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THE HERALD FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 02 2016


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AS I MENTIONED


previously, my beloved spouse recently came into some money. Not a life-changing amount by any means, but enough for her to feel obliged to put her late uncle’s ashes – however briefly and amusingly – in pride of place in our living room. After I’d finished hoovering


up Uncle Glyn from his resting place on the Axminster, returned him to his urn (carefully skimming off the unaccountable excess from the top into the bin), and after she had innumerable showers until she was satisfied the last of Glyn had got out of her hair, the missus calmed down enough to talk money. I have mentioned before that,


as a Cardi, my dearly beloved has a complicated relationship with the concept of spending money. It’s not that she is mean, or careful, or a skinflint: it’s just that for every pound spent she wants change of a pound and a penny. Apparently her close


encounter with Glyn’s ashes had given her a unique insight into her own mortality. I was relieved. Usually the only mortal thoughts she has involve imprecations to the Almighty to move me closer to Him, often in inventive ways. Have I mentioned by wife’s collection of slasher movies that sits on the what-knot next to her Whimsies? Anyhow, the wife has always


hankered after a little place in Ceredigion. Or so she told me. I was mortified; I mean, as much as I am fond of the place, it is miles away from Burry Port RFC; Parc y Scarlets; and The Ship. The wife was having none of it, however, and so it was on


the Bank Holiday weekend I found myself stuck in traffic heading northwards and Borth- wards. I don’t know if you have ever been to Borth. It has a street that goes all the way along the seafront. Up on the hill are many fine


houses, some of which may actually contain families all year round. The wife was not interested


in those places. Neither was the wife interested in the many compact and bijoux cottages backing on to the beach. When the wife said she had


always fancied a little place in Ceredigion, it had not occurred to me that she meant a metal shed up on chocks facing into a prevailing gale. But she did. Yes, readers, the wife had done some research on precisely how far her legacy from Glyn would stretch and she had alighted upon the apparently endless possibilities for misery represented by spending our autumn years in what – to me – will always be a caravan, if not a Portakabin. The Wimberry Windjammer


– I think that’s what it is called – had the utilitarian charm of a prefab without the character. While the wife was delighted at the range of nooks for knick- knacks and the rock-hard put- u-up bed that doubled as a strikingly uncomfortable couch. The wind whistled against the windows. It was sunny outside. A


delightful warm day. The glazing raised the temperature inside the caravan to a balmy pleasant heat. Why was it, then, that I


felt the chilled hand of doom hovering over my shoulder?


FUNNY, FAMILIAR, FORGOTTEN FEELINGS M E M O R Y ,


readers. It’s a funny old thing. Back in the


1980s, Draenog could have sworn that there were two successive Labour leaders who were accused of being left wing and described repeatedly in news reports as such. You know the sort of thing, readers:


‘left-wing Labour leader, Michael Foot’; slightly less-convincingly ‘left- wing Labour leader, Neil Kinnock’. Nowadays, of course, so far to


the right has British politics swerved that even Jim Callaghan and Hugh Gaitskell would now be demonised as ‘left-wing’ Labour leaders. It is also a sign of the times that Teresa May is not, as a sign of


balance, being described on the same news bulletins as ‘the right wing Tory timeserver’; but Draenog guesses that the BBC reporting opinion as fact and fact as conjecture is evidence of its eagerness to toady up to the government. You have to ask yourself, readers,


why is it acceptable to describe Jeremy Corbyn as ‘left wing’ but not – for example – Iain Duncan-Smith as ‘dementedly right wing’. I mean, if one is true the other has to be true as a matter of political form. Otherwise, the BBC is tacitly endorsing the notion that the Conservatives occupy the middle ground of British politics; an idea as offensive as it is risible. And Draenog has a theory as to why Jeremy Corbyn is being treated by the BBC in such a way.


If nothing else,


New Labour – and ‘the New Labour Project’ – was a creation of the media. A l i s t a i r C amp b e l l


and Peter Mandelson


along with a coterie of anti- establishment former students’ leaders combined to destroy a party by replacing it with a brand. Secondary legislation (Orders in Council) were implemented to enable Downing Street staff to be both Special Advisers and Civil Servants (and so to give orders to


the hitherto impartial executive). The immediate result was a ‘purge’ of the Government Information Service and the crowning


fiasco was Campbell’s (and Jonathan Powell’s) part in coordinating the Iraq intelligence dossiers. But the closeness of those at the


heart of New Labour to the media has stained the relationship between the BBC and the Labour Party. A metropolitan – specifically London- based – coterie of bien pensants and creatives bought into the idea that policy could be formed and implemented without regard for the structural coherence of a thought out programme for government. In a way, New Labour was the triumph of the sort of single issue vanity politics that have disfigured so much public debate on a range of issues. Think of this, readers: when


Draenog was researching this article, he came across a blog which seriously proposed that voters should be guided on how to vote by the individual parties’ attitude towards culling badgers. Now, Draenog is prepared to


concede that there are those who regard the prospect of exterminating badgers with horror; as a predator, Draenog is prepared to face the notion with equanimity. In any event, the merits of the arguments on either side of the debate are of nugatory interest to Draenog. If the entire focus of your political


thought is badgers, good luck to you - but please abstain from doing anything as grown up as voting. The idea that one should ‘vote Badger’ as a means of ensuring that this country has a parliament able to resolve problems economic, domestic and foreign strikes Draenog as a little self-indulgent and more than a little ridiculous. There are more causes in politics and in life than one, however devotedly followed. Having tramped through London on marches in their youth, supporting


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