"The arms that you wield now are not such as your forefathers wielded; but they are infinitely more effective, and infinitely more irresistable" ~ Cymru Fydd leaflet, 1890

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Fight or flight

Wales will never be able to compete with the other countries of the world if we are not even allowed to compete with the country next door. As long as we are a colony of England and as long as we keep electing politicians that refuse to fight for Wales we will never be anything more than the runt of the litter.

Obvious examples I've posted about recently are water, energy and even our mail service which are geared towards providing jobs in England. But another one that landed at the tail end of last year was the prospect of devolving air passenger duty.

Devolving APD would be beneficial to Wales, especially now that Cardiff Airport is a nationalised asset. Since everyone in Wales effectively co-owns this asset it's in our best interest for it to be an economic success. In the six counties, devolving APD is seen as a good thing by our London masters as it's a way of poaching customers from their neighbour and former British colony, The Republic of Ireland.

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In Wales however, if APD was devolved and our government was to reduce it as a quick way of lowering prices and poaching customers from English airports then that could cost jobs in England and boost jobs in Wales. A prospect that would have hit Bristol Airport in particular. It could also have boosted other Welsh airports such as the bizarrely named Chester Airport which is actually not in Chester at all, since Chester is not in Wales.

Up in Scotland their government has promised to slash APD by 50% in the event of a yes vote in the upcoming independence referendum, eventually they hope to abolish it. At the moment though, just like in Wales, APD is not devolved. So APD in Wales and Scotland is decided in London and any tax hikes by London are also applied here.

These maps I've started making are starting to look very familiar. The three Plaid Cymru MPs are all in favour of devolving APD as is the Ceredigion Lib Dem Mark Williams. Naturally you'd expect the Tories to be against it but first time readers might be surprised that Labour MPs from Welsh constituencies were against it too. Especially considering that it was the Assembly Members from the Labour Welsh Government that spent over £50 million buying Cardiff Airport and were fully supportive of devolving APD. Surely they want the airport to be a great success more than anyone otherwise it'll be a costly mistake, both financially and politically.

At this point I'm thinking that this difference between the Labour MPs and Labour AMs is one of two things. Either they are two completely different parties that just so happen to use the same branding. Or, Labour AMs are just pretending to say they want these things devolved knowing fully well that their masters in London will never allow their MPs to vote for it. If I had to choose, I'd say it was a bit of both.

Edit 10-02-2014
Peter Hain was on Radio Wales this morning telling his usual lies with a side order of hypocrisy thrown in. Firstly this man who wanted to stop the further law making powers referendum taking place accused the Tories of being anti-devolution. They he stated that his party wanted Air Passenger Duty devolved. I think I have shown above how this is clearly a lie. Unfortunately the Radio Wales interviewer wasn't capable or willing to expose him live on air for his lies and hypocrisy.

Edit 15-12-2014
Carwyn Jones has been banging on about how it would be discriminatory for the Tories to devolve APD to Scotland but not to Wales. Both Carwyn and FailsOnline conveniently forget that Labour MPs voted against devolving APD to Wales.

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