Mar 132017
 

In which I try to explain how Plaid Cymru became a serious political party in the 1960s, why it was derailed in the 1980 and 1990s, and how we’ve ended up with a self-emasculating party that sees no role for itself other than as Labour’s little helper.

BLOWN INTO THE LIMELIGHT

I can write about the 1960s with some authority because I was there, I was involved, and I knew many of the players. Most weekends would see a gang of us pile into a hired transit van to attend some rally or protest, and there were real issues for us to focus on; we had Tryweryn (plus the other drownings), Aberfan, the Investiture – how could anyone not believe that Wales would be better off if she was independent?

There was a widespread perception among those I mixed with of there being a broad nationalist front, with Plaid Cymru as the political wing. Many people I knew were members of both Plaid and Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg (The Welsh Language Society), I even knew people who were members of Plaid, CyIG and the Free Wales Army. There was most definitely ‘overlap’.

Though Plaid’s leadership, Gwynfor Evans especially, attributed the bombing campaigns to MI5 and sought to distance the party from them. Whatever the response, the truth is that in the 1960s Plaid Cymru rode the coat-tails of Mudiad Amddiffyn Cymru and the FWA to became a serious political party, winning Carmarthen in the 1966 by-election and pushing Labour close in subsequent by-elections in the Valleys.

‘That Charles is a lovely boy, Mam . . . I think I’m in love!’

The lesson was clear, get the people to focus on Welsh issues, particularly exploitation and injustice, and Plaid Cymru would reap the electoral reward. Without the reaction to Tryweryn and the protests of Cymdeithas yr Iaith, it’s unlikely that Gwynfor Evans would have beaten Gwilym Prys-Davies in Carmarthen. And Gwynfor’s victory in July 1966 is often cited as the inspiration for Winnie Ewing winning the Hamilton by-election for the SNP in November 1967. Can we go so far as to attribute the impending independence of Scotland to the greed and insensitivity of Liverpool Corporation?

Plaid Cymru’s leaders don’t like being told that the party owes its boost in the 1960s to Owain WilliamsJohn Jenkins and Cayo Evans, but the party certainly lost impetus when MAC and the FWA were broken up. With little to excite and involve the voters Plaid Cymru’s support in the 1970s fell back in the south, but the party entrenched itself in the west and the north, appealing primarily now to Welsh speakers, a trend that damaged its appeal outside the Fro Gymraeg.

Again, I speak from personal experience, having stood as a Plaid Cymru candidate for both Swansea city council and West Glamorgan county council in the mid 1970s. I’d knock on a door, introduce myself as one of the local Plaid Cymru candidates and often get the response, ‘Sorry, love, we don’t speak Welsh’. There was rarely hostility, more the feeling that whatever Plaid Cymru might be (and few knew, or cared), it was definitely a party for Welsh speakers only. Plaid Cymru in the 1970s and 1980s was a national party with a very narrow appeal just bumbling aimlessly along.

PLAID GOES LEFT, AND GREEN, AND DISAPPEARS UP ITS OWN ARSE

Nineteen-seventy-nine was a significant year in Wales for three main reasons.

On March 1st, St David’s Day, Wales rejected the Labour Party’s devolution proposals, with just 20.26% in support. Despite it being a Labour initiative most Labour politicians, led by Neil Kinnock and George Thomas, campaigned vigorously and viciously against devolution.

Then on May 3rd Margaret Thatcher and the Conservatives were elected to power in Westminster, with the party gaining 32.2% of the Welsh vote and eleven of the thirty-six Welsh seats. In the general election of 1983 – and despite the war in the south Atlantic and the losses suffered by the Welsh Guards on the Sir Galahad – the Tories still gained 32% of the Welsh vote. From a high point of 11.5% in the general election of 1970 Plaid Cymru’s share of the vote slipped to 8.1% in 1979 and 7.8% in 1983.

Finally, on December 11th, we saw the first holiday home arson attacks by Meibion Glyndŵr.

Plaid Cymru continued to bumble along, going nowhere. The party was so rudderless, so unattractive to voters outside of the rural west, that the MG campaign was unable to give the boost that MAC and the FWA had done in the 1960s, possibly because holiday homes were not an issue in the areas where Plaid needed to grow. Plaid Cymru was a weak party of dispirited members, ripe for change, or takeover . . . preferably not a takeover by nationalists.

Gwynfor Evans stepped down as president in 1981 and a new generation stepped into his shoes. First, Dafydd Wigley, who’d been elected MP for Caernarfon in 1974, and then, more significantly, from 1984, Dafydd Elis Thomas, who’d been elected in the same year for the neighbouring constituency of Meirionnydd.

Now things begin to get strange. Because although the obvious problem was that Plaid Cymru was not getting enough support from the anglophone Welsh, under Dafydd Elis Thomas the party started reaching out in other directions, primarily to the hairier fringes of the Left, and to even more hirsute elements of the environmental movement. It will be noted that none of these new ‘allies’ had a snowball’s chance in hell of increasing Plaid’s vote in Swansea East or Merthyr or Wrecsam.

Another in Plaid’s hierarchy keen on ‘reaching out’ was Cynog Dafis, who believed there was common ground between Plaid Cymru and the Greens. These Greens were of course overwhelmingly English and many of them were openly dismissive of Welsh identity. As far as they were concerned, they had moved to ‘the country’, not to someone else’s country.

The Plaid-Green Summer Solstice Conference, Pontrhydfendigaid, 1991

This contempt was returned in kind, for most Plaid Cymru supporters had no time for the Greens, and some, especially those involved in farming and other activities, thoroughly detested these arrogant interlopers who threatened their livelihoods. Yet to Cynog Dafis the hippies and the rest were “those who had moved here to live for progressive and enlightened purposes”.

This episode provides us with an example from thirty years ago of Plaid Cymru’s leadership being out of step with the party’s rank and file, and of course the wider population. Guilty of going off on tangents that did nothing to address Plaid Cymru’s fundamental problem. I wrote a few years ago about this rather silly flirtation with the Greens in Plaid Cymru and the Green Party of Englandandwales.

AN AMERICAN FRIEND

When he was Plaid’s head honcho Dafydd El’s consort was an American named Marjorie Thompson. An interesting woman from an impeccably WASP-Republican background who, after a stint as assistant to a Republican Congressman, crossed the Pond and soon joined the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, rising to be chair of that body. More remarkably, perhaps, she also served as chair of Scottish CND, though this is not mentioned in her Linkedin profile.

I’m not sure when her relationship with DET began but it lasted some seven years and intrigued observers. Having served her time among the ‘progressives’ in CND and other groups Ms Thompson eventually joined Saatchi & Saatchi, Margaret Thatcher’s favourite ad agency, in 1997, and returned ‘home’, as it were, by joining the Conservative Party in 2009.

I seem to recall that there was interest at the time in a brother of Marjorie Ellis Thompson who, it was alleged, worked for a US intelligence agency. But I could be mistaken, it was all a long time ago. Maybe someone remembers?

By 1992, after all the changes, and all the ‘reaching out’, Plaid Cymru’s percentage of the vote in that year’s general election barely moved. Nevertheless, the party did hold its three seats in the north west and Cynog Dafis added Ceredigion and Pembroke North, almost certainly due to the thousands of bearded ones turning out to vote for him.

Though the only constituency that saw an official Plaid-Green alliance was Monmouth, where the candidate Mel Witherden got 0.8% of the vote, the lowest Plaid vote in the country. Witherden was quite open in stating that many Greens were anti-Welsh in a racist and colonialist way.

Plaid was now firmly located on the political left, it was a ‘welcoming’ party concerned with all manner of ishoos and -isms, and more interested in the opinions of Islington than with what people were thinking in Islwyn.

DESIGNED TO FAIL

Plaid Cymru, the party I joined in the mid-’60s because it – and I – wanted to make Wales a better place for the Welsh people, had become a regional rainbow alliance for which nationhood and independence were dirty words. Wales no longer mattered except for the votes and seats it provided that then allowed the Plaid leadership to rub shoulders with other ‘progressives’.

This party had no chance of winning seats outside of the Welsh-speaking areas, where most of Plaid’s voters supported the party for cultural reasons, and didn’t really care about Plaid’s policies (even if they knew what they were). If this electorate had one concern it was the influx that was breaking up communities and slowly destroying a Welsh way of life.

Plaid Cymru had no intention of making a stand against colonisation; in fact, as we’ve seen, Plaid’s leadership was happy to co-operate with elements of this influx. Never was an electorate taken for granted and treated with such contempt as Plaid Cymru’s rural voters. It’s no exaggeration to say that Meibion Glyndŵr spoke for these people better than Plaid Cymru.

Courtesy of BBC

Plaid Cymru was successfully subverted in the late 1980s and early 1990s into a political party that would never get more than 10-12% of the vote in UK general elections and therefore pose no threat to the integrity of the UK state. It would have been easy to interpret this catastrophic re-alignment to foolishness, were it not for the removal of Dafydd Wigley in 2000.

In the first elections to the new Welsh Assembly in May 1999 Plaid Cymru gained 28.4% of the constituency vote (Labour 37.6%) and 30.5% of the second or regional vote (Labour 35.4%). In addition to predictably winning its western, rural seats the party also won Llanelli, Rhondda and Islwyn. This result sent shock waves way beyond Wales.

In June 2000 an internal plot removed Dafydd Wigley, persuading him to cite health grounds for ‘his’ decision. Seventeen years later he leads a full life travelling up to London regularly to sit in the House of Lords and is actively involved in many other, more worthwhile, activities.

HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF

In my previous post I wrote of the strange case of Plaid Cymru councillor and AM Neil McEvoy, stitched up on a ludicrous ‘bullying’ charge by the Labour corruption machine and then, instead of being supported by his party, he found Plaid’s leadership siding with Labour and assorted organisations on Labour’s Third Sector payroll such as Welsh Women’s Aid.

In that post – and if you haven’t read it then I urge you to do so – I talked of the ‘consensus’, a delusion prevalent among Plaid Cymru’s hierarchy that they and ‘Welsh’ Labour are natural allies in the fight against the forces of darkness. This results in Plaid Cymru refusing to take Labour on in the way that the SNP has so successfully done in Scotland. But it goes deeper than that, and it’s more sinister.

Like all advanced states, the UK has a ‘permanent government’ which may or may not be made up of military brass, top businessmen, intelligence chiefs, senior civil servants and others. Whatever their attitude towards the Labour Party – and this will vary depending on who’s leading Labour – they understand full well that Labour is the bulwark against Welsh nationalism simply because it’s the largest party in Wales.

Equally, those I’m talking about understand that due to its corruption and incompetence, and the quality of its elected representatives, Labour in Wales is highly vulnerable, and must therefore be protected from any threat to its hegemony. The best way of doing this is from within. From within Plaid Cymru.

It’s no coincidence that Dafydd Wigley, Plaid Cymru’s most successful ever leader, was removed when the party he led threatened to dislodge Labour in the Valleys. And no coincidence that it was done with a palace coup.

Now Neil McEvoy, a politician from a different mould to most other Plaid MPs and AMs, is gaining popularity in working class Cardiff, so he is stitched up by Labour and hung out to dry by his own party.

To achieve this control over Plaid Cymru the permanent government doesn’t need many on the inside, just enough, in senior positions, to ensure that the right kind of left-liberal losers are recruited and promoted, and that nationalists, or anyone threatening Labour’s domination, is sidelined.

THE DOG IN THE MANGER

Since the Neil McEvoy affair blew up I have spoken with people I know inside Plaid Cymru and they are surprised, annoyed or outraged by the actions of the party leadership. No one I have spoken to supports the party leadership. The confusion extended to surprising quarters, like Martin Shipton in the Wasting Mule. Plaid’s leadership must know that they’ve got this one badly wrong.

But then, this is exactly how Plaid Cymru has been programmed to react in a situation like this. As I said earlier, Plaid Cymru was “subverted in the late 1980s and early 1990s into a political party that would never get more than 10-12% of the vote in UK general elections”, achieved by the simple expedient of taking the party in directions that made it unattractive to the great majority of Welsh voters.

Update that figure for devolution and we are talking of less than 25% in Assembly elections. Anything higher sets the alarm bells ringing in the marbled corridors of the permanent government. And action is taken.

 

Plaid Cymru since the bright young things took control has been a party promising everything to everybody . . . and delivering nothing, apart from minor concessions allowed by our masters to delude the rank and file that their leaders can deliver, and that the long-heralded ‘breakthrough’ is just around the corner. The ‘breakthrough’ that never comes . . . and was scuppered from within when it threatened to happen.

But perhaps Plaid Cymru’s most useful role has been as a dog in the manger party, because for as long as Plaid is in place, gaining just enough votes, it blocks the emergence of an alternative that could confront and defeat ‘Welsh’ Labour.

MY MESSAGE TO PLAID CYMRU MEMBERS

Whether you accept my theory or not, you know that your party is going nowhere. Which means that you are probably confused or disappointed by the treatment of Neil McEvoy, your party’s most effective politician.

You know that ‘Welsh’ Labour is there for the taking – so why is Plaid Cymru propping up this stumblebum party?

Or ask yourself why your party is so unattractive that Ukip got more votes in the last general election. And not just in Clwyd, but in Blaenau Gwent, Merthyr Tydfil, Rhymni, Swansea East, etcCome on! wise up!

My belief remains that Plaid Cymru has been compromised. For appearances’ sake, and to block the emergence of a credible alternative, it is allowed a certain level of support, in return for which it must deal with anyone threatening to upset the status quo.

To make Plaid Cymru the party it should be, the party most of you want it to be, you need to give our people the message of hope they want to hear. But to achieve this you must remove the deadwood at the top of the party.

Plaid Cymru needs a new leadership prepared to put the interests of Wales and the Welsh people first, no matter what other parties, the commentariat, or the ‘progressives’ of Islington, may say.

♦ end ♦

  139 Responses to “Plaid Cymru, Going Nowhere, by Design”

  1.  

    Interesting blog Jac. Interesting also that you didn’t mention Nigel Copner, a supporter of McEvoy and somebody who did extremely well in the Assembly election. In fact, Plaid beat Ukip in Blaenau Gwent. Agree though that it’s fucking disgusting How McEvoy has been treated. Maybe it’s the leadership that’s the issue rather than the whole party?

    •  

      I was impressed by the good showing in Blaenau Gwent, but I was unaware of the connection to Neil McEvoy, which would seem to strengthen my argument. Because you’re right, the problem IS the leadership.

      •  

        My understanding re Blaenau Gwent is that the remarkable result was achieved by a very small group (largely Copner and his assistant) working very hard door to door and actually persuading people to vote Plaid. The party provided little or no support and this could have made the difference – this seat was winnable and it shows how out of touch the higher levels of the party are.

        Copner and McEvoy’s campaigning style is also at odds with the advice given to Plaid activists. Activists are advised not to ‘waste time’ on people who have not/would not consider voting plaid, which means they end up talking to existing supporters and failing to win converts. Copner and McEvoy engage with people, find out what their concerns are, and try to win them over. Which approach do you think works?

        When election time comes people on my patch are asked to man the phones to boost support in places like Llanelli, Ceredigion and even NPT rather than campaign on our own streets. The Party has no coherent plan to win over the south Wales valleys and has starved these areas of support (except for one – guess where?). FWIW I think Leanne Wood is sincere but there are too many in the party who fear an advance in south east Wales.

        Plaid can’t cope with mavericks and doesn’t know how to manage them for its own benefit. The breakdown with Sian Caiach has resulted in Plaid missing out on the Llanelli seat twice. But I’m sure they don’t give a fuck.

        Plaid needs an internal revolution and a big upsurge in grassroots members to unseat those who have presided over thirty wasted years of stagnation.

        •  

          I’ve heard about this method of ‘canvassing’ from friends. While it might be very comforting to talk to the converted it’s not going to make any gains. If Copner and McEvoy convert people who would not otherwise vote for Plaid Cymru I can well imagine this approach resulting in an involuntary evacuation of the bowels at HQ.

          •  

            canvassing “friends of the party” only ? bit like missionaries only visiting practising Christians ! Still, it does reduce the likelihood of being served up as a breakfast/lunch or dinner somewhere !!

        •  

          I won’t comment on Copner’s campaign, apart from saying that he has noted himself that financial support and other support wasn’t forthcoming. It should be borne in mind though that Copner is now National Treasurer, with some great ideas.

        •  

          I’m not sure who the “they” are that don’t give a fuck but there is certainly a “bury head in the sand” attitude to Sian Caiach in Llanelli. I commented quite publicly in Plaid circles that the only way Plaid could move forward was to reach an arrangement with her. Sadly the old guard don’t see it that way so the chance of a very winnable seat seems to be fading. I suspect she will hold her Council seat in May to remain a thorn in the side of CCC.

  2.  

    Agreed. Entirely.

  3.  

    […] post Plaid Cymru, Going Nowhere, by Design appeared first on Jac o’ the […]

  4.  

    Yes, Jac you are correct. I would add a little comment and a big comment.
    Cynog Dafis: my roots are in (Welsh) North Pembrokeshire (aka Cemaes as in Cemaes Rural District Council). Yet we have been yoked to (British) South Pembrokeshire and therefore suppressed. But for a time, N.Pembs had a Plaid = Welsh MP ie Cynog Dafis. I happily drove Cynog canvassing round the Gwaun Valley – a sunlit and fleeting memory of a very decent and sincere man. That’s my little comment.
    The big comment is that people should understand that Plaid was the subject of deliberate and organised take-over by something called the National Left in the 1980s. They succeeded. These people included the sisterhood who liked Plaid because they could create there a safe space which they could control, as they still do. These are the ones who would rather team up with Labour against Neil McEvoy, than support him. And the Plaid constitution has been subverted – the constitutional function of a Plaid member now is to work for a constituency, the sole function of which is to support a Plaid AM in a part-time sinecure for life. Blocking all other ways forward for Wales, as you say.
    But this is not inevitable. Perceptibly, this stage in the life of Plaid is beginning to crumble and end. As it needs to. We should all get ready for the next stage. The opportunities opened up by the fag-end of a Queens reign and the Brexit-shambles are amazing. We should recover some nerve and seize the day.

    •  

      The ‘National Left’, now there’s a term I haven’t heard for a long, long time. Thanks for reminding me, Jonathan.

      Cynog Dafis may, as you suggest, be a “very decent and sincere man” but there are two big blots on his copy-book. First, trying to get Plaid Cymru to link up with some pretty ugly people in the Greens; second, his role in removing the most effective leader the party has ever known.

      Though we can agree that the change of monarch, Brexit, and the now renewed prospect of Scottish independence, offer great opportunities for Wales. Opportunities that Plaid Cymru, under the present management, will never grasp.

  5.  

    That pretty much sums it up Jac. Being a tad younger than you my active involvement with the party started as you left. What you describe from the turn of this century on I was in the thick of. It was for the very reasons that you describe, – about the disillusionment of Plaid Members – that some of us got together to form ‘Cymuned’. We were venomously turned on by the Plaid party, although at least 90% of us were Plaid Cymru Nationalists. The way that Seimon Glyn, Simon Brooks & I were treated is an epitaph to Plaids ‘dog in the manger’ behaviour. Shortly afterwards they turned on Wigley. They wre panicking like a rat in a ferret’s cage. They were scared stiff that we would form a second Nationalist Party, we never did, but you could feel the upsurge in support, because some felt a bit of hope at last. That didn’t seem to suite Plaid.

    The exact same scenario was played out in Ceredigion when Llais Ceredigion (containing many Cymuned members) started to rock the boat, by becoming a regional party and putting up candidates in the County Council elections. At that point Plaid wet themselves, and immediately jumped into bed with the Independents (who up to that point were supposed to be their sworn enemies – read Labour for Independents when it comes to Y Senedd) just to get away, and in the process they rained on our parade, no not ‘rain on our parade’, they smothered us out of existence – they haven’t had a Plaid MP in Ceredigion since. Which goes part way to explaining what the patriotic voters of the county think about their shenanigans.

    They are gutless at the top. If they are also compromised – as you suggest – then that would explain a lot of their actions, just when the ‘natives’ are starting to warm to them. It’s too much of a coincidence that they commit Hara-kiri every time it looks as if they may be progressing through support at ground level. It could quite simply be a sabotage job from within on each occasion, for obvious reasons. No one could be that out of step with their natural supporters. It certainly makes you think.

  6.  

    There’s no conspiracy here Jac. All national movements are driven by the self-interest of a country’s middle class, and it’s in the interests of Wales’ middle-class to have a national movement but not one that campaigns for independence.

    In those countries that have become independent of the UK, there was an obvious benefit to the middle-class – they were being taxed but they had no chance of getting good jobs in the bargain (No taxation without representation, as the Americans had it). So they engineered the support of the working class for independence through the media that they controlled.

    Scotland has been slower breaking away from the UK because for a long time, there was no real incentive for them to do so. There was no barrier on the road to London and the jobs on offer there. What’s changed is that because of devolution Scottish political institutions have grown to a point where the middle-class realise they can have both the power that comes with independence, and keep their jobs.

    The problem in Wales is that there is no such incentive for the middle class to argue for independence. There is a benefit in having a national movement – national institutions such as the Assembly, the National Library, etc, create jobs for them. But if the national movement went too far and managed to get independence, then they’d lose their jobs as the money to pay for these institutions comes from the Treasury. Unlike Scotland, there’s no real prospect that Wales would be able to keep public spending at its current level if it became independent.

    Westminster is of course dimly aware of this. While they keep the Welsh middle-class dependent on their largesse there’s little incentive for independence at all.

    Therefore, Plaid Cymru is stuck at 20% or so. That’s just enough that the Welsh middle class are kept secure, but not enough so that it threatens their jobs.

    There’s no conspiracy here. No one is aware that they’re doing this. This is just how nationalism works, and this is how it works in every country. There’s nothing heroic about national movements. It’s all about what benefits the middle class at the end of the day.

    The only thing that may have changed in the last few years is that, for the first time in a hundred and fifty years or so, the means of controlling the media has been taken out of the hands of the middle class. Hence this blog and Facebook groups like the one I just clicked through from. This has led to a populist uprising – could a Welsh nationalist movement be amongst them?

    It’s an interesting time.

    •  

      I can’t fault your historical analysis, however, there have been instances when the native middle class has needed to get in the van pronto otherwise it risked getting left behind by a movement from below. Recent events in Northern Ireland might be an example of this.

      This external control of the minority middle class takes a number of forms, and as you say, in western democracies it invariably involves an appeal to the bank balance. A good recent example would be Quebec in the 1960s. In response to the unrest on the streets, the bombings and hostage-takings, and the rise of Parti Quebecois, the federal government made the whole of Canada bilingual, thereby opening up thousands and thousands of jobs for the French-speaking middle class, with the added benefit that a hell of a lot of those jobs were a long way from Montreal.

      To return to Plaid Cymru, are you really saying that the party’s upper echelons are not seeking the best for the toiling masses but are only in it for themselves?

      •  

        I’d like to reiterate that there’s nothing cynical or planned about this, it’s just the nature of the beast. I’m sure Plaid’s leadership and all their supporters are completely genuine. But without support – votes, money and time given to them by supporters – a group of AMs and MPs can only achieve so much. Plaid Cymru, and pressure groups like CyI, are maintained by the Welsh middle class, and when their interests come under threat they direct Plaid Cymru, CyI, Dyfodol i’r Iaith and others to make a fuss about those same issues.

        In order to become a truly national movement, of course, Welsh nationalism needs to move the issue that appeal to the middle class and begin appealing to the working class, who make up the bulk of Wales’ population. But how do they do that, without the support – in time and money – of the middle class, who have no real incentive in seeing a truly national movement of that kind? We’re talking large sums of money here, the kind needed for mass communication. The SNP have succeeded in part because they’ve raised stonking wads of cash (including by lottery winners!).

        At the end of the day, if Welsh nationalism is to become a mass movement, the Welsh middle-class need to see something for themselves in that expansion, and fund it accordingly. Brexit and the break up of the UK may finally be forcing their hand, but I wouldn’t bet on it yet.

        •  

          Your argument seems to be that

          1. The middle class drives social and political change in a nationalist context.

          I don’t want to get hung up on this point but the implications are that lower class populations are not democratically represented when they are the very ones who seek change when the nation doesn’t provide jobs, opportunities etc.

          2. Unless they are motivated the middle class will not instigate this change.

          Again my point above applies

          3. This is the nature of the beast when it comes to Plaid Cymru.

          This undemocratic attitude is ostensibly held by middle class members of the democratically elected Plaid Cymru.

          4. This nature of the beast suggests that some Plaid members are not conspiring for certain outcomes such as derailing the nationalist movement but that there is just a basic lack of motivation.

          Why would no motivation for democratic change conflict with wanting to derail a nationalist movement. Surely this is the very reason it would occur. It makes perfect sense that those who do not want change would ensure that there is no change.

        •  

          But that is the conspiracy – keep those middle class “softies” in line by ensuring a ration of reasonably well paid jobs and “freedom” to debate abstract concepts in their salons supping lattes and scoffing foreign fodder. Welsh middle class is entrenched socially conservative ( small C) so not likely to go out causing “real” trouble. As for Brexit I would put my shirt on most of that class having voted to remain in EU because they have done jolly well out of it and many of them have jobs in the high dependency bureaucracy to boot.

          •  

            Exactly. Debating “abstract concepts” and lining up with people of no relevance to Wales seems to be the only thing Plaid’s leadership does nowadays. Cos they’re doing sod all for Wales.

          •  

            “As for Brexit I would put my shirt on most of that class having voted to remain in EU because they have done jolly well out of it and many of them have jobs in the high dependency bureaucracy to boot.”

            I’m sure that’s true to an extent. I’m a university lecturer and I certainly don’t want fewer international students coming to Wales. I voted Remain.

            It is worth noting that the rest of Wales did jolly well out the EU too, though, including many in the working class (manufacturing and farming).

            •  

              I agree with your comment that “…..worth noting that the rest of Wales did jolly well out of the EU too…….” . However there’s “jolly well” and “appearing to do well”. Let me expand a little. Take manufacturing, a sector I inhabited for c.40 years working life. Ordinary people did well insofar as they had employment, but the period 1975 to 2005 was characterised by a slow erosion of earning capability on the shop floor and lower levels of management. Senior managers and owners did better although much of the ownership of Welsh manufacturing was located far from our turf as Wales consolidated its identity as a place for branch factories. Many of our native, owner led businesses have had a rough time being bullied by multinationals to operate at near breakeven or less thus subsidising the more powerful global customer.
              As far as EU was concerned it became a source of grants and funding of all sorts, but the direction of spend had to conform to the EU’s rules and regulations thus ensuring a degree of managed economy even when UK was bleating on about being a free enterprise economy ! The biggest growth sector in Wales during that period was in the bureaucracy and more recently the 3rd sector and we are now saddled with its consequences.
              Agriculture is a sector with which I am less familiar with the detail. True that farmers have generally survived by virtue of EU finance – grants subsidies etc but only the large scale farmers really make a big living out of it, I remain convinced that the underlying policy is one of “clearance” rationalising the production base and freeing up land for other uses at the same time killing off a way of life without a whimper from the politicians. Don’t dismiss that view as paranoid. There are plenty of farmers out there who share it and feel quite helpless in the face of the steady pressure applied to them.

    •  

      Gohebydd: “But if the national movement went too far and managed to get independence, then they’d lose their jobs as the money to pay for these institutions comes from the Treasury” – bollocks. You can start helping the cause by chocking this myth you perpetuate – that was created by the English Empire – that Wales cannot support itself economically. It is just that – a myth. We are a nation of approx 3 million. We have natural resources coming out of our ears and an industrial infrastructure (purposely run down by now – granted). You reckon we couldn’t even pay for our own institutions?

      In the early naughties Prof. Phil Williams (an Astro physicist and not a stupid person with figures, who was Plaid’s economics spokesman at the time), sat down and compiled a detailed spreadsheet of the income and outgoings of Cymru.

      What he discovered at the end of his epic exercise – which took EVERYTHING into account was that Cymru actually contributed £13 billion to the UK economy every year, and took out just over £8 billion. It caused the majority of jaws to drop (within Plaid) and others to accuse him of cooking his results, because they simply couldn’t believe it. It shot the myth that we can’t support ourselves clean out of the water. Things may have deteriorated since his review, but that’s because of political incompetence, not a lack of resources. It was interesting to hear Leanne Wood touch on the subject of potential today in an interview.

      Here’s a list of European countries with fewer than 3,000,00 population in 2015:
       Lithuania – 2,906,000
       Albania – 2,887,000
       Macedonia – 2,071,000
       Slovenia – 2,065,000
       Latvia – 1,979,000
       Kosovo – 1,867,000
       Estonia – 1,315,000
       Cyprus – 876,000
       Montenegro – 620,000
        Luxembourg – 570,000
       Transnistria ( Moldova) – 505,153
       Malta – 425,000
       Iceland -331,000
       Jersey – 103,000
       Isle of Man – 89,000
       Andorra – 78,000
       Guernsey – 66,000
       Faroe Islands (Denmark) – 49,000
       Liechtenstein – 37,000
       Monaco – 37,000

      WAKE UP STUPID PEOPLE! Stop listening to lies & propaganda from the politicians of the colonisers who would love to have you THINK you can’t support yourselves, or are not capable of it. They want you to marry into this concept that we can only survive with a begging bowl.

      They’ve shouted this lie for so long that most people in our country believe it. Do you honestly think they would have hung on to us for so long if they weren’t benefiting from it? Believe me the London Government is not a charity – how stupid are you to believe that they support us out of their loving kindness and warm hearts. Not exactly their historical style is it?

      This is one subject that truly pisses me off!

  7.  

    Jac, your analysis again spot on. I attended Carmarthen College for a few years after Gwynfor Evans was elected. The good old days ! The subsequent downward spiral culminating in the current leaderships’ misjudgement and failure to support Neil McEvoy is the reason I can not support PC until there is a change of direction, a change of leadership.

  8.  

    Like a third of Sturgeon’s voters I’m pro-independence but anti EU, where does that leave us.

    My Twitter feed is full of “nationalists” backing independence. What they really mean is that they’re desperate for some means to stay in the EU. Don’t people listen to what the EU elite actually want – an end to nations, including of course the Welsh nation.

    We’re going to be inspired by the Scottish example, but what exactly is that other than swapping one Union for another, and a Union which is going to be even harder to escape than the present one. Scotland will have to accept the Euro, will have to accept the EU’s neo liberal economics and imperialism and in all probability a hard border with its major market. We in Wales will be encouraged to travel the same path. A path that leads from subservience to London to subservience to even more remote and unsympathetic powers.

    Plaid has been the party of the Welsh speaking middle class, folk who have become ever more dependent on the public purse…. little wonder that they find common cause with similar groups in England and Europe. Like them they exhibit an increasingly open contempt for the working class, the undesirables who fail to follow the example of their betters, and the democracy that gives a voice to such folk who don’t even tweet.

    I’m not going to take Dylan’s advice, I’m going to go gentle into that good night while greater forces than myself or even Plaid Cymru decide the fate of this small corner of the earth.

    •  

      The public purse you mention is fundamental to the problem I describe with Plaid Cymru.

      What Labour has done since devolution began is build up a vast apparatus of Third Sector bodies, stuffed with Labour supporters and funded out of the public purse, very often with EU money. Given the political disposition of Plaid Cymru’s leadership it has to support these agencies, because they’re helping the ‘underprivileged’ or those ‘discriminated against’ or ‘victims of bullying’. Which brings us to the Neil McEvoy case.

      Prominent in the attacks on him were Labour’s ‘auxiliaries’ in the Third Sector, groups like Welsh Women’s Aid and others that I know are receiving funding, either directly from the ‘Welsh’ Government or else from intermediate bodies controlled and/or funded by the ‘Welsh’ Government. WWA received over £1m from the WG directly in y/e 2016, and other funding from Labour-controlled councils and other sources. (I checked the figures.)

      Which means that hundreds of millions of pounds, perhaps billions since the dawn of devolution, that could have spent in ways that benefit Wales, have in fact been spent building up a support apparatus for the Labour Party, a job creation scheme for Labour’s hangers-on.

      When Plaid’s leaders start supporting the harridans in Welsh Women’s Aid and all the other Labour-run Third Sector bodies then they’re half way to supporting Labour itself.

      Only possible because Plaid is a socialist party.

    •  

      At the risk of turning this off at a tangent, I have to counter some of your points, Albert.

      1. “We’re going to be inspired by the Scottish example, but what exactly is that other than swapping one Union for another…”

      What something is called isn’t necessarily what it is. The so-called ‘Union’ that Scotland is in at the moment is one whereby it is in a postion of permanent subservience, whose views – however strongly expressed – can be (and almost always are) ignored, belittled and over-ridden. The EU – for all its multitude of faults – would regard Scotland as an equal in terms of rights, powers and esteem.

      2. “Scotland will have to accept the Euro […] and in all probability a hard border with its major market.”

      Put simply, butt; no. No existing member state of the EU or any candidate for membership is required to adopt the Euro. There is a general and vague commitment to start using it at some unspecified point in the future, but given that membership of the Eurozone requires membership of the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM2), and that membership of that isn’t obligatory either, then your point falls.

      (Sweden has spent the last twenty years studiously narrowly avoiding meeting the criteria, which shows a great sense of humour on their part, if nothing else).

      And if there were to be a ‘hard border’ between Scotland and England, it won’t be the Scots – or the EU – who put it there.

      To get back on topic: Plaid is the only party I have ever been a member of, back in my student days. It wasn’t for long, simply because I realised that I wasn’t a ‘party animal’ in any sense of the term. Up here in the north-east at that time, Plaid was, indeed, middle class; but these were people who nevertheless put as a matter of principle the nation before and above any ideology; people like Dafydd Franklin Jones, Alun Emanuel, Hefin Jones. This was around the time of Gwynfor’s departure.

      Yes, the ‘National Left’ were the worm in the apple right enough, who turned the party into a glee club for trendies. Given Ms Thompson’s connections, I wonder if she turned DDT…sorry, DET into an agent?

      Like with the nation itself – where the only credible alternatives are outright independence or total assimilation into Greater England – Plaid’s only potential futures are either as an outright nationalist party (where the best policies for the nation will be pushed, whether they come from ‘left’, ‘right’ or ‘way over yonder’) or as a mere appendage to be eaten by the maggots of the Brit Labour Party’s Wales branch.

    •  

      You are bang on target with your observation Albert Hill. Nigel Stapley’s response is a wonderful example of someone who has swallowed the propaganda hook line & sinker.

      The EU is nothing more than a regional block, designed to swallow up individual countries and dissolve their cultures and identities (why do you think they encourage the influx of refugees into places like Germany? Not because the Germans are renowned humanitarians that’s for sure).

      The EU – for all its multitude of faults – would regard Scotland as an equal in terms of rights, powers and esteem

      BUNKUM. It is designed to do the very opposite, it erodes the identity of all it’s member nations into a regional blob, they become enslaved to a faceless unelected mob that dictates EVERYTHING from their lair in Brussels. Scotland is about to jump from the frying pan & into the fire.

      I argued this point relentlessly during the run up to the Brexit referendum. It has nothing to do with immigrants, the economy or anything else – they are all red herring arguments. The EU is a totalitarian tip-toe process towards a world government, a fascist regime ruled by one government, one military and zero choice or democracy.

      The Scots, if they win independence from the UK (and I sincerely hope they do), and then remain in the EU they will in effect be transferring their balls from the fist of a baby into the fist of a gorilla! Lambs to the slaughter (sadly).

      Click HERE and have a long hard think about the facts concerning the EU Mr. Stapley..

      •  

        Leaving aside your attempted insult (I can tell the difference between propaganda and fact: I’ve never worked for the BBC and my name isn’t Donald), can you point me to where what I said vis-à-vis membership of the Eurozone wasn’t correct?

        On the rest of your response, there will always be a need for a suprantional layer of political structures in the world. If not the EU (and I agree that it has been in recent times an engine of neo-liberal economic voodoo; that doesn’t mean it always will be), then what would you have instead?

        Besides which, can you imagine the French holding still for something …”designed to swallow up individual countries and dissolve their cultures and identities”? Sounds like a combination of Dave Spart and Mr Farrago to me (with a side order of Ickean conspiracism).

        •  

          Call it an “Ickean conspiracy” if you like – it doesn’t change the facts

          What interests me more is your belief that the the world requires a “suprantional layer of political structure”, presumably this boils down – in it’s final analysis & logical conclusion – to a world that requires the supervisory governing powers of an Anglo-American elitist world government (see New World Order/ Project for the New American Century) in order to function? Where the sub divisions are regions – starting with the EU.

          Believe that and you prove that you CAN’T tell the difference between propaganda & fact. You have been assimilated into the perception deception world of Wells & Huxley. Both being accurate harbingers of what has become of our world.

          Interestingly, yours is the very argument that was projected to justify the colonial outworking of the English Empire back in previous centuries. Where they believed a suprantional overlord was required (Anglo Saxon of course) to bring order & civilization to the heathen natives of a chaotic world, who were too stupid and backward to rule themselves. Failing in the process to realise that those ‘savages’ had done an extremely good job of looking after themselves – sometimes in very complex and organised ways, since time immemorial AND had proved to be very competent and successful respecters and keepers of our earth, not least the indigenous tribes of what we today call America.

          Time to shake free from the hypnotic trance that you have been placed under by those who wish to enslave you.

          •  

            You’re projecting so much here that a job in the Coliseum in Porthmadog would have been made for you.

            If you don’t have some kind of international structure, then you end up with an awful lot of squabbling and fractiousness between nations. Going on about ‘Anglo-American élitist world government’ is simply taking what I actually said and running off with it over the horizon of reason to play with Alex Jones and the Breitbart crew.

            I ask again, what would you have instead of the current arrangements (or similar)?

            •  

              Simple. In an ideal world, of peaceful nations who are not obsessed with stealing each other’s land, waging wars and dominating others you would have a situation where each nation rules itself without interference from outside. as it suits the unique inhabitants of those countries.

              All the problems that have accumulated thus far lead to just a handful of dominant countries who have caused mayhem in their attempt to bring about what you seem to subscribe to. By no coincidence these have been colonial powers who have dominated others to their detriment, and continue to do so – escalating the levels of injustices and poverty amongst the 90% who only have access to 1% of the world’s resources.

              Bigger is not better and one size does not fit all. The reality is that the VAST majority of the world’s inhabitants want exactly the same things, simple peace and security, whether you’re a Muslim in Morocco or a Christian in Chicago. It is the tiny handful of powerful and influential elites who who perpetuate this nightmare, that is designed to bring about a world order dominance by a miniscule few whilst the rest are enslaved to them.

              This belief that you need organisations like NATO, the EU & the UN is a fallacy, promoted by those who wish to use such institutions to bring about their new world order agenda.

              Incidentally I don’t need any Alex Jones or Breitbart ‘crew’ to tell me how to think. Anyone with half a firing neuron should be able to see it for themselves. On the contrary it’s those who believe that there is no alternative, and need these illusionary crutches – conjured up by the elites – to lean on, because they have been duped (by incessant propaganda and brainwashing from birth) into believing that they are doomed without these giant, unnecessary institutions to care for their well-being.

  9.  

    Well said, Jac. The problem with Plaid is that they are still seen as a party for Welsh speakers only. Neil McEvoy is just the sort of representative the party needs: a non-Welsh speaker of mixed ethnic background who works tirelessly for his constituents. I am horrified that he has been hung out to dry by the party leadership. The party should have supported Neil to the hilt and demonstrated that support bu declaring openly that this was a trumped-up charge.

    •  

      It’s not just Welsh speakers, John, it’s a specific group of Welsh speakers almost all reliant on the state and public sector employment. Which then calls into question how serious such people can be about ‘standing up for Wales’ if doing so brings them into conflict with those who, ultimately, pay them.

      I say that because I live in a village, in a constituency represented by Plaid Cymru at Westminster since 1974 and in the Assembly since 1999, that 30 years ago was Welsh speaking but youngsters with any any education have been sucked out and replaced with retirees and good-lifers. We Welsh are now in a minority.

      Plaid Cymru doesn’t give a toss for communities like this, or for those Welsh speakers outside of its gilded circles.

      Neil McEvoy doesn’t fit in Plaid Cymru, he makes too many in the leadership feel ‘uncomfortable’, but if Plaid Cymru has a future it will be built by people like Neil McEvoy, not by his accusers, those with 90 years of failure behind them. And no future to offer other than with its head up Labour’s arse.

      •  

        To dismiss Plaid as “the party of Welsh speakers” is very dated. Indeed it’s Plaid’s twitchiness about sticking up for anything remotely Welsh that gives it today’s wimpy, wet, ill defined identity – a bit of something for everybody but not adding up to much at all ! They have migrated so far to the daft virtue-signalling pseudo-socialist stance that they are not seen as the natural alternative to anything and UKIP has surged where Plaid should have performed. Bloody disgrace.

        I got a bit het up a few weeks ago when that silly dame Jenkins stopped Cymdeithas from having a poke at UKIP in some committee. Now I know that Cymdeithas is not everybody’s cup of tea but their ability to perform when it comes to language issues is pretty reliable. Yet the Plaid chair went all constitutional and defended UKIP. FFS, anyone who offers to put Hamilton through the mincer is worth his/her weight in gold !

        And as for the clearances which you just touched on now, and I visited in my 14:09 note, it is evident that the parties in Cynulliad have treated these areas with contempt. De Meirionydd is flooded with all sorts of in-migrants, some very nice people at the individual level, but their net effect is disasterous, akin to chucking bags of lime into streams so that all the native fish stocks die out. Plaid’s answer is to be nice to these folks and they might vote for them someday. But what about those who have had to move out, did it occur to the party of wales to be nice to them and help them stay in these areas ?

        It’s a shame that Cymuned didn’t really break through way back in 2000-1-2 but there again that was Plaid’s mandate, but it was set aside so that they could suck up to the Greens the fleecy coated Fascists who had the answers to everything. And where are those tossers now ? Plaid members ? not on your nelly, many of them have gone back to Middle England having had their year or two out, while others are probably big in Con/Lab/Lib/UKIP parties all over Wales.

  10.  

    I was just wondering if you, Jac, and anyone else had read a book entitled ‘For Wales, See England’, and if anyone here is also planning to read the book by Simon Brooks entitled ‘Why Wales Never Was’ (coming out in May I think). I think they both give a good perspective on the failure of Welsh Nationalism and I think that you, Jac, would very much agree with what they both have to say.

    •  

      Diolch Mabon.

      A great book by Martyn Ford. It needs to be promoted wherever possible.

      I’d heard my old mate Seimon Brooks was working on a translation of his latest book as well. Knowing Seimon it should also be a good read for those who cannot read it in it’s original language.

  11.  

    Really interesting post. I can see that Plaid has lost its way and is squandering the opportunities afforded by the current political constellation.

    However, I am really struggling where to place the suggestion that Plaid has been nobbled by the Deep State on the spectrum between cranky conspiracy theory and plausible and deeply troubling window on the workings of the British state. Your account seems to rest on (1) Dafydd El’s romantic attachment to an American lady on a somewhat erratic political trajectory and (2) the extraordinary resignation of Dafydd Wigley at the moment of Plaid’s greatest electoral successes. Then I suppose there are also the McEvoy burglaries. Is there any more?

    One other observation. In developing its electoral strategy, Plaid (or any successor party) would do well to reflect on the reasons underlying the success of the SNP. First of all, they succeeded in overcoming their internal ideological struggles of the 1970s and 80s to develop as a broad church, tolerant and respectful of all those who shared in the common goal of independence.

    •  

      I agree that proving any theory of Plaid being compromised by a shadow state or its agents will be difficult, but that’s how they operate.

      One of the SNP’s great breakthroughs in the recent past was winning over much of the ‘Celtic vote’ in Glasgow and west central Scotland. Many in this constituency had previously rejected the party for being ‘too Scottish’, given their sentimental attachment to things Irish.

      Which means that one the great unconquered constituencies for the SNP is now the ‘Rangers vote’. The irony here being that Rangers fans would regard themselves as being more Scottish than them ‘Fenian bastards’ who worship at Celtic Park.

      Funny old world, innit!

    •  

      and there you have it – “a common goal of independence” There is no big ideological schism within Plaid, indeed there is very little ideological content other than vague pseudo-socialist platitudes and some kind of competition to see who can come up with a new one every few weeks. Instead the party has drifted haphazardly on a voyage through nearly every fashionable line of bullshit that’s been trotted out for the last 30 odd years. During that trance period it has shifted further away from any real strategy aiming at independence, occasionally bleating halfheartedly about it, but its core stance nowadays is endless chunterning about not ‘avin’ its fair share from London and the prospect of no share from EU after 2019. Dependency ? it makes a junky on Wrexham’s town square look like a paragon of restraint !

      •  

        Bloody hell! You’re on form tonight, Dafis!

        •  

          these new tablets are doing their job……… Smarties it says on the label !

          No in all seriousness we are getting older, you a few years older than me, and I would like to see a rekindling of spirit before I’m too old to understand what is happening around me. I want to enthuse, or even provoke some of the younger people coming through that they need to get cracking otherwise we will be like the Lakota confined to odd reservations where we can practice our culture for the entertainment and amusement of visitors, and lose our talented people who drift off to work in the bigger cities, not even Cardiff, and seldom return.

          We touched earlier on our own middle class, many of them archetypal “Uncle Dai’s” who have mentally, subconciously already created a semi reservation by fostering the Eisteddfod to its present day grandiosity. Then they pop down to the Swyddfa to work, a “welsh” institution inhabited by comfortable servants of the Realm. They send their kids to the local Ysgol Gymraeg yet see nothing odd in those little brats yapping away in English as soon as they leave the classroom. And of course we have a Welsh language Commissioner who issues bits of paper with rules on them which are about as much use as tits on a bull. Other government departments contest these rules so how can you expect the rest of the business and commerce of Wales accept them without the temptation to split hairs and raise objections ?

          Anyway thanks for that compliment. I try to be constructive but see so much that needs tearing down …………

  12.  

    A very interesting read, including the comments .. it’s amusing to see any discussion of politics online these days almost inevitable descend into a rehashing of the Brexit debate.

    Regarding Scotland’s prospects, if they can pull off a Yes this time around, I’d put money on the notion that the EU may not even be around to re-join by that time. If Wilders’ PVV comes out tops in the Netherlands this week, I’ll double that bet! If Le Pen take France I’ll triple it !!!

    Commenters have proffered different reasons and angles to Plaid Cymru’s metamorphosis into elitist identity politics mush, but all seem to agree that it either needs:
    1. an internal revolution, or
    2. to be superseded by a genuine Welsh nationalist movement that can offer hope and courage to the working class majority.

    One of the biggest obstacle to option 2 is something I will call “Welsh guilt”. It works on the meme that to oppose Plaid Cymru is to split and weaken the Welsh vote making you a traitor to ‘the cause’. And no body wants to be regarded as a traitor to their country.

    The strength of this argument partly lies in the name – Plaid Cymru – The Party of Wales. To oppose The Party of Wales is to oppose Wales, or they would have us believe.

    As a former member, I can say that Plaid Cymru is run more like a cult than a political movement. There is no tolerance of dissent. Neil?

    If the “populist” wave continues to gather momentum over the next few years, then Plaid Cymru may have to enact option 1 to avoid being overtaken by option 2.

    Either way, I think big change could be around the corner for the UK, Europe and Wales. These are very interesting times.

  13.  

    Leanne achieved more than Neil in last years elections. She won her constituency and has never been a member of the Labour Party. Since her victory in the leadership contest, she has been at the mercy of the traitors to Wales – and to Plaid – that infest the national movement at its highest levels. You should give her a break. She has achieved far more than Neil and remember, she gives back £20000 of her salary while he takes the full £75000 for his two jobs.

    There’s no doubt that Plaid has been infiltrated: by Labour, by the UK security services and by agents of the EU. Most of the infiltrators work behind the scenes, they are not politicians. Having worked at HQ relatively recently I know what is going on.

    •  

      Give old Jac his due, I did not mention Ms Wood. As for winning her constituency, her job was a lot easier than Neil McEvoy’s. Rhondda was won in 1999 whereas Cardiff West was previously a no-hoper. Come on, compare like with like.

      As for giving back £20,000 of her salary, that’s yet more of the ‘Ooo, look at me!’ virtue signalling that makes modern lefties such easy targets. It doesn’t impress anybody.

      Seeing as you know what’s going on, you know who the traitors and infiltrators are, please let me know.

      •  

        Don’t be too disingenuous Jac. £20,000 is a big chunk to give away, and knowing Leanne from old, she probably does it for genuine (albeit naive) reasons. HOWEVER what you say IS true regarding ‘virtue signalling’ ulterior motives, born out of the deviousness of modern lefties.

        Leanne needs to wake up out of this recurring wet dream she suffers from fantasies about snuggling up to Labour in a cosy bed. She doesn’t seem to have got the message that they are a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Therein lies the difference in the SNP, where they realised the cause of the problem in Scotland and proceeded to wipe the enemy out. That’s the way to rid Cymru of these Carwyn Jones led, useless blood suckers, who are draining the life blood out of us.

        Leanne hasn’t woken up to the fact that it’s not the traditional ‘nasty party’ that she should be afraid of, but the unprincipled self serving socialists in the Bay. The trouble is she’s been brought up in an area that has traditionally seen the Tories as the big enemy – it’s an inherent culture thing in the Rhondda, especially following that witch Thatcher’s damage to the Valleys during her reign. Leanne needs to shed that shit and focus on the political reality in 2017.

        Did you notice ‘crwban’ Carwyn immediately jumping on the Unionist wagon after Sturgeon’s announcement yesterday? Gleefully announcing that “we’re stronger together” (such a yesterday sound bite). Frigging noggin, Plaid should be leaping all over him with hob nail boots, seeing as they’re now apparently over their ‘I’ word phobia. Still shy to announce it aren’t they? Still the ‘hide behind the sofa’ party. A total waste of space. It conjurers up images of male erectile dysfunction. Apologies to the feminist movement in the party, I guess I’ll probably be labelled a McEvoy supporting misogynist now!

        •  

          I look at people like Leanne Wood and I see guilty apostates. Very much like those who no longer go to chapel or church but won’t say a bad word said against them, and will always give something for the jumble sale, and contribute to the new roof, may even contribute to the collection every Sunday in one of those little brown envelopes they bring to the house.

          If I’m right then it will take a generation or two to shed this ‘guilt’. It’s time we don’t have.

        •  

          Where are there ‘socialists’ in the Welsh Labour Party? All I see is rampant opportunists and Brit nationalists.

          •  

            Yes you’re right. They are so-called Socialists because they highjacked what true socialism is about, which is a community conscience and social justice. Not the same animal!

    •  

      Let’s not reduce this to a debate about “how much Leanne donates compared to McEvoy/A.NOther”. Donations to charities have to be very carefully assessed because there has been a huge surge in the proportion of donations and other incomes “absorbed” by overheads, mainly salaries and travel. There is some debate about the pattern of well rewarded types leaving the public sector and financial institutions where they enjoyed salaries, pensions etc and securing those “goodies” in the charity sector. I don’t expect people to work for peanuts but senior execs teams on 6 figure salaries doesn’t fill me with enthusiasm to donate. I hope therefore that Leanne’s giving is focussed on local community charities where generally more of the cash gets to the frontline.

      As for McEvoy’s £75k, I hope he’s saving some of it because his role is far more risky given that he’s got enemies as well as opponents. I wish him well but there is a growing suspicion that those bastards will do their utmost to get him out of the Cynulliad as he rocks too many boats.

  14.  

    Erthygl da, Jac. What I would say though, is that there are Mike Parkers around, there are incomers who do learn Welsh and do respect and enjoy Wales’s existence, me being one of them, although I 100% agree that there aren’t enough of us who are like that. I myself was having my furniture moved in a removal van driven by a driver who kept sounding off against the ‘fucking Welsh’, he was a Brummie who had moved to Aberystwyth, but as different from Mike Parker as you could possibly imagine. I have met other incomers and the children of incomers who study at Aberystwyth with me, and some of them have the most outrageous views towards the Welsh Language imaginable.

    Anyway, with regards to the relations between Plaid Cymru and the British left, this is a problem that is very old, and in fact pre-dates the very existence of Plaid Cymru. The reformist and revolutionary movements of the Early 19th century, such as the chartists and other radicals were not so much about achieving Welsh independence, as about democratizing the UK as a whole. Later on, of course, you had Liberalism, rather than welsh nationalism, being the dominant electoral force in Wales from the second half of the 19th century to the Early 20th century, at a time when stateless nations from Ireland to Finland to the Balkans were asserting their rights as distinct nations. The Cymru Fydd movement of the 1890s refused to work outside of the Liberal Party and they shouldn’t have been surprised when the Liberal leadership refused to consider Home Rule for Wales. Now of course, you have the situation, which you of course have explained extremely well time and time again, where Plaid Cymru now refuses to be anything other than a left-of-labour party.

    I myself am from a family in London where everyone in my immediate family reads the Guardian and my extended family, political views range from staunchly labour, to fairly moderate labour (Liz Kendall’s views if you like) to centrist Internationalists. All are staunchly pro-EU and have exactly the same views of UKIP that you or any decent guy would have. Therefore, I know what the centre and left of British politics are like. While the Welsh Labour government seems pretty appalling, my view is that the British left itself should not be seen as enemy number one. Yes, aim to unseat the Labour and the Lib dems in Wales, but recognize that their supporters in England can be ideological allies quite often. Just as the Irish Nationalists in the late 19th and early 20th centuries chose to be distinct and separate from the British Liberals, yet also be coalition partners with them often since the Liberals were more sympathetic to emancipatory politics, and a bit less imperialistic, than the Tories were, Plaid Cymru today should be separate from the British left, and of course compete against them in Wales, yet recognize that they can be allies too, particularly in Westminster. For example, left wingers in England are the very people, by definition, who abhor those who are hostile to non-English cultures, are the very people who support anti-imperalism and I can almost safely say that nobody in that category likes the idea of languages and cultures dying. Many family friends in London ask me if I have Welsh speaking friends in Aber, are impressed by me trying to learn it, and love the idea that there is more than just one language and culture that on this island. They are the very same people who support multiculturalism. Surely they are less of an enemy to Welsh nationalism than the English extreme right that sees anything non-Anglo-Saxon as either subordinate or as dirt? Thus my advice to Plaid Cymru is that they should be separate from the British Left but be willing to work with them at least in certain situations.

    The good news I think Jac, is that an understanding of the fact that Welsh Nationalists, (or would be welsh nationalists) along with Wales in general, being too left wing has done Wales no favors is only going to become more widespread with the publication of several books, and in particular I am thinking ‘For Wales, See England’ by Martyn Ford and ‘Why Wales Never Was’ by Simon Brooks, the latter coming out in English this may and the former already out in book shops. Thus, I feel there is cause for hope. My belief is that Plaid Cymru can be changed, with an internal revolution perhaps, from within, and hopefully these books help to provide that chance.

    •  

      I have written somewhere, quite recently, that the Chartists who marched on Newport in 1839 were calling for a ‘Silurian Republic’. Dic Penderyn spoke no English. How you can say that such people “were not so much about achieving Welsh independence, as about democratizing the UK as a whole” is beyond me. What did they know or understand of “the UK as a whole”?

      As for the 19th century Irish Nationalists who linked up – to their advantage – with the Liberals. Bear in mind that parliamentary Irish nationalism in this period was a new thing (a consequence of Catholic Emancipation in 1829), influenced by the Rising of 1798, and by the Fenians, and by the Irish Republican Brotherhood. In other words, Parnell and the Parliamentarians always knew that if they drifted too far from the straight and narrow there were ‘physical force’ nationalists to pull them back into line, or remove them and replace them.

      Cymru Fydd – as I have also said somewhere recently – collapsed to English immigration in the south, articulated by Liberal Alderman Bird, at that famous meeting in Newport, rejecting anything specifically Welsh. Another factor was that David Lloyd George came to see Cymru Fydd as hindering his personal advancement.

      My views of Ukip are as follows. I have no fundamental, ideological or emotional objections to a political party to the right of the Tories, it’s just that Ukip is made up of lying wankers that nobody should take seriously. They’re a joke.

      As for your left-liberal family, I have always found there to be little difference between the English left and the English right, with the latter often more sympathetic, or at least, understanding of Welsh nationalism, seeing as they are more likely to be nationalist themselves. I detest Guardian readers because there are two nationalisms for them; anything far away is OK, but Welsh nationalism is ‘racist’ and ‘intolerant’.

      People wanting to know how socialism and liberalism and other weaknesses of the spirit have enervated my people don’t need to buy books, they only need to read this blog.

      •  

        Thanks for your article Jack. I tend to agree with you about Guardian readers. The comment stream on:
        https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/mar/14/wales-independence-leave-uk-scotland
        makes very depressing reading for any self-respecting Welsh man or woman. I hate to think what Daily Mail readers would have to say about the Guardian article if these are typical English views of Wales and the Welsh.

        •  

          As I’ve said for many, many years – and recently in a response to a comment here – left-liberals can often be more virulently anti-Welsh than right wingers, ‘justifying’ it on the grounds that any manifestation of Welshness, any attempt to promote Welsh identity, is inherently ‘racist’ and ‘discriminatory’. Yet these are the bedfellows Plaid Cymru has chosen.

          •  

            Ellie Mae O’Hagan says in her article for the Guardian “It’s time for Wales to start talking about independence

            She says “In my heart, I long for Wales to leave the UK. While the economics doesn’t add up, we urgently need to follow Scotland in discussing our future as a nation“.

            Who could argue with that? BUT notice the caveat? “The economics doesn’t add up“. Another indicator of how deep that myth about not being able to support ourselves has permeated.

            Take a snap-shot of our current economic situation and you can’t be blamed for believing that myth, however that is a snap-shot of the situation we have inherited because it has been purposely manufactured, using the Westminster rulebook for colonised dependencies. More significant, it has been manufactured by Labour in the Bay.

            As has been said so many times on here, a poverty ridden hungry population votes for who? Labour of course! It’s not 30 years of mismanagement, it’s a concerted effort to perpetuate the squalor for gains. And Plaid under it’s current leadership and with the help of it’s generals support that situation with their ‘free pass’ to allow Labour to continue on that course. They can’t see the wood for the trees, (painted red with the word ‘Socialism’).

            Labour can do no wrong in Plaid’s eyes – because Leanne and her followers believe they are kindred spirits. Do the SNP see Labour in Scotland as a ‘kindred spirit’?

    •  

      We need many more Mike Parkers and fewer Neil Hamiltons. The current evidence is that in migrants from beyond Clawdd Offa fleeing the influences of foreign cultures are imposing their own foreign culture on Wales with drastic consequences.

      •  

        That is exactly what Mike Parker has said in the past. It’s the white flight of racists from the other side of Clawdd Offa (Nick Griffin & Co.). Not surprisingly Parker also commented on conversations that some of these have struck up with him in the past, where comments are made about the “fucking Welsh” – as they mistook his expected stance to be like theirs – due to his West Midlands accent (even the war criminal Blair referred to us in that way – but not much fuss was made about it in the media – surprise, surprise).

        Mabon commented on the same attitude when conversing with his Brummie van driver in Aberystwyth. This is something that most of us natives have been aware of for a very long time. It comes to the surface (and is viewed with surprise) by those healthy thinking ‘converts’ who come to live amongst us.

        Reality is cruel isn’t it? You don’t get prepared for it by reading English newspapers like the Guardian, but they’d be the first to jump on the soap box when we reveal truths about us being a dumping ground for oddballs, social misfits, society drop-outs and RACISTS from England. Can you imagine the furore if we referred to these immigrants as the “fucking English”?

        •  

          Interested to read your comments here Big Gee – I am an English immigrant who has indeed got used to some other immigrants hearing my accent (which I am told sounds like ‘posh’ English) and saying the most appalling things about ‘the Welsh’ because they assume that I will think like them. I was indeed surprised when it first happened because it was pure naked bigotry and the same people would never have dared to make similar comments about black people, Asian people, Jewish people etc. The best example of this occurred when I went to a BBC ‘meet the governors’ function some years ago in Cardiff. The BBC governors were all there, including their Chairman, that oaf ‘Lord’ Michal Grade, supposedly meeting the people of Wales and my God, the racist shite that came out of them was unbelievable. I didn’t realise what was happening at first because I didn’t understand the initial ‘jokes’ – obviously I’d been infected by living in Wales so long – but when Rhun ap Iorwerth stood up to take the microphone (this was when Rhun was still working for the BBC), Grade kept bellowing out ‘well you’re tall aren’t you?’ I was totally confused, but Grade continued to comment on Rhun’s height with all these tossers laughing along with Grade – then I clicked; Welsh men are supposed to be short! And in the end Grade said it, oohh ho ho, you must be the tallest man in Wales. It didn’t stop – the offensive comments continued, until one member of the audience tried to raise the subject of the dreadful Ann Robinson with Grade, the Ann Robinson who had insulted Welsh people on prime TV and said that she’d like to put them all in a dustbin. (If she’d said that about Black/Asian/Jewish people, she’d have been sacked.) They still didn’t get it – Governor Ruth Deech – now Lady Deech – then waxed lyrical about how when she thought of Wales, she thought of choirs and chapels and valleys and just about every other lame Welsh stereotype that emanates from the BBC itself. Now throughout all this, the Governor for Wales, a Welsh speaking Welshman, did try to draw attention to just how offensive the rest of them were – it went right over their empty pompous heads. They then started simply stopping him from commenting by becoming even louder and more pompous, Grade and Deech being the main offenders here. After this there was an ‘answer the questions from the audience’ bit – someone asked about the BBC weather forecasts and it started again, with Grade ordering the Governor for Wales to answer this, because it rains so much in Wales. Then something very interesting happened – a member of the audience asked a ‘difficult’ question, that needed someone with a brain to answer it because it involved complex knowledge of demography and population and Grade turned straight to the Governor for Wales and asked him if he could answer it because he knew damn well that the other Governors were too ignorant to be able to do so. Oh and just to show how much respect Michael Grade has for his colleagues from Wales, when Grade was introducing the other Governors at the start of the evening, it turned out that he didn’t know the surname of the Governor for Wales. But of course Grade knew the name of Richard Tait, that fool from Cardiff University, whose contribution to the broadcasting world was I believe ‘Nationwide’, the 70s light entertainment show that featured Frank Bough of cocaine and prostitutes fame – Grade introduced him as an eminent academic, PROFESSOR Richard Tait. Richard bloody Tait, an ’eminent’ academic – Nationwide??? oh please…the only reason Richard Tait ended up with a Chair at Cardiff was because Cardiff University toadys to anyone who it thinks might be able to provide it with links to powerful people in the British establishment – people like Michael Grade. Oh and ‘Lady’ Deech was later appointed as head of an Oxford University College – this was the woman who was completely unable to answer the one question that I put to her, about the constant portrayal of mentally ill people on TV as axe murderers…These people are utterly mindless and so obviously attain their positions through doing powerful people favours rather than ability (indeed I saw documentary evidence that this was how Michael Grade obtained his position, but that’s another story…)

          •  

            That meeting you describe is almost unbelievable, until one thinks about it, and the BBC, and then the initial surprise disappears, leaving only the anger.

            •  

              Thanks to DrSally for her report on antics at the Beeb. The only bit that surprised me was this :

              “Now throughout all this, the Governor for Wales, a Welsh speaking Welshman, did try to draw attention to just how offensive the rest of them were –”

              That must have been a first and possibly only time, because I don’t recall BBC Wales Governors being hardly anything other than total cocksuckers. That one of them ever tried ( maybe unsuccessfully) to tackle Grade is good to hear and should have set a standard for behaviours thereafter. Sadly it didn’t. Still it will justify giving Grade a good whack on his nose if he ever gets caught sneaking over the border !.

    •  

      herefore, I know what the centre and left of British politics are like.

      Obvipously you don’t. The default setting of the proper socialist left is anti-EU. Of the 168 unions etc affiliated to the TUC less than 10 actively supported Remain, most were neutral, more than 10 supported Leave. Nearly all of the unaffiliated unions etc supported Leave also.

      It’s the public sector/middle class thieves that stole Labour that supported Remain.

  15.  

    The late 1960s early 70s in Cymru shouldn’t be looked at in isolation. The escalating situation in Northern Ireland contributed to the de-escalation of force or threat of force and any political sympathies they might have had here. Protest was a characteristic of those times but CyrIG’s actions were viewed as extreme but many probably most Welsh speakers at the time. Reflected badly on what those critics thought was the good reputation the country had. It was also a time of increasing affluence across Cymru and there was little incentive or interest in changing the status quo of the UK nation state.
    I think it’s fantasy to imagine that any Welsh nationalist political party would have gained any significant measure of support with an attachment to the FWA or similar.

    I don’t buy into a conspiracy as I think the history of Plaid Cymru can be put down to bad decisions, wrong options self interest, etc. You just have to see what a mess the Labour party is in now both at Westminster and Llangennech for examples of that unless someone would like to suggest a conspiracy as the cause for those.

    And as conspiracies go who got the FWA (or other group if I’ve got that wrong) to dress up in uniforms that looked like they were playing the baddies in a WW2 film. There’s even a German shepherd dog on parade in some photos I’ve seen. And then there’s that stylized white eagle motif!

    •  

      There was no Plaid Cymru “attachment” to the FWA or MAC, that’s my point. Plaid in the 1960s increased its vote because those organisations made voters focus on Welsh issues in ways they hadn’t done before. Plaid’s vote after the late ’60s fell back because MAC and the FWA had been broken, and there were no issues like Tryweryn, Aberfan or the Investiture. You could argue that the British state has been very careful not to provide another Tryweryn or Investiture.

      Nor do I buy your theory that the situation in Northern Ireland dissuaded people here from violence. There was WAWR and there was Meibion Glyndwr. As for public support, I recall HTV doing a survey in Gwynedd and Ceredigion and finding to the horror of politicians and others that a clear majority of locals understood the MG campaign and supported its aims – to curb the number of holiday homes.

      If the worst you can come up with against the FWA is the uniforms and the fact that one of them had a GSD, well, you’re clutching at straws.

      P.S. 16.03.17: This came out today confirming what I said about public support.

      •  

        What I tried to point out is that however poor Plaid Cymru’s gains in raising support for independence I think they would have been less if they had done anything but condemn violence/threat of violence. There just wasn’t a big enough grievance to generate widespread support.

        I could argue – for Tryweryn see Bala superprison, investiture – we’ll have to wait until Carlo gets the crown to see if we get another of those. The holiday homes campaign did have support but not much in the areas where 90% of the population live.

        The issue of uniforms, GSD and white eagles is that they were an absolute gift to the British state. An image of Welsh nationalism that they could use to portray it as sinister or comical. A case of bad decisions, wrong options and I suspect a degree of self indulgence as well as conviction.

        Regarding wrong options I think Plaid Cymru got it wrong with Neil McEvoy, not because they’ve handed him a suspension but by following due procedure – strategically if nothing else it provides a potential moral high ground to attack Labour from but because they should also have made a storm about what (to me) appears to be a Labour set up and stich up.

        •  

          The usual response to Plaid’s condemnation of violence was, ‘Well, they would say that, wouldn’t they?’ But what was the opinion of Plaid’s rank and file?

          I’m not aware of any survey on the holiday homes campaign done “in the areas where 90% of the population live”. If you know of one please provide a link. Though you may be right, if only because holiday homes was a non-issue in the urban areas. I can argue that nobody around here gives a toss about traffic pollution levels in Swansea or Cardiff.

          Anything Welsh can be “an absolute gift to the British state” if it chooses to mock and distort. It’s called propaganda.

          But we can at least agree on the Neil McEvoy case. Does anyone outside of the Plaid hierarchy – and of course ‘Welsh’ Labour – think that they got it right?

          •  

            “Anything Welsh can be “an absolute gift to the British state” if it chooses to mock and distort. It’s called propaganda.”
            I think we can agree that distortion is to be expected. However some things need little or no distortion in order to put voters off an issue or an idea.

  16.  

    Off on a bit of a tangent. If you’re not already aware, there’s another sub plot in the independence referendum conundrum for Theresa May. The clouds are gathering and there’s going to be a mighty headache for England, and we will be deaf & dumb spectators on the touch line. Deaf because the mainstream British media government propaganda machine are not reporting it, nothing new there, (bury embarrassing bad news, and promote drivel to keep the public quiet). Dumb, because we have a nationalist party (so called) that will keep shtum about it, instead of seizing the opportunity to jump on the independence wagon of Scotland & Northern Ireland.

    Michelle O’Neill – who replaced Martin McGuinness as Sinn Féin’s leader in the Northern Ireland Assembly in January of this year, has asked for an independence referendum for the people of the six counties, giving them an opportunity to unite with the republic. She announced that only hours after Nicola Sturgeon’s bombshell.

    What should we be doing? Getting stuck in with our Celtic cousins of course. What do we actually do? Suck our thumb behind the sofa whilst making ogle eyes at Labour, whose leader in Cymru immediately announced that ‘we are stronger together in the Union’. Real opportunities to shake things up and make changes don’t come very often. The Irish secretly offered us an invitation to be involved in their ‘party’ at the beginning of the birth of the Irish Republic. In classic fashion we turned our backs on that opportunity – due to an absence of balls and a selfish,economic self interest – if we’re honest about it – fuck you ‘Jack’ I’m OK. At the time we were supplying all the coal and iron to fuel the industrial revolution the world over here in Cymru (although the money was shovelled straight back to the coffers in London – we twpsod were happy to slave like moles underground just for the chance to earn a pitiful wage – talk about being gullible & naive). Ireland was piss-pot poor, it’s only natural resource was peat, and immediately after they broke away their rugby team couldn’t afford a coach to take them from the ferry in Liverpool down to Caerdydd. Shit-pots in Cymru were afraid that we would land up in the same pickle. Some things never change. What the Irish had was pride and principle, and they’ve shown what they’re capable of when given their freedom. I envy them as a nation.

    Of course both Scotland & N. Ireland are at this moment rocking the boat for all the wrong reasons. It’s all about Brexit & the EU. However they’ve seized the opportunity to get what they’ve wanted for centuries – freedom. They won’t get freedom in the EU – just a swap of masters. BUT depending on how things pan out with the elections on the continent, there may not be an EU for much longer – thank goodness. In that event both Scotland & N. Ireland will have broken out of the prison. Leaving us to languish at the hands & whims of our oppressive jailers.

    •  

      Big Gee
      1: To be fair to Leanne, she did call for a debate on Wales Constitutional future: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-39259738 perhaps not as forthright but does she have a choice. Wales voted for Brexit and support for independence is at what 3% or is 28%. She does not have the electoral support Sinn Fein has just received in the recent elections (for the first time unionist parties are not in a majority in Stormont) and NI voted in favour of remaining like Scotland did. So all the Welsh can do is happily jump off the cliff with Mother England. NI has the get out of jail clause called reunification, Scotland has a pending Independence referendum. Wales has nothing. By voting out you have no leverage no voice nothing. You just have to sit there and take whats handed to you.
      2: With regards to EU elections in the Netherlands – the land of the polder model and coalition governments there are 28 political parties contesting the elections today and even if Gert Wilders wins the election on 24% of the vote all the other parties have already stated they will not go into coalition government with him, so his destination is the opposition benches. In France Marine le Pen will get to the second round like her father did against Chirac and whichever candidate gets to the second round – Macron, will solidly beat her like Chirac did her father. The only people in Europe who think Marine Le Pen will be President of France and Gert Wilders will be PM of the Netherlands are Brexiters who have very little understanding of European National Elections.

      •  

        You can’t bake a cake five minutes before the wedding.

        This is why Plaid, since it plucked up the supreme courage to openly say that it supported independence (after denying it for years, although everyone knew what it’s members wanted, so they landed up making a total arse of the party and everyone associated with it) they have to all intents & purposes shut up about it. What they should have been doing was putting the issue at the top of their agenda and then campaigned at full throttle, to get their argument over – as the SNP have and Sinn Féin always have. What does Plaid do? Run to hide behind the sofa and whisper about independence in the dark. Great move!

        Don’t be so smug about the upcoming elections. The anti establishment tide is a lot stronger than the media portrays it. I remember the same smugness amongst the ‘remainers’ – most of whom are still wiping the egg off their faces, or are recovering from nervous breakdowns.

        So it’s only Brexiteers that are ignorant about European National Elections? Do me a favour – I would say their ignorance does not even come close to the ignorance of the remainers when it comes to referenda or the ‘political experts’ who got the last general election totally wrong – and I won’t even mention what happened in the US.

        Can I give you a little bit of advice ‘Mr. Establishment’? Don’t put your trust in the mutterings of establishment arse-holes. The times they are a’changing.

        Marine Le Pen is the current favourite to win the upcoming French presidential election in April, and has come under fire by the establishment media and political system due to her outspoken anti-globalist views”. Check it out HERE

  17.  

    Business as usual today. Dai Lloyd and others tried to get a piece of law or regulation adopted to protect good old Welsh place names. Cynulliad in its supreme wisdom says “No”!

    This indicates that any incoming migrant taking up residence will be at liberty to repeat the follies reported on this site over recent years. Penybryn could easily become Mendip View, Rhaeadr y nant could be turned into Raging torrent or given an utterly different identity having nothing to do with its traditions. Think of those “scwds” in the Beacons above Neath valley – will some imbecile turn that into something perverted just so he can pronounce it and muppets reading tourism literature get turned on to visit. After all, scud has a totally negative image beyond Clawdd Offa and we don’t want to frighten any tourists, do we.

    •  

      And guess who voted with Labour? Aye, Milord Elis Thomas!

      •  

        No surprises there. In my personal opinion the man is a long time sufferer (probably from childhood) of what’s called histrionic personality disorder. I think I may have mentioned that in depth somewhere on this blog in the past.

        That was never more evident than when he was in college, and would write extensive essays on subjects like free love, simply to be controversial and to draw attention to himself. This was quite inappropriate, especially given that his father was a well known Methodist minister of the old kind. Maybe his condition has been caused by the cloistered and pampered but emotionally ignored upbringing he may have experienced in a strict religious environment at the manse. Perhaps he felt neglected and needed to draw attention to himself, which may have become obsessive and followed him into adulthood.

        The symptoms are certainly evident in his political life. He also may have been the exact personality type to be recruited for a darker role, by those that Jac has mentioned previously! Nothing would surprise me. Remember his glee at being the escort of the inbred ‘Royal’ head at Y Senedd?

  18.  

    We now what needs doing. Plaid’s hierarchy needs to be gotten rid of. Now what are we going to do about it?

  19.  

    Interesting Poll (not scientific) on views about Scottish Independence based on where you live – see Wales. The colonial mentality and stockholm syndrome is strong! http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/poll/14-03-2017/should-scotland-be-an-independent-country-

    •  

      You’re quite right about Cymru, but you have to take into account how many immigrant foreigners from beyond Clawdd offa we now have living here, and also the historic influence of the industrial in migration to the Anglicized regions of de Cymru. Not a surprise really.

      The one that was really interesting was the NI poll. Also the increase in support in the Scottish poll.

      Having said that there is definitely the effect of ‘colonial mentality’ and very likely some Stockholm syndrome effects at play here. That’s why the primary work in hand for the likes of Plaid should be the reversal of those factors. Instead they hold candlelight vigils for peace in far away lands and the promotion of gay & women’s rights – which has bugger all to do with our state as a nation or the disappearance of our culture, language and identity.

  20.  

    Jac Totally off topic, though nothing is ever really off topic here as it all relates quite well when viewed in the bigger picture.

    I see that somebody is fancying setting up a space travel station at Llanbedr. Now that should create bags of jobs for local youths and others lounging around trying to dream up something useful to do. I’m surprised that Carwyn hasn’t asked you to assist as he will need “boots on the ground” applying creative flair to this newest piece of innovative thinking to take it forward successfully to its adoption phase.

    I guess that location must be quite close to the Cambrian Coast railway, so Llanbedr Skyway Halt is a natural destination for prospective galaxy trippers. You will need to coordinate grant money from Network Rail, Croeso Cymru, and the newly created Cymru Intergalactic transportation agency which will be tasked with creaming off funds for no specific purpose other than to build monuments to Carwyn and the founding fathers of the Wales Dependency Region.

    Exciting isn’t it ?

    •  

      A lot of nonsense has been talked about Llanbedr over the years.

      Back in 1973 I worked the summer in The Vic, the village pub, living in a ‘chalet’ out the back. It was then run by a cockney (married to a local girl) whose attitude to business was summed up by his catchphrase ‘Whack it on!’. In other words, with an order for more than two or three drinks, and if you weren’t sure of the price, then dream up a figure and add a few bob.

      It was a busy summer and many of the customers were Brummies, staying in the local caravan sites. Most of them seemed to ask for ‘A pint of mild and twenty Park Drive’. (I can’t do the accent.) The thing was we didn’t sell mild, and fags were sold from the machines. Now you know me, I’m a patient man, but after about 327 times explaining to these thick fuckers that I was unable to accede to their request, I began to lose it.

      Anyway, the big event of the summer was when the nearby river Artro flooded, filling the cellar and bringing a foot or more of muddy water into the pub itself. But the bar stools were still accessible. I recall wonderful conversations with that fine actor Artro Morris and his mate from many a TV show, James Ellis.

      Many of the Vic’s customers used to work on ‘the airfield’, and I was immediately struck by how few of them were Welsh. They were almost all ex-servicemen. Strangely, I’d encountered a similar phenomenon a few years earlier when I’d worked for the Ministry of Labour in the main Swansea employment exchange in Northampton Lane. I soon learned that ex-servicemen were given preferential treatment for civil service jobs, even if totally unsuited.

      But there were some Welsh working there, one I recall was a chippy little character whose claim to fame was that he’d once punched Dafydd Iwan. I asked him why, and all I could get out of him was, ‘Well, he’s a nationalist, isn’t he . . . we don’t want that around here’. It soon became clear to me that this guy, a Welsh-speaking local, had been influenced by the things he’d heard from the ex-service types at ‘the airfield’.

      More recently I knew the guy, Geraint Williams, who flew the hawks that kept the runway free of other birds. Last time I saw him was in the Lion, after the funeral of Bargoed ap Rhisiart, the busking harpist of Harlech, in May 2012. The Lion was being run at the time by a member of the Harlech branch of my wife’s extended family.

      Small world, innit. You’ve brought back a lot of memories, Dafis.

      As for ‘the airfield’ becoming a space station, if our Beloved Leader says it will happen, then I have no doubt that it will come to pass.

  21.  

    Today’s non story about Meibion Glyndwr – what is it about these episodes that motivates people into the “blame game” or a “whodunit” frenzy. Common sense suggests numerous participants as setting fire to stuff is quite a contagious activity. The early few were probably torched by genuine activists then in no particular order the security services, copy cat delinquents and serious arsonists joined in.

    It became an “out of control” issue simply because the security services realised that some of these jobs were not their work or the work of those suspects who had been under close observation. That’s when cat got out of the bag, horse had bolted, pan boiled over etc and FFS it was time to put an end to it, panic setting in !

    The bit that irritated the shit out of me today was to see that weasel Keith Best denying any possibility of security service involvement – what is the boy on ? he was discredited decades ago and should just retire to a dark room and lie down. No one would miss him.

    •  

      What was really obnoxious about Best’s contribution was the suggestion that the security services would never risk someone’s life.

      •  

        Ha, Ha – bloody Ha! He should get out more and look up the detailed evidence of ‘False Flag‘ incidences. Many of which were perpetrated by those very evil swines during the freedom struggle in the Six Counties in the 70s.

        The official technical term for it is Casus belli it literally translates as “”an act or event that provokes or is used to justify war“.

        On a larger scale 9/11 is a classic case in point. It was the catalyst that the powers in the shadows in America needed to start the chaos that now devours the Middle East, all planned, all staged. Problem reaction solution. Cause the problem, wait for the reaction then offer a solution.

        So this is the way you do it. Demolish some of your own prestigious and prominent buildings, in an act that is supposed to mimic a major terrorist attack, (never mind the loss of life). Then you blame someone for the event – through your media lapdogs (usually with the miraculous discovery of a passport or similar retrieved from the site – without even a singed page in it). You wait for a reaction from an enraged and frightened public who demand that something is done about it, you then provide the solution. You call it a war on terror and go and bomb the shit out of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and try the same with Syria, using a brand new terrorist group that you’ve set-up, armed and funded, called ISIS. Easy innit? Pity about those bastard Russians flying into your ointment!

        What you forget to tell everyone is that you already had a list of seven countries that you wanted to wage war with before any of this ever happened. Click HERE.

        For those who clicked on that last link but who may not know who he is. He is (to give him his full name) , Wesley Kanne Clark, Sr. (born December 23, 1944). He’s a retired General of the United States Army. He graduated as valedictorian of the class of 1966 at West Point and was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to the University of Oxford, where he obtained a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. He later graduated from the Command and General Staff College with a master’s degree in military science. He spent 34 years in the U.S. Army, receiving many military decorations, several honorary knighthoods, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Clark commanded Operation Allied Force in the Kosovo War during his term as the Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO from 1997 to 2000.

        General Clark is hardly the material for a so-called conspiracy theorist is he? And Keith Best says that British (English) intelligence services would never do anything to endanger life! What an establishment fart! The British have a reputation for being even more sinister and devious than ethe Americans (the Anglo Saxon nephew across the pond). The fact that the British were the ones who invented concentration camps during the Boer war says it all really, yet people still believe that the concept of concentration camps were cooked up by Hitler’s mob as a solution to exterminate Jews.

        •  

          Clark is a man whose word cannot be trusted. I remember during the contrived Kosovo ‘crisis’, while Madeline Albright was smooching the Albanian bandit chief, Clark was telling us that the Serb soldiers were defeated, demoralised, their armour destroyed, and were in disorganised retreat.

          Then we saw the footage of Serb soldiers pulling out of Kosovo, sitting in their trucks, or on tanks, and all laughing and giving the three-fingered Serb salute. This was not a defeated and demoralised army, this was an army that would have fought any invader.

          To avoid fighting a ground war they couldn’t win, just like the Germans in WWII, the Americans bombed Belgrade in order to get the Serb army out of Kosovo. Which may have been the bast option for the reputation of the USA. Because if they had invaded Kosovo, and other parts of Serbia, they would almost certainly have had to rely on the fascists of the Croatian Ustashe and the Albanian gangsters of Kosovo.

          And then Clark tried to become the Democratic presidential candidate. Which tells you all you need to know about the Democratic Party and its moral equivalence.

          •  

            Now Jac, I didn’t set out to elevate Clark to some position of divine grace nor to testify to his track record on truthfulness – when he was dishing out propaganda on behalf of NATO.

            I’m the first to admit he is a child of the establishment, a past military puppet who was paid to do the bidding of his masters. THAT is what makes his interview so intriguing. I’m not for one moment debating the rights or wrongs of the Balkan war – that is not the crux of what I wrote. We can discuss Kosovo at some other time, and I’m pretty sure we’ll both be singing from the same music sheet anyway. You have just gone after a red herring with the mention of Wesley Clarke. I don’t really care how truthful he has been in the past when serving his masters, he is now retired and a free agent – possibly with the urge to calm his conscience.. I was making a point about the revealing of the way that governments work.

            I merely pointed out that Clark is hardly someone who would be labelled a conspiracy theorist (goodness knows as soon as you mention anything controversial of a plotting nature, out come the ‘anti conspiracy’ mob to call you names to discredit what you say). Neither has he anything to gain by revealing what he was told to the public in his interviews, and what the memo that he spoke about contained. If it was untrue then you’d have heard the backlash – but nothing. That tells you everything.

            The ONLY point I was highlighting was that ‘false flag’ events are very real and a very common occurrences in the establishment’s secret machinations. I was also highlighting what a prat Best was with his ridiculous comment.

          •  

            As I recall, Clark ordered a Nato force commanded by General Jackson of the British Army to take an airfield in the Serbia/Kossovo border area that had just been occupied by a Russian army unit. Very reasonably, Jackson refused to obey orders as he was not prepared to start WW3 . Clark is not someone of good judgement.

            •  

              As I recall, a Russian armoured unit took Pristina airport and the Kosovo Serbs thought salvation had arrived. They could have secured the airport and brought in reinforcements and supplies, but they were pulled out under diplomatic pressure. The president of Russia at the time was Boris Yeltsin, so the decision may have been taken for him. I doubt if Putin would have been so obliging, so Clark might have had his war.

              •  

                There seems to be a Kosovan obsession at play here, which has nothing to do with what I was commenting on. I didn’t upload the post to start a whole new swathe of comments about Clark’s military record and the ins and outs of the Balkan conflict. So I’m butting out of this one. If we can’t stick to the core subject then it’s a waste of time. You’ll have to reminisce without me.

                I have never been a fan of ANY American general. However all I wanted to say was that what he has said publicly and on record (with no rebuttal from anywhere) since his retirement from the military, is ample proof of what was going on, and still is going on in the corridors of the Pentagon. I couldn’t give a flying fuck about his actions in Kosovo.

      •  

        Wasn’t Best himself compromised by some devious activity when he was in the public eye quite persistently ? I vaguely recall him doing a spot of porridge – perhaps he’s been “helping” our guardian angels ever since ! People do get turned by their experiences in clink.

        •  

          As MP he got into trouble with Plod by making illegal multiple applications for shares on the first BT privatisation using various versions of his name. I believe he did serve time and it finished his political career.

          •  

            Some years before the illegal applications for shares, Best was and his personal assistant were involved in a car crash in which the personal assistant was killed. Best was driving at the time. Guess what, he was found to have been not responsible. Somehow this never gets as mentioned as much as one would expect. Regarding the illegal shares applications, Best caused a lot of entertainment for Private Eye readers at the time by claiming that he didn’t know that what he had done was illegal – Best was a barrister. I also seem to remember that he used false names to assist with his applications. Best had a role at the Welsh Office for a lot of his political career – the same Welsh Office that was riddled with corruption and was concealing serious abuses in the mental health system in north Wales as documents now in my possession demonstrate. Interestingly enough despite being mired in all this shite, Best used to be one of those Tories keen on taking a hard line where law n order was concerned – I think he might even have been one of those who wanted to ‘bring back hanging’. Best moved out of the limelight after the prison sentence was handed down – although that sentence was very soon reduced on appeal – but Best did not go away. He became involved with various good causes, such as the World Federalist Movement, Prisoners Abroad, the Immigration Advisory Service and the Electoral Reform Society. Not all of these are causes that I would expect him to naturally gravitate towards…

            •  

              nice update on Mr Best. Seems like he was keeping his hand in ………, or did something that kept him and others informed.

            •  

              Dr sally

              as I recall Keith Best became a spokesman for some immigrant support/welfare organisation [the one you mention?] which I thought very strange at the time as Maggie had brought in the substantial immigration act which did for the National Front.

              I still remember his famous epitaph/quote after being found guilty of his shares scam – “happy is the man who has nothing, for he has nothing to lose”.

              •  

                Yes I was amazed when I discovered the sort of causes that Best supported after he came out of prison – he was a hard core Thatcherite, nothing he did after the shares scandal made sense. Between 2010 and 2014 he was also CEO of Freedom From Torture, an organisation formerly known as the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture. I first heard about this organisation when they were caring for victims of Pinochet – who was one of Thatcher’s buddies! More recently I’m fairly sure that they were the organisation that became embroiled in scandal when it was discovered that one of the people either sheltering under their wing or actually working for them was a doctor wanted for genocidal crimes in Rwanda – I have just googled wiki to try and check this out, but there’s no mention of it. I’m pretty sure it was them involved though, because I’d always had a high opinion of them and I remember being horrified when I read about it. However I did find out from wiki that the organisation was established by a number of medical Royal Colleges, including the Royal College of Psychiatrists, whom I know to be institutionally corrupt. I hadn’t realised that. I do wonder why Best was involved in all this…

  22.  

    Welsh nationalism is a new invention. I know there’s all these dreams of “making Wales independent again” which go back to the middle ages… but there was no Wales back then. A collection of Brythonic nations… and every “struggle for independence” has been more a struggle against oppression which has involved English and Welsh on both sides of it. Plaid has no real “nationalist” cause hence the branching out. All these causes politicians champion are just tools to ensure their own position – corruption, greed. Our Democracy has become nothing more than a vehicle for the upwardly greedy and power hungry.

    Maybe that’s what Plaid should be standing up for as it fondles around a dark room for a light switch. The very same thing that Owain truly fought against: corruption, cronyism and greed. Those who would stand to serve others but only serve themselves. The political culture in Britain needs to be brought to account.

    •  

      A few corrections:

      “Welsh nationalism is a new invention”. Wrong. You can’t invent a nation, it develops over centuries. The acceptance of a Welsh nation, and the belief that it should rule itself, is at least a thousand years old. Nor is it just us Welsh who believe in Welsh nationhood, the English also believe in it. The early Anglo-Saxon kingdoms had laws that identified and provided separate treatment for the remaining Welsh population. As late as the fourteenth century the apartheid system prevailing in Wales under English rule was one of the sparks for the Glyndwr’s war of liberation, fought across Wales by Welsh people of all classes.

      By this period, the Brythonic era was long past, so there were no “Brythonic nations”. Certainly, in post-Roman Britain there were a number of Brythonic kingdoms, but they all belonged to a single nation, as did their medieval Welsh descendants.

      Yes, many conflicts saw English and Welsh on both sides. But almost always due to England playing the ‘divide and conquer’ card. Those Welsh who fought on the English side usually did so out of self-interest. Rarely do we find Englishmen on the Welsh side. A strategy we saw imperial England use in later centuries in Scotland, North America, South Africa, India, Cyprus, Ireland, Kenya, etc., etc.

      •  

        Sorry I meant modern Welsh nationalism. The stuff Plaid is trying to sell. Fact is its no gaining traction with people because its detached from what people identify with as their nationality. It’s not just about language just in case you think that is implied.

        The apartheid comment… that is incorrect. Many Welshmen – including Owain – had a great many avenues open to them before the reign of Henry IV. Rhys ap Tudur for example became Sheriff of Anglesey under Richard II (twice). Unless you’re referring to the Penal Laws which were brought in by Henry IV as a direct result of the disorder which was taking over in Wales… which covered Welshmen and any Englishman married to a Welsh woman. Englishmen fighting alongside Welshmen may have been a bit more common then you think for that to creep in there. The obvious trigger was the break down of Richard II’s rule and the usurpation by Henry IV. A change in Kings often caused issue… as it did when Henry I. As it did when Henry II died and so on. Also… Owain’s revolt began in 1400 where as the Tudor’s led a separate revolt (they took Conwy castle in exchange for pardons… did not include Owain).

        My statement on “making Wales independent again” was referring to 1093 as that was the last time Princes/King’s etc. were not vassals of an English King and were truly independent. Cannot really count the process of revolt as truly being independent in uprisings after this. Therefor… as Rhys ap Tewdwr is counted as the “Last King of the Britons” its still pretty safe to call them Brythonic Kingdoms. Whether they were singular nation or not is just wrong though… looking at Ireland as an example… few Ard Ri ruled without opposition. While the Normans were overrunning England Wales was fractured and fighting among itself… hardly a singular nation. I’d also point out that Strathclyde was still independent up until 1090 (I think… might be a bit earlier) and their culture had deviated from the rest of Brythonic culture again emphasizing a less than singular nation.

        But yeah… I don’t think there’s such a definitive gap between English and Welsh as you may think. I cannot but help thinking of Edmund Mortimer who died during the siege of Harlech fighting the same war as Owain. Or maybe Henry fitzRoy, son of Henry I and Nest ferch Rhys who named his son Meilyr. I think many of those who people today claim championed some kind of Welsh nationalism were self serving no matter what side they were on. The Welsh of all classes you mention… pretty sure on large Welsh and English folks did not care for the problems of Lords and Kings until told to join a levy. Its never been clear cut. It’s still not. Back to my point “thats why Plaid struggle”.

        •  

          It’s clear that you struggle – as do so many others – to distinguish between state and nation. Medieval Wales may not have been a unified state but it was a single nation. Strathclyde may have been geographically separated from the other Welsh kingdoms but it was no less Welsh. (This is even testified to in the Icelandic Sagas.)

          You keep using the term Brythonic, which is a language, a link between what was spoken on this island in pre-Roman times and Early Welsh. ‘Briton’ is simply a term for the pre-Roman, pre-Anglo-Saxon natives of this island, those from whom we Welsh are descended. It’s a term that outlived the use of the language, in the same way as modern English people are referred to as Anglo-Saxons.

          The change of kings you refer to was the trigger not the cause for Owain’s revolt.

          It’s becoming pretty clear that you’re pushing the ‘No such thing as Wales, no difference between Welsh and English’ line. This seems to be the official argument now for those seeking to undermine us.

          Which makes me wonder about you, especially as I get the the impression you’re boning up on things immediately before writing.

          •  

            I’ll start at the bottom and make my way up. No I just have a deep and unhealthy fascination with my own history. That said I’d love the adventure of learning all the things I know all over again… at least when it comes to history. 🙂

            I’m not pushing the “No such thing as Wales” agenda at all. I’m saying that a basis in modern nationalism in which Plaid supporters connect with in the historical sense (that is the Princes, Glyndwr’s flag etc.) is not necessarily black and white. I’m saying that just like Plaid today it embodied many causes and some of those causes were shared by Englishmen as much as Welsh. There were two distinct peoples in there – but most certainly only one cause.

            Also I don’t see myself “undermining us” anymore than your above critique of Plaid could be perceived by some. Though if you feel that is what I’m doing it is not my intent.

            I didn’t say the change of Kings was the sole trigger. Unrest had begun while Richard II was still King – the lack of order caused by the usurpation caused it to spread and as I’m sure you know Owain’s revolt was not about Wales or Welsh independence at the start but a dispute with Reginald Grey. Had it not been for Grey withholding a request for Owain to submit men to Henry IV’s levy he probably would never had revolted. Though I’d imagine the unrest was limited to Wales in this time because of the nature of the Marchers always being a bit of a no mans land… and also because England had gone through the Peasants Revolt only… what? a decade before? Which probably would have still been fresh in peoples memory.

            Onto the Brythonic thing. I used the term Brythonic because linguistically Welsh, Cumbric and Cornish are separate branches and that seemed like a good term to cover the other two hold outs at the time (at least in Britain). Usage of “King of the Britons” was still in use in 1093 so I’d be hesitant to say this was a pre-Anglo-Saxon terminology. Also I’ll just point out post-Roman and pre-Anglo-Saxon did not exist. It was called the Saxon shore before the withdrawal of the Legions. Though on your point about English people… we still call them Saxons (Sais/Saes/Saesneg).

            Believe it or not I’m actually agreeing with you on Plaid. Though I feel they didn’t gain traction with what Welsh has evolved into (that is Welsh and English speakers of Welsh and English descent) which I kind of feel is mirrored in Owain’s revolt. What makes people Welsh isn’t just the belief you are Welsh, nor is it whether you can speak Welsh, or even if you’ve got some obscure descendent of one of the Princes in your family tree but quite simply its a way of thinking. You’ve got your opinion of what is it to be Welsh – some will disagree with it… who is right? How can you build on that without a common ground?

            Plaid did not find that common ground and probably never will. What made Owain work was that he did find that common ground to unite the uprisings behind him (maybe he even was that common ground) and he even managed to find common ground in his cause with Englishmen. They became compatriots. What makes us Welsh is that we’re a welcoming and inclusive people and maybe that key element Plaid are missing is very much that – a modern redefining of what being Welsh is is required.

            If you’d like to go bone up on anything I said I can provide a list of reading materials. I think that what actually is being “Welsh” has fascinated me most of my life and I’ve read everything from Hiberni Reversuri to Gideon Brough’s Rise and Fall of Owain Glyndwr (Which I’d imagine is why I’m so fresh on that subject rather than “boning up”).

            Nice chat.

            •  

              I never said “King of the Britons” was pre-Anglo-Saxon terminology, the term ‘Britons’ and ‘British tongue’ (for the Welsh language) were in use up to the nineteenth century. What I said was, “‘Briton’ is simply a term for the pre-Roman, pre-Anglo-Saxon natives of this island, those from whom we Welsh are descended.”, but its use isn’t confined to that period.

              Under Roman rule we had the Saxon Shore not because it was inhabited by Saxons but because it was defended against Saxon pirates and raiders. Though I concede that there would almost certainly have been Germanic auxiliaries serving with the Roman army in Britain, just as there would have been legionaries, and auxiliaries, from all over the empire, and from outside the empire.

              Again, you use an argument popular with those seeking to undermine Welsh nationhood. Those who prefer ‘Iron Age Britain’ to ‘Celtic Britain’, those who want to believe in a seamless transition from ‘savage’ Britain to Roman Britain to Anglo-Saxon England, those who argue that the Anglo-Saxons always lived here, and so there was no invasion. Which is nothing but self-serving English nationalist bollocks.

              And if we must talk of Plaid, their abandonment of nationhood and history in favour of a few transient -isms is one of the reasons nobody’s fucking listening to them any more.

              •  

                Yeah my bad I misread what you said. I thought you were saying that Briton was a term used prior to Anglo-Saxons coming here and after the Romans leaving. Hence my reference to the Saxon shore as being in existence while the Legions were still here showing a very small gap between the Romans leaving and the Saxons arriving (even if they were at first just raiders).

                “Again, you use an argument popular with those seeking to undermine Welsh nationhood.”

                Which part exactly? I never called it Iron Age Britain. Neither did i suggest they’ve always been here. I’ve not shown any inclination other than to say Englishmen found common cause to fight against the establishment alongside Welshmen in the post Norman era (that is for us 1093).

                •  

                  The reference to the “seamless transition” theory was mine. What I accused you of was suggesting that the Saxons were in Britain during the period of Roman occupation, which is what you did say, with your reference to the Saxon Shore. I’m saying that there are some who like to suggest that the English have always been in Britain. Which is untrue.

                  And it invalidates your protestations in the final paragraph. Though I don’t know what you’re trying to say with “the post Norman era (that is for us 1093).” ‘Post’ means after. If you’re using 1093 as a marker then that would be the start of serious Norman aggression against us.

                  •  

                    Didn’t they find Anglo-Saxon burials with bodies wearing Roman foederati armour in the south east? Thats what led me to say they were in Britain before the Romans left. I could be wrong I guess… I started to wonder when you said the Saxons were not there yet. Not saying they have always been here just to be clear.

                    post-Norman I meant post-Norman invasion. Though thinking about it one of the Powys leaders fought alongside Eadric the Wild against William the Conqueror.

                    Anyway all that aside… my point is Plaid has failed to gain real traction in the south. I agree with what you say about them abandoning our history and what not. But I’m trying to highlight that in those conflicts they were at times joined by Englishmen. The issue with the south is that in the modern day many people have both Welsh and English family… if they feel alienated by Plaid because they do not speak Welsh then they’re going to have a preference of sitting on the fence or even associating with Unionism.

                    I think that maybe we need to interpret our history a little differently to make it more inclusive with the south. That is all I’m actually trying to say.

                    •  

                      In an earlier response I wrote, “Though I concede that there would almost certainly have been Germanic auxiliaries serving with the Roman army in Britain, just as there would have been legionaries, and auxiliaries, from all over the empire, and from outside the empire.” So I don’t doubt that the graves of Saxon foedorati could have been found in south east England. But, equally, they could be from the post-Roman period.

                      There is no question that there were Angles or Saxons in Britain quite early in the post-Roman period, they were invited by Gwrtheyrn/Vortigern to bring over “three keels” (ships) to help fight off the seaborne raids of Picts and Irish. They then got got greedy, called over more of their people, Gwrtheyrn got the hots for Hengist’s daughter, gave Kent – the possession of Gwyrangon – to his father-in-law, and the German takeover of England began.

                      The westward expansion was halted at the battle of Mons Badonicus (Bath?) in the late fifth or early sixth century, possibly by Arthur, but then the Yellow Plague wreaked havoc on the Welsh who were still importing from the empire, but seems to have spared the Germans whose contacts were with their homelands. The Anglo-Saxon attacks renewed and over the next few centuries most of England fell under English rule, apart from Cornwall and Cumbria.

                      But it was slow progress, and it was this slow progress that probably allowed a Germanic language to take root in Britain. Because German tribes ruled most of Europe for a time after the fall of the Western Empire, but the conquest was quick, the conquerors were then assimilated, and their language(s) lost.

                      But I still don’t understand why you’re arguing that we should emphasise the English contribution to Wales, and that, “many people have both Welsh and English family”. How many generations do you want to go back? There has been no serious immigration into the Valleys for three generations! But if you want someone who represents that background, who’s better than Leanne Wood, who does not speak Welsh?

                      Everything you’ve written tries to emphasise the English contribution to Wales and cooperation between the Welsh and the English. Strange.

                  •  

                    Leanne Wood was chosen because she is an English speaker and does not speak Welsh. Plaid’s core gauge of nationalism has always been the Welsh language. As you pointed out when you were campaigning: Some woman said “Sorry I don’t speak Welsh” and there has always been that element within Welsh nationalism that feels that what makes them Welsh is speaking the language. When one day Plaid does ensure we are all bilingual Welsh speakers it just will not know what to do with itself.

                    But its more complicated then that and it was an issue people have seen for centuries. Gerald de Barri, when he was passed over to become Bishop of St. Davids said “In Wales I am an Englishman and in England I am a Welshman”. Llywelyn Fawr chose his son with Joan of England over his eldest (who was favoured by his Welsh Lords for the exact opposite reasons Llywelyn wanted… Dafydd… I think). Owain marrying an Englishwoman, his daughter marrying Edmund Mortimer. The amount of intermarriage within the Marcher Lordships… the reason Henry IV passed the law “Englishmen married to Welsh women”.

                    Plaid is not making progress because it fails to see that there’s quite possibly an entire third culture at play. The non Welsh speaking Welsh kind. That even if they do speak Welsh they’re still going to be largely different culturally… not only because of their proximity to Cardiff, Swansea and Newport but because Glamorgan has been detached from the rest of Wales the longest. Its evolved separately. I mean… everyone had surnames in this neck of the woods for a few hundred years… back when my family came out of Camarthen before the last century they were still using a patronymic.

                    So simply put I’m saying that between Wales and England something else has manifested. Building a nationalist movement around language like Plaid has done alienates a huge contingent of other Cymru who only speak English. They should speak Welsh but thats currently not the case and while they’re made not to feel Welsh they are going to resist… which i’d say is typically Welsh. So Welsh nationalism needs to reinvent itself.

                    I think I covered what I’m trying to say in a non-offensive manner. If it comes across as anti-English or anti-Welsh I apologise. I do come from in between after all.

                    •  

                      The example I used from my canvassing days was to illustrate a perception among voters. Nevertheless, you do have a point about certain people, many inside Plaid Cymru, who believe that to be really Welsh you must speak Welsh. Which takes us back to Neil McEvoy and points the way forward.

                      Look, I know what you’re trying to say, and to a great extent I agree. If you want a wonderful example of this belonging to both camps then I suggest you look at the ‘Old English’ in Ireland. Descended from the early Normans who had married into Gaelic society. To most English they were Irish, but to many pure Irish they remained English. This went on for centuries and their goose was cooked by the Reformation and them staying Catholic. Their place in Ireland was usurped by the new Protestant Ascendancy.

                      My maternal grandmother used to tell me stories of my grandfather and her brother in World War One. My grandfather, Owen Rees, made sergeant in the Welsh Regiment, my mamgu’s brother, Llewellyn Williams, transferred as sergeant to the newly-formed Welsh Guards from the Welsh Regiment. My mamgu used to reel off the names of the men in his platoon – ‘all Irishmen’ – Butler, Fitzgerald, etc., all Old English names.

                      My mamgu didn’t understand the politics involved and neither did I when she was telling me. But as I learnt about Irish history I wondered if these men were still trying to show their loyalty to England, because of course there was no conscription in Ireland, so they had volunteered for the British army while many of their Irish Catholic compatriots were engaged in the Easter Rising and subsequent hostilities.

                    •  

                      Coming from the Marches I concur with what you are trying to say, there is tendency on this blog to blank out anything positive that may carry traces of Englishness.

                    •  

                      Hello, Eliot. You’re the one who claims to have switched from Labour to Plaid but insists the UK is a “nation state”. Have you managed to sort out your thinking yet?

                    •  

                      Yes thankyou Jac, this exchange between you and anonymous has been most interesting, the Welsh purists such as yourself aren’t ever likely to accept the middle ground of shared identity which many of us in Wales feel but Plaid moving into that centre ground in place of Labour is a positive thing in my view.

                    •  

                      Yeah, and look where it’s got them!

                      I am not the “purist” you choose to believe, but nor will I allow the kind of nonsense being spouted by those who wish to deny Welsh nationality by promoting some fake ‘British’ identity.

                    •  

                      Eliot said: “many of us in Wales feel but Plaid moving into that centre ground in place of Labour is a positive thing in my view“.

                      What are you smoking these days friend? Since when has Labour been ‘centre ground’? As for Plaid taking over from Labour, (by trying to out ‘Labour’ them, whilst at the same time turning their backs on nationalism), well if you believe that is the way forward then you’re in the realm of dreams!

                      What you’re REALLY saying is what you want for us in Cymru is a Welsh flavoured Brit-Labour party. I can see now why you think we’re all a part of a “British nation”.

                      Anon said: “Leanne Wood was chosen because she is an English speaker and does not speak Welsh“. Not quite true, she was brought up as an English speaker, but is now acceptably proficient in Y Gymraeg – she should be praised for that. It’s a good indicator that she is serious about her Welsh identity. Her problem is, she can’t shake off the political culture of her upbringing, where she believes that everything good is socialist (Labour) and everything bad is Tory, not leaving much standing ground for anything else – including a national party for Cymru.

                    •  

                      @Eliot @Jac

                      As I said the March it’s different. I wouldn’t even describe it as English either. “England” the constructed entity only really exists in the South East of England. The rest is maintained through the education system with Queen’s English, a particular brand of history etc.

                      I just feel the philosophy of what our culture is is jumping the gun when we need to be getting people on board by finding those core values and assimilating with a standard Welsh language and history afterwards. It’s secondary… because all the bickering about Anglo-centrism and all that… it is counter productive. We should be finding what we have in common not what we do not.

                      @Big Gee
                      I thought on Question Time in October she said she was still a learner. When she became leader she didn’t speak much at all. But yeah I know what you mean about culture of upbringing because I’ve had much the same view most of my life – and I’d be hard pressed to ever believe the Tories are anything but the nasty party.

    •  

      “Maybe that’s what Plaid should be standing up for as it fondles around a dark room for a light switch”
      Shouldn’t that be – fumbles around in the dark. Freudian slip perhaps.

      •  

        Possibly not. Fondling around in the dark might be appropriate for a touchy-feely party like Plaid.

        •  

          Venture with care into any speculations about “fondling” as it tends to be increasingly “de rigeur among the political classes and their hangers-on. It seems that within the first 5 years in office politicians experience a transition ( there’s that word again !) and develop an uncontrollable urge to fondle ( or worse ) anything but particularly those which fall outside a normal compass of behaviour.

          Now my transition theory is challenged quite often these days by those who believe that it is politics that attracts those types who have always enjoyed a bit of deviant fondling but manage to keep it confidential until sometime after their election to Cynulliad or Parliament. Seems like yet another of those “cause and effect” debates – should all A.M’s and M.P’s be compelled to declare such interests alongside their financial and other affiliations/activities ?

  23.  

    That’s right Jac. Another ‘myth’ propagated by a few and swallowed by the many. What IS relatively new is the formation of a political awareness of our nationalism in the early twentieth century, but that is altogether a different thing. Nationalism in Cymru has been around for as long as we have been in existence as a nation, and that was before the Roman or Anglo Saxon invasions of AD 43 & circa AD 450 – when the Anglo Saxons came in enough numbers to cause damage. They’ve been causing us damage ever since! At least the Romans left us as a whole nation intact.

    It’s unbelievable what the English compulsory education system has done to our knowledge of ourselves in Cymru!

  24.  

    A flaw with Anonymous’s argument above is that in it Cymru exists only with reference to England, stuff happens here because of what happens over there. It’s the bubble of Anglocentric history. The linkages between these European islands and continental Europe are many, varied and intimate and have existed for thousands of years.
    For much of the period referred to above England was not even the primary territory of the Normans which lay in what is now western France. Those Kings of England were also not top dogs and came below the King of France in the European order. Before the Normans much of England was for a time part of the King of Denmark’s realm and governed from his base in Denmark. A TV programme recently broke the news, well it would have been news to practically everyone in the UK that King Billy’s coronation was effectively a result of the invasion of England by the Dutch army facilitated by English plotters.

    The assumption that England and now the UK is and was destined to be is the result of hundreds of years of propaganda where history is written by the English when they are the winners and also written by them when they are the losers. This Anglocentricity goes overwhelmingly unquestioned by the public and even many historians and is so ingrained in some that they can’t even comprehend that any other version might exist.

    •  

      The most irritating example of this manufactured Anglo-centric version of the history of these islands was in the TV series A History of Britain by the Jewish historian (or so called ‘historian’) – Simon Schama – in which Schama wrote and presented the episodes himself. He was rewarded with excellent reviews and unexpectedly high ratings (as you’d expect from the ignorant English media). There has however been huge irritation and criticism expressed by a group of prominent and respected historians about Schama’s condensed recounting of the British Isles’ history that was projected in that TV programme, particularly by those specialising in the pre-Anglo-Saxon history of the Celtic civilisation.

      I started watching one episode and was so incensed by his lop-sided and biased presentation that I switched off. A total imperialist propaganda tool (and a tool in more senses than one). If you recall he basically inferred that the English have always been here (even muddying the waters so as to associate them with the Roman period on these island). References to Y Brythoniaid and Y Celtiaid were just a blip – hardly mentioned – although they had been here for thousands of years before any Saxon appeared and set foot on our shores.

      They do the same with our heritage. My guess is that most people in England believe that the monolith structures and ancient sites in ‘England’ were actually built by the English, although the Saxons didn’t appear here in any numbers until the middle of the fifth century, which is virtually yesterday in the time line of past and present dwellers of Prydain. Pathetic and disgusting. But there again, isn’t that par for the course? True and factual history of the defeated is always air-brushed out pf the history books by the conquerors.

      •  

        It’s entirely irrelevant that Schama is Jewish. What’s relevant is that he is a curren Anglocentric historian with and provided with opportunities to broadcast the Anglocentric version of history.

        •  

          Don’t you start this politically correct bollocks with me, where any sentence that associates Jews with anything negative immediately brings out the ‘Anti Semitic’ brigade.

          If I choose to highlight his ethnicity I will, and if that happens to coincide with anything negative about his work – then so be it. This fucking political correctness and the liberal progressives’ aggressive attempts to shut people up about Zionists – or anyone else – boils my blood.

          The reason I mentioned he was Jewish (Latvian Jew a Khazar actually), which in my book makes him less than an appropriate historian to stuff false ‘British’ history down my throat. If he had been a Welshman and I said the Welsh historian, you wouldn’t have blinked an eye.

          Now stop aping those Liberal progressive twats by interjecting anything written or spoken that may or may not involve Jews directly. It’s not ‘cool’ – you just make an arse of yourself by doing it. You sound like a first year Lib Dem supporting student.

          You study a bit more about Zionism, anti semitism and the Jews before you start lecturing me about the relevance of what I post.

          •  

            We are talking about Anglocentric history, an approach which is not and never has been the preserve of Jewish Historians. That is why your choice to draw attention to Schama’s ethnicity/religion is irrelevant.
            Clearly this issue of the perpetuation of Anglocentric history is not enough of a challenge for you to tackle so you’ve heaped onto it other issues that set you off.

    •  

      Well if I was talking about Belgium I’d reference Spain, Netherlands, France and Germany. Because nations define each other. The difference between say… Viking or Gaelic incursions as compared to English incursions is that they were both some what repelled where as Wales and England have had a tug of war over what is essentially the same country. The difference is here is that my opinion is simply that Welsh nationalism needs to revise itself in order gain appeal to those in the South… it is gradually as Labour stumble around aimlessly but that is not choosing through belief… that is looking for an alternative that ain’t the Tories.

      I don’t really care what defined England – Normans, Dutch, Saxe Coburg and Gotha… I care what defined us and how we can learn from that in a way that benefits us as a nation.

      •  

        The difference in defining Belgium with reference to Spain, Netherlands, France and Germany, is very different, as they are all separate sovereign countries (although the EU has tried to stamp out their identity as separate nations, but thankfully the evil referred to as the EU will not be with us much longer – thank goodness for that – it was a close call). Now if you tried to talk about Catalonia by referencing Spain how do you think the Catalans would react? Probably in the same way as we react when all Americans and most people in England refer to us with reference to England. It’s also the reason why Spain, a traditionally imperialist country is so hotly opposed to the concept of independence for smaller nations within a colonised country.

        Your point about defining us is very valid – but it depends on who is doing the defining and in what context. We have had the conundrum of how to appeal to those in the South since the end of the nineteenth century, because many are the product of colonisation during the industrial revolution. It takes an awful long time to dilute out the culture of a foreign country – many south Walians have progressed well – to the point where they now have pride in Tom Jones, Shirley Bassey and the WRU, and they refer to themselves as ‘proud Welshmen’. However mention independence or anything to do with our history, language and indigenous culture and they freeze. They also see us in the political context of England. That is the reason why they have a mental block to anything that isn’t Labour or Tory, because in their psyche they view Cymru and Lloegr as a merged identity, where the choice is between those two parties – as it is in England. I fear Leanne Woods may fall into that category, hence her urge to cosy up to Brit Labour, because she sees them as the only shield against the Tories. This of course is not true of everyone in the south. There are quite large pockets of true nationalists (many descendants of the flow of workers into the Valleys during the first wave of Welsh speaking migrants into the area from other parts of Cymru), and others who have had an awakening, because they have made the personal effort to discover their identity by their own study (God knows they wouldn’t get that knowledge by going to a school). But woefully, on the whole, it’s the Wenglish culture that prevails. That is why I have referred to them in the past as the hybrid Welsh – being neither true Cymry and not true English.

        The reality is that we are fighting for our very existence as a nation, we are fighting to preserve our identity, which has been developed over many thousands of years. A nation with it’s own language, culture, traditions, heritage and history is not an accident – it’s the proof that we are an unique nation, whose basic human right is the freedom to rule ourselves, independently of all others.

      •  

        Anonymous what you wrote looked to me like you haven’t escaped an Anglocentric view of the history of Britain. You came back with “I don’t really care what defined England” but part of my point is that what defined England contributed to defining us. England did not set an agenda that resulted in a finished product the UK. Actions, non actions and not just reactions to England from Popes, Kings and others across Europe contributed to how things were and are.
        Decisions made by governments from Portugal to Cyprus and from Malta to Finland will determine what form the UK future history over the next few years as well as the one in London. Something the present government don’t appear to have grasped.

        •  

          What bit exactly suggests I have not escaped an “Anglo-centrist view on the history of Britain”? Not really following the point you’re making or if you’re actually disagreeing with me.

          •  

            Assuming that you are the Anonymous I was referring to.
            There’s nothing in what you’ve written that indicates to me that you haven’t approached this discussion with an Anglocentric mindset regarding interpreting the history of Cymru.
            As an example you said –
            “…was referring to 1093 as that was the last time Princes/King’s etc.[of Cymru] were not vassals of an English King and were truly independent. ”
            However at the time England was not even independent it was part of the Norman estate. King of England was a title not as the Anglocentric view insists indicative of a sovereign nation, England. .

            •  

              Right well I’m still not really understanding what point you’re trying to make. Do you make issue with my usage of the terminology of “King of England” and not “King of the English”? Or that English lands were but an extension of Normandy? Or what? Explain your thought process with the relevant context please. (Not intending to sound rude)

              Let me put it in the context that I do see it: By 1080, William had “harried the north” and put down the last holdouts of Anglo-Saxon rebellion from Eadric and erm Edgar? I think. He’d also come into conflict with the “King of France” or “King of the French” over Bretagne. Now it’s also worth pointing out here that at the death of William in 1087 William Rufus became “King of England” where as Curthose became “Duke of Normandy” now during that time we could assume it was independent… but that is irrelevant as William Rufus acted as regent for much of Curthose time as Duke and Henry I conquered after he became King anyway. The reason for William Rufus becoming King over the elder Curthose in 1087 was because one was born in England and the other not. So explain to me how I’m looking at this within some kind of Anglocentric view?

              •  

                The period you refer to covers a vicious family spat on a grand scale with stirring from others. The result being that the Norman holdings in present day Britain and France were split up then brought together again. The Norman’s expending much effort time and expense in consolidating and extending their holdings in both areas. Barons with estates in both parts chose to view the British and Normandy parts as one entity. As you know they fought to recreate a unified realm. Unfortunately for them although reunification subsequently did occur they ended up with (for them)the wrong brother as king. The one based in England rather than one based in Normandy
                An Anglocentric view of history would have this as an expansion of the Kingdom of England/English interests into Normandy.

    •  

      The idea of “Great Britain” as a political entity stretches back no further than the accession of James VI of Scotland to the English throne in the 17th century — and it remained no more than an idea, an aspiration of the Stuart kings, until 1707. Since then, the “British” state has proved remarkably fluid — gaining Ireland in 1801 and losing most of Ireland in 1922. Another change is well overdue. A race is now on between Scotland’s departure and the reunification of Ireland. Any objective student of history will see that the concept of Britain as a political community is a completely artificial contrivance and a device to lend some pseudo-historical credibility to a multi-national state in an era when the other multi-national states of Europe have crumbled to dust. Austrian. Ottoman. Russian. Swedish.

      •  

        I think your comment is spot-on JE.

      •  

        Interestingly… and make of this what you may… in a letter between Owain Glyndwr and Robert III of Scotland Owain refers to the island as “Great Britain”. So even though its present state is rather modern… the idea came from that romanticised view of ancient settlement by Brutus the Trojan (Owain directly references this – as at the time it was considered “a thing” and one would guess that it still remained so three hundred years later at the ascension of the Stuarts). Owain obviously used this to insinuate an ancient relationship between himself and Robert and highlight the foreign nature of the English (of whom, even in French he calls “Saeson” – a term which at the time was pretty loaded with terms like “pagan” and “barbarian”)

  25.  

    I come from an English speaking, working class and Labour voting family in Gorseinon. My family and I have always identified as Welsh. I look back at the chaos and disruption of my youth caused by my father losing his job at Velindre Steelworks. I quickly came to the view that a Welsh state was essential to protect the Welsh people from policies people like Thatcher unleashed on a nation that didn’t vote for her. I looked to Plaid Cymru to put my weight behind the national cause. However I was soon confused to hear that leading Plaid figures didn’t even mention the word “Independence” The Plaid leadership were like a shy bunch of teenagers trying to buy condoms in a chemist but ending up walking out with toothpaste! When they did mention the “I” word – they ridiculed it, saying it was “old fashioned” and belonged in the 19th Century. But for me, it was always (and remains today) No 1 on the to-do list. Also at the same time Plaid embraced the idea of a “Europe of the Regions” I was really disheartened that the Plaid leadership were happy to aspire for Wales to become a region like Lombardy and Baden Wurtemburg but never an independent state. The SNP never did this.
    Terrible social dislocation was taking place in Wales during this time and Plaid were otherworldly and irrelevant. I discounted Plaid for years. My father always said they were a party for farmers full of crachach who didn’t give a shit about us. However I eventually joined Plaid during the devolution campaign in Swansea in 1997 – and I have been a member ever since. But if Plaid managed to turn off a budding nationalist from a demographic background the party need to target like myself – It maybe explains why the party has lost ground in comparison to the SNP – If I was a youngster in 1980s Motherwell instead of 1980s Swansea – I would be looking at 30 years of SNP activity instead of my 20 years in Plaid Cymru.
    Plaid with its middle class cultural nationalism is a handbrake on the Welsh national cause. Which is why Neil McEvoy is such a breath of fresh air – I think he is brilliant. He needs to be cloned and distributed throughout the cities and valleys of Wales. I was disgusted to see the Plaid leadership not supporting him and caving in to the Labour Bay bubble elite. More importantly, Plaid and these modern feminists did not give a damn about the mother and daughter McEvoy tried to protect from eviction. The Welsh working class are no mugs, they sensed that Plaid was not really on their side. This maybe explains why UKIP have stepped into a crease Plaid should be occupying.
    However I am optimistic about Plaid’s future. Brexit and McEvoy are mortal wounds on Plaid’s “ancien regime” Brexit threatens the integrity of the UK like never before and Plaid’s EU comfort zone which mangled our unique selling point of independence will soon be no more. No more “Europe of the Regions”. No more “Full National Status” Now it is Independence or nothing. UKIP’s raison d’etre has been fulfilled and they will soon become an irrelevance. If Plaid can now start the task of becoming relevant to the Welsh people by supporting people like McEvoy and mounting a full-out attack on the soft underbelly of Welsh Labour – we could be the big winners. Wales can be ours and we can take the first steps onto the road to statehood.

    •  

      Excellent stuff, no less than I’d expect from a fellow-Jack.

      You’re right about Plaid Cymru and cultural nationalism, throw in the sixth form ‘socialism’ and all the ishoos Plaid has wasted time on and you can see why it never made the impact in Swansea that the SNP did in Dundee, for example. Then along comes Neil McEvoy to make up for Plaid’s failings and show it how to make progress in the urban south – but how does it react to Neil McEvoy?

      You have to wonder if Plaid Cymru wants to succeed. I have stated on this blog more than once that I believe Plaid Cymru was compromised in the 1980s and is now programmed to be a dog in the manger party but nothing more.

      There can be no improvement in the direction and attitude of Plaid Cymru until there is a cull of the leadership. Starting with Leanne Wood, elected for no better reason than being a woman from the right geographical area, used to give the impression Plaid Cymru had changed. Others who need to be culled are Dai Lloyd, Bethan Jenkins, Steffan Lewis, Llyr Gruffydd, Elin Jones, Alun Ffred. (I would have mentioned Dafydd El, but of course he’s gone of his own volition.)

      And don’t stop there, go for those not currently sitting as representatives but still wielding a damaging influence behind the scenes, people like Cynog Dafis and Helen Mary Jones. In fact, get rid of all those responsible for Plaid falling 20 years behind the SNP in the space of 50 years.

      Some fucking achievement!

Ok, you’ve read what I think, now what do you have to say?