Where’s the imagination?


Sere Evans Fear is the Plaid Cymru candidate in the Rhondda.


We are in a time of austerity where ambition for Wales is critical to our success.  Our nation is not one that can afford to stand idly by in the face of the devastating cuts from Westminster; we need to present ideas to compensate for that hit.

This is the challenge to those political parties and politicians that knock on your door over the coming weeks but, as yet, there are some serious questions about who’s up to the job.

Labour, in particular, have been found wanting so far.  Their campaign has focused entirely on how loud they can whinge at the Westminster government.  Their policy ideas have been few and far between and, in many cases, are devoid of detail.

The core of their message seems not to be focussed on what they are proposing but what they want to protect.  Issues such as free prescriptions, free bus passes and free school milk have dominated their leaflets.  All of these issues are not new but existing.  For the record, all of these provisions have been given a commitment by Plaid Cymru so don’t be fooled by the well-worn scaremongering 'Vote Labour or lose your bus service' tactic.

Wales needs and deserves much more than Labour’s return to the culture of excuses.  Wales needs more than a government prepared to just sit on its hands and just shout abuse at Westminster.  This of course is not to say that the Tories and Lib Dems do not deserve to be pulled up on their failures on Wales.  Both Plaid and Labour are right to highlight where Wales is being ignored, marginalised and belittled by Westminster; but equally that has to be followed up with innovation.

Plaid Cymru has outlined just that sort of approach at this election.  We have criticised the way we have been treated by Westminster but instead of being willing to just accept 41% capital spending cuts we have proposed an alternative.  A way forward for our economy has been drawn up in the ‘Build for Wales’ policy that could create up to 50,000 jobs and plans to support 30,000 apprenticeships.  A better education system will be realised through plans to virtually eradicate illiteracy rates by 2020.  Connecting Wales through transport, broadband and mobile services and a health service fit for purpose are also part of Plaid's vision for Wales. 

The question is what are Labour offering?  A misleading and frankly odd interjection from Susan Elan Jones MP, scaremongering on the threat to withdraw existing services (that formed the brunt of their Westminster campaign lines) and a manifesto filled with arrogant complacency?  It is becoming increasingly clear that Labour intend to fight this election on sound bites not sound policies, on personality not progressive ideas and on negative complaining not ambitious campaigning. 

You can hardly blame them when their own record doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.  A failure to deliver for Wales in their 13 years of power at Westminster, a decade of decline on education and health and at a local level here in the Rhondda the Labour-led local authority has cut pay and conditions of the lowest paid council workers with a ruthlessness that would delight Thatcher.  Political parties should not be rewarded for failure.

The problem for Labour of course is that they have the constraints of having to follow a path set out for them by London.  Just like the Tories and Lib Dems, Labour in Wales ultimately answers to Labour in London.  That was made clear by the party when they announced that it was Ed Miliband not Carwyn Jones who leads the party overall in Wales.  When the Labour party in Wales can’t even stand up to their own bosses in London on issues like fair funding how can we ever expect them to stand up for Wales against the Westminster government?

The only way that Wales will have ambition, an economy that moves forward, a health service that matches its patients’ needs, an education system that gives children the best start in life, is if Plaid Cymru forms part of its government.  Anything else is simply accepting decline.

Vote Plaid twice on May 5th for a better Wales.