Plaid Cymru, mass resignations


I had hoped that my previous post on Monday, General Election 2019 would be the last before Christmas, but something has cropped up that needs to be reported and recorded lest it gets lost in the Yuletide whoopee-making.

Not that I shall be indulging, myself, you understand. A small sherry after my frugal Christmas repast will be quite enough of the demon drink until next year’s equally modest festivities.


There has been a mass resignation of members from Plaid Cymru. It’s all explained in this message from Jonathan Swan, former chair of Cardiff West constituency party, to Gareth Clubb, Plaid Cymru chief executive, sent on Thursday.

You will find the text of his resignation below, transcribed from the original.

Click to enlarge

It touches on a number of issues you may be familiar with, certainly they’ve had an airing on this blog.

It would appear that Mr Swan, who I’ve never met or even communicated with, has come to very similar conclusions to me regarding Plaid Cymru’s failings. So let’s go through his letter and briefly consider the points he makes.

To begin with, he will not be leaving alone. He talks of “130 others in 15 constituencies”. And it’s reasonable to assume that there are yet more, beyond Mr Swan and the 130, who will follow in the weeks and months ahead.

The irony exposed in the second paragraph is that Plaid Cymru preaches ‘diversity’ and ‘inclusivity’ when it comes to sexual orientation and self-identification – ‘be whatever you want to be’ – but unless you accept that a man is a woman and vice versa then you are vilified.

However, suggest that Plaid Cymru is too close to the Labour Party, has an unhealthy relationship with Deryn Consulting, or is perhaps too left wing to have mass appeal, and you’ll be guided towards the exit.

In paragraphs 4, 5 and 6, Mr Swan hints at a central office-controlled wrecking crew at work in Cardiff, undoing all the good work done by Neil McEvoy and others. It might do credit to those involved if there was some Machiavellian motivation at work but, alas, it was done out of pure spite.

And worse, the other organisations I’ve just mentioned might have had a hand in it.

Then Mr Swan briefly considers Plaid’s appalling showing in last week’s general election. And it was appalling. Plaid retained the four seats it held, yes – but failed to come second in any other constituency.

Unsurprisingly, Mr Swan concludes by announcing that he and others will now be forming the new political party they feel Wales needs. And who can argue with them?


As I’ve made clear over the years – and long before it became blindingly obvious – Plaid Cymru is not the political party it appears to be. Or perhaps I should phrase that, Plaid Cymru is not the political party it wants us to believe it is.

To begin with, Plaid Cymru does not want independence for Wales. Let me explain.

If you want a guiding spirit for Plaid Cymru then go back beyond Saunders Lewis to Sir Owen Edwards (1858-1920). Academic, briefly Liberal MP for Merionethshire, first chief inspector of schools for Wales, and of course father of Sir Ifan ab Owen Edwards (1895-1970), who founded Urdd Gobaith Cymru. Sir Ifan’s only daughter, Hâf married Sir David Hughes Parry.

Sir Owen is said to have been influenced by the ‘Welsh Not’ in his native Llanuwchllyn, near Bala, where few could speak English. Which resulted in him – like many at that time – seeking greater respect for Wales, and the language. It was a respect that would be earned by Wales proving her loyalty to the UK and the Empire. For Sir Owen’s nationalism was purely cultural, political nationalism was anathema to him.

Christmas bash in the office of Y Llywydd (Speaker). She herself holds an icon of the young saint they hope will save them from the cold winds of 2021. Click to enlarge

Which explains why, when Plaid Cymru was formed in 1925 (soon after Sir Owen’s Liberal Party had been eclipsed in Wales by the Labour Party), its priority was preserving and enhancing a rural and Welsh-speaking way of life, an idyll that would have as its spokesmen an elite with feet in both camps.

One strand within Plaid Cymru still represents this cultural nationalism, but in more recent decades the party has made attempts to broaden its appeal by throwing the doors open to just about anybody. Which has brought us to the point where Plaid Cymru could be about to implode under the weight of its own contradictions.

Contradictions illustrated by last week’s election, which saw four MPs returned in the socially conservative west for a woke-left party containing many disciples of misandry (unless they’re gay or compliant men) propping up an anti-Semitic Labour Party. For betraying the majority of Welsh people this ‘Party of Wales’ paid the price in Brexit-supporting areas for its ‘You thick bastards!’ message.

And now Plaid Cymru will be paying a further price in mass defections.

Plaid Cymru wants to be the voice of a colonial elite within a system of devolution that provides careers, sinecures, peerages, etc for that elite. Its attempts to disguise this by broadening its base has given Wales that most bizarre of hybrids – an elitist-extremist party.


Despite being of little or no use to Wales Plaid Cymru has served the purpose of  inhibiting the emergence of a genuine nationalist party; by genuine nationalist party I mean a political party concerned with the whole country that is serious about independence.

The emergence of Gwlad, and now whatever is planned by Jonathan Swan and others, will make it increasingly difficult for Plaid Cymru to fulfil its dog in the manger role. This will cause a minor headache in London because a ‘national’ party as unambitious and self-damaging as Plaid Cymru is every colonial power’s dream.

To sum up: we have a Conservative government with a majority that gives it free rein and a Labour Party that has narrowly survived a suicide attempt. As if that wasn’t enough, the UK will be leaving the European Union, there will soon be a Scottish independence referendum, perhaps a border poll in Ireland, yet we see Plaid Cymru imploding before our eyes.

We Welsh who are serious about Wales had better get our act together. For elsewhere positions are being staked out and demands articulated, while we lack a credible voice, and risk being left behind.

♦ end ♦


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Roger Jones

Carmarthenshire is in a position whereby all levels of elected members are from Plaid

MP / Am and Council in the control of Plaid members

The recent history of Carmarthenshire is a troubled one but has not been helped recently with a weak and ineffective group of plaid councillors

The recent debacle concerning the Swansea City deal – the council are now seen as a pariah after its disastrous management of the initiative by the plaid group / the recent police raids in connection with Swansea University all under Plaid’s watch does not give confidence of a wider Wales control

I agree with previous comments – Plaid needs to come away from the language issue and become more a economy / independence / self governing party like the SNP – although it now looks likely with Brexit being done any control of regeneration funds will be in the hands of the Tories at least for the next 5 years

Adam Price was very visible during the election campaign but has gone quiet since the results – they still did well to hold the 4 seats with the Tories gaining votes being second to Plaid in Carmarthen East and Dinefwr but will need to do much better to get more buy-in from other areas

5 years to work on this


Not 5 years, they have to make a big impact at Cynulliad elections in 2021or they will be consigned to history’s trash can.


An interesting article Jac.

As I have mentioned before, I have thought for a long time that there is a correlation between the relative success of Welsh “cultural” nationalism, as typified by The Urdd, S4C etc all, and the abject failure of Plaid to make any real political headway outside rural Welsh speaking West and North Wales.

The (largely) Welsh speaking, university educated elite who were ( and I suspect remain) the backbone of Plaid for many years, were always anxious to work with the system rather against it, and largely avoided any suggestion of being “anti-English”.

It is perhaps interesting to note that Plaid’s two highest profile and most successful politicians (in Westminster terms) Dafydd Wigley and Dafydd Ellis Thomas both now hold peerages, while the SNP still refuses to nominate anyone to the House of Lords.

Gwynfor Evans is remembered by many Welsh speakers for his stand against the Thatcher government following its apparent U turn on setting up S4C, yet at the time I seem to recall there many in Wales we resented the cost to the public purse of a minority channel, remember this was before we all had 200 channels and more prosaically there were an awful lot of people who resented not being able to watch Brookside at the same time as everyone else.

Mel Morgan

Winning a better place within the system was, in fact, the lodestar of mainstream Irish nationalism. The British Establishment, however managed to make this unviable.


Remember that many of the Irish Independence movement were Protestant, surprisngly enough

Mel Morgan

The overwhelming majority of Irish nationalists were royalists. At the time of the Hunger Queen’s official visit to Dublin, the few republicans complained that every other person in town was carrying the Apron. When war was declared in 1914, 90% of the Irish Volunteers opted to serve the Crown. John Redmond expressed the regret that he had only one life to give for his monarch.

Mel Morgan

There was, of course, a long tradition amongst the British Establishment and their acolytes of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in Ireland. Every major body in the country, apart from the Orange Order, accepted the Act of Union, on the understanding that Catholic Emancipation would follow. George III had one of his funny turns, and Emancipation was postponed for a generation.

Mel Morgan

During the second half of the 1840s, the potato crop failed across Northern Europe. Pomerania and Silesia were afflicted quite as badly as Connacht and Munster. The King of Prussia, however, took appropriate steps to relieve the penury: he did not permit his Polish subjects to die in their hundreds of thousands. We all know what happened in Ireland.

Mel Morgan

The vast majority of Irish nationalists opposed the Easter Rising. So the British Establishment executed, not only the leaders, but their relatives, and people in subordinate positions. They interned, not only participants, but anybody who had offended someone important: that was how a village in Meirion became a Celtic Guantanamo. Finally, they tried to introduce conscription in Ireland: the wording of the anti-conscription manifesto closely echoed that of the Ulster Covenant.

Red Flag

Well Jac, Plaid activists on Ynys Mon are having a dig on facebook and twitter at the ‘quitters and splitters’ – so it’s obviously hitting them hard.


Generally how I feel at the moment: Plaid has every legitimacy as a Welsh speaking party and should always be admired for that. That works for it in its core constituencies. But it’s never gained the legitimacy as a nationalist party fighting for the freedom of its people. It fails to understand the south and there needs be no more evidence than its near utter failure to gain any real ground in the circumstances we find ourselves in.

All I see is “it’s becoming a two party state” and blame towards the media and all that. Any movement true to its core values would find a way around that for the sake of protecting its people. That’s the drive here. Protecting Wales from the establishment. Not horse trading. Fact they’re so convinced their narrative is right – some must have really found a friend and ally with Jo Swinson because that’s the level of delusion some espouse.

Dr. John is correct in the above. Some kind of alliance is necessary. One where there’s multiple groups spread tactically across the south/south east and north east. Grassroots and decentralised so better reflecting regional issues and needs. Yes they need to come together with some kind of committee but needs to be far more loosely run than a nation wide political party. That market is saturated. We need to run things differently to show we’re a movement that embraces a wider range of views and ideas than Plaid.

I do however think the discontent is going to grow exponentially leading up to May 2021 though. Especially if a Plaid candidate is named in Cardiff West.That’d be clearly against the interests of the movement. No one in their right mind can and should support that if they truly wish to see an independent Wales. I’d say to anyone who can support that they are a charlatan who insults the movement, this country and our people. Then I’d tell them to fuck off back up their own rectum.


I agree, and this needs to happen.

(a) Secret ballots of universal party suffrage for ALL party positions.
(b) Secret ballots of constituency suffereage for party candidates.
(c) CE and NEC, leader positions end June 2020, and stand for re-election.
(d) An open public plebiscite to take place in all constituencies of turmoil.

(Blank slate in Ynys Mon, and in Llanelli, and Cardiff West but this list is not exhaustive list. All officers, candidates and delegations are void to be re-elected, under universal amnesty.)

(e) Candidates must be resident, electoral role, within constituency.
(f) Extending party membership ban of those in ineligible enlistment.

(This includes lobby organisations, employees of government commissioners, and honorary appointments. Deryn, House of Lords, Think Tanks, Office of the Future Generations Commissioner, executives of BBC, NRW, as examples. Could include charities where government finance forms a majority of funding. The ban after de-enlistment should be at least 1 year).

(g) The ‘political research funding’ redirected away from HQ to the regions.
(h) An ‘election fighting fund’ of public subscription in each constituency.
(i) A general amnesty for all, extended to ‘indy curious’ elected as independents.
(j) Discrimination (inc positive) banned on LGBT, sex, race, nationality, etc.

I actually think that this will provide a ‘trust’ advantage over other parties, deal with existing turmoil, and also prevent any future ‘eruptions’.


Brychan With that shopping list you ain’t even going to be allowed into the store ! That kind of stuff has a stench of real inclusivity about it. Don’t you realise that “inclusive” means giving special consideration to all those weird and wonderful fringe sects and activities so favoured by the pseudo-socialist “more left than thou” bunch of hot air merchants ? Can’t be having rank and file ordinary folk intruding on business that’s the special reserve for those self identified as being of superior intellect and eminently well connected. Hell, you will be coming out with stuff like “all people are equal” next. That won’t do in a party where there’s a pecking order for all sorts of good reasons.


“That kind of stuff has a stench of real inclusivity about it”.

Yes, it does. It would also set an example for the future governance of Wales and a constitution for independence. It also just happens to be the way the SNP took Glasgow and dealt with difficulties in some other areas. Does Plaid have the stomach for it?


Interesting letter by Jonathan Swan mirroring your own conclusion regarding PC failings, Jac. Political landscape is changing rapidly. Although I disagree with PC policy nationally I believe Ben Lake is a hard working and popular MP in Ceredigion.

Nadolig Llawen i bawb a blwyddin newydd dda.


Yes, but the reason why Ben Lake increased his vote was because the LibDems effectively assassinated their own candidate, Mark Williams. Although Ceredigion was a ‘remain’ voting constituency, Ben was also able to capture a significant ‘leave’ minority under the ‘peoples vote’ reasoning. The LibDems committed suicide when they dropped the concept of a second Brexit referendum, in favour of cancellation. This means there was only one candidate, Ben Lake, that could hoover up both leavers and remainers. This was not a localised ‘Plaid Surge’ which some, elsewhere in Wales, like to delude themselves.

Red Flag

dropped the concept of a second Brexit referendum, in favour of cancellation. This means there was only one candidate, Ben Lake, that could hoover up both leavers and remainers.

I mix in Leave circles in a Leave area in a constituency that voted Leave, that was a Labour seat, was a major Plaid target and has gone Tory.

I have never ever met a Leave voter that supports a second referendum.


Ben Lake looks like the sort of man who could shift to any party and win an election on the strength of his personal reputation and following. That he chooses to stick with Plaid suggests that he’s not afraid of hard work because dealing with the assortment of deviant types now loose within the Party requires talent, energy and huge motivation. Good luck to him. I hope he overcomes them.

Sian Caiach

Its a bit mean to cite Carmarthenshire County Council as it’s a pretty dodgy organisation led by senior council officers. The leaders of Council are selected by the chief executive. In order to get the prize of “leadership ” of the Council, its said that the Plaid group had to dump its leader -Peter Hughes Griffiths, a man of some integrity for The Reverend Emlyn Dole, a much weaker and malleable man. This has happened to all the Parties in Carmarthenshire County Council and its quite shameful but County Councillors have salaries, extra payments for senior roles, and in poor areas people can be bought cheaply.

The Breckman case is particularly interesting as her MP Jonathan Edwards, and her AM Adam Price have supported Mrs Breckman for years but even with a supposedly Plaid led council there has been little progress other than to offer an ex gratia payment then claim that they are unable to give one. This is supposedly because Zurich insurance will withdraw all liability insurance from them if they do.

Zurich deny this. Emlyn Dole maintains that documents exist which support his view but they are confidential and cannot be released. It’s the puppet masters not the puppet running the show.

More details on my blog

Dr John Ball

Perhaps we should indeed be thinking about a Nationalist Alliance” for 2021? Without Plaid Cymru!

Nigel Stapley

There’s a big opportunity here.

If Mr Swan and the others who have left/are leaving Ddy Parti Of Wêls do form a new party (most probably slightly left-of-centre in traditional terms), then the possibility arises of it and Gwlad (and any other similar groupings which may arise) forming an ‘Alliance For Independence’ to stand and fight (in every constituency!) on an unambiguous anti-colonialist ticket.

That would then force DdPOW to show its hand: it could either carry on its spoiled-brattery and divide the nationalist vote, in which case its fraudulence would be made apparent (thus sealing its doom); or it could stand alongside that Alliance (or stand down in its favour), in which case it would have to take its lead from those of us who are ‘independentistas’ (*) (of whatever point on the traditional spectrum) above all else.

(*) I wish we could come up with a word which was easier to pronounce – and type. We can’t use the Welsh ‘Annibynnwyr’, ‘cos that’d make people think we were all ‘chapel’. 😉

Vlad the Inhaler

“The emergence of Gwlad ..”

Oh dear!
If I wasn’t so distressed to see Jac slipping away into his right wing dotage I would have called that the funniest thing he has ever written.

Having proudly announced that he was going to vote for the Conservative Party in an earlier blog – a party which has done nothing for Wales in the two centuries of its existence – Jac is now pretending that a ‘party’ that polled less than 1500 votes across 3 seats is some sort of emerging political force. He ignores the fact that if Plaid had stood against them in those 3 seats then Gwlad’s vote wouldn’t have been worth counting. He also ignores the fact that the Plaid candidate in the Rhondda polled almost three times as many votes on her own than the entire heavenly host of Jac’s delusions did in total.

Why mention the Rhondda you ask. Well if you’ve had the misfortune to have read some of Gwlad’s pretentious gibbering on FB you’d have noticed that this tiny band of misfits are insisting that Plaid concede leadership in various places, including the Rhondda, to the vast roaming legions of Gwlad supporters who will sweep to victory ensuring a wonderful eeerrmm – sort of right wingish, anti-EU, vaguely Welsh-ish pseudo-democracy led by the finest minds in – yes you’ve guessed – Gwlad.

Let’s be honest, as political parties go Gwlad are down in the haemorrhoid end of the spectrum. Always there, a bit annoying at times, but nothing serious and usually ignored.

I suppose as you get older you ponder more on these trivial things as your spatial awareness shrinks, and and you get more obsessive about the little things of no importance to others.

Which is why I’m so worried about Jac.

Nigel Stapley

I spoiled mine too, butt.

If MI-whatever want to know who in Clwyd South wrote “ANNIBYNIAETH!/INDEPENDENCE!” on his paper, that was me, and I’m available for surveillance Monday to Friday (not at weekends, please; I’ve got shopping and cleaning to do).


“And, anyway, when it came to the crunch in the booth my hand trembled (though that could have been the hangover) and I spoiled my ballot paper with ‘None of the above. Gwlad Gwlad’.”

So after all your efforts to convince voters to vote Conservative rather than Plaid Cymru in the end you couldn’t convince yourself.
Sounds like you had a waking up and smelling the coffee moment.

“Spoliing” a ballot paper is a legitimate action. It seemed odd to me from the start that you didn’t advocate that dissatisfied Plaid voters do this rather than vote Tory. Maybe next time.

Nigel Stapley

What exactly is in your inhaler, Vlad?

I mean,

“…‘party’ that polled less than 1500 votes across 3 seats…”

A campaign that was put together in a hurry by a party with no previous electoral experience and certainly no media coverage? In constituencies with little or no hinterland re. nationalist sentiment? I think they did pretty damn well for a first go.

“…if Plaid had stood against them in those 3 seats then Gwlad’s vote wouldn’t have been worth counting”

Gwlad only stood because Plaid chickened out of standing to play nicely with the colonialist parties. It would have been nice if they hadn’t had to stand to give patriotic voters in those seats a full choice.

Red Flag

Vlad, Plaid have been found wanting again and yet again seen to be punching way way above their weight.

The only consistent thing about them is they consistently fail to deliver although they have become seasoned experts at trotting out “We were squeezed”.

Welsh talking shop next. If Plaid fail to deliver AGAIN, then what is their purpose? They either need a top-to-bottom rebrand and ditch the dullard politics of identity and diversity and the trendy middle-class Leftist liberal crap (so yesterday) or they need to find something else to do such as take up knitting because politics really really isnt something they are very good at.

I’m just glad I quit them when I did. It’s already saved me enough for a decent night on the lash – something far more worthwhile.


Vlad – I reply to your ‘Rhondda comment’.

You appear to have mistaken a dwindling inheritance for a prospect of future prosperity. The Plaid Cymru candidate in Rhondda, Branwen the media luvvie, lost 5% of the Plaid vote in 2017, and a further 9% this year. The reality is that Plaid Cymru vote in Rhondda is 3,500 less than it was in 1974.

Example – Chris Bryant made the slur that Branwen was ‘obsessed’ with the Welsh language. She is native fluent, from Ynyswen could be seen on the school bus to Rhydfelin. Bryant’s comments was aimed at fermenting division within Rhondda and playing the ‘language card’.

The response was to ‘defend’ the language. Wrong!!

Correct response should have been to condemn and expose Bryant as an obnoxious sectarian, a maggot who has no business in the Rhondda, a Labour plant from Oxford who was a member of the Conservative Party, a parasite who arrived in the valley to fill his boots. That should have been the response that would have united the community for Plaid.

They are failing to do so because constituency parties, governance and candidates are ‘spoken for’ and ‘appointed’ by a small clique in Plaid HQ who have no clue about the communities involved.


Agree with Andrew about Plaid’s refusal to correct injustices in Carms, legacies from past administrations in the main. Also think that Plaid has to appeal more to English speakers, who are sometimes made to feel 2nd class members. The insistence on fighting Brexit made little sense in the context of England determined to leave, because EU without England will not have the resources financially to prop up a periphery of impecunious small nations. The Germans could become quite rebellious about subsidising everyone else! Jac o’the North is most unlikely to agree with me, but Leanne was a bridge between Welsh-speaking and English-speaking Wales. Of the 10 Plaid Assembly members, I think Leanne may be the only one without a Welsh-language background, although she has gone to the considerable effort of learning the language.
Another factor is that annual subscriptions are rising to £60, from £36.


Leanne Wood could and should have been the bridge between Cymraeg and Anglophone, and might have created a domino effect with Plaid victories in neighbouring Valleys constituencies if she had addressed the real problems. Instead she squandered this opportunity by promoting an agenda that was of no relevance or value to the majority of the Welsh population, whatever their first language. I respect any politician with strong beliefs of a generally humanitarian nature, but those beliefs are not the priorities of most people in this country. This is one of the lessons that the Plaid leadership must now learn if the Party is to avoid becoming an irrelevance.


I agree. It’s not so much as to where on the political spectrum Leanne occupies; it’s more her journey from a Rhondda firebrand into her cozy settlement into the comfy world of the devolved clique. As far as I know the Bolshevik slogan was ‘Bread, Peace and Land’. It was not ‘Ciabatta, Remain and Vegan Collectives’. As you say, a squandered opportunity.


Agree with that. Voted Plaid for what she once was. But clear by the time she was leader that the 67k a year had made a middle class martyr from a working class warrior. Plaid still doesn’t really exist outside Rhondda. How does the saying go? Power corrupts.


My lasting, and maybe last, message to Plaid is “You have been the corpse in our chair for too long, just make one last effort to stand up and do your job, or, if you can’t be bothered, piss off into the wilderness and let others take the more central role in the struggle for independence.”

They will probably respond that the message is unclear while they pursue their missions of inclusive assimilation and annihilation

Elfed Jones

It is not possible to say you love your country and support the Nuclear industry at the same time ! A Nuclear legacy would bankrupt a Independent Wales very quickly .


Nadolig Llawen

Andrew Redman

Why with a Plaid Leader of Carmarthen County Council does the Leader of the party Adam Price seem so unwilling to call E. Dole to account?It is not seen as a case of influencing The Council but dealing with an individual whose actions are bringing the Party into disrepute.