Wales Vote 2011: Devolved elections campaign round-up

Ed Jacobs gives a round-up of the key issues, policies and dividing lines between the parties and their leaders in the forthcoming Welsh elections.

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With voters due to elect new devolved bodies today, Left Foot Forward rounds up the guest articles carried over the past few weeks from the devolved nations and looks back at the week’s campaigning.

Outlining the context of the elections for the Welsh Assembly, Plaid Cymru’s director of policy, Nerys Evans wrote for Left Foot Forward that it was taking part “in the dark shadow of Conservative and Liberal Democrat cuts to the Welsh budget”. She continued by outlining a vision for public services without greater marketisation, explaining:

“Plaid is going to facilitate investment of up to £500 million in building new schools, hospitals and roads, without using PFI. We’re going to ensure that we halve illiteracy rates within the next five years, and that we virtually eradicate the problem by 2020.”

She continued:

“We’ll renegotiate GP contracts, and invest in a world-class system of cancer care and treatment. We’re going to roll out high-speed broadband, and put in place a modern wireless and mobile signal network across Wales.”

Welsh Labour cabinet minister, John Griffiths, continued in the warnings about the impact of the coalition on Wales, arguing on Left Foot Forward: “The regressive policies of the Tories and Liberal Democrats threaten progress in redistributing wealth and income hard won over many years”. He continued:

“The next assembly government will face major challenges. It will have to operate in an environment of increasingly tight budgets making prioritisation and innovative and more effective service delivery the order of the day. The new primary law powers available following the March referendum Yes vote must be effectively used.

“Welsh Labour is clear that, with many important strategies and policies in place, delivery must be the mantra for the next assembly government. The opinion polls are encouraging and our leader, Carwyn Jones, is far and away the most popular choice for first minister.”

Meanwhile, as voters prepare to elect the new Senedd, a recent article for the Guardian by Richard Wyn Jones, director of the Welsh Governance Centre had a particular warning for the Lib Dems:

“A very strong Labour performance as well as a clear second place for the Conservatives both now seem inevitable. How low the Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru might fall, however, is not clear…

“Rather than focus on his party colleagues, Nick Clegg, in particular, might wish to ponder the fate of Plaid Cymru. Plaid appear to have had a successful and productive time as junior coalition partners to Labour since 2007. By all accounts their ministers appear to have been among the most competent in the Welsh government, and the coalition has delivered on key party objectives, not least through the recent referendum. If, despite this, Plaid suffer a heavy defeat at the polls, then one really does wonder what fate holds in store for the Liberal Democrats at the 2015 general election.”

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