Voting like your Dad

In the 1970s and 80s I would occasionally canvass for Plaid Cymru in the south Wales Labour heartlands. It was a hard slog and canvassers would often be greeted with the refrains Labour I was born, Labour I was bread and Labour I'll be carried out the door or My grandfather always voted Labour, my father always voted Labour so I'll always vote Labour. Such attitudes use to cause me great annoyance, but it appears that I was wrong to be annoyed. Apparently as much as 30% of our political opinions are genetically inherited, or so it is claimed in an interesting programme that was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 yesterday called Personality Politics

Timandra Harkness investigates how our political views are linked to the way our brains function. The psychology of ideology is now an active topic of research, not least amongst neuroscientists. Recent brain-scan studies have linked political attitudes to different brain structures and patterns of mental activity. Discovering the cutting edge brain research into how we make such choices, Timandra explores what its implications could be for the conduct of political debate and campaigning, how to influence people, the psychology of decision-making, and understanding ourselves.

Apart from looking at how our brains are wired to such concepts of left and right wing, Liberal and Conservative attitudes etc it also has an interesting discussion about the psychology of the Scottish Independence referendum

A fascinating programme well worth listening to by those who are interested in politics, psychology or both, which will be broadcast again on Mon 26 May 2014 at 21:00 and will be available on the iPlayer for the next week or so.


What do you think about Dylan Thomas?

Being the centenary of his birth, there has been a lot of coverage of the life and work of Dylan Thomas on TV and radio recently. I like Thomas' work, but I'm unsure if I should!

There is an old saying that the main difference between a Jewish Joke and an Anti-Semitic Joke is who's telling it – are they laughing with us or at us?

I would love Under Milk Wood if it was laughing with us, and hate it if it was laughing at us.

There were comments on Twitter about the recent broadcast version on BBC Wales decrying the fact that it wasn't broadcast on the BBC through the UK. I'm glad it was only on BBC Wales BECAUSE that meant it was laughing with us.

I don't know what Thomas' intention was. I suspect that it wasn't to take the piss in a My People Caradoc Evans way; but there is little doubt that the play has been used in that vain.

So should I love him or hate him? I can't make up my mind!


Pissing in the Wind whilst the Wind is Blowing Against Us

Lifted from the comments page of my last post:

Jac o' the North,

As for Alwyn's point about Plaid Cymru, I don't entirely agree. Because, for me, Plaid Cymru has become the problem. Let me explain: If I was sitting in an office overlooking the river in London and I wanted to stop Welsh nationalism in its tracks I could do a lot worse than come up with the idea of a party like Plaid Cymru. Credible enough to get the votes and be accepted as the voice of Welsh nationalism but never determined enough to make it happen. A pale shadow of the party that once looked to Plaid for advice. I see Plaid Cymru now as a dog in the manger kind of party, unable itself to deliver but still serving as a block on the emergence of a party might.

Plaid Cymru is a failure, and there may be no point in wasting any more time on it. A new party is needed; one that will be a Welsh party rather than a socialist party, a party standing up for Welsh interests rather than environmental concerns and gay rights. So in a way I hope Plaid does lose its Euro seat, because that could mark the beginning of the end for a failed party, and help create the conditions for a fresh start.

Alwyn ap Huw

It would be great if there was a successful, uncompromising, four square, purist, new national party; but it's just not going to happen. How many new ideal national parties have been formed and consigned into oblivion during the past 40 years? Half a dozen - probably more.

New parties take time to build up electoral support – look at UKIP 21 years after its foundation it has yet to get an MP, AM, MLA or MSP elected and despite its huge media exposure only succeeds in low turnout PR elections. Plaid Cymru and the Greens took 40 years to elect their first MPs. Is there really any point in starting a new party in the hope of electing our first MP in 2054?

And what guarantee would we have that the new party won't compromise its self on the way to gaining that miniscule electoral success at a time that you and I will probably just be fond memories of our grandchildren?

We may as well grin and bear it Plaid Cymru (for all its faults and the frustrations it causes us) is the only national party we have in Wales. And the ONLY WELSH NATIONAL PARTY Supporters of the national cause opposing Plaid Cymru are just pissing in the wind whilst the wind is blowing against us.

NOT voting Plaid on May 22, just means that when weighed in the balance, the support for the national cause appears lighter than that for the Union cause -is that what any nationalist wants?

Sion Jobbins has called for rallies supporting Welsh Independence. We should be jumping on the Scottish band wagon and start delivering our country from rule by England. If popular rallies start to take place Plaid Cymru will have to wake its ideas up and get rid of its careerist dead wood.

Alwyn ap Huw
And, in relation to Royston's "new party" comment (above), is probably the best way forward. A civic campaign for independence that will put some backbone into Plaid (and patriots in other parties and none) would probably be much more effective than another new party.

At the end of the day, In THIS Election THIS Month despite the fact that Plaid peeves you, it is the ONLY PARTY standing for the National Cause on the paper. What is best for WALES (not your prejudice)Plaid being shafted or UKIP being shafted in WALES. If your choice is the United Kingdom party; either by voting for them or abstaining and giving extra value to their votes, you will have s**t on Wales, without a shadow of a doubt!

For all your hatred of Plaid; for all your doubts about Plaid for all you efforts in trying to create a new party or a new movement; is not voting for Plaid rather than voting against Plaid in the best interest of the National cause THIS MONTH, isn't a Plaid vote a way to advance the national cause, in the absence of others?

My vote will, probably arrive tomorrow, your vote might not arrive till a week next Thursday. Don't chuck the vote in the bin. Don't take a "can't be arsed" attitude. Vote For Wales - vote for the ONLY Welsh National Party on the paper - even if you need to hold your nose in doing so!


An appeal to the Pissed Off to vote Plaid

I have a long history of being "pissed off" with Plaid Cymru.

Every time I hear a Plaid spokes person get annoyed with the mention of Independence, I'm pissed off!

Every time I hear a Plaid spokesperson refusing to acknowledge the Colonisation issue I'm pissed off!

Every Plaid appeal to a socialist ideal that I oppose with every bone in my body pisses me off.

When I see Plaid AMs and MPs marching for peace, republicanism and other namby pamby rights I am pissed off with them for not arranging similar marches for Welsh self determination.

There are lots of reasons why Welsh Nationalists should be pissed off with Plaid.

On May 22nd there will be an election where an Extremist British Nationalist Party could do better in the polls than Plaid, but only if Welsh Nationalists who are pissed off with Plaid refuse to vote for Plaid.

Like it or not there is ONLY one party that supports Wales standing in the Euro Elections – Plaid Cymru. Because of their nature small turnout elections (like the Euro Elections) are not decided by those who DO vote, by those who DON'T vote.

Those of us in the nationalist community who are pissed off with Plaid who decide to cut off our noses to spite our faces by NOT voting for ANYBODY will by effect be supporting the Unionist cause - the most anti Welsh Unionist causes Labour and UKIP, will benefit from our not voting.

NOT voting is akin to an UKIP vote or a Labour vote, a vote against Wales. I would appeal to all supporters of the Welsh National cause to bite the bullet, hold their noses in the election booth vote for Plaid, and cast a vote FOR Wales, on May 22.

On May 23 we can start the argument again!