Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A rebel with a cause.

A natural rebel? Me? Nah. Anything for a quiet time - which generally means 'put up or shut up'.

Sometimes though, something rattles the cage. Wind farms, pylons...and the flawed policies of our so-called leaders.

Yesterday saw us join a 1,000+ other like-minded folk march in protest to the Senedd in Cardiff.  The Senedd is the home of the National Assembly of Wales but, as I am told by its website, it belongs to us - the people. It is 'the main centre for democracy and devolution in Wales' and I think we all have that at the back of our minds when we stand on the steps of the building with our banners and placards. We hope that our elected representatives will listen to what we, the people who put them in office, have to say.

We have the banner - which you have seen strapped to Eddie's best field gate in the previous post.

On Monday night we had the banner lashed to two broomsticks - held aloft it looked good, Good, GOOD!!!! Unfortunately a somewhat twitchy Cardiff police told us sticks and wooden placards would not be allowed (boo!) and we had to carry it without. Flappy banner = less impact methinks. We should have ignored the 'advice' as most other people did - the police presence was minimal. (There seemed to be about 3 officers and a work-experience girl.)

We were there with people from Shropshire in support of those from across the border in Montgomeryshire, our joint campaign starting with the threat of sub-stations and pylons and moving onto tackle the root of the problem - upland windfarms and the Assembly's adoption of TAN8 - the policy document which identifies  areas of Wales where large-scale wind farms are to be encouraged, so called Strategic Search Areas.

The joining of forces has been the great part of this campaign. The National Grid's Consultation Response form asks us to 'vote' for the route we would like to see the power corridor take. We obviously would not want in in our valley so we'll vote for it to go in somebody else's shall we?  How unpleasant is that, pitting community against community, maybe family against family. No, we're in this together - like the Musketeers. 'All for one and one for all'.

So we stood shoulder to shoulder in front of the Assembly building; young and old from all walks of life, schoolchildren, babes in arms and a couple of dogs. We raised our banners and placards with their simple messages - all different but all saying in essence the same thing. I snapped some of our Marton group.

Gathered together we sang - nothing like an old-fashioned protest song with a catchy refrain is there? I'd rather hoped to hear a snatch of Bob Dylan in celebration of his 70th birthday, which was yesterday too. 'Blowing in the Wind' would have been appropriate.

We listened to speakers from the various local campaigns; welcomed with whoops and cheers the sore-footed walkers who had walked the 100 plus miles from Welshpool to Cardiff in protest; applauded the young children who presented squares of upland turf to Assembly Members and listened as their clear, piping voices read, one in Welsh, one in English, their wish that this gift symbolising the hills of Montgomeryshire should be a treasured one.

We listened to politicians from across the political spectrum pledge their support for a review of TAN8 and for a moratorium on the building of any more wind farms until that happens. Hurrah! This gathering outside the Senedd is the largest of its kind to have taken place here in in the life of that building, admittedly a short time, but even so...) so perhaps they were noticing that the people - the quiet unassuming people of Montgomeryshire - were not to be ignored or walked over and that there is a moral duty to represent their views. Can and will our representatives in Cardiff prevent Westminster playing the winning hand in the end? Will party lines and policy prove stronger than pledges made on home ground? We will see. Call me a cynic but the politician is a slippery beast.

Our drive down took us through Montgomeryshire and Breconshire - stunningly beautiful countryside of soaring hills and verdant valleys where ancient deciduous woodlands run down to gurgling streams. It's a peaceful land. Sheep safely graze.

It's hilly and underpopulated too - but that doesn't seem much of an argument for desecrating a national treasure does it?


Chris Stovell said...

I looked out for you in the crowd on the TV coverage but failed to spot you. Well done for going and here's to the success of your campaign.

Cro Magnon said...

The police (who work for us) have no right in stopping your peaceful protest; broom handles or no broom handles!

My mother's cousin Islwyn Ffowc-Elis would have been there with you. Other than being 'Wales's greatest writer', he was also a great defender of the environment.

Power to your broom handle!!!

Fred said...

Here's to broomsticks and floppy banners. Why csn't the powers that be take note of the research that proves how bloody inefficient the damned things are anyway?
good luck

Pondside said...

Good for you for making your voice heard! I hope you're successful in this - the pylons are a blight.

elizabethm said...

Like Chris I looked for you on the TV coverage. I do so hope you will be listened to. You have right on your side.

Nikki-ann said...

I'm afraid the rest of the country seems to see us as a supplier for their needs... e.g. they've flooded our valleys so they can drink our water and now they want to blight our beautiful landscape with ugly beasts called pilons to provide electricity. Why can't the electricity created by the windfarms be used to power homes & businesses in the local area so there'd be no need for ugly pilons?

Jayne said...

Well done you. The turnout was good and getting TV coverage. I think your banner flashed by on BBC Wales.
I see that National Grid are now telling us pylons can be pretty!

Frances said...

Bravo to you, Mountaineer, and to your fellow rebels.

Although we live in such different parts of the world, I think that we share sense of right, wrong, and when to take a stand. From my adult experiences, starting way back in the 60's protesting against the Viet Nam war, I know that it can take a very long time for public opinion to be gathered together enough to actually make polititians to react. The thing is to keep going, be the thorn in their sides, not a departing faint message.


Tattie Weasle said...

I think it is because wind farm tech is cheaper than other types that they push it but they are so wrong! Hopefully the powers that be will listen.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

I don't cook my porridge in a haybox or knit mittens from wisps of wool gathered from the hedgerows . I wouldn't know how to grow a lentil or milk a goat .
But I don't think we should destroy huge swathes of irreplaceable countryside so that dorks can watch Formula One racing on widescreen plasma television screens either .
And I'm very grateful that you and all your fellow demonstrators are making your presence felt .