From the June 1963 issue of the Socialist Standard
Coinciding with the plans to close down railways in Wales comes the plan for the dispersal of the civil population in the event of a nuclear attack. The chief — and practically the only area of dense population in Wales — is the county of Glamorgan and a part of Monmouthshire, so the “plan”—if it can be so called—is presumably mainly concerned with the towns of Newport and Swansea and the City of Cardiff, together with the immediate surroundings. Swansea was named in Hansard as one of the 19 areas in England and Wales from which a part of the population might be dispersed.
The Civil Defence Authority, it is stated, would set in motion the scheme for assembling the threatened population in Swansea (it is not stated whether before, during or after the 10 minute warning), though one may suppose it will be during the 10 minutes period of grace. The tragic farce is that no one knows where or when the town’s population would be removed to safety (Western Mail, 9/4/63). “Details for dispersal plans do not exist,” states Mr. Thomas, Assistant Chief Defence Officer, “But I am sure that someone will get on the ’phone and tell us what to do"
These gentlemen are going to be extremely busy during the 10 minute interval — so busy indeed that they can only ensure that “ . . . 43 per cent, of the population would be dispersed . . . to what are considered to be less likely areas.” We note with “gratitude” the facts that 57 per cent. of the townspeople are likely to be left behind, also that those who are taken out have no guarantee that they will be safe in their new location. The Western Mail points out that “It is widely recognized that the ‘fourth danger—’ fall-out—may even affect reception areas.”
To come back to where we started the “plan” states that the transport for dispersal would be mainly by train but that “other planner,” Dr. Beeching, has so arranged it that the main artery, the Central Wales line, will be non-existent!
The whole sorry business, then, amounts to this—that 70,000 people of Swansea are to be alerted in 10 minutes, are to be transported on a non-existent railway line to an area which is quite likely to be contaminated by the “fourth” hazard (fall-out), leaving 57 per cent, of the population behind. This problem is, indeed, full of disastrous overtones. It is probably the reason why Swansea has appointed an educated man, the town’s Director of Education, to see it through!
With this vital news in the air all other news appears flat, but for good measure, and to be fair, one must report that the various political organizations continue to be active on such vital items as demanding the issuing of police summonses, the recording of Council Meeting Minutes and Rate notices in Welsh, not to mention the singing of the Welsh National Anthem in cinemas and Bingo sessions.
Socialists in S. Wales, whilst constantly pointing out the complete chaos and the inability of the “planners” of capitalism (who cannot even “plan” their own demise with any accuracy) are all too often accused of being unrealistic and “idealistic.” A comparison of the present “plan” for evacuation with the Socialist proposition should quickly enable the critics to decide who are really the unrealistic ones.