Saturday, February 27, 2010

Words that speak for themselves.

Bought the Western Mail today. Not many do in Montgomeryshire, but I like to find out what's happening in Welsh politics. Well, the front page headline was a bit discouraging. "A vote for the Tories will leave Wales out in the cold, warns PM". Now I reckon that this is a 24 carrot stupid comment, but I decided to read on and discover just what had prompted such warped use of language.

Most of the article was about the importance of 'the Union', and seemed to be aimed at challenging Plaid Cymru, rather than the 'Tories'. But it did go on to discuss the Barnett Formula (the formula which is used to calculate how much public money comes to Wales) and a comment from the Prime Minister. It referred to his acceptance that all parts of the UK should be funded according to need, and he is reported to have said; "how you implement that depends on you coming forward with proposals to do so, and we're always ready to look at any proposals that come forward". This from the man who ran the Treasury from both 11 and 10 Downing Street for the last 13 years, and did nothing about it. And there are already such proposals (from Gerry Holtham) on his desk, and have been there for months !!"

Eventually, I reached page 30 of the same edition, where George Osborne, the Conservative Shadow Chancellor is quoted as saying "My initial look at the Formula suggests that Wales might well be missing out under the Barnett arrangements. I think it is in Wales' interest that we have that needs-based assessment, which is independently done". That sounds like a promise to me. And this from the man still widely expected to occupy 11 Downing Street in 10 weeks time, (despite the closing opinion polls) and who has been scrupulously careful not to commit to promises that cannot be kept. Now that, I would have thought, was a story that did justify a front page headline. But then, I'm not a journalist.

Sometimes there is no need to express judgement about the veracity of a headline. Words just speak for themselves.


Anonymous said...

not a criticism Glyn but the Western Mail is owned by Trinity Mirror and is more favourable to Labour and left leaning politicians so this type of thing is given top billing, if the Tories want better coverage they should think about setting up a centre right newspapers here in Wales.

On George Osborne's comments on Barnett they are interesting, but the same dilemma applies to any UK Government (Labour or Tory) are they prepared to reduce the Scottish block grant and give more ammunition to the SNP to claim the unfairness of the Union?

Glyn Davies said...

Anon - Personally, I've always found the Western Mail to be fair and balanced. In particular, I have great respect for Martin Shipton and David Williamson.

George Osborne's comments are very interesting indeed, and suggest that a future Conservative Government would look at fairer funding across all the nations of the UK at an early stage. It ought to have been big news.