Tuesday 22 July 2014

Farewell to Bruce and Blade, hello to Stephen Crabb

As readers may have noticed, there was not exactly spontaneous national mourning at the news that the dour and deeply uncharismatic David Jones MP had been sacked as Secretary of State for Wales. His most remarkable achievement seems to have been that he managed to upset just about everybody, including his own side.

Working under David Jones in Gwydyr House, the London home of the Welsh Office, does not seem to have been much fun either according to this BBC report, and one of the few things which seemed to get the old misery really excited was the chance to fawn over William and Kate.

Almost exactly a year ago, here he was tweeting in ecstasy at the birth of little George:

As a North Walian, I'm massively pleased by the interest the whole world is showing in the birth of a baby to an Anglesey couple.

Kate had already long moved out of the couple's temporary home in Angelsey by then because of fears that the Welsh NHS might not be up to the job of delivering a baby.Not long after that Wills himself headed back to the less wild and dangerous environs of Kensington Palace.

Strangely David Jones, who is apparently a bit of a dog lover, did not consider it worthwhile tweeting what happened to the royal couple's redundant guard dogs which were put down a couple of days later, and sadly Rolf Harris was not on hand to look misty-eyed into the camera as Bruce and Blade were sent off to the great kennel in the sky.

Fortunately, then, David Cameron opted for a more humane way of getting rid of his Secretary of State for Wales.

All of which is a long-winded way of saying that, with the possible exception of Rolf Harris, just about anyone who took over from David Jones would have been welcomed with open arms, and not being David Jones is a huge asset to Stephen Crabb, the bearded wonder from Haverfordwest as he embarks on his new job.

Stephen is still only 41, but he comes with a surprising amount of baggage for one so young. The Western Mail recently reminded us that not so long ago he thought devolution had "the potential to cause huge and permanent damage to our country" (our country being the UK), and he thought the post of Secretary of State for Wales was "emptied and somewhat meaningless". But not meaningless enough to reject a promotion and increase in salary, obviously.

Yesterday the pinko-lefty Daily Telegraph weighed in with other reminders of Stephen Crabb's pre-bearded existence, pointing out that his online biography has airbrushed his connections with the fundamentalist and rather creepy Christian Action Research and Education (CARE) from the historical record, even though he began his parliamentary career as a CARE-paid intern in Westminster, along with around 20 other mainly Tory and Labour MPs.

The Torygraph notes that "the member for Preseli Pembrokeshire has never spoken publicly about the charity, and does not refer to it anywhere on his website", which is not only ungrateful but also rather strange since Stephen and CARE share many of the same opinions on matters such as gay marriage (wrong) and making it more difficult for women to have abortions (right).

In what must have been a dull news period at the end of 2011, Cneifiwr did a bit more digging into Stephen Crabb's past, and you can find out more about his views on Israel (very good), Palestinians (misguided at best), the Welsh language (waste of money) and some of his more exotic friends here.


Anonymous said...

Well, I do so agree with his views on the Welsh language. Waste of money.

By all means let's do all we can to protect and promote the language. But not at the tax payers expense. At the expense of those that feel like I do.

And forget not, Welsh language culture only means something to those that are interested in the language. It means nothing for those that are not because the have their own language culture to identify with.

Cneifiwr said...

Great - let's stop subsidising the English language as well. We could save lots of money by not having translators at public meetings where only a minority can't speak Welsh for a start.

But that would be discrimination, wouldn't it? And definitely not cricket, old boy.

Anonymous said...

Clearly you have never played. Or not of late.

It shows.

m1books said...

A trifle nit-picky and a little bit unkind. Any intelligent, ambitious politician will of course review what they say and who they align with at different times in their career, but don’t we all as we get older and hopefully wiser. You make no mention of his modest background (very ‘un-Tory’) and the fact that he has increased his constituency majority considerably . (OK, I know it’s South Pembrokeshire). I do not share, like many, his views on certain topics but at least he has the character to stay with them. By all accounts he is very popular MP, enjoys being on the doorstep, and listens. And as far as the language is concerned I suspect there are many too intimidated to agree about the cost to the economy, which is a different debate to that of cultural support and encouragement. Small businesses, town and community councils are struggling to fulfil the legal requirements and at a financial cost to their other remits. The new Secretary of State should be given a bit of space…

Cneifiwr said...

Anon - you are right about my knowledge of cricket. It's a complete blank for me and will stay that way.

Although I guess that you're referring to sledging.

Anonymous said...

O dear! m1books' facts are as shaky as his dodgy attitude towards Welsh. Crabb is actually MP for Preseli Pembs - that's the northern bit, not the south, which is represented by Simon 'Tally-ho' Hart (or will be until next year's election.) 'Given more space'? Since devolution every Sec of State for Wales is a waste of space - and money (please note, anti-Welsh language types).

m1books said...

So sorry anon 11.11 Preseli Pembs actually covers north (correct!), west, and Haverfordwest, Milford, Neyland and St Davids - can't get much further south than that.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the comments about Welsh language - complete waste of public money. And yes it would be worth stopping translators because I don't know any welsh speaker who cant speak English as well.

While we are about it S4C could do with looking at cos I think I'm right in saying that many or most of its programmes have zero rating viewing figures.

English is a world language and all British people should speak it. Lets face it most of the rest of Europe want to learn English as do people from all over the world.

If people want to indulge in minority welsh culturism thats fine but do it at your own expense !!

Cneifiwr said...

I didn't think it would take long before the ant-Welsh trolls made an appearance.

Well, as you probably don't know, Welsh and English have equal status in Wales. And that means, among other things, that anyone who speaks Welsh has a right to speak it and use it in their daily lives.

There was a case recently where a community council received a complaint from one English speaker because meetings are held in Welsh, as they have every right to do.

Who was in the minority there?

The point is, and not just when it comes to the Welsh language, that civilised countries protect and support minorities.

You might also want to give S4C a try - subtitles are available. I think you would be surprised by the quality and variety of the programmes. Some of the channel's output is outstandingly good.

To anyone else who feels like having a go at the Welsh language, don't bother because two comments of this kind are more than enough.

Anonymous said...

It's difficult to believe that such bigots as the previous anonymous contributor still exist. I'm a Welsh speaker as were my ancestors for countless centuries. Why the hell should I have to justify living my life through the medium of my own language in my own country? Members of my family fought in the war against such fascist attitudes.

Anonymous said...

I'm appalled by the attitude of some of your contributors. As one who speaks the ancient native language of Britain, why should I have to justify living my life through the medium of my own language in my own country? Members of my family fought in two world wars against such fascist attitudes.

Anonymous said...

I'm the person who wrote the first comment and then the third.

The point I am trying to make is simple. I am interested in cricket and in my part of Wales cricket is very much a part of our Welsh culture. But this culture is steeped very much in the English language.

Cneifiwr derides my interest in cricket, for what reason I know not. It might have everything to do with language and Welsh culture as expressed through the medium of English. Equally iut might just be that he isn't the sporty type and hates anything to do with wood and willow. But it is entirely his right to hold his views and it is entirely in my right to continue to enjoy the game, albeit at my sole cost.

Now, imagine Cneifiwr's further annoyance if indeed he was having to pay a financial contribution just so that I could continue to enjoy a game that I enjoy and he derides!

The funding of the language poses just the same sort of dilemma for many here in wales.

Cneifiwr said...

Well, Anon@20.22 - I don't see where I derided cricket. As you say, there are some places in Wales where people play it, and good luck to them.

I don't think we will ever agree about the Welsh language, but to put things into perspective, government spending on Welsh is peanuts - far more is spent on consultants and doled out in often very questionable grants (hot tubs for holiday cottages, for example). Not to mention the £1 billion plus which Edwina Hart is planning to spend on her bypass.

And a chunk of what you might call spending on Welsh is actually the cost of translating into English.

Anonymous said...

There have been some very fine Welsh speaking
Cricketers,Alan and Eifion Jones County Chapionship
winners,Robert Croft international player.Well I am glad
I can speak Welsh I wish I could speak more languages.
As you say billions have been wasted over the years,
pointless wars,useless projects etc.No idea about Crabb
not my MP.

Redhead said...

Er, weren't we talking about Crabb? Some fine distraction tactics being illustrated here! Some might think that it's because Crabb doesn't stand up to the spotlight ...

Anonymous said...

Sorry but I find cricket more interesting than Crabb.
Because politics in Wales is now getting to be crap.