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Council tackles antisemitism

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Cllr Edward Thomas: Introduced motion

CARMARTHENSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL voted unanimously to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism on Wednesday (Oct 10).

Introducing the motion, Llandeilo councillor Edward Thomas said that antisemitism was a blight on history which continued to this day. Referring to his own studies at Swansea University, he told members that while they might all be familiar of the tales of Crusades what they might not know was that on their way to the Holy Land the Crusaders slaughtered Jewish populations on the way, while the Saracen Turks treated the Jews far better.

He noted that the Welsh Government had adopted the IHRA’s definition of antisemitism and was committed to tackling the pernicious and persistent racism antisemitism represents.

The motion was formally seconded by Cllr Sue Allen.

Supporting the motion, Cllr Alun Lenny observed that antisemitism had a role to play in the colonisation of Wales by the English. He reminded members that the money to build the Norman invaders’ castles in Wales had been borrowed from Jewish bankers and that, in order to get out of repaying it, the Jewish bankers had been slaughtered during one of England’s frequent outbursts of xenophobia and antisemitism.

Cllr Bill Thomas also supported the motion. He noted that when the Welsh Government adopted the IHRA definition, First Minister Carwyn Jones said that the Welsh Government was determined to ensure that Wales continued to be a friendly and tolerant place to live, study and work.

He said that adopting this measure was a sign that Carmarthenshire promoted those values within its own borders.

He alluded to the increase in casual racism since the Brexit referendum, the outcome of which appears to be used to justify xenophobic and racist abuse.

Cllr Alan Speake said that he was pleased that the County Council was bringing the Holocaust and the history behind it to the attention of those in education and reiterated that the best way to combat the racism of which antisemitism is a part was through education.

Cllr Andre McPherson spoke from his personal experience. He recounted that as a child in Exeter, his grandparents had to explain to him why there was swastika painted on to the synagogue they attended. That same synagogue had only recently been the subject of a further attack of racist vandalism when its doors were set ablaze. He said that abuse continues to this day and that antisemitism was not only a matter of history.

Labour leader Cllr Rob James welcomed the motion. He said it was essential that the effects of war, violence, and racism needed to be at the forefront of people’s minds, particularly as bigotry and antisemitism appeared to be growing in strength.

The motion was unanimously passed.

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Conservatives in disarray over alleged Christmas party lockdown breach

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THE CONSERVATIVE Party is investigating the attendance of senior Senedd members and staff at a Christmas party held during December’s lockdown.

Lockdown restrictions prohibit mixing with people outside your own household.

The Welsh restrictions barring such gatherings follow the basic outline of those imposed by the Conservative UK Government in December.

Those attending the drinks party included Paul Smith, the Conservative Chief of Staff at the Senedd, Darren Millar, the Party’s Chief Whip and campaign coordinator, and Preseli Pembrokeshire MS and Conservative Senedd Group Leader Paul Davies.

The Herald understands that a Labour Senedd Member who attended the Party has been suspended by the Labour Senedd Group pending its own investigation.

The Conservatives’ embarrassment at talking the talk but not walking the walk is intensified by Darren Millar’s presence at the shindig.

In May, Mr Millar led calls for Wales’ Health Minister Vaughan Gething to be sacked for eating a bag of chips in a park with one of his own children.

If the Conservative Party follows the logic of their previously stated positions, Mr Millar’s and Mr Davies’ futures look bleak indeed.

With a Senedd election only months away, the revelations have thrown the Conservatives into disarray.

If they do nothing, the Conservatives will – at the very least – face claims they are hypocrites.

If the Conservative Party acts decisively, it faces massive internal problems.

The Conservatives responded to our request for a response to our story.

Those involved stressed they did not host a Christmas Party.

The incident happened on December 8, when the above met in the members’ tea room to discuss legislation for possible inclusion in the Welsh Conservative manifesto with a Labour backbencher.

During the evening they did drink a glass or two of wine.

They stress that at no point were there more than four people in the room at any one time and that they maintained social distancing.

A joint statement from Paul Davies, Darren Millar, and Paul Smith said: “We are profoundly sorry for our actions.

“While we did not break the rules, we recognise that what was part of a day’s work would not be seen to be following the spirit of them, especially given the tough time the country has been going through.”

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Family tribute to Carole Patricia Fowler

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Carole was a teacher for 30 years at St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, Llanelli. She loved children and they loved her. 

As one of her past colleagues said: “I know she made such a difference to every child she taught.” She was very popular with staff and well respected and loved by parents. She was dedicated and conscientious, always 100% for the children. She led the music there and was always popular with her guitar accompaniments for services and concerts. 

Likewise, she was a valued member of the choir at Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church, Gendros, Swansea, where she would often accompany hymns with her guitar and gave guitar lessons to the children in the church’s Saturday Music Club. She was also a keen member of Côr Persain, Ammanford. 

She was talented, loved and in demand. A convicted and devout Catholic all her life, through good and bad.

Carole was an avid and very gifted crocheter and was always crocheting or knitting something for someone. She had been spending her time recently, during the Covid crisis, crocheting NHS teddies in scrubs and rainbows, with many given to practising nurses. Carole had recently started learning to make bobbin lace. She was also capable of some very decent sewing, too. 

She was also learning Welsh, doing ‘pilates’ and was considering taking up yoga lessons as well.

She was a busy lady! As one of her work colleagues said of her: “She was wise, strong, beautiful, generous, devout and feisty. And I loved her for all those qualities.”

Above all, she was an immeasurably loved Mam, daughter, sister and a doting Mamgu and so much loved by her fiancé. Having been together for 14 years, they would have been married last July 20th had covid allowed! 

Her premature passing at 61 is tragic and she is already sorely, painfully missed. She leaves behind a huge chasm in so many hearts that cannot be filled.

“Eternal rest grant unto her, o Lord, may perpetual light shine about her, may she rest in peace.”

If anyone witnessed the collision or may have been travelling on the M4 at the relevant time, please contact the Serious Collision Unit quoting police reference DPP-20210113-317

Police can be contacted either online at: bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

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Tip off leads to pensioner’s drug stash

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A BRIEFCASE full of drugs has been recovered during a raid in Swansea suburb.
Police acting on information provided by a member of the public executed a warrant in Gorseinon and recovered a large quantity of cannabis.
A man was arrested on suspicion of possession of the class B drug, with intent to supply.
A South Wales Police spokesman said: “At around 5.40pm on Wednesday, January 6, following an intelligence led operation, a 68 year-old man from Gorseinon was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply cannabis.
“He was taken to Swansea central police station for questioning. He has been released under investigation”.

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