The UK remains in the midst of the deepest recession in living memory with few predicting a change in fortune anytime soon. People in Wales are particularly feeling the pinch. Unemployment is higher than the UK average and the cull of the public sector has, and will continue to, hit us especially hard since it employs a higher proportion of our workforce than in England or Scotland.
Amongst the many serious points surrounding our economy, defence capability, global standing and Security Council seat, one seemingly trivial problem has caught my attention. If Scotland left the UK, what would happen to our flag?
Scotland's failure to qualify for an international tournament in the last 14 years is not a national embarrassment. Nonetheless, the Scottish team, continually ridiculed, will find it difficulty to qualify for the World Cup. Euro qualification will become easier with the increased size of that tournament, but the World Cup may not be seen by the Tartan Army for many years.
Imagine it is autumn 2024! It's 10 years after the SNP won their independence referendum. It's also 10 years after the Glasgow Commonwealth games which was widely credited as the time when public opinion swung in favour of Scottish independence.
My youngest sister has just turned 16 and about to receive her GCSE results this week, she cannot buy a drink in a pub, drive or vote but she could join the Army, she could even choose to commit herself to the life of a soldier until she was 22. All this before she could even vote for those deciding her fate.
As Mo Farah sprinted for the line, running quicker after nine thousand, nine hundred metres than most of us will ever run in our lives, the crowd behind him rose to their feet and roared in complete joy, a sea of delirious faces and Union flags.
Reading about the athletes reminded me that such pride and inspiration is a key ingredient of the Olympics. These people have worked unbelievably hard to reach the top of their game and in the coming days they'll be competing at world-class level, representing their country, in front of their home crowd.
Once the post Olympic bunting has come down what will we be left with? A bunch of empty sports venues, a £multi-billion debt and an increasingly disunited kingdom.
The on-going row over the report into the Welsh NHS, by Marcus Longley, brings the future of the NHS in Wales, once more, into the public spotlight. Although the report covers many important issues, perhaps the critical issue not considered is whether the NHS in Wales can continue in its present form, in the long term, of being free at the point of consumption and funded from the proceeds of taxation. This may seem a heretical question to ask but asking it must be done.
Despite the gloomy failures of Rio+20 and David Cameron's empty 'greenest government ever' promise, it's good that some parts of the UK can still come up with an enlightened approach. At the moment, it's Wales that provides a bright light in these gloomy times.
Caerfyrddin, my father's county, takes its name from the Roman word for a castle, caer, and the wizard Myrddin - famously in English, Merlin - who was born, they say, in the town of Carmarthen.
When flash floods hit Wales earlier this month necessitating the evacuation of more than 1,000 people, my thoughts immediately returned to the people I met last month in Cagayan de Oro in the Philippines who had also been affected by flooding. I also reflected on the floods that hit my own constituency, Workington in 2009 and how it shook our community.
So it happened. I can tick one of my musical aims for 2012 off the list. It's number three - possibly the most important, definitely the wettest (see what I did there?)
Mervyn Davies--a crucial member of the two finest rugby teams ever assembled, the 1971 and 1974 British Lions, and of the all-time XV of any rugby fan with sense--has died of cancer. To the special men who played with him in those legendary Lions sides, his death was not a surprise.
The Six Nations approaches it's climactic weekend, and it's got me thinking. What makes it so special, what makes it so brilliant and so bloody gut wrenching? It's a bit like house matches at school, they were often more intense and violent than games against other schools. Why?
So in comparison, maybe still acknowledging our Queen isn't all bad. I just don't think she needs a new yacht. Gove said the money wouldn't come from taxpayers but from corporations willing to invest, but hey, Mikey, here's an idea, why not get them to invest in things that benefit the country?