Thursday, 29 April 2010

Ed Milliband and Labour's empty promises to Anglesey

Ed and Albert getting down with the kids in Moelfre (photo: Daily Post)

Seeing how one of Labour's top brass, Ed Milliband, visited Anglesey yesterday to campaign with Albert Owen, it would appear that Labour still thought that they had a fighting chance of winning on the island. Of course that was before Rochdale's Mrs Duffy made the fateful decision to nip down to the local shops to buy a loaf - thus initiating a chain of events which, among other eventualities, must also surely lead to Albert Owen picking up his P45 on May 7th.

Putting that to one side, Ed Milliband apparently came to Anglesey to give his backing to the "Energy Island" concept - which is I suppose a good thing (even though Ed himself also has about zero chance of still being Energy Minister post the election). Anyway I thought this might be a good time to take a look back at the various "announcements" we have recently heard from Labour about green jobs on the Anglesey:

17 February 2010: The Daily Post devoted several pages to an announcement by Welsh Secretary Peter Hain that an unnamed company was very interested in converting the Anglesey Aluminium premises into a wind turbine factory which would result in hundreds of jobs. He even went so far as to say that this was the "he beginning of good times" for Anglesey.

RESULT: We never heard anything about it again.

18 February 2010: The very next day the Daily Post again devoted a number of pages to another Peter Hain announcement. This time he "unveiled" 240 green jobs in Anglesey and Gwynedd.

RESULT: It turned out the the 'jobs' weren't jobs - they were kind of work experience opportunities for 18-24 year olds who have been out of work for over a year. Furthermore they weren't actually in Anglesey or Gwynedd - they were with a charity based in Wrexham.

26 March 2010: More headlines in the Daily Post announcing that Anglesey was in the running to receive £100m of investment to turn the Anglesey Aluminium plant into a wind turbine factory which would result in 1,900 jobs. Its important to note that this news had nothing at all to do with the first similar announcement made on 17 February  - this time the company was GE. Apparently Peter Hain was making "urgent calls' to them.

RESULT: We never heard anything about it again.

What can we conclude from all of this? Here's the Druid's opinion:

  • The Daily Post is remarkably gullible;
  • Don't believe anything Peter Hain says;
  • Labour are better at generating headlines than actual jobs.


Concerned Citizen said...

I listen very carefully to what Peter Hain says, although I may not agree with everything he does say.

He is a distinguished and hard working MP, well respected and noted throughout the world for his campaigns against apartheid in South Africa and his continued campaign against fascism.

Your blog on the whole is good, but you do your self a disservice by lowering it’s tone intentional or not!

The Druid of Anglesey said...

Concerned Citizen - I always enjoy your contributions. Hain may well have been a renowned anti-apartheid campaigner in the past. However, as my above post shows the majority of his much trumpeted announcements about jobs in the local papers have so-far resulted in nothing. Is it lowering the tone to point that out?

Concerned Citizen said...

In reply to your question - No, but by saying we should not believe ANYTHING he says is.

The Druid of Anglesey said...

If Mr Hain wants us to believe him then he should stop making empty announcements like the ones I have highlighted above. I should also point out that stupid comments like Hain's "Wales is a wealthy country compared to Rwanda", are also likely to devalue his standing. You say I should respect him - I say he has to earn our respect.

Concerned Citizen said...

I understand now, understand fully, your not really interest in a serious debate, but personality politics, not really an answer to our problems is it. Signing off to find more serious blog, and goodbye

The Druid of Anglesey said...

Your contribution to this "debate" has been to simply state that I should respect Mr Hain because of his anti-apartheid and anti-fascism credentials. I have pointed out several instances of Mr Hain (the secretary of state for Wales - not leader of Amnesty International BTW) making empty announcements about jobs in Anglesey which have not resulted in actual jobs but have instead delivered false hope in the single poorest county in the UK. I'm perfectly happy to discuss his record as Sec.State for Wales - it is you who is not prepared to 'debate' the substance of my argument.

E Hughes said...

Let's not forget former socialist Peter Hain's strong support for the illegal and disasterous war in Iraq.

Anonymous said...

Druid; jobs do not grow on trees, nor do they materialise over-night. Mr Hain is a politician and he suffers, like all politicians, from the impossible position of working towards a desired outcome where he knows that the (possible) realisation of that outcome lies a long time in the future, is far from certain and will demand a considerable amount of political pressure or financial inducement.

Coupled with this is the pressure of a demanding and un-informed public, a Press which wants news but not the intricacies of truth and the sniping of other politicians and prejuduced commentators like yourself.

I have a little history of Ynys Mon which I read from time to time. The history of the Island is poverty. When Charles 1 imposed Ship Money tax on the country the £448 levied on Anglesey was the lowest in Wales indicative of the Island's lack of funds. At the times of greatest unemployment such as the 1930's Ynys Mon stood out as suffering worse than anywhere else- over 30% unemployment for the entire decade with a high of 47.7% in 1936.

Megan lloyd George was elected on a ticket of fighting for employment in Anglesey, she campaigned tirelessly for more factory based industry and the aleviation of poverty. For the most part she failed.

Ynys Mon has, whether you realise it or not, just gone through a rare "Golden Age" of good quality employment opportunities afforded by Wylfa and AAM. An entire generation has benefitted. It's at an end but your puerile points scoring off Albert Owen or Peter Hain does nothing but show your political leanings and diminish your crediblity.

The Druid of Anglesey said...

Anon 13:46 - thanks for your comments and for contributing to the debate.

> "jobs do not grow on trees, nor do they materialise over-night."

This is of course a fair point. And perhaps GE or the other unnamed company will eventually decide to convert AAM into a wind turbine factory. I hope they do - but chasing pre-election headlines without concrete substance does nobody any good. The way to create jobs is not through government subsidy and phonecalls to GE - it is through:

(1) improving the transport infrastructure to bring Anglesey 'closer' to the economic centre of the UK - until quite recently there was no A55 and even a drive to Liverpool took several hours. Its no wonder businesses are reluctant to locate here;
(2) creating a pro-business environment through reducing bureaucracy and taxes on businesses; instead we have seen the UK's competitiveness rating fall from near the top to below most of our European rivals. And on top of that Wales named as the most uncompetitive region in the UK.
(3) Regional policies which make Wales more attractive than other regions. For instance, why does Wales have some of the highest business rates and lowest reliefs in the UK? Another point: seeing as Anglesey will host Wylfa B, why can't residents and businesses on the Island not benefit from this, by having reduced energy bills for instance?

Jobs are created by having a clear, shared, integrated political vision which is then executed. Sorry to say we have seen no vision from Labour or PC for that matter. In fact, the WAG has recently announced that we need a new economic renewal programme. As Ron Jones, chairman of Tinopolis put it:

"After the billions of pounds spent and the efforts of the many hundreds of WDA and now WAG staff over so many years is this as far as we’ve got? Our politicians announce that the answer to our economic problems is another strategy. Probably nobody outside WAG could even guess at the number of strategies, re-launches and fresh beginnings Wales has suffered over the last decades.
To avoid facing up to the failure of all previous strategies our government has declared this to be year zero. We should now pretend that changes in the world economy occasion a re-focussing of our efforts, building on the excellent work and success of the past."

Am I "prejudiced" or "puerile" for simply pointing out that Peter Hain and Labour have no integrated plan for jobs other than to put out press releases saying they have placed 'urgent calls' to GE?

Just because Ynys Mon has been poor in the past doesn't mean it has to be poor in the future as well.

The Druid of Anglesey said...

P.S. Which history do you have? I'd quite like to give it a read.

Anonymous said...

Anglesey; The concise history by David A Pretty

Histories of Wales volume 1 University of Wales Press.

However if you wished to get an insight into why Ynys Mon and Gwynedd don't thrive in a new world economy where services are a WWW away the reason lies with demographic inertia. As you know new business start ups are primarily by incomers. The key to an industrious economy therefore lies with the measures taken to invite inward migration and provide a hospitable environment for this dynamic setion of the population. This is recognised in most parts of the UK. Not here!

If you can get hold of a copy read "Dynamics of Demographic change and migration in North West Wales" Research paper by Stephen Jones et al. University of Wales.

It gives a subjective insight into the experiences of people trying and failing to settle and start businesses in Ynys Mon and Gwynedd.

Anonymous said...

I have found that incomers appreciate Anglesey in a way that born and bred often don't, and understand why people want to come here. In a way, they understand the tourist market better because they are a part of it.

As with family and friends, "You can't choose where you were born, but you can choose where you live."

Has anyone asked bigger businesses what puts them off starting up or re-locating to Anglesey?