How to bring Plaid Cymru into disrepute

As I can see from the record number of visitors over the last few days, many people are interested in what I have posted about the disciplinary proceedings that were instigated against me over what I said about Rhun ap Iorwerth during and after the Ynys Môn by-election campaign last summer.

So far, I have published the correspondence between Chris Franks and myself up to the point where I made formal complaints against Rhun, Elfyn Llwyd, Bob Parry and Dafydd Elis-Thomas for telling lies about our policy on nuclear power. I did this on the grounds that it would be two-faced and hypocritical for the party to take action against me for my criticism of Rhun without at the same time considering the actions and statements that occasioned such criticism. It would not have been fair for me to single out Rhun when other prominent members of the party had done the same thing before him.

As might be expected, things went rather quiet for a while after that, so it's time for a short interlude. I think Rhun's actions are still fresh in people's memory, therefore I am now going to focus on the actions of Elfyn, Bob and Dafydd, who all tried to mislead the public by telling an essentially similar lie about our policy on nuclear power. This is what I wrote about each of them at the time.
 

 
Elfyn Llwyd owes us an apology

Originally posted on 3 June 2011

 
I've just heard Elfyn Llwyd completely misrepresent Plaid Cymru's policy on nuclear power on Question Time.

     

He tried to make a distinction between "new" nuclear power stations and the building of new reactors at existing nuclear power stations, claiming that Plaid was not necessarily against an expansion of the Wylfa site and, amazingly, that we had voted for this policy in Conference.

This is totally disingenuous on his part, because neither the motion nor the amendment actually said this. The motion, as we can read here, said:

Conference reaffirms:

Plaid’s total opposition to the construction of any new nuclear power stations in Wales.

And the amendment added was:

However, Conference recognises that the decision as to whether a new nuclear power station is built at Wylfa is a matter for the UK government. If the station is given the go-ahead, Conference believes that the main economic benefit should accrue to the local community in terms of construction jobs, supply chain opportunities and the skills necessary for the operation of the station once completed.

The wording is critical to understanding the amendment. It talks about whether "a new nuclear power station is built at Wylfa", thus making it perfectly clear that the proposal to build new reactors at Wylfa constitutes a new nuclear power station. Plaid Cymru is totally opposed to any new nuclear power station in Wales including one at Wylfa. Elfyn's distinction was spurious and misleading.

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One golden rule of public life is that if you don't understand what you're talking about, it's better not to say anything. The last thing we need as a party is for our MPs to start making up policy as they go along. But on the other hand this is so blatant a fabrication, and such a wanton distortion of the truth, that I suspect he deliberately chose to misrepresent what happened at Conference. It is no secret that some in the party leadership do not like policy being decided by the membership; but if he thinks he can force the party to accept the change in policy he wants because the membership won't speak out so as to maintain a semblance of unity, he's miscalculated badly. This subject is too important to fudge.

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I can only apologize to those who have been misled by what one of our leaders has said. It is hugely embarrassing. But it's not enough for me or others like me to do it. An abject and humble apology is required from Elfyn himself ... both to the party he has misrepresented and, more importantly, to the public at large. Question Time attracts a huge audience, so he needs to make every effort to repair the damage that has been caused by his words in an equally public way.
 

 
Correcting Confusion on Ynys Môn

Originally posted on 22 October 2011

 
In Golwg360 yesterday was an article which shows Plaid Cymru at its worst. Local members of the party are criticizing party president Jill Evans for speaking at a conference being held today in Caernarfon called Wales Green and Nuclear Free organised by PAWB, CADNO, CND Cymru, Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg, Friends of the Earth Cymru, Urgewald and Greenpeace.

Bob Parry, leader of the Plaid Cymru group on Ynys Môn, is quoted as saying that her participation will "discourage" those in the party who voted in favour of nuclear energy, and that her presence would be "misleading" because Plaid Cymru had backed a second nuclear power station on the island. But it is in fact Bob Parry who is doing his best to mislead.

In the article, he claims that:

"In Plaid's Conference in Llandudno this year, a vote was passed to press forward to keep the nuclear industry on Ynys Môn. The fact that our president is speaking against Ynys Môn is going to discourage people in the party."

And said that the president should

" ... stand alongside Ynys Môn, especially because councillors had won the vote in conference this year."

They didn't win any such vote. As I noted in this post, the Plaid Cymru conference reaffirmed:

Plaid Cymru’s total opposition to the construction of any new nuclear power stations.

This includes a new nuclear power station at Wylfa. So Jill Evans has a perfect right to speak against nuclear energy on Ynys Môn or anywhere else in Wales. She is representing the party's official position on the issue as endorsed at our conference.

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It makes Plaid look like disorganized amateurs when certain mavericks in the party not only refuse to accept the decisions of the party taken at conference, but then set out to deliberately misrepresent them. The sad fact is that Bob Parry is not alone, for other senior figures in the party have also tried to misrepresent our position. Elfyn Llwyd did it very publicly on Question Time in June, as I noted here.

The damage that this causes us as a party is immense. Although I can't say I have a great deal of time for Arthur Scargill, he was in north Wales only last week condemning Plaid Cymru for hypocrisy. He said:

Plaid Cymru's policy is complete hypocrisy. You can't have a position of being opposed to nuclear power, as they have claimed to have over the years, and then come up with an excuse to continue to develop nuclear power as they have done – so they say – in order to provide jobs.

It's nonsense, as they know full well, and it would be very much better for them if they at least admitted that they had told lies to the people of Wales.

And he would be right ... if it were true. But it is not Plaid Cymru who are the hypocrites and liars, it is people like Bob Parry and Elfyn Llwyd. How is someone like Arthur Scargill expected to know what Plaid's policy actually is when a hard core of senior party members systematically misrepresents the party's position? We can't expect him to have read through the details of the motions at our conference. He, like most other people, will simply accept the misinformation that our own leaders put out, which platforms like the BBC and Golwg seem all too happy to report as if it were true.

So stand up and say it clearly and unambiguously, Jill. Plaid Cymru is against nuclear power in Wales.
 

 
How can anyone trust such a blatant liar?

Originally posted on 10 February 2012

 
I've said this before, but I'll repeat it. There is room for different opinions about what Plaid Cymru's policy should be on any particular issue, and we have lively debates about it. But at the end of the day we come to a democratic decision about what our policy is.

On the issue of nuclear power, Dafydd Elis-Thomas is perfectly free to disagree with party policy. However disagreeing with it is one thing, but lying about it is something very much more serious. This is a clip from last night's Sharp End:

     

Dafydd made it clear that he is in favour of building a new nuclear power station at Wylfa. But when Adrian Masters pointed out that the Plaid Cymru is opposed to nuclear power he said "No" and went on to talk about what was decided at conference ... although he doesn't finish the sentence. A few moments later he was asked if he could lead the party and have a different view to that which was expressed at conference. He said, "I've done that before ... but in this case it's not a different view."

In their answers, both Leanne and Elin also said that Plaid Cymru is opposed to any new nuclear power stations in Wales, and that they agree with that policy.

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So are Leanne, Elin and Adrian telling the truth ... or is Dafydd? All we need to do is look at the motion that was passed at Conference:

NUCLEAR ENERGY AND RENEWABLE ENERGY
(Newport Branches / European Parliamentary Group)

Conference notes:
1. The tragic consequence of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan which led to the dangerous situation at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, namely that fuel in the reactors produced considerable amounts of heat which led to a full meltdown, causing radioactive material to leak.
2. That the incident at Fukushima, occurring on the 25th anniversary of Chernobyl, heightens concerns for the safety of nuclear energy.
3. That as a result the European Commission has proposed stress tests on all current nuclear reactors, and the UK government has called on the Chief Nuclear Inspector to carry out a review of nuclear installations.
4. That as a result, Germany has announced that all the country’s nuclear power plants will be phased out by 2022. Switzerland has also committed to phasing out nuclear power by 2034.

Conference further notes:
1. The essential principle of energy independence given Plaid’s long term ambition for devolved sovereignty and independence.
2. That as a net exporter of energy with massive undeveloped renewable energy potential new nuclear developments are not required in Wales in the long term in order to meet energy demand. Further investment is required into developing the potential of wave and tidal technologies which when commercialised could lead to Wales becoming more self sufficient in renewable energy.
3. That cost per KW of production for some forms of renewable power generation are lower than nuclear.
4. That the long term costs of nuclear decommissioning are not calculated.
5. The proven evidence of the effect of carbon emissions towards catastrophic climate change, also the growing pressure on fossil fuel resources including significant commodity price escalation as we approach peak fossil fuel production.
6. That the current coalition government’s policies on the carbon price floor will serve in the short term to raise consumer fuel bills and will leave the nuclear industry by the far the biggest beneficiary and also therefore fail to optimise the potential investment in renewable energy that variants of this legislation could bring.

Conference reaffirms:
1. Plaid Cymru’s belief that all energy decisions should be devolved in full to Wales.
2. Plaid Cymru’s total opposition to the construction of any new nuclear power stations. If the Westminster government gives the go ahead for a new nuclear power station at Wylfa, we should make sure that the investment recognises the need to employ local people, invest in training to maximise local employment and make sure that indigenous companies benefit from supply chain opportunities.

Conference calls:
1. For Plaid at all levels to lobby the coalition Westminster government to restructure Carbon Price Floor legislation in order to exempt nuclear power from receiving any form of public funded subsidy.
2. For the EU’s nuclear stress tests to be carried out by independent experts and to be based on robust criteria.
3. On Plaid Cymru to welcome Germany’s decision to phase out all nuclear power stations and to encourage other governments across the world, including the United Kingdom, to follow their lead.
4. For greater investment by the Welsh government in renewables and energy efficiency measures.

Plaid Cymru Conference Handbook, 2011

This represents the original motion together with the amendments to it as passed at conference. Full details are in this post.

So what Dafydd said is clearly wrong. At our conference in September last year we reaffirmed our "total opposition to the construction of any new nuclear power stations" including Wylfa B.

The amendment that was added simply says that if it is forced onto us by Westminster against our will, we should try and get the best out of it at local level. Elin explains that very well later in the debate.

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This is why Dafydd Elis-Thomas is totally unfit to be the leader of Plaid Cymru. He might well be eloquent, I'll willingly grant him that, but isn't it much better for us to have someone with who will tell the truth with a few umms and ahhs than a smooth talking, but blatant, liar? This is an internal Plaid Cymru election. If Dafydd lacks the basic moral decency to tell people in his own party the truth in this election, how on earth will anyone outside the party be able to trust anything he says on behalf of the party when it comes to future elections?

More importantly, how can we hope to make any electoral breakthrough as a party if we as party members are foolish enough to choose a leader who is a blatant liar?
 

 
Having seen what Elfyn, Bob and Dafydd did, the question that needs to be asked is this. What brings Plaid Cymru into disrepute?

Is it the actions and statements made by people like Elfyn, Bob, Dafydd ... and, most recently, Rhun? Or is it me, for drawing attention to these lies and doing all I can to put right the damage their lies have done to our party?

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10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Interesting stuff. And to this day much remains unresolved.

The insertion of the word 'new' as in 'Plaid Cymru’s total opposition to the construction of any new nuclear power stations' does allow for a certain confusion to enter the debate.

Confusion or wriggle room? Either way, Wylva Newydd is a pretty strong statement of intent no matter which way you care to look at matters.

It's all such a shame!



Anonymous said...

One question Rhun ap Iowerth seems unwilling to answer is 'Who pays for the eventual clean-up operation'? Is it:

- the residents of Anglesey because they wanted Wylva B.
- the residents of Wales because the Welsh government supported Wylva B
- the residents of the UK because Westminster agreed to the go-ahead of Wylva B?

And what arrangements have been put in place in the event of a successful vote for independence. Can the Welsh government claim that Wylva B was a Westminster decision?

I think not. I think it was a decision made entirely in Wales, by Welsh politicians, supposedly for the short-term benefit of Wales but without any though being given to the longer term implications.

Is it any wonder no politician, especially not a Plaid Cymru politician, wants to discuss such matters either in public, in Cardiff Bay or indeed in Westminster.

Anonymous said...

The insertion of 'new' does not add 'confusion or wriggle room' it clarifies things and makes it impossible for there to be any 'confusion or wriggle room'. Wylfa B/Newydd is referred to as 'a new nuclear power station at Wylfa' not 'an extension to the old/existing power station at Wylfa'.

Anonymous said...

Me again. The person in the second comment is talking rubbish. The decision was not 'made entirely in Wales, by Welsh politicians'.

Anonymous said...

Anon12:08, your memory lets you down.

The UK government made it very clear that no community would have a 'new' nuclear power station forced upon it by Westminster. Rhun ap Iowerth vigorously campaigned for Wylva B, claiming to be acting on behalf of Anglesey residents, as did Albert Owen, MP (Labour).

Some in Cardiff Bay looked and still look rather uncomfortable. But, in general, such actions by the likes of Rhun and his predecessor IWJ were greatly welcomed.

Now go figure what the future holds.

Welsh not British said...

Hope this isn't a spoiler, feel free to delete it if it is but I wonder if it is any coincidence that you made the complaint about Elfyn in September and he announced he was stepping down in October.

Anonymous said...

Well yes Welsh not British - you've hit the nail on the head there. A petulant, self important grossly immature nut job makes a frivolous complaint against you, then you obviously have little option other than to immediately fall on your own sword & resign. That's life.

Anonymous said...

But if a "a petulant, self important grossly immature nut job makes a frivolous complaint against" MH, then is he expected to take it lying down?

You might get egg on your face when you find out WHO you've just described as "a petulant, self important grossly immature nut job".

Anonymous said...

i would respectfully point out to the poster at 21:02 that whoever made the complaint against michael could be a 'petulant, self important grossly immature nut job' whatever position they might hold in the party.

as for anyone getting 'egg on their face' i think its clear that the one person who wont be getting egg on their face in this whole sorry saga is michael..

glynadda said...

Syniadau raises here matters of the most fundamental concern to all who care about honesty in Welsh political life. See:

http://glynadda.wordpress.com/2014/02/05/hitachi-heddiw-heit-ha-hanciw-hita-chi/

http://glynadda.wordpress.com/2014/02/09/beth-am-wneud-casgliad-bach/

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