So PM Dave took his first trip to the glorious land where the ancient Britons once dwelled. Having left the homeland recently, I have had the opportunity to “look in” from the outside. Maybe it is sentimentality or my daily craving for my own country, but I fear for Wales under this Tory administration.
I vividly remember the stories from childhood about what Thatcher and her disciples did to our beautiful land and its stoic men and women. Tales of hospital closures, school degradation, stealing milk from young schoolchildren and political war with our working men became like religious tales of Good v Evil. Thatcher was the devil.
Also vivid in my recollection is my horror and anger at turning to page 22 (page 122 on pdf) of my “Invitation to Join the Government of Britain”. In a map of the UK, regions are sized according to their share of the national economy. I could not believe the nerve that the Tories had to point out that Wales and the North East had a 3% and 4% share of the UK economy respectively. It is their fault that these areas have not flourished! And whereas Labour had some policies in their manifesto to provide new industries to create jobs in Wales and the North East, the Tories seem to offer no solution to the problem that they caused when they ruined the lives and prospects of thousands of Welsh families. Indeed, the only promises they make will create huge problems for Wales.
We know that the Tories are going to decimate our public services, but this is even more of a problem in Wales where some 30% of the population are employed in the public sector. The percentage of people employed in public administration, education and health in Wales is roughly 5% higher than the national average (thanks Online Percentage Calculator). This clearly means that Wales will be disproportionately impacted, negatively, by the Tory cuts. I therefore can’t understand the logic of the Tory map showing Wales’ relative lack of productivity and economic prosperity when their policies are just going to drive the country to further ruin. Maybe they were showing off? “Look what we can dooooo with power!”
Will “Thatcher v The Miners” be emulated by “Thatcher’s Bastard Children v Public Sector Unions”? Well, with a strong representative for Wales, maybe we will be okay?
Enter Stage Right: Cheryl Gillan. Our new Secretary of State for Wales is an MP representing a part of the country where all bodily fluids run the colour blue. Born in Cardiff, she left Wales aged 11 and has not represented a single Welsh person’s interest in Parliament since; deciding instead to represent a constituency that would have benefitted immensely from the Welsh work ethic during the Industrial Revolution. So that’s a great start.