Ouch! Dishonest and insincere, am I? Permit me to reply:
My dearest La Pasionara, its strange that you would think that "fighting for Ynys Môn" should mean bashing the Conservatives or Peter Rogers. As you may have noticed Anglesey hasn't been represented by a Conservative MP since 1987 -- 23 years ago -- nor has there been a Conservative administration in the UK since 1997 -- 13 years ago. What I'm concerned with is the CURRENT state of Anglesey and those who bear political responsibility for it NOW. And, La Pasionara, like it or not, the facts are:
- Ynys Môn has now been represented by Plaid Cymru's Ieuan Wyn Jones as either MP or AM for the past 23 years
- The UK has had a Labour government in Westminster since 1997 and Ynys Môn has had a Labour MP in the shape of Albert Owen since 2001
- The Welsh Assembly has been governed by Labour since 1999 until the emergence of a Labour/Plaid Cymru coalition in 2007
Therefore, La Pasionara, the truth is that Ynys Môn has been administered at some level by Labour and Plaid Cymru for almost quarter a century, yet you think that as an Anglesey resident I should somehow be directing my ire on the Conservatives or Peter Rogers for the Island's woes?
Speaking of which, lets remind ourselves of what exactly the Island's woes are:
- Anglesey is the poorest county in the UK with a GDP per head of only half of the UK average according to the Office of National Statistics;
- Anglesey has the lowest GVA per head in the UK at just 53% of the UK’s average;
- Anglesey is poorer than some of the poorest parts of Poland according to a recent OECD report;
- Data for full-time employees show that average earnings in Anglesey were approximately £396 per week in 2007, compared with £415 per week in Wales and £456 per week in the UK. It should also be pointed out that gross average earnings were distorted by wages paid to employees at Wylfa and Anglesey Aluminium, which are substantially higher than other wages in the area.
- But we don't have to worry about Anglesey Aluminium distorting average earnings on the Island anymore because it has been forced to close wiping out at least 450 jobs directly and an estimated further 240 jobs through indirect and induced effects;
- In addition Anglesey has also lost Octel in Amlwch, Eaton Electric in Holyhead, Peboc in Llangefni and Welsh Country Foods has restructured in Llangefni and Gaerwen losing thousands of more jobs;
- A rising unemployment rate currently standing at 5.8% and economic inactivity rate of 25.1% - even before most of the above companies closed;
- Remarkably farming in North Wales has fared even worse than the economy. During the period 1997 to 2007, the economic contribution of agriculture to the North Wales and Anglesey economy fell by a staggering 67% compared to an overall UK decline of just 7%;
- On top of all this, Anglesey County Council is poorly managed, riven with infighting, and planning on raising Council Tax by 15% over three years - though with almost everyone apart from Council workers out of a job, the Druid wonders who is going to pay it.
So lets be clear: its not just that the situation on Anglesey is just a little rubbish - the situation on Anglesey is arguably the WORST in Wales and in the UK as a whole. Thats what drives the Druid.
Yet despite the situation being as bad as it is, both Labour and Plaid Cymru - responsible for Anglesey for most of the last quarter of a Century - refuse to accept any portion of the blame. Indeed as recently as just two weeks ago on the Politics Show special edition on Anglesey, when asked whether Labour was responsible for any of the problems on Anglesey, Albert Owen replied:
"No, I came into politics in the 80s when it was a damn sight worse than it is now, we have to be honest about that. There was mass unemployment and mass depopulation in the 80s and 90s. Its certainly a lot better now."
Got that? Nothing to do with Labour at all - and anyway things were much worse under those nasty Tories 30 years ago... Unbelievable. As I've pointed out before, the 80s were rough but all of the companies which have closed in the last couple of years managed to survive the 80s, and are only closing now. That must tell us something about the current business environment and the policies which have been implemented from Westminster and Cardiff for the past 13 years. Plus when you are now officially the poorest place in the UK things by definition can't have been any worse - or at least have not improved.
So, La Pasionara, if you would like to explain to me why I should attack the Conservatives and Peter Rogers more than Labour and Plaid Cymru for the current problems in Anglesey I'm happy to listen to your arguments. Otherwise, change your ID as frankly you're giving Dolores Ibárruri a bad name.