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What is the point of Plaid?


As Plaid gather for their Spring Conference in Cardiff there is almost an air of desperation in the pleading of their leader for votes in the May European elections. Recent polling shows that they could well lose their MEP, although as we all know the only polling that counts is that which takes place on election day.
The problem is that Plaid's independence agenda does not play well with the majority of people outside of the Welsh speaking heartlands. The majority of people, whilst fiercely proud of being Welsh, have no great desire to break away completely from the UK.
The devolution angle is not their sole domain, that agenda is being pushed very firmly by the Welsh Liberal Democrats. The Labour party say they want it but aren't really fighting very hard for it, and of course the Conservatives change their mind daily, depending upon which bit of the party you are talking too.
They make a big deal of the economy in Wales - and rightly so - but they were in Government here for four years and their then leader actually held the economic development portfolio, so where is their credibility there?
More and more people are wondering just what is the point of Plaid.
That applies here in RCT too. They are the official opposition, yet whilst they have some very good ward Councillors they are not holding the administration to account as much as they could.
They have come up with some very odd ideas. In relation to the budget for example they suggested that the working hours of all employees should be cut by an hour a week. Now whilst that may be fine for top earners how would that affect the lowest paid, those who actually provide our front line services? Why on earth should they suffer because of financial incompetence and wastage elsewhere?
They put one amendment forward to the budget debate - to cut the number of Cabinet Members. Now whilst this may be a reasonable suggestion, it amounted to little more than grandstanding as it was not offered as any reasonable alternative to any part of the budget proposal.
When everyone else was standing up for retention of services at the Royal Glamorgan Leanne Wood and her Plaid colleagues refused to fight for their local hospital instead taking the stance that services should be kept as they are. The fact that there are not enough doctors and that some highly specialist services need to be centralised didn't feature in their reasoning. They were too busy trying to be all things to all people.
Whilst they still hold several wards in the Rhondda and Cynon in the Pontypridd constituency they are a spent force. They have no Councillors there at all, and their lack of concern for the area showed at the last Council meeting when they put forward a motion asking that European funding should be used to create jobs for young people in the North of the County. This ignoring the fact that the need exists across RCT for more jobs and apprenticeships.
Their vote share in the Pontypridd constituency fell drastically at the last Westminster election where they were lucky to keep their deposit. For next year's contest they have chosen someone who lives in Penarth to stand - presumably their main efforts will be concentrated in the Rhondda where the following year Ms Wood intends to fight the Assembly seat.
Plaid are on shaky territory at the moment, and there is nothing coming out of their Conference or the Council group in RCT that suggests that will be changing any time soon.

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