Saturday, August 23, 2008

Addicted!

Well, if anyone wants to see me this weekend I'll mostly be behind the bar in the Castle Hotel in Caernarfon. Better than being the other side drinking away for three whole days! For those of you who don't know this, my Mother is now running the place and has been doing so since January. So, whenever I'm not working for Plaid Cymru I can be seen in the pub, helping out. Or baking cakes to sell there!

Talking to the locals about a variety of different issues is far more beneficial to my work than any organised focus group could be. Take for instance the issue of a prison in the area. No one here in the bar knows that I'm involved in researching the plus and minuses of the proposal, so we just chat in general about it. The arguments put forward here have really helped me think about the issue, and realise what people's fears are about it. Also, interestingly, most seem to be in favour of having a prison here. They see the benefits a prison could bring in terms of jobs and so on... Indeed, the only ones I've heard who've been strongly opposed to it are those who live next to the site though they do admit that they weren't happy when there was a factory there either!

But to return to the pub. It has fueled two addictions this summer. No, not alcohol. But the quiz machine and also karaoke. I have reached the point now where I don't care if I'm stone cold sober and singing in front of the whole pub be it morning, noon or night. Amy Winehouse is my current favourite and the best thing ever is that because my Mother owns the place, I can practice when no one else is here and suss out which songs are within my range or not. I know that's cheating slightly, but that's my perfectionist streak for you! And the quiz machine? Well, I've found the puzzler game on it which even has a sudoku option. Fatal. In terms of the machine's ranking, I'm placed from numbers 1 -30. That's how addicted I am!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Me a Tory? Never!

As I mentioned yesterday, I was at a wedding at the weekend. I met some new and interesting people, many of them barristers or solicitors since the groom was a partner in a law firm. As you'd expect, when I mentioned my job, politics became a topic of conversation. There was one person in particular who questioned me on a lot of my core beliefs when it comes to economic policy, the future of education in Wales and criminal justice. Me being me, I had an answer to all his questions and may have ever so slightly gone into ranting/ preaching mode. I wasn't really following party lines, but rather giving my own view on how I see Wales developing in the future. It was good fun to be honest, and it was nice to be able to discuss things and speak on behalf of myself rather than Plaid Cymru, which is what I usually do since I'm paid to do so!

My vision and policies are based on pragmatic but socialist principles. No shock there. Much are based on the experiences I gained during my time in Ireland, and in particular, the time I spent representing Ireland on various European committees. I won't go into them here, but imagine my shock when the person I was talking to at the wedding asked if I'd ever considered running as a candidate in England as my policies were so marketable. In particular, he asked me to consider running for the Conservative party! Imagine my reaction to that...

It got me thinking that there might be something seriously wrong with my ideas. So I checked them with some of my really left wing friends, and they on the whole agreed with me. That was a relief! So then I started thinking how lost the Conservative party must be if one of its members thought my policies and ideas made sense, and might be transferred to their party? I much preferred the Tories when they were firmly right wing and proud of it. At least then, I knew what they stood for and knew why I hated them. This soft and moderate approach is just so creepy... Not only will they be hugging those in hoodies now, but also handing out teddy bears to all the electorate before the next general election.

I can safely say that I will never do a 'Guto Bebb' and change my allegiances from Plaid Cymru to the Tories. I just couldn't do it. I remember what the 80s were like under them, and I hate the Euro sceptic nature of the party. There are tons of other reasons, and no doubt I will rant about those in future posts. But for now, let me just firmly state that you will never see me running as a Tory candidate in England. Or anywhere else for that matter! If I do, you have my full permission to have me sectioned as there's no way I'd even consider doing so unless I was having some kind of serious mental breakdown. Not that I'm saying that you have to be insane to be a Tory of course... honest!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Pleidleisiwch/ Vote Glanaethwy!

Wel, yda chi 'di bod yn gwylio Last Choir Standing? Os felly, gobeithio bo chi'n cefnogi Glanaethwy. Doedda nhw'n anhygoel neithiwr? Waw. Dwi wir gobeithio awn nhw ymlaen i ennill y gystadleuaeth!

Oce, dwi chydig yn biased. O'n i'n arfer bod yn aelod o'r cor am flynyddoedd, a dwi'n siomedig iawn nad ydw i dal yn aelod ar ol gweld y perfformiadau. Mae nhw i'w gweld yn cael coblyn o lot o hwyl yn cymeryd rhan yn y rhaglen. Gesh i rai o brofiadau gorau fy mywyd tra'n aelod o ysgol ddrama Glanaethwy. Roedd Cefin a Rhian yn anhygoel gyda ni, a mae nhw'n haeddu cael cydnabyddiaeth am eu gwaith caled. Felly, cmon pawb. Codwch y ffon nos Sadwrn nesaf a pleidleisio i Glanaethwy!!!

{Vote for Glanaethwy on Last Choir Standing! They were by far the best choir last night and they definitely deserve to win. Ok. I admit I'm biased. I used to be a member of the choir! But they are brilliant, so please, pick up the phone next Saturday and keep them in}.

Counting my blessings!

Yesterday, I went to a wedding. It was a perfect day in many ways. My friend Gwenan and her now husband Sion had been planning the big day for over two years, and it went exactly to plan. Gwenan's dress was stunning, and both looked extremely happy. Even the weather stayed dry for the pictures, which was a miracle given what the forecast had been saying all week. Thank god the weather men and women were wrong!

The ceremony was held in Benllech, with the reception at Portmeirion. Its a stunning place, and so unusual. If you've never been, you really should make the effort. It really is a little piece of Italy in Wales, especially when the sun in shining. Though it is expensive to stay there, its certainly worth it. The view from my bedroom was breathtaking - I really wish I could have stayed in bed all day looking out onto the water whilst reading the Sunday papers. That really would have been heaven!

Weddings always tend to get someone thinking about their own romantic situation - well, it can't be helped really since a lot of the guests did ask the dreaded question: "And are you married?" before then going on to ask, "Why not?" with a look of pity on their faces. Given that I'd also been asked this at a Bryn Fon gig last Wednesday by countless people I thought it was time to address the issue...

The truth is I'm delighted that I'm not married or engaged. Had I married any of my serious ex boyfriends, I know that the marriage would never have lasted and worse of all, that I'd have been miserable with them. Yes, I would have had my big day but it would have been the biggest mistake of my life. None of them were right for me and its only with the benefit of hindsight that I can appreciate that. I'm sure they're all thinking the same as well!

If I ever marry, I never want there to be any doubt in my mind that I'm doing the right thing. I never want to commit to someone just because I think the time is right, or that I'm scared I won't get a better offer. I know there are no guarantees that anything will last forever, but on that day and on that point, I want to be marrying for love. I want to believe every word of the vows and look into my husbands eyes knowing that he feels exactly the same way. And if I can't do that, then I'll never marry. Simple as.

So people can look at me with pity in their eyes, but they really shouldn't. I'm only 27, and I honestly don't care that I'm not at that stage in my life yet. Love can't be planned to a definite schedule, and I'm happy to let other things take centre stage in my life at the moment, like my job, helping in mum's pub and my friendships... Ask me in ten years though, and I might have a different answer for you!

Welsh Blog Index Awards

I've been a bit slow posting this up, but nominations are currently open for the second Welsh Blog Index Awards.

These are the categories:

Best Politicians Blog:

Best Media Blog:

Best Other Political Blog:

Best Welsh Language Blog:

Best Newcomer (for blogs that were established after the last awards of August 15th 2007):

Most Improved Blog:

Nominations will close at 12.00pm on August 31st with the winners announced on September 1st.

Nominations should be sent to: welshblogindex@hotmail.co.uk

I'm having trouble deciding who to vote for at the moment - far too many blogs that I enjoy for different reasons...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Gigio a heneiddio

Fush i yn Nhafarn y Gors ym Mhentre Berw (Sir Fon) neithiwr gyda tair o'm ffrindiau Ysgol Gynradd. Mynd i gig Frizbee a Bryn Fon wnaetho ni, fel rhan o ddathliadau Sioe Mon. Mewn beudy yn Nhafarn y Rhos oedd gigs pan oedda ni'n genod ysgol, ond bellach yma mewn Marquee neis mae'r gigs mawr yn cael eu cynnal. Ac am sioc! O'n i'n teimlo'n hen ar y diawl o'r eiliad y gwnesh i gyrraedd yno sydd yn syndod mewn gig Bryn Fon. Oedd, roedd na rai hyn na ni yno ond roedd y mwyafrif unai yn un-ar-bymtheg neu iau. Oedd o fwy od i ddwy o'n ffrindia i, a hwythau'n athrawon ar rai ohonynt! Diolch i'r nefoedd nad dyna'r yrfa wnesh i ddewis.. Fyswn i'n casau hynny!

Cofiwch, o'n i'n mynd i gigs yn Nhafarn y Rhos pan oeddwn i'n bedair-ar-ddeg, felly ddylwn i ddim cwyno. Roedda nhw'n rai o ddyddiau gorau fy mywyd yn dawnsio i ganeuon y Moniars (ia, sad iawn dwi'n gwybod!) a Ffandango!

Y peth oedd yn gwneud imi deimlo waetha oedd bod y mwyafrif o bobl fy oed i yno unai yn briod, ar fin priodi neu mewn perthynas tymor hir. Cwestiwn pawb oedd: wyt ti wedi priodi? sgen ti rywun yn dy fywyd? - cyn iddynt wedyn wneud hwyl ar fy mhen am fod yn 'career girl' tua Llundain bell. Oedd rhai yn chwerthin braidd o fy ngweld mewn gig Bryn Fon, ac yn gwneud jocs fy mod yn 'slumming it' ac ati.

Y gwir ydi fodd bynnag, dwi wrth fy modd bod adra a dwi wrth fy modd mynd i betha fel steddfod, sioe mon a gigs mewn pentrefi cefn gwlad sir fon. Dwi wrth fy modd gweld fy ffrindiau sydd wedi fy nabod ers dwi'n bedair. Fedrith hynny i gyd byth guro Llundain sydd yn medru bod yn ddiawl o le unig. Oes, mae yna betha anhygoel yno. Ond mae na betha gret adra hefyd. A mae'n bwysig cofio hynny!

Oedd Bryn Fon yn gret fel arfer, a pawb yn morio a sgrechian canu i'r holl glasuron. Mae ei ddawnsio fo yr un mor 'cringe' ac arfer ond eto, da chi'n disgwyl dim arall nacdach? Dwi dal wrth fy modd pan mae o'n canu 'Mardi Gras ym Mangor Uchaf'... Dal i fod yn ffefryn ar ol yr holl flynyddoedd yma. Newidith hynny byth bellach dwi'n siwr.

Un peth nesh i anghofio amdano oedd nad ydi hi'n syniad da iawn gwisgo sodlau i gig mewn marquee - mae nhw'n suddo mewn i'r gwair yn syth bin a do'n i methu dawnsio o gwbwl gan fy mod yn mynd yn sownd bob munud! Trainers neu sgidiau fflat amdani tro nesa - wedyn ga'i ddawnsio a neidio fel ffwl fel roeddwn i bron a marw isho bod yn gwneud!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Virtual Campaigning

Facebook continues to dominate the lives of the majority of people under thirty these days. Its used to exchange gossip, organise night outs as well as to 'poke' people in a flirty manner. I have noticed recently though that there's been a huge increase in the number of middle-aged (or older!) men who've been joining. Especially politicians. Not that I'm ageist - honest. Its just that it seems a little unnatural. Many of these men aren't that into email to start with. So why do they feel the need to try and connect with younger voters by having facebook profiles? To me, it all just looks a little bit sad and pathetic.

Facebook is now seen as the ultimate campaign tool when it comes to connecting to young people, especially during election time. I don't agree, and think there are far better ways to get people's attention. Like talking to them. And listening to them. Or having good websites, where people can ask questions and find out all the information they need. Personally, I'm fed up of all the messages I get from people on Facebook wanting me to join various groups, or take notice of different things. I much prefer looking at a website on my own accord if I'm interested in an issue or a campaign. I don't want to be forced to immediately join a group or show my support without considering an issue fully and thoroughly.

I'm not anti new media in any way. Indeed, I think initiatives like Plaid TV are great. Its just that I think many political parties worry too much now about what blogs are saying, or what's the latest on facebook rather than focusing on fundraising so that more can be done to campaign out on the streets. Also, the time they waste on facebook or checking out blogs could be better spent up-dating websites so that they contain more information which is up-dated regularly.

If politicians want to connect with young people, then they should go into schools and youth clubs and actually talk to them. They should listen and hear what they have to sa. People are kidding themselves if they think old fashioned campaigning is second best to things like facebook. Done properly, yes, networking sites can be of some benefit. But they are not the be all and end all. People would do well to remember that.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Dwi nol...

Ddrwg gen i am fod yn dawel yn ddiweddar. Mae pethau wedi bod yn syndod o brysur ers imi symud nol i Gymru. Wrth gwrs, roedd yr Eisteddfod Genedlaethol wythnos 'dwytha. Gesh i goblyn o wythnos dda a mwynhau yn arw, er roedd yn flinedig iawn gweithio i Plaid Cymru a trio rhedeg stonding hefyd. Ond mi wnesh i o, er doeddwn i fawr o gwmni i fy ffrindiau pan oeddwn allan mewn gigs gwahanol. Roeddwn yn cysgu'n drwm erbyn hanner awr wedi hanner nos ar y noson olaf, a prin medru llunio brawddeg erbyn hynny gan fy mod mor flinedig. Mae'n rhaid fy mod yn mynd yn hen!

Rhaid mi ddechrau meddwl am bynciau i sgwennu amdanyn nhw rwan, gan adael llonydd i'r hen Lembit am debyg. Watch this space o fory ymlaen!

Can fach syml...

Dwi'n cael noson o wrando ar gerddoriaeth, a meddwl oeddwn bod hi'n werth rhanu'r gan fach syml yma gan y Beatles gyda'r rhai ohonoch sydd erioed wedi ei chlywed. Mwynhewch!


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Prison for Caernarfon

Two of the MPs I work for, Hywel and Elfyn, have both campaigned for years now for a prison in North Wales. Though both think that the prison system is flawed in itself and should be drastically reformed, they see that there is still a need for a prison to serve the local population. This is particularly important in terms of Welsh language provision for prisoners, as well as meaning that prisoners would be held closer to their families which is particularly important for women and young offenders.

Out of the four possible sites for a new prison in Wales announced by David Hanson yesterday, Caernarfon seems to be the only logical choice. With the new court now being built in Caernarfon, it would make sense to also have a prison there and make it the centre for law in North Wales. This may even attract a chamber for barristers in Caernarfon, which would be a huge boost to the local economy. The prison would also create a number of jobs for local people - something which is definitely needed in North Wales. The Ferodo site would be ideal for a prison - its high time something was built there - and I truly hope that people will support the proposal.

Local people may well be wary of having a prison built in Caernarfon, but the truth is that crime rates tend to fall in an area which has a prison as it serves as a form of deterrent.

Personally, I feel that its essential this prison comes to Caernarfon. Being closer to home would make it easier to implement rehabilitation schemes for those prisoners, as well as providing a boost to the local economy in terms of jobs etc. Yes, I can understand why people are wary but the benefits outweight the negatives in my opinion. That's why I will be supporting any campaign for this prison, hand in hand with supporting a campaign to reform the prison and probation service as a whole. Building new prisons do not solve the fundamental problems within our society....