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Badger and the Bells

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IT IS OFTEN said that one should not kick a man when he is down. Badger disagrees, readers: It seems to him that in the absence of a better opportunity, there is no better time to apply a touch of the boot. Of course, Jamie Adams isn’t down. Let’s face it, however, readers, if ever a man deserved a good shoeing it is him. And after last Thursday’s command performance. Badger is inclined to do just that. Badger wants to deal closely and with relish with the self-serving nature of Jamie Adams’ theatrical approach to council business. We start as we must, near the end. Watching the webadger84imagebcast of last Thursday’s council meeting was an interesting experience.

After what were apparently significant protests outside County Hall’s doors. Jamie Adams proposed a significant concession to guarantee the maintenance of secondary education in St Davit’s. Councillors were taken aback. It seemed as though Jamie had made policy if not on the hoof, then at the last minute. But no. readers. Not a bit of it. We turn to Cllr Ken Rowlands’ cominents at the end of the debate. Called because of his extensive teaching experience. Ken assured members that Jamie’s apparent change of heart was no last minute blink in the teeth of public protest No, readers. The Voice of Ken assured councillors and the watching public that those in the know had been discussing the matter for weeks and that the cognoscenti had determined to save Ysgol Dewi Sant. This was not “pulling a rabbit out of a hat”, as one councillor had opined, this was a sensible decision. We are, therefore, readers in a quandary. Ken must be telling the truth: Rather like George Washington, Ken is incapable of telling a lie.

Ask Sue Perkins about Ken’s bona fides. if you have any doubt on the matter. So, having got to near the conclusion of the debate with Ken telling everyone that this was not the !PPG chickening out when faced with probable defeat in the chamber and opprobrium everywhere, we need to pause and rewind back to the debate’s beginning. Jamie Adams is rather fond of laying about himself with casual smears and innuendos. Councillors should not. said Jamie. jump on the education bandwagon to score political points. Goodness knows who he meant. because when he was asked point blank by elk. Jacob Williams who he meant he was too embarrassed to answer. And embarrassed is precisely what he should have been. Badger has commented before about Cllr Adams awkward relationship with the English language and the meaning of words.

While he gives every impression of having carefully prepared on his brief. Badger suspects that the Leader is less aware of his words than he might be. Taking the voice of Kcn at his word, it is the Council Leader who was ‘playing politics’ and in a pretty hypocritical and pathetic way. to boot. Badger has had a look at the minutes of Cabinet, the minutes of committees. the public record. Nowhere is there any sign of the IPPG reconsidering its approach to schools reorganisation before Jamie Adams made his announcement at last week’s extraordinary meeting. In fact, if Ken’s words were true. it beggars belief that the Council’s monitoring flunkey had to scurry out of the meeting to Xerox sufficient copies of it to hand round to
councillors.

In those circumstances, readers, we am faced with what has to be one of the most appalling choices a human being has to make. Do you believe Ken? Or was JamieAdams hypocritically playing politics with education? After all, what on earth prevented Jamie from telling councillors the night before the meeting that unknown members meeting in secret had determined an alternative policy that flew in the face of officers’ advice? What on earth possessed Jamie to call an extraordinary council meeting to debate a policy which he must have known — if we believe Ken — was not going to go forward’?

Why whip up a storm of protest that attracted 300 people to the doors of County Hall and then mollify them? If what Ken said is true (and why would we doubt itt) there was no need for any of the above, other than a meeting to debate the policy proposal subsequently advanced. Badger has a suggestion: Watching the webcast at the time. Badger was struck by how keen the Leader was to demonstrate that Pembrokeshire was a ‘member-led’ authority and that this U-turn on Ysgol Dewi Sam was evidence of the same. It is possible the fact that senior officers have played the system and manipulated the council’s policies and procedures for years to suit themselves and their bulging. overpaid wallets for years, has finally penetrated the bullet skull containing the leader’s brain.

What better way, what more public forum, would there be to nail that canard? It is possible that Jamie Adams’ speech was no more than his way of  saying: “I’ve got no strings to hold me up. Look at me, I’m a real boy.” For the life of him, Badger can’t remember where that sentiment originates. What better way to demonstrate his political acumen, to show that Jamie is a man of the people, than by doing that which he claims others have done? Play politics with children’s education. Hypocrite is such an ugly word. Badger invites you, readers, to pick your own, shorter alternative. Harold Macmillan was described. not entirely kindly, as ‘the great actor! manager’.

Pulling the occasional funny face is the best the leader can do when following that less than grand tradition. It is possible. readers, that Badger is being unfair. That discussions had taken place over weeks about the approach to adopt. But even then, that does not get Jamie off the hook of the hypocrisy and cant he is so quick to detect in others. It is possible that Ken’s words were ill-chosen and that the IPPG leadership decided on a change of tack late in the day. But that would impugn Clir Rowlands’ credibility. Or perhaps the prospect of humiliating defeat in the chamber last Thursday and the prospect of electoral Gotterdammerung in 2016, rang alarm bells — or possibly cathedral ones — in Jamie’s brain. It is possible that Jamie backed down at the sound of those bells, afraid to ask for whom they were tolling. Badger has a hot tip for his favourite former yoghurt salesman. They toll for thee. Jamie. They toll for thee.

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Milford Haven: Apocalyptic scenes as work truck catches fire in Meyler Crescent

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A MILFORD HAVEN businessman says that he is “absolutely gutted”, after he lost his tipper truck in a dramatic fire overnight.

Callum Hicks, of Meyler Crescent, was woken just after 1am on Monday morning (Mar 1) to see his vehicle in flames, with fuel running down the street on fire.

The apocalyptic scenes brought neighbours out of their homes and the fire brigade was quickly called and put out the blaze.

At this time the police and fire brigade are not suspecting foul play, but in a telephone call to a Herald reporter Callum Hicks said that he thought it was impossible that the vehicle would just spontaneously combust.

Work van: Callum Hicks with his truck, which he says was his “pride and joy”

Explaining that he thought his truck had been set on fire deliberately, he said: “There was CCTV of the fire, but its a football pitch length away, with a white van parked blocking the view of the camera. There was not a clear uninterrupted view.”

“I parked the truck at 2pm on Sunday afternoon so it was 11 hours before the fire started. The vehicle was therefore cold, and locked up.”

Firefighters at the scene

The Herald has asked two mechanics, one of whom has worked on Transit vans for decades. The first said: “It is very unlikely that a vehicle like this would catch fire on it’s own – its impossible – I am 99.9% sure that this was arson.”

The second, a specialist in vehicle electronics said: “There are so many fuses and fail safes its highly unlikely for diesel vans to burst into flames like this without some kind of catalyst.”

Burned out shell: The vehicle after the fire

“There have been issues regarding Transits in the past, even a product recall involving a fire risk from a towing module. But, the chances are a million to one of it catching fire after being parked up for almost twelve hours. It just doesn’t happen.”

The Herald asked Callum Hicks if he could think of anyone who may want to torch his truck. He said that he could not think of anyone who would do such a thing.

Commenting on the police handling of the matter, he said: “They told my missus, Rhianna Pearce, that they were not taking matters further because it was just an accident – its not!”

“I have been in trouble with the police before, and they know I am a bit of a boy, but I think this is the reason that the police are not looking into this properly.

“At the end of the day this was a large fire in a residential area, lives could have been in danger. I have lost thousands because I was insured third-party only and I do not have cover for fire.

Dyfed-Powys Police and Mid & West Wales Fire and Rescue Service have been asked for a comment.

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Covid-19 vaccination venues and timeline announced for everyone locally over 50

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EVERY person in JCVI priority groups 5 to 9 will be offered a COVID-19 vaccination by 18 April, Hywel Dda University Health Board has confirmed.

While the health board’s vaccination programme has the capacity to offer a vaccine to everyone in groups 5 to 9 by the original target date of 4 April, the delivery plan has had to be adjusted based on confirmed vaccine deliveries.

Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, and Pembrokeshire residents in priority groups 5 to 9 can expect to receive their vaccine as follows:

  • Group 5, people aged 65 – 69 years – delivered by GP practices between 15 February and 12 March
  • Group 6, people aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions and unpaid carers – delivered by GP practices between 22 February and 4 April
  • Group 7, people aged 60 – 64 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 8 March
  • Group 8, people aged 55 – 59 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 22 March
  • Group 9, people aged 50 – 54 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 5 April

The health board currently has mass vaccination centres located in Aberystwyth, Cardigan, Haverfordwest, Tenby, Carmarthen and Llanelli.

Group 6 is significantly the largest cohort to be vaccinated to date and we understand that many in this group will be anxious to receive a vaccine. Please do not contact your GP or the health board to ask about your appointment, you will be contacted directly when it is your turn and we thank you for your patience.

People in groups 7, 8 and 9 will receive a letter with an appointment date and time. Please arrive as close to your appointment time as possible. The letter will include a phone number to contact the health board should you need to rearrange or cancel your appointment but please make every effort to keep your allocated appointment time.

Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda UHB, said: “While  our programme has had to slow  due to supplies, we want to reassure everyone in groups 5 to 9 that our amazing teams of vaccinators and GP practices have the capability and flexibility to deliver our vaccine supplies as they arrive into the region.

“Vaccine supplies will start to increase again from mid-March, and we are confident that everyone living in our three counties in the top 9 priority groups will be offered a vaccine by mid-April.

“In Hywel Dda we have an older population compared to some other health boards and so over 50% of our adult population will have been offered a vaccine by milestone 2.

“To be able to say that as we approach the anniversary of the first national lockdown is nothing short of extraordinary.

“And again, I must say thank you to everyone living in our three counties who continue to come forward in substantial numbers for the vaccine. Uptake remains remarkably high and we hope to see this continue through groups 5 to 9 and into group 10.”

People are asked, wherever possible, to use their own private transport to attend an appointment. Lifts can be accepted from someone in their household or support bubble, but not from anyone else due to the risk of transmission of the virus.

The health board has put in place transport support for anyone who may have difficulty attending their vaccination appointment. If you have no other means of travel, please contact the health board on 0300 303 8322 and we will be happy to assist.

Everyone in priority groups 1 to 4 should have received an offer of a vaccination. If you have not been contacted, or have changed your mind, please contact your GP at the earliest opportunity. No one will be left behind.

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Nolton Haven: Man hospitalised after getting into difficulties in sea

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A MAN was taken to hospital after getting into difficulties in the sea off Nolton Haven on Friday.

Emergency services were alerted at 2.40pm on February 26 by a 999 call to the control centre.

The Little Haven RNLI lifeboat, Broad Haven Coastguard, an ambulance crew and a Coastguard rescue helicopter assisted police in the operation.

The male casualty was stabilised on the beach and shortly before 4.30pm, was then transported to Withybush Hospital.

A police spokesman told The Herald: “We were called to a male who had got into difficulties in the water at Nolton Haven shortly before 3pm.

“He was taken to hospital by ambulance.”

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