Thursday, March 22, 2007

Now I know why they are whinging.....

The Tories seem to be very upset that Plaid have registered a series of "save our hospital" names with the electoral commission. When people go to vote in the Vale of Clwyd they will have the chance to vote for "Mark David Jones Plaid Cymru-Save our Hospitals" if they so choose. In Aberconwy they can vote for "Gareth Jones Save Llandudno Hospital".

I am struggling to understand why the Tories are so upset. Both the Tories and their buddies in the Labour party have claimed that the hospital campaigns "were cross party". This of course is not really true.

In llandudno there is an action group that is non-party political. However they came into being after Plaid launched our campaign across North wales to save local hospitals. They have done a fantastic job and it is crucial that they try to engage with people from other parties.

In the case of both Abergele and St Asaph hospitals there is no such cross party campaign group. It is Plaid who have led the campaign to save these hospitals from closure and to ease the pressure on Ysbtty Glan Clwyd that will follow.

When Plaid members were out delivering thousands of leaflets across the communities affected and submitting evidence to the various Health bodies where were the Tories?

Well they were campaigning against the "bed tax". Whats that? you may ask. Well last year the Tories tried to terrify us with the prospect of a tax on tourist beds. The idea had been submitted to the Lyons review of local government funding in England.

This review is not law just a set of ideas that may or may not be adopted by a government at some distant point in the future. Whilst we would enthusiastically fight any such proposal none actually exists for Wales and never has. The Tory campaign was not the product of local people responding to a serious threat to the local economy but an identikit campaign handed down from Conservative central office in London. The Lyons review has been published and if the proposal exists in its conclusions I have not seen it reported anywhere.

Health and the future of local hospital services are the number one issues for people in Aberconwy, Clwyd West and Vale of Clwyd. The Tories are now desperately trying to play catch up in Aberconwy and Clwyd West claiming that they too oppose the closures. Their position is rather undermined by the fact the seven Tory AM's failed to vote in a crucial Assembly vote that could have halted the proposed closures and downgrading.

In the Vale of Clwyd the Tory candidate has enough sense to leave the issue alone. He has little choice given that Conservative Councillors voted to close Prestatyn Hospital in the face of massive public opposition.

The reality is that in Central North Wales the Tories missed the biggest issue to confront local people and have tried desperately to jump on the bandwagon. Their recent whinging is just the start. I suspect they will be complaining a great deal over the next few weeks as they realise the public are not impressed with their "me to" tactics.

Tory spin doctors raised the stakes in this campaign with their claims that they will become the second party in Wales (lets leave the paucity of their ambitions aside for the moment) to do this they need to be winning seats in North Wales. Their lack of local knowledge and their inability to operate without instruction from London threatens this limited ambition. No doubt the knives will be out for their Welsh leadership if their failure embarrasses Dave the Toff.


Blogger Che Grav-ara said...

I think its fair to say that the Labour party are only up in arms about this because they know it will highlight the programme of cut backs and closures that they have presided over since taking control of the NHS in the Assembly.

8:17 AM  

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