Monday, 15 October 2018

Wales Needs To Make An Infrastructure Plan.....Even If It Can't Implement It Yet

Hello there. Hope you're feeling well today.

Normally when I chat about Twitter on this blog it's normally when I've gone into a full blown argument with someone. On this occasion though there was no such argument but it brought an interesting subject into the open which was worth chatting about.

It began when a Twitter follower remonstrated "hippy generation" from "urban Britain" coming to Wales and holding back the economy and job creation with their "eco rubbish".

When I queried what "eco rubbish" meant he said it was campaigning against new developments/infrastructure proposals.

Now forgetting the idea that people who object to such developments are hippies from urban Britain what he was saying was not without merit when you looked deeper into it. For whilst not all such projects are an improvement and there are genuine reasons to object to them, it is equally clear that infrastructure is another  reason why Wales is becoming the last colony for Westmnister as it's lack of investment throughout the country starves it of creativity and future economic growth.

After all apart there is no properly integrated road or rail network linking the nation. Depending on journey and the method of travel a journey within Wales might be easier if you took part of it in England!

I won't bore you by going into in depth detail. But the point is that Wales needs an in depth infrastructure plan looking into issues such as road and rail links. The lack of such a plan can be mainly blamed on the Welsh Labour Government who seem to be more concerned  with additions to what's already there (the M4 relief road) than planning for the future of the nation as a whole.

Of course we all know that the Welsh Labour government will blame the Westminster Conservative government for a lack of funding in Wales. And to an extent that's true. But that's no excuse for a lack of planning. Nor is it an excuse for where investment is taken it's on a crisis management basis. Whether it's because they are incompetent, managing decline or showing their unionist roots in putting Wales down I don't know.

But if the Labour government really cared about Wales then they would prepare an infrastructure plan that would stop making the country perceived as some sort of backwater now

So Independence is in reality the only way proper coordinated infrastructure for Wales can be actioned.

Rome was of course not built in a day....but it was built.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

The Near Midnight Meanderings On A Movie With A Microwave Meal Part 9: The Man In The White Suit (1951)

Hello there. Hope you're feeling well today.

The Man In The White Suit can be described in two sentences. Alec Guinness plays an inventor who invents a fabric that doesn't tear or get dirty. He has to deal with bosses and unions who know their livelihoods are threatened by it.

It's considered to be a satirical highpoint  of the Ealing Studios classic canon but does it really deserve it? It seems to me to be popular amongst right wing libertarian types. I read a review in the Daily Mail prior to it's broadcast last week lauding it. But it's not really deserved.

The movie casts Guinness' character as the noble individual fighting against powerful interests. But he is just as selfish as the forces against it. After all when given the consequences of any full manufacture of his product he just does not seem to care despite the number of people who would be made redundant because of it.

And who can truly blame the trade unions being against such a product?

I know also that this is an issue which would not register at the time but if you think about it environmentally the idea of indestructabble clothes is not a good one.

Production wise you cannot really argue with this film. The way that the forces against Guinness show ordinary people darken towards him is truly impressive. But let's make it clear here. He is destroying their lives.

This movie can be best described as The Fountainhead with jokes. But it shouldn't hide the fact that it's just as reactionary. And for people with a conscience it's best avoided.

Until the next time.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

An Unexpected Peril Of Collecting

Hello there. Hope you're feeling well today.

Since we started living in rented accommodation I haven't been discussing my collections all that much. Given that my main ones, football shirts and Penguin paperbacks are currently in storage. One day we will discover a house that we both like and doesn't reveal itself to be a money pit of faults thankfully before we put pen to paper. But until that comes collecting is on the back burner for the foreseeable future.

However yesterday, in of all places Penarth Tesco, the world of collecting came back along with an unexpected peril.

A word of background first. Companies sell small cheap plastic figure in a particular series, such as footballers for example, in a packet, This small packet will tell you everything you need to know about the figure concerned...expect what the figure within actually is. So there is a good chance you will buy one you have already.

Back then to the action. There was I walking along the aisles of Penarth Tesco when on walking past their small toy section when I noticed a middle aged woman picking up such a packet and starting to feel it.

She saw me and clearly embarrassed explained that this particular set was of Harry Potter characters. Her sons collected it and so the lady admitted she was hooked herself. She had figured that to stop continually buying duplicates she would feel the packet thus would lessening the risk.

From a collecting standpoint it was actually genius. After all unlike say footballers Harry Potter characters presumably had very different shapes to them so it seemed a sensible thing to do.

From all other standpoints however watching a middle aged woman feeling toy packets makes you question her sanity.

And one other thought occurred to me. If her intention was to collect these things for monetary value as well as personal pleasure then presumably she would need two packets per figure. As presumably their value would reduce once they were open.

Until the next time.

Friday, 12 October 2018

Whilst I Was Away

Hello there. Hope you're feeling well today.

I've been away to see my mother in Essex for the past two days. And for reasons I won't bore you with I've neither had the time or the connection to make a post whilst I was there.

It's good to be back I  Wales. Though the journey took six hours to complete from it's usual three and a half. Mainly due to an accident between junctions 13 and 14 of the M4 where the resulting traffic was stopped and then moved slowly for about an hour. You know how bad an accident is when the electronic roadsigns mention an air ambulance.

When I eventually passed the scene of the accident on the other side of the motorway a van was mangled as if tossed away by a petulant child. And there was a truck. I don't remember much of the truck except that the windscreen was completely smashed.

I felt my jaw drop. Makes you think you know.

Whilst I was away two things happened in Wales that made me want to put finger to keyboard. The first was the vote in the Senedd upholding the Welsh government's decision to allow the dumping of nuclear mud from Hinckley Point to Cardiff Bay.

I've chatted about this issue many times before in this blog. So I won't go into great detail here. But what I will say is that this decision marks the last by Carwyn Jones and the latest by Welsh Labour. After all not taking into account the consequences if the science is wrong has made the people of Cardiff and the surrounding areas possibly subject to radioactive Russian roulette.

And even if the science is right that does not absolve Welsh Labour. They were prepared to let people be subjected to this risk and have shown they treat them with arrogance bordering on contempt. Politically I suspect this issue will not die as Welsh Labour will hope. Plaid Cymru will see to that.

Secondly near where I live there is a Vale of Glamorgan Council proposal to put a gypsy site. This seemingly has aroused local opposition as there was a meeting on Wednesday to discuss this and plan how to defeat it.

Now I will not make any insinuations about this meeting. Given that I wasn't there and I haven't seen any reports about this. But I'll say this. I'm not in principle against the site. But the gypsy community will need to make sure no incidents can be traced to anyone in the site.

For after all let's talk hypotheticals. Let's say the site is allowed. It will take only one incident, no matter how trivial involving someone in the Gypsy community and we all know that UKIP, with it's leader in Wales Mr Creepy, will try and exploit it.

And if history tells us anything a "Them and Us" scenario will not be good for anyone.

Until the next time.

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Welsh Labour Party Leadership Elections. Let's Chat

Hello there. Hope you're feeling well today.

Yesterday two of the main candidates for the Welsh Labour Leader (and therefore the next First Minister) started their campaigns. Mark "Red Cairns" Drakeford id the current favourite. The other being Vaughan "I haven't worked out a funny name for him yet" Gething. I found it surprisingly interesting to hear what they had to say as it reveals how flawed they both are.

Let's start with Mr Drakeford. For copyright reasons I can't show it here but have a look at a particular promotional picture for his campaign. His face is in the front but at the back there is a young woman. Her attention is not with him but with something else. She looks as if she'd rather be somewhere else.

He speaks like a career politician. Talking about a "social partnership model to provide "collective solutions to collective problems". Whatever that actually means.

Welsh Labour party tweets I've seen describe him as a radical leader and visionary. Yet he's imposed cuts to local government grants which councils have passed on as cuts to service which will impact on many people within Wales but especially (as we've discussed with Bridgend) the venerable.

Let's turn to Mr Gething. He has promised many things such as ending holiday hunger for children and removing tuition fees for Care Leavers. All very laudable. Except Labour have been in power for twenty years. He is the Health Secretary. He is the one who has coined the phrase "managing decline" seemingly acknowledging Labour's failure and yet how can he being part of Carwyn Jones' failure team now imply that he will make a difference to Labour's approach when he helped manage it?

He also spoke about his ambition to create a National Care Service for Wales. Thing is we all have ambitions. But ambition is not a policy.

He also says that Welsh Labour was the only party committed to tackle inequality and poverty. Really? Bet he had his fingers crossed when he said that given that Plaid Cymru is committed to exactly the same thing.

Both men have projected themselves as "the alternative" but both men are part of the establishment.

Both men are suitable leaders for Welsh Labour.

Neither are suitable leaders for Wales.

Until the next time

Monday, 8 October 2018

Intentionally Or Not EDF are rubbing South Walian noses in the Hinckley Point Mud

Hello there. Hope you're feeling well today.

I've chatted before about the building of the Hinckley Point nuclear plant a number of times before in this blog. But I felt drawn to chat about again after seeing a number of Twitter ads from the French company handling the project EDF about it.

In the first a young woman describes how she got an apprenticeship there. How it has made "a positive impact" on her life (Do young people really use the words "positive impact"? Really?).

But it was the second tweet I saw (Dated Sept 27 but I only first saw it yesterday) that really annoyed me. It goes as follows: "Hinckley Point C is creating a lasting, positive legacy for people, communities, jobs and skills across the South West".

Throw EDF a poisson .

So what does South Wales get then? Aside from expensive energy which would have been less and more ecologically friendly if the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project had been agreed to?

Well you might say. I'm just displaying regional jealousy. But honestly I'm not. What really annoys me about those tweets is what South Wales is getting from Hinckley. The radioactive mud.

And that's the point. If you're from South Wales or live there as I do the impression these ads give is that it's only good enough to have the waste product dumped there. There is no "positive legacy" for people, communities, jobs and skills there. Indeed in the worse case scenario (which remember Welsh Labour did not consider when agreeing to this) the legacy might be damaging for generations to come.

In ads image is everything. That's the image these Twitter ads give the people of South Wales.

The dumping of the mud in Cardiff Bay will be debated at the Senedd on Wednesday. Which is personally unfortunate for me as I have to go to Essex then to see my mother. On my return though I'll chat about the result including as I've suggested before boycotting EDF in Wales.

Until the next time.

Sunday, 7 October 2018

The Near Midnight Meanderings On A Movie With A Microwave Meal Part 8: Cosh Boy (1953)

Hello there. Hope you're feeling well today.

Cosh Boy is a 1953 British black and white movie about what it's preamble at the beginning called "juvenile delinquents". It was the sort of film in Britain (and probably the first) that probably describes what's coming next as a social commentary to excuse it for the violence (note that it's the fifties) that will follow.

Though a play this version  coscripted by Lewis Gilbert who later found fame directing James Bond.

The character of "Roy" is the Cosh Boy of the title. A guy who walks on the other side of life's tracks because he enjoys it. Commits crimes, treats his mother badly and yet is still able to seduce Joan Collins.

In the preamble I mentioned the excuse for Roy's behaviour is put on bad parenting. In fact in reality bad single parenting. As he's raised by a single mother as his father was killed in the second world war. So blame the single mother again time it appears.

But the best thing about the movie is the lead actor James Kenney. For contrary to what the film tries to preach his performance suggests that Roy's problems are far more psychological than just merely due to bad parenting. It's a hint that things are more complex than what the Daily Mail would have you believe.

His performance though, good as it is does not save this film. It's hampered by a cliched script full of cardboard characters and some actors giving performances so wooden they would be more appropriate in an Oak Furnitureland store.

Particular mention needs to made of Robert Ayres playing his mother's boyfriend. His performance is not great but more to the point here he's an American. Ever since I was a child I've always hated British films where an American character is shoehorned into a British storyline for no credible reason other than in the vain hope of improving it at the box office across the pond. He's clearly out of place in a story of British working class life. But there he is.

James Kenney's performance deserved a better movie. Unfortunately for him he was stuck with this one.

Until the next time.