Plaid Cymru - a general election summary
This is the fourth in a series of weekly blog posts giving an overview of each of the main eight political parties' manifestos ahead of the General Election.
Plaid Cymru (pronounced Plied Kumree) is 'The National Party of Wales'. Initially created in 1925 with the goal of keeping Welsh the primary language of Wales, its main aim now is the attainment of independence for Wales within the EU.
Like the Green Party and the SNP, Plaid Cymru asserts that the Westminster political system is broken, and has failed the people it purports to represent. Plaid Cymru shares two other notable similarities with these two parties - a female leader, and a closer affinity to Labour than to the Conservatives. Indeed, with the increasing likelihood of the outcome of the General Election being a hung parliament, the three parties have held talks to discuss how a coalition agreement with Labour might be approached.
With all this in mind, and aside from the commitment to further devolution of powers from Westminster, what do Plaid Cymru stand for?
Plaid Cymru are fairly Socialist in their approach to the economy. They speak about the fair distribution of wealth via an Economic Fairness bill, and the capping of executive pay rises to be in-line with those of lower paid workers. They would also raise the Minimum Wage to the level of the Living Wage, a measure which would be paid for by the introduction of a tax rate of 50% for those earning over £150,000. These policies are radically leftwing when put against the 2 main parties' economic proposals, but represent what might have been expected of a Labour Party that had not become Centrist in nature since the advent of Blairism.
Plaid Cymru want full control over Wales' natural resources. They want the ability to set their own emissions targets and believe that Wales can and should become self-sufficient in renewable energy. They are against open-cast mining, against the creation of any new nuclear power stations, but surprisingly are not vehemently anti-fracking.
Plaid Cymru support many other popular, sensible, left-of-centre policies, such as scrapping the Trident nuclear deterrent, re-nationalising the railways, keeping the NHS in public hands and scrapping university tuition fees.
It would only be possible to introduce many of the policies outlined above with further devolution of powers to the Welsh National Assembly. However, if this happens, and if the policy commitments are maintained, Plaid Cymru's Manifesto statement "...to create a fairer, greener and more prosperous Wales" could well become a reality.