Tuesday, 8 January 2013
Every Tuesday morning all three opposition parties lay out their stall for the week. This morning was no different. But what was slightly different, the Plaid Cymru’s press conference. It was taken by their leader, Leanne Wood. An event that is as rare as a sunny day in Wales.
Her message. “As I said when I was elected as Plaid Cymru’s leader, the economy is my priority because without jobs people can have no security.”
In other words “it’s the economy stupid.”
But apart from advice as to how the government should spend the £227m capital boost announced in the Autumn Statement. Nothing yet of substance.
On the £227m. This apparently “should be used to stimulate the Welsh economy, using local procurement to create jobs and invest in skills in Welsh communities.”
But for Plaid’s definitive statement on the economy. Wait for it, we await for a Commission to report back on the matter.
‘Manana’ would seems to be Plaid Cymru’s word for urgency on the economy. It reminds one of the those student protest slogans, "We want change, when? In the fullness of time."
Yet Plaid Cymru have acted with speed on the internal reorganisation of the party. They’ve been able to digest and produce for a February internal conference ideas for reorganising the party’s rules and constitution. Oh, yes this can be done, but nothing yet on the economy.
It’s just what gets politics a bad name. Navel gazing. Behaving like an inclusive sect, more concerned about boring internal rules and not about the issues that concern the voters.
Of course, she leads a minority party in the Assembly and it’s her role “Through 2013, as in 2012, Plaid Cymru will be the only party challenging and scrutinising both Welsh and Westminster governments - without fear or favour.”
Quite right, government needs to be held to account. They have a lot to account for. But much more is required from her and her party, ideas.
What are they about? What are they proposing? What’s to be done? Unless parties offer relevant alternatives, they just don’t get the votes.
If the party is to arrest its downward spiral it must produce policies in plenty of time to sell them to the voters. Plaid need to act with a greater sense of urgency.
On an other matter the party resolved the Bethan Jenkins issue.
They lifted their suspension of the assembly member for South West Wales.
She was suspended when charged with drink driving. After pleading guilty and been convicted.
In her first day back at work after the events she apologised to Plaid AMs for her behaviour.
Consequently Alun Ffred Jones on behalf of the group said: "Her suspension from the assembly group has been lifted and she is a full member again. The group's disciplinary process has now ended."