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
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.
” . . . WITH 130 OTHERS IN 15 CONSTITUENCIES . . . “ (AND RISING)
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.
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?
AT THE RISK OF REPEATING MYSELF . . .
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.
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.
THE YEARS AHEAD
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.
I’m telling you this in the hope of proving that what follows is both intellectually and on all other levels consistent with what I wrote three years ago. Consistency being in short supply in Welsh politics at the moment.
AS I WAS SAYING . . .
I explained in June 2016, with the six points reproduced below, why I believed Brexit could result in Welsh independence.
We shall lose the EU hand-outs and these will not be replaced by Westminster.
Leaving the EU will result in economic meltdown.
The City of London will be replaced as Europe’s No 1 financial centre.
Brexit is fundamentally English nationalism.
Post Brexit the UK will experience the most repressive and anglocentric government ever known.
Scotland will probably become independent.
Since writing that I have also come to believe that the Brexit shambles, and the possibility of a hard border in Ireland, could well result in a reunified Ireland.
I concluded my pre-referendum piece in June 2016 with, ‘If you care about Wales, and if you want to see Wales survive and prosper as a nation in her own right, then you must vote to leave the European Union as the precondition for leaving the United Kingdom’.
I wrote that because I hoped for the debacle we see now, the confusion of political parties imploding and new ones appearing out of nowhere, with the emergence of an intolerant English nationalism that tries to shout everybody else down. I also wanted economic collapse. Does that make me irresponsible? Maybe, but only in the short term.
After the referendum Plaid Cymru’s leadership should have sat down, held hands, and engaged in an honest discussion in the hope of figuring out why so many Welsh people had gone against its recommendation and voted to leave the EU.
Had they done so they might have realised that many Welsh voters were pissed off with falling standards in health, education, housing and so many other fields; and they were relatively poorer than they’d been ten or twenty years earlier, with their concerns ignored by politicians they felt to be ‘distant’ and out of touch.
So they allowed themselves to be seduced and they took their frustrations out on the EU by voting for Brexit.
An honest inquiry like that should have made Plaid Cymru realise that many Welsh people were pissed off enough to vote for Brexit because devolution had failed them due to the ‘Welsh’ Labour Party being less than useless.
But when presented with the ever-open goal of England’s management team in Cardiff Bay Plaid Cymru always prefers to put the ball over the bar.
Wales voting for Brexit was as much due to Labour’s and Plaid Cymru’s inadequacies as it was to London’s neglect, proven by the situation in Scotland. There the SNP took Labour on in a no-holds-barred struggle – and won. With the result that since the SNP took control in 2007 things have visibly improved across the board for most Scots, and this influenced their vote in the EU referendum.
For by 2016 not only was Scotland doing much better than Wales by every measurable criterion, but the SNP had successfully convinced a majority of Scots that any problems affecting them could be attributed to London, not Brussels.
Plaid Cymru’s failure to emulate the SNP’s success was due to the party spending almost two decades doing no more than a little light sparring with Labour prior to elections. The enemy was always ‘them wicked Tories, innit’, even when the Conservative Party was in opposition in Westminster!
A major reason Wales voted for Brexit in 2016 was Plaid Cymru’s failure to emulate the SNP. Worse, when not cwtching up to Labour the party was pushing a discredited ideology and obsessing over ‘niche issues’ rather than the everyday concerns of real Welsh people.
Plaid Cymru is now repeating past mistakes by linking up with groups like the Green Party that view Brexit, and Wales, through an Englandandwales prism. But it has no alternative because it failed to create a Welsh dimension for Brexit.
RED QUEEN TOPPLED, PAWNS FIGHT ON!
Since the overthrow of the Red Queen it appears that Plaid Cymru has, confusingly, moved further to the left! Not only that, but the party has reneged on its 2017 election promise to secure the best Brexit deal for Wales by recently coming out as a hard-line Remain party.
Both these trends were in evidence a week last Saturday at the All Under One Banner Cymru march in Cardiff. Not only was the event restricted to Plaid Cymru and its offshoots but there was as much if not more talk of socialism and EU membership than of Welsh independence.
One speaker, Sandra Clubb, of Undod – Plaid’s ‘independence-but-only-if-it-means-a-socialist-dystopia’ group – even called for a socialist feminist republic. I bet that would be jolly!
Sandra Clubb is the wife of Gareth Clubb, Plaid Cymru’s CEO.
Consider this: Plaid Cymru was never able to shake off the perception that it’s a party for Welsh speakers. This belief limited the party’s appeal and cost it the votes of otherwise well-disposed, Welsh-identifying anglophones.
Rather than learning from this difficulty Plaid Cymru is now further limiting its appeal by saying, ‘We are the party of independence – but also a socialist party wanting EU membership’. Thereby alienating non-socialists and those none too keen on the EU . . . in a country where the majority voted for Brexit!
This self-destructive positioning can only happen when there is a monumental misjudgement of the public mood brought about by echo-chamber ‘debates’. Social media does indeed have a lot to answer for.
As for the undoubted increase in support for independence, this is due to the same anger as influenced the Brexit vote – but with three more years of it! And there are more who feel this way.
With growing numbers of people increasingly pissed off it’s inevitable that some will look with fresh eyes at Welsh independence. But this has little or nothing to do with anything Plaid Cymru has done.
Yet we see Plaid Cymru trying to ride this wave, and even control it, by presenting itself as the only party offering independence. Which explains why Ein Gwlad was not even informed of the Cardiff march, let alone invited to participate.
One obvious manifestation of this mood has been YesCymru.
A GOOD IDEA BEING SUBVERTED?
I was so glad to see the emergence and growth of this new movement, bringing many new faces into the independence tent by avoiding ideologies and having no links with any political party – as is the case with All Under One Banner in Scotland. But it couldn’t last.
That’s because despite having made little or no contribution Plaid Cymru still wants to both capitalise on and control the growing mood for radical political change within Wales. While also being the local franchise for a UK-wide anti-Brexit movement of the woke and the ‘progressive’.
My understanding of YesCymru is that it’s a loose collective of independent local groups. But to counter centrifugal tendencies it has a Central Committee, and a Constitution. Towards the end of last year, first at an Annual General Meeting, and then at an Emergency General Meeting, both were changed to personnel and rules more attuned to the thinking of Plaid Cymru’s leadership.
To cover all the bases, in January, Plaid Cymru launched Undod, an outright socialist group, which as we’ve seen, is calling for a socialist feminist republic. Now some tell me I’m out of touch, so maybe there are tens of thousands marching for this feminist republic. If so, they have not marched past Château Jacques.
And although YesCymru maintains the pretence of being ‘a non-party political grassroots organisation’, this pretence is wearing a little thin. A couple of recent incidents will explain what I mean, in relation to both the EU and Plaid Cymru.
Last Wednesday, Nigel Farage visited Merthyr, and the local branch of YesCymru was out protesting. More than that, they blocked a road to stop people from attending the Brexit Party rally.
Then on Saturday, when Plaid Cymru was out leafleting in Chepstow, the local YesCymru crew turned up in support.
We’ve seen (in the passage of the Constitution I linked to above) that YesCymru claims to be ‘non-party political’, but what does the Constitution say about the EU?
What it says is (my highlighting):
That reference to ‘the wider European family’ could mean cousin Helmut in Düsseldorf, but I suspect it hints at something else.
If you’re going to write something as soppy and vacuous as what we see in the panel above then why not start with something along the lines of, ‘A new relationship based on mutual respect between the nations of these islands’ before moving on to Europe and the wider world?
Though in fairness, I must say that many YesCymru branches do remain ‘non-party political’, and also avoid the Brexit debate. Using a rule of thumb, the further a YesCymru branch is from the poisonous influences of Cardiff Bay the more likely it is to be true to YesCymru’s espoused principles of neutrality and focus on independence.
WAITING IN THE WINGS
As a student of history, I know that Welsh independence is more likely to emerge from political chaos and economic disaster than from the Tory party anchoring itself on the centre right, Farage’s new party imploding, ‘Welsh’ Labour and its third sector continuing to run Wales (down), the UK remaining in the EU, and Plaid Cymru . . . well, just being Plaid Cymru.
For these, or any combination of them, will keep Wales in the UK.
Which is why I have always believed that leaving the EU acrimoniously and using the resultant shitstorm to our advantage will be the best outcome for Wales in the long run. I say that because this election on Thursday isn’t really about the EU, or Brexit; it’s a preliminary skirmish for an impending conflict to determine who controls the UK.
In Scotland, the SNP is using the 2016 Remain vote to push for a second independence referendum that it might well win. Across the water, la revanche du berceau continues to undermine Unionist supremacy, with the possibility of more moderate non-Catholics preferring unification with a now secular and prosperous South to remaining in a poor, bigot-heavy statelet.
Quite possibly the Brexit Party will cobble together a manifesto and stand in the next general election – which might be called before the year is out – which means we might end up with a coalition of Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Nigel Farage.
Of course, such a troika will need to reach out beyond England, but it already has allies north of the border and in the Six Counties in the form of the Conservative and Unionist Party, the DUP, Orange Lodges, Glasgow Rangers fans and assorted Loyalist gangs.
And they’re already on the streets. Saturday saw a little sabre-rattling in Glasgow.
There are dark forces waiting in the wings, using organisations and groups like those in the panel above. These shadowy elements are determined to gain power by one route or another. (And I’m not the only one who sees this.) Which is why nothing must distract us from the bigger picture and the best interests of our people.
Voting for the Brexit Party and encouraging their shadowy friends to show their hand is more likely to draw a response that results in Welsh independence than voting for Plaid Cymru in a meaningless election when the party’s long-term objective seems to be – wait for it! – a return to the status quo ante referendum!
Do you recall those halcyon days, boys and girls? When Wales was a land of milk and honey (or beer if you preferred); those talented and imaginative politicians in Cardiff Bay ruled wisely, making all corners of our land prosperous, and we all danced in the streets shouting, ‘Good old Carwyn, may he reign forever!’
Cos I must have missed it.
♦ end ♦
CLARIFICATION: From the many comments received to my Facebook page it seems that some people think I actually support the Brexit Party. Let me explain . . .
The Brexit Party and their shadowy friends are the means to an end. Socialists will understand this as ‘raising the revolutionary consciousness’ of the masses. Putting it bluntly, Dai Public is more likely to want independence after a kick in the nuts than yet another patronising pat on the head.
Call me cynical, call me an absolute bastard, but I’m a realist, and I know that just drifting along as we have done for 20 years – which is what Plaid Cymru wants – will get us nowhere.
It was neatly summed up in a letter in today’s Western Mail where someone concluded by saying that Brexit would result in “economic collapse and the breakup of the UK”.
Which is exactly what I’m saying. Short-term pain for long-term gain.