Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Sympathy for the Occupy Movement – Welsh ‘Business’ Minister Edwina Hart’s capitalist “regret”

Judging by Edwina Hart’s recent statement she’d be there, outside St Paul’s with the Occupy London Stock Exchange movement, protesting against the ‘system’.

Occupy London - Open invite

But she’s not there. She probably doesn’t like camping, I’m sure she could claim a tent on expenses…

Instead she’s in the ‘Senedd’ in Cardiff and apparently she’s the Welsh Assembly government’s minister for ‘business’, and I’m not sure that the people of Wales should be happy about it.

Edwina Hart is as surprised as anyone she’s business minister

They don’t know why you’re there either Edwina…

Last week she was quoted as saying she has “regret" about the capitalist system, in her response to a Plaid Cymru tabled motion stating their party “regrets” Labour’s failure to respond to the economic crisis.

Edwina Hart said:

"Can I say that I was disappointed when I read the motion, but in view of the fact that it said 'regret' perhaps I should say 'regret' because in life we all regret many things.

"I regret about the capitalist system, if you want to go to history lessons perhaps I need to go back to Karl Marx and Engels and we could have a discussion about those issues."

This is the ‘BUSINESS' minister for Wales. She is a former trade union official and it is quite clear where her political sentiments lie. She feels it might be appropriate to discuss Marxism instead of discussing the failure of the Welsh assembly to develop the Welsh economy.

The Welsh economy is backward. The Labour government in Westminster and the Welsh Assembly government did little or nothing to fundamentally develop and improve it, during the many years of economic growth when they had the chance to act.

There is a massive over-reliance on the public sector and it has long been held that there is more public money spent in Wales than is raised from Welsh tax payers. This was mentioned recently by Peter Hain:

“The Holtham commission calculated that approximately £17.1bn of tax revenue is raised in Wales every year. Total public spending in Wales is around £33.5bn – almost twice the amount raised”

Unemployment in Wales tracked the UK rate for a few of the boom years up to the economic crisis, but this was with the high percentage employed in the public sector and significantly, a larger economically inactive population.

The unemployment rate also jumps quickly to a level higher than the UK average, soon after the crisis and before the cuts have even started, which does not indicate a robust economic structure.

When the focus is on Welsh development, Cardiff is held up as an example of success, but it has benefitted from being the base of devolved power and development has been focussed there, to the neglect of other areas.

This map shows the concentrations of public sector jobs in South Wales, with high percentages in the valleys, Newport and Swansea. But the same situation can be seen throughout the UK after 13 years of Labour rule, with higher concentrations in Scotland and the North.

The Welsh Assembly Government and DWP championed moving towards full employment in the heady days of 2007, while admitting to problems in the valleys.

I have already highlighted the failure of local authorities and the Welsh assembly with regards to development in Newport and the huge sums of money wasted on a ridiculous and pointless new railway station.

Newport's "futuristic" new station

The old station is now being converted for use, as a council office, including job centre services…

Newport's old station, just down the road

No need for comment on that 'development'… Except that the location is perfect, there's a Wetherspoons off to the right of this photo.

There was an outcry when the possibility of Newport’s passport office closing was suggested, because the already suffering city centre would effectively die. The outcry was justified because the decision seemed unnecessary, however, a greater outcry should have come from the clear illustration of the failure to develop a major city, in an essentially prime economic location and when the Ryder Cup had just been held in the area.

How could a major shopping centre apparently be so dependent on one public sector office?

Now it seem the office is just been being downsized. Newport city centre still has many problems.

Labour used to simply blame the Tories but now they’ve held power so long and had so much opportunity, they are blaming ‘capitalism’ (that’s still the Tories to them…).

What hope for business and enterprise in Wales in this environment?

They blame Westminster and the Tories for cutting them off, but they have had years of net investment to create a functioning economy.

Maybe Edwina Hart hopes the English will support a Marxist experiment in Wales? And what would Edwina Hart do in a socialist/Marxist society? Exactly the same f**king thing…!

English tax payers paid for Labour's 13 year experiment and it failed spectacularly. They can blame who they like; the economy is firmly dependent, in no way self-sufficient.

In 2010 Plaid Cymru’s Ieuan Wyn Jones claimed he wanted to see independence from the UK initially of course, but also that he wanted to see an end to Welsh economic dependence, ultimately from European aid. Wales is a long, long way from that.

Earlier this year Plaid released the details of a study that compared how an independent Wales might have fared to the experience of small European countries such as Austria, Denmark, Finland and Luxembourg.

They shied away from using the obvious comparison of Ireland, for obvious reasons, and used the examples of long established and well developed, functioning small economies. There is no comparison… Again, Wales is a long, long way from any of that.

Peter Hain is not keen on the idea of the Assembly having tax and fiscal powers, but he does seem want to take the ‘progressive’ step of changing the Welsh electoral system to base it entirely on First Past the Post… Clearly wanting to consolidate Labour’s power in Wales and even claiming that it is the will of the people following the AV referendum earlier this year.

This is from Hain one of the original advocates of AV and the Welsh system is not even based on the alternative vote, it is far more proportional and fair.


Only when it suits Peter

Little progress when the likes of Hain have power.

There are a lot of problems in Wales and the politicians have been more concerned with building employment reliant on public spending, scrapping prescription charges for people that can afford them and ultimately consolidating their own power.

Who said these people know what they’re doing and what’s good for the people of Wales?

Edwina Hart regrets capitalism; she should certainly regret her party’s attempts at managing a capitalist system.

They throw a lot of money around, money that over the last 13 years was raised in no small part from the financial sector, they are incompetent big government. I’m not sure how well they actually sit with many elements of the Occupy Movement.

A selection of the '99%' at Occupy London

Rage at Occupy London

Is the Welsh Assembly Government a capitalist regime..?

There are apparent sympathies with the anti-capitalist protests and the Occupy movement in the Welsh Assembly; I have sympathy for the people of Wales.

Good luck with this shower, getting more and more power…

But then the Welsh electorate do keep voting for them…