For elected politicians being in opposition is a nightmare, you've slogged your guts out to get hold of elected office, you've had the jubilation of victory in your own patch after campaigning for the policies that you believe can change society, only to find that a majority of those elected to the same chamber thwart your vision and your mandate every time.
For political activists the opposite is true. No government does exactly what its rank and file party members want it to do, but party members have to bite their tongues and offer support despite themselves and that is bloody frustrating. It is even more frustrating if ones party is in coalition and has to compromise on issues that are held dear to the rank and file.
Opposition is a damned site easier for party activists than being in government and incredibly easier than being in coalition government.
The way that the two dominant British Parties overcome this conundrum is by having extra parliamentary groups that support their core values, and campaign for those core values, even when they are in government, keeping the flame alight.
When Labour introduced a minimum wage, rather than a living wage, the trades union movement continued to campaign for a living wage. Whilst the ConDems are increasing the tax take, the ultra Conservative Tax Payer's Alliance continue to campaign for lower taxation.
One of the reasons that the Lib Dems took a hammering in this month's elections, in every part of the UK, is because there is no extra parliamentary Campaign for Liberalism and Democracy that fundamentalists can support and campaign for as an alternative ideal out with the party's practicalities!
Plaid Cymru's period in government was partially similar to that being endured by the Liberal Democrats. On Language issues campaigners could keep their purity by supporting Cymdeithas yr Iaith's protests about the Welsh Language Measure, Welsh Language provision in Further and Higher Education etc, but on the wider nationalist issues there was nowhere for us to express our purity whilst accepting the compromises of government.
In every election that I can remember (1970 Westminster is my earliest) Plaid has said This election isn't about independence it's about XYZ, each time it has been truthful, the problem is that Plaid has done nothing since 1970 to ensure that the next election "IS" about independence, and it will not do so unless there is a non party Campaign for Independence, that puts independence on the political agenda!