|Past times with bad co-o-ompany.|
I moan, and shall until I die.
(Pic : via Tumblr)
It ends on a sad note. Firstly the death of Wyn Roberts, who played a pretty critical role in the development and passing of the Welsh Language Act 1993 . It wouldn't have satisfied hardcore Welsh language activists, and won't be celebrated by certain people, but it was perhaps the most important "Welsh law" passed between the Laws in Wales Acts and devolution.
Secondly, it looks as though the long-running A Change of Personnel (ACOP) has gone. Although It was raised by Michael Cridland a few weeks ago, I was hoping it was a temporary glitch. As the blog hasn't reappeared for several weeks I'm going to assume it's permanent.
Although ACOP's posts were increasingly irregular, you could sense the mounting frustration - perhaps apathy too - the author felt towards the state of Welsh politics.
ACOP often flagged up things others didn't, prompting both people like myself to delve into stories further and lengthy debates in the comments section. It's always good to have a grown-up independent voice too, when the early days of the blogosphere - a period where it was more closely entwined with the Assembly itself and party politics - seemed more chaotic and tribal.
I doubt many of us know who was behind ACOP, but if the author is still reading this and isn't considering a return - thank you for your hard work down the years, you're leaving a big gap and will be missed.
Though 2013 was hardly a classic in terms of political events, in Wales, you can point to the resignation of Leighton Andrews as the single "biggest story of the year" within the Bay Bubble.
Though headlines were generally dominated by : the measles epidemic, hospital reorganisations, the passing of the controversial Human Transplantation Act, and, of course, the performance of local health boards, ambulance service and school system. Then there were the two elections on Anglesey, though it's hard to tell if recent polling has brought Plaid back down to earth.
Outside of Wales, there were the deaths of Hugo Chavez, Margaret Thatcher and Nelson Mandela; the resignation of a Pope, the supposed green shoots of a economic recovery, the Syrian crisis (and the Westminster vote to ditch military action) as well as the ever tightening impact of welfare reforms.
As you can tell, covering politics is often a miserable pastime, but it's right to put the negativity aside and look forward.
My census blogs proved more popular than I'd anticipated, and I hope they were useful. Considering I was only going to look at the Welsh language in isolation, you can see how that snowballed.
2014 promises to keep me very busy. I intend to cover the European Parliament elections, though I haven't decided to what extent. There's also the formal conclusion to Part II of the Silk Commission, which is due next spring (and I hope it's a damned side better than Part I).
In May, I aim to mark the 15th anniversary of the National Assembly (because this blog's unlikely to be around to mark any other milestone) with a special look at devolution's successes, failures and its future over the next 15 years.
For fellow "hard nats", I'll finish my look at ethical considerations in relation to independence with cloning, robotics (drones etc.) and hunting. Considering recent media reports, I'm thinking of re-writing my post on space policy too, possibly adding Ordnance Survey and the Met Office to that.
I also intend to have, what have become obligatory, in-depth examinations of two of the "biggies" – drugs policy (let's hope it doesn't turn out like the last time that was raised on the Welsh blogosphere!) and foreign policy.
The latter's still in the balance as it might be too big for me to take on. It could easily be 10-15 parts and I'm considering giving all of August 2014 over to cover it.
I don't intend to cover the Scottish independence referendum (other than the result and fallout). I believe it's a matter for Scots alone, and if I were a betting man I'd be laying on a comfortable no vote – though both could change.
In addition, there'll be the usual stuff from Bridgend and National Assembly - hopefully including more detailed coverage of Bridgend Council itself.
The Democratic People's Republic of Carmarthenshire will inevitably feature too. I'm considering whether to "recall myself" should a certain WAO public interest report be published, but in all honesty I've done enough this year to give it a miss....until January. My best wishes go to Caebrwyn for her appeal hearing, due tomorrow.
I'll also give my links to other sites/bloggers/AMs a revamp.
Repeating what I did in 2012, and to tide you over until the new year, here are my most popular posts of 2013 in descending order :
- Vibrant & Viable Places – A new regeneration strategy
- Census 2011 : National Identity & Ethnicity
- Twinning the Nation – What nations are like Wales?
- Census 2011 : What's stunting Welsh?
- Welsh Government's low stakes on problem gambling
- Life, Ethics & Independence IV – Stem Cells
- The deal's done – So what next for Cardiff Airport?
- Digging deep into deals done dirt cheap
- Local Sovereignty I – Principles, Practices & Problems
- Up Shipton Creek
Honourable mentions :
- Newport's M4 coronary bypass
- Broadcasting Wales II –The Press
- A return of the Bank of Wales?
- Cry 'Haggett', and let slip the blogs of war
- Tomorrow's Enterprise - Assembly Youth Entrepreneurship Report
- South Wales Hospital Programme - The Evidence
- Welsh rugby : The dragon eating itself to death (I told you so!)
So unless I "have to" post again over the next fortnight or so - take care and enjoy yourselves!