.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Friday, September 26, 2003

Turn again Dick Whittington

I spent the morning visiting the washery at Onllwyn, a fascinating experience that built on my previous visit to the open cast site at Nant Helen. I am not of coal mining stock, my father was a banker, and so I cannot pretend to know much about the industry. I am though willing to learn. Of course when we try to promote South Wales as a tourist destination we try not to mention the coal mines and the open cast, those are the stereotypical images we are trying to overcome. We concentrate instead on the beautiful countryside and beaches, the culture and overall experience. Mining of course was for many years the mainstay of the economy. It still provides many jobs. The washery at Onllwyn employs 80 people and process coal from Nant Helen and Margam for the domestic market, Aberthaw power station and the concessionary coal scheme. The process is fully computerised and also very noisy. I came away with a souvenir piece of coal with a high carbon content that glitters like a diamond as a consequence. I don't think I will get away with giving it to my wife as a present in lieu of the real thing however.

On the way up I discussed with my regional manager the decision of the Conservative AM for Monmouth, David Davies, to seek election to Westminster. It seems that like Dick Whittington, he has turned around from the course he was set on and has decided to head back instead for the big City. David has said he will remain an AM until 2007 if he is elected. That is allowed of course but it does throw doubts on the willingness of the Tories to provide a proper opposition to Labour in Assembly. They have already given Labour its slim majority by effectively securing the election of Independent AM, John Marek, to be Deputy Presiding Officer. Now the Tories are going to keep their Assembly seats warm for two years without any guarantee that they will be there for key debates, thus allowing Labour to relax and do as they please in the knowledge that they can win votes comfortably.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?