Sunday, May 15, 2011

Newtown Male Voice

Life is returning to normal - post back op.. Planted a 'fancy' oak tree this afternoon, and went out to a concert tonight. The Newtown Male Voice Choir were performing with 'The Three Basses' along as special guests. I've heard Tom Evans (Gwanas) sing several times before, and his voice floats through my mind whenever I travel up past Cadair Idris from Dolgellau, and down the other side past Gwanas. With him were Trebor Lloyd Evans and a new 'voice' to me, Sion Goronwy - a sound of such raw power that children should not be allowed to listen at less than 100 yds. It was just a brilliant night out, and well worth the bit of backache resulting from sitting in the same place for around 3 hours. And there was a message on my mobile to tell me that we have a contest for the vacant position of leader of the Conservative Assembly Group. Its good to have a contest. Pity Sion Goronwy isn't standing for us. At full volume, he'd blow Carwyn Jones out of the debating chamber.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

My take on Thursday's results.

Been busy. Missed Thursday night's sleep - and paid a heavy price in pain and setback in 'operation recovery' for the pleasure of sharing Russell's victory. And fulfilling a promise to speak to Llanidloes 6th form at 9.00 Friday morning. Rested a lot since then, and today there's marked improvement in mobility. Be back on the treadmill in 10 days I reckon - after over a year's break. Anyway what did I think of Thursday's results.

In Scotland, Alex Salmond pulled off a huge success, leaving Labour in turmoil. Very bad day for Ed Miliband in Scotland. Not much to be said about the Conservatives really. What we know for the first time now is that some serious thinking needs to be done, to ensure Scotland remains a part of the Union. The Prime Minister needs to draw more on the well of inspiration that injected fire into the NOtoAV campaign.

In England, it was a good Council elections result for the Conservatives. Twelve months into a programme of repairing the national finances, with all the pain that entails, and we more than hold our position. That was an incredible result. The reality is that the Lib Dems had a disaster, Labour won fewer seats than expected, and the Conservatives won more than expected.

In Wales in was a good night for Labour, but not good as they hoped it would be. I'd felt they might do 31 - but fell just short. I sense that Labour might go it alone in the short term, with some sort of side arrangement for comfort. There is no Alex Salmond in Wales. Plaid and the Lib Dems had a poor night, especially the former. I was really sorry to see the demise of Helen Mary Jones though. Not only did we go to the same school, but she's made of admirably tough stuff, and her sister's a fellow soldier in the war on destruction of mid Wales by turbine. Nice to see another Powys man, William Powell take his place in the Bay (thanks to Russell). IWJ looks a beaten man at present. He needs to look as if he believes in himself, so that his colleagues can. Could the reverend who enjoys a cigar be looking to even up the score - or is that me causing trouble again.

The Conservatives had a better than expected night. I knew Russell George was going to win, and he'll make a really good AM. Because of my own experiences in 2007, I realised that his victory would mean Nick Bourne was likely to lose his seat. Angela Burns and Janet Finch Saunders pulled off cracking results, and at a personal friend level, its great to see Byron make it (by another turn of the quirky wheel). We need a new leader of the Assembly Group, and we chose an ideal man, in Paul Davies, to manage the contest. I'm think I know who's going to win, but I intend to keep secret how I cast that particular vote. I'm really sorry to see Jonathon Morgan lose his seat. He was a real talent. I wonder what Brynle makes of it all. I'd love a chat with the old rascal.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

AV Rubbish (more) in the Independent

The Independent has informed its readers that Montgomeryshire is one of 21 seats which the Conservatives would not have won if the election had been fought under the AV system. It informs its readers that Lembit Opik would not have been beaten by me under AV. Total 'cobblers'. I've never actually bought an Independent, and if this is the sort of tripe it comes up, I'm not going to change the habit of my lifetime, at least that during which the Independent has been limping along. Lets just look at the figures, and you can tell me where you think I might be wrong. The result was as follows;

Glyn Davies - Conservative ----- 13,976
Lembit Opik - Liberal Democrat - 12,792
Heledd Fychan - Plaid Cymru ----- 2,802
Nick Colbourne - Labour --------- 2,407
David Rowlands - Ukip ----------- 1,128
Milton elis - National front ------ 384
Bruce Lawson - Independent -------- 324
50% of the vote would have been -16,907 --- assuming the same number of people voted.

Here's my guess on how preferences would have broken down, though this has to be no more than indicative, because only a proportion of people would have cast preferences. The one party that would have been expected to grasp AV with most enthusiasm, but since their preferences would be unlikely to come into it, we can leave then out. In any case, none of them could have given the Lib Dems a single preference vote! My assumptions are that the preferences would have broken down thus;

Bruce Lawson/Milton Elis would have been shared between Lib Dems and Conservatives
UKIP would have broken 2;1 to the Conservatives.
Labour would have broken 3;1 to the Lib Dems
Plaid would have been shared or been shaded by the Conservatives.

With us being 1,200 ahead (needing just 3,000 preferences) there is no way in the world that the Independent is talking anything but b******* - mathematical fantasy. Let anyone who disagrees let us see their realistic assumptions.

And I should mention that I've done very little canvassing in support of the No to AV campaign. I reckoned that because of the close link between the Conservative Party and opposition to AV, the best thing I could do was my best to support the Conservative candidate, Russell George. I have been proud to do that. I hope we've done enough to ensure he wins on Thursday.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Sir Henry Cooper - 1934-2011

I used to enjoy a bit of boxing as a teenager, but farm life didn't allow me enough time. Ernie Ray was my coach, though I never fought in an official bout. I was on the card to fight at Denbigh, but a ferocious nose bleed the night before persuaded Ernie that I should not fight without my nose being 'cauterised' - whatever that meant. Anyway, this is just a preamble to a post about Sir Henry Cooper, who died today. The sporting heroes of my early teens were boxers. There were some great Welshmen - Howard Winstone and Dai Dower being two of the best. But we all loved 'Enry. It wasn't just his boxing. He was a thoroughly good all round 'gent'. And hugely popular.

As a fighter he was not the greatest. Bit small for a heavy, and not quite good enough at the very top level. Mind you, he almost the best of them all - the magnificent Cassius Clay, later to be known as Mohammed Ali. I loved him as well, and watched his fights over and over again. When 'Enry fought Clay in 1963, the great man was too cocky, and was caught by 'Enry's 'Ammer close to the end of the fourth round. Many of us thought he'd never have survived if it had been at the beginning of the round. Cooper was a good 'finisher'. Clay's corner managed to delay things a bit, and he came out in the 5th and smashed 'Enry all over the place. The fight was stopped with a cut eye, a weakness that dogged Cooper's career. I remember enjoying all those fights between Henry Cooper, Joe Erskine, Brian London and Dick Richardson - all world class British heavies. Through it all, Sir Henry won three Lonsdale belts. Don't think anyone else managed that - not before all these Micky Mouse titles came along anyway.

He was so much more than just a boxer. I remember him as a captain on Question of Sport - with Cliff Morgan I think, though my memory could be playing tricks. I feel a bit sad that Sir Henry Cooper has died. The thing was, we all felt we knew him.