Rhun ap Iorwerth is lying about Wylfa B

Today's Sunday Supplement was largely devoted to the Ynys Môn by-election on Thursday. The full debate can be heard below or downloaded here but, as readers would expect, I want to focus on what was said about Wylfa B, and in particular this exchange between Vaughan Roderick and Rhun ap Iorwerth:

VR:  But, to be clear, Plaid Cymru want decisions over power stations to be devolved. If Wylfa B was on the table in the Assembly, and you had to vote yes or no, which way would you vote?

RhapI:  I am being quite clear, and I can't make it any clearer: I am saying yes to Wylfa B.

VR:  But your party doesn't say that.

RhapI:  Plaid Cymru is a party, unlike many of the other parties, that actually discusses decisions and decides what's best for Wales. You know that there's been a policy in Plaid Cymru going back 40 years where we've said, "Develop nuclear power stations on the sites where there are nuclear power stations in the past." It's nothing new for a member of Plaid Cymru, and somebody who wants to be an elected member for Plaid Cymru, to say let's support the continuation of nuclear power generation on the site where that has been happening for decades.

VR:  I'm sorry, that does sound an awful lot like having your cake in Dwyfor Meirionnydd and Ynys Môn and eating it elsewhere.


If Rhun wants clarity, then we need to be absolutely clear that he is misleading people on this issue by telling blatant lies.

Plaid Cymru does discuss issues and makes policy decisions that we believe are in the best interests of Wales (although it is a bit naïve for Rhun to think that most other parties don't make decisions in a similar way), and while it might or might not be true to say that Plaid used to have a policy of developing nuclear power stations on existing sites at some time in the past, it has most definitely not been Plaid Cymru's policy for some years. The decision made at conference is that Plaid Cymru are totally opposed to the construction of any nuclear power station in Wales, including a new nuclear power station at Wylfa B [click to display] and Rhun is deliberately misleading people by pretending otherwise.

Although it is nothing new for a member of Plaid Cymru to support the continuation of nuclear power, those members are definitely in a minority within the party. However it is of much more concern to me that Rhun did not make his position on nuclear power clear to party members at the hustings when he was selected as Plaid's candidate. The position he presented at that time was "more or less identical" to that of Ann Griffith and Heledd Fychan, and Heledd made it clear that she was opposed to nuclear power. Nor did he make his support for Wylfa B clear in the statements he made immediately after he had been selected; instead he hid his position behind tortuously ambiguous words both in his interview with the Daily Post and on his own blog. I've commented on what he said here and here.

His support for Wylfa B (as opposed to support for maximizing local employment opportunities if Wylfa B were to be built, which is entirely different) only came out in a careless tweet last week. It should therefore be obvious to anyone that Rhun deliberately misled Plaid members in Môn in order to be selected.


We do not need dishonest politicians like Rhun ap Iorwerth. If he's elected on Thursday he will be a liability to Plaid Cymru for years to come, because he clearly isn't interested in Plaid's policies for Wales. He is a cuckoo who has duped his way into our nest in order to follow a private agenda of his own, or the agenda of a narrow interest group within the party that refuses to accept democratic decisions made by the membership as a whole.

The only person who sounded convincing on the issue of nuclear power was Kathrine Jones of the Socialist Labour Party. Her position was far closer to that of Plaid Cymru than Rhun's.

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kp said...

Can't agree with you more. But isn't this what we have come to expect from Plaid Cymru. Remember IWJ and the embarrassment over his holiday home in France. Isn't this just another example of Plaid politicians saying one thing and doing another.

Leanne Wood was making progress to turn the party into a 'proper' party. Am I only one that feels things have gone backwards by about ten years since Rhun was nominated.

No, I won't vote Plaid. Never have and doubt I ever will. But I do like see a strong opposition to Labour in these parts. Shame it can't be an entirely honest opposition too!

MH said...

A week or so ago you were telling us that you'd joined Plaid Cymru, yet now it's a party you've never voted for. As trolls go, you're not very good, KP.

glynbeddau said...

I still hope he wins but it reflects the problem that all the arties have in Wylfa.

The idea is probably that opposinf wylf out right makes yu unelectable.

But Plaid should be arguing the case that Wylfa B wil cost jonbs as noone wil want to set up next to a nuclear powe station.

But we ned our polticians to be honest with usit seems that Plaid may be creating a rod for its own back as theres bound to be a backlash at the next conference.

MH said...

There's been a remarkable (but perhaps understandable) public silence from others in Plaid about this, but I do know that people are unhappy with what has happened, Glyn. I expect it will come out later.

As I've said several times in the last few weeks, if there is any perception that being opposed to Wylfa B will make a candidate unelectable, it is completely unfounded. Just look at what the survey evidence shows. People want jobs, but only a minority wants those jobs to be created by building a new nuclear power station; most local people want those jobs to be created in the renewable/alternative energy sector instead.

The tragedy of the situation is that it was completely unnecessary to shortlist and select a candidate in such a deceitful way. Plaid Cymru would have won this election anyway, irrespective of whether our candidate supported party policy on nuclear power, because it is a safe seat at Assembly level. On top of that we have just put in a hugely impressive performance in the local elections, beating Labour by two to one in terms of the percentage of the vote.

This has been about a narrow interest group within Plaid trying to undermine the party as a whole. They have not only made it harder for Plaid to retain Ynys Môn, but also made it harder for Plaid to win elsewhere in Wales in 2016.

Der said...

".....most local people want those jobs to be created in the renewable/alternative energy sector instead."

But it aint gonna happen is it?

Democritus said...

Has Rhun actually stated whether he believes in Independence at all? Are we on the verge of electing a middle aged DET who will feel happy to go his own way whenever and wherever he and/or the Ynys Mon local activists dissent from national policy?

MH said...

Two points, Der. First, why do you think Wylfa B is going to happen? The first consortium pulled out, the second, led by Hitachi, is only interested in building it but isn't interested in what happens afterward (see here). As the real cost of nuclear power is in decommissioning, storing waste and making the site safe rather than building it, Wylfa B is still a very long way off.

Second, what makes you think the renewable alternatives won't happen? The windfarms in the Round 3 Irish Sea zone alone will produce more electricity each year than Wylfa A ever did. Details of the first of these, Rhiannon, are here. There are also developments in tidal flow (here) solar PV (here) and biomass (here).

MH said...

As I've said all along, nobody other than those in Rhun's immediate circle can have any idea of what his political views are, Democritus. That was why it was such a dangerous gamble for a majority on Plaid's National Executive to waive the one year rule and allow him to stand.

But you can be sure that the narrow interest group within the party that engineered this fiasco know exactly what his views are. It will all come out in due course, but by then it will be too late, for the damage will have been done. All I can say for sure is that Ieuan is in that group, because he was the one who immediately changed his mind about when to stand down, thus forcing the local party to make an instant decision without any chance of being able to properly scrutinize the potential candidates. But I'm sure others were involved too.

Lyndon said...

This blog is now being quoted by Plaid's enemies in the by-election, so I hope you're happy.

99 people out of a hundred in Wales couldn't give a monkey's nuts about the nuclear power issue.

Rule #1 in politics, never mistake your own personal obsessions for a matter of genuine public interest (see also: Tories/Europe).

MH said...

In case you hadn't realized it, Lyndon, my position on nuclear power is not a "personal obsession". It is an opinion shared by the majority of Plaid members. It is my party's policy, and I am not prepared to sweep it under the carpet for the sake of some Johnny-come-lately who has only been a member for a few weeks and who only made his support for Wylfa B clear after he had been selected as Plaid's candidate.

So don't get angry with me, direct your anger at those responsible for undermining party policy instead.

Der said...

"".....most local people want those jobs to be created in the renewable/alternative energy sector instead."

But it aint gonna happen is it?"

"...what makes you think the renewable alternatives won't happen?"

What I am saying will not happen are plentiful jobs arising from the renewable/alternative energy sector. Once the windmills are erected, they need little maintenance. The same for solar. People would prefer jobs in these sectors, but they just don't produce jobs unless we're talking about wind-mill production elsewhere of solar panel production in China. In the absence of work, I would imagine that the people of Mon will take jobs in a new nuclear power plant.

kp said...

MH, I joined Plaid to vote for Leanne. Pure and simples!

No, I don't vote for Plaid at election time. Or I haven't thus far. If Rhun had said a big fat NO to Wylva B I most probably would have voted for him. But he didn't and so I won't.

Leanne has at least two big problems on her hands now. Rhun ap Iowerth and Adam Price. Neither can be trusted. And trust is essential in a small political party.

As for the comments of some of your other readers, well, it seems matters such as due political process and open discussion don't rate too highly. It says a lot!

MH said...

Every means of producing electricity requires a degree of maintenance, Der. To say that wind or tidal turbines, or a biomass plant, hardly require it is as misguided as saying that a nuclear power plant hardly requires it.

Holyhead is ideally placed to become the main port for offshore renewables, both wind and tidal. There's an article about the new London Array here with details of the 90 long-term maintenance jobs it will create at Ramsgate. That's only for 630MW of installed capacity. The Rhiannon windfarm is very much bigger than that. It will have an installed capacity of 2,200MW, and it is only the first of three windfarms in the Round 3 Irish Sea zone.

Evan Owen - Snowdonia said...

How long will the new Wylfa last? Longer than 40 years I hope. The old one was badly built, it probably cost as much in sticking plasters to keep it going as it did to build it.

As was the case with Trawsfynydd the people who ran the place and earned the big bucks came from elsewhere, there weren't many locals as far I can recall, not clever enough you see, plenty of linguists but very few engineers coming from our education system.

Last week I visited Llangefni for the first time in many years, time hasn't been kind to the island has it? But then there isn't much difference between the counties that make up North West Wales, it feels like the Welsh heartlands have been fossilised.

Gwynedd and Ynys Mon need much more than a few windmills and a nuclear reactor that employs a few labourers (not enough locals available) for 6 years or so, we need to use what we have for the benefit of future generations, unfortunately most of the island and the mainland is an AONB or a national park, the view won't pay the bills.

kp said...

Life is about choice.

Wylva B will kill 'profitable' agriculture on this island. No-one wants to buy high quality beef or lamb if it has been grown next to a nuclear power plant or underneath some virulent high voltage electricity cables.

Wylva B will kill profitable tourism on this island. No-one wants to holiday anywhere near a potentially radio active nuclear dump.

Wylva B will kill education on this island. No need for anyone to be properly educated if the work on this island revolves around sweeping floors, maintaining stores, security patrols and general building/maintenance tasks.

Wylva B will allow Anglesey to revert to what is was in the 1970's.

A dump!

MH said...

What Evan and KP have just written are perfect examples of arguing the absurd. There is no reason why, if Wylfa B were to go ahead, a fair share of the engineers and other skilled workers it employs should not be local, for it isn't a matter of people on the island "not being clever enough". That's nothing more than an insult to the people of the island. And it will provide more than "a few" jobs. It will probably provide several hundred permanent jobs. The question is whether those jobs are worth the cost and risk, and whether there are alternative jobs available instead ... not least because these alternative renewable energy jobs are what a majority of local people say they want, and only a minority want jobs created in the nuclear sector.

I've addressed the cost issue in my other recent posts. In this one I've provided links to show that renewable energy will provide hundreds of permanent jobs. There are serious question marks about whether Wylfa B will happen, but there is no real question mark over jobs in the renewable sector, for we can see other offshore windfarms going ahead. The only difference with Rhiannon and the other Round 3 Irish Sea sites will be that people will hardly see it happening because it is very much further out to sea.

It's also silly to talk about Wylfa B killing off agriculture or tourism or education. Agriculture, tourism and education all continued with Wylfa A, so building Wylfa B will not, in itself, kill them off. However there is a risk that all these will disappear (for half the island would be evacuated if the same 20km exclusion zone was imposed as in Fukushima) if there is a nuclear accident, but until or unless that happens life can go on relatively normally for those who are prepared to live with the risk.

Bonheddwr said...

This post calling Rhun a 'liar' has been extremely damaging, and has been published and shared repeatedly by Labour. It will cost Plaid and Rhun votes. I guess therefore that your own self importance (you knew it would be shared and reproduced, and would get you a lot of hits) is more important to you than Rhun winning. I gather you disagree with what you said around two weeks ago now do you?

" Please don't be in any doubt that I want Rhun to win. He's part of our party now. Any candidate we selected would be head and shoulders above those of the other parties in this election."

MH said...

If Rhun wants to take me to task for calling him a liar, Bonheddwr, I will say to him what I would say to anyone else: "If you don't like being called a liar, don't lie."

I made it very clear to him in previous posts what Plaid's policy on nuclear was, and suggested what he could say that would satisfy the majority of people in the party. Fair play to him, he did go some way towards that in the statement on his blog, and I was prepared to leave it at that. But then he went out of his way to say he was pro-Wylfa B. That was bad enough in itself, because he had not said that in the hustings when he was selected, nor did he say it in his interview with the Daily Post or the statement on his blog immediately afterwards. He had been deceitful. But then he dug himself into a deeper hole on Sunday Supplement by telling a blatant lie about what Plaid's policy on nuclear is. This is an appalling standard of behaviour from anyone who hopes to be elected. Rhun will undoubtedly lose votes because of it, but he has no-one but himself to blame.


I thought about dodging the other part of your question, but I won't. When I said I wanted Rhun to win, it was before both his pro-Wylfa B tweet and the lie he told on Sunday Supplement. A few weeks ago he was an unknown and untested quantity who might have turned out to be good, or might have proved terrible. I said it was better to wait and see what his political views were than to gamble with someone who was a familiar face on television, but unknown in every other way. Now, the more I see of him in action the less attractive he looks; and he has buckled under his first political test by trying to lie his way out of a tight spot. Perhaps he does have some good qualities, but I'm not at all confident about it.

Is a bad Plaid AM better than an AM from another party? Normally I'd say, Yes, he might be a bastard, but he's our bastard. But is he even our bastard, or is he a cuckoo in our nest? To me, right now, it looks more likely that he chose Plaid because he wanted a career in politics and Ynys Môn is a safe Plaid seat at Assembly level than because he believes in Plaid Cymru's policies or vision for Wales. If I'm right about him being a cuckoo, then it will be better for Plaid if Rhun loses on Thursday.

Think about what would if happen if he won. He would regard it as justification for following whatever policy he likes irrespective of the policies of the party he's supposed to be a member of. He will be another Dafydd Elis-Thomas hung round our necks. If he loses it will be a dark day for Plaid, but the silver lining is that we will have the chance of selecting a more honest candidate next time. If I lived in Môn I couldn't bring myself to vote for Rhun, but I wouldn't vote for any other candidate either. Like, I suspect, many other Plaid supporters who resent being manipulated or having their allegiance to the party taken for granted, I would stay at home.

Der said...

First and foremost, Plaid is a nationalist party. Most Plaid supporters on Mon know this and unlike what you would do, they will not stay at home.

kp said...

'There is no reason why, if Wylfa B were to go ahead, a fair share of the engineers and other skilled workers it employs should not be local'.

What is the definition of a skilled worker? Someone who wields a blow torch? Or a shovel? Or a broom? Or a set of key to lock up?

Come on, Anglesey needs real jobs for people with real qualifications. The days of manual labouring are well and truly over!

Get real!

Beard said...

Are you really sure Rhun didn't run over your dog?

MH said...

No, Beard. He ran over my party.

Beard said...

Maybe he is in the world where supporting your party means publicly attacking your candidate days before the polls open.

MH said...

From the point of view of policy, it is Rhun who is "publicly attacking" the party by openly opposing our democratically agreed policy, Beard. I am standing up for what we believe in as a party.

From the point of view of honesty, I have criticized Rhun for misleading party members about what he believed in order to be selected, and for telling blatant lies about Plaid's policy on two occasions: first on Sunday Supplement, then again on Monday's Pawb a'i Farn.

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