National news coverage of Wales is rubbish. It just is.
Don’t take my word for it. Last year’s scathing BBC Trust report was just one document detailing how bad reporting of Wales is.
With that in mind, and being a Welshman in exile, I have set up this blog. I intend to trawl the internet picking up the most interesting stories from Wales and posting my take on them here.
Be warned, there may be ranting…
Anyway, to get us underway is a review of some of the biggest, most popular, and weirdest stories to come out of Wales in 2008.
The murder of Catherine and Ben Mullany on their honeymoon in the Caribbean was one of the most shocking and tragic stories of 2008.
A doctor from Pontardawe in the Swansea Valley, Mrs Mullany died after being shot on the last day of her honeymoon. Her Husband, Ben, also died a week later from his injuries.
The funeral service held at Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff was attended by more than 900 people.
In Welsh politics, 2008 showed us the best and worst of the Assembly.
In July a survey revealed that three female members of the Welsh Assembly had been victims of rape.
Nerys Evans AM released the findings of her survey to coincide with the publication of a report into violence against women.
It was an impressive and brave move, and sent a powerful message about the prevalence of violence against women.
It also earned an important report some vital publicity.
Less impressive were the revelations in August that Assembly Members had spent £400,000 of tax-payers’ money on furniture for their Cardiff-based homes.
One North Wales AM, Leslie Griffiths, reportedly spent £2000 on a sofa.
Revelations later in the year that two Conservative AMs, Nick Bourne and Alun Cairns, had bought iPODS using their expenses allowance, also caused outrage.
The anger was not diminished by Bourne’s spokesman, claiming the AM only used it to listen to news podcasts, and to help him learn Welsh. He didn’t realise it wasn’t what was on the iPOD that was the problem…
It was also revealed that Brian Gibbons, a local government minister on a wage of over £70k, claimed £16.50 for a Royal British Legion wreath.
A miserable year for Labour was compounded by the collapse of their vote in the Welsh local elections. First Minister Rhodri Morgan conceded his party had ‘taken a belting.’
In the world of entertainment Rhys Ifans broke up with girlfriend Sienna Miller and then spent the rest of the year ‘getting over it’. North Wales singer Duffy had spectacular success including a number one single.
In December a couple from Talacre claimed TV presenter Paul O’Grady had ‘Savaged’ their reputations in his autobiography At My Mother’s Knee and Other Low Joints.
Michael Long and his parents Rose and George defended themselves against claims in O’Grady’s book about the time when they were neighbours in Birkenhead.
In environment news it was reported that greenhouse gas emissions in Wales continued to increase despite initiatives to the contrary.
Agriculture minister Elin Jones continued to maintain an anti-GM position, while Environment minister Jane Davidson pushed forward with challenging targets for waste recycling and generation of electricity from renewable sources.
In December approval was given for the Gwynt y Mor wind farm off the North Wales coast.
In sport Rugby fans were delighted to see Wales secure the Grand Slam in March after hammering France 29-12.
In September there was scandal at the Paralympics as Becca Chin was stripped of her silver medal after games officials decided she was not disabled enough.
Wrexham Football Club dropped out of the football league after 87 years.
My personal favourite story of the year was this.
When a translation request was sent to Swansea council for a road sign they received a remarkably quick response. The sign was put up and all was fine until someone spotted that it said “I am not in the office at the moment. Send any work to be translated”.
And finally, the daftest story of the year has to be from the Daily Post who reported how a missing cockatiel was reunited with its owner after chirping its name down its rescuer’s phone.
A quiet news week then?
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