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Cargo Cult at Ebbw Vale; Views of Wales.

SIR - On a Melanesian island in the Pacific during World War 2, local indigenous people saw American forces air planes land full of food, medicine and clothing. Unable to understand how this came about, they built makeshift airstrips and controlling towers to attract more plane full of goods. They even fashioned radios out of straw and wood. Although these "Cargo Cults" have largely died out, a few still exist to this day. Most notably in the economic development division of the Welsh Government.

Somehow they believe that if they build a racing circuit in Ebbw Vale, that racers will come, engineering companies will invest and ultimately the 6,000 promised jobs will be created. So far, the Welsh Government has assured us, after a payment to the organisers, that one race will come to the circuit. The local Ebbw Vale community are understandably supportive of initiatives to turn their fortunes around, but we need to question the potential success of the circuit.

Does the Ebbw Vale area have cluster of racing engineering firms that would use the circuit as a testing grounds? Is there a local market for amateur motor races in Ebbw Vale and the wider South Wales/west England area? Is the education sector in Ebbw Vale geared up to train the engineers who could be recruited to work in these companies? We need to ask why the Minister of Economic Development is risking public money on this project when private investors are not forthcoming. If not, Edwina Hart will leave the people of Ebbw Vale sitting on the circuit tarmac like members of a Cargo Cult. Waiting for the planes that will never come.

Alun Williams Canton, Cardiff

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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Aug 6, 2014
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