Don't knife Ieuan

If Plaid had won 14 seats, everyone in Plaid would have been hugely relieved and we would be hailing it as a real achievement. But for the sake of just a few votes in a few key places we ended up with 11, and it's called a disaster.

It isn't. It's a disappointment.

And for those who say that something has now got to change, I would say it's just too easy to blame Ieuan Wyn Jones for not being as charismatic a leader as Alex Salmond. It might be part of our problem, but it wasn't the root cause of our problem.

As I see it, we put all our effort as a party into securing the referendum on primary lawmaking powers ... and then, of course, winning it. That was a huge achievement, and it is almost entirely down to us as a party and, if I can say so, to Ieuan's leadership. No-one else in Plaid could have held Labour's hand and led them to accept it. Similarly no-one else could have got Labour to see that Wales was being unfairly treated in financial terms by the Labour government in Westminster before last May, and by the Tories and LibDems in government in Westminster now.

But we were worried about the referendum result. We thought it would be close, and we put our effort into winning the referendum without really thinking what we wanted after we'd won it. We then produced a "shopping list" of all the things we wanted, putting them into our manifesto. What we wanted was all good, but what it lacked was an overarching framework ... a clearly defined road map of where we want to take Wales.

It's not enough to say we want a "better Wales", for who doesn't want that? We have to spell out what that better Wales is. Yes, it will be an independent Wales. We must say that, and say that clearly, no matter whether it puts people off or not.

But independence is a means to an end. We need to show how we, as an independent nation, will be richer than we are now, richer than we ever would be as part of the UK, and richer per head of population than the rest of the UK. We need to show how to use our wealth to create a more equal Wales, a Wales that does not just deal with the symptoms of poverty, but dramatically narrows the gap between rich and poor. We need to show that we have abundant natural resources in our tide and waves, and that the energy we export to the rest of this island and further afield will make us rich.

We need to hammer out a route map that will get us there. And if that involves others from outside Plaid, all the better, for Plaid should not have a monopoly on independence. But hammering this out and making it a primary subject of civil and political debate in Wales (which will be made all the more easy because it will now be the big topic in Scotland too) must be more important than thinking we can do better simply by choosing a new leader.

Bookmark and Share

49 comments:

Anonymous said...

we need to get rid of Ieuan, 2003 he has had his time i ask, ieuan wyn to stand down in ynys mon and adam price to stand their in a by election in order to lead plaid cymru

Alwyn ap Huw said...

Adam would not win in a constituency as parochial as Ynys Mon

Anonymous said...

Adam is our greatest orator and our prized asset cant we get rhodri glyn to stand down or dafydd el, we need him, plaid is in freefall

Anonymous said...

'we would have had 14'.
Is that what we have come to as a party? to be happy with having less than quarter of the Assembly. That is a damning evaluation of how the party and leadership stands.

I agree that IWJ should stay temporarily. There needs to be a party review; because even I struggle to figure out what Plaid stand for. Only then should we have a new leader. But who could that be? there is nobody suitable in the Assembly. Elin Jones would be competent; but we would need to look from the outside to have a leader to fight the 2015 election.

Old wood like Rhodri Glyn, Daf El and IWJ must leave and we now need fresh faces. Questions must arise how Rhodri Glyn has allowed his majority to fall- and to fall to the Tories in DINEFWR of all places!!.


MH;
do you think it is possible now for the Assembly to have an extraordinary Assembly? as cuts come, and Labour won't have a majority. Or do you 100% believe it'll be a 5year Assembly? It'd be interesting to know!

Personally I feel it'd be good if a Welsh Assembly election could be separate to all other elections- so the blasted media can concentrate on us!

Anonymous said...

MH: "If Plaid had won 14 seats, everyone in Plaid would have been hugely relieved and we would be hailing it as a real achievement. But for the sake of just a few votes in a few key places we ended up with 11, and it's called a disaster."

you're quite right MH ... but the fact is we did lose those two seats and from such small margins. Margins which suggest to me that a small but significant change - a stronger leader which would have lead to a stonger and coherent campaign - would have kept those seats. We lost Llanelli in 2003 by a similarly small margin.

The weak campaign isn't something extra to IWJ it's an extention of his political style and the political culture of Plaid.

Nobody's blaming IWJ for everything and there's always an element of luck (or, rather, bad luck) in these things. But it seems obvious to me and I suspect to thousands of Plaid voters that the leader has to lead and has to set the political culture of a political party. Salmond has done that, unfortunately, IWJ hasn't.

I think you're being very kind to IWJ in your comments above in that IWJ's lack of charisma and perceived, well, actuall lack of threat to Labour made it easier to Labour to take on board a big bulk of Plaid's 2007 election manifesto, not least the Referendum. Maybe had Plaid had a 'stronger' leader then Labour would have been more cicumspect of being seen to dance to Plaid's tune, so, yes, IWJs style, lets say quieter style to make it sound better, can be an asset.

However, unless Plaid does something about the leadership, i.e. Adam Price is brought in, my guess is in the next election in 2015 (when there will again be some unforseen British contect to the election as there was with Iraq in 2003, AV in 2011) then we'll again be stuck at around 13 seats and damning that we lost a seat by 70 votes and some unlucky coincidences.

Plaid need a leader who can create his own luck, IWJ isn't that man and he's had 10 years to prove us wrong.

Cardiff Boy

Anonymous said...

My concern is that the same people who will lead the review as to what went wrong were the same people who wrote the failed strategy in the first place.

The Leader, the National Council and the officers in charge of strategy, campaigning and communications were the ones who came forward with the strategy.

It is almost aloof to suggest that no one should be held accountable for two national elections in a row where expectations have not been met by a country mile.

Last year it was on Plaid vs Tory in Aberconwy, this year only Plaid vs Lab in Carms. Miles out, not even close.

My concern is that those tasked with bringing about change were inherently involved in the old strategies.

Anonymous said...

er, no, knife Ieuan.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon 16:16 - only two disappointments in a row? It seems to me we have followed the same strategy in the 2001, 2005, 2007 UK general elections and the 2003, 2007 and this Welsh general election and the post-mortem has been more or less the same every time before things resumed as normal. We were lucky in 2007. As MH points out, then and this time a few hundred votes each way and things could have gone very differently. Flatlining for a decade has seen us lose the official opposition role. I agree totally with MH that we need to develop a narrative that welfare and industry would be best served by independence instead of trying to be more Labour than Labour. We also need to get better at thinking two or three steps ahead. It's damning to have to note, as MH has, that we were caught "on the hop" after the Yes vote. It isn't as if we didn't know when the general election would be. There was a strong argument before One Wales that, post Richards, further powers were bound to come in any case and we should have been moving the agenda forward on our terms (independence) which would have at the same time have moved the devolution project forward. Be that as it may, the decision to focus on moving forward the devolution project and entering government was taken and there have been real gains from that. That is where we now are. I look forward to the upcoming debates and think, as others say above, that we should not move too fast on the leadership issue.
Efrogwr

Cai said...

Firstly I do not believe anything should be done in haste. This has not been a good result whichever way you view it but no good will be done by making hasty decisions. One thing is for sure in securing the yes result in the referendum we had to play down our desire to create an independent Wales.
We must now robustly attack the Unionist parties without being afraid to mention the word Independence. We are one of the poorest Countries in the EU because of the unfair union we have been forced into, not because of decisions made by an independent Welsh government.
Whilst Scotland is at a different stage of the journey to Independence we should learn from the SNP and adopt changes when and where required.

Aled GJ said...

I'm afraid that all this talk of "another 150 votes and it would have been o.k" is just symptomatic of the complacency at the heart of Plaid Cymru. It's almost as if there's an acceptance at the higher echelons of the party that this is how things are, and that being a junior partner to Labour is probably our best hope. Ieuan Wyn Jones is a decent enough man, but he simply epitomizes this fatalism. God forbid that Labour aren't clever enough to offer us another coalition term to keep us in our junior status in perpetuity....

No, PC need a clear period in opposition to:

i) choose a new leader( Rhodri Glyn has to be persuaded to do the decent thing here over the next year or so)

ii) Define, in practical terms, what independence/freedom actually means to the people of Wales. A strong case could be made for a Scandinavian model, i.e a sovereign country which would also co-operate closely with our neighbours. The SNP intention to hold their independence referendum in 2014 will provide the ideal backdrop.

iii) Come up with a new made in Wales definition of what kind of party we aspire to be. We need to abandon this crazy notion of defeating Labour from the left and out-labourizing Labour. The only way to defeat labour is by combining the national project with what would be traditionally called a centre-right economic approach. I can only hope that AP's sojourn in America has helped him develop a new Welsh way of properly defining the above...

Welshguy said...

Plaid should not be so eager to believe that Adam Price is the answer to all their problems. Don't get me wrong, he would be an excellent leader, but it's both unfair and naive to blame the lack of progress since 1999 entirely on Ieuan Wyn Jones' shoulders - the problems are deeper than that. It is equally unfair to expect quite so much of Adam Price, though I'm sure that if and when he should choose to return to politics he will prove an asset. But Plaid needs far more than just Adam Price.

As for IWJ, while I agree his days are probably numbered, the last thing I want to see is for him to be ditched immediately and leave us with someone no better. MH is right to point out Ieuan's achievements.

Lyndon said...

Yep, another vote for knifing Ieuan.

Lyndon said...

Are you listening Plaid?

Right, for starters, you can ditch the wishy-washy socialism. Positioning to the left of Labour works when Tony Blair or Gordon Brown are in power and doing beastly and horrible things to offend our delicate sensibilities. When they are in opposition, and have no power to offend anyone, then this ceases to work: if I want socialism I'll vote for the socialist party, duh!

You can pretty much forget the Green thing as well, unless you want to be scrapping with them for the 3.5% of the population who vote "environmentally". Pledging to scrap nuclear power might give us an outside chance of cleaning up the Ceredigion hippy vote, although most of them are English and tend to despise "the Welshies", or so I'm told.

Plaid has to present a positive, optimistic view of Wales' future, which is based centrally around our nationalist principles. The SNP has shown that it can be done, let's stop arsing around and get on with it.

Cibwr said...

No, lets not be hasty. We need a time to reflect and regroup. Ieuan is not personally to blame. The Labour party tried and succeeded to make the election a referendum on the Westminster government. I don't think there was anything that Plaid could do to deflect them or change the tone of the election. The weakness of the media in Wales did not help matters. I think we need to be more than managerial, we need to offer a vision and a practical road map. We need to say what the benefits of more devolution would be and yes the benefits of independence.

OK the vote slipped, its disappointing but it isn't the sort of vote collapse as seen for the Liberal Democrats. There are some danger signs, Ceredigion needs work if we are to retain it in future. Yes we need targets and development seats - but we have to re enthuse the Plaid membership. We need to learn Labour's lesson and see all elections as a seamless rolling election, which is what Labour did with the referendum.

Anonymous said...

Plaid Cymru are a party with no direction, their policies are cobbled together on a day to day basis, they are immature and charmless, Alex Salmond, grabbed Scotland by the balls, and told the people, we are old enough to do what we want, when we want, we are not children. Ieuan, is too busy whingeing, moaning and scheming, Alex Salmond has got vision, Ieuan wears sunglasses, they are two totally different people, but Alex Salmond is admired in Scotland, Ieuan is ridiculed behind his back. No wonder our Nationalist Pride is being sniggered upon by Labour and Westminster, when they all know the Leader of Plaid Cymru has no balls.

Cibwr said...

Lyndon, The SNP embraced renewable energy and have reached out to the Greens. Being Green is one of the key points that Plaid has in its favour. Also it is a socialist party, a decentralist socialist party, that again is part of the Party's vision of an independent Wales.

Anonymous said...

Ieuan should go back to what he is good at....nothing.

Anonymous said...

Plaid Cymru are the laughing stock of Wales, Scotland and Ireland, give it up Ieuan, your making it worse.

Anonymous said...

We will soon see what Scotland will do, when they get the referrendum on Independence, it's Alex Salmond's greatest wish, to be free of the shackles of Westminster. What will Plaid do about it, nothing, Scotland won't invite them to the party.

Anonymous said...

Being Green does NOT win substantial votes; which is why there are no Green AM's or MP's in Wales!

SNP and renewables wasn't just because of being green, but on the nationalist cause of 'creating and selling' energy.

Lyndon said...

Cibwr, if the environment was a big vote winner then people would vote for the Green Party: they don't in case you hadn't noticed. In any case, what's the point in becoming the poor man's Greens, in addition to the poor man's Socialists?

Plaid have made no effort whatsoever to challenge Labour's constant subliminal depiction of Wales as too small, too poor, too backward to stand on our own two feet. Unless we start to overturn this pernicious nonsense we're not going to get anywhere.

Cibwr said...

Being green is also doing the right thing for Wales. I would love to know who all these anonymous posters are...

Anonymous said...

I think the anonymous bloggers are people who are pissed off with a Party For Wales that always Fails.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous like "MH".

Anonymous said...

or "Cibwr"

Gwilym said...

Don't knife Ieuan. ASsk him to go quietly, without a fuss. Could he perhaps be given a job to sort out Anglesey County Council, leaving someone more dynamic to stand for his Assembly seat at a by-election?

Anonymous said...

Anglesey Council was on his desk for years, he couldn't sort his wardrobe out never mind that den of deceit, the Commissioners were sent in, ( not by Ieuan) to sort that rubbish out, what sort of endoresement is that for Ieuan? He might be AM for Anglesey, but the Council for Anglesey has been flushed down the pan.
Another Anonymous posting.

Anonymous said...

I just don't understand why Ieuan wants to be leader. He's a dog in the manger. He wants to be leader to deny any one else, but then hasn't shown any leadership or guts in 10 years.

Nashi

Anonymous said...

Nothing to do with socialism or green policy, we have plenty of that in Plaid, and it IS an asset. It's part of our diverse communities, some may be different, but all contribute to our nation. Just wanted point out that last week, he's dropped into Blaenllechau, on an eco-farm talks to 30 odd. 100 voters know he's there, go to pub. Carwyn on telly talking to voters by the million. Couple of days later find IWJ (and I kid you not) goes Cardiff, Treochy, Neath, Swansea, Llanelli, Carmarthen, Aber, Wrexham, Bae Colwyn, Penmaenmawr, Llangefni, in the SAME day. Switch on telly, sees Tory boy relaxing on his patio somewhere in leafy Powys, being interviewed, broadcast to another million voters. Now, I hope I can say this on this blog, but my Gerbil has got more charisma than Nick Bourne, and my suit standing in the wardrobe more personality than Carwyn. So before anyone starts having a pop at IWJ, we should actually look at why Plaid somehow arranged for IWJ to spend time running away from cameras and journalists, while the leader of one party opposition party had a lunch at the golf club with the BBC and the other jumped in a train in Bridgend, for a Cardiff walkaround ends up on Wales Today, before taking the slow train to Wrexham the following morning. That's what I saw. Vote held quite well in Rhondda, despite vicious activity by Labour, good local team. Same appears to have happened in Arfon, good result. Whoever does the campaign strategy, and I'm not that involved in the working of the party, should look at this. A leader is not a substitute for good local campaigning, and the best place for a leader is on the telly, taking to voters by the million, not on a frantic run-around. Maybe someone can look at this ? Hear Nerys did an excellent job out west, I really did expect her to get that one, still, nice to see Plaid break the mould. Inspirational.

Simon Dyda said...

I would suggest that Plaid needs to separate the posts of Party Leader and Assembly Group Leader and elect Adam Price to the former, allowing Price to concentrate on building up support for the party between now and 2015. I disagree that this is not a disaster. Our time in government has brought us no electoral dividends, and after 12 years of devolution we have failed to match or improve on our 1999 breakthrough. We have to have more ambitious goals, and we have to realize them. Otherwise, what's the point?

Anonymous said...

IMHO the biggest single problem in Plaid is its diverse nature. Dafydd Elis Tomas would never get elecetd in Rhondds - Leanne Wood would never get elected in Meirionydd. So without focussing on IWJs apparent weaknesses, Plaid need to find a leader who can bridge the rural Welsh speaking vote and the english speaking Valleys. Dafydd Wigley was able to do this. Adam Price could do this.

But that is only part of the solution - Plaid also need a clear vision which can be clearly stated. Do not be afraid to say that independence is the long term goal - but the immediate objectives are to gain increasing sovereignty and control over welsh affairs - and more importantly to develop the Weslh economy so that Wales will be in a position to benefit from future independence.

Penddu

Anonymous said...

Tactically, Plaid could also use its diverse nature and the AMS voting system in its favour.

If Plaid positioned itself as a general nationalist umbrella party, and encouraged the establishment of 2 smaller nationalist parties - a Welsh speaking traditionalist party (maybe grown out of Llais Gwynedd) and a English speaking Republican party - then Plaid could stand in the constituencies only and ask its supporters to vote for one of the smaller nationlaist parties on the list. If this had been done at this election, then I am sure that the 'Llais' candidates could have won seats in North and Mid/West Wales. Plaid would not be willing to stand down in the three South regions at the moment, but once they start to win seats in the Valleys then this would become a viable tactic.

It could mean that in a future election, Plaid could win say 20 constituency seats, and lead a nationalist coalition including 6 Llais and 6 Republican list seats.

I can not see Plaid winning 31 seats outright and doing a SNP.

Penddu

Anonymous said...

.. the reason IWJ visits so many constituencies rather than go on tv is that

1. He's bad on the media - cantancerous, pedantic so the Party doesn't think he's an asset - why do you think they had a picture of a little girl on the cover of the manifesto when every other party had the leader? Plaid are forced to hide IWJ because internal polling shows that people either do not know who he is and if they do, they don't feel warm torwards him. It's his fault.

2. He's not on the media 'cos the media don't like him! When he's not being pedantic he's incredibly boring! Do you remember anything IWJ has ever said. He's not brave he can't paint a picture or vision, he doesn't strike any hits on the opposition cos he talks like a solicitor (but without coming over as rational and intelligent like Carwyn). I've been in media interviews with him when the presenters are taring their hair out trying to get any thing quotable and interesting out of a 10 minute interview ... and failing! And IWJ walks out smug and happy because he didn't say anything stupid. That's how low his ambition is - not to say anything stupid. And worse still, your just glad that he didn't say anything stupid or embarrasing and you end up feeling relieved to get another scoreless draw!

No point complainng about lack of media interest when your leader has nothing interesting to say. Salmond created his own luck - IWJ avoided them. Unfortunately, good AMs have lost their seat because of his sulk and his insistance on being leader but not leading.

He's a bloody dead weight. Any gains Plaid have done over the last 10 years have been in spite of him not because of him!

He's lack of charisma became a saving grace in 2007 because Labour didn't feel threatened by him and in that respect it worked very well for the One Wales coalition and getting policies through.

Macsen

MH said...

Thanks for all the comments.

It is clear that some people don't want to see Ieuan continue as Plaid leader ... and of course a few of these comments might be coming from people who have an interest in wanting what's not best for Plaid.

I would simply say that we neither need nor want a new leader until it becomes apparent that there is someone who would make a better leader than Ieuan. I also think this must be an AM, for no party will get anywhere unless it respects what voters have decided in the ballot box. That gives us eleven choices. Right now, Ieuan seems to me to be the best choice, but who knows what will happen over the course of the next couple of months or years? Perhaps one of our new AMs, or a future by-election, will give us new choices. Perhaps one of our existing AMs will grow in stature. The main point in writing this post was to quieten any clamour for us to get rid of one leader merely as a reaction to this election defeat without first thinking about who might replace him. Yes, I've criticized Ieuan, but I've done it because I believe he could do better as our leader, not because I want another leader.

I think it is also right to remind ourselves of the good things Ieuan has done. One Wales was a tremendous success. It delivered the bulk of what it was meant to deliver, including the referendum and the Holtham Commission. Plaid's influence while in government has been positive. Look at transport, as Welsh Ramblings has said on many occasions, this is the first time we have put more into public transport than into building new roads. We'd probably have ended up with a white elephant Gwent Levels motorway starving nearly all investment in transport elsewhere.

Because of that, I am not afraid of a continuation of One Wales. For our ministers have done well. Not just Ieuan, but Elin Jones, Alun Ffred and Jocelyn Davies too. So if Labour decide that they can't govern Wales with 30 AMs, there is no reason why they should not look to an agreement with Plaid, because we have shown that we can deliver. But it will be Labour's choice, and our agreement to it will depend on what they can offer us.

-

But that is only to look to the short term. The real question is for us to work out what we want as a party. There's plenty to say on that, but I would want to say one thing first: that it is something for us to decide rather than something for a leader to decide for us.

My main criticism of Ieuan has been when he hasn't reflected what we want. But to what extent have we been talking about what we want? Who is doing the thinking, the debating, the arguing? These are not things that we should ever let leaders do for us, these are things that we must first be doing ourselves. We need to work out the direction in which we want to see Wales go, then we should look for a leader that is best able to represent that on the political stage and in the media spotlight.

Simon Dyda said...

IWJ didn't lose the election: the party's campaign did. We made the mistake of trying to change our own narrative. That is to say: as part of One Wales we had created a Cardiff vs London narrative that was working for us. This was the narrative both we and our partners in government were using up until the end of the referendum campaign. Then came the election and suddenly there we were, the day after Wales said Yes - attacking Labour in Wales and leaving the Cardiff vs London narrative to Labour. Labour were unpopular in 2007 thanks to Gordon Brown, but that wasn't the situation this year, and worse still we were not only focusing on attacking a popular party, but a popular party with whom we had enjoyed a succesful and popular partnership in government for the last four years. This was a major mistake.

The SNP in contrast stuck to the narrative they had created in government, and fought a positive campaign that didn't focus on attacking other Scottish parties.

glynbeddau said...

Plaid problem is that there is no natural leader apart from "The Pri(n)ce over the water and it will be 5 years before (barring by-elections) he can seek an Assembly seat and any of the current AM's will look like a mere caretaker.

But in reality Plaid let Labour take the them and us high ground and offered very little that would excite the electorate. The party has become timid afraid to promote the Welsh Language even afraid to mention the I word.

But perhaps the major problem Plaid has is the lack of a vibrant English language Welsh Media and the tendency of the London media to report Wales in general negatively.

I doubt any leader will be able to overcome this obstacle.

Aled GJ said...

What about this? IWJ to stay as leader for the time being to oversee a "national conversation" amongst party members in Wales as to the way ahead. This should aim to be the frankest, most open, and most interactive debate ever within Plaid Cymru. The suits in the party have to really listen to the activists and supporters this time round. At the end of this period, say in 9 months time, IWJ to stand down so that Plaid can have a leadership election, some time in 2012. If, as I would hope, Adam Price is elected, then Rhodri Glyn to stand aside in Dinefwr/Caerfyrddin at the end of next year. ( having been elected to the seat, he probably needs to stay in situ for 18 months). That would allow Adam Price a good three years to build Plaid Cymru up to be real threat to Labour in 2016.

Anonymous said...

just reading 'crossing the rubicon' and only wishing what could've happened (maybe HMJ and Nerys now regret not backing it!).

A possible leader for the future could be Simon Thomas; is he a charismatic man?

Anonymous said...

IWJ may be great behind the scenes but he is not a communicator. I don't think standing aside to force a by-election will work. Voters don't like that sort of thing and a victory is no way assured. What would a defeat do for Plaid Cymru and for Adam Price?

Otherwise I agree with Lyndon, just look at the pathetic vote the Greens and left of Labour socialists get on the regional list. Voters aren't interested and maybe Plaid members who have these issues as a priority need to join those parties.

The priority for Plaid should be Independence and a wealth creating economy of benefit to the Welsh people.

Anonymous said...

I hope the party will have a proper think and evaluation before jumping to conclusions and making rash decisions. We need to rebuild the party for the long term.

Some observations:

1. I think Plaid's failure was a combination of both its own mistakes and external forces.

2. There's a clear parallel to be drawn between Plaid and Scottish Labour - both got squeezed out as left-leaning voters gathered around the party seen as best placed to stand up against the Tory/Lib Dem cuts. Sadly for Plaid, it allowed Labour to take up that mantle in Wales. While I have sympathy for the idea that a focus on Welsh issues and positive policies was the 'right thing to do', it clearly didn't win votes, whereas posturing and attacking the UK government did.

3. Part of the rebilding needs to be defining a clear, simple narrative. Why should people vote Plaid (in a sentence)? I have friends who are left-leaning, liberal voters. Yet they seem more comfortable to pick Labour, Lib Dem or Green than Plaid. On the plus side, I know that they would consider voting Plaid, if we listen to them and find out what would encourage them to do so.

4. Plaid seems embarassed to talk about independence. We should be proud of it. We should make the case for it. It's our raison d'etre. I know that building support will take time, but it's what we exist to do.

5. Plaid is traditionally a green party and this has allowed us to build support and win votes in the past. But now, instead of running like a thread through policies, economic and environmental sustainability and social justice aren't a clear part of the policies and message. Labour and the Lib Dems are poor on this agenda - here's an opportunity to reach out to mainstream voters in Wales with a distinctive brand that fits with our vision of a resilient and prosperous country.

6. Lastly and perhaps most importantly - winning votes is all about image. Yes - we need to have good policies and do the right thing for the people of Wales. But we can't deliver them unless we look and sound like the party that speaks confidently and consistently for the people. Look at Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon. Look at Barack Obama. We ain't gonna win until we look like winners.

Anonymous said...

As a PS to my earlier comment:

7. It doesn't feel right for us to do a deal with Labour now. We have hardly moved electorally since 1999 - 17 seats, 12 seats, 15 seats, 11 seats...we need to be getting 20, 25 seats to become the biggest party. It's time to step into opposition and fundamentally restructure and redefine the party for the long term and go into the next Assembly election as a party ready to lead Wales.

Cibwr said...

Wales is a left of centre country, for Plaid to be anything else would be a denial of the history and culture of the nation. Being green is something all parties should aspire to be. Yes green policy should be a thread running through and informing everything we do. We need to emphasise independence but not just independence for its own sake but what it can bring for the people of Wales, without just interminable complaints about Westminster. We need to be positive.

Lyndon said...

We need a new leadership team and there's no reason why they have to come from within the Senedd, it's not as if we're going to be doing anything particularly interesting in there for the next five years.

Time for the Adam and Nerys Dream Team.

Anonymous said...

The first thing that is resoundingly clear is that Plaid needs a new leader. IWJ just isnt up to the job. I've been a Plaid member in South East Wales for nearly 25 years and have never felt our leader was so poor. Our electoral problems have really been apparent since the post 1999 era. It was our chance to launch Plaid across Wales, however 2003 would turn out to be our worst result compared to any other across South Wales. We need a new leader to reinvigorate our party, and be a better face for the media and public at large.

The major problem with this is who exactly would replace him?

The natural and IMO best leader in the party was Helen Mary Jones, great charisma and personality with a real ability to connect with voters. Would also link Y Fro to new areas in the South Wales Valleys well. However, of course she sadly lost her seat in this election so she cant be leader. For whoever stated before it doesnt have to be somebody in the Senedd I absolutley disagree, it 100% has to. Would you be happy for Labour to have a MP as leader of Welsh Labour? No, Thought not. I don’t see the difference with us putting someone who isnt in OUR national legislature as leader and Labour doing that. It simply has to be a sitting AM, no question.

In the Senedd people like Alun Ffred Jones and Rhodri Glyn Thomas would just be IWJ Mark 2. No charisma, personality or leadership qualities and no ability to reach outside of Y Fro to potential new/ first time Plaid voters. Dafydd El has too much of a personality (or ego as some people may say) and I think he would do little to attract voters outside of Y Fro.

Leanne Wood is an activist and campaigner. Not really a leader and would put off most Plaid members who would of course elect the new leader in Y Fro. Similar with Bethan Jenkins who is also to young.

Jocelyn Davies while a competent junior minister and 'back of office worker' isnt a leader.

None of the newcomers can really challenge for the leadership in their first term. (+ i'd put former MP Simon Thomas in the above IWJ Mk.2 column)

Elin Jones is a probably the best interim leader although I dont think she has the best leadership qualities and would really the best of a bad lot.

All this talk of forcing RhGT or even the more outlandish forcing of IWJ out is a load of nonsense, that I am surprised any normal person isnt embarrassed to type. It is upto the electorate who their AM is not the Plaid membership. If Adam Price wants to stand in CEaD in 2015 he should fight the selection against RhGT (if he wishes to stand again) under normal party rules.

I personally would probably vote for Adam Price to be leader against any of the other obvious competitors, he is very charismatic and is good in the media. However, I dont think hes Plaids answer for electoral success, that is a much bigger challenge. A root in branch change is what we do and how we do it. Plaid needs to remain a centre-left party, but not try to out-Labour Labour. Have clear and cohesive policies for moving Wales forward and at times protecting Wales from London cuts. We have to accept that most if not nearly all elections are going to be fought against 'British conditions,' there’s no point moaning about that, we simply have to adapt to become a radical force for the whole of Wales.

Thank You.

Caerdydd said...

What I don't understand is how can Plaid's vote go down while the Tory vote goes up in a time when people are worried about Tory cuts?

Fine if their vote held firm, but to actually go up I still can't believe. What is going on in Wales? From what I see it went up in most constituencies outside the valleys.

Cibwr said...

I think we have to accept that there is and always will be a substantial Tory vote in Wales. They have hoovered up some of the Lib Dem vote as well. There are people happy with the Tory narrative and the idea of cuts (though when it happens to an area they care about expect complaints). Plaid can't advance by completing for those Tory votes. Neither can we squeeze the Lib Dems much further, they are down to their core support. Of course swings in individual constituencies are different. So we need to take votes from Labour.

lewis said...

Tempting as it is, discussions about Plaid's immediate and longer term future shouldn't be happening in the comments section of this excellent blog. Far too many Anons with agendas, far too many people wanting to score points and not enough clear heads. A rethink is clearly necessary but no point in panicking.

Anonymous said...

"Wales is a left of centre country, for Plaid to be anything else would be a denial of the history and culture of the nation"

Isn't that a bit sectarian, what about Welsh people who are say right of centre or who don't actually see much value in this left-right spectrum?

Are all Labour voters progressive or all Liberals? I'd say a minority of Labour voters might have views that were not that far divorced from BNP voters.

On the whole I'd say that Welsh voters were historically conservative but that, thankfully, they've also had a believe in fair play.

Cibwr said...

We can argue to what extent those left wing credentials are real of imagined, however that is how Wales has seen its self in the last 100 years - supporting radical liberals and then a (supposedly) socialist Labour party. Of course there have always been people to the right in Wales but the over all balance is left and there is a greater feel for collective solutions to collective problems that the rampant individualism of the right.

Post a Comment