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The real heroes of Manchester

The numbing tragedy that placed Manchester in the national consciousness a week ago defies explanation. We have read of terrible carnage alongside reports of heroism and human kindness that should leave no-one unmoved. People struggle to get things ‘back to normal’ despite the knowledge that normality will never quite return. The graduation through the stages of bereavement means grief will inevitably turn to anger with answers demanded of those we look to protect us. Politicians on all sides understandably attempt to offer solutions without perhaps fully appreciating the nature of the problem. This is because there is no recognisable Western equivalent of Jihad, where religious and politica

It’s still a question of care

One of the noticeable things about this general election for anoraks like me is the way the political parties have decided to spurn the safe ground. Costed policies and mainstream appeal seem out of fashion. In fact, you sometimes get the impression that courting voter popularity is a bit of an after-thought. Those who have a vested interest in receiving social care must be having the same thoughts. After all, they believed they were going to be protected, until the Conservative manifesto was published. It needs to be emphasised that social care is devolved. As such, there are different policies in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - but no-one can say whether the Treasury will a

It’s been one of those weeks

I’m not sure what to make of the last seven days or so. Admittedly it’s been full of news. The French got themselves a new president while the US is still coming to terms with theirs following Donald Trump’s sacking of the FBI director midway through an alleged investigation into the Oval Office. It turns out that that NHS hospitals, the Nissan plant at Tyne & Wear and the Russian Interior Ministry all share a vulnerability to something called ransomware. And on top of everything else, we learned that cows apparently pose a menace to Gower communities. It was also a fraught time at the ‘day job’ as I went from testing out a new fish and chip emporium at Mumbles Pier to stalking film celebs (

Messages from the ballot box

I'd thought my days as an election number-cruncher were long gone. That was before I agreed to do a ‘favour’ for a colleague who owns a pollster outfit. A big mistake on my part; come 5am I could barely see the computer let alone the spread sheet. Accordingly, my take on events is a bit patchy and mostly parochial. Obviously, things turned out pretty well nationally for the Conservative camp. Although the UK surge in England wasn’t quite repeated elsewhere, the results are nevertheless very encouraging for tory strategists. No matter how you feel about local elections taking a lead from national standings, the advent of June’s general election clearly had an impact. Even so, it’s extraordina

Why surveys can be a pain

I think I’ve mentioned before that most surveys should come with a health warning. There’s always a motive of some sort and the answers you get are only ever as insightful as the questions asked. The great thing about surveys of course is that you can portray whatever mood message you desire. Based on the latest batch, and despite the trauma associated with Brexit, Trump and a Bananarama reunion tour, we remain chilled as a nation, or so it seems. For example, according to pollsters Ipsos Mori, most of us are fine with the advent of ‘machine learning’ – which (apparently) is the terms used for the technology that underpins internet searches, shopping online recommendations and smartphone voi

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