Adam Price’s Blog

The Blog of Adam Price AS/MP, Carmarthen East and Dinefwr

Adam Price MP / AS - Carmarthen East and Dinefwr

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Archive for August 14th, 2009

14th August 2009

A Tory Victory: ten consequences for Wales

The surprise news on the UK Government’s conversion to electrification of the Great Western main line to West Wales was a landmark decision and is the first step in the campaign to have a high-speed rail link through London into the European main land as air travel will become prohibitively expensive over the next thirty years due to a combination of peak oil and climate change policy.  The Conservatives’ immediate response that they would dump this policy is very bad news for Wales.  It also contrasts with their refusal, so far, at least to apply the same logic to the Crossrail proposal which the financial lobby in the City of London and Boris Johnson continue to clamour for.  Wales it seems is not the same priority for the Tories as London. Plus ca change.

Which raises the question what else could be at stake if the Tories are elected at Westminster.  Here’s my best guess:

2.  A wholly  undemocratic (as it doesn’t represent the political balance of Welsh MPs but the composition of the House of Commons) Welsh Affairs Committee will render the LCO process even more unworkable.

3.  A Conservative government in Westminster may delay or reject a demand for a referendum on further powers on the basis that it may split the Tory Party and would be an unwelcome distraction in Cameron’s first year.

4.  Anti-EU Conservatives would push for the renationalisation of EU regional policy which means that West Wales and the Valleys,which would on current predictions at least qualify for transitional funding worth £700 million post-2013 when the current programme ends, would lose out.

5.  Where Labour deny plans to privatise the Royal Mint, and have put them on hold for the Royal Mail, it would be full speed ahead with the Conservatives. 

6.  Cuts, cuts, and more cuts in public spending would hit Wales disproportionately hard – especially with no commitment to bring in a needs-based formula. 

7.  Digital Britain’s lifeline to English-language television in Wales is unlikely to survive the onset of a Tory Government – and BBC Wales too will be put on ‘rations’ (to use a topical turn of phrase). 

8.   Every cloud has a silver lining I hear some of you thinking – and it’s difficult to see the multi-billion pound Defence Training Academy surviving Liam Fox/George Osborne’s promised defence expenditure review.  Nor do I detect much enthusiasm on the Tory benches for the Severn Barrage.  Good news for peace campaigners and conservationists, but a disappointment for Welsh construction and engineering.

9.  The Conservatives promise to be even more swingeing in their attack on the economically inactive – and since we have more of these in Wales than almost anywhere else, the result in the short-term at least will be even less disposable income.

10.   English votes on English laws together with the probable dropping of the Secretary of State for Wales from the Cabinet will mean this will be an English Government and an English Parliament (with English Priorities) like nothing we have seen in the modern period.   

Let’s hope a hung Parliament remains a possibility.