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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Moral High Ground

Although some Plaid candidates continue to seek the moral high ground in their criticism of us, it is instructive that when it comes to their own literature they are equally at fault and sometimes worse.

The Plaid Cymru freepost leaflet for Swansea East for example contains a blatant lie in an attempt to gain electoral advantage over the Morriston Neurosurgery issue. Their candidate, Danny Bowles, makes the claim that "When Plaid proposed a motion in the Assembly to keep the (neurosurgery) unit in Swansea, all members of the other parties voted against it".

In fact all the local representatives from Plaid, Labour, Conservative and Welsh Liberal Democrats supported this motion and many spoke in favour of retaining neurosurgery at Morriston hospital.

It is bad enough that Plaid Cymru are trying to hijack a genuine cross-party campaign without them now lying in their election literature about how I and other AMs voted in the Assembly debate. I personally am committed to the campaign to keep neurosurgery in Swansea and I will not let any other consideration get in the way of that commitment.

My concern about Plaid Cymru’s campaign is that they are turning the neurosurgery issue into a party political matter and that as such they will polarise views on it at a time when we need to persuade people elsewhere in Wales of the merits of our case. We must not let petty party politics get in the way of what is in the best interests of our local area.
Am I suffering Groundhog day, Peter? I'm sure I've read this post before.
Different leaflet, different inaccuracies and issues, different post, same point!

It took a political decision to close Morriston Nuerosurgery Unit the only way to change that decision is to make a political issue out of it. In reality, you do not want this because of the embarrassment of publicising that 5 out of the 6 Lib Dem AMs (including your Health spokesperson) voted against keeping it open. I respect your support to keep it open but despair at your inability to accept that you own party has voted otherwise.

As shown in tonight's HTV poll and Friday's Western Mail poll, there is a significant swing from Labour to Plaid. This will result in either a Labour or Plaid led Assembly Government. As Labour and your party overwhelmingly voted against retaining the Unit and Plaid voted unanimously to keep it open, which option do you think offers the Unit more hope?

You can call me a liar if you want Peter, but with a Lab/Lib coalition, Morriston Neurosurgery is sunk.
Ian, I am not calling you a liar, I am calling your Swansea East candidate a liar because he is the one who has claimed that I voted differently to the way that I did.

There is a difference to a political issue and a party political issue. In the former you build an alliance of politicians to save the unit, in the latter you seek to gain political advantage and alienate all the others with the result that the unit closes. If Plaid cannot see that then they do not deserve to respresent Swansea.

I am not embarrassed by the fact that I am prepared to put the area I represent before my political party, that is what is required of me as a local politician. It is not my party that has voted otherwise but five individual politicians. There was no party whip.

You should know that your attempt to hijack this issue is alienating support from you and showing. There is as little prospect of a Lib Lab coalition as there is of a Plaid Labour coalition but whatever happens my priority will always be the area I represent. What you fail to understand is that the decision on neurosurgery will not be taken by a vote of the Assembly but by an executive decision. We must influence that decision. Whilst we squabble in this way our chances of doing so are minimal.

By the way the poll also shows a swing to the Welsh Liberal Democrats.

Are you honestly attempting to argue that it was not the Liberal Democrats that votes against the Plaid amendment, but 5 individuals? Following on from this interesting argument, then they will do the same after the election along with however many Labour AMs are left. It's a case of simple mathematics and with Labour and you in coalition-the Neurosurgery closes.

I repeat that I do not doubt your sincerity on this issue, but nor do I deny the sincerity of your colleagues to yet again refuse to support the unit's retention. I for one will not stand by and allow the Swansea West electorate to blindly walk into a Lab/Lib coalition, under the false impression that such a Government will save the Unit. Cosying up to the other parties on this issue will do exactly that.
There was no whip Ian so yes, that was the case. It is by no means certain that they will do the same after the election as firstly there will be more Welsh Lib Dem AMs and secondly there will be other circumstances. The important thing is that people in South Wales West elect AMs who will fight for this issue and my record shows that this is the case.

Not sure where you get this Lib-Lab coalition idea from. All the press reports seem to point to a Labour Plaid coalition, in fact your leader is actively promoting it. Where does neurosurgery stand then?
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