Wednesday 19 December 2018

A "No Deal" Brexit - a personal view by Robin Burn

Wise men, and many not so wise men, for decades, and in the case of Nostradamus tens of decades, have expended copious quantities of energy in postulation as to the demise of mankind, the world, the fate of nations, principally their demise.
We remain.
We only have to cast our minds back to the reams of documentation and discussion as to the fate of the world on the effect of the Millennium bug and the billions of pounds Euros and dollars spent on the totally unnecessary replacement of IT equipment . The marketing was brilliant.

The result of a leave decision of the 2016 referendum was prophesied by the Remainers was to be a total collapse of the UK economy. The opposite was a result of the vote to leave.
Now we have the dedicated singled minded Remainers prophesying the same result of a "No Deal Brexit".

The reality of the situation is, and always has been, that, the resilience of the nation overcomes whatever adversity comes their way.
For too long, the reaction of those individuals who find themselves on the wrong side of the argument and decisions made ,resort to the malicious use of fear scaremongering to present their arguments.

 Westminster Debate

This nation, and I include those of Scotland and Wales, and that on the Northern side of the Border in Ireland, have served these islands with the ability to create wealth and prosperity. Firstly the wool trade, then came industrialisation, coal, fuelled the rest of the world, engineering gave mechanical power to produce commodities, advances in medicine served the populous, advances in science created modern technology, the list goes on.

We need to fear nothing, as a scientist and engineer, I am proud to be counted amongst my fellows who served and those serving this nation. Remember this country exported not only its goods but its ideas, to the benefit of Industrial nations around the world.
This nation survived two major debilitating world wars, and prospered after each.

Ingenuity and inventiveness served us well.

There may well be a short-term negative effect with a "No Deal Brexit".However for the reasoning debated above,long term prosperity will resume.

It’s time that those who profess that they only serve the peoples’ interest, do so , grasp the opportunity presented to this nation and practise what they preach.

Robin Burn I Eng FIMMM

Monday 17 December 2018

Llanelli City Deal Swamped ?

City Deals are a UK government project to stimulate economic growth by allowing local government and local businesses to invest in city based projects. They are part of a policy produced by the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition in Westminster and were designed as agreements between the UK Government and UK Cities. The UK Government issues a large grant and permission to borrow a much larger sum of money. Private companies are to match fund the investment.
The problem for Wales is that we have no large cities by European Standards. It is true that sizeable cities appear to generate much of the economic growth in Western Economies. So areas without big city hubs have, in their City Deal type schemes, been encouraged to pretend that they are big cities or large, populous regions equivalent to cities, and embrace these deals on the same sort of terms, presumably expecting the same promised benefit.
How has this gone so sour in Llanelli? What went wrong when our small, post industrial town was joined up with the Swansea Bay City Deal by Carmarthenshire County Council in the hope of being mistaken for a part of a vibrant and growing City?
Delta Lakes - before development

Proposed Wellness project - what might have been

These deals were offered  by the UK  government in “partnership” with local government and in our area are run by the County Councils of Neath Port Talbot, Swansea, Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire under the overall leadership of our Carmarthenshire Chief Executive, Mark James.
In Llanelli the Delta Lakes Wellness Centre proposal, already once rejected at Welsh Government Level, was resurrected to take advantage of this “free” money.
However, something has gone wrong. Perhaps the County Councillors should have been suspicious about the lack of a business plan when they were asked to approve the whole plan. My only claim to fame is that I was the only councillor to vote against it. Captivated by the promise of jobs, my colleagues were seduced into supporting a project with little evidence that it could deliver anything.
I recall former Council leader, Meryl Gravell in a full council meeting ,confidently explaining that the wealthy people on the new coastal housing estates close to the Project site would use the fitness and private medical facilities ,while poorer people from South Llanelli would have jobs in cleaning, maintenance, security and social care.
This was never submitted as a business case. The actual business case document has only recently emerged but has not been seen by anyone except the Plaid Cymru led Council Executive Board and the senior council officers. The author of the document has been suspended by Swansea University. How much of a fairy story it is we should soon find out.
Later Mark James would remark that a drug company was interested in the site as the nearby stable population was ideal for testing new drugs. Again, no actual evidence put forward. The promised new jobs rose from “up to 400” to "over 2000" , again without detail or explanation. Maybe the business case, when released after the investigations, will reveal all, or perhaps nothing..
The local Health Boards and Universities were “on Board” but not in any position to help fund the expensive project. The “private partner” turned out to be a company in debt and  apparently without access to the millions needed to match fund the deal.
The problem now is that the project is on hold due to concerns about the viability and propriety of the deal. The County Council are now reassuring us that they can deliver the project in other ways. The question is whether this ever was a good deal at all? Hopefully the truth will out as external investigations now underway reveal what was really going on?

My experience of the Public Sector , in both County Council and in the Welsh NHS, is that these questionable  financial plans are accepted because there are no serious adverse consequences when disasters happen. Many mishaps are just covered up. A leading manager might move on, a chair may resign but no one faces court or serious professional injury. Be a whistle blower as I was in the NHS and your career is trashed. I've seen whistle blowers in the Council suffer the same fate.

Our politicians moan about austerity but  turn a blind eye to massive misappropriation and misuse of public money in institutions supposedly under the control of the Welsh Government. It has to stop.

Siân Caiach

Monday 3 December 2018

Membership of which empire? What do we want for Christmas?


Currently Plaid Leader Adam Price is claiming that the EU is the place for Wales to be. The gist is  that if you need to be a vassal state [and Wales has a great history and experience of  being one] then the European Union is more friendly and cuddly than the United Kingdom. "We clearly are leaving the wrong union" he says.
Love Padlocks on the Rhine today - is one from Adam?

Presumably Adam wishes Wales to rejoin the EU after Brexit, following gaining independence from the UK.


Plaids Cymru's' current policy is for its MP's to reject any Brexit deal in Westminster, support a "Peoples' Vote"and/or vote down the UK government to have a general election, even though current polls show Plaid is likely to lose 1 seat if this comes to pass. Not the greatest game plan unless Plaid can quickly turn around their current fortunes. and a Peoples Vote is viable anyway.

Since the 2016 Brexit referendum the E.U. have shown their true colours towards secession in supporting the central government of Spain against Catalan separatists, even when the separatists declared their intention of staying in the EU after their eventual Independence.

 Surely the cosy Plaid Cymru opinion that the E.U. loves minorities, their languages and culture and rights to self determination should be shattered? Apparently Adam is all for the cute fairy story EU and believes an independent Cymru should, certainly rejoin the controlling and centrist EU monolith super state the EU currently craves to be.


Ah, say Plaid Cymru, Wales has changed its mind on Brexit, with polls now showing an about turn on the County's decision to leave the EU. In fact the results show a 50/50 picture with the leavers split into 30% for "hard" Brexit and 20% for "soft" Brexit,  Considering the variations between polls and results last time no-one can be certain of reversing Brexit through the " Peoples Vote"

 Theresa May maybe has the worst of all worlds with her current" deal" .The "Peoples Vote" want 3 options on their ballot :-(1), remain in the EU, (2) have a soft Brexit, or (3) a hard Brexit. No-one will spot that this is rather a biased choice.designed to split the pro-Brexit vote. That 's not going to happen. A straight, binary choice is s political gamble few mainstream politicians will risk. A general election may not resolve anything, and the issues are crammed with opinion, pouring  a confusing fog over what may or may not be the Brexit game today.


I suspect that despite the declarations of the E.U. negotiators declaring that this is the final offer, it is not, and Brexit, hard or soft, will be achieved rather than a reversal of the referendum vote. My only solid information on that opinion comes from a local bookmaker who can at least see where the bets are being placed and on his results, the money says we are leaving.

 However we peasants in Wales are powerless  as we can only watch  MP's  perform a poorly choreographed and clumsily executed dance of  Brexit gambits and wait to eventually observe the as yet unpredictable results. All of us may only be spectators, but the line has surely been drawn and the curse cast?.

Donkey or golden calf anyone ? 
 Siân Caiach