In my work I handle technical queries for European TV stations in the morning and American TV networks for the rest of the day into the evening. I may be a small cog in a large machine but I find it all rather stimulating with demands made on my language and programming skills, such as they are. I hope in the near future to impart some free training on the technologies involved to earnest and willing folk in the locality, the sort who really keep this town going.
Speaking at length with fellow technicians from Florida to New York and from Tennessee to California on a daily basis, I suppose my perspective is different from some whilst still being very much down to Earth. That said no-one in Llanelli is a stranger to Zoom or equivalent communications tools anymore thanks to Covid. Chatting to friends, relatives and colleagues on the other side of the globe is second nature to people here, who pick up on things quickly enough without making a fuss.
Now whenever I see a Youtube documentary on mass gatherings of worthy townsfolk in the US having their say with local officials in attendance, or maybe an old cowboy film depicting something similar, I reflect on Llanelli and on how that very much never seems to happen here.
We had Welsh Assembly elections earlier this year and perhaps local elections too – I honestly can’t quite recall – yet seem to have heard nothing useful from the re-elected Aelod Seneddol since. Meanwhile the undoubtedly capable Nia appears to have gone to ground too. When Kier Starmer visited Llanelli some months back I don’t recall him delivering a tub-thumping inspirational speech outside the Town Hall or anywhere in the Zombieland that is Stepney Street, though I heard he enjoyed a bag of chips with Mark Drakeford at the Seaside Fish Bar. Marvellous establishment, all power to the proprietor and his friendly staff.
The dismal state of affairs in this town cannot be hidden from view. That roundabout fronting Eastgate is overgrown and bereft of flora. People’s Park fenced off to the general public and the paddling pool dry as a bone. Walking through Pen Y Fan – now devoid of its once iconic play area for kids – I feel like I’ve brought my Edwardian Time Machine to a shuddering halt and have arrived in hostile territory, all set to be ambushed by cannibalistic Morlocks lurking in nearby undergrowth. Yes, what was once a hidden jewel has become a jungle. Ragwort, Russian ivy, grass at waist height across the entire expanse – a total wilderness, bearing witness to wilful neglect by the Powers That Be. Machynys financed through the tax payer so by rights should be a municipal 18 hole golf course with a 9 hole par 3 area for young families to boot. Nope, not a chance.
As for the steepled shell of a church in Murray Street…
So where are all our representatives and officials hiding?
We deserve better than this. Carmarthen harvests far more in council tax out of Llanelli pockets than from within its own parish boundaries yet we’re the ones treated as the unworthy poor relations. To paraphrase an old saying : “No taxation without (effective and accountable) representation”.