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What next for West Wales?

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Simon Hart: Striking a balance is important Adam Price: Wales ‘faces biggest economic challenge since the 30s’ Nia Griffith: Labour must promote stability

Simon Hart: Striking a balance is important Adam Price: Wales ‘faces biggest economic challenge since the 30s’  Nia Griffith: Labour must promote stability

AFTER WALES joined England in voting to leave the European Union on Thursday (Jun 23) , subsequent talk has focused on what the future has to offer for the country.

While Ceredigion voted to remain in the EU, both Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire voted Leave by a higher proportion than the national average.

In Carmarthenshire, it has been suggested that a Leave majority in Llanelli, as well as a 55-45% majority vote for Brexit in Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire , were the main reasons why the county as a whole voted out. It is thought that Carmarthen East and Dinefwr voted Remain, although post -polling sampling results had not been confirmed at the time of going to press.

Of the five MPs and nine AMs representing Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, and Pembrokeshire, only one – UKIP’s Neil Hamilton – was in favour of leaving the EU.

The result swiftly led to David Cameron’s resignation, and calls for Jeremy Corbyn to resign – following a referendum he didn’t particularly want – swiftly grew within the party, leading to mass shadow cabinet resignations after Hilary Benn was sacked for reportedly trying to engineer a coup.

Among those to resign was Llanelli MP and former Shadow Secretary of State for Wales , Nia Griffith, who said in her resignation letter that, while she recognised Mr Corbyn’s huge mandate from voters and the ‘fresh thinking’ he had brought to the Labour Party, she lacked confidence that he was capable of uniting the party in readiness for a possible snap election.

Speaking after the referendum results were announced, Ms Griffith said : “Labour must do everything we can as the official opposition in Westminster to promote stability in the markets, and to push for Britain to have the best possible terms for an exit from the EU.

“Our immediate priority for Wales is to ensure that the way Wales receives funding from the UK Government is reformed and that funding is increased to make up for the money that we currently receive from the EU .

“We must seek workable agreements with the EU that give our manufacturing companies the confidence to remain in the UK, and that is of particular importance to us here in Llanelli, so that we can safeguard jobs.”

Plaid Cymru leader , Leanne Wood , has talked about the prospect of a referendum for Welsh independence following the result. However, this is far less likely to be realised than it would be in Scotland.

Not only has support for Welsh independence always been significantly lower than it is on the far side of Hadrian’s Wall – less than 10% – but more crucially, Wales also voted in favour of leaving the EU. Holding, never mind winning, a referendum in these circumstances would be close to impossible.

Local Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards spoke of a ‘radical reconfiguration of powers ‘ .

“We cannot allow the UK to continue to be dominated by Westminster,” he added, criticising the Leave campaign for having ‘absolutely no plan for the future of the UK or our economy ‘ .

“Plaid Cymru’s role will always be stand up for the best interests of Wales and her people.

“We will do all we can to protect our communities and defend the Welsh national interest.”

Simon Hart MP, who had also supported remaining in the EU, said that an important issue would be striking a balance between the large numbers of people who voted for each side. “75% of people in the younger age bracket voted Remain and it’s important that what we do represents their fears and aspirations as much as it does the Leave group,” he added. He also emphasised that it would be in the interests of local businesses for the uncertainties regarding the country’s future to be dealt with as soon as possible.

Adam Price made no bones about the scale of the task ahead for Wales and the UK . The Plaid Cymru AM said: “Without doubt , Wales now faces perhaps the biggest economic challenge it has seen since the 1930s.

“There is an almighty challenge ahead. It would be wrong of anyone to try to undermine the seriousness of the problems our economy now faces.

“I stand ready to play my part in helping protect the people of Wales.

“I am delighted that Carmarthen East and Dinefwr communities did record a Remain vote. Had the Labour party not lost the support of its core voters across the county , then we would have certainly seen Carmarthenshire as a whole vote to Remain a member of the EU.”

Eluned Morgan AM, who had been actively campaigning for Remain across Mid and West Wales, said she was ‘hugely disappointed’ with the result.

“But we live in a democracy and that is what the people have decided,” she remarked. “During our campaigning , we heard loud and clear that people are very worried about the difficulties struggling communities face.

“Our message that this was not about Europe but about working even harder to ensure we continue to invest in our communities to drive up investment, to create jobs, simply did not get across.

“This was made particularly hard for us having just come out of a gruelling Assembly election campaign. It will now be harder to make the economic investment we need , but what that means in practice is that we’ll need to work even harder, including taking into account the clear geographic as well as class division rifts that this referendum has shown us.

“We need to connect. We need to listen – t hat’s what I’ll be continuing to do in Mid and West Wales. This result will have devastating economic political and constitutional effects on our communities for generations to come .”

Curiously, her concerns were not shared by Neil Hamilton AM or the Leader of the Welsh Conservatives , Andrew RT Davies. Mr Hamilton described June 23 as ‘a historic day for Wales and democracy.’

“A decisive majority of Welsh people rejected the outrageous campaign of scaremongering and brow-beating by the political and big business elites,” the UKIP Senedd leader added. “David Cameron presided over this and, having failed, he had to resign. George Osborne should now follow him without delay.”

Andrew RT Davies, while not campaigning particularly actively for Vote Leave, had publicly stated his support before the Assembly elections.

Speaking after the referendum result was announced , he said: “I am immensely proud to be part of a party which delivered this referendum to the people of the UK, giving them an enormous opportunity to determine the course of their future.

“The will of the people has today been declared, and the result marks an historic moment of positive change for our country.

“Wales has sent a clear message that it wants to be part of that change, and politicians of all stripes must now come together to deliver on this momentous constitutional decision.

“The campaign was not without its strong disagreements, and it is important that we reflect on those who voted and campaigned to Remain.

“What unites both sides of the campaign is our belief in in the democratic process and our love for our country.”

The question many people are asking is quite a simple one: What happens next? At some point, it is looking likely that Britain’s Prime Minister will sign the Article 50 agreement , which will trigger a two year exit timescale. What is looking even more likely is that the hand on the pen will not be that of David Cameron.

Mr Cameron, who only pledged the referendum in a (disastrously unsuccessful) attempt to unify Tory Eurosceptics and as a sop to potential UKIP voters ahead of the 2015 election, has no intention of going down in history as the PM who signed his country out of Europe.

The Conservative Party at every level is sharply divided on the issue, and while a majority of Conservative MPs backed Remain, the results of this referendum appear to mean that a Vote Leave supporter is likely to take the reins, especially as a majority of Conservative voters backed Brexit.

It remains to be seen whether there is any lasting impact on the financial security of the UK, though the plummet in the value of sterling on Friday morning has only partially recovered. Foreign holidays will be more expensive, and it is thought that grocery costs could rise as well.

There has been a sharp increase in the number of reported incidents of racially motivated attacks following the referendum, something the Leave campaign’s focus on immigration has been blamed for. However, there is no way of verifying this. Given that immigration was only ever partially the result of Britain’s EU membership, certain aspects of the campaign, including Nigel Farage’s infamous ‘Breaking Point’ billboards, were vilified for being misleading and for aggravating existing tensions.

If anything has been made clear by this referendum, it is an increasing unwillingness on the part of the British public to trust the word of politicians, combined with a feeling of dissociation from the political process.

Social media was full of comments from those who suspected the use of pencils in a ballot box was part of a Remain conspiracy – which possibly shows a certain lack of familiarity with voting procedure. However, the size of the turnout suggests that a number of people who do not regularly exercise their say in choosing their Member of Parliament, never mind AM, made the effort to vote on a subject that became increasingly emotive.

It will be interesting to see whether the Leave campaign will be capable of honouring their loosely worded pledges regarding immigration, NHS funding, and increased democracy should their leader Boris Johnson’s sidekick Michael Gove, become Prime Minister.

One thing is certain: While only 52% of voters voted Leave, closer to 100% will be looking to make sure that these promises are kept.

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Trimsaran secure top spot

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TRIMSARAN secured top spot in WRU Bowl Group G2 as they beat Furnace United 18-15 on Saturday (Oct 9).

A big crowd showed up at Caeffair for the top of the pool clash between the two sides and they were not disappointed.

Furnace kicked the game off and from the start it was the cherries who were in the ascendancy and were rewarded with an early shot at goal to make it 3-0 to the visitors.

Furnace were forcing Trim into mistakes and taking advantage of their ill-discipline. They were rewarded with another shot at goal which was missed. It was turning out to be a typical local derby game with both teams cancelling each other out for much of the first half.

The Trimsaran pack started to outmuscle the visiting pack at the set piece as the game approached the last 10 minutes of the first half and they were awarded a kickable penalty which outside half Corey Phillips converted to draw Trim level.

With half time approaching Trimsaran number 8 burst through the Furnace defence after some sustained pressure in Furnace territory and found second row Lee Thomas outside him who touched down with a superb long arm stretch to score the games’ first try. With the conversion missed it was 8-3 to the home team at half time.

Trimsaran kicked off a dramatic second half. Seven minutes into the second half Furnace were applying some pressure in the Trimsaran 22 when suddenly the referee in charge blew his whistle and halted play.

To the surprise of everyone in attendance he red carded Trimsaran second row and tryscorer Lee Thomas. This handed Furnace a numerical advantage early in the second half but some brilliant defence from Trim kept the cherries at bay.

10 minutes later Furnace finally had their first try of the game to even up the scoreboard at 8-8.

It only took a further 5 minutes for Furnace to retake the lead after a great finish from their Full back Myles Harries after a break down the right wing by Furnace before spreading the ball in the field of Play for Myles to touchdown.

With a man advantage it seemed Furnace were going to make it count. 5 minutes later Furnace were shown a yellow card after a dump tackle. This evened the game up and with the penalty Trim kicked to the touchline and drove their way over from a maul with prop Iwan Green emerging the try scorer.  The conversion was successful and once again we were all level at 15-15.

With 12 minutes to go both teams would have fancied their chances at getting within range and securing a win.

Trim kept their tails up and with some good play and a great break they got themselves up to kicking range. Furnace give the penalty away for offside and outside half Corey Phillips kept his nerve to give Trim the lead 18-15 with 5 minutes to go.

Trim were looking to control the final stages of the game and see it out but got penalised just inside their half and Furnace attempted a penalty which fell just short to equalise the game.

With 3 minutes left there was a scuffle near the halfway line and the referee again brought his red card out and give it to Trimsaran number 8 Steff Roberts in which seemed to be a case of mistaken identity as he was accused of striking an opponent but it didn’t appear to be him.

This gave Furnace one last chance to steal the victory from Trim. Some brave defence from the lineout from the home team looked to have turned the ball over but another pen was awarded to Furnace who kicked their way into the 22 and with a 2 man advantage fancied their chances to snatch victory. Trim competed well in the lineout though and forced a knock on from the cherries and with it a loud roar of delight from the vocal home support.

A fantastic Derby game played out by both teams which sees Trim secure top spot in group G2 with one game to spare.

That game takes place this weekend when Trimsaran welcome New Dock Stars to Caeffair on Saturday (Oct 16).

PHOTOS BY DARREN HARRIES
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Burry Port Reserves hold off Seaside

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BURRY PORT Reserves closed the gap to second placed Seaside Reserves on Saturday (Oct 9) as they beat them 2-1.

The home side took the lead early on when Dean Thomas scored a penalty after 12 minutes.

Seaside hit back though and were level on 39 minutes when Nathan Lewis found the back of the net.

It remained 1-1 at half time but 13 minutes into the second half, Burry Port regained the lead.

Ioan Williams, who had only come on to the pitch a minute earlier, scored the goal which would ultimately prove to be the winner.

It earned Burry Port a third straight win in Carmarthenshire AFL Reserve Division 1 and they now sit three points behind Seaside.

Other results in the Division on Saturday saw leaders Loughor Reserves thrash Drefach reserves 7-1 while Gorseinon Athletic Reserves beat Trallwm Reserves 4-1.

Pontlliw Reserves were also 4-0 winners away at Killay Reserves.

On Saturday, October 16, Burry Port will look for another win as they take on Gorseinon while second plays first as Seaside host Loughor.

PHOTO BY DARREN HARRIES

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Kidwelly edge past Burry Port

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KIDWELLY beat Burry Port by just two points on Saturday (Oct 9) as they took ownership of the Lewi Jones Cup.

The Cup is played for in memory of Lewi Jones and is up for grabs when the holder meets another competing club.

A big crowd gathered for the game in Burry Port and they witnessed two good sides give their all for the win.

It was Kidwelly though who eventually came out on top winning by 11 points to 9.

Captain James Owens scored two penalties for Kidwelly while the crucial try was scored in the corner by Luke Thomas.

The Blacks scored three penalties but will take a losing bonus point for their efforts.

As well as winning the Lewi Jones cup for the first time, Kidwelly also move to within two points of the Blacks in WRU Plate Group G1.

On Saturday, October 16, Kidwelly are in action again as they host Llanelli Wanderers.

Burry Port are next in action the following weekend (Oct 23) when they travel to Felinfoel.

A big crowd gathered for the game. PHOTOS BY DARREN HARRIES
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