Why is Wales so poor? (Economy, language and more)

Discussion in 'Wales/Cymru' started by lewislewis, Feb 19, 2009.

  1. editor

    editor hiraethified

    I've just added these two 1987 photos to my piece on Cardiff Docks:



    If anyone was in doubt about the collosal wealth that used to run through the area, here's a reminder:
  2. Meltingpot

    Meltingpot Living in our pools we soon forget about the sea

  3. pigtails

    pigtails putting the tit in titilate

    I miss it looking like this - I loved the mud flats, 'the bay' is pretty souless now.
    Pickman's model likes this.
  4. phildwyer

    phildwyer Gorau arf arf dysg

    You can see the church in which I was Christened in that photo!
  5. Gromit

    Gromit International Man of Misery

    My dad had a boat moored there. I used to play on those flats whilst he worked on the boat.
  6. spacemonkey

    spacemonkey I Love Noodles

    I hated the mudflats. I think it looks much prettier now (excluding the commercial crap and luxury flats).
  7. phildwyer

    phildwyer Gorau arf arf dysg

    Will no-one think of the sandpipers?
  8. pigtails

    pigtails putting the tit in titilate

    Oh no, I think the the mud flats were stunning - specially on a bright winters day, it's just a bit boring now
  9. davesgcr

    davesgcr Reading books


    The most evocative Cardiff picture ever (saw the original last year)
    Pickman's model likes this.
  10. editor

    editor hiraethified

    That's amazing. Where's it from?
  11. davesgcr

    davesgcr Reading books

    Its by Lionel Walden 1894 - and its called "Cardiff Docks" - held in the Musee d'Orsay Paris.

    "Waldens painting shows the goods yard of the Bute Dock railway - built in 1886 - which was a specialised harbour railway of 18 miles connecting to the Rhymney and Taff Vale lines.

    In the background can be seen the Dowlais steelworks , and not only the prominent masts of the sailing vessels but a steam vessel. Such was the global coal trade that it gave sailing vessels their last great cargoes

    Commentary from "The Railway Art in the Age of Steam" - which was a book relating to last years exhibition in the Walker Art gallery in Liverpool. ISBN13:978-0-300-13878-8

    An outstanding exhibition (which went to NYC and SF)

    An outstanding picture - now when that time machine is patented - thats one of my foggy and gas lit evening visits
    Pickman's model likes this.
  12. editor

    editor hiraethified

    Here's a slightly bigger version:
    teqniq and Pickman's model like this.
  13. davesgcr

    davesgcr Reading books

    Think of the fact that there was an Impressionist school in Penarth !

    Wales may be economically poor (doing some research for the Wales Route utilisation study - was quite depressing) - but what culture , landscape , people etc etc...........

    And for less "subsidy" than other parts of the UK too ....without naming names / regions.
  14. phildwyer

    phildwyer Gorau arf arf dysg

    A whole school? I thought it was just one painter: Sisley?
  15. davesgcr

    davesgcr Reading books

    Quite right ! - just Sisley (article in the weekend papers a while ago) :oops:
  16. Brockway

    Brockway New Member

    He stayed at 4 Clive Place in Penarth. And he got married in Cardiff while he was over here.
  17. spacemonkey

    spacemonkey I Love Noodles

    Amazing, never seen that before.
  18. phildwyer

    phildwyer Gorau arf arf dysg

    He did some great stuff of the cliffs, he saw a beauty in them that no-one else had noticed before. Shame about that weird tree falling down a few years back. The Ed has some good photos of it on the site somewhere...
  19. llion

    llion Well-Known Member

    To return to the point of view put across earlier in this thread that rural Welsh-speaking Wales is traditionally conservative, I would argue, as someone who grew up in Ceredigion, lived in Cardiff for 10 years and recently moved back to Ceredigion, that this is a very outdated and inaccurate view. To my knowledge, for example, Ceredigion has not returned a Tory MP in living memory (and probably far beyond), and was in fact one of, if not the first seat in Britain to have an MP returned on a partly Green Party mandate (Cynog Dafis, who won the seat in 1992 on a Plaid Cymru/Green Party ticket). Ceredigion and other rural counties' earlier loyalty to the Liberal Party, was the product of the enduring legacy of the nineteenth century radical/Nonconformist alliance, which produced such great figures as Henry Richard from Tregaron, whose ideas on pacifism and improving relationships between nations/avoiding wars are about as far from conservative as can be imagined.

    The success of the deal Plaid struck with the Greens reflects the fact that environmental activism and 'green' ideas have been particularly influential in both rural Ceredigion and Powys since the early to mid 1970s. This is due in part to the fact that the lifestyles and ideas associated with hippy culture were accepted from a very early date in these areas, hence the success of the Centre for Alternative Technology since the mid seventies and the generally friendly and harmonious relations between local people and the 'hippies' who were attracted to move to rural Wales for a number of reasons. From personal experience, I can vouch for the fact that culturally and politically rural Wales has been and is, in ways that are not perhaps immediately obvious, a hotbed of alternative ideas and actions e.g. some of the huge free parties/raves held in the area, Operation Julie, the development of the Welsh Language movement (which again is often mistaken for a conservative movement when it was and is in fact a positive, active affirmation of the importance of cultural diversity and of the rights of minorities to live as much of their lives as they choose in the language of their choice in the face of globally homogenizing, mainly economic, pressures), Transition Towns (of which Lampeter is one of the first), and many other environmental initiatives in the Machynlleth area.

    Another myth repated in this thread, which flies in the face of social reality in Welsh-speaking Wales, is that Welsh has ever been a dead language. The Welsh language movememt which emerged in the sixties developed in order to address the fact that Welsh speakers had very few legal rights, which made their efforts to reverse the decline in numbers speaking the language virtually impossible. Ordinary, everyday actions and issues such as writing a cheque, birth certificates, wedding registrations, driving licences, road signs etc could only be done officially, or were only available in English. Each of these rights had to be won individually through concerted civil disobedience and direct action which involved both younger and older generations, and was arguably the clearest manifestation of the spirit of the Sixties global protest movement in Wales.

    To me, these actions were heroic, as they have ensured that I and other born since the seventies have been able to use a language which has been around for a very, very long time throughout my education, up to and including post-graduate level, in my working life and socially and culturally through Welsh language tele, films and pop. Interestingly, the idea of Welsh-speaking Wales as being conservative is again undermined by the music and ideas which have come out of the Welsh language music scene e.g. John Peel's faves Datblygu were from Cardigan and were v left-wing in an uncompromisng and iconoclastic way, Ffa Coffi Pawb (the band which the Super Furries emerged from) were similarly very out there and radical from the name itself onwards, same goes for the Gorkys. As for new Welsh words being hatched in some sort of academic laboratory, again there's very little, if any evidence of this. New Welsh words emerge in the same way as they do in any other living language - through a comibnation of experimentation, argument, discussion and useage by speakers themselves, followed by official recognition in dictionaries etc.
  20. editor

    editor hiraethified

    Great post, llion.
  21. davesgcr

    davesgcr Reading books

    Agreed - the Welsh language is pretty safe now - thanks to many good initiatives (and to be fair to support from many incomers to be fair)

    The problems of the economy - regrettably - are a continuing worry !
  22. ashie259

    ashie259 New Member

    +1. Really fascinating stuff. Thanks
  23. RobotHyper

    RobotHyper New Member

    Wales was poorer, now it is catching up.

    House prices are high in Wales.

    Swansea has the highest rainfall per annum in the UK. Wales has a high rainfall climate; it may have made agricultural output lower before farming industrialisation. London, Kent has the warmest climate in the UK. In the summer months during warmest days it is the region which is warmest. It may have helped with its development. It is the way you do things which generates wealth more in my opinion than climate. Places like the Arctic and Antarctic are inhabitable but many people debate how much a role climate plays in Africa’s poverty.

    Swansea has the highest rainfall in the UK and its roads do not flood, meaning there were structural engineering problems like drainage problems with English roads.

    Manufacturing needs to become more efficient. There are only so many products a person needs, as agriculture became more efficient people move into manufacturing as manufacturing becomes more efficient requiring less people to produce the goods, people then move into the service sector. Need to use more modern machinery and equipment to increase manufacturing productivity. Most goods are made in the UK and not exported or imported – branch manufacturing.

    Highly funded Governments grow their economies fast, a well-funded government goes with things which create productivity increases. Highly funded countries like Norway and Qatar grow their economies fast with strong welfare. They have State owned enterprises. Countries with low taxation are third world countries, countries with mid-level taxation are mid income countries and countries with high levels of taxation are developed countries.

    Only 20% of Wales lives in cities, while 50% of the world’s population lives in cities. Cities are colossal generators of wealth. Use housing subsidies to build up the cities. Demography. Rural areas far from the capital of a country are poorer. Both areas far from a capital and rural areas are poorer. Geography.

    Wales is on the up.

    Low crime, high Southerly style property prices now, high southerly style Life expectancy. It was not always this way. Before devolution things were worst, things are improving. Schools improving.

    The annual literacy and numeracy tests sat by all the kids before GCSE’s are working. They can sack the correct staff. It also keeps the kids out of trouble. Keeps productivity high. Go with devolution maximum a country within a country most things devolved but foreign affairs and MOD.

    I’m too young to be sure if it is an old wife’s tale or not but when Wales was the first to abolish grammar schools its GDP per capita caught up to 85% of the UK average.
  24. planetgeli

    planetgeli There's no future in England's dreaming


    House prices in Wales are not high. For what my sister in law pays in Hackey for a 4 bedroom house you can buy a castle in Wales with acres of land.

    Swansea does not have the highest rainfall in the U.K. You are acting on figures 15 years old. There are plenty of places with more rain in Scotland and even Yorkshire. Swansea does, however, flood. The outskirts, sometimes, appallingly.

    Manufacturing was largely destroyed in South Wales by Thatcher. The wealth of this country was built on coal (and to a certain extent steel) and South Wales got sweet FA out of it. Visit Ammanford sometime.

    Geography? Wales is like a tiny Colombia. Except in Colombia hillside farming is the norm because they don't restrict themselves to heavy machinery that cannot operate at 45 degrees. Sheep farming is never going to make us rich. Dairy farming is all but dead.

    What you say about the annual literacy and numeracy tests is a joke. I know. I mark them. I have no words for how appalling the results are. Staff, incompetent staff, are never sacked. I work in a school with plenty of them.

    Your post is an unbelievably optimistic fairy story. I'd love you to be right. You aren't.
    Plumdaff, bimble, mojo pixy and 2 others like this.
  25. davesgcr

    davesgcr Reading books

    Quick canter through some of he economic and population etc data shows some very modest improvement - but with huge variations across Wales - Anglesey appears to be one of the worst performing areas - along with the top end of the Eastern Valleys. Cardiff and the Vale outshine everywhere.

    Being slightly biased - from the Ammanford area - there are clear benefits in things like a clean environment and low(sih) crime rates - whihc is fine if you have a reasonable job / income.
  26. Gromit

    Gromit International Man of Misery

    Wales voted to leave Europe.
    It got lots of money from Europe.
    Anyone who thinks Westminister are going to cover the loss of EU money are dreaming.

    Wales is fucked.
    Any gains we might have made will be destroyed over the next ten years.

    Westminster will still try to blame everything on Europe as if they were the cause.
  27. planetgeli

    planetgeli There's no future in England's dreaming

    Again, I live eight miles from Ammanford and don't recognise the picture you paint barely at all. Clean environment now the coal has disappeared - yes. Low crime rate? You must be joking. Glanaman, Garnant, Ammanford itself and Tycroes are generally Smack City with attendant problems. The biggest laugh the dealers had was when hundreds of thousands was spent on a new Ammanford police station only for it to be declared unfit for use. The number of people in Ammanford with a decent job is minimal and the town itself is dominated by boarded up shops, pound shops, charity shops and shops selling shit. Tesco in Ammanford sells things, everything, at higher prices than it does in middle class Carmarthen, which is disgraceful to say the least. I wonder how long my beloved Kosovan barbers will last. And how the fuck they ended up there in the first place.

    The local rag (Carmarthen Journal) has a great crime page full of domestic violence (Tycroes features heavily here), people being bust for 0.5g of shit hash and a Vietnamese guy who features quite regularly being caught growing "a cannabis farm". His latest was above the disused bank at the top of the pedestrianised street IIRC. At least he didn't get murdered like the other Vietnamese guy.

    Yeah, come to Ammanford. It's got clean air.
  28. davesgcr

    davesgcr Reading books

    Thanks for the update - I have clearly been away far too long to recognize the changes (regular trips down there ceased nearly 20 years ago when my parents were around) - that does sound depressing - there must be an element of piss take when the disused Lloyds Bank in a prime spot was a cannabis grow location which the police found only by accident......not a heck of a lot tends to get reported in the august pages of the South Wales Guardian which I look at on line. Good job then my parents no longer live in Tycroes.
  29. Kesher

    Kesher 이달의 소녀 Banned

    It's also got the The Railway (pub) :D
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2017
  30. RobotHyper

    RobotHyper New Member

    Bad best practise leads to poverty in Wales. People follow best practise until the money runs out. Perhaps Wales is not catching up. A more serious mind leads to more wealth, not a silly one. The UK I have noticed has fallen from 13th richest country in the world GDP per capita nominal to 25th richest country in the world out of 200. Wales could use greater sales techniques on foreigners. Wales could do with a bigger banking sector or IT sector. More higher value end services. Business men in Wales wrongly favoured setting up manufacturing companies instead of higher end services.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice