Monthly Archives: May 2013

The Coach – Bridgend – the best pub in Wales!

Well done to The Coach for winning this accolade. As you will see from the top 20, in bold, we are blessed with numerous fine hostelries this side of Cardiff, and a good number in Cardiff too.

It is a tough industry to succeed in these days, as witnessed by the number of pubs that have closed down. Those that survive have to work harder, and we should applaud those that go the extra mile and become an asset to their communities, while remaining drink aware ( ).

1. The Coach (Bridgend)
The Bush (St Hilary, Glamorgan)
3. Y Mochyn Du (Cardiff)
4. The Conway (Pontcanna, Cardiff)
5. The Boars Head (Pontyclun, RCT)
Bunch of Grapes (Pontypridd, RCT)
7. Plough and Harrow (Monknash, Glamorgan)
The Sun Inn (Llangollen, Denbighshire)
9. City Arms (Cardiff)
10. The Lansdowne (Cardiff)
11. Blue Anchor (Aberthaw, Glamorgan)
12. Butchers Arms (Llandaff, Cardiff)
13. The Albany (Roath, Cardiff)
14. The Ship Inn (Tresaith, Ceredigion)
15. Ship and Castle (Aberystwyth, Ceredigion)
16. Black Boy Inn (Caernarfon, Gwynedd)
17. The Greyhound (Llanrhidian, Gower)
18. Goat Major (Cardiff)
19. Otley Arms (Treforest, RCT)
20. The Ancient Briton (Penycae, Powys)

Towards a Welsh industrial strategy (NEF)


“In the face of globalisation, prolonged economic crisis and a skewed UK economy, Wales needs to look to itself to mobilise new sources of sustainable industrial investment.”

“A Welsh industrial strategy must break with the past and seek to identify the strengths (and weaknesses) of the Welsh economy. It must build on successful initiatives by the Welsh government in the recession, but also on Waless particular economic geography and industrial structure. Crucially, in order to carry the necessary authority to deliver the strategy would require a government able to set central priorities for development.”

“Key recommendations of the report include:

Supporting infrastructure improvements where needed
Supporting a shift into renewable energy production
Sustaining local supply chains, relocalising production where possible
Using novel legal and institutional forms like co-operatives to deliver the above.”

“In addition, an effective industrial strategy would require wide social and political support with clear social goals sustaining decent secure work and meeting pressing environmental needs.”

Full report PDF:


24 hours to protect legal aid (38 degrees)

Dear Andy,

Your access to justice is under threat. The government is planning a fresh assault on whats left of legal aid. Under their proposals people will no longer be able to choose the lawyer who represents them – instead they will be allocated the cheapest lawyer the government can find. Tomorrow is the last public event where we can make our views on this heard. [1]

Cut-price justice is no justice at all. These plans turn a fundamental human right into a cost-cutting race to the bottom.

And the race has some pretty surprising competitors: current contenders whove said theyll bid for the contract include the trucking company, Eddie Stobart, and G4S, the security firm who botched their job at the Olympic Games. Not to mention Serco, who rely on tax havens to hide the huge profits they made from delivering public services. [2]

Is this really our governments idea of justice? Handed out by trucking companies, tax dodgers and security bunglers? Theyre running a consultation to feel out whether the public will put up with these plans. Lets tell them loud and clear: we wont.

Click here to sign the petition demanding the government scrap their legal aid proposals:

The consultation gives us a chance to convince the government to change their minds on this. The petition was started by Maura McGowan, 38 Degrees member and Chairman of the Bar Council. If we can get tens of thousands of people to sign it, we can turn the consultation into a public outcry – and put massive pressure on the government to scrap these ludicrous plans.

But we dont have long – the petition is being delivered tomorrow. Click here to sign it now:

Imagine that you or someone you care about was arrested and couldnt afford a lawyer. Right now, you would have access to high quality, publicly-funded legal aid, from a lawyer you trust. If the Governments proposals go through, all that will change. Huge contracts will be given to a small number of organisations that offer one-size-fits-all legal services at the lowest price.

But access to justice isnt the only thing at stake here. Its another move by the government to privatise vital services. Companies like G4S and Serco are expected to bid on these contracts. These groups already have worrying ties to our prisons and police force – do we really want them representing us in court as well? [3]

Lets persuade the government to rethink these plans – sign the petition now:

Thank you for standing up for the right to justice,

Megan, Alex, Susannah and the 38 Degrees team

[1] BBC: Legal aid: Government consults on £220m savings plan:
[2] Guardian: Eddie Stobart drives into legal aid row
[3] Guardian: Privatised justice is no justice at all:

Milliband betrays his own father – as well as every socialist leaning Labour supporter. (Green Left is the home of modern socialism) Tory Blair and criticising his dad, Ralph Miliband, the Labour leader said the choice was not between socialism and capitalism but “responsible” and “irresponsible” capitalism. What an oxymoron!!

Green Left is the ant-capitalist ecosocialist group within the Green Party of England and Wales.

Wales’ Green Left contact:

Andy Chyba:

Freedom of belief is a human right – support our new campaign (Rationalist Association)

Dear Andy,

I am writing to ask for your support for a new campaign being run by the Rationalist Association. Its called the Apostasy Project. We aim to provide information, support and help to those who are trying to leave their religion.

For many of us choosing what to believe is no big deal – no one is forcing dogma on us, we can follow our conscience in a free society. But many others are not so lucky. Losing the faith of their family or community can be painful and disorientating. Leaving their religion can mean not just leaving behind god, but family, friends and their community. They might even face retribution.

People like Vicky Simister, who grew up as a Jehovahs Witness in Ireland. For Vicky leaving the faith was like going through a break-up. For me it was both figurative realising the God I had committed my life to wasnt real and grieving that and literal, my family and friends shunned me and I had to cope with that rejection and rebuild my life.

Faced with this painful dilemma its not clear where to turn. Jonny Scaramanga was brought up a devout Christian and attended a specialist evangelical school, but his conscience insisted he renounce his faith, at great personal cost: For me the fundamentalist experience was desperately lonely, but the secular one was even worse, because it involved leaving behind the few friends I did have. I would have been grateful for a place that combined a chance to make friends with a place to discuss important questions.

Vicky and Jonny have both now rebuilt their lives, and are part of the Apostasy Project team who want to help others in the same predicament. People like this ex-Muslim, who spoke to us on the condition we did not reveal her identity: I consider myself an atheist, but I have not told my family. I am in the closet. I’m ready to come out, but I need support

The Apostasy Project aims to help people like her, in Britain and around the world (we have already been contacted by a Mormon in Utah, an atheist in Nigeria and even an interfaith Minister who wants to help fight religious coercion). We desperately want to help, but well need your financial support to do it. We want to compile useful resources (including video), create an online space with a sense of community and staff an online helpline to answer questions and share experiences with those in need.

Our target is £20,000. If everyone receiving this message gave just £5 we could start helping people next week.

Please visit this page where you can find a short film featuring some of our team including Jonny and our anonymous ex-Muslim friend. I hope you will be moved by what you hear and consider making a donation, which you can do directly from that page or by text message.

We want to help more people enjoy the benefits of free thought. People like former Catholic Rory Fenton (another member of our team):

I know how difficult it can be to accept a loss of faith but I also know what it’s like on the other side, to be out and fully yourself. I wish I could have had access to something like this as a teenager and my hope for others is that they might be spared some of the struggle I went through.

Thanks for your support

Caspar Melville
CEO, Rationalist Association

The ‘frackers’ target land between Merthyr Mawr and Broadlands

Reference P/13/322/FUL
Status Undecided
Case Officer Tony Gore
Decision By 26-06-13
Neighbours Consultation Started : 02-05-13, Comments Due : 30-05-13
Site Notice Posted : 08-05-13, Displayed Until : 29-05-13

From the map – seen via the attachment at the bottom of the post – you will see that the whole of Merthyr Mawr village is less than 1km (0.6 miles) from the proposed drilling site, as is a big chunk of the Broadlands estate (the SW quarter). The rest of Brodalands, most of Laleston, Ogmore and numerous farms and isolated rural homes are all within a 1 mile radius.

Why should you be concerned?

This is phase one of plans to industrialise the countryside, with full production requiring well pads at intervals of a just a couple of miles apart across the whole region, to produce a fossil fuel via FRACKING – an extreme, hazardous method, that we simply do not need to even touch. This part of the world is uniquely blessed with the abundant renewable energy options that offer sustainability and true energy security, without exacerbating the coming problems of accelerating climate change.

The people of the Vale of Glamorgan have made it clear that they will not tolerate any aspect of this industry.

For all the information you could possibly want about fracking, there are many pages of information to be found here:

Look also to the Frack-Free Wales group:

Get your comments in to Planning Officer Tony Gore – preferably before the official deadline of 30th May – but do it any way.

This may just be an exploratory drilling operation, but it is the thin end of a very sinister wedge!!

 Click on map to enlarge