I can't do it myself, please push me

It's impossible to be sure about what lies behind Martin Shipton's story in today's Western Mail about Dafydd Elis-Thomas facing possible disciplinary proceedings within Plaid Cymru, but I'd like to offer some suggestions.

It's probably best to start by looking at things from Labour's point of view. First, Labour clearly think that there's a chance of getting Dafydd to defect to them and that it will be a major victory for them if he does. They definitely stand to gain from his defection, for with just one extra seat they will have 31 seats in the Senedd against a combined opposition of only 29 and would probably be able to see out the next few years without needing to do any more deals.

Second, they know and all Wales knows that the one thing Dafydd really wants is to be a government minister. If he defected, Labour would welcome him with open arms and make him Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development (Carwyn will have already drafted the Dear John letter) and from that position Dafydd will be able to espouse his views on things like nuclear power without being at odds with his party colleagues.

Third, Labour obviously hope to gain political capital out of such a defection at Plaid's expense. The line they are currently spinning is that Plaid has made a big mistake by choosing an extreme leader when they should have chosen nice, safe, reasonable, moderate Dafydd. Nice, safe, reasonable and moderate because Dafydd's stated aim if he had become leader of Plaid Cymru was to take us into government with Labour, which would have made Labour's remaining time in government very much more comfortable, but given us—and more importantly Wales—next to nothing. How convenient.


But Labour have almost certainly miscalculated. They probably don't realize that Dafydd's defection would be no loss to Plaid. In fact it would be rather a relief. It could solve some practical problems arising from the reduction of the number of Westminster seats, for example. Instead of Elfyn Llwyd and Hywel Williams having to fight over the one safe Westminster seat Plaid will have in Gwynedd, Elfyn could become the Plaid AM for Dwyfor Meirionnydd (or the new safe Gwynedd seat if there are Assembly boundary changes too) leaving Hywel as the MP in that same seat at Westminster. Or vice versa.

Labour would have nothing to lose by putting Dafydd up as their candidate in that seat because that part of Wales is a no-go area for Labour. Obviously they'll tell him that he'll have their full support and play up the possibilities of him winning because they're desperate to get an electoral toehold there. But whatever else he is, Dafydd is no fool. He knows that he needs Plaid Cymru more than Plaid needs him, and he knows that he has no chance of being elected as a Labour or independent AM in 2016 if he defects. He needs the party's organization and the commitment and hard work of local party members ... and he would lose all that if he walked.


So how does Dafydd get round the problem? His ego wants him to become a cabinet minister, and Labour is his ticket to that. But if he chooses to walk, he knows he has absolutely no chance of being re-elected in 2016. Therefore his best hope is to be pushed ... or at least to make it appear that he was pushed. He could then portray himself as the unfairly treated victim of Plaid's "new hardline Stalinist leadership" and hope to garner enough sympathy among local members to split the party, get some people to work for him, and give him at least a slim chance of being re-elected.


Seen in this light, today's story makes more sense. There are ten AMs on the Environment and Sustainability Committee, and even if they didn't all go to Brussels last month, some AMs from every party would have. So if Dafydd did make intemperate remarks, they were made specifically for AMs from the other parties in the Assembly to hear.

However, we need to be clear that simply disagreeing with the party leader or with any aspects of party policy is not a valid ground for disciplinary action in Plaid Cymru. There are healthy disagreements about such things in the party, and these disagreements are ultimately resolved within the democratic structures of the party. But members can be disciplined if their behaviour is damaging to the party; or for actions or statements damaging, or potentially damaging, the public reputation of the party.

Now I don't know if Dafydd has done anything to justify such action being taken against him. But there are no prizes for realizing that Dafydd was very disappointed not to be elected as leader, and felt humiliated by losing his job as Plaid Cymru's spokesperson on energy ... even though he had only himself to blame for that.


Dafydd has a simple choice to make. If he wants to leave Plaid Cymru he should have the courage to do that and accept the consequences of his decision. He needs to weigh the pluses against the minuses. The big plus is that he gets to be a government minister for a few years: nice office, nice car, an extra chapter in his memoirs. The big minus is that he won't get re-elected.

From my experience of him, I don't think Dafydd has that sort of courage. He seems more inclined to manipulate behind the scenes in the hope be can have it both ways at the same time. We need to be wise to that as we deal with him.

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Anonymous said...

Money is a motivating factor in all this. The Lord has a lavish lifestyle and needs a ministerial salary to meet his needs now his term as Presiding Officer has come to an end. Grubby fake aristocrat.

keith davies said...

Labour must have something on Shipton for all these anti-Plaid stories to emerge. First the Bethan Jenkins non-story, now this pile of poo with its obligatory "a Labour insider said". A once respected investigative journalist reduced to serving up Labour muckraking and spin.

MH said...

Money may be a motivation, but I don't think money is his primary motivation, Anon. Titles and positions matter far more to him.


You make it sound like blackmail, Keith. I think it's more a case of a newspaper fighting for its life as a daily in the face of a heavily falling circulation, and sacrificing its better judgement in the process.

The tragedy is that they think it's a price they have to pay. I think that selling out in this way will be the final nail in its coffin.

Welsh not British said...

By electing Leanne Plaid were given a mandate to make the party a unionist and royalist free zone.

People are unsure of where they stand from one month to the next so I think it's important they make everybody aware what they stand for.

Booting out people like DET and Wigley would go a long way to showing people this is not the same indecisive Plaid that we have had in the past.

The people in his constituency didn't vote for DET because he was DET, they voted for him because he was a member of Plaid. In much the same way people in the valleys would vote for a red plant pot.

If he then joins Labour then that gives him enough rope to make a cliche with.

There is far more support to be gained by booting people of his ilk out than by letting them stay.

Anonymous said...

If El goeS i GO, i vOTED f OR lEANNE BUT WHAT a LET DOWN, down with cymdeithas, up with our royalist brothers

Neilyn said...

DET has to decide which is his priority; his nation or his career. If it's his nation he'll stay put, take his rejection on the chin and quietly get on with his work in a statesman like fashion, using his strengths to aid Plaid's electoral fortunes. Despite his considerable experience he was not the member's choice for the post of leader and that's that, times and priorities have changed. I hope he chooses this path.

If it's his career, who knows, but ironically jumping ship to Labour wouldn't look like a glorious, summit-reaching end to a career to me, more like a withdrawl ahead of the final slopes to victory in a petulant, terminal eff-u to the national movement of Wales which he helped to build over so many decades. That would be sad.

Cibwr said...

I had enormous respect for Dafydd El when he was leader, I have some respect for his past achievements. It would be a monumental error to expel him, as this would give exactly what Labour would like - to portray Plaid as a stalanist organisation. Best to just let him complete his term and then select someone else to fight the seat.

As for Martin Shipton, I think people are right to say that its the last gasp of a paper trying to hang onto its readership (which must be by the law of averages more Labour than Plaid leaning).

maen_tramgwydd said...

I suspect that, because of his age (65), he doesn't really care about being re-elected. He wants to be a minister, regardless of party.

What I see is a man with a huge ego, and a monumental belief in his own self-importance. Thankfully the vast majority of party members had the good sense not to elect him as their leader - he would have been a disaster.

Whatever Leanne's shortcomings (everyone has them) she is streets ahead of him in just about every respect.

Leanne needs to bring in some fresh faces and get rid of some of the time wasters at the top of the party.

As for the Western Mail, it has a pathetically small and falling circulation. I'm not surprised that, as a Trinity Mirror rag, it is descending into the same kind of tabloid rubbish as many others in that stable.

Anonymous said...

There are a number of issues with this story.

Daf El wants to become a Minister (just so that he can say he has). If has no intention of standing in the next election (and I hope has no intention) then there is a chance he will defect. I cannot see him joining Lab, but instead be some sort of independent. We must also remember that reforms in Cherlys Green paper MAY force him out (if they pass a rule saying Lords cannot sit in the Assembly - I can never see him dropping his Lordship!).

However, if he does that do we genuinely believe that promising Lab backbenchers will be happy to have a nationalist becoming a Minister before them? Particularly because he has little chance of winning D.Mei if he defects from Plaid. Surely Labour would want to "big up" one of their own names?

PLUS- do Labour really need a majority? They've done a budget deal for this and next year - they seem to be coping alright.
I've never bought the argument that the constituency would be lost if we had a left leaning AM. Yes there are some "Tory" areas within it, however the vast majority are nationalists.

If he does however leave it WILL be a big blow for Leanne publicly. It'll just look bad that on the BBC there will be headlines saying "one of Plaids first MP's abandons party". It may be good internally, but it isn't for the outside.


So to conclude, yes he wants to be a Minister. But I cannot see how Lab would allow him to walk into that post.

If he leaves, it will look bad for Leanne publicly in the short term.

Even if he does not defect, there should be a big debate whether he should be allowed to sit in a "safe seat" - is it not time to give it to the next generation.

MH said...

I don't think Dafydd will deflect unless he is guaranteed a ministerial post by Labour, Anon. There's nothing in it for him unless they do so, and Labour themselves are quoted as saying:

"I believe there is a good chance that before the end of this Assembly term in 2016 Dafydd El will be a member of the Welsh Government. He would be an excellent environment minister."

They couldn't make the carrot any more obvious if they tried. Also, it doesn't matter one jot whether he calls himself an independent or a Labour AM; by joining the Labour government he will be Labour, whatever he chooses to call himself.

As for the promising Labour backbenchers, it will actually be John Griffiths who takes the hit (unless there's a more general reshuffle). But yes, I think they might well be personally disappointed but will go along with it for the sake of the party. Their time will come later ... well, at least that's what Carwyn will tell them.


The big question is what happens at the next election, which is four years away, with time for plenty to happen before then. From Labour's point of view, they will want Dafydd to stand in 2016 and it simply won't matter whether he does so as a Labour or an independent candidate. Labour's long-term aim will be to make electoral inroads in an area where they currently have no real support, and they will rely on the team which works for Dafydd's election working for Labour in future elections.

Of course Dafydd might just call it a day, and he certainly wouldn't stand again if it meant having to give up his "Lordship" title ... I agree with you fully on that.


So that leaves the question of what effect his defection would have on Plaid. I don't agree with you that it will be a blow for Leanne's leadership; but everything will depend on how it's perceived by the public. That's what stories like this one in the Western Mail are primarily about. They want it to be seen as, "Unfairly treated victim of Plaid's new hardline Stalinist leadership hounded out of party for merely questioning the leader's wisdom" rather than, "Disgruntled prima donna walks out on party because he can't come to terms with the membership rejecting him as leader."

That's why I'm urging those in the party who will make decisions about whether to discipline Dafydd to be careful how they do it. I know that our political opponents will be eager to misinterpret the reasons for any disciplinary action, and that is part of the reason why I and the others who instigated disciplinary action against him before wanted to put things in writing so that any such misinterpretations would not be possible.

Above all, we mustn't be afraid to take decisive action if it is justified, but we must explain why the action has been taken in order to prevent others from misinterpreting it. If we do this, we will come out of it well. If we fudge the issue, we will come out of it badly.

Anonymous said...

Aren't you all missing an important point? Plaid did disasterously in Leanne Wood's back yard and DET might be quite right in attributing the failure, in part, to a dislocation in attitudes to The Monarchy between Plaid's new leader and voters. Should DET have kept quiet about that? Are you saying that DET was actually wrong in his analysis? If he is wrong and the Valleys are staunch republicans, what else was wrong? Just shooting the messenger every time isn't a good idea.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the Valleys like most of Wales voted on economics, pure and simple, for Labour against the coalition that has just "achieved" a double dip recession, rather than voting on monarchism or republicanism. I am not saying that not going to the Jubilee service helped Plaid though. But the result was mainly to do with the state of the economy and cuts to services, and the opinion polls showed labour taking 40-50% of the vote in Wales before the Jubilee service became an issue.

Ironically Leanne's stance since then on the monarchy has been perfect. But what's done is done.

MH said...

First, Anon 20:24, I don't know exactly what Dafydd said, though perhaps you do.

But what you've described sounds rather like a boy saying that spiders hear through their legs. When asked how he'd worked this out he said that they used to run way when he shouted "boo", but after he'd pulled off their legs they didn't run away ... and this was obviously because they couldn't hear him shout "boo".

MH said...

I think Leanne's stance on the monarchy was right not only since she decided not to attend that service, but when she decided not to attend it, 21:21.

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid I have to disagree. One of the attributes of a good leader, political or otherwise, is the ability to sense when to make a stand or to instinctively know when to go with the flow. Wee Lec knows when. But does Leanne?

Anonymous said...

Agree that DET would rather stop being an AM than a Lord.

I don't buy that some AM's will just let DET to be a Minister- Lab backbenchers are already annoyed.

20:24 if DET's support in MNC / DM was growing then you MAY have had a point. However in 1999 he received 63% in 2003 he received 57%. Under the new constituency of DM in 2007 he received 59% and in 2011 this was 46%. This is just not good enough, and has turned a safe seat into what may be a marginal. The real test for LW will be the Euros (I'm not sure- do we see the results for each area in Wales?).

Finally I liked the way LW has tackled the monarchy issue HOWEVER I wish she had said on Record in the Senedd "I don't agree with it" - I don't think she did. This disappointed me.

Anonymous said...

Many of you do miss some points.

Plaid did very bad in Leanne's back yard - but very well in Meirionnydd!!

Also many plaid members make the mistake of not realising how popular DET is actually with ordinary people right across the board and the fact he can, and does reach out to people who others in Plaid can only dream about. Furthermore whatever you think of DET he has been instrumental over the years in using the system to push the agenda forward.

Also whatever was actually said on this trip it was with Chatham house rules and should be accepted as such.

The leadership should start showing leadership and vision to the people of Wales and not wasting time on these red herrings. Lets not do the work of the Brits for them by facilitating divide and rule. We need some real politik and less romantacism.

We talk of discipling DET at Plaids peril

Phil R said...

How do you work out that DET is popular with "ordinary people right across the board"? He's definitely popular with Labour and Tory politicians and it's obvious why - he's much closer to their values than he is to ours.

He's an establishment bootlicker who's finally gone too far and now needs to be booted out before he can do any more damage.

Anonymous said...

Many of these comments are possibly trying to stir things up. There is no prospect of Dafydd El being "expelled" from the party. It's not as if he did a Keith Davies. Disciplining is just a meeting and a telling off.

There is also no prospect of him leaving Plaid. He believes that he is Plaid through and through and believes his views represent the evolution of nationalism, not Labourism.

Finally it's incorrect to believe Leanne or Plaid are "wasting time" on this. It is a Western Mail story and Labour stirring, not a story Plaid are promoting. In light of the SNP's professional focus on discipline and unity around their party leader it is completely right for Llyr H G to have reported this, because even without knowing him I can tell he has 100% integrity and discipline. Building this up is a culture though and will take time. There won't be any kind of firm action against Dafydd El.

With all this said it is probably good for Labour to have knocked Leanne down a peg after she "beat" them in the Jubilee debate. They have used their anonymous sources to sow division or the impression of disunity in Plaid.

Anonymous said...

Anon 23:06 your point about Plaid doing well in Meirionydd and badly in RCT is not to do with the relative merits of Leanne or DET. In RCT Labour is strong. In Meirionydd it isn't. And in these elections that's what counted.

The societal factors that make working class RCT a strong Labour area and Meirionydd a strong Plaid area predate both Leanne Wood and DET being on the scene.

In our analysis we need to be less superficial and less based on personalities. Plaid has been stagnant since Wigley. You can't just try and get a new personality in to change that you need organisation, activists (who voted for Leanne) and a strong team.

Anonymous said...

MH although your analogy about the spider is amusing it masks the lack of intellectual rigour behind your analysis. I am not pretending that the reasons put forward by DET were the only reasons for Plaid's failure in the Valleys but how foolish is it to not even consider his statement that LW's attitude to the Queen "played badly on the doorstep"? Do you think that he made this up?

It doesn't really matter whether YOU think that LW's attitude to Monarchy is right or not; what matters is what helps people from Plaid to get elected. It's no use you pushing a principled stance on every aspect of Nationalism that finds no echo in the population in general. Pragmatism and realism might need to be considered at some time.

You might also consider (but you won't) that this witch hunting of DET and people within Plaid with varying views or emphasis smacks of totalitarianism in the making. We now have Llyr Snitch reporting back to the venerated leader and no doubt getting Brownie points for it.

Not pleasant.

Welsh not British said...

The vast majority of people in the valleys or anywhere else in Wales don't care about the royal family or about politics in general. This is proven by the voter turnout.

MH said...

To Anon 23:00. Are you in any doubt over Leanne's position regarding the monarchy? I don't think she needs to spell it out on every occasion.

However on the subject of Dafydd's so called popularity, I think you make some good points. His declining share of the vote shows he isn't as popular as he likes to make out he is. I think that's a good answer to Anon 23:06 for, like Phil, I wonder if his "across the board" popularity isn't mainly from Plaid's political opponents, delighted that he has so often been at odds with the aims and policies of the party.

But I wouldn't so boldly assert that the trip was "with Chatham House rules". We have too little information about the whole episode to be sure of that or anything else. But I would repeat what I said in the main post: simply disagreeing with the party leader or with any aspects of party policy is not a valid ground for disciplinary action in Plaid Cymru. There would have to be more to it than that.


I think 00:48 is quite right to say that we can't draw any conclusions about Leanne's leadership from the result of the council elections. She had only been leader for a few weeks, with no time to make any significant changes. It will probably take a year or two before we see any end result ... but that's no problem, because we don't have any significant elections in the next few years.


Comparing you to that boy seems to have hit home, Anon 20:24/06:42. Stop to look at the absurdity of your position. You talk of "analysis" and "intellectual rigour", but how do you even know what Dafydd said?

Yet you seem as sure about it as if you'd said it yourself ... and from the petulance in your comment, perhaps you did. But neither you nor anyone else can discuss it now without you telling us what was said. If you wish to do that, please go ahead. If you don't—or can't—then it's probably you who is making things up.

Anonymous said...

As one who did win an election in May in Plaids name, and who met a 1000 voters on the doar step . LW stand on the Queen did cost us votes, it was her refusal to attend the service, they objected to, and not her republican position, even her fellow republicans said she was wrong.

Having someone reply to emails sent to her might also help.

Unknown said...

Let's look at what was actually reported - "Former Plaid Cymru president Dafydd Elis-Thomas is facing the prospect of disciplinary action within the party over critical comments he made about leader Leanne Wood at a private dinner."

'Faces the prospect of . . .' hardly constitutes a story, does it?

"Lord Elis-Thomas chairs the National Assembly’s environment committee, . . . " now that bring with it responsibilities to your position, and to your party. DET appears to have failed to uphold the standards required, but he is the most measured and deliberate man in Welsh Politics, so this can't be by accident, can it?

And what terrible retribution fell on his sensitive head - ". . . and there has been talk of getting Dafydd to apologise or disciplining him.

This has been raised in the last two Plaid group meetings."

Ohhh - Poor lamb! He must be feeling terribly unloved, bless him!

A short meeting with Leanne will (or has been) enough. Put him in his lowly place as a poor 3rd out of 3. If he can't live with it, it speaks volumes about him, and says nothing of Plaid apart from the fact that Leanne is asserting her stamp on it, (in a very non-threatening, inclusive, holistic way(LOL))

Unknown said...

How did the WM know that Llyr Hughes Griffiths had 'reported ' this to the party? And what form did this 'report' take? A conversation? Filling in a form?

Chatham house rules state

"When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed".

Now somebody has clearly broken this rule - the WM should be more fully engaged in finding out who! And I'm sure it wasn't Llyr, or the party!

MH said...

Only a very confused republican would go out of their way to attend an event held to celebrate the monarchy, Anon 12:47 (unless it was to demonstrate against it, of course). That's what I would have told anyone I met on a doorstep who claimed to be a republican but objected to Leanne's behaviour.

And if saying that lost us some votes (which I don't doubt) I would put that into perspective and say that if Leanne had gone to that service it would cost us many more votes from people who would rightly be able to call her unprincipled or a hypocrite.

Anonymous said...

I am glad I did not listen to you, for I would have lost the election.Many who did loose,did blame LW for their defeat.
I better not say any more, or I could be snitched, just like DET.

Anonymous said...

We're supposed to believe that vast swathes of the population refuse to vote for LW's party because of her principled opposition to monarchy, but are more than happy to vote for the war mongering, economy destroying, forlock tugging labour party? Sorry not buying it.

MH said...

You're as free to believe that as you are to believe that spiders hear through their legs, Anon 17:48.

I do understand your disappointment that Leanne won the leadership election so overwhelmingly; but you have to come to terms with it instead of stoking yourself up to the extent that your natural disappointment turns to self-induced resentment and bitterness.

You've reduced yourself to sad fool of a man if you think you can get away with taking continual cheap potshots at Leanne from behind the mask of Chatham House rules in meetings or anonymity on this blog. Get a grip on your dignity before you lose it completely.

Anonymous said...

Re mh
Dont loose it
I am certainly not DET.
I come from the south.

MH said...

From the petulance of what you've written, especially calling Llyr Huws Gruffydd a snitch, you seem to be taking this rather too personally for that to be entirely credible, Anon.

I'll leave others to decide whether that's because you are Dafydd, because you feel a particular affinity towards him, or because you've lost touch with reality. But what I said about the resentment and bitterness behind your sniping would apply no matter which was true.

Unknown said...

An I alone in doubting anon's credentials as a Plaid candidate? If he is, then he is undoubtedly an opportunist like Oscar, who doesn't understand - or more likely doesn't care - what the party stands for as long as he gets elected. We really don't have room for that sort in Plaid - Labour is a far more natural home for them.

It has occurred to me that since Leighton Andrews threatened the WM with pulling the rug of public advertising from under their feet unless they stopped attacking Welsh language policy, that we have had a spate of stories - or rather, non stories - phrased in terms designed to be harmful to Plaid. A bit of quid pro quo there, do you think?

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't be surprised if Anon 0642, 1748 & 2115 turned out to be the work of the Anglesey troll.

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of the troll who farcically claimed to be a Welsh speaking maths professor a few weeks ago.

Anonymous said...

I am a welsh speaking Maths Proffessor, down with the Welsh Language,

oleua mae DET yn ddeal ei cymuned. maer MH, yma ddim yn gwybod beth maen siarad am

Anonymous said...

I wrote 1247 1748 and 2115, and had not even read 0642 untill this morning, not guilty.
When pushed most of my voters do not agree with royalty, but like it or not, they like the Queen, I can only conclude that it is only because she is an 86 year old woman that is still working.
Best just to acceapt. But I also remind them about the cost a million here a million there, and our Labour controlled council want to sack 3 road crossing ladies to save £20,000.

maen_tramgwydd said...

Anon 11:08

"When pushed most of my voters do not agree with royalty, but like it or not, they like the Queen"

During the recent election, I didn't get a visit or a phone call from any candidate or party. In fact, I can't remember getting such in any election for years, let alone have the opportunity to discuss the monarchy with anyone. Yet you claim to know the opinions of local voters on the queen - seems you've been knocking doors and asking them about it?

We all know that public opinion is easily manipulated. The public service broadcasters, especially the state tax-funded mouthpiece called the BBC, and the right wing tabloid press have been feeding us a non-stop diet of pro-royal propaganda since the demise of Diana. The jubilee coverage has been over the top. CNN reported today that the public holiday is costing the UK $1.8bn, and the country is about to have a third quarter negative growth of 0.5% - a real double dip recession. Madness.

When Mrs Windsor finally succumbs to her mortality, the succession of her son will prove just how fickle people really are.

My gut feeling is that the majority of the UK's population is indifferent to the monarchy as it is to politics. People might want to party, and most of us do, that doesn't mean much.

Personally, I couldn't give a fig if DET defected. In my opinion he has been a liability to the party for years. Plaid's equivalent of George Thomas.

Leanne is right to stick to her convictions and her democratic principles. The arguments are all on her side. She comes over as sincere, down to earth and sensible. She can be contrasted with the many hypocritical, lickspittle, toadying, politicians in other parties, and the one or two in Plaid, who shall be nameless.

Anonymous said...

Maen Tramgwydd

You're being disrespectful to the councillor. In my county there was intense activity. Multiple leaflet drops and personal calls. Even a phone call from Plaid in Cardiff. You obviously live in a sleepy ward in a sleepy county.

maen_tramgwydd said...

Anon 13:43

I don't read any disrespect in my comment.

Anon 11:08 claims to be an elected representative. As he/she prefers to remain anonymous, we have no means of verifying anything in his/her comment(s). Therefore I can't see how it is disrespectful to question what is being claimed.

Anonymous said...

This is ridiculous. What do you want Leanne to do about not going to the celebration service? Apologise? Stand down as leader?

What is claiming you are a Plaid councillor and going online to whinge about it going to achieve? Especially as since then Leanne has handled the jubilee competently and superbly.

These discussions are easily manipulated by our political opponents. Journalists read them to sample the mood. Stop doing out opponents' jobs for them. I work hard for this party and dont need people undermining it anonymously. We should use the Internet to promote Plaid Cymru, not to snipe petulantly about things.

Anonymous said...

There's an excellent piece in The Times today by Fintan O'Toole of the Irish Times on the benefits and drawbacks of independence.

Anonymous said...

It seems my only crime is to have knocked on every front doar. Not quite true, out of a 1000, I had help in two streets, avoided 3 houses,opposition, found no access to 3 houses, and missed a house.

About 50% were at home, during my first round of visits. Plaid Leadership and Royalty was seldom if ever discussed. Issues were entirely local, and all was looking good.

There was a week gap between my first and second round of canvassing, as I was admitted to hospital. LW and R was now being raised. But I was not worried, though I had concentrated on my solid vote, so as to make sure they voted.
It was on election day that things really changed,
we have just one voting booth, and I stood outside it for 14 of the 15 hours it was open. Proudly dissplaying my Plaid badge. [I had to do my daily visit to the nurse.] The main topic had become LW and R, things were not going as well as hoped. But once I explained that Plaid is a broad church with a wide range of views on many topics, I got the handshake I wanted.

The resulte in my case were,
postal was a draw,
on the day, two to one to me.
The opposition played their R card well in the week I was out of action. But I made my comeback on election day.
Avoid the R debate, as they will not win Plaid a single vote. But can cost us many.

I have not whinged, only explained, what and how I saw things.

At least Plaid remains a broad Church that it has to be, if it wants to continue to win elections.

Anonymous said...

Accept it, the extreme nats are a spent force and these last few days celebrating our common culture proves it.

LW is not even fringe - she's a lonely loony, all out there on her own.

Dafydd Ellis Thomas is trying to bring his party of misfits into the popular manistream, and what he said on the trip proves his political accumen.

"Infantile leftist claptrap" - Leanne Wood
"I hope I never see independence in my day"
These are the popular views in Wales, Dafydd clearly understands this and shares the popular view, and unless the nats accept this then they'll go nowhere.

As for Chatham House - let's be honest Dafydd's opinions are well known, and there were a lot of people on that trip. Everybody in Welsh Labour's knows it and, contrary to the nats conspiracy theorists, no, they're not 'gleeful' but instead welcoming the fact that the moderate Plaid members are coming over.

Dafydd is good to Wales and is good to Britain!

Anonymous said...

"she's lonely loony"

I hear lot of lazy name-calling of Leanne but very little criticism of any of her actual policies.

Anonymous said...

Ironically, when Dafydd El was Plaid leader he was much more left-wing than Leanne Wood, openly calling himself a Marxist and being the darling of the London new left.

MH said...

I see a rapid injection of backpedalling, denial and UD (without the F) from Anon.

I would only note that he started by being very sure of what had been said at the dinner and challenged me to deny that those points were valid. He was adamant that Leanne's republicanism was the cause of Plaid's loss in places like Caerffili, rejected what I said about standing firm on principle because it would cost the party more votes, but now claims that most of "his" voters disagree with royalty when he reminds them about the cost. People can make up their own minds, but it doesn't wash with me.

The point at issue isn't really the monarchy, it was just a pretext for expressing his disgruntlement with our decision to elect Leanne as leader, and to take potshots at her.


But perhaps it is worth touching on what I think our position should be. If the claim is that Leanne's position on the monarchy is costing Plaid votes, why doesn't the same apply to independence? The opinion polls vary a bit, but generally haven't put support for independence above 15%. Yet we know that support for getting rid of the monarchy is at about 22%. So if we take the view that a political party should align itself behind the most popular position, we'd actually do better to ditch independence and unequivocally support having an elected head of state instead.

Now I strongly suspect that most members of Plaid would want to get rid of the monarchy, so my view is that we should make it our official policy. I think it would win us votes. I also think it would help increase support for independence, for the UK as a whole is very unlikely to vote to get rid of the monarchy, and therefore the only realistic chance of people in Wales have of getting rid of it is for us to make our own decision after we have become independent.

This wouldn't cost us anything in terms of votes either in elections or in an independence referendum, because getting rid of the monarchy is not part-and-parcel of being independent. It is a decision we would make some time after we had become independent, and it couldn't happen unless we voted for it.

The sort of people Plaid Cymru would win over would be those who don't care very much about whether Wales is independent, and perhaps don't care very much about Wales as a nation. But they do care very strongly about social equality, the unfairness of inherited wealth and the power and influence that goes with it, and the complete waste of the public money that the UK pumps into keeping it all going.

Unknown said...

MH, I am getting very annoyed by Anonymous posts - the one who makes bold,, outrageous assertions should identify himself, or at least post under a pseudonym - the other are difficult to tell apart. Surely you have established this blot sufficiently to insist on an identity - even if it is a facebook or twitter identity.

Anonymous said...

"Now I strongly suspect that most members of Plaid would want to get rid of the monarchy, so my view is that we should make it our official policy. I think it would win us votes."

I think I saw some references to polling on the Monarchy which included Wales on UK polling.


You may be right....maybe not. What do you base your guess on?

As for it winning votes for you, that depends. Votes are won by paties that replicate in their thinking the aspirations and beliefs of a wide variety of the population it's true but it's more subtle than that. It all depends how strongly you feel about a position. Many in Wales (I suspect) don't particularly support Monarchy but shrink from showing disrespect to the present Queen. It's this ambivalence of outlook that Leanne failed to acknowledge before the election. If she had shown the political nouse that informed her recent performance in the Senedd prior to the election then she would have glowingly acknowledged the Queen's contribution but expressed her personal reservations in a rational way. When the Queen dies I think there will be many more people who reject her replacement.

MH said...

You're being irrational, Anon.

So Leanne "failed to acknowledge" some sort of ambivalence? Of course she didn't. Her views (and those of myself and many others) are that it is better to have an elected than unelected head of state, but we don't hold either the present incumbent nor future ones responsible for the current set up. It's not a case of having "personal reservations" about the monarchy; it's a clear, unequivocal statement that the system is completely inappropriate and needs to be changed.

So how could anyone in their right mind say that Elizabeth Windsor has made a "contribution" that is worth acknowledging? All that's happened is that she was born into a particular family and has survived her father by 60 years.

Offering "best wishes" or even "congratulations" might just about be appropriate ... in the same way that I might offer them to any old person that reaches a certain age or couple that has stayed together for many years. But it's impossible to do any more than that with a clear conscience. To hold her responsible for anything good or bad which has happened in the past 60 years (such as "providing the bedrock on which sustainable democratic institutions have been established and developed") is nothing more than toadying sycophancy. No sane, rational person could possibly believe it. And even in the most general terms it's as pointless to say that she has done a "good job" as that she has done a "bad job", for we'd be stuck with her no matter what ... and even calling it a "job" is an insult to everyone who has had to actually work for a living.

The same will apply to whoever succeeds her. To accept an old lady who has been monarch for 60 years by mere accident of birth, but reject a successor who will become monarch by exactly the same accident of birth is completely irrational. Anyone who does so is applying a value judgement about how suitable someone is to be head of state and whether it would be better for another person to be head of state instead. That is called choice. If you accept that people have the right to make value judgements about whether one person is more suited to hold that position than another, you've accepted that we should choose who we have as our head of state.

Owen said...

There was a piece in The Telegraph today that said:

"How many people who now claim to be monarchists are actually Elizabethists? Men and women who will withdraw their support when our irreplaceable Queen is no more."

Perhaps Betty has been too "successful" for her own good. Chuckles will go mad because he won't be able to interfere or say anything untoward, while Bill gives the impression he doesn't really want the role in the first place, and would rather fly helicopters for as long as possible.

I recently posted on my own blog on the monarchy and its relation to Welsh independence, including a compromise that might satisfy (or dissatisfy in equal measure) both republicans and monarchists - an elected non-hereditary Welsh monarch, with the position being treated as the highest civilian honour.

MH said...

I think the Telegraph had a point, Owen. However I don't think we should underestimate the extent to which the media and others (the same as were behind hyping this jubilee) will do the same for whoever is next in line. Somehow they'll manage to make even Charles seem like a suitable replacement.

I read your blog article, and do like the idea of an elected monarch. I talked about the idea back in the days when WalesOnline had a forum and have touched on it again here and here. For me, it was more a case of giving what in other countries would be called a President the title Tywysog(es) in order to prevent it being used by the Windsors. I thought it would detoxify the brand. You seem to have come to the same end point from a different angle (namely as a continuation of the monarchy we already have, but chosen by election rather than accident of birth) and I suspect your approach might be a much better way of presenting it and winning support for it.

You've gone into plenty of detail, and I wouldn't object to any of it except place of birth and parents' place of birth. I wouldn't want to repeat what I see as the mistake made by the USA. I prefer the closed nomination model you mentioned (primarily because it will stop the election from becoming a party political matter) and I see that process as sufficient in itself to determine whether a candidate is Welsh enough. I think a shortlist of three might be too restrictive.


Bouncing an idea off the wall, one thing you didn't touch on was the honours system. I take it as read that Wales would have some way of recogizing and honouring the great and the good. In England and Scotland the topmost orders of chivalry are the Orders of the Garter and Thistle, each comprising a very limited number of members (24 and 16). If we created a more egalitarian and merit-based Welsh Order, the criteria for being appointed to it would be fairly similar to the criteria you set out for becoming Tywysog, and the Order could therefore act as its own shortlist for that role. If we did have 20, 30 or even 40 people in the Order, it's very unlikely that more than half a dozen of them would want to stand. Ex-Tywysogion would "retire" back to the Order, and "losing" candidates would still have the honour of being part of the Order.

Anonymous said...

The best and most incisive analysis of Queen Elizabeth II's unique contribution to the UK over a period of 60 years is to be found on the front cover of this week's Private Eye. The best five seconds of my week.

Anonymous said...


Unknown said...

MH I thought we had the most meritocratic system of honours in the commonwealth - Yr Orsedd! You do not get invited, these days, unless you have contributed to Welsh life and the language (how Charles was admitted is still a mystery!), and of course the highest honours are reserved for those who have risen to the highest heights of one of the oldest, most elaborate
literatures in western Europe if not the world. Mere gongs are nothing to the White Gown!

Unknown said...

Anon - the DoE is also waving from his hospital window, but you probably don't want to see what he is waving! I certainly don't.

Anonymous said...

DET won't leave because he needs to be seen as being victimised or 'pushed'. But we need to think about who is really gaining from Leanne being portrayed as under attack from within her own party, or from Plaid being divided (even if it's just DET against everyone else).

Think about who has seemed most rattled since Leanne became leader. Labour have attacked her through the unions (and the rhetoric used from the Labour party sources was vicious), and also tried to lay a trap over the Jubilee debate. I don't make a fantasy claim that Leanne has Labour running scared, they are actually pretty untouchable right now, but she is a potential problem for them and Labour are not stupid. They need to portray her negatively very early on in her leadership.

Labour needs Leanne Wood's leadership of the party to be seen as difficult or not accepted widely. The fact she won the vote isn't important to them, as they will just make things up. Unfortunately DET is helping them do that, even indirectly.

Owen said...

Thanks for the reply to my initial post, MH. Sorry for my late response.

They are already "softening" Charles up, and subtly making Camilla appear as a legitimate Queen Consort. I'm convinced that once he becomes monarch he'll do or say something that will send many "Elizabethists" over to the republican side. His saviour will be his son, and privately I imagine many monarchists will be crossing their fingers for a short reign, however distasteful that sounds.

I agree that we've probably come to the same conclusion from different starting points - in fact most of my blog appears to be word-for-word very similar to your own comments (unintentional, as they say great minds think alike, lol ).

I was going to look at a Welsh Honours System separately at a later date. Once again I'd probably have similar ideas to what you've suggested, and agree it would be an excellent way to draw up a shortlist for a Tywysog(es).

Unknown said...

I notice that it is over a week now since this sensationalist story was printed in the Western Mail, and no substance has been added to it. If there were any truth in the original story, Dafydd's broken and tortured body would already be on display. I think Leanne has shone - from this and from her refusal to rise to the other Labour inspired stories Shipton is trotting out these days, that she is in fact at ease with the position she has been elected to, and quite up to the job, thank you! Wales has far more important things to be concerned with than the Labour party's emotional spasms!

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