Oct 312014
 

‘Surely you’re not going to write favourably about Ukip, Jac?’ I hear you plaintively inquire. Well, yes and no. What I’m going to try to say is that if we learn the right lesson from Ukip’s recent success then that lesson can be used for the benefit of Wales. So let’s first remind ourselves of what the party achieved in the May European elections. (Click on table to enlarge.)

The party won 27.6% of the vote, against just 15.3% for Plaid Cymru and only 28.1% for Labour. And for those who used to argue that the Ukip vote came almost entirely from disaffected Tories, the Conservative vote held fairly steady at 17.4%. If you wanted to be even more dismissive, and self-deluding, then you would have written off this success as the kind of protest vote in which people indulge at Euro elections. It was not. It was much, much more. ‘Something’ was happening. It was observable then and it has become unmistakable since May.

Euro votes 2014

So what was the response from the other political parties to the Euro results? Initially, there was a stubborn refusal to accept the changed landscape of Englandandwales politics. (Ukip is irrelevant in Scotland.) Precious, simpering Leftists and liberals held their noses at the very mention of Ukip, as if it were unwholesome and repugnant, while many leading Tories tended to see Ukip members as oiks, the products of minor public schools. But that soon changed.

Because more recently we have seen  the defections of a couple of Conservative MPs (with more expected to follow). One of those MPs, Douglas Carswell, has already won for Ukip the Clacton seat he vacated when he resigned from the Tories. While on the same night, at the Heywood & Middleton by-election in Greater Manchester, Labour held on to one of its ‘safe’ seats by getting just 617 votes more than Ukip. Ukip is odds-on favourite to win the Rochester and Strood by-election next month when another Tory defector, Mark Reckless, stands for his former constituency.

Finally, and very reluctantly, the other political parties have been forced to accept that something very worrying is happening, and it’s no flash in the pan. The growing contempt for Westminster and the ‘established’ parties is manifesting itself in increased support for what voters see, and welcome, as an ‘outsider’ party, an untainted, maverick presence that can shake everything up – and articulate their concerns. And there is one issue more than any other on which Ukip has captured the public imagination – immigration.

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As I have made clear more than once on this blog, the biggest threat facing Wales is not fracking, or the lack or primary legislative powers, but the steady and engineered colonisation witnessed by every one of us every single day. It is taboo to raise the subject of English colonisation, and it results in being shouted down as a ‘racist’, or else have it pointed out that there is nothing that can be done about immigration due to EU laws on free movement of labour. Another argument employed is that as citizens of the UK English people are perfectly free to move to Wales.

Ukip’s success, and it’s focus on immigration, has not only legitimised immigration as a subject for debate, but it has even changed the terms of reference. To the extent that even Ed Miliband, the nerdy and disconnected leader of the Labour Party, now agrees that something needs to be done about immigration. This, remember, is the same Labour Party that not so long ago was in favour of unrestricted immigration in order to create a multiracial society. A policy that they believed would lead to better race relations(!) and of course, more votes for Labour.

The Conservative Party has always talked tough on immigration, accused Labour of being ‘soft’, but since regaining power in 2010 has done nothing itself to curb the flow. That’s because today’s Tories are not the patriots one would have found in the Conservative Party in earlier generations; the current crop contains too many of the selfish and short-sighted who know the price of everything and the value of nothing. In the view of such people immigration equals cheap labour, which in turn helps to depress wages more generally. Therefore, no matter what they might say for public consumption, and to hang onto their seats, if immigration is good for them and their friends then they aren’t going to knock themselves out doing anything about it.

This is the split one finds on the Right across the Western world. On the one hand, there are those that oppose unskilled or non-professional immigration. Then there are those that appreciate the economic benefits unskilled migrants can bring to farmers and others, using well-rehearsed arguments such as ‘locals don’t want these jobs’. Finally, there is the extreme Right that opposes virtually all immigration. Most Conservative MPs today belong to the second category but, under the increasing threat from UPlaid logokip, are being forced to adopt the rhetoric of the third. To the extent that a government minister this week talked of English communities being “swamped” by immigrants.

So Welsh nationalists should thank Ukip for bringing immigration to the forefront of political debate. What’s more, the debate now is not about legal rights – for ‘Europeans’ have legal rights to be in the UK – but effects on the host community. If ten per cent of the population of Peterborough being immigrants is legitimate cause for concern, then fifty per cent of the population of Powys being English should be cause for immediate action.

The other reason true Welsh nationalists should thank Ukip is for exposing the sheer bloody uselessness of Plaid Cymru. Last May, in the kind of election in which people say, ‘What the hell!’, Ukip was able to get more votes than Plaid Cymru; worse than that, Ukip gained the ‘soft’ Labour, or non-voter, vote in the south that Plaid Clymru claims to have been chasing for half a century. Plaid Cymru can now look forward to coming fourth at the 2016 Assembly elections.

Ukip has opened a door, but Plaid Cymru won’t go through because it’s afraid to point up the hypocrisy in the position of English politicians and media being outraged when a few thousand poor people turn up in a prosperous English town to take the low-paid jobs, yet condemn us as ‘racist’ for drawing attention to wealthy English people buying up our homeland and, in the process, destroying our very identity! No, instead, Plaid Cymru snuggles up to a party the SNP has all but destroyed in Scotland and cobbles together election pacts with the Green Party of Englandandwales and it’s colon representatives here.

With events in Scotland threatening the Westminster consensus on another front there has never been a better time for a radical Welsh party to make a breakthrough. Plaid Cymru is not that party. It never was. It looks jaded, even part of that now-detested Westminster consensus. Maybe that’s the price you pay for being ‘respectable’ and ‘responsible’, being written about favourably in the Guardian and the New Statesman. And Wales pays the price.

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Having got that off my chest, let me end on a lighter note, with something I’ve wanted to say about Ukip for a long time – I find Nigel Farage and his gang incredibly funny. Let me explain.

As a child growing up in the 1950s one sub-species of humanity then to be observed was the somewhat louche individual who favoured cavalry twill trousers and a badge-embazoned blazer, or a sports coat. For neckware there was the choice of regimental / old school tie, cravat or bow tie, and above that a moustache he hoped would help him further promote the image of a man who’d done his bit of derrFarage T-Ting-do, don’t y’know. The favoured mode of transport was a sports car, in which our specimen would cruise around hoping to pick up ‘crumpet’. Despite his natural habitat being the Home Counties and certain areas of west London, this fascinating creature could even be found in Swansea, often at the more acceptable ‘watering holes’ on Gower or in Mumbles drinking half pints in glasses with dimples and handles. (Never a straight glass!) These they would obtain by marching into a pub demanding to be served with ‘A half of your very best bitter, squire’. (It should be noted that during this period many innocents were elevated to the ranks of the squirarchy without ever understanding how or why.) They seemed a hearty crew exhuding bonhomie and guffawing at lame jokes about ‘shirt-lifters’ and ‘darkies’ while slapping each other vigorously on the back. They were almost a stock character in English films of the period, played by none better than Terry-Thomas. In a yet earlier age many of them might have been remittance men.

Remittance men

Anyway, the point I’m making is that I had assumed this sub-species of homo britannicus (‘Homo’, geddit? nudge, nudge) had been rendered extinct by the decline of the English sports car industry, or Rock ‘n’ Roll, or loss of habitat, but I was wrong – they were just hiding, biding their time, and now they’ve re-emeged from the collective apoplexy of the golf club and the piss-take pageantry of the masonic lodge – as Ukip! This realisation has been quite disconcerting for me, even disorientating, though it brought memories flooding back. I suppose younger readers will suspect that the creatures I’ve described never existed. Believe me, boys and girls, they did – just look at Farage and his chums and you’ll get some idea of what they were like!

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Of course, nothing I’ve written here changes my opinion of Nathan Gill, the Ukip MEP for Wales. (Pick up the story from here.) He is still a lying shite. He and his brothers-in-law – possibly others – are unscrupulous, hypocritical, exploitive bastards prepared to make money out of desperate immigrants from the ‘Europe’ they claim to hate, and then hide away the cash-in-hand income from the tax authorities. When they aren’t exporting dangerous used tyres to West Africa, that is. Don’t y’know.

  75 Responses to “Why Welsh Nationalists Should Applaud Ukip”

  1.  

    What an entertaining piece! You write well. Months ago I noticed the similarity between the SNP and UKIP. Both were crying “We want to take our country back!”

    Your throw-away comment that “Ukip is irrelevant in Scotland” is wrong, I feel. Both Scotland and Wales have a UKIP MEP. Indeed, I don’t think their MEP is as subtle, straightforward and honest as Nathan Gill.

    You referred to the “growing contempt for Westminster and the ‘established’ parties”. The same contempt exists in relation to the Welsh Assembly and our county councils, in my experience. There is throughout the U.K. contempt for politics in general. There is a hint that the situation might be changing in Scotland, but I would not bet on it.

    What you refer to as the “piss-take pageantry of the masonic lodge” plays its part in Welsh public life, by the way. I have the honour to have turned down three invitations to become a freemason. I don’t quite know what that says about me!

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      In the May Euro elections Ukip got 10.5% of the vote and the SNP 29%. The most recent opinion poll – Ipsos-Mori for STV published yesterday – put Ukip support on 2% and SNP support at 52%. If that’s not irrelevance then I don’t know what is.

      There may be a weariness of all politics, but the Welsh Assembly and Welsh local government, however much you would like to believe it, is not tainted to anything like the same extent. Partly because there have been no expenses scandals, no ‘cash for questions’, etc. In terms of behaviour the worst one can say of our AMs is that a few of them enjoy a drink, which people can live with.

      I agree that freemasonry plays its part in Welsh public life, to the detriment of the Welsh public. Why do we need a secret society involved in a field in which people we elect, and others we employ to serve the common weal, are secretly beholden to serve the interests of others at the expense of the common weal?

      I have never been invited to join the freemasons. People who know me know me better than to insult me in that manner.

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      If Scotland’s UKIP MEP is not as “honest as Nathan Gill” then that is a damning verdict on the far-right extremists, considering that at the time of the May elections Nathan Gill hid his religion, failed to mention that he was a career politician (working in Brussels for the previous UKIP MEP for Wales) and running a campaign focussing on anti-immigration, while all along himself having employed scores of immigrants from countries and with skills that UKIP have never thought should be allowed to enter the UK under any of their manifestos.

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      Gill didn’t just fail to mention that he was a career politician, he categorically denied it. What he said was: “I am not a career politician. I have worked in the real world, employed many people and created real wealth for the country.”

      Here’s a link to his manifesto that was available on the internet until I started exposing the bastard, then it disappeared! Fortunately, I saved it! Click on link to view. https://jacothenorth.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/Nathan-Gill.png

  2.  

    Nigel Farage has the advantage of having a seemingly sympathetic press. The BBC is keen to give him maximum exposure at all times. Now, imagine the furore from the above media (and Welsh politicians) if a Welsh politician dared echo the same sentiments as the government minister did last week about immigrants moving to England that Welsh communities were also being swamped by English settlers. He or she would be crucified.

  3.  

    We need some serious analysis of who exactly these migrants are, how many are economically active, retirees, in the public service, where they live, are their children integrating or maintaining an English identity.

    Is the problem really the Welsh. Plaid Cymru seem to be very anxious to be seen as a nice party by the metropolitan types who despise UKIP and the working class people who are increasingly voting for this populist party.

    That London elite who Welsh intellectual types seem to worship are a decadent irrelevance as far as the 21st century is concerned. Their papers are dismal, their television is abysmal, there’s a whole world of information and contacts at our fingertips yet we continue to look up to these entities. The Australians call it the cultural cringe and in Wales it seems to be on the increase. No wonder we’re so often the butt of English contempt.

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      This metropolitan elite that Plaid Cymru is so keen to suck up to is beginning to despise the working class even more since they’ve started voting Ukip.

  4.  

    I should have said nonentities. BTW the BBC have given UKIP so much coverage because they think it hurts the Tories. They don’t give coverage to the greens because they think it will hurt Labour – simple really, they know Labour will protect the licence fee.

  5.  

    Utter cads, Sir! You know some of them wear the ties of schools to which they did not go! You may know the verse that ends, “… go out and govern New South Wales!” Seems like they’ve simply dropped the ‘New’ then?

  6.  

    If Plaid Cymru cannot be depended on to lead Wales forward in to a fairer future on an equal footing with Scotland, who can? A new alternative pro independance party for Wales? If so who and when?

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      I honestly don’t know. We have a ‘national’ party going nowhere and no alternative. The situation is really bleak.

  7.  

    If Plaid cannot be depended on to take Wales forward in to a fairer, more prosperous future on the same footing as Scotland who else can we depend on? Is there an alternative to Plaid for nationalists? If not why ,given the desperate situation we in the fro Gymraeg find ourselves, clinging hopelessly to the vestiges of our language and culture, being denied daily of our right to live through the medium of our language in the only few square miles of weather beaten land on the planet left to us whilst the monoglot English colonists pour in unchallenged for fear of us being branded as racists and radicalists! Too long have the people of Wales stood by and permitted the systematic dismantling of their country at the hands of the English colonial machine.

  8.  

    I tend to agree with your conclusions regarding Plaid and the fundemental weakness highlighted by the recent UKIP experiences. However the solution has to lie with changing Plaid from within rather than forming yet another (confusing ) identity.
    Cymru is small yet we have an ample supply of party, pressure groups, movements etc, each at pains to differentiate themselves while not moving the identity/ independence agenda forward much. To secure modest success there needs to be a change from within. The leadership has to adopt, indeed embrace, realistic aims at ground level, such as driving the movement for affordable housing for local people rather than feeding the needs of migrants. Similarly, with economic/industrial policy – it should support ventures that have a genuinely positive local impact enabling people to stay in their root communities, or move within those, eventually meeting some individual aspirations like job progression and lifestyle. In Scotland we saw a real support for Yes from the business community. Here in Wales the business community is mostly totally indifferent or scared stiff of anything remotely “Welsh”. That has to be tackled through “contact” with real people not the bureaucratic “threat” of a language commissar !
    I have just completed 40 years working life and probably did business in Welsh with only handful of contacts in Welsh. In some companies there were Welsh speakers who quite cheerfully told me that they were sourcing services from “someone big in London/elsewhere in England” yet gleefully jumping on every grant/aid bandwagon rolled out by the Welsh Office/Assembly.
    Which just brings me back to one of my old hobby horses – the good old “dependency culture” so prevalent amongst us. This is often portrayed as an issue relating to “benefit scroungers”, “cliamants” and all the other suspects, but the grim reality is that large slices of the business community is also geared to feeding off the public purse, indeed prefers to seek “initiative” -led activity rather than get off its arse and compete properly in UK and international markets. The EU is seen not as a market but as a major source of aid/initiative money in Wales, and that is more likely to bring out the pro-EU vote in that particular segment of the community.

    So Plaid has a big mess to tackle, and it can be addressed better if some of the fringe “metropolitan pink” stuff gets junked. A more balanced concern about how we create resouces, then we can start arguing again about cutting the cake, cos the way we are at present there will be no cake, only crumbs off assorted tables in London, Brussels etc

    Rant over !

    •  

      Do you really believe that Plaid Cymru is going to change from within? And as for EU funding, Plaid welcomes it because Plaid isn’t so much anti-business as completely un-business, it doesn’t have a clue!

    •  

      I agree with your view of Plaid in its present condition especially the stuff regarding EU funding which it shares with most other politicians of all parties. The merry go round of gathering ever increasing tax revenues and recycling them through a variety of government initiatives has fostered a sense of “doing something” although most of the money coming back into Wales funds new government staff ( budget holders and score keepers at national and county level ) and new 3rd sector ( henceforth known as turd sector ) entities which as you’ve explained before are densely populated by Anglos on the make/take.

      To reshape Plaid would mean the wholesale displacement of a group of “dependency culture” adherents and their fellow travellers from the metropolitan pink sects that are now so pervasive among the professional community. These people have developed a dialect of their own full of a distinct type of techno babble which describes the horrors of ordinary people’s lives in a sanitised abstract way. When ever I hear 1 or more of these tossers suggest that there is a “conversation” to be had about yet another “difficult choice” I feel like reaching for my *** ( rhymes with “bun” not “lick” ) and red card myself from the whole game. Nevertheless while there are good decent folk among the rank & file it is worth seeking out and promoting those with greater backbone, resilience, and understanding of grim realities to assume leadership. 1 or 2 can’t do it, but a leadership squad of say 6 10 with a cluster of about 20 -30 backing them up out in the country could stand a chance of undoing the damage caused by the present incumbents and immediate predecessors.

      Is there any mileage in serving notice on the present leadership that they should shape up or ship out… that they will be measured by impact on 2015 W’minster elections in Wales and the 2016 Assembly contest. In the event of failure in either it will not be a case of 1 soft pinky replacing another but the wholesale removal of the entire sect and a whole new squad drafted in its place.

    •  

      What you’re describing is in many ways a fundamental failing of a certain kind of socialism, one that can think no further than how to share out funding given by someone else. This is bad enough in any context, but disastrous in a colonial situation like Wales.

      Plaid Cymru should have an economic programme that, for example, seeks to build up indigenous SMEs; insists on us profitting from our natural resources; demands local sourcing and contracts. All this could be done within the current constitutional framework. One major reason that Scotland is on the verge of independence is that Scots believe the country could be wealthier if independepent, with that wealth used better for the whole population. Plaid Cymru has never convinced Welsh people of that because, as you argue, it promotes the dependency culture, and it does that becsause it’s a socialist party. Even when protests over Tryweryn were raging, the main grievance was about the destruction of a small Welsh-speaking community, not the exploitatation of Welsh natural resources.

      Plaid Cymru is so useless, so unimaginative, so bloody incompetent, it’s almost as if the party is programmed to fail. Which I believe it is. I have argued before that PLaid Cymru was ‘compromised’ a few decades ago. And the individuals compromised are still influential within the party. There is no other way to explain how a national party, in the most conducive circumstances presented to it since the 1960s – perhaps ever! – could fail to make any progress. Plaid Cymru is like a football team that keeps missing open goals. When that happens, suspicions grow.

  9.  

    on a totally different matter, but relevant in that again it shows how the conspiratorial nature of UK government works. Saw this earlier

    BBC News – Abuse inquiry: Fiona Woolf steps down as chairwoman

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-29855265

    It strikes me that the “establishment” will keep putting up nominations for this Chair job, knowing that the do-gooders purporting to represent the abused will reject each nomination. This serves to delay the process, which is going to be long winded affair anyway. In the meantime the assorted well connected shirtlifters, kiddy fiddlers, and fellow travellers will have more time to cover tracks, bribe victims, and engage in all sorts of evasive action.

    We’ll end up with a billion pound bill for no outcome at all, but the do gooders will have had their way. I have no affection for Fiona Woolf but she strikes me as the sort of old witch who could have done a half tidy job on digging out some of the dirt ( you’ll never get all of it anyway ) and could have been some way into the process by the time the show eventually gets started, if it ever gets on the road

    Any nominations ?

    •  

      I’m not sure that I agree with you about the motives behind the appointments to this inquiry but the secret state has become more visible in recent years than at any time I can recall. The reason for that is that the traditional consensus underpinning the British State is being threatened as never before. And it’s not just Scotland and Ukip, the whole system is being threatened because many ordinary English people no longer trust those in charge. They no no longer trust their competence or their probity. This political and economic system that subordinates the well-being of 60-odd million people to the selfish interests of the City of London is in deep trouble now that it’s true nature is being exposed. We live in interesting

  10.  

    Homo britannicus (or perhaps non-homo britannicus) lives on in UKIP MEP Roger (‘Geddit?) Helmer

    http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2014/11/01/massage-parlour-visiting-mep-who-claimed-gays-undermine-marriage-to-divorce/

    I only found that site by looking for UKIP – honest.

    •  

      He is definitely homo britannicus ukipia. Though the ‘tache is dodgy and I’m not sure about the tie. I’ll take your word for how you came by it.

  11.  

    UKIP are chancers and opportunists whose lies and half truths have become ‘cast iron facts’ because mainstream politicians see no downside to mass immigration, before beatifying them I’ll wait to see if they perform as well or better across Wales in next May’s election, but they’ve cleverly positioned themselves as outsiders and an alternative voice to the Labour/Tory/Lib Dem consensus and that Plaid Cymru is seen as part of the establishment or worse irrelevant.

    But back to the problem at hand, if the Scottish referendum taught us anything it’s that if we want things to change we need to start doing it ourselves, it’s daunting but if we don’t start somewhere we never get anywhere

    Here’s some ideas of the top of my head from the Scottish referendum that could help change the dynamics here

    Start embracing Crowdfunding, that’s asking ordinary people to contribute a few quid each to help fund any ideas we have to change Wales, the influential WingsOverScotland’s website and Wee Blue book were crowd funded, as is Bella Caledonia, the Common Weal Think Tank, the Radical Independence Collective and more

    Link is here with all the details https://www.indiegogo.com/

    If we want to grow and promote welsh business of all sizes to create jobs and wealth and start tackling the dependency culture, we need any organisation like Business for Scotland that was set up to promote the business case for independence during the referendum and is a network of pro independence supporters who meet to discuss ideas and policies, there are entrepreneurial welsh business who would prefer to be a part of a Business for Wales than UK bodies with UK interest like the Federation of Small Business Wales, CBI Wales and Institute of Directors

    Their website is here http://www.businessforscotland.co.uk/

    One or more Pro Wales Think Tanks preferably with a business or economic remit, lobbying for Welsh policy solution, as I’ve mentioned Scotland’s Common Weal Think Tank is crowd funded monthly and they have just submitted a submission to the Devolution Commission following the referendum that is as radical in terms of devolved powers as it can be without full independence http://allofusfirst.org/tasks/render/file/?fileID=70E842BC-E45E-4455-2F8D81315929E91D

    We also need to start challenging the Oxford Economics think tank figures from report from 2008 that showed that Wales needs £9 billion from the rest of the UK to survive and therefore could not be independent and begin stating how Wales could narrow or close that gap.

    We also need a mass non payment of TV licences campaign to give the BBC a fright and let them know were on to them, I could go keep going but that’s enough to for a rainy Saturday night.

    All this can be done without Plaid Cymru and when each project is successful and well supported, the politicians will follow, that’s the key thing to remember and by doing something we take our minds off the depressing situation we find ourselves in.

    •  

      You’re absolutely right about doing more for ourselves. It’s fundament and self-evident that if you want to convince Dai Voter that Wales should be doing more for itself then you have to provide some evidence that we can.

      As for crowdfunding, I’ll readily admit that this is a closed book for me, but from initial enquiries it seems to be worth exploring.

    •  

      I only found out about Crowdfunding during the Scottish referendum and whilst it’s not a magic bullet, it’s worth spreading the word because so many good projects that could make a positive difference never get off the ground in Wales because of a lack of cash.

    •  

      I fully support Earthshakers’ views. Good luck! Pob hwyl!

  12.  

    Thirty plus years ago i asked somebody about politics in Wales.
    “It’s full of English people” was the answer.
    In 2014 i feel your pain.
    Btw, Ukip in Scotland managed to find 140,000 votes and got a Euro MEP elected with about 5 paid up members.
    Scary stuff.
    Who says nobody watches the BBC political programmes?

  13.  

    “Plaid isn’t so much anti-business as completely un-business, it doesn’t have a clue!”
    You’re not keeping up Jac. Check out the young Turks.

  14.  

    Jac asks why should an English nationalist party do so well in the valleys. My answer because they are outsiders. By this I mean they are not part of the respectable centre. Their views cause tut tuts from the great and the good.

    The truth is the great and the good and the four respectable centre parties haven’t made much of a fist of running the country and show precious little respect for the majority. They mock their lifestyles, the food they eat, the holidays they take, their intellectual capabilities. So the majority feel like outsiders themselves and every snide attack on UKIP just increases their popularity amongst those outside the magic circle of graduates and the superannuated talkers.

    Look back to when Plaid did well in the valleys. It was a time when the occasional bomb rocked the scene, JCE and his boys had a high profile in the media. Nationalists were outsiders too and the voters responded positively.

    Nowadays the Guardianistas pat Leanne on the head like a good little girl. For all her talk of socialism she threatens no-one, certainly not the powerful elites. The day Plaid is as disliked by the respectable papers as much as it is by the Mail is the day it might really appeal to the abandoned voters of the valleys.

    •  

      Spot on. Though obviously you’re being sarcastic in referring to “the respectable centre”, for the point of your comment is that these parties are no longer respected. Not only have they lost the respect of their ‘inferiors’ but even those who still vote for them do so out of fear of the ‘barbarians’ at the gates – be that Ukip or SNP.

      Which leaves us with the real mystery: why is Plaid Cymru suffering along with – perhaps worse than – the discredited mainstream UK parties? Plaid has never been in power, except for a one-term coalition as junior to Labour down Cardiff docks. There has to be another factor at work.

      What I have argued consistently is that Plaid Cymru’s only real selling point is its Welshness. But in recent decades Plaid has downplayed its Welshness in order to appeal to the English who are taking over its heartlands and destroying Welsh as a community language, and also in order to be regarded as ‘progressive’ by social workers in Hackney and columnists on the Grauniad. It has had nothing to say to or for the Welsh people for decades.

      Yet it is clear that a sizeable electorate in the south is receptive to something new; that so many of them voted in May for a party they know very little about says it all. Unless Plaid Cymru can re-invent itself as a radical party addressing Welsh people and their concerns, and ignore the condennation that will come from over the border – as Salmond and the SNP so successfully did – then there’s really no point in the party carrying on.

      In fact, the only purpose Plaid Cymru now serves is to take up the space that should be filled by a Welsh national party, it serves as a ‘blocker’. In so doing Plaid makes it very difficult for a true nationalist party to emerge. Thereby serving only the Unionist agenda. But this is no more than I would expect from a party I believe was ‘compromised’ decades ago and shunted into the buffers by those who really control it. There is no other explanation for such utter ineptitude, so many refusals to grasp opportunities; resulting in the May Euro elections and thousands of people in the south – Welsh people! – finding an English nationalist party more attractive than the Party of Wales (sic). In Blaenau Gwent Plaid gained 8.2% of the vote, Ukip got 30.2%.

      And of course you’re absolutely right about the 1960s, I know, I was there. But Plaid seemed not to learn the lesson, or if it did, it didn’t like the truth, and ran away from it. Gwynfor Evans always blamed MI5 for the bombs, he couldn’t believe that Welsh people, Welsh nationalists, would do such things. A nice bloke in many ways, but I often thought there was something unworldly or otherwordly about him.

      The secret of Plaid’s success in the second half of the 1960s is quite simple to explain. Others had stirred the passions, got our people thinking about Welsh issues, how we were treated by England, and Plaid Cymru reaped the electoral reward. That is the only way Plaid can succeed as a political party – by being WELSH. As I said in a recet blog, “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 passions! – reap the rewards!”

      We can’t afford to let Plaid Cymru waste any more time, or act as a blocking mechanism. Our homeland is slipping away from us. A new party will have to be formed.

    •  

      The way the polls are looking there could be a very large contingent of Scots Nats returned to Westminster in May. Anything from a bare majority of Scots seats to a near wipe-out of all opposition. They could have have a lot of leverage in a hung parliament, which looks probably given the collapse of Labour north of the Border. So it would be nice to have a few Welsh Nats to help drive in the wedge, and I’m sure their support would be reciprocated to the benefit of Wales. But take note, this could be your last chance. Once the Scots have independence, or something very close to it, they will no longer be able to support you (or only to a small extent) at Westminster.

    •  

      “The day Plaid is as disliked by the respectable papers as much as it is by the Mail is the day it might really appeal to the abandoned voters of the valleys”

      Exactly. We’ll never win over the English vote, so it makes sense to point out that they’re a drain on our resources! People in the Valleys have seen too many feckless families from Bristol, Birmingham and London move into their communities. They take up hospital beds, put strain on our social services and are responsible for a substantial amount of crimes in Wales. We have no duty to look after them. They are crippling our economy and killing our shared sense of nationhood.

  15.  

    One factor not mentioned here is that Plaid Cymru has a relatively elderly membership. No doubt there is a handful of “Young Turks” but the PC of 2014 is elderly in comparison with the PC of the 1960s. A second factor concerns the lack of door-knocking by PC. No doubt some takes place, but very little, it seems to me. Mary Wimbury’s team of Welsh Labour volunteers is out in Aberconwy a couple of times a week, talking to people and listening to them. It’s true that UKIP does not have an army of foot-soldiers, but UKIP has novelty value.

  16.  

    ‘Welsh’ Labour? No such thing.

  17.  

    Oh, there is. It has its HQ in Cathedral Road, Cardiff. On Welsh Labour’s bilingual website, Carwyn Jones tells us,
    “At the heart of all we do will be our determination to fight for jobs and grow the Welsh economy. Ours is an ambitious, positive vision of the nation we can become. In everything we do we will stand up for Wales and lead our country forward with ambition.”

    Welsh Labour / Llafur Cymru won the Sandfields East by-election (NPT) held on 30 October. The UKIP candidate came a poor second. There was no Plaid candidate, by the way.

    You might not like it, but exists – and not as a branch office of anything else.

    •  

      There is no Welsh Labour Party, just the Labour Party in Wales. What you’ve quoted from their website is just bullshit. Their loyalty is to the Labour Party, not to Wales. Which explains why, after a century of Labour dominance, Wales is poorer than Slovakia.

  18.  

    I’m struggling to think of any positive solution to the points that you’ve raised. Since the end of heavy industry in the South we’ve simply acquired a culture of dependence and it’s poisoning us. We need new Welsh businesses to thrive to give us back self-confidence and a measure of self-sufficiency before there is any chance of political advancement. And I don’t see it happening anytime soon.

    •  

      Let’s be quite blunt about this, our masters up in London don’t mind subsidising this dependency culture because it engenders within the Welsh feelings of inadequacy and inferiority. Labour also plays on the dependency culture, by blaming them wicked Tories and hoovering up the votes. So there we have two vested interets in Wales being poor. But what explains Plaid Cymru’s acceptance of the dependency culture?

      Clearly, Wales needs a new party, or some extra-parliamentary organisation, to expose the dependency culture and its beneficiaries, then to instill in our people the belief that things could be a lot better if we stood on our two feet with our heads held high. A posture English imperialism has never welcomed among its subject peoples. Nor, for all its rhetoric, has the Labour Party.

  19.  

    One of the things that inspired me as a youngster growing up in the 60s were the painted Free Wales slogans that you’d see painted on walls in Wales.

    They were a reminder to locals and visitors that we lived in an occupied country and connected us to all the other peoples throughout the world who have struggled for liberty.

    Not Cofia Tryweryn or Deddf Faith or even Cymru Rydd just Free Wales, a demand for freedom for all of our people. Just a simple painted slogan but a reminder that not all our people were subservient to foreign rule.

  20.  

    What Plaid needs most is an inspirational, attention-grabbing leader not afraid to say things that might upset a few people.

    The media now dictates that party leaders have to be personable, larger than life, orators who can always be relied upon for a newsworthy soundbite if they want attention.
    Unfortunately Leanne comes over like it’s your big sister talking.

    Even the Welsh media seem largely to ignore her, you can go for weeks without even hearing her name mentioned. There must be many people in Wales who wouldn’t recognise her if she passed them in the street.

    How would the SNP and Ukip be doing at the polls if they had leaders as bland and lightweight as Leanne?

  21.  

    Leanne Woods was a pointless answer in the BBC tv program “Pointless” a while back.

  22.  

    Leanne Wood is a fine AM but not leadership material. The left leaning Guardianistas might not believe a leader is needed viewing any hierarchichal ‘sytem’ with suspicion. But unfortunately, the rest of humanity like to be led by somebody with charisma and a message that strikes a chord.

  23.  

    For all the talk about “Guardianistas” and so on it should be remembered, UKIP is actually categorically wrong on a whole range of issues. It’s not snide or sneering to point that out. Working class people are constantly duped by a right-wing media which doesn’t really give a damn about them, and which by the way is almost entirely English or Australian/non-UK owned.

    None of the Welsh party leaders are known to the public. Polls have been taken on this and Leanne Wood is more well known than Andrew Davies and Kirsty Williams but less than Carwyn Jones. That said, Carwyn Jones, as FM, is far less known than Farage or any UK leader. In popularity terms Leanne Wood is second to Carwyn Jones and ahead of Farage, Miliband, Cameron, Clegg and all others. I don’t claim this is very promising news as the big issue is not being known, and Carwyn Jones remaining popular. But it’s a Welsh problem, not a Leanne-specific problem. I can provide the link to this data if people are genuinely interested.

    •  

      Any English audience would recognise Alex Salmond because he has forced himself and the SNP into the English consciousness, he cannot be ignored. It wouldn’t really matter who was leading Plaid Cymru, if the party was causing waves, making the English media attack it, the leader would be known. However you cut it, or try to present it, the problem is the sheer bloody uselessness of Plaid Cymru. Because it poses no threat to the Union or the constitutional status quo it can be ignored, with the result that the party leader is unknown.

    •  

      You sound like you are ready to launch the alternative – keep me posted !

    •  

      No, Im not; but I am saying that a replecement or rival party is desperately needed.

  24.  

    just found this article online

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/european-immigrants-contribute-5bn-to-uk-economy-but-noneu-migrants-cost-118bn-9840170.html#

    “Proof” if needed that its all those “imports” from the far flung corners that are wrecking the UK. Stopping EU migrants won’t do a thing for us but stopping non EU would help a lot. Discriminate on grounds of fact – Or is that a touch racist ? Can UKIP answer this question ?

    Noted the comment that natives are a bit expensive to keep – But native Britons also received more than they contributed in the same 17-year period – amounting to a cost of £591 billion as the national deficit grew – and European arrivals gave a £4.4 billion boost……..

    Remember a lot of the “expensive” Brits are the ones being shipped into various parts of Wales tipping the local negative balance further into a high dependency condition. Mix of Old codgers, dysfunctional families, and 3rd sector carpetbaggers, among other undesirables – oh boy !

    •  

      Henceforth I intend referring to your “3rd sector carpetbaggers” as gimmegrants.

    •  

      Nice one ! You could have a big future as a script writer for a series of comedy/satirical shows focussing on all the deadlegs that occupy the moral low ground in Wales. The major obstacle,I suppose, is there aren’t enough actors around to play the multitude of roles available. To start with we need almost 60 to act the almost 60 numpties that occupy the Assembly, plus a supporting cast of civil servants, gimmegrants, party fellow travellers, BBC/ITV/S4C windbags & etc etc . I suppose it could be done by using a small group of actors who would concentrate on a single situation in each programme, bit like an extended Monty Python sketch or the other daft stuff that used to go down quite well decades ago. Is there an artistic soul out there who could offer guidance on this ?

  25.  

    Dafis, non-EU migrants are not wrecking the UK. As the research shows, the main reason non-EU migrants cost money is they have alot of kids (not racist to point that out). The future tax contribution of those kids isn’t measured.

    I’m wary that alot of critics of Plaid from Welsh nationalism get things wrong. I’m not sneering by pointing that out but sometimes in a desire to not be seen as “guardian” or “new statesman” they make errors by going to far in the other direction. This might be a reason why right-wing nationalism has never taken off in Wales, but i’m sure there are a couple of factors.

    •  

      Llew, I suspect you missed the tounge in cheek nature of 1st para my earlier comment. The main thrust of my note were paras 2 &3 where I try to reinforce the point about the costs of certain types of migrants into Wales. Migrants who come and make a real effort via doing a real job or providing a real service add to our nation’s quality of life, but unfortunately many from beyond Clawdd Offa are riding the 3rd sector wagon ( Jac’s gimmegrants ) or coming here post retirement, or worse still being relocated by a secretive agreement to shift a proportion of dysfunctional families from English cities to Wales authorities. All this serves to cause further imbalance in our impoverished social/community services, inject or increase assorted criminal tendencies, and mess up local property markets. Pretty negative sum of outcomes, I would argue. Even before you factor in the arrogant expectation that the native culture shall always be subordinated to the (good) tastes of our newer residents.

    •  

      I suppose immigration (into the UK) is a bit like global warming, in that people tend to divide on ideological grounds. That said, there is of late an argument from the Left being heard against immigration because it depresses wages. It’s simple economics really. We’ve all heard the big farmers of eastern England and others defend employing eastern Europeans by arguing that they can’t get locals to do the jobs. Of course, they might be able to find local workers if they paid a living wage. This situation is found throughout history, just look at the USA, or C19th Wales – immigrants from poorer countries will work for lower wages and will also be used by unscrupulous employers to depress wages and break strikes. And it’s still happening all over the world, just look at the building boom in the Gulf and the explotation of workers from the sub-continent and east Asia. The only major, advanced economy to have avoided this issue is Japan, and Japan has done it by exporting the jobs rather than by importing the workers. When transportation and other costs are taken into account it’s cheaper for Toyota and Honda to produce cars in Europe and the USA than in Japan.

      As for Wales, well of course we have no booming economy needing workers. Another factor is that Wales is a colony of England, which then results – as Dafis says – in people moving into Wales that would not be allowed into any country in control of its own borders: the elderly, the criminal, the indigent, and the gimmegrants of the Third Sector. In addition we have those buying up small businesses in the tourism industry, small businesses that tend to be family run and provide few jobs, none in the winter. So ‘immigration’ is a big topic and and utterly different in Wales to England. Even so, while the UK is a member of the EU nothing can be done – nor should it be done – to limit the influx of EU citizens. Those from outside the EU are a totally different matter.

      So let’s look at immigrants from outside the EU, such as those trying to reach Italy by boat. It’s a tragedy, we all agree. But the source of the tragedies are in the countries many of them have left, and that’s where the problems must be solved. But, that aside, what right do these people have to settle in Europe? What obligation do we as Europeans have to allow them in? And if Europe’s navies were patrolling the Mediterranean taking on board the people in these boats on a 24-hour basis and landing them for settlement in Europe, by what factor do you believe the number of boats would increase – would it be X10, X50, X100 . . . ?

  26.  

    well summed up. You see, the debate is entirely different when you strip it down to “causes” and “effects” whether intended or not. The Anglo aversion to immigrants rests on a mix of economic realities and deep seated prejudicies born out of their long held view that they have a right to rule the roost, set the pace, and woe betide anyone who gets in their way. Our aversion to immigrants here in Wales is another complex mix of factors. Taken at the individual level a lot of the newcomers are nice people, or at least fairly agreeable. However they generally share a view that there is no need/point/value in learning a passable level of Welsh, that the values they bring in with them are wholeheartedly shared by the natives anyway, and that really you can’t see the “join” between England and Wales. This all adds up to a number of reasons why they see the move as one that’s easy to make. The great sadness is that a lot of natives either subscribe to that stance, or are too lazy/timid to enlighten our newcomers.

    On a final “racist” note, I have tended to find that the ordinary joe/jane from any part of the old Empire/Commonwealth will respect Welshness even though he/she may have inhibitions about taking a few more steps towards consolidating the new identity. The new wave from “white” bits of the globe seem to aspire to Englishness and generally serve only to reinforce the colonial relationship. I once tried to explain to a Bosnian, who was very hung up about his ethnicity/ nationhood, that Wales also had issues with England. He couldn’t see it until I mentioned Serbia and Kosovo and then the penny dropped but I fancy that he was too hooked on becoming a jolly good Anglo to undergo any lasting change in attitude.

    •  

      There is a third category of locals – those doing very nicely out of the influx. Here I mean estate agents, landowners, architects, builders and others in what might loosely be termed the Rotary-lodge grouping. These tend to be opinion-formers in the wider community and so having them on-side is vital, for if this group was not benefitting then there would be much more opposition to the influx.

      Talking of which, let’s not forget White Flight. Many of those coming to rural Wales do so to escape England’s multi-racial cities. They may not be as open about their views as Nick Griffin, but it’s there, just beneath the surface. They resent Anglo-Saxon hegemony and domination being challenged by anything, be that immigrants from ‘Europe’ or the wider world, or an indigenous non-English identity. As you suggest, they can be very nice people . . . as long as they’re allowed to believe that Wales is part of, or no different to, England.

    •  

      “I have tended to find that the ordinary joe/jane from any part of the old Empire/Commonwealth will respect Welshness even though he/she may have inhibitions about taking a few more steps towards consolidating the new identity”

      I agree. They understand the colonial relationship between Wales and England. Mind you, it helps that Caribbean and Indian accents can morph into southern Welsh accents with relative ease! Continental Europeans, especially those that take up spaces at to our Universities tend to have a negative view of us. On my last trip to Cardiff I overheard a group of Eurotrash international students referring to locals as “Welsh peasants”. Bloody cheek.

  27.  

    Plaid need to appeal to the non Welsh speaking Welsh people across Wales if they are going to make any real headway.

    On a cultural level lots of non Welsh speakers are Welsh through and through with Welsh/Celtic surnames and who’s families have only ever lived in Wales as far back as they can go, the irony is there are some children of immigrants, English and others with non Welsh/Celtic surnames that can speak Welsh due to the area they might have assimilated into and their children being sent to Welsh language schools in Welsh speaking areas, you can be 100% Welsh and not speak the language.

    Plaid need to target a wider audience, should Plaid field candidates in the occupied territories of England and the Southern half of Scotland ?, what would Boudica and the girls and King Arthur and the boys think about giving up on Welsh/Celtic lands ?

    One issue Plaid need to push is the teaching of Welsh/Ancient Britons history, not just this 1066 malarkey, education and the teaching of history particularly is a form of state control.

    The language issue is holding Plaid back, its time for Plaid to be more inclusive just like the SNP and appeal to people outside the Welsh speaking heartlands, otherwise they and any other ‘Welsh’ parties will remain fringe parties only.

    As regards UKIP, if they take Tory votes in some areas and Labour votes in others and the Lib-Dem votes collapses, Plaid who currently have 3 Westminster seats and was looking at possibly dropping down to 1 seat a few years ago might now not only retain their seats but might even increase their representation, an eye watering 6 seats is possible, unlikely but possible if Plaid get their act together, UKIP likely increase in votes might help Plaid even without Plaid greatly increasing their vote share [although they probably will have to increase their vote share to win more seats they wont have to increase their vote share by as much to win extra seats now as UKIP might take votes off Plaids rivals, all to be seen I suppose].

    The next General Election might well be a pivotal election for Plaid and its future going forward.

    •  

      You highlight one of the major problems with Plaid Cymru, and one of the great incongruities. Too many Anglophone Welsh perceive Plaid Cymru to be a party for Welsh speakers only, and Plaid has done little to dispel this perception; yet the truth is that Plaid has abandoned the Welsh-speaking heartlands to colonisation and is watching them die. Plaid really doesn’t give a toss about the language. A party with so many contradictions, so much dishonesty, such little ambition, no leadership, can have no future.

  28.  

    UKIP are not perfect. But they just want like the rest of us to be in control of our country, unlike the other political parties who are ready to throw our sovereignty away!

    I’ll be voting UKIP at the next general election.

    •  

      I get the impression you’re taking about a different country to the one I blog about. Are you on the right site?

    •  

      Plaid may be ineffective, but UKIP is toxic. Give them power and us at the margins will be abandoned pretty sharpish especially if we happen to be on a patch of land that they fancy taking. Anglo centric, xenophobic they talk nice ( if at all ) about Wales now, but as they work down their tick list of dislikes – get out of EU, send blacks home, etc etc they will come to the other troublesome minorities who are not so distinctive ( language ? speak English man ! ) and smother or remove them.

  29.  

    Yes Jac I’m talking about pre Berlin wall East Germany, opps, sorry, Labour run Wales.

    dafis, do you live in a dream world, are you that wet ?

    •  

      on the contrary I see them ( UKIP) for what they are. No illusions about Anglos adopting hostile postures against all else. If you are one of them then, fair enough, you are what you are, but I will oppose you unreservedly. UKIP certainly will never do anything that fosters Welsh identity and independence – can you demonstrate anything to the contrary in their actions ? They hate the Welsh language & culture and wish to flood our land with more dross from the conurbations.

  30.  

    The devil is in the detail, Jac. There is no indication that Ukip is eating into the core Tory vote in the home counties of England, just the social dumping grounds on the coast like Clacton, Isle of Sheppey (Stood&Rochester) and Thanet (Farage-land). These are towns populated by a white under-class of spongers and unemployables who have been dumped into seaside ghettos resulting from housing policy in England. This is your typical Ukip voter. The same applies in Wales. The statistics you display in this blog (above) show that the Ukip vote is highest in places like Rhyl where there is a high proportion of spongers and unemployables dumped from England. On EU immigration, I have to question why English arseholes are not prepared to pick apples in Kent orchards or pluck cabbages in the fields of Suffolk. That job is done by hard working Eastern Europeans. What’s the alternative? Let cheap fruit and veg rot in the fields? Ukip policies are a no-brainer.

    •  

      what you describe is the classic neo fascist growth pattern. Always feed crap to the disaffected and get them “mobilised” against all sorts of bogeymen. No brown/blackshirts at present, but sports coat and check shirt is everywhere. Once some BNP types drift across, you’ll see the true nature of UKIP come to the surface & all hell will break loose.

    •  

      Britain First is a BNP breakaway group attracting a lot of support – and telling its supporters to vote Ukip! As a “street defence organisation” it could provide the Brownshirts. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/ampp3d/surprise-you-how-similar-britain-4530710

    •  

      well that is proof of at least the beginnings of a “mutual” relationship between closet nasties and openly nasty bastards. No doubt some of the BF relatives have already migrated to Wales as part of the Anglo “redistribution of scum” policy. It occurs to me that the growth of UKIP in South Wales may be partly due to the transfer of beliefs/behaviour that goes on among football fans and we have 2 clubs that are now mixing it with Prem and Championship clubs many of whom have supporter groups who are long term allies of ( or share common membership with ) extremist organisations. Now Swans and City can muster c.15,000 fans and if only a small %age of those absorb these ideas then in no time at all you have a substantial presence. Plus of course the lads who will join anything for a bit of aggro !!!

    •  

      Can’t accept the football interpretation. Ukip got over 30% of the vote in some Valleys seats, that can’t be attributed to the influence of a few football hooligans. Something else is going on.

    •  

      I agree that Ukip is getting a lot of votes from those who do not normally vote, and much of this is in declining coastal resorts where London dumps its surplus. Further, many of those voting Ukip in these places will have first-hand knowledge of immigration. But how does this explain Ukip’s showing in south Wales in May?

  31.  

    “But how does this explain Ukip’s showing in south Wales in May?”

    Simple Jac, they hate the political elite, bubble, and liars. We need/want a change.

    •  

      No doubt you’re right, but as I’ve asked in a number of earlier posts – why couldn’t Plaid Cymru benefit from this anti-Westminster sentiment? Is Plaid seen as party of the establishment, part of the problem? If so, then Plaid has major problems.

  32.  

    “No doubt you’re right, but as I’ve asked in a number of earlier posts – why couldn’t Plaid Cymru benefit from this anti-Westminster sentiment? Is Plaid seen as party of the establishment, part of the problem? If so, then Plaid has major problems.”

    A lot of people I speak too seem to think that UKIP would be bigger guns in Westminster than Plaid Cymru.
    I doubt that people think Plaid are part of the establishment.

    They think that Plaid are just a regional party, where as UKIP are a national party and would serve Wales better.

    •  

      I don’t buy that entirely. It certainly doesn’t work in Scotland. If Plaid Cymru spoke out more against the corruption of Westminster it might reap the rewards.

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