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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Five things...

I don't normally do memes but the author of Blamerbell Briefs has written some nice things about me over the last few months so I will make an exception. I have been tagged by Ciaran Jenkins to tell you five things you may not know about me. For a politician this can be very dangerous so I hope you do not mind if I don't get too carried away:

1. My old school was also the alma mater of Harold Wilson and Ted Rowlands, the former MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney.

2. My Grandmother was a Welsh speaker from Llandudno Junction who moved to Birkenhead with her family to be closer to her merchant seaman father when his ship docked overnight.

3. My Grandfather worked at Cammell Laird's shipyard and was involved in the building of HMS Thetis, which was launched and sank immediately on 1st June 1939. A torpedo tube had been left open. Ninety Nine people drowned, only four survived. My Grandfather should have been on board that day but was ill and had been unable to go into work.

4. On my paternal grandmother's side I can trace my ancestry directly back to the McLeod's of the Isle of Skye and a large castle. Alas, so can tens of thousands of others.

5. I have been an Everton FC fan since the 1960s but nowadays only follow their progress from afar.

Enough already.
So you're a quarter Welsh then - knew there had to be something in your favour somewhere!!!!! ;-)
As I said in the chamber on 4 December 2000, in a speech on the Welsh tick box:

"I have given a great deal of thought to the idea of identity in the last few days. To a large extent who we are is defined by our up bringing, our family and the community in which we live. That community can be defined in the very narrowest of senses as the street in which we live or much wider as the Country or even the continent of which we form a part.

I was born and brought up in England as were both of my parents, however in terms of ancestry I carry a large portion of Scottish blood, a fair smattering of Irish and some Welsh. My grandmother was from a Welsh speaking family based in North Wales. I have though lived in Wales for 22 years and identify most closely with communities in Wales to the extent that if I were to have the opportunity next year to define myself on the census form, I would place a tick in the box that defined me as Welsh.

It is not that simple of course as I also think of myself as being part of the greater community of Britain and as a European. We all belong to a number of communities, all inter-related and inter-linked and the fact is that our identity lies in part of each of these communities."
Glad we've converted you! Seriously though it does mean a lot to most people that they can descibe themselves as Welsh whether on the census form or any other.

My eldest son has never quite forgiven me for giving birth to him in York as he cannot now write 'Wales' as his country of birth. As he cannot quite bring himself to put England he usually plumps for British, but nationality is always Welsh.

It is something most of my English friends seem to struggle to understand, which I think is a shame.
Everton fan? Thats a bold confession....
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