We used to think the same way, Leanne

In my previous post, I had asked Leanne why she was unwilling to make a public statement that Plaid Cymru's policy is one of total opposition to any new nuclear power stations in Wales, with no distinction between whether they are on new or existing nuclear sites.

The issue at hand is public perception about Plaid's policy on nuclear energy. A series of high-profile members of the party have made public statements in the media which are untrue, and the general public (and probably a good number of Plaid Cymru members as well) have therefore been misled about what our policy is. This is what needs to be corrected.

You as leader of the party, backed up by Llyr Huws Gruffydd as our Environment, Energy and Agriculture spokesman, need to make prominent public statements saying, explicitly, that it has not been our policy to treat a new nuclear power station on or next to an existing nuclear site any differently from a new nuclear power station somewhere else, and that Plaid's policy is one of total opposition to the construction of any new nuclear power stations.

... So please help me out on this. Is there a reason why you would be unwilling to make such a statement?

I was saddened and a little disappointed that she didn't reply, and that neither she nor Llyr has made any attempt to correct the misleading impression that has been put out by people in our party such as Rhun ap Iorwerth, Elfyn Llwyd, Bob Parry and Dafydd Elis-Thomas.

I think it might be worth repeating a comment I made earlier. The question is whether Plaid Cymru's leadership is going to cave in to the lies and misinformation put out by this narrow interest group; or whether they will stop letting them get away with it, and speak out for what the membership of the party has decided and confirmed time after time.

If people like Leanne and Llyr refuse to do this, then it will be clear that this narrow interest group has won. The problem is that the membership has elected a leader who is definitely against nuclear power, but that the real power in Plaid Cymru does not rest with her. It rests with a National Executive that is doing everything it can to frustrate her and stop her from speaking out. She is rather like a US Democratic President whose hands are tied by a Congress with a Republican majority.

Leanne needs to remember only two things. The first is that it is not the National Executive that makes policy. As it clearly says in Clause 15.2 of our Constitution, it is Conference that is responsible for determining the party's policy. The second is that she has been directly elected leader by the same membership that only last October reaffirmed this policy on nuclear and renewable energy.


But if a democratic mandate isn't enough, perhaps this short extract from an interview between Leanne and Lee Waters at Prifysgol Glyndwr last November might help her find her voice.


We used to think the same way, Leanne.

Is it now only me who is prepared to speak up?

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Anonymous said...

Were you really surprised that Leanne declined to take instructions by a member under investigation for bringing the party into disrepute?

Anonymous said...

What surprises me is Leanne's reticence to say anything about the matter ....... it's like a hidden secret!

Reminiscent of European party and political behaviour in the 1930's.


Anonymous said...

I think as party leader (clue's in the title) Leanne shouldn't be taking instruction from any individual member, no matter what the circumstances. The content and tone of MH's correspondence with her is hopelessly self-important.

Anonymous said...

I think you'll find that mike said "saddened and a little disappointed".

Anonymous said...

If you disagree with your party's policy you should do the decent thing and leave the party.

Robin said...

For voters it is irrelevant about what it says on a piece of paper at conference. They go on what the leaders say in the media.

Welsh not British said...

Nukes are not the party policy, it is the elected politicians who are not just disagreeing with policy but telling lies about it, they should leave. Imagine if before the Euro elections a Plaid candidate started spouting UKIP style anti-Euro propaganda just because they thought it would win some votes. This is precisely what these liars have done over the nuke issue.

Interesting to hear why Leanne got into politics in the first place. At 10:55 on she says...

"You can take two different approaches in politics I suppose, you can just take the view that you will just fit in and you will go with the crowd and do what is expected of you. Or you can say hang on a minute, I came into politics because things weren't right and I certainly take the view that if I see that something isn't right then it deserves to be challenged and sometimes that can put you in a position of being the outsider. That can be difficult on times and I've come into trouble for being outspoken on times but nonetheless sometimes I think that if you believe in something very strongly and you believe it to be right then you almost have a duty to speak up and make your voice known because otherwise everyone just assumes that everybody's just in agreement and that there's no difference in opinion and there are very few issues where there is complete consensus..."

I think you have your answer right there MH.

Anonymous said...

MH - I agree with your position on nuclear energy, and Plaid's slippery misrepresentation of its own policy. However I am not sure that some of your comments made during the by-election campaign were wise, although I fully understand why you made them. I hope that common sense has prevailed in the disciplinary proceedings although the simple fact that you are publishing this history suggests that it has not. Plaid needs forward thinkers like yourself especially ones with a strong blog following able to articulate issues clearly and concisely.

More importantly Wales needs people like yourself and I sincerely hope that you remain active in Welsh politics whatever the outcome this saga.


Anonymous said...

I know that MH has visited this little conundrum before but......Is Plaid a pragmatic political party dedicated to winning power and using that position to influence national policy or is it an idealistic pressure group unable to command widespread support?

In Ynys Mon you do come up against this either/or situation; IWJ could never be anti- nuclear power and neither could Rhun. For those of us who live here Wylfa and AAM have given us and our children well paid employment. A generation or more has stayed on the island just because of those two employers. A generation has bought their own homes...not just direct employees, the schools have remained open because our children could grow up here....teachers have found employment, office workers in the council and a host of small businesses have thrived.

Supporting Wylfa B is a "No Brainer" for any candidate; so much so that I would be amazed if Rhun wasn't pre-vetted to make sure that he wasn't anti-Nuclear.

There's the problem I suspect; people high up in Plaid made it clear that an opponent to Wylfa B wasn't going to stand for the party.

Anonymous said...

anon 12.53 what else would you like to see watered down - plaid cymru's support for self government? all michael has argued for is that plaid candidates and elected members adhere to the policies democratically arrived at by party members. nothing unreasonable about that.

this brings me to anon 9.50s point - who is your comment aimed at? it cant be michael because he supports party policy over nuclear power in wales.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:53, so nice to hear how you and your family has benefited from the desecration of this island, Anglesey.

Now spend time to think of all those that have managed to live on this island for generations without needing a nuclear power station or an industrial aluminium plant to provide assistance.

Anglesey is a country island, suited to people who can make a living in the country. If your kids don't want to do likewise then send them off to the bright lights of the big cities. That's why we have cities.

One power station has managed to keep you and yours together. Now we need another two power stations to provide more work for yet more of your family and generational offspring.

And all without a care for nature or indeed anyone else!

Anonymous said...

Do you really expect a reply or answer from Leanne? All you have to do is look at her facebook page, and see how often she replies/answers (to) comments.

Anonymous said...

I think it was Aneirin Bevan who once said that the difference between Labour and the Tories was that Labour was "soft on the outside and hard on the inside, while the Tories were hard on the outside and soft on the inside". Bevan never cared for Plaid Cymru, but the first half of his statement could equally be applied to Plaid. Above and beyond particular issues such as Wylfa B, you have to ask the question as to how much clout the members really have in the Party, and the extent to which it is run by interest groups, cliques or senior figures who really need to be put out to pasture (Dafydd Elis Thomas,case in point).

And let's face it, the Wylfa issue isn't the only issue where Plaid has quite clearly watered down it's stance. What about the real elephant in the room - Independence? For my part, I voted for a Leader on the basis of her strongly pro-Independence stance, and who now appears to have backtracked on it - at exactly the point at which many people are looking quite closely at Wales constitutional position within the so-called "United Kingdom". That doesn't strike me as strong leadership. Plaid is far too easily bullied by the Labour Party at a time when it should be possible to have a field day with a Unionist establishment whose moral and intellectual bankruptcy is there for all to see. The only prominent figure who consistently sticks one on Labour is Jonathan Edwards, who is a very good MP.

Is there not something fundamentally wrong with a Party which is obviously quite happy to sacrifice it's credibility to ensure victory in an area which let's face it, it already has a "natural" constituency, even while it dies a death in areas where it needs to make gains to ever be a credible force Wales-wide (areas like Swansea and Merthyr come to mind as extreme examples of the rot...).

I should emphasize that I've got no particular beef with Rhun ap Iorwerth, I think he is obviously a very capable and articulate man. But I wonder what exception will be made to accommodate capable and articulate candidates outside of "heartland seats" that Plaid has been boxed into for the last 30 years anyway. Victory in Ynys Mon doesn't really mean anything for Plaid nationally, for all the usual chirpy, delusional rhetoric emanating from the higher echelons.

Anonymous said...

There is a big problem with Welsh independence being seen as financially unviable. This limits Plaid's voter appeal. People might go for more devolution as a precusor to support independence in the future. I would think twice before assuming anyone in the country thinks Plaid has backtracked on independence. People strongly associate Plaid with independence for Wales. About 40% of Plaid voters support independence but amongst the other parties it's about 1% each. This was in a yougov poll before the 2011 referendum. The debates that go on inside Plaid are not the same debates happening in the country, at the dinner table or down the pub.

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