Only the second Labour Leadership Candidate to visit Newport was in the city today.
Although my loyalties are elsewhere, I went along to the Ringland Club as a courtesy to give Andy Burnham a word of welcome. Although this well-run plush club is in Newport East, I had a hand in setting it up as a founder member nearly 30 years ago. It’s a fine example of practical socialism in action.
Andy was engaging. He was bursting with pride that the launch of his manifesto ‘Aspirational Socialism’ yesterday because the second biggest topic on Twitter. One vivid anecdote struck home with me. In answer to a question about residential care he talked with obvious emotion above his dreadful experience with a loved one at the mercy of a ‘caring’ service. ‘Her things were being stolen’ he said. ‘The last straw was a day when I noticed that her fingers were bruised. Someone had hurt her by pulling her engagement ring off her finger.’
It’s an experience none of us would ever forget. It’s also a dividing line. I’m sure no Top Tory would ever have a loved one in a home when the staff routinely robbed the patients.
It was do-nuts all round yesterday to boost the moral the volunteer workers at the Roman Remains dig at Caerleon. It’s exhausting work and a bit demoralising in the rain.
The remains uncovered are promising. There is evidence that the roman urban area was much bigger than previously thought. It was fascinating examining the wealth of small finds of jewellery, coins and parts of military equipment.
Two volunteers showed me an illustration of what the site may have look like in the second century. Roman Caerleon is one of the top visitors site in Wales. This dig will reveal new treasures.