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Badger and the Europeans



badger84imageBADGER, as befits a homebody, does not agree with abroad. Not because Badger dislikes foreigners, but because he likes where he is just fine. In fact, Badger has seldom ventured to what used to be called “the Continongt” by people who had studied French — or at least read one of Elizabeth David’s recipe books. Badger went to France many moons ago to discover that it smelled disconcertingly of wee and stale sweat everywhere he went.

He went to The Netherlands (to play rugby, of all things) and discovered through bitter (or, rather, lager) experience that livers have their limits. Other than those experiences, Badger has preferred the attractions of the United Kingdom. Apart from Edinburgh, that is. Badger was aghast to find that Edinburgh was disconcertingly even fuller of angry Scottish people than Pembroke Dock. Badger’s hot tip for recognising a true Scot (other than their accent) is to note that the greater the praise a Scot heaps on virtues of their home nation, the less likely they are to have recently been there.

Badger’s curiosity about “abroad” has been recently captured by the unfolding spectacle of the European elections: on the televisual entertainment doo-dad that sits in the corner casting its baleful gleam, in the newspapers, and by the generous delivery to his door of free toilet tissue bearing David Cameron’s face. Readers, it’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it. Keenly interested in matters political, Badger enjoyed the comedy of the campaign. He was particularly amused by its star turn, Nigel Farage, who appears to be the political equivalent of a dancing dog act on one of Simon Cowell’s no-talent talent shows: a novelty, whose routine appeals superficially but does not bear up to too close scrutiny.

It was delightful to see Nige being dragged away by UK1P’s press officer Patrick O’Flynn, from a gaffe-littered interview. if it didn’t say enough for Nige’s political nous that he managed to be taken by surprise by so many of his policies live on air, the revelation that his press officer worked for the Daily Express must surely call his wider judgement into question. That the English newspapers have been big on UKIP is hardly surprising: owned by trans-Atlantic corporations, tax-dodging family trusts and overseas investment vehicles, national newspaper proprietors are the enemies of the type of regulation and tax enforcement threatened by a closer European union.

Now, after the votes have been counted and the seats allocated, Labour and Conservative politicians are apparently trying to work out how to deal with “the UK1P threat”. They may as well try to nail jelly to a wall. Such are the vagaries of the British electoral system, what can be said of UKIP with certainty is that the votes it takes away from the main parties will serve only to keep one or the other of them in power in Westminster. For all its vaunted success, UK!P captured the votes of fewer than 10% of electors last Thursday. Let’s look at some policies UK1P espoused at the last general election: things we can all rally around, readers. Remember, these are REAL policies espoused by a REAL party at a REAL election. It wanted your votes then and wants them next year, too.
• “UKIP will encourage a return to proper dress for major hotels, restaurants and theatres — smarter dress is part of Britishness, although it is also a British virtue to encourage innovation in fashion.”

• “UKIP will return London’s Circle line to a circle?’
• “UKIP will encourage a return to the glamour, grace and style of the railway companies of the past through its railway policies. UKIP seeks a return to Tullman’ trains where justified, with appropriate branding such as ‘Great Western Railway’, one of the most successful British brands ever.”

To be fair to Nige, he has now disowned those policies and has limited his public pronouncements to less contentious matters such as:

• The gap in pay between men and women is just ‘the way the world works” because of biology. He also said motherhood was “a lifestyle choice”;
• Germans make better neighbours than Romanians (try telling that to the Polish);
• He feels discomfort that people speak languages other than English in public (Da lawn diolch, Nige!).
UKTP can be mocked as a nostalgia trip back to a time when the world was fresh; when the map of the globe was reassuringly largely pink in colour; when everyone could rally round and “chant two world wars and one world cup! Doo-dah! Doo-Dah!” without fear of offending Nick Clegg. UKIP has stepped into the vacuum left by the main parties’ urge to cluster like moths around the flame of the so-called “middle ground”. It has espoused a populist nostalgic appeal to “traditional” values and “traditional” attitudes.

And, readers, nothing could be more traditional than  British xenophobia: a phenomenon so remarkable it was considered noteworthy by our European neighbours in the fifteenth century (along with drunkenness and sexual profligacy, by the way — plus ca change…). The large national parties have become divorced from the mass of the people; their leaders are airbrushed professional machine politicians who do not so much make policy pronouncements as strike a pose.

Having stopped being real people with real flaws, national political leaders are now a class apart, kept separate from the mass of humanity lest they express opinions. Where image is all, content is absent. Cameron, Clegg and Milliband could have been stamped out using cookie cutters, so woven from the same cloth are they. Any of them could easily be the leaders of Anyparty in Anyland. Whatever his flaws are – and there appear to be many, readers – the same cannot be said of the UK!? leader.

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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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