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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Plaid Cymru manifesto launch

The photograph is of Jenny Randerson AM illustrating the great strides being made by Cardiff Council in improving recycling in the City.

Judging by her very valid comments on Plaid Cymru's manifesto this morning it is likely that the green bags contained copies of that rather glossy document.

Jenny said: "This is a manifesto without substance. It covers 36 pages, but many of those are pictures of models. Are they too embarrased of their candidates to show people what they look like?

"More worrying than the lack of detail is the lack of financial literacy. Plaid's spending proposals are based on spending every extra penny the Assembly receives on their wide range of gimmicks. They have forgotten that teachers and nurses will be expecting pay rises, that heating and lighting bills will go up. To fund their gimmicks, there will have to be a real terms cut in spending on health and education.

"They have forgotten about inflation. No government - even in an independent nation - can credibly assume zero inflation. Their manifesto reveals their lack of credibility."

Let battle begin!
So the main Lib Dem criticism of Plaid's manifesto is we don't like the pictures - LOL
No the main criticism is that it is a badly costed mish-mash that will eat into mainstream services such as health and education.
I hadn't realised that Cardiff Council cuts had gone so far....
The Manifesto has been costed within figures published by the Treasury, the Welsh block grant's expected growth.

The criticism on the pictures smacks of desperation. The manifesto is professional and modern.
Is it not a positive element of democracy for different political parties to announce their key proposals? No wonder young people lose faith in politics.
Do Cardiff normally stick their recycle stuff into a bin wagon? In NPT they have a truck.

Some friends of mine in Swansea want to know when they'll be able to have plastic bottles recycled, like I do in NPT.
No Bethan, young people lose faith in politics when political parties make promises they cannot deliver on. The costings in your manifesto make it likely that this will apply to Plaid especially as they do not appear to have taken account of the need to grow education and health budgets.

It is also the case that some of your policies such as the one on corporation tax, desirable as it is, is largely undeliverable by the Assembly Government and will meet still opposition from the Treasury. We know because we tried it in 2000/01 when in Government.
The manifesto may have been costed Bethan, but why no figures on the Plaid website? I couldn't find any details in today's Western Mail or on the icwales site.

I'm still undecided how I will vote, so convince me!
So the Lib Dems don't like the Plaid manifesto then! Oh well, such is life. To be honest Peter, I wasn't expecting your support. However, looking at all our private polling, the Lib Dems (or Fib Dems as they are known in Ceredigion) are going to end up a poor last in Wales yet again.

If you are so much better than Plaid in the Assembly, how come the voters don't think so?

p.s. Your 60% recycling by 2011 is unachievable and if the £200 fine per tonne was continued on from the 40% by 2010 target, you would probably bankrupt every Council in Wales. This is a little worrying as this is one of your main election policies-it makes you wonder how many of your other policies are just pie in the sky. It's not just about costing Peter-it's about practicality.

You would have thought that making up a policy on a back of a fag packet would be untrendy in these times of anti-smoking.
Let us see what the real polls say shall we, one that can be scrutinised and verified. I am not saying we are better than Plaid or that they are better than us, it is clear that they have some good policies. Most of them were borrowed off us. However, the sums do not add up on their manifesto.

The £200 per tonne fine you refer to is not a fine at all. It is a tax on every tonne that goes to landfill. It stands to reason therefore that the more waste that is diverted from landfill the better off local councils are and that ambitious targets are worthwhile. It is also the case that many other countries and councils reach the situation where 60% of their waste is recycled. It is not impossible and is in fact very achieveable.

The problem with your 60% recycling target is not your percentage, but your target date. Most Welsh Councils are busting a gut to get to 40% by 2010, so how on earth are they expected to get to 60% only a year later.

Also, the English Authorities who did achieve 60% recycling figures have been trying for longer and are now watching their percentages drop, as markets demand less contamination in their products.

If you had said 50% by 2011 or say 60% by 2014, then I would not criticise, but you haven't.

In terms of fines or tax, well whatever, as it will still come out of the Council budgets. Can you confrim that this tax will remain for your 2011 60% target?
Ian, the tax is not imposed by the Assembly but by the Treasury. We have no power to remove it.

What we can do is to help local authorities avoid paying it by setting ambitious targets and helping them achieve them.

Our target is a win-win situation. Even if Councils miss by a few percent they still pay less tax than if they had rested on their laurels at 40%.

The tax is not set by the Treasury for 2011, for 60%. This your policy and therefore, it is important that you clarify this. From what you are saying then, there will be no tax after 2010 unless London sets one and so the current 'carrot and stick' policy will not exist.

You can instruct Councils to get to 60% by 2010, but unless there is a financial penalty hanging over them, it will drop down their priority list-particularly as by 2011, they simply cannot achieve it.
Ian, you have got completely the wrong end of the stick. The Landfill Tax is levied on each tonne of waste buried in the ground. It is escalating upwards towards the unaffordable £200 per tonne providing an incentive for local Councils to avoid landfill wherever possible. The more that is recycled then the less is paid. Therefore if a Council recycles 60% they pay less than if they recycle 40%. Councils will pay more tax if at Plaid's target than they will if they achieve ours because they will be landfilling more waste.

You still haven't explained to me how the 22 Welsh Authorities are going to get to 60% by 2011 and what the point is of setting a target that they can't reach. I'm not being critical of the desire to recycle but of the reality that not a single Council will meet that target, unless they burn it (this is not a suggestion).

The % is fine, but the date is the problem. I suspect that we will have to disagree on this, safe in the knowledge that no journalist has any inclination to chase it up.
Once again the Lib-Dems concentrate on trying (without succeeding) to trash the other parties' manifestos instead of explaining to us why on Earth we should even begin to consider voting Lib-Dem.
Ian, we do not accept that the target is unachieveable. It has been achieved by others and it can be done in Wales as well. There are modern methods of processing waste that do not involve burning that can help.

Sandeff, naturally we wish to respond to the other party's manifestos as no doubt, they will wish to respond to ours. However, we have already launched a policy a day during the first three months of the year and these can be found on our website. We will also be launching our own manifesto after Easter. We are anxious to fight this election on our policies and on a critical view of what is on offer elsewhere. That is how elections should be fought.
Sandeff, naturally we wish to respond to the other party's manifestos

Why oh why does everyone spell my name with two Fs instead of two Ds?! Woe is me :(
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