Whatever one's opinion of Plaid Cymru, one could never accuse the party of doing a U turn. When Plaid changes direction it does so by using good, old fashioned, long and winding Welsh country roads.
A mid ranking party member makes a comment in a meeting, that may be recorded in the local press. A maverick or a free thinking senior party member will then make a similar comment (usually in Welsh) on a TV or a radio programme with low listening / viewing figures, or in a magazine such as Barn, which has few readers but is highly respected.
The idea is then suggested in English as an aside or as a lighthearted comment during a wide-ranging interview.
Then it is announced to a wider read media a few months later as a long standing party view, or even with a statement that Plaid never ever thought differently.
This is how Plaid changed from being a liberal party into a Socialist Party, from being anti Europe to being hugely pro-Europe, from being a nationalist party to becoming a devolutionist party, from opposing Lords to selecting Lords.
Plaid's faithful were persuaded to agree to the Red Green pact rather than the Rainbow Alliance because the GoW Act 2006 requires at least 40 out of 60 AM's to vote in favour of a referendum to enact the full parliament clause of the act. Rainbow didn't have the numbers, so the only chance of getting a referendum was for Plaid to sacrifice power in exchange for a referendum (so we were told).
Plaid knew, full well, at that time, that a referendum before 2011 was not on offer from Labour. Petulant leftists had dug their heels in and said to the party leadership that there were only two choices - join Labour or split the party. Lying about a referendum promise, that wasn't on the table, was the only way that Plaid could con the majority of its members into backing the leftists thugs in order to avoid a split
Before the ink of Rhodri and Ieuan's signatures was dried on the One Wales Agreement Labour people were celebrating the fact that no referendum would be held before the next Assembly election in 2011.
David Cornock's blog (but not yet his official BBC reports) quotes Elfyn Llwyd as saying Rushing through and saying it has got to be a referendum in 2011 - I don't actually sign up to that. David seems to think that this is an U turn. No its not, its a bend in the road that Plaid has been travelling upon since June. Elfyn's comments are nothing new (sorry Ceredig). Dafydd Elis made a similar statement back in July. The three Plaid ministers have been telling village branches all autumn that what Plaid does in government is even more important than a referendum.
U turn - NO! Plaid is taking its usual long and winding country road away from the principal that was once hailed as the cornerstone of the One Wales Agreement.
Expect an announcement from IWJ about March-May, stating that Plaid never, ever expected that a referendum would be held before 2011.