Plaid Cymru Thinks BigPosted: 14/10/2013 | |
Though I support Wales’ continued membership of the UK, and have my concerns about further devolution of powers from the UK government to the Welsh Assembly, I have a good deal more patience for Plaid Cymru (that’s the Party for Wales, commonly known as the Welsh nationalists) than many other political parties. Wales was the cradle of British socialism for a reason, and that is the fundamental compatibility between collectivist aspects of Welsh culture and left ideology. It’s something that Plaid has built itself on, and has remained true to even as the Labour Party wavered towards neo-liberalism.
That’s why I watched Leanne Woods (Plaid’s newish leader) give her speech to party Conference in Aberystwyth last week. I can see why she is credited with restoring her party’s fortunes (it is now polling in a strong third place), moderating its nationalist stance and offering radical policies that would benefit the ‘ninety nine percent’. A Plaid Cymru administration in Cardiff would set up a publicly owned energy provider that would operate not to make a profit but to stabilise energy prices as much as possible. There’d also be rent controls imposed on the private housing sector, and the recruitment of 2,000 new NHS nurses funded by a tax on sugar-ridden soft drinks.
A fair deal on energy and housing and a better-equipped NHS can be offered with no increase in general taxation. That’s why these policies are impressive: they can be implemented by spending very little money. The only problem I have with them is that we in the Labour Party haven’t adopted the lot. Labour in Wales and nationally have a good vision for the future, and there are thousands of Labour councillors, AMs, MSPs and MPs working hard for their constituents. They are just let down slightly by the moderate official policy platform.
As a Labour Party member, I trust in my party to be the best choice in virtually all elections. Welsh Assembly elections are no different: I do not endorse Plaid Cymru. However, I’d point out that Plaid and Labour have worked in a constructive coalition in the past, and have the common values upon which to co-operate again. With both sides having so much to offer, I’d urge them not to rule anything out.