MichaelCD - The Blog.

The thoughts of Michael Cadwallader. Coffee loving, history book reading, Cheshire man.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Guido Fawkes

Guido Fawkes has a good blog. As most people know we British celebrate the foiling of the plot by Fawkes and twelve others to blow up the Parliament with King James 1st inside.

I am now of the opinion that it was a shame the plot failed. I'm currently Reading A Brief History Of British Sea Power. The way that England gained a foothold on the seas in Tudor times (after a very slow start) under the three great Tudors; Henry's 7th, 8th and Elizabeth was majestic. The brilliance of Drake, Hawkins et al, the search for the north-west passage, the destruction of The Armada all marked the high water of British sea-faring not to be reached again until the days of Cook.

Under James 1st, the East Indies were dominated by the Dutch and English presence virtually wiped out. Even more embarrassingly the seas around Britain were dominated by North African pirates, who raided the coast of England taking slaves. Drake must have been turning in his grave! To top it all off James 1st also had the great Sir Walter Raleigh executed.

I will be avoiding any sort of celebration on 5th of November from now on!!

Saturday, May 14, 2005


ITV sink ever lower. "Celebrity" Wrestling was bad enough but "Celebrity" Love Island which starts in a couple of weeks takes the biscuit. I am already sure of what will happen - a pathetic load of has-beens and never were's slobbering over each other, a faux Lesbian kiss which makes the front page of The Sun, and Abi Titmuss having sex with anything that moves.

Add to that The Farm on Channel Five, and yet another series of Big Brother coming up on Channel Four in a few weeks and I am led to the conclusion that reality tv weariness doesn't infect the general viewing public, to the same degree as me.

However I am going to refrain from moaning too much. There was rubbish on in the 80's and early 90' too, and those old enough would probably confirm that the 60's and 70's had dire programs on as well. Some Channels deserve praise, because there have been some absolute gems on TV recently. A few weeks ago Channel Four had a superb documentary about Homo floresienses.

BBC1 recently showed a documentary about Genghis Khan that was both enthralling and lavish. The real diamond is the thursday night schdule with Ray Mears Bushcraft on at 8:00 p.m. on BBC 2. An hour of that makes me want to sleep outside on the lawn, drink pine needle tea and chop up bits of wood with an axe. In fact I am so impressed by the series I have purchased Extreme Survival Series 1 & 2 on DVD. At 9:00 over on BBC 1 is Steve Leonard's Journey Of Life. I have found it extremely watchable and informative and although I understand the criticism of it being "science lite" I don't think Attenborough is everybody's cup of tea.

To top it all off we are right in the middle of a series of Law And Order: Criminal Intent on Channel Five. They even had an episode about Stoicism and Marcus Aurelius - Crime drama's and Rome my two favourite things together!!!!

Friday, May 13, 2005

Late reflections on Election

Plaid Cymru had a poor election. They lost Ceredigion and failed to take top target Môn.

Plaid Parliamentary leader Elfyn Llwyd said they must find out what has gone wrong and learn from any mistakes.

Looking around their website I understand why they have been declining . I suppose their continued shift to the left was an attempt to match what the Lib Dem's did in England, i.e. attract disgruntled former Labour voters. It failed miserably. No party except Labour has a chance in the Valleys and any attempt to court that vote is doomed to fail. The fact that the Lib Dems now seem to favour the Social Democratic part over the Liberal part has also squeezed them out of the centre-left. Their "decentralised socialism" has become Old Labour without the name Labour.

Economically speaking the claim that Wales could do an Ireland is even more of a joke. Tony Blair and Gordon Brown may understand 21st economic reality but The Assembly are manifestly Old Labour; public spending is at 59% of the local economy, Council tax has increased by 79 per cent in Wales since 1997 e.t.c. What's Plaid's response?
More tax. The Plaid view is that only high government spending can close the gap between rich and poor, yet as I have said earlier Labour have increased spending in bureaucracy and as Plaid acknowledge the Welsh economy has declined since 1997, so surely they can see that high government spending doesn't help.

As Daffydd Iwan mentioned Ireland as a role model for Wales why doesn't he examine how they achieved such growth.

Many economists credit Ireland's low taxation rate (10 to 12.5 percent throughout the late 1990s) and business-friendlyregulation policies as responsible for much of the growth.

A consequence of this was
Public debt was dramatically cut (it stood at about 34% ofGDP by the end of 2001) to become one of Europe's lowest, enabling public spending to double without any significant increase in taxation levels.

Plaid seem to think that taking a begging bowl to the EU is the way Ireland did it and therefore is the way forward for Wales too.

There are sensible proposals within the Plaid paper, unlike the Metropolitan centric Labour and the Lib Dems who are a party of the surburbs, Plaid have proposals to strengthen the rural economy and I agree that an obsession with GDP as the only way of ranking the economy is not helpful but they mainly tread the path of Labour and the Lib Dems an already over-subscribed world view. Mesasures like reducing fuel tax which effects rural areas far more than town dwellers, are not even considered due to this ideology.

Until Plaid become a moderate, centrist party, such as the Lib Dems were under Paddy Ashdown then they are not "The Party Of Wales" but a poor 3rd place in the rank of the parties of the left. They should put Wales first and ditch the socialism.