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Getting it right

Betsan Powys | 13:23 UK time, Thursday, 15 November 2007

Politicians, said Rhodri Morgan a few minutes ago, rate communicators but few ever touch people's souls like Ray Gravell did.

He was speaking at a packed Stradey Park, talking not only to the thousands who were there in their scarlet and black but to the many, many thousands who were watching this remarkable funeral on television.

The speech was pretty much 'off the cuff' we were told this morning - a bit of a gamble where our First Minister's concerned - but he got it right. He spoke, mostly in Welsh by the way, about a man who had C-Y-M-R-U written in his bones, who was a Welshman not just 'acha dydd Sadwrn' - on Saturdays - but every day, week and month of every year.

And while the man from Mynydd y Garreg might not have expected to hear the Tebbit Test mentioned at his funeral, Rhodri Morgan's own version - the Hen Wlad fy Nhadau test - would have had his utter approval. Every line of the national anthem spoke of Ray Gravell said the First Minister: he passed with flying colours.

Grav would have enjoyed the reference to poet Waldo Williams' "Cymru'n Un" as well I suspect, the translation of 'One Wales' that's become the semi-official title of this coalition government surprisingly quickly.

I've just popped down to the canteen and the television screens are all showing the funeral. At the sandwich bar, the talk is of the funeral, one civil servant wondering whether the death of such a Cymro as Ray Gravell would have touched so many people just a decade ago? Would a funeral conducted more in Welsh than in English not have caused more discomfort back then? I tread carefully but it's an interesting thought.

Incidentally the six o'clock news are running a Welsh story today - one about the Assembly Government's plans to hold a consultation on the use of electric collars on dogs and cats. They're minded to ban things like the 'Bark Terminator' but you won't be surprised to learn that "there are strong views for and against" their use. They want to get it right and both the Animal Welfare Act and the Government of Wales Act require them to consult first.

I've just got a call from another bit of the BBC asking whether I knew that the Kennel Club had been to Cardiff last week and had 'tested the collar on AMs?'

I'll leave it there.

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Astonishingly moving funeral - Hywel Teifi excellent as well - done with dignity and celebration. A fitting tribute to the man and to the outpour of National grief.

I wonder if Ray's importance lies in that he is symbolic of the 1960s/1970s resurgence of a Cymraeg identity, when successes in sport, politics and civil rights made anything seem possible?

Please get your figures on St Athan right -- want to put a bet on it? Its 19bn. And where did this figure of 5,000 jobs come from? That is pure spin! BBC Peter Black and Huw Lewis and Bryant all quoting figures that are wrong, wrong ,wrong. This is misleading and dishonest!
How many jobs at St Athan? 1,100 and nothing like near 5,000 jobs promised and that Rhodri Morgan was drinking champagne to celebrate!

PCS the union that represents many MOD staff says that the number of jobs in scope of package 1 has dropped from 1500 to 1100. These 400 posts are those not directly linked to training delivery. Package 2 has been dumped by the government as it is too expensive.

Time for some honesty from our politicians!!

This contract will be the largest PFI/PPP project ever undertaken by the Ministry of Defence and will be the largest partnering arrangement ever undertaken in the UK. A Private Finance Initiative (PFI) for DTR in simplistic terms means that the winning consortia will effectively own all of the real estate and services for training for the next 25 years. For this they will be paid an annual sum,and must, by law, make a profit for their shareholders. The contract is worth £19 billion

They couldn't make a privatised railway work so we need to be saved from private arms companies
running military training!!
For more information See http://www.cynefinywerin see also our blog

our briefings on:Qinetiq -

Raytheon -

and our cluster bombs press release -

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