Archive for March, 2011

25 Mar 2011

New High Sheriff for West Glamorgan

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Susan Waller, who served as the Lord Mayor of Swansea during 2007-08 has been named as the new High Sheriff of West Glamorgan. She will be inaugurated in her post at a ceremony at St Peter’s Church on 19th April 2011. She takes over the reigns of High Sheriff from Rowland Jones Esq, a well known local businessman.

There is a High Sheriff for each county in England and Wales. High Sheriffs’ functions are largely representational.  They attend judges sitting in local courts and provide hospitality for them, and many are active in local and national schemes that reflect their historical functions.

High Sheriffs are appointed to serve for a fixed term of one year.  The post is unpaid and the general expenses of the office are borne personally by the holder.  The system of appointing High Sheriffs reflects the antiquity of the office.  It is the responsibility of each High Sheriff to provide the names of people suitable to serve in the future.  These names are added to the list of Sheriffs, and every November at a ceremony in the High Court the Lord Chief Justice and three other judges formally add as many new names for each county as are needed to ensure that there are Sheriffs in nomination for each of the next three years.  A Sheriff needs to own property in the county for which he or she is nominated.  The following March The Queen, at a meeting of the Privy Council, formally selects one of the three nominated Sheriffs to serve for the next twelve months by literally pricking a hole through his or her name on the List with a bodkin.

Mrs Waller, who was first elected as a Newton Councillor in 1986, has in the past, worked as a teacher at the former Gowerton Girls’ Grammar School. She also went on to work at Swansea Institute and Gorseinon College, as well as teach English to Vietnamese refugees. The latter of which brought her in contact with Swansea Bay REC’s preceding organisation, the West Glamorgan Community Relations Council.

She served on the Executive Committee of the organisation in the 1980s and cherishes fond memories of her experiences. She continued to support the work of Swansea Bay REC in later years. Mrs Waller resigned from her Council responsibilities last year for personal reasons.


11 Mar 2011

Libya – Protest Vigil in Swansea

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Members of Swansea and South West Wales communities with Libyan links and connections will be putting on a peaceful protest vigil in Castle Gardens in the City Centre of Swansea on Saturday 12 March 2011 commencing at 1pm.

Around 100 members of the Libyan communities live or work in the area and they have been totally immersed in praying for the welfare of their families and friends in various parts of Libya. The vigil is being held to show the community’s support for those being subjected to war and internal upheavals. South West Wales’ Member of European Parliament (MEP), Derek Vaughan will be addressing the gathering as will the Swansea West Member of Parliament (MP), Geraint Davies. A cross party selection of political figures will also feature in this vigil which is due to end by 3pm.

11 Mar 2011

Japan – Disaster Strikes Twice

No Comments Current News, World News

At 05:46 hours GMT (14:46 Japanese Local Time), an earthquake measuring an earth shattering 8.9R hit the north east of Japan.  Immediately following the earthquake a massive wall of water, up to 33 feet high, started sweeping everything in its way from coastal areas because of a Tsunami which developed following the earthquake.

This is regarded as the most powerful earthquake in Japan’s living memory, since records began.

There are numerous incomplete reports on the number of casualties. It is known to be at least 350 dead and hundreds missing. It is expected that in total around 1000 people would have lost their lives once the full extent of the disaster is known. The combination of factors in this natural disaster scenario has meant that an emergency has been declared at the Fukushima power plant. This happened as a result of failure of the cooling system in one of its reactors when it shut down automatically because of the earthquake.

Our thoughts are with the people of Japan wherever they may be.  Let us hope that the devastation which has already occurred is the end of the tsunami as reports suggest that many Pacific islands are bracing themselves to encounter the tsunami in the near future.

08 Mar 2011

International Women’s Day 2011

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Today is the one hundredth anniversary of celebrating International Women’s Day. It was 100 years ago, on 19th March 1911, that International Women’s Day was first officially honoured in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. The first celebratory rallies were attended by more than 1 million women campaigning for women’s rights to work, vote, be trained, to hold public office and end discrimination The celebration was moved to 8th March just before the first World War in 1913.

International Women’s Day is now an official holiday in a number of countries from Asia, Europe, Africa and South Americas.  Whilst the world around us has seen significant developments, for example women astronauts and Prime Ministers of large nations, many women even today believe that the patriarchal society of yesteryears still has a long way to go before complete freedom from discrimination is achieved. However, given the advances, it is accepted that the future holds virtues in celebrating successes rather than bemoaning failures of society.

Within the Swansea and Neath Port Talbot areas, the Neath Port Talbot (NPT) Tigers’ Female Club is celebrating the event at Aberavon Beach Hotel on 9th March 2011 between 18:00 and 21:00 hours. NPT Tigers Female Club may be contacted via their email address: npt-tigersfemale(@) or through their website:

07 Mar 2011

Ethnic diversity and inequality: ethical and scientific rigour in social research

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An investigation into the desirability and feasibility of developing guidance to help decide when and how ethnicity should be included in social policy-relevant research projects.

Researchers Sarah Salway, Ruth Barley, Peter Allmark, Kate Gerrish, Gina Higginbottom and George Ellison, working on a report that has just been published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, have shed some light on the use of ethnic diversity in social research.

The paper addresses issues about the lack of the use of ethnic information when social research is conducted. It goes on to put forward challenges that have to be overcome when using ethnic information, The aims of the research were:

  • (i) synthesise key ethical and scientific issues relating to ethnicity in social research;
  • (ii) explore current concerns and practices among social researchers; and
  • (iii) identify factors that support or hinder the use and impact of guidance on research practice.”

The researchers have produced a very worthwhile set of guidance, for social researchers, in their conclusion to this research. You can find the full research report HERE or a summary of the report HERE.

05 Mar 2011

Welsh Referendum 2011

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On Friday, 4th March 2011, the Welsh electorate has given a resounding ‘Yes’ to a referendum which asked them whether the devolved Welsh Assembly Government should have primary law making powers in the 20 major areas of devolved responsibility. These policy areas, such as health, education, the environment and transport, are where currently any laws which affect Wales have to be rubber-stamped by the MPs in the House of Commons before it becomes law. Whilst the referendum took place on Thursday 3rd March 2011, the results were announced on Friday.

Supporters for a ‘Yes’ campaign, which included all the major political parties in Wales, have felt that the extra step of MPs’ approval has been an unnecessary burden. The ‘No’ campaigners have on the other hand felt that there was a need for a second house to verify any laws passed in Wales before they are applied to Wales. It has become apparent throughout the period of canvassing that the ‘No’ campaigners have sought to question the capability of the devolved government in respect of governing itself.

National Assembly for Wales was formed after a major referendum in 1997 which asked the people of Wales whether there should be a publicly elected body in Wales which should look after Welsh affairs exclusively under the guidance of central government in London. At the time 50.3% of the people of Wales narrowly voted ‘Yes’ and 49.7% voted ‘No’ to the proposal.The turnout for the 1997 referendum was 50.1%.

The 2011 referendum saw a dramatic drop in the turnout of voters, down to 35.4% of all voters. Political commentators are pointing to the fact that this low turnout is as a result of voter apathy and ought to be addressed by the politicians. A county-by-county analysis is given below for the 2011 referendum:


  1. Authority

  2. Blaenau Gwent
  1. Yes votes

  2. 11,869
  1. % Yes

  2. 68.9
  1. No votes

  2. 5,366
  1. % No

  2. 31.1
  1. Turnout

  2. 32%
  1. Bridgend
  1. 25,063
  1. 68.1
  1. 11,736
  1. 31.9
  1. 35.4%
  1. Caerphilly
  1. 28,431
  1. 64.3
  1. 15,751
  1. 35.7
  1. 34.5%
  1. Cardiff
  1. 53,427
  1. 61.4
  1. 33,606
  1. 38.6
  1. 34.9%
  1. Carmarthenshire
  1. 42,979
  1. 70.8
  1. 17,712
  1. 29.2
  1. 44%
  1. Ceredigion
  1. 16,505
  1. 66.2
  1. 8,412
  1. 33.8
  1. 43.8%
  1. Conwy
  1. 18,368
  1. 59.7
  1. 12,390
  1. 40.3
  1. 33.5%
  1. Denbighshire
  1. 15,793
  1. 61.8
  1. 9,742
  1. 38.2
  1. 34.1%
  1. Flintshire
  1. 21,119
  1. 62.1
  1. 12,913
  1. 37.9
  1. 29.2%
  1. Gwynedd
  1. 28,200
  1. 76
  1. 8,891
  1. 24
  1. 43.1%
  1. Merthyr Tydfil
  1. 9,136
  1. 68.9
  1. 4,132
  1. 31.1
  1. 30.2%
  1. Monmouthshire
  1. 12,381
  1. 49.4
  1. 12,701
  1. 50.6
  1. 35.4%
  1. Neath Port Talbot
  1. 29,957
  1. 73
  1. 11,079
  1. 27
  1. 37.6%
  1. Newport
  1. 15,983
  1. 54.8
  1. 13,204
  1. 45.2
  1. 27.8%
  1. Pembrokeshire
  1. 19,600
  1. 55
  1. 16,050
  1. 45
  1. 38.3%
  1. Powys
  1. 21,072
  1. 51.6
  1. 19,730
  1. 48.4
  1. 39.7%
  1. Rhondda Cynon Taf
  1. 43,051
  1. 70.7
  1. 17,834
  1. 29.3
  1. 34.4%
  1. Swansea
  1. 38,496
  1. 63.2
  1. 22,409
  1. 36.8
  1. 32.8%
  1. Torfaen
  1. 14,655
  1. 62.8
  1. 8,688
  1. 37.2
  1. 33.4%
  1. Vale of Glamorgan
  1. 19,430
  1. 52.5
  1. 17,551
  1. 47.5
  1. 39.7%
  1. Wrexham
  1. 17,606
  1. 64.1
  1. 9,863
  1. 35.9
  1. 26.8%
  1. Isle of Anglesey
  1. 14,011
  1. 64.8
  1. 7,620
  1. 35.2
  1. 43.5%