Sometimes I hate it. Well, more than sometimes, quite often actually.
The oneupmanship; the spinning; the misleading; the downright lying at times – all to keep face and win support, or at least stem a decline.
Over the weekend my local Assembly Member and Labour’s candidate against me in the up-coming Assembly election responded to an update on a friend’s Facebook feed and started what could be called a spat, and yes I was involved.
He didn’t like my comments regarding the Welsh Government’s loan to leisure facilities and the lack of support for Splash Magic. Fair enough.
But in the ensuing ‘discussion’ he skewed the debate from Splash Magic to something else entirely:
“The Groves, Carrie. Have told protestors that Plaid AMs refused to support the strengthening of protection for Welsh heritage? When Plaid had the chance to do something you rfused to…
Then he went on to post this on his own page:
“Plaid Cymru joined with Tories last month in refusing to support better protection for our heritage.
Plaid politicians refused to support the Historic Environment Bill, just as their activists in Wrexham were protesting at the possible demolition of The Groves by Wrexham Council.
Wholly inconsistent of the nationalists, who chose to stand with the Tories instead of protecting historic buildings and gardens.
I think the good people who’ve raised concerns about the future of The Groves deserve to know the truth about Plaid. Whatever Plaid’s excuses, when they had the chance to protect our heritage with law but refused to.
Perhaps they wanted the Bill to fall so they could carry on protesting for their own self-interest. Shameful exploitation of people’s concerns for electoral purposes.”
So where do we stand?
Well, first of all it’s just plain childish to call everybody who opposes you a ‘Tory’. Yes Plaid Cymru did abstain from supporting the Historic Environment Bill, because it didn’t go far enough. There’s no point passing a law only to have to revisit it again within a year or so.
But without going into detail, the Bill passed and will receive Royal Consent soon.
Therefore according to the argument given by my opponent above (also author of the Bill), Groves School in Wrexham will be saved. Right?
That’s the point, the Historic Environment Bill won’t save the Groves.
So why raise it? Why say it if not to try and score a political point?
My opponent himself admits in an article in the local newspaper that the Bill could only provide a ‘temporary reprieve’ for the Groves, and says “A recent spot-listing request for The Groves is currently being considered by Cadw”, and that’s the other point, if the Groves was listed then it would be saved from the bulldozers. But that’s under current legislation, and has nothing to do with this new Bill.
Because the Historic Environment Bill looks at listed buildings, the Groves is, sadly, not listed, and will therefore not be affected by the Bill.
So in order for any new Bill on our Historic Environment to have any real teeth and work for our communities, shouldn’t it include an element of localism – give communities the power to protect buildings of local significance?
That, I think, would be a good idea.
Coincidentally Plaid Cymru thinks this would also be a good idea, that’s why Plaid supported an amendment to the Bill put forward by the Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee before it was passed suggesting just this:
Sounds good right?
This would certainly save the Groves.
No – the Deputy Minister (also the author of the above tirade) ignored this. It is therefore not part of the legislation, and therefore the Wrexham community does not have the power to save the Groves.
Why didn’t he accept an improvement to his Bill which would actually have give the Groves a real hope?
And I ask again, why did he raise this point if not to take advantage of people’s ignorance of the finer details of political debate in the National Assembly, and to score political points, calling opponents Tories.
It’s petty, demeaning of our politics; insulting; and taking advantage of people’s trust – and it needs to stop.
This is why, on occasions, I despise politics – or at least politics as it’s practiced here!