Thursday, 4 March 2010

Three leaders – what about our three countries?

Despite the Secretary of State for Wales, Peter Hain MP, urging voters this week to rally behind parties who can keep the Tories out, the BBC has restricted the televised election debates to the leaders of three London-based parties.

Here in Aberconwy we're in a head to head straight fight with the Tories, so why should three of the four nations comprising the United Kingdom be excluded from these debates, all of which are scheduled to take place in England?

Plaid Cymru is in coalition government in Wales, the SNP govern Scotland and both are excluded, along with politicians from the north of Ireland.

What a nonsense that these debates have now been labelled “prime ministerial debates”, when they include the Lib Dem Leader. Perhaps those responsible should read the recent article in the Independent newspaper, which spoke of Plaid’s three MPs having had more effect on Parliament than the entire Liberal Democrats - and there's sixty-three of them. This shows a complete lack of respect for our nations and voters, and a disregard for the changing nature of the way the UK is governed.

It’s time the broadcasters and the London-based political parties came to terms with the reality of devolution. It is clear that these debates will have an influence on how people vote, and the fact that Plaid Cymru is excluded flies in the face of democracy.

I would go so far as to say that the people of Wales are being misled, and certainly in this constituency of Aberconwy, the contest is between Plaid and the Tories: the other two participants in the televised debates are also-rans here.

What price now the BBC’s commitment to accuracy, fairness and impartiality?"

Plaid’s Director of Communications, my colleague Elin Jones AM, had this to say and I wholeheartedly agree:

“The people of Wales will rightly feel very aggrieved at being shut out from the democratic process in this way. In many of Wales' constituencies one or two out of these London parties barely feature in the running - yet they will feature prominently in this London stitch-up.”


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