The Druid had no intention of writing two posts on Plaid Cymru in succession today - but then he saw this:
Plaid leader - and
At present, pension credit is means-tested and has to be applied for. The lower basic state pension will rise in April to £97.65 for a single person and £132.60 for a couple. Under Plaid’s promise, all single pensioners would get the pension credit rate of £156.15 while couples would receive £202.40 – increases of just under 30% and 35% respectively.
Apparently the £20bn extra cost this would entail would be paid for through scrapping ID Cards and Trident in addition to raising taxes for everyone earning over £100K.
Sounds great - all Plaid Cymru needs to do is win 324 seats in the General Election to obtain a majority and then they can implement this election pledge. Oh, wait, Plaid only actually contests 40 seats - so on top of winning every seat in Wales they'll also need to win another 284 seats elsewhere in the country… that could prove tricky so its a good job that responsibility for Pensions has been devolved to the Welsh Assembly where Plaid Cymru is currently in a coalition government with Labour - otherwise they could never implement this election pledge. Oh, wait - that hasn't happened either.
This is politics at its most cynical. Plaid Cymru have made an election pledge to Wales' pensioners which they know they have absolutely no chance whatsoever to implement. In the business world this is called 'fraud' - as an ex-solicitor I'd have thought Ieuan Wyn Jones would know something about that.
Rather than bribing voters with empty promises, far better that Plaid spent some time thinking about pledges they can actually deliver. For instance, although the Welsh Assembly Government does not have authority over pensions, it does have responsibilities for:
- local government
- economic development
- social care
- agriculture and rural affairs
The list includes Local Government so here's one the Druid would suggest to Ieuan Wyn for starters: how about actually implementing one of the election pledges you made as the last elections in 2007, i.e. to lift 50,000 Welsh businesses out of paying Business Rates?
Who knows - if Plaid Cymru had actually introduced that pledge back in 2007 then perhaps just some of the many businesses in Anglesey which have gone bust would still be around?