Saturday, 10th September, 2011.

Chaos In Llandudno

     No, not a reflection on the revolutionary tactics of Plaid Cymru politicians in that town (though I have noticed that they have started using the “I” word again).

It’s all due to sport.   Total chaos, the residents of the town believe, will be caused by the complete closure of roads to traffic while runners compete in the Commonwealth Mountain & Ultra-Distance Running Championships.   (And, if you can say that title without gasping for breath, perhaps you stand a chance of winning the race!)

The runners will go round and round and round the same roads for hours on end just to show how good they are at running.   (You will tell from that comment that I am not a sports enthusiast.)

And those roads on which they run are important arteries for local residents.   They need them for getting to work and taking their children to school – and, according to a source who I will not name, getting in and out of their own homes without being trampled by a load of sweaty athletes.

But, as you would expect, Conway Council – which kept the closure plans a bit hush-hush until very near the date – have made statements giving hope to the householders.   The Council says (of course) that the event will bring prosperity to the area because lots and lots of visitors will be attracted by the runners’ prowess.

Furthermore, by the powers invested in them, the Council will ensure that noise levels created by the runners and visitors will cause as little annoyance as possible to the locals.   So that’s alright, then . . .

Community Spirit

     Just when that weasel-phrase “the property-ladder” is attempting to show its ugly head again, a bunch of neighbours in Haverfordwest have shown that communities can really become strong.

The property-ladder myth encourages people to invest in properties so that they can make a profit while living in them.   They flog ‘em off, move on to another property, stay there until they can make another profit, and so on, apparently ad infinitum.

This gives us an unstable community with people hardly getting to know each other before they zoom off to another house and another area.   Houses, then, are investments and none of the people “climbing the property-ladder” is looking to make somewhere their home.

It’s a cunning plan by Those-Who-Know-What’s-Best-For-Us, of course, and does two main things:  it hooks lots of ordinary people on materialism, and it ensures that neighbours do not work together for the common good of the area in which they choose to live.

So forty-nine neighbours in the comfy town of Haverfordwest are bucking the trend.   Off they all went to Ibiza together and, to coin a cliché, “a good time was had by all”.   It was such a successful and happy holiday that another group holiday is being planned.

Now that, dear reader, is how communities work.   After the closure of the Welsh mining-industry and lots of other major industries in our land, the day-trips on coaches or by rail which co-workers and their families used to enjoy have all-but ceased.  In many towns, neighbour is a stranger to neighbour   Communities as cohesive, close-knit groups are disappearing.

Which helps Those-Who-Know-What’s-Best-For-Us to control us far more easily – and profit greatly by so doing.   Perhaps we should get back to reading more of the work of the Prophet George Orwell.

Perhaps, too, we should study the history of our fine Welsh nation’s community spirit and teach our children what we could so easily lose.


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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