Thursday, 22 April 2010

"Team Leader" Albert Owen makes false claims over RAF Valley

In Albert Owen's election leaflet delivered throughout the Island this week you will find the following claim:

Secure new investment (£635 million) in RAF Valley by creating new jobs now and for the future in fast jet training and the Search and Rescue HQ

Wow, you might think, £635 million! The self-styled "Team Leader" has really delivered for us in securing such vast funding for RAF Valley. After all £635 million is 13 times larger even than the rescue package of £48 million that the Government came up with in its failed attempt to stop the closure of Anglesey Aluminium. Well done, Albert - right?


The truth is that RAF Valley has not received and will not receive £635 million, or anything like it. As per this press release from the Ministry of Defence, the £635 million is the entire budget, spread across 25 years, for running the UK Military Flying Training System (UKMFTS). The money which Albert claims will be used exclusively in RAF Valley will actually be used in multiple locations across the UK for the provision of :

  • Elementary Flying Training
  • Basic Flying Training
  • Fast Jet Training
  • Rotary Wing Training
  • Multi Engine Training 
  • Rear Crew Training

Of which only Fast Jet training is actually operated from RAF Valley. Of course this is still good news for Anglesey and there have been some temporary jobs created at RAF Valley building classrooms and a hangar - but it is a far, far cry from the £635 million of investment which "Team Leader" Albert Owen is claiming credit for delivering.

Which leads us to some interesting questions:

(a) Did Albert Owen know that the £635 million was not really all for RAF Valley but anyway included the figure in his election leaflet? or

(b) Did Albert Owen really believe that the full £635 million was coming to RAF Valley?

Whichever is the case, neither alternative shows Albert Owen in a good light. Either he is guilty of trying to misinform us, or he is clueless about things happening on the Island he represents despite trying to claim credit and an electoral advantage from them.

The final question: what steps will Albert Owen now take - two weeks before the General Election - to retract this claim and provide an accurate picture to Anglesey voters?


Anonymous said...

In a similar vein, I've always been mystified by the claim that Wylfa B will bring in £7.5 billion (or whatever) to the economy - surely that is the cost of construction and capital items purchased elsewhere. How much will local people actually end up with in their pocket I wonder, taking into account lost trade during construction phase.

It is like saying each tourist brings £10K to the island - they spend £500 and their car is worth £9.5K.

Anonymous said...

Also wondering - will the new power station be OK if a fast jet crashes into it?

Anonymous said...

Albert Owen MP
Pluses -
A thoroughly nice bloke.
Conscientious and attentive to his constituents.
Will always follow up on enquiries and provide copies of correspondence.
Eager to please.
Tends to exaggerate and adopt others` achievements as his own ?
A member of Labour...a burden !
Too much a parochial all Holyheadians ?
Lacking entrepreneurial flair and imagination.
Overstayed his welcome.

What have I missed out ??????

Rhiannon said...

Don't be too hard on Holyhead!
For example, David Crystal does a pretty good job of lecturing in English universites as well as publishing former OUP stuff

The Druid of Anglesey said...

Anon 1 - very pithily put

Anon 2 - I think I have blogged on that point before. I believe that planning consent will be withheld from Wylfa B unless they reactor is cased in a substantial shield capable of withstanding being struck by an aircraft.

Anon 3 - I would add "tendency to believe his own propaganda that Anglesey is doing very, very well - especially compared to the 1980s" in the minuses

Rhiannon - You're back! What happened to the blog? Haven't given up already, have you?

Anonymous said...

Re Wlyfa,

I hope they include a military 'fast jet' in their modelling for aircraft crashes, just in case it goes straight through something that would stop a civilian aircraft.

And factor the chances of a trainee causing an accident...must be at least double that of a trained person???

And also the additional factor of the frequeny of flight due to the proximity of RAF bases, whether trainees or not, accidents happen.

And I'd like to see some models of what would happen if their was any type of leak, preferably a map showing severity of leak, wind strength and direction, colour coded to show number of immediate deaths, lingering deaths and long term illnesses.

Then we would have some decent information about what we are letting ourselves in for.

I know someone who used to weld pipes at Nuclear Power stations (not Wylfa). Every weld was supposed to be double-checked by a supervisor, but this was commonly missed out due to time. So if you know it isn't going to be checked, do you do a better or worse job?

Anonymous said...

Just to add - the people of Anglesey will all benefit from a power station if they are given a hefty discount on their electricity bills as payment.

This is something a politician could negotiate - have any of them even thought of the idea?

I don't mean the Hannon idea of paying the council, I mean a direct reduction in electricity bill for everyone on the island. I commented on an earlier post about the idea.

Residents could be polled to find out the lowest discount they would accept, and tender on that basis. This way it is democratic and the money is shared out.