Sunday 17 September 2017

Mark Mardell Goes to Swansea

Dylan Thomas, quoted from by Mark Mardell today

Mark Mardell was back on The World This Weekend today. Surprisingly, the much-travelled Mark didn't go to Florence for his final item. His jaunt this week was merely to Swansea - that "ugly, lovely town". 

Still, the programme faithfully followed the by-now-painfully-familiar format which I've outlined so many times I could probably sketch out Mark Mardell's pieces for him in advance.

First came the anti-Brexit angle announced in the programme's introduction:
Mark Mardell: Welcome to The World This Weekend. This is Mark Mardell. Boris Johnson is rebuked by Cabinet colleagues for an ill-timed intervention on Brexit. The Foreign Secretary was promising to spend more money on the NHS after we leave, but what will happen to poorer parts of the UK which got buckets of cash from the European Union? I've been to Swansea.
Voice 1: My fear is that Brexit will be used as an opportunity not only to grab powers back from our National Assembly but to reduce the amount of investment that we are getting in Wales as well.
Voice 2: Cutting edge projects, like rail electrification, like Swansea Bay Lagoon, are going to be burned on the altar of Brexit.
Mark Mardell: We'll hear what the Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns has to say about that. 
Then came the usual heavily one-sided report from Mark Mardell where - despite Wales (including Swansea) voting Leave - MM simply presented us with a string of voices worried about/critical of Brexit. The one exception was a Remain voter who thinks things it won't make much difference to the success of his business one way or the other. If a single one of those voices voted Leave in the referendum I'll eat Mark Mardell's hat (if he's got one). 

Finally came the final scene of the usual The World This Weekend script - the 'balancing' interview. This was the Remain-voting Conservative minister Alun Cairns, now cast as the pro-Brexit 'counter' voice to all of these Brexit doomsayers. As always happens at this stage, the interruptions started flying in as Mark questioned the minister from the perspective of those featured in his report. 

Job done for another week. Repeat again next week. 


  1. I like green energy but the Swansea Bay Lagoon project (a tidal barrier) makes no economic sense and will probably do a lot of environmental damage. It's not even inspiring architecturally. If you want green energy, building more wind turbines would make more sense economically.

    Love that "rebuked" of those BBC words they wheel out for special trying to bring down that annoying stag Boris who thinks it is now rutting season again. There are plenty of others..."hauled over the coals" is one. Given a "dressing down"..."brought to heel"...all rather quaint old-fashioned phrases they'd NEVER deploy with respect to real thugs and villains...kept in the locker for special ops. :)

    1. MB, why do you believe that "building more wind turbines would make sense economically"? Is it the case that wind turbines will lose less than the tidal barrier project or do you really mean that the former could and would be an economic success?

    2. Well I wrote MORE sense...

      1. The capital cost of the Swansea Lagoon project is supposed to be £1.3 billion (bet it ends up being a lot more). It will produce about 320 MWe capacity and an average output of 217MWe. You could probably get the equivalent in wind turbines at about £800 million (that's based on a percentage of nameplate capacity of about 28%).

      2. If we are comparing wind turbines with new nuclear like Hinkley or old coal, they will be much cheaper. Of course it is intermittent, which does present problems. But the cost of wind energy has been and will continue to fall, whereas there is no prospect of nuclear energy getting substantially cheaper. Plus there are a lot of hidden costs with nuclear e.g. all that secret security vetting of staff that has to be done ends up being covered by central or local government and the issue of waste disposal.

      3. Wind, solar and other forms of domestic green energy have a very positive effect on the economy. Firstly, as long as it is replacing imported energy, it has a huge impact on our balance of payments, thus strenghening our economy. It also produces a lot of good quality jobs spread out across the country, including in rural areas.

      4. Green energy is now competing in many parts of the world with conventional energy sources without subsidy. There is no doubt that the price of solar and battery storage will both continue to fall dramatically (as they already have done). It's really just a question of whether we help it along (which I think is in our interests) or not. It's going to be the dominant energy form within 20 years.

      5. I think substantial energy independence is
      a vital national goal, that increases our security and avoids us having to prop up oligarchs around the globe.

    3. "Well I wrote MORE sense..."

      Indeed you did, and thanks for taking the time to explain. I'm pleased I posed the questions because, with further reading, tidal does look hugely expensive.

      I totally agree with your last point re "energy independence” - it’s vital. As a side note I was more than surprised that the BBC has reprimanded one of it's science contributors. Fancy that the BBC getting involved with politics, whatever next?

      Don’t know about you but I will be much relieved when the CAGW ‘soothsayers', who are actively promoted by our very own BBC, finally give up their gloomy, GMC, predictions.

    4. Even criminals occasionally say "You've got me bang to rights..." (at least they used to on Dixon of Dock Green). :)

      I had to laugh where the BBC claimed to be impartial on the issue...what issue? AGW? Come on!

    5. "Evening all" (well, MB). Yes, they do! I've been truly 'kippered', it's a fair cop. Note to self, "find out some 'basic' facts before opening gob". Ha.

      Indeed the '"impartial" word looks hilarious when seen in context; "will conform to the high standards of fairness and impartiality listeners have come to expect." Wow eh? Think I'll no longer begrudge paying my £147 after all.

  2. Maybe they voted leave but are still worried.

  3. Typical Mardell. He has a story he wants to tell, and goes out and assembles it, regardless of what's really out there.

    I guess Boris's stupid reprise of the £350 million for the NHS lie is going to be fodder for redistributionists like Mardell as well as being trouble within the Tory party itself.

    1. It would have been a stupid reprise had the BBC, Guardian, Independent, Sky, ITV and hundreds of comemntators in the mainstream not harped on and on about it day in day out since the Referendum. Boris's instincts are right on this:take the fight to the enemy - and I am afraid there is a real internal enemy here...most of the political, media and business elite who want to overturn a democratic decision which all party leaders at the time agreed would be the definitive decision, not subject to revision (and that was confirmed in an HM Government leaflet that was sent to every household, confirming that to be the case - again no senior political figure queried that leaflet).

      The £350 million is the unrebated amounted that is not in our control. It's our basic membership fee. The rebate is not secure in perpetuity - it has to be re-negotiated in a few years. Blair gave away a substantial part of rebate before...who's to say it won't happen again under another pro-EU PM if we stay in?

      So Boris is completely, totally, utterly right to talk about us controlling that amount of money and, also, indicating that some (he never said all) could be used to bolster the NHS.

    2. That should be £350 million per week.

  4. According to the BBC the third most important story at the moment on the globe is that one Canadian MP called another a Barbie. Forget nuclear annihilation, the ongoing Jihad, or population growth...there's always space to push the BBC agenda.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.