MichaelCD - The Blog.

The thoughts of Michael Cadwallader. Coffee loving, history book reading, Cheshire man.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Late reflections on Election

Plaid Cymru had a poor election. They lost Ceredigion and failed to take top target Môn.

Plaid Parliamentary leader Elfyn Llwyd said they must find out what has gone wrong and learn from any mistakes.

Looking around their website I understand why they have been declining . I suppose their continued shift to the left was an attempt to match what the Lib Dem's did in England, i.e. attract disgruntled former Labour voters. It failed miserably. No party except Labour has a chance in the Valleys and any attempt to court that vote is doomed to fail. The fact that the Lib Dems now seem to favour the Social Democratic part over the Liberal part has also squeezed them out of the centre-left. Their "decentralised socialism" has become Old Labour without the name Labour.

Economically speaking the claim that Wales could do an Ireland is even more of a joke. Tony Blair and Gordon Brown may understand 21st economic reality but The Assembly are manifestly Old Labour; public spending is at 59% of the local economy, Council tax has increased by 79 per cent in Wales since 1997 e.t.c. What's Plaid's response?
More tax. The Plaid view is that only high government spending can close the gap between rich and poor, yet as I have said earlier Labour have increased spending in bureaucracy and as Plaid acknowledge the Welsh economy has declined since 1997, so surely they can see that high government spending doesn't help.

As Daffydd Iwan mentioned Ireland as a role model for Wales why doesn't he examine how they achieved such growth.

Many economists credit Ireland's low taxation rate (10 to 12.5 percent throughout the late 1990s) and business-friendlyregulation policies as responsible for much of the growth.

A consequence of this was
Public debt was dramatically cut (it stood at about 34% ofGDP by the end of 2001) to become one of Europe's lowest, enabling public spending to double without any significant increase in taxation levels.

Plaid seem to think that taking a begging bowl to the EU is the way Ireland did it and therefore is the way forward for Wales too.

There are sensible proposals within the Plaid paper, unlike the Metropolitan centric Labour and the Lib Dems who are a party of the surburbs, Plaid have proposals to strengthen the rural economy and I agree that an obsession with GDP as the only way of ranking the economy is not helpful but they mainly tread the path of Labour and the Lib Dems an already over-subscribed world view. Mesasures like reducing fuel tax which effects rural areas far more than town dwellers, are not even considered due to this ideology.

Until Plaid become a moderate, centrist party, such as the Lib Dems were under Paddy Ashdown then they are not "The Party Of Wales" but a poor 3rd place in the rank of the parties of the left. They should put Wales first and ditch the socialism.


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