MEMBERS of Plaid Cymru Llanelli attended the People’s Vote March in London on Saturday (Oct 20), in support of a vote on the Government’s final Brexit deal.
The event was attended by an estimated 700,000 people, highlighting the growing feeling of discontent that exists towards the Brexit negotiations and their consequences.
Plaid Cymru’s 2017 Westminster candidate, Mari Arthur, was one of those members who attended. She said: “Brexit was the issue that propelled me into getting involved more actively with Plaid Cymru. I could not trust our current politicians to represent Llanelli at Westminster through the Brexit process, our current MP’s voting record shows she repeatedly does not put Wales first. I can’t accept seeing my hometown suffer because of the deception of the Leave campaign.
“While Brexiteers said an extra £350 million would be given to the NHS, they have since said they’d like to see private firms running hospitals in the UK. While Brexiteers said Brexit would provide an economic boost, businesses are leaving the UK and there’s no sight of a trade deal with the EU. While Brexiteers said Brexit would be a chance to “take back control”, powers have been taken away from Wales in an attempt to rebuild Westminster’s dominance post-Brexit.
“There’s no doubt that many people voted for Brexit as a backlash against the status-quo, but every day, it’s becoming more and more clear that Brexit isn’t what it was hyped up to be. It is not going to deliver for Wales!”
The same frustration regarding the EU referendum was expressed by Plaid Cymru regional AM, Helen Mary Jones, during a motion calling for a People’s Vote in the National Assembly for Wales. In her speech, she said: “I remember campaigning with Lee Waters in Llanelli and two young men saying to me, ‘I can’t get into this at all. This is posh English blokes shouting at each other. This doesn’t feel as if it’s anything to do with me.
“I am convinced that none of those voters who voted for Brexit voted for drug shortages, unemployment, a hard border in Northern Ireland, visa requirements to visit our nearest neighbours and threats to environmental protection and our human rights. And all of those are real risks of a hard ‘no deal’ Brexit.”
Lee Waters and his Labour colleagues went on to vote against Plaid Cymru’s motion for a people’s vote that night, despite many of them saying publically that they support the Vote. Currently, it is Labour’s preference to have a general election before a people’s vote if Theresa May’s deal fails to meet their six Brexit tests. But how can we trust a Government that is telling the people one thing and, on the same day, voting against a different way?
In reference to Labour’s ambiguity over a people’s vote, Mari Arthur said: “Now is not the time to be playing political games. This is by far the most important issue in our generation and we cannot put our own party’s interests above the nation’s. I call on both our AM and our MP to join me in supporting a people’s vote.
“With only weeks to go for a deal to be reached, a no-deal Brexit is becoming increasingly likely. The consequences of this will be catastrophic for Wales. Plaid Cymru believes that it is only right to go back to the people at the end of this process and ask if this is the Brexit that they wanted.
“I have just emailed Nia Griffith to reconsider and support the People’s Vote, I urge you to do the same.”
Life saving medical kit for police on the roads
POLICE officers have been given equipment that improves the chance of survival for those injured in a serious crash, as part of Dyfed-Powys Police’s effort to reduce the number of people who die on the roads.
The medical kits are being given to roads policing officers, who are often the first at the scene of a serious crash. They are described as the best available to deal with the type of bleeding they encounter at road traffic collisions, and also in the case of knife and glass wounds, and are the same as those issued to ambulance crews.
Sergeant Owen Dillon, of Brecon Roads Policing Unit, worked with the Welsh Ambulance Service to trial the kit, which he has called ‘simple to use, but effective’.
He said: “We work really hard to reduce the number of collisions on the roads, but unfortunately they do still happen, and people can become seriously injured.”
“It only takes a few minutes for someone to bleed to death, so it’s vital that police officers – who are often first at scene – can deal quickly with any bleeding while waiting for paramedics.”
The equipment has been bought with funding of around £1,000 from the Police and Crime Commissioner. Traffic officers in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys will keep the equipment in their patrol cars.
Police and Crime Commissioner, Dafydd Llywelyn, added: “Keeping people safe is a top priority for me and this investment will equip officers with the best medical kit possible to deal with immediate life threatening injuries. I am committed to ensuring Dyfed-Powys plays an active role in keeping road users safe.”
Police officers are already trained to use tourniquets and bandages, and the Roads Policing Units who work as part of Op Darwen – the force’s campaign to reduce casualties on the roads – are being given the additional training they need to use this equipment.
Figures show that in 2018, 67 motorcyclists were either killed or seriously injured on roads in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys, and men were eight times more likely to be affected than women.
The Welsh Ambulance Service is committed to working in partnership with other emergency services to save lives.
Carl Powell, Clinical Support Officer for the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “It is vital that Roads Policing Officers, who are often the first on scene and confronted with serious and life threatening injuries, are supported in preserving life with equipment that is effective in dealing with major bleeding.
“The trauma packs are a proven lifesaving asset and need minimal educational input to be used.”
As part of the Op Darwen, the force is urging motorcyclists to ride safely, and reminding drivers to be vigilant to motorbikes and other powered two-wheelers.
The campaign will run until October, when statistics say the roads are busiest. Roads Policing Units are working across the Dyfed-Powys Police area using a combination of education, engagement and enforcement, to reduce the number of casualties on the roads.
Trimsaran: Male arrested on suspicion of terror offences
OFFICERS from the Welsh Extremism Counter Terrorist Unit (WECTU) have arrested a 57-year-old-man at a property in Trimsaran on Tuesday, June 11.
Armed officers from WECTU, supported by officers from Dyfed Powys Police, attended the property to execute a search warrant.
After finding chemicals at the property, Police arrested the as-yet-unnamed man on suspicion of offences relating to being concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.
The man remains in police custody, while officers continue their investigations at the property, which remains cordoned off.
A spokeswoman for the Wales Extremism and Counter Terrorism Unit said there was no risk to neighbouring properties.
She said: “Officers from the Wales Extremism and Counter Terrorism Unit (WECTU) supported by Dyfed Powys Police executed a search warrant at an address in the Trimsaran area on Tuesday, June 11.
“A specialist search continues after chemicals were found at the premises and a cordon remains in place. Armed officers were also deployed as a precaution to ensure the safety of officers and the public.
“A 57-year-old man was arrested as a result of the initial search on Tuesday. He remains in custody on suspicion of being concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism, under section 41 of the Terrorism Act (TACT) 2000.”
Counter-Terrorism Policing and UK intelligence services have foiled 19 attack plots since March 2017 and are currently running nearly 800 live investigations.
In a statement on the UK’s level of preparedness made on Friday, June 14, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dean Haydon, the UK’s Senior National Coordinator for Counter-Terrorism, said: “Counter-Terrorism Policing and UK intelligence services have foiled 19 attack plots since March 2017 and that we are currently running nearly 800 live investigations, it clearly shows that the UK is still facing an unprecedented level of threat from terrorism.”
Bridgend Ford plant closing next year with loss of 1700 jobs
FORD’S engine plant in Bridgend – which has been operational since 1977 – will close in September next year, with the loss of 1,700 jobs.
The site employs workers from across South Wales, with many more people employed by companies that supply both goods and services to the plant.
Trade union leaders were told the news on Thursday (Jun 6) morning at a meeting at Ford’s Essex headquarters. The company is believed to have pointed at Bridgend’s coast disadvantage in comparison with other sites. Plans are said to include redeployment of employees to other Ford sites.
GMB, the union for Ford workers in Bridgend, has reacted with shock to the announcement, with Regional Organiser Jeff Beck saying: “We’re hugely shocked by today’s announcement, it’s a real hammer blow for the Welsh economy and the community in Bridgend.
“Regardless of today’s announcement GMB will continue to work with Ford, our sister unions and the Welsh Government to find a solution to the issue and mitigate the effects of this devastating news.
“What makes it worse is Donald Trump is in this country talking about a possible trade deal between the UK and the US – yet when the plant closes the new line is likely to be produced in
Mexico by an American company. So much for the special relationship Mr Trump.”
This comes after an investigation by GMB revealed Wales has lost 13,000 manufacturing jobs in just 10 years. The statistics were released ahead of GMB’s Annual Congress, which begins in Brighton on Sunday (Jun 9). They show 13,000 jobs in the sector disappeared between 2008 and 2018 – a fall of nearly 8%. In 2008, Wales supported 168,000 permanent and temporary manufacturing jobs. By 2018, that had slumped to just 155,000.
Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Business, Russell George AM, said: “After an extended difficult period of uncertainty for workers in Bridgend, today’s announcement was the last news we were hoping for.
“The Welsh Government must act swiftly now to support the workers of the area, and to reassure the world that Wales continues to be a place of automotive excellence.
“With the Bridgend site closing in late 2020 the next step is to attract new business opportunities to the area for these skilled workers.”
Suzy Davies, AM for South Wales West, said: “This is terrible news for the employees of Bridgend Ford and is a devastating blow for the whole area.
“It is crucial today that appropriate support is made available for affected employees during this difficult time. My thoughts are with the families involved, and I intend to extend my full support to those in need throughout the coming months.
“I implore the Welsh Government to do everything within its power to ensure retraining is available to these extremely skilled workers, and to help them find alternative employment with the utmost urgency.”
The plant’s closure come just months after Ford revealed that it would cut the site’s workforce by 370, in the first phase of almost 1,000 job losses, as the company looked to reorganise its European operations. The Bridgend plant makes engines for Jaguar Land Rover, but that contract will end this year, and investment in the new Dragon engine has been scaled back.
Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds said: “This is devastating news for workers, their families and the wider community. The effects of this decision will be felt across the Welsh economy, but nowhere as acutely as in Bridgend.
“The Welsh and UK Governments must urgently do all they can to support employees, help them find new work and protect Bridgend’s economy. However, we must accept that nothing can stop this being a dark day for Bridgend and the Welsh car industry.
“Ford Bridgend has become yet another devastating casualty of Brexit. This year we’ve already seen Honda announce the closure of its Swindon plant and several car makers temporarily shutdown their factories. How much longer are we prepared to allow this to continue?
“This is yet more evidence we must give the people the final say and the opportunity to choose an Exit from Brexit. Only by stopping Brexit can we save jobs and protect the Welsh economy.”
Assembly Member for Bridgend and former First Minister Carwyn Jones said: “Ford intend to shut the engine plant by next September. No reason given as to why it should be Bridgend. The workers deserve so much better than this after all their efforts and hard work. They did all that was asked of them.”
Leader of Plaid Cymru, Adam Price, said: “Closure would be one of the most bitter blows for the Welsh economy for more than 30 years. Ford is jewel in the crown of the car industry – which is the hardcore of our manufacturing sector – the implications of this in terms of the supply chain and job losses is very grave.”
The future of the Bridgend site had been questioned for some time, dating back to the ‘One Ford’ plan which was introduced in 2008. From that point, Ford operated as one global company, with Ford UK and Ford Europe no longer designing different cars to the rest of the world. The same car models were then sold worldwide, and further investment went to plants that were the most efficient.
Bridgend was no longer just competing with plants in Cologne and Valencia, but with the rest of world.
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