Plaid Cymru leader speech emphasizes need for better devolution in spring conference
In their Spring conference last week, Plaid Cymru, Leanne Wood gave her best speech as the party’s leader, calling for Wales to have greater parity with Scotland, and for communities in Wales to be treated equally in a ‘devolution dividend’. In a speech containing a range of issues, she concentrated that the whole of Wales needs to benefit from devolution and from money spent by the Welsh Government, saying it wasn’t fair for a billion ponds being spent on one stretch of motorway in one corner of wales.
Wood announced that she has had enough of what is being offered to Wales, and that the St. David’s Day Agreement was not good enough, and in consequence she is now taking back her support for a referendum on tax powers. This is iconic as news comes that Manchester will be getting powers over the NHS, without a referendum, Scotland is being offered much more than Wales, without a referendum, and Northern Ireland already has much more than Wales, without many referenda. A referendum in Wales was last held in 2011, where 63.5 per cent of people agreed to law making powers for the assembly.
In her speech, she also outlined new plans for a national panel for new drugs and treatments, covering not only cancer patients, as in England, but sufferers of all diseases to access new drugs fast and without variances in access across Wales.
Wood also emphasized the lack of credibility in Labour’s ‘vote plaid, get tory’ plans, saying Wales has never given the Tories a mandate to rule, but have still ended up with them. She again stated Plaid Cymru would never support a Tory government, and that tory policies, such as austerity, whether wearing red or blue rosettes, need to be driven out of Wales. She emphasized Wales needs to be a little less well behaved, to gain a better settlement for us, and that voting Plaid would guarantee that. Back in January, Nick Clegg described Plaid Cymru as a threat to the UKs economic recovery, as Plaid are canvassing hard to win Ceredigion from the Lib Dems this May.
Lord Dafydd Wigley, former President of the party, described Wales’ financial treatment as scandalous, claiming that this is the issue that should dominate the General Election, and Plaid Cymru are targeting three extra seats, a difficult task but all winnable, to send a strong team to Westminster.
Wigley also claimed that the SNP back his party’s claims for a fairer funding parity for Wales, despite the parties being at odds over funding in the past.
The party conference came on the same weekend it was announce that the Green Party, Plaid Cymru and the SNP have held talks on a possible alliance in the event of a hung parliament, who could be the ‘kingmakers’ after the election with a team of up to 60 MPs between them. On Tuesday, BBC Three are hosting a discussion with Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon and the Green Party leader Natalie Bennett, so make sure you tune in to see how the parties will work together, and how the parties are different.