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Badger and the little Red Book

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badger84imageBEFORE Badger begins, he would like to correct an impression that could have been given by his column last week that Cllr Keith Lewis had not repented of any sins. Keith repenteth plenty. Or at least he will soon. It was a case of too many Lewises spoiling the joke. Saint Simon of Neyland will forgive Badger. Saint Simon knows that one word, “Plus” (or minus), can make or ruin a joke however bad. It is Rob Lewis who repenteth not, Saint Simon. Pray for his immortal soul, pray. And after that, on with the motley and back to the fray. A long time ago, when the world was green, adherents to extremist ideology clustered around one or two publications like moths drawn to a flame.

Badger remembers the strident cries of “Socialist Worker!” delivered in a mockney dahn serf accent by Repton old boys whose daddies were something big in the FO; Badger remembers Militant, a newspaper printed and circulated by those who thought everyone had sold out Marxist-Leninism, including —rather surprisingly — the pre-Glasnost Soviet Union. Badger remembers when jokes like this were rather more common: Q: How many Marxists does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: None: The light bulb contains the seeds of its own revolution! But the touchstone of many a member of the lunatic fringe of British left wing politics was a selection of extracts from speeches and aphorisms delivered by the biggest dingbat in the Comtnunist belfry.

Badger refers of course to “Quotations of Chairman Mao Tse-Tung”; otherwise, universally known in the West as “The Little Red Book”. Now, the glorious dawn of a new Cultural Revolution is upon us with the ascent to the giddy heights, Chair of Pembrokeshire County Council, of Chairman Tom Richards. Tom, often to be seen sashaying around Quay Street in a quite fetching scarf, hat and coat combination of a style befitting a gentleman farmer, has ascended to this seat of power not because of his keen insight, still less in recognition of his administrative skill or prowess with a well-timed gavel. No: readers Chairman Tom has been promoted to glory because of the old rule of “Buggin’s ibm”. This is not so much a job for the boys, as a job for one of the “good old boys”. But here is his chance to make a mark. To exchange notoriety for fame. Perhaps, readers, Chairman Tom’s thoughts might give us an insight into the future.

His investigative instincts piqued, Badger tunnelled to the Chairman Welsh Hook fastness to try and get a peep at what makes Tom tick and to discover how the Chairman’s thought processes work. After taking a wrong turn in Cockshoot Wood, Badger espied the tower of St Lawrence’s Church and regained his bearings: guided by the clink of glass on glass to the window of Chairman Torn’s parlour. There, wearing naught but his hat, chain of office, and an enigmatic smile was Chairman Tom. Perched on a stool and illuminated by a flickering oil lamp, Tom sat ploughing through Das Kapital and nodding eagerly.

Strewn around him on the floor were copies of “The Communist Manifesto” and Lenin’s “What is to be Done?” Through his spyglass, Badger spotted one phrase of Lenin’s, heavily underlined “The fear of criticism displayed by the advocates of freedom of criticism cannot be attributed solely to craftiness. No, the majority look with sincere resentment upon all theoretical controversies, factional disagreements, broad political questions.” Chuckling softly to himself, Chairman Tom continued to peruse selections of the literature of the left, scribbling the occasional note in its margins with a quill charged with green ink. Badger had not expected this: the complete works of Jancis Robinson, possibly; The Farmer’s Guardian, probably; The Beano, certainly. But not Chairman Tom showing every researching his own Little Red Book.

Badger had formerly always subscribed to the cock up theory of history and discounted conspiracy theorists as crackpots, like Oliver Stone or Gordon Brown. Now, however, recent events in Pembrokeshire suddenly became clear. Badger’s head swam in a way usually attributable only to over-imbibing on fermented fox. The collapse of the Communist Party after the 1996 Russian election: the re-establishment of Pembrokeshire County Council, the same year. Frustrated in their eastern European homeland, the pinkos had found a new crucible in which to carry out their unholy social experiments: County Hall, Haverfordwest.

The revolution having failed in the former Soviet Union, did the reds go from Moscow to Martletwy? Is it really so far-fetched to suspect that they might have? And if they did that would make the lPPG a Communist front. Not so much a sleeper cell, but a sleep-walking one. Let’s look at the facts, readers. Cadres formed; covert recruitment practices; literature produced secretively; slavish devotion to the party line: a bureaucracy that is only too eager to help rewrite history; the systematic harassment and bullying of refuseniks. CCCP = County Council Communist Party! Badger’s beguiling theory explains so much about the Kremlin on the Cleddau!

The mind-set is the same. The methods are identical. And Chairman Tom’s disdain for democracy and determination to stamp it out at all costs remarkably familiar. The glorious day has finally arrived for the !PPG fellow-travellers. The hammer and sickle replaced with the proud banner of the golden trough triumphant. Readers! Never mind the age old question of whether Bryn is a shape-shifting lizard who needs to travel by private lift twice a day to regenerate into (approximately) human form. The evidence suggests that the commies are already running Pembrokeshire. Altogether, comrades, before the secret police arrive! `Parry Jones’ flag’s a golden trough. Gouge the poor, enrich the toffs”.

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Green Party call for free bus services

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COUNCILS and political parties in Ceredigion are being urged to unite in a radical initiative to help counter the climate emergency by making the county the first in Britain to offer completely free – and more frequent – bus services.

Backers of the Ceredigion Green Party plan say it would slash carbon emissions and cut air-pollution by drastically reducing the number of cars on Ceredigion’s roads, while stimulating efforts to create a greener economy by making it free, and easy, for workers – especially the lower-paid – to get to and from jobs.

The scheme would follow the example of Dunkirk in northern France, where, a year after public transport was made free, a study has found 85 per cent of residents now use the region’s ticketless buses. Car parks have emptied, and poorer residents say it’s now easier to socialise and take advantage of entertainment and cultural activities. The region has a fleet of environment-friendly express buses running every 10 minutes throughout the day.

Greens want the county council to coordinate efforts to investigate sources of funding for the scheme, which it believes could be a pilot project for other counties.

Green Party election candidate Chris Simpson said:

“Climate emergency declarations by governments and councils often don’t go much beyond words. But here’s a way to make a real difference, and at the same time show that we recognise that efforts to lessen the effects of climate-breakdown, and to stop damage to biodiversity, will mean big changes in the ways our society functions.

“However, the beauty of this scheme is that it doesn’t make things harder but improves our quality of life. The experience of the T-buses in Ceredigion, which are free at weekends, shows how well-used buses are when there’s no charge. Make them free all the time, and frequent, and their popularity will soar, bringing so many climatic, social and economic gains.”

Funding, the party suggests, would come from central and local government and perhaps a levy on other public bodies and companies with substantial numbers of employees.

Dunkirk took its inspiration from Tallinn, Estonia, where public transport is free, and Luxembourg, where bus, train and tram fares are being scrapped as part of an environmental push.

At the same time, Greens are demanding HS2 be abandoned in favour of “a local transport revolution”, warning the planned £88 billion rail line would destroy dozens of ancient woodlands and biodiversity and take, by HS2’s own admission, 120 years to become carbon-neutral. Instead, the party wants decarbonisation focused on electrification of existing lines.

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Conservative Candidate highlights concerns over large-scale wind farms

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EARLIER this year, the Welsh Government published its Draft National Development Framework (NDF) setting the direction for development in Wales. Within the NDF there is a section dedicated to ‘Energy’ development.

The Welsh Government are proposing “large scale wind and solar development to be directed towards Priority Areas for Wind and Solar Energy”.

Over a dozen areas have been identified throughout Wales and two of these priority areas cover large sections of Ceredigion.

According to the document, there will be a presumption in favour of “large scale on-shore wind and solar energy development in these areas, and an acceptance of landscape change.”

Amanda Jenner told The Ceredigion Herald: “Like many people, I’m passionate about protecting our environment and I fully recognise the importance of tackling climate change. However, I am seriously concerned about the huge pylons that could be needed to connect the electricity to the grid. These proposals do not consider the impact on the tourism sector!”

“Tourism is highly important to Ceredigion’s economy and it includes many agricultural businesses that have diversified into this sector, a trend that is likely to continue. The Labour run Welsh Government must consider how large-scale energy developments will impact Ceredigion’s tourism industry.”

Decisions on large-scale energy developments will not be made under the usual Local Authority Planning processes. Rather, Welsh Government Ministers in Cardiff will decide whether to approve such developments, under the Developments of National Significance process.

Amanda further added: “The top down nature of these proposals is worrying! The fact that tourism hasn’t been fully taken into account nor the disruption of large areas of peat, which may be hugely important to the ecology of an area, shows just how far removed the Labour run Welsh Government are from us.”

“The considerable additional powers which Welsh Labour Ministers are accruing for themselves, undermine local democracy. At the very least, despite being decided by Ministers in Cardiff, the Welsh Government must ensure thorough local community engagement and consultation. It is essential that there is a clear process and communities must be given ample notice of planning applications, in order to assess the wider implications and impacts on their communities.”

The Conservative Candidate has urged the Labour run Welsh Government to follow the example of the Conservative Government in Westminster and to launch a review in to the impact of wind farms.

Amanda said: “I urge the labour run Welsh Government in Cardiff to follow this sensible decision by the Conservative Government and to launch a similar review in Wales”.

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New plaque unveiled at Cardigan War Memorial to honour three fallen soldiers from Cardigan

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A NEW plaque was unveiled at Cardigan War Memorial to honour three fallen soldiers from Cardigan. The plaque was unveiled during a public Commemoration and Dedication Service on 12 October.

The plaque commemorates Michael J. Dunphy who gave his life in the 1982 Falklands War and Lee T. Davies and David M.E. Greenhalgh who gave their lives in the 2001-2015 conflict in Afghanistan. The plaque was unveiled by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Dyfed, Miss Sara Edwards.

Councillor Paul Hinge is Ceredigion County Council’s Armed Forces Champion. He said: “It was an honour and privilege to welcome everyone to the Service of Commemoration and Dedication, not only as a son of Cardigan, but as a veteran myself and Ceredigion County Council’s Armed Forces Champion.

“The three fallen soldiers of Cardigan, Michael Dunphy, Lee Davies and Dave Greenhalgh paid the ultimate sacrifice and their names are now immortalised on Cardigan War Memorial honouring their sacrifice.

“It was a privilege to work with all stakeholders involved in planning the day including the families, regiments, Cardigan Town Council and Ceredigion County Council officers. We were delighted with the strong attendance on Saturday which was a testament to how important this Commemoration is to all concerned. It was a fitting tribute to the fallen soldiers of Cardigan.”

 

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