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From being paid to cycle to legalising drugs: The manifesto eyebrow-raisers

Credit: PA Images

Whatever you think of political manifestos, if you think about them at all, they still play a significant role in election campaigns as the unarguable statement of each party's intentions.

What they stand for, what they want to do, what they want to change - it's all there in the manifestos in black and white - or multi-coloured with graphics and photos of smiling people for all of us to see and to question.

The pledges below aren't the main promises and aren't even necessarily things that the parties consider important. They're policies which would affect Wales if enacted and which have surprised me to a greater or lesser degree.

They're the eyebrow-raisers.

The Welsh Conservatives said they would 'respect the views of parents' in regards to sex ed lessons Credit: PA Images

The Welsh Conservatives are promising to "respect parents’ views with regards to sex education lessons", a pledge which isn't in the party's UK manifesto. There has been a great deal of controversy over parents withdrawing their children from such lessons over the last year or so because of their concerns about LGBTQ+ aspects of the teaching. It's not a pledge that would be delivered as a result of this election: it's a devolved matter for a start. But it could be something the Welsh Tories are challenged with in the approach to the next Assembly election in 2021.

Labour have pledged to plant a National Forest which would run the length of the country Credit: PA Images

All the parties are promising to plant millions of trees. Here in Wales, Labour says it intends a new National Forest will eventually run the entire length of the country, again another policy that can only be implemented by AMs not MPs. The idea is to follow the successful example of the National Coastal path. But it doesn't specify exactly where the national forest will be.

Plaid Cymru want AMs to vote on any future UK military interventions Credit: PA Images

Plaid Cymru wants AMs to vote on any future UK military interventions. The party says "the decision to go to war should require the support of all four nations." This would be a huge change with votes not just in parliament as have been seen increasingly in recent years, but similar, binding votes in Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast. Labour is promising to change the law so that no "conventional military action" can go ahead without the approval of MPs.

Credit: PA Images

The Liberal Democrats have the most detailed and in some ways surprising policies for the digital world we increasingly inhabit. They include a code of ethics on the use of personal data to be known as the 'Lovelace Code,' a way of ensuring people share profits tech firms make from using their data and calling a citizens' assembly to decide when future governments should use algorithms to make decisions.

Credit: PA Images

Plaid Cymru may legalise some drugs. The party is promising a National Commission on reforming drug laws but this pledge comes after several paragraphs praising decriminalisation in other countries.

The UK Conservatives are promising a Festival of Britain and Northern Ireland in Belfast in 2022. The Welsh Conservatives want a Festival of Wales to be held in Wrexham in 2024 (but only if there were to be a Welsh Conservative Government after 2021).

Plaid Cymru said it would pay people to cycle to work like in the Netherlands Credit: PA Images

The Brexit Party would introduce free wifi on all public transport.

If Plaid Cymru were to lead a Welsh Government, it says it would pay people to cycle to work. It would introduce a "bicycle use reward scheme...where participants are paid for every mile they cycle to work, as is the case in the Netherlands."