Keep Your Hat on Your Head Dafydd – It's Wasted in the Ring

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!


  1. It's clear that Dafydd Elis Thomas is the "bright young hope" of Plaid Cymru. I'm sure that as Leader he will lead Plaid to a merger with the Welsh Labour Party. With Plaid as a sub-section of Labour (as the Co-operative Party is), we could soon have a Plaid member in the vacant cabinet seat. Who better than Dafydd Elis Thomas as Minister for Rural Affairs?

  2. Miserable Old Fart be the dark horse in the contest for leadership, the cigar aficonado's hope and who better that Dafydd for rural affairs than MOF!

  3. Best send him out to graze, then.

    The worst possible choice for the party's leadership. I hate marmite, btw.

  4. Et tu, Brutus? Natty assassination job there, MOF.

  5. You do seem determined to promote me to some high office anon 8:50; last week it was Presiding Officer, this week it's leader of Plaid. I'm sure that I could be the best leader that Plaid has ever had but political parties have this annoying habit of insisting that the party leader is a member of the party and I'm not a member of Plaid. (I'm not sure what your fixation with cigars is either, are you possibly mistaking me for Rhodri Glyn Thomas who was sacked after smoking a cigar in a pub?)

  6. Is there a person in Wales of the calibre of Alex Salmond who could lead Plaid, unite Welsh opinion and guide the nation to independence?
    If so, who is he/she?

  7. Politics & and being on the front line of it is the only driver for DET. I dont think he could stand being in opposition for 5 years. This is DET's last throw- become leader, join Labour in another coalition. If not don't be suprised to see a by-election 1/2 way through the term, and with the problems PC have at local level in Dwyfor- Meirion (3 resignations on Council Group) who's going to fill his shoes. I know he's just romped home in this constituency but he's a well known well respected politician. High stakes to play for!

  8. alanindyfed

    In a word, No.

    Anon 09:39

    If he becomes leader, or there is another coalition/agreement/deal with Labour, I'm off. Best join the Labour party and get the real (rotten) thing direct.. ackkkkkkk!!!

  9. AlandDyfed - the answer is YES - Dafydd Wigley - but plaid snubbed him twice - in 2001 and in 2007, and he's a bit old now, and has probably got better things to do.

    For me, if Plaid is serious about reinventing itself, and putting a bit OOOMMPH back into Welsh Politics, it has to be Leanne Wood.

    She has everything - she is a woman (important these days, and a USP), she is highly intelligent and a bit of an intellectual, she is articulate and motivated, she is from the right part of the country, she is a radical nationalist and she is a left wing socialist. Perfect!

    I know a lot of people would regard her as too much of a gamble - but in our present situation, there are no safe options - go for it I say!

  10. Siônnyn

    It goes without saying, Wigley. Biggest error Plaid made was to devise a list system which shut him out. Truly daft, and of epic proportions. Can you imagine the SNP doing that to Salmond?

    You could be right about Leanne Wood, although I don't lean too far in the leftward direction myself. I would hope there would be no more of the nonsense about a pact with Labour with her at the helm.

    DE-T would be a disaster.

  11. What do you mean that Leanne is from "the right part of the country" Siônnyn, I hadn't realised that Wales was split into a right part and a wrong part.

    I don't think that Leanne would be a particularly inspired choice as party leader, her extreme left wing politics which includes supporting the Communist Party would alienate large numbers of potential Plaid voters.

  12. How can he be both a welsh non-conformist and a Welsh anglican?

  13. Dafydd El has successfully been everything for eveybody for years. In his defence trying to get deals for Wales through the back door. Rather than fighting "I'r gad" like Alex Salmond has been doing!! I'm Sure Wigley and El had this strategy when he went to the house of Lords years ago!!!

  14. Surely Leanne is too lefty to have mainstream appeal? Maybe I'm missing the point and you think she can break though into the valleys but the left is a pretty crowded area in Welsh politics.

    Outside her and Lord Thomas the choice is limited to say the least. Elin? A very competent minister but has she got the wow factor needed? RGT? llyr?

    Its a tricky one.