Always enjoy scanning the New Year's Honour's list for people I know. Good crop this year. Pleased to see Lord Carlile of Berriew being awarded a CBE. He was my MP and our next door neighbour for the 14 years he served as Montgomeryshire's MP. Its quite a coincidence that his former Cil Road neighbour has followed him into Parliament, and another coincidence that we find ourselves working together on issues that matter to both of us. We are both strongly opposed to the wind farm lunacy proposed for Mid Wales, and both equally strongly opposed to decriminalising the law on 'assisted suicide'. Over the last few years he's done some great work on national security, and though a leading Liberal Democrat, is much admired in the Conservative Party.
Another ex-politician with Montgomeryshire connections honoured this year is Dr Carl Clowes, who once stood as Plaid Cymru candidate. I recall attending one of his local meetings (we did that in those days) and thought he was OK. I was going through a phase of growing awareness of my own 'Welshness'. I've met him from time to time ever since, and we always get on well. He's done some wonderful work raising the profile of the importance of the Welsh Language. Yr Iaith Cymraeg features strongly this year, because as well as Carl (though his OBE was for services to Anglesey) there was an OBE for Prof Robert Owen Jones for his services to to the Language of Heaven in Patagonia.
Another recipient of an OBE with strong Montgomeryshire connections is Grenville Jackson, who was Marketing Director of the Development Board for Rural Wales when I was Chair in the early 90's. Gren was one of a really talented team of officers who made a great impact on Mid Wales, a time when the area surged forward economically. We did some terrific work, and Gren was a key player. Another OBE winner I got to know well during my Quango years was Jonathon Jones, who ran the marketing side if the Wales Tourist Board. After Rhodri Morgan's 'Bonfire of Welsh Quangoes, both Gren and Jonathon became civil servants and worked for the Welsh Government.
Also want to offer congrats on Malcolm Thomas' OBE. Throughout the 8 years I served as an Assembly Member, Malcolm was a constant source of support and advice in his role with the NFU in Wales. Met him a few weeks ago in his new role as Chair of RABI - which looks after farmers who fall on hard times. He was speaking at the now traditional Xmas Carol Concert at Welshpool Livestock Sales, which raises money for RABI. He was his usual ebullient self. and fully deserves his OBE for services to agriculture in Wales.
And finally, a word about Martyn Williams. He's brought huge pleasure to Welsh people for such a long time. I had expected the Welsh rugby player to be recognised this year would be Shane, but on reflection, Martyn's the man. Shane next year perhaps. I may blog again tomorrow on those names I didn't spot.