Friday, January 05, 2007

Policy or Pique,Ieuan?

A day late, but I have finally caught up with Daniel Davies' interview with Ieuan in yesterday's Western Mail. Lets start by setting aside all the personal stuff. All that 'wobbly' ribbing did make IWJ very naggy and he hasn't fully recovered yet. But I'm willing to 'turn the other cheek' when he calls the Tories "extremely immature" - and I'm willing to let pass this ill-defined stuff about "a breakdown in trust" and "briefing against him". After all, he had to come up with some reason for what happened. I'm one Tory willing to talk policy - if Ieuan really means what he says.

He is reported to have told Daniel that the policy areas that matter are a referendum on a Scottish style government in Wales, health, education, housing and transport. Well, let's look at these areas in turn.

Firstly, education - Tories voted against the final Budget, which Plaid abstained on, principly because the Assembly Government was not giving sufficient priority to education.

Secondly health - Tories are committed to restoring investment in Health to levels comparable with England and Northern Ireland - from which the current Assembly Government have allowed them to fall.

Thirdly, housing - Tories are committed to more flexibility in the planning system as a way of tackling the shortage of affordable housing, and have consistantly called for more initiative in bringing forward more social housing.

Fourthly, transport - Tories have already said that we want greater investment in North/South transport links to promote a greater sense of Welsh 'nationhood'.

And finally, the referendum on law making powers, which seems to be the most important issue for Plaid. Many of we, Tories who were opposed to the creation of the Assembly, immediately accepted the referendum result and also accepted that the only logical way forward as a result of it was an Assembly based on the Scottish model. It may well be that the only party in the Assembly opposing a referendum on this turns out to be Labour. I would certainly be campaigning for full law making powers in devoved areas to be granted to the National Assembly.

So, what is all this buttering up to Labour by Plaid all about. The question is Ieuan, "Is this really about policy or is it pique"?

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