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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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Castell Howell Foods highlights sector concerns over Covid recovery

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THE HOSPITALITY sector may be opening up, but transport and supply issues are hampering the industry’s recovery – according to Castell Howell Foods.

One of the UK’s largest independent food wholesalers, Castell Howell, has taken the step of contacting customers to highlight the significant challenges faced by the sector as it recovers from the pandemic.

While there is relief at easing lockdown and optimism for a busy summer with bookings for UK ‘staycations’ and leisure activities, pressing issues remain.

Shortages of key staff and problems faced by some suppliers have resulted in the Welsh wholesaler being forced to make some “uncomfortable” decisions and changes to its operation, including having to pass on some supply chain price increases.

In particular, a shortage of qualified delivery drivers has meant the Cross Hands based business has had to be resourceful to maintain its delivery frequency to its customers. To help bridge the gap in the short term, other Castell Howell staff who hold an HGV licence have been temporarily redeployed to the transport department. Among them are area sales managers.

Castell Howell Sales Director, Kathryn Jones, said “Unfortunately, due to the drastic reduction in sales in 2020, our workforce decreased by over 100 colleagues. Whilst we now need most to return to the workplace, many have found alternative employment; this is a common theme across the supply chain.

“We have been actively advertising and recruiting for several months. However, as highlighted in the press, there are over 75,000 vacancies across the UK for HGV drivers alone.

“We too are currently short of drivers, especially Class 2 HGV. Driving a multi-drop vehicle for Castell Howell is a very different proposition to driving a limited drop schedule. Consequently, as you can imagine, it has been challenging to fill these vacancies.”
Stock availability is also an issue, as some suppliers struggle to manufacture under new social distancing rules. Delivery to Castell Howell from suppliers is also being affected by the UK-wide shortage of haulage drivers.

Kathryn Jones said, “To build up buffer stocks, we are increasing our volume of orders, especially for commodity lines. We aim to mitigate future stock shortages the best we can. We are constantly seeking substitute products from manufacturers who have the capacity to deliver. However, this is becoming increasingly more difficult.”

Castell Howell has made changes to its ordering process to improve its own deliveries, with earlier cut-off times.

“These changes go against the grain and were extremely difficult decisions to take. However, it is imperative to implement these in order to continue operating under these difficult circumstances whilst still maintaining a high level of service. We are very grateful to our customers for their support, patience and understanding.”

For Castell Howell, the difficulties arising from the pandemic were exacerbated by the loss of business with SA Brain & Co. This loss occurred following the Welsh company’s deal with brewery giant Marston’s to operate SA Brains pubs from January 2021.

Before that date, Castell Howell had been the sole supplier to SA Brain since 2008, including supplying 80 of the Welsh brewery’s managed public houses.

Kathryn Jones said, “However, despite the challenges in the supply chain and deliveries, we remain optimistic that the sector in the UK will work together to navigate through these unprecedented times and have a successful summer.”

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Port boss: Pembroke Dock development full permission an ‘important step’

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THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE of the Port of Milford Haven has welcomed a decision of “non-intervention” by the Welsh Government over plans to re-vamp Pembroke Dock’s historic port facilities.

The redevelopment scheme, approved by Pembrokeshire County Council’s Planning Committee in May, will see some areas such as a dock covered with sand and “infilled”.

Plans also include the demolishing of some buildings, erection of buildings and ancillary works.
Despite planning being granted at council level, full authorisation to go ahead with the development was not to be issued until the Welsh Government made its decision regards the matter.

More about the planning application can be read here: https://www.herald.wales/west-wales/pembrokeshire/major-marine-project-causes-concern-about-visual-impact-and-heritage-loss/

Now that the Welsh Government has decided not to interfere with Pembrokeshire County Council’s grant of planning permission, the Port’s boss, Andy Jones, expressed his delight, saying: “This marks an important step forward in the development of Wales’ clean energy centre at Pembroke Dock.

“It will provide sustainable opportunities for the many people who rely on the activity along the Milford Haven Waterway for employment.

CEO: Port Authority’s Andy Jones (Pic MHPA)

“Pembroke Dock Marine will unlock new opportunities for young people to enter the maritime, renewable and engineering sectors, build resilience within Pembrokeshire’s business community, and make a positive contribution to our natural environment as we transition to a low carbon energy generation.”

Tim James, head of commercial and energy at the Port of Milford Haven called the project a “once in a generation opportunity to improve Pembrokeshire’s economy for years to come”.

Objectors had complained that the plans were too large and would damage the historic dockyard, as well as having a visual impact on the dock.

The was opposition from local heritage campaigners, with complaints over the size of two huge proposed hangars which the project’s critics said would impact adversely the landscape.

The economic benefits of the £60 million marine energy “far outweigh” any impact on the historic environment, a report earlier this year to council planners said.

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Medical evacuation from LPG tanker off St Ann’s Head

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ANGLE Lifeboat was launched on service at 12:59pm on Thursday afternoon (Jun 10) to assist in a medical evacuation from a LPG tanker 13 miles SSW off St Ann’s Head.

The coastguard helicopter from Newquay in Cornwall was also on route. With the poor visibility due to fog, Angle all-weather lifeboat was to stand by the vessel to provide an alternative route for evacuation if needed.

After a choppy route in the poor visibility the RNLI volunteers arrived on scene at 2:07pm.

At the time of their arrival, the paramedic from the coastguard helicopter was aboard the vessel preparing the casualty to be winched to the helicopter.

In less than ten minutes the casualty was winched up to the helicopter and flown to hospital, at which point the lifeboat and crews were stood down and headed back to the station.

After rehousing shortly after 3:30pm the lifeboat was washed fuelled and made ready for service shortly after.

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