Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Micro-generation: government not going far enough

Think-tank the New Local Government Network has called for additional incentives to be given to householders to install renewable energy equipment, over and above those which government minister Ruth Kelly is consulting over.

Friday, August 24, 2007

LibDems Gain Seat from Conservatives in Tory Heartland

Election Results: Thursday 23rd August 2007.

Suffolk CC, Thedwastre South

LD Penny Otton 927 (41.8; +7.5), Con 833 (37.5; -9.4), Green 287 (12.9; +12.9), Lab 88 (4.0; -14.8), UKIP 85 (3.8; +3.8).

Majority 94. Turnout 32.4%. LD gain from Con. Last fought 2005.

Wales is not being singled out by the BBC

Adam Price, following the lead set by the Scottish Nationalists (how often has that been said of Plaid!), has achieved some cheap publicity by accusing the BBC of ignoring stories from this nation.

However, Mr Price and Mr Salmond are wrong to see a nationalistic bias on the part of BBC. The English regions are ignored just as thoroughly. Witness the uneven treatment given to the reporting of the floods in Yorkshire and in southern counties. News coverage varies indirectly with the distance from London.

Nor is BBC Wales immune from this metropolitan bias. The south-east corner of Wales seems to have more than its fair share of news reporting.

- Frank Little

Friday, August 17, 2007

Port Talbot redevelopment - what will it mean?

The County Borough Council has invited proposals for the redevelopment of an area including Port Talbot railway station and the Plaza cinema.

The extent of the area involved seems somewhat fluid at this stage, but it may well extend to commercial properties with past local Liberal Democrat involvement ;-)

One hopes that the level crossing, a nuisance to both commercial traffic and pedestrians alike, will disappear under the preferred plans.

However, a place should be found for at least the fa├žade of the Plaza. It is sad that neither Neath nor Port Talbot town centres can support a first-run cinema, in the face of competition from Swansea and Aberavon, but one must bow to the inevitable. However, there can be few remaining examples of the Plaza's style of architecture. Surely a place can be found for that imposing frontage in any new development? (By the way, if anyone has a copyright-free photo of the Plaza in its hey-day, we should be glad to replace the distressing present-day view - above - with it.)

Also, the opportunity must be taken to bring trains and buses under one roof in a proper transport interchange. Ideally, this would be where the present bus station is, convenient for both the Aberavon Centre and civic buildings. An additional halt could be provided to serve Taibach and Margam on Swanline trains.

Clearly, that would be an expensive proposition, but bringing the buses alongside at the present rail station site would be the next best thing.

- Frank Little

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Missing Blogs

What has happened to "A View from the Glen", "Inside Swansea" and "Swansea Phoenix"?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Pipeline work drags on

Work started on crossing the Tawe valley with the Milford-terminated gas pipeline last November. Nine months later, the valley is still disfigured, favourite walks are still blocked and people attending acoustic sessions at the Pontardawe Festival this coming weekend are liable to have their enjoyment ruined by the sound of heavy plant.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Tim Garden

The sad news reached us today of the death of Tim Garden, our spokesman on defence in the House of Lords, from pancreatic cancer.

To those of us campaigning for an ethical, or at least intelligent, foreign and defence policy, he was an inspiration. As his biography shows, he was no theoretician, but knew whereof he wrote and spoke.

Those who knew him personally describe him as "a good social liberal".

- Frank Little

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Who has more friends: Peter Hain, Derek Vaughan or the BNP?

Just as Virgin and Vodafone are pulling their adverts from the "look at me" website Facebook, council leader Derek Vaughan is reported by the Evening Post to have joined Neath MP Peter Hain in a bid to make friends and influence people.

Advertisers are withdrawing because their logos could appear on the same pages as the BNP.

Friday, August 03, 2007

If someone steals your credit card details, don't you want to know?

You may remember the TK Maxx scandal earlier this year, when customer details were stolen and used fraudulently. There is still no law in this country to force companies in this situation to warn their customers.

Now there is a petition to government to put this right.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Council should be more open

Neath Port Talbot council observes the national Code of Conduct regarding declaration of councillors' interests, but only on paper. The register of members' interests is accessible only during office hours at the Port Talbot civic centre, and only when an officer is free to supervise access.

We feel that our council should follow the lead set by Swansea City - on a Liberal Democrat initiative - and put the register on its web pages. This would make it available to anyone who can use a PC, wherever they live in the county borough.

The council has had poor press in recent weeks over its attitude to democracy. Putting the councillors interests register on the Web would be a small step towards improving its reputation.