Davies hits out at dismissal of Welsh Leavers as Cairns coms under fire over tidal lagoon
Andrew RT Davies, the leader of the Welsh Conservatives, has attacked the tendency of some Remainers to dismiss Brexit as an ‘English’ issue.
Writing for Brexit Central Davies, who broke with the Welsh political establishment to campaign for Brexit, argues that the vote has exposed how disconnected much of the Cardiff Bay political class is from popular opinion.
A particular highlight is that Carwyn Jones, the embattled First Minister who predicted that Brexit might lead Welsh voters to “choose between two unions”, saw his own seat back Leave by a ten-point margin.
Davies acknowledges that the anti-Brexit brinksmanship of the devocrats makes more sense in Scotland and Northern Ireland, which voted Remain, but should have pointed out that even in Scotland the unrepresentative homogeneity of the governing class creates a democratic deficit against Leavers.
Thus far, however, the Welsh Tories seem to have struggled to convert calling Brexit right into ongoing electoral success, as they lost three seats in June’s general election despite an increased vote. Perhaps the scandal currently engulfing Jones will give them the opening they need.
In other news Alun Cairns, the Welsh Secretary, has come under fire over allegations that the British Government is losing interest in building a tidal lagoon in Swansea bay, according to Wales Online.
According to the Financial Times, ministers are sceptical that the ‘eye-wateringly’ expensive project offers value for money. It was intended to be a pilot for a potential series of electricity-generating lagoons around the British coast. Despite a review recommending rapid approval last year, the fact that costs for other renewable energy sources are falling has apparently prompted the Government to think twice.
Wales Online reports that Cairns was subjected to a “highly personal” round of questioning on the subject by the Welsh Affairs committee on Tuesday.
SNP’s teacher shortage deepens as they crack down on private schools
John Swinney, the Scottish Government’s education secretary, has told a Holyrood committee that even more teachers have left the profession in Scotland this year than ministers had predicted.
According to the Scotsman he is considering a range of possible remedies, such as making a move on pay and waiving postgraduate course fees for ‘switchers’ who want to move into teaching and plug gaps in the service.
Earlier this week one council, in the former SNP heartland of Moray, warned parents that pupils might have to attend school part-time due to a lack of staff.
In other education news, the SNP have indulged their populist side by moving to charge private schools full business rates. Headteachers warn that this will cost the taxpayer money as more pupils move back into the state sector – which the dire teacher shortages suggest is already overstretched.
According to the Scottish Council of Independent Schools, it would only take three per cent of pupils to return to state schools to wipe out the projected £5 million windfall for the Scottish Government from the rates rise.
Official at heart of Ulster’s heating scandal admits he should have warned Foster
One of the civil servants who played a key role in designing Northern Ireland’s ‘Renewable Heat Incentive’ programme, whose runaway costs eventually brought down the devolved executive, has said that Arlene Foster should have received more explicit warnings about the dangers.
Sam McBride, a Northern Irish journalist writing in the i, reports that Paul Hutchinson made these comments in front of the public inquiry into the scandal, in which subscribers to the scheme were caught turning a profit by heating empty buildings. Foster, the former First Minister and current leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, was the minister in charge of the Department for Enterprise, Trade, and Investment (DETI) when the RHI scheme was being drawn up.
Due to the removal of cost controls, which were present in the mainland legislation Stormont was mimicking, the programme ran wildly out of control and is estimated to have cost Northern Irish public services around £500 million over the next 20 years.
Martin McGuinness blamed Foster’s refusal to step aside whilst the RHI scheme was investigated for his decision to pull Sinn Fein out of the power-sharing administration and force the DUP into a disastrous snap election. However Foster’s position has recovered greatly since then (thanks in large part to strong Westminster performances by her party), and she will doubtless welcome anything which puts a bit of difference between her and renewable heating fiasco.