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. ( 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 ( 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. ( 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! (

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

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!

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!)


  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.


Begin forwarded message:



Date: 12 March 2014 12:28:27 GMT


Vine and Verse Rhian.pdf


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
Sustainable Wales Cymru Gynhaliol
4/5 James St.
CF36 3BG
01656 783962


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.

Shale will fail – ‘Watermelon’ article by Andy Chyba


Andy Chyba (Bridgend Green Party/Frack Free Wales/ Anti-Fracking Network)

Such has been the success of the anti-fracking lobby that very few people have NOT now heard of fracking. Furthermore we have consistently won the arguments such that every poll on the subject consistently yields massive majorities (85 to 95% typically) against allowing fracking in this country.

Now The Tories have backed themselves into a corner and It is likely to cost them dear in terms of lost seats at the next election – especially in “impregnable strongholds” – such as Francis Maude’s seat in Balcombe. They have committed themselves to fracking for the benefit of their corporate paymasters, and the network of vested interests exposed goes right to the very heart of government. They are getting increasingly desperate and unscrupulous in their attempts to force fracking upon us. They have tried to bribe local authorities allowing them to keep 100% of the business rates generated by frackers. They will now pursue further changes to the planning system to take fracking related decisions out of the hands of local councils, allowing Westminster impose them on local communities. Their contempt for all of us is palpable.

But new local opposition groups start up often and seek the help of umbrella organisations such as Frack Off and BIFF. There is an ever-growing list of incidents of Police complicity with the frackers, and brutality towards peaceful protestors at Balcombe and Barton Moss in particular. Direct action is springing up everywhere. Witness the demos at Total petrol stations around the country –as this French company eyes British shale gas since the French government has indefinitely banned fracking in France. And the list of countries and regions banning fracking grows.

Although the Police role needs exposing, the judiciary are not, as yet, buying into the establishment persecution of peaceful protest. Witness the acquittal of every one of the Balcombe 16. This has vindicated and re-invigorated the growing army of fractivists around the country. We do know what we are doing – it is the Government who don’t!

The prospects for the frackers are bleak. Companies in are Poland realizing that it is not an economic proposition after all – despite encouragement from the Polish government. In the USA, there are many signs of trouble for the industry at every level. The New York Times carries stories of leaked documents revealing the growing scepticism within the industry economically viable (never mind the climate change implications)

So, this is another example of the Tories backing a complete loser and not having the sense to cut their losses.– they keep on drilling themselves deeper and deeper into a mire from which they will struggle to extricate themselves, like the addicted gamblers chasing their losses. They are FRACKED!

Andy Chyba’s address to the Plaid Cymru Conference fringe meeting on Extreme Energy

Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you all on an issue that has come to dominate my life over the last three and a half years.

As a former geography and geology teacher, I have a good grasp of the technical and planning aspects of the issue;

As an activist I have been to Balcombe and Barton Moss and represented The Vale Says NO campaign group at the Llandow Public inquiry

And as an ecosocialist, like Leanne Woods, I recognise that it is the people of Wales that will pay the price for the reckless pursuit of extreme fossil fuels, while corporate capitalist interests plunder us yet AGAIN in pursuit of a quick buck.


Kelvin has asked me to touch on 4 themes, namely the size of the extreme energy resources; the timescales involved; activity in Wales so far; and key local impacts. All in 5 minutes he insists!! I’ll give it a go.


So what is the size of the resource we are talking about?


Well, it is actually complete guesswork, no matter who you choose to listen to. Supposed experts like the British Geological Society, have offered varying estimates from 5 trillion cubic feet, to 1000 trillion cubic feet for the UK as a whole.


Meanwhile Eden Energy, who held interests here in Wales until quite recently, produced an estimate for South Wales of 34 trillion cubic feet in 2011. At this point time, the BGS was still sticking to its 5 tcf UK estimate – so who do you believe?


In this industry you choose who you want to believe, and don’t believe the BGS is completely impartial either!


What you need to understand is that this is a very imprecise science. Essentially, what happens is that they drill and take core samples that are often smaller than this (2L) bottle of coke. They than analyse the gas content and extrapolate this across the whole region.


This is utter nonsense in real terms. Firstly, the gas content can vary greatly over quite small distances. And secondly, the recoverable % also varies enormously depending on local conditions within the rock strata and the success, or otherwise, of the fracking operations.

Industry sources quote what they call the Technically Recoverable Rate, typically around 20%. But this is also a gross over-estimate of what is actually recoverable. Experience around the world has shown that 10% recovery is hard enough to achieve.


This has led to many fracking operations, that started with claims of 20 or 30 years production, shutting down after as little as 3 or 4 years production.


Reasons for this include:

1.   Much greater technical problems than anticipated

2.   Production rates dropping off exponentially, such that 90% of what proved to be recoverable was achieved in the first 3 years

3.   Large initial production rates impacting on wholsale prices in the USA such that profit margins quickly disappeared.


Such experiences are causing many operators to be a lot more cautious – even where there are huge incentives from government. For example, after huge amounts of hyperbole, every major player has withdrawn from Poland in recent months, claiming that the reality is nothing like the potential that was talked up just a couple of years ago.


So what is happening in Wales?


The short answer is ‘very little’ as yet, and certainly nothing resembling the mythical ‘dash for gas’.

There was a spate of test drilling operations around 2008, long before most of us had heard of fracking. They all pretty much dismissed the potential at that stage.


Subsequently, astute speculators, like Gerwyn Williams, picked up the PEDL licences across South Wales for a song. He is the man behind tinpot companies like Coastal Oil & Gas and UK Methane, based in Bridgend but with no assets worthy of the name.


Their modus operandum seems to be to pick up PEDL licences cheaply; ponce around putting in planning applications for test drilling here and there – even though they don’t have the resources to do the drilling themselves; talk up the potential and try to secure some backing from somewhat bigger companies like Australian firm Eden Energy (who after some initial interest and a little investment have now withdrawn); and they  then hope to make a killing selling on their licences to the really big boys, if and when full-scale production appears on the horizon.


Gerwyn is a retired miner, getting on in years. This is his Ponzi Pension Plan!!


FINALLY, just in case the frackers are ever let loose here, let me quickly list of my top 13 key local impacts, in no particular order:


1.   Hundreds of HGVs on narrow country lanes

2.   24 hr drilling causing noise, light and air pollution

3.   Dramatic impacts on house prices

4.   Loss of tourism

5.   Impacts on agriculture, such as losing organic status

6.   In total, more long-term jobs lost than short-term jobs created

7.   The threat to water supplies from the massive abstraction of scarce water resources to feed the fracking process

8.   Potential irreparable contamination of aquifers

9.   High probability of spills of frack fluids and toxic flow back water

10.                Likely minor earthquake activity that will cause and increase leaks of gas and fluids, and can cause some structural damage that will not be covered by insurance companies

11.                Long term severe health impacts from exposure to some of the chemicals involved (even in minute concentrations)

12.                Industrial injuries from chemicals, explosions, and silicosis associated with the type of sand used.

13.                The local consequences of climate change exacerbated by this reckless pursuit of extreme fossil fuels rather than focusing on the ample renewable resources that offer Wales genuine energy security and virtually free domestic energy in due course.


I will leave it there – thank you.

Fracking perforation guns and depeleted uranium!

Hi Vic,

This wikipedia article matches my understanding of the contemporary perforation process:

What has been uncertain is the strength of the charges used. Compared to conventional reservoirs which only need mild stimulation to trigger flows, the density of shale makes it much harder to ‘punch’ through, and in order to get any flow at all, fractures need to be extensive. The temptation must be to have much stronger charges in shale beds than conventional reservoirs, leading to increased difficulties in control and uncertain outcomes. It appears to be an area of considerable R&D by operators like Schlumberger:

As for the use of depleted uranium, rumours have been around for quite a while, but I am not aware of any proven instance of it having been used – YET. The following is, however, good evidence that it has been on the minds of Halliburton, at least (dated 11 months ago):

I hope this helps.


Andy Chyba

On 3 Mar 2014, at 16:00, Keith M Ross wrote:


I doubt anyone would be foolish enough to use nitro or plastic explosives when searching for methane! Have heard rumours about DU (Depleted Uranium) being used in drill bits before, but have never seen any evidence.

Copying Andy Chyba, who knows far more about these things than I do and may be able to guide you to some reliable sources.

Keith Ross
Safe Energy/Frack Free Wales.

Byddwch yn wyrdd, gadewch hwn ar y sgrin. Peidiwch argraffu’r neges yma oni bai bod wir angen.
Be green, leave it on the screen. Please don’t print this message unless you really need to.


Hi,  I’m looking for information regarding perforation and explosion used in slick water fracking.

I’ve heard that DU mght be used, or is it ntro or plastic explosives?

Any verfiable information gratefully recieved!

Vic Doyle