This is the nineteenth tranche of emails from the correspondence between various people in Plaid Cymru and myself, following a complaint about what I had written on the subject of the Ynys Môn by-election last year. For easy reference, I've put together the all the previous correspondence on this page, which I will keep updating as further emails are published.
As I noted a few days ago when I published the previous tranche, Nerys Evans was stubbornly refusing to answer any of the questions I had put to her, in just the same way as Chris Franks, Dafydd Trystan, Leanne Wood and Alun Cox had each done before her. Throughout this matter, the openness, transparency and accountability that any member has a right to expect from Plaid Cymru's leadership have been thrown out of the window.
Even though there are no constitutional grounds for "re-starting" disciplinary proceedings against me, I had said I would be willing for there to be a proper, independent investigation to get to the truth of the matter provided that it was conducted by a person of standing from outside the party, but they refused to do this. This shows that the leadership of Plaid are no more interested in truth now than they were when they rode roughshod over the rules in order to try and stitch me up first time round. The only way they can control the outcome is by choosing people who they can rely on to made the decision they want.
I don't think I've ever met Eli Jones, Sian Powell or Peter Fenner (the three new members co-opted onto the Membership, Disciplinary and Standards Panel) before; but my suspicions about why they had been appointed were confirmed by their choice of Ian Titherington as "investigating officer".
They could hardly have chosen a less suitable person. For not only is he a Plaid insider, but he has already made his views on the matter perfectly clear. This is what he wrote in a comment on one of my posts last August:
Ian Titherington said ...
MH. To claim that your attacks on Rhun have not been personal but are just based on policy differences, is frankly a joke. It has clearly been personal from as soon as he was considered.
As for your attack on the NEC, you once again are completely out of line. The NEC has the clear right to allow an individual who has been a member for less than 12 months to stand. This was included specifically for individuals who could not stand due to their politically restricted jobs. This rule is not treated lightly, but is there to enable individuals to stand for Plaid from such roles as journalists. Do you really expect people to resign, live on nothing for 12 months then put their names forward? Get real.
You have every right to raise the nuclear issue, but your very personal attacks on Rhun have gone well beyond this. Whatever your personal grudge, it clearly runs deep.
Ian is of course free to hold any opinion he wishes, but it is absolutely impossible for someone who holds such views to even pretend to act as an impartial, even-handed "investigation officer". Ian clearly pre-judged the issue, and in any reputable organization such prejudice would automatically disqualify him from such a role.
So why was he, of all people, chosen? There is only one explanation: that the three new appointees wanted the matter to be investigated by someone who would could be relied on to go through the motions of asking a few standard questions, while carefully steering clear of the issues the Plaid Cymru leadership are so anxious to sweep under the carpet.
And why did I bother to answer him? Because I have always said that I am prepared to answer questions about what I write on Syniadau from anyone at any time. As I extend that courtesy even to people who make anonymous comments on this blog, I certainly won't shy away from answering questions from people who give their names. Besides that, I could hardly criticize Chris, Rhun, Dafydd, Leanne, Alun and Nerys for refusing to answer the questions I put to them if I refused to answer the questions put to me.
The two emails below are, as things currently stand, the sum total of the correspondence between us.
From: Ian Titherington
Sent: Thursday, 24 April 2014, 5:00pm
To: Michael Haggett
Subject: Investigation into Elin Jones’ complaint
I am writing to you having been appointed investigating officer by the Hearing Panel of Plaid Cymru’s Membership, Disciplinary and Standards Panel. Please find below the documentation relating to this complaint, together with a covering letter. You will have received a hard copy of this documentation in the post.
From: Michael Haggett
Sent: Monday, 28 April 2014, 11:50am
To: Ian Titherington
Subject: Investigation into Elin Jones’ complaint
Thank you for your email. I have not received a paper copy of what you sent, but it is better to handle things by email anyway. Why kill trees and waste money on postage?
As I'm sure you will know (and if not, you can read all the details here) the matter of Elin's complaint against me has already been dealt with and, despite several requests, no-one within Plaid Cymru has been able to show any constitutional grounds for "re-starting" the process against me. For this reason your appointment as "investigating officer" is meaningless.
Indeed it would be difficult to imagine anyone less suited than you for such a role, not only because you are a member of the party, but because your previous comment on Syniadau clearly shows that you have prejudged the issue. I have no doubt that this is exactly why you were chosen.
A credible investigation would need to be conducted by an impartial person of standing from outside the party, and include my complaints against Rhun, Elfyn, Bob and Dafydd. But truth is clearly something that terrifies those in positions of power within Plaid Cymru ... which is, of course, why they refuse to do hold one.
However I have always said that I will answer any questions that anyone wishes to raise about what I write on Syniadau at any time. So on that basis I am happy to answer yours.
1. Are you responsible for all blog posts which appeared on the Syniadau blog during June and July 2013? If your answer is ‘no’, please could you state who was responsible for these posts.
I am responsible for all posts and comments on Syniadau under the initials MH.
2. If your answer to question 1 is ‘yes’, what is your response to the allegation that you brought the party into disrepute through your comments?
Assuming that by "comments" you mean both the posts and the comments, you would first need to identify what particular statements you are referring to. I wrote 28 posts in June and July 2013 (as well as some in August, which for some reason you haven't asked about) and made many comments in the discussion threads of those posts.
In general terms it is very hard to see how anything I wrote could have "brought the party into disrepute". However I would say that by telling a blatant lie about our policy on nuclear power, Rhun ap Iorwerth misled the public about our policy and damaged the public reputation of the party when he did so. It is a matter of shame for Plaid Cymru that neither Rhun himself nor anyone in the leadership of Plaid has made any effort to correct the lie he told. Because of this, any reputation we might once have had as a party of honesty is in tatters.
3. Do you accept that the blog posts were damaging or potentially damaging to the public reputation of the party?
Of course they weren't. With regard to Rhun's dishonesty, what I wrote was intended to correct the lie he told and and therefore restore the public reputation of the party which he had damaged. That was also my motivation when I criticized Elfyn, Bob and Dafydd for telling similar lies about our nuclear policy.
4. If you were responsible for these blog posts, did you raise the concerns which you published online within the party beforehand? (If you did so please outline the steps you took.)
You will need to be specific about "the concerns" you are referring to. However I am rather amused by the suggestion that what I write on Syniadau needs to be raised "within the party" beforehand. From what you say, it seems that people in positions of power in the party have embarked on a crusade of control freakery ... which only goes to show how far the rottenness at the top of the party has set in, and why things need to be put right.
5. Do you have any further points you would like to make as part of this investigation?
As I said before, there is no constitutional basis for the "investigation" you are purporting to conduct. However, if you want to know my views about what has happened, I suggest you start by reading How Plaid Cymru Works. I will be happy to answer any further questions that you or anyone else cares to ask.
Of course a proper investigation would not only ask questions of me, but ask questions of other parties. I would be interested to know what questions you have asked Rhun. Among the questions that should be asked are:
• Does he now accept that what he said about Plaid's nuclear policy is untrue and, if so, what efforts has he made to correct it?
• From where did he get the idea that Plaid has a policy of building new nuclear power stations on existing nuclear sites (this would almost certainly implicate Elfyn, Bob and Dafydd, who had all told essentially the same lie before he did; therefore they would need to be asked the same question)?
• What in fact are his views on nuclear power, and how does he reconcile the fact that what he said in public is the complete opposite of what he said at the previous investigation (see here)?
Similarly, I would expect a proper investigation to ask Elin about her allegations. Among the questions that should be asked are:
• Does she still dispute the fact that Rhun was dishonest, and that we do not need dishonest politicians in Plaid Cymru?
• Does she now accept that Rhun mislead the public about our position on nuclear power by telling a blatant lie?
• Does she accept that it is in fact a tragedy for Plaid Cymru, Ynys Môn and Wales to now be lumbered with a politician who resorts to telling lies ... for he has now shown that he was not only lying about Plaid's policy on nuclear power, but also lied about his previous membership of the party (see here), and has in fact told two completely different versions about his own views on nuclear power, being for it on public, but against it in private (see here). This two-faced behaviour would strongly suggest that he misled people within the party in order to be selected.
• Does she accept that it is two-faced and hypocritical of her to point out in public that Dafydd was not telling the truth about Plaid's policy on nuclear power when she wanted to be elected as party leader, but thinks it acceptable for to try and get me thrown out of the party for pointing out that Rhun was telling essentially the same lie?
• If, in the light of these questions, she still stands by her allegations, what evidence can she produce to refute the accuracy of what I said?
Will you please inform me of the answers you receive to these questions (and any others you ask) because follow up questions might well be appropriate, depending on the answers given.
It is clear to me that those in positions of power in Plaid Cymru are, having made such fools of themselves first time round, now just going through the motions in order to try to reach the same pre-determined conclusion. If they want to continue to demonstrate just how rotten the leadership in Plaid Cymru has become, I won't stop them. It will only make ordinary members more determined to put things right by replacing them with people who aren't afraid of the truth.
Ian did not respond to my e-mail, and I'm not surprised by that. This is because there is a fundamental flaw in what the leadership of Plaid Cymru is trying to do. They keep wanting to pursue disciplinary action against me for exposing Rhun as a liar while, at the same time, deliberately turning a blind eye to the fact that Rhun lied. It is Rhun who brought the party into disrepute by resorting to lies in order to mislead the public about our nuclear policy ... just as Elfyn Llwyd, Bob Parry and Dafydd Elis-Thomas had done before him. I was therefore perfectly justified in exposing these lies.
The questions that I listed are simply too awkward and embarrassing for them to answer.