Labour and the Tories have embraced the maxim that ‘greed is good’
Jack Morris, Plaid Cymru Senedd candidate for Alyn and Deeside
The saying “greed is good” was immortalised by the character of corporate raider Gordon Gekko, in the feature film about rapacious profiteering, Wall Street.
But this attitude is far from limited to films, because in the UK we have spent the past forty years living under an economic system that celebrates the rich getting richer and stigmatises the poor as deserving of their fate.
Both the Conservatives and Labour embraced this maxim. Their attitudes towards financial regulation aped each other throughout the 1990s and 2000s. This contributed to the financial crash of 2008 from which the ordinary working man and woman have yet to recover.
Such attitudes have also had a corrosive effect on our collective wealth. Within my lifetime alone we have seen numerous state companies privatised, from airports to electric companies to British Rail to the Post Office to the Student Loans book.
The Post Office was one very telling example which saw many, including Peter Davies of Lansdowne Partners, make a very handsome profit. This hedge fund saw their £50m stake increase in value to £86m. Conveniently, Davies acted as George Osbourne’s best man.
It is not only in underselling our collective assets that this attitude has pervaded. In 2019 our Senedd was one of the first parliaments in the world to declare a climate emergency, which is being accelerated by carbon emissions into our shared atmosphere.
Beyond this, we have seen scandals involving nuclear mud being dumped in Cardiff Bay, all while being refused the resources to invest in 21st Century projects such as the Swansea Tidal Lagoon which would have been a source of clean, green energy.
It is hardly a surprise that our communities, our shared spaces, have suffered dramatically while greed and selfishness prevail.
Austerity, that Conservative electoral con, has closed many of our shared spaces, such as libraries, youth clubs and community centres, while cutting the emergency services to the bone. Walking through the streets of Connah’s Quay, all I see is neglect. Litter is rife. Graffiti is daubed on empty shops. There is nothing for children to do to entertain themselves. Many residents feel unsafe at night.
I am running in the coming Senedd election as the Plaid Cymru candidate for Alyn and Deeside because I believe a better world is possible for us all, and wish to help bring that vision into being.
We have to accept the changing modern world, which has seen our high streets diminish in value as commercial areas. However, they need not be seen as no-go zones, and instead can be repurposed as community hubs containing cafes, play areas, libraries, art centres and safe spaces for our children and the elderly.
After the past year of lockdown we are all in desperate need to socialise with long missed friends and family, and we are all no doubt tired of looking at the same four walls at home.
Our decaying high streets can provide those spaces, but the political will is lacking. The pandemic has demonstrated that the communitarian spirit is alive and well, with neighbours across Wales helping each other in unprecedented numbers.
It is my dream to harness this spirit of collectiveness and community to enable us all to become richer.