At Plaid Cymru’s manifesto launch they demand the same powers as Scotland and the same cash as them too. But the campaign is criticised by an ex-leader of the party.
Apart from wanting the same cash and powers as Scotland Plaid Cymru’s other ambitions are that all Welsh workers are paid a living wage by 2020; an extra 1,000 doctors are employed in the Welsh NHS; that Trident is scrapped as also is the bedroom tax.
Having ruled out a deal with the Tories, Leanne Wood is resting her hopes on Labour delivering Plaid’s manifesto ambitions.
According to Plaid’s arithmetic if Wales has the same level of public spending per head as Scotland for devolved services it would result in an extra £1.2bn a year for the Welsh government.
Voters not convinced
But a former leader of Plaid Cymru Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas seemed to pour cold water on the party’s efforts to win the
hearts and mind of Welsh voters.
He told radio listners “I have no issue with the decision of the Welsh people to vote for the Labour Party, because they clearly haven’t been convinced that we are a better alternative.”
“In Scotland the SNP have convinced them, it seems to me from the polls, and therefore that’s our responsibility, we have to have a better election than we’ve ever had before.”
What is certain is that the peer’s intervention is not helpful to the party as they launch their manifesto.
Confusion on dealings with SNP
Undoubtedly, there has been confusion in the party’s ranks in how it would negotiate in Westminster.
Leanne Wood said her party and the SNP do not share common ground on Welsh funding from Westminster.
But Plaid’s general election campaign co-ordinator Lord Wigley told the party’s conference that he was “pleased to tell the conference that we have an understanding from our friends in the SNP that they too will support giving Wales the same budget settlement as Scotland.”
Clearly contradictory messages.
In truth the interests of Scotland are in the continuation of the Barnet formula with its inbuilt advantage to them, but this is at Wales’s expense.
It’s in Wales’s interest to see a different funding formula based on need. Clearly a very different interest to that of the SNP.
Dafydd Wigley recognised this when he said that a “potentially powerful SNP” was already “calling the shots and framing the agenda.”
And that’s why he called for a “strong group of Plaid MPs” to put Wales on an equal footing with Scotland. But three or even Wigley’s six may not be enough of a tail to wag a Labour dog on their own.
Need to ask questions
Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas’s intervention may not be welcomed by the party and his timing may be unfortunate, but he’s asking the right question.
Why has Plaid Cymru singularly failed to make inroads into Labour’s hegemony in Wales when apparently the SNP are succeededing so spectacularly in Scotland?
An election campaign is not the time for introspection but undoubtedly it’s a question that Plaid Cymru needs to honestly ask itself before next year’s Assembly elections.