• The word missing from the Budget was the new word-WASPI.
The most impassioned relentless campaign waged by any group in recent year is the clamour of outrage from women who have been cheated by delays in the state pensions they have long expected.
There was contempt for a claim by the Prime Minister that no women would lose more than 18 months’ pension. A crowded Commons Committee Room was filled with women facing losses of the contracted pension payments of up to 6 years.
Unfairly women are being forced into work beyond their planned retirement or facing destitution. Those who are doing hard manual jobs like nursing are especially hard hit. Standing up for long shifts and lifting patients is not possible as age takes its toll.
• It’s right that we remember and honour the memories of the British fallen in Iraq and Afghanistan. But we should do it with truthfulness to avoid future deaths. Lies do not become truth because they are repeated by dignitaries or carved into war memorials.
Only 6 UK soldiers had died in Afghanistan in 2006 when we invaded Helmand in the hope ‘that not a shot would be fired.’ That blunder sacrificed the lives of 450 UK soldiers. An inquiry into the Helmand disaster is long overdue. The loved ones of the fallen deserve the truth.
• Civil service jobs have been a Godsend to Newport.
New ones went a long way to fill the gap left by disappearing manufacturing jobs. There is a niggling new worry. Newport based civil servants tell me they have been warned of the closure of one Newport civil servant building in the city in a few years’ time. Several have named a top civil servant who they claim told them.
Officially the Government is denying any closure plans. There is a danger in crying wolf and precipitating the closure that we fear. Common sense advises that Newport is still the finest habitat for the jobs-with space in Sovereign House for 200 extra. It is not credible or sensible to move the jobs to a new building in Cardiff robbing Newport, increasing costs and adding to Cardiff’s rush hours traffic chaos.
• Friday was the 30th anniversary of the brutal murder of Llanfrechfa detective Daniel Morgan. His family are still campaigning for the ugly corrupt story to be published. It is more improbable than fiction. Meanwhile some of the guilty may have been rewarded and the brave heroes have been punished. One day perhaps, the whole truth?