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Sunday, 26 June 2022

Caption corner 26 June 2022

The Archbishop of Wales (right) and gay pride supporters, the sub-dean of Bangor and former Mayor             Source: Twitter

Publishable captions will appear as comments.

Thursday, 23 June 2022

A First Minister's strange little world

First Minister Mark Drakeford with former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in Barry, in 2019
Source: Mail Online

Described in the Mail Online as someone who promised to follow 'radical socialist traditions' upon his election, First Minister Mark Drakeford backed Jeremy Corbyn's bid for Labour leadership in 2015. 

More recently Mr Drakeford has been bragging in the Senedd about his industrial relations record of bringing people together compared with the 'entirely absent' UK Government who, he claimed:

 "abandoned their responsibilities and mean that thousands of people are unable to travel due to the dereliction of duty, which is so apparent in their approach to industrial relations. 

"It is a remarkable triple whammy, isn't to have brought the railways to a standstill, to have brought the airports to a standstill, and, finally after about eight weeks, I think, to have woken up to the fact that the 5p that was taken off the price of petrol hadn't been passed on to people in that part of the transport sector as well. It is a remarkable record of failure, and I'm afraid it's people, not just in Wales but across the United Kingdom who are paying the cost of that failure today. "

Despite his claims to have superior skills over UK Government ministers, actually "fewer than 10% of normal rail services were running" in Wales with most of the country having no services at all.

Road traffic is often at a standstill at the M4's gateway to Wales yet the First Minister used his devolved powers to veto the M4 relief road, thus retaining a permanent bottleneck to provide a better environment for wildlife than for the long suffering people who live alongside congested areas of the M4 and are subjected to increased levels of pollution in the atmosphere.

Drakeford's suggested alternative was that people should be encouraged to travel by rail but at the first whiff of heavy traffic as a result of major events in Cardiff, people are urged not to use the railways. 

Train operators asks people not to use its services as fears grew of travel chaos for the recent Tom Jones and Stereophonics stadium shows in Cardiff.

Before the Ed Sheeran show on Friday, May 27, there were 13 miles of queues on the M4 westbound, from the Prince of Wales Bridge to the Brynglas Tunnels in Newport. WalesOnline summed up the situation thus: "Fifteen mile jams, seven-hour trips and massive queues for trains: What people remember most about Ed Sheeran's visit to Cardiff."

When the First Minister was challenged on his decision to scrap plans in 2019 for a new stretch of motorway around Newport, he dismissed claims the road would have helped cut congestion using the bizarre reason that "Even if a decision had been made to go ahead with an M4 relief road, it would have made absolutely no difference at all over the last weekend, because it would, even from today, be another five years before such a road could be opened".

M4 chaos prompts Cardiff event questions. Motorway tailbacks, parking pandemonium and railway station queues. It took one family three hours to get across the Severn Bridge. By the time they got to the out-of-city parking, the shuttle buses had stopped running. They were left about £350 out of pocket.

The First Minister's excuse sounds like a recipe for doing nothing, much like the fate of social care which so desperately needs fixing.

According to the Nuffield Trust, Health and social care account for almost half of the devolved government’s budget but record-breaking NHS waiting lists and the deteriorating performance of the ambulance service and A&E departments are the consequence of a "broken" health service in Wales.

"Vulnerable and elderly patients medically fit to be discharged remain in hospital for longer than necessary because social care support is scarce." 

Another example of Mr Drakeford's weird way of thinking? The problem has not been tackled in the past and it would take too long to resolve so continue to ignore it. 

It may make sense to the First Minister in his strange little world but not to those on NHS waiting lists or in need of social care.  

Latest figures show that there are over 700,000 people across Wales waiting to start NHS treatment. The numbers waiting longer than 36 weeks reached the highest on record - at just over a quarter of a million (258,189) while social care is underfunded and carers undervalued.

'Abandoned responsibilities' or 'radical socialist traditions' First Minister?

Thursday, 16 June 2022


"No more lies and fairy tales."

Answering a question at the Senedd about the inclusion of trans athletes in sport, the First Minister, Mark Drakeford, acknowledged it was an "argument that divides people" but confirmed that he believes "transgender women are women" after being pushed to define what a woman is during a session at the Senedd.

Mr Drakeford said: "My starting point is the same as Penny Mordaunt’s – the UK minister responsible at the time – who said that the UK Government’s starting point was that transgender women are women. That’s my starting point in this debate...I do not understand the point that the member makes that you can be too inclusive. To me, inclusivity is absolutely what we should be aiming for here.

He is wrong. Inclusivity has become a nightmare, forcing people to accept what logic dictates is absurd. It is imposed in the workplace and in schools with individuals demanding the use of preferred pronouns. Everyone is being caught up in a charade that attracts accusations of homophobia if there is any hint of dissent as J K Rowling discovered for tweeting that 'transgender women cannot change their biological sex'.  

A man may go through various procedures to make him appear to be a woman but male cannot be changed to female or vice versa. 

Some poor souls embark on irreversible procedures which they later very much regret. The above video was posted in support of a Twitter thread by @TullipR which reads: "I want to tell everyone what they took from us, what irreversible really means, and what that reality looks like for us. No one told me any of what I’m going to tell you now." The description is heart-rending as is the video.

All the more disturbing, then, to read that the World Professional Association for Transgender Health  has lowered its recommended minimum age for starting gender transition treatment, including sex hormones to 14 with some surgeries done at age 15 or 17.

According to a trans activist woman who detransitioned in 2018 many people who have gender reassignment regret the decision and want to return to their original sex. Charlie Evans says that hundreds of people who want to return to their original gender have contacted her since she announced her de-transition and stopped taking her hormone therapy. 

She said, "The number of young people seeking gender transition is at the highest it has ever been, but little is reported about how many of them regret the decision later, finding they are unhappy with their new gender."

Others counter that it was the best thing they ever did. One trans woman speaking on the BBC's Prejudice and Pride programme claimed just that, largely it appeared because she was able to buy and wear a pair of women's suede boots which she had coveted for years, a relatively harmless desire compared with the trauma of a penectomy. 

She had been married and had a family before transitioning but the happiness felt by her and those like her is no excuse for expecting the rest of us to accept self identification theories made fashionable in gender studies .

But where is the leadership?

We should be able to expect more from our political leaders than a nod to what is trendy in defiance of the facts.

NHS miscarriage statistics illustrates the absurdity of pandering to the few. In this example 'Women' was changed to 'people' because "the word woman in the eyes of the NHS is a word which dare not speak its name all because they are afraid of upsetting a tiny minority in the intolerant trans activist cult."

We should expect more not only from our political leaders but our religious leaders, trendy bishops who preach inclusivity and diversity contrary to biblical teaching. 

As one commentator put it, bishops these days are more likely to be informed by the Guardian than by the Bible.

Postscript [18.06.2022]

From The Telegraph (£): "We are sacrificing our children on the altar of a brutal, far-Left ideology. The medical profession is crumbling in response to radical transgender activists" - JORDAN PETERSON

Video reading here:

Friday, 10 June 2022

Archbishop's diary

New Archbishop of Wales Andy John blessing Loco No 6 Duncan on its 100th birthday                      Source: Herald Wales

Puzzled by his unexplained absence from HM The Queen's Platinum Jubilee Thanksgiving Service, I  tried to establish what pressing engagements the new Archbishop of Wales has been involved in. 

Unlike his predecessor who saw no need to build up his office following his election, archbishop Andy John initially busied himself building an entourage to assist him in shouldering the burden of carrying out the 'national responsibilities' of his new office. 

He has appointed an assistant bishop, a personal assistant and a chaplain

I drew a blank searching for the archbishop's engagements or diary on the unwieldy Church in Wales web site so tried 'Googling' instead. The results were disappointing. Entering various combinations such as 'archbishop andy john's diary' I found nothing. 'archbishop andy John's engagements', again produced nothing. 

When searching specifically under 'News', all I found I found was Archbishop criticised for being in group pulling faces in 'disrespectful' photo at Bangor Cathedral.

Appointing an assistant bishop, the archbishop said "I am delighted that Mary has agreed to take on operational responsibility for much of the life of our Diocese [emphasis added] to assist me while I take on the role of Archbishop of Wales." 
The Job Purpose of the PA is more enlightening:
"The PA delivers a variety of operational support services to enable the Archbishop of Wales to carry out his national responsibilities [emphasis added] and those within the Diocese of Bangor.
As a key member of the team, the PA will provide administrative and operational support in relation to the Archbishop’s changing, demanding and complex workload. The PA will work closely with the Archbishop, his Chaplain, and others to provide practical support, good initiative and engagement in delivering a range of tasks.
"The PA is the first point of contact, co-ordinating and supporting meetings, preparing briefings, processing correspondence and arranging logistics to ensure that the work of the Archbishop is efficient, effective and responsive to changing requirements."

The Archbishop's chaplain "will be a key member of the Archbishop's team, supporting and resourcing [emphasis added] his ministry, both practically and through prayer, and preparing his public engagements."

The Archbishop is paid a salary of £51,740. His assistant bishop £43,979, and, so far as I can establish, the chaplain £21,990. The PA (Grade C) is paid around £25,000.

So to support him as he carries out his national responsibilities, the archbishop has added around £91,000 to his £51,740 salary giving a total of £142,740. I have failed to identify any program of engagements or pronouncements other than "same-sex couples could marry in church 'within five years'."

Apart from recruiting his episcopal entourage and blessing Loco No 6 Duncan on its 100th birthday (pictured), 'Googling' has turned up nothing to explain the archbishop's 'busy schedule' which makes his snub of the most important event of his archbishopric, the Thanksgiving Service, even more disgraceful.

If he is hiding his light under a bushel then he should let it shine so that people can see his good works.

Monday, 6 June 2022

Leadership by example!

Archbishop of Wales Andy John                                    Source: Church in Wales

'Happy' and 'glorious', two words from the National Anthem that have been used to sum up the celebrations of The Queen's Platinum Jubilee. A tribute not only to HM The Queen but to the skill of all those who arranged and took part in the various events.

Among the events was the magnificent Thanksgiving Service held in the splendour of St Paul's Cathedral but there were two notable absences, that of Her Majesty The Queen which was explained, and that of His Grace the Archbishop of Wales which, so far as I can establish, was not.

Glancing at the order of procession in the Thanksgiving Service booklet (page 8), the only dignitary to send a representative was the Archbishop of Wales.

Curiously 'The Representative of the Archbishop of Wales' was not the next most senior bishop, Gregory Cameron, bishop of St Asaph, but the most junior, the recently appointed assistant bishop in Bangor, Mary Stallard.

Why? When Ms Stallard was appointed the archbishop said "I am delighted that Mary has agreed to take on operational responsibility for much of the life of our Diocese to assist me while I take on the role of Archbishop of Wales."

What, one wonders, was so pressing in the archbishop's diary that he was forced to absent himself from probably the most important event since he was elected archbishop, representing the Church in Wales at the Thanksgiving Service for a monarch who has led by example, keeping the faith when too many bishops have not.

Postscript [08.06.2022]

More embarrassment caused to the Church in Wales by its leadership: "The Church of England has its Mississippi and that's called the Church in Wales".

Anglican Unscripted's take on the Archbishop of Wales' Thanksgiving Service snub (starting at position 41.30):

Wednesday, 1 June 2022

Platinum Service

HM Queen Elizabeth II                                                                                                                                              Source:NYF

"I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong."

Words spoken by Princess Elizabeth on her 21st Birthday in Cape Town in 1947. 

Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England, Her Majesty has been true to her word and an example to others in the Church. 

God Save The Queen!