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Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Carpetbaggers and vultures

The debate on opencast and mineral extraction sites was nothing if not entertaining. Passions were aroused on both sides and as the debate got increasingly heated so the metaphors became more and more mangled.

Carwyn Jones started it off by mixing up quarrying with stone masonry:

In terms of buffer zones—[Interruption.] There is no point in whingeing; listen and learn. Let me explain the situation with regard to buffer zones. It is perfectly possible for buffer zones of whatever distance to be imposed; that is the current situation as long as they can be justified. It is perfectly possible for there to be buffer zones around opencast working, and that is what the planning guidance says.

Peter Black: Would it not be safer to impose a buffer zone and be sure that you would not be challenged on appeal if it were encapsulated in guidance?

Carwyn Jones: That is precisely what the review of the coal TAN is meant to do. I am perfectly cognisant of the situation in Scotland, but it is worth pointing out that the 500m separation distance in Scotland is not written in stone.

However, it was Huw Lewis who conjured up the most graphic image of the day:

Huw Lewis: I was about to describe Plaid Cymru as Johnnys-come-lately to this debate, but they are not even that—they are carpet baggers who have circled around my constituency like vultures, looking for a few votes. Look what good it did you all last Thursday.

Carpetbaggers with wings are something I want to see.
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