Coalitions not right for the right?

The New Welsh Right blog, written by a Tory sixth form student from Cardiff, has an interesting post today about coalitions. He makes a strong and persuasive argument for the Welsh Conservatives not to join in coalition with Plaid.

The two parties are the antithesis of each other and have nothing in common, he says. The Tories are Capitalist Unionists and Plaid Cymru Socialist Nationalists:

The people who voted for them think completely differently, they would neutralise each other's stances and nullify each other's mandates. The two parties would, as well as the inevitable long term loss of supporters that comes from being in government, lose supporters at the outset simply by being there with the other party.

There are many members of Plaid who would make similar arguments against joining forces with the hated Conservatives.

I appreciate many of the complaint that NWR makes about Plaid. As a centre right nationalist I have difficulties with the party's socialist stance. I would imagine that those difficulties would be even greater for unionists who are further to the right than I am.

However if you scratch the surface of the ideologies then the gulf between the parties isn't that deep. Socialism in Plaid is not as entrenched as some in the party would have us believe. Socialism in Plaid is a bit like martyrdom in the Catholic church - something that can be admired in others but not a thing that one wants for oneself. Conservatism in Wales has never been ultra-right, the Welsh Conservatives were Cameroonian before Cameron was even born. Both parties even agree, to a certain extent, on the independence question in that both believe it is a matter that would have to be decided by referendum and that there is little likelihood of such a referendum being held in Wales within the next four years.

Even if there were huge ideological differences between both parties, the nature of the Assembly doesn’t allow much room for left / right ideological manoeuvre. The Assembly can't nationalise or privatise anything. The Assembly has a statuary duty to support public services and even many of the subsidies that the Assembly hands out are given out according to Europe or Westminster's statutory guidelines. Because of the lack of room to manoeuvre there was little in the Plaid manifesto that a Conservative would find hard to swallow and little in the Tory manifesto that would send Plaid members to the sick bucket.

Another thing that both parties have in common is that they both suffer from a Labour created false image. The Tories are imagined to be English snobs intent on smashing the Welsh workers. Plaid is perceived to be a party that wants to force everybody to speak Welsh and to create a Welsh Republic in the image of 1950's Albania.

A period in government would help both parties to prove that they are not hairy-arsed ogres, but sensible parties that can be trusted with the governance of Wales for the good of the people, and prove that there are serious alternatives in Wales to another 50 years of Labour's one party state.


  1. A well considered and insightful contribution to the debate,


  2. If nationalism is not to be narrow and reactive, it has to be progressive and internationalist in outlook. This is what the socialists in Plaid have done for the party.
    That doesn't mean there is no way to work with the progressive pro-Welsh elements of the Tory party - who are far to the left of the appalling Unionist Labourites - but let's get real here.
    Wales is a left-wing nation that believes in collectivism, in a cooperative approach to problem rather than the individualism of Conservatism. Whether it's the national game, the NHS or our collectivist democratic attitude to comprehensive schools, Wales is not about privilege- it's about eequality.

  3. But Hafod you are working from a narrow idea of what Conservatism is. Its not about individualism but more about personal responsibility. You cannot achieve anything collectively without this. Personal responsibility is the glue of community and society. Wales does strongly believe in communities but not in the state. There is a big difference. There are huge numbers of little "c", "little platoons" community orientated Conservatives in Wales and I suspect amongst Plaid voters too!

    Matt Wright