The Problem for Plaid is local government

Ifan Morgan Jones has made an interesting post on his blog on why he thinks  Plaid Cymru should move to the centre-ground, I have left a comment there on why I think he's wrong.

I do however, agree with one of his comments :
"They think: Which of these parties is run by people who are politically and culturally like me? Can I trust them to run the economy - do they understand my aspirations?"

But i don't agree with his attempt at resolution of the problem.

Changing where the party's political rhetoric stands on a left/right spectrum is not how to achieve the goal, the way to achieve it is by electing people "who are politically and culturally like me" at those levels of government that are lower than Europe, Westminster and the Assembly.

In the last round of local elections hundreds of county councillors were elected unopposed, including Labour, Lib Dem & Independent councillors in places like Gwynedd, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire. There were some counties where the BNP had more candidates than Plaid and counties where not a single Plaid candidate stood; many thousands of community councillors were elected unopposed.

This is an area that the party needs to look at with urgency, and should contact all members with details of what standing / being elected involves before the next round of local elections in May 2017.

Getting members elected at the lowest level will also help with the other perennial Plaid problem, press coverage. Most Welsh people read London daily papers, but they also read local weekly papers. My local weekly is unlikely to report on what Leanne said in Cardiff, but it will report on how John Jones, the Plaid councillor for Llanbethma ward agreed with her call for "yyy policy".

Every ward with at least one Plaid Candidate at community and county level, would be a huge boost to the party, especially if the party could agree to one strap-line slogan that all candidates had to use on all publicity such as "Wales needs independence" (example only better slogans may be available) .


  1. I couldn't agree more, community councils are the base level of democracy, getting people involved with politics at a grass roots level helps show that we aren't demons with two heads and actually we talk a lot of sense.... you are right its about exposure.

  2. Well said Alwyn, if Plaid Cymru wants to be successful it needs the infrastructure of a political party and that includes Councillors and better local intelligence, if only the party leadership understood how fed up people are with the Labour Party especially in the Valleys they’d put more effort into grassroots campaigning because in some wards they’d be pushing at an open door.

    And while it’s good to see Plaid Cymru members thinking out loud, Ifan Morgan calling Plaid Cymru hard left is a gift for our opponents and you can bet your life that Labour, Conservatives and UKIP will use it in the Council elections next year against our candidates, Plaid’s got enough trouble getting its message out as it is without unhelpful interventions like this.

  3. You are right, Alwyn, about the way forward for Plaid. Consider the county council election last July in Mostyn Ward, Llandudno. Six people stood, but there was no Plaid Cymru candidate. The result was as follows: Labour 248 (32.5 per cent, +2.1) Conservatives 200 (26.2 per cent, +9.3) Lib Dems 126 (16.5 per cent, + 7.4) Independent (Thomas) 88 (11.5 per cent, +11.5) UKIP 75 (9.8 per cent, +9.8) Independent(Enston) 27 (3.5 per cent, +3.5)

    There is a shortage of Plaid candidates, but that simply reflects a shortage of members. Plaid Cymru has about 8,000 members. The Labour Partty in Wales is substantially larger. Indeed, the Labour Partyy can be called 'The Party of Wales'.