After Aberfan, clairvoyants had a field day

In the wake of catastrophe, however random or unpredictable, one of the first things people can be relied upon to do is look around for somebody to blame. There isn’t always an obvious candidate, of course, but disaster makes us resourceful, and often the casting process is simply a matter of laying hands on someone who happens to be fairly near by and looks like a good enough fit for the role. Assigning responsibility is an extremely effective therapy, after all, restoring a feeling of control over the capricious environment. Someone should have known, we insist. Someone ought to have seen this coming. John Barker, the central figure of The

Wales is terrified of a repeat of the Aberfan disaster

While the Westminster bubble has spent the last few weeks focusing on Tory sleaze and COP26, the Welsh have been facing a far more consequential challenge. The problem is the country’s coal tips: monstrously black, heavy slag heaps, omnipotent and ever-present reminders of the great industry that once dominated Britain’s economy and fuelled the furnace of the Empire. Rarely do I find myself agreeing with the rabble rousing Rhondda socialist, Leanne Wood, but the former Plaid Cymru leader (who unexpectedly lost her South Wales seat in the Senedd election in May) sounded a prescient warning this month. She argued that unless action was taken to manage these tips properly, another