20/06/2013

Will Plaid have me back?

Yesterday I made an application to re-join Plaid Cymru. I don't know if my application will be successful or if Plaid will tell me to **** off!

I joined Plaid in 1979 after the first devolution referendum vote, I defected from the Liberal Party because, despite the Liberal party's 100 year support for Home Rule for Wales, I was the only party member in Merioneth who actually went out in that bitterly cold January and February to campaign for a Yes vote.

I gave up on Plaid in about 1995 when Dafydd Wigley made the claim that Plaid had never ever supported independence for Wales. In the intervening 18 years I have made a lot of criticisms of Plaid Cymru, I don't regret many of them. Many of my criticisms have received vocal support from within the party and from other disillusioned nationalists out with the party, but none have resulted in the creation of an alternative national movement.

The best alternatives so far have been Llais Gwynedd, Siân Caiach's People First and Plaid Glyndŵr, but all have been predicated on stealing / splitting / affecting Plaid Cymru's rather sparse share of the vote rather than widening the appeal of the national cause into areas that Plaid has failed to reach, which is pointless.

After spending 18 years waiting for a new bus at the Nationalist Bus Stop and finding that one isn't going to turn up, I feel that the time has come to get back on board the old one that, despite its faults, has been faithfully serving the route to national self determination for many years.

25 comments:

  1. My feeling is this; despite all its faults, Plaid is the best vehicle to get us where we want to be. It is too late to create an alternative.
    Robert Tyler

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  2. Plaid Cymru may be the only 'bus' running, Alwyn, but it ain't gonna get to the 'depot'. The only chance for real constitutional change might come in the wake of (or even prior to) the Scottish referendum next autumn.

    If the Scots vote for independence then Labour in Wales might panic at the prospect of being linked forever with Tory-voting England. If the polls suggest the Scots might - just might - vote Yes then, to save the Union, the Tories might offer a federal UK. But whatever the future holds for Wales, Plaid Cymru will remain a minor player or just an observer.

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    1. But the point I'm making Royston is that Plaid may be a minor player - but it is the ONLY player at the moment. Those of us who have been very pissed off with Plaid for a very long time have failed to find a new player. I've tried being inside the tent pissing out and outside the tend pissing in. Being inside the tent pissing in seems to be the only option left open to me!

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  3. Wigley had the best intentions and led Plaid to its highest ever votes.

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  4. Plaid Glyndwr? With 7 members and a founder who hasn't put his photo on his web page.

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    1. You nake my point for me, this is one of the BEST alternatives to Plaid that has been offered thus far

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  5. Interesting read as always, followed your blog for ages and never fully realised your relationship with Plaid. I say interesting as there's obvious parallels with Cornwall and Mebyon Kernow. We have many politically active people like yourself who feel disenfranchised/ disillusioned/ frustrated with MK, I have in the past counted myself among them. I hope they let you join (they'd be silly not to) and you come yourself to help form Plaid Cymru and continue to fight for self determination through it.

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  6. http://www.clickonwales.org/2013/06/elis-thomas-sparks-debate-on-welsh-future/ Freedom but not independence..... is that possible ?

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  7. The only actual alternative nationalist party was the Independent Wales Party. They failed, but at least they managed to actually field candidates.

    My concern is you will never be happy in Plaid Cymru. You will never agree with their socialism, civic nationalism and gradualist approach to devolution. Those three things are central to the entire party. At some point you will again be "pissed off". Many of us aren't pissed off at all and are pretty encouraged by recent events.

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    1. You are correct in suspecting that Plaid will piss me off in the future as much as they have in the past, being pissed off with politicians / political parties is a natural state of being for me, and I don't believe that to be a fault. Politicians and parties who people don't get pissed off with occasionally become complacent and complacent parties and politicians are bad parties and politicians.

      I am not a socialist so that is something I won't agree with, having said that I agree with many of Plaid's social policies because I have come to a similar opinion from a Christian prospective rather than a left wing one.

      I am not opposed to civic nationalism although I would probably describe myself as a cultural nationalist if I was forced to take on a mantel, simply because cultural things such as the language, history, poetry and the arts are the foundation on which my nationalism is based, but that doesn't make me reject or oppose civic nationalism or support ethnic nationalism.

      Persuading the people of Wales to accept independence is, has and will be a gradual affair, it isn't going to happen tomorrow, how that gradual process proceeds isn't of much concern to me. If more devolution is offered as a result of the Silk commission, for example, I will be happy to accept it. There are two problems which I do have with a gradualist approach; the first is that I dislike the dishonesty of some gradualist nationalist. When the likes of Neil Kinnock or David TC Davies say that increased devolution is another step on the "slippery slope to independence" why argue against them if in our heart of hearts we want it to be so and hope that it is? When people who support independence argue against it their duplicity is obvious to all and that does more harm than good to the cause. The second problem I have with some aspects of gradualism is that too cautious an approach to gradualism lowers the threshold of compromise. If a trades union wants a 5% pay rise they go on strike with a demand for a 20% rise so that they can settle the strike with a 5% offer, if they walked out for 5% the negotiations would end with a 1% offer. In the same way if we welcome the Silk report and say it is a fantastic step in the right direction a quarter of the Silk report will be implemented; if we say that Silk is rubbish we want twice as much as the report suggests then more of the report will be implemented. In a weird way the best way to get gradualism is by opposing it

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  8. ... a conservative in the socialist court of Wood-Price, oh to be a fly on your wall at election time.

    John

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    1. God willing, I will be blogging the next election time with the same verisimilitude as i have blogged previous elections. You won't need to be a fly on my wall, just a regular visitor to my blog!

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  9. You can have my place if you want, as I've just left the party for, seemingly, many of the same reasons as you want to rejoin. I agree that there should be more than one pro independence party. If you look at places like Catalonia and the Basque Country, and even Brittany, there are several. I'm at the other end of the country to you and the simple fact is that whatever makes Plaid electable in Gwynedd, makes them unelectable in Gwent, Powys and much of the rest of the south. That's not particularly a fault of Plaids. All the other parties have the same problems too, and not just in Wales. But I will say that Plaid needs to target "ordinary" Welsh people - ie people who read the Sun and the Mirror, watch English football, watch soaps and reality TV and so on. I'm afraid that in the south, Plaid seems to only be concerned with people who read the Western Mail, watch S4C, and send their kids to Welsh medium schools. This approach, even if 100% successful, is only ever going to reach a small minority of people. This is where I've been disappointed with Leanne (despite voting for her). With being a non-Welsh speaker, she was in a good position to steer the party away from cultural nationalism. Instead, she has thrown herself into learning Welsh and making friends with people in Cymdeithas yr Iaith. In some ways, it seems to me, she has taken Plaid back to being the sort of cultural nationalist party it was in Gwynfor Evans's day. and that, in the south at least, makes it even more un-electable than ever (and I haven't even touched on the green agenda).

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  10. Alwyn, I wrote the original comment about you being "pissed off" again soon and your reply was pretty good!

    What was less good was the comment by Anonymous above about leaving the party. Plaid Cymru isn't unelectable in Gwent or much of the south (don't know about Powys). Plaid has won seats in Gwent and the Rhondda, at the Assembly, as well as council seats. There is actually a strong Plaid tradition in Gwent and outside of Monmouthshire and Newport Plaid is the only real challenge to Labour, other than old-Labour style splinters like People's Voice (which didn't last).

    You have to realise we're talking about some of Labour's strongest areas in the entire UK.

    I don't understand how you could be naive about Leanne Wood in thinking she doesn't support or promote Welsh culture. She has always been an advocate of the language and of Cymdeithas. In actual fact Plaid is by now much bigger in the south than it was in "Gwynfor's day". There is just a long way to go before the party has the campaigning strength that Labour has, or the influence across society.

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  11. That's without considering the possibility you haven't left, or never were a member, and are just pretending.

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    1. I was a member and I have recently left, but you'll have to take my word for that. As a branch secretary, a couple of months ago I e-mailed over 80 members on the national register from south-east Wales to see if any of them were willing to stand for election in my constituency for the next Westminster and Assembly elections. I got one application. Frankly, that was the last straw for me, and if that represents a challenge to Labour, then Labour has nothing to worry about. I still hope that Wales will become independent one day, but it will do it despite Plaid, not because of Plaid. (And, by the way, I wasn't secretary in Monmouthshire or Newport).

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  12. We need a new sales pitch frankly. Plaid just has no appeal to the Anglo South Walians who from all appearances are teed of with the welsh language, culture, and assembly. As those in the south have the majority vote, Plaid needs to sell Wales to them and not sing folk songs in Aber, about the good old days of Owain Glyndwyr. This is the 21stc they need to get with it... or spend the next 50 years in glorious isolation or until welsh itself has gone the way of the Dodo, this was always Plaid's weak spot they had no appeal where it counted,and were proud of it..... we may lose S4C unless people wake up. Plaid cannot sell our culture, nor our language, or our independence, what other options are open to them ?

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  13. MM what an earth is an "Anglo South Walian"? If we use such terms to describe ourselves the national cause has already lost!

    I am not a "Walian" I am Welsh. Yes I live in the north of Wales that makes you a compatriot of mine not some southern alien!

    The fact that you don't speak Welsh doesn't make you an "Anglo Walian" you are just a Welsh person who doesn't speak the Welsh Language. If you want to learn the language I will give you every help and encouragement, if you don't want to - fine - you'r choice and a choice that has no effect on my respect for you!

    I have never attended a folk sing song in Aberystwyth, unfortunately; but I do love folk music. I have attended folk do's in Cardiff and Newport were Wenglish Language songs were sung about Dr William Price, Billy the Seal and the Rev Eli Jenkins and every one of them made me proud of my Welsh Culture.

    Underscoring the "differences" between North and South, Welsh speaking and non Welsh speaking, rap fans and folk fans helps our enemies - to coin a phrase we are "better together" as one Welsh Nation than being divided and divided again by so called "unionists"!

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  14. It's time to be a bit more proud about what Plaid Cymru has achieved to date. There are going to be many more frustrations before Wales is ever free, but it's already completely different, in a good way, to my own childhood. The Blaid used to be, quite frankly, amateurish when I was younger. It could never have gotten anywhere near the votes it now gets in the south, except for one or two by-elections.

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  15. In context I applied the terminology to those negatives in South Wales who deride welsh culture, the welsh assembly, and the welsh language and prefer we never had any of it. In Newport e.g. there is a very hard core of people who call us 'welshies', house burning arsonists, and racists every time an word of support goes out in support. These people then display an anti-welsh, English preferable identity that is 'superior' to an Welsh one. Maybe the term isn't completely applicable, it was the nearest I could find without calling them outright racists using the English language as the tool of discrimination.. every time we offer support to the Welsh ID, we get derision.

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  16. So did you get your new membership card to put on your key ring?

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    1. Yes, I was wondering why it was so small and had a hole in it

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  17. Have you met up with your local party yet? Disillusionment is inevitable.

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    1. As the post says, I've done disillusionment for the best part of the last 20 years, if my local branch can better that they will have to be very bloody bad!

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  18. Bill Chapman19/07/2013 21:19

    I think that your natural political home is in the Welsh Labour Party, and I hope you join us soon. We have a steady increase in our membership in the Aberconwy constituency - I can't speak about Clwyd West - and lively branch and constituency meetings.

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