The men and women embroiled in the mining for coal, the distribution and the use of for industry must be looking over their shoulders and trying to work out whether at any moment like a scene from How Green is My Valley (no pun intended) a politician from the Senedd or Westminster will be coming over the hill whistling a jolly tune, possibly ‘somewhere over the rainbow’ before declaring the wicked witch of the coalfields is dead and that they should all mount their electric bikes and push off. Of course we know that Dorothy thought she had been victorious and all would be well in the merry old land of Oz. But as we know, there were bigger battles to fight with the mighty Wizard of Oz himself before Dot could return home to the idyllic Kansas near Malvern, which she originally fled from and got caught up in one of them global warming induced tornados ending up in Westminster.
Back to those munchkins at the mine and at the steelworks. Their future now uncertain not through some failed buy out by a company in India but from home grown politicians wait for it, from humble backgrounds in a mining community and idyllic green pastures. The same politicians bemoaning the future of steel while trying to drop an eco friendly house on the coal industry. Wasn’t that Maggie the wicked witch of Grantham famous for the production of those nasty diesel engines that tried that?
Back to the demons mining for coal to keep our home fires burning, not that there are many left. The approval for mining of 40 million tonnes of coal at Aberpergwm has outraged Caroline Lucas originally from the green land of Malvern now MP for Brighton Pavilion, a town where the Maggie assassination attempt took place and Lee Waters AKA Amanwy (named after a great Welsh poet and brother of a politician who fought for miners) MS for Llanelli, home to Tata steel tinplate works (good or bad place depending where you stand as the Tin Man).
In November, Welsh Labour deputy climate change minister Lee Waters (not suggesting he is the heartless Tin Man) urged the UK government to stop “40 million tonnes of coal” being extracted over the next 18 years. His comments prompted a row between Westminster and Cardiff (they are two separate parts of OZ, one a bit better off than the other and one with a leader that likes to party and the other with a leader who likes a cup of cocoa) over who was ultimately responsible.
As one observer and man of coal put it. “Aberpergwm mine will extract that coal over a period of 18 years. That is 2 million per year. Meanwhile, China continues to produce coal at the rate of 4 BILLION tonnes per year – that is 2 THOUSAND times as much as Aberpergwm.
“Britain should send Caroline Lucas, along with an owl and a pussy-cat on a slow pea-green (wind propelled) boat to China so she can take her moaning and fairy-tale visions to them. Oh, yes, she could shout at the Indians as she passes by – they produce 750 million tonnes per year.”
Meanwhile back in America the true land of Oz the munchkin miners have thrown down the gauntlet and asked Big Joe for thousands of jobs in renewable energy in exchange for a “true energy transition” away from coal and other fossil fuels. 7,000 coal workers (munchkins) lost their jobs last year. The munchkins said they’d done every dirty job they have been asked to do. They never questioned and performed well. And now all of a sudden they’re not good enough, not clean enough, not green enough and not smart enough.
The story would not be complete without a walk through the forest, whenever that manifests as it is sure to save us all. Oh yes, the forest will spread to the Emerald City just like cycling and walking has and the local authorities will not allow them to be chopped down by those wicked developers. Those wealthy investment companies won’t be allowed to manipulate the forest for themselves and with a bucketful of magic unicorn’s dust (made from waste unicorn poo of course) we will all live happily ever after in warm homes, riding magical bicycles and electric cars on that yellow brick road, (sorry, green turf) to find our way back to a life so much simpler, so much happier and so much healthier all thanks to a bloke without a brain, a bloke without a heart and a bloke without courage. Sound familiar? You couldn’t make this up Lyman. Now where’s my red wellies and that wizard? There’s no place like home.
Pic. Chadwick Pictures, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons