This is the second of the recent Conservative pamphlets (with thanks again to BD). You may be interested to hear that Craig Williams failed to meet the criteria for An Irresistible Offer, despite confirming that he would do so in his tweet of 1:53 AM – 21 Oct 12. The Conservatives will therefore be without an election address on this site. Their loss.
But the title of this post relates to something else. Because squirrelled away in very small print at the bottom of this missive is the information that it was printed by Mortons Print Ltd of Horncastle, Lincolnshire. Mortons Print is one of those struggling local businesses with a measly £12 million turnover. Horncastle is part of the Louth and Horncastle constituency, which has an unbroken record of being held by the Conservatives since its formation in 1997. So it seems as if the Conservatives – as they did back in April – are very keen to farm jobs off to their friends in the English shires rather than provide employment for the many printers within the constituency of Penarth and Cardiff South. Do as I say, not as I do.
So when, on page 3 of the pamphlet, Craig Williams says that he’s “Putting Cardiff South and Penarth first”, how much credibility do we attach to the claim? And given that Craig “heads up the influential Economy Committee on Cardiff Council”, the good burghers of Cardiff are probably best off battening down the hatches.
But it’s back to page 1, and the headline “Investing in Welsh Railways” that I cast my eyes now. Apparently the Conservatives in Westminster are going to be electrifying parts of the railway in Wales. Well, excuse me for not popping open the champagne, but until I can hear the crackle of the wires in Maesteg, Ebbw Vale and Treorchy I’m not going to hold my breath. Because there’s a world of difference between announcing that something will happen and actually achieving it. And Craig’s eager to have a pop at Labour for not electrifying during their 13 years’ tenure at Westminster. But since Craig is so keen to make comparisons across the border let’s have a look at England. A country where lines were being electrified in the 1930s and which has about 50% of its lines electrified already. So successive UK governments of all colours have been happy to let Wales founder for at least 80 years in a rapidly diminishing club of non-electrified European countries that now puts Wales in the august company of Albania and Moldova.
As in the previous post, I’m glad that pensioners are receiving a significant increase in allowance after several years of (inflation adjusted) parsimony under Labour. I’ll pose the same question as last time: where’s the money coming to pay for it? At least partially, it’s coming from eroded services and cuts in benefits. But those are the choices of government.
And as in the previous leaflet, Craig is very good at trumpeting tax cuts without revealing how much better off the top 1% will be as a result of his party’s activities. And once again we see Craig’s commitment to police officers trudging the streets rather than protecting the public in ways that might actually be effective.
It’s good to see a focus on education, and Wales’ slipping down the international league tables is a cause of concern to most people. In this he’s spot on to slam Labour, who’ve presided over this alarming slump in performance since 2006. But it’s a little ironic for him to be raising the £604 less per pupil that is spent in Wales on education, because that’s just about equal to or less than the £300-£750 million underfunding that Wales suffers as a result of the Barnett formula. Get your party to fix the formula, Craig, and watch that gap fall away.