Thursday, 23 July 2015

Potemkin villages in Wales.

The phrase "Potemkin village" (also "Potyomkin village", derived from the RussianПотёмкинские деревниPotyomkinskiye derevni) was originally used to describe a fake portable village, built only to impress. According to the story, Grigory Potemkin erected the fake portable settlement along the banks of the Dnieper River in order to fool Empress Catherine II during her journey to Crimea in 1787. The phrase is now used, typically in politics and economics, to describe any construction (literal or figurative) built solely to deceive others into thinking that some situation is better than it really is. 

According to the  Wasting Mule

 Prime Minister David Cameron will today come to Wales and say there is “real potential” for the Ministry of Defence to give up land at St Athan so the new Aston Martin SUV can be made in the UK.
The Conservative leader will also announce a £390m contract with Oakdale-based General Dynamics to support armoured fighting vehicles, which will bring 250 jobs to South Wales.
Mr Cameron’s push for St Athan, in the Vale of Glamorgan, to become a centre for Aston Martin production comes a half-decade after plans were shelved for a £14bn Defence Technical College at the site.

Mr Cameron said:
 “Here in Wales I think there is real potential to vacate Ministry of Defence land at St Athan and we’re willing to make that available as part of efforts to persuade Aston Martin Lagonda to manufacture their new prestige SUV in the UK.”
Its an interesting development in that the Prime Minister can come to Wales with a vague promise of Jobs  by offering land to a potential employer.
One wonders if his intent is to say "its the Conservatives in Westminster not Labour in the Assembly who are creating jobs in Wales by bringing manufactures here".

Surely if St Athan was to give up land it should be handed over to the Assembly for them to persuade manufactures to move there not for the Prime Minister to get publicity to make claims that there is no real indication that Austin Martin wil open in the Vale of Glamorgan.
 It is also been announced that disused fork-lift truck facility will become a “centre of excellence for engineering” and the industry home for the Scout SV tank.
And Mr Cameron will take  credit  having  announced after last year’s Nato summit at Newport’s Celtic Manor resort that the government would buy 589 of the vehicles.
General Dynamics’ support contract is now extended to 2024, and assembly, integration and testing, which previously took place overseas, will now take place in Wales.
How  many of these jobs will be "created" in Merthyr and how many will move from General Dynamics  is unclear.

But surely it is a worrying  factor that manufactures are only moving (Or appearing ) to because of a policy in Westminster.
We must ask ourselves why is the Welsh Assembly being overshadowed by the vague chance of job creation in South Athens and what may well be  a "Job Transfer" in Merthyr announced on a rare visit by a British Prime Minister.
Are the only new Job announcements only to come on a yearlyvisit from the Prime Minister?
Are 250 jobs a year the best we can hope for?
Whether they materialise  or not is open to question  but just like Potemkin villages they look good  at least for a short time.
If so the potential for jobs creation and growth look rare indeed.




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