Thursday, 11 November 2010

Adam Price is right -- and I can prove it.

As far as I'm concerned Adam Price, the ex-Plaid Cymru MP and leadership contender, hit the nail squarely on the head when he told a BBC Wales programme yesterday that:

"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

Labour AMs - click to enlarge

PLAID CYMRU

Plaid Cymru AMs - click to enlarge

CONSERVATIVES

Conservative AMs - click to enlarge

LIB DEMS

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.

55 comments:

Anonymous said...

Are there any Members of Anglesey County Council who have created wealth employing lots of people and adding to the economy If so Who?

Anonymous said...

This is the problem that was crated the day we started to pay our politicians. Being a member of a government became a vacation were you could be paid for doing it. In the past our politicians were mostly business men with experience, and brought it there to govern us for free !!
We again need the service if these people to help us back to recovery. It's time up for the idealist and bring some business experience back to government.

Un o Fon

TGC said...

Hmmm.

How many members of the Communist Party of China have worked in the private sector then? Doesn't seem to stop them. Mind you, one of their biggest problems, like ours, is the chasm between economic development in rural and urban areas.

Windy, innit?

Anonymous said...

Well there we have it - proof that Druid is as right wing as it gets, quoting Adam Smith. If Smith's philosophy ever got back into fashion the market would be unrestricted and the poor would suffer terribly.

Shame on you, Druid. I thought you were a Tory, but see that you're much worse.

The Red Flag said...

Part of the problem is the conflict between national governance and regional governance. Within parties such as the Tories, LibDems and Labour Westminster is seen as the jewel in the Crown and as such the best politicians are as a rule MPs.

Within Plaid & the SNP however the reverse is starting to happen in that they place greater significance on the regional level. This is particulalry evident in Scotland and is partly the reason why Salmond and his troops regulalrly wipe the floor with opposition within the Scottish Parliament - his best troops are there not Westminster. I predict that the Welsh Assembly will slowly move the same way and eventually Plaid's best operators will be AMs whereas the other parties best will be MPs.

Anonymous said...

Red Flag;so Albert Owen will go to the assembley?

Anonymous said...

Druid: if you advocate so strongly the free market economy long loved by the Tories, then governments largely fall into disuse, as the market will sort it all out.

So, not much point having MPs and AMs, then, is there? Unless, that is, there are some people who think that they should have some nice power and represent the free market. Guess who one of those might be?

Anonymous said...

Un o Fon

"..Being a member of a government became a vacation ..."

Yes indeed, and a good holiday they're having at our expense!

The Red Flag said...

Anonymous said...
Red Flag;so Albert Owen will go to the assembley?

Albert Owen as you know is Labour. Therefore Labour would put more emphasis career-wise, importance-wise and ego-wise on Parliament as opposed to the Assembly. Placing Albert in the Assembly would be seen by him as a backward step - being put in semi-retirement possibly, maybe even 'punishment'. I don't think he would regard it as 'reward'.

The Druid of Anglesey said...

TGC - to be fair China's free market reforms were only made a couple of decades ago and as a country they will continue to grow rapidly as they mature as an economy -- no matter what politicians there do (assisted as an exporter by the artificially weak yuan). When they become a mature and regulation-bound economy like us, with smaller growth each year, they may need to look again at the experience of their politicians.

Anon 09:07 - I don't often say this, but you are talking nonsense. A "free market" is just another name for economic liberty, i.e. allowing billions of people worldwide the freedom to spend their time and their money in the way they see fit -- not the way some central planner decrees. Free markets have done more to lift billions of people out of poverty than any other human innovation. Just look at China and India, which were until a few years ago were enormously poor, centrally planned states. For more proof closer to home look at the hard lives of the smallholders on BBC's Snowdonia 1890 -- none of us have to live like that any more, and for that we have to thank both the ideas of Adam Smith and economic liberty.

The Druid of Anglesey said...

Anon 10:00 - I'm not sure what point you are trying to make other than to trash personal economic liberty. Markets need some degree of regulation by government to make sure they do not function in anti-competitive ways -- and governments will always have a role in providing a social security safety net.

Anonymous said...

Red Flag - Albert stood for the Assembly against Ieuan in 1999.

Anonymous said...

Druid said
"..Anon 09:07 - I don't often say this, but you are talking nonsense..."

Thing is Druid, you probably would say it more often if you knew him. I rather suspect you do actually. The constant whingeing about 'proof' that you are right wing (as if that is a cardinal sin) put me in mind of ...oh never mind, it 'll only create another flurry of back slapping letters to the press.

Prometheuswrites said...

Anon 9.07: said: "proof that Druid is as right wing as it gets, quoting Adam Smith".

Adam Smith was not a capitalist, although he is often referred to as 'the father of modern capitalism'. (i.e. he came before capitalism).

In fact Smith argued against the dangers of unrestrained capitalism.

For those who misunderstand his political leanings I quote:

"Noam Chomsky has argued that several aspects of Smith's thought have been misrepresented and falsified by contemporary ideology, including Smith's reasons for supporting markets and Smith's views on corporations. Smith supported markets in the belief that they would lead to equality, and that Smith opposed wage labor and corporations."

Smith also was in favour of trade tariff's, so he's not the unrestrained free trader that many uninformed commentator's assume him to be.

In fact I would categorise him as being a left of centre libertarian and an anti-authoritarian; which enabled him to make such statements as:

"Every tax, however, is, to the person who pays it, a badge, not of slavery, but of liberty."

I hope this sets the record straight and that the knee jerk political pugilists (those of the "if you're not with us then you're against us tendency") can make the effort to spend as much time boning up on 'the knowledge' as they spend spouting popularist opinions.

The Red Flag said...

Anonymous said...
Red Flag - Albert stood for the Assembly against Ieuan in 1999.

I know. And therefore must have gone up in Labour's esteem and been rewarded with a 'promotion' of standing for Parliament. Which is the point I am making and which is happening in the Scottish Parliament where the SNP keep their 'First 11' in the Scottish Parliament and send the reserves to Westminster whereas the big parties do the opposite hence why Salmond is easily able to batter his opponents. I can see the same happening here eventually where the big parties will use the Assembly as a stepping-stone to blood politicians and a retirement home whereas Plaid wil tend to evetually do the exac opposite. Same as Scotland.

The Red Flag said...

China's 'free market' is not as free as people assume. If you open a business it is partly owned by the China Corporation. Every western business you see out there - even McDonalds - is a subsidiary of the CC. Same as buying property there - you only jointly own it along with the state.

Strange set-up is China, but then again they are a strange culture all round - very easy to deeply offend them and the fact you were unaware is not an excuse in their eyes. Laugh without covering your mouth and they'll think you are little better than garbage - and there's plenty more strange little quirks like that.

Prometheuswrites said...

I notice Cameron has been castigating the Chinese with alarmist stories of 'a tidal wave of money rushing to the East and threatening the financial stability of the West'

Does he think the Chinese have failed to notice when we did our best to bring about a 'tidal wave of money flowing from the East to the West', without any regard towards the financial well-being of the East.

If you listen to the World Service you will soon find out the ordinary Chinese 'man in the street' hasn't forgotten what we (The Empire) did in the 'Opium Wars' to their economic and social fabric.

I guess what goes around comes around.

Anonymous said...

"..what we (The Empire) did in the 'Opium Wars' to their economic and social fabric.."

Hear hear, lets beat ourselves up and offer apologises in the HoC etc for someting our forefathers did nearly 200 years ago (and conveniently forget that the chinese had an empire and did the same thing but what the hey). Just like we did/do about slavery.

Seems to me the Germans can distance themselves from what their forefathers did within living memory but us Brits, oh no, we current are responsible for things going waaaay back.

Anonymous said...

"...If you listen to the World Service you will soon find out the ordinary Chinese 'man in the street' hasn't forgotten.."

What's new? If you listen to the ordinary man in the street here in the UK you would soon find out that we are not like that which is portrayed by the loopy la la land occupied by the politicians and their sycophantic followers in the media.

Anonymous said...

You're a right wing biggot, Druid. Adam Smith was in favour or total market freedom - allowing the rich to get richer on the back of the poor, while the poor's lot gets worse and worse. But why worry about social justice when your Tory mates are raking it in?

I see you got your backside slapped on another blog today http://miserableoldfart.blogspot.com/2010/11/re-adam-and-druid.html
You look good on your own blog with your mates supporting you, but when you have to mix it with the big boys you're out of your depth.

Anonymous said...

Great graphics, Druid. Do you have a chart to show how much taxpayers money was sepnt by your Tory frineds out on a jolly in Aber recently? http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2010/11/10/tory-ams-accused-of-wasting-money-on-boys-on-tour-jolly-91466-27630300/
Shame on you supporting such wasteful Ams!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for that post 17:23. The Tory AMs may know how to create wealth but it seems they know how to spend it too!

The Druid of Anglesey said...

Anon 17:20 - "You're a right wing biggot, Druid."

Do you even know what a 'bigot' is? You certainly don't know how to spell it.

Anonymous said...

"..mix it with the big boys.."

They're big boys?

Easily impressed aren't you.


I heard someone say that Stephen Fry was what a thick man thinks an intelligent man is. I'm trying to fit the analogy to your statement.

Prometheuswrites said...

Anon 17.20: Read my post above re: Adam Smith and free markets.

Part of bigotry is when you have an opinion with little or no regards to the facts, just like your post.

17.04: Please explain to me how pointing out what the Chinese think of us is 'beating ourselves up'. (Are you suggesting that I ignore informed news reports and stick to reading the Daily Mail instead) :)

The Germans may be able to demonstrate good sense in acknowledging 'what their forefathers did' and distancing themselves from it, but we endlessly prattle on about 'who won the 'war/world-cup (once in 66)' and then live in a state of self denial about why those countries that we trashed in the 'glory days of empire' won't remember their own history.

- Go tell it to the Welsh who still remember Edward the First and his grand government employment scheme of building those splendid/oppressive castles across the north of the principality; and then repeat your last statement about people forever winging on.

(And while you're at it why not pop over to Northern Ireland and tell the new 'dissidents' that they are just moaning on about stuff way back in the past).

Anonymous said...

I've just had a look at Alwyns blogpost and noted how 'MH' spits out
"Read what I said again, Tory"

Looking at the face and then the delivery I can just about see the type of person who would do Stalins bidding in suppressing the proles.

What an odious pratt.

Prometheuswrites said...

17.04: PS.

"someting our forefathers did nearly 200 years ago"

The boxer rebellion against 'imperialist expansion' (i.e. Nationally approved Heroin Dealing)took place between 1898 and 1901 - a little over 100 years ago.

To paraphrase Gandi - "What do you think of Western Education"
PW - "I think it would be a good thing"

The Red Flag said...

someting our forefathers did nearly 200 years ago

200 years ago is not long ago in Chinese eyes. They are still sorting out disputes from two millenia ago. As for the Boxer Rebellion - that's yesterday in their eyes.

They are currently carrying out strategic reviews that won't happen for over a hundred years in the future. With the exception of minor irritations such as the Revolution and civil war or the sino-japanese conflict etc etc, China has been a remarkably stable country. They are highly bureacratic with a bureaucratic class that has basically been running the country (withminor changes of the board of directors) without interruption since before Stonehenge was built.

And they always play the long game.

Prometheuswrites said...

Red Flag: Thank you.

A much better artictulation of the point I was atempting to make.

Anonymous said...

I spoke to Adam Price once, and queried him about Human Rights for Wales and it's people, he was gobsmacked and unhelpful, very similar to a rabbit caught in the headlights. Unhelpful, unco-operative, he gave me the impression that I had gone to an area that he knew absolutely nothing about. That frightened me, seeing as he was flouncing himself as Plaid Cymru and a man of the people, and now he's moaning about lack of business sense in the political pool, how can we be willing to trust these people, when they are trying to blame the mess we are in on everyone and everything but themselves. Didn't he go off to Harvard or Yale, to study politics, maybe, he should have done his homework and done his further political studies in Wales, then I would have a bit more faith in his ramblings.

Anonymous said...

I see none of you are willing to defend the wealth creators of the Tory party AMs who a good party in Aberystwyth recently. Doesn't quite fit the narrative does it, Druid.

Tory blog; Tory friends; Tory scruples.

The Druid of Anglesey said...

Anon 20:39 -

"I see none of you are willing to defend the wealth creators of the Tory party AMs who a good party in Aberystwyth recently. Doesn't quite fit the narrative does it, Druid."

The reason why nobody has commented on your point is probably because the incident you refer to has no relationship to the topic under discussion. Nor does it in anyway invalidate anything I have written above.

Puck said...

20.39:

I am 'not now nor have ever been' a Tory voter.

You Sir, are anti-Tory, and "maybe just a little ugly on the side" (attributed - Frank Zappa)

The Red Flag said...

I see none of you are willing to defend the wealth creators of the Tory party AMs who a good party in Aberystwyth recently. Doesn't quite fit the narrative does it, Druid.

Tory blog; Tory friends; Tory scruples


What total and utter bilge. I am certainly no tory supporter but they are no worse than Labour or any of the others. To adopt some holier-than-though attitude you seem to have is laughable. So, who do you believe is morally superior? Certainly can't be Labour. Or the LibDems. Or Plaid. Or the BNP. Or UKIP. When you tell us and we all stop falling about laughing we'll have a chat about it eh?

Anonymous said...

And how does the Druid make a living ?

The Red Flag said...

Anonymous said...
And how does the Druid make a living ?

Dunno mate - do tell. International man of mystery? Hippy poet on the Seine's left bank? Slave trader? Circus clown? X Factor panelist? Market trader on Eastenders? Daily Mail reading hang 'em, flog 'em, shoot 'em High Court Judge? Cat litter quality assurance tester?

Now you've brought the subject up it better be something interesting. If it's just a normal run-of-the-mill job you'll have made yourself irrelevant.

Peter Black said...

This is a very shallow analysis of the Welsh Liberal Group.

Mick Bates has his own business, a farming business in Montgomeryshire and a wealth of business experience. Kirsty Williams has worked for a private sector design company as a marketing executive. Veronica German is a scientist by profession who worked for a confectioner and was responsible for putting the bubbles into the wispa bar. Eleanor Burnham has also worked in the private sector and although I was a civil servant before becoming an AM and Jenny Randerson an FE lecturer, we both have a huge amount of experience as Councillors helping to run a multi-million pound business. albeit in the public sector.

The Red Flag said...

we both have a huge amount of experience as Councillors helping to run a multi-million pound business. albeit in the public sector.

Get it wrong in the private sector you go bankrupt, lose your home and job and pesnion plan and can even face prosecution and imprisonment and be barred from carrying out your profession for up to the rest of your life (unless you are a banker in which case the goverenment will steal off the poor and the sick and the elderly to help you).

get it wrong in the public sector?...

Peter Black said...

Yes, I am not arguing that the experience as Councillors is comparable. However, the assessment of the other four Welsh Lib Dem AMs is wrong.

Anonymous said...

That's Right Peter, Sock it to em
How would you like to be a County Councillor on Anglesey if you had the opportunity?

Anonymous said...

Tory AMs on a jolly not relevant?! What tosh! Those of you on the Right always make a fuss about saving money in the public purse - and yet here are your mates spending tax payers money on a jolly birthday party. And it's no worse than what goes on Anglesey council.

Two kind of people comment on your blog - your fellow Tories and those bitter about how they've been treated by the council, i.e. - the Right and the self-righteous.

Get a grip, Druid, before you loose all credibility.

Anonymous said...

Only two kinds eh?

So which are you.

Right or self righteous?

I think your rant about the Aberystwyth party eliminates the former.
Talk about Druid losing cred. Ha!

The Red Flag said...

Anonymous said...Tory AMs on a jolly not relevant?! What tosh! Those of you on the Right always make a fuss about saving money in the public purse

I challenge you to name a party that isn't involved in this sort of thing. I'm not condoning it but it's piss-poor to condemn Tory AMs - it's all AMs who behave like this that should be condemned.

Only a cheap and small-minded person would try to make party politics pout if it - it's completely unacceptable no matter what party you come from.

The Red Flag said...

And also Anonymous said...Two kind of people comment on your blog - your fellow Tories and those bitter about how they've been treated by the council, i.e. - the Right and the self-righteous.

Is complete and utter horse manure. I have never personally been badly treated by the council (except when they forgot to empty my bin a couple of years ago) nor do or have I ever voted Tory. Far from it. And I know several other posters on here would never consider voting tory either.

Anonymous said...

Peter Black the defender of the Lib Dems, their only contribution to the people of Anglesey is zero. About the same as the rest of the Welsh Assembly, it's a wonder they know where we are? They have been so excited these past few days with their Prime Minister running round China, sliding into South Korea to whinge and moan about Human Rights in China, while we are all being ignored, we all know that they can't work together, and we can only count the days until Cameron divorces Clegg, then the windows of the Welsh Assembly will be met with the same fate as the Conservatives headquarters, it's the only way to be heard....

Anonymous said...

With you all the way 19.49.
It's ridiculous that the PM has gone to China and Korea. One would think that we belong to the G20 or something and have to send our leader there like the other 19. Oh hang on..

Anyway smashing windows, that's right, that's the way. Don't forget, early to bed tomorrow night. School starts back on Monday and those GCSEs are due next year. Must keep up with the lessons musn't we.

Anonymous said...

Primary school is fab, full of joskins and village idiots and I have to teach the little.....

Welsh Ramblings said...

"Adam Smith was in favour or total market freedom "

No he wasn't.

Richard Sletzer (BA Econ) said...

I'm surprised at the amount of left-wing,anti-capitalism comment on here - most of it from people who clearly have no idea what they're talking about but are just regurgitating stale New labour nostrums.

The Druids central argument - that our politicians are overwhelmingly being drawn from the ranks of the non-wealth-creating public sector is beyond dispute.

What's even worse is that these people have not even the most fundamental grasp of economics. Like Gordon Brown they are economically illiterate - and boy, oh boy, doesn't it show?

The Red Flag said...

@ Richard Sletzer.

So even though you are eductaed you still think New Labour are left wing? Jesus wept.

What's even worse is that these people have not even the most fundamental grasp of economics. Like Gordon Brown they are economically illiterate - and boy, oh boy, doesn't it show?

You mean like the bankers? Remember when they were sat before the Select Commitee and not one had any formal qualifications of any use to that industry?

We are in the mess we are in because of capitalism not Gordon Brown. He is just useful to blame because he wasn't actually very good and stupidly gave capitalism a free rein.

Promotheuswrites said...

RF: "You mean like the bankers? Remember when they were sat before the Select Commitee and not one had any formal qualifications of any use to that industry?"

It is the myth of 'Transferable Skills' that gives rise to these situations. One has to ask "In whose benefit is it for this myth to be perpetuated?"

(hint: check out Solace's web-site).

Prometheuswrites said...

@ Richard Sletzer:

"... most of it from people who clearly have no idea what they're talking about but are just regurgitating stale New labour nostrums".

Richard, please could you list specifically which New Labour nostrums you are referring to?

Having made such a statement, a failure to back up such assertions without reference to particulars would smack of a regurgitation of ConDem nostrums.

(Specifically: "If we had known of the financial state of the nation we wouldn't have had to break all/most of our election promises")

Addendum: If they were of sufficient caliber as opposition MP's/candidates then they would have had a better and more realistic idea of what the national financial situation was - (there were plenty of us commentating pundit's who were aware of what was facing us and what is yet to come).

[unsettling; my word verification came up as 'hatingis']

The Red Flag said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Prometheuswrites said...

Richard:
"The Druids central argument - that our politicians are overwhelmingly being drawn from the ranks of the non-wealth-creating public sector is beyond dispute".

You are perfectly correct inasmuch as these graphs show.

Reflecting on the graphs I wonder whether the focus on wealth creation and private and public sector experience is a consequence of the current financial crisis and the overwhelming need to restore fical balance.

If we were in a stable finacial state then the focus of the graphs may well be on what proportion or mix of sectors would best provide 'Good Governance'.

I would suggest that a even balance between all sectors would be most representative, (seven sectors = ~15%) (take this as a rough rule of thumb as I'm sure that a 'weighting' arrangement would better way of apportioning sector representation)

Using sector balance as a criteria, the
graphs show that it is Labour that has the most balance in its representation, but only by virtue of having the smallest percentage of its own overwhelming common groundswell membership, (public sector,61%)

The Liberals show the least balance and the Conservatives lay third, but only by 9% of their own overwhelming common groundswell of private sector members, 73%)

I would like to see a better balance 'within' parties as well as within the Assembly.

I do however accept that if as Druid says in his original post that "In our current straightened times all politics is economics" then there is an imbalance within all the parties.

However the first graph only shows the balance for the coalition ruling party, which given the Liberals 100% public sector membership will of course place emphasis on the public sector for the coalition.

The graph that is missing is one that shows the balance of backgrounds across the whole Assembly.

I am sure that once the Conservatives have been factored in then the imbalance between private and public sector will be reduced.

Personally I'm favour of a balance between private and public as I believe there's a lot of difference between running a private for-profit enterprise and running non-profit public services.

I don't dispute for a moment that public service provision depends on the wealth (taxes) that private enterprise generates. I also believe that some business are so big and so central to public welfare infrastructure that they require public financial support - not to make money, but to provide services. (The NHS, Education, Roads, Basic Utility's)

Druid, is it possible to post up a graph showing the mix across the whole Assembly?

PrometheusW said...

Re: My last post:

I'm talking rubbish about the Liberals being in the Welsh Coalition.

Either it's the hour or I can't tell the difference between them all any more.

The former I suspect.

However the main point I make still stands.