track events?) is a nonsense. Wales will not be sold on the idea, and Wales will not be sold out for some colourful rings. Sadly, we don’t seem to have much choice about it, apart from not turning up to see any of the meaningless matches, and that, for us, will be exactly what we will do.

Oh, and when you do drop into Cardiff London Olympic Games, clean up after yourselves, London is a filthy little place – don’t treat Cardiff as if it was one of suburbs…which of course, is exactly what you are doing.

Six Nations Donkey Awards: The Final Round

There it is, over and out, the Six Nations leaves us with happy hearts and sore heads – it’s been emotional. A Grand Slam of a hangover means that the final Donkey Awards for this year may not be the most coherent, but there were no shortage of candidates to raise their hands for recognition in the final reckoning of donkeydom!

1. Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda…

Ah David Denton, one of the finds of the tournament, a revelation in the Scottish back row, and a player of huge potential for the coming years. However, it seemed like Denton was in the mood to tempt fate in the build up to Scotland’s final fixture of the season, boldly stating that ‘we probably should have beaten the other team’ when discussing all of Scotland’s other fixtures. Perhaps Scotland did not always deserve to lose, but ‘should have beaten’ everyone in the tournament might have been a leap too far as well. Either way, the rugby gods stepped in to reward Denton’s protestations with a game Scotland certainly should not have won, and plump them into last place, the wooden spoon, and sitting only above Canada in the world rankings.

Donkey Score: 3

2. Huffing and puffing, yet all out of ideas.

Declan Kidney must be wondering where it all went wrong. With a game plan so elegant it could be written down in only a sentence or two – ‘have Brian O’Driscoll and Paul O’Connell on the field, then win’, how could the Irish have failed? Too harsh perhaps, but Kidney has seemed short of a tactical concept for some time now. Over reliant on the past masters, and unconcerned with a plan for replacing them, Kidney’s coaching prowess has been brought in for some serious scrutiny and one wonders after such a second half capitulation in Twickenham, how long he can continue to direct his team without a rudder.

Donkey Score: 4

3. And while we are on the Irish, the pack perhaps…

When considering Kidney’s plight, special mention must be made of the Irish front row, who were so clinically dismantled by England during the second 40 yesterday. The Irish pack are given a special mention, simply for the dramatic nature of their decline. Not so long ago, and Irish scrum was one of the most fear inducing products in international rugby, now they stand as straw men, pushed aside and spat upon by the team hurling them backwards. A true shame to see what was once an immovable object become so brittle and weak.

Donkey Score: 1

4. Slippery Steps.

It’s hard not to feel for Julien Bonnaire, a great figure of the back row for France, at the end of an illustrious career, being made to look a complete tit by Alex Cuthbert. Cuthbert’s score was a magical little creation, with a delicate step and surge of power, but look again for the despairing flop of the French No7. In an ultimately flawed attempt to stop Cuthbert, Bonnaire seemed to pivot in a manner that led to his legs going one way, his torso another, while his arms flung wildly above him in mid air. By the time he had picked himself up off of the ground, the try was scored. For quite such a daft drop to the ground:

Donkey Score: 1

5. Finally, him again…

To round things off for this week and year, we could not go a week without mentioning Alain Rolland. He’s had plenty of flak for his decision making this season, and while we might not be in the mood to contest any of his many yellow card calls yesterday, the fact that he makes them with such ease and relish, that he is so insistent upon being seen in a game, is reason enough for him to make another appearance on these pages. The game is not about you Alain, and it’s about time both you, and the IRB realised this, and let a game of rugby flow for a change!

Donkey Score: 2

Six Nations Donkey Awards: Round 4.

The penultimate round of the six nations donkey awards should really be renamed ‘the referee special’ – for it was the men in the middle and their contributions which dominated proceedings this weekend!

(C) Chris Knight

1. I’m a Frenchman…No I’m Not…Honest…

Alain Rolland, what a curse it is for this man to be able to speak French. This linguistic skill often means that the Irish man is given the responsibility for overseeing any fixture involving France and, due to his family lineage, usually means that the slightest of dubious calls means that he is seen as a crooked French fancying farce of an impartial official. Unfortunately for Rolland, few of his actions do anything to dispel such notions. Few rugby fans will have forgotten Rolland’s interesting decision to banish Sam Warburton from the rugby world cup – and on that day there were no shortage of fans questioning how a half French man could be trusted to referee a game involving the French. Yet, the Warburton red card could be put down to a one off and no more. That was of course until today. EyeOnWales, unsurprisingly given the name of this blog, is rarely a friend to the English – but even we could see that Rolland was having yet another ‘friend of the French’ day, as decision after decision went the way of the home team. Little made sense about Rolland’s calls and interventions, but when he sin binned the English winger, while ignoring the same offence from the French, surely all sense of doubt was removed – this man is without a doubt the single most corrupt official in the rugby world, and is fully deserving of his donkey points.

Donkey Score: 5

2. The Duff official from Bruff RFC.

Not a weekend for Irish officials was it? In Paris we had a one eyed Frenchman hiding under an Irish accent, while in Cardiff we had a man who clearly woke up with a ‘look at me’ day on his mind. George Clancy has performed reasonably well in previous years, and has not given fans that much reason to complain of late – however, as thousands packed into the Millennium Stadium to enjoy a festival of running rugby, Clancy decided that what the fans really wanted to see, was a man with a whistle single handedly destroying an afternoon of international rugby. Pedant was the word of the weekend, and few descriptive terms would summarise Clancy’s efforts better than that. It’s one thing for a team to be negative, it’s quite another for a referee to encourage them to be negative – Clancy, you did your best to foul a weekend, and were only outshone by the spectacular one-eyed nature of your countryman.

Donkey Score: 4

3. Noisy Journeyman Draws Attention to Himself.

Ah Austin Healey, known for shooting his mouth off at any given opportunity, regardless of who might be offended. There has been long standing animosity between Healey and the Welsh rugby community, but in a moment of drunken tweeting, Healey took his mad as a hatter ranting to a whole new level. Engaged in an argument over whether or not Leigh Halfpenny should have been sent off for a rash challenge in the second half against Italy, Healey at one point suggested, well, you can see for yourself below:

A stellar moment of alcohol driven insults on display from a man who defined the term ‘journeyman’ during his fragmented professional career. A bitter angry little man, Healey at the very least serves to play the entertaining clown on a rugby weekend – though perhaps his language could be toned down in the future…?

Donkey Score: 4

4. On a wing and a punch.

It seems only a matter of time before Chris Ashton just runs up and punches someone, possibly a referee, in the face. The wayward English wing seems so devoid of confidence and opportunities on the field that aggression is the only tool he has left. We were half expecting him to chase down the lone cockerel running along the touchline in Paris today and twat it in the beak, just for something to do. Extreme perhaps, but you get the feeling that Ashton is not far off it. Something is seriously wrong with the state of Ashton’s mind, and you get the impression that it would be a favour to him to be ‘rested’ for the game against Ireland. Against the French, Ashton’s increasingly short fuse was clearly tested – the Irish coach will have been watching!

Donkey Score: 1

Wales beat Italy, Crowds Call for More.

Time is a funny thing, with it the views and expectations of a nation can rise and fall, to the extent of becoming unrecognisable from one year to the next. Yesterday in Cardiff, Wales won for the fourth successive time, and find themselves on the precipice of a championship and elusive Grand Slam, yet the Cardiff crowd walked away from yesterdays entertainment with a shrug of the shoulders and a despondent sigh – where once a Welsh crowd would craw greedily at the coat tails of any form of triumph, now the most comfortable of victories can barely turn a smile.

Wales and Italy lineup.

Does this stem from heightened levels of expectation? Is the Welsh fan becoming akin to the New Zealander, expectant of only the highest quality of wins, where nothing less will suffice? It’s hard to say, but certainly the atmosphere following the game was a mixture of begrudging satisfaction and (somewhat perplexingly) relief – no singing in the trains back home following this fixture (as accompanied return journeys out of Cardiff following the Triple Crown game).

And yet – where does the despondency come from? There are a number of schools of thought which could pass over this game, but let’s take the more obvious whinging option out of the equation early on – the referring of George Clancy. We should not dwell too long here, because interpretation of refereeing performances are usually far too subjective affairs, yet even the most one eyed critique could see that Clancy came to Cardiff with the sole intention of killing the game, for both Wales and Italy. If home fans were frustrated with the level of Welsh play, much of their ire can be directed towards the man in the middle, for whom the notion of an open flowing game, if something he must have heard of, but dismissed as some form of myth.

If Welsh fans were unhappy with the win, spare a thought for those backing the losing side.

Refereeing excuses aside, there are two ways of looking at things, and let’s get the negative out of the way first – Wales failed to put Italy to the sword, and disappointment steps from this pre-game expectation. Hard to argue with – everyone in Wales seemed ready to demolish Italy by 30-40 points and never be phased by the game. Yet, should we be critical of Wales for this, or positive about Italy? Certainly Italian defensive efforts were beyond committed, and the number of last ditch defences from quality Welsh line breaks was impressive. Last week England were hailed for stopping Wales, this week no word of encouragement for Italy’s endeavours – a touch of post match hypocrisy from some corners perhaps.

Wales attack once again - with below par results.

Yet what of the positives – were there any? Well, while Italy came to Cardiff to defend, they did not come to Cardiff to win. The Italians locked the game down well, but never was the intent on display to do anything other than contain Wales – the result from a Welsh perspective was never once threatened. On top of that assertion, perhaps it’s worth noting that for the second game running the Welsh try line held firm – a home win that was never in danger, and a suffocating defensive effort, can we really complain?

The Italian team head for home, knowing they defended well, while having no intention of trying to win.

Okay, the Welsh performance was a long way from World Class, and of course, a step up will (probably) be required for France in a week’s time (though on current form, the French need to find a gear or two as well). But for all the negativity that can be found in the game, perhaps Welsh fans should sit back and think of the bigger picture. It is a rare thing that any defence can hold out over multiple games – for this championship, only Wales can make such claims so far. It is even rarer that a team will win four games in a row. For all the disappointments from Cardiff, Wales still won, their line was never broken, and their victory was never in doubt – we might want more in Wales, but perhaps we might take some time to enjoy and be grateful for the success that we do have, rather than brace ourselves for possible, even hypothetical disappointments to come.

Newport Rebellion.

Not the usually commentary or photographs here, but more a promotional nod and a wave of approval for the newest enterprise in Newport (South Wales), the Tiny Rebel Brewery. It’s been a bit of a promotional nightmare for Newport in recent months. Channel 4’s ‘Bouncers’, while a fair reflection on an element of Newport life, was probably a little on the side of sensational (I was wondering through Newport a few days ago in the daylight hours and saw no signs of riots or blooded half cut teenagers, let alone any bouncers), while what should be one of Newport’s most commercially viable platforms, their European playing regional rugby team, seems to be losing player based assets on a daily basis, and let’s not even begin to deal with the ghost town that Commercial Street, the supposed economic heart of the shopping district, has become…all in all, there are few positives to be shouting about.

That being said, there are those in and from Newport, who see the opportunities for positive engagement, and this new brewery stands as a positive symbol on numerous levels. For a new business to be born in the city is an exciting endeavour, and bucks the usual news story trends to dominate south Wales headlines regarding the town, but it is equally positive to see a new micro brewery, Newport’s first, appear on the ale stage. Real ale in many respects mirrors Newport’s decline and ongoing struggle. But for new purveyors of that delicious brew, given the name of hops, is a positive for both ale in south Wales, and Newport as a whole.

Plenty to be found on the Tiny Rebel brewery here: http://tinyrebel.co.uk/blog/ (the art work really is worth a look on its own). It’s very early days, but it is for now, at the very least, the makings of a good news story for the city, and we might all raise a pint to what is currently a small enterprise, but given the right level of support and continued enthusiasm, might well have the potential to become a positive and recognisable Newport brand, something the city has long needed.

Cheers Tiny Rebels, and iechyd da!

Michael Gove and the little yacht that could.

He’s an interesting fellow is Michael Gove. While seeming to be totally competent in his role as chief deconstructionist of the working class education system [Policy No 21b: If they won’t vote for us, we won’t teach them how to vote], Gove seems to have found himself in slightly tricky waters (yes, we’ll run with those sorts of comments early on here) regarding a proposed new royal yacht. However, scorn should be held back for the time being, after all, in these times of austerity we are all being pressed, even the Royal Family, and gigantic yachts just don’t come as cheap as they once did. After all, those pesky unions and their meddling have meant that you can’t expect your ship building crew to return a death rate of a minimum of 5% anymore, the busybodies tend to expect that number to be a lot lower these days!

So, given that ol’ Queeny is going to be having a little bit of a knees up sometime in June, Gove presented the frankly brilliant idea of giving her a giant boat. Well, not so much Gove giving her a giant boat, but the nation. Of course, plenty of wealthytodos were ready to claim that private money would play its part, but Gove was confident that the general public would be more than willing to cut off their thumbs, sell them to medical science, and donate the profits to the ‘old woman gets older, let’s give her a boat’ campaign. It seemed so perfect.

However, it seems to be the case that the general public are in fact a little less keen about lopping off their limbs to be able to contribute to this perfectly reasonable birthday present. So to, was David Cameron, who seemed to distance himself from the project rather hurriedly [must be some manner of republican then, not wanting the public to buy the ol’ crone a boat an all], muffling something about times of austerity, and possibly it being inappropriate to ask a general public to pay for a multi-million pound boat, at the same time as many of them seem to be considering selling their blood in order to pay for bread [extreme perhaps, but it could be happening].

So poor old Michael Gove is left on his own, with his crowd of billionaires of course, isolated and left out in the dark, and all for want of buying a birthday present. Never mind Michael, I’m sure there are other things you might encourage the nation to do for her, such as reintroducing child labour, slavery as a solution to the pensions deficit, and re-colonising the commonwealth, all perfectly reasonable thing to ask the general public to foot the bill for, and we all hope that he will try, one of those at the very least…    

A Vote for Romney is a Vote for Welsh Cakes!

For those living in Wales, and with access to the rather random frequency which BBC Wales is broadcast on (so for those in the South West of England there is a good chance you do receive it, while for those living in South East Wales there is a good chance you don’t), you’ll be familiar with the rather desperate attempts made by the Welsh news coverage to find any and all Welsh connections to any and all world events, however ephemeral they might be. Well, we now have a direct reason to be involved in the Republican nomination campaign in the United States. BBC Wales revealed today that Mitt Romney is married to a proper Welsh woman! Well, Welsh by descent she may be, but Ann Romney would appear to be doing sterling work in the states, promoting the humble Welsh cake.

Now debates may rage about which is the best kind of cake out there, but in Wales the argument is usually ended with the presentation and subsequent consumption of a plate of Welsh cakes. A wonderful treat, perfect in size and form, the Welsh cake is a masterful offering as either a dessert or a light snack during the day, anytime of day, anytime of year, the little Welsh cake is a versatile champion of the cake world. Frankly EyeOnWales has little interest in the Republican nomination campaign, or who ends up in the White house, yet the prospect of Welsh cakes being served in said building has suddenly made the issues real, and we now have an opportunity to put Welsh cakes in the White house, and on to a global scale. The kitchen of Ann Romney could well become the most powerful marketing tool for the Welsh gastronomic economy (if such a thing exists).

So, having given this no further thought than the fact that Welsh cakes are in some way involved, EyeOnWales is proud to give its full endorsement to Mitt Romney, his wife and her Welsh cakes, to take the Republican nomination, and carry our national cakes all the way to the White house. If we could, we would be voting Romney/Cakes!

Wales, the 5p Bag and the Selfish Few.

Oh come on Wales! No, we are not ranting about rugby here, but plastic bags. A report carried in the Wales on Sunday today focused on a new crime wave hitting Wales, that being the theft of metal supermarket baskets, in order to avoid the dreaded inconvenience of paying 5p for a plastic bag. What the hell? Seriously Wales, what the hell is wrong with us? More specifically, what the hell is wrong with that small subsection of society who are so driven by selfishness and greed, that not only can they not cope psychologically with the concept of paying 5p for an environment enhancing scheme of plastic bag purchasing, and instead resort to outright theft and criminality.

This comes in the same week that another EyeOnWales contributor witnessed a shopper in Newport city centre, hurling a Welsh Government plaque explaining the 5p charge, at a shop assistant in a rage at having to fork out the exorbitant sum of five one penny pieces.  Again, what the hell is wrong with us?

Of course these are individuals in the minority. For the most part the plastic bag charge has gone over as a great success, with more and more ‘bags for life’ being made use of and dramatic reductions of plastic bag use being recorded in shops. Whether this helps to save the environment or not is yet to be seen, but certainly there are far fewer bags flying around Wales at the moment, which is in itself a good thing. Think of it, if plastic bags had never been distributed in the first place, we would never have had to endure that douchbag scene in American Beauty with the interminable filming of a floating bag! But why must that minority bring the rest of us down? What are these people thinking? What goes through the mind of a person who comes to the conclusion that the better alternative to buying a plastic bag for 5p, is to loot shops of their metal carriers. Do these people collect the supermarket baskets? Are their living rooms in the valleys chock full of metal baskets piled high after a months’ worth of shopping?

Frankly, this story, as ridiculous as it might be on one level, is frankly appalling on another, and a damaging indictment on the sort of selfish idiots we have scowling around Wales today. For many, this Government led initiative has been greeted very positively, but for those same old few, who think they deserve something for nothing, it’s an all too familiar story. So, here is a suggestion. Going into a shop and expecting a product for free is farcical, and it is amazing that shops have held out from turning their back on this form of altruism for so long. However some in Wales seem to think that they deserve their freebies. In which case, if you know anyone who is taking home metal supermarket baskets, pop over to their house one day, and help yourself to some of their items, after all, they are advocating a system where it is perfectly acceptable to enter an establishment and make off with something that does not belong to them. In the eyes of many this might be seen as theft, in the eyes of these little bastards, it’s a social norm. So, let’s make the most of their social norms, and give them a reason to rethink the value of a 5p bag.