Thursday, 21 June 2007

Of leopards and spots

I find myself musing along similar lines to Welsh Ramblings today, although Ramblings has also found some interesting quotes from Ieuan Wyn Jones on how utterly untrustworthy the Tories are.

Those who would bring the Tories into the next government of Wales are confident that this is not the Tory party of Redwood and Thatcher, and that we have nothing to fear from them. But are they right? Should we trust the Tories to act and speak in line with what the All-Wales Accord says, nothing less and nothing more - or is this just a smokescreen to get into power at any cost? Listen carefully to their words, and you too can become as convinced as me.

On the Assembly's powers, the Tories' Welsh spokesperson, Cheryl Gillan says: "It will be cheating the voters and parliament if it [Welsh legislation] doesn't at least go through the full stages...What it is showing is that the Labour government has sought to effectively bypass parliament." Hmm, off to a good start there.

How about a new language act, extending rights of Welsh speakers into the private sector. Well, their language spokesman in the Assembly, Paul Davies, says: "Businesses should be encouraged, though not compelled, to make maximum use of the Welsh language, not erect barriers to it. 
Education, support and encouragement - rather than compulsion - are effective ways forward in promoting greater use of Welsh." This is going really well, isn't it.

Their commitment to keeping services in the public sector is refreshingly new. Nothing about that in the All-Wales Accord that I can find, so how about their manifesto for May's elections? That tells us: "encourage NHS Trusts to seek Foundation Hospital status and allow a measure of financial autonomy to such Trusts". Hospitals opting out of the control of the NHS – sounds strangely familiar to me, but I'm probably just misinterpreting it.

Or how about: "encourage the commissioning of more public services from the private sector." Sounds a bit like a euphemism for privatisation to me, but that surely can't be right.

Protecting public service jobs? Manifesto once again: "All the spending commitments in this manifesto would be financed from an investment fund generated by reallocating 1% of existing Welsh Assembly Government budgets." So, an arbitrary 1% cut in the budget for all Assembly departments. I'm sure that they meant to do that without a single cut in jobs or services; the staff would just have to work harder.

I know, the environment. Vote Blue, go green, that's what they said, so let's see what they have to say on that. The All-Wales Accord is certainly promising – 3% cut per annum in carbon-equivalent emissions. So, air travel – one of the major causes of emissions. Now get that under control, and we see a real commitment to the environment. Manifesto: "work with Cardiff International Airport to increase the number of routes to Europe’s principal commercial centres, such as Brussels, Frankfurt, Milan and Barcelona." They are obviously planning airships rather than aeroplanes.

[UPDATE - with thanks to Anonymous 3 - It seems that one of the Tory AM's who so bravely supported the 3% per annum target for cuts in emissions had, only the previous week, supported a scheme in her constituency for a new gas-fired power station which would increase Wales' total emissions by 20%. Seven years' targets blown in one fell swoop. Interestingly, during the election campaign, I understand that this scheme was opposed both by Friends of the Earth - and by Plaid. Friends about to fall out?]

So, if your image of the Tory party is of a party which opposes further devolution, opposes extending language rights, supports privatisation, is at best luke-warm towards the public sector, will support business over the environment, and will cut public spending and jobs, you're obviously just as old-fashioned and muddle-headed as me. Because they really have changed – Plaid's leaders have told us so, and the hard evidence is set out above for all to see.


Anonymous said...

Hey ceredig what is it with you and welsh ramblings? How come you seem to start most of your posts with his/her views. You two know each other i take it?

Normal Mouth said...

Air travel is not one of the major causes of CO2 emissions. The contribution is around 3.5% worldwide, and about 6% in the UK. Cardiff airport's contribution, would be one a tiny fraction even of this figure.

Road transport, by contrast, contributes around 25% to the UK's CO2 emissions tally, as does energy use in the home.

Anonymous said...

Well Ceredig, Gordon Brown just said he is forming a government of all the talents. The Liberal Democrats turned him down, it would be political suicide for them. Do you now think he will turn his attention to the multi talented Tories?

Anonymous said...

Normal Mouth is right about the contribution of air travel being a small part; although I agree with you that wanting to expand air travel as a deliberate act of policy isn't particularly a green act, and most environmentalists would oppose it.

But you should see this one:

They are actually supporting a scheme which will increase Wales' emissions by 20%.....

Lenin Cymru said...

Hey Ceredig, it isn't suprising that people think we know each other, I couldn't agree with you more on this one. We must expose the truth about the anti-devolution and anti-Welsh language Tories.

Ceredig said...

Normal Mouth,

Thanks for the feedback. You're right of course; but I still believe that no-one who is serious about cutting emissions would be proposing a deliberate expansion of air travel, and that was my underlying point.

However, Anonymous (the third) has kindly provided me with a link to another story - I obviously have a reader down in the far west of Pembroke! - which even better illustrates the difference between theory and practice, so I've included that in the original post as an update.

On the other comments:

As to a government of all the talents - well Gordon hasn't asked me yet, so I guess he's still being at least a little bit selective.

Finally, no, I don't think I know Ramblings, but I'm sure that, given time, I'll find something to disagree with him or her about. I manage to disagree with most people eventually.

Ceredig said...

Two comments by spammers removed from this thread.

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