PLEASE APPRECIATE THAT I GET SENT MORE INFORMATION AND LEADS THAN I CAN USE. I TRY TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTS ME BUT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION I’M SENT. DIOLCH YN FAWR
BOBBY MUGABE LIVES!
For Plaid Cymru is invisible in Swansea; not a single councillor, moribund branches, and little or no interest from the Jack-in-the-street. This can be explained by a perception among my ain folk that Plaid Cymru is a party for rural Welsh speakers, leftie extremists and the Cardiff middle class.
That said, YesCymru has a healthy presence in the city, but this is one of the branches mercifully free of Plaid Cymru control. Which probably explains why it flourishes.
But back to the conference, where there was an election for the position of chair, between incumbent Alun Ffred Jones and Dr Dewi Evans. Alun Ffred represented the party establishment while Dr Evans was the outsider, promising to readmit Neil McEvoy AM to the party.
Alun Ffred won quite handsomely in the end, by 400 votes to 135, which was only to be expected, all things considered. For around 8,500 members were unable to vote.
By which I mean that (and despite their unfamiliarity with Swansea) the venue favoured the Leannistas. This vociferous claque augmented by the party hierarchy plus the lobbyists and third sector memsahibs found in the Bay Bubble. For the great majority of these live in the south.
In addition, everybody and his uncle who might support Alun Ffred was dragged to the Grand. For example, I’m told that the family of Mr Bethan Sayed was well represented.
‘But, surely’, you interject (almost plaintively), ‘in order to properly gauge the wishes of the members postal votes were allowed?’ Yes, you’d think so . . . but no, for this is Plaid Cymru. In an existential interpretation of the democratic process, if you weren’t there then you didn’t exist.
And even if you were there, there was no guarantee you’d be allowed to vote, certainly not if there was any suspicion you might vote for Dr Evans. I’ve been told of one group from Wrecsam that had reluctantly renewed their memberships, gone down to Swansea – only to be told they had no votes.
It seems there was an arbitrary cut-off point in September for joining the party or renewing memberships, one that few were informed about.
And talking of keeping things within certain circles, Dr Evans was denied access to the membership lists, so he was unable to reach all the members. While some establishment branches refused to let him address their members!
I could go on, but I’m sure you get the picture. The shade of Bobby Mugabe was playing the Grand on Saturday.
“CARIN’, WE ARE, INNIT”
Apart from the election, what else happened? Well, in a nutshell, Plaid Cymru reminded us that it has lost interest in the great majority of us, the leadership preferring to play gesture politics while riding unicorns.
What do I mean?
For a start, the big thing now is Brexit, or rather, no Brexit . . . or is it no deal Brexit? No, wait! it’s avoiding no deal Brexit. The question is, how.
“A few weeks ago senior Plaid Cymru figures were pushing the line that the party would head into a general election with a clear commitment to revoke Article 50 and stop Brexit.
Since then they’ve rowed back slightly: the party’s official position now – backed by conference delegates – is that it favours a second referendum, unless the prospect of a no-deal Brexit remains.
Faced with the prospect of leaving the EU without a deal Plaid would revert to revoke.
In reality, it is hard to see how the prospect of a no-deal Brexit could be taken off the table completely ahead of any general election, and a senior Plaid figure told me it is inevitable therefore the party’s manifesto commitment will be to stop Brexit in its tracks.
How that plays out in the leave-voting areas the party’s targeting for the next assembly elections remains to be seen.”
Plaid Cymru is of course in some electoral arrangement with the Liberal Democrats, led by Jo Swinson. The woman who has urged Scots to vote Tory to halt the SNP, and who has said that in the event of a second referendum giving another Leave vote she would refuse to accept it.
There are the other issues, such as her being funded by a fracking company and her hubby receiving EU money. Then there’s her record of voting with the Tories, a party with which Plaid Cymru sees itself in a permanent state of war.
How can a socialist party like Plaid Cymru possibly do deals with a party led by this woman? Clearly Brexit clouds the judgement and brings on a severe bout of myopia.
Then, as if to reassert its socialist credentials, Plaid reiterated it’s commitment to giving £35 a week for every child in every low income family in Wales. Which sounds fine, until you realise that there will be no such legislation in England, which will mean that the kind of women who have seven or eight semi-feral children by half a dozen different fathers will view this as an incentive to move to Wales.
Worse, agencies in England, in daily contact with our ‘Welsh’ third sector and social housing bodies, will ensure there is a steady supply of such people.
The developed world has a problem with its ageing population. This problem is exacerbated in Wales by people from England retiring to Wales. And yet, while the problem is universally acknowledged, here in Wales our self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ sees an ageing population as an asset, something be proud of.
Wales is more attractive to England’s elderly because here they can have £50,000 under the mattress before care home charges kick in, whereas in England – a richer country! – the figure is a measly £23,250.
On this issue Plaid Cymru agrees with ‘Welsh’ Labour (it usually does) and wants to go further, by introducing legislation that will make Wales even more attractive to elderly English people by abolishing care home charges altogether!
Which means that Plaid Cymru is going for a double-whammy of further Anglicising Wales while simultaneously making us poorer. Some national party!
I say ‘poorer’ because of course Plaid Cymru has no economic strategy, no ideas on how to build a healthy Welsh economy to provide well-paid jobs for our people. A socialist party like Plaid Cymru prefers not to think about ugly things like making money, encouraging economic growth, etc.
So how does Plaid Cymru expect to pay for this generosity, this ‘Caring Wales’?
THE ‘KEPT WOMAN’ SYSTEM OF DEVOLUTION
Let’s get something straight – the upper echelons of Plaid Cymru do not want independence. That the leadership occasionally mentions independence should not be taken seriously, it’s only done to dupe the rank and file.
All this stratum wants is a Wales that creates institutions in which a colonial elite of politicians, professionals and administrators can prosper. We are almost there; with a few more powers devolved to the Assembly, such as justice and policing, this colonial elite might be satisfied.
Let me explain what I mean by a colonial elite.
A ‘kept woman’ is maintained for his pleasure by a wealthy man. She has a place of her own, enjoys the good things of life, is allowed her opinions and foibles . . . but must never forget who pays the bills.
Over the past twenty years we have seen a ‘kept woman’ class emerge in Cardiff Bay. (And not just women of course.) And just like a kept woman this class is expected to ‘repay’ the one picking up the tab.
In Wales, this takes the form of legislation and ‘strategies’ that are usually of more benefit to England. Such as promoting a crass form of tourism that is destroying Wales, but keeps English tourists’ money in the UK. Or ‘saving the planet’, which in practice means allowing English investors to cover Wales with wind and solar farms, or forcing Welsh farmers off their land to make way for ‘rewilders’. Then there’s reducing the threshold for care home payments to less than half that of England to encourage English retirees. Now Plaid Cymru wants to do away with care home fees entirely, while also encouraging an influx of undesirables.
In return, and just like a kept woman, the colonial elite is allowed to indulge its whims and fancies, but must avoid issues that might annoy the London pay-masters.
Made obvious by the truth of contemporary Wales. Our post-industrial areas are in managed decline, our rural areas are being colonised, Clwyd disappears into north west England . . . but while Wales dies Leannista-controlled Plaid Cymru is only concerned with niche issues and minorities.
All because we live under a colonial system from which the only native beneficiaries are the colonial elite and its hangers-on. That’s how it must be.
Made easier by having a civil service operating in Wales that answers to London, and two political parties (Labour and Plaid Cymru) that together know less about economics than I do about the Large Hadron Collider. (And I know sod all.)
Which is why what passes for ‘the Welsh economy’ is increasingly controlled by major English companies, cross-border utilities and others, or else we have spivs arriving with a sackful of promises and pockets stuffed with grant application forms.
SOMETIME, MAYBE, NEVER
Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price tells us there will be a referendum on independence before 2030. Mmm. Five years from now Scotland could be independent and Ireland reunified.
Setting a target of 2030 makes it look as if Plaid Cymru isn’t exactly enthusiastic about independence. (Which, as I’ve explained, it isn’t.) And then there’s Brexit.
If the UK crashes out of the EU, and if this results in serious shortages of medicines, foodstuffs and other essentials leading to civil disorder, to troops on the streets holding back hungry people at bayonet point, are we seriously expected to wait for a referendum some time ‘before 2030’?
Looking at it from the other side; if Plaid Cymru and other Remainers get their way, and we stay in the EU, there will still be civil unrest, probably far right terrorism and maybe a real coup. So do we accept it all, patiently waiting for a referendum some time ‘before 2030’?
There are troubles ahead whether the UK stays in the EU or not.
So does Plaid Cymru have a contingency plan for a chaotic post-Brexit/no Brexit period and its possible constitutional consequences? At the very least, why not insist that a referendum on Welsh independence be triggered by a Scottish Yes vote?
In fact, does Plaid Cymru have any plan beyond staying in the EU (and the UK) and then having a referendum some time ‘before 2030’?
I’m reminded of the wisdom imparted by great-aunt Fastidia before she went on the lam. She clutched me to her bosom (I can still smell those lavender moth-balls!) and said, ‘Always remember, lovely boy, when the shit hits the fan it’s time to leave the room’.
The time to leave the room is fast approaching. But all Plaid Cymru can offer Wales is the delusion that if we stay in the EU it’ll be daisy-chains and puppy dogs all the way to a nice referendum . . . some time ‘before 2030’.
Wales deserves better than a system of ‘kept woman’ devolution serving only a colonial elite. We deserve a more open, more honest, and more democratic political party, concerned solely with Wales, its people and their problems.
A party that is ready to seize the opportunities that Brexit will present.
♦ end ♦