In the 1880's my great great grandfather moved from Llanelltyd near Dolgellau to Pontypridd, not to become a miner like so many of those who moved south, but because he was an undertaker and the mortality rates were more favourable to people in his line of business in the coal mining areas than they were in rural mid Wales.
Coal mining was a dangerous and unhealthy occupation, which could, and too often did, lead to sudden death through accident. Many of those not taken by accidents suffered the worse fate of debilitating illness that lead to a premature death.
Coal mining was a job that most people I knew in the south Wales valleys during the time that the mines were open, hoped and prayed that their sons could avoid. But yet, when the coal mining industry was threatened with closure, the valleys communities fought tooth and claw to keep the mines open.
Why? Because they knew that if the mining jobs were lost there would be absolutely nothing offered in their place. The loss of those dirty, dangerous and unhealthy jobs in the mining industry has ripped the heart and soul out of the south Wales valleys.
A similar thing happened in north Merioneth when Trawsfynydd nuclear power station closed. An area that had a fairly prosperous working class community became an area of extreme poverty and despair that has never recovered from the loss of those well-paid jobs at the power station. Do those who make glee about Ieuan Wyn Jones' position on Wylfa B really want Anglesey to suffer in the way that the valleys and north Merioneth have suffered?
If, as it seems likely, that the Labour Government is going to build a new generation of nuclear power stations anyway, what is best? That a new power station is built on Anglesey, safeguarding the last vestiges of Island's prosperity, or that a new power station is built elsewhere?
I don't accept the Ieuan is a hypocrite line. Ieuan is no more of a hypocrite than any of those socialist politicians who use to litter their fiery speeches with comments such as our children deserve better than the mines but who then fought honourably to try and to keep the mining industry alive because they knew that nothing better was on offer.
I'm sure that the people of Anglesey deserve better than the potential hazards of the nuclear power industry, but unless or until something better is offered to them I don’t see that Ieuan Wyn Jones, Albert Owen or any other politician from the Island has any choice other than to try to keep the jobs in that industry going for as long as possible, no matter how unsavoury those jobs might appear to be.
Cymraeg: Hen Rech Flin: IWJ & Wylfa B
Other Blogs on Ieuan Wyn Jones' comments about Nuclear Energy:
Cardiff Respect - Sanddef - Ferryside Rant - Peter Black