Tuesday, 26 January 2010
Why I still disagree with Plaid Cymru's Pensions Pledge
Last week the Druid wrote a post on Plaid Cymru's election pledge to increase state pensions by 30%, saying that this was politics at its most cynical. In fact I went further and called it 'fraud' as Plaid Cymru knows perfectly well that they will never be in a position to implement it.
A number of people have commented on the post stating why they believe it is fair for Plaid Cymru to clarify what their MPs will fight for should they be elected to Westminster - and especially in the case of a hung election, they argue, such pledges would form the bargaining chips of their support.
These are fair points intelligently made - however I'm afraid that the Druid still does not agree. And for the reason, see this graph:
The Druid is above all else a democrat , i.e. he believes passionately that democracy is the best form of government and produces the best outcomes. However, for democracy to function the electorate has to be able to reasonably trust and believe that political parties will fulfil their pledges - otherwise it becomes impossible for them to make clear, informed choices when balloted. The above graphic shows the result of a poll held in PoliticsHome last week of 1,193 UK voters when asked how likely they believed each of the three main political parties were to fulfil their manifesto promises (unfortunately the didn't include Plaid Cymru in the survey). As you can see, the figures for Labour are appalling. Less than half of Labour's own 'natural supporters' believe that Labour will actually honour the election pledges they have made. Many commenters have stated that this is a disaster for the Labour Party - I disagree, this is a disaster for democracy.
I'm not just pointing the finger at Labour either - I think that it is pretty poor than only 70% of people trust the Conservatives and Lib Dems' pledges too! When electors don't believe that political parties will fulfil their promises, they become disillusioned with politics, decide not to vote, and democracy eventually breaks down.
Plaid Cymru is not only damaging it own reputation by making such obviously unachievable pledges - it is also insidiously damaging the democratic system and the Druid will not stand for that.