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Badger, Arwyn Williams, and the art of the possible



badger knows bestPOLITICS, in a quote often attributed to R.A. Butler but originating with Otto von Bismarck, is said to be the art of possible. Not the desirable; not the moral; not the good; but the possible. Von Bismarck did not mean that politicians should operate in a principle-free zone. He meant that a politician’s freedom for manoeuver is necessarily constrained by events over which they have no control. Upon events over which control can be exercised, politicians should – it follows — seek to prosecute the opportunities open to them to influence events and practice their art in the space given to them by opportunity. in such a way, politics is a matter of choice not one of compulsion. Badger has listened carefully to the achievements of the IPPG as recounted by members of the IPPG’s own Cabinet. The core message they send out is — where it is capable of interpretation into an intelligible form —”You can trust us to correct the errors of the past because we’re pretty sure we now know where we went wrong”.

Huw George, the IPPG’s very own Vicar of Bray, tells us that people want decent roads, the rubbish collected and good schools for their children. The IPPG has slashed the highways budget for anything that did not appear in one of their own cabinet members’ campaign literature or election videos: halved bin collections, so that families are compelled to store rotting garbage that attracts vermin on their own property for up to a fortnight; and closed good schools based on sham consultations and a bogus prospectus of improvement that has mortgaged all of our futures. Anyone with a half a brain —overqualified for the IPPG, then —knows the Cabinet’s collective tears of sorrow are those of a crocodile, readers. All the while, Jamie has done the sad yet patronising voice in Council meetings, mixed with shrewish recrimination when caught out by inconvenient truths.

He and all the IPPG, they are all very sad that these cuts are necessary. These are austere times and we must all tighten our belts. Or, as unsubstantiated rumour has it, tighten the seatbelts in Bryn’s Council-funded taxi – a Porsche Panamera SE Hybrid: yours, readers, for just f90K. Yes: readers, see the sad long face that Jamie pulls when he is communicating unwelcome news. Jamie does not like making cuts, he simply cannot see the possibility of an alternative to cuts. He cannot make — or refuses to see – the connection between deep and deeper service cutbacks and continued clinging to the tattered banner of the lowest Council Tax in Wales. Now: there are those who believe that their money is better in their own pocket than in the pocket of a central treasury providing public services Those people, who travel powered only by fairy dust and their imaginations, do not use the commonplace roads and transport infrastructure like ordinary mortals.

Possessed of superhuman resistance to sickness and the thousand shocks the mortal flesh is heir to, they don’t need doctors, nurses, hospitals or medicines. Indeed, they do not require bin men to collect their rubbish; they shall transport it to the local tip themselves, hanging their reeking black bin bags from the handles of their sedan chairs, as their servants propel them to the municipal amenity of their choice. When it comes to public spending, others believe that their champagne tastes should be indulged on a beer income. Public services cost money. if you want better ones, you have to pay more them in tax. This is the dreadful truth that governments have tried to hide for the last 35 years or so.

Trying to impose market discipline on the public sector is code for bouncing up the salaries of those at the top who have never exposed themselves to the risks of working in the private sector, while slashing the wages of those at the bottom of the pile. Similarly, the idea that increasing the private wealth of the few at the top leads to benefits trickling down to poorer members of society, was rightly described as “voodoo economics”. Reality shows that the gap between rich and poor has grown while services to act as a safety net for the less well-off have been pared not to the bone but to the marrow.

Between these two polar opposite views, our politicians — local and national — dangle on the hooks of their own ambition. Some politicians become seized by the fear of failure — whether real or perceived — and so sit on the fence doing nothing. To paraphrase Lloyd George’s lethal observation, they sit on the fence so long that the iron enters their soul. Too frightened by the spectre of making the wrong choice and becoming unpopular, they do the worst of all things and make no choices. Some confuse carping and picking holes in others’ efforts from the side lines with doing active good. Possessed of a firm belief in their own supreme and sole wisdom to pronounce upon matters of public discourse, they have the luxury of being a prophet, crying in the wilderness without actually having to come up with a solution to the faults they uncover in others. Yet others look for guidance from those who are more permanent than here today gone tomorrow elected representatives. These are politicians who become prisoners of bureaucracy. They are not so much house-trained as broken to the wheel by officers and civil servants who never have to worry about the shabby business of being elected. Politicians seldom break promises.

They surround pledges with the type of words that make any commitment conditional. They say one thing, the electorate hears another. Tony Blair was the master of the vapid and aspirational turn of phrase. Realising that promises were hostages to a fortune that he could not predict, Tony Blair used words with about as much sincerity as those in a greetings card sent to a much loathed wealthy relative. There was the sound of meaning but no substance. Politicians carefully avoid using verbs. Verbs, as Badger learned in school, “verbs are doing words”. We will have none of this doing things thing! We will plough the sands with rhetoric and slogans. Badger invites his readers to look at poor Clegg. He and his party were able to make all sorts of promises because they thought they would never, ever actually have to deliver their particular brand of pie in the sky. In power, the best they can say about their “achievements” is that without them the Conservatives would have been even worse. if being a member of a government that has systematically victimised, harassed and impoverished the poorest and most vulnerable is something that Nick Clegg is proud of, Badger despairs. To their eternal credit the one thing the IPPG can never be collectively accused of is breaking promises to their voters. IPPO councillors do not believe in promises. In fact, IPPO councillors say they do not believe in politics. IPPG councillors are so able to believe in three impossible things before breakfast that they do not believe the !PPG even exists. On 8 May, there will be a meeting of the Full Council. That meeting will be invited to consider a motion of no confidence in Rob Lewis, currently the Council’s Deputy Leader. Unfortunately for his !PPG comrades, ClIr Lewis is not only proof that the IPPG exists, but that it is a political

party in all but name. ClIr Lewis is living evidence of a cynical, careerist deception practised by cynical, careerist politicians. But, Badger can tell his readers, the motion of no confidence might not be heard. It could be booted back to the Council’s Cabinet for consideration by the Chairman of the Council (and !PPG member in good standing) Arwynailliams. Yes readers, would not believe it possible. An !PPG appointee can decline to hear a no confidence vote in the !PPG’s own Deputy Leader, Rob Lewis, a man who broke the code of conduct for members and was handed a suspension as a result, and remit the motion of no confidence in the IPPG’s “Election Co-ordinator” for consideration by the PPG Cabinet. Conflict of interest detector at the ready and pinging wildly, Badger cannot believe that such a step could be considered either practical or plausible. Badger noticed in the Herald a couple of weeks ago that a question could validly be posed as to whether those for whom Rob Lewis prepared literature have an interest in avoiding too deep an examination of their Deputy Leader’s scandalous conduct. Badger notes that Arwyn does not have to boot the motion on Rob Lewis to the long grass on the IPPG lawn for three months. The motion of no confidence in the representative from Martletwy could be heard by the meeting on May 8.1f Arwyn lets it be debated. Yes readers, Arwyn could seize the opportunity offered to him and demonstrate that the art of possible is not necessarily art for art’s sake. He has the opportunity to show, for a change for a member of the IPPG, just because something can be done does not mean it should be done. Think of Dr Pepper, Arwyn, what’s the worst that could happen?

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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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