Ignored Constituencies and Zombie Parties

Many people will hate me for saying this, but political parties of the Right are invariably more honest, and therefore more ‘comfortable’, with their supporters than parties of the Left. The reason for this is that they appeal to perfectly natural human sentiments such as patriotism, family, Mom’s apple pie, or even baser impulses such as prejudice and greed. Whereas parties of the Left pretend – even delude themselves – that their voters are motivated solely by the desire for a nicer, fairer world, where the sun shines all day and we’re all nice to each other, when the truth is that those who vote for them are motivated by the same self-interest as the most venal, cigar-smoking capitalist.

Or am I exaggerating? Well, consider this: Throughout history there has been opposition to organised religion, monarchy, the military, landowners, the aristocracy, industrialists, the bourgeoise, etc., not because of any deep moral or philosophical objections but simply because malcontents believed such institutions and groups disadvantaged them. What I suppose could be described as a combination of envy and greed, which some would argue is the true basis of socialism.

Occasionally this resentment flared up in events such as England’s Peasants’ Revolt of 1381 which, despite the best efforts of historians in subsequent centuries to portray it as such, was not a mass movement with a coherent ideology and long term plans for a better society . . . it was simply a spontaneous rising of people motivated by anger and envy. In subsequent centuries, such episodes of unrest played into the hands of radical groups and political parties using these waves of popular discontent for their own ends. France would certainly have seen disturbances towards the end of the eighteenth century, but these would not have amounted to the French Revolution had there not been clever and ruthless men on hand to exploit the public mood and reshape France.Decembrists

In the following century Russia knew her movements for liberalisation, all of which failed. Some were glorious failures, none more so than that of the young officers who made up the Decembrists. Others were almost farcical. I particularly enjoyed reading many years ago of the Narodniki of the 1860s and ’70s and their ‘Going to the People’, which meant moving to the countryside in order to educate the peasants and help them in their struggles against the kulaks and other oppressors. The conservative peasants were so terrified by these young idealists that they couldn’t hand them in to the tsarist authorities quick enough.

The problem in nineteenth-century Russia and elsewhere was that the radical intellectuals of the aristocracy and the middle-class might eulogise and idealise the peasants and the workers but they had absolutely nothing in common with them, which usually resulted in suspicion and hostility from those they were trying to help. Little changed when Lenin and his gang came to power. There was a massive disconnect between the underdogs and those who saw it as their mission to help make the world a better place, either for, or at least in the name of, said underdogs.

By comparison, those defending privilege and the established order almost always belonged to the class whose interests they defended. More than that, they also appealed to the aspirational, those with a foot or two on the ladder. And never forget that those who defended the status quo also had an audience among the poor, perhaps those of a religious bent, or others who saw the rabble-rousers as harbingers of chaos.

Within my lifetime, in the USA, I can recall the Democrats cobbling together ‘rainbow alliances’ of disparate groups that had nothing in common other than not being Republican, while, on the other hand, the GOP represented an almost homogenous interest of the prosperous, the relatively satisfied, the patriotic, the religious and others who were reasonably happy with America the way it was. Both may have involved a degree of consensus but one didn’t need to be a great psephologist to predict which was the more likely to fall apart.


This gulf between the underprivileged and those who sought to speak for them has, at its best, been a kind of distant paternalism; at its worst, it has resulted in oppressive systems operated by fanatics in the name of those they very often despised. This has something to do with the fact that radical and anti-establishment parties can never entirely trust their constituencies. External enemies threatening war, or a rise in their living standards, could send the ‘oppressed masses’ flocking to the opposition. By comparison, the Right has always been able to trust its supporters.

Which meant that while the Right represented a coherent ideological continuum, from the richest in the land to the poorest patriot or the widow crossing herself before a picture of the tsar, the self-appointed saviours of the downtrodden always struggled to find common ground with those they spoke for. As the Narodniki and others found this can be very frustrating, tFarage bogeymeno the point where educated and motivated radicals look at those they’re trying to help, and ask, ‘Is it worth it?’ . . . before pulling themselves together and remembering that these drunken, slobbering, superstitious oaves are their hope of power.

This gulf was almost unbridgeable in tsarist Russia, and it’s still there in today’s Western democracies. With a small number of exceptions the modern UK Labour Party is made up of middle-class people and professional politicians, that is, those who studied politics in university then went on to become political assistants – perhaps doubling up as councillors – before making the logical step up to becoming an MP. How do these really feel about beer-swilling, Sun-reading, Reality-TV-obsessed Labour supporters who think Jim Davidson is a great comedian? The truth is that many Labour politicians would sympathise with the Narodniki who came to loathe the peasants who handed them in to the police.

But ‘Ah!’, you say, ‘what about those Old Etonians running the UK government, aren’t they out of touch?’. Out of touch with whom? Certainly not with their friends and relatives in the City, nor with the great English middle class, nor with those lower down the pecking order who feel it’s perfectly natural to be ruled by toffs. Consequently there is no great disconnect between Cameron, Osborne et al and those who support them.

Yet this disconnect on the Left goes a long way to explaining Labour’s fear and loathing for Ukip, and Nigel Farage in particular. The rise of Ukip has exposed another fundamental truth I touched on earlier – many people vote Labour out of pure self-interest, believing that Labour in government will raise wages and benefits, lower taxes and do all manner of things to benefit them. Altruism and a better world have nothing to do with it. As I said in a recent post. ” . . . your average working class, Labour-voting, tabloid-reader is very often a conservative and even a racist. Not a violent, Hitler-worshipping nutter, but a person who undemonstratively shares almost all the prejudices of the far Right. The identikit Ukip voter (as the May Euro-elections showed). We all know them. We work with them, we talk with them down the pub.”

What Labour – and socialists in general – will not admit is that Ukip has out-bogeymanned them. Whereas Labour has traditionally scapegoated capitalism, the banks, international finance, etc., Ukip has come along and said ‘No, no, the real problem, the reason you’re having a hard time, is “Europe” and immigrants’. What makes it worse for Labour is that during the Blair – Brown ( – Mandelson) years Labour got as close to big business and international finance as the Tories, so the traditional bogeymen can no longer be attacked.


Due to the reckless behaviour of these traditional but now inviolate bogeymen the Western world has just gone through – or may still be experiencing – the worst Recession since the Wall Street Crash of 1929, the UK has a national debt of 1.4 trillion pounds, the Chancellor’s autumn statement last week will lead to public service cuts on a ‘colossal scale‘. . . so where are the massive protest marches behind the banners of socialism? One answer lies in the preceding paragraph. In addition to believing in Ukip’s ‘bogeymen’ we alse see an illustration of what I said in my opening paragraph: “parties of the Right pander to perfectly natural human sentiments such as prejudice and greed”, and gain the rewards.

What of Wales? Surely here, in this fastness of fraternity, this citadel of comradeship, this bastion of brotherhood, this . . . (ah, bugger it!). Surely here socialism still courses through the veins of our people, the Internationale still rings out at the end of ballet performances in the local Institute? Well . . . no. The truth is that in the most recent elections in May Ukip, with 27.6% of the vote, came damn close to beating Labour, on 28.1%. But of course Labour isn’t the only socialist party in Wales, we also have Plaid Cymru (15.3%), which is probably more socialist than Labour, and still moving Left. I don’t wish to be too cruel, but from where I’m sitting, becoming more ardently socialist in 2014 is the political equivalent of buying Confederate Bonds in 1865, or seeking a title in 1788 France.

Having turned its back on the Welsh people and given up almost all hope of success Plaid Cymru is now desperately looking for allies among other ‘progressive’ elements’. (Don’t you just love the labels these Lefties attach to themselves!) This of course is in addition to its long-standing policy of not jeopardising any future coaltion by being too hard on Labour. The ones being courted most assiduously, and unwisely, at the moment are the Greens.

This I have dealt with in a number of recent posts, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party of Englandandwales and More on the Green Party of Englandandwales. From reading assorted blogs and other sources I have picked up on references to a proposed eco-socialist alliance which seems to be welcomed by Plaid Cymru luminaries going out of their way to assure English Greens in Wales that Plaid has nothing to do with nationalism (scroll down to comments). Which must raise the question: What is Plaid Cymru for if not for defending and representing Welsh nationhood, this being my understanding of nationalism? I can see why such an anti-colonialist stance might offend those of a colon disposition, but not why Plaid Cymu candidates should have to pander to such susceptibilities.

I have asked it before and I make no apology for asking it again “How can a Welsh political party be in existence for ninety years without realising that its greatest – perhaps its only – selling point is its Welshness? Blame England! – play on Welsh grievances! – stir the passiChyba Bartolottions! – reap the rewards! Better to do that and fail than be a bunch of mealy-mouthed compromisers satisfied with crumbs.”

But, no, Plaid Cymru has refused to be a truly Welsh party for fear of alienating those ‘progressive elements’ with which it is so keen to form alliances. People like Pippa Bartolotti of the Green Party of Englandandwales who regards Welshness as a “regional identity”, she of the checquered past and the recent anti-Nato fiasco in Newport. Or maybe the spotlight will fall on Andy Chyba, who believes the Welsh language is “moribund”. The more one looks at some of these people Plaid Cymru wants to get into bed with the more one can see that they may indeed be progressive in their attitudes to logging in the Amazon and similar issues, but when it comes to Wales and Welshness their attitudes are most definitely nineteenth century and Rule Britannia.

As things stand, Plaid Cymru is of more use to the British system than it is to the Welsh people. All it does is fill the space that should be taken up by a nationalist party. Plaid Cymru mistakes being ignored (due to its impotence) as evidence of its ‘respectability’ (of paramount importance to a certain Welsh mind-set). Plaid Cymru’s taken-for-granted heartlands are being lost due to the colonisation Plaid Cymru is afraid to speak out about; the party has never connected with the anglophone Welsh; yet now it believes it can increase its appeal by linking up with colonialist-minded Greens and other oddballs! This goes beyond wishful thinking, this is self-deluding bollocks.

I hope that Plaid Cymru and its ‘progressive’ allies fail to get a single MP next year and suffer badly in the Assembly elections of 2016 because that’s what they deserve. More importantly, it’s what Wales deserves. Plaid Cymru today is little more than a ‘zombie’ party; not quite dead, but incapable of making any meaningful contribution to the life of Wales. Only when it becomes obvious to everyone that Plaid Cymru is finally dead can Wales start making any real progress.

70 thoughts on “Ignored Constituencies and Zombie Parties

  1. Dave Jones

    ” its reasonable to assume the same proportion of its 1200 members will be welsh as those of any other party in wales, so the Wales Greens are as ‘welsh’ as any other party that organises in Wales. ”

    Personally, I couldn’t give a toss, but what absolute bollocks.

  2. We certainly apologise if the phrase we used in our last post caused offence to anyone ie ‘Whether you like it or not the ‘green economy’ is the future for countries like wales – and so are the greens!’ But what we were trying to emphasise is that what’s descrtibed as the ‘growing green economy’ is where many jobs are going to be created in the future and, as we hope we demonstrated in that post, Wales is reasonably well placed in europe’s growing green economy – something we should all surely celebrate? While the fact the welsh greens are being tipped to win seats in the senedd in 2016 – as many as 3 according to some commentators – would seem to support our contention that the Welsh greens are now serious players in the politics of wales and are going to remain so. Trust us if they werent Plaid wouldnt be making the overtures to the greens that they currently are.

    We dont have a database of the WGP membership but its reasonable to assume the same proportion of its 1200 members will be welsh as those of any other party in wales, so the Wales Greens are as ‘welsh’ as any other party that organises in Wales. While we’ll leave you to decide Carnawbwth if the following phrase sounds like the words of someone who would leave wales unique language and culture whither “Greens would ensure survival of the language and culture by protecting it from the ravages of globalisation. Local sustainable communities would help ensure the survival. Free higher education courses would promote the language.” (Pippa Bartolotti, Carmarthen 2014)

    Nadolig llawen i bawb

  3. dafis

    I don’t care where they come from as long as they make some effort to accept & embrace the Welsh identity and integrate. It’s not just a “greens” problem, indeed the growth of UKIP among those folks who had left England behind cos they couldn’t stand it any more is ample evidence of the attitude. The UKIP threat is massive cos these bastards really are on a mission to recapture some point in the past when everything in the garden was rosy ( and very English ! ). They are a corrosive presence, I bump into it all the time and am beginning to get fed up with pointing east and telling them to reclaim their heritage etc by moving 60 miles in that direction by which time they will be safely over the Severn Bridge. They look at me daft, some get aggresive, but generally they are seriously surprised that anyone could not share their dull viewpoint.

  4. If the leadership of Green Party of EnglandandWales Welsh branch fought to separate from England and came out in support of Welsh independence as they have done in Scotland and showed that they supported the native language and culture then I don’t suppose their origins would be that important. But since they don’t take the above positions then they give the impression to myself and many others that they view Wales as nothing more than a region of England whose unique language and culture may be allowed to whither. It seems like conservation only extends to plants and the environment as their language and culture isn’t under threat ie English language and culture.

    1. I agree, the Green Party need to clarify their stance on Welsh independence. They have published a fairly comprehensive Welsh language policy (http://blog.walesgreenparty.com/post/88597212524/the-welsh-language-green-party-policy) and have stated that ‘the Green Party has always regarded Wales as a nation with a language which should be protected’ (http://blog.walesgreenparty.com/tagged/askthegreens). However, there can be a lack of consistency and the language used can be careless at best (eg ‘As much as we love to see regional cultures live and in action, the Green Party concentrates on the bigger issues facing humanity – such as climate change and the corporatization of democracy’).

      Pippa Bartolotti does no better to clarify their stance (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-28484461). On the one hand we have ‘Greens are not especially concerned by national boundaries, but we do believe that decisions should be taken closest to the people who will be most affected…’ On the other, ‘The inability of the Wales government to take us out of neo-colonial dependence on England, and create a coherent long-term energy policy to secure the future for every woman, man and child, for generations to come, is one of the main reasons a Yes vote in Scotland would have next to no impact in Wales.’

      I also came across this interesting article (http://dailywales.net/2014/05/08/plaid-cymru-the-green-party-a-complicated-alliance/). The author believes that the reason Greens have struggled to gain a foothold in Wales is the similarity in policies/ideology between them and Plaid. The uncomfortable truth may be that the Greens are of more appeal to those with English origins who don’t feel as though they can vote Plaid because of the simple fact they aren’t Welsh. It may also be that there are Welsh people who don’t feel they can vote Plaid because of the perceived language barrier. It may also be that people don’t feel they can support Plaid because they are uncomfortable with ‘nationalist’ politics in general (perhaps not realising that Plaid are riding a very different wave of nationalism to that presented by Ukip et al).

      Decentralisation, decreasing dependence on Westminister and bringing politics closer to the people it affects is at the heart of Green party policy. With that in mind, my own feeling is that whilst they may not be shouting for Welsh independence this is something they would get behind. Certainly I can’t think of any reason why they would oppose it. Perhaps the issue is more that it isn’t really on the table at this moment in time. In light of what is happening in Scotland it may be that this climate will change.

  5. Anonymous

    Iestyn 3 people synonymous with Wales – David Lloyd George, Saunders Lewis and Owain Glyndwr. These 3 are arguably amongst the three most influential figures in Welsh history but there’s something else they have in common – they were all born in England ( Glyndwr was born in what is now England)

    Surely what matters is not where someone is from but what contribution they can make to a country, in this case Wales. The country which, as aundautumn rightly points out, they consider to be ‘their home’

    1. David Lloyd George, Saunders Lewis and Owain Glyndwr were born to Welsh parents and always regarded themselves as Welsh. You cannot compare cases like these with those of people born in England, to English parents, with no Welsh connections.

    2. R Tyler

      Again, place of birth does, or should, not matter. However, when a political movement is run almost entirely by people from elsewhere and that movement regards the host country as a “region” and its leader refers to it as such, then alarm bells start to ring. Your posters might also try to adopt a less patronizing and arrogant way of addressing us peasants. EG ” Whether you like it or not … the ‘green economy’ is the future for countries like wales – and so are the greens! “

  6. R Tyler

    andautumn, of course an individual’s place of origin matters not a jot, but when the entire leadership of a country’s political party is from another country it tends to raise questions. For example, why come to Wales to work for a green agenda?

    1. You assume they have come here just to work for a green agenda. Perhaps they are working for a green agenda within the place they consider to be their home?

      1. R Tyler

        While, I am sure that is the case for some, I am equally sure that Wales has exerted a considerable pull. I have spoken to many, many individuals in northern Ceredigion who have been quite open about why they moved to Wales. They were drawn here by the perceived ease with which they could indulge their eco dreams. No bad thing, but almost to a man/woman they were dismissive of any manifestation of “Welshness” particularly the language. Outside of cleaning, security and catering, I don’t think I ever met a single Welsh person employed by CAT, for example.

  7. Iestyn Rees

    ” We’ve got some news for you Iestyn – we are the ‘natives’ you speak of! ”
    In that case, please answer the question that has been posted on several occasions and yet to receive a response: How many of the Green Party leaders in Wales are from Wales?
    This is not in any way a xenophobic request. I would love to learn that the greens in Wales are primarily or even largely home grown (no pun).
    My personal experience, sadly, suggests otherwise. Please put me right.

    1. From what I can gather, and what has been firmly established on this blog, is that neither of the Green Party leadership candidates are ‘home grown’. It’s not a question that has been avoided. As for its members and parliamentary candidates, I’d guess that it’s a mixed bunch, much like society in Wales and beyond in general. Many people would see it as more important that they care about and will fight for the place that they live than the accident of where they were born and grew up. That’s not to say that it isn’t important at all and there will inevitably be gaps in understanding and perspective, but I’m quite sure people such as Jac will put them right on such occasions!

      1. The reason it’s of such little importance to Greens in Wales where Chyba and Bartolotti were born is because most ‘Welsh’ Greens share the same alien origins. Which only – if unintentionally – proves the point that I and many others have been making.

        1. I’m afraid I can’t really comment on the origins of ‘most’ Green Party members in Wales as I don’t have access to this information. All I can say is that the Green Party is a democratic organisation and its policies are made by its members. The ‘leader’ of the Green Party in Wales doesn’t even have any leadership powers, the official title is ‘principle speaker’. (Such was the case with the Green Party in general until 2008).

          I’m not saying origin isn’t important. There is a level of understanding/perspective that can only really be gained by growing up somewhere. It’s unfortunate that both candidates for principle speaker/leader in Wales have demonstrated this lack of understanding with some careless remarks and they have been rightly pulled up on this.

          1. The fact that the person calling herself the leader of the Wales Green Party is in reality just the principal speaker only proves – yet again – that there is no independent Wales Green Party. By pursuing this you’re only tying yourself up in knots.

            1. How am I tying myself up in knots? I’m not denying that there is no independent Wales Green Party. The ‘semi autonomous’ status of the Wales Green Party is quite clearly stated. As the party grows in Wales I’m sure the debate as to whether they should break away in the same way as Scotland is one that will be had amongst its members. Maybe it already has been had, I’ve only been a member a few months!

  8. We’ve got some news for you Iestyn – we are the ‘natives’ you speak of! Dave would you like to reconsider what youve said there?

    Really is hard to comprehend how anyone who knows anything about Wales and the values its people have given the world – values based on community, caring and compassion – could employ such dangerous and offensive rhetoric. Your ‘suggestions’ would make even Fascists like the british National Front blush and are the antithesis of the Welsh tradition of welcoming people from outside our country.

    You really should be ashamed of yourself for posting such comments, comments which would be condemned by the overwhelming majority of people in Wales.

    1. treforus

      I have no idea whether or not Iestyn’s comments “would be condemned by the overwhelming people of Wales”. However I saw nothing in them that purported to suggest that Iestyn was doing otherwise than speaking for himself. You seem to be the one to have set yourself up as the voice of the people of Wales. Who gave you that office? Your appointment appears to have escaped me. You can speak for yourself. Don’t assert the right to speak for the rest of us.

  9. dafis


    Just in case I don’t feel the urge to scribble over next 10 days – Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda to you & yours. That greeting also goes to all the contributors, some of whom have stimulated ideas, others have angered and some have been good for a laugh !


  10. Dave

    For god sake stop moaning get off your computers and do something about saving our nation from complete oblivion. We are being over run by English immigrants and you do nothing to discourage them, what about denying them of electricity. Gas. Water and Fuel.(only a thought.)

      1. Sometimes you are just too subtle for this blog. You really should wonder whether it’s worth casting your pearls.

  11. dafis

    my 13.11 comment should have been tucked in after the 12.56. to stand any chance of making sense.

  12. Iestyn Rees

    I’m sorry green dragon, but I’ve been following your posts with interest and, quite frankly, they reek of arrogance. The type of arrogance encountered from those of a particularly colonial mindset; come to civilize the natives.

  13. You seem to be stuck in a time warp filled with hopeless out dated caricatures of what the greens actually believe Treforus. The reality is ‘green jobs’ will be an increasing feature of our economic future – and thankfully Wales appears reasonably well placed in this green jobs revolution.

    In fact more people in wales are already employed in the ‘green economy’ than in financial services, the automotive sector or telecommunications industries. Figures show that by 2011 there were nearly 50,000 people in wales employed in low carbon and environmental sector jobs, accounting for over 5 billion pounds of trade to the welsh economy.

    Whether you like it or not Treforus the ‘green economy’ is the future for countries like wales – and so are the greens!



  14. treforus

    Any political progress is going to have to be on the back of economic progress and so Plaid allying themselves with a movement that actively objects to growing the economy seems unanswerable folly. Green industry may impress the Guardianistas but it isn’t going to improve living standards.

    The days of the rustbelt industries have gone forever in Europe but it seems to me that nowhere has made a worse job of adapting to the change than Wales. We are just a poor nation of subsidy junkies and getting left further and further behind. As a result we are becoming a national rubbish dump where everyone else’s undesirables can safely be shipped and at public expense so we cannot complain of neglect.

    I just wonder how and why similar areas like the Ruhr, Silesia, North east France and Belgium have coped so much better.

    1. Talking of dumping, someone stopped me this afternoon to tell me about this woman in Birmingham who left her six kids to fly off to see her boyfriend in Australia. “Now living in Wales” it says, and not the first time I’ve this in similar stories. So who thought this scrubber would be an asset to a Welsh community? Or perhaps more to the point, how much were they paid? http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2853287/Mother-left-six-children-young-THREE-home-six-week-holiday-Australia-boyfriend.html

      1. Jobovitch

        This sort of thing has been happening for ages. I’ve known cases in the 1970s in London where mothers have put their offspring in care in order to spend 12 months and more in a sunny former colony. The Daily Mail usually writes these news items in a way that gives the impression of all benefits claimants being shitty parents. I never go to Daily Heil links as I’ve no wish to add to the number of visits that vile rag gets on its online version. More hits = More revenue generated by advertisers placing inserts.

        Regarding your opening lines, tyrants and mass murderers fall into the same category of being honest and sincere but it doesn’t follow that society’s underclass should support them. Nigel Farage however, is not in the least bit honest in his attempt to capture the support of ordinary people who feel that no one gives a monkeys. Farage only cares about his personal wealth, his hyper-inflated ego and his rich donors.

        About 60 of UKIP’s candidates next May are ex-Tories.

  15. dafis

    Mentioning the word conspiracy must have got me wound up – but check this out :

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-30446944 BBC News – Hill farmers seek judicial review over EU grant changes.

    These politicians must be as thick as ( sheep)shit, or they are downright devious ?. Now as you may have figured by now I am not a fan of handouts and dependency culture, but to get people to work higher marginal land requires some constructive intervention ( is that phrase straight out of some bureaucratic script ? ) yet our muppets in the Bay comfort zone have elected to screw these poor bastards so tight it makes the treatment of upland farmers in England appear philanthropic.

    There was a view years ago that there was some kind of clearance strategy being cobbled together by a combination of warmongers and leisure pursuits “investors” although I fail to see the appeal of having a mortar bomb land in your jacuzzi/hot tub just when things are warming up nicely. A Welsh TV current affairs prog recently showed some farmer who’d been shafted for his land by some greasy financier ( with a Welsh name ! ) and I wonder how much more of this type of nonsense is being applied to move people on leaving long standing agri holdings ripe for “redevelopment “?

    1. Brychan

      There is a planned and formal policy of ‘clearances’ in rural Wales and it has come about when the Welsh Government created ‘Natural Resourses Wales’. A typical example is where farmers have grazing rights on SSSIs and National Parks. Previously there used to be formal agreements between farmers and CCW on things relating to timing and intensity of grazing on these uplands. This was based on an agreement between a civil servant scientist and the farmer. However, recent changes have put these grazing agreements into the hands of a body called ‘Wales Biodiversity Partnership’ which is run by ‘third sector’ enviro-do-gooders sponsored by the planning department at the local council. Now a farmer of upland pastures has to agree a biodiversity strategy with some green campaigner (usually not from Wales) with no scientific qualification. Also, as this is arranged through the council planning department it enables parcels of land to be redefined to leisure or development use with a smattering of biodiversity ‘pockets’ being created (nature reserves for tourists) as a way of meeting targets. Ironically, the previous scientific basis for conservation as an ‘eco-system’ involving grazing as a conservation tool has been lost in favour of ‘Natureparkisation’ for tourists. It’s creating hobby nature gardens for Wildlife Trusts to dabble, A similar situation is now occurring with the forestry commission being absorbed into ‘Natural Resourses Wales’. It involves clear felling of the forestry commission plantations with the spurious claim it’s being replaced with natural woodland. This is not so. Because the operation is run from the planning department of councils, they are using this as an opportunity to introduce ‘Centre Parks’ type development of holiday lodges, theme parks, rope slides and in one case a quarry diving school. All of these replacement activities are inevitably controlled by and employ mainly ‘countryside hobbyists from England’. This process is a formal and deliberate form of ‘clearance’ of the native population.

      1. dafis

        Brychan & Jac This covert policy is shifting native farming families out of areas that some have inhabited for centuries, and replacing them with leisure industry “business people” often shifting in from “away” on the back of a mix of grants and other incentives to ensure that they maintain a level of comfort never offered to the indigenous farmers. Good stuff !

        What really pisses me off is that those shysters down the Bay are in on it – they are not being conned, they are colluding, happy with their silly experiment in social restructuring, one strand of many aimed at the deliberate extermination of a native way of life. And Plaid are just as guilty as any other party as they seem compelled to suck up to this type of “activist”. Between the retiring oldies, biodiversity/leisure freaks and the migrating dysfunctional family units we won’t have a coherent Welsh identity, just reduced to a dependent handout and grant sucking adjunct of the mainstream Anglo Brit corporatist state.

        1. Brychan

          I don’t actulayy think that Plaid are colluding. I think they are inactive. The position Elin Jones took on the bTB when she was agri-minister was an example of when they do take a robust position. I think Plaid are guilty of inaction and now not being robust in opposition. Where is the policy of insisting that Stackpole Warren, Epynt, Llanbedr and Valley return to Welsh National ownership? Such a campaign would (forgive the pun) blow the English right-on greenpeace hangers-on out of the water. All these MoD or semi-privatised MoD sites would be an excellent base for business as enviro-clusters, and an opportunity to divert funding away from CAT into something more tuned to the needs of Wales. It would also draw a line in the sand on colonialism.

          1. dafis

            saw this on google news earlier

            May reduce demand for good farm land for conversion to defence/military estate, but I don’t see it happening cos old potato head is already in a state of permanent arousal about getting stuck into ISIS & extending democracy into places that still reckon having a village chief suffices. These boys really believe that war is good for trade .

    1. dafis

      nothing wrong with a bit of socialism, or call it active “community identity” or whatever – caring for the sick, less able, the elderly, genuine asylum seekers/refugees, the environment, scarce resources etc.

      The bit that sticks in the throat is when this “care” gets turned into bloated bureaucratic “pseudo-industries” with careerist fat cats at the helm charging extortionate salaries and packages for skills which are not often evident or relevant. And the politicians have generally endorsed this behaviour pattern. As I referred above, politicians love regulating and governing but very lax at enforcing when push comes to shove. Shambles in Pembs & Carms C.C’s are recent evidence of absence of political backbone and any genuine care for the public interest.

      1. Nothing wrong with caring for the less well off in society, that’s true toryism. Remember, Bismark introduced old age pension in Germany (possibly Prussia) long before Lloyd George did it in the UK..

        As you rightly point out, it all goes wrong when selfish, hectoring, leftie scroungers with no real talents make a career out of ‘helping’ – themselves to public funds.

    2. dafis

      Splittting hairs maybe – but the £5 per hour is the rate for an 18yr old, about a £1 over the min rate for age. However I imagine some old tight wad staff manager calculating a “safe” ratio of kids to adults on the crews and recruiting accordingly. That’s the scam at a local level.
      Give Gordon Brown the benefit of the doubt ( for a moment ) and the law of unintended consequences really has swung into play on this Min Wage business as it’s now the norm in any mass employment situation.

      It has played its part in the macro level scam which is ongoing. Competition is fostered by fetching in hefty dollops of immigrant labour thus providing a neat link for UKIP to launch their “appeal” to the working class end of society, while their hidden sponsors in City and global Corps are laughing all the way to the bank. Any unrest amongst us plebs regarding conditions, migrants etc will be used as an excuse to fetch in draconian security rules to protect us from ourselves. Conspiracy, or what ?

  16. Albert comments ‘There is an opening for a party of the left, one that concentrates on the economic interests of the working class’ – very good point comrade hill, and in that respect we were delighted to see that the wales greens supported the anti cuts protest at the senedd last month, http://agreenwales.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/no-more-cuts-in-wales-sign-petition.html.

    There can be no question that opposing a ‘cuts budget’ is real ‘bread and butter’ politics, given how devastating such a budget will be to working class people right across wales. There’s obviously not a whiff of muesli about a party that’s willing to champion a campaign like this, and to their great credit a number of plaid AMs supported the anti cuts petition too.

    And sorry to break this to you albert but looks as if plaid have decided not to heed your the advice on working with the greens http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/plaid-cymru-form-anti-austerity-bloc-8151311. While the greens and plaid also work closely together in the EU Parliament of course. So the same is almost certainly going to happen in Wales in the senedd after the 2016 elections, where the welsh greens are projected to win their first seat.

    But we really dont quite see how the english working class could be accused of lording it over the welsh – unlike welsh billionaires who pay their workers well below the minumum wage http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/plaid-cymru-form-anti-austerity-bloc-8151311

    Very encouraging to see your apparent lurch to the left by the way Jac 😉

  17. Of course the state has a role in defending the economic interests of the native Welsh. We don’t need the woolly liberalism though… If a nationalist party managed to gain control of our country, I’d hope to see a great deal of conservative staesmanship and Charles de Gaulle style economic planning!

  18. Albert Hill

    Jac – you may not admit it but you’re a Marxist. You agree that people are motivated by economic self-interest. Now if I wanted to ensure that working people failed to recognize their own economic self-interest then I couldn’t do better than encourage the various “socialist”or “progressive” parties of the left with their miniscule votes and their pathetic outdated theological arguments.

    UKIP are a populist party, basically a bunch of chancers who have no real answer to the economic problems facing the majority. They prosper because there is no other voice.

    The economic self-interest of the majority is certainly not being met by the current system. Like you I was lucky to grow up in the baby boomers generation when life was a breeze. This is no longer true. The workers and even the middle class have been getting steadily poorer for the last 30 years. Housing is now out of reach for the younger generation, jobs are low paid and tedious. This is the age of the call centre, wonga.com and scratch cards.

    There is an opening for a party of the left, one that concentrates on the economic interests of the working class not on the liberal ideas of “progressives” (infact they too are motivated by economic self interest, public sector parasitism). That party could be Plaid but not if it cosies up to greens and the English left. Certainly nationalism should be a major part of that appeal. The nation against the multinationals, the nation against the EU and the UK , which have proved themselves to be servants of the corporations and the wall street swindlers.

    Long ago Marx pointed out that the English working class could never be free while it lorded itself over the Irish. The left made a mistake by not extending that to the Welsh.

    A genuine Welsh national movement must of necessity be of the left because there is no other choice if Wales is to survive since modern capitalism has no place for the nation.

  19. John Henry

    It’s much easier being on the right, looking for limited government, diversity and personal responsibility is a philosophy the majority can find appealing, myself the only time I have ever voted to the political left has been to help crowd out Plaid.

    When you consider the combined Tory + UKIP vote at the European elections, 330,000 approx, was greater than the Labour + Plaid vote, the possibilities for a different political landscape do exist, it’s an illusion that Wales is a left leaning constituency these days.

    1. dafis

      JHenry – perish the thought – a coalition of A Davies + a N Gill “clone” down the Bay ! I think Tories in Wales would bunk up with anyone to get hands on the purse strings and UKIP would just love the sense of winning. Place would be full of English suburban migrants and displaced inner city dysfunctional units in no time at all.

      1. John Henry

        You seem to assume that limited government, diversity and personal responsibility to be the sole prerogative of Tory’s and UKIP, this group of voters could be captured by another party offering a similar vision of small government …

        1. dafis

          JH – and which party would that be ? As things stand “interference” and “regulation” are the standard offering of the entire spectrum of Plaid & Anglo Brit parties. Don’t kid yourself that “small government” is part of anybody’s offer right now, the differences are mostly semantic with some variation of vested interest, but “hands-off” ( and noses out ! ) they are certainly not !

    2. We Welsh were never socialist in the sense that we had the choice, we were victims of circumstance; the system confronting us was capitalism ergo . . .

  20. All Plaid and the Greens are doing is occupying the space on the Left that Labour have vacated. Nobody would seriously consider Labour to be a party of the Left anymore. In which case, who is fighting austerity? And the creeping privatisation of public services? Ideologically, at this moment in time Plaid and the Greens are natural allies.

    I’m not a huge fan of the term ‘progressive’ either, it’s a little pretentious. I prefer to think of this kind of politics as ‘positive’. Instead of stirring up short term fears and ‘bogeyman’, it’s looking to build a better long term future. Look at the rise of Poderos (‘We can’) in Spain. And the messages being conveyed by the SNP in Scotland. It’s not so much an ‘anti-English’ message, it’s more of a ‘we don’t need them’ message.

    I’m sure most people would agree that Wales SHOULD be an independent nation. The first battle though is persuading people that they CAN, all Plaid are doing is recognising this.

    1. dafis

      your comment is valid enough insofar as there is a “space” there for a coherent voice(s) to take the place of Labour.

      However you close with “The first battle though is persuading people that they CAN, all Plaid are doing is recognising this.” I seriously doubt whether Plaid are even beginning to persuade people that “they can” because they are too busy squealing and squabbling over the division of the London controlled cake. They are totally immersed in that London arguement, without any focus at all on ever getting off our knees, ditching the begging bowl and planning for that independent future. Now I accept that any shift to independence would be tough, very tough, and maybe that’s where the whole thing would fall apart, but right now there is very little evidence of any long term aim or thought in that direction. Independence based on an agreed dollop of money from London, a la Barnett or anyone else, is a strange kind of concept and seems more like “dependence” to me.

      1. I agree, and having seen Leanne Wood speak recently there was a lot of focus on Barnett and independence seemed to be more of a long term aspiration (you can see video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvLZjvbxEP4#t=13). But I certainly didn’t get the impression they have abandoned this aim completely. My impression is that they are focusing on building a society and economy capable of breaking from Westminister.

  21. M

    Why would Plaid Cymru councillors in Gwynedd go into coalition with Labour and make Llais Gwynedd the opposition in the council?

  22. Ap Dyfnallt

    A lot of people in Wales vote Labour because it’d easier than thinking. The attitude that I vote Labour because my father voted Labour and his father before him voted Labour is still prevalent in many areas. Anything that challenges that mindset is good news for democracy.

    Plaid have done it on occasions, UKIP seem to be making a better job of it at the moment – probably due to their ‘National’ (i.e. BBC news) coverage.

    The old Labour dinosaur is not yet dead however – as can be seen by the appointment of Neil Kinnock’s son Stephen (educated in London, works in London, married to Danish woman, spends a lot of time in Denmark) to the candidature of the ‘safe’ Labour seat of Aberavon.

    The question is will the Labour party in Wales evolve? Will it continue to be a branch office of London management or become something new.

    If it doesn’t evolve it will be destroyed. Already in serious trouble in Scotland, completely detached from its voter base in England and barely hanging on to an overall majority in the Assembly it stands a serious chance of becoming politically irrelevant in the next 5 years.

    The important question is – what will then take its place? I would guess that in Wales the political scene would become very fragmented. I think we can safely assume that Plaid won’t have the political balls to form a ‘rainbow alliance’ so in the short term we could be looking at another Plaid-Labour coalition.

    There is, of course, the intriguing possibility that UKIP do extremely well in the Assembly elections at the expense of Labour and become the official Assembly opposition – at which point they may well approach Plaid – of all people – for a coalition partnership.

    What on Earth has this man been drinking!! You all gasp in horror. Well nothing yet – it’s to early – but Farage has recently softened his party’s stance on devolution and dumped the anti-assembly John Bufton. Will Plaid abandon their socialist agenda, forget their demands for independence for Wales (what demands you all ask), and return to their cultural and linguistic roots in return for seats around the tables of power?

    1. If Plaid reject the ‘rainbow alliance’ with Tories and Lib Dems then they’re certainly not going into alliance with Ukip.

  23. “UKIP’s rise means the slow death of Wales, but it’s not all bad news I’m enjoying the hysterical over the top response from a very rattled Labour leadership in Wales as their chickens come home to roost.”

    Short term Labourites in Wales are talking the talk and attacking UKIP. But like them, UKIP are basically Brit Nats. Do you think that they are concerned in the long term? What’s to stop them from jumping a sinking ship and joining UKIP? Do you think the likes of Owen Smith (ex-drug pusher to use Flynn’s description) have any principles? In fact, if I were UKIP, I wouldn’t touch them with a barge-pole. And that says something.

    1. The Earthshaker

      Totally agree that Labour is no better than UKIP but is still funny to see the hysterical hyperventilating over UKIP rise in the polls from Labour people in Wales.

      It might surprise many, but i’ve never believed Labour or their leaders had any principles. From it’s inception its been a party (especially in Wales) on the make. Kier Hardie’s election was a godsend he got elected because the Liberals he was standing against were feuding and split the vote not because there was any great appetite among working men in Merthyr & Aberdare for socialism.

      On the back of that Labour’s spun a good yarn and a 100 years the same jackanory stories get retold and the welsh electorate laps it up, if that’s not enough we shouldn’t forget the ‘sainted’ Anerurin Bevan stole his NHS idea off Tredegar Miners and his Tories are lower than vermin lines would fit right in with Owen Smith and Labour’s guff last week about UKIP. Labour don’t change and dont give a toss about Wales.

      As I said the battle for Wales is lost, I’m simply taking pleasure where I can get it these days.

      1. dafis

        You say -………….. “I’m simply taking pleasure where I can get it these days.”

        Tut Tut, leave yourself alone ! Only MP’s and other deviants do things like that !

  24. DaiTwp

    The “flaw” in your arguement that Plaid should move to the right and play on grievances with England (and I imagine why Plaid have been so petrified of taking up this strategy) is that the Welsh media is no where near strong enough to ensure that the message gets accross (or at least in the way they would want it to). Thus, resulting in a massive backlash from both the left and right wing British press which would play on all the “fears” of nationalism and “Welsh language extrimism”. I don’t know what the answer is, I agree that Plaid is a pretty empty vessel at the moment lacking in leadership and any strong message to rally around. But even if they came up with a calling that would be worth rallying around I just don’t see how they (or any Nationalist Welsh party) could ensure that everyone in Wales got to hear about it.

    1. At the moment Plaid is going nowhere. There is nothing to lose from being a more outspoken party defending specifically Welsh issues.

      1. dafis

        just caught up with Simple Simon Thomas’ letter to the Mule about recruiting. I share your disgust at the focus on “going out to recruit…..” Why not at least train some of our own natives, surely some of the kids from Welsh schools are bright enough to go to Med Schools, or do they go to English Med Schools and stay on other side of Clawdd Offa ?

        Even more toe curling was his quip about “when we get parity with Scotland ……” F.F.S can’t any of these silly bastards think beyond the London handout ? I accept that it is the grim reality of the moment but the way statements are couched makes it evident that the leadership of Plaid are content to keep waffling on about “fair shares” from Barnett, Osborne etc etc without ever attempting to create an alternative vision. Or are they also scared of it ?

  25. dafis

    The rise of UKIP is a reflection of the extent to which most of us are content to “blame” some external force/body/ people for our present predicament, especially if the immediate prognosis doesn’t hold much sign of relief. The situation is full of contradictions – how do you explain the appeal of an ex- banker when much of the responsibility for the debacles of the last 8 – 10 years rest among his kind, and the extent to which they managed to corrupt politicians ?

    UKIP ‘s stance on so much is a patchwork quilt of recently repeated off the cuff cliches and sound bites. I loved the quip from Falange at the weekend when he said that he was late to Margam because the country was full of immigrants – sadly there was noone there with the wit to say that it’s also tough getting from Aberaeron to Aberystwyth because of all the Anglo migrants jamming the narrow ( 2 not 4 or 6 lane ) roads and causing even more potholes !. That is the level of their dialogue and their membership seems happy with that.

    The failure of Plaid and the Anglo Trio to overcome these stances reflects how guilty they are of a) ignoring real issues even when there may have been some evidence well in advance that storms were brewing, and, even worse, b) colluding with the major transgressors in presenting those crimes against the people of Wales, England , Scotland and Ireland as being totally outside their control and jurisdiction. Instead we had bail outs and stitch ups, money printed on a Weimar scale, and bankers waving 2 fingers at the rest of us. The criminals were treated to full rehab and the rest of us were force fed a diet of bullshit.

    So maybe the truth is that UKIP ain’t so different to the others anyway, just the facade is a bit more boisterous.

  26. Brychan

    The peasants revolt in England is miss-named. Essentially it was mid-wealthy landowners who had to pay taxes to the crown who because of this were discontent and they raised a rabble of their farm workers to march on London. Today this is manifest in a merchant banker in the name of Farage raising a rabble of uneducated socially dumped losers from the English coastal towns to stir up resentment and feather his own nest. The same can be said of Gill.

    You mention Plaid Cymru. May I point out that when Plaid won control of RCT council in 1999 and won the Rhondda seat off Labour it wasn’t because of an upsurge in support for an independent Wales, it was on the back of a very successful series of campaigns over issues such as the Nant tip. Residents were hurling bottles at Labour councillors and lying in front of dumper tucks in Ton Pentre and Gelli. It was the failure of Plaid to crystallise this resentment over being exploited by Labour into a coherent political force that resulted in this ‘breakthrough in the valleys’ to be a false dawn.

    It should be noted that there is no hatred of carrier bags and fizzy pop in the Rhondda. If Plaid are to make any headway in the valleys they need to cease upon a REAL issue effecting peoples daily lives, and then crystallise this support into longstanding political support.

  27. We fear you might have been reading the wrong blogs Jac – if you really want an insight into ‘progressive’ thinking in Wales at present then look no further than our own green dragon blog http://agreenwales.blogspot.co.uk/

    You might also begin to see Wales Green Party leader Pippa Bartolotti in a slightly better light if you’d been at a recent meeting in carmarthen where she had this to say about the welsh language “Greens would ensure survival of the language and culture by protecting it from the ravages of globalisation. Local sustainable communities would help ensure the survival. Free higher education courses would promote the language.” While the Wales Green Party also of course supports welsh membership of the EU and the United Nations.

    And you cant seriously want the progressive parties ie plaid and the welsh greens to do badly in the 2016 welsh assembly elections Jac? Because if that is what transpires the chief beneficiaries are likely to be the very colonialist Ukip and the barnett block obsessed welsh labour party. And in all honesty that’s not Wales ‘making real progress’ Jac – that’s a death wish for Wales!

    Though even a ‘death wish’ is a step up from Earthshaker’s gloomy position. Far from being dead earthshaker – the welsh now enjoy more democratic control of their own nation than they’ve ever had (note we said ‘democratic control’ – not a wales controlled by medieval princes). And if we can succeed in seeing ukip and welsh labour off we’ll get even more control over what goes on in wales.

    Wales isnt dead Earthshaker and its not dying Jac.Yes the wales depicted in 1940s films like the corn is green may be dead…but wales very much lives on. But its a different and changing Wales, and it appears that it’s this changing nature of Wales that some people are having difficulties with.

    1. Whatever Bartolotti or any other Green says now is obviously influenced by the possibility of some kind of pact with Plaid Cymru. In an unguarded moment she gave us her true feelings.

      As for attacking “progressive parties”, you don’t get it, do you? I don’t regard you as ‘progressive’.

      1. Docks Soul

        If the Greens in Wales were capable of winning seats alone, they wouldn’t touch Plaid with a shitty stick.

        1. Agreed. But it shows the state of the Greens that they are so keen on a pact with a party whose best days are behind it.

  28. The Earthshaker

    Why the surprise that UKIP has gained traction in former industrial areas of the north and south, the Labour Party from its inception right up to the late 2000’s was ruled by middle aged white men for their own ends, the type who had no time for women, young people, ethnic minorities, foreigners, gay people, basically anyone who wasn’t one of them.

    Just because the world changed these voters attitudes didn’t and now they vote UKIP because the Labour Party is no longer a party that represents them or their narrow interests. The opinion poll yesterday said as much Labour in summer 2012 were on 54% of the welsh vote, yesterday they were at 36% and UKIP on 18%, it’s not hard to work it out where the votes are coming from.

    As for Wales it’s lost, we don’t have 20 – 30 years to build a new strong enough national party or grassroots movement due to levels of emigration of young welsh and immigrants to Wales, Plaid Cymru takes a lot of blame, but Labour too for lying to us telling us they cared about Wales and it’s people.

    UKIP’s rise means the slow death of Wales, but it’s not all bad news I’m enjoying the hysterical over the top response from a very rattled Labour leadership in Wales as their chickens come home to roost.

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