Thursday, 15 April 2010

Plaid Manifesto 2010

I attended the successful Plaid Cymru manifesto launch at the Wales Millennium Centre this week, where we outlined the principles our party stands for in our bid to re-elect a record number of MPs to Parliament.

The trio of Elfyn Llwyd, Adam Price and Hywel Williams has garnered a reputation among political commentators with no axe to grind for punching above their weight. The Celtic bloc with the SNP, could place Plaid Cymru in a position to secure major concessions for Wales if the election result is balanced, as many of the polls are predicting.

One of the core principles underpinning many of our seven priorities is our call to protect the most vulnerable in society against the coming cuts. Plaid believes that people on the lowest incomes should not be made to pay for the mistakes of the banking elite, who are largely to blame for putting the UK’s finances in the red by their greed for profits.

We have called for frontline health and education budgets to be protected and the unfair Barnett funding formula, which short changes Wales by over £300 million every single year, to be reformed.

We have also called for a living pension to be introduced so that pensioners are not forced to choose between heating and eating. Starting with the over 80s, we have costed the raising of a single person’s pension to £130 a week and a couple’s pension to £202 a week.

The Environmental Action Plan aims to tackle and prepare for the effects of climate change, an issue which must be at the fore for any responsible government. We want to stimulate a green revolution in our economy which will ensure much-needed investment in community-based farming and small scale manufacturing.

Having been unjustly sidelined by the BBC during the scheduling of the televised election debates, I was glad to see good attendance from the various media outlets, both national and UK-wide. Early signs are that the London-based media is devoting more time to political issues in Wales and while the coverage is not as extensive as it should be, it is a step in the right direction. With many people in Wales relying upon London-based papers or news bulletins for their election information, this enhanced coverage is crucial. Without it, people risk being misinformed. Debates about health or education policy at a UK level rarely have any relevance here in Wales, but people are given the impression that they can vote on those issues in this election, when in Wales and Scotland they can't.

There is an alternative to the cuts agenda of the three main UK political parties and Plaid’s parliamentary candidates are prepared to fight for the interests of the working class - even if it means taking on big business and greedy bankers.

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