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Badger, Arwyn Williams, and the art of the possible

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badger knows bestPOLITICS, in a quote often attributed to R.A. Butler but originating with Otto von Bismarck, is said to be the art of possible. Not the desirable; not the moral; not the good; but the possible. Von Bismarck did not mean that politicians should operate in a principle-free zone. He meant that a politician’s freedom for manoeuver is necessarily constrained by events over which they have no control. Upon events over which control can be exercised, politicians should – it follows — seek to prosecute the opportunities open to them to influence events and practice their art in the space given to them by opportunity. in such a way, politics is a matter of choice not one of compulsion. Badger has listened carefully to the achievements of the IPPG as recounted by members of the IPPG’s own Cabinet. The core message they send out is — where it is capable of interpretation into an intelligible form —”You can trust us to correct the errors of the past because we’re pretty sure we now know where we went wrong”.

Huw George, the IPPG’s very own Vicar of Bray, tells us that people want decent roads, the rubbish collected and good schools for their children. The IPPG has slashed the highways budget for anything that did not appear in one of their own cabinet members’ campaign literature or election videos: halved bin collections, so that families are compelled to store rotting garbage that attracts vermin on their own property for up to a fortnight; and closed good schools based on sham consultations and a bogus prospectus of improvement that has mortgaged all of our futures. Anyone with a half a brain —overqualified for the IPPG, then —knows the Cabinet’s collective tears of sorrow are those of a crocodile, readers. All the while, Jamie has done the sad yet patronising voice in Council meetings, mixed with shrewish recrimination when caught out by inconvenient truths.

He and all the IPPG, they are all very sad that these cuts are necessary. These are austere times and we must all tighten our belts. Or, as unsubstantiated rumour has it, tighten the seatbelts in Bryn’s Council-funded taxi – a Porsche Panamera SE Hybrid: yours, readers, for just f90K. Yes: readers, see the sad long face that Jamie pulls when he is communicating unwelcome news. Jamie does not like making cuts, he simply cannot see the possibility of an alternative to cuts. He cannot make — or refuses to see – the connection between deep and deeper service cutbacks and continued clinging to the tattered banner of the lowest Council Tax in Wales. Now: there are those who believe that their money is better in their own pocket than in the pocket of a central treasury providing public services Those people, who travel powered only by fairy dust and their imaginations, do not use the commonplace roads and transport infrastructure like ordinary mortals.

Possessed of superhuman resistance to sickness and the thousand shocks the mortal flesh is heir to, they don’t need doctors, nurses, hospitals or medicines. Indeed, they do not require bin men to collect their rubbish; they shall transport it to the local tip themselves, hanging their reeking black bin bags from the handles of their sedan chairs, as their servants propel them to the municipal amenity of their choice. When it comes to public spending, others believe that their champagne tastes should be indulged on a beer income. Public services cost money. if you want better ones, you have to pay more them in tax. This is the dreadful truth that governments have tried to hide for the last 35 years or so.

Trying to impose market discipline on the public sector is code for bouncing up the salaries of those at the top who have never exposed themselves to the risks of working in the private sector, while slashing the wages of those at the bottom of the pile. Similarly, the idea that increasing the private wealth of the few at the top leads to benefits trickling down to poorer members of society, was rightly described as “voodoo economics”. Reality shows that the gap between rich and poor has grown while services to act as a safety net for the less well-off have been pared not to the bone but to the marrow.

Between these two polar opposite views, our politicians — local and national — dangle on the hooks of their own ambition. Some politicians become seized by the fear of failure — whether real or perceived — and so sit on the fence doing nothing. To paraphrase Lloyd George’s lethal observation, they sit on the fence so long that the iron enters their soul. Too frightened by the spectre of making the wrong choice and becoming unpopular, they do the worst of all things and make no choices. Some confuse carping and picking holes in others’ efforts from the side lines with doing active good. Possessed of a firm belief in their own supreme and sole wisdom to pronounce upon matters of public discourse, they have the luxury of being a prophet, crying in the wilderness without actually having to come up with a solution to the faults they uncover in others. Yet others look for guidance from those who are more permanent than here today gone tomorrow elected representatives. These are politicians who become prisoners of bureaucracy. They are not so much house-trained as broken to the wheel by officers and civil servants who never have to worry about the shabby business of being elected. Politicians seldom break promises.

They surround pledges with the type of words that make any commitment conditional. They say one thing, the electorate hears another. Tony Blair was the master of the vapid and aspirational turn of phrase. Realising that promises were hostages to a fortune that he could not predict, Tony Blair used words with about as much sincerity as those in a greetings card sent to a much loathed wealthy relative. There was the sound of meaning but no substance. Politicians carefully avoid using verbs. Verbs, as Badger learned in school, “verbs are doing words”. We will have none of this doing things thing! We will plough the sands with rhetoric and slogans. Badger invites his readers to look at poor Clegg. He and his party were able to make all sorts of promises because they thought they would never, ever actually have to deliver their particular brand of pie in the sky. In power, the best they can say about their “achievements” is that without them the Conservatives would have been even worse. if being a member of a government that has systematically victimised, harassed and impoverished the poorest and most vulnerable is something that Nick Clegg is proud of, Badger despairs. To their eternal credit the one thing the IPPG can never be collectively accused of is breaking promises to their voters. IPPO councillors do not believe in promises. In fact, IPPO councillors say they do not believe in politics. IPPG councillors are so able to believe in three impossible things before breakfast that they do not believe the !PPG even exists. On 8 May, there will be a meeting of the Full Council. That meeting will be invited to consider a motion of no confidence in Rob Lewis, currently the Council’s Deputy Leader. Unfortunately for his !PPG comrades, ClIr Lewis is not only proof that the IPPG exists, but that it is a political

party in all but name. ClIr Lewis is living evidence of a cynical, careerist deception practised by cynical, careerist politicians. But, Badger can tell his readers, the motion of no confidence might not be heard. It could be booted back to the Council’s Cabinet for consideration by the Chairman of the Council (and !PPG member in good standing) Arwynailliams. Yes readers, would not believe it possible. An !PPG appointee can decline to hear a no confidence vote in the !PPG’s own Deputy Leader, Rob Lewis, a man who broke the code of conduct for members and was handed a suspension as a result, and remit the motion of no confidence in the IPPG’s “Election Co-ordinator” for consideration by the PPG Cabinet. Conflict of interest detector at the ready and pinging wildly, Badger cannot believe that such a step could be considered either practical or plausible. Badger noticed in the Herald a couple of weeks ago that a question could validly be posed as to whether those for whom Rob Lewis prepared literature have an interest in avoiding too deep an examination of their Deputy Leader’s scandalous conduct. Badger notes that Arwyn does not have to boot the motion on Rob Lewis to the long grass on the IPPG lawn for three months. The motion of no confidence in the representative from Martletwy could be heard by the meeting on May 8.1f Arwyn lets it be debated. Yes readers, Arwyn could seize the opportunity offered to him and demonstrate that the art of possible is not necessarily art for art’s sake. He has the opportunity to show, for a change for a member of the IPPG, just because something can be done does not mean it should be done. Think of Dr Pepper, Arwyn, what’s the worst that could happen?

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Health

Police and drugs advice service issue warning over ‘deadly batch’ of heroin

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POLICE have asked the media to issue a warning over a batch of heroin.

The drug circulating in west Wales, first detected in Llanelli, is particularly dangerous, it has been confirmed.

“We are warning drug users to take extra care following reports of a particularly harmful batch of heroin circulating in the Llanelli area” said a Dyfed-Powys Police spokesperson.

“We have reasons to believe some drugs being distributed and used in the Carmarthenshire area at present have been contaminated with other substances and could be extremely dangerous for anyone taking them.

“We would also appeal to drug users to seek medical attention immediately if they become unwell.

“Please share this information with anyone you believe could come into contact with these drugs.

”In an emergency or if you think someone’s life is at risk always dial 999.”

Earlier this week Barod, the drug and alcohol abuse service reported a dangerous and toxic heroin circulating in Pembroke Dock which a spokesperson described as being ‘potentially deadly’.

To comes as Public Health England issued a formal alert about the risks of heroin containing fentanyl or carfentanyl.

The warning reads: “There is significant evidence from a small number of post-mortem results of recent drug user deaths and from police seizures that some heroin may contain fentanyl or carfentanyl added by dealers.

“These are highly potent synthetic opioids and very small amounts can cause severe or even fatal toxicity.

“Those of you in contact with heroin users should be alert to the increased possibility of overdose arising from heroin cut with these synthetic opioids, be able to recognise possible symptoms of overdose and respond appropriately.”

The fentanyls are a group of synthetic opioids; some have legitimate uses while others are illicit drugs.

Fentanyl is about 100 times more potent than morphine and is a licensed medicine used to treat severe and terminal pain. Carfentanyl is 4,000 – 10,000 times more potent than morphine and principally used as an animal tranquilliser.

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Tenby’s famous walrus ‘Wally’ has been spotted again

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TENBY’S most famous marine animal has been spotted again after fears she had been scared away.

Wally was spotted on Friday evening by the seaside town’s Lifeboat station.

Thought to be a two-year-old male, the walrus’s return comes after it was feared she had been disturbed by people flocking to catch a glimpse of her and “getting too close”

The animal has attracted hundreds of people to the seaside town now that the travel restrictions with Wales have been lifted to coincide with the Easter school holidays.

Wally was last seen on Monday, but  members of the public were warned it was in the animal’s “best interests” to be “left alone” as much as possible and they were urged to “avoid the temptation to get near and disturb” her.

A joint statement was issued by the RSPCA, Tenby harbour master Chris Salisbury, Welsh Marine Life Rescue, Tenby lifeboat coxswain Phil John, British Divers Marine Life Rescue, Natural Resources Wales and CSIP Marine Environmental Rescue said that they were concerned to hear that people had tried to get close by using personal watercraft or paddle and surfboards.

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Police plan to deter badly behaved youths from gathering in Tenby

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POLICE in Tenby responded to community concerns over antisocial behaviour and groups of between 15-20 youths gathering and clashing over the Easter bank holiday weekend. They moved the youths on, seized alcohol from them and stopped matters escalating when there were clashes between the groups. And they have a clear message ahead of this weekend – there will be extra police patrols and presence in Tenby, including on the trains, so this type of behaviour won’t be tolerated.

Dyfed-Powys Police officers used powers under the Antisocial Behaviour Act to disperse groups of youngsters meeting to drink alcohol in and around Tenby, many of whom had travelled by train to the area to meet up.

Based on these scenes from last weekend, plans are in place as part of a joint operation with Pembrokeshire County Council licensing officers and British Transport Police, to address and prevent any further gatherings.

A Section 34 Order is in place covering Tenby, which allows officers to move people out of the area and prevent them from returning for up to 48 hours.

Sergeant Stuart Wheeler said: “Following last weekend we had some concern from the community of Tenby, due to antisocial behaviour related to the groups of youths from Pembroke, Pembroke Dock and Tenby, and subsequently those groups clashing. Alcohol consumption by these youngsters was a factor.

“Proactive action was taken, and we are keen to avoid a repeat of this behaviour this weekend, and have therefore put plans in place. Additional resources have been allocated, which will allow us to respond quickly and prevent matters from escalating.

“Tenby Neighbourhood Policing Team and response officers, will be carrying out high visibility patrols in the area, covering areas known to be popular with youngsters. Pembrokeshire County Council licensing officers will be assisting us in ensuring youngsters can’t buy alcohol in the area by visiting shops and reminding them of the laws around selling alcohol, and if they bring it with them it will be seized. And our colleagues in British Transport Police will be patrolling the train network to prevent problematic groups getting to Tenby by train.”

Police are also appealing to parents and carers to know where their children are, and what they are doing.

Sergeant Wheeler added: “We would like to appeal directly to parents to be aware of where their children are, and prevent them from gathering in large groups. This type of behaviour is distressing for people living and working in Tenby, and we are urging you to be accountable for your children’s actions.

“We understand that the past few months have been difficult, and that children want to see their friends, but remember that only 6 people from 2 households can meet outdoors still. Please do your best to ensure they are adhering to regulations that are in place for all our safety.”

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