52 Comment Off the record! IS THERE a more

dispiriting job than cleaning out a garage? I mean, as a domestic chore:

compared to cleaning cesspits and unblocking fat-bergs from inner London sewers on a full time basis, cleaning out a garage is a breeze. It’s just compared to almost

any other domestic job it is one that is replete with opportunities to injure oneself. Along with almost everyone

else in the UK, we do not use our garage to store anything as important as a motorcar. No. Over the last 12 months, our garage has filled up with stuff that was in the half-life between not being used and heading for the tip. Old barbecues and bicycles

lurked under boxes of paper like a rake in the grass. But there could be something valuable, something

important. You never know what you will find! And then there’s THAT smell.

A miasma of dust, damp and dead rodent that leads one to peer closely into every corner lest the next footfall be greeted with a sudden damp squelch of half-mummified mouse. On Saturday afternoon, it was

my turn to venture into the gloom to get rid of stuff and clear the space for the next 12 months worth of junk to occupy. Moving the rubbish out into the garden, I was struck by just how often we had failed to throw out the children’s toys as they grew out of them. All those Japanese card playing games and boxes that once held consoles and plastic replicas of Galen’s head from the Planet of the Apes TV series; every single one a little slice of memory and memorabilia and all

with Mike Edwards

destined for the dump this time. Glaring accusingly at me from

a damp corner of the garage, I fleetingly spotted what I thought was a toad but what turned out to be Yoda. Strong the Force was within me as I dropped him in a binbag. And then, just as I filled up

the car for the first visit to the tip, the weather, which had been threatening all day, decided to drop its first load of rain. Swiftly, I got boxes bags and

bikes all back under the leaking garage roof – next weekend’s job – and dropped the accumulated rubbish of years at the dump. The remainder - the stuff ready

for the tip but not ready for the rain?

Well, best wait for a while.

Don’t want to be too hasty, after all. You never know what you will



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Draenog’s uncomfortable bed LAST week, over the border

in Carmarthenshire, the local authority approved plans to convert a single village school near Llanelli from dual-stream education to Welsh-medium. Much was the wailing and

Safwynt Plaid

Leader of Plaid Cymru, Leanne Wood, and the First Minister, Carwyn Jones, launched a document securing Wales’ future – a plan for leaving the European Union. The paper calls for freedom of

movement rules to be linked to whether migrants have a job and demands full Single Market access. Last year, Labour Assembly

Members failed to back a Plaid Cymru Senedd motion advocating Wales retaining its membership of the Single Market. There was a danger the Welsh

ON MONDAY (Jan 23), the

importance of tariff free access to EU markets and backed strongly the continued participation in the Single Market to support the future prosperity of Wales. The White Paper is the official

negotiation position of Wales on leaving the EU. The UK Government has set up a forum called Joint Ministerial Committee-European Negotiation, so that they can negotiate with the devolved administrations. Each devolved government gets

White Paper would have taken a position against Single Market membership. It is in the best interests of the Welsh economy to remain in the Single Market. A position to the contrary would pose a real threat to jobs.

White Paper, Plaid Cymru has prevented that from happening. When I took part in a Farmers’

Union of Wales breakfast week in Llanfrothen, Gwynedd, there was a warm welcome for the stance of Leanne Wood and the Party of Wales.

By jointly authoring the Wales

to submit a White Paper or proposal to the ministerial committee saying what they want from the UK Government on Brexit. Plaid Cymru has developed the

ideas in the document: We pushed for a commitment to develop stronger links between Wales and Ireland in particular. This is a priority for the Party of Wales. We achieved a commitment

to developing a comprehensive international policy for Wales, which has been agreed and should now happen.

gnashing of teeth on the Labour benches as Plaid Cymru and their coalition partners, together with three Labour councillors who actually have some principles, voted through a move proposed by the former Labour-led administration which followed Welsh Government policy. Thankfully, Labour’s tangled

with Simon Tomas People told me about the

structural funds, if they end, should be replaced by a change to the Welsh block grant. There was a rejection of xenophobia

and racism, and the use of EU citizens as ‘bargaining chips’. We fought to keep Horizon 2020,

ERASMUS+ and EU education programmes. We ensured that Wales is prepared

to legislate to protect our constitutional position and devolved powers. There was also an agreement that

Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland should have a say on trade agreements. On Tuesday (Jan 24), the Supreme

White Paper for Wales jointly with the Welsh Government. There are a number of Plaid Cymru

Court ruled that the triggering of Article 50 would require a vote in the UK Parliament, but does not require the consent of the devolved administrations. This matter is a political decision

There was an agreement that EU

relationship with having policies and actually putting them into action is not a problem that Ceredigion faces. Indeed, the council’s approach

to language education has the advantage of being founded on a common-sense approach which has much to commend it. So, my friends, why is what

happened in Carmarthenshire of interest to Ceredigion, a council very fond of positioning itself as prelapsarian in nature when it comes to education and education policy? After all, when it comes to apples for teacher, Ceredigion’s is the shiniest and juiciest in Wales. Part of the way through the

rather than a legal one. The National Assembly for Wales has to have a say whether the UK Government could continue with the process of leaving the EU is a simple matter of democracy and natural justice. If the Prime Minister Theresa May gags Wales’ voice then there will be constitutional consequences.

debate, a suggestion was made that rather than confront the policy then and there a final decision should be postponed to permit a period of mature reflection and outreach to those people – some of them even had children at the school – who had expressed concern. The suggestion was not followed

up in good time and, by the time it got to voting two hours or so later,

the suggestion had been more or less forgotten as Labour councillor after Labour councillor said – in terms – ‘I love the Welsh language, but…’ The Plaid Cymru councillors

stood by their policy, their coalition partners did the same. However,

in Ceredigion

and when confronted with the reorganisation of schools in Dyffryn Aeron, the County Council blinked. It did not blink because it thought

it needed more time to work on the decision or work on the proposals. The council has, more or less, made its position clear without going through the exercise of actually asking the public what it thinks of its plans to close – or ‘reorganise’ – schools and decant students into one centre without a local heart. The council chose to adopt an

approach that had previously been urged upon it but which it had expressly rejected. But it is hard to escape the

conclusion that, in making a decision to delay progress on Dyffryn Aeron, the council is acting less out of principle than through some pretty shrewd electoral calculations as to the lay of the land after May’s elections. When

this newspaper

interviewed Mark Williams MP last year, he noted that the Liberal Democrat vote had picked up in the area around Aberaeron, particularly in Dyffryn Aeron. There was a connection between local distaste for the council’s policy on closing village schools and concentrating them in Felinfach and the fall in Plaid’s vote in the locality. Combine that with a vocal and prominent Liberal Democrat councillor in

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