Correcting Confusion on Ynys Môn

In Golwg360 yesterday was an article which shows Plaid Cymru at its worst. Local members of the party are criticizing party president Jill Evans for speaking at a conference being held today in Caernarfon called Wales Green and Nuclear Free organised by PAWB, CADNO, CND Cymru, Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg, Friends of the Earth Cymru, Urgewald and Greenpeace.

Bob Parry, leader of the Plaid Cymru group on Ynys Môn, is quoted as saying that her participation will "discourage" those in the party who voted in favour of a nuclear energy, and that her presence would be "misleading" because Plaid Cymru had backed a second nuclear power station on the island. But it is in fact Bob Parry who is doing his best to mislead.

In the article, he claims that:

"In Plaid's Conference in Llandudno this year, a vote was passed to press forward to keep the nuclear industry on Ynys Môn. The fact that our president is speaking against Ynys Môn is going to discourage people in the party."

And said that the president should

" ... stand alongside Ynys Môn, especially because councillors had won the vote in conference this year."

They didn't win any such vote. As I noted in this post, the Plaid Cymru conference reaffirmed:

Plaid Cymru’s total opposition to the construction of any new nuclear power stations.

This includes a new nuclear power station at Wylfa. So Jill Evans has a perfect right to speak against nuclear energy on Ynys Môn or anywhere else in Wales. She is representing the party's official position on the issue as endorsed at our conference.


It makes Plaid look like disorganized amateurs when certain mavericks in the party not only refuse to accept the decisions of the party taken at conference, but then set out to deliberately misrepresent them. The sad fact is that Bob Parry is not alone, for other senior figures in the party have also tried to misrepresent our position. Elfyn Llwyd did it very publicly on Question Time in June, as I noted here.

The damage that this causes us as a party is immense. Although I can't say I have a great deal of time for Arthur Scargill, he was in north Wales only last week condemning Plaid Cymru for hypocrisy. He said:

Plaid Cymru's policy is complete hypocrisy. You can't have a position of being opposed to nuclear power, as they have claimed to have over the years, and then come up with an excuse to continue to develop nuclear power as they have done – so they say – in order to provide jobs.

It's nonsense, as they know full well, and it would be very much better for them if they at least admitted that they had told lies to the people of Wales.

And he would be right ... if it were true. But it is not Plaid Cymru who are the hypocrites and liars, it is people like Bob Parry and Elfyn Llwyd. How is someone like Arthur Scargill expected to know what Plaid's policy actually is when a hard core of senior party members systematically misrepresents the party's position? We can't expect him to have read through the details of the motions at our conference. He, like most other people, will simply accept the misinformation that our own leaders put out, which platforms like the BBC and Golwg seem all too happy to report as if it were true.

So stand up and say it clearly and unambiguously, Jill. Plaid Cymru is against nuclear power in Wales.

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MH said...

I'll add this as a footnote. In the article, Bob Parry claimed that "there had never been an accident at Wylfa". This is a blatant lie. Here's a report which mentions two. Greenpeace lists other accidents in this document.

Cibwr said...

I can understand local MPs and AMs going against the party line on an issue, but to misrepresent the party policy is irresponsible. The number of jobs created by a new nuclear power station will be minimal, the jobs that could be created with the same investment but in non nuclear technology, huge!

Anonymous said...

I'm a Plaid member- and think that the party should definitely go out and say it is against Nuclear Power. However I am from Ynys Mon, and do believe that local AM's and Councillors do have a right to want a Wylfa B because of the economic importance (and I agree with them). And I'm sure if you asked IWJ or Bob Parry whether they'd support building a power station in Sir Benfro- they'd both say no.

So I have no problem with Jill Evans giving us the official party line. Had this been an issue on Self Government then I'd except Bob to follow the party line- as this is the main reason why we exist. On "other" issues, I think it is healthy that supporters have disagreements be it on Nuclear or Free Prescriptions.

P.S Syniadau- didn't the party vote on a motion about 'existing' nuclear sites??? I'm pretty sure they did.

Anonymous said...

MH- remember Plaid is a broad church! People should be welcome from all sides of the perspective as long as they support the advancment of Wales.

For example, for Ynys Mon Cllrs it is probabaly a good idea for them to support nuclear power at Wylfa due to economical reasons, though I am personaly (With most of the party and its policy) against it.

Should they like Cynog Dafis be kicked out of the party because of it?- absolutley not!

What we need to look at now is the future, our next leader and the local elections next year.

MH said...

I agree with Cibwr. There will be jobs in the nuclear industry on Ynys Môn for many decades decommissioning the site and cleaning up the mess. On top of that, we could make the island the prime centre for renewable energy in the Irish Sea, attracting many more jobs.


Anon 11:35 has rightly put his finger on the difference I was trying to make between disagreeing with party policy and misrepresenting party policy. Ieuan Wyn Jones has supported a new nuclear power station on Ynys Môn, but he has always acknowledged that he is going against party policy. That has certainly been awkward for him and for the party, but he was always honest about it.

Bob Parry and Elfyn Llwyd are also in favour of a new nuclear power station but, in contrast with IWJ, they are neither principled nor brave enough to say that their views go against party policy. Instead, they have tried to make out that the party agrees with them. That is why I am condemning them.

The idea that "existing" nuclear power stations were different from new ones, and that Plaid was only opposed to new ones, was what Elfyn Llwyd claimed on Question Time in June. It was completely untrue, as I explained in this post. Either he didn't know what he was talking about, or it was a deliberately constructed deception. As he has never apologized for it, the only reasonable conclusion is that it was deliberate.


I'm not sure that Anon 01:14 understands the point I was making at all. On any matter of policy there is nothing wrong with lively, and sometimes heated, debate about what our policies should be. Nuclear energy is a policy area in which members are perfectly entitled to hold differing views. To repeat, I am not condemning Bob Parry and Elfyn Llwyd for holding a different view on nuclear power; I am condemning them for misrepresenting the party's position on nuclear power.

However, some issues are more fundamental. These are set out in the party constitution as aims (I listed them in the previous post) and all members have to agree to further these aims.

So although Plaid Cymru is a broad church in terms of policies, it is not a broad church in terms of its aims as set out in our constitution. Supporting the "advancement of Wales" is not enough. Our aim is independence for Wales.


As it happens, Plaid are currently conducting a membership drive; and I'm sure there will be some who will think that I am being unnecessarily exclusive in pointing out that membership of the party is only for those who want to see an independent Wales. I would only say that I have met plenty of people who have been put off from joining Plaid because of our previous ambivalence towards independence and the perception that we have been more concerned about our own little enclaves than about Wales as a whole nation. I'm doing my best to put that right.

Naturiaethwr said...

There were 42 INES level 0 incidents at Wylfa between 2001 and 2009 and 4 level 1 incidents, including "non-compliance with conditions and limits necessary in the interests of safety", "safety-related plant requirement incorrectly implemented", "lifting event with nuclear safety implications" and "smouldering/smoking material or fire":

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