by Julian Ruck
It seems that Carwyn Jones now fancies himself as a latter day Biggles, without the goggles.
Allow me to give you yet another classic example of Welsh Labour’s fantasy economics.
On the 27th March 2013, the Welsh Government announced it had purchased Cardiff International Airport Ltd from TBI Ltd as a going concern for £52,000,000, claiming that technically, this was not a “nationalisation” as TBI was a “willing seller” and not being compelled to flog the asset – a bit of Carwyn’s legal training here if you ask me, semantic gymnastics at its best.
First minister Carwyn further announced,” The airport will not be operated by the Welsh government. It will be managed at arm’s length from government on a commercial basis and over time, I expect to see a return to the public purse on the investment.”
The £34,311,000 valuation in 2010 (calculated as shareholders funds minus intangible assets) – the accounts of Cardiff international airport filed with Companies House in 2011, showed a £319,000 loss – seemed to have passed Carwyn by, he was probably too busy with his tailor trying to work out what colour robes to wear at his next druidical extravaganza.
For the record, the chief executive of Cardiff’s main rival, Bristol airport, one Robert Sinclair, observed that the £52,000,000 paid was “well above market value when compared to recent transactions involving UK airports – it gives us concern that ongoing government involvement and support is highly likely.”
In other words Carwyn will give Cardiff an unfair advantage over its competitors and to hell with competition law, he’s a togged up blue druid after all, so he can do what he likes.
So far, he has yet to provide any evidence or business model that supports value for money for the taxpayer, due diligence tests prior to the announcement and how on earth he is going to make up the losses?
But then this is Welsh Labour, so openness and evidential justification for decision making tends to be for the seagulls hovering around Cardiff bay. It’s the same old approach: throw taxpayers’ money at it and to hell with sustainability.
It should be noted here, that the administration has refused to respond to a FoI request (par for the course it must be said, there are umpteen examples of this lot’s aversion to democratic oversight) for the publication of Cardiff task force meeting minutes. This being the case, with the best will in the world one cannot help but wonder if any brown envelopes have been passed around, who exactly benefits from this aviation farce, who are the contractors involved?
To readers of Uncut, can you imagine the firestorm that would erupt in Westminster if any one of the political parties tried to exercise such secrecy and lack of transparency?
No scrutiny? No accountability? Margaret Hodge would have a field day!
Ed, you really must start taking a closer look at Welsh Labour, they are bringing the whole Labour movement into disrepute, on a grand scale.
NB Carwyn Jones, first minister; Mark Drakeford, health minister; Edwina Hart, minister for economy; John Griffiths, minister for culture; Huw Lewis, minister for education.
All the above have refused outright to even comment let alone be interviewed, on the serious issues I have raised both on Uncut and in my Welsh press columns.
Such is the respect for democratic accountability we have from our Welsh leaders.
Julian Ruck is an author, columnist and Freedom of Information campaigner. He also makes contributions to both Welsh and national broadcasting and media.