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Badger and the pilot of the future



Badger0MANY years ago, the older among you will remember there was a comic called The Eagle, the main star of which was chiseljawed English spaceman Dan Dare. Along with his faithful companion Digby, Dan Dare fl ew the good ship Anastasia around our solar system and beyond righting interplanetary wrongs with the aid of his trusty left hook.

Of course, readers, Frank Hampson’s optimistic take on the future of space exploration, and in particular the United Kingdom’s leading role in providing crack pilots to Space Fleet, has become hackneyed and kitsch in a way The Eagle’s young readers would not have believed. Badger is not inclined to nostalgia, readers: the here and now is just fi ne by him. Whenever people bang on about how much better the past was, he always reaches for a large pinch of salt. Whenever politicians bang on about the past or appeal to some sort of inchoate and misty common memory, Badger reaches for a shotgun.

Badger has written before about UKIP: The provisional wing of the Monster Raving Looney Party. Last week UKIP gained its first elected MP. A curious looking cove called Douglas Carswell, who for the previous nine years of his political life had brayed along with the best of them behind David Cameron, last month jumped ship to Nigel Farage’s Barmy Army and immediately sought a fresh mandate from his electors. The wonderfully-named Mark Reckless, the MP for Rochester and Strooooood (BBC pronunciation) who rather sounds like the type of character from Dan Dare who ends up trapped by the Mekon in the third story panel, decided subsequently that he would also joint a party whose appeal is not so much retro as a re-tread of all those fi lms in which upper lips were stiff and good old Blighty showed the way to world, or at least the fi endish foreigners who threatened Blighty’s right to rule it. Now, readers, apart from a passing resemblance to the Mekon, which is what started Badger off down this particular route, Douglas Carswell has not much to do with Dan Dare.

Well, not unless we look upon him as someone who demonstrates what someone should do if they change sides and join another party. Not so much a ‘pilot’ in the usual sense we understand then, but as someone who shows the way a politician should act if they ‘cross the fl oor’. Or in the case of members of Pembrokeshire County Council, surrender to the dark side. Of course, Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless say they have not acted out of anything other than principle in leaving one party and joining another. Badger can be – and is – cynical about many things, not least politicians who leave one party to join another, but having done so they both stepped down as MP’s and sought a fresh mandate. It is a tragic waste of their fine example that it was wasted on a group of saloon bar bores and dingbats like UKIP.

Imagine if Messrs Carswell’s and Reckless’ example applied to Pembrokeshire, readers. Sue Perkins defected, but did not put herself to a fresh electoral test. Perhaps 2012 was a close enough call for her and she did not trust her electorate’s good judgement to return her when she betrayed them after the election. The Pope of Neyland, Simon Hancock, did not have to put himself through an election in 2012. He simply played a word game after it. You have to wonder, however, how many of his constituents would vote for him in a contested election after he has presided over cuts in social care and local services and introduced charges for day centre use for the elderly on practically no empirical evidence. Stephen Joseph would have been back and forward to the polls a couple of times. Or perhaps just once.

Bob Kilmister, Jonathan Nutting and Peter Stock would have sought reelection, as would David Bryan. And now Alison Lee would be facing the voters seeking their endorsement for joining a group under the leadership of a person in whom she had no confi dence as recently as a few weeks ago. It is not a question of wrong and right. It is a question of the electorate not being swindled if a councillor changes their mind once through the doors of the gravy train. Badger does not criticise all the decisions councillors make. No. Badger wants to make it clear, readers, that the root of many of Pembrokeshire’s longer term problems stem from further afi eld in Cardiff Bay and Westminster. But the way in which the majority of county councillors have demonstrated the judgement of stunned cuttlefishes, the combined intelligence of a tin of tomato soup, and the spinelessness of a small rubber chickens on springs has caused him to despair. Readers: What confidence can we have in the majority of our elected members if they keep on behaving in such self-evidently self-serving ways?

And the worst thing is that, apart from Jamie’s spymaster, Rob Summons, none of the governing group stood as anything other than a pretended independent. Too gutless to stand on principle – or bereft of them – they collectively perpetrated the type of dishonesty one should only expect from merchant bankers. Which is how Badger thinks of many (not all) of them: A great big set of merchant bankers. Pembrokeshire now faces grave challenges, readers. Some want to do away with our political autonomy and destroy our local democracy. Leighton Andrews, who has refused to be interviewed by this newspaper about his moronic plan to gut Welsh local government like a fi sh, represents one challenge. The looming budget problems, represent another. So Badger would like to propose a radical solution to our county councillors.

Not just to the IPPG, but to all our councillors, even the ones Badger likes. Stand down. All of you. Then, present yourselves at the ballot box clearly setting out your programme to address Pembrokeshire’s problems and your constituent’s concerns. No generic partisan bollocks. Make your pledges personal and direct. Be prepared to be judged by how you perform against them. None of this hiding behind the label ‘independent’, no crappy, clever-clever word games: Tell people what you believe in, what you want to do, and how you intend to go about achieving it. Badger’s friend Old Grumpy is often fond of saying that turkeys don’t vote for Christmas. Well, Pembrokeshire’s electorate did not vote for the type of crass posturing we have seen from County Hall in the last couple of years. County Hall’s politics needs a proper realignment. So come on, councillors. Set a direction. Get a mandate. Follow it through. Or, instead of being turkeys voting for Christmas, are you just chicken?

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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.

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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.

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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

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