Connect with us


Badger sings the blues



badgerbluesAS BADGER writes this week’s column, readers, he is able to say – like countless blues singers before him – ‘I woke up this morning…’ Unlike the poor troubadours of the Mississippi Delta, and up to the point he has written these words, nobody done left him and he has not had to pay a visit to the crossroads to sell his soul in the style of Robert Johnson – or Noelle Gordon, for that matter. In light of these facts readers, you might well wonder why it is that Badger feels the urge to sing the blues. Well, readers it’s sort of like this: Badger has become depressed by what appears to him to be the inexorable march towards a general election in May next year in which the two main parties vying for government are engaged in a headlong race to the bottom of the political sewer in the search for votes.

It seems to Badger that Labour and the Conservatives politicians have realised that the public have become wise to the way in which politicians play with semantics to make every pledge conditional and all promises nebulous non-binding ‘aspirations’. Now they are eager to tap into the ‘anti-politics’ that treats every issue individually with no ideological core and try to convert fear and bigotry into parliamentary seats. There is a dispiriting phrase for the approach the parties have adopted: it is called ‘dog-whistle’ politics. The idea is that the message one releases has a resonance to very specifi c groups of voters within the general population. It is most commonly used to appeal to racist and reactionary views by making the unacceptable (e.g. racism, discrimination) acceptable (‘strong border controls’, ‘traditional British values’).

Those tuned into the wavelength of those employing the dog whistle – for example, racists and bigots – understand the subtext of the message, while other voters might take the words at something like face value; or, as Badger suspects, choose to turn a blind eye to the obvious. The use of loaded language to convey an underlying negative message is not new: John Ehrlichman, who went to prison for his part in the Watergate cover-up, made no bones about the underlying racist message of successive American presidents – including the one for whom he campaigned in 1968, Richard Nixon.

The Republican Party in the USA went so far as to formulate a “Post- Southern Strategy”, that sought to polarize the white-black voters in the American south and drive white voters (the majority) towards them, whilst leaving the Democrats with the uphill task of winning with a minority of the electorate in those key electoral battlegrounds. In the last United States election, the Republicans’ own strategy was turned against them with great effect. Overwhelming numbers of ethnic minority voters, the majority in key states, backed the Democrat incumbent Barack Obama against his Republican challenger. Now, readers, all this may seem a long way from Pembrokeshire, but local politics is no less a crucible for the type of coded comments that are used like a dog whistle to help to divide the herd.

Cllr Adams repeatedly and remarkably echoes the rallying cries of the Conservative Party. In the world according to Adams it’s all the fault of ‘Welsh Labour in Cardiff’, never let it be said that a large part of Pembrokeshire’s problems are home-made. Jamie embraces outsourcing public services by backdoor privatisation. Jamie, let’s face it readers, is a Tory following Tory policies. He is just too cowardly to wear the blue rosette at election time. Readers: Let us go back a bit to September, when Jamie Adams faced a vote of no-confi dence. After delighting (sic) an agog Chamber (sick) with his dazzling wit and turn of phrase, on what basis did Huw George commend Jamie Adams’ leadership? “He’s a Keeston boy: He went to school in Ysgol Dewi Sant, played football for Solva, Keeston Young Farmers, and Pembrokeshire Young Farmers.

He’s Pembrokeshire through and through.” To Cllr George, of course, the twin attractions of offi ce are simple: He has it and he would lose it if Jamie went. Those twin attractions are quite enough for Reverend Huw on their own. He is able to excuse almost anything to retain them. But reading Cllr George’s comments in the knowledge that Cllr Adams sternest critic, Mike Stoddart, and his most likely replacement, David Simpson, are not from Pembrokeshire (no matter how long they have lived here) puts a rather different and divisive gloss on the reverend’s glowing encomium to his Leader. It’s a long journey from the Parliament’s sewer to County Hall, readers, but the resulting verbal output of some members is identifiably the same and smells like it, too.

Now, readers, in light of the above, think of the way the Conservative Party and its henchmen in the national press portray Ed Milliband. Ed is ‘odd’. In a pretty disgraceful way of alluding to his Jewish heritage, it is suggested Ed is not ‘one of us’. Now readers, Ed Milliband has a lot of problems with communicating policies (if we suppose he has some – or any), but what the Conservative press is doing is exactly of a species with the type of propaganda about the Jews that has a long and reprehensible history in this country and others.

The other side of the same coin is the relentless portrayal of the government front bench as the preserve of entitled, arrogant , public school oafs without a shred of compassion or decency between them. In that regard, the Conservatives get it in the neck from both the left (the Labour Party, who rather shamelessly forget where most of their front bench come from) and the right (the ‘Essex man’ membership, who have a rather more authoritarian and intolerant view of the world than the metropolitan front bench). One might almost feel sorry for those poor politicians, readers! Having fi shed for votes in the sewer, they fi nd themselves now caught between two stools.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Sensational music event thrills the crowds at Scolton Manor



AN UNFORGETTABLE evening of live jazz, classical, rock, and film score music captivated hundreds of attendees at the enchanting ‘Music at the Manor’ event. Presented by the esteemed Pembrokeshire Music Service, this musical extravaganza took place amidst the picturesque grounds of Scolton Manor, offering young talents from across the county a chance to showcase their skills in a relaxed setting. For many of these budding musicians, it marked their debut performance in front of a live audience.

The event witnessed outstanding displays of talent from a myriad of ensembles, including the County Brass Band, Training Orchestra (featuring the Second Steps group), Concert Band, Rock and Pop bands, Rock Strings, Symphonic Wind Band, Pembrokeshire’s Community Choir, and the esteemed Cleddau Chamber Orchestra.

Among the delighted attendees was Patricia Mawuli Porter OBE, who attended the event alongside her family. She described the evening as “a wonderful demonstration of community, music, family, caring, and just what an amazing part of the world we live in.” Mawuli Porter OBE was particularly impressed with the diversity of performances, ranging from youth bands belting out energetic renditions of songs like ‘Teenage dirtbag’ to the majestic classical and movie-themed scores, which added depth and variety to the musical tapestry.

“We can only applaud the team at Pembrokeshire Music Service for putting on the most incredible community event and look forward to next year’s event with great anticipation!” Mawuli Porter OBE exclaimed with enthusiasm.

Cllr David Simpson, Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council, expressed his gratitude to the Pembrokeshire Music Service team for organizing such an excellent evening of entertainment. “It was a lovely concert, and so good to see it full of local people enjoying themselves,” he commended. “Credit must go to the brilliant participants, be they playing an instrument or singing songs, they were excellent.”

Vivienne Ward from the Newport Music Society also offered her congratulations to all the performers, acknowledging the impressive talent pool in Pembrokeshire. “What impressive young musicians there are in Pembrokeshire, and what a wonderful variety of different bands/orchestras are available for the young to choose from; they are indeed lucky,” she praised.

The event drew overwhelming praise from parents in attendance, with one parent raving, “The standard was exceptional, and a wonderful evening was had by one and all. Well done, everyone! A massive thanks to everyone involved, and much appreciation to Pembrokeshire Music Service – we are so lucky to have you!”

Philippa Roberts, the head of the Music Service, expressed her heartfelt gratitude to all those involved in making ‘Music at the Manor’ a resounding success. “A huge thank you from the team at Pembrokeshire Music Service to everyone who contributed to making Music at the Manor a wonderful community event,” Roberts said. “Working in partnership with Valero, the Friends of Pembrokeshire Young Musicians, and Scolton Manor, I am grateful to everyone who helped and supported the performers to provide a special evening of live music.”

With its remarkable performances and celebration of musical diversity, ‘Music at the Manor’ proved to be an extraordinary showcase of Pembrokeshire’s vibrant musical talent. As the echoes of this magnificent event fade away, anticipation for next year’s edition continues to build, promising an even more spectacular musical spectacle for all to enjoy.

Continue Reading


Police confirm body found in search for Huw



POLICE said than a frantic search for Haverfordwest man Huw Phillips, 56, has been called off after the body of a man was discovered in the local area.

Police said that Huw’s family have been informed and are being supported by specialist officers, after the body was found on Saturday afternoon (Jun 3). 

Huw’s son Kenes Phillips took to Facebook to share the sad news. He bravely said: “Thank you everyone for sharing, showing your love, helping with the search and just doing whatever you could to offer the slightest bit of help.

“But unfortunately, my father was found dead.”

Huw’s good friend Mark Llewhellin paid tribute. He said: “Huw was born of the 4th July. He was kind, sensitive, a good laugh and one of my very best friends.
“I was lucky to have had him as a close friend.
“See you on the other side my friend, but not yet, not yet.”

The police posted on Facebook at 4pm on Saturday saying: “Thank you for sharing our appeal earlier to find Huw, missing from Haverfordwest.

“Sadly, a body has been found during the search, and therefore we are no longer appealing for information.
“Officers are supporting Huw’s family and our thoughts are with them all.”

Earlier on Saturday, the police found Huw’s abandoned car in Clay Lane, Haverfordwest.

Continue Reading


Ironman Wales in Tenby becomes second UK event of 2023 to sell out



THE HIGHLY anticipated Ironman Wales event in Tenby has captured the attention of athletes, becoming the second race in the UK this year to sell out well before the season kicks off.

Scheduled for Sunday, September 3, Ironman Wales has now joined the Ironman 70.3 Swansea event as another sold-out competition in the country.

The popularity of the Tenby event should come as no surprise, as it was the only race to feature in the top 10 globally in eight out of nine categories in the Ironman Athletes’ Choice Awards. This prestigious recognition is based on votes cast by triathletes from around the world.

The captivating swim start at Tenby’s North Beach, the picturesque bike ride passing by stunning beaches and castles, and the exhilarating finish line on streets filled with cheering spectators have made Ironman Wales internationally renowned.

Sam Brawn, the regional director for UK & Ireland at The Ironman Group, expressed his delight, saying, “Ironman Wales continues to attract a tremendous following from our athletes year after year. Whether they are returning participants or newcomers eager to conquer this iconic course, the event remains immensely popular.”

“We take great pride in the fact that the race has been acknowledged as one of the finest events in the global Ironman Series. It secured a spot in the top 10 across multiple categories in the Global Ironman Athletes’ Choice Awards, including a second-place ranking in both the ‘Will Recommend To A Friend’ and ‘Overall Host City’ categories.”

For those who were unable to secure a spot in Tenby, Mr. Brawn highlighted Ironman Cork as an exciting alternative. The inaugural event in Cork, Ireland, took place last year and will return on Sunday, July 2.

“It’s also thrilling to witness the growing popularity of new races, such as the festival weekend in Cork, Ireland, which has gained traction after just one year,” he added.

The official UK and Ireland race season will commence in just over a week with Ironman 70.3 Staffordshire on June 11. The organizers eagerly anticipate an exhilarating few months of racing, regardless of the weather conditions that the British summer may bring.

Athletes looking to complete their race calendar for 2023 can find the full schedule of events at

Continue Reading

News15 hours ago

Police confirm body found in search for Huw

POLICE said than a frantic search for Haverfordwest man Huw Phillips, 56, has been called off after the body of...

News18 hours ago

Ironman Wales in Tenby becomes second UK event of 2023 to sell out

THE HIGHLY anticipated Ironman Wales event in Tenby has captured the attention of athletes, becoming the second race in the...

News2 days ago

Police Commissioner: Can you support our volunteering schemes?

WITH national volunteering week having started on June 1, Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn is encouraging residents from Powys,...

News2 days ago

Milford Haven couple found guilty in waste disposal case

AT A RECENT hearing at Haverfordwest Magistrates’ Court, the Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire Youth Court reached a verdict in a case...

News3 days ago

Two lives saved after children get in trouble in surf off Pendine

TENBY’S all-weather lifeboat was requested to launch at 1.40pm on Thursday 1st June, following a report of children in difficulty...

News3 days ago

Dragon collaborates with Withybush Hospital Cancer Day Unit Appeal

DRAGON LNG Group has told The Herald it is delighted to announce its charity of the year for the period...

News3 days ago

Pembrokeshire’s Democracy Champions of the future join forces

Young people from Pembrokeshire’s secondary schools recently attended a special event designed to help them become Democracy Champions.These Democracy Champions...

News4 days ago

Former councillor’s pub works expected to be refused

ALTERATIONS to a bar in a seaside village’s conservation area, partly owned by a former county councillor, are expected to...

News4 days ago

One week to go until deadline for 20 MPH consultation, says Council

IN JULY 2022, the Senedd passed legislation to reduce the default speed limit from 30mph to 20mph on restricted roads...

News5 days ago

National Park planners set to refuse toilet conversion to ice cream parlour

A SCHEME to turn surplus public toilets to a takeaway ice cream parlour/coffee bar is expected to be refused by...

Popular This Week