Tuesday, 31 January 2017


I have elsewhere described Brexit as "the revenge of the appeasers" in that Chamberlain and company in the 1930s deliberately disengaged from Europe and "faraway countries of which we know nothing". It took Winston Churchill and a world war to bring the reality home. However, I do baulk at labelling Mrs May as "Theresa the Appeaser" as one Labour MP did in the Commons yesterday. As Boris Johnson pointed out, Trump was democratically elected and is held to account by a democratically-elected Congress, both by electoral processes similar to that of the UK. He is hardly a dictator. If there is an appeaser in this matter, it is president Trump himself. He suggested in his election campaign that he would tolerate Russia's annexation of Crimea and Donbas. Putin may theoretically also have been democratically elected, but there are many doubts about the freedom of the process. Fortunately, Mrs May seems to have persuaded the President that it is necessary to maintain NATO.

Another point that was made by several Conservatives in questions to the Foreign Secretary yesterday was that there are eighteen countries which refuse to recognise Israeli passports or even allow entry to holders of passports bearing Israeli visas. This has been going on so long that one tends to forget about it, but for the record I believe that this is wrong. Israel was created by the United Nations a lifetime ago and the eighteen should accept the fact, just as they endorse the UN resolutions against Israeli war crimes and extra-territorial settlements. Two wrongs do not make a right, though, and in any case the logic of the two bans is different. Trump's is aimed at potential terrorist immigrants from predominantly Muslim nations. The objection of the eighteen is that Israel stole the land which she occupies and that she is an illegal state. This may be wrong-headed, but it is coherent, divorced from religion and unlikely now to stir up global unrest. The opposite is true of the Trump executive order. Fortunately, this will expire in spring.

Monday, 30 January 2017

The start of US takeover of global entertainment?

On 30th January 1917, "the first jazz record is cut by 'The Original Dixieland Jazz
              Band' according to Robert Heckendorn."

Friday, 27 January 2017

Another giant passes

Tam Dalyell will probably be most remembered for raising the West Lothian question and for his harrying of Margaret Thatcher over the Belgrano affair. However, in his heyday he was one of the few bridges between politicians and scientists (I came to know of him through his long-running New Scientist column). He would have been appalled at the logic-free decisions taken by the current administrations in London and Washington, He was a spokesman for the ordinary serviceman and an ardent European, both resulting from being a cavalryman in the wasted Germany after the second world war. He had not only seen Belsen, but saw it in context.

He also contributed mightily to the Independent's library of obituaries (where is it now?) not only revealing, from personal acquaintance, facets of celebrity politicians, but also bringing to our attention lesser-known MPs (not all of his own party), engineers and scientists and worthies barely recognised south of the border. If he had a fault, it was taking to heart the motto De mortuis nil nisi bonum. Even allowing for this, Dalyell genuinely appreciated the qualities of many Conservative and Liberal MPs of his generation. He was one of the least tribal of socialists. It is appropriate that the much-reduced online Indy gives him a send-off of the calibre of his own contributions.

I cannot help shedding a tear.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Turning the clock back

No automatic alt text available.
Russian calendar for 1917, pre-calendar reform and pre-revolutions
(acknowledgements to https://www.facebook.com/aleksandr.lozhkin)
I was wrong. In an earlier post, I assumed that Donald J Trump did not mean most of what he promised and that, being inexperienced at the top level of politics, he would have to bring in established advisers from within the system.

In the event, he is already not only fulfilling his promise to turn the clock back for US citizens (stifling Obamacare, restarting a devastating gas pipeline scheme, discriminating against Hispanics and so on) but also embarked on policies which may be bad for global trade and political stability. Things are moving so fast that it is not worth starting a list, but most frightening is his intention on moving the Tel Aviv embassy to Jerusalem and thus burke a two-state Palestine for the next four years.

Even more worrying are most of his selections for cabinet posts. It remains to be seen whether Congress, Republican-controlled though it is, will stomach all his choices.

Into the midst of this Theresa May will stroll, curl up on the White House carpet and wait to have her tummy tickled.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

La Cenerentola

On this day, two hundred years ago, Gioachino Rossini's "La Cenerentola" (Cinderella) was premièred in the Teatro Valle in Rome. As it happens, Rossini is this week's Composer of the Week on Radio 3. One still marvels at the sky-rocketing early career from early beginnings and his amazing fecundity, leading to such wealth that he was able to retire from writing opera at the age of 37.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Judah Ajumbi is right to call for trial of trigger-happy police

Channel 4 News is reporting that the Police Federation is defending the Bristol police pair who tasered the former race relations advisor.The Federation claims that the two were only doing what the public expect of them. One wonders which section of the public they are thinking of. Perhaps there are people out there who still believe it is in order to assume that all people with a dark skin are up to no good, but Bristol has a sizeable Afro-Caribbean component to its population. Race relations in Bristol are not as bad as many cities I have visited, but it is not going to help if there is seen to be one law for the majority and another for the minority. The officers concerned may feel they have a case, but it must be justified in public in court.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Inauguration blanket coverage buried child abuse history

I have complained before about the BBC's obsession with the United States. The rest of the UK media's fixation on Donald J Trump is not far behind. As a consequence, the fall-out from the collapse of the power-sharing administration in Northern Ireland which coincided with the build-up to the inauguration was not covered, though one must acknowledge that BBC Radio has since been catching up. However, there has been practically nothing about the long-overdue inquiry into child abuse in Northern Ireland institutions. Moreover, there is now no Northern Ireland executive to receive and process the inquiry's findings and recommendations.

Time was when the heady mix of child abuse, politicians and high-ranking professionals and the alleged involvement of the security services made at least the second lead in the media. Now the media seem to be complaisant with the Establishment in the playing-down of the findings. To my mind, the proven facts of the Kincora business, let alone the allegations, are more gross than the abuse scandals in England which so obsessed Newsnight.

I am grateful to the persistent and thorough Cathy Fox for the link to Colin Wallace's response to the publication of the report. It is noticeable that not all the inquiry papers are yet online. More will be trickled out. One hopes that there are mainstream media, in addition to Cathy Fox and Private Eye, who are keeping an eye on this.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Just what Swansea City needed

I was quietly confident that Paul Clement was the man for the job of Swansea City manager, as soon as I saw his c.v. He has at last brought confidence back to the team, both in themselves and the fact that he knew how to organise them. It was as much the manner of the victory over Liverpool yesterday as the scoreline that cheered those of us watching on the box and, more importantly, the faithful fans who travelled to Anfield.

I shall go out on a limb and say that Swans' major difficulty at the end of the season, when the team will finish in the middle of the table, or just above it, is to keep Paul Clement on board. If I am wrong, I will publicly apologise, just as Messrs Savage, Toshack and some other football pundits should do when they are proved wrong.

Savage: it would be a mistake if they appointed Clement, it's bizarre;

Toshack: Swansea City will be relegated from the Premier League; the credentials of Clement are questionable

Friday, 20 January 2017

Jammu and Kashmir

It was a rather one-sided debate in the House of Commons yesterday. After a workmanlike opening speech by David Nuttall, Conservative MP for Bury North, honourable members were queueing up to condemn India for violence towards the people of Kashmir, denial of their human rights and censorship of the media. Only Virendra Sharma (Labour, Ealing South) and Bob Blackman (Conservative, Harrow East) spoke up to justify India's holding on to Kashmir by force. Both felt that Pakistan could do no right, while most speakers seemed to feel that India was the only villain. Blackman's condemnation of the Islamic republic was clearly coloured by his support for Israel. One longed for an objective view, and it fell to Steve Baker (Conservative, Wycombe) to suggest that not all the Muslim propaganda material was corroborated. Both Mr Baker and Tom Brake called for an international investigation into the allegations of human rights abuses.

Three things depressed me about the debate

  • It was poorly attended. Considering the fact that it dealt with a dispute between two nuclear-armed powers, that this was only the second debate on the subject in the last twenty years and that descendants of Kashmiri families form a considerable proportion of the Muslim population of the UK, it should have attracted more members;
  • The quality was not great. The passion of most speakers, some of them infrequent and unpractised performers, militated against that and too many repeated the same litany of charges against India;
  • There was no mention of the Commonwealth until the penultimate speech (by Jim Shannon, SDLP). There were many references to the United Nations, but nobody seemed to realise the significance of the fact that the UK, India and Pakistan are all members and recognise the Queen as head of the organisation.

Nobody could have been happy with minister Sharma's stonewalling in his response to the debate:

The long-standing position of the UK is that it can neither prescribe a solution to the situation in Kashmir nor act as a mediator. It is for the Governments of India and Pakistan to find a lasting resolution, taking into account the wishes of the Kashmiri people. In our discussions with both India and Pakistan, we encourage both sides to maintain positive dialogue, but the pace and scope of that dialogue is for them to determine.

Waiting in the wings is China.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

From fake news to fake questions

Nadine Dorries asserted in her sycophantic question to the prime minister yesterday that after Theresa May's speech (n.b., not made to Parliament) sterling had risen to its highest level for two years. At the time Dorries asked her question, the pound stood at just under $1.23 and €1.14 euros. In January 2015, the values were $1.5562 and 1.2787 respectively (from HMRC figures). There had been a brief spike to over $1.24, but this was due as much to a brief worldwide slide in dollar values as to Mrs May's clarification.

Nadine Dorries (Mid Bedfordshire) (Con)

May I congratulate the Prime Minister on her delivery yesterday of an historic, definitive, pragmatic, outward-looking speech that saw the pound rise to its highest level in two years and the FTSE up today? Does she agree that the strong and prosperous UK she has planned would be a nightmare for the Leader of the Opposition and the EU ruling class?

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Presidential office hours

Peter Black draws attention to president-elect Trump's going back on a promise to hit the ground running after his inauguration. There is a precedent. George W Bush did not spend much time in the presidential office, and we know what a success he was.

Jill Saward's self-sacrifice repaid in death

I cannot claim to have known Jill Saward, though I did correspond with her husband-to-be Gavin Drake when he was on CIx (the nearest thing to Facebook in those days when you accessed the Internet via a text-only interface). I do, however, remember the shock when I heard of the Ealing vicarage rape especially as I used to pass the parish church daily in my IT learning days (the old ICL computer training centre was situated in South Ealing Road). I was even more shocked when the Sun disgracefully publicised Jill Saward's details, as laid out in the latest Private Eye. Is it not odd that none of the mainstream media have recalled that appalling breach of privacy? Her response was not only brave but also of great comfort to fellow victims.

Now I learn, thanks to the Daily Post, that not only did she love (understandably) the Lleyn Peninsula, but she held herself back from buying a home there out of consideration for local young people. However, she willed that her mortal remains should be placed there.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Tax haven and sweat shop

This report of chancellor Hammond's negotiating stance tends to confirm my view that the real aim of the Leave EU movement is to allow the City to escape regulation. Waiting in the shadows is the opportunity to remove EU-dictated health and safety law.

[Later] Mrs May's speech (and why did she not explain her thinking to Parliament?) of earlier today did not reassure me.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Canadian reshuffle

Justin Trudeau is not allowing his administration to become stale. His reshuffle includes the youngest female cabinet minister and the first Somali-Canadian.

Particularly interesting is the appointment of Cynthia Freeland as Foreign Minister. A Rhodes scholar, she has journalistic experience of Ukraine, Russia and other parts of eastern Europe, so should provide an objective counter-weight to the incoming representative from Canada's neighbour to the south.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

UK should not pursue an Atlantic trade deal at all costs

We have had cases of infection from bacteria  resistant to most antibiotics available in the UK, but as far as I know, although the people concerned are suffering in various degrees, there has been no fatality as a result. Now there has been a death in the United States.  It seems that the unnamed woman picked up the fatal infection in India but the circumstances for producing such "superbugs"exist in the US. The prophylactic use of antibiotics in agriculture is much better controlled in the EU. We must not allow meat from the US in by the back door, which is what might happen if Conservative zealots insist on a post-Brexit trade deal with the States. The EU managed to resist that in the TTIP negotiations, but I fear our negotiators are pretty feeble compared with those in mainland Europe.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Labour party managers frit*

In the light of yesterday's massive council by-election loss in Sunderland (not to mention another LibDem gain, winning control of Three Rivers District Council), it is not surprising that Labour is in no hurry to move the writ for a by-election in the Copeland constituency.

It would be possible for a party other than Labour to break with convention and move the writ. However, although as second-placed party at the general election, the Conservatives are best placed to take advantage of a Labour collapse, they may not want to risk losing face in the event that Labour hangs on. Likewise, there is no party advantage to Liberal Democrats, fourth in 2015, in pressing for an early election. UKIP, who were third, though ten thousand votes behind Labour, may feel they can take advantage of the situation. But who would want to be seen supporting a motion from the lone UKIP MP, Douglas Carswell? On the other hand, who would want to be seen voting against, especially as if it failed, the vacancy would remain unfilled for the rest of the parliamentary session. As someone remarked on Facebook, it would be a game of poker.

*Lincolnshire dialect for "frightened" as used by Margaret Thatcher of Neil Kinnock http://www.margaretthatcher.org/document/106812

Thursday, 12 January 2017

DfID - a chance missed

The so-called opposition in the House of Commons has yet to probe the government on the matters raised here. In yesterday's International Development Questions, most Labour MPs banged on about illegal Israeli settlements - a justifiable concern, but hardly appropriate to the Department in question.

Instead it was left to the last (no chance of a counter from the other side) for a Conservative MP to lob a friendly question to Rory Stewart who defended both dam construction and the "assistance" in financial management.

Nor was there a question about indirect aid to countries who clearly do not need it, as reported by the Telegraph, Mail and Guardian.

At least Priti Patel was looking at the use of consultants by DfID at an alleged cost of over £1bn.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Failings at Revenue and Customs

I failed to insinuate the term Thamablab into the English language. It was meant to encapsulate the essential sameness of the governments from 1979 to 2010, no matter what their party label. The inspiration was German portmanteau words like "flak", truncating THAtcher, MAjor, BLAir and Brown. (The time for my invention has clearly now passed, but perhaps we could coin "Camay" for the post-2015 government. In that David Cameron and Mrs May have been more intent on surface appearance than actually improving the body of the UK, its coincidence with a beauty soap seems appropriate.)

Anyway, page 5 (Summary) of the National Audit Office's report on HMRC's management of the departmental estate brought the concept back to mind. In 2001, the Labour government did a sale-and-leaseback private finance initiative (PFI) deal with Mapeley STEPS Contractor Ltd (Mapeley).
Under the deal, HMRC sold its freehold properties, which comprised two-thirds of its estate, to Mapeley for £370 million. HMRC immediately leased back the properties from Mapeley, with Mapeley providing facilities management and maintenance services. As HMRC has reduced its workforce over this period, it has moved out of some of these buildings each year. The remaining third of HMRC’s current estate is managed under smaller PFI deals and individual leases with landlords.

2001/2 was the last financial year in which we had a budget surplus, before Gordon Brown embarked on his reckless spending spree which left the UK struggling when confidence in transatlantic financial institutions crashed in 2008. It seems that the 2001/2 figures may have been artificially boosted by such short-term deals as STEPS, pushing the leasing costs over the horizon. Pages 8 to 11 of the report reveal a history of NAO dissatisfaction with the way that Mapeley was monitored, though things did improve with the change of government in 2010. The PFI deal expires in 2021.

To be fair, the NAO concludes:
that the handling of HMRC’s STEPS contract has improved, and is more likely to deliver value for money though significant risks remain. As far as the new programme is concerned, HMRC has already recognised that its original plan was unrealistic and it is considering how it can adjust the scope and timing of the programme to reduce the cost and delivery risk. It is, of course, better management practice to recognise cost underestimates early and to consider options for recovery early as well. However, we think it important for HMRC to step back and consider the benefits afforded by the wider business transformation, and whether they might be reduced or placed at risk by cutting back on, or delaying, the estate plans, before going ahead.

The new programme referred to is a plan to close even more local offices, concentrating on new regional centres. In the House yesterday, Labour members understandably avoided criticism of the PFI deal and concentrated their fire on the loss of employment or increased travel time on the part of HMRC employees as a result of centralisation - though this again was a Gordon Brown initiative.

Also touched on was what to me was the main concern, service to the public, in particular to small businesses. Travel to a regional centre is an expensive hardship and it will be necessary in the case of those wanting to sort out their tax affairs face-to-face, especially in areas where connection to the Internet is impractically slow.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Giants may be forgotten in their lifetime

Nat Hentoff is largely unknown to UK music-lovers today, but he was once the most prolific writer of notes for jazz and related LPs in addition to his other journalism. I must admit that when news of his death came through, my first thought was: I hadn't heard that name in decades, so far had he (and the music he wrote about) slipped from the public consciousness.

There is a full appreciation from US dramatist and critic Terry Teachout, from which this serves as a summary:

Hentoff [was] a technological Luddite who never abandoned the typewriter and never established a social-media beachhead. He might also have been amused—if grimly so—by the fact that many of his obituaries devoted more space to his latter-day career as a civil libertarian than to the writings about jazz with which he made his journalistic name. Sad to say, that makes perfect sense. Not only had the music that Hentoff loved best (he died listening to the records of Billie Holiday) ceased to be central to the American cultural conversation by the time of his death, but he was a First Amendment absolutist who lived to see free speech under siege in his native land, which explains why his impassioned writings about it should now loom so large in memory. Still, few who know his work at all well are in doubt that he will be remembered longest as one of the foremost jazz commentators of the 20th century.

European Parliament presidency: a choice between extremes

euractiv.com reports that:
The European Parliament is expected to elect its President on 17 January, following the decision of incumbent President Martin Schulz to opt for a career in German politics. Unlike previous occasions, there is no agreement between the EPP [Conservatives and nationalists, roughly speaking] and the S&D [socialists and social democrats] to support a common candidate. A total of eight candidates are running, representing all political groups.

Eight may be standing, but there are only three serious candidates. The liberal ALDE is represented by veteran Guy Verhofstadt, but euractiv feels that ALDE does not have enough votes to threaten the two front-runners from the largest blocs. From a cursory glance, Antonio Tajani appears to be a Thatcherite friend of big business while Gianni Pitella's record suggests a love of super-state socialism.

There might have been more support for Verhofstadt if Bepe Grillo's fellow 5 Star members had been quite as liberal as their leader. They had split from the EFDD whose other major constituent was UKIP (thus cutting a source of funding for UKIP at a stroke). However, joining a liberal group was too much for the more nationalistic and reactionary 5 Star members whose extreme statements caused ALDE to vote against the affiliation.

The president of the EP is not a chief executive but more of a presiding officer, as in the Senedd. However, he (and it is practically certain to be a man again this year) is the public and international face of the parliament in addition to his control over parliamentary business, so his importance is more than just ceremonial.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Baltic states never willingly communist

Ambassadors of the three Baltic states have asked the German media to stop referring to Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia as "former Soviet republics", reports the Baltic Times. A better description would seem to be "once Soviet-occupied territories" which reasserted their independence after the USSR's break-up.

The BBC, in its Web news pages at least, is more careful to describe them as "Baltic states" and leave it at that.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

The Golden Apple

Why have we not heard this musical over here? It was clearly a smash when originally produced in New York in 1954. Its composer, Jerome Moross, was also responsible for one of the great movie sound-tracks. There are references to the tunefulness of The Golden Apple. However, not only did it not transfer to London, it also seems to have sunk below the radar in the US.

Moross was unlucky to have been overshadowed by the surge of Rodgers and Hammerstein (Oklahoma, South Pacific, The King and I, Sound of Music) and Lerner and Loewe (My Fair Lady). There were other hits like Damn Yankees, The Pajama GameThe Music Man and Guys and Dolls all of which had West End runs in the mid- to late-1950s. As I recall, the Musicians Union rules on incoming American artists were still in force as well, which must have restricted the number of transfers.

Perhaps another reason for West End management not to take on The Golden Apple was its theme, reinterpreting Greek myths for the twentieth century. In 1949, The Olympians, with music by Sir Arthur Bliss and words by JB Priestley and similarly placing the Greek gods in a non-classical setting, had failed (though largely because of a poor production). (Incidentally, there were two concert revivals of The Olympians, one in the Festival Hall in 1972 and another by Scottish Opera in 1995, both relayed by Radio 3. I remember being charmed by these and therefore puzzled by the opera's neglect.)

Surely there is a place for The Golden Apple in musical theatre producers' schedules in between the super-safe revivals of West End hits and adaptations of high-grossing movies?

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Yegna funding cuts are a distraction

The Express, Mail and Sun have been using British funding of an enterprising girl band in Ethiopia as a stick with which to beat the government over our overseas aid budget. They now have had their way. Not that I disagree that the money involved seems excessive, but the affair is a distraction from the real scandal of the International Development department (DfID). Too much money is going to projects which favour Western contractors and financial manipulators. The results often leave local people worse off than before. Private Eye, which has long campaigned on the subject, will no doubt have something to say on the matter in its next issue.

In the meantime, one trusts that some commercial organisation picks up the baton dropped by the DfID. What these young women are doing is clearly worthwhile and it seems a perfect fit with the Western music industry.

Celebrities and the grim reaper

There was much talk of 2016 being the worst year ever for the death of celebrities. This may well be true (though there are statistical caveats) but the claims that it was a bad year for music rang bells. Sure enough, searching through earlier entries turned up this roll-call of the departed in 2012.

Friday, 6 January 2017

Evidence for Putin hacks is scant, but suggestive

There must be many computer professionals who have felt frustrated at the broadcast media coverage of the Russian hacking dispute. So far we have seen and heard men in suits with no demonstrable IT knowledge, directors of US agencies and the outgoing president on one side, Trump, Putin and Assange on the other in a public "did - didn't" argument, with practically no hard evidence cited to back their cases. Thus the man and woman in the street are guided as to what to believe solely by their judgment of the worth of the people involved. Inevitably, that is bound to be swayed by their political leanings.

There is a Time magazine article which does provide some numbers (literally) to support part of the case against Putin. However, these come from a private organisation. (The Democrats were loth to let the CIA into their computer estate at the time because Hillary Clinton saw federal security agencies as politically biased.) We really need the CIA and official agencies to provide their broader analysis, which can be forensically examined by independent experts.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Israel is not a monolithic state

A good illustration is Prime Minister Netanyahu's response to the conviction in the best traditions of Jewish jurisprudence of an IDF auxiliary for a war crime. One might add the scrupulous examination by the legal authorities of the PM's financial dealings, and those of his colleagues and predecessors.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

New UK EU representative sought

Nick Clegg and Hilary Benn stress the need for an urgent replacement for Sir Ivan Rogers.

However, Mrs May and her fellow anti-Europeans seem to mistrust our civil service, who would normally be expected to provide candidates. Perhaps they should outsource the negotiations, much as they have privatised so many of our public services.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Shooting the messenger

 - or did the messenger not trust the recipients?

People are assuming that the hard men behind the government's drive to take us out of the EU have forced the early retirement of Sir Ivan Rogers. They did not like the confidential advice by Sir Ivan, and leaked by the BBC, that there was considerable resistance within the EU to Brexit, and the obstacles which our negotiators could expect. This was seen in some quarters as "pessimism".

On the other hand, it is reported that the resignation was unexpected. Could it be that Sir Ivan did not relish having to front negotiations with EU representatives, having realised that thanks to Mrs May's troika of Brexit ministers he would not be getting a clear steer on the lines he should take?

He has already been briefed against by the Cameron clique. They seek to blame him for the failure of Cameron's publicity-rich, reality-poor, attempt to renegotiate UK's position within the EU, which was always doomed to failure. It would not be surprising if he chose to avoid further recriminations, when the Article 50 outcome fails to meet public expectations, which appears probable.

Monday, 2 January 2017

EU's Erasmus+

European Parliament and Erasmus+

Loyal readers of this blog and of Liberal Voice may remember last year's campaign to save UK's access to Erasmus, even if we take ourselves out of other features of the EU umbrella. As far as I know, the outcome of that campaign is still hazy but if and until we formally leave the EU (in 2020 at the earliest), the programme will still be open to our students.

In this context, what appears to be a rationalisation of various EU initiatives in the fields of education and job creation looks progressive.

To boost jobs and growth for young people especially, the programme focuses on boosting individual learning, innovation and exchange of good educational practices and supporting European integration studies through the Jean Monnet sub-programme. To address the situation of young people outside the EU and to foster good relations, it also supports higher education in neighbouring and enlargement countries, and international exchanges. The programme supports the European Voluntary Service, involving an estimated 100 000 young people in international volunteering.
Contrary to the previous programme, sport activities are also now a focus of the Erasmus+ programme, with an allocation of €265 million for 2014-2020 to help improve the physical fitness of children and young people in the EU.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

One bright spot to start 2017

WWT Llanelli has just issued this:

We’re pleased to reopen today, after being closed over Christmas as a precautionary measure to protect our birds against avian influenza.
Thank you to everyone for your understanding and warm words and wishes. We hope to see you soon for some New Year fresh air. All our birds look fine - we’re continuing to keep a close eye on them all.
Happy New Year