The more observant among you will have noticed that my surname is not very English. It’s very Welsh. When they found themselves on their uppers in Pembroke Dock during the 1860s, my ancestors got on the Son of Glendower’s equivalent of a coffin ship and didn’t get off until it reached Chile. However, something went wrong out there – maybe they didn’t take to the Merlots of the Maipo valley - and the Gwyther parents appear to have perished, leaving the kids to return to the UK and settle with a maiden aunt in the East End of London.
So I take a distant interest in what goes on West of Bristol and Chester. And it’s not often that news from the Principality fills one with hope or joy. Economically, Wales is not in good shape. It’s hugely reliant on the public sector, and its private sector businesses are too small in number and in size (Wales’ largest quoted company is Admiral insurance with 3,000 staff). The Welsh don’t make as much noise as the Scots or the Northern Irish when complaining about the relationship with Westminster, and as a result, fewer taxpayer pounds have been flung at them. They blew what soft money they got from the EU and HMG trying to attract large manufacturers into Wales with grant aid; these perfidious people then promptly dropped the Welsh in favour of cheaper workforces in Asia or Eastern Europe. [CONTINUES]
In today's bulletin:
Even Northern Rock is seeing loan book improve
'It's the deficit, stupid', Cameron and Clegg tell ministers
A bushel and a peck: wheat prices rise by half
The Milkybars could be on you as Nestle taps nostalgia vote
Editor's blog: The not-so-green green grass of home