Johnny come back lately ap Iorwerth

In the comments section of my post of 29 July entitled Rhun ap Iorwerth is lying about Wylfa B was this exchange:

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.

I was then taken to task for this and accused of telling lies about Rhun in an anonymous comment on Blog Menai. This is the exchange:

Anonymous said:
MH 'di'r un sydd 'di deud celwyddau. Roedd m'ond angen iddo godi'r ffôn i rywun call ac mi fyddai wedi darganfod y canlynol:

... 2. dydi Rhun ddim yn rhyw "Jonny Come Lately" i Blaidd Cymru – fuodd o'n aelod yn yr 80au/90au cynnar cyn troi ei law at newyddiadura

... Y cyfan yr oedd MH angen ei wneud i sefydlu'r ffeithiau hyn oedd i godi'r ffôn i Rhun neu eraill yn y Blaid – dyna fyddai aelod cyfrifol wedi ei wneud. Yn hytrach mi ddaru fo gychwyn grwsâd anheg ac anghywir gan wneud niwed iddo fo'i hun a'r Blaid. Siomedig.

MH is the one who is telling lies. He only needed to phone anyone with any sense and he would have discovered the following:

... 2. Rhun is not some "Jonny Come Lately" to Plaid Cymru – he was a member in the 80s/early 90s before turning his hand to journalism

... All that MH needed to do to establish these facts was to lift the phone and speak to Rhun or someone else in Plaid – that's what a responsible member would have done. But instead he embarked on an unfair and incorrect crusade, doing damage to both himself and Plaid. Disappointing.

MH said:
Am aelodaeth y Blaid: Rhun yw'r un a oedd yn disgrifio ei hun fel "aelod newydd" o'r blaid, yma, nid fel rhywun sy'n ail-ymuno i'r blaid. Celwydd arall? Ydoedd, os oes hynny ddim yn wir.

Dwi'n cael fy meirniadu am alw Rhun yn "Johnny come lately", a dwi'n ymddiheuro am hynny'n llwyr os oedd Rhun yn aelod yn yr 80au. Byddai e'n "Johnny come back lately" yn hytrach. Ond, rili, beth yw'r ots am hynny? Os oedd Rhun yn aelod yn gynt, Rhun roedd yn gamarweiniol am y peth, nid y fi.

About [his] membership of Plaid: Rhun was the one who described himself as a new member of the party, here, not as someone who was rejoining the party. Another lie? Yes it was, if that wasn't the truth.

I'm being criticized for calling Rhun a "Johnny come lately", and I completely apologize for that if Rhun was a member in the 80s. He would be a "Johnny come back lately" instead. But really, what does it matter? If Rhun was a member before, Rhun was the one being misleading about it, not me.

From my point of view, all I was being presented with were assertions in an anonymous comment with no evidence to back them up. That is why my response was "if". But the matter came up again in the comments to my post on 15 August:

Beard said:
I think you'll find Rhun was a member for years in his youth before joining the BBC and running over your dog.

MH said:
The story that Rhun was a former member of Plaid has been doing the rounds, Beard. I don't think it's particularly important either way, but I'll point you to what I said about it here on BlogMenai. Rhun described himself as a new member here on his blog, not as someone who was rejoining the party. So if he was in fact a former member, it would be another example of him misleading people.

In the investigation report, this was twisted into the following bald statement:

August 15 (post-election)
MH claims Rhun had stated he was a new member of Plaid Cymru and was therefore misleading people if he was in fact a former member.

It's a distortion for a number of reasons. First, it implies that I was making the accusation, when I was in fact responding to the accusation that I was telling lies. Second, it's hardly a "claim", as if to cast a shadow of doubt over whether what I said was true. It's a simple indisputable fact that Rhun did describe himself as a new member of the party. Isn't the whole point of an investigation to find out whether "claims" are or are not true?


Let's be clear, this is not a big lie on Rhun's part, and I wouldn't even be mentioning it except for the fact that it was considered important enough to be included in the official investigation report and used as evidence against me for supposedly bringing the party into disrepute. I'm presenting it as an example of how certain people in Plaid Cymru had lost all sense of perspective, and were scraping the barrel looking for any tiny thing that could be bent out of shape to use against me.

I'm equally sure that those in positions of power in Plaid Cymru who were responsible for trying to stitch me up will now try and point the finger at Shaughan and say that the contents of the report are his and his alone. But that's not entirely fair on Shaughan. As this accusation was not mentioned in Elin's letter of complaint, it seems clear that Elin must have pointed him to it ... but not pointed him to the context in which it was said. If I had not been shut out of the investigation, I could have told Shaughan all of this at the time. I could have directed him to what was said in the context in which it was said. But, as only became clear to me several months after the event, he was given specific legal advice by Plaid Cymru's lawyers not to contact me by email to ask me any questions.


What is so tragic is that this was a completely pointless and unnecessary thing for Rhun to lie about. Why say anything at all about being a "new member"? Nobody was putting him under any pressure or asking him any awkward questions about it. If he can't be honest and straightforward about himself, even on a completely uncontentious issue, how on earth can anybody trust him to be honest and straightforward about what he believes on more contentious political issues?

Yet Elin, in her letter of complaint about me, says she is sure that the people of Ynys Môn "would have known Rhun's integrity enough to trust him over an unknown blogger". My answer is that integrity is something Rhun needs to do rather more work on than I do.

Bookmark and Share


Anonymous said...

you are paranoid, nid cymry wyt ond sais

Tom said...

Plaid Cymru are doing their cause no favours. How can Jonathan Edwards preach in the Commons about fairness and equality when his own party is disciplining dissenters whose only 'crime' is to publicly uphold national policy?

Anonymous said...

Plaid Cymru made the decision to present Rhun as a 'squeeky clean' candidate. The only things that were important were that he was local, was famous on TV, and spoke Welsh. To get that image to stick, his past involvement in the party would have been a negative thing and was therefore 'airbrushed' out of the picture.

Anonymous said...

"My answer is that integrity is something Rhun needs to do rather more work on than I do".
Huge praise to you MH. It takes a tremendous amount of steel to stand up to an organisation's might, including legal counsel.
For my part, I'm absolutely committed to remaining an active member of Plaid. MH's blog reinforces my commitment because it demonstrates that Plaid is a party that attracts people of strong principle, even if that reveals uncomfortable internal schisms. I'm in no doubt that the Unionist parties are much, much worse when it comes to policy incoherence.

Anonymous said...

"Plaid Cymru made the decision to present Rhun as a 'squeeky clean' candidate. The only things that were important were that he was local, was famous on TV, and spoke Welsh."

'Famous' on TV might be stretching it a touch.

I doubt if more than a handful of political TV programme watching geeks would have a clue who he is.

Post a Comment