The recently announced compact agreement between Plaid Cymru and Labour in the Senedd could be a good opportunity. Instead of an unthinkable deal with the Tories, this option provides a solid block of opposition to their “muscular unionism”.

While thirty members give Labour the clear lead, it’s not the solid majority that’s needed to defend Wales.

Mark Drakeford requires support to deliver an enlarged Senedd. There is opposition on his own side, especially to introducing a proportional voting system. Labour knows that Plaid Cymru will support Senedd reform.

The two thirds majority is already there, so this deal isn’t necessary for that. Where it may help Labour, is when the inevitable Tory-fuelled public backlash blows up. That could be harmful to Plaid Cymru.

So if there are no cabinet places and hence no chance to directly influence policy day to day, why should Plaid Cymru consider such a deal? 

Here is the opportunity. If Plaid Cymru could secure a series of policy gains which show how cooperation can provide benefits for people, then it could be a win win. 

READ MORE: Labour Plaid Cymru agreement will secure Drakeford’s legacy

The Tories are about to cut the already paltry benefits that support families on the breadline. Universal free school meals would help struggling families. The same case can be made for universal child care provision.

An agreement could actively oppose the Tories’ neo-liberal answer to competition post-Brexit. Their neo-liberal free ports will be mini tax havens providing more wealth acquisition for the already super-rich. They will see Wales even further exploited. People here won’t benefit from free ports and so they should be stopped.

The comprehensive raft of measures proposed by Cymdeithas yr Iaith on housing - such as building more council houses to meet local need, and clamping down on empty homes - could be included. Such measures would tackle a number of related problems which result in young people unable to get homes and growing homelessness.

Full and independent inquiries are required into decison making during covid and into flooding. We must have a better understanding how climate change will impact Welsh communities in the future.

Council tax reform, commitments to progress devolution of policing and justice, broadcasting and the setting of a Welsh income floor / reform of the Barnett Formula are also necessary, and there is no reason why all of these couldn’t be included.

These are all policy areas where “Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Labour government can work together to deliver” and which would represent a start towards “building a more equal, just and democratic nation for all”. 

READ MORE: Plaid Cymru and Greens form Cardiff local election pact

Commissions to look into problems and commitments “to consider” issues sometime in the future are pretty useless and too often amount to little or nothing.

More often than not, they are mechanisms to kick difficult problems into the long-grass. And of course, both parties will want to claim credit for successful policies. 

There are plenty of potential hiccups and obstacles in the way of sealing a deal like this, but if a semblance of a shield to protect those struggling can be created, and our communities can be supported during what are likely to be difficult times ahead, it will be worth getting over them.

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