Monthly Archives: March 2014

UKIP’s contempt for foreigners plummets to new depths

A few weeks ago we had to listen to UKIP’s fuhrer, Nigel Farage, wanting to completely pull up the drawbridge and ban all potential immigrants from the UK for the next 5 years at least. (http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jan/07/ukip-ban-immigrants-nigel-farage). His statement appears to be little more than a sensationalist populist attempt to win votes by the time-honoured strategy of scapegoating. He claims that Enoch Powell was right in the basic principle of his notorious ‘rivers of blood’ speech, the most controversial political speech in recent British political history. Be under no illusions that Farage is a dangerous racist extremist.

The contempt UKIP directs against immigrants from poorer EU member states, for leeching off the state and burdening our economy, is also massively misplaced. According to a recent European Commission report, immigrants from EU countries to Britain paid more in tax than they received in benefits. Poles, for example, have actually made a net contribution to the UK in economic terms and have been readily absorbed into Britain’s labour market. The 2011 census counted 579,000 Poles in the UK, down from the 1.2m Poles issued with National Insurance numbers, suggesting a substantial number had returned to Poland. Furthermore, trade between the two countries has grown significantly since 2005, indicating that amongst those Poles that returned to Poland many used their UK business ties to help increase bilateral trade between the two nations. My personal connections with Poland bear out all these points.

The merits of economic growth as an objective are another debate, but given that the three neoliberal, capitalist parties all worship at the alter of economic growth, they are spiting their gods with this refusal to acknowledge the contribution of immigrants to our economy. Farage, to be fair, does acknowledge this, stating that damaging economic growth is a price worth paying in return for communities feeling more united and the unemployed getting more jobs. But failing to address a skills shortage that immigrant labour is currently required to fill won’t allow wider employment rates to pick up. Putting the social impact of migration against its economic benefit assumes they are mutually exclusive, when they are patently not. The implication that EU immigrants have undermined strong united communities is completely unfounded. The example of the Polish community, who have integrated well here in the UK, demonstrates this and undermines the basis for Farage’s support for Enoch Powell’s rivers of blood speech.

With his more recent proclamations, Farage is now looking to target the most vulnerable people on the planet. The Tories are content to merely target the most vulnerable people here in the UK, focussing their ideologically driven austerity programme on the poor, the disabled, the disadvantaged, the dis-enfranchised.

Farage won’t stop there. He would bin the Tory leadership’s last remaining grain of humanity (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2348990/Im-proud-increase-foreign-aid-says-Osborne-despite-Conservative-calls-scrap-ringfence.html) and completely suspend the £11 billion foreign aid budget. In Farage’s blinkered, naive little world, charity begins, and ends, at home. Spend that £11 billion on things like compensation to flood victims in Somerset he says. (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2552969/Ukips-Nigel-Farage-calls-foreign-aid-budget-used-help-flood-hit-communities.html). Sounds perfectly reasonable many would say. It is perfectly reasonable to expect the people suffering from the floods to expect some serious help, but who should bear the burden?

That £11 billion goes on things like this:

  • Helping give rudimentary education to refugee children in places like Syria, increasing the prospect of them having a future in the homelands again one day
  • Helping to end the practice of female genital mutilation in the name of religion
  • Helping the victims of Typhoon Haiyan, for whom the Somerset floods would seem like a puddle caused by a shower
  • Funding vaccination programmes that save millions of lives

“The flooding crisis is obviously a very serious event and it is vital to get help to the people affected,” said Richard Miller of ActionAid, “however taking money away from the world’s poorest people is not the answer.” John Hilary, executive director at the anti-poverty charity War on Want, added: “The British government should not divert money from its overseas aid budget to help UK flood victims. There is enough money to support disadvantaged people here and in developing countries.” Save the Children boss Justin Forsyth said everyone was “moved and concerned” by the impact of the floods, but he added: “To raid this money, that literally saves millions of lives, would be immoral – imagine raiding £100m from vaccines. It will lead to children dying in some of the poorest parts of the world. This is a time for our country to pull together not find scapegoats and play divisive politics with people’s lives.”

Here is a thought – rather than make the poorest pay for all the problems they don’t contribute to creating, why not get the mega-rich bastards to pay from their obscene hoards of cash generated by causing most of the problems we are talking about? The five richest families in britain are worth over £28 billion – 2.5 times the whole aid budget. Take half of that and they would still have more money than they could ever spend leftover! (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/britains-five-richest-families-worth-as-much-as-poorest-20-per-cent-says-oxfam-9195914.html)

Keep your grubby little hands of the inadequate aid budget, Farage, and start talking about the Robin Hoood Tax, carbon taxes, mansion taxes, and sorting the bankers out.

It is no wonder that Farage’s name is quickly becoming a well used euphemism – already in the urban dictionary, if not yet in the OED

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=farage

For those who think we are against all development – we are very much in favour of this: Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay

The Planning Inspectorate has yesterday (6 March 2014) accepted for consideration the application by Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay plc (TLSB) for consent to build the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon.

Acceptance means that the application has reached the required standards to proceed to public examination before being determined by the Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change. Natural Resources Wales will consider in parallel an application for the marine licence that is required due to the Project’s location in Welsh waters. The marine licence application was itself accepted for consideration on Friday 28 February.

Mark Shorrock, CEO of Tidal Lagoon Power, the company behind the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, said:
“This is a hugely important step in the process that will, hopefully, see us on site in Swansea Bay in spring 2015 with the first power being generated in 2018.
“Through an ongoing process of operational optimisation, we now expect power output for the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon to hit 495 GWh per annum, enough to power 155,000 homes.

As an offshore generating station in excess of 100MW installed capacity, the Project qualifies as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) under the 2008 Act.
Alex Herbert, Head of Planning for Tidal Lagoon Power, said:
“Consulting on a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project, and subsequently compiling the application documents, is an enormous task that has kept the team busy for nearly three years. We are delighted that our application met the required standards and look forward to taking it forward to examination and a decision.”

A link to the Planning Inspectorate’s website is here. We would now ask you to consider engaging in the application process to show your support for the scheme. This calls for Representations from interested parties, of which you should be one.

Eden Energy may have abandoned Gerwyn Williams, but the Australian frackers still have some sound advice for him!

As Gerwyn Williams (of Coastal Oil & Gas /UK Methane/ Seven Star infamy) and his cronies desperately scramble about trying to raise some capital (they are rumoured to be thinking of trying their luck with a share issue scam), the video below offers some insight into how Australian coal companies go about it. It will resonate with all the frackers!

http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/8367ecddd5/an-important-message-from-coal-oil-and-fracking-companies

Pubs in and around Bridgend feature strongly in list of Top 30 Pubs in Wales

The top 30 in full:
1.Ty Coch Inn, Porthdinllaen
2. Plough and Harrow, Monknash
3. The Coach, Bridgend
4. Ship and Castle, Aberystwyth
5. Kings Head Inn, Llangennith
6. City Arms, Cardiff
7. Y Mochyn Du, Cardiff
8. The Gwaelod-y-Garth Inn, Gwaelod-y-Garth
9. The Star Inn, Treoes
10. Blue Anchor Inn, Aberthaw
11. Urban Tap House, Cardiff
12. Harbourmaster Hotel, Aberaeron
13. Black Boy Inn, Caernarfon
14. The Pelican in her Piety, Ogmore
15. The Star inn, Talybont on Usk
16. The Pentre Arms, Llangrannog
17. The Bush Inn, St Hilary
18. Bunch of Grapes, Pontypridd
19. Old Swan Inn, Llantwit Major
20. The Sloop, Porthgain
21. The Goat Major, Cardiff
22. Uplands Tavern, Swansea
23. The Pilot, Mumbles
24. The Bear Hotel, Crickhowell
25. The Worms Head Hotel, Rhossili
26. The Lansdowne, Cardiff
27. The Ship Inn, Tresaith
28. The Ship, Llangrannog
29. Rummer Tavern, Cardiff
30. The Queens Hotel, Swansea

Agenda – Bridgend Green Party Meeting 27th March 2014 – NEW VENUE

7.00pm Thursday 23rd January 2014 at NEW VENUE:

The Laleston Inn, Wind St, Laleston, Bridgend CF32 0HS

ALL WELCOME (Especially new members!)

AGENDA:

  1. Welcome and Introductions
  2. Apologies for Absence
  3. Minutes and matters arising
  4. Officers’ reports (Andy/John/Neil)
  5. Councillor feedback (Kathy)
  6. Elections – Target ward /Euro campaign
  7. Campaigns update – Fracking (Andy/Rozz); PAAA (Andy/John); Bridgend Against the Bedroom Tax (John/Trish/Andy/Gareth).
  8. AOB
  9. DoNM

REMINDER – If anyone needs a lift to any of our meetings, let Andy know and we will organise it for you.

DATE FOR YOUR DIARY – Verse & Vine

Begin forwarded message:

From: MARGARET MINHINNICK <mm>

Subject: DATE FOR YOUR DIARY

Date: 12 March 2014 12:28:27 GMT

SORRY FOR DUPLICATE POSTING TO MEMBERS

Vine and Verse Rhian.pdf

RHIAN EDWARDS AT THE ‘GREEN ROOM’ PORTHCAWL8pm, FRIDAY, MARCH 28

The ‘Green Room’, above SUSSED, 5, James St., PORTHCAWL CF36 3BG.

Tel. 01656 783962

All welcome. Entry £3.

Rhian Edwards published ‘Clueless Dogs’ with Seren Books, in 2012. This won her the ‘Wales Book of the Year’ award for 2013.

From Bridgend, Rhian has quickly made herself one of the most popular and sought-after writers in Wales. This is why Sustainable Wales is delighted to welcome her to the ‘Green Room’.

Rhian’s performance will be followed by an ‘open mic’ for other writers.

The ‘Green Room’ is a performance space that is regularly used by Sustainable Wales. It features readings, debates, ‘bake-offs’ and innovative theatre. Events in 2014 have included a lecture on the Swansea Bay ‘tidal barrage’, a highly successful fair trade ‘Bake-Off’, a performance by Tracy Evans, and lectures for a party of Polish schoolteachers.

Sustainable Wales Director, Margaret Minhinnick said today: “The ‘Green Room’ is a wonderfully versatile and creative space, that we are determined to use as frequently as possible.

“Audiences can total 25, and the atmosphere is always friendly! Certainly the ‘Green Room’ now provides an innovative programme of exciting events.”
Margaret Minhinnick
Director
Sustainable Wales Cymru Gynhaliol
4/5 James St.
Porthcawl
Bridgend
CF36 3BG
01656 783962

http://www.sustainablewales.org.uk/

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Sustainable Wales is an environmental charity. Committed to sustainable development, we focus on society, economy, jobs, creativity and the arts and their inter-connection with the natural world.