THE ELECTION campaign for the Welsh Assembly is now up and running. But both Labour and Plaid Cymru are offering a lacklustre choice to voters. Tony Blair launched Labour's Welsh campaign on Monday. The "pledge card" to voters has five promises:
Labour's tired pledges show it will continue with the same pro-market polices that have guided its first two years in government. If, as expected, Labour wins most seats on 6 May, it hopes to have Blair's yes man Alun Michael to lead the assemblyalthough there are some doubts whether Michael will win an assembly seat.
Plaid Cymru also launched its manifesto on Monday. It has very little to excite anyone who wants an assault on poverty, unemployment and low pay. Dafydd Wigley, Plaid's leader, said he hopes to win 15 or 16 of the 72 seats in the assembly. Plaid hopes to move beyond its traditional base by winning disaffected former Labour voters. So it offers some slightly more left wing proposals such as the end of the NHS internal market and trust structure and a series of (ill defined) "special anti-poverty measures". But at the same time Plaid stresses more tax breaks for business.
Socialists on the United Socialists electoral list are standing to offer an alternative to timid and pro-business policies. As well as opposition to the war in the Balkans, Socialist Worker candidates are stressing the demand to tax the rich to pay for services like the NHS and schools. A survey at the weekend revealed some of the Welsh super-rich including Terry Matthews (the twelfth richest man in Britain) who is now worth £1,100 million. This is the sort of wealth which should be taxed.
Socialist Worker campaigners in Neath and Aberavon report a warm interest for a socialist campaign. "We won't get thousands of votes but we will spark a much wider debate and can lay the basis for future struggles and socialist organisation," says candidate Nick Duncan.
SOCIALIST WORKER candidates for the Welsh Assembly are:
Socialist Worker urges a vote for all the candidates on the United Socialists list. We need money to fund the candidates' deposits and the campaign. Please rush your donations to 6-7 Duke Street, Cardiff CF1 2AY.
THE UNITED Socialists election broadcast will go out on Monday of next week at 12.55pm on Radio Wales, 9.30pm on BBC1 and 10.30pm on BBC2.