Good parents


By Manon Ellis Williams.

Ieuan Wyn Jones's analogy at the Spring Conference brought to mind the classic scenario: mummy and daddy don't love each other any more, but it's nothing you've done and we still love you very much. I'm not comparing the voting public with upset children, but I do wonder how they will cope with the oncoming turmoil of the general election in Wales. Torn between the parents they know and an extended family vying for custody, which way will they go?

As a member of Plaid Cymru, I believe that the best place for the family of Wales is with a Plaid government. However, I have a feeling that what worries people is not who's running the household, but will they be any good at it.

There is little to distinguish one political party from another – all promise to make life easier/better/safer/insert own adjective here. But when it comes to delivery, there is a glacial valley between talk in the Senedd and what happens to someone in their community on any ordinary day of the week. The disconnect between policy and practice, between decision-makers and those affected by decisions is scorned as fallacy. But it is real, and it is a real concern for voters.

The challenge for Plaid Cymru is not to make its manifesto wildly exciting and different, it is the opportunity to make it speak directly to Mrs, Miss and Mr Jones of Anytown, Wales. If we want to do what every other political party has ever done, we could just fill in the blanks here.

We're better than that and we also don't need to resort to anger and blame, excessive comforting or emotional blackmail to get our way. We have policies that make sense and make people take notice. Policies that are based on solid values and solid research and that address the key problems facing us in Wales. More importantly, we have the belief, confidence and skills to make these policies leap off the dusty shelves and into people's lives.

The challenge for the May 2011 campaign is to ensure everyone in Wales knows this, and this won't be achieved by getting caught up in post-matrimonial scuffles, arguments with neighbours and pointing fingers at aunties who insist they know best. We cannot take our stalwart supporters for granted and we cannot assume that everyone really understands the consequences of rabid privatisation, erosion of basic rights and myriad other 'hidden' agendas.

We must remember that the interests of the people of Wales are paramount. We must clearly explain what we plan to do, how and when, and how they will participate and be fully involved every step of the way. Isn't that what good parents do?