Wednesday 6 October 2021
Tuesday 28 September 2021
These are videos of two songs I played on Spectrum on Air by the aforesaid Welsh pop group - with lyrics in English and Welsh. They can be a great aid to learning the language.
Over the last year or so, I've been reading a lot about Welsh history. My favourite general books on the subject are Jon Gower's "The Story of Wales"; John Davies' "A History of Wales" and Gwynfor Evans' "Land of My Fathers".Miranda Alehouse-Green and ray Howell have written an excellent book on "Celtic Wales", and Kari Maund has a useful introduction to the lives and activities of "The Welsh Kings".
There are a number of other books I have & journals that I use.
The National Museum of History brought these to life.
Some buildings within the site are based on archaeological finds. I was particularly interested in the Llys Llywelyn - based on the Llyn Rhosyr in Ynys Môn (Anglesey) which was excavated in the 1990s. The Bryn Eryr Iron Age Roundhouses are re-creations based on a farmstead in Eastern Ynys Môn. These are modelled on the findings of an excavation done during the 1980s.
Othe buildings have been taken down from their original site - and reconstructed. I visited the church next to the Llys Llywelyn - and was surprised and really thrilled to find that it was the church in the village where my Great Great Grandparents lived in the 19th Century - before the Griffiths' moved to Betws, near Ammanford.
As well as lots of places to visit, there are some excellent indoor exhibitions - and a bookshop with lots of books that I was tempted to buy (and was not able to resist).
The website is https://museum.wales/stfagans/. A map of the museum is available at https://museum.wales/media/52014/Site-Map-of-St-Fagans-National-Museum-of-History_r.pdf.
Further information about individual buildings and displays can be found here.
Tuesday 21 September 2021
This village, on the border today of Staffordshire and Shropshire - was proposed as a meeting place of international borders of much greater significance. In 1405 Owain Glyndŵr, Henry Percy, the 1st Earl of Northumbria and Edmund Mortimer (who had a better claim to the throne than Henry IV who usurped the throne from Richard II (who Henry imprisoned - and who died shortly afterwards)) agreed in the "Tripartite Indenture" to divide England and Wales into three countries - with "Onnenau Meigion" as the place where the boundaries of the three states would meet.
“... Owain and his heirs shall have the whole of Cambria or Wales, within the borders, limits, and boundaries underwritten, divided from Loegria, which is commonly called England; namely, from the Severn coast where the River Severn leads from the sea, going down to the North Gate of the city of Worcester [Foregate]; and from that gate directly to the ash trees commonly called Onennau Meigion in the Cambrian or Welsh language, which grow on the high road from Bridgnorth to Kinver [Six Ashes]; thence directly by the high road, which commonly is called the old or ancient way, as far as the head or source of the river Trent [Biddulph Moor, north of Stoke]; thence directly to the head or source of the river commonly called the Mersey [Compstall, east of Manchester]; and thence, as that river leads to the sea [at Liverpool], going down within the borders, limits, and bounds written above.”
Percy (the Earl of Northumberland) would then have roughly the northern half of Lloegr -
(Northumberland, Westmorland, Lancashire, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire, Norfolk.)
- and Edmund Mortimer would have the rest of Lloegr.
This place was chosen because it was the subject of a prophecy of Merlin - that a great eagle would muster a host of Welsh warriors who would defeat the English. Sadly, the "prophecy" was centuries later than the time of Merlin - and may even be a "post-dated prophecy" of a defeat here of Penda of Mercia by Cadwallon ap Cadfan of Gwynedd in the Seventh Century.
Glyndŵr tried to make his way to Six Ashes, but was halted by Henry IV at Great Witley, about 15 miles away. A stand off ensued, with both sides eventually retreating.
On today's Heritage Matters, I talked about the best websites to visit if you wish to make a trip to one of the many historic sites in England and Wales.
and try this out - https://www.historyhit.com/the-best-neolithic-sites-in-britain/
Coflein - the online database for the National Monuments Record of Wales (NMRW)
St Fagans National History Museum (the picture below is of the Llys Llewelyn)
Over the last couple of weeks on Heritage Matters on SpectrumOnAir , I've done a couple of pieces about the riches of history to be found in Caerleon.
Caerleon is best known as one of the three long-term legionary Headquarters in Roman Britain. There is the superb National Roman Legion Museum, The Roman Baths (sadly closed at the time of our visit), the Amphitheatre, the foundations of the Barracks and some of the walls (visible from the path alongside the Amphitheatre toward the River).
It was an important place - but an even older site stands on a hill overlooking the village of Caerleon - The Lodge Hill Fort. Below is a video I took on my recent visit.
Sunday 19 September 2021
Party Conference season is now underway in the United Kingdom.
The Liberal Democrats held their online conference over the past weekend. Labour holds it's in-person conference in Brighton from next Saturday (25th September) until its conclusion with the Leaders Speech on Wednesday (29th September). The Conservatives have a hybrid conference (on-line and in person) based in Manchester from 3rd to 6th October. Plaid Cymru meet in Aberystwyth on 15th & 16th October. The Green Party has arranged for Workshops (online) on 18-21 October with the Main Conference (online and in person) on 22nd-24th in Birmingham. The SNP held their conference earlier in September.
The PPS Programme on Spectrumonair will be seeking to bring pieces to you about what happens at conference over the next couple of weeks.
Monday 13 September 2021
In today's PPS Programme on Spectrum on Air, I took a look at scrutiny in the US Congress - (a term which includes both the US House of Representatives and the US Senate). The previous week, I did a piece on scrutiny in the British House of Commons - and there was a lot of 'compare and contrast' in the pieces.
To Watch Committees - Go to
The Best guides to procedure are available at
House of Representatives - Rules Committee: Rules & Resources
Senate - Resources
Sunday 12 September 2021
I did a couple of pieces last week on the PPS programme on Spectrum on Air about Scrutiny in the British House of Commons. All past programmes are kept on the website by the programme details for at least six weeks.
The Select Committee website is https://committees.parliament.uk. On this website you can search by Committee, or by Inquiry. It also has details about hearings on the day you access it (or, if it is a non-sitting day) the next sitting date. These pages are worth exploring, as you can find details of forthcoming inquiries and previously published reports.
You can watch Committees on https://parliamentlive.tv/Commons. You can watch live - or look back at previous meetings.
Oral Questions are set down in the Order Book for the forthcoming sitting at https://commonsbusiness.parliament.uk/document/49729/html
The answers are reported in Hansard.
The "Bible" of Parliamentary Practice is Erskine May - which will cost a few hundred pounds to BUY, but is available to read for free at https://erskinemay.parliament.uk. I'd recommend anyone who might wish to run for Parliament to take a look - and get used to navigating this invaluablele resource. (Those who know the rules, and how to use them, tend to get their way more than those who try to get by without a solid knowledge of the rules.)
Friday 3 September 2021
I'm a big fan of food festivals - and I'm a big fan of "Amgueddfa Cymru" (The National Museum of Wales). Next week the two coincide, and fortunately (for me - living in Milton Keynes: which is not well served by roads to Wales) it is, this year, an online event.
It runs from Monday 6th September until Sunday 12th September. The website is https://museum.wales/whatson/food-festival-2021/
I've already looked up the programme - and despite it being very busy for me - I've already diarised a number of the events.
Do take a look at what's on -
Also there are social media websites highlighting aspects of the festival which are already posting -
https://twitter.com/AmgueddfaCymru (some recipes ahead of presentations)
Some events will be in English, others in Welsh - and some in both. If you don't understand Welsh (& on a personal note - I am learning the language - it really is beautiful - it may look horribly complicated, but actually is a lot more logical than say, English (just different rules) - and as someone who is terrible at learning languages - is rewarding and achievable) - no problem (dim problem) - many of the posts on facebook & twitter offer translations.
Thursday 2 September 2021
If you live in Scotland, or are visiting Scotland this month take a look at https://archaeologyscotland.org.uk/explore/?fbclid=IwAR2ADlDbAaYN2YnIS9G_nOmbdhY3ym8k5vBQFdmuWBh5-ZFJn50AUA1OeFQ
AND IF SCOTLAND IS TOO FAR, OR YOU CAN’T TAKE TIME OFF FOR A VISIT
Many events are online.
It’s a very interesting country!
Wednesday 1 September 2021
At 2pm this afternoon the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons will be meeting to take evidence from the Foreign Secretary, Rt Hon Dominic Raab, on Government Policy on Afghanistan. It is being held in the Wilson Room in Portcullis House. The committee will mean in private first, and open the meeting to the public (and the cameras) at ABOUT 2.00pm (UK time) - (my experience with committees that occasionally they let the public in early, but sometimes, may not start the public part start for some time AFTER the stated time)
Tuesday 31 August 2021
Further to thee piece on this week's Heritage Matters on SpectrumOnAir - these motes have been supplied by our interviewee, Sarah Morgan.
Study with 10,000 Autistic people’s participation to “improve the wellbeing of autistic individuals” by gathering genetic and environmental factors that contribute.
Autism is a relatively new diagnosis (In past century) and studies are generally small and not generalisable. This aims to get a dataset that will. Allow for statistically significant results that can be used to help wellbeing in Autists
study was launched to the public in the last month, but people had been. Contacted a year ago.
Mixed, mostly negative - concerns about consent, data handling and motivation for study
Yes/no on consent form on:
Saliva sample - DNA will be stored long term which may include reading the entire genetic code, second sample if needed, data and DNA can be used. In future studies academic collaborators and external research databases, (optional) annonamysed data and dna shared with commercial collaborators and financial benefits will not be shared with participants.
Wellcome Sanger institute - 2019 allegations of commercial use of data collected from African studies - Stellenbosch university has demanded return of dna samples
Dr Geschwind - involvement in. ‘Cure Autism Now’ which has been folded into ‘Autism Speaks’ co-principal investigator
Spectrum10 ‘is being secured on UoC safe haven ‘ and will not be sold, during or after the study’
A grant specifies that the 10k will be combines with other databases across the world with Autistic genetic information to understand biology, improve diagnosis and investigate genetic subgroups
The Study Controversy
Subgroups are seen by some in the community as a dividing label that restricts rather than allows for the correct support needed by Autists. It also strengthens the supports of stigmatisation and misunderstanding of the condition
Spectrum10k recognise more needs to be done to explain the value of the study, the measures in place to protect data and other concerns.
Autistic people will be part of the committee on sharing data
No individual feedback on DNA - as not the resources to do so
Ambassadors are mostly white and able bodied
Cannot explain how they hope to improve outcomes
Spectrum 10K - spectrum10K.org
@commaficionado - Pete Wharmby
@AutSciPerson - Autistic Science Person
@AnnMemmott - Ann Memmott
@HolSmale Holly Smale
I played Bryn Fôn's excellent song - "Rebel Wicend" on the Heritage Matters programme -which is broadcast on SpectrumOnAir each week at 19.00 Tuesday's, 14.00 Thursdays and 18.00 on Saturdays (UK time - but available around the world by clicking the link above.
The lyrics in Welsh then English are posted below -
This blog is frequently used to put further information about subjects raised in the two programmes that Shery Delfani and I (David Morgan) joint host on Spectrum On Air.
Tuesday 10 August 2021
Heritage Open Days in Europe - internet links
I am playing this song, this week, on the show that Shery Delfani and I present on Spectrum On Air called "Heritage Matters". It's by the great Welsh singer/songwriter, Dafydd Iwan. The video below has the music and the Welsh geiriau and English lyrics.
Friday 6 August 2021
Tuesday 3 August 2021
On my Heritage Matters programme (scroll down towards the end - but do see what else is broadcast on our fantastic new station) on Spectrum On Air, I played the following song about the Rebecca Riots which occurred in South West Wales in 1839 and 1842-3.
(link if video doesn't play - https://youtu.be/Pm1TOcLWYZo )
I thoroughly recommend the following book about the background and events of the riots.
Sunday 25 July 2021
My apologies - the last month has been very busy, hence the lack of posts.
One of the things tying me up has been getting a second programme up and running on https://spectrumonair.com/
Heritage Matters has its second edition, which is broadcast (UK time) Tuesdays at 19.00; Thursdays at 14.00 and Saturday's at 18.00. It covers most things that could be described as "heritage" - archaeology, history, learning languages (and music in different languages), and 'culture' generally. It balances talk with a wide range of music. On this week's programme we'll be talking about the UK Festival of Archaeology; and a song about the survival of Wales through many centuries by Dafydd Iwan; and an interview about an initiative to encourage people from across the world to meet in Milton Keynes.
PPS has continued, but breaks for the month of August (most legislatures & local government in the Northern Hemisphere winds down or goes into recess). This week it will be on at noon, on Monday, 01.00 on Wednesdays & 10.00 Fridays (UK time). This weeks's programme a very useful source of news - Politico; (US Editions)(European Editions), Parliamentary Recesses around the world; and Shery & my chats about Mental Health Matters.
My co-presenter for both programmes is Shery Delfani. Do listen in - SpectrumOnAir is available a
Monday 28 June 2021
While Westminster has "Hansard", and the US Congress has the "Congressional Record" - the European Parliament has "Verbatim Reports of Proceedings.
Producing a useable verbatim record is more complicated than for National Parliaments - the European Parliament allows speeches in any of the twenty four official languages of the the European Union. [English remains an official language] While there are translators in the chamber to give a simultaneous translation to people in the chamber; visitors and those watching the live feed of Plenary sessions - the official record takes longer to produce.
A first copy is available called the "Rainbow Edition". This records contributions in the language of each person speaking. Initially only a PDF version is available, but a few days later there is an HTML version - which allows searches.
The "Final Edition" is produced a little later. Again - it is in the languages used by whoever is speaking.
To search for a particular plenary session go to EP Verbatim Reports of Proceedings - the first part of this page covers the current plenary session, but if you scroll down you'll find "Search Verbatim Reports". This gives access to any of the Parliamentary debates from 1994. If you have a specific sitting you want to look at - enter that date in both boxes (Sittings from...to). Click on any of the individual results - and the next page give you the option to choose "Full Text". That will break the sitting down into individual items of business.
You can watch a video of each speech, The full Verbatim Report can be downloaded as a PDF - it's a big document (February 10th 2021 is a file of 3590k and 162 pages ).
Watching the video of the speech (an example can be seen here) allows you to choose which language you listen to. - but there is a disclaimer "The interpretation does not constitute an authentic record of proceedings." Alternatively copy and paste the speech in the Verbatim Report into Google Translate
Friday 25 June 2021
Earlier this week I posted a piece about Ail Symudiad - a group whose music I had just started to get into. I had even bought an ebook about the group - and the two brothers at the heard of the group (which by copying pieces of the text to Google Translate, I was able to read - I’m too early in my quest to learn Welsh to be able to reach much unaided!).
This evening I visited the Ail Symudiad Facebook page, and was saddened to read this post published yesterday -
Monday 21 June 2021
Washington Post - www.washingtonpost.com
Politico (Virginia news) - https://www.politico.com/news/virginia
Roll Call - https://www.rollcall.com
The Hill - https://thehill.com
NBC 12 (Richmond, VA) - https://www.nbc12.com/news/state/
Virginia Department of Elections - https://www.elections.virginia.gov
Some places to go to for news about the first round of the Regional Elections in France which took place yesterday. The Second Round takes place next Sunday (June 27th)
Le Monde - national newspaper which has published all the results online on its website
News pieces on the elections can be accessed by clicking on the name of the news outlet
Further to a piece I did on my PPS programme on Spectrum on Air, here are further resources concerning Private Members Bills
Allocation of time - s14 House of Commons Standing Orders
List of all bills currently before Parliament, with links to text, other relevant documents and progress.
This is not the OFFICIAL song for the Wales team in this years Euros - but is my personal favourite for celebrating the progress of Wales into this years competition - and now into the next rounds!
The Song is 'Dilyn Cymru' by Ail Symudiad (who are joined by some members of the Barry Horns.
Monday 14 June 2021
On today's "PPS" show on Spectrum on Air, I'll be interviewing Nigel Long about the new blog he launched a few weeks ago. It's specifically designed to give practical advice to people living with disabilities - but I would recommend it to all. It is very easy to be unaware of the challenges that some people have to face, and the blog is full of useful advice that is worth sharing.
Do listen in to PPS which is broadcast between Noon and 1pm this afternoon (Monday, June 14th). Nigel's interview will be just after five past twelve. The Blog (Independence for People with disabilities) is available here. (Current plans are to post once a week - these are the current posts to date) https://www.blogger.com/blog/post/edit/2028104110589454384/3031428097999769615
Today's programme will also look at practical advice for maintaining good mental health. My co-host Shery Delfani and I will be discussing this just after half past twelve.
We will also be hearing from Spectrum on Air presenter & Managing Director, Suzanne Meeting
Do join me today - https://spectrumonair.com
Thursday 10 June 2021
I am absolutely fascinated by Welsh History. I was born in Coventry, England - but both my parents were from South Wales (Betws, Ammanford & Seven Sisters, in what was Glamorgan, but is now in the Neath-Port Talbot Area - one of tthe principal areas, in effect the 'county') and as a child I was introduced to some Welsh history (my mother subsequently became a history teacher at the secondary school I attended - after I'd left). In recent months I have really taken to Welsh archaeology and history with vigour. If you are a BBC licence holder (sadly this is not available outside the UK) - there is an excellent series, presented by Huw Edwards - based on a book by Jon Gower. I rewatch the series regularly - and use the book to complement my other reading.
The series is available (UK only) by clicking this link - The Story of Wales
The book (available to all!) can be purchased by clicking this link
Monday 7 June 2021
Further information about the upcoming French Regional Elections (June 13th & 20th)
Background information - https://21votes.com/france-elections/
Wikipedia article which shows candidates and lists for this months elections - https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Élections_régionales_françaises_de_2021
Sites with further Information
All Party Parliamentary Groups were the subject of a piece I broadcast today on PPS (Spectrum on Air).
There is further information on APPGs at https://www.parliament.uk/about/mps-and-lords/members/apg/ The list of APPGS as of 2nd June - with fuller details of each APPG listed is available at https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmallparty/210602/register-210602.pdf
The Times Article can be accessed (by Times subscribers only) here.
A subsequent row about a particular APPG [APPG for Energy Security] is reported at https://nation.cymru/news/cairns-energy-parliamentary-group-attracts-support-of-tory-peers-with-financial-interests-in-the-industry/
On my PPS Programme (https://spectrumonair.com Mondays 12.00 BST, Wednesdays 01.00 BST, Fridays 10.00 BST - on demand at https://www.spreaker.com/show/process-people-sources for Wednesdays onward), I often draw attention to & summarise the contents of research or think tank publications.
On today's programme I highlighted a UCL-Constitution Unit Report from their Working Group on Unification Referendums on the Island of Ireland - which is available at https://www.ucl.ac.uk/constitution-unit/sites/constitution-unit/files/working_group_final_report.pdf
I highlighted the following reports from the House of Commons Library - click on the link to get a summary or to download the full report(s)
The Regulation of "Enforcement Officers" (formerly known as 'bailiffs')
Other recent reports are available (in reverse order of publication at https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/type/research-briefing/
Monday 31 May 2021
I have today done a piece about using the Congressional Record (which covers the US House of Representatives and the US Senate - and is the equivalent, though very different from Hansard in the British Parliament.
You can listen to that piece on Tuesday Afternoon/Evening in the USA - at https://spectrumonair.com
Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time - 2pm Alaska Daylight Time - 4pm
Pacific Daylight Time & Mountain Standard Time - (Los Angeles, Seattle, most of Arizona)) 5pm
Mountain Daylight Time - (Denver, Salt Lake City) 6pm
Central Daylight Time - (Chicago, Memphis, Minneapolis, Dallas, Houston) 7pm
Eastern Daylight Time (Washington DC, NY, Florida etc) 8pm
It should also be available on demand later this week at https://www.spreaker.com/show/process-people-sources
The Address of the website, which gives access to the Congressional Record is https://www.congress.gov/congressional-record
There is a very useful quick start guide at https://www.congress.gov/content/help/pdf/quickstartguide.pdf
There is an advanced search facility available from 1995 (104th Congress onwards).
Chapter 15 of "House Practice" (the Erskine May for the House of Representatives) has more on the Congressional Record - https://www.govinfo.gov/app/details/GPO-HPRACTICE-115/
Thursday 27 May 2021
A very topical issue - and this week the Constitution Unit conducted an online seminar on the subject. It lasts for an hour - and is very informative.
Monday 24 May 2021
In the PPS programme today, I gave a users guide to the Parliamentary website's pages on Bills currently in Parliament.
The relevant address is https://www.parliament.uk/business/bills-and-legislation/
I'm taking listeners around the site - and sharing how I used the various documents when I worked at Westminster. [I have to admit that I don't follow the progress of bills as closely now as I used to.]
Hansard is the official record of what is said in the House of Commons and the House of Lords. I willl be talking about how to access the site & what you can find there on this week's edition of PPS on Spectrum on Air
You can access Hansard at https://hansard.parliament.uk
This week, on my programme "PPS", I will be navigating listeners through the White House Website. The Programme will be broadcast first at Noon (BST), and repeated a couple of times during the week (at 8pm EST - Washington DC time - on Tuesday and 10.00 (BST) on Wednesday and Friday)
Later in the time this edition of PPS will be added to the previous editions available at
The White House website can be found here.
These are the direct links to more information about
The Administration POTUS & the VEEP and their spouses - https://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/
The Executive Offices - https://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/executive-office-of-the-president/
Priorities - https://www.whitehouse.gov/priorities/
Briefing Room - https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/
Information about the White House Building - https://www.whitehouse.gov/about-the-white-house/
My programme will fill in more details - Do listen in.
Friday 21 May 2021
This blog is normally reserved for matters relating to the decision making process; scrutiny and accountability in legislatures.
But today I want to draw your attention to a threat to the future of archaeology in Britain - and how it threatens the loss of knowledge about our past. I have to declare an interest: history - and archaeology - fascinate me. As well as my academic and practical political interests - I spend a lot of time reading archaeological reports - and (save for lockdown periods) - visiting places of archaeological interest. I live close to Watling Street - and archaeologists in Milton Keynes have uncovered a host of Bronze Age/Iron Age/Roman settlements in my part of a very modern city.
We in Milton Keynes have a special debt to those with the foresight to fund and undertake archaeological work while the New City was under construction. There is a special series of monographs about what has learned about this area - published by the Buckinghamshire Archaeological Society. While the fantastic Milton Keynes Archaeology Unit has been wound up - a number of Archaeological Companies are continuing to unearth new secrets about our local past. Many reports can be found on the Archaeology Data Service website or in libraries.
Throughout the UK, archaeologists have helped us to understand where we came from - how our ancestors lived - and have revolutionised our understanding of the space which we, for our short lifespan, inhabit. Some projects have caught the public imagination - such as the discovery of the body of Richard III by the University of Leicester School of Archaeology and Ancient History's Archaeology Unit. (Leicester Archaeology Monographs). Our understanding of our history has been turned on its head (see for example the references in the superb series presented by Huw Edwards "The Story of Wales"). The fascination with history powers a lot of tourism (and if you see my post from Tuesday this week about Owain Glyndŵr, you'll see how my recent holiday was enhanced by the work of Archaeologists - and took me to Sycharth, Conwy, Harlech, & Glyndyfrdwy).
Our fascination with Stonehenge has led to many TV programmes and much tourism - drawing (in 2019) more than 800,000 visitors. Other crowd pullers include the Jorvik Viking Centre , the British Museum, and many local museums across the country.
It seems perverse then that a number of Archaeological Departments face the chop.
The Council of British Archaeology has highlighted the problem - do visit this page! I studied Law at Sheffield University & Politics at Leicester University. Cuts are threatened to the esteemed Archaeology Departments of both. The University of Chester (Chester was a Roman legionary city, and the site of a key battle in the early 7th Century), Birkbeck College, part of the University of London, and Aston University are also considering cuts to their archaeology departments.
There is an article in today's Guardian which is well worth reading.
If you'd like to add your name to the petition - and I'd urge you to do so - the address is here