Monday, March 26, 2012

Aberystwyth, last home of the temperance movement ....

I had 90 minute to spend between exiting the dentist and the start of a physio appointment. Have laptop, so a great chance to get some work done. Coffee and wifi, obvious they go together? Well not in Aberystwyth.

I can't say that I surveyed all establishments that sell coffee in Aberystwyth this morning, but probably most of them and none had wifi on offer. As for Aberystwyth being a economic backwater and poorly equipped for 2012, this is one simple indicator, but very telling.

I object to going to a pub in the morning (or during the day, unless for food or it is the 24th of December).
needs must, so I sat in "Spoons" for a bit over an hour working away, being quite productive.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sadly a mostly fair description of Aberystwyth

I was sitting in Aberystwyth Arts Centre last Saturday morning having a ritual tea and cake post small boy football and during small girl modern dance and flicked through the program of what is on and came across this.

In 2011 Aberystwyth was besieged by news' film crews and journalists all hunting down one story - the day the traffic wardens disappeared. As England was thrown into uproar by
riots the biggest local news was the number of dolphins in Cardigan Bay.
What is it like to live in a town where the tiniest news is distorted out of proportion and where gossip is more prominent than global headlines?

Its not the whole story of Aberystwyth, but it is a fair summary of the scope of news in Aberystwyth.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Why wind farms on Plynlimon don't matter

I went to an interesting, for all sorts of reasons, debate "wind power - benefit or burden" debate organized by Cambrian Mountain Society, so obviously it would have a bias against. My main take away's were

  • Wind power as planned will provide around 0.5% of the Welsh target for renewable energy
  • If you want a credible debate don't put a militant on your panel
  • The panel as a whole lost credibility when one otherwise sensible gentleman suggested the question of "what instead" need not be asked to reject something (windpower in this case).
  • Tourism will take a huge hit if these proposed schemes go in and 1000's of jobs will be lost from the mid Wales area for the benefit of a few.
  • The subsidy needs to be fixed at a much lower level based on the contribution.
  • Panel members need to get their science right i.e. Clean Gas is not neutral in any respect, even if a Q.C. says it.
  • Ceredigion Council don't have a clue, like in so many areas[energy, planning, broadband, transport, schools] (they are on the ball in some, provided it is not strategic)
  • Tann 8 is a fundamentally flawed strategy which consciously does not consider visual or economic impact and needs review before any further applications are considered.
  • The wind power direction won't change from Cardiff because current ministers would loose face.
  • Some interesting points of Welsh History came up I need to follow up
There were some accusations of intimidation flying around regarding an other planning application by the coast further south by the land owner.

I am against the proposed wind farm on Plynlimon on visual impact grounds and that Wind Power needs huge scale to deliver much useful energy. I do think micro-generation has a place, but don't really understand it well enough.

What I did come away with was that for reasons of geography, it all does not matter. Most voters in Wales  are in south Wales and will keep the Welsh Labour Party in power in the Assembly Government for many years to come. This has a logical conclusion independence for Wales is a bad idea as the current Welsh Labour Party has proved themselves incapable of effective strategic decision making(examples abound). The party with the balance of power won't change for at least 15 years without a choir boy abuse type scandal. So I  came away thinking that reversing devolution would be in the best interests of Wales and the Welsh people, a view that has been brewing for some time. Sad really, it should have been a great opportunity.