I've just approved a comment on an old post which described me as being like Mick Bates, the Assembly Member for Montgomeryshire. Some people know how to stick the knife in! I suppose that we're both white, male, heterosexual (as far as I know) men of a certain age. But we are certainly not alike in the way that this particular comment implied. It suggested that we are as one in terms of our attitude towards wind turbines. In fact, it was sufficienty incorrect to render it rather a silly comment. But a general point of interest has been raised.
Mick is genuinely supportive of on-shore wind farms. In fact, I've never known anyone so supportive. I'm not supportive of on shore wind farms at all. Over the last ten years I've been one of the foremost opponents of wind farms in Welsh politics. I still believe that the damage they inflict on our landscapes, and pathetic cost-effectiveness render them undesirable. So what's the issue you may ask. The issue is that I'm prepared to speak with developers - or to 'sup with the devil' as I've previously described it.
If my only concern was protection of the landscape, I could afford to take a principled decision against wind turbines, and leave it at that. But I'm a politician as well, who wants to best represent the interests of Montgomeryshire. I accept that the Assembly Government has ignored every plea that I've made over the last decade not to despoil our landscape. As a believer in the democratic process, I accept that the Coalition Government has won, by public vote, the right to impose upon me that which I disagree with. I still don't support the transformation of large tracts of the uplands of Wales into wind farm landscapes - but I do not want to exclude myself from discussion about how this iniquitous policy can be beneficially changed.
I played some part in diverting traffic from the streets of Montgomery by pressing a developer to transport all traffic except the turbines themselves (concrete etc) away from the town. This was very welcome news in Montgomery. I want to maximise the amount of community benefit that developers contribute to the local community. I'm very keen to persuade developers to look seriously at limiting landscape damage themselves in order to win some public goodwill. I want to stay a player in the debate, so that I can argue for the reinstatement of 'cumulative impact' as a planning consideration. OK, if I refuse to talk to developers at all, I could fly my flag of purity with gay abandon - and with glorious impotence. I certainly would not be doing my best for the people I want to represent. Discuss.