Nominations for local elections officially closed on Wednesday 04/04/12. In the Cathays ward of Cardiff 3 members of the Plaid Cymru Youth national executive have put their names forward, myself (Glenn Page), Cerith Rhys Jones, Emyr Gruffydd and Andrew Pearce all of whom are under 30 and are active members of Plaid Cymru’s student and youth movement. Elsewhere across Wales numerous young candidates have come forward to represent Plaid Cymru, from Menai-Bangor to Penarth.
In total there are 563 Plaid Cymru candidates hoping to represent our communities from May 3rd, 18 of whom have already been elected unopposed. This constitutes the largest number of Plaid Cymru local election candidates ever put forward, indeed, there is no record of this many candidates standing for Plaid Cymru in any election, a clear indication of the growing support and momentum behind our Party.
Cathays is currently represented by four liberal democrat councillors. If the 2011 local elections are anything to go by we can expect the Lib Dem’s will suffer huge defeats. Indeed, Nick Clegg himself has admitted that the elections are going to be “tough”. Perhaps in Cathays especially, an area populated mainly by students, we can expect a large decrease in Lib Dem support. What we need to do in Cathays is to show disaffected students that Plaid Cymru is a party that will fight for them. We must galvanise support across the ward if we are to increase turnout, which sadly was only 16.35% in 2008.
Regardless of what happens in Westminster these elections are local elections and they should be fought on local issues. In Cathays there are plenty of issues that need our attention. Recycling and litter is still a problem that hasn’t been solved. My sympathies to those of you who have been unfortunate enough to walk through Cathays on a Wednesday morning, you no doubt watched your step. Terraced houses, such as those located off Cathays terrace, are without black containers for their litter bins, with black bins being collected once a fortnight people often resort to storing their litter in their gardens which inevitably attracts rodents. Supplying terraced houses with containers for their back gardens would be a simple yet practical solution, which Myself, Andrew, Cerith and Emyr would support.
One issue that I firmly believe needs our immediate attention is that of student housing, an issue largely ignored by Cathays councillors. Having lived in Cardiff now for almost 3 years I can say with first-hand experience that students are being exploited by letting agencies. Over-priced rent, extortionate late fees and poor service are but some of the realities that students can expect when they leave university-owned accommodation. As a solution I would propose the creation of a support group that could offer independent specialist advice to students on how best to act, whether it is legal advice or simply which company is best suited to their needs.
With just over 3 weeks to Election Day it is vital that candidates, activists and supporters of Plaid Cymru continue to do all that they can to support our communities. Together I have no doubt that we can improve our areas and the lives of ordinary people. We ask that you join with us and support our campaign to help us deliver for you, your family and for your community.