"The Nineteenth century saw a great Springtime of Nations as the revolutions of 1848 saw new countries created the length and breadth of Europe. In our world today we are now seeing our own Spring Awakening with people and cultures that have long been dormant and subdued asserting their right to exist, their right to dream." Adam Price MP
Monday, 2 May 2011
The Battle for Wales Heats Up
Assembly Election: Coalition partners at each others’ throats in final days
COALITION partners Labour and Plaid Cymru were at each others’ throats last night as the Assembly Election campaign enters its final days.
Labour branded a Plaid photo opportunity which sought to portray leader Ieuan Wyn Jones as a “grandfather of the nation” figure as “weird” and appeared to claim the Deputy First Minister “looked tired”.
It comes just days before Wales goes to the polls on Thursday to elect a new Assembly Government.
Mr Jones was pictured in his Anglesey home with his grandchildren to promote a message that Plaid would “transformWales for the good of future generations”.
Along with wife, Eirian, and Elin, seven, Tomos, four, Morgan, two, and Annest, one, he is seen in the garden and reading books at a table.
But Keith Price Davies, Labour candidate for Llanelli – a key Plaid-Labour marginal held by Plaid’s deputy leader Helen Mary Jones – described it as “the final piece of the Plaid Cymru jigsaw”.
He said: “They started the campaign by undermining their own record in government, went on to openly mislead voters about the future of hospitals in Wales and now they want people to vote Plaid because Ieuan Wyn Jones is a grandfather.
“Is that all they’ve got to say, when Welsh families are being hit by savage Tory cuts? Perhaps this is Plaid Cymru’s best answer to the question people have been asking about them in this campaign – ‘Don’t you think they look tired’?”
Mr Davies said that what he described as the “weirdness of this stunt” did not “disguise the fact that Plaid’s pledge on literacy is merely a reinstatement of a Welsh Assembly Government policy, already set out by Labour’s Leighton Andrews”.
He added: “Labour has been open in this election on those areas we need to improve, particularly in education, and we have set out exactly how we intend to improve performance in those schools.
“Plaid would be well advised to put away the ‘grandfather of the nation’ stunts and get on with being equally honest in their endeavours.”
The personal attack on Mr Jones is just the latest in a string which has threatened to poison relations between the two parties which formed the One Wales Government over the past four years.
Before the campaign had even started senior Labour figures were anonymously briefing against Mr Jones, accusing him of mishandling his economy brief, while the party later sought to claim the Deputy First Minister had had nothing to do with the well-received ProAct and ReAct employment schemes.
Plaid also held a press conference just to rubbish Labour’s campaign.
Things have been so bad some Plaid figures are known to have been privately calling for the party to reject any possible coalition with Labour after Thursday.
Mr Jones said: “Wales is and will always be the land of our fathers. But it is now time for us to think about and focus on our children who are the future of this country.
“We have to ask what this country could be – and what it needs to become if we are to leave a thriving legacy for the coming generations.
“Only Plaid Cymru has the ambition and determination to transform our nation into what we know it can be.”
Plaid will be concentrating on restating their lines on education and the economy for the last few days which remain in the campaign. “Plaid is the only party which has a vision for Wales and a plan to make that vision a reality,” said Mr Jones.
“To create up to 50,000 jobs, to eradicate illiteracy and raise standards and to ensure that the NHS is there when we need it. Plaid is the one party that wants decisions on our energy needs and our policing to be made in Wales rather than by the Tories in London.
“Labour have had their chance to stand up for Wales, for Welsh jobs, for Welsh schools, for Welsh budgets over the past 12 years and they have failed.
“Voting twice for Plaid – in both the constituency and list votes – is a vote for real progress. It is only through voting for Plaid and returning Plaid ministers to government that we can build a better Wales.”