Anyway, no doubt hyped-up by last week's success, Albert had another letter published in the Daily Post yesterday -- and this time he decided to tackle the really big issue which everyone on the Island has been talking about. Yes, that's right, he decided to write about how the Tory government of the 1990s used European structural funds. This it seems is far more important than anything that is actually happening on the Island today, and apparently the events of twenty years ago also somehow negate any criticism of the WAG's Economic Renewal Programme made by Prof. Dylan Jones-Evans, the economic advisor to the Welsh Conservatives. No, I couldn't follow Albert's logic either.
Anyway, seeing how Albert brought it up and often likes to tell us how much worse the 80s and 90s were for Anglesey, this is what I remember:
- Anglesey Aluminium started smelting in 1971 and continued production all the way through the 80s and 90s, only closing with a loss of 450 jobs in September 2009
- The Octel chemical plant in Amlwch began production in 1953 and continued through the 80s and 90s (under various different names) until it closed in 2005
- The Eaton Electric plant in Holyhead opened in 1960 under the name Midland Electric Manufacturing Company, it operated all through the 80s and 90s and only closed in December 2009 with a loss of 250 jobs
- The Peboc Eastman chemical plant in Llangefni was established in 1970, continued production all through the 80s and 90s, and only closed its doors in 2008 with a loss of 100 jobs
- Anglesey is an island of farmers, yet the economic contribution of agriculture in North Wales (including Anglesey) has declined by a staggering 67 per cent during the period 1997-2007, compared to an overall UK decline of just 7 per cent. You only need to compare a visit to the Morgan Evans livestock auctions in the 80s or 90s with one now to see how things have declined
- This decimation of agriculture on Anglesey has directly affected the abattoir and meat-packaging plant in Gaerwen (now called Welsh Country Foods and part of the Vion Group) which began operating back in 1980s and continued throughout that decade and the 1990s; it has only begun downsizing this year with a loss of 200 jobs; the chicken processing plant in Llangefni, commonly known as 'Chuckies' and owned by the same company was established even earlier and also continued production throughout the 80s and 90s, until it lost a whole shift (140 jobs) last year.
I'm not denying that the 1980s and 90s were hard times, but contrary to Albert's constant diversionary tactics, all of Anglesey's prime businesses survived that era intact, only to be forced to close or downsize over the past couple of years.
Anyway, I can't wait to see what Albert is going to write about next week...