SNP Spring Conference

The SNP's spring conference took place this weekend, with even more people attending than attended the record breaking main conference last autumn.

Here is the opening speech by Nicola Sturgeon followed by the main keynote speech from Alex Salmond.



There's a lot more in the BBC's full programme here on iPlayer.

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Unknown said...

Truly inspiring! Thank you, MH.

Cibwr said...

Superb, makes the unionist seem rather shallow

Mamwlad said...

Makes Plaid look pathetic!

Anonymous said...

What are your views Re Helen Mary and all women short lists?

Am I a dinosaur in that thinking that All-women short lists are wrong? and that candidates should be selected on merit?

MH said...

I think Helen Mary is squeezing it in before the leadership result is announced, Anon.

However I do think that balanced gender representation is important, and I take some pride in the fact that our Assembly was the first national legislature in the world to have equal representation. But we achieved that mainly because of positive discrimination, and we shouldn't forget that. For that reason I have nothing against all women shortlists or other positive discrimination in principle ... for me, it is only a question of deciding in which circumstances it is necessary.


I'm not sure it's now necessary in the Assembly. Although it's a little sad that we have slipped back to a 35/25 split, that's still within acceptable limits as far as I'm concerned. For me, anything within the 60%/40% range is perfectly OK. Outside that, it gets uncomfortable ... and alarm bells should certainly start ringing if representation of either gender gets below a third.

So far as Plaid is concerned, 4 out of 11 AMs is disappointing. But it could easily have been different if Helen Mary had won in Llanelli, for 5 out of 11 would have been just fine. And I don't think Nerys would have given up her first place on the Mid&West Wales list unless she thought she was more likely to get in by contesting Carmarthen West. If things had happened only a little differently, we'd be talking about 6 out of 12.

In 2016, we have four outstanding women who we would be looking to get in: Helen Mary, Nerys, Myfanwy and Heledd Fychan. I don't think we need to look to any positive discrimination measures to enhance their prospects.


Westminster elections are more problematic for Plaid, because of the lower number of seats we could expect to win and because of the incumbency factor. It wouldn't be good to replace a sitting MP simply for gender reasons. So we'd be limited to MPs who were standing down and candidates in other potentially winnable seats.

If we had had all women shortlists, it would have meant that Jonathan Edwards would not have been selected to replace Adam Price. Joni is very good, and it would be a shame to have disqualified him ... but no more of a shame than it was for Dafydd Wigley to be number 2 on the North Wales list behind Janet Ryder in 2007. As for other winnable seats in the 2010 election, Myfanwy stood a fair chance in Llanelli, but we had male candidates in Ynys Môn, Ceredigion and Aberconwy. That was unbalanced.

Who knows what the situation will be in 2015? The new boundaries are not yet decided, and one of our MPs might stand down anyway. There'll probably be four winnable seats for Plaid (Gwynedd and Carmarthen for sure, plus Ynys Môn/Bangor and Ceredigion/Presceli). I would certainly want to see a female candidate in Ceredigion/Presceli and in one of the other three seats if any of the current Plaid MPs chose not to stand. I'm not sure whether it requires a formal policy of all women shortlists to achieve that, though. Less formal means might suffice. But if it is the only way of achieving it, I wouldn't object.

Anonymous said...

aint no c in Preseli

MH said...


Unknown said...

It's sad really that The Informer notes how "this makes Plaid look pathetic!" Unless he/she opposes Plaid in which case fair enough.

I think if Wales had oil wealth, and a history of being an independent state with a national consciousness, it would probably have a nationalist party in a similarly advanced position to the SNP.

Wales has neither of those things, and is a different country to Scotland.

So there isn't really a point comparing the SNP to Plaid Cymru as they are on different terrain.

MH said...

The Informer's position is that Plaid is not nationalistic enough as a party, Ramblings. As if it was an establishment front to attract Welsh nationalists, but then only give them a very watered-down version of the real thing. He and others have mentioned either a new party or at least a new movement several times over the past months, maybe longer, but it doesn't seem to have happened yet.

With the announcement of Plaid's new leader tomorrow, I hope that he and others will become more convinced about our commitment to independence for Wales. But I think they will not so easily be won over to our version of inclusive, civic nationalism ... and in particular a view of Welsh citizenship that has a place for all those who commit themselves to Wales irrespective of where they might have come from originally.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the clarification MH. I think there is a contradiction between wanting Plaid to be "more nationalist" or "more for independence" and then promoting the SNP which is now gaining support through its domestic policies rather than just through independence.

In terms of winning over people I don't see yet that Plaid has explained in enough detail why independence is necessary in Wales. I have been won over by the principles behind such a vision but I don't yet see the policy steps. I am sure that is a work in progress though.

I am becoming very disillusioned with the idea of talking the movement here down because "we're not as good as Scotland"- Scotland has had a massive head start.

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