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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 March 2007, 14:31 GMT 15:31 UK
Wales@Westminster newslog
The Wales@Westminster weblog, BBC Wales' Parliamentary correspondent David Cornock's diary on political life

Thursday, 29 March
Testing times

David Cameron wrote the Conservative manifesto for the 2005 general election manifesto.

The Tory leader has put his name to the foreword of the party's manifesto for the Welsh assembly election on May 3.

He may not be standing for election in Wales but this poll will be a vital test of his appeal to voters outside Tory heartlands - and offer a few clues as to his party's prospects for the next UK general election.

In 2003, the Tories came third in Wales, only one seat and one percentage point behind Plaid Cymru.

They did that under the leadership of Iain Duncan Smith, at a time when their UK polls were rather bleak. So if the Welsh Conservatives can't improve on their performance this time, when the party is ahead in the UK polls, people may wonder about the extent of the Cameron appeal.

The foreword, jointly written with Nick Bourne, the party's assembly group leader, promises that the party has changed. "The Welsh Conservative Party is committed to making Wales more green, more local, more family friendly."

And to prove the party is really Welsh, it offers to "seek to establish St. David's Day as a national holiday".

I've been accused of an obsession with this issue by people who cannot tell the difference between an interest in policy detail and a healthy questioning of parties who make pledges their colleagues have no intention of keeping.

As manifesto pledges go, that may not be worth the recycled paper it's recycled on.

The Welsh assembly can't deliver that holiday, even if the Tories win on May 3, as the power rests in Westminster. But David Cameron, if he becomes prime minister, could give us all a day off on March 1.

Can we take his signature on this manifesto as a policy commitment? Don't hold your breath.

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