New Zealand v Wales Game 3


Please keep the rugby related chats and scores out of Backchat, even when the game is over.? Some people may still want to watch it delayed so let’s not spoil their day.

As per usual, guess the final score before the game starts, and if you’re closest, you get bragging rights for the week.? Read more »


New Zealand v Wales – Game 2


You know what to do:? 1) leave your score before the game starts.? 2) no game talk in Backchat? 3)? Join us here while we multi-screen.? 4) do Nige’s quiz while you wait for the game to start…

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New Zealand vs Wales


This is the spot for chatter about today’s game.? Please leave Backchat for people who aren’t interested.? Also, leave the scores OUT of Backchat, in case someone doesn’t want to know the final result yet.

I hear the TAB have stopped taking bets earlier today as the ABs were paying $1.01 for the win.?? The win is probably inevitable, but I hope Wales can at least give us a scare or two.

Wales have never lost a game.? They just finish the 90 minutes with the other team on more points.? Read more »


Wales will play to win, win or lose


Sam Warburton will give his players a simple message when they attempt to turn back the clock against world champions New Zealand in Saturday’s first Test – who dares, wins.

The Welsh skipper, fit to return to action in Auckland after a six-week stint on the sidelines with a shoulder injury, wants his team to be bold as they attempt to become the first team since France in 1994 to beat the All Blacks at Eden Park. Read more »


Photo Of The Day

Photo: Unknown Source. June and Jennifer Gibbons along with Marjorie Wallace.

Photo: Unknown Source.
June and Jennifer Gibbons along with Marjorie Wallace.

The Silent Twins

Eerie, Tormented And Gifted

Dubbed the Silent Twins because they only communicated with their immediate family, June and Jennifer Gibbons were born in Wales in 1963 and grew up as social pariahs who were frequently bullied. They had speech impediments, and as the years went by, their secret twin language became more unique and less intelligible to outsiders. The sisters, who committed several crimes, including arson and petty theft, were committed to England’s Broadmoor Hospital, where they lived for 11 years and were later diagnosed with schizophrenia.

The sisters had an intense love-hate relationship and eventually made a pact while at Broadmoor: one had to die so the other could lead a normal life. Jennifer even admitted to Marjorie Wallace [journalist Marjorie Wallace came along and unearthed their inner world] during a visit: “I’m going to die. We’ve decided.” In 1993, hours after their release, Jennifer, at the age of 29, died on her sister’s shoulder from a sudden inflammation of the heart muscle. The cause remains?a mystery.

Read more »

Welsh gits looking for the craziest ‘green? project ever

This has got to be quite possibly the craziest ‘green’ project ever.

If you wanted a single example of how far all those who aspire to govern us after this election can lose any touch with reality, a good place to begin might be page 56 of the Conservative manifesto. Here, in a section on ?Energy?, we are told how the Coalition Government has ?unlocked ?59 billion of investment? to produce ?low carbon? electricity to meet our commitments under Ed Miliband?s Climate Change Act. All the projects listed are, of course, hugely subsidised, to produce power costing us all twice or three times as much as that from conventional power stations. But there at the end is a mention of ?the Swansea tidal lagoon?.

I admit that, until recently, I had no more idea what this was about than 99 per cent of the population. But I was struck by the remarkable array of backers this scheme has attracted, from the Prudential insurance company and Ed Davey, our Lib Dem Energy and Climate Change Secretary, to George Osborne in his recent Budget speech, and the BBC, which has been giving it excitable puffs. ?? Read more »

How about that Green Energy huh?

This is the sort of nonsense you get when the green taliban pushes their pet projects onto ratepayers.

A wind turbine which cost the taxpayer ?48,000 and generated an average of just ?5 worth of electricity per month, is being removed.

It was put up at the Welsh government’s Aberystwyth office when it opened in 2009 as part of a range of environmentally-friendly features.

But ministers came under fire last year over its output and now it has gone.

They say the turbine’s manufacturer went into liquidation and they were not likely to find someone to maintain it.

Last year, the Welsh government confirmed in a response to a Freedom of Information request that between January 2012 and July 2013 the turbine generated 585 kilowatt hours of energy (kWh) – an average of 33 kWh per month.

Taking 16p as an estimate for the price of electricity per kWh in the consumer market, that worked out at a value of ?5.28 per month.

At that rate it would have taken hundreds of years for the turbine to offset its cost. ? Read more »

Accents of the British Isles… excellent job

The future with Chris Hipkins as education minister?

Toby Young blogs The Telegraph about PISA and Wales (note this is a major news media outlet with “bloggers”):

The poor showing of Wales in?the Pisa international league tables published earlier this week?is a reminder of just what a mess Labour has made of the Welsh education system. In 2006, Welsh schoolchildren were ranked 30th in maths, 29th in reading and 22nd in science. In the latest tests, they fell to 43rd in maths, 41st in reading and 36th in science. Wales isn’t simply the worst performer in the UK, it’s well below the OECD average.

The blame for this pitiful state of affairs can be laid squarely at the feet of the Labour Party, which has been in charge of education in Wales since 1999. The education reforms that successive governments have introduced in other parts of the UK in that time have left Wales largely untouched. League tables were abolished in 2001 and not a single academy or free school has been set up. As the Economist points out in?this?damning analysis, parental choice in Wales is limited to deciding whether to send a child to a school where lessons are taught in English or Welsh. The country?has indulged in what David Reynolds, an educationalist at the University of Southampton, describes as ?producerism’s last hurrah?. Hardly surprising, then, that?26 per cent of the Welsh population over 16 have no recognised qualifications, according to?the 2011 census.? Read more »

Bet the unions won’t support changes like this to improve education

The UK is in a similar position to NZ in the latest PISA rankings in education.

While our teacher unions oppose every move to improve things the UK is busy implementing changes that evidence shows is helping. Like the publishing of League Tables, something that teacher union oppose the world over.

The Irish Times explores league tables:

What if official school league tables have been shown to improve the performance of schools and lessen educational inequality? What if school league tables are good for education?

Well three years ago a research paper with precisely those findings made waves across the water in the UK.

England and Wales have very similar education systems. Between 1992 and 2001, both English and Welsh systems published annual school performance tables, based on GCSE (Junior Cert level) exam results. But then, in 2001, the Welsh parliament voted to stop.

Here was a natural experiment between two identical systems, one of which now lacked a key component of accountability: the official school league table. Researchers at Bristol university, led by Prof Simon Burgess, decided to look at what happened next.

The result, according to their findings, was ?systematic, significant and robust? evidence that abolishing school league tables reduced the academic effectiveness of Welsh schools.? Read more »