MP CALLS TO BAN LOW-FLYING RAF PLANES
October 22nd 2009
Elfyn Llwyd, who is the Member of Parliament for Meirionydd, has called for an outright ban on all low-flying in Wales.
Mr Llwyd believes that the RAF should conduct all their low-flying training anywhere other than Wales because of the noise and because some people find it upsetting and of the potential risks of accidents.
Mr Llwyd is known for his outbursts on anything that is British rather than Welsh.
He and other members of Plaid Cymru are pacifists and their opposition to all things military acknowledged. Pacifism is a completely legitimate philosophic position to adopt and it is a stance that many people can accept even thought they might not be so inclined themselves. In a democratic society it is acceptable.
CONTRARY PARLIAMENTARY VIEW
However, the Member of Parliament for Anglesey, Albert Owen has reacted furiously to Mr Llwyd’s statement.
The Anglesey constituency is the home of RAF Valley, which has been here since the 1940s and it’s an association which the vast majority of the Island’s population are proud of.
In addition to which it is one of the Island’s largest employers with more than 1,200 people employed in a civilian capacity on the base. RAF Valley is an important component of the Island’s revenue.
It is Albert Owen’s belief, and that of other angry residents, that the low flying training at the Fast Jet Training Centre is a vital part of our British pilots flying skills.
They point to the role of RAF pilots in theatres of conflict such as Iraq and Afghanistan where their low-level air cover is absolutely vital to the safety of ground troops.
Independence is Plaid Cymru’s main political position, though it’s one that they shy away from talking about openly because it is not a popular ambition of the vast majority of Welsh people.
It is the party’s Achilles Heel and an implausible ambition considering that the vast majority of money that sustains Wales comes from English pockets.
Eighty-five percent of UK people live in England and the revenue Wales generates is a little under £6billion a year, which means that the Wales annual spending is in the mid-£20billions when you consider items such as pensions, disability, employment, housing, council tax, income support benefits to name just a few.
It leaves a deficit of about £20billion that an independent Wales would have to come with.
As I write above in a free democratic society Pacifism is a legitimate political position. In any other society that is not so free it is not so legitimate.
Put the politics to one side and look to other theatres of conflict that the UK has been involved with, including and since the Second World War, then this country has been put itself in a position to be able to defend the rights of others.
INDEPENDENCE & DEFENCE
What is Mr Elfyn Llwyd’s desire on defence if they succeed in achieving independence?
Will they unilaterally declare Wales a neutral state or will they require the rest of the United Kingdom to defend them.
There have been accidents during low-flying exercise and it is a fact that some people are vehemently opposed to low flying in the valleys of Snowdonia.
However, as an extremely angry parent of a front-line RAF pilot who has served in both Iraq and Afghanistan told me,
“Do these people not realise that this training is vital not only to the safety of our Armed Forces but of the pilot themselves. What kind of mental world does Mr Llwyd live in where he believes that human nature is anything other than what it is?
Warfare will never end and it is a nation’s responsibility to have not only to a shield to defend itself, but also sharp sword to protect others.”
ALL SILENT ON THE NATIONALIST FRONT
It is believed in Westminster that this is a typical outburst by Mr Elfyn Llwyd, made as a sound-bite for the media and made ‘on-the-hoof’.
It is an ill-thought out observation - yet again - and, as yet, Mr Llwyd has not responded to the loud criticisms.
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