Angharad Mair slams Academy plans

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1 Mar 2009 ... Fight St Athan military academy. Mar 1 2009 by Angharad Mair, Wales On Sunday. THIS is sadly my last column for Wales on Sunday and I would ...

From Angharad Mair - Wales on Sunday

THIS is sadly my last column for Wales on Sunday and I would like to thank everyone who has bothered to respond to my weekly look at the world through the letters section of this newspaper, via e-mails to me personally and even in the forums section online.

Having said that, I can't understand the mentality of people who feel they have to hide behind pseudonyms. If you have something that's worth saying - then surely it's worth putting your name to it?

Anyway, since this is my final column I did think of having a rant against the wind farms proposed for Wales. Not so much the offshore ones, but any plan to build those huge, ugly, soul-destroying monsters on Welsh soil should be dumped immediately.

It's no good leading the way with green energy if we're to live in what has been transformed from a beautiful country into a mess of hideous white steel. Wales is too small a country for onshore wind farms and our politicians should listen to the people of Wales who oppose them - the people whose lives would be blighted in their horrific shadow.

But there is one proposed expansion in Wales which is far more dangerous and risky than wind farms, so I'll concentrate on that one - the proposed multi-billion-pound military academy at St Athan near Barry in the Vale of Glamorgan.

One article in the South Wales Echo last week quoted the local MP as saying that Barry could become South Wales' 21st century version of the Californian Gold Rush, and a recession-busting boom town. And yes, it would be easy - especially in the dire economic times we are currently experiencing - to get excited at the thought of 5,000 new jobs and economic benefits across South Wales.

This proposed military academy will indeed be a huge development and will bring all the three forces together - the RAF, Army and Navy.

Do you still think this sounds like good news? Then think again. Is this the kind of development we really need or want here in Wales?

Thankfully, since the beginning of the horrific, illegal war in Iraq we have been quite sheltered here in Wales from having to live with the fear of a terrorist attack.

Businesses in London now have to pay huge insurance premiums as protection against terrorism, and that's scary, because if such an attack were to happen the insurance for the building and content might be nothing compared to the loss of lives. Any who knew victims of the tube and bus bombings will know the horrors of living in the shadow of terrorism.

It's unkind and unfair to the local people to use descriptions such as a "new gold rush" and "recession-busting" and "new boom-town" and "world-leading centre of excellence" without also explaining that this will be the military centre for the whole of the UK and that could bring dire
consequences to Wales as well as turning a beautiful and peaceful part of our country into what would have to be a security-obsessed nightmare.

There would be new jobs - yes. But a high proportion of these "new" jobs would be relocated work from existing training establishments around the UK.

In Wales we have a long and proud tradition of peace and pacifism, and that should be enough reason to condemn this horrific development.

But even if you are a supporter of the military, Wales will be put at the forefront of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan with this expansion.

Don't be fooled or blinded by the prospects of jobs, and economic growth.

Look at the wider picture, and especially if you live in the area, start campaigning now against what could turn out to be the biggest mistake in the history of modern Wales, and could turn out to be a disaster for local homeowners.

Anne says
Remember there isn't 5,000 jobs NEW jobs ...this is job relocation not job creation!

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