Are the men in grey suits coming for Leanne Wood?

Picture: National Assembly (CC BY 2.0)

Ifan Morgan Jones

This week and last has seen a slow drip, drip of news seemingly designed to soften up the Plaid Cymru membership for a leadership challenge in the next year.

Last week, the BBC was briefed anonymously that Leanne Wood considered resigning as the votes were counted during June’s General Election, something she denies.

On Tuesday AM Rhun ap Iorwerth, speaking at the National Eisteddfod in his own constituency of Ynys Môn, said that he would consider running for Plaid leader – but of course, there’s no vacancy.

On the same day an ‘anonymous’ Plaid AM also piped up, saying that Leanne Wood should stand down and that she had lost her authority in the group.

And today Simon Thomas AM has spoken out, saying that the party needed to “raise its game” – although, like Rhun ap Iorwerth, he insisted that it wasn’t a challenge to the leadership.

He did add, however, that it was “expected” that questions about the leadership would arise between elections.

All three AMs are experienced politicians and would know full well that, however much they would insist otherwise, even mentioning the leadership in such a way would lead to increased speculation.

If nothing else, it signals to the party membership that something is afoot and that they should also start thinking about who would be the best person to lead them into the next Assembly election.

Under the Plaid Cymru constitution, the leader must face election every two years. The next opportunity would be next year, so this would be a good time to start jockeying for position.

Rhun ap Iorwerth has already made his leadership ambitions clear. Simon Thomas stood in the 2012 leadership election before throwing his weight behind the current Llywydd, Elin Jones.

I would imagine that Neil McEvoy would also fancy his chances of an upset and taking the party in a radically different, more populist direction.

Adam Price AM, the Son of Destiny, could also be limbering up on the sidelines, ready to rip Excalibur from the stone once a few others have softened it up for him.

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It’s inevitable that Leanne Wood’s position will come under pressure within the next few years. It’s worth remembering that she is the longest serving party leader amongst the main parties at Westminster.

Plaid Cymru have just come through three disappointing elections in a row. Apart from gaining the Rhondda at the Assembly and Ceredigion by a whisker in June, there has been very little to celebrate.

This year’s General Election suggested that Plaid Cymru are still knocking their heads against a brick wall in the post-industrial south-east valleys, where Leanne Wood should have the most appeal.

Worse still, they failed to capitalise on a period of Labour weakness, particularly at last year’s Assembly elections, which now seems to be over.

But it might not be that easy to unseat Leanne Wood. And it may not be that desirable either.

Leanne Wood has a lot of support within the party membership, and has made it clear that she has no intention of stepping down.

Moreover, it’s not clear that Leanne Wood herself is the problem for Plaid Cymru, but rather, in no particular order:

  • A lack of a Welsh media (full stop) and in particular a media that is sympathetic to their cause
  • Think tanks and other institutions that can lobby, fund initiatives and develop policy helpful to the party
  • Sympathetic political groups that are not attached to Plaid Cymru but can do the hard work of changing people’s minds without fearing a loss of votes

The growth of alternative online media outlets and groups such as Yes Cymru suggests that this may be changing, albeit very slowly.

But there’s a long and winding road ahead, and it’s not clear how a different party leader could do anything to change that.

Also, we should remember that it’s the Assembly elections not General Elections which are the real test for the Plaid Cymru leadership.

Plaid are always in danger of being swept aside by the relentless focus on the two main UK parties at General Elections.

The real test for Leanne Wood will be if she can build on Plaid’s win in Rhondda in 2021 and take a few more valleys seats from Labour.

Would Rhun ap Iorwerth, Simon Thomas or Neil McEvoy really do a better job than popular, well-known, valleys born and bred Leanne Wood at leading that charge?

But with speculation growing – can Leanne Wood really hold out for another four years?

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54 Comments

  1. Glenn Swingler

    As rightly pointed out in the article, Leanne has very strong support amongst the membership and those in the assembly bubble may well be wise to remember that.
    I can’t see her going anywhere and i certainly hope she stays at the top.

  2. Dean Williams

    1) What have these AMs’ gender got to do with it? They’re not ‘men in grey suits’. They’re elected representatives from across Wales. They’re defining feature is not their gender or the clothes they wear, but the ideas and leadership they could bring to the party. Why not explore that rather than dismissing them in that way?

    2) The real test for Leanne Wood is whether people can actually see her as a First Minister. The answer for too many is that they can’t. She seems nice. Good enough to be AM for the Rhondda and to be in the Assembly pushing her politics. But being the First Minister of Wales? Just don’t see it and she’s had plenty of time to change people’s minds.

    • I’m glad there’s a question mark in the headline. “Men in grey suits” usually refers to old ex-politicians doesn’t it? Not the anonymous AM and certainly not Thomas or Ap Iorwerth.

      • Dean Williams

        Yes. I wouldn’t describe Simon Thomas and Rhun ap Iorwerth as men in grey suits. They both seem quite talented. And the anonymous AM could be a woman. The next leader needs to be the right person for the job, regardless of their gender.

    • desdelguinardo

      All three of those who have expressed themselves on this issue (Rhun, Simon, and undoubtedly Neil McEvoy) are men.

      • Are you suggesting that Neil McEvoy is the anonymous source?
        The article gives no comment from him directly.
        He doesn’t strike me as a coward or a weasely back-stabber. Unless you have inside knowledge I’d wager that you’re barking ip the wrong tree.

  3. Leanne Wood has been an excellent leader of the party and I hope she will remain its leader for many years to come.

  4. The Bellwether

    Perhaps the Party needs to consider whether Ms.Wood would make a better ‘figurehead’ rather than a ‘leader’? They are two different things. Fact is little or no progress has been made over the last few years and there are few, if any, positive signs for the future. In the past Cymru and its politics had an aggressive and ‘radical’ tradition and Plaid seems not to be exemplifying this at the moment.

  5. Ignore the Anglo-British serpent trying to spread division amongst you!

    • I note your comment but am left with a suspicion that the serpent is already active within the Party. Its catalogue of tentative responses on matters where there could have been a much more assertive response is getting lengthy mainly due to an unwillingness to appear opposed to anything owned by Socialists who are in reality pseudo socialists playing out a power game with no regard for the interests of communities they purport to represent. At times I’m left to ponder whether any of these people would recognise a genuinely Socialist policy if it bit them on the arse ! As for the comments about “men in grey suits”, it’s wrong, It should read “grey men in suits”. Bland and non descript.

  6. Gwylon Phillips

    Whoever they are these Plaid AMs should put up or shut up. Plaid needs a leadership election like a hole in the head. It would place the future of the Party in doubt. Plaid must highlight the damaging policies of successive London government, stay in Europe, construct a realistic economics policy, outline the benefits of Independence, oppose all Nuclear power stations, promote sustainable energy and other policies which would put CYMRU and the wider World first and which would win support across the board.
    Leanne is very popular with the membership and generally in CYMRU and elsewhere. She would walk a leadership election. Whoever these people are they should take a leaf out of Leanne’s book. She is a very hard-working Leader and she was out there on the stump this week. Instead of moaning, doubters should take a leaf out of her book. Ambition is one thing, skulduggery quite another.

  7. “Sympathetic political groups that are not attached to Plaid Cymru but can do the hard work of changing people’s minds without fearing a loss of votes
    The growth of alternative online media outlets and groups such as Yes Cymru suggests that this may be changing, albeit very slowly.”

    On this point, Yes Cymru isn’t (or shouldn’t be) acting as a cover for doing work which Plaid does not want to do itself. It is (or should be) sympathetic towards independence, not towards any political party. Indeed, it should be in a position where it can, if it so wished, take Plaid Cymru to task for not being in favour of independence enough (a far from isolated view amongst people in favour of independence). If Yes Cymru is working to change people’s minds (and those minds themselves will belong to people in Plaid as with other and no parties) it is working to change people’s minds over independence, not over Plaid Cymru.

    • In the council elections, it was probably Leanne Wood’s patch which saw the most Labour losses. That doesn’t affect Westminster, but might suggest Plaid has a significant problem which is not related to her. The issue you have is the Corbyn surge. It wasn’t Plaid-related and happened across the UK. You have to see gains as successful in a Labour surge context, otherwise Labour wins the whole battle and continues to dominate Wales. If Plaid people say their own party did badly, when it has an extra MP, you will actually help Labour. I know it’s not all about them, but people need to be wary about Corbyn for the next year or two before politics moves on.

      Fortunately Plaid is blessed with many future candidates if Leanne Wood should move on, but make sure it stays united and confident. Hype up the successes. People are attracted to confidence. My two ceiniog anyway.

  8. Daniel Morris

    Plaid Cymru ‘s strength is in it’s excellent team.

  9. I hope Neil stands.
    Fresh fave, fresh energy.
    Viva la Marcon!

    • don’t do McEvoy the disservice of comparing him to the odious Macron, utter tool ( of globalist corporate clique )

  10. Richard Jenkins

    I just think we should be celebrating the fact that we have a surfeit of talented, super competent candidates, should the situation arise? Isn’t that brilliant? Leanne is doing and has done a great job and should there be a change for any reason, there are a number of excellent alternatives, all of an amazingly high standard! Very few political parties can say that. I’m delighted with Leanne and her leadership but whoever we choose to lead, should a choice arise, we will be brilliantly well led! How cool is that!

  11. Having spoken to hundreds of people while campaigning in the local and general elections, I would support a leadership election.

    Leanne may be popular with the majoroty – not all – of the membership, or in Scotland, the main reason for not voting Plaid that I was given was Leanne’s leadership.

    Just take a look at our results during recent elections. We have flatlined or gone backwards. Winning Rhondda is great, but we need to be winning across all of Wales if we’re ever to end Labour’s disastrous rule and advoid coming third behind the Tories.

    Whilst I have a lot of respect for her beliefs, she’s out of touch with voters. Who on earth allowed her to bring up independence the day after Wales voted for Brexit? Total bad-timing and didn’t help the cause one hit. Her recent copy-and-paste social media posts are also doing the party no good and opening us up to ridicule.

    We need a leader who will challenge Labour at every opportunity and not try cosying up to them, suggesting alliances.

    So, let’s stop denying the truth and get a new leader now to give us a good shot at the next Assembly elections.

    • desdelguinardo

      Why did Plaid Cymru win the Rhondda?

      Because we knocked every door in both valley,s and went back a second time to talk to those who were unconvinced by our message. Because we worked damn hard. Because Plaid Ifanc members spoke to over 1000 residents of the Rhondda by telephone in the final 2/3 weeks of the campaign. Because people were impressed by Leanne’s clean, positive and solid campaign. Only in two constituencies in Wales, Arfon and Camarthen East and Dinefwr, did Plaid Cymru work so hard in terms of organisation and the number of people spoken to.

      This leaves 37 constituencies where Plaid spoke to fewer people. There were many constituencies throughout Wales where local organisation made contact with fewer than 200 voters. This could be for many, many reasons – a lack of organisation, fewer active members, elderly members, or, as we saw in the Cardiff Council elections, a negative local message which undoubtedly lead to failure.

      To those of you looking for a quick fix, I’m afraid to say that there isn’t one. I’m afraid to say that changing a leader will not bring about the change you will see. However, building a party machine, between all 8,000 of us who are members of Plaid Cymru, which is able to compete with Labour’s efficiency on the ground, will.

      • CambroUiDunlainge

        Will those voters be retained if Leanne was not leader? Or if she left Plaid altogether? Thats the true test of her leadership. I don’t doubt she worked hard to get those votes… but Plaid are trying to get into the Valleys by playing the Socialism card. Thats Labour’s turf and they ARE the Socialist.

        You also need to stop talking about Labour like its the only foe here. The foe is Unionism. Labour, Tory, Lib Dems. They are all the enemy. They should all be regarded as one party for all Plaid cares. Think of Northern Ireland: they’re fighting the UUP and DUP like they’re the same thing… because they are. You won’t see Sinn Fein members voting for a Unionist party… and thats exactly what its got to be here. Thats the message Plaid need to be going for. Bugger Socialism. Liberalism is incompatible with our nationalism at its current stage.

        We need Plaid to be a Welsh party for Welsh people… and not be handing votes over to Unionist parties because of the parties political alignment.

        • desdelguinardo

          She won with 50.6% of the vote, standing on a socialist platform in the Rhondda. You seem to be saying that we need to stand on a right wing platform.
          And please don’t start with comparing Wales to Northern Ireland, where the situation is completely different (and I thank God that my community is not as polarised as communities in Northern Ireland). We have enough being compared to Scotland every other article that is written on here.

          • CambroUiDunlainge

            Yes she won on a Socialist platform… not a Welsh platform. Those voters can easily swing back to whence they came is my point. I’m not saying right wing platform at all… I’m saying a platform based solely on Welsh identity which does not exclude anyone who doesn’t completely agree with the political tribalism.

            I will compare it to whatever I god damn well please. Because we need to learn from Sinn Fein, we need to learn from the SNP – because they’ve made a damn sight more progress than Plaid has. If you’re not willing to put your alignment aside for the future of our language and identity – if you’re not willing to take criticism and learn from others then quite simply don’t waste your time and get back on that Unionist Labour bandwagon you fell off.

          • CambroUiDunlainge makes repeated reference to sinn fein yet he/she seems unaware that sinn fein is a socialist party – indeed it’s stated aim is the creation of a 32 county socialist republic. Very strange that he/she should be unaware of this. Also strange that while he/she purports to be a supporter of independence for wales he/she never misses an opportunity to denounce the only political party in wales in favour of independence (plaid cymru) and the only political leader in wales in favour of independence (leanne wood)………..all very odd

        • desdelguinardo

          “Yes she won on a Socialist platform… not a Welsh platform.” – A plainly ridiculous comment.

          “don’t waste your time and get back on that Unionist Labour bandwagon you fell off.” – You’re seriously just a gift that keeps on giving. Please remain a keyboard warrior, and leave us to convince people that independence is necessary. I dread to think how many people you’d put off

          • CambroUiDunlainge

            She won the Rhondda on a Socialist platform – by your own admission. Since when is Socialism synonymous with being Welsh? Which was my point by her not doing it on a Welsh platform. If you cannot see that… you never will. I’m sure you’ll try to say it is… a believer is a believer. Cannot do much about that.

            “You’re seriously just a gift that keeps on giving. Please remain a keyboard warrior, and leave us to convince people that independence is necessary. I dread to think how many people you’d put off”

            The gift that keeps on giving because I’m willing to learn from successful movements? Who says I’m a keyboard warrior? Where did I say Independence was not necessary? WHAT ARE YOU EVEN TALKING ABOUT?

    • leigh richards

      “the main reason for not voting Plaid that I was given was Leanne’s leadership” strange that lee because that’s not something that’s ever been raised with me. Who were these people you were speaking to? ukip supporters? And ive no idea why you would have a problem with leanne bringing up the subject of independence – securing independence for wales is the reason plaid exists. If you dont think a plaid cymru leader should be bringing up independence then what on earth are you doing in plaid? As for ‘cosying up to labour’ well you obviously didnt see leanne robustly challenging corbyn during the televised general election debate. Given your deep hostility to leanne there is one obvious course of action open to you – and those who think like you – put up or shut up! Still at least at least you had the bottle to put your real name to your ramblings, unlike the right wing misogynist fantasists who alas seem to be lurking on this site in increasing numbers (course it’s probably the same person using multiple identities)

      • CambroUiDunlainge

        “CambroUiDunlainge makes repeated reference to sinn fein yet he/she seems unaware that sinn fein is a socialist party – indeed it’s stated aim is the creation of a 32 county socialist republic.”

        You’re right it is a Socialist Party. But its result in the General Election probably has more to do with reunification and Brexit rather than its Socialist policies – unless you are not aware of their substantial gains of about 50,000 more voters? It puts that cause before its alignment – which is what Plaid Cymru should be doing. But here you go on about right wing and left wing… but we’re all Welsh here and all want the same thing yet you’re using terminology better fitted to the Labour-Conservative English political scale… strange indeed.

        Denounce Plaid Cymru? Yeah. I’m full of critique. They ARE the only Welsh nationalist party. One founded originally for the protection of Welsh language and identity I may add – not securing Independence – that came later (not a bone of contention – i do support as you say – but to be historically accurate). It’s evolved a bit from there… but back then it was a Welsh cause… not a socialist one, nor anything else. It was a lofty cultural movement.

        “Still at least at least you had the bottle to put your real name to your ramblings, unlike the right wing misogynist fantasists who alas seem to be lurking on this site in increasing numbers”

        I assume that was in reference to me? I’m far from being misogynistic being brought up by a single mother and never have I ever said anything which could be construed as such. No I don’t use my real name… But this is the only name I use here. It also is very much my identity as much as my actual name. I’m also not Right wing. I was not born a Socialist, I chose to be one. I was however born a Welshman. I am a voter, I am Welsh and have every right to give what I consider constructive critique at what I believe to be Plaid Cymru’s stagnation. I’m not out to slam for no reason… I have a point about issues concerning political alignment – and your comments about left and right wing against your compatriots show me its well warranted. Maybe you are a Socialist before being a Welshman, maybe you are just unable to separate the two – thats not for me to say.

        So we can bicker about Plaid… or realise that being Welsh transcends what they stand for and that we’re on the same side.

        • “I assume that was in reference to me”? Er no i wasn’t referring to you specifically – but to judge by your somewhat hysterical response i’ve clearly struck a raw nerve. And another problem with your rant is it might carry some weight if you told us who you were? You make a number of claims about yourself and your motives, but given we’ve absolutely no idea who you are we have to take your word for these things. The bald truth of the matter is you could be anybody. And not sure where you get the idea that being a socialist and being in favour of independence for wales are somehow not compatible – there’s a long political tradition in wales of socialists supporting welsh independence, and if you were familiar with welsh political history you would know this. Its certainly interesting you betray the same ignorance of aspects of welsh political history as you do of the island of ireland.

          • Hysterical, raw nerve, rant. Nice attempt at deflection. You really try to up the ante with saying that I’ve got some idea that socialism is incompatible with nationalism when I clearly never stated that. I said you seem to be putting Socialist and Left wing values over your identity as Cymry. You’ve slammed your fellow countrymen for being right wing with no thought to the fact they are also Welsh. I never said socialists could not be nationalists… as I said I tick both boxes. I just recognise that a right winger is no more or less Welsh than anyone else – and as far as nationalism is concerned is very much my ally. I’m not sure if you’re just not getting that or trying to get a bit of spin because I’m right or just naive. Although in the grand scheme of the great cause… socialism is a relatively new thing in the 900 year old defence of our identity.

            Still going on about Ireland… yet my point was simply that Sinn Fein’s entire cause is built around reunification. Socialist they may be… but considering the surge they had in the last election it’d be pretty naive to believe it wasn’t due to that central cause.

            Keep trying to twist up arguments you don’t like. Because at the end of the day there is a good point to what I’m saying and right or wrong you just don’t like it. Not once have you said “I see where you’re coming from… we do need to broaden our scope in order to achieve our goals”. But nope. Nothing of the sort. Not attempt as suggesting a fix because of your animosity to all who do not share you blinkered world view. You’ve got a serious British chip on your shoulder about right wingers… regardless of whether they are Welsh or not. Makes me question what you do believe in. Oh and your interest in my identity… not sure why it makes a difference… unless you suspect me of being some one… when as I said I’m just a voter. I’d say it was a nice constructive debate but all you seem happy to do is attack me and undermine my opinion. So i won’t waste any more time on you.

  12. chiefofwales

    I think Neil McEvoy would definitely be the spark Plaid, the independence movement and Welsh politics needs

    • desdelguinardo

      [This comment has been deleted. Please refrain from making any comments that include personal attacks or contains possibly actionable information that has not been verified. If you want Nation.Cymru to keep going, please treat the comment section with respect. Thank you – Ed.]

  13. A test of real capacity for leadership has come and gone. We read today the deal has been done to separate Tata Steel UK from the British Steel Pension Scheme. This acceptance of diluted pension provision is all well and good, especially if it helps secure the long term future of our steel industry. However it now seems that a key reason for doing this is to facilitate a merger of Tata steel business with ThyssenKrupp of Germany. Will such a merger secure the long term future of our plants, and will we read of German steel workers accepting a dilution of their pension provisions to enable this deal to go through ? As for the first question the answer is a maybe, as for the second – not on your bloody nelly. Our steel workers have been sold out by UK government and Tata just so the rich Indian conglomerate can exit its commitments in the UK with no complicated loose ends to clean up. 

    Apart from a few bits of insight from Adam Price when the crisis first hit the headlines Plaid has been far too quiet on this matter. While bailing out a global corporate smacks of perverse values there was an element of worthy realpolitik about this agreement as it seemed to secure a long term future for Tata’s UK Steel interests. However it’s just been showed up as a device for them ducking out. Have all our politicians ducked out as well ?

  14. Neil McEvoy

    Re: speculation. If I have something to say, I will say it openly. I don’t like being used as a scapegoat for any individual or camp. Politics matter a lot more than individuals. We need to be a robust opposition, uniting around the national cause. Clear green water should be the priority for all.

    • Spot on Neil. If we can identify around a proper green cause ( with a dash of common sense environmentalism, as opposed to all that pseudo rubbish being peddled by the fleecy jacket Fascists ) it could be the direction that binds the language, community issues, education, work ( as opposed to nonjobs on noncontracts ), public protection ( for us all, not law’n’order for the few ), infrastructure, and the entire democratic governance/accountability mix. Build on that and pay less attention but not necessarily ignore fashionable “issues” and we might get somewhere ( before I kick the bucket !! ).

  15. Capitalist and Welshnash

    I think she had done a great job, but Plaid is too far to the Left in my opinion. Cymru is an entire nation, not just those of us on the Left, but those of us more to the Right too.

  16. CambroUiDunlainge

    Media could be a double edged sword. I don’t think it would have helped Plaid’s case at this point… thing is by Welsh media we’re specifically looking at anti-Union/Welsh nationalist media… pro-Unionist media is already established so it’d be a bit of an uphill struggle. I really think this (nation.cymru, our bloggers) is the start and I think it’ll naturally grow from here – as demand grows. News outlets tend to have target audiences – so Welsh media outlets like nation.cymru are only going to attract people who are already on board more than anything. There maybe converts… but not to the extent required for nationalism to make real progress. Ultimately it’s going to find itself up against the same wall as Plaid does as a political party. A Welsh media could also be used against us – we’ve seen the power over the last 20 years with Blair’s rise and Brexit.

    Welsh media is a mouth piece… we need a strong coherent message going through it. An inclusive message which converts people rather than creates a circle jerk of people already on side.

    Smaller groups will not help the effort… that adds more division… more complications. We’re already divided. We need one message for one people. Our identity is personal to us all… and different to us all… but we are all Welsh – that idea is where it needs to begin. Think tanks are a good idea… but its whether Plaid will listen when its told the obvious that it needs to abandon its political alignment in the favour of becoming a party that represents a culture that covers many alignments and beliefs. Judging by Adam Price’s comments as reported by WoL a few weeks ago (since the election) I think they’re just going to carry on.

    Not pointing fingers at Leanne being to blame. Plaid is after all a party of many parts. They do need to rethink their direction and that likely does need new leadership.

  17. Leanne has had more network coverage thsn any other plaid leader in run up to British elections … and it did PC no good. Sure she is nice and they like her in England. Well people in England dont vote in Welsh constituencies. So its about time PC woke up to the fact that many people who wld vote PC in west wales do not like Leanne- that is what i got on the door. And will her PR people please stop her anodyne /childish facebook posts- its embarrassing fir a party leader to put these kinds of posts up

    • CambroUiDunlainge

      Why would you say “many people in West Wales do not like Leanne” out of curiosity?

      • From talking to them on doorstep during last campaign and daily basis and not living in a one party bubble . I am not saying that there are other factors in the mix here re loss if votes . But her time is up And have thought this for couple of years now- its all about credibility and results

  18. Plaid would be absolutely mad to change leader, and it’s interesting how activists from other parties are trying to stir the pot. Westminster elections are always the most difficult for us – why is anyone surprised? – but achieving our best result in the last 16 years in terms of seats was hardly a disaster. Leadership isn’t one thing – it’s a whole set of different skills and Leanne has a really good range: strong work-ethic, principled, brave, disciplined, psychological strength, ability to form a strong team, fresh ideas, willingness to innovate, ability to broaden our appeal, commitment to engaging at the grass roots. No one’s perfect, and some of the other potential leaders have skills that she lacks. But they themselves are lacking in other areas and overall we’re much better off with them in strong supporting roles.The time to re-evaluate will be after the next Assembly elections. Until then at the very least, I’m with Leanne.

  19. The Bellwether

    Don’t get me wrong, Leanne Wood is an excellent party leader, a wonderful person and has done amazingly well considering the position Plaid was in when she took over. But (there’s always a but) this is not the type of leader that is likely to be successful in these apocalyptic Brexit/Trumpian times. A ‘national’ rather than a ‘party’ leader could emerge and not necessarily from the ranks of Plaid who have an efficient top tier/team of members but a bulk of emasculated third sector and public sector drones around the queen bee.
    Where or when will this leader emerge? Who knows but it could be from the cultural/media, sport or even religious (as in the past) sector. A politician or council worker would not have appeal or charisma. Will this be ‘nationalism’? Maybe so-an endless repeat of history where lessons are learned all over again and lots of us are culled.

    • CambroUiDunlainge

      I completely agree. Not sure about religious leaders though… who might you be referring too? Doctor William Price of the Chartists? We of course have our Princes who were usually the shared leaders of our people. When there were many it wasn’t so great… but Owain being the sole claimant at that time shows just how much can be done behind one man (or woman).

  20. I think both perspectives expressed in the comments here are valid.

    Yes, I think it is undoubtedly the case that Leanne Wood has not lived up to early expectations- the results of several elections over the past few years show that only too clearly.

    I’m sorry to have to say this: but the TV exposure during recent elections have only magnified her shortcomings as leader: she comes across as vacuous, one-dimensional and overly focused on the “progressive alliance” agenda above all else.

    It’s also very telling that her two stand-out contributions in these debates were comments about Nigel Farage and Paul Nuttall: all very well in themselves but NOTHING at all to do with Wales and the Welsh National Interest!

    But, it’s also true to say that Leanne as leader is only a reflection of the poor state of Plaid Cymru in general. They must be the most insipid national party in Western Europe.

    The recent debacle at Conwy County Council where they rejected the opportunity to lead a multi-party alliance to run the council- under one of the most respected Plaid Cymru politicians of recent years- just because that alliance would include the Conservatives just smacked of student politics and showed an alarming lack of understanding of the dynamics of the county of Conwy.

    And their spineless attitude towards the Local Development Plan for Gwynedd and Mon has just served to alienate their core support in those two counties.

    I’m afraid that Plaid Cymru is just a “failed brand” in so many ways by now. People outside the heartland areas of Wales can only associate them with almost a century of failure in electoral terms. We have to understand the basic psychology of people in Wales if we want to move ahead as a nation: why would people want to associate themselves with a brand that has failed, time and time again over so many years?? It’s the Psychology , stupid- to rephrase one of Bill Clinton’s famous slogans

    In this respect, maybe the emergence of YES Cymru, and a new grass-roots independence movement can offer a viable alternative? After all, they’re not tainted with the failures of the past, they don’t have the baggage of being just for Welsh speakers which has dogged Plaid Cymru for so many years, and they have already attracted hundreds of people not associated with politics in the past.

    More importantly, they are standing unequivocally for Independence for Wales: an issue which has been fudged for too long by Plaid. With Brexit, and the notion of Greater England now in such ascendancy, the issue of independence is now more than just an aspiration, it is a existential question for Wales as a nation.

    I know that YES Cymru are a non-political party. That is part of their broad appeal to a generation which has become so disillusioned with political parties of all colours.

    But, with Assembly elections to be held on a STV basis in 2020- which could help smaller parties emerge- maybe they should think of putting up candidates in different parts of Wales: on a platform of an Independence Referendum for Wales. With a promise to disband once that referendum has been achieved and held?

    • CambroUiDunlainge

      Out of curiosity where did you read about STV voting? Can I get a link? Quite interested as I’ve not seen anything on that. As for Yes.Cymru… Not sure it is… its too niche. Independence needs to be tabled… when we’ve got a nationalist party which only represents 20% of the population a movement like that is only going to have a membership around about the same… that and a few discontents and Remainers. We don’t need more niche groups. We need groups with broad appeal to Welsh people of all classes and languages.

  21. Stv is the favoured option of the taskgroup briefed with the task of deciding the future format of elections in wales, as the senedd will now have control of that element as part of the Wales Bill. Sorry no link to hand.

  22. If this was about Llafur or the Tories then anything to get rid of them and the other foreign parties from within our borders in anyway would be worth the time and effort.

    My earlier one liner when this piece arose still stands – why follow the Anglo-British down the same old road of outdated ideology, financial corruption, political impatience and ingrained bitterness? Because that is what you are doing! We do not need any more division than we already have.

    If you are a Plaid Cymru member then use your membership to tell the party how you feel and if enough people , who are members, do this then the party can listen or not as may be. It is up to that party to act accordingly.

    However, if you are not or a just Tory or Llafur scum popping in to have a go then sod off, you are not welcome! Now, before anyone thinlks for a minute I am being exclusive in my remarks then you are correct. I want what is best for my country, nation and people and the only way we will get this is to be finally free of the Anglo-British establishment and government who are in a state of total disarray and decay.

    Let Plaid do what Plaid needs to do. Leave YesCymru do what no other one single group or party is doing and that is to actually be on the ground in the streets listening to the people and bringing communities together. Not tearing them apart as some would like see continue.

    Most of you appear to be caught up in the Anglo-British web of political intrigue. Becalmed in the doldrums with no hope of escape and even if the wind does pick up, you appear to have no new course to steer, just offering the same old full right or left rudder, continually going round in ever declining circles!

    We are Cymreig we are not anglo-norman. We are decsended from, joined or represent the indigenous peoples of these highlands, lowlands and islands. We are a part of a Celtic family of nations that stretches from the far north reaches of Scotland to Iberia, not to the low countries or Germany.

    We have work to do and distractions about Plaid is taking your attention away from the foreign, British based, parties who say they are different from the others, but all have one thing in common, the continued oppression and subjugation of our people. I for one will not tolerate this any more and that is why I support any Welsh based political party over foreign, whether I agree with all their policies or not.

    Unlike a lot of males, who obviously feel somewhat threatened by females, people of colour or faith, I have no such problem if they are serving our country, nation and people.

    I, personally, am no longer am a victim of 1,973 years of ingrained foreign oppression. I’ve brushed that old negative chip off my shoulder and ditched 60 years of Anglo-British brainwashing and cast down those invisible shackles. I hope you can too, soon.

    You see with enlightenment comes an open mind of endless possibilities for a new country, founded on new, fresh and sustainable concepts.

    In other words please use your energies to promote Cymru not destroy it!

  23. Plaid is a small party and only money from its 8,000 members pays for its political activities and campaigns . A narrative seems to have developed recently that electorally the party has failed in recent years. But is this true? The Labour party and Plaid Cymru are the only parties in Wales that are represented at every level of elected government in Wales. The Liberal party has virtually disappeared and UKIP only has a presence in the Assembly and at European level (that may end soon depending on the result of their leadership elections). We now effectively have a three party system in Wales. Currently Plaid Cymru leads four council cabinets and has cabinet members in five councils. Plaid cabinet leaders represent half of the female cabinet leaders in Wales. In four councils Plaid leads the opposition. At the same time as the Assembly elections we had Police Commissioner elections and so the turn outs were very good compared to the equivalent elections in England. Plaid won half of the Welsh Commissioner elections and the round two results (in North Wales and Dyfed Powys) showed that Plaid was able to pick up significant second preference votes. More does need to be done but it is worth noting what has been achieved.

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