No Shit Sherlock

In London 93% of the population is in reach of eight or more megabytes per second, but in Wales it is 38.4%, while more than one quarter cannot access even two megabyte services.

Lord Roberts of Llandudno “Figures show Wales is still lagging behind when it comes to broadband access and speed. We need to look at how to prioritise areas that cannot currently access broadband. I appreciate that it is important that broadband expansion is carried out in a manner that is commercially viable, but we must not lose sight of the fact that accountants must not have the last word.”

And even when you have theoretical 8MB shitty infrastructure means you don’t. Commercially viable must not be the deciding factor, by that rule we would not have had electricity & telephone lines, rail or roads in many parts. What once nationalised utilities built for the public commons decays where profit is not to be found, the inequality of access to services and quality of infrastructure is a function of the neoliberal state. Our future is going to look like a backward joke at this rate.

New Chief

North Wales Police has a new chief constable, Mark Polin, who says things like this-

“An unorganised mind environment is not for me I’m afraid.”

This will be interesting.

Update: A Q& A in the Daily Post, he comes across as a conservative on thedrugwar inc. unlike Brunstrom’s progressive attitude.

Hip + Groovy

Hip Op went fine, mum is recovering slightly better than for the other one, the hospital is still hellishly warm and airless though (and what’s up with the water pipes –still!?). Meanwhile Patientline, not only a disgraceful rip off, but seriously has to be the worst interface I have seen since…um, maybe the old broken photocopier in the my old university’s library?!?! It gives Ceefax a run for its money, ugly and user hostile (in every sense). Oh to be home and have Snow Leopard fondling my eyeballs.

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Friday! The Beat- Tears of a Clown

Entertainment note- Island dwellers! Catch the John Lawson Circus as they tour Anglesey, however luxurious your home cinema may be it cannot be as entertaining and slightly surreal as an evening in the Big Top with actual people balancing on wires and twirling around above you. If we don’t support circuses then eventually you won’t be able to run away to one and that would be a terrible loss of life choices!

Or The ‘English’ Beat as they were known across the puddle.

Rotten Island

It’s official, our council is rubbish!

A watchdog wants the Welsh Assembly Government to step in urgently to bring in a major shake-up at a council. The Auditor General said Anglesey council has “serious persistent problems” which affect its working. “Personality politics” based on mistrust and suspicion were partly to blame, while problems existed with both officials and political arrangements. The council said it accepts the findings of the report and all seven recommendations for improvement.

“Serious, persistent problems at the Isle of Anglesey council urgently need addressing now if it is to restore its reputation, win back public trust and set a positive course for the future,” said Auditor General, Jeremy Colman. He said the council’s “history” meant he was convinced the changes that were needed would not happen unless there was outside input. “That is why I am calling on assembly government ministers to intervene and to provide the necessary external support and challenge that Anglesey council needs to help place it onto a firmer, more successful, footing,” he said.

In his report Mr Colman said even though there are good features in performance of many services there are internal issues. These include weak self-regulation, inappropriate behaviour and conflict. The report said all these issues had been left largely unaddressed since the council was established in 1996 – despite a number of previous external reviews. Mr Colman goes on to say there is a history of “personality politics” based around mistrust, suspicion and personal animosity.

This is not news to anyone who lives here, but maybe… maybe the self interested cabal who use our money to pursue their and developer’s interest will finally be exposed. Central government is cutting spending so we need councillors fighting for us.

Ungrateful

It comes to something when corporations feel so entitled they reject huge wads of government welfare because it isn’t enough-

Wales’ deputy first minister has questioned the commitment of Anglesey Aluminium’s owners to stay on the island. Anglesey assembly member Ieuan Wyn Jones said he was disappointed the company had not accepted offer of UK and Welsh Assembly Government aid. The firm has rejected financial support of £48m over four years saying it was generous but not enough. The firm has offered 140 staff voluntary redundancy. Cheap power for Anglesey Aluminium has been supplied by the nearby Wylfa nuclear plant for the last 10 years. Talks are continuing to try to strike a new deal for cheap power, which has been supplied by the nearby Wylfa nuclear plant for the last 10 years.

There are many rumours on the island that surround the cheap electricity deal they have with Wylfa, I hope to get to the bottom of them and give AA a chance to respond but…ungrateful ain’t the half of it if they are true.

Welsh Fucking Water! (Well United Utilities)

And now… some light ranty relief:-

Here in sunny, ok rainy at present North Wales you get used to the fact that Welsh Water, the privatised water providing monopoly is incapable of providing clean fucking drinking water on a reliable basis! And here we go again-

About 70,000 households and businesses in two north Wales counties are being advised to boil their drinking water after bacteria were found in supplies. Customers in areas of Flintshire and Denbighshire supplied by the Alwen treatment works are affected.

Now this doesn’t affect me…yet, but for all those tired of this bullshit year in year out I ask- Is drinking water somehow beyond our scientific abilities? I’m sure I’ve heard of other places where amazingly you can drink the water and not get ill, ooh it must be like some futuristic dreamscape! Has the concept of potable water become an impossible riddle to even the greatest of minds?

No, it is just an impossibility to the neoliberal mind. Now enjoy the hilarious farce that is Welsh Water’s post privatisation history (thanks Conservatives!)-

Welsh Water Authority was privatised by stock market flotation in 1989, along with the other nine regional water authorities, which provided the company with a substantial cash surplus for some years, which it used to diversify in a wide range of sectors including leisure (Hotels, Fishing etc.).

Yeah that’s what I want from a water provider, a good range of hotels and a keen interest in angling. Oh no, what I meant was the other thing, what I like in a water provider is clean fucking drinking water! (I may have already mentioned that -clean fucking drinking water- but y’know repetition might make it sink in, in between the suits looking at new car brochures and second home buying).

It renamed itself Hyder in 1996 after taking over a local electricity company (SWALEC) and becoming a water and electricity multi-utility.

What could possibly go wrong, water and electricity mix so well!

However, in 1999/2000, following the windfall tax on utility profits and the 1999 Ofwat price review, Hyder got into financial difficulties which led to its breakup following a takeover battle.

Who could of foreseen their huge profits might get taxed and their business practices were so criminal Ofwat would force a change? They’re not mind readers…Oh these things took some years to happen and there were months of warning, erm…maybe they were otherwise engaged on what colour the hotels should be painted or which celebrity to advertise their fishing business, was Noel Edmonds busy, did Roger Daltrey turn them down?

Western Power Distribution purchased Hyder on 15 September 2000 with a view to acquiring its electricity distribution business, and rapidly sold off Hyder’s other assets. Welsh Water was sold by WPD to Glas Cymru for £1,

A pound? That explains it, they found a babbling tramp in a Cardiff street and swapped the company for a half can of special brew. Wait they didn’t? So what can explain it? Neoliberal MBA managerialism that couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery? Financiers who make money with every transaction regardless of the consequences to those who actually use the service? Like that could ever go wrong, CDO’s all round!

along with £1.85 billion of Hyder debt. Under the terms of its licence Glas Cymru may not operate in sectors other than water.

Imagine, a water providing monopoly actually dedicated to providing water and not using its monopoly (which makes it an industry manifestly unsuitable for privatisation even free market theoreticians could figure that out… or not apparently). But as it’s a monopoly, how about we own it (y’know, like we did), so it runs at cost and no one exploits the need for the most essential substance for life on planet Earth- water.

Dŵr Cymru / Welsh Water (Dŵr Cymru means Welsh Water in Welsh) is owned by Glas Cymru, a company limited by guarantee. Most of Welsh Water’s activities are outsourced to other companies.

So really Welsh Water is a contracting body which passes on the work and …the responsibility?

KWS Wales operate waste water in the south and United Utilities operate clean water for the whole of Wales and waste water in the north.

Hey here’s an idea, keep the two separate! There you can have that for free, you see maybe your consultants haven’t told you this but sewage and drinking water…not the same thing, m’kay? But what was that again?

clean water for the whole of Wales.

Whoa there- United Utilities operate clean water for the whole of Walesthey do? Can we have some of this clean water? Where can you get it? Because it certainly doesn’t come out of the fucking taps!