Posted by: VM | 10 August 2009

Government Stalls – “We do not want to be producers of wind turbines”

Workers’ Climate Action has issued the following press release:

The climate change minister, Joan Ruddock, yesterday [Friday] refused to take any further action to prevent the closure of the Vestas wind turbine plant on the Isle of Wight, where workers are staging a picket and regular protests to protect their jobs.

Ruddock informed activists and constituents at a surgery in her constituency on Friday (August 7th) that the government had met with Vestas workers along with the RMT union and the TUC the day before, but said that Vestas had refused financial incentives to carry on production in the UK. Ruddock said that Vestas ‘wanted to move their own factory for commercial reasons.’

When pushed on the issue, Ruddock admitted that the government had not looked into the option of nationalisation, and refused to consider the option, despite the claiming that ‘We do agree on the general point of keeping manufacturing jobs in the UK.’

Ruddock attempted to justify the government’s position, saying ‘The government does not want to be producers of wind turbines.’



  1. Too busy playing at being bankers and propping up the car industry!!

  2. VESTAS: Was it Necessary? – Of Course it was!!!

    After 18 days of occupation by workers the question arises about whether it was necessary for workers to stage such a protest in such a manner. The question is of course rhetorical, the answer is absolutely it was and why so? Because the company, the government and the mainstream media wanted to ignore the issue but they did not get away with it. This is where the victory lies. The marginalised workers ceased to be marginalised. The workers took the political discussion to the world audience and they listened. The Government has had to listen in the end to the arguments to protect the environment and the need for investment in renewables and low carbon technology. The demand for investment in a new social programme is the vision for the future and a practical means to reorganise production after economic crisis.

    Why do workers have to protest in such a fashion? The answer lies in the system of Representative Democracy. Only when there is Democratic Renewal of the political process and the anachronistic mechanisms of democracy can such extra parliamentary political activity come to and end. Until then it must grow and develop.
    The examples of the extreme limitations of Representative Democracy can be seen even when there were millions who opposed the war in Iraq but the executive of Government, the Cabinet, and Tony Blair still took us to war.
    Vestas has its own example. Simon Hughes raised the issue of the closure of the plant and Ed Miliband responded in parliament in the climate debate. Yet after a short response, it was dismissed in Parliament and not debated but thrown on one side. Only after intense media attention to the occupation has the issue been responded to once more.

    Gordon Brown has said that he is to start chairing twice-weekly meetings of a new National Democratic Renewal Council as part of his attempt to restore public trust in Parliament. The council, in effect a new cabinet subcommittee, will be made up of ministers and is expected to take advice from outside experts, including figures from other parties and constitutional experts. The government is still looking at a separate constitutional convention or citizens’ summit to involve all parties and examine wider issues.

    This is a reference to the first speech Brown made to the Commons as Prime Minister. This is its conclusion:

    “I propose that we start the debate and consult on empowering citizens and communities in four areas…. In Britain we have a largely unwritten constitution. To change that would represent a fundamental and historic shift in our constitutional arrangements. So it is right to involve the public in a sustained debate about whether there is a case for the United Kingdom developing a full British Bill of Rights and duties, or for moving towards a written constitution. Because such fundamental change should happen only when there is a settled consensus on whether to proceed, I have asked my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Justice to lead a dialogue within Parliament and with people across the United Kingdom by holding a series of hearings, starting in the autumn, in all regions and nations of the country, and we will consult with all the other parties on this process…”

    Where are the people?
    So Gordon Brown proposes a National Democratic Renewal Council. According to this it seemingly consists of a sub-committee of the cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister that will invite expert witnesses from outside. A Constitution is not something granted by those in power, it comes from below not above. It is drawn up by the People itself, precisely to protect itself from the arbitrary use of power.

    It is not just about Constitution.
    The Vestas workers protest has therefore become a discussion about workers becoming political and holding political discussion and becoming Worker Politicians. It is about the future of decision making with the people being properly represented. It is not about mainstream political parties in power making decisions separate from people or ignoring people as is the case with the Isle of Wight mainstream party Council, like Conservative Pugh, who has totally ignored the workers and does so even now.
    For the first time in many years, as a consequence of “New Labour” in particular, the Parliament has been emptied of workers. There is little representation there. Because of the dominance of the cartel parties there is no selection of MP’s elected by collectives from the people of Britain. The Executive, the Cabinet of Ministers, is still separated from the Legislature and rogue MP’s cannot be recalled until another election. There is an urgent need for Democratic Renewal of the political system.

    The Occupation at Vestas became a method for workers to end marginalisation over a key subject. It has raised the importance of establishing new methods of discussion and the crucial question of new mechanisms for modern democracy and renewal of the democratic system. How are issues to be disseminated? What discussion groups, committees and fora should be set up in future? It changes the nature of the action in a qualitative manner so that the reactive becomes proactive and in such a way that long term solutions can be found, by the working class, to the issues and how these might be tackled tactically and strategically in future.

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