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