Ponty Online Today?
This website was started in 1998 with the sole aim of giving local people an online platform to voice their opinions and as a result of this we (the people of the town) would get some great suggestions about how the local council, business owners and decision makers could improve the town centre for the benefit of its residents. We have always been non-political (although many try to argue we’re not) and have always offered solutions as well as highlighted concerns.
Every few years it’s worth looking around the town to see if things have improved at all of course. So where are we today?
Well the biggest change as far as this website / forum / message board is concerned has been the scourge of free speech everywhere – no, not the BBC (although they are pretty bad) but Facebook. This US-run, multi-billion pound empire of advertising, fake news and propaganda has taken over much of the web where once local people had created their own little boards and online communities (policed by locals who understood the complexities of IT chat and freedom of expression). Not anymore though alas.
In the old days this site used to get 50,000 hits a week with ten times that on the message board as local people posted what they thought about the precinct bomb site, the ‘red thing’, the fortunes of the best rugby team in Wales or the number (and names) of the councillors that parked their cars in the War Memorial Park just to do a bit of shopping. Now though, unfortunately, I feel that people are scared to speak out. Scared that a gang of social media trolls with a complete disregard for spellcheckers will hurl abuse at them if they suggest that the town’s demographic is changing far too rapidly due to immigration or that the market is worse now than it’s ever been or that foul-mouthed druggies are everywhere and you don’t feel safe walking through town or that the rugby team are finished or that there are never any police around or that councillors (of whom there are far too many) are paid far too much for doing far too little or that the new precinct development, whilst very modern, doesn’t fit in with the town’s Victorian heritage and the only benefit to the town will be that Greggs profits will increase whilst 4000 extra cars will jam the streets every morning and evening. (Not my thoughts by the way just things I hear people saying.)
Yep the Internet has changed forever and nasty, vocal lefties, Trump-loving racists, climate change deniers and remoaners seem to have replaced genuine local people who just want to know when the Lido is open next but are afraid to ask in case they get drawn into a game of ‘What Pronoun Do We Call You?’ People are leaving the Facebook groups as fast as new members are joining. Personally I don’t leave, I just get banned but that’s another story, lol. Everyone is a lurker now. Everyone too busy to vote in a simple poll or sign a petition that may help improve their lives yet they seem to find time to slag off the people who suggest such solutions rather than produce any of their own. It’s a sad world we live in. Thatcherism has won. ‘I’m alright Jack’ the mantra of the hour whilst apathy claims the rest of the population.
As for real life, i.e. the town, well we have the Lido which is a great success and we have a massive, city-like development which will no doubt have some impact on how the townsfolk interact with their town centre – we will soon have three gyms within walking distance of each other, a library in Taff Street (near to the museum) and lots of office workers looking for a sandwich and hopefully a beer or three on a Friday afternoon.
On the down side we are still a poor area with high levels of unemployment, low waged jobs and many social problems. In RCT we have a council starved of cash and top-heavy with overpaid managers, in Cardiff Bay we have a government (and opposition) who want to ignore the will of the people and somehow they think that will help them get voted back in again! In Westminster we have a bonking-mad nutter with a crazy hairdo that doesn’t even know where Wales is, but at least we have Eddie Butler who wants us to be independent.
In fact, all around the country we have tens of thousands who want rid of London but as cultural genocide continues (more English and overseas immigration into Wales) we will probably never have enough truly ‘Welsh’ people left to get a majority in an independence vote. You can compare this to what has happened in Tibet. Ask yourself where diversity stops?
So the future? Mmm? Bit depressing but I can’t really see one. Wales might win the RWC of course. They will probably have to beat Australia, England, (France or Argentina), (or Ireland), South Africa and New Zealand so not very likely is it? There is still the outside chance of winning the lottery I guess, moving to Hungary and spending the rest of your days sipping a fruity red but for most of us… doh!
So what can we do? Well here’s some ideas:
- don’t give up
- ask questions / sign and create petitions / vote / email your councillor (MP etc.) / suggest something to them
- either give up social media or use it properly
- stop watching mainstream news (e.g. BBC, Sky, Channel 4 etc.)
- keep recycling (it does help)
- read some f***** books (it’s amazing how many facts you can find in them and it makes you come across all intelligent in pub quizzes)
- use the Lido / get a Ponty RFC season ticket / drink in the pubs / eat in the independent cafes / buy fruit and veg from the local stalls
- walk rather than use your car
- be nice to people
OK, speak to you again in a few years.