Plaid Cymru’s Fatal Attraction

Plaid Cymru’s relationship with the Green Party has ranged from what appeared to be full coalition through local understandings to what at other times appeared to be no linkage whatsoever. The prime mover of co-operation between the two parties was Cynog Dafis, who was elected as the Plaid-Green MP for Ceredigion in 1992. His majority cynog-caroline-bbcwas 3,193. But the results from neighbouring constituencies made it clear that the Green vote – had the parties stood separately – would have been far less than that majority. To the north, in Meirionnydd Nant Conwy, Bill Pritchard got just 471  votes; whereas to the south, in Carmarthen, the Greens couldn’t even find a candidate! Making it clear who was benefitting from this alliance. Not only did Plaid Cymru not need the Green vote, what this misalliance taught us was that many or most Greens refused to vote for a joint candidate. I shall explain why in a moment.

Now I hear of another local alliance forming, this time in the area that used to be covered by Lliw Valley District Council, those communities to the north and west of what might be termed Swansea ‘proper’: Clydach, Pontarddulais, Gowerton, Gorseinon, Pontardawe, etc. The threat of Underground Coal Gasification in the Burry Inlet or Loughor Estuary has aroused some local residents to voice their protests, but few of these seem to be, well . . . genuinely local. This has somehow got linked with protests against new housing planned for the area.

The flyer below (click to enlarge) was handed out at the recent Pontaddulais Show by local members of Plaid Cymru, advertising a new “coalition of individuals and organisations under the Greenspace Cymru banner”. Ok, so we know Plaid is involved, but who else is part of this ‘coalition’? Greenspace Cymru is said to have a Facebook page but I can’t find it. So let me hazard a guess that the local Plaidistas have jumped into bed with a bunch of English nimbys and a shower of Greens, again. So why am I writing about this obscure local issue? PLliw flyerartly because it’s on my old home patch, but also because it has wider ramifications.

Let’s start with the housing. This not Ceredigion or Denbighshire; few of these homes will be bought by retirees, good-lifers, or commuters to English cities. What’s proposed is just more infilling between Swansea and Llanelli. The majority of these houses will be bought by people already living in the region. That being so, for Plaid Cymru to become part of this ‘alliance’ is weird. Then there’s the gas. With oil supplies finite, the Middle East in constant turmoil, the example of falling gas prices in the USA, and wind power and other ‘green’ energy exposed as a waste of money, shale gas, or whatever you want to call it, is going to happen. I have argued that we should fight to have control of this resource devolved to Cardiff Bay, but if this proves impossible then we have to make the best of it, we must ensure that Wales, and Welsh people, get the maximum benefits.

So why do I hate the Greens? In Scotland there is a genuine Scottish Green Party, and it supports full independence. Here in Wales, we have a rag-bag collection of hippies, good-lifers and other zealots forever dictating to us, thinking they can grant themselves planning permission – even in a National Park. They don’t like to be reminded that they’re in a country other than their own. (This is why so many of them were hostile to the electoral link-up with Plaid Cymru.) Yet for some perverse reason many in Plaid Cymru still view the Greens as kindred spirits. Which often results, as we see today in Lliw Valley, in the party supposedly representing the interests of the Welsh people lining up with Greens who don’t give a damn about us Welsh, and nimbys who want to see zero development in Wales lest it interfere with their comfortable lives. The kind of Fleece Jacket Fascists I dealt with a while back.

Tilting at windmills is all very well in its place – God knows I’ve done enough of it! – but if Plaid Cymru wants to be taken seriously as a political party it should choose its friends more carefully and remember whose interests it’s supposedly serving. Going overboard for wind turbines and other renewables was a mistake. One doesn’t need to be a Mail or Telegraph reader to know they’re expensive and they don’t deliver. That mistake is starting to be remedied. Rhun ap Iorwerth’s support for Wylfa B was another step in the right direction. A further positive is Helen Mary Jones stepping down as party chair. But if Plaid Cymru is going to oppose the new homes that Welsh people need, and the jobs that building them will create; plus cheaper gas prices and the jobs extracting the gas will provide, then the party will take yet another wrong turning.

18 thoughts on “Plaid Cymru’s Fatal Attraction

  1. Brychan

    Plaid supported the Hirwaun methane extraction
    scheme and min-power station which generated 5/6MW over a number of years, which fed a local grid feed-in based on
    extraction from existing workings at Tower colliery. This did include secondary
    drilling. Party policy is opposed, however, to colonial exploitation on a large
    scale causing adverse environmental impacts with little rewards for the
    indigenous community. Now proved correct with a proposed power station and
    open-cast scheme.

    Here is an example from Australia where a
    UCG scheme was halted by the state government to prevent major environmental

    Here are the people behind the scheme (and

    I do think you do have a point about Cynog. He
    can’t tell the difference between a community owned turbine like eco-Dyfi and
    the Cefn Croes monstrosity. Where local green energy schemes prove successful
    there does appear to be ‘project creep’, with the emphasis on the Cynog, and
    large scale colonial exploitation parachutes in. The question for Plaid is not
    why good-life settlers in grubby sweaters jump on a band wagon, it’s more to do
    with whether Plaid can develop a credible energy policy. It would be nice if Plaid could support a drill cap 1.5Mw gas
    generator in the car park at Penclawdd. But, it appears, this is not what is
    being proposed, and the Welsh Government has no power to control project

    1. Jim Dunckley

      The Welsh Government does actually have control over certain elements of large projects. So for example the massive “Atlantic Array” Windfarm project in the Bristol Channel will require a Marine License from WG.

      In the case of CBM, because elements of these projects full into the ambit of the local planning system, the WG may also be able to “Call In” the application, and hold a public enquiry. They have been asked to do this before, in relation to certain parts of the LNG pipeline project, but opted not to do so.

      Nothing to do with the fact that back in 2006, Labour was in power in Westminster as well as Cardiff, which ain’t the case now….

  2. Mamgusuz

    A member of Green Space Cymru was interviewed by the BBC. The reporter made a comment that it was a nice change to have a welsh speaking local to interview as he usually only had incomers voicing their concerns/opinions. When I watched the news he had only used the incomer/Green Party members interview! If you are not hearing the concerns from locals maybe you should take it up with the media Jac.

    1. The ‘Welsh’ media preferring to broadcast interviews with colons over locals is a separate issue, though one worth exploring. But I still say that if enough locals are making enough noise then they make themselves unignorable.

  3. MH

    I made my last comment before Royston had approved Jim’s comment … it wouldn’t have been much of a guess afterwards, would it?

  4. MH

    At a guess I’d say that Draig on the View from Lliw is Jim Dunckley, who always had good things to say under that name when the WalesOnline forum was active, and still has good things to say now.

    It’s a timely reminder that Plaid Cymru is, and remains, very much a Green party.

  5. Jim Dunckley

    As a local Swansea resident who helped set up this group I think you really need to check your sources Jac before you jump to conclusions.

    Everything WelshnotBritish has put up is true.

    That aside I’m assuming you got the newsletter from —- ——-, who has got his knickers in a twist because local residents in his patch have been been informed by the newsletter above (and not by him) that thousands of new homes are going to be built in the general area. This includes 1000 homes around Felindre. This will be an entirely new community and certainly won’t be made up entirely of local residents, as many young families are moving away due to lack of work. It’s all part of the LDP and it’s nothing more than social engineering, with existing communities being treated as an afterthought.

    As to the “fracking” it’s actually Underground Coal Gasification and you might want to take a little time to COME DOWN HERE and talk to the cocklemen, fishermen and genuinely local residents who are dead against development within this European protected site. Next time we have a meeting Jac maybe you might deign to come down from your ivory tower in ———— and come and talk to some real people to hear their opinions on this development.

    We’re all still wondering what happened to your involvement in the WNRM…

    1. LDPs and even Full Planning Permission is no guarantee that anything will actually be built. I used the example of Denbighshire because there 70,000 houses could be built and almost all sold to retirees, good-lifers and commuters to Manchester and Merseyside. This does not apply in places like Gorseinon. The majority of the people buying these houses will be people working to pay for them. And the furthest they’ll be commuting is Newport and Aberystwyth. But if, as you say, people are leaving the area due to a lack of work, then very few of these houses will actually be built. Because no builder is going build houses he can’t sell.

      If local people are opposed to UCG – or want more information – then why aren’t we hearing them? And let’s hear some opposition on national / exploitation grounds rather than from the guy WnB described, because these are the only ones I’m hearing.Type your reply…

      1. Jim Dunckley

        Got to disagree here. You hear more and more “accents” around places like Gorseinon now because much of the housing that is being built is in excess of local need. The fundamental issue really is that England is overpopulated and Wales is basically “overspill”. The LDP is basically designed to facilitate this, and the population projections that the Welsh Government are using to impose housing targets on local authorities were examined in a report produced by Cambridge University which conceded that most of this “growth” in Wales was basically in-migration from England (and further afield).

        As to local people being opposed to UCG around the Burry Inlet, they are not being heard because many of the most vocal voices at the moment are the usual English hippy-dippy crowd. They are not interested in Wales and the fact that one of them banned people from the “Frack Off” Llanelli group tells us volumes about how “liberal” and “fluffy” some of these people really are. I suspect Paul Jennings is ex-military.

        But that doesn’t mean that most of the people concerned aren’t local Llanelli/Loughor/Swansea people. They are, and the great irony of the UCG development in Burry Inlet is that it has woken people up to the Coal Bed Methane exploration work that has been quietly going on up around Bont and Mawr for the last few years. And which Ioan Richard fully supports, because he has opened the door for all this development by supporting the LNG pipeline development.

        And why? Because all the boreholes are along the pipeline route…

        1. OK, obviously you know Gorseinon better than I do, but I’d still like an explanation. Because with the best will in the world I cannot accept that since I left Swansea Gorseinon and Clydach have become hotspots for English retirees or good-lifers, and certainly not for commuters, because they’re too far from any major English city other than Bristol, which is a lot smaller than Merseyside or Manchester.

          That being so, and if they are buying their houses, they must be working. But you said in an earlier comment that ” . . . many young families are moving away due to lack of work”. So if there’s no work, where are these new arrivals getting the money from to pay for their houses? Are they taking jobs from locals? Or are they not working, maybe down-sizers, having sold a house in the south east of England? If they’re not working, nor are they downsizers, where the hell is the money coming from? Or, if they are not buying the houses they’re living in, is the arrangement private rental? But even if it is private rental, why move to Gorseinon?

          Retirees, good-lifers, commuters, hippies, down-sizers, relocated ex-cons, social security claimants in private or social rents I understand, and I have written about them all at one time or another, but you seem to be describing a new phenomenon. An influx into relatively unattractive satellite towns and suburbs, where there is little work, of a working age population that is taking up new-build private housing. If this is happening on any scale then it could be the best evidence yet for social engineering, so please provide a link to the Cambridge report you mentioned.

          1. Jim Dunckley

            I’ll find that Cambridge report for you Jac. As to changes in Gorseinon and further afield, I think there are a number of different reasons. Lots of sais settle here because of Swansea’s growing university population (probably 70% of the uni population are from England) and because Gorseinon is a dormitory town for Swansea professional types relocate here from other places too. Even the retirement element is here simply because generally this area is a nice place to retire too. So there are a number of different reasons.

            The bigger issue here is about whether Plaid is some kind of “front” for green hippie types. That is not the case in this area. It’s inevitable that Plaid will to a large extent a “green” party because our landscape and environment are being exploited. Many people today are quite environmentally minded and don’t really want to see the valleys ripped open again for resource exploitation.

            And of course above and beyond that is the colonization element. Wales is an “energy colony” that is being used to plug England’s energy gap. In this area we are on the coalfield and consequently you have coal bed methane and UCG. It’s a big issue and down here people are starting to wake up to the scale of it.

  6. Welsh not British

    Jac, the reason you can’t find it is because it’s not a page it’s a discussion group and since you haven’t got a personal account it wont let you access groups.

    As far as I know it’s nothing at all to do with the greens and was initially set up by members of the local Plaid, Hawliau and Balchder after the Frack Off Llanelli group went on a banning spree for (you’ll like this) discussing politics. That’s right you are not allowed to discuss politics in a group that was set up to combat colonial exploitation. The Frack Off Llanelli lot appear to believe it’s just the big bad corporations!!! Several members of green space went along to their meeting and the general feedback was that it was poorly organised and uninformative.

    The guy behind the Frack Off Llanelli group is some sort of cockney who was living in France until recently in a “permaculture” utopia. For whatever reason it fell through and he decided to come to Wales because he’d heard about all this sustainable legislation that Labour keep ignoring. Or maybe he’d seen those teletubby houses they’ve got down Pembrokeshire, either way the nimby doesn’t vote and when asked about people who died for suffrage he remarked that they were idiots.

    Anyway, apart from the word green in the title. It’s not actually anything to do with the greens.

    1. Now I am confused. You say Frack Off Llanelli is a bunch of nimbys
      unconnected with Greenspace Cymru. So why is Plaid linking the two
      groups, and the two issues, on the flyer? If I have misunderstood the
      position of Greenspace Cymru, then I apologise, but the flyer makes it
      clear that Plaid is supporting the ‘environmentalists’ of Frack Off
      Llanelli. That, I suppose, was my main point; the way Plaid can’t say no
      to a bunch of English greenies.

      1. Welsh not British

        I can’t see any mention of the “Frack Off Llanelli” group on the flyer. And the connection is that it is just another form of colonial exploitation. I don’t believe the Plaid members are supporting the “Frack Off Llanelli” group, if anything they have recognised that this sort of NIMBY group will do more harm than good as they pick and choose what they don’t want as opposed to recognising that we should be the ones who decide what we want. Highlighted by the fact they banned people for talking about politics.

        1. OK, Stu, I confess I may not have got the right handle on this. But from
          my “ivory tower” (J. Dunckley) it ain’t easy. It seems we have two
          separate issues: new housing, and underground coal gasification. We also
          seem to have two separate groups involved in opposing the UCG; Frack
          Off Llanelli (apparently a nimby-colon outfit) and assorted
          ‘locals’, who are it seems being largely ignored while the media favours
          their rivals. Then there is Green Spaces Cymru, some kind of umbrella
          group opposed to the building of too many houses. Now I assume that the
          same people involved with GSC are also opposing the UCG? There is
          obviously an overlap, but where does it finish? Come to that, where does
          it start? And where does this leave Plaid Cymru? Plaid’s flyer linking
          the two issues, and claiming to be part of GSC, doesn’t clarify things
          at all.

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