Friday, February 13, 2009

Andrew Gwynne the Eco-Tourist

We've rarely considered political figures beyond Longdendale and High Peak, since they are often shouting the loudest in favour of the Longdendale Bypass. But some new revelations lead us to turn the spotlight tonight on Andrew Gwynne, the Labour MP for Denton and Reddish, another big supporter of the Bypass. 

The reason is that it came to light a couple of weeks ago that Gwynne took a trip last year to Svalbard, islands in the Arctic Ocean, and part of Norwegian territory. According to an article in the Tameside Advertiser, Gwynne and the party he journeyed with were invited by the Royal Norwegian Assembly to survey the damage being done to the island by climate change in April last year. The top of the article describes Gwynne as an 'Eco MP'. We'll demonstrate that he is actually at best an Eco-Tourist.

Now you may remember some time ago that one of David Cameron's first jaunts as leader of the Tory party was to go on a holiday - sorry! - fact-finding trip to Svalbard for similar purposes. So it's in vogue for the political class to go and look how bad things are somewhere else rather than looking closer to home. The fact of the matter is that Gwynne was so concerned about what he found in the Arctic that he didn't bother to report his trip at the time it took place and make the most of the publicity, only when he had to declare it to the Parliamentary authorities for the Register of Member's interests 7 months later. This was clearly more of a holiday/junket than anything else - if you type "Andrew Gwynne" and "Svalbard" into Google, all you'll find is the Advertiser article and articles about the entry in the Register of Member's Interests - there are no articles to be found in foreign press, tourist board websites, environmental journals and the like. 

This is not the case for the other MPs taking the trip. Jamie Reed MP had an article on a local newspaper website within a month of the trip. Kerry McCarthy MP blogged about the trip within a week. Not be outdone, Jo Swinson MP did a podcast whilst she was there! (see entry 7th April). Only Tory Boy Greg Hands MP and Gwynne failed to mention it, demonstrating the depth of their sincerity/pathetic PR strategy (delete as appropriate)

Regarding his 'eco credentials', putting aside the bypass, we find that Gwynne is a strong supporter of Manchester Airport, and if one wants to know his position on Heathrow, visit his voting record page on and use your browser to search for 'Heathrow' - you'll find Gwynne, like Tom Levitt, is completely loyal to the Government's position in favour of expansion. And of course, we all know about his support for the Bypass. So how exactly can Gwynne be realistically described as an 'Eco MP'? At least Tom Levitt can bleat in support of a local Hydro Electric Power plant (however lacking in credibility said plant is) -  Gwynne presides over the Junction 24 M60 Roundabout at Denton, a site which has disastrous health implications for his constituents, yet he wants more of the same for the area - the construction of the Longdendale Bypass will massively expand road traffic congestion in this part of his constituency, as will any expansion of Manchester Airport for air traffic. 

If Gwynne was sincere about accepting his invitation from the Norwegian Government to see what Climate Change is doing to Svalbard, perhaps he should invite Norwegian officials to Denton to show them how sincere he is about making their situation much worse. Not to mention ours.

1 comment:

Stephen said...

Looks like Denton Island is going to get even worse in the near future as they appear to be installing traffic lights on the slip to the M60 clockwise...

Mind you, Tameside appear to be making another bid to get support for the bypass by closing Stalybridge Road completely and causing chaos. They also don't appear to have considered how people get from the Old Road / Roe Cross area on to the M67 as the only choice seems to be to go towards Hollingworth and try to turn around and join the queue back through Mottram.