The leaders of Plaid Cymru and the Brexit Party have urged voters to back their policies with calls for “revolution” in the UK.
Nigel Farage called for a “much-needed political revolution” while Plaid’s Adam Price appealed to Welsh voters by promising a £20 billion “green jobs revolution.”
The Plaid Cymru leader launched the party’s manifesto titled, “Wales, it’s us”, and appealed to voters with policies including backing a second EU referendum; electrifying Welsh railways by 2030; universal free childcare for 40 hours and an extra £35 per week to children in low-income families; an extra £300 per year on education in Wales; on top of instigating a £20 billion “green jobs revolution” in Wales.
Tidal lagoons, a windfarm and 20,000 green social houses
Price said the green policies would make his country self-sustainable in renewable energy (for electricity) by 2030 through building tidal lagoons in Swansea Bay, Cardiff and Colwyn Bay and a wind farm off Anglessey.
The party wants to build 20,000 green social houses and launch a £5 billion home energy efficiency programme by getting the Treasury to raise the cap on Wales’ borrowing from £1 billion to £5 billion.
“They say that our dream of an independent Wales is improbable, that our poverty is inevitable, well, this is the moment when the improbable beats what Westminster says is inevitable,” Price said.
“This is the moment when we start to believe that our future won’t be written for us in the corridors of Westminster, or the streets of Whitehall but by us in the valleys and villages of a nation remade.”
Farage’s ‘contract with the people’
Farage launched his 21-page “contract with the people” – resolutely explaining it was not a “manifesto” because that word was associated with lies – and promised voters his party was about far more than just Brexit.
Policies include spending some £200 billion on infrastructure and public services, generated from leaving the EU; scrapping the HS2 rail project; halving the foreign aid budget; forcing referendums on issues that gain five million signatures to a petition; planting more trees; cutting tariffs on imported food; scrapping VAT on domestic fuel; and capping immigration to 50,000 net migration per year, the figure described as a “rough marker” by Farage.
“Brexit, for us, is just the beginning, not the end, of a much-needed political revolution,” he said, reminding the audience his party was needed to ensure the UK leaves the EU.
‘Need to hold Johnson to account’
“We need the Brexit party to hold Boris Johnson to his word,” said Farage. “We need a Brexit party voice there in the House of Commons, or we’re not going to get anything like what we voted for three-and-a-half years ago.”
For him, that is a “clean-break Brexit”, or, in other words, a no-deal exit from the EU, which he linked to musings about Johnson renegotiating a free trade deal.
“A clean-break Brexit is not to be aligned with every single new directive that gets ratified through the European institutions. A clean-break Brexit means you’re not under the auspices or jurisdiction of the European court of justice. There’s no change of definition.”
Farage lambasted Johnson’s deal at the start of the election campaign and failed in his bid to form a Leave-Alliance with the Conservatives, despite standing down 317 Brexit party candidates in Tory held constituencies.
Question Time special
Neither Farage or Price will be part of the BBC’s Question Time special this evening when the leaders of the SNP, Lib Dems, Conservatives and Labour will each face a half-hour grilling in front of a Sheffield audience.
The two-hour programme will be broadcast by the BBC on television and radio, starting at 7pm tonight.
Plaid Cymru and Price
Plaid Cymru was formed in 1925, translates as “the party of Wales” and supports independence for the principality.
Normally it fields candidates in each of the 40 Welsh constituencies but has stood aside in some for this general election as part of an anti-Brexit pact with the Greens and Liberal Democrats.
They won four seats in the last general election and had 10,000 in October 2018.
A tweet by the party sates: “Our mission is to convince people of Wales that independence is not just desirable but necessary to tackle our problems and improve standard of living”.
Adam Price, 51, became leader in September 2018, 17 years after first being elected as an MP (2001-10). He garnered headlines in 2004 by trying to impeach PM Tony Blair over the Iraq War and was ejected from the House of Commons for saying Blair had misled parliament over the issue.
Achieving Wales’ independence is at the heart of his political message and Price has predicted a referendum on it by 2030.