Another way is possible


By Mabon ap Gwynfor, our candidate in Clwyd South.

The campaign is in full swing, and if you believe the tweets, blog postings and the facebook updates everybody’s going to win!

Personally I’m enjoying this campaign more than any since 1999! Partly because it’s my first time as a candidate for the National Assembly; but mainly because I’m an emotional character, and even though I’m not from the constituency, it means an awful lot to me. It’s where my wife and her family are from, a hard-working farming family earning their crust from the slopes of the Berwyn mountains; it’s a constituency which both my grandfather and my great-grandfather fought in the middle of the last century (one as a candidate for Meirionnydd, which included the Edeyrnion area, and the other as a candidate for Wrexham, which included everything except for Edeyrnion).

But the constituency also has hugely significant historical importance toWales, from thecairnsand hill-forts, to the battle of Crogen, Powys Fadog, Owain Glyndwr, and later the industrial revolution with the lead mines at Minera, the old Denbighshire coal fields, the steel works at Brymbo. Its also home toWales’ latest World heitage Site at Froncysyllte. It is genuinely an honour to be representing Plaid Cymru in Clwyd South.

But what of the campaign? Well, I’m not entirely sure what to make of things. While all of the parties have by now published their manifestos, the media seem more interested in running stories on opinion polls and manifesto errors rather than disecting the manifestos themselves. The various opinion polls are showing a clear win for Labour, with Plaid losing ground and the Tories gaining a little. This has in turn created the national narrative with hardly a column inch or a minute of air time given to debate the merrits of the various manifestos. But having walked the streets and talked to people on the doorstep it’s clear that a different picture emerges, or at least in Clwyd South!

The anger towards the Tories and the Liberals is palpable. Nobody has good word to say about their actions in London. But there is also a deep sense of betrayal by the Labour party, an awareness that Labour have proven themselves to be no different from the other three London parties.

What is proving difficult however is to focus the discussions on the Assembly and it’s role in our lives because there is such a burning anger towards the coalition government inLondon that blinds many to everything else.

The Labour party are, of course, only too aware of this and have made great play of it, making it the main plank of their campaign.

During the various hustings that I’ve attended the Labour candidate has said time and again that the people need to vote for Labour to show Cameron how angry they are and that they are opposed to these cuts.

But we need to ask ourselves whether that is the purpose of our National Assembly! Do we really want to elect a team of politicians pocketing our money only to sit in Cardiff Bay wagging a finger at Cameron and Clegg and tell them (in a falseto voice a la The Life Of Brian) “You’re a very naughty boy”…and do nothing else?

Is this really the what our National Assembly is for? Is this why we voted Yes on March 3rd?

The Labour candidate has made much of the fact that Labour in Government would shieldWalesfrom the Tories cuts.

I can see it now:

Georger Osborne: “We will cut DLA by a further 50%”

Labour in the Assembly: “But you can’t!”

Osborne: “Why not?”

Labour: “Because we’ve got a shield!”

Osborne: “You’ve got a what?!”

Labour: “A shield! Go on show it to them Carwyn! It’s nice and shiny it is too!”

Osborne: “Dave! Lil Nick! You better come here and have a look at this, those plebs inCardiffreckon that they can stop us with a shield”.

Dave: “What sort of shield is it? Is it like Barrack’s Misslie Defence shield? Or is it like the Star Ship Enterprise’s deflector shield?”

Peter Hain: “errr…no…it’s kind of plastic painted in silver, with a pretty picture of a gold dragon on the front.”

Carwyn: “Ow, Leighton, where did you get this shield thingy from but? You kept a receipt or what?”

Dave, Osborne & Lil Nick rolling on the floor with laughter.

That just about sums up Labour. Its all well and good to say that you’ll write stern letters to the Chancellor opposing the cuts, but what are they going to do with the budget allocated to the Assembly? How are they going to makeWalesa better, a fairer place to live?

What are their plans to improve education and give our children and youngsters the essential tools they need to forge a succesful career and contribute fullyto society?

I met a man in Chirk who was sending some 60 job applictaions off a week to no avail, and had been jobless for 18 months. What are Labour proposing to do for him?

There was a small business in Corwen who were struggling to make the business grow as they wanted because of the poor broadband service. What are Labour proposing to do do help this business?

There’s a small business in Llangollen that is concerned about its future because they’ve already received information about what the rates are going to be for them next year, a cost that could well jepoardise the business. What is Labour’s plan to help them?

I met an elderly lady in Rhos who had fallen ill, was in considearble discomfort and wanted to see a doctor, but there wasn’t one available for several days. She eventually went to A&E. What are Labour’s plans for her?

Plaid Cymru have developed an exciting manifesto, and I could answer each one of these  people with pledges about what we would do in each individual case. Our manifesto can be found here:  read it. Be inspired by it!

It’s a shame that more attention has been paid to various errors opinion polls rather than to the issues which matter. These are the issues which, if dealt with, will make the lives of the people ofWalesbetter. The people ofWalesdeserve to know what we have to offer. I say this because I know from experience that when people have the knowledge to make an informed decision they invariably choose Plaid Cymru. If they are kept in the dark about these vitally important issues then they will suffer another five years of failure. It is Labour’s policy to keep people in the dark as much as possible; muddy the waters, and divert attention away from their miserable record.

We have worked hard in Clwyd South not only to shine a light on Labour’s countless failures, but more importantly to show them another way.

We have a job of work to do over the next two weeks, to get tour message out not once, not twice, not even three times, but over and over again. We will only be able to do that with your help.

It’s not for any one person. It’s not even for Plaid Cymru. It’s for Wales.