An extremely good post on Glyn Davies AM's blog yesterday The Light amongst the Grasses. I find myself in sympathy with much of what he says about Plaid Cymru and its socialist baggage.
I left the Liberal Party and joined Plaid Cymru in 1979 because of my conviction that it was in Wales' best interest to be self governing and that none of the other parties would reintroduce any semblance of self government after the referendum result unless there was a strong nationalist party in Wales arguing the cause of independence. I certainly didn't join Plaid because I support socialism.
Although there has always been a socialist element in Plaid Cymru I've never quite been able to understand why. Socialism and nationalism appear to me to be opposing ideals
Plaid claims to be an anti-imperialist party, but socialism is inherently an imperialist ideology. One can't have socialism in little pockets here and there, the socialist Utopia requires all peoples everywhere to be governed by the same economic and social policies. The idea of independence is anathema to the socialist ideal.
Of course neither Plaid nor the Labour Party sign up to Soviet type socialism, so some might argue that the imperialism of international socialism isn't relevant to their democratic socialist views, but some members of Plaid do like to use the international socialist tag.
One of the basic tenants of all forms of Socialism is dependence upon the state. The only state that the people of Wales have to depend upon at the moment is the British state; it is nonsensical for a party to campaign for people to become more dependent on a state that the same party is also campaigning to abolish.
I think that it was Prof James Mitchell who made the point that Mrs Thatcher was the midwife of devolution because she dismantled so many of the institutions on which the people of Scotland and Wales depended for their services and their livelihoods and which made them "British" by dependence. By supporting re-nationalisation Plaid's socialists want to recreated many of those old institutions that have bound the people of Wales to Britain.
If you ask members of Plaid what they think of the Labour Party most of them will tell you that Labour has ruled the roost in Wales for about 100 years and that after a centaury of Labour failure its time for a change. I agree. The $64K question is why has Labour failed Wales for the past centaury? The answer is because Labour has given us 100 years of left wing politics. Changing the label on left wing politics from Labour to Plaid won't change a thing. What Wales needs in order to succeed is an alternative to the 100 years of failure of left wing politics - not a name change.
My biggest grievance against Plaid's socialism isn't however ideological, its because I find Plaid's socialist facade completely cynical. Most Plaid people that I know would be One Nation Conservatives or Liberals if they had been born English, some may even have become "new" Labour. The diehard firebrand socialists in the party are few and far between. The red flag is being flown by Plaid simply because some in the party have calculated that there are lots of socialist votes in the valleys and that if Plaid pretends to out-socialist Labour those votes could be in the bag. The sad thing is that Plaid has failed to realise that there is a hell of a lot of Welsh patriotism in the Valleys too and that a genuine nationalist appeal to that patriotic sentiment would probably bag the party a hell of a lot more votes than a cynical appeal to socialism.
Because this blog is listed under "Plaid Cymru" on the Wales Elects 2007 blogg, I should note that I am not a member of Plaid Cymru and I haven't been a member for many years.