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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

On the Grid

I had a useful and fascinating meeting yesterday in the Welsh Government's Emergency Co-ordination Centre in Cathays Park. The meeting was with the Minister and her officials to get a briefing on swine flu but the attraction was clearly the chance to look around the Government's nerve centre.

My one regret is that I did not take photographs though I am not clear whether that activity would have resulted in me being clamped in irons or not. The centre was a bit like a cross between the Grid off Spooks and Churchill's war cabinet room. Plenty of new technology and a state of the art conference centre but also a big map of Wales on the table in the centre of the room and lots of staff working away on computers and phones.

At the moment it is being used to co-ordinate the Government's response to the swine flu pandemic but in the past it was also used to deal with the shortage of road salt during bad weather and also the Shambo incident in Skanda Vale, Carmarthenshire. The centre was set up in response to the Civil Contingencies Act.
Interestingly you mentioned Shambo, for those who don't remember the "incident" it was a cow with TB in some religious commune in West Wales; apparently it was due for destruction due to the TB and there was a big campaign and court case to same this sick animal, which more than likely would have been better off dead!

I remember getting a “spam” email from a member from one of the underlings of a regional advisor of the Assembly stating that it “was wonderful news” that this animal had been saved!

I find it quite shocking that a Civil Servant should behave in this way
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