Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Apathy could be the winner on May 3rd

It is interesting that the First Minister, in Llandudno last week, expressed his desire to fight the election on Welsh issues only.

Given this, perhaps he can explain to the citizens of Aberconwy why the Assembly Government has supported a highly flawed NHS consultation process that has led to the downgrading of their local hospital. Perhaps he should have dropped into one of the hundreds of small businesses and shops in the region who will be paying a massive 50% more in rates this April.

These are just two Welsh issues that the Welsh Conservatives have specific policies to address but it would seem that the message is - don't read the policies, just hate the Tories.

As someone new to politics, I had hoped, probably naively, that we would be able to discuss specific policies in a mature and adult fashion. Indeed, both of the hustings I have attended - with the farmers from the FUW and the nurses from the RCN - showed that these two groups certainly wanted to discuss specific issues of importance to their members, although my Labour opponent wanted to discuss whether John Redwood could sing the national anthem or not!

Rhodri Morgan and his team should take note of the message that I am getting on the streets of Llanrwst and Llandudno, namely that many people are simply disillusioned with a Labour Government both in Cardiff Bay and Westminster that simply just does not want to listen.

Rather than making the effort to engage with voters, the simple fallback position is to attack the Conservatives for, well, just being the Conservatives. It may play well with Labour activists but for the rest of the country, it just adds to the general malaise and disillusionment regarding the quality of debate in Welsh politics about issues that affect the everyday lives of voters everywhere.

I had hoped that this third Welsh Assembly election campaign could show that Wales has matured politically and that the politicians we have would stop treating the electorate like children, listen to their concerns and fight the election on which party has the best policies to deal with the challenges of a modern Wales.

Again, I am probably being naive - blame the fact that I have been in politics for just over fourteen months - but if the outdated approach we have seen to date continues, then the biggest victim in Wales will be democracy as many voters are simply turned off by the name-calling and end up simply not bothering on May 3rd.


Marcusian said...

Touche sir...however you must ask yourself WHY Labour is so keen to highlight the way Wales was treated during Tory rule, i grew up during it, and it was not pleasant!

I assume then that whereas Welsh Labour offer some clear red water at times with Whitehall, then the Welsh Tories will happily offer some clear blue water between themselves and David Cameron? I thought not, you are quite happy to cash in on Cameron's new popularity with the south east of england and transfer it to Wales. You are quite happy to announce PR in local elections now it can benefit you in your quest to form a patchwork coalition with parties who are ideological opposites. I agree there is a malaise, and politics in general could do with more clarity in belief systems that resonate in the parties, but this is not confined to one party. Surely you must accept that the conservatives under Cameron have been more than willing to increase the centrist confusion in politics, as has the Welsh tories ability to join any coalition going in wales...

Dylan Jones-Evans said...

Th reason I joined the Welsh Conservatives is because I believed there needed to be a centrist-right party within Wales as an alternative to the largely left wing policies of other parties. However, that centrist right party should be based in Wales, have Welsh policies and put Wales first.

You would surprised how many of the 'next generation' of Conservative politicians feel exactly the way I do, and I believe that the Conservatives are evolving towards this and, as we may well see in the near future, will attract members from parties such as the Lib Dems and Plaid Cymru and, you never know, Labour..

Indeed, if you consider the whole argument about possible coalitions after May 3rd, it should not be about power but where there is common ground over policy - but there we go, naive again!!!

Also, mentioning the word 'National Government' to Labour brings back the ghost of good old Ramsay MacDonald, which is probably why your party will never ever consider such an option for the future.

Anonymous said...

It is worth noting that the Welsh Conservatives have announced a series of positive policies that were made in Wales and designed for the people of Wales.

This is in contrast to the Rhodri Morgan and Labour who's dominating message through the weekend was extremely negative. I must admit to have been extremely disappointed in the level of debate at the Labour Party conference during the weekend and many of the people I spoke to feel the same.

I hope that Labour raise the level of debate. This election should be a reasoned debate on the policies of each party.

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Glyn Davies AM said...

Dylan, I joined the Conservative Party for the same reason as you. And I agree about the need for post May discussion to be about policy agreements. Mind you, it is rather encouraging that our opponents are having to depend on history to attack us. Today's Tories seem to be 'beyond reproach'.