THE NEWSDESK: Newport's Pill Millennium Centre is a sign of things to come
NEVER trust a Prime Minister who utters the word 'society' when trying to disguise what damage they are doing to our communities.
Margaret Thatcher famously told us there was no society after she axed free school milk and just before her devastating policies cut the hearts out of steel and coal towns across the UK. A generation later, what that government did in Valleys communities continues to blight lives.
David Cameron has given us an Orwellian double-think and tells us that he wants a "Big Society". That's code for "Do it yourselves, because I'm all right Jack in my mansion".
Because what is really happening is that the cuts Cameron and Osborne are making are now biting right on our streets - local councils being forced to make unpalatable decisions about cutting off funds to important projects.
Of course, at the same time, our pockets are repeatedly being hit hard by things like hikes in utility bills, reductions in child benefit, lower-than-inflation pay rises, or none at all, or unemployment. And we're all so worried about the future, and what will come next in the Coalition's pick-and-mix economic spree, that few of us are making major purchases, traders are closing their doors, and tax revenues are down.
So when it comes to helping out a key, trust-run project like the Pill Millennium Centre, which closed at the weekend after its funding ran out, it's hard to see where the cash to re-open it is going to be found.
Newport council is already looking at axing funding for ongoing projects like Gwent Music Support Service.
And charity donations are falling as hard-pressed people simply cannot afford to give as much.
What happened to Pill Mill is a sign of things to come in 2013. Yet we must find the funds to re-open it. Pill needs this centre.
There is a reason Prince Charles visited it in 2011 to meet beneficiaries of the Prince's Trust - the groups and organisations it housed transformed lives.
Young people got a shot at skills which got them a career. Children who could well have otherwise being sucked into crime avoided it.
We are already being told there is real anger and frustration about the centre's loss and its potential impact on Pill.
And I suspect that people in that community will do everything in their power to re-open it.
If they succeed, I hope the likes of Cameron don't have the gall to claim it as a filip for his "Big Society".
Whatever David Cameron thinks, it's not his vision which will take on the mantle of local government if he cuts that to the bone, or fill the void left by trusts and charitable organisations.
People are perfectly willing to pitch in when it comes to their own communities, but they cannot be expected to have acquired all the skills they need without help, and they also have to earn a living.
If the people of Pill succeed in re-opening their centre despite their own individual financial problems and having to work longer hours to make ends meet, it will be despite the likes of the Prime Minister, not because of them.
HOW I love the story that Sir Anthony Hopkins just dropped round to his one home in Port Talbot for a cup of tea, and asked if he could buy the place.
The Oscar-winner reportedly pitched up at the house where he was born in a chauffeur-driven car and asked the owner Chris Trainor and partner Carly Culver if he could look around.
They said Sir Anthony, who is proud of his Welsh roots, stayed for around 30 minutes, told Mr Trainor he was born in his daughter's bedroom and invited them to visit his home in LA, before inquring if the property was for sale.
It all appeared rather jokey, but Mr Trainor said that if Sir Anthony makes an offer he'll have to consider it. Or perhaps face the fava beans and Chianti.