Many people in Gwent were unfortunately affected by the recent storms that brought heavy rain, strong winds and destruction to much of the UK.
In general, flood defences held although this will be of scant consolation to those whose homes and businesses were flooded, including the people I met in Tintern when the River Wye burst its banks at high tide.
However I was struck by the incredible efforts of Monmouthshire County Council’s highway workers, some of whom had been placing sandbags and clearing debris for up to 17 hours then turning out to do it again after a few hours’ sleep. I’m sure I speak for many in offering them a heartfelt “thank you”.
In an unusual move on Boxing Day, Education Minister Huw Lewis AM offered an apology for the Welsh Government’s abysmal performance in global school tests. Wales has been ranked as the worst UK nation for maths, science and reading according to an international league table, which the Minister fully accepted.
An apology is a start, but if the Welsh Government is serious about taking action it needs to reintroduce testing, proper league tables, and tackle increasingly high levels of sickness absence. Ministers might also want to consider reducing the amount of time children in English medium schools are forced to learn Welsh.
It was a fair comment and Monmouthshire County Council, presumably at some expense, is going to do something about it. There is a wider point here about why we have to have these things at all. Energy saving light bulbs have been foisted upon us by the EU and the powerful green lobby groups.
They can’t save any energy because they are so dark we just end up having to buy extra lights to avoid living in Dickensian gloom.
They can’t be very good for the environment either as they are full of mercury and people have to drive for miles to find a place where they can be properly disposed of. “Bring Back Bright Bulbs” would be a winning election slogan and I will be doing what I can to include it.