Tweet Much of the political reaction to the pensions proposals put forward by Plaid yesterday was, sadly, entirely predictable.
I suppose that I shouldn't blame opponents for drawing attention to the fact that, even if Plaid win all 40 of the seats we will be contesting, then we still won't be able to implement the policy, because the result of the general election will be decided in England not in Wales. But then none of the policy proposals which we put forward for a Westminster election are ones which we will be able to implement unless and until we firstly have the relevant powers devolved to the Assembly, and secondly win a majority in order to implement them.
There are two very good reasons, however, why it is entirely right for Plaid to be putting forward proposals on non-devolved issues. The first is that our MPs, after they have been elected, will be voting on those issues, and the people whose votes we are seeking should know exactly where their candidates stand.
The second is that it is a way in which we show that our priorities are different from those of other parties. And it is on this point that the reaction of other parties, although predictable, was still disappointing. By attacking the fact that we cannot win a majority in Westminster, and by claiming that the policy is unaffordable, they avoid debate on the substantive issue itself.
Of course affordability is an issue. If you believe that we should renew Trident, if you believe that we should give more tax breaks to the wealthy, if you believe that we should spend money on ID cards and illegal wars, then naturally decent pensions are unaffordable. That is precisely where the part about a choice of priorities comes in. Our priorities are different.
By simply dismissing the policy out of hand, what our political opponents are doing is avoiding a serious discussion about pensioner poverty and what should be done about it. We've attempted to set out what we will do – let's hear some alternative proposals. Maybe there's a better way of addressing the issue; maybe not (although Help the Aged said very clearly that increasing the level of pension to the level set for pension credits, as we propose, would have a greater impact than alternative reforms).
As it is, our opponents seem to be effectively telling our pensioners that they are simply not high enough up the list of priorities.
Trip i Newbury a Newmarket - Gornest fawr heddiw, y ferch o Abertawe Bonnie Tyler yn gystadleuaeth Eurovision. Ydi’r bwci dim yn rhoi llawer o siawns iddi 66/1 gyda Denmarc yn ffefry...
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