Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Welsh council elections and some poor manifestos.

In May, the rest of Wales shall vote for the councillor of their choice. Meanwhile, we on Ynys Môn will wait patiently until next year, before we decide whom we want. Hopefully by then, together with multi member wards, we can get rid of those disgraced Councillors whom have made the island such a laughing stock.

However, we can still take an interest in what the main parties are saying to the rest of Wales in their manifestos.

I think we can all agree that in order to encourage people to participate in democracy you need transparency and accountability. Take voting for a councillor, first of all their should be a genuine choice of candidates.  Then that choice should be based on a clear understanding - what a councillor says will be their priorities, what their aims and aspirations are, what their fundamental beliefs are.

This is why a manifesto is important, it is where candidates can spell out what they stand for, be that a national or local manifesto.

If we look at the Welsh Conservative Manifesto 2012 we have things like:

We are committed to abolishing business rates for small businesses. This will allow firms to expand and hire new staff,stimulating local economies. To further boost the economy, Welsh Conservatives are committed to the introduction of enterprise zones in Wales, to offering tailored support for the unemployed and to freezing Severn Bridge tolls.

Now do remember this is a manifesto for local Council elections, and whilst the Welsh Conservatives maybe committed (Thesaurus - bound or obligated, as under a pledge to a particular cause, action, or attitude; "committed church members"; "a committed Marxist") to do many things, what it does lack is details on how it hopes to achieve them. Take the commitment to freeze Severn Bridge tolls, surely that's a matter for the UK Government, unless they wish to have responsibility devolved to the Welsh Assembly. If so why not spell it out, and even then, what has that to do with election of councillors, especially to ratepayers in North Wales?

At least their coalition partners at Westminster, the Liberal Democrats, can in their Manifesto make claims (if disputed) about actions and results of Councils i.e Wrexham and Cardiff, where they have been the ruling party.

For me Plaid Cymru's  Manifesto is the most comprehensive.

As an example their manifesto says: The transport system in Wales is the main source of air pollution. Local councils have an important role to play in ensuring we have a transport system in Wales which meets our economic and social needs but also reduces our carbon emissions. Plaid Cymru-run councils will build on Plaid Cymru’s successes as part of the previous Welsh Government in ensuring that more money is spent on public transport than on road-building. In Cardiff, Plaid Cymru has more than doubled spending on cycle infrastructure, created new park and ride schemes and a bike hire scheme.

A manifesto for local council elections that actually mentions local councils - surely not?

As for Labour, the least said the better. According to BBC News: Labour is not publishing a national manifesto, saying it will not offer voters "blanket promises" - yes go figure.

See also:
Welsh Ramblings - Not fit for purpose
Insideout Swansea - Back on the stump.

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