Our Public Affairs Manager, James Butler, looks into the Plaid Cymru manifesto:
They call it an “Action Plan” rather than a manifesto. In truth the document is more a statement of values and intent by Plaid Cymru (the Party of Wales) rather than anything else. A slightly visually confusing publication, it is distinctly ‘policy light’, in contrast to their 2015 manifesto which contained an extremely detailed offer to the electorate.
Plaid Cymru’s ire is aimed firmly at the Conservatives and Labour: “People in Wales are facing a tidal wave of attacks from the Conservatives. We can no longer hide behind the crumbling wall of Labour.”Perhaps my impression is a false one, but the tone of the document feels more pessimistic and doom laden than the 2015 manifesto.
Coming from a party which campaigned to Remain, the Action Plan seeks to articulate a position which respects the views of the electorate of Wales which voted to Leave, with the benefits they believe EU membership granted. They note that Wales is “at threat of losing the £680m a year it currently received in funding form the EU” and they will “secure the money promised to Wales by the Leave campaign. We will not accept a penny less.” And, Wales faces a “debilitating trade deal with the EU where Wales’s interests are last on the agenda” and they will “fight to get the best possible Brexit deal for Welsh industry and agriculture.”
In reaction to the “England-only HS2” they demand more money for transport in Wales, and oppose the £5bn renovation of the Parliament, and the £400m renovation of Buckingham Palace “so that we can invest in the people of Wales rather than the establishment” – disappointing given how pro-social Parliament’s procurement policy is.
Their energy policy is more enlightened. They will “increase energy generation from renewables including delivering tidal lagoons in Swansea Bay, Cardiff and Colwyn Bay…and will transfer responsibility over Welsh energy production and natural resources to the National Assembly”
In summary, there’s not much social economy in the document. It’s a step backwards from their outward-looking and optimistic 2015 manifesto. In Plaid Cymru’s view, the country is going to hell in a handcart and they’re the only ones who will look out for the Welsh.
Will Mark make it in Macclesfield?
We wouldn’t normally cover the manifestos of independents or minor parties, but it is perhaps worth flagging up Mark Johnson’s manifesto. An independent candidate in Macclesfield, his manifesto is ram packed with social economy solutions. He is calling for a Young People’s Bond which will invite local people and businesses to invest in education, training and youth projects; the creation of a new not for profit Community Interest Company to provide properly joined up health, social care and support services for older people locally; and the introduction of the Macc Pound.
Will Mark make it? History shows that independents don’t tend to get elected. What his manifesto shows is that social economy solutions are bubbling out there.