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Archives: Reviews

Tony Heath July 26, 2018

Tony Heath Tribune 30/04/09 Oh for the good old days when colour defined political parties by hues recognisable, clear and unambiguous. A certain fading has occurred in recent years, a watering down occasioned not just by a glib whitewash drip from on high but by “events, dear boy, events”. True blue and radical red have both received the loving attentions of politicians groping for power while an increasingly sceptical and disenchanted electorate turns its back.…

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Martin Shipton

Martin Shipton Wales Online 11/04/09 Party activists urge Labour to keep Plaid Cymru on the team Welsh Labour should ditch tribalism and forge firmer links with Plaid Cymru and others on the socialist left, two of its leading party activists have said. In their book, Clear Red Water: Welsh Devolution and Socialist Policies, Nick Davies and Darren Williams provide a detailed critique of the differences between New Labour and Welsh Labour. They propose that Labour…

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Robert Griffiths

Robert Griffiths Labour Briefing 05/09 This book arrives as Wales is poised for another battle in the long campaign for substantial devolution of powers from Westminster and Whitehall. It is a particularly refreshing contribution to the debate because it is written from a left of centre, pro-devolution standpoint within the labour movement. Such a perspective still retains some novelty, given the traditional hostility to Welsh national aspirations and even to the Welsh language from most…

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David Moon

David Moon Renewal: a Journal of Labour Politics 2009 Clear Red Water is a valuable publication, highly recommended for student, politician and activist alike. It is also a political book in the most engaged sense of the term: a mix of history text, policy outline and political polemic. Less an academic manuscript, this is more a resource for reminding, illustrating and educating readers as to what its authors see as the important gains and individual…

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David Barnes

David Barnes www.gwales.com 05/09 This meticulously researched and impeccably produced volume is the remarkable achievement of Welsh Labour Grassroots, a network of left and centre-left activists in the Wales Labour Party who campaign for democratic renewal and the development of a socialist policy agenda within the Welsh Labour Party. It is not surprising to discover that they regret Labour’s shift to the right under Messrs Blair and Brown. They recoil with distain from the Bush/Blair…

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John McAllion

John McAllion Scottish Left 2009 The maverick Labour MP Paul Flynn has been around Welsh politics since being elected as a councillor in the early 1970’s. In his foreword, he describes “Clear Red Water” as a “delight”, yet admits to being shamed by the extent to which this polemic on Welsh devolution and socialist politics has exposed his own lack of awareness about the real achievements of the Welsh Assembly and Government since 1999. His…

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Donald Norwood July 23, 2018

Donald Norwood Journal of the United Reformed Church History Society I first encountered Henry Richard when writing about the laity in Congregationalism, for his claim to fame here is as the first lay Chairman of the Congregational Union in 1876. Not all Congregationalists welcomed the distinction of clergy and laity and in Richard’s case it was misleading for he was ordained as a Congregational Minister and served as such for fifteen years before feeling called…

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Del Gwynfyd Harris

Del Gwynfyd Harris Calon 01/10/2012 This readable and fascinating book gives an insight into the life of a Henry Richard, who remained faithful all his life to his understanding of Christian nonviolence. Richard was born in Tregaron in 1812 and trained as a Nonconformist minister in London. Although his ‘lot was cast in London’, he remained rooted in Welsh nonconformist tradition and culture. Although a successful minister, he gave up his post to become full…

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Simon Parker July 13, 2018

Simon Parker Western Morning News 04/08/2011 It was said of the great Victorian novelist Chalres Lee that “there is nothing in his dialect to estrange the English reader”. Unfortuntely even native speakers who pick up an excellent new anthology of Cornish dialect might have trouble making sense of the title, which is a pity because its contents are both of a high quality and immensely welciome. Thus Es Et has been compiled by Les Merton, himself…

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Cyril Jones

Cyril Jones Morning Star Online 28/01/2011 The couplet “If you are born Cornish/then the past always weighs heavy on you” from the poem Curse sums up many of the themes in this selection. Although the places that have inspired many of the poems are not confined to Cornwall, the reader is continually aware that they are marked with the historical sensibilities of the seafaring, tin-mining Cornishman. The prize-winning poem The Carvings at Treloyhan describe how…

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