Tag Archives: Cardiff

Legal challenge to stop nuclear waste dumping near Cardiff

Don’t drink the tap water if you live anywhere near Somerset, Bath, Bristol or southern Wales – especially Newport and Cardiff.

That was the advice of net-based activist Tracy Kelly, in response to the announcement that 300,000 tonnes of nuclear waste is to be dredged from the seabed near Hinkley Point and dumped a mile off the Cardiff shoreline.

But a legal battle has been launched to stop this environmental disaster from being inflicted on the people of south Wales and the West Country.

Here’s the situation, courtesy of Ms Kelly: “Millions of cubic metres of radioactive sludge is being dumped in the Bristol Channel, contaminating inland waters, fisheries, oysters, seals, and will stay radioactive for the next – wait for it – 12,000 years!

“The sludge will create a whole new toxic sandbank which will be so big it’ll be picked-up on marine Radar and will be viewable by space satellites… George Osborne, the former chancellor who couldn’t answer a kid what six times seven was, made the cheap decision to just dump the toxic mud one mile offshore from Cardiff.

“The toxic sludge comes from the Hinkley A nuclear reactor. This is one of several dangerous old reactors in the west of England and western Scotland which have created no less than 19 million tonnes of toxic waste.

“About four million tonnes of that waste is dumped into the Irish Sea from outflow pipes near Windscale where there are high numbers of children with blood diseases and cancer.

“The French company building Hinkley C in North Somerset are the same people building a mega-reactor in Normandy which had to be stopped because the concrete dome cracked.

“Theresa May gave the French EDF company a ‘marine licence’ to dump radioactive waste in Cardiff Bay. Nice. Protestors in their thousands have written letters, staged demonstrations and also submitted petitions – however, BBC current affairs has refused to broadcast a single second of a single protestor’s views on national prime-time news – even though there have been concerned resident meetings happening since the year 2000.”

A barge made its first trip to dump radioactive mud off the coast near Cardiff yesterday evening (September 10).

That is the situation.

Here‘s what’s being done about it:

Opponents to a controversial scheme to dump mud from a nuclear plant off the coast of Cardiff have launched a last-minute legal challenge.

The Campaign Against Hinkley Mud Dumping submitted an application to the High Court in Cardiff on Monday seeking an interim injunction.

Campaigners have argued Natural Resources Wales (NRW) failed to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment and said core samples were insufficient under international rules and did not cover all significant radioactive substances from the Hinkley plant.

Here‘s some evidence in support of that statement:

Independent Assembly Member Neil McEvoy said… only 5 samples of mud had been taken from a level lower than 5 centimeters for analysis. The Welsh Assembly petitions committee had asked Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to require the French energy company  EDF (who are building the new nuclear power station) to carry out additional analysis, but this had been refused.

I imagine the petitions committee had made its request after receiving the petition publicised by This Site, here.

The Labour-run Welsh Government said NRW made its decision based on “expert advice”. It also concluded the material was within “safe limits” and posed no “radiological risk” to human health or the environment.

But it seems the tests on which this “expert advice” was given did not assess whether uranium, plutonium and other alpha-emitting elements were present in minute “particulate” form. As such, they can be more easily inhaled into the deep lung and the lymphatic system, and will emit more radiation.

The injunction is an interim measure – if the mud dump is to be stopped for good, protestors will have to fund a costly judicial review.

If you care about your environment, your health and that of your children enough to do something about it, you can add to the crowdfunding scheme that is financing the legal battle.

Please visit the website here to make your contribution.

Visit our JustGiving page to help Vox Political’s Mike Sivier fight anti-Semitism libels in court


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Welsh Government uses Star Trek language ‘Klingon’ to reply to formal question from Tory politician on UFO sightings – Mirror Online

Should've gone to Specsavers: The crew of the Klingon Cruiser Amar are shocked to discover themselves in orbit around Cardiff, and not their homeworld of Q'onos.

Should’ve gone to Specsavers: The crew of the Imperial Klingon Ship Amar are shocked to discover themselves in orbit over Cardiff Airport, and not (as they had previously believed) their homeworld of Q’onos.

Clwyd West AM Darren Millar had asked for a report on UFO sightings over Cardiff Airport since it’s acquisition by the government.

In three questions Mr Millar asked the economy minister Edwina Hart if she’d make a statement “on how many reports of unidentified flying objects there have been at Cardiff Airport since its acquisition by the Welsh Government”.

He also asked what “discussions has the Welsh Government had with the Ministry of Defence regarding sightings of unidentified flying objects in Wales in each of the past five years”.

He added: “What consideration has the Welsh Government given to the funding of research into sightings of unidentified flying objects in Wales?”

The Welsh Government replied: “jang vIDa je due luq. ‘ach ghotvam’e’ QI’yaH-devolved qaS.”

It is understood to mean: “The minister will reply in due course.

“However this is a non-devolved matter.”

A fuller answer will be provided to Mr Millar by July 15.

But an Assembly source said: “The only extra-terrestrial life seen near Cardiff recently seems to be Darren Millar.

“Perhaps instead of spending time and wasting Government resources asking questions about UFOs he should be fighting for the very real concerns of his constituents.”

Source: Welsh Government uses Star Trek language ‘Klingon’ to reply to formal question from Tory politician on UFO sightings – Mirror Online

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have enjoyed this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Information tribunal on deaths of IB/ESA claimants – next week

I have just sent out a ‘diary marker’ to press organisations, notifying them of the Information Tribunal that will be held in Cardiff next week.

Inevitably, there will be organisations I have missed – and I also want as much of the social media as possible to be aware of this and to be spreading the word. For that reason, I’m publishing the text of the press release below.

If you have a Facebook page, blog site, Twitter account or whatever, please feel free to use what follows and make sure people know that this is going on.

Diary marker

Tribunal – Law Courts, Cathays Park, Cardiff, April 23, 2014 at 10am

Incapacity benefits – deaths of claimants

A tribunal will decide whether the Department for Work and Pensions should be ordered to release its statistics on the number of people who have died while claiming Incapacity Benefit or Employment and Support Allowance, at a hearing next week.

The First-Tier Tribunal (formerly the Information Tribunal) will be hearing an appeal by Vox Political blogger Mike Sivier, against a decision by the Information Commissioner and the DWP to refuse a Freedom of Information request on the subject.

The DWP published an ‘ad hoc statistical release’ in July 2012, showing that 10,600 claimants died between January and November 2011. Of these, 3,500 – or 73 people every week – were either going through the assessment process or had been put in the work-related activity group, intended for people who were expected to recover within a year, when they died.

The revelation provoked outcry from people suffering from disabilities and long-term illnesses, and seems to have discouraged the DWP from continuing to publish the figures.

Mr Sivier made his request in June 2013, after learning that the DWP had refused previous requests. The department at first claimed there was no intention to release any further statistics, and the information would take a great deal of time and effort to gather and collate – this is not true. In fact, the DWP later admitted that it does hold the information, and could provide it within the cost limit.

The next excuse was that the Secretary of State, Iain Duncan Smith, accepted that there was interest in the figures and was considering how to publish them. This was claimed in August 2013. Since no plan to publish these time-sensitive figures after nearly nine months, we must conclude that, like the previous claim, it is not true. The figures are time-sensitive because it is important that the system be improved to prevent unnecessary deaths. Delays in publication mean the figures are unlikely to be used in that way.

Seeing that the DWP had brushed aside privately-made requests, Mr Sivier ensured that his was public knowledge by writing an article about it in his blog (at http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2013/06/25/dwp-refuses-to-provide-information-on-esaib-deaths-what-is-it-hiding/). As an afterthought, he included a line encouraging readers to follow his example, if they believed the issue was important, reasoning that the DWP may give more weight to it if it was known that there was general concern.

The DWP refused the request, claiming it was “vexatious” under section 14(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Officers had visited the blog and concluded that the last line, “I strongly urge you to do the same. There is strength in numbers,” constituted a co-ordinated campaign of harassment against the department.

Mr Sivier believes this is nonsense and appealed to the Information Commissioner on this basis. But the Commissioner was persuaded by the DWP and upheld the decision, forcing Mr Sivier to take the matter to the tribunal.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

Vox Political needs your help!
This independent blog’s only funding comes from readers’ contributions.
Without YOUR help, we cannot keep going.
You can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Alternatively, you can buy the first Vox Political book,
Strong Words and Hard Times
in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

The ‘Daily Mail’ Wales – about as real as Brigadoon

Daily Fail Logo

A tweet from a local (Conservative) Assembly member and county councillor has set me off to read a Daily Mail hack-job on the Welsh government and its policies. It makes for bleak reading but I have yet to find any resemblance to the Wales I know.

Has the author, Robert Hardman, ventured any further than the M4 corridor in his researches? It seems doubtful.

The first section attacks the Welsh Government’s purchase of Cardiff Airport for more than the expected value, plus extra millions for investment, saying Bristol Airport attracts six times the custom and the subsidised bus service from Cardiff is going empty.

Perhaps we should not be surprised by this attack. The Mail is a Tory-supporting rag and Tories no longer believe in investment (look at the way George Osborne cut capital projects to shreds, after he became Chancellor) – except when they do (HS2 is costing increasing millions every day, Who benefits, I wonder).

If Cardiff Airport was making losses, then it seems perfectly sensible for the administration to take it over and turn it around. But that won’t happen in a day, or even in a year (nationalisation happened at the end of March 2013) and it is unrealistic of Mr Hardman to pretend that it should.

I live in Mid Wales, where the only airport is fictional (Llandegley International) and the buses are full. We could do with a few more, in fact. Perhaps Mr Hardman could exert some influence on the Westminster government to provide a little more Aggregate External Grant (AEG – the way central government funds local government and regional assemblies) funding to help with that?

Next, Mr Hardman wheels out a few hard-done-by Welsh people, starting with an NHS nurse from Pembrokeshire who has had to pay for a hip operation because of an 18-month waiting list.

It is hard to combat that kind of criticism without knowing all the details. However, my own experience of the Welsh NHS is of being seen promptly for the pre-op and being able to choose the date and time of the operation. Perhaps Mr Hardman is cherry-picking special cases in order to make his point?

Next up: A group of West Wales parents who want their children taught in English as opposed to Welsh. They live in Cardigan, where education is run by Ceredigion County Council, whose main political groups are Plaid Cymru, the Independents, and the Liberal Democrats. Why is Mr Hardman blaming Labour, then?

He wants us to believe the problems are nothing to do with funding: “Wales gets the same subsidies as other parts of the UK which are worse off but receive a better service,” writes Mr Hardman.

He’s wrong, of course.

Take the NHS. Wales has had billions clawed back from its health service by greedy Tories in Westminster, in a transparent attempt to force standards down and direct blame at innocent parties. Mr Hardman’s article buys into that deceit.

When I discussed this with a Welsh NHS surgeon less than two weeks ago, he said there was a huge difference between the service being delivered and the way it is described by politicians, who he described as “snakes”. I cannot help but sympathise with the people who provide the service; their work is what I see.

That is not to say that there are no problems in the Welsh NHS! If I suggested that, I would be guilty of exactly the same kind of blanket behaviour as Mr Hardman. Of course there are problems.

But his use of the Mid-Staffs scandal to bolster his argument gives him away. Mid Staffs did not have a hugely inflated mortality rate; the statistics were manipulated to provide the Tory Health Secretary with the headline he wanted.

Moving on again, we come to a person with what seems to be a genuine grievance about mistreatment of his mother by Welsh hospital staff. Again, I cannot comment on the individual case because I don’t have the details.

All I can do is reiterate that it is wrong to claim that a service covering an entire country of the UK must be entirely abominable, on the basis of one case.

… and I see that Mr Hardman concedes this point, admitting that most NHS professionals are dedicated and conscientious. He blames the Labour-run Assembly Government.

But I have to come back to my main problem with this article: Mr Hardman has not described the Wales in which I live. Why, then, should I believe his criticism of the Labour administration?

The article concludes with a bizarre story about Year Six school pupils being indoctrinated with anti-English propaganda using two dolls. “What, I wonder, is the Welsh word for ‘Orwellian’?” carps Mr Hardman.

It’s the same as the English word, but Mr Hardman needs to revise his definitions. If he wants ‘Orwellian’, he need look no further than the English Tory Party’s ‘bingo and beer’ budget advert.

“The people of Wales deserve better,” Mr Hardman concludes. Yes they do.

Better than his article.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

Vox Political is not supported by a major media group, like the Daily Fail!
This independent blog’s only funding comes from readers’ contributions.
Without YOUR help, we cannot keep going.
You can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Alternatively, you can buy the first Vox Political book,
Strong Words and Hard Times
in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

NHS scandals – too many pen-pushers, too few medical staff

n4s_nhs1

Those of you who have been following the excellent exposure of English NHS scandals as attempts to soften up the public for mass privatisation of the NHS (oh yes they are) over on the Skwawkbox blog may be saddened to learn that it is happening over here in Wales, also.

It seems 12 patients have died within 15 months because operations at the University Hospital of Wales (UHW) in Cardiff were delayed “to meet end-of-year financial targets”.

What this – together with the situation in England – tells us is that we have allowed successive governments to turn the NHS on its head. Instead of being a medical service providing timely healthcare that is free at the point of use because it is funded by taxation, this function is now carried out in name only.

The NHS seems now to be a cover for office workers who have nothing to do with medicine and yet are happy to cancel operations due to lack of money, while being massively overpaid for doing so.

The question that arises in everybody’s mind should be: Why are we paying these people anything at all, when that money could be funding the operations they keep cancelling?

Now take this a step further. We should all be aware that the NHS is coming under heavy fire because we have a government that is ideologically devoted to the privatisation of healthcare. The claim is that, under Coalition plans, the health service would remain free at the point of use – but we know that huge amounts of taxpayers’ money would be siphoned off as profit for private companies and would not be used for medical purposes.

So this gives rise to a second question: What possible benefit may be gained from swapping one system – where healthcare is secondary to the payment of office workers – for another system in which exactly the same conditions apply, but even less of our money goes toward treatment?

I say: Sack ’em all. Whole hospitals could be run far more efficiently with a single accountant employed to keep the books straight.

Police move on campaigners for “criminal acts against DWP”

Having Mr Bean in the Cabinet – or at least his alter-ego, Rowan Atkinson – might not be as ridiculous as this image suggests. He talked more sense in a 10-minute presentation about free speech than the Department for Work and Pensions has in the last two and a half years.

Some of you may be aware that police invaded the home of a campaigner for Disabled People Against Cuts, living in Cardiff, just before midnight yesterday (October 26).

Apparently she had been accused of “Criminal acts against the Department for Work and Pensions” – being that she has been highlighting the deaths of sick and disabled people following reassessment by Atos and the DWP for Employment and Support Allowance.

No charges were brought against the lady concerned and it is generally considered that this was an act of intimidation.

Since then, I have been informed of three other incidents in which police either visited campaigners at home or stopped them in the street to, in colloquial terms, “put the frighteners on them”. Two were vulnerable women with mental illness, one of whom lives alone.

The forces allegedly involved were South Wales, Dyfed Powys and North Yorkshire Police.

I don’t know what legislation these constables were quoting as the legal grounds for these intrusions. It seems likely it may have been the Public Order Act, section five, which states, “(1) A person is guilty of an offence if he: (a) uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, or (b) displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting, within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby.”

But this applies only if a person has been the victim – not an organisation like the DWP.

If it is the Public Order Act, then this provides an opportunity to quote Rowan Atkinson’s speech at the ‘Reform Section 5’ Parliamentary reception earlier this month.

Mention of Mr Atkinson may have already invoked, in your mind, the ‘Constable Savage’ sketch from Not The 9 O’Clock News, in which a police officer is berated for arresting the same man on charges of “Walking on the cracks in the pavement”, “Walking around with an offensive wife”, and “Looking at me in a funny way”, amongst others.

If it didn’t, go and watch the speech because he makes free reference to that sketch in it.

“I suspect [I am] highly unlikely to be arrested for whatever laws exist to contain free expression because of the undoubtedly privileged position that is afforded to those of a high public profile,” said Mr Atkinson.

“My concerns are… more for those who are more vulnerable because of their lower profile – like the man arrested in Oxford for calling a police horse ‘gay’.”

He said: “Even for actions that were withdrawn, people were arrested, questioned, taken to court… and then released. That isn’t a law working properly. That is censoriousness of the most intimidating kind, guaranteed to have… a ‘chilling effect’ on free expression and free protest.”

He said: “The reasonable and well-intentioned ambition to contain obnoxious elements in society has created a society of an extraordinarily authoritarian and controlling nature. It is what you might call ‘the new intolerance’ – a new but intense desire to gag uncomfortable voices of dissent.

“Underlying prejudices, injustices or resentments are not addressed by arresting people; they are addressed by the issues being aired, argued and dealt with, preferably outside the legal process.”

Hear, hear.

Of course, this all makes the police look even worse than they’ve been made to seem in recent weeks. First the Hillsborough cover-up came out into the open, then the (many) Jimmy Savile cover-ups, and now – yet again – it seems the government is using police services across the country as a tool for political repression.

The ability to rely on an impartial system of law and order underpins the whole of British society. Use of the police in this way erodes confidence in law and order and, therefore, in society itself.

Police intimidation of those who speak out against the injustices of the DWP and its Atos employees is not only an attack on free speech; it is an attack on the entire philosophy on which our society is based.