"a lack of skills amongst [Welsh Assembly] politicians is making it difficult to tackle big economic challenges".
He also went on to say:
"The gap between the problems we face in Wales and the skill-set of the people we're drawing in to politics is huge".
I couldn't agree more. In our current straightened times all politics is economics -- and accordingly we need politicians with some understanding of where wealth comes from, how to use it wisely, and, most importantly, and how to invest in skills, infrastructure, and business so as to generate more of it. Unfortunately the vast majority of our current Assembly Members are drawn exclusively from the public sector and have never had to create any wealth themselves. (Please note that I am not attacking civil servants, I am just saying that they are vastly over-represented as a group thus depriving the Assembly of other equally valuable life experiences and outlooks).
Don't believe me? Take a look at the below 'Druid Research Centre' analysis of the backgrounds of all 60 of our Assembly Members to see what life and work experience they had before becoming full-time politicians. Here are the results for the ruling coalition of Labour and Plaid Cymru Assembly Members:
|Welsh Assembly Ruling Coalition AMs - Click to enlarge|
Of 39 Labour and Plaid Cymru AMs, only 10 percent of them have ever had any private sector business experience. The overwhelming majority (62 percent) have worked in the public sector all their lives with the remainder coming from voluntary-sector, law, religion, media and politics backgrounds. When looked at through the lens of wealth creation - a staggering 87 percent of the Labour / Plaid coalition have never had a wealth-creating job (the Druid is using Adam Smith's definition of 'wealth creation' whereby materials, labour, land, and technology are combined in such a way as to capture a profit, i.e. excess above the cost of production). Is it really any surprise that Economic Development polices in Wales are not working when only a very tiny fraction of the government have ever had any wealth creating experience themselves?
Here are the breakdowns by party:
|Labour AMs - click to enlarge|
|Plaid Cymru AMs - click to enlarge|
|Conservative AMs - click to enlarge|
|Lib Dem AMs - click to enlarge|
The Lib Dems are frankly the worse of a very bad bunch - not a single Lib Dem AM has ever been anywhere near a business, comprised as they are of four ex-teachers and two ex-civil servants. But at least they are not in power - coalition partner Plaid Cymru on the other hand is almost equally bad with just one AM (Alun Ffred Jones) ever having had any wealth creating experience.
It is imperative for a country like Wales, struggling as it is with high unemployment and a dwindling industrial- and business-base, to have more private-sector and wealth creating experience in its national legislature. However as Adam Price correctly identifies, Welsh parties are drawing politicians "from a vanishingly small gene-pool" and really need to look deeply at themselves and ask why it is that they are attracting so few people from business backgrounds when there is such an obvious need for their skills and experience.