I am a huge fan of The Rt Hon Dr, The Lord Elis Thomas of Nantconwy, Welsh President Emeritus.
I sometimes disagree vehemently with His Lordship's utterances, sometimes I agree wholeheartedly with the wisdom of his pearls and sometimes, despite agreeing with him, I wish he had kept his bloody big gob shut! But whatever I feel about Dafydd's ideas I can guarantee that they always make me think!
Despite the disappointing election result for Plaid on May 5th, the cause of Welsh Nationalism and Welsh nationalism has come on leaps and bounds since Dafydd was first elected in 1974. In 1974 people who agree with Carwyn Jones and Paul Davies' attitudes towards Wales would have been dismissed as Natshi Nut Jobs, rather than moderate leaders of Unionist parties in Wales.
Much of the thanks for this sea change of attitude in mainstream Welsh politics is due to Dafydd Êl's political gymnastics. His justifications for being a Welsh Socialist, a Welsh Trendy Dresser, a Welsh Gigolo, a Welsh Quangocrat, a Welsh Lord, a Welsh Republican, a Welsh Nonconformist, a Welsh Anglican, a Welsh Loyalist, a Welsh Royalist and even a self-styled Welsh President have added to the idea that you can be Welsh and anything. Whatever role you adopt you no longer need to deny your Welsh patriotism in order to play that role, thanks to Dafydd Êl.
I honestly believe that Dafydd Elis Thomas is our greatest living Welshman. In 1997 Wales was given a Parish Council rather than a National Parliament (it doesn't have much more now) but by crowning himself de facto "President of Wales" as the head of that weak establishment and, by so doing, giving it gravitas, Dafydd Elis Thomas did more for Wales than anybody since Glyndŵr crowned himself Prince of Wales in 1404.
Dafydd Êl's successes are the main reason for my belief that he would be the worst possible successor to Ieuan Wyn that Plaid could contemplate as party leader.
Dafydd is a Marmite man– you either love him or you hate him. I love him – but many of those who remain party members hate his guts.
Despite being one of the longest serving Welsh Politicians, Dafydd has never really been a politician; he's been an academic in political clothing. Much of his political gymnastics hasn't been about true held doctrine, but has been of the academic Here is a Statement:- Discuss exam type question, with Dafydd treating the party and the Welsh electorate as his students.
The idea that Plaid is so bereft of talent, that it has to re-elect a party leader from 20 years ago, gives all the wrong political messages.
Small n nationalism has become the norm in Welsh politics. The only way for Plaid to move ahead is for the party to differentiate from its opponents by puting a big N into Nationalism once again; as the father of small n nationalism, Dafydd couldn't possibly put the needed big N back into the cause.
Dafydd has done a sterling job of work for Wales, he has been a good and faithful servant, but he has made his contribution. It would be sad if his exemplary career ended on a bum note as a failed party leader - because if he is elected party leader – he will fail!