What’s a kaleidoscope of colour, a riot of music, a romp of beauty, a grace of dance, a feast of fun and an inspiration of friendship?

The Tredegar House Folk Festival skipped into its 25th year in grand style. Dance groups from Latvia and Finland were the stars this year.

The brilliant arrangements are weather proof. On a wet Sunday morning three indoor venues were filled to capacity with appreciative audiences.

Newport owes a debt of gratitude to Stephen Lyons and his committee, plus all the dancers and singers, for providing a welcoming habitat for this modestly valuable treat.

Only a year until the next one.


Nothing to celebrate in 16 million deaths: but a treasury of suffering and sacrifice to remember.

The First World War commemoration next year will be more Wilfred Owen than Rupert Brooke. There were no victories or glories. The consequence of the great courage of soldiers was not the ‘end of all wars’ but the certainty of the Second World War.

Small grants are available for groups organising their own local commemorative event. Young people in Tredegar were awarded £23,000 for a creative exhibition and documentary on wartime local life.

Details are on the Heritage Lottery websitewww.hlf.org.uk The supreme lesson of the First World War was the massive cost of deception. Politicians lied: soldiers died. Both still do.


There was the Rotten Parliament.

The last one was the Expenses Parliament. History will name the current one as “The Lobbyists’ Parliament”.

The hired paid persuaders gutted the Queen’s speech of worthwhile bills that threatened their paymasters’ income. Promised health bills to deter smoking and excessive drinking were dumped. Profits first: health second.

MPs are being stalked, badgered, hunted and nagged by vested interests with bottomless pockets.

In an impassioned speech, David Cameron promised in March 2010 to avoid the ‘next political scandal’ of lobbying. Still, no plan, no white paper or mention of any curbs on lobbying. The Prime Minister appointed a lobbyist to run his political strategy.

It’s lobbyists rampant, red in tooth and claw until 2015. If you ever wondered who runs the country, it’s the lobbyists and their fat cat masters.


Eighty-five minutes of anxiety and five minutes of ecstasy.

The MP and AM for Wrexham shrieked non-stop instructions to their team from seats immediately behind me at Wembley. The goals silenced them.

Homage to David Hando and the loyal supporters. Bliss.