Saturday, 24th November, 2012.

Minimum Rates

     Two bits of news came my way this week.

Firstly, the sad and worrying decision that the Port Talbot steelworks is to make its workers redundant.   Then, the reason for “pound-shops” being able to sell such a variety of goods so cheaply.

The reason for these things is simple:  workers – usually in the Far East – are paid very low wages.

In Wales and the rest of Britain, it was a long, hard and often violent struggle for workers to be paid a proper, living wage.   That battle was won, and I for one am proud of the ordinary, working-class folk who fought that good fight.

Alas, once that fight was over, those in Britain who benefited from what had happened did not continue the fight to bring the wages and living conditions of their fellow-workers in other lands up to a decent standard.

In the 1980s, it was made easier for British production-businesses to re-locate abroad.   So most of them did:  they could then make bigger profits by using cheap labour.

And I have to tell you that many of the seemingly “made in Britain” goods which you buy in “pound-shops” are produced abroad and imported into these Isles.   Even the famous brand-names on those products do not indicate that they are  made here.

More Strange Weather Days

     Those awful gales and torrential rain all over Wales this week did a lot of damage.   Homes were flooded, roads became suddenly impassable and electricity supplies were affected.   More heavy rain is forecast.

My older friends in all parts of our land assure me that such weather had not used to be the norm.   But there has been an increase in wind-strength over the last couple of decades, it seems.

I’m told that, perhaps not so long ago, weather-forecasting was a pretty accurate science.   However, as I travel a fair bit, I check the forecast for the day online.   I use two sources for that information:  the Met Office page and the more local BBC page’s forecast.

More often than not, the two do not coincide!   Indeed, they vary interestingly sometimes.

We surely live in “strange weather days” and, here in Wales, most of our land is rural.   So, if you live a long (and winding road) way from your nearest shop, perhaps it’s time to stock-up on supplies . . . just in case.

What’s In It For Wales?

     Max Boyce hit the nail on the head with his couplet about the First Severn Bridge:  “Two nations now united across the water wide – and all the tolls collected upon the English side.”

Until 31st December, the price to return to Wales is a hefty £6 for us car drivers.   From 1st January, 2013, it goes up – only slightly, you may say – to £6.20.

It is absolutely free for people to use the bridges to leave Wales and go to England!   Where is the fairness in that?!

It has an effect on the Welsh economy, of course.   It is an additional expense for anyone who needs to use the Severn bridges for commercial or holiday journeys.   So that, in turn, affects travel into our land.

Mind you, I always say when returning to Wales from Mother England “It’s worth a few bob to enter a sane land!”

P.S

     Hands up if you could be bothered to vote in the elections for Copper Commissioners.   Hmm – I see . . . very few of you.

Hands up if you were told and understood what you were being asked to vote for in this new layer of party-political government.   Hmm – I see . . . even fewer.


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About Archie Lowe

Though not born in Wales, I have lived and worked here for some years now. I love the place and love that mercurial thing "Welshness". I have been accused of being "a Taffophile" - which is pretty near the truth. The question I ask whenever some idea comes up for the whole of the UK is: "What's in it for Wales". I believe in an independent Wales and am so pleased that our Assembly is a big step on that road.
This entry was posted in News and politics, Wales, Welsh Affairs. Bookmark the permalink.

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