Regular readers will know that the Druid has often discussed at length the reasons behind the closure of the Island's largest private employer, Anglesey Aluminium (here and here, for example). Ynys Môn's Labour MP, Albert Owen, however has his own theory which he disclosed in a recent interview:
"We [the Labour government] came up with a package to save them, worth £48 million, but they turned it down," he shrugs. "It's Conservative hypocrisy - they don't believe in subsiding business."
I don't want to write a repeat of yesterday's post, but what exactly did 'Conservative hypocrisy' have to do with the closure of Anglesey Aluminium? Perhaps Albert Owen hasn't noticed that his Labour party has been in power for the past 13 years and, as far as I am aware, was certainly still in power in September last year when the plant closed its doors.
For the benefit of Albert Owen: the organisation which doesn't believe in subsidising business is actually the European Union, which bars European governments from creating unfair competition by injecting public funds into private industry. Accordingly, when the Nuclear Power station at Wylfa was acquired by the Government's Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), the NDA's lawyers had to inform Anglesey Aluminium that they would no longer be able to supply it with the cut-price electricity on which it depended as that would constitute 'state aid' under EU law. Indeed, this was made clear by the NDA in January 2009 when its spokesman said this:
"There’s been no breakdown in the relationship between ourselves and Anglesey Aluminium but we have explained to them the situation. We cannot extend the current contract with them due to new European legislation on providing subsidies to private companies.”
So, Albert, please do explain how 'Conservative hypocrisy' or their stance on subsidising businesses in anyway contributed to the closure of Anglesey Aluminium - with, let me add, a loss of at least 450 well paid direct jobs and an estimated 240 others through indirect and induced effects.
In order to further underline his complete abdication of responsibility, Albert Owen concludes his interview with these words on the closure:
"I don't think I'm going to take as big a hit on that as my opponents think."
Is this serial fantasist, clearly more concerned with his own political survival than the welfare of his constituents, really the MP that Ynys Môn deserves?