Thanks to Luke Nicholas for sending through the next instalment of literature coming through the letterboxes of Penarth.
And it’s a pleasant surprise this time, because this is the stand-out best designed leaflet of the campaign. It has a nice font, good use of colours, a very pleasing mix of images, text and white space, and links to the campaign on social media. And of course, it’s bilingual. If I must register a complaint with the images, he should have picked a better background for the head and shoulders shot. But overall well done team Plaid!
So how about the content?
We have a repeat of the plea to “send a real message” to the UK Government that “they need to start listening” – this is standard fayre for all parties that aren’t represented in the UK Government, naturally. And we get some background about Luke, although the fact that he specifies his “sound knowledge of transport and economy issues” leads one to ask which policy fields he doesn’t have a sound knowledge of. Perhaps “excellent knowledge” would have been better? But Luke is at least accustomed to failure, given that he’s a keen follower of the Wales football team. That will stand him in good stead on the evening of the 15th November.
We’re then treated to three policy suggestions:
- A Welsh Procurement Bill to make it easier for businesses in Wales to win contracts in Wales
- Winning jobs and apprenticeships for Wales
- A rail service “run for the good of people, not for shareholders” – nationalisation, or the Glas Cymru model?
Ok, so the second of these is more of a statement of mission, rather than a policy. But the other two have real merit. Given that we need local businesses to be buoyant in order to improve the lot of people in Wales, any means by which Welsh businesses can more effectively compete for a slice of the procurement cake has to be good news. In fact Luke’s understating the case, because public sector procurement is worth £4.5bn in Wales. And unlike some of Luke’s opponents in this election, he’s made sure that the leaflet is printed in Wales (Swansea – not within the constituency, but a good deal better than Barnsley, Horncastle, London Industrial Park or Stockport).
And on railways, it’s universally accepted – even by the Conservatives, who brought in the policy – that privatisation of the railways has been an unmitigated disaster. In fact, we’ve ended up with nationalised railways elsewhere in Europe running railways in Wales and elsewhere in the UK, pocketing the profits presumably to reinvest in services in the Netherlands and Germany. So let’s bring them back into some sort of public ownership model that will see the money we pay in fares and taxes (the Wales and Borders franchise is the most heavily subsidised franchise in the UK by us, taxpayers, via the Welsh Government) reinvested in Wales instead of continental Europe. And if that means kicking out a government that has refused to allow Scotland to do just that, we’ll need to see how that can be done in 2015.