Rhodri Glyn Thomas ... another anti-Plaid AM

I've just caught up with last week's Sharp End on ITVPlayer. The subject of discussion was Europe, and although it's worth watching the whole thing I want to highlight this exchange from about 33 minutes into the programme:


Adrian Masters:  Shouldn't [Wales] have more [influence in Europe]? I'm going to caricature your position, Rhodri Glyn Thomas. This is what Plaid would argue: that an independent Wales within Europe would have a bigger say, would be able to speak directly to Europe.

Rhodri Glyn Thomas:  Let me say it's not my view. It may be the party's view, but it's never been my view. I believe in interdependence of regions and countries within Europe.

This is another blatant example of a prominent member of the party saying something which directly contradicts Plaid Cymru's fundamental aims as set out in its constitution.

2. As the National Party of Wales, Plaid Cymru - The Party of Wales's aims shall be:

2.1 To secure independence for Wales in Europe.

2.2 To ensure economic prosperity, social justice and the health of the natural environment, based on decentralist socialism.

2.3 To build a national community based on equal citizenship, respect for different traditions and cultures and the equal worth of all individuals, whatever their race, nationality, gender, colour, creed, sexuality, age, ability or social background.

2.4 To create a bilingual society by promoting the revival of the Welsh language.

2.5 To promote Wales’s contribution to the global community and to attain membership of the United Nations.

The constitution requires all members of the party "to further the aims of the party as described in this Constitution". Therefore there is no place in Plaid Cymru for those who do not agree with these aims, and there is certainly no place for elected representatives who publicly express views which directly contradict these aims.

Plaid Cymru is therefore in crisis. I would remind members of the party that the vote taken in conference to amend clause 2.1 of the constitution was unanimous. People like Rhodri Glyn Thomas and Dafydd Elis-Thomas had every opportunity to present arguments against the aim of independence for Wales in Europe, but they didn't. Instead, they seem to think they can ignore the democratic will of the party with impunity.

There are ways in which we as members can deal with this, but it is not appropriate to detail them here on a public forum. So if any member of the party feels strongly enough about this issue to do something about it, I would ask you to contact me, Michael Haggett, at this address.

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Anonymous said...

One wonders, therefore, what the difference is between RGT's (and probably DET & Cynog Dafis') view of Wales' relationship with Europe and that of Labour and the LibDems.

There is clearly a big difference between such a view and sovereign independence. I can't see how Wales can achieve a bigger say within the EU without that sovereignty which would gain her membership of the Commission and direct influence on its decisions. Wales would more than double its representation within the European Parliament.

As far as I can see there isn't a 'halfway house' between the situation as exists now and independence.

It would be interesting to find out how many of Plaid's AMs and MPs share RGT's views on the matter. If such a view is prevalent then as far as I can see the party has little to differentiate itself from the unionists, other than it campaigns only within Wales and for Welsh issues, but in a way which will do little to improve Wales' status in any significant way.

If most of the party's elected representatives hold this or similar positions, then I see no real purpose in belonging to it or supporting it. It wouldn't truly be a nationalist party at all. It would be helpful to request clarification on it from our constituency and regional members and the results published so we know where we stand and who to support when it comes to selecting or deselecting candidates.

I find it very worrying that these people are airing their views on the media. It's true that Saunders Lewis and others in the party's past didn't campaign for outright independence, but they get very far in improving Wales' status.

Jac o' the North, said...

Plaid begins to look more and more like a party in which the leadership is openly contemptuous of the party's policies and the members' views.

Britnot said...

Is this a sign that those in Plaid who could benefit from a vertebra transplant, aligning themselves with "LORD D" for the upcoming leaders election? Can't help wondering why these people joined Plaid in the first place, they would have been better off joining Brit-Labour.

Quicker we get a leader committed to Independence within Europe the better. We cannot afford the luxury of ambiguity!

Anonymous said...

Without independence I presume that at best Wales would remain part of a 'British' federal state (even assuming that Scotland doesn't exit first).

Wales would continue to participate in conflicts (such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya) which successive British governments have got themselves involved in post-1945. Wales would be saddled with renewing a nuclear deterrence force too.

Have these addled minds in Plaid's senior ranks thought through what their nebulous concept of 'interdependence' entails for Wales?

Sovereignty and interdependence are not mutually exclusive. The sovereign nations of this planet are all members of the UN and the vast majority belong to various groupings. Twenty-seven them are full members of the EU.

Yet each and every one jealously guards its ultimate sovereignty, even though they pool sovereignty willingly to greater or lesser degrees.

However, they retain their sovereignty no matter how its pooled or shared. For example the UK has the power to rescind its European treaties if it so wishes and withdraw from the EU as the Eurosceptic little Englanders in the Tory Party and UKIP want.

Each nation state is able to decide how its sovereignty is put to best use in the interest of its people. After the reduction in Wales' representation at Westminster Wales will have 4.6% of its MPs and no sovereignty. If Scotland exits then that rises to 5%. Do these wooden tops in Plaid think that such indirect amounts of influence via Westminster in international affairs is right for Wales?

Anonymous said...

I'm starting to look very favourably at Elin Jones as leader. Her speech at the SNP conference wasn't a barn-stormer but it was good, coherent and honest.

She could be a Plaid Cymru 'Angela Merkel'. At least she's doesn't speak with forked tongues.

Time for RhGT to retire in 2016 and let Adam Price fight for the seat.

Anonymous said...

One thing you'll notice about these people (RhGT, CD, His Lordship) is that they are all old men. I can't imagine either of them will stand in 2016 and the need for fresh blood is apparent. (Note!: Fresh blood doesnt always mean young, this isnt some sort of age thing)

I may not agree with evrything in the constitution, however if its what conference has voted in then there you are. I have never really understood the phrase 'Independence in Europe' either, yes I know literaly what it means but it seems a stupid phrase.

Im hopeing for Leanne Wood to run next January, that would be good.

Anonymous said...

Alot of people use interdependence to contrast with independence, as if the two are binary.

The argument is clearer when sovereignty comes into it. Should sovereignty be vested in Wales or in Britain. When sovereignty comes into it, it's a very simple question.

Anonymous said...

Is there any chance at all that Adam Price will run for party leader, or has he ruled it out?

Anon..."Should sovereignty be vested in Wales or in Britain?"
Sovereignty should always be vested in the people.

Anonymous said...

Anon 16:18 & 17:12

In the England and Wales sovereignty is vested in the abstract concept of the 'Crown in Parliament'... whatever that means. Unfortunately it puts power into the hands of the political elite, and an undefined power in the monarch.

It's why it's next to impossible to get real democratic reform of parliament, the constitution and the electoral system. Turkeys won't vote for Christmas. It's at the very heart of the UK's problems. Short of a revolution, England will never be rid of it.

Thankfully we in Wales and our cousins in Scotland can be shot of it by a Yes vote in an independence referendum. Wales would then devise a written constitution with power vested in the people the people.

Independence of itself is not the solution to Wales' problems, but the first vital step in the re-making of our country with the power and responsibility in our own hands. It is vital for the dignity of all people that they have a say in their destiny and the destiny of their country.

For too long we have been told that we are too small, too weak, too poor to look to ourselves, and too many of us have believed that propaganda. The outcome has been a dependency culture, stagnation and despondency.

It has even pervaded Plaid Cymru and it needs to be rooted out of the party. The first step is electing a leader with courage and conviction to put the vision to the people of Wales with clarity. No more fudging the issue.

Anonymous said...

Looking at the 11 Assembly Members I would have thought that each and everyone of them would be "Nationalists" i.e suppor an independent Welsh state within Europe- it is the first point in our constitution, and what the Party stands for. We can disagree on Nuclear, or Educational policy but surely not this.

It's becoming clear that there are many AM's that aren't really Plaid members- they now need to make themselves know p**s off from the party and allow the rest of us to do the business we have been set up to do.

It is clear B.Jenkins, L.Wood and Elin Jones are Pro Independence. It is clear that D.El, RhGT are not (and clearly RhGT is passionately against, as without any pressure from Adrian he blurted out that shpeeel). We must now learn the views from other AM's. SNP are comfortable to discuss independence (we must remember they weren't for a period). We must now become comfortable about it, so that the issue is normalised.

It is crazy to thing that icons like Wigley are actually in the same party as people such as Daf El and RhG
I would put a warning about Adam Price- I don't know if he is 100% a nationalist like Salmond is. I've heard him say a no of times that he is "a socialist first, nationalist second" - should we read into this?

I actually like Lindsay Whittle- I think he really could be a popular speaker. Dr Dai was also a good AM. Although some of our women AM's are quite fiery- I think they'd be great cabinet members, but I'm unconvinced whether they can lead the party.

Anonymous said...

I am deeply disappointed in Rhodri - whom I have always thought of as a good (though rather weak) guy. What happened? DET Been getting at him?

Anonymous said...

I'm confident that Adam Price is pro independence and will campaign for it (very important). I do have the impression that he is mildly Eurosceptic, this doesn't bother me but it will others.

Anonymous said...

independence within europe? Wouldn`t we be better off within Asia!!

Anonymous said...

'I would put a warning about Adam Price- I don't know if he is 100% a nationalist like Salmond is. I've heard him say a no of times that he is "a socialist first, nationalist second" - should we read into this?'

I've been told that he was misquoted, what he apparently said was something along the lines of 'I was a socialist before I was a nationalist,' which probably means that he is now a nationalist rather than a socialist, but can be interpretted to mean that he is now both.

Anonymous said...

Anon 19:20 - I have heard him say exactly the same thing - he was born into a Labour family, and bought into the whole myth of Labour being socialist 'till he saw the light.

I so think that the portion of Plaid that sees him as the king over the water is misguided at present, though. For me there is only one AM who can fit the bill of leader - Leanne Wood - as long as she can tone down her radical socialism and feminism - not that I don't agree with her - but she will be representing the whole of the party, not just the radical left.

Anonymous said...

Leanne Wood, has the right ideas, right b.ground. But again it boils down to the "Wigley / Salmond Factor", and annoyingly I don't think she has it. A superb deputy, but maybe not leader.

Out of the 11 in the Senedd, I would say a Simon Thomas - Leanne Wood would be a good combo. I also think Lindsay Whittle would be a good leader, but Leanne and him attract the same crowd- so it would be "either or".

It is a real shame that 'new blood' didn't come in instead of Daf El / RhGT so we could have a real comp.

Anonymous said...

So right about new blood, Anon - and we definitely need a 'night of the long knives' if we are serious about leading Wales to independence.

I think Leanne would grow quickly into the role - Salmond wasn't the fully formed article when he first took the leadership. And look at him now - he is the towering figure in UK politics, with no peer! Leanne has the advantage of having been there (bay) for some considerable time, when is well known, and competent on TV and, unlike the others you mention, she has the right demographic profile to allow us to break into the valleys! And if we are serious about winning independence, that is what we need to do! However, she needs to tone down her laudable radicalism for the greater good if she is to do that! I can't see an alternative.

Hogyn o Rachub said...

I think it's brilliant that Plaid Cymru are finally talking about independence and seem quite comfortable to do that, however it is a worry that there seems to be a backlash from some members to this. But they're older members from a different period in Welsh politics, and frankly I wouldn't worry too much about them - neither RGT nor DET will be around for 2016. One of the reasons I left Plaid a few years ago was because of the inherent fear the party had of discussing independence (though I won't be rejoining myself).

As for the leadership, I'd absolutely say Elin Jones - she's hugely capable, and is someone that could actually unite the party; I'm afraid someone like Leanne Wood may well highlight the ideological differences in Plaid Cymru to its detriment.

Hogyn o Rachub said...

*Or rather "someone whom everyone in the party could rally behind" as opposed to "unite the party" - Plaid Cymru seems quite united at the moment.

BoiCymraeg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Welshguy said...

"We must now learn the views from other AM's."

I agree. I have decided I will no longer vote for Plaid representatives who do not support independence, as as far as I am concerned this is my main reason for voting Plaid in the first place. I live in Arfon; I know Hywel Williams is pro-independence as I've heard him say so himself; but what about Alun Ffred Jones? I can believe that he might belong to the DET / RhGT axis...

Anonymous said...

We're all aware im sure what an outstanding asset to plaid cymru as party leader adam price would be but sadly that is not an option at present! We are currently faced with a choice between dafydd el and elin jones, so for any one who actually wants to see a leader who will campaign for a self governing wales there is clearly only one choice that could be made!

But while im dissappointed with rhodri's comments im not that surprised as there have always been a 'regionalist' element in plaid in that they seem to aspire to no more than a 'historical region' future for wales - as can be seen in the german lander or in the status of catalunya - rather than wales becoming a fully self governing sovereign state in its own right. Which would mean Wales enjoying full membership of international bodies like the united nations and the european union and having as much 'sovereignty' over economic, social and defence matters as any other self governing nation on the planet enjoys - so called 'regional status' would not give us any such powers in wales and of course would still leave us at the mercy and whim of every reactionary government in westminister!

also i would like to point out to posters that there is no contradiction whatsoever between being both a socialist and wanting to see a self governing wales - indeed i would argue that such a position is not only wholly desirable but logical too.

Leigh Richards

A non in my house said...

"Im hopeing for Leanne Wood to run next January, that would be good."

Be careful what you wish for.

Aled GJ said...

This latest incident and the ensuing discussion shows yet again how a coalition with Labour, as propounded by DET, is the very last thing that Plaid Cymru should be thinking about at this point in time. It's clear that as a party we need a long, hard think about what we stand for and how we can best deliver our message to the people of Wales. What's encouraging is that I sense that the grass-roots members of Plaid are really responding to this challenge and driving home the message that Plaid's USP has got to be independence for Wales. I suspect that the dilettantes at the top are in for a rude awakening as the members won't stand for any equivocation on this issue any more.

Anonymous said...

An interesting and fruitful debate here, in my view. What I think is important for all of us to bear in mind is that events in Scotland are going to turn the status quo on its head in the next 5 years, and we need a leader bold and clear headed enough to steer Wales through the turbulent waters towards Independence, and I'm afraid that, admirable woman that she is, I can't see Elin doing it. It has to be Leanne. There is a popular movement on the social media encouraging her to stand. The rumours I've heard is that she is reluctant in that she is afraid that she will split Elin's vote, and allow DET to sneak in - but I can't see that happening - I can;t see him getting many votes once he is actually forced to spell out his vision for the future of Wales, can you?

I could live with Elin as leader, most definitely - I would be happier with leanne, as I have said - but I will resign if DET wins as it will no longer be a party that represents my views. And I know I will not be alone!

Glyndo said...

"The rumours I've heard is that she is reluctant in that she is afraid that she will split Elin's vote, and allow DET to sneak in"

Does she understand the voting system?

Cibwr said...

I understand the argument that our opponents use independence=separatism=isolationism against us. I also understand that historically we have said we aren't in favour of independence as its an outdated concept, we live in an interdependent word where no country is truly independent. Hence us previously using phrases like full self government etc. However our aims have always included membership of international bodies, like the UN and more recently the EU, so we have always aspired to a sovereign Welsh state, what most people would have understood as independence. I don't think we have changed our stance, we have always been in favour of what others would call an independent Wales.

What has changed is that the party has reclaimed the word independence and is now happy to use it. It is important that people in a position of leadership in the party understand that and we can then move forwards. What we don't want is a visible split on this. We need as a party to be saying what the advantages of independence are, what are the benefits and what are the opportunities, vs the narrow limits of what we can do as part of the British Union.

James Davies said...

Rhodri Glyn Thomas is beyond out of touch, has he even read Plaid's aims?

On the leadership, the party has some really interesting choices if Simon Thomas, Llyr Griffiths, Elin Jones, Leanne Wood and Dafydd "Anti Independence" Ellis Thomas all stand.

You've got to assume that all the old guard would jump into Dafydd Ellis Thomas' camp. No-one who genuinely supports independence could back him. Let's hope he sinks like a ship, and is replaced by a Plaid Cymru supporter in 2016.

Simon Thomas and Llyr G are both good speakers, but perhaps it's a bit early for them after joining the Assembly so soon? Still, i hope one of them stands.

Then you're left with Elin Jones and Leanne Wood. I find it difficult to choose between them, they've both got strong and weak points. But, who's going to expand the party's appeal to all those who voted Plaid back in 1999? Will that be the deciding factor?

V. v. interesting times.

Cibwr said...

I have been very impressed with Simon Thomas in the past...

I am happy to thank Dafydd Ellis Thomas for what he has done in the past and for his work as presiding officer, but its time for him to retire, gracefully.

Anonymous said...

Very delicately put, Cibwr. I'm afraid I would have used language that was a little more robust.

Anonymous said...

Dafydd El up to his old tricks http://www.clickonwales.org/2011/11/new-plaid-coalition-with-labour-inevitable/

Anonymous said...

Yes I saw the Daf El comment. Even more confused! Is he pro independence within Europe or not?
Quebec, Catalonia, Scotland are all going for the above option- so is this what he advocates- even so he could make it a bit clearer!

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