Caerphilly MP Wayne David’s blog: February 20
At one time, it would have been unheard of for a Conservative Government Minister to ‘praise’ a Plaid Cymru Council. After all, the Conservatives are on the ‘right’; Plaid is supposed to be on the ‘left’. The former are in favour of Britain; the latter want Welsh independence. And yet these days, the difference between the Tories and Plaid is very small.
I will explain. A little while ago, Ed Vaisey MP, the Minister for Culture in Cameron’s Government, praised Caerphilly County Borough Council for its Libraries policy. The Plaid-led Council was delighted with this accolade to such an extent that a number of Plaid Cymru Councillors, including the Leader of the Council, Allan Pritchard, have highlighted Vaisey’s comments on several occasions.
Why does this say a lot about the politics of Plaid Cymru? Because Cameron’s Government is unquestionably a right-wing administration and they only give praise to those who they believe are ‘on their side’. Moreover, to be proud of praise from a Conservative-led Government to me says only one thing – Caerphilly’s Plaid Cymru Councillors see praise from the Tories as a ‘badge of honour’.
Make no mistake about it, if the Tories congratulated me, I would consider that to be the biggest insult I’ve ever had. The reason why Plaid are so pleased to be Ed Vaisey’s friend is because Plaid in Caerphilly and the Conservatives now share largely the same politics.
This can be seen in the way the Plaid-led Council behave with regard to Libraries, the issue which drew praise from Ed Vaisey. Yes, the Council is investing in the Libraries Service but they are only bringing to fruition the plans drawn-up by the previous Labour administration, however at the same time they have scrapped the Schools Library Service and are in the process of closing Aberbargoed Library. This is hardly a policy approach that Plaid can be proud of.
The convergence of the political approach of Plaid and the Conservatives is also clearly seen with regard to the Nationalists’ policy of ‘freezing’ the Council Tax. Without making any criticism of the Tories, the Nationalists are instead enthusiastically trumpeting the same arguments that David Cameron puts forward with such enthusiasm. Plaid are telling the people of the Caerphilly Borough ‘vote for us and we will save you a few pennies on your Council Tax’. What they are not saying is that this will mean either huge increases in the future or drastic cuts in services for the most needy. This speaks volumes about the politics of Plaid Cymru in the Caerphilly Borough.
No wonder the Tories are so pleased with Plaid Cymru. And no wonder that Plaid are so happy to quote the Conservatives.
Labour MP for Caerphilly