Posts Tagged ‘ Cardiff ’

Why Wales Gets Angry.

Earlier this week, Cardiff was home to shocking scenes of random violence, which claimed the life of a well loved member of the community, injured a dozen more and terrified people across the city. The motivations for the cowardly attacks by an individual driving a van into members of the public who had no hope of protecting themselves from his actions, are as yet unclear. Certainly though the impacts of his callous attacks will be felt for a long time, and we can only imagine what  will be going through the minds of the children affected by this event the next time a speeding white van comes near them.

The story was appalling, and yet, as the day of the incident wore on, another story developed on the pages of social networking sites. For an attack on a capital city which had affected so many, there was a lingering sense of confusion, and then anger, as to why this merited so little coverage on the news. Early on the same day, Conservative pleb basher Andrew Mitchell had resigned from Government, and it was this that seemed to preoccupy the minds of the national news networks.

No doubt the crumbling of the Westminster Government was newsworthy, but surely on a day when a capital city in Britain had witnessed such widespread attacks on the general public, it could not in any way be considered as the ‘top story’? The following day, the print media community continued to wash over the events of the previous day in Cardiff, preferring to salivate over a prominent politician’s demise. Meanwhile blood stocks in Wales continued to be in critically short supply following the high treatment demand resulting from the van driver’s attacks.

There is a pervading sense that, in general terms, the media simply don’t care about Wales. Certainly there had been plenty of coverage over the tragic story surrounding April Jones, but then, without wanting to be too cynical, the national media will often prioritise a missing child. The sense remains though, that had this been a story breaking in an English city, London perhaps, that there would no doubt as to the leading story, ‘terror in London rampage’ would have represented the tone of the headlines. Yet, if it happens in Wales, it’s probably just not that important. One wonders how many people would have needed to die for this to be considered the most important news story of the day?

Put in context, BBC News have given more coverage and commentary time today to whether or not an English footballer worse a t-shirt, than it did to the events in Cardiff. It is this disparity in coverage that incenses so many in Wales, we often feel like second class citizens in this ‘United’ kingdom, because that is the way we are treated. Sadly, the priorities of all the national news carriers illustrated that even when areas in Wales are subject to attacks that would dominate were they to happen across the border, their locality in this instance means that they are just not that significant.

And that is, one of the reasons at least, why Wales gets angry.

Advertisements

Cardiff Declares War on Bicycles.

And not before time! Police in Cardiff have today launched a new crackdown on bicyclists flaunting the law and merrily weaving their way around the pavements of the city. While a £30 fixed penalty notice might not appear to be much of a threat, any deterrent for the increasing menace that the Cardiff cyclist can be can only be welcomed. A note of caution initially though, we don’t want to go painting all cyclists in Cardiff with too broad a brush. No doubt the majority of those on pedal powered twin wheels are all good sorts, very respectful and such, but equally there can be little doubt that a growing number of those who enjoy the un-motorised means of transportation have as much regard for the pedestrians in their way as a scorching sun has for the last ripples of a drained puddle – they are equally treated as an irrelevance, something to dismiss as were they not even there, and it is those cyclists that are the problem.

Increasingly in Welsh city and town centres, the travels of the pedestrian are marked by the need to dodge out of the way of those speeding past (and we do mean speeding) through clearly marked pedestrian areas. A trip through Cardiff City Centre can be measured by the number of times you are ‘ching chinged’ out of the way, if even that simple ‘courtesy’ is offered. More likely would be for you to suddenly jump to one side as some sun glass wearing blur of lycra shoots by. For too long, pedestrians have had to suffer the whims of cyclists regarding highways law, and it is good to see that the police in the capital are finally taking some action.

Plenty of debate has been stimulated by this, mostly regarding the lack of choice faced by cyclists when travelling. How can we be punishing those poor unfortunates? After all, too many cycle lanes are blocked by cars, while how many deaths do cyclists cause to pedestrians compared to motorists on cyclists? Well, for starters, it is simply against the law for cyclists to be on the pavement in the first place, so it is a very weak place to argue from. But if we put that to one side, what of those concerns?

First of all, cycle lanes, and indeed the dangers faced by cyclists on the roads, are both valid points of concern. While the cycling community needs to be much better regarding pedestrians, the motoring community in turn must raise its game regarding cyclists, who are no doubt vulnerable to the lack of attention given them by many British motor vehicle users. However, there is nothing that forces a cyclist to ride on a pavement. Unless said cyclists is physically welded by the groin to their bicycle, then there is no reason why the rider in question cannot dismount, push the bicycle to the next clear cycle lane or safe stretch of road, and continue. The decision to use pavements by cyclists is just that, a decision, a choice, and one not afforded to pedestrians. Pedestrians cannot amble down the middle of a dual carriage way at their choosing, they only have the pavements to make use of. If the roads are too scary for the cyclists of Cardiff City Centre, then get off the bike and push, you have the option.

As for injuries and deaths, fine, we do not see many pedestrians killed by cyclists, and the statistics are irrelevant almost when compared with cyclists killed by motor vehicles. What these death counts do not cover though, is the very real sense of fear instilled by cyclists whizzing through pedestrians. They might not get killed by the bike, but many are sure as hell scared witless by the cyclists who belt through those relying on foot. Put simply, pedestrians should not be made to feel intimidated while out walking in the only access routes available to them.

Cardiff in particular has a wealth of cycling provisions in place, offering the choice of using roads or a variety of cycle paths. There is no such diversity for the pedestrian. A cyclist weaving at speed through a pedestrian filled pavement, may not be as dangerous to pedestrians as were a car driver to mount the curb and commit a similar crime, but the risks are still there, the fear is still very real, and it remains a crime. While it may be a minority of cyclists who are responsible, it is a minority that is large enough now to warrant firm action, and we certainly hope that Cardiff police stand by this announcement rather than leave it as an empty threat.

The Great Welsh Beer and Cider Festival.

A few snaps from this years festival. Another great occasion, though we were only there with the back up camera on the final day. Must apologise, consumption was the order of the day, so photographic quantity and quality are on the short side with this entry!

The Rebel Brewery in full swing.

Choir in action.

As far as the memory goes.

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.

Klom, the Commission and Cardiff.

Some days it’s hard not to love twitter, few other platforms would allow you to engage in a heated unmoderated exchanges with politicians and civil servants in quite the same way. This week provided an excellent example of just this, as top EU civil servant and general loiterer of Wales, Andy Klom took an exception of sorts to EyeOnWales musings. His attention had been drawn to this entry: http://eye-on-wales.com/2011/12/20/part-14-the-top-ten-worst-welsh-politicians-2011 where we proudly unveiled Klom as the 9th worst Welsh politician or political figure. Now, it’s hard to say whether Klom took exception to being listed, or that he was listed as a politician, and he went to some lengths to elaborate on the fact that he was indeed a civil servant, we assured him that despite his status, his contribution to Wales in 2011 was such a poor investment for Wales that he more than earned his place amongst the politicos. Enjoy the exchange for yourself below:

25 Jan

 AndyKlomEU Andy Klom

@EyeOnWales is trashing me on Twitter&website. I’m 9th in Top10 list of worst Welsh politicians. An honour a Dutchman&civil servant like me.

 AndyKlomEU Andy Klom

@EyeOnWales doesn’t know difference between civil servant and politician. I’m in same league as Andrew RT, Ieuan, Cheryl&Peter. Real honour.

 AndyKlomEU Andy Klom

@EyeOnWales doesn’t know what EU is doing in Wales. Why not check the internet, our website, or just give us a ring? Always welcome folks…

 AndyKlomEU Andy Klom

@EyeOnWales: thanks for replies. Good to know you attended all our recent events, speeches, briefings. Always happy to go the extra mile…

Now there was much to discuss following that exchange, but Klom’s assertion at the end of this exchange, that the EU is doing good work in Wales, and going the ‘extra mile’, required a little more consideration.

Here is the list of official engagements from the EU office in Cardiff in 2011…the location for the office alone should stand as a good indication for where we will be going with this one…:

7 December – “A Federal Europe in the Making? Europe 2020, the European Semester and the Euro Plus Pact”, Pierhead Building, Cardiff Bay

5 December – Putting Wales on the Map, Cardiff City Hall.  A day celebrating the European Year of Volunteering 2011, organised by the Wales Council for Voluntary Action, with support from the EC Office in Wales.

21-22 November – The Graduate Event, Cardiff City Hall: EC staff on hand to give information on EU careers.

21 November – “What does it mean to be European?”, Aberystwyth Arts Centre.  A debate on identity arranged by the Welsh Centre for Intenational Affairs, in collaboration with the EC Office in Wales.

15 November – Wales Forum on Europe: “Towards Europe 2020: How to maximise the opportunities from and influence the new EU programmes in Wales for 2014-2020”.  A conference arranged as part of the EU Committee of the Regions Open Days events by the Welsh Government, with support from the EC Office in Wales. In Cardiff.

10 November – Gwilym Jones, Member of European Commissioner for Agriculture Dacian Cioloş’ Cabinet, visits Wales to speak at the Hybu Cig Cymru Annual Conference and to discuss the CAP reform proposals. Hotel near Cardiff.

22 October – The Language Show Live, London: Staff from the EC Office in Wales will be on hand to answer questions from students and teachers, and to provide publications in Welsh.

20 October – Europe 2020 and the Digital Agenda: “Going local in Wales”.  A conference held at the Wales Millennium Centre (Cardiff), based on the European Union’s Digital Agenda, including keynote speeches from the Welsh Minister for Business, Enterprise, Technology & Science, Edwina Hart, and DG INFSO’s Director for Converged Networks and Services, Megan Richards.  

28 September – ‘Sounds of Europe’: European Day of Languages event at Cardiff University.  An evening celebrating the diverse languages of Europe and beyond.

24 September – EC Office in Wales presence at CILT Cymru’s European Day of Languages celebrations at the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff.

14 September – Fourth Mock EU Council, organised by the Welsh Government in collaboration with the EC Office in Wales, involving schools from across the country.  Held in Ty Hywel at the National Assembly in Cardiff.

30 July – 6 August – Information stand at the National Eisteddfod in Wrexham, in conjunction with the Europe Direct Offices in Wrexham and Llangollen and supported by CILT Cymru.

18 – 21 July – EC Office in Wales information stand at the Royal Welsh Show.

13 July – Andy Klom, Head of EC Office in Wales, opened the final of the Routes into Languages Cymru Spelling Bee Competition 2011, organised by Routes into Languages – CILT Cymru. 

4 – 8 July – Information stand at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, in conjunction with the Europe Direct Centres in Wrexham and Llangollen.

30 May – 4 June – Information stand at the Urdd Eisteddfod in Swansea, in conjunction with British Council Wales.

12 May – Aberystwyth University EuroFun Day, supported by the EC Office in Wales.

9 May – Europe Day!: Cardiff Library hosted day long celebrations including story telling, speeches and workshops.  Later on Cardiff University’s European Documentation Centre hosted its annual EuroQuiz.  Both events were supported by the EC Office in Wales.

17 February – Andy Klom, Head of EC Office in Wales, speaks at opening of new Centre for European Studies at Aberyswyth University.

8 February – Wales, Europe & the World event at Cardiff City Hall.  A schools’ event organised in conjunction with CILT Cymru and Cardiff City Council, involving a series of workshops encouraging young people to engage in Europe.

A list of 20 official engagements, supporting this and that, with some face showing here and there.

11 events hosted in Cardiff,

3 events in Aberystwyth,

1 event in London,

1 non specific speaking role,

4 information stands at major Welsh cultural events.

Now, having been to every Eisteddfod and Royal Welsh Show for some time, there is little to be said for the promotional merits of the EU’s information stands: presentable, quiet, generally empty, as ‘events’ these hold no weight, and can with some ease be dismissed. That leaves a grand total of 16 ‘events’, though those outside of Cardiff largely boil down to Klom and company speaking at openings – and what an impact I’m sure they made on those delegates in attendance. That leaves 11 events in Cardiff, conferences, lectures, and general public engagement of some meaningful level of commitment that went beyond turning up, saying ‘congratulations’ and sipping the free champagne. Frankly, little that the EU office in Wales does outside of Cardiff is worth the train fair to follow their message. If you want to actually engage with the EU in Wales, come to Cardiff. They won’t be going the ‘extra mile’ as Klom likes to put it, but you sure will have to if you don’t live in the capital.

The Creepiest Guy in Cardiff?

With the time of year, there is little time to post at the moment, however, this one seems to be doing the rounds, and seems worthy of sharing late in the day on Sunday. From a real room ad (link provided: http://cardiff.craigslist.co.uk/roo/2721316451.html), is this the creepiest guy in Cardiff? You decide!

While we always try to show the best of Wales, it’s worth remembering that it’s not all perfect!

‘Hello ladies. The rent is free but conditions apply please read below for a bright and spacious one bedroom with a big window available in shared flat,

In cardiff city centre,

The one bedroom and apartment is fully furnished, there is plenty of storage.
the flat includes nice bed, wardrobe and a table.
There is also a spacious sitting area in the kitchen with a large dining table and sofa.

Rent is free including bills (+internet). no deposit .
The flat is available now.

The only catch is , I wish to take pictures of your feet ONLY. I don’t care about your body or face, and nothing other than pictures your feet will be taken. NO SEX is involved.

If you are interested please email me 1 photo of your soles and face in the same image and then i can decide if your the right person for the bedroom.

Send your photo to: bedroomforrent@hotmail. com

SERIOUS INQUIRIES ONLY!