Saturday, 11th September, 2010.

The End Of An Area

     This is how the bosses save themselves
money.

     Firstly, they announce that there “might
possibly” be redundancies.   Next, the
phrase becomes “redundancies may be inevitable”.   Thirdly, they announce the factory/workplace
will be closing in a few months’ – even in a year’s – time.

     So, the unsettling effect on the workers
takes place.   Lots of them, needing job
security to feed their families, will wander off and find alternative employment.   And when they do, the bosses rub their hands
– for, whenever a worker finds another job, it saves the company the cost of
redundancy pay.

    I am not accusing any firm in the aluminium
industry of using such tactics – perish the thought.   I am merely passing on one of the modus
operandi of big business concerns.

 

The Good Old Days

     Some of us remember when most of our
town-centres in
Wales had a variety of shops, many of
them locally-owned.

     An item on Radio Wales this week
highlighted the demise of the friendly little middle-of-town shop where the
folk who ran it knew each of their customers, usually by name.   Those shops were not just commercial
ventures;  they were centres for gossip and picking up
news of one’s friend and neighbours.

     Now,
of course, things have changed, and the changes seem to have come very
quickly.   There are out-of-town “retail
parks” all over the place.   Many of the
supermarkets on those “parks” are part of multinational chains.   They are big shops, too, where the staff
rarely get to know the individual customer – though they may recognise the same
faces after a while.

     Changes have happened in our little
villages and tiny hamlets, too.  
Wales is a mainly rural country, but it’s
only a bus-ride or car-trip to a big supermarket where prices are less than any
small village shop could provide.   And
what one saves from supermarket prices pays for the journey – at least that’s
the popular theory . . .

    A friend of mine lives in a village in West Wales.  
He heard that news report on Radio Wales, too.   He tells me that, over the last thirty
years, his community has gone from four grocery shops and a part-time butcher’s
to just one shop.   And that shop was
reopened by a local man who cares about his community.   The local Post Office closed, so that one
shop has a Post Office service, too.

     The shop stocks nearly everything local
people need and, indeed, many locals use the facility for their weekly
shopping.   Many, of course, believe they
cannot afford local prices.

     It also gives much needed local employment
and, I’m told, the girls behind the counter are “a bunch of real smilers”.

     The “entrepreneur” who kept the village
shop going did not do it to become rich.  
Indeed, he has invested much money in his business and he works darned
hard himself.   But the villagers and the
farmers from round about are so grateful that they still have a village shop.

     So – and without giving the name of the West Wales village away – my friend who lives
there wants me to say “Thanks, Dilwyn!”.

 

Perhaps And Perhaps

     Yesterday – Friday,
10 September 2010
– Plaid Cymru’s Conference kicked off in Aberystwyth.   There were loud fanfares advertising the
fact that it was about to take place.  
The Media was full of it.

     It’s a popular venue, too – people from
places you wouldn’t even think of as being interested in Plaid or even Welsh
politics have descended on Aber for the event (and for the pubs, of course).

     There’s still the fear (if that is not too
strong a word) among non-Welsh-speakers that Plaid Cymru is a synonym for
“anti-English”.   I will scotch that
rubbish by mentioning that Helen Mary Jones is the Deputy Leader of the Party
and is an
Essex girl.

     To be pro-Wales does not mean one is anti-England.   It’s just that we who live in this special
land would like to run our own affairs in our own way.   And, to judge from what the speakers have
said so far, that is a prime aim of Plaid Cymru, with green-issues at the
forefront of their campaign.

     However – and there’s always an “however”
when we are dealing with the politics of any nation – whatever any political
party tells us what it is going to do for us, we must ask a couple of questions: 
“How will you really achieve that?” and “Where’s the money coming
from?”.

     We, the people of Wales, need to know not only what Plaid
hope to do for us and our land, but also the ways and means with which they
will achieve those goals.

     Let us listen to what’s being said in Aber
this weekend – then force the politicos to tell us, openly and squarely, just
how they are going to bring their policies into reality.   And, as Aberystwyth is in Old Cardiganshire,
let the Cardis know how much they’re going to have to fork out to make
that reality!

     (Note to those of you who do not know Wales too well:  a “Cardi” is someone who
can buy from a Jew and sell to a Scotsman at a profit!)

Archie Lowe

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About Archie Lowe

Though not born in Wales, I have lived and worked here for many 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.
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