An answer to Clear Red Water

In the comments section of my last post, Clear Red Water makes some interesting points and asks some pertinent questions. My response is too long for a reply in the comments section so here it is as a separate post.

Clear Red Water said:


I respect your view and one which is very consistent and thoughtfully argued. But do you honestly believe that such a campaign for independence will seriously win out in the short or even medium term? I would contend that much of Plaid growth has focused on them actually ditching the 'independence now' message.

I think the assembly's popularity is growing, but i also think that support is based on the notion we are not in perpetual motion to independence. Or to put it less categorically, ENOUGH people take this view to make the independence argument unwinnable.

As a Labour member, i would dearly love Plaid to revert to such a suicidal position, but surely you cannot say what you suggest is really a good electoral strategy for Plaid?

I am curious, i am not having a go. I am just a bit confused if you really believe this and how do you qualify it?

I don't think that campaigning for independence would harm Plaid, for two reasons.

Firstly if you ask anybody what is Plaid about? What makes Plaid different to the other parties? etc you'll get the same basic answer - Plaid believes in independence for Wales. Some may word this sentiment in a more positive way, others' wording might be much more negative, but all will agree that Independence is Plaid's unique selling point. Plaid enjoys its current level of support because of / despite the fact that we all know that Plaid is a Nationalist party that wants independence for Wales.

When Plaid representatives on the telly try to wriggle out of the National Question it makes them look like liars.

Comments such as this election isn't about independence its about the future of Llandudno/ Whithybush / Prince Phillip hospital, give the impression that the rep is embarrassed about what we all know is the party's true policy.

When Plaid spokespersons say silly things such as "full national status in Europe", "equality with other UN member states", " the evolution of devolution" and other euphemisms that avoid the I word they give the impression of being two faced, of trying to con the electorate with fancy words.

I think that giving the impression, even if it is unintentional, of being an embarrassed, two faced, lying con-party doesn't attract votes. It probably puts voters off voting Plaid. So an honest approach towards independence would be a vote winner rather than a vote looser, at worse such honesty would have a neutral impact.

The second point is related to the first. If journalists ask Plaid about independence and Plaid wriggle out of answering, then the argument for independence isn't made. If the argument for independence isn't made how are people going to be convinced of the validity of that argument?

When other parties, as they always do, attack Plaid for its nationalism but Plaid doesn't respond by making a strong counter attack in defence of nationalism, then the impression given is that nationalism is indefensible.

Again, refusing to make a positive argument in favour of the principal that we all know Plaid favours, refusing to defend the political patch on which we all know Plaid stands is a vote looser rather than a vote winner.

If Wales is a nation, it should be independent. Independence is the natural status of all true nations. Independence is the logical step that Wales should aim for. I am convinced that if a vigorous campaign for independence was started today, then a referendum in favour of independence would be successful in about 2020. This would be better for Wales and better for Plaid than jumping into bed with Labour for some tinkering at the edges of devolution in 2015 would be.


  1. Yup. They seem to be more concerned about appearing as more socialist than Labour.

  2. Totally agree. We need Plaid to openly campaign for an Independent Wales - and we need to start doing it now (or at least as soon as the coalition dealings are completed).

    Independence - my 2020 vision..

  3. Thank you for answering my question, it is an interesting answer indeed. You are correct with regards the clarity of message that will be achieved by openly being honest about independence. But personally i still dont think the independence message is a popular throughout Wales and has the potential to entrench Plaid in their heartlands without being able to spread out of the places they do well in. Much of Plaid's growth has centred on their shift leftwards, New Labour and ditching the 'independence now' argument.

    Another question is whether you believe welsh nationalism is a popular argument throughout Wales? and what evidence can you provide?

    I would argue that there are more people in favour of getting rid of the assembly than independence. But in truth there isnt much evidence to real qualify that.

  4. Most people outside the bubble don't study these things too closely - they think Plaid Cymru stands for independence.

    Plaid was getting a much higher vote in places like Aberdare and Merthyr in the good old days before all this "socialist" nonsense.

    I agree that more people want to get rid of the assembly than want independence. That is why supporters of independence should argue the case rather than hope it will come about by stealth.