Straightening-out this Banana Republic

If I started by saying that Plaid Cymru had a much better result in Wales than either Labour or the LibDems, you'd all say I was putting a brave face on things. But in terms of seats, it's true. Labour have a net loss of four seats, the LibDems have lost one ... but we still have our three MPs. I'm very disappointed we didn't win any more, but we didn't lose any either.

I took some comfort from Myfanwy Davies closing the gap on Labour in Llanelli. I was disappointed that we lost a little ground to Labour in Ynys Môn. But I was amazed—devastated, to put it bluntly—that we lost Ceredigion by such a large margin, and that we only managed to came fourth in Aberconwy.

-

This is what we in Wales have been left with:

Labour ... 36.2% of vote ... 65% of seats
Conservatives ... 26.1% of vote ... 20% of seats
LibDems ... 20.1% of vote ... 7.5% of seats
Plaid ... 11.3% of vote ... 7.5% of seats

The obvious unfairness of the current voting system in favour of Labour is worthy of a banana republic. Our first focus must be to change the electoral system to make it more proportional.

-

As I write this at 9.15 on Friday morning, the numbers of seats won in the UK as a whole is still not clear. But it looks to have worked out perfectly in terms of being able to change this. The LibDems will not get the number of seats predicted in the opinion polls, but they will probably still have enough hold the balance of power. They have suffered—as they always do—from the injustice of the first-past-the-post system ... but for the first time they are in a position to actually do something about it.

As I said before, the LibDems might easily choose to ally themselves with the Tories provided they got the commitment to a binding referendum on electoral reform. I think Cameron will be so anxious to become Prime Minister that he would offer it if it were the price he had to pay. I still think that's what the LibDems are most likely to do.

It's looking unlikely that Labour and the LibDems between them will have the numbers to form a stable government. So if there is to be an alternative to the Tory/LibDem alliance, Labour and the LibDems would need support from others, and the next biggest bloc they would have to turn to is Plaid and the SNP with nine seats. In that sense, things might work out perfectly for Wales and Scotland. We'd have called one thing right!

Our red-line issues will be the commitment to a fair funding formula and a greater degree of fiscal autonomy ... because the two must be interlinked by the sort of mechanism I described in this post:

     Holtham: Taxes and Barnett

Plus, of course, our insistence that we get a binding referendum on electoral reform ... a concern we share with the LibDems.

I need to make it clear that this isn't a "progressive majority government" of the sort Peter Hain is talking about. To me, that is just a coded way of trying to keep Labour in power for another five years. It would be only a short-term agreement to take us through to a referendum—or series of referendum questions—on constitutional reform. The referendum would need to be held within about a year, and a new election held after that. But for the first time it would be a fair election.

Bookmark and Share

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

fair comment HM. Very dissappointing in Ceredigion. Why doesn't any expert just say the obvious, that since 2001 there's been a huge demographic change in Ceredigion of English people moving in and their children now old enogh to vote. They vote on British lines and for a few a slightly, or not so slightly, anti-Welsh language vote.

There's also the student vote in Aber and Lampeter which again is unWewlsh and disinterested in any Welsh dimension.

Glad the LibDems did so badly in the UK. Made my morning.

What happens now. Well the rainbow coalition is an option and better and stronger if it includes Plaid, SNP and SDLP. But, England voter overwhelmingly Tory and to do that really does open up the question of an English Parliament. If the Tories have any sense they'd cut down the number of MPs which would consolidate their vote.

Still think it will be a Tory government with some LibDems support.

The important thing is that we get the referendum vote soon. Trust Labour to mess this up when they had the chance.

MH said...

The reason why no expert says it is because what you think is so obvious simply isn't true, Anon.

It's just a matter of public awareness. In Westminster elections, Plaid do not get an equal platform on which to present our views ... as exemplified in the TV debates, and the broadcast and printed media in general. It's different in Assembly elections because we get equal access to and attention from the Welsh broadcast and printed media ... while Wales is almost completely ignored by the UK media.

That's why Plaid always do better in Assembly elections than we do in Westminster elections.

Hogyn o Rachub said...

Just a couple of points:

There was a 4% swing from Labour to PC in Llanelli. That's acutally not very impressive.

Secondly, losing nearly 2,500 votes on Môn during a period of huge unpopularity for Labour is also pretty damning.

Anon, I believe, is right in saying that the inmigration has had an effect, in spite of everything you say and its effect is certainly felt in Ceredigion and Ynys Môn. Peter Ryder in Delyn said that he'd had difficulty persuading people to vote Plaid because of the huge proportion of people not born in Wales, for example.

Though of course there are other huge factors in play here, don't understimate the effect of the inmigration on Plaid's vote, because it will inevitably sprial downwards in that context.

Siônnyn said...

I don't think our campaign was effective. We should have made far more use of Elfyn, and less of IWJ on TV, as this was a Westminster election, and Elfyn has a huge personal reputation as a parliamentarian, which would have reminded people that a Plaid presence in Westminster can be highly effective. He also has more gravitas.

Disappointed in Ynys Mon and Llanelli, of course, but, when push comes to shove, the Welsh tribal labour instincts come to the fore.

Anonymous said...

I'll put my head on the block and say what some might find controversial, but it has got an element of truth to it, and must be considered as a factor.

There is a sofisticated anti-Plaid Cymru vote in Wales (essentially pro-England, anti Wales) - the most obvious example is Ceredigion where the support for every other UK party has collapsed and sucked into the Lib Dem vote, a tactical vote aganist Plaid. It is similar in Dwyfor Meirionnydd, and was seen with the huge Conservative increase there.

This, to a degree, is the white flight vote. These are potential BNP voters in English marginals, but are comfortable to vote for a middle ground English party in Wales.

We have to get to terms with not just the changing demographics of Wales, in terms of English in-migration, but also, but with the nature of many of those English migrants.

It is certainly not true of all, but a significant proportion none the less.

MH said...

Be consistent, HoR. If a 4% swing in Llanelli is "not very impressive" then a swing of less than half that against us in Ynys Môn is hardly "damning" either. I think 4% is 4% in the right direction ... it's less than we wanted, but not so bad. On a disappointing night, let's hold on to something positive.

And I believe it's very dangerous to think people will vote Plaid simply because they are Welsh or speak Welsh. Yes, it's true that one answer some people give us for not voting Plaid is "Sorry, I don't speak Welsh" ... but that is an attitude that can only be countered by presenting our policies, and showing they are relevant to everyone who lives in Wales. In the end, it comes down to getting an equal place on the media platform ... and how persuasive we are when on that platform.

Think of it this way: if being born in Wales or speaking Welsh really did result in people voting Plaid, Ceredigion would have been solidly Plaid in the sixties, seventies and eighties – because the percentage of Welsh speakers was higher then than it is now. It wasn't – it was Liberal before 1966, then Labour, then Liberal.

-

Anon, Go elsewhere if you want to twist everything to suit your racist agenda. Consider this a final warning.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Hogyn o Rachub said...

It's completely consistent, with Labour so unpopular losing so many votes in Ynys Môn is a poor result, and a 4% swing in Llanell isn't impressive in that context either. Personally I don't see any room to wiggle there.

In Ceredigion, there has been a grassroots shift to the Liberals, and I really do believe that inmigration into that part of Wales has affected that. Cleggmania it was not.

You can't compare it with the sixties or seventies as the political, and lingustic, context has changed. It can easily be argued that these demographic changes have adversely affected the nationalist vote, not only in Ceredigion, but also in Preseli, Ynys Môn and even Dwyfor Meirionnydd, and possibly a few other seats.

I'm not equating ability to speak Welsh, or being Welsh, to supporting Plaid. However, to dismiss the effects demographics is having on the Plaid vote as racist is simply burying one's head in the sand, and I'm afraid if they continue Plaid is going to find it increasingly difficult to defend its lines.

MH said...

HoR, if Plaid's policies are designed to apply to Wales and to everyone who lives in Wales, then it should make no difference where people have come from.

A political party should seek to persuade people that their set of policies is better the alternatives on offer. They must be policies that can be accepted or rejected by any citizen according to their personal opinion of what is good or bad ... not where they have come from or what language they speak. If we rely to any extent on our policies being designed to suit one particular section of the population to the exclusion of others we are being sectarian.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...I'm sorry if my message was misconstrued in some way.

I have no racist agenda whatsoever - whether you might think the racism is anti-English, anti other nation, anti skin colour...I cannot see how you would consider the post as racist. In fact, I am slightly stung, because as an anti racist campaigner myself, having campaigned in Wrexham against the BNP, and having argued publicly across Wales against 'English' bashing, as some would have, being accused of posting a racist comment, when it patently isn't, hurts.

What I am saying is that a large part of the population movement to Wales from England has a right wing agenda. They're natural allegiance is to England, and they do not recognise nor respect the nationhood of Wales. They harbour, in one sense, the traditional imperialist mind set of Great Britain. I freely admit that this is a generalisation, and I qualified my previous remarks to this effect; and in no way can it be prescribed to every migarnt to Wales, I know this because of my circle of friends and acquantance. However, we cannot escape from the fact that a pro-British anti-Wales vote is forming in west Wales.

Many of these voters would not be uncofortable voting for an extreme right wing party in other political contexts. That is what I said.

It is sad when political discussion is stifled simply because of the presence and existence of fascsit groupings and orgainsiations. Simply because of their own publicity, debates including the words 'migrants' and 'in-migration' are immediately polarised.

Let's be clear, therefore, to qualify any misunderstandings, that in-migration of all sorts has been, and is, beneficial to Wales, historically and currently (yet another generalisation, but one which I am happy to promote). The majority of in-migration in Wales has been either internal movements within Wales, or from England. With a large Italian, Polish, Somali, and Chinese presence as well, Wales has a lot to thank migrations of people coming to Wales, to support the economy, set up businesses, etc

That is patently clear, and a view promoted by myself in every discussion on the effects of migration in Wales.

Having said that, does this mean that all migration is good? Surely not. Welsh and other migrants from the UK have decimated populations of people in every continent historically; mas migration of people has caused conflict in central African states. So while we can talk freely about historical migratory effects, or migratory effects on other continents, discussion on relatively small migration efects in Wales and the UK is stifled simply because the fascist organisations have hijacked the debate and we are all dancing to their tune. This needs to stop. We need to tackle the extreme right wing debate once and for all so that we can have a grown up and rational debate on the effects of migrations of people - both positive and negative, within our communities, which would help us better understand the complexities of society, and form a coherent and positive action plan to build a better, more open and tolerant society.

TJIS is where my comment is coming from – though I have had to explain it fully and ut it into context.Political discussion is a discussion on generalisations – it is hardy ever a discussion on specifics and individuals. My contribution was in that vain.

If you disagree with my theory that many English migrants living in west Wales have right wing leanings, please debate the point. But please do not accuse me of being a racist. Racism is abhorent, and it hurts to be accused of such things on a simple misunderstanding.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Penddu said...

I was extremely disappointed with much of Plaid performance - I had it on very good authority 1 week ago that Llanelli was in the bag and it is clear that Labour managed to drag everybody it could find to the polls to get their result.

Overall I was pleased with only one Welsh results - Glyn Davies.

Despite IWJs & Elfyn's solid performances, Plaid clearly need a charismatic leader if they are to make an impact in 2011 election - We need Ada Price

MH said...

I think you're stretching things past the point when the elastic snaps if you think that someone who votes LibDem is part of a right wing, anti-Welsh agenda, Anon.

Isn't it less contrived to accept that a good percentage of the people who just voted LibDem in Ceredigion are just as likely to be as pro-Welsh as their parents and grandparent were when they voted Liberal a generation or so ago?

-

Cardi, you're welcome to try again, but too much of your last post was unacceptable.

-

Pen, pehaps its part of the "fog of war", but I don't think anyone would have been deliberately misleading. A couple of weeks ago there was a general call to drop everything and head to Aber. That was motivated by the attitude that if we didn't win Ceredigion, all would be lost.

I and others felt that we shouldn't drop everything and go there because, even though we were unlikely to win other seats in this election, it was still important that we stood and fought in our own areas ... for the sake of building an all-Wales party for the long term.

There'll be room for detailed analysis later, but I don't think we should be so disappointed about this that it clouds what is possible in the Assembly elections next year. A lot of it is down to being excluded from sharing the same platform as the other parties. A lot of it is the distortion of the FPTP system – 11.3% of the vote should result in at least four out of forty seats. If we had gained one extra seat we'd have thought that was OK, though still not good.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe that people think that IWJ and Elfyn put in strong performances. They gave a string of terrible interviews in English and Welsh, inspiring no one. When IWJ started talking about a hung parliament, Elfyn said he didn't think there'd be one - And people talk of a 'professional' campaign by Plaid! Elfyn and IWJ seemed as if they'd stepped out of another political era. I say this as a Plaid supporter, and I hope people within the party will face this truth. And before drowning our sorrows in talk of 'right wing immigration'(why would right wingers vote the Lib Dems?) we might as well confess that Penri was a pretty weak candidate in Ceredigion. He'd already lost his council seat after all.

Anonymous said...

MH, I read your blog regularly with interest, and agree with much of what you have to say. However whil I agree with much of yoru general conclusions as put forward in your initial blog postings, I cannot agree with some of the follow on postings in reply to posted comments.

“HoR, if Plaid's policies are designed to apply to Wales and to everyone who lives in Wales, then it should make no difference where people have come from.

A political party should seek to persuade people that their set of policies is better the alternatives on offer. They must be policies that can be accepted or rejected by any citizen according to their personal opinion of what is good or bad ... not where they have come from or what language they speak. If we rely to any extent on our policies being designed to suit one particular section of the population to the exclusion of others we are being sectarian.”

You are quite right in stating that it should make no difference where people come from. The simple fact of the matter, whether you like it or not, is that it does make a difference. I’m not sure how many streets you have canvased in Ceredigion for instance, but I can say with confidence that I have canvased every town, most large villages and numerous smaller villages in Ceredigion; I have canvased in Cardiff, Ogmore, Pontypridd, Brecon and Radnor, Carmarthenshire, Dwyfor Meirionnydd, Ynys Mon, Aberconwy; I have spoken at meetings and rallies across Wales, and you cannot escape from the fact that people in different areas have different views, based on personal identity, culture, and common experiences.

Again you are quite right to say that policies should be accepteable to any citizen, whichever language, religion, culture etc you come from. A fantastic ideal, but to say that people treat every party fairly and equally, and that their personal opinions are not skewed by the baggage that they carry is naïve in the extreme.

If, for instance, we think of politics in the context of language. This should not be an issue, people should be allowed to support any party whatever their language. The recipient should also be allowed to receive that information and participate in that debate in the language of their choice…but, ah, hold on, all of a sudden we are entering the murky waters of language politics.

Also saying that designing policies to suit one particular section of the population is being sectarian, is either being naïve or stating the obvious nature of what politics is all about. Take for instance taxes. Any policy on tax is designed, by it’s very nature, to suit particular sections of society over another. Any and every policy is sectarian by its very nature. Now how sectarian, in as much as how many people at any one time does it divide, and into how many groups, is entirely dependent on the policy itself; that is why modern politics tends to try an appeal to the mass middle grouping at the expense of the people on the fringes; but simply because politics may appeal to the masses does not make it any less sectarian.

Anonymous said...

“I think you're stretching things past the point when the elastic snaps if you think that someone who votes LibDem is part of a right wing, anti-Welsh agenda, Anon.

Isn't it less contrived to accept that a good percentage of the people who just voted LibDem in Ceredigion are just as likely to be as pro-Welsh as their parents and grandparent were when they voted Liberal a generation or so ago?”

I concede that the total Lib dem support in ceredigion is not wholly part of a right wing agenda; however it is part of a British agenda, and stand by my assertion that is essence it is an anti-Welsh agenda, though not necessarily overtly so.

If by pro Welsh you mean that the ‘Welsh Lib dem support in Ceredigion are proud supporters of Wales on the Rugby field, then yes, they are pro-Welsh. This, however, is not my definition of being pro-Welsh. If they were supporters of the idea of a self-governing nation of Wales, then that would be closer to my idea of being pro-Welsh. Who ever said that their parents or grandparents of a generation ago were also pro-Welsh in any case? There was a clear choice in ceredigion between a party that was answerable to the people of wales, or a party with a representative that was answerable to the whip in london. The people of Ceredigion made the decision quite clear, of which there can be no argument. Moreover, if the motivation for voting was based on the UK political discourse, namely the Economy, Border Controls, Health, policing, and Education, the votes cast for Labour and conservatives would be siginificantly higher. The truth is that the votes for these two big UK parties collapsed in ceredigion and went on-bloc to the Liberals, a clear anti message that they rejected Plaid cymru and what Plaid stands for, which is a self-government for Wales. Are you telling me that in a decade the people of Ceredigion have changed their minds on self government for wales that dramatically, or is there something bigger at play? I’m suggesting that it is the latter.

“Pen, pehaps its part of the "fog of war", but I don't think anyone would have been deliberately misleading. A couple of weeks ago there was a general call to drop everything and head to Aber. That was motivated by the attitude that if we didn't win Ceredigion, all would be lost.

I and others felt that we shouldn't drop everything and go there because, even though we were unlikely to win other seats in this election, it was still important that we stood and fought in our own areas ... for the sake of building an all-Wales party for the long term.”

I agree with you on this point, The important thing for Plaid Cymru in order to push the agenda forward in our direction is not so much individual victories, but the national (Wales) share of the vote, that would be a clear indication that Wales as a whole supports the call for greater powers.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
MH said...

Cardi [16:52] This blog is "better than that" ... that's why I keep deleting your comments.

MH said...

Anon [15:58] you misunderstand what sectarianism is and why I used the word. It refers to something that the people concerned cannot reasonably be expected to change (for example, their religion) and for whom the group they are in defines a fixed set of boundaries within which they think and vote (as in NI). Non-sectarian politics is about persuading people to change their minds about the way they vote according to their opinions and convictions ... but critically operates on the principle that people are capable of moving from one opinion to another if and when they become more convinced about the merits of one policy rather than another.

Too much of what has been said in this thread attempts to put Plaid into a sectarian mould rather than to seek to persuade people about the merits of our political policies.

Since when has your idea of what it is to be pro-Welsh taken precedence over what someone else's idea of being pro-Welsh is? It's up to each of us to decide what being Welsh means, and the decisions we make about that tend to get reflected in our politics. That's why people who are equally Welsh vote for different political parties. You seem to be dismissing people as anti-Welsh if they don't share your particular view about what being Welsh means.

Plaid don't have a hope in hell of being a party that can appeal to people in all parts of Wales with that sort of attitude.

Penddu said...

MH - sorry - I was not suggesting that anyone was being misleading - but maybe misleading themselves!!!

While I dont agree with some of the ethnic comments by one of the earlier posters, I do think that the LDs are becoming more unionist and disproportinately supported by middleclass English incomers. What this means though is another matter

Anonymous said...

I live in Ceredigion....we'll see the C of St George flags soon enough showing allegiances to England. MH.....Where do you live? Cuckhoo-land?

Anonymous said...

Anon [15:58] you misunderstand what sectarianism is and why I used the word. It refers to something that the people concerned cannot reasonably be expected to change (for example, their religion) and for whom the group they are in defines a fixed set of boundaries within which they think and vote (as in NI). Non-sectarian politics is about persuading people to change their minds about the way they vote according to their opinions and convictions ... but critically operates on the principle that people are capable of moving from one opinion to another if and when they become more convinced about the merits of one policy rather than another.

but the point of the threads you keep deleting HM is that people do not change their opinion. Or rather a large number don't. You can be English or German and vote Plaid Cymru - I know many who do. But I also know of many more who do not vote Plaid because their given identity (nationality where they are born) is also their chosen identity here in Wales (retaining a English/British identity). They perceive threats to this identity - concern about immigration from Eastern Europe, English not spoken in inner cities etc, but don't transfere those concerns into another context, which is the country they've chosen to move to, Wales.

What is happening in Ceredigion is complicated and these strands are but one part for the reason why the seat wastn't won by Plaid and same for Mon. There are other factors which I'm perfectly aware of. But, the stunning vote for the LD (who, in policy terms to the layman eyes is virtually identical to Plaid's by the way) is partly due to the anglicisation of the county. You just can't ignore that fact.

Plaid, I was as a canvasser, were asking people to join us in a vision of Wales as a nation and state which would get the best deal for all those living in Wales. Noone says 'except English people in Wales' or 'except non-Welsh speakers' because no Plaid canvasser thinks that. However, the electorate decided that they didn't want to see Wales as a nation or as a state. As I said, there are many reasons for this and some may vote Plaid in the Assembly but not at Westminister etc. Howewver, you can'r deny that the LD for a section of the constituency was the 'not too Welsh vote'. That is, they felt culturally and linguistically more confortable with the LD. That's because the LD are a British/English party and because they chose not to have their culture and identity challenged by Plaid Cymru. They saw Plaid Cymru as a threat to their cultural/ethnic/linguistic identity.

That's not all people, but it's a section of the community. They made that choice. It wasn't a secterian preordained decision.

Penri James was a good candidate, Plaid and LD policies are almost identical, Labour voters went en masse to LD rather than the more 'socialist' Plaid. Why's that? It isn't just because policies, it's not just because of tv coverage, it's not just PR. It's because a large section of Ceredigion society is anglicised and as the county becomes more anglicised the Welsh narrative which creates a cultural space into which Plaid Cymru makes sense, diminished. The narrative of the election was Westminster/british based. With people not watching, not chosing to watch Welsh news etc, not engaged in issues relating to Wales - a conscous decision they've made - then Plaid's message is very much one which doesn't appear on their radar. It makes no sense within their cultural political world view.

Ceredigion, Môn etc has changed. They're becoming English counties. Come over, go to the shops, listen to the language and accent. Are you seriously telling me that that has no leverage on the way people vote?


Cardi

Lyndon said...

Oh come on MH, let's be perfectly honest, this was a catastrophe for Plaid, which will have serious ramifications for the Assembly elections as well.

I agree with you that blaming the INGLISH IMMIGRUNTS is stupid. We lost over 6000 votes in Ceredigion and Ynys Mon since the last election. What happened to those voters? Did the English kill them all? We should be looking at our campaign, our candidates and our policies, all of which leave something to be desired.

I've never met Penri James, I'm sure he is a loyal Plaid man and a thoroughly decent chap, although his potential as a vote winner should have been called into question when he lost his council seat two years ago against the background of significant Plaid advances elsewhere. In a constituency where up to a quarter of the electorate are students couldn't we possibly have chosen someone with a bit more youth appeal? If Heledd Fychan doesn't get into the Assembly next year she would be the obvious choice.

Then we get to the absolute stinker of a manifesto we produced. I have lost count of the number of people I have met who have ridiculed it. The pension proposals were met with particular hostility and incredulity. Even ignoring their questionable economic plausibility, the idea that Plaid would ever be in position to implement these proposals is utterly ludicrous. "Empty promises", "pie in the sky", "unprincipled populism", just some of the comments I have heard.

A maximum wage? What genius came up with that one? Sack them. Opposition to nuclear power. Great, another box on the check list of knee-jerk left-wing shibboleths ticked off. Shame it might have cost us Ynys Mon, eh?

I could go on, (and I probably will in a bit).

Anonymous said...

Lyndon - no, people aren't 'blaiming inglish immugrunts' (thanks for putting down a big concern many of us have at hearing less Welsh spoken here; much appreciated coming from a nationalist). No, they weren't shot. But it maybe worth you looking at the demographic trends in the constituencies and see how fast they're happening to get some context of the anglicisation of the two seats. And that anglicasation has an effect on the nature of the discussion/chats people have in pubs, cafes and work places.

Heledd Fychan - yes, good campaign, from what I could follow. (though, she didn't win either and will Plaid ever win Montgomeryshire in a Westminister election, and if not why ... only policies?) Go over to Newtown in a month's time and see the sea of St George's flag.

Penri, not Adam Price, I'll grant that, but then have you seen the LD? Mark Williams. 'Nice but dim' was one comment I heard. 'The man whose subsidised to drink tea with old women at charity coffee mornings' was another. Not even the most loyal LD would call him inspirational or even memorable.

Manifesto - yes. The pensions was just mad. Nobody believed it. But did people really believe (or know) the LD manifesto? Not from what I could see on the streets of Ceredigion. That's the whole point, people were voting on a 'feeling' and cultural feeling.

We need to relook at the manifesto, nobody believes the 'more left wing than thou'.

Plaid also need a charismatic figurehead. I think having different speakers was both a strength and a weakness. But Plaid needs one person who speaks clear and people feel they can know and trust.

Cardi

Lyndon said...

Cardi: I cannot accept that English immigration was a significant factor in our dismal performance yesterday. Our vote fell right across Wales, even in places where even the most fearless English colonists rarely venture. You seem to be underestimating the student factor: when I applied to Aber in the mid 80s it had around 4000 students, it now has over 12,000. Lampeter has seen an increase of similar proportions. No Plaid candidate can now win without appealing to this segment of the constituency. If we move to fixed term Parliaments we should ensure that elections take place in June after most of them have buggered off home. :)

We fought a negative campaign. On the few occasions we got any airtime we spent most of it whingeing about not having any airtime. Most of the rest was spent trying to defend our ridiculous manifesto promises.

Many of our elected representatives were clearly uncomfortable with the document. Whatever his many other talents and attributes, Elfyn Llwyd is clearly not a radical green socialist (and a good job too).

It's time to decide what sort of party we want to be. Are we a broad-based party of democratic civic nationalists, embracing people from the centre and moderate right as well as the left, or do we want to scrabble around chasing the 5% of the population who vote radical left, competing with an alphabet soup of Trotskyist factions?

I agree with you that we have to take the party back to the political centre ground and ditch the ridiculous radical socialist posturing. If this means Leanne Wood is forced to leave the party, well, I'm sure we'll get over it.

Anonymous said...

"Cardi: I cannot accept that English immigration was a significant factor in our dismal performance yesterday. Our vote fell right across Wales, even in places where even the most fearless English colonists rarely venture."

without wanting to bore everyone, I'd argue that a part of this fall across Wales is due in no small part to the continual angliciasation of many of those constiuencies. Other constituencies, where there has been no movement of people into, I'd agree with Hroch's assesment of the key stages of nationalism. Basically, we were too late in forming a nationalist party. http://www.flipkart.com/book/social-preconditions-national-revival-europe/023111771x

As for the way forward, I honestly have no clue. Maybe for Westminster elections we should give a Welsh dimension to the British issues but also concentrate on three or four headings which are still under UK remit but applicable to Wales e.g. bring energy policy under Assembly control; vary corporation tax for Wales; set up Welsh Stock Exchange etc.

Cardi

Anonymous said...

I think you Plaidies should try more to please Geroge Monbiot......LOL!

Carnabwth.

Simon Brooks said...

A quick comment, HM. Of course, thousands of in-migrants to Ceredigion vote Plaid, and at times too in some places they have actually been the backbone of the Plaid vote, when the local Welsh farming constituency was propping up the Geraint Howells/Dai Lloyd Evans agenda of the 80s-2000s.

However, there's nothing racist about suggesting that the British acculturalisation of Ceredigion which has followed in-migration also has the potential to make things difficult for a nationalist party. The civic is never purely civic you know.

Anyway to nationalists in Ceredigion. The Westminster result is largely symbolic. It makes no real difference to the future of Welsh-language culture. The only thing that matters for nationalists out west is that they take control of the local council (by whatever means necessary!).

MH said...

I agree, Simon, that

"there's nothing racist about suggesting that the British acculturalisation of Ceredigion which has followed in-migration also has the potential to make things difficult for a nationalist party"

But I judged that one particular anonymous was trying to direct the discussion towards a more sinister agenda. S/he talked of those who voted for Mark Williams being people who would otherwise vote BNP, of white flight, and of a sophisticated anti-Welsh and anti-Welsh language vote.

Anonymous said...

Let's be clear.
I did not say that all those who voted for Mark Williams would otherwise vote BNP. Neither did I say that it was an Anti-Welsh (people) nor an anti-Welsh (language) vote (the translation between Welsh and English is difficult in this respect as it is easier for me to covey this in Welsh).

However I did say that a significant number (please define significant yourself) of these voters have a right wing agenda, in order to promote discussion and debate I specifically referred to the BNP (as the most obvious example of a right wing party which is trying to mop up the English working class vote - but thankfully failed miserably in both Barking and Stoke); and I will not shy away from my belief that it is an anti-Wales vote, though it may not neccessarily be uppermost in their thoughts when voting. For the most part I believe that it is a soft anti-Plaid Cymru vote , with voters believing that Plaid cannot make any real difference at UK level. This is wrong of course, and the challenge is for Plaid to argue and disprove that point. What more can Plaid do than what it has allready done, I'm not sure.

On a point which Lyndon raised - Lyndon said that the Plaid vote fell right across Wales and therefore the in-migration factor should be discounted. This isn't tre. the Plaid vote fell approx 1% nationally; the most obvious drop in Plaid support was in Plaid traditional 'heartlands' in the north west and west, where incidently there is a more profound impact by in-migration. In the old 'valleys' constituencies there was a swing towards Plaid Cymru, Cynon, neath, Llanelli, rhondda, where cultural in-migration is not such a factor.

This is compounded by the fact that many young Plaid Cymru supporters from the traditional heart lands live in the large towns and cities, most notably Cardiff and Swansea, and voted tactically to keep one of the big two parties out, feeling that a vote for Plaid in the context of this election would let the 'Tories/Labour' in.

Finally on the point of candidate selection, and the belief that certain candidates should get 'safe' seats. These comments are worrying. plaid have a wholly democratic process of selecting their candidates - they are selected by local party members. Their choice is final. If party members in Ynys Mon select Dylan rees, then they obviously believed that he was the best man for the job. It is not up to others outside of the constituency to force a candidate on them.

MH said...

Don't dissimulate, Anon. Of course you didn't say "all" and I never said you did. And I think you're splitting a very fine hair by claiming that "anti-Welsh" is different from the "anti-Wales" you have just said you won't shy away from.

You tried to make this into a matter of race. That is why I said you had a racist agenda.

I warned you not to continue in that way, and deleted the posts I judged to have overstepped the mark. That doesn't mean that everything you wrote in those posts went too far, but that they contained things that went too far. In fact I specifically invited you to try again, which you have done.

Alwyn ap Huw said...

Sorry MH, but I agree with some of the comments made by the anonymous contributor who you try to disagree with by deleting his or her comments.

The Liberal party is not the small n nationalist party that it was in the days of Emlyn Hooson and Geraint Howells. It has, in a very calculated way, positioned itself as the party for incomers.

It isn't a coincidence that the Lib Dems only have one Welsh speaking AM, or that only one of its 40 candidates in Thursday's election was a fluent Welsh speaker, or that more than half of its candidates were born outside Wales but the affect of where the party has decided to position itself.

It is a fact that Liberal Democrat campaigners were telling English Conservatives in Aberconwy not to vote for Guto because he is too Welsh. It is a fact that the Lib Dems in Dwyfor Meirionnydd specifically targeted constituents born outside Wales.

It isn't racist to highlight how anti-Welsh the Lib Dems have become, quite the opposite; the only way to promote a harmonious society in Wales is to condemn those who try to exploit disharmony in the way that the Lib Dems do.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
MH said...

Please don't jump to the wrong conclusions, Alwyn. I agree with some of the points made in the comments I deleted too.

However I did not delete the comments because I disagreed with other parts of what they contained, but because they contained statements which went beyond what I considered acceptable in a reasonable debate.

I have done the same with the most recent comment, too.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Looking forward to seeing the census figures. How's that civic vote thing working our for yah?

Post a Comment