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This report is taken from PN Review 161, Volume 31 Number 3, January - February 2005.

Letter from Wales Sam Adams

Radio reports today prominently feature a Home Office initiative to counter anti-social behaviour. The citizens of Cardiff, Swansea and Newport are among those to be singled out for special attention. The pleas of victims will be heeded and uncouth louts, graffiti artists and bad neighbours will be purged. Or at least ASBOs will be applied. It is a real enough cause: parts of our towns and villages are befouled, dreary and, sometimes, menacing. Any amelioration of the condition of the communities worst affected will be a godsend. Besides, politicians are always desperate to be seen to be doing something vaguely within their grasp, and never more so than when they face intractable problems elsewhere. The majority of chief constables in Wales may disagree with the plans they are to implement, but the politicians are determined, conveniently forgetting that they are responsible for creating the heartless estates where most of the problems occur.

This news has intensified my brooding upon the lost past, my boyhood in Gilfach Goch. Perhaps it is the time of year that induces melancholy reflection upon change and the state of society. How unsophisticated we were, and how enormously fortunate. Because of the way houses were strung in terraces along the valley slopes, a little above the industrial heart and purpose of the village, few were more than a hundred yards or so from the open mountain. For most of us, the mountain began at the back garden gate. That was the domain of ...


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