Apparently following an introductory statement by the Conservative candidate, Anthony Ridge-Newman, which touched on the fact that Anglesey is poorest county in the UK, Albert Owen stormily interjected:
"Lets get one thing straight: Anglesey is not the poorest county in the UK and I'm fed up of people running this Island down"
This is the kind of reality-busting outburst we have gotten used to from Albert (see here, here and here for examples) who would clearly prefer us to believe him rather than the evidence of our own eyes (or even the National Statistics Office). So for the benefit of Albert Owen, here is the truth about Anglesey:
- A GDP per head of only half of the UK average thus making it officially the poorest county in the UK according to the Office of National Statistics (pdf);
- Equivalent to some of the poorest parts of Poland in a recent OECD report;
- The lowest GVA per head in Wales at just 53% of the UK’s average;
- A dwindling private sector following the closures of Anglesey Aluminium, Octel, MEM/Eaton, Peboc and many others;
- A rising unemployment rate currently standing at 5.8%;
- An economic inactivity rate of 25.1%;
So, Albert, please understand that pointing out the facts is not "running this Island down". Running the Island down is what happens when our elected representatives (including our MP, our AM and our Councillors) neglect the Island due to either laziness, incompetence, self-interest, mal-administration or any combination of these.
As I have written before: the problem with this kind of fantasy politics from Albert is not only is it deceptive towards voters, it also prevents the formulation of good policy. If you are so invested in your fantasy and refuse to accept the reality, then it follows that you cannot make policy to solve real problems. And that is a tragedy not only for the Albert Owen but for us all.