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Election 2011, Politics

Welsh Labour Manifesto

Three down. Today it was Welsh Labour’s turn to publish its manifesto.  Called ‘Standing Up for Wales’ you can read the full manifesto here.

It’s a big document – coming in at 109 pages compared with Plaid’s 53 and the Liberal Democrats’ 66.

And Labour, particularly the manifesto’s author Andrew Davies, reckon that in this case size does matter.

We’ve been told repeatedly that the 100-odd pages contain 400 ideas, designed to head off the accusations that, after being in power in Cardiff Bay for 12 years, Welsh Labour has run out of steam and ideas.

It’s also aimed at balancing the overwhelming theme of Labour’s campaign so far which has at times seemed more about negative attacks on the actions of the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in Westminster than it has about positive ideas for Wales.

Despite the rhetoric, there is a large amount of common ground between Labour’s manifesto and the plans set out by both Plaid and the Liberal Democrats in the last couple of days.

When it comes to Plaid though, Labour says that although they may agree on some of the means, the ends are what divides them.

Andrew Davies said

We are for democracy and accountability, not nation-building and independence. We are Welsh, British and Labour and we do not support nation-building for Wales.

Deep within the manifesto, there’s an interesting message to be found, perhaps aimed at potential coalition partners, but a strong message anyway: expect a much more powerful First Minister if Labour is in government.

There’ll be a First Minister’s Delivery Unit and the FM will have a much bigger say in specific areas of policy.

Carwyn Jones (assuming he becomes FM) would be expected to co-ordinate the government’s approach to energy rather than leave the job to a minister.

Perhaps more signficantly, we’re told that he would ‘lead a Team Wales approach to the  economy and regeneration.’

In the manifesto itself (as far as I can make out from what I’ve read so far) economic development is the only section where the First Minister’s leadership is spelled out so clearly, every other chapter refers to what ‘Welsh Labour’ would do.

That could also contain a coded message to prospective coalition partners not to expect that job as an incentive as has been the case in the two previous arrangements.

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About Adrian Masters

By day, Political Editor at ITV Wales. By night, obsessed with music and books.

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