(Image taken from Welsh Labour)
The General Election is just under a year away meaning that all three (worryingly I should probably be saying four) of the main political parties are in election mode as each sets out its vision for the future of the United Kingdom. Over the coming months you will see a lot of these guys, plus representatives from the other Parties as they set out they policies and aims if they are privileged enough to form a Government.
We all know the reputation that politicians have, sometimes fairly and on other occasions unfairly, for being economical with the truth but the 2015 general election is probably the most important in many years. In all honesty the choice couldn’t be any easier, it’s a choice between more of the same meaning harsh, unfair, unjust cuts with societies most vulnerable left behind or the alternative. The alternative being the above dream team, a Government that will continue to make tough choices but ensure that everyone is treated with dignity and respect, ensuring that those who can pay what they ought while the vulnerable are supported.
We are in a unique position during the run up to the next election because currently in the UK because we are able to see both of these in practice. We have the Conservative-led national, Westminster Government, making savage cuts by the day but at the same time in Wales, we have a Labour Government who are leading the way in justice and equality. I might be biased but in all honesty the choice seems pretty straight forward…
- Jobs Growth Wales. This is the Welsh Government’s flagship job creation policy and to date it is having an impressive impact on the level of youth unemployment in Wales. While the English Government’s “Work Programme” is statistically proven to be worse than doing nothing and youth unemployment seems destined to remain stubbornly high, the Welsh Government programme is proven effective. The principal is pretty basic, the Welsh Government will pay the wages of a young person (18-24) for the first six months of the employment with the idea being that the employer will then take the individual on full-time. So far 10,000 people have been given the opportunity and a massive 80% have been kept on, meaning that youth unemployment is falling faster in Wales than in anywhere in the UK. This is clearly an example of where the stats do speak for themselves.
- Tuition Fees. The National Government betrayed millions of young people across the country in 2010 when despite promises to the contrary, they raised the tuition fee level forcing many to think twice about going to university. Despite the Government arguing that students need not worry as they didn’t have to face paying them back until they reached a certain income threshold, many students were forced to make the difficult decision and some chose not to go to university. The choice for young people is pretty bleak, with this betrayal and the number of young people still unemployed which has continued to remain stubbornly high for some the future looks rather shabby. Yet while the Westminster government pressed ahead with this extortionate rise the Welsh Government has agreed to subsidize Welsh students that attend Welsh universities, meaning that their debt will be massively less. Ultimately I would prefer to see a different system in place, something like the Graduate Tax which Ed Miliband has previously advocated, but this commitment by the Welsh Labour Government makes the future for young people in Wales look a little brighter.
- EMA. Yet again the Welsh Government has decided to look out for young people, deciding to keep in place the system of Education Maintenance Allowance.
- Presumed consent over organ donation. The Welsh Government has taken action to increase the number of organs available for those that are in desperate need. From the 1st December 2015 it will be presumed that you are consenting to your organs being donated, unless you chose to opt out. This new policy has the potential to save thousands of lives and give a better quality of living to others.
These are only a few ways in which the Labour Government in Wales is leading the way, fighting for justice and looking out for the most vulnerable in society. It should also be pointed out that despite what the Coalition would have you believe, the vast majority of Welsh residents are more than happy with the Welsh NHS. There are problems across the whole of the NHS but for Cameron to make it appear that these issues are unique to Wales is entirely untrue. The motivations of this constant demonisation of the Welsh NHS must be acknowledged, it helps the Conservatives attack Labour but ti also plays in to their privatisation agenda. If the Tories win the next election, there will be no NHS for us to worry about and frankly that is something to worry about.
Who are you voting for?