Wednesday 6 October 2021

The Story of Wales


 This is the first episode of a superb BBC/Open University Series about the history of Wales. It is based on Jon Gower's excellent book of the same name. I hope that the BBC will restore the series to the BBC iPlayer (which is where I first discovered it), or re-release the set of DVDs. The series opened my eyes to the depth of the riches of Welsh History - and I have consequently purchased a number of books about different aspects of that history - & have joined the Carmarthenshire Antiquarian Society and extended my membership of the Council of British Archaeology to CBA Wales

There are some excellent books available on Welsh History - from  John Davies' "A History of Wales", to books about specific periods or events. David Williams' book about the Rebecca Riots and Gwyn A Williams' "The Merthyr Rising" are two favourites of mine - and I'm just about to start on a book about the Newport Rising of 1839. 

Welsh history does not, of course, exist in a vacuum - and the interaction between Welsh and English history is fascinating - from the conflicts that involved King Oswald and other Northumbrian Kings with other Anglo-Saxon and Welsh Kings (Max Adam's "The King in the North" is excellent) to Welsh influence on Alfred the Great and the interactions leading up to Edward I's invasion. Owain Glyndŵr has been written about by a number of writers - and this year I've managed to visit some of the sites associated with his life (Sycharth, Glyndyfrdwy, Harlech Castle and Six Ashes (which Glyndŵr sought to reach (but was blocked) - and was associated with a prophecy attributed to Merlin). 

Tuesday 28 September 2021

Edward F Dafis

 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.

St Fagan's National Museum of History

Whilst we were staying in Caerleon during our recent trip to Wales, I took a day out to visit the National Museum of (Welsh) History at St Fagan;s near Cardiff. I cannot recommend it strongly enough. There is so much to see there - which really brings Welsh History to life.

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

Six Ashes


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.

Visiting Historic Sites

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.

United Kingdom

National Trust

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)


English Heritage 

Historic England


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.

There is an excellent webpage about the hill fort - http://www.caerleon.net/history/lodge/index.htm        

You can listen to previous editions of Heritage Matter by clicking here.

Sunday 19 September 2021

Party Conference Season

 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

Scrutiny in the US Congress

 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

House of Representatives


The Best guides to procedure are available at

House of Representatives - Rules Committee: Rules & Resources 

Senate - Resources

Sunday 12 September 2021

Keeping Abreast of Scrutiny in the UK Parliament

 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

Food Festival (Gwyl Fwyd) Amgueddfa Cymru

 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

Scottish Archaeology Month

 If you live in Scotland, or are visiting Scotland this month take a look at https://archaeologyscotland.org.uk/explore/?fbclid=IwAR2ADlDbAaYN2YnIS9G_nOmbdhY3ym8k5vBQFdmuWBh5-ZFJn50AUA1OeFQ


Many events are online.

It’s a very interesting country!

Wednesday 1 September 2021

FAC - Foreign Secretary to give evidence today

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)

This link should take you to the live broadcast. If it fails (I have no way of checking in advance) - go to https://parliamentlive.tv/Commons and view Full Event Guide

Tuesday 31 August 2021

Spectrum 10K

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.

Community reaction:

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

Further Resources

Spectrum 10K - spectrum10K.org


@commaficionado - Pete Wharmby

@AutSciPerson - Autistic Science Person

@AnnMemmott - Ann Memmott

@HolSmale Holly Smale

Rebel Wicend

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 -

Mae’n cyrraedd ei swyddfa yn gynnar bob bore
Yn cario ei frîffces ecsetiwtif bach.
“Bore da, Mistar Eliot” a “Diolch yn fawr Rachel,
A chofiwch, dim siwgwr, trio cadw yn iach.”
Ac mae’n eistedd fel sowldiwr o flaen ei brosesydd
A phob pin a phapur a ffeil yn eu lle,
Ac am bump mae o’n ol tu ol i lyw’r BMW
Yn gyrru am adre ar gyrion y dre.

Bob nos wrth droi’r goriad mae’n gweiddi, “dwi adre.
Sut ddiwrnod ges ti a be sy ‘na i dde?”
Ac ar garreg yr aelwyd mae’i slipars yn c’nesu
Ac arogl cartref yn llenwi y lle.
Ond ar nos Wenar daw adre a hongian ei siwt
A newid i’r hen denims cul,
Hongian modrwyau trwy’r tyllau’n ei glustiau
A chuddio y rasal tan yn hwyr ar nos Sul.

A dyna chi fo, yn rebal wicend go iawn,
Hefo’i stic-on tatw a’i dun baco herbal yn llawn.
Yn rebal wicend o’i gorun i’w draed
Ac ysbryd gwrthryfel yn berwi ‘mhob diferyn o’i waed.

Ac ar bnawn Sadwrn mewn denims a lledar,
Crys T heb lewys a’i wallt o yn saim,
Mae’n mynd draw i’r dafarn i siarad a’r rocars,
I yfed Jack Daniels yn lle lagyr a laim.
Ac ar ol ysfed digon mae’r gitar yn dod allan
Ac mae o’n canu y blws a thrio swnio yn ddu.
Son am drallodion genod ysgol yn disgwyl.
Mae o’n teimlo fel deryn ac ymddwyn fel ci.

Amser cinio dydd Sul mae o’n ol yn y dafarn
Yn yfed ei hochor o ddeuddeg tan dri,
Yn siarad yn ddwfn am genod a wisgi
A phob ystum o’i eiddo yn dweud ‘ylwch fi’.
Ond gyda’r nos, cyn gwylio Hel Straeon,
Mae o ar goll ym mybls y bath, digon siwr.
Mae’r metamorffosis drosodd am wythnos fach arall
Pan mae’r rebal yn mynd lawr y plyg gyda’r dwr.

Ac ar fore dydd Llun mae o’n ol yn y swyddfa
A’r cris yn ei drowses yn finiog fel bled.
Mae’r rebal wicend yn edrych o’i gwmpas
Ac yn sylweddoli ei fod oyn mêd

English Translation Lyrics:

He arrives in his office early each morning
And carries his little executive briefcase.
“Good morning, Mister Eliot” and “Thank you very much Rachel,
And remember, no sugar, trying to stay healthy.”
He sits like a soldier in front of his processor
With each pin and paper and file in their place,
And at five he’s back behind the BMW’s steering wheel
Driving back home on the outskirts of town.

Each night as he turns the key he yells, “I’m home.
How was your day and what is there for tea?”
And by the fireplace his slippers are warming
And the smell of home filling the place.
But on Friday night he comes home and hangs his suit
And changes to the old narrow denims,
He hangs rings through the holes in his ears
And hides the razor until late on Sunday night. 

And there he is, a real weekend rebel,
With his stick-on tattoo and his herbal tobacco tin filled.
A weekend rebel from head to toe
And the spirit of rebellion boiling in each drop of his blood.

And on a Saturday afternoon in denims and leather,
A sleeveless T-Shirt and his hair full of grease,
He goes down to the tavern to talk with the rockers,
To drink Jack Daniels instead of lime and lager.
And after drinking enough the guitar comes out
And he sings the blues and tries to sound black.
Discusses the woes of pregnant school girls.
He feels like a bird and acts like a dog.

At lunch time on Sunday he’s back in the tavern
And drinks from midday until three,
He talks deeply about girls and whiskey
And each motion of his says ‘look at me’.
But by night time, before watching ‘Hel Straeon’,
He’s lost in the bubbles of the bath, most likely.
The metamorphosis is over for another week
When the rebel goes down the plug with the water.

And on Monday morning he’s back in the office,
And the crease in his trouser is as sharp as a blade.
The Weekend Rebel looks around him
And realizes that he’s made.

To buy the album click - 


Listening to Spectrum On Air Programmes

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. 

Click here to get the live feed from SpectrumOnAir

To listen to the latest episodes of "Heritage Matters" go to

To listen to previous editions of PPS go to

Friday 6 August 2021

Tackling Diabetes

 Next week I'm doing a piece on Diabetes on Spectrum On Air's "Heritage Matters". I recommend watching the following Video produced in London by Diabetes UK.

If you can, please support the work they do - donations can be made via this link.

Tuesday 3 August 2021

The Rebecca Riots

 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

Spectrum On Air

 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


Heritage Matters

Monday 28 June 2021

European Parliament

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

Wyn Lewis Jones

 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 - 

Wyn Lewis Jones 1959 - 2021 ❤
Gyda chalon trwm, i ni’n drist iawn i ‘weud bod Wyn wedi colli ei frwydr hir a dewr gyda chancr y pancreas heddi. Diolch i bawb am y negeseuon caredig a’r llunie lyfli - mae’n cynhesu calon i weld shwt gwmynt wedd e’n meddwl i bawb. Bydd bywyd ddim run peth heb ei sbort, dwli a’r bass lines.
It is with a very heavy heart we announce tonight that Wyn lost his long and brave fight with pancreatic cancer today. Thank you to everyone for the kind messages and the lovely pictures - it's really heartwarming to know how much he meant to so many. Life won't be the same without his fun, madness and the bass lines.
Nos da Wyn x

Monday 21 June 2021

Virginia Elections

Ahead of State and Local Elections in Virginia - these are some of the best news sources relating to the election. I gave a brief overview of the elections on my SpectrumonAir programme PPS.

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

1st Round Regional Elections in France

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


Politico Europe

The Guardian


France 24

Private Members Bills - UK House of Commons

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

Detailed information about Private Members Bills

Current Private Members Bills

List of all bills currently before Parliament, with links to text, other relevant documents and progress.

Follow Wales

 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!

I'll be playing this song on my PPS show on Spectrum on Air (which airs at 12.00 UK Time today). I hope you'l tune in.

The Song is 'Dilyn Cymru' by Ail Symudiad (who are joined by some members of the Barry Horns.

You can visit their facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AilSymudiadband/ and the Barry Horns on twitter.

The single is available on the iTunes store - and Apple Music or download the mp3 from Amazon. A book telling the story of Ail Symudiad is available to buy from here

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


 Can/ Song: Abacus

Canwr/Singer: Bryn Fon Album: Abacus Prynwch Abacus / Buy Abacus: http://www.sadwrn.com/cd.asp?id=497 Welsh Music Blog / Blog Cerddoriaeth Cymraeg: http://welshmusic-cerddoriaethcymraeg... Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/Welsh_Music Today I'll be playing a Welsh song on my programme "PPS" (which airs at noon on www.spectrumonair.com). I have always found that a very enjoyable way of learning a language is to listen to songs in that language - and to use a translation to enhance my own vocabulary. Of course many songs shorten words - but, over time both your ear for lyrics and vocabularly improves. I'm very grateful to, in particular, Marc Griffiths whose show on BBC Radio Cymru on Saturday evenings have introduced to music, singers and groups, who I have come to love - and have improved my Welsh.

One particular favourite is Bryn Fôn - and 'Abacus' - these are the lyrics in Welsh - and an English translation.

CYTGAN: Geiriau: Ti'n gadael i mi gredu bo gyn ti ddim diddordeb Wedyn cynnig cysur, y cysur mwyaf glandag Fethishi ymateb, mae'n rhaid mod i yn ddwl Ond roeddet ti 'di chwarae 'fo Abacus fy meddwl Ti'n gadael i mi greu y broblem o ddau un Wedyn cynnig ateb, dy ateb di dy hun Fedraim cael fy mhen rownd y sym anhygoel hon Ti chwalu'r Abacus, Abacus fy nghalon Mae un ag un yn ddau a chdi a fo 'di rheiny Dwi'n cyfri dim i chdi - yr un odd sydd ddim yn rhannu Ond cerddais lawr y bryn yn rhannu fy mreuddwydion Yn tynnu gwallt fy mhen Tynnu gwallt fy mhen A chyfri fy mendithion Ti'n gadael i mi feddwl fod rhywbeth yn y gwynt Ond gwn yn mer fy esgyrn - ddaw'r ateb ddim ynghynt Ti'n cynnig rhif dy ffon fel mathemateg pur A'r cwbl dwi angen ydi'r ateb i fy nghur Ti'n gadael i mi fynd efo cusan ar fy moch 'Di'r gawn ni rywbryd eto jysd ddim yn canu cloch Y batri aeth yn fflat yn y gyfrifiannell hon Ti di chwalu'r Abacus, Abacus fy nghalon CYTGAN: Mae un ag un yn ddau a chdi a fo 'di rheiny Dwi'n cyfri dim i chdi - yr un odd sydd ddim yn rhannu Ond cerddais lawr y bryn yn rhannu fy mreuddwydion Yn tynnu gwallt fy mhen Tynnu gwallt fy mhen A chyfri fy mendithion Un dau tri Mam yn dal y pry Pry wedi marw Mam yn crio'n arw Un dau tri Mam yn dal y pry Pry wedi marw Mam yn crio'n arw Un dau tri Mam yn dal y pry Pry wedi marw Mam yn crio'n arw Un dau tri Mam yn dal y pry Pry wedi marw Mam yn crio'n arw CYTGAN: Mae un ag un yn ddau a chdi a fo 'di rheiny Dwi'n cyfri dim i chdi - yr un odd sydd ddim yn rhannu Ond cerddais lawr y bryn yn rhannu fy mreuddwydion Yn tynnu gwallt fy mhen Tynnu gwallt fy mhen A chyfri fy mendithion Un ag un yn ddau a chdi a fo 'di rheiny Dwi'n cyfri dim i chdi - yr un odd sydd ddim yn rhannu Ond cerddais lawr y bryn yn rhannu fy mreuddwydion Yn tynnu gwallt fy mhen Tynnu gwallt fy mhen A chyfri fy mendithion LYRICS - ENGLISH TRANSLATION: You allow me to believe that you're not interested Then offer me solace, such unfeeling solace I did not respond - I must be a fool But you had messed around with the abacus in my mind You allow me to believe this two-one problem Then you offer an answer, your own answer I can't get my mind around this complex equation You've demolished the Abacus, the Abacus in my heart CHORUS: One and one is two and that is you and him I mean nothing to you -- that odd number that doesn't divide I walked down the hill, sharing my dreams Pulling the hair from my head Pulling the hair from my head And counting my blessings. You allow me to think that something's in the wind But I know in my bones that the answer won't come soon You offer your phone number like pure mathematics And the only thing I need is the answer to my ache You allow me to leave with a kiss on my cheek The "well meet again soon" just doesn't ring a bell The battery went dead in this calculator You've demolished the Abacus, the Abacus in my heart CHORUS: One and one is two and that is you and him I mean nothing to you -- that odd number that doesn't divide I walked down the hill, sharing my dreams Pulling the hair from my head Pulling the hair from my head And counting my blessings. One two three Mum catches the fly When the fly is dead Mum cries One two three Mum catches the fly When the fly is dead Mum cries One two three Mum catches the fly When the fly is dead Mum cries One two three Mum catches the fly When the fly is dead Mum cries CHORUS: One and one is two and that is you and him I mean nothing to you -- that odd number that doesn't divide I walked down the hill, sharing my dreams Pulling the hair from my head Pulling the hair from my head And counting my blessings. One and one is two and that is you and him I mean nothing to you -- that odd number that doesn't divide I walked down the hill, sharing my dreams Pulling the hair from my head Pulling the hair from my head And counting my blessings.

Thursday 10 June 2021

The Story of Wales

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

Other Links arising from PPS this week

 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

Le Monde

Politico Paris

Reuters Article on Macrons Party and its deal with the Republicans


 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/

Recent Reports

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)

Regulating Online Harms

An Overview of climate change Parliamentary briefings and publications

The Regulation of "Enforcement Officers" (formerly known as 'bailiffs')

How the rules on recognition  of UK qualified people seeking to work in the EU, or EU qualified people seeking to work in the UK

Other recent reports are available (in reverse order of publication at https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/type/research-briefing/

Monday 31 May 2021

The Congressional Record

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

Ministerial Standards

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.

You can subscribe to the Constitution Units Seminar Series videos on Youtube  and the Unit itself at https://www.ucl.ac.uk/constitution-unit/ . A Conference on "Johnson's Constitutional Reform Agenda" will be held on 17th & 18th June - further details (spoiler - it is a FREE conference) are available here.

Mental Health

On the PPS programme on Spectrum on Air , I am being joined by Shery Delfani - who each week will be discussing mental health issues.

Please do join us each week -and send any questions or comments to pps@btinternet.com

Monday 24 May 2021

Bills Currently Before Parliament

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

The White House Website

 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)

on https://spectrumonair.com

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

The Importance of Archaeology

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