As a dog returns to his vomit ...

As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool returns to his folly.

Proverbs 26:11

It looks like Dafydd Elis-Thomas has decided he's had enough of pretending that he supports independence for Wales.

As many readers of Syniadau will remember, up until the Plaid Cymru Party Conference in September 2011 Dafydd had been firmly against independence for Wales. But at that conference we decided to change our constitution to make it explicit that our first aim as a party is to secure independence for Wales in Europe. This was already an implicit aim of the party, for another of the fundamental aims of the party is for Wales to attain membership of the United Nations, and a country cannot attain membership of the United Nations unless it is an independent state.

After I and other members of the party brought disciplinary action against him for making statements which were in direct contradiction to these aims, Dafydd told Martin Shipton of the Western Mail that he had "voted enthusiastically" in favour of that change. The details are here. That was quite a U-turn, and I can well understand why he might want to invent such a fig leaf. But it served well enough, for if Dafydd could change his mind and come out in favour of independence, so could anyone else. Since then he has trodden a fine line and has not, at least to my knowledge, said anything to indicate that he does not support independence for Wales ... though he was happy to let his stooges convey those sentiments for him in his failed bid to become leader.

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That has now changed. As has just been reported in Wales Online, he has delivered the June Speaker's Lecture in Westminster, in which he said:

I'm an out-and-out UK federalist ... There was never a project for Welsh independence, anyway.

Wales Online, 12 June 2013

If this statement has been reported accurately (for these words might perhaps have been taken out of context) it means Dafydd has either flip-flopped back to the anti-independence position he espoused before September 2011, or that he was being deliberately deceitful when he said that he was now enthusiastically in favour of independence for Wales. I think the second is more likely; but it doesn't particularly matter which one it is, for the first is every bit as bad as the second.

However it is perfectly clear that he can no longer remain a member of Plaid Cymru, or be part of the Plaid Cymru Group in the National Assembly, if he does not support independence for Wales. Not only is he undermining the primary aim of Plaid Cymru as a political party but, by claiming that "there was never a project for Welsh independence", he is gratuitously insulting everyone (both in the party and outside it) who has worked, and continues to work, for independence for Wales.

Unless firm action is taken quickly Plaid Cymru will be dragged back into the same disrepute it faced when previous leaders were less than straightforward about independence. I expect better from Leanne Wood. She must now call him to account for what he has said, and must not be afraid to suspend him from the Assembly Group until this matter has been resolved.

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5 comments:

welshnotbritish said...

I actually find his comments relating to our 'relationship' with England to be quite offensive.

It is politicians like him that have held our country back for centuries. He needs to go!

If he is suspended, what happens then?

Jac o' the North, said...

Actually, much of what he says is difficult to dispute. I'm thinking now of, "But the principality of Wales is not a creation of Norman military ascendancy. It is the creation of Welsh leaders themselves . . . "

An alternative interpretation might be that this is due to a thousand years of Wales suffering leaders too many of whom sought to advance themselves within the English system with little thought to Wales or the Welsh people.

Either way, given that this 'principality' system has benefitted the few at the expense of the many, whether their name was Seisyll or Elis Thomas, there is no justification for persisting with this system.

MH said...

I don't particularly care about Dafydd's views on a whole range of things, Royston. There are some things to agree with, some things to disagree with, but a whole lot of stuff which isn't worth either agreeing or disagreeing with.

The only issue that really concerns me is his position on independence for Wales. If—as he said on several occasions before 2011, and has said again now—he wants Wales to be part of a federal UK rather than an independent nation, he cannot be a member of Plaid Cymru. The party's constitution makes that perfectly clear. He must face disciplinary action for what he has said and, if he is unable to support independence, must be kicked out of the party.

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I'm specifically calling on Leanne to suspend Dafydd from the Plaid Group in the Assembly in the same way as he was suspended before, Stu. When he was suspended before it was over the relatively minor matter of party policy on health. There will always be differences between members of any party on some policies, but independence for Wales is more than a policy, it is the primary aim of Plaid Cymru as stated in the party's constitution. It is therefore a much more serious matter than a disagreement over a particular policy.

After Dafydd was reinstated, Leanne said: "I do not expect, and will not accept, the party being placed in this position again."

Well, the party has been put in exactly the same position again, but this time over a more serious matter. So Leanne really has no choice but to act. If she doesn't her leadership will be damaged, and with it any chance of an electoral breakthrough for the party in 2016. Dafydd is showing her his arse, and Leanne should kick him out on it.

BoiCymraeg said...

Whether or not there "ever was" a movement for Welsh independence is surely irrelevant, as is the history of the constitutional relationship between Wales and England. Our support for Wales' being an independent nation isn't (or certainly shouldn't be) based on anything that has or hasn't happened in the past, but rather on our vision of what Wales should be in the future.

Dafydd El is a liability to the party, it should be recommended that he "retire" gracefully before 2016.

Ambiorix said...

If Dafydd doesn't believe in independence for wales why is still a member of Plaid Cymru. seems a bit odd!

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