The Port Talbot steelworks [Image: Getty].

The Port Talbot steelworks [Image: Getty].

Love him or hate him, Carwyn Jones was right to say the UK government has been slow to respond to the Tata steel crisis. Tata-tonic would be a better word.

It is heartening that the Welsh Assembly has £60 million available to help smooth a new owner’s transition into the Port Talbot works, and other Tata sites.

But isn’t it a shame that the only prospective buyers, so far, are from India and Germany? What does that tell us about British industry?

It tells This Writer that, after nearly 40 years of neoliberal vampirism, the UK’s industrial base is dying.

And the Tories like it that way.

They’ve sold national assets like rail, water, electricity, gas and nuclear power to foreign nationalised industries – so obviously it’s okay for other national governments to run our utilities.

And they famously sold the Royal Mail to hedge funds.

They said it was in the name of the free market, but from where This Writer is sitting, very little about the market seems free. The current situation with steel is about Chinese protectionism.

But still the Tories are chattering about their silly little ideology.

While they couldn’t care less about British steel, they have failed to understand that the rest of the world couldn’t care less about them.

First Minister Carwyn Jones has said the British steel industry cannot be allowed to die, as assembly members reconvene to discuss the Tata crisis.

Assembly election campaigning has been suspended for the crisis recall after Tata Steel UK went up for sale.

About 6,000 Welsh jobs are under threat, including more than 4,000 in Port Talbot.

The assembly meeting comes after tycoon Sanjeev Gupta was linked to a potential purchase of the plant.

Opening the assembly session on Monday, Mr Jones said: “I have one simple message for the people of Wales and the UK government – these plants cannot close.”

The first minister said it emerged at the weekend that it was not the European Union holding the UK back, “but the other way around”.

Mr Jones said he would support UK government ownership if necessary while a buyer was being found.

AMs banged their desks in support when he ended his statement by saying he wanted the assembly to tell steelworkers: “We stand beside you, shoulder to shoulder.”

Source: Tata Steel: Industry cannot be allowed to die, Jones says – BBC News

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