Despite facing an uphill climb through the forthcoming Assembly elections, activists and politicians were in a fine mood at Plaid Cymru’s Spring Conference which took place in Llanelli on Friday and Saturday.
The conference theme ‘A Well, Well-educated and Wealthier Wales’ (the award for the most tongue twisting alliteration goes to…) was reiterated by speakers to highlight their priorities in health, education and the economy. They emphasised that Labour had failed Wales in the last 17 years with speakers arguing that Wales needed lasting change and Plaid was that change.
Leader Leanne Wood’s speech was largely focused on Labour’s record in Government. She criticised their policies on health, education, economy, further devolution and suggested that they failed to stand up for Wales against a Conservative UK Government. It is difficult to see how Ms Wood could now enter into coalition negotiations with the Labour party, given the strength of her remarks.
She also noted the upcoming EU referendum was important but emphasised that her focus was now on the National Assembly elections.
Elsewhere, there was little in the way of new policy announcements although the Party did note that their manifesto would be published in a few weeks and their nine policies would start to address the problems facing Wales. Speakers reiterated headline policies including commitments for 50,000 apprenticeships, a teacher’s premium, cutting business rates, the revival of the WDA, training a thousand doctors and establishing three diagnostic centres to bring down cancer waiting times.
Plaid Cymru had much to say – from criticism of their opponents to three points to nine pledges to PPBs emphasising the back story of their shadow cabinet but this may in itself be a bit of a problem. Plaid face a real challenge at this election in getting their message across and above the din of the EU Referendum campaign however, instead of focussing on a single core message, there was a lot going on. Plaid Cymru risk over complicating things and turning off voters. Less could well be more as Plaid enter the 2016 Assembly Election.
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