Saturday, 9 April 2011

Why Elizabeth Evans is the best choice for Ceredigion

A few days ago, I wrote this piece on the election ground campaign in Ceredigion for the Liberal Democrat Voice website. It was posted here on Thursday.

Here it is re-visited...

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Campaigning in Ceredigion is rather unique. The big beasts of 20th century British politics, the Conservative and Labour parties, hold no sway here. It’s a battle instead between liberals and nationalists and the Welsh Liberal Democrat candidate Elizabeth Evans is proving to be a formidable opponent to Plaid’s Elin Jones.

The ‘poster’ war, which is always a central feature to this unique constituency’s electoral battleground, was in full swing early on. Over the years, it’s always been opportune to show that momentum is on your side by getting those road-side stakeboards up before your opponent. Well, this year it was a clear win for the Welsh Liberal Democrats as our boards went up along the A487 and the A44 a full week before the Plaid boards made a slow appearance.

As a candidate, it’s a pleasure to work alongside and canvass for Elizabeth. She is well known to people across Ceredigion through her work with Mark Williams MP as his senior caseworker, as a councillor, and with numerous community organizations. Born and raised in the county, Elizabeth has represented her home town of Aberaeron on Ceredigion County Council since 2008.

Elizabeth’s parents were the owners of the New Celtic Restaurant on Aberaeron harbour, and in 2009 she followed in the footsteps of her grandfather by becoming Mayor of Aberaeron. After leaving school Elizabeth worked in the retail industry in Cardiff and London before returning to Ceredigion to set up her own business in Aberystwyth. She now puts this business experience to good use as Chair of Ceredigion County Council’s Economic Development and Tourism Scrutiny Committee.

So she knows her stuff does our Elizabeth and she’s taking her passion for her home county out onto the doorsteps. Her concerns for our local health service are chiming with the fears and worries of local residents – it being the biggest concern the length and breath of the county. The packed public meeting held in Aberystwyth only last week regarding the future of healthcare provision in Bronglais Hospital proved testament to that. Elizabeth has a particular empathy with these concerns because as a past-chair of Mencap Ceredigion, she has an interest that is reflected in her current campaign to secure local facilities for elderly patients suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

Elizabeth Evans with Nick Clegg at their
Aberaeron Business Forum Yesterday
Residents of the county are aware that health is a devolved issue and that it is the Labour/Plaid government in Cardiff Bay that has let them down - it isn’t right that waiting lists are longer here than they are in England. Farmers in the county are also more than aware that the botched Glastir proposals are Elin Jones’ fault as the out-going Agriculture Minister. The low up-take of the scheme by farmers has proven that it is a bureaucratic nightmare and Elizabeth and the Welsh Liberal Democrats are committed to listening and working with our rural communities and not dictate policy to them as has been the Plaid/Labour way.

But what is most striking on going around with Elizabeth, our hard-working local MP Mark Williams and our enthusiastic team of volunteers, is the warm welcome that we’ve received on the door-step. For all of the nay-sayers and doom-mongerers in the media, the reality of the situation isn’t borne out here on the ground. That’s because residents know that the Welsh Liberal Democrats are on their side in Ceredigion. As the old saying goes, we do work hard for local people all year round and not just at election time.

We will continue then, to spread our positive message of change across Ceredigion over the weeks ahead to give our county the best opportunity of ensuring that that hard work continues with a new Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for Ceredigion, in Elizabeth Evans, come May 6th.

Post Script
This post as mentioned appeared on Liberal Democrat Voice on Thursday. There followed the following day, yesterday, a trip to the county by the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg as pictured above. More can be read about this visit here.

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