Leanne Wood, newly elected Leader of Plaid Cymru The Party Of Wales, has outlined a programme to revive the Welsh economy see: Plan C. As is usual for virtually all mainstream political parties these days, it boils down to “re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic” rather than exposing the underlying causes and proposing necessary radical changes to the system.
Unsurprisingly, she starts with the standard put-down of Wales with the usual labour-like-lefty moaning refrain: “we’re sooo poor – it’s not fair!, etc. etc.”.
She then calls for “the devolution of borrowing powers and responsibility over macro-economic levers” and a change in public procurement policy.
Regarding procurement policy, the way it works these days is through competitive bidding – with the ‘best value for money’ (lowest bid) almost invariably winning. Yes, that means that outside corporate interests can usually win these bidding wars ensuring that tax money returned to Wales quickly disappears again, keeping the economy short on cash.
Leanne Wood is absolutely correct in questioning this ‘best value’ approach to public procurement but her proposals to change it is just hot air and would never fly – because it directly conflicts with one of Plaid Cymru’s most cherished goals – to become another vassal state of the European Union.
The EU is all about protecting the interests of the financial elites and corporate power. It is the EU that forces competitive tendering and ‘best value’ procurement ensuring that money always moves up, and the growing divide between the uber-rich and the rest of us is maintained and strengthened. You only have to see the current brutalisation of the Greek, Spanish and Irish people by the EU troika’s* austerity demands if you have any doubts what membership in the EU really means.
“Progressive procurement” as Leanne calls it is good idea, but impossible in Plaid Cymru’s larger vision for Wales.
As for the devolution of “borrowing powers” – that’s a no starter. In fact it’s a very narrow-minded approach to reviving the Welsh economy. Wales, like the rest of the Western world, is already suffering under crippling debt levels. The UK government has allowed commercial banks to take control of 97.3% (and growing) of the entire UK money stock – meaning that debt-slavery, relentless crippling inflation. and austerity measures are built into the system.
We don’t need more debt. We need LESS debt – and more real (debt-free) money.
On that vein, it’s ironic that two speakers were invited to the Assembly in this Spring (arranged and hosted by a Labour and Conservative AM). One speaker was Ben Dyson of Positive Money. The other was a researcher from the New Economics Foundation who made an argument for the creation of a debt-free Welsh pound spent into the economy which would rapidly make Wales the most solvent and vibrant economy in Western Europe. (That’s not rocket science. It’s just basic mathematics, simple and straightforward – once you understand how the money system and economy actually work in the real world.)
What’s ironic about these monetary reform proposals made to Assembly Members and members of the public was that not one single Plaid Cymru AM bothered to come and listen – even though I personally invited (virtually insisted) that Plaid’s shadow minister for economics, Alun Ffred Jones, come to the talk!
Leanne then goes on to propose an “unconventional fiscal policy [which] involves shifting the balance from revenue spending to capital expenditure. On a macro level, the proposal is for the government to control and manipulate the economy through its enormous fiscal clout. That makes perfect sense if you adhere to an overbearing government bureaucracy controlling almost every aspect of our lives. They tried it in the USSR. Didn’t work. They are now trying it in the EU. Won’t work. It will just lead to more stagnation and collapse.
We need a Welsh government that says NO MORE! to the international financiers and corporate interests controlling people and governments around the world. Simply “window dressing politics” will no longer cut the cake. Until Leanne and Plaid Cymru are willing to admit that the financial Emperor (the City of London and the EU troika) has no clothes, and accept that we need a commonsense and radical shift away from an economy based on debt and concentration of power, they can not offer the Welsh nation annibyniaeth go iawn – real freedom or independence.
If you are a Plaid Cymru member, please tell your party bosses to pay attention to the short video below, and do some thinking.
*The troika is a slang term (Russian for triad) for for the three organizations which have the most power over member state’s financial future – or at least that future as it is defined within the European Union. The three groups are the European Commission (EC), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the European Central Bank (ECB).