Friday, 29 April 2016

Voting Time Approaches

There's a week to go until the National Assembly for Wales elections. Remember you get two votes - your local constituency area (a named person/party) and your larger region (a vote for a party).

It's worth checking whether your inbuilt preference matches current policies by taking a quiz. There's a specific Wales one which I prefer (BBC mention), and a more detailed one which goes beyond yes/no answers. The latter survey gives your results on a map to show you where similar like-minded people live.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Ceredigion County Council Wasting Money And Pulling Out Hedges

[A guest post sent to CIN]

The bottom of my garden was a nice, shady, private area. I’d had a new fence fitted and had been planting new bushes, trees and flowers in that area. My neighbours had trees and bushes too. It acted as a good boundary between our land and that of the Council’s: green, and it assured security and privacy on both sides.

The Council obviously has far too much money, because last week their workmen ripped out the existing fences, trees and hedges, to replace them with an ugly high wire mesh.

I am extremely annoyed at this waste and damage – basically a form of vandalism, to my mind.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Democracy In Ceredigion

We've complained many times about Ceredigion County Council not being democratic (and ignoring any voice they don't agree with). This week they ran a ballot with local traders as to whether they wanted to take part in Aberystwyth as a Business Improvement District. It would mean extra taxes on the businesses, and vague ideas of how they might be spent.

Only 44% of the eligible voters were actually part of the ballot. Some of the voting papers were rejected by the Council. Of those remaining only just over half of those said they wanted a "Business Improvement District" (BID). So only c.23% of all eligible voters said they wanted the scheme to go ahead, yet Ceredigion County Council have counted that as sufficient and are pushing ahead with the scheme and the extra charges on local traders. Apparently they also included papers pressuring traders to vote "Yes" with the ballot paper (but no information from those opposing the scheme) in an attempt to skew the voting. Without that manipulation they probably wouldn't have even had 23% of the votes. I would hardly call that a mandate to proceed. Of course you wouldn't realise what a lack of support it had when you read the misleading statements about how "traders voted yes!" That's spin for you.

Update (24th March): "It has now been revealed that the 14 votes cast by Ceredigion Council for each of its premises in the town proved the difference between a ‘yes’ and ‘no’ vote." Source: Cambrian News.
Wow, we thought it was corrupt before, but this is shocking! They certainly tried to keep that quiet. What 14 shops does the Council run in town? The National Assembly for Wales could possibly declare the vote void because of all these shenanigans by the County Council. It needs investigating.

So, going off the figures here, only 44% of the people voted; if we remove the non-business votes of the Council we find that only c. 21% of the people in the area voted for this extra BID tax; yet it was passed, and those pushing for it claimed this result to be a show of support! We'd already mentioned the spin that Councillors and advocates for this new tax were putting forward, and the same Cambrian News gives another example:
Cllr Gareth Lloyd, Ceredigion council’s Cabinet member for economic and community development, said: “By voting in favour of the BID, Aberystwyth business owners have demonstrated their appetite to make changes locally on the issues that are of importance to them and, in so doing, to improve the town centre." 
Right, so more business voted against it; an even greater number didn't think it was of enough interest even to vote; yet that "demonstrates an appetite"? A pretty small appetite. More like a minor grumble, pushed through with dodgy practices.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Peace Tree Planting in Aberystwyth

A peace tree will be planted at Queen's Square, Aberystwyth (opposite the Town Library) on 12 February 2016 at 12:30. Come along! More information here.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Scallop Dredging In Cardigan Bay

There's a Welsh Government Consultation called "Scallop Fishing in Cardigan Bay – New Management Measures". We'd recommend responding to it if you care about our marine environment.

How to respond - one of the following
Consultation responses must be submitted by 17th February 2016.

Suggestions for consultation response

The consultation can be completed very quickly and straightforwardly using the on-line form or email.

Q 2. Do you agree with the introduction of a Scallop permit scheme which would apply to Cardigan Bay, allowing conditions to be applicable out to 12 nautical miles?

No! Reject the idea that Cardigan Bay SAC should be opened up to damaging dredging. You can reply to this question and no other. You can include reasons in the open box, Question 17.