Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Voting for jobs and Wylfa B on Anglesey

The latest WAG Statistical Bulletin on the strength of the regional economy and labour market in North Wales arrives just in time to give us a final snapshot before the election on Thursday.

The most striking statistic is the fact that over the last year Anglesey has seen the largest rise in unemployment related benefits in North Wales, with 19% more people on the island now classified as claimants (compared to a rise of just 2% in the whole of Wales, and 6% in the whole of the UK).

This also chimes in with the ratio of jobseekers to jobs reported in the Daily Post yesterday. With more than 2000 claimants on Anglesey chasing just 102 available jobs advertised in JobCentres last month, the jobseeker to job ratio is 20:1 - the highest in North Wales. To underline how bad this is: it is twice as high as the next worse job spot in North Wales, Wrexham, where the ratio is 'only' just over 9:1.

This goes to prove the Druid's often repeated point that what Anglesey needs now is jobs, lots and lots of them. It is my opinion that Governments do not and cannot directly create sustainable, long-term jobs, they can only create the regulatory environment in which private businesses can take off and thrive (this also applies to Wylfa B). However, with an election just days away we do need to return an experienced, dynamic, business-savvy MP who can both represent us in Westminster and provide a focus for change here in Anglesey. Albert Owen has failed miserably in this respect and the front-runner, Plaid Cymru's Dylan Rees, has zero business or entrepreneurial experience (despite laughably trying to compare running a police section to running a company). 

The issue of who to vote for becomes more complex when we also include Wylfa B into the mix. Most residents on the Island (including the Druid) agree that Wylfa B is crucial to Anglesey's economic future. However as the building of new nuclear power stations requires government approval, there is a good possibility that Wylfa B could be scrapped in the event of a hung parliament where the anti-nuclear Lib Dems are likely to hold the balance of power. Plaid's Dylan Rees is personally pro-nuclear (probably due to personal political expedience rather than any heartfelt conviction) whilst his Party is resolutely anti-nuclear (as is their Scottish partners, the SNP); accordingly a vote for Rees is a vote for 1 pro-nuclear and 3 to 4 anti-nuclear voices in Westminster. Peter Rogers is pro-Wylfa B and would likely vote with his ex-party, the Conservatives in Parliament. Accordingly, any vote on Anglesey which does not return either a majority Labour or Conservative government, can probably be seen as a vote against Wylfa B. 

(One final note on the WAG's statistical bulletins - I am beginning to suspect that in producing regional bulletins for North, Mid, South West and South East Wales but not also compiling an all-Wales version, the WAG is deliberately trying to make intra-regional comparisons difficult to make. The claimant count rise for Anglesey which I outlined above may be the worse in all Wales, but to discover that would mean having to compare figures in 4 different reports - which unfortunately I don't have the time to do).


Anonymous said...

Are you going to come off the fence, an tell us who gets your vote?

Anonymous said...

More jobs....or fewer people.

maybe Anglesey has a higher % of people who aren't prepared to move to find work? I sometimes think there is a false sense of entitlement to both a job and a home in the place your birth. Ask any immigrant.

Anonymous said...

There is migration from Ynys Mon (and other areas of the fro Cymraeg). As you know, at the 2001 Census it was found that the migrants to England were highly qualified; 38% of male migrants had degrees compared with 10% of those remaining behind.
Migration was high from the West and North West but recent analysis by the Welsh Language Board shows that it was mostly Non-Welsh speakers who migrated.
If we are serious in wishing to keep talented young people in Ynys Mon The stringent "Welsh Essential" criteria for jobs has to be eased and at least one third of schools on the Island should be designated for teaching through the medium of English.

The Druid of Anglesey said...

Anon 13:46

"maybe Anglesey has a higher % of people who aren't prepared to move to find work?"

I would say thats a little unfair. Most people are able to travel in all directions to find a job - however as Anglesey is an island there is effectively only one route off. Therefore, if you happen to live in Holyhead, Amlwch, or anywhere in the NW of the Island, you have a heck of a long way to travel just to get off the island and onto the mainland - making daily commutes both long and expensive.

caramel said...

I read that Ieuan Wyn Jones says Labour voters in Aberconwy should vote tactically for Plaid who he claims are best placed to stop the Tories from gaining the seat.

So, on that basis and to be consistent in his argument, on Ynys Mon Plaid voters should vote for Labour's Albert Owen to make absolutely sure that the Tories' Ridge Newman doesnt win.

Anon 7 said...

"Accordingly, any vote on Anglesey which does not return either a majority Labour or Conservative government, can probably be seen as a vote against Wylfa B."

Of course, Druid, some of us, for very valid and well-argued reasons - such as the burdening of our descendants for centuries to come with nuclear waste - don't want to vote for Wylfa B. For those who want to argue I'm a retired person with plenty of money living in comfort, I'm not - I could really do with a job. Just not one that sacrifices our children's future and the money they will need to spend to deal with the legacy we hand them to deal with our present needs.

I love Druid's blog, but there are alternative views. Nothing is said of the politicians' policies with regard to energy saving measures (obviating the need for massively-subsidised nuclear plant), and other forms of electricity generation. We should be looking at ways out of nuclear, not perpetuating it by adding 12% to everybody's electricity bill to subsidise nuclear (which are now private businesses!)

The Druid of Anglesey said...

Anon 7 - There are of course many residents on the island who have a principled objection to Wylfa B, like yourself. I respect your views but thanks to the economic mess on the Island of just the past 2-3 years feel that without Wylfa B Anglesey could end up 'dying beautifully'.

Anonymous said...

"So, on that basis and to be consistent in his argument, on Ynys Mon Plaid voters should vote for Labour's Albert Owen to make absolutely sure that the Tories' Ridge Newman doesnt win. "

Are you simple? Plaid is in 2nd place in Ynys Mon and the Tories can't win.

Anonymous said...

"Plaid is in 2nd place in Ynys Mon and the Tories can't win."

That certainly seems to be the situation so far as I understand it.

Still, tactical voting is a last-resort action. It's much better, I think, to vote for what you want, rather than what you don't want. It gives the people with fresh ideas a chance, for starters.

Hugh Richards said...

Both Labour and Conservative parties have given unqualified support for new nuclear reactors. But presenting Britain as ‘the best place in the world to invest in nuclear energy’ has inevitable consequences. It means that untried, untested ideas are being pushed harder here than elsewhere, partly because the industry thinks that its plans will avoid scrutiny.

Their reactors will discharge spent fuel that cannot be disposed of for 100 years, resulting in up to ten radioactive waste dumps around our coasts for the next 160 years.

The proposed development of Wylfa with over 3 GW of new generating capacity would result in the accumulation of up to 32 million TBq of radioactivity. That is sixteen times as much as the total radioactivity released by Chernobyl.

It is not surprising that people are looking for a party that reflects their well-founded concerns about terrorist attacks and the unsolved question of radioactive waste.

The Dark Lord said...

"Are you simple? Plaid is in 2nd place in Ynys Mon and the Tories can't win. "

Sorry, but caramel is right above.

This is an election about who will govern Britain. And if IWJ was saying people should vote Plaid to stop the Tories in Aberconwy, then surely he must be in favour of Labour.

So, IWJ is in effect saying to Anglesey people: Vote for Albert Owen.

....because that is one less seat for the Tories.

Anonymous said...

We need to ask ourselves, before we decide, what is it all about?
Is this vote tomorrow for the future of this Island, or do we want the same old rubbish, and when I mean rubbish, who am I talking about.

I'm talking about the clowns called Plaid Cymru and Labour, these two fools who have led this Island to the abyss,our economy is on it's knees, they both stood by and watched the jobs drain out of Anglesey, they stood and watched as talented young people, packed their bags and left these shores, with a promise to their families that they would return, but they never do.
These are the parties that stood by, and ignored the plight of the homeless, people who had worked hard all their lives, being herded into care homes, their life savings and property being scavenged and pillaged, to pay for care and a bowl of hot mince and mashed potatoes, this is how we care for the elderly.

And the young, who are educated and leave school with no hope, no chance of work, this is the future these parties have given to our youth.

We blame IWJ, we blame his policies and this Welsh system of smothering dynamic thinking and investment, we all know you want it all in Welsh Ieuan, but we can't all be Welsh, some of us had to leave to work, because there was NO work. And this Plaid idea of having everything WELSH is smothering us all.

Albert, we'll never forgive the expenses scandal, the snouts in the trough, and your greed, let's hope the good people vote for these fools to be cast to history, and we can vote for a new Anglesey, not one set in the 50's and 60's, we have to evolve, or we will never survive.