hegemony were consequently marginalized since there was no need on the part of the party to seek votes or new ideas. The temporary rise of Plaid Cymru drew on the resultant dissatis- faction and forced the Labour Party to reassess both its position and its policies in Wales. In Aberfan, this dissatisfaction and the anger that emerged out of the disaster was partly aimed at Merthyr Corporation, a local authority that, under a burden of excessive work and in a stagnant political atmosphere, had also lost touch with its outlying communities. The disaster revealed the fatal danger of the complacency that pre- vailed in the council and especially the cumbersome NCB. Con- sequently, it reawoke the political will of the village and ensured that they were no longer willing to tolerate apathy and mismanagement from above. The more extreme challenges to the local establishment that arose may have been relatively short-lived, but their legacy was a number of active community groups and projects in Aberfan that continued to serve the village decades later. Once the local establish- ment began to recover from the heavy burdens that the disaster placed upon it, it also took a more active interest in the welfare, and in particular the safety, of those whom it served. The new voices from below were now finding ears above that listened. Such empowerment was not able to overcome wider economic trends. In 1989 the Merthyr Vale colliery shut. Aberfan subsequently suffered from the same hardships that the rest of the south Wales valleys experienced. Nor could anything ever make up for the tragedy of 21 October 1966. But the revitalization of the local political context and its legacy would ensure that Aberfan and other similar communities were never so catastrophically ignored again. MARTIN JOHNES Cardiff