Posts Tagged ‘wales’

What a bunch of complete idiotic ignorant fools we are in Wales?

Totally indolent, apathetic and inept.

No-one to blame but our own clueless selves. Not retired folk from over the border. Us, and us alone. And unless we begin to get to grips with this basic inexcusable inadequacy in our own political culture, as a people, we will die.

Percentage of exports going to the EU from different parts of the UK.

16105754_10210068520127583_8156671134903738104_n.jpg

And of course this is the other image which goes with the one above.

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Economic dependency is not desirable but it is a fact of LIFE.

Those advocating greater self rule from Westminster do so because, for Wales to be so neglected by the dominant English culture is an unsatisfactory state of affairs which needs to be addressed by a more rigorous approach to that which can be provided by current structures.

Whilst ‘dependency’ on EU regional funding again is not desirable it is a current reality, and it also represents a degree of redistribution of wealth which the bottom heavy British state has consistently failed to undertake when left to its own devices.

In more general terms the UK is a unitary state in which Wales has no sovereignty as a polity whatsoever – one which sees its wishes often outvoted by the dominant group even when it is united and feels strongly about an issue. (But this is an experience also experienced by poorer regions of Wales who are constantly ignored by the talking shop in Cardiff Bay, i.e. The Senedd!)

The EU on the other hand is an international organization which enables participating members to voluntarily share aspects of common interest and responsibility according to the principle of subsidiarity whilst sovereignty is retained by state parliaments at all times.

I would like to be wrong, but, with my experience of a lifetime thus far, I fear Wales will be so much worse off outside the EU than anything experienced post-WWII, and Westminster, and specifically the Conservative party, does not give a toss about the Welsh, seeing us as a mendicant nation there to be exploited!

Brexit is going to happen – and I can’t think of any other way to soften the blow other than down upon the thick skulls of us Welsh?

When this all fails. For fail it surely will. In which direction will the media barons and right wing spin doctors turn you to direct your hate?

Via @chunkymark The Artist Taxi Driver

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Weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin intend to build a waste incinerator in partnership with CoGen in a heavily populated area of Cardiff. It would be the second one, joining Viridor incinerator in Llanrumney.
 
I’ve just dug out my questions to Wales Online’ Chris Cousens from 2010 from the group I was a co-founder of Covanta Incinerator Objection Group (which coincidentally celebrated the 5th Anniversary of WINNING against the Brig-y-cwn Monster Incinerator proposed for Fochriw, near Merthyr Tydfil, on 24th October 2011.)
 
Obviously these Q’s have to be re-written for this new Cardiff application, but the proposed incinerator is the same Gasification technology and the same exhaust chimneys which we showed fail to filter PM10 nano-particulates and heavy metals.
I’ve sent the questions to Friends of the Earth Cymru / Cyfeillion y Ddaear Cymru and I would like to see them receive answers to similar questions put to Lockheed Martin Energy VP Frank Armijo and CoGen Limited CEO Ian Brooking.
 
(From 2010)
A. How do Covanta intend to ensure that they will not breach emission limits at its proposed Brig-y-cwm plant?
 
B. Why should the residents believe that Covanta will run their plant
safely, when their track record with numerous plants throughout America showing Covanta have been found complacent in breaching emission levels and have endangering public health on hundreds of occasions?
I am at the most basic level of competence to be able to carry out
research and yet there is a huge amount of evidence I have found to prove this, for example; WALLINGFORD – New Jersey based Covanta Energy, owner of
the trash-to-energy plant on South Cherry Street, has been ordered to pay a $400,000 fine and upgrade one of its incinerators as terms of a settlement with the state over emissions violations in summer 2010. ( http://www.myrecordjournal.com/…/article_a9b14a2a-af26… )
 
C. In Merthyr Tydfil borough, Recycling rates are running at an average of 30%, how do Covanta propose ensure that the other 70% of recyclable waste will not be incinerated, are they just relying on residents to recycle?
 
D. Why are Covanta proposing to build an old style “open grate
incinerator”, which goes against the Waste Hierarchy Directive,
(1) waste prevention
(2) preparing for re-use
(3)waste prevention
(4) other recovery, including energy recovery
(5) disposal – by not allowing sufficient process for recycling, which has a higher position in the Waste Hierarchy than energy recovery?
 
E. Why are Covanta proposing to build an old style open grate incinerator when there are better proven technologies such as established Plasma gasification plants in the UK (which the UK Government are keen to promote, National Policy Statements Debate 18 July 2011 ) which pre-recycle prior to the safer incineration process, which ensures only non-recyclable waste will be burned?
 
F. Do Covanta agree that Plasma Gasification Incinerators better meet the purpose of the EU’s Landfill Directive, Waste Framework Directive and the National Policy Statement? If Covanta don’t agree, why does their open grate plant better meet these Directives?
 
G. Is it true that Covanta are not in fact, a waste management company, but are primarily an incineration firm, as they undertake no pre-sorting or recyclings of any waste prior to its incineration?
 
H. Does Mr Chilton consider Open-Grate to be the “BEST AVAILABLE TECHNOLOGY”? Would he please provide evidence for this and cite references for this.
 
I. Does Mr Chilton and Covanta consider the lungs of American people to be different to the lungs of Welsh people, as the company pollutes American lungs regularly! Why should we believe that they won’t pollute Welsh lungs in the same way?
 
J. Can Mr Chilton confirm that Covanta has been approaching English county boroughs, such as the Royal borough of Windsor, for contracts to incinerate their waste?
 
K. How does this fit in with the Welsh Governments’ “Localism” strategy for dealing with municipal waste?
 
L. What other countries does Covanta intend approaching in order to ship waste to incinerate at the site? e.g. Ireland? France? further afield?
Causing a massive carbon footprint for the proposed plant.
 
M. Does Mr Chilton agree that we have some beautiful views of the Brecon Beacons to the North and through the Valleys to the South and West of Brig-y-Cwm as well as splendid views of the hillsides of the Eastern Rhymney valley and the mountain tops of Blaenau Gwent beyond?
How would this plant sit along side Tourism revenue?
 
N. If this incinerator proposal were to progress, has he considered
relocating his family to Pentwyn, or Fochriw, or Bedlinog, or Dowlais, or any other of the communities that will be within the polluting outfall of his blight incinerator plant?

Lockheed Martin Energy VP Frank Armijo and CoGen Limited CEO Ian Brooking sign a teaming agreement for waste-to-energy projects in the U.K., starting with a plant in Cardiff, Wales.
LONDON, Oct. 11, 2016 – Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) has signed a teaming agreement with CoGen Limited to develop energy-from-waste projects in the United Kingdom, starting with a new plant in Cardiff, Wales.
The Cardiff facility will convert waste into up to 15 megawatts (MW) of energy, enough to power about 15,000 homes and businesses in the local area. To generate energy, the plant will process approximately 150,000 tons of waste per year, significantly reducing the need for landfill use. Construction is expected to begin in 2018, with operations starting in 2020.
“This project will make a substantial contribution to Cardiff and will further showcase how bioenergy technologies can help reduce waste, decrease pollution and generate clean, renewable energy,” said Frank Armijo, vice president of Lockheed Martin Energy. “We’re excited to team with CoGen, and we’re looking forward to other projects where we can help businesses, manufacturers and U.K. municipal and regional governments address their critical waste and energy challenges.”
CoGen will serve as the owner and developer of the Cardiff project and Lockheed Martin will lead the engineering, procurement, manufacturing and construction of the plant. The facility will use Concord Blue’s Reformer® technology, which converts waste to energy through a process called advanced gasification. The technology can convert nearly any kind of organic waste into clean, sustainable energy.
In addition to the Wales project, Lockheed Martin and CoGen will jointly pursue other similar projects, and smaller-scale opportunities to develop energy-from-waste projects for commercial and industrial businesses throughout the U.K.
“CoGen is excited to be forming this partnership with Lockheed Martin and bringing the Concord Blue Reformer® technology to the U.K.,” said Ian Brooking, chief executive officer of CoGen Limited. “Cardiff will be the first of a pipeline of projects that over the coming decade will see local, smaller-scale generation play a bigger part in delivering the U.K.’s energy requirements.”
Based in England, CoGen is a leading advanced gasification energy-from-waste company within the U.K. The company develops, constructs, manages, owns and executes advanced gasification plants throughout the U.K., with five projects either generating energy or under construction, and six additional projects in planning.
Lockheed Martin Energy is a line of business within Lockheed Martin that delivers comprehensive solutions across the energy industry to include demand-response solutions, energy efficiency, energy storage, nuclear systems, tidal energy technologies and bioenergy generation.
For additional information, visit our website: http://www.lockheedmartin.com/energy
About Lockheed Martin

Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 98,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.

About CoGen
CoGen is at the forefront of the Advanced Gasification of Waste industry within the U.K. and develops, constructs, manages, owns and executes Advanced Gasification plants. Projects are selected to minimize the transportation of waste within the U.K. and to ensure local benefit is gained from community waste. For additional information, visit our website: http://www.cogenuk.com

BAN THE BURN

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I’d like to thank you all very much for visiting my blog, Over Two Thousand Views in less than one week!
My recent photographs of the St David’s Day, People’s March For the NHS in Bedwellty Park , Tredegar, Wales have received over one thousand five hundred views, as well as the Michael Sheen fantastic address and Patrick Jones’ Healing House poem and Michael Sheen’s Valleys Rebellion documentary about the 175th anniversary of The Chartist’s Rebellion.


 

Hey there V@g1n@… a musical tribute celebrating International Women’s Day… Um…?

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p42pSs-Oi

Here’s a bit of musical fun as an appreciation… Definitely not safe for work… unless you’re singing in your van?

The United Valleys Action Group, which I am a part of, is featured in this Walesonline newspaper article. We are all very pleased with the write up and how our group’s activities have been presented.

Michael’s television programme will be on at 9pm Tuesday 24th Feb BBC2 Wales.

Michael Sheen’s Valley Rebellion BBC TWO WALES 9pm 24th February

Hollywood star Michael Sheen gets really, REALLY serious

Better known for blockbusters than soapboxes, Michael Sheen’s new BBC Two Wales programme is a study of the hard-won democracy of Wales. He tells Kirstie McCrum why voting is imperative, why he treasures the NHS – and why we should all listen to a wealthy Hollywood actor

 

 

(l-r) James Dean Bradfield and Michael Sheen in BBC Two Wales’ Valley Rebellion

Michael Sheen is angry.

He’s not spitting and swearing, no – not angry in a Roy Keane kind of angry, or with me. But angry nonetheless.

It’s happened as we’re discussing the NHS.

Sheen, dialing in from New York city, is chatting to me about a BBC Two Wales programme which airs this week, Michael Sheen’s Valleys Rebellion.

As measured as the actor’s comments are, delivered in his recognisable and melodious Port Talbot rumble, there’s an intensity which comes through as we talk about the state that our National Health Service currently finds itself in, alluding to political parties left versus right.

“The struggle between certain political ideologies is one between trying to break down the organisation of the labour force, to get rid of unions, to break apart the welfare state and the NHS.

“I think it’s important to realise that there is very much on the one hand an attempt to dismantle, and has been for a long time, things that have been fought for so long, that have had such huge impacts on our culture and society and the way we think.”

What the Chartists did

The Chartist Mural in Newport before demolition
The Chartist Mural in Newport before demolition

Sheen, perhaps better known for appearing in Hollywood blockbusters such as Underworld, the Twilight films and The Queen, got on board to make the programme to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the Newport Rising, but although the actions of the Chartists who marched on the Westgate Hotel to demand parliamentary and social change may seem a world away, he insists that what they fought for – and 22 of them died – is not unrelated to our own modern drive for a democracy that engages with its people.

“The Chartists were something I didn’t know too much about until I heard about the mural [contractors working for Newport Council demolished a commemorative Chartists mural on October 3, 2013].

“I’d seen it in Newport – it’s something that I had grown up having an awareness of without really knowing the whole story, and then once I started to hear about it with the mural, I got drawn into the whole thing more and more, and that was it.”

In fact, he became so involved that, on October 18 that year, he published a full-page open letter in a local newspaper in which he described how the “irony of something that was created to celebrate those who risked much for the good of all, being wiped out without consulting the people themselves, and under the auspices of a Labour-led City Council serving the needs of profit above all else, is both absurd as well as tragic”.

Strong words indeed from a man who’s made his living acting, but he insists that he’s just as politicised as anyone else who has been brought up in Wales at the same time as he was.

“Growing up you just accept that things are the way they are and you don’t really question it – and then at a certain point I guess you do start to question it.

“As I talked to a lot of people on the programme, it became clear that the Miners’ Strike was a pivotal moment for a lot of people of a certain age growing up and developing a sense of a political conscience, because it was such a powerful thing for so many people, certainly in Wales.

“I think that was probably something that I shared with a lot of people, that started to politicise a whole generation.”

A long way from Hollywood

Michael Sheen as Aro in Twilight (2011)
Michael Sheen as Aro in Twilight (2011)

Sheen’s on-screen journey takes him from the Heads of the Valleys, through Blaina and Tredegar and Rhymney, meeting with Manic Street Preachers singer James Dean Bradfield from Blackwood and socialist campaigner and journalist Owen Jones, trying to work out why the voting turnouts in these areas have dropped while social issues like poverty and unemployment are still such a large factor in daily lives.

It’s a subject he feels very strongly about, even though, as he acknowledges, his life and career have taken him far away from these streets.

“My background – where I come from, where my family comes from – is not a million miles away from the towns and villages that I was going through in the programme, so there are certainly points of connection.

“Obviously the circumstances of my life now are very different to the circumstances of a lot of people who I met making the programme, but I don’t think that means that you can’t have an interest in what’s going on, and a desire to try and do whatever you can to help in whatever way you can – even if it’s just to create a platform for people to air their opinions and concerns.

The film and television roles of Michael Sheen

“You can still have an interest in the same values and a shared desire to create change for the better.”

The beliefs which were instilled in him by growing up in Wales, I suggest.

“I think the tradition of a rebellious political conscience is probably one that’s shared between Wales, Ireland and Scotland, because of historically what happened with their relationship to England, so there’d always been a sense of rebellion there.

“But I think it’s more to do with the labour movement, the rise of that from the Chartists up to Nye Bevan and the creation of the Labour party and then onto what Nye Bevan spearheaded with the NHS and the welfare states.

“The labour movement and the Chartist movement were national, if not international, so I don’t think it was peculiar to Wales.”

Communities working together for change

Michael Sheen at a meeting of the United Valleys Action Group
Michael Sheen at a meeting of the United Valleys Action Group

The programme introduces Sheen to many people who feel powerless and frustrated with the political system, including the United Valleys Action Group in the Rhymney Valley.

He says groups like theirs fill him with hope about the system.

“The group members represent a larger group of people, and it’s an organisation that they have created. They have definite issues that they’re trying to address that have a direct impact on their community and they organise themselves and come up with direct strategies as to what they can do.

“That seems like a very healthy and vibrant reaction. They’re not going against the law, they’re not doing anything illegal, but they’re also not aligned to a political group, so it’s not strictly speaking a conventional political way of doing things, it’s more a community-based one.”

The organisation of groups like this one are what will help drive social change forward, Sheen believes.

“The Chartists were a huge amount of people all over the country with a lot of different agendas, but through organising, through having an open channel of communication, they were able to do something.

“The whole history of the labour movement is also one of organising people – the people in power who owned the industry were very organised, and they rely on the workers to not be organised in order to do whatever they want to exploit them.

“So it’s when the labour movement is organised, and the workers are organised, that they have some power.”

Protecting the NHS

Michael Sheen is concerned that the NHS is being dismantled
Michael Sheen is concerned that the NHS is being dismantled

This is when he becomes more agitated about the NHS, but it seems to be more of a passion than a rage, a desire to help everyone see what they might be missing – that these precious parts of our country are at risk.

“I’ve been spending a lot of my time in America where they haven’t had a national health system or welfare state like ours and you realise that the way people think over here is very different because of that.

“There’s a kind of mistrust of that sort of system, the whole Obamacare [a US reform package to provide affordable healthcare for all Americans] thing. They think it’s extraordinary and a betrayal of the American people.

“It makes me realise that our way of perceiving our culture and communities has been very affected by having something like that. That doesn’t mean to say that things have to stay the same all the time – obviously things have to change and adapt.

“But we have to be very careful not to lose something that is of immense value to us, not just in terms of the service it provides, but also in the kind of culture we want to be, the way we want to relate to ourselves and other people.

“I think any culture is judged on how it regards its most vulnerable, and the NHS has always been a symbol of that.

“A healthy NHS is what we should work towards rather than getting rid of it. That’s my own personal opinion.”

With the countdown to the general election underway, and voter turnout at a low, Sheen was keen to investigate whether there is something wrong with democracy.

“What I heard a lot was people talking about how they feel politicians have become professional politicians and they tend to feel like they’re not being represented.

“I think there’s a general suspicion that a lot of politicians are looking out for corporate interests rather than the people’s interest and therefore people start to feel disengaged.

“But just before we did the programme was the Scottish referendum where there was such huge engagement, so clearly it’s not about apathy, it’s that the means of engagement seem to be not working for people. And something needs to change.”

Despite all the intensity of the arguments for the UK experiencing current times with relationships between the people and our elected representatives seemingly at an all-time low, Sheen insists there is hope.

“We can always pull things back because it’s always in our hands. The democratic system is based upon the fact that if the people want something then they are able to affect change.

“The difficulty is when our political system becomes obfuscated and difficult to engage with, and also when people aren’t aware of what it is that’s going on – then it becomes problematic. But there is always the possibility of changing it, because we just have to say what we want.

“There are so many access points for getting information about what’s going on that it can sometimes be a bit overwhelming, but I think that’s better than having one or two sources which can be easily manipulated.

“The first responsibility is for people to find out exactly what’s going on and then work out what they want. It’s certainly never too late.”

What Michael really thinks of Russell Brand

PA WireRussell Brand, now an activist and campaigner who has encouraged the British electorate not to vote
Russell Brand, now an activist and campaigner who has encouraged the British electorate not to vote

With the countdown to the general election underway, there’s a lot of talk about voter turnout. With comedian and self-styled political activist Russell Brand telling young people not to vote because our political system is flawed, I ask if Sheen feels agitated about that message going out on such a vast platform.

“I think what Russell Brand has been doing is fantastic, because anyone who is getting people to think about what they’re doing and putting forward arguments is great for people who are engaging with it and listening to it, whether they agree with it or not.

“That’s the whole point – we should have discussions about it, rather than sitting watching rubbish on the TV. Let’s have this argument, let’s talk about it, let’s say, ‘Yes, I think he’s amazing, I think he’s absolutely right’, or, ‘No, I think he’s an idiot and what he’s saying is wrong’.

“I’m never concerned about whether someone with a loud voice who is getting heard is going to overly influence people because everyone should have their own opinion. But it does make you think about what you think or feel about what they’re saying as well, and that’s the important thing.”

With the lineage we’ve discussed, from the Chartists and more, can he and will he be expressing his own feelings come May 7?

“I do get a vote in the UK, and I certainly will be using it this election,” he assures me.

Michael Sheen’s Valleys Rebellion is on Tuesday on BBC Two Wales at 9pm

Ten-great-contemporary-art-galleries-in-wales

 

Fostering Creativity in Cymru: Ten Great Contemporary Art Galleries in Wales

Renowned for its lush valleys and beautiful shores, Wales is also home to some of the United Kingdom’s leading contemporary art galleries. From independent artist led spaces to the country’s National Art Museum, here are ten of the best galleries dedicated to promoting Welsh artistic identity and forming international and cultural exchanges.