Saturday, 4th December, 2010.

Cardigan’s Christmas C . . . Crackers!

Wonderful news from the town which gave Old Cardiganshire its name!

It was discovered about a year ago that the town’s Christmas lights fell short of the dreaded Health & Safety Regulations.   So, in its collective wisdom, the Town Council decided to spend a bit of cash on buying some new ones.

However, when it came to putting the posh new lights up, it was discovered that the fixtures and fittings which were to hold them were not fit for purpose.   What a surprise.

One trusts that, whoever was responsible for not checking those fittings before investing in a new set of pretty lights will have resigned on the spot and is admitting total incompetence and – to use a phrase beloved of committees everywhere – “forward planning”.

But, knowing committees and corporate bodies, my trust in that happening is not particularly strong.

Surprise, Surprise!

Of course, Cardigan’s lights are a mere sideshow (or not!) to the Winter.   It seems that forward planning for other areas – on a more serious scale – has been ignored.

Various august bodies in our land seem to have forgotten that, each and every year since records have been kept, there comes along a season of the year called “Winter”.   Those self-same records will show that in what we call “Winter” it gets what we call “cold”.

So those community leaders in whom we place our trust entered the season which we ordinary mortals call “Winter” without taking into account that there was a pretty good chance it would become what we ordinary mortals call “cold”.

And some local authorities have been caught with their pants down by these early snows.   There are areas of Wales where there is insufficient road-salt to keep traffic flowing.

That means that supplies of food and other items to local shops will become more difficult.   So those of us who have prepared our homes for unexpected emergencies may find it easier than our neighbours who haven’t.

Those emergencies do not always come in Winter, of course – they can happen at any time.

Let us hope, then, that the current weather situation reminds us that we ourselves should take on our individual responsibility of preparing for difficult times.   We know that “the system” does not always work . . .

Recession?   What Recession?

That times are hard is a fact, whether Those-Who-Know-What’s-Best-For-Us realise it or not.   In the shops, prices of basic commodities are creeping up noticeably.   We have, here in Wales, a genuine situation where people – the elderly mainly – are really having to choose between heating and eating.

Fortunately, our communities are strong.   We look after our neighbours as much as possible.   We care enough to see that they’re OK.

So why can’t our Senedd fund things like aid for those who, having worked all there lives, cannot quite make ends meet?

It’s because that democratically-elected body – sometimes known as The Welsh Assembly Government – has decided to spend megabucks on things which many of us claim Wales does not need.

I will quote a couple of recent examples.

Up in Bangor, they want an Arts Centre.   “OK,” say Cardiff Bay-Watch, “here’s £15M.”

An air service between Cardiff and Anglesey needed funding.   “OK,” Bay-Watch said, “here’s £1.2 M.”

(I point out to my readers who live beyond Wales’ borders that our Assembly dwells in that splendid building overlooking Cardiff Bay – hence the nickname.)

Let me repeat those figures.   Fifteen Million Pounds Sterling and One-Point-Two Million Pounds Sterling.   Seems a lot of money to me.

I know as well as you how important The Arts are.   Must remain all cultural, mustn’t we, even though the people of Wales are struggling to feed their families?

And I’m sure the queues are long waiting to get on that air-link.   The world and his wife want to fly from our capital to Sir Fon and back on an away-day ticket.

I would suggest that, to help Bay-Watch take a big step forward into the real world we each contact our AM.   Then, we explain – in words of no more than one syllable – that any government worth its salt should put people first.

(Oh – and would not the money be better spent on that salt which it could be worth so that everyone in Wales benefits?!)

Archie Lowe


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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